Professor McGonagall was trying to pull the amulet out of Hermione’s hand.
“It won’t come out,” she said exasperatedly. “I really thought that maybe I could just pull it out, but it really won’t budge.”
“Why are you trying to pull it out?” Harry asked as Sirius began eyeing him closely.
“That’s the only way to get her back here, completely,” she explained. “It was in Albus’ letter. However he also said that she would need persuasion.”
“Harry, would you mind getting Ron from the kitchen?” Sirius asked.
“Yea, sure, I’ll be right back,” Harry said sadly, knowing that Ron would get to go back for her, as this was the only 'persuasion' he thought possible, and he’d miss out on seeing his parents once again.
“Harry,” Sirius sighed as soon as the door was closed, “Harry came back for her.”
“Are you sure?” she asked.
“He appeared with longer hair, but we never realized who it was, or at least I didn’t. I think James and Lily knew though,” Remus added.
“I didn‘t, not until just now, but I know I’m right. He was sent back, but he had all his memories. He said that time for him was the same and that he had to take her back soon. He was really nervous around Lily and James though, and I think they figured it out. And, well, he saw a few other things he didn’t really like. And he had a, um, interesting conversation with Dumbledore. Only Harry would act like this guy.”
“But how do we get him back there?” asked Minerva as Severus rolled his eyes.
“Honestly, has no one read a potions book before? Actually, this one was partly Lily’s invention. By adding certain ingredients, it will send him back to this day, 18 years ago, but as Black said, time would be the same for him, no ratio nonsense, just a day for a day,” Severus said.
“Brilliant!” exclaimed McGonagall. “How long will it take?”
“How long will what take?” Harry asked as he and Ron walked back into the room.
“Give me half an hour, Minerva,” Snape replied as he briskly walked out of the room.
“Harry, we’re sending you back,” Sirius said, laughing at Harry‘s stunned expression. “You have to rescue Hermione from us!”
“ME?!” he shouted happily. “Are you serious?!”
“Yes, actually, I am,” Sirius replied cheekily as Remus groaned and rolled his eyes. “Aw come on Moony, I haven’t used that in a long time.”
“Not long enough,” Remus said, grinning at his old friend. He then tensed and nervously looked at Harry, “Harry, before you go back, I guess there’s a few things you should know.”
“Um, ok, what should I know?” Harry asked, practically bouncing on his feet.
“First, you can’t change anything,” McGonagall started.
“I know, I know, Hermione told me about wizards who meddle with time and all,” Harry said.
“No, Harry,” Remus continued, “the temptation to save them would be too great for anyone and you would want to warn your parents, but you won’t be able to, anymore then Hermione could.”
“But she doesn’t remember us. If I lose all my memories, how will I bring her back?”
“You will remember everything, Harry. It’s just those that you come in contact with, and there won’t be many, won’t remember you, or anything you told us,” Sirius said.
“All you have to do is convince Hermione to come back. Once she loosens her hold on this amulet enough for me to take it, she’ll be brought back fully,” McGonagall explained.
“Oh, I see. So you guys remembered me when you remembered Hermione, right?”
“Exactly, it's just took some time to figure out who you were.”
“Well, then it can’t be all that bad. Convincing her to come back I mean. When do I leave?”
“Harry,” Remus began, “there’s more you should know. Hermione has become very close to us. She is one of us, and…”
“She became a Marauder!” Sirius said, cutting Remus off.
“WHAT?!” exclaimed Ron in utter disbelief.
“She was like a little sister to both James and I, and although I know it’s hard for you to hear this, she was very special to us. Her and Lily are inseparable.”
“And,” Remus started again.
“Look, here comes Severus,” Sirius cut Remus off again, receiving a glare in return.
“It’s ready when you are,” he said to McGonagall, handing Harry a goblet and pulling out a pouch.
McGonagall pointed her wand at Harry and lengthened his hair, then said, “We’re ready, Severus.”
He slowly began adding 18 drops of another liquid into Harry’s goblet and told him to drink all of it.
As Harry began drinking, he could feel his body fading. By the time he finished, he felt as though he were falling through the floor.
“Sirius, I know what you’re saying, but you have to realize that Peter just can’t compete with you three. You shouldn’t be so hard on him.”
“True Lils, but you don’t understand what he’s like sometimes. It’s like he has so much potential, just like with becoming an animagus, but he’s afraid to really push himself to do it.”
Harry could hear a faint conversation and understood most of the words, but the sensation of falling was just too great. He suddenly snapped to attention when he heard shouts.
“Who the hell are you and where did you come from?!”
“Sirius?” he asked as he slowly stood, blinking and still slightly dazed. “Put your wand down already,” Harry said, looking around. It was fairly amusing to watch Sirius, whom he knew, but that didn’t know him yet, think he was actually a threat.
He had landed into the seventh year boys dorm in what appeared to be 18 years in the past. Very little had changed, but this room was a bit messier then his own. There were four beds and it appeared the sun was starting to lower in the sky, just like his time, so it must be around 4:00 in the afternoon. He could see Sirius standing by one bed, with an enraged looking redhead behind him. A man that looked exactly like Harry, when he wasn’t magically changed, was standing beside Sirius, wand also drawn.
Harry couldn’t help it, as the other two with Sirius came into his still slightly fuzzy view, he gasped and staggered slightly. He knew his mouth was hanging open, but he couldn’t bring himself to close it, or look away. His mother really was beautiful. Her eyes were just like his and her hair, her hair was very close to the color of Ginny’s. She was a full head shorter then him, just like Ginny. She also had a very determined look about her, like she dared anyone to do anything at that moment, just like Ginny would. The similarities were astonishing.
“Look, I don’t know who you are, but you can stop eyeing my girl any time now,” said the man that Harry knew to be his father.
“Sorry, James, it’s just that, never mind, but she does remind me an awful lot of my own girlfriend, it’s amazing,” Harry replied.
“How do you know our names?” Sirius asked.
“Well, I’m from the future, 18 years to be exact, and I’ve come for Hermione, actually.”
“Like hell you have!” James shouted. “We’re not letting you touch her! For all we know, you could be a Death Eater!”
Harry couldn’t help it, the absurdity of the situation hit him hard and he started laughing. Did his father, the man who died to protect him from Voldemort actually call the ‘Chosen One’ a Death Eater? It was just too much!
“If only you knew me, D..James. I’m the fartherest thing from a Death Eater there is, except perhaps Dumbledore.”
“You know Dumbl..” Sirius began but was broken off by the dorm room door opening.
Harry swung around to see who had interrupted, hoping to find Hermione soon. He was frozen by the scene that met him. There was Hermione, his best friend, holding hands with…Remus?! And why was she wearing that shirt and boxers?
“Hey guys, I‘m clean now!” Hermione laughed, before seeing the strange boy in the room. “Who are you?”
“Hermione!” Harry yelled as he ran to hug the friend he had been so worried about.
He was stopped abruptly by Remus’ hand closing around his throat and throwing him to the ground.
“Who the hell are you?” he asked menacingly.
“Damn Remus! What the hell was that for?!” he asked as he rubbed his throat, then added, “Sorry” sheepishly as he looked at Lily.
It was then that he noticed Remus had put his arm around Hermione and she was looking at Harry with eyes full of questions and fear. Fear? Hermione never looked at him with fear.
“Hermione, don’t be scared of me,” he pleaded.
“Who are you?” she asked hesitantly as he pulled himself up from the ground.
“Dang, I forgot that part. Ok, everyone sit down and I’ll explain. Remus, you and I will talk about this,” he said as he pointed to Hermione’s hand now enclosed in his, “when I get back to you.”
“Sit,” he bit out, “and I’ll explain everything. Keep your wands out, I don’t really care. I daresay I could take you all with the exception of Hermione anyway, and that’s only because I’ve been teaching her most of what she knows since fifth year.”
“What are you babbling about?” Hermione asked slightly miffed.
Everyone looked at him untrustingly as they walked over to the beds and took their seats, wands still drawn.
“Where’s Peter?” Harry asked with a menace that no one missed.
“He’s out, why?” James said with his own menace, almost exactly matching Harry.
“I’d prefer he not be here right now, that’s why. Ok, here’s the deal. My name is Harry and, as I said before, I’m from the future, 18 years in the future. I’ve come here, because it’s time for Hermione to come home. We…” he cursed as he was cut off again when the door opened.
As he irritatedly turned around to see the intruder, his heart fell to the floor and he barely caught himself on the bed when his knees gave out. The man, who looked much younger and with only a slight twinkle in his eyes, walked over to Harry slowly and with concern etched across his face.
Harry suddenly started seeing flashes of his life. First came parts from his time at the Dursley’s, then he saw the mirror of Erised, then dementors. Rapidly images flashed forward of the Sorcerers Stone and it was then that he suddenly knew what was going on. Anger flooded through him and he quickly regained his composure.
“Get out of my head, old man, you wouldn’t like what you saw there!” he spat angrily, staring at Professor Dumbledore unwaveringly.
Everyone jumped up and aimed their wands to his chest.
“No one talks to Professor Dumbledore that way!” Hermione shouted as she moved closer to the man she had come to regard as a grandfather figure and ready to bind Harry if need be.
Harry’s body was starting to shake, but he knew he couldn’t appear weak in front of the others. He looked at Dumbledore and said, “I think you saw enough, don’t you?”
“No, child, I don’t believe I did. However, you are not an accomplished Occlumens, so if need be, I will see more,” he responded seriously.
“Suit yourself,“ he said and then saw Remus walk up behind Hermione and put his arms around her waist protectively, trying to draw her back to him and the bed where the others were now sitting again.
“Remus, I really don’t want to be rude, especially since your 18 year old self doesn’t know me, but could you not touch her right now?”
“Excuse me?” Remus asked angrily. “Who are you to tell me anything?”
“The one that knows you’ll break her heart in the end, that’s who!” Harry said loudly as he warily watched Hermione walk right up to him. He was shocked when she slapped him hard across his cheek.
“Hermione!” he said shocked, putting his hand on his the cheek she had just slapped.
“How dare you?” she asked as she pulled her hand back again. She didn’t make contact this time, because Harry caught her arm and pulled her to him. He had forgotten that people he knew were there, that his parents were there, that the man he called his mentor, the greatest wizard of all time, was only feet away.
“I’ll let that slide,” he said shocked and angry, as his grip tightened, “but Hermione, don’t ever hit me again. You never have before and when you come back to me, I know you never will again, so don’t start now.”
She stared him in the eyes as Dumbledore held his hand up to those advancing on the couple. “Leave Remus out of this,” she said quietly. “What’s your problem with me anyway? Why do you act like you know me? What did you mean about taking me home? I am home!”
“McGonagall did say you’d need convincing,“ he sighed, now understanding why she didn't want to leave. He slowly let his grip ease on her arm, but held her to him gently as he wrapped his other arm around her back and whispered into her hair. “You have to come back to me Hermione, it’s the only way. I need you, I can’t do this without you. I don’t think I can live without you,” he pleaded gently, making Hermione gasp at his words and the familiarity she felt with him.
He didn’t realize that his close proximity, coupled with his choice of words, gave the entirely wrong impression to the group and Remus‘ face was red with anger.
“Get away from her!” Remus said, with no room for argument in his voice as he stepped next to Hermione and pulled her arm away from Harry, then placed her behind him. “I don’t know who you are, or what’s going on, but she’s not yours.”
“Funny Remus," he spat, "I can already hear the arguments you’ve been having with yourself this week, in my time, about the reasons she’s not yours as well and how you plan on letting her down gently. Even funnier is the fact that Sirius here, wouldn’t let you warn me about what I might see. And for your information, Hermione is my best friend. Something big is happening in my time, and we need her, I need her.”
“Son,” Dumbledore said, finally speaking up and making them all jump as they had forgotten he was in the room.
“I’m not your son, sir,” Harry bit out as he again, turned to look at the man. As much as he loved Dumbledore, he couldn’t stop being angry at him.
“Ok, fair enough. Could you maybe start with why you’re here and who you are?”
“Fine, I’ll try this again,” he said as he slowly drew his wand and cast a locking spell on the door, befroe turning to the others. “This was supposed to be a happy memory for me to keep, coming back to see all of you, but now I see why Remus was more than a little nervous to send me back. Long story short, my name is Harry and I’m from the future. Hermione was sent here for Remus to take care of. I assume you all know why, but since I don’t know what you know, because everyone refuses to tell me what they remember, I won’t say.”
“We all know about her condition, if that’s what you mean,” said Lily, speaking to Harry for the first time, with a calm and understanding voice as she stepped closer to him.
Harry’s anger deflated and he spoke calmly again, “Ok, then you know why she was sent to Remus. Also, knowing Hermione, I’d say you’ve been in the library more than a few times, researching what has happened to you and your memories, right?” he directed at Hermione.
“Actually, yes. Professor Dumbledore thought I might be from a different place, but we figured out not too long ago, that I was from a different time, even though I believe he already knew that,” Hermione added with a raised eyebrow in Dumbledore‘s direction. “But still, how do we know you are who you say you are? And what if I don’t want to go back?”
“That’s the problem, you’re refusing to come back, but you have to go back. Your body, however, refuses to let go of this time. There’s no way to force you back, we just have to convince you.”
“Yes, your body is still in my time, while it’s also here. So, if you stay here, you won’t live very long, you know, with your body in two different times. Time here, for you, is different, you’ve been here for five months, but you’ve only been gone for five days with us. For me however, time is the same. I don’t know how that works with both of us being here, but there you have it. Snape figured out a potion to send me here, but I can’t stay long. I have to get you back to our time, there’s no other option.”
“Snape? As in Severus Snape? If that slimy git is in on this, then we’re definitely not letting Hermione get involved,” James said earnestly.
“That ‘slimy git’” Harry ground out, “has saved Hermione and me more times than I care to count and has turned out to be a decent bloke, no matter how many times you two,” he said pointing at James and Sirius, “have turned him upside down.”
“How did you know about that?” Sirius asked as he glanced at Dumbledore.
“I know you, remember, I’ve heard stories. I’ve even seen a very disturbing memory in his own pensieve. Not very impressed I must say.”
“Ok, that’s enough,” Lily said stepping in, “can you prove you know us, that you’re an ok person?”
“First Miss Evans, I feel I must leave here,” Dumbledore started. “Although, before I leave, I would like to know why this young man seems to hate me so.”
“I don’t hate you, sir,” Harry said quietly as thoughts of his relationship with Dumbledore filtered through his mind, unaided by magic.
“You have a funny way of showing it!” James said, getting Harry riled once again.
He turned to James and all but shouted, “I don’t hate him! He left me! He left me when I needed him most and I’m a bit angry, ok?!” as he pointed at Dumbledore, but looked at James.
“Left you?” Dumbledore asked with a concerned voice. “I would never leave a student who needed me.” Harry turned back to face him.
“I needed you and you left me,” he said much more quietly, but also much more sadly. It was left to no one to figure out this anger was due to sadness and they slowly lowered their wands that had been raising towards his chest. “Not only did you leave me to do it all on my own, you knew you were leaving and didn’t even have the decency to tell me! How could you?! How could you do that to Ron and Hermione?” he added, his voice raising.
“I don’t know Ron, but I assure you, I would never leave Hermione,” he said quietly.
“Yea? Gotten close to her have you?” he spat.
“Yes, actually, I have.”
“Well, it’s a shame you won’t remember this conversation, because you do leave her. You left me, and by association, you left her as well. She has to help me, where you can’t!” Harry said loudly as he walked closer to Dumbledore.
“You didn’t even care enough to tell me you were leaving, to say goodbye,” Harry yelled as tears started to run down his cheeks and his voice quavered. “You just left. It’s too big, too much, and you just left me to do it,” he said staring straight at Dumbledore and quietly sobbing now as he sat down on the bed, before asking, “How can I do something so much bigger than myself, without you?”
He sniffled, then shouted again, “How dare you die right in front of me and make me watch, but not let me help you?! How could you do that to me?” he began sobbing into his hands, but this time, he felt a strong arm around his shoulders and Hermione's hand close over his.
“The only way I would leave you, Harry, is if, in fact, I were dead,” Dumbledore began quietly. “Always remember that I try to do what’s best, even if you may not see it, then or now. I’m sorry for leaving you, but I assure you, whatever I left for you to do, you can do it.”
They sat on the bed quietly for several moments before Harry said softly, “I don’t think I can fight him, sir. If one of us has to die, I’m afraid it’ll be me. I’m not worried about death, just the world. I don’t think I can beat him, he’s too strong, too fast, too powerful.”
“Who, Harry?” Dumbledore asked, fearing the answer, as everyone else listened intently to the strange person who just showed up to take their best friend away, then broke down in Dumbledore’s arms.
“Voldemort,” he answered and they all gasped.
“Hermione has been helping you with Voldemort?” Remus asked and Harry nodded as he dried his tears. “That explains that then," he said as Hermione stood to stand beside him.
“What does that explain?” James asked.
“Why she ran off into the middle of the fight in Hogsmeade the way she did. She’s apparently done that before,” he answered, pulling her closer to him.
“I think it’s time to take my leave now,” Dumbledore said, rising from the bed and looking very sadly at Harry. “I really am sorry for the way things have turned out for you, son.” This time Harry didn’t correct him. “Just know that even in death, I’m still with you. Death is after all..”
“the next great adventure? I know, sir. Thank you,” Harry said, walking over to him and hugging him tightly before releasing him.
His own eyes shining brightly, he asked, “Would you care to inform me who I left in charge of the Order as I presume I did not leave that to you? I assume Minerva is taking care of Hogwarts, is that correct?”
“No, sir, you didn‘t. Are you sure I should tell you this?”
“It’s quite alright, I assure you.”
“Um, Ok,” he started hesitantly, but was interrupted.
“If McGonagall is Head Mistress, then she must be over the Order as well, right?” Sirius asked.
Harry laughed softly, then asked, “Are you ready for this?” as he turned to the room. “Remus is in charge of the Order.”
“WHAT?! Now we know you’re a fake!” Remus shouted.
“Oh get over yourself, Remus,” Harry said, chuckling again. “You do a fine job of it as well, but McGonagall is your second, just so you know.”
Dumbledore walked to the door, eyes shining brightly and said. “Hermione, it appears now is indeed your time. Do what you feel is right. If he convinces you that he knows you, then you must go with him. But it appears I won’t be seeing you soon like I had planned, my dear. Goodbye, both of you.” With that, he walked out of Harry’s life for the final time, only this time, with the goodbye Harry had been waiting to hear for a year now and the one Hermione had never realized she had missed.
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