Hermione plopped down on the couch, nudging Ginny with her shoulder. The redhead looked up, flashed her a smile, and went back to her three foot essay. She watched her write for a bit, absorbing the words, and she couldn’t help but grin. She knew Ginny was smart, and sometimes she just loved talking to her about school. It was so different from her relationship with the boys. Everything was different. Ever since the end of the war, things she’d considered so common seemed so different now. She didn’t have to worry about what scheme the boys would have to cook up to get out of being tortured by Malfoy or ridding the world of Voldemort. Life seemed so simple
“Earth to Hermione,” Ginny laughed, waving a hand in front of her, “Doing that thinking about the war before and after thing again?” Hermione smiled. Ginny always knew her so well.
“I guess so. Look, do you know where Harry is?”
“I was about to ask you two the same question,” Ron said as he jumped down the last step from the boys’ dormitory, “Well?”
“He left with his broom about an hour ago, but he said not to bother him. I think he just wanted some peace and quiet to think,” Ginny admitted, shrugging and turning her attention back to her paper.
Hermione sighed, frowning. Her fingers flitted to her pocket, and the expression on her face deepened. She badly wanted to share this discovery with Harry but not with Ron. This was something she had first experienced with Harry, and they still hadn’t told Ron about it, even nearly five years later. “I think I’m just going to go to the library for a bit, then,” she finally said, and Ron rolled his eyes.
“Of course you are. I guess I’ll just go find Seamus or something, then. Later.” He left through the portrait hole, and Hermione nodded, standing.
“I’m off, then. See you later,” she said, waving to Ginny before exiting after Ron. She took a different route than him, and she was just reaching for the door handle to the library when she heard her name. Draco Malfoy was coming her way, and Hermione couldn’t help the large smile that spread on her face.
Draco was another thing that had changed with the war. It was as though he was two people, a Malfoy and Draco. The Malfoy had taken over him during the war, allowing him to hide beneath a skin of hatred, but, as soon as Harry held out the hand of acceptance, Draco surfaced, gasping for breath, and he begged for forgiveness. For the first little while, Hermione was continually baffled. The first time had been over the summer, in July, when Harry walked into the Weasley’s living room while she was visiting, a letter in his hand and his jaw unhinged. He was usually very calm and collected, but now he stood before them, Ginny, Ron, Hermione, and George, an incredulous look on his face.
“Is everything okay?” she remembered asking, and he’d just shook his head and dropped the letter on the coffee table before them.
I know this will seem strange, and you may not even open the envelope, but I’m just going to trust, going to trust that you will. I’m so sorry, Harry. I’m sorry for everything I ever did, everything I ever said. I’m sorry for all the things I planned, for all the things I wished, for everything I ever tried to do. I wish I could take everything back, though I know that if I did, I wouldn’t be who I am, I wouldn’t have discovered honesty and faith and love. I wouldn’t have found my heart, and I owe everything to you. Thank you for accepting my family, even after all we’ve done. I’m sorry. I’d like to start over, to accept the hand you extended. I don’t know if you’ll ever let me into your life or even allow me the trust and respect of a friend, but I want you to know that I hold you in the highest respect, and I will never forget how kind and forgiving you have been to me. I’d like to meet with you in a comfortable environment, somewhere neither of us feel threatened, and I’d like to talk, if you wouldn’t mind. You can even bring Hermione and Ron, if you want to. I’d like to start over with all of you, Ginny and Luna, even. If you read this, thank you.
- Draco Malfoy
After the first time, it just kept happening. Harry went alone the first time, and he came back with a smile. The next six times that summer, they went together, sometimes the three of them, sometimes with Ginny, and a friendship slowly started to form that that they always suspected highly unlikely. Hermione had been the largest surprise of their group, taking to Draco much faster than the rest of them and accepting him into her life quite quickly.
“I haven’t seen you in some time. Not up to dangerous things, I hope,” she teased as he caught up to her and they headed inside together.
“No, just been keeping to myself lately. My father is ill,” he admitted, shrugging, “Madame Pince, lovely as ever.”
They made their way into the back where Hermione stopped off to grab a book that she needed for one of her essays, and they were in the middle of an aisle when she looked over at him. “How is he sick?”
“They don’t really know yet, but my mother has been really upset, and so I’ve had to deal with her.”
“It’s okay,” he shrugged it off, “So, what brings you to the library other than typical Hermione business?”
She smiled. “Hermione business,” she grumbled before pushing away from the shelf and slipping around to another aisle. He followed her, and it suddenly occurred to her that she could share this experience with him
. It would be novel, and he would appreciate it more than Ron because Ron would be angry that Harry and she hadn’t shared it with him, but Draco, Draco would be interested and excited.
“What are you smirking about?” he prodded, appearing suddenly at her side.
“Would you mind if I showed you something? I was going to show Harry, but he’s already seen it.” He shrugged, and so Hermione grabbed his hand and led him into the farthest recesses of the library, surprising both of them. When they finally settled on one of the typically unused couches, she let go of his hand, put the book down, and reached into her pocket, grasping the gold and glass. The chain slipped out of her pocket while the small device felt cool against her palm. “I didn’t think I still had it,” she murmured, smiling as the chain finally fell from her pocket and her fingers curled into a loose fist. “I was cleaning, and I found it.”
She unwound her fingers again, revealing the delicate time turner to him. He gasped, reaching out one pale finger to caress the cold, gold metal, and she smiled. “Harry and I used it third year. McGonagall gave it to me because I wanted to take classes that were at the same time, and she thought I could handle the pressure. But Dumbledore knew I had it, and he gave us a mission. Well, he didn’t exactly give
it to us,” she laughed, “He more hinted and implied at what we should do. Do you remember how Buckbeak somehow escaped from his execution and then Sirius wasn’t to be found when the Dementor’s went to kiss him? That was us. We went back in time and saved both of them.” Draco gaped, and Hermione nodded, grinning. “I know, it’s crazy. This is going to sound crazy, too,” she sighed, “But I want to see if it still works. Just an hour, maybe, I just want to see if it works.”
“Do you mind if I come along?” His question surprised her, but then he elaborated, “I’ve read about time turners before, and they’ve always interested me. We could cause all sorts of havoc in that hour.”
“Absolutely not,” she grinned, pushing him playfully. A comfortable silence fell over them for a minute, and Draco smiled. He reached out, carefully taking the chain in his hand.
“Just an hour, so just one turn?” he asked as he placed it over their necks. His fingers moved before she could say anything, before she could warn him that she felt like she was going to sneeze, before she could stop him from turning the small hourglass. And when she did sneeze, it jostled them, and his fingers slipped.
Everything around them blurred, and Hermione grabbed hold of Draco’s forearms, squeezing her eyes shut as she felt like her stomach was being squeezed and wrung. This didn’t feel like the times she’d gone back for class or even the time she’d gone back for Buckbeak and Sirius. This felt strange, this hurt her insides, and this was taking too long. What had she done? Where were they going to end up?
It happened suddenly. She felt as though she’d been dropped out of the sky, and as though she’d crashed into something hard and damp. Hermione groaned, forcing her eyes open as she pushed up on her hands. Green and brown blurs met her eyes. She blinked, waiting for her eyes to adjust, and, when they did, she realized it was grass and dirt. Something hard and damp.
“Draco!” she screamed, scrambling up and spinning around to find him. He was just sitting up and holding his head.
“Where the hell are we?” he groaned, putting the heels of his palms over his eyes.
“I have no idea. I—” Hermione cut herself off as she moved her eyes north, and her jaw dropped.
stood before them, looming high into the sky beyond the beautifully kept, grassy lawn that they had fallen on. Trim bushes and gorgeous flowers, blooming of all colors, decorated a stone railing that led to an elegant stone set of stairs. The manor was nothing like Hermione had ever seen; the Malfoy Manor paled in comparison to this. Dozens of windows lined the front of the… castle
, and the architecture was just magnificent.
“Hermione,” Draco suddenly said, following her gaze, “Where are we?”
“I… I have no idea,” she mumbled, blinking, “Uh. Oh God, Draco, I don’t know what to do.” She could feel the panic rising in her, and then a thought struck her. They had been separated. Something had happened to the time turner. Frantic and her chest heaving, Hermione stumbled around, searching desperately for it. Draco stopped her in mid-search, his grip tight.
“The chain broke. We can still use it,” he said, opening his other hand and revealing the severed chain and time turner.
“One of us may get splinched,” she moaned, “We can’t risk it, Draco. One of us could die. We don’t know where we are, what time it is, something could go terribly wrong. We need to fix the chain so we can travel safely. Maybe we’re fair back enough that there’s a goldsmith or something.” As soon as she said it, she felt the laughter bubbling inside of her, and she was so panicked that she actually let it out, bursting forth with hysterical giggles. Draco stared at her like she was insane, but it seemed infectious, for in seconds, he had joined her.
“Okay,” she said, gasping for breath, “What if we go up to the house and act like we’re lost travelers? We can ask the date, where we are, how to get somewhere useful, how does that sound?” But Draco wasn’t listening anymore. He’d stopped laughing and instead was staring up at the manor again. “Is everything okay?” she asked, touching his arm.
“It just looks so familiar,” he said with a frown, rubbing his face in frustration, “I can’t place it, but I feel like I know it.”
“You can’t. Unless we’re somewhere that we actually know and in a time not too far back. There’s no telling how many rotations the time turner spun, though.”
Draco picked himself up before holding out his hand to Hermione, and, together, they brushed themselves off and started their trek up the sloping lawn. It was unnerving, though, to think that he knew where they were, that he knew this manor, and, piece by piece, frames flashed through his mind, memories from when he was little, and they were almost connected into a completed puzzle as they climbed up the stairs and reached the front door.
A girl answered their knock, a girl with short blonde hair that rested along her jaw with a black bobby pin that pulled a small fringe away. She had shocking blue eyes and a stern, unblemished face. She glared at them, and she seemed almost hostile.
“Hello,” Hermione began, “My name is—”
“Moira Lesson,” Draco interrupted her, “And I’m her brother, Alexander.” Hermione stared at him, but he just ignored her. “We’re lost. Your house is the first we’ve seen for miles. This is going to sound really strange, but what year is it?”
“Today is August third, 1935. That is
a strange thing to ask.”
“What country is this?” Draco gasped.
“You’re in Surrey, England. Who are you?”
“Travelers. We’ve lost our way. May we use your phone?”
And that was it. The little girl left into the house, and Hermione just stared at him until he finally turned his gaze to her. “Hold on. Just hold on one second,” he managed to choke out. He stepped into the house, and he closed his eyes. He could hear his mother’s voice in his head, describing everything.
“I’ve only been there a handful of times, but it’s beautiful. After he’d taken the surname Black, Phineas found the Tallis’. Cecilia and Robert only loved once, and she hid the baby from everyone. She gave him to an adorable family the day after he was born, in a county far, far from Surrey, but, when the war had ended, he set out to find where his true home was, and Briony was the only one left. She told him everything.”
He hadn’t believed his mother when she told him that they weren’t truly pureblooded, that the first Black had been born from two Muggles, and now here he was, stuck in the middle of the birth of his family.
Disclaimer: Everything Harry Potter-recognizable belongs to J.K. Rowling. Everything Atonement-recognizable belongs to Ian McEwan.
This idea just came to me suddenly. My friend recently saw the movie for the first time, and it got me thinking about it again. If you’ve read Grazed Knees, you know how much I adore McEwan’s work and especially this novel. I was also inspired by a fanfic I read today where Draco and Hermione travelled accidentally into the middle of the London Blitz, and I thought it was a really cool idea, putting them in the past. And so I decided I wanted to try it. This isn’t going to be long, probably just a short story, not even a novella, but I hope you guys enjoy it.