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Hourglass (rewritten as of 16/05/2018)

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PROLOGUE:

Hermione Jane Granger was a very intelligent woman. She was, in fact, a genius. A prodigy. Her power, talent and mind rivalled those of the greatest sorcerers and sorceresses that had ever lived.

Hermione had been hired by the Department of Mysteries at age eighteen, after completing her NEWTs and blitzing all recorded results. She'd apprenticed under Old Croaker himself, gone on to gain a Mastery in Ancient Runes, Arithmancy and Arcane Magic and in less then a decade was Head of the Department. In her time there she performed astounding magic, one of the most impressive been the creation of a runic array that nullified the magic of the Unforgiveable Curses.

The main focus of her studies, however, had always been Time. Time was a strange, wonderful thing, something all Unspeakables knew; the fifth dimension in a three dimensional world, Time was unknowable and infinite and held the entire Universe together. Hermione was the only Unspeakable who had done more then scratch the surface of Time's secrets, yet even she had barely dinted the knowledge— but she knew enough for what she needed to do, as for the last decade Hermione had been planning one thing and one thing only; to travel back in time.

She wasn't planning on going back a few hours, no, she planned to travel all the way back to the very beginning of her life, to her own birth, and she planned on changing everything. Why? Because her best friends were dead and Harry had been slain by her own hand.

Discovering Harry was a Horcrux had been the most awful thing that had ever happened to her. And Harry had turned to her, had held out the basilisk fang, and told her to do it.

Ron was already hours dead by then, he'd burned up in the flames in the Room of Requirement, and Harry... Harry had looked up at her with those beautiful green eyes, kissed her cheek then told her he loved her and she'd pushed the basilisk fang into his heart.

After all, a basilisk fang was one of the only sure methods for destroying a Horcrux.

In her grief, Hermione had stepped away from the body of her last best friend and joined what remained of the Order of the Phoenix and the DA, storming the Forbidden Forest where Voldemort and his army resided. Neville had succeeded in slaying Nagini, the last Horcrux, but a retreat had been called when McGonagall, Flitwick and Kingsley were felled by a furious Voldemort; McGonagall had survived, just, but she was too badly injured to keep fighting, and both Flitwick and Kingsley were killed instantly.

Hermione hadn't joined those retreated, though; instead she'd waited until the Order and the DA were out of the forest and then she'd set it all alight with Fiendfyre— for Harry and Ron. After all, only the Headmaster or Headmistress and Mediwitch of Hogwarts could apparate inside her grounds and there was a reason why Umbridge had never been able to enter the Headmaster's office— Snape had been allowed entrance for he'd had Dumbledore's blessing, as well as the students' welfare as his top priority; Hogwarts would accept no Death Eater, and she certainly would not accept Voldemort.

And so Voldemort, along with his followers, had burned, and Hermione, kneeling on the ground, sobbing and heartbroken, had waited for the cursed flames to claim her life too, only for Fawkes to appear and carry her to safety.

The Forbidden Forest had burned and burned until there was nothing left but ashes. Voldemort's demise had been celebrated by the Wizarding World and everyone knew Hermione had dealt the killing blow responsible for ending the reign of terror and they had celebrated her as their saviour; the Woman Who Won.

Hermione hadn't cared. She didn't show up to her Order of Merlin presentation, she didn't make any public appearances and she didn't return to Hogwarts. Instead, she travelled abroad to finish her last year of education then cloistered herself in the depths of the Department of Mysteries. For many long, lonely years, she shied away from society and concentrated on her studies, pushing the boundaries of magical knowledge beyond the point that anyone had pushed them before.

But she never forgot the reason she decided to become an Unspeakable and it was almost a decade and a half after she started out in the Department of Mysteries that she was confident enough in her creation.

Her masterpiece resembled an hourglass; a silver, interlocked chain with thousands of tiny runes carved into all available surfaces looped around her neck and the silver hourglass with the rune for 'Time' carved into the top hung directly over her heart. The product of years and years of labor, if it worked then her soul would be ripped from her body, be sent back along the time stream and integrate with the soul of her infant self as it dawned into awareness.

If it didn't work, Hermione was fully aware that the backlash would kill her— she just couldn't bring herself to give a fuck. Not anymore.

She would never get her Harry and Ron back, but goddamnit she would make sure Harry didn't have to live through the hell that had been his childhood ever again. This time it would be her who was sacrificed for the Greater Good.

With that thought in mind, Hermione reached out with her wand, pressed the tip against the rune in the centre, and activated the hourglass.

There was a blinding flash of light, an infinite moment of pain and then the body of Hermione Jane Granger appeared to disintegrate into nothingness as every molecule that made up her being split apart. The air pulsed and crackled with a violent surge of magical energy that spanned across the entire globe.

And then Time froze.