Printer Friendly Version ] [ Report Abuse ]
Back Next

Cobras and Canaries by ViperStripes
Chapter 7 : Into the Rushes
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 1

Background:   Font color:  

                Hermione quickly returned to the infirmary for a once over. She felt fine, but she wished not to stress Madam Pomfrey any further and complied with Dumbledore’s request. After the witch medic finished her poking and prodding, Hermione stood back up off of the examining cot and adjusted her robes.






                “It warms my heart to see you well so soon, Miss Granger, the staff and your friends were awfully concerned, as was I,” the witch spoke as she straightened the sheets on the beds opposite Hermione.






                “Thank you, Madam Pomfrey. I am very glad as well,” Hermione said while retrieving her school bag off the floor.






                “I can only imagine what horrid nightmares you were having. They must’ve of been terrible,” Madam Pomfrey’s brow was furrowed in sympathy. Hermione halted in her actions after she placed the bag diagonally across her chest on the opposing shoulder.






                “What do you mean?” Hermione questioned, confused at her statement.


                “You looked to be in such immense pain and worry. You were whispering something over and over, but I couldn’t make out what it was. If one hadn’t known better, they would’ve thought you were speaking another language entirely! It must have been quite the frightening dream indeed,” the elder spoke in a rush, obliging information as the infirmary doors squeaked open, presenting the room with a new ailing patient. “Now, of you go then! Lunch shouldn’t be too far from now. Some solid food and a visit with friends will do you some good.”






                Hermione stood confused momentarily before quickly sputtering a, “Good day, Madam Pomfrey,” and rushing out the door past a young, Ravenclaw student plagued with numerous purple blotches on his skin.








By the time Hermione had reached the Gryffindor common room, cleaned up, and changed into fresh robes, classes were released and lunch time was about to begin. Despite having gone a day without food and her drained energy taking a toll on her, she had no appetite. Her mind kept reeling back to the conversation she had had with Dumbledore.






                A week. She had one week left to prepare herself for what was to come. Despite having a marginally decent time to ready herself, Hermione knew she would never be ready to face the fate that awaited her. She may be skilled numerously in knowledge and magical means, but she knew nothing could prepare her emotionally when it came to facing the darkest wizard to have ever lived. Deep down she was aware that Dumbledore knew this as well—but he had little choice.  Hermione then erased the foreboding thoughts from her mind—at least for now—and exited the Gryffindor commons.






                She kept her head down in hopes to pass by seemingly unnoticeable. She had no desire to stop and give an accounting of her ordeal to anyone. She wanted to find Harry and Ron and explain what little she could to them before the lunch hour ended.






                “Hermione? Hermione Granger?” A voice called incredulously across the other end of the hall. Hermione groaned inwardly as the sound of Lavender Brown’s voice filled her ears amongst the bustle of students. She decided to keep walking at her already quickened pace—hoping that the gossipy Gryffindor would not follow her.






                Her plan worked to no avail when she heard the quick pattering of two pairs of shoes closing in from behind. Hermione shook her head slightly, allowing her frizzed curls to fall around her face—working as a curtain between her eyes and the outside. Hermione sensed the presence of two beings flanking either side of her.






                “Hermione! It’s so good to see you,” she heard Parvati exclaim from her left.






                “Definitely! How are you feeling? That incident you had must’ve been quite the scare for old Professor Binns,” Lavender giggled as she bent down trying to get a look at Hermione. Turning her head to the left, Hermione faked a cough—hiding her face from sight.






                “It was indeed,” Hermione said quickly, slightly increasing the speed of her walk all the while.






                “I heard that Draco carried you to the infirmary! Oh, I wish I could’ve been the one in his arms,” Lavender pouted as she envied Hermione momentarily.






                “What? What are you talking about? That’s just ridiculous…” Hermione excused as her steps faltered slightly. Had Draco really done such a thing? She couldn’t fathom the proud pureblood just volunteering to carry his enemy up to the infirmary without some other reasoning. Both curiosity and doubt clouded her mind.






                “So you don’t remember anything?” Lavender asked clearly becoming upset by the lack of information she was receiving. She pulled around and stopped in front of Hermione in hopes to come to a quick confirmation if this was indeed fact. Though Hermione came to a stop, she seemed still lost in thought. Lavender snapped her fingers, “Hello? Earth to Granger?” Unthinkingly, Hermione removed herself from her thoughts and snapped her head up to look at the impatient girl.






                Lavender immediately clasped her hands over her mouth and stumbled backwards when she met Hermione’s eyes with her own. Mentally cursing herself, Hermione immediately regretted her actions. Though she knew she couldn’t hide forever, she at least wanted to speak with Harry and Ron first.






                “Lavender, what’s wrong?” Parvati stepped toward the shaken girl. Turning to look at Hermione, she was soon rendered just as speechless as her counterpart.






                “Her— Herm— Hermione?” Lavender squeaked out. Hermione’s face remained impassive as she walked on past the two girls—leaving them shocked and confused in her wake.






Hermione already knew what to expect after seeing Madam Pomfrey’s reaction in the infirmary, but the situation was getting old very quickly. She did not bother hiding her face as she continued her trek to the Great Hall, for she knew that everyone would know soon enough—thanks to one Lavender Brown.










Throughout the remainder of the evening, Hermione spent the time brushing off a horde of nosey students—including the ever present Lavender Brown with Parvati Patil hot on her heels. Finally the gossipy pair ceased as she entered the Great Hall for dinner and nearly forced entry between Harry and Ron who were already seated at the Gryffindor table. The two girls gave Hermione a smug glare and were forced to retreat to find free seats at the far end of the wooden table.






                She had managed to find Ron and Harry at lunch time and explain everything—or at least as much as she could. Though she had not told Dumbledore of the statues coming to life in her dream, she told Harry and Ron in sworn secrecy. She left out the ending detail of the snake striking back at her with its venom, however; the more her thoughts lingered on the coincidental scenario between that of her dream and her eyes, the more shaken she became.






                Harry and Ron were startled by the sudden appearance of their friend, but nonetheless greeted her happily.






                “How did today go?” Harry asked in a hushed voice—students continuously tried to get a glimpse of the changed Hermione.






                “Just as what was to be expected: terrible,” Hermione said in a normal tone, already feeling frustrated by the undesired attention.






                Ron shook his head as Harry dismissed further prodding and they all turned to listen to Dumbledore’s speech as he approached his pedestal at the head of the Great Hall.






                “Good evening students! I hope today proved to be just as interesting as the first and will be a sign for many more to come! Now, before we begin, Professor Sprout would like to inform all first years that sneaking into the herbology green house before or after classroom hours is absolutely not permitted. The Higglyffs are yet in full bloom and contact with these plants will cause the recipient to be covered in a purple rash. The cure is most unpleasant, so please avoid breaking these rules.






                Now that that has been said, here are a few parting thoughts for your young minds: callused hands stir a potion better than those that are smooth!”


                The Great Hall was filled with the mumblings of confused students until the tables filled with that evening’s elaborate feast, replaced by the sound of clinging silverware and dishes.








                Dinner quickly passed and the tables were cleared. Hermione bade her farewell to her friends as Harry left for the common room and Ron began his prefect castle patrol duties. Hermione pulled her schedule out of her bag; tonight the Head prefects switched duties with the Ground prefects. She would be patrolling the outer portion of the castle along with the Ravenclaw boy, who bore the last name of Arkes.






                Wand in hand, she exited through Hogwarts’ grand doors to the outside. The cool, fresh September air filled her senses immediately, giving her a feel of serenity. Breathing in deeply, Hermione set forth on her patrols.






                Hermione was required to walk two rounds about the castle exterior and the areas surrounding it. After patrolling both the quidditch pitch and castle twice, she headed toward the Great Lake. The Great Lake had always seemed eerie to Hermione—particularly at night. Everyone knew this was the home to a vast variety of creatures—including the giant squid, merpeople, and an abundance of grindylows.  Though Hogwarts: A History claimed to have every creature living within the depths of the Great Lake on record, Hermione could never brush away the notion that more dark, sinister things lay deep within the relentless darkness of the waters.






                After the occurrence in her second year with the basilisk, she had theorized that the Great Lake had a series of underwater caves and passageways that lead to and from the Chamber of Secrets. Although the pipes connecting throughout Hogwarts served as a clear travel way for the basilisk, the creature would need to hunt for food—despite its supposed dormancy for nearly a century. A creature that large in stature could not simply live off the small mice problem that often plagued European structures. Her theory supported the idea that the magical beast traveled to and from these tunnels to hunt within the lake; other than this possibility, the food source would not have been efficient enough to sustain the basilisk.






                But Hermione’s theory was just that—a conjecture of her own aroused suspicion. She had neither evidence, nor the means of which to receive arguable verification that could be presented to doubting scholars. Even though she had no confirmation of her speculations, it still did not put her at ease while walking the Lake’s edges during her route.






                She walked as safe distance from the bank of the shore. Just to be safe. The lake sat silent under the high moon in the sky, making the lake shine with an eerie onyx tone in the night. Hermione kept her wand in hand as she continued her trek.






                Hermione kept on her passage along the border of the lake and eventually met her stopping point at the large willow tree. It swayed autumn winds—dancing a waltz that only the beings of the night would know. Hermione pulled her cloak tightly around her as the lake effect winds played around her form.  She turned her back on the tree to finish the last of her rounds and head back to the castle, but a small whisper carried on the winds halted her actions.






                “Walk around… walk around… that is all they ever do! Treading the ground with their unsightly feet—shaking the earth like the foundation is endless…” a small voice grumbled on the breeze.






                Hermione’s blood ran cold. She questioned if an intruder had breached Hogwarts grounds while she had been elsewhere. Luke—the other prefect—he would have been aware and have alerted someone by now… wouldn’t he? Hermione’s locked up fears began to flood into her mind. What if He is here? It hasn’t even been a week! Her breaths quickened as she remained frozen.






                Quickly snapping back to her senses, Hermione leapt as quietly as possible into the shadows of the willow tree, clutching her wand to her chest. She worked to calm her erratic breathing—all the while repeating spells she could use in her defense if needed.






                “Such heavy footed creatures… So noisy and impetuous.”






                Hermione jumped fearfully as the small voice came from the left of her—more loudly and proclaimed.  Falling back and allowing her school bag to fall from her shoulder with a thud, she looked around to find the culprit hidden within the same shadows. Targeting a small movement in the darkness Hermione focused her eyes—attempting to zero in on the culprit.






                “Who— Who are you? Show yourself!” Hermione shouted to the motion within the dimly light night.






                “So it speaks… And speak it does, indeed… I can understand said being unlike the rest. How peculiar…” the voice whispered as it moved ever closer to Hermione. Scooting back, slightly tripping over her robes, Hermione allowed enough space for the creature to come into light. She pointed her wand, tongue ready to roll off a series of spells at her command.






                “And she carries one of those enchanted sticks…” the snake drawled as it relinquished itself into the moonlight. Hermione’s face paled and her throat constricted dryly as she gulped silently.






                “Ar— Are you an animagus?” Hermione questioned, unsure of if she hoped the small, black snake was a wizard or witch in disguise.






                “I take it you are referring to those who choose to play out tom-foolery amongst the rest of us… I am not.”  The snake hissed with a hint of disdain. Hermione stared at the creature, mouth agape. “Since you seem to comprehend my word better than others, please tell your noisy kind that Nyoka cannot prepare for hibernation properly with so much heavy-footed thunder about.”






                “Nyoka? Who is Nyoka?” Hermione questioned the irritated serpent—abandoning hopes of reason and doubting her sanity.






                “That would be me. I am Nyoka… I suppose I should ask your title—that is if your kind receives them.”






                “I’m… You can call me Hermione.”






                “Fair enough. So tell me… How is it you speak so freely with me?”






                “I… I don’t know,” Hermione spoke, knitting her eyebrows together in thought. One—if not, the only—potential answer came to mind. No, that’s simply ridiculous… there’s no way I could…






                “Hm... Most interesting indeed… Our kind has legends about those like you… Those who spoke to us as freely as the wind blows throughout the tree tops… Those who confided unto us and called to us by name—speaking without malicious intent.






                “As the seasons have passed, the accounts became legend, and legend soon began to fade into myth… Tell me, do you have the ‘Speech of the Serpent,’ Hermione?”






                Hermione fumbled for words as she tried to respond to the serpent. Her hands moved to her head as she cradled it in attempts to better grasp reality—or whatever paradox was just presented.






                “I— How— No, certainly not,” Hermione dismissed with a shake of the head—answering more to her own thoughts than the snake’s question.






                “Ah… so you say. But I can sense it. I see it within your eyes… He had eyes just like yours... Clear and sharp… or say they say at least,” the snake said knowingly. Had the snake obtained the capability of smirking, she knew one would be plastered on its serpentine lips. “Now, if you will excuse me, the cold will be here soon, and if I wish not to die, I must prepare. It was nice meeting you… Hermione. My others will be glad to know that not all of the Speakers have vanished.”






                Hermione barely managed a nod of acknowledgment before the snake had slithered back into the depths of the earth, beneath the willow tree. She remained sitting on the ground for a few moments, contemplating what had just occurred. She did not wish to doubt her sanity, but yet she didn’t want to accept the snake’s impromptu accusations.






                Gathering her thoughts, she returned to her senses enough to stand. After she rose from the ground, she dusted her robes off and loosened the grip on her wand from her now aching, sweaty hand. Looking out onto the lake, she questioned whether or not to tell Dumbledore—or even Harry and Ron. Whether this played as a vital part to the prophecy or was merely a side-effect, she decided to remain unsure of—for her own statement she spoke in her second year to Harry came drifting back into her mind.






“Even in the Wizarding World, hearing voices isn’t a good sign.”






With her decision made, she turned to commence her trek back to the castle. Recalling a certain outspoken serpent, she treaded lightly on her feet when passing by the old willow tree.












               The week passed by in a flurry of action and anxiety. Hermione exhaustedly trudged through each day. Dumbledore had requested of her to use this time to prepare, and that is exactly what she had done; her nights were filled with studying books on the dark arts and practicing spells in the Room of Requirement. Though drained, Hermione did not miss a moment without her friends and that could be managed. Some days, it took everything in her not collapse into a fit of tears—especially when Ron brought up plans for next month’s trip to Hogsmeade. She, however, remained as stoic as she could.






                As her friends spoke and laughed at dinner, she attempted to capture their essence in her memory—their moments of happiness and cheer that she may or may not get to share with them again. Harry and Ron were debating heatedly about the best quidditch teams. Ginny—who sat beside Dean—kept stealing glancing at Harry when she thought no one was watching. She saw Colin Creevey pointedly polishing his camera lens with a dining napkin as two 3rd year students beside him seemed to be discussing their smuggled Weasley Wizard Wheezes products currently in hand. Luna had joined the Gryffindors for dinner, taking place next to Neville who laughed as she waved her arms around in the middle of what appeared to be a dramatic storytelling.






                Hermione smiled sadly to herself. Only once every few years could one find friends as reliable and honorable as those she was lucky to have been surrounded by. She inhaled deeply—capturing the moment with all of her senses. Though the smells may be the same, as well as the castle, she knew that nothing would come remotely similar to what she had now with those she loved. But it was that very notion that made her reconcile with her current duties. Every decision she made, every move she will make, and every moment she will live in the past will have not been in vain. She vowed to see to it that each moment lived would be devoted to protect those dear to her, no matter the cost. But though her vow stood strong, the fear of being forgotten lingered.








                Later that night when everyone had fallen asleep, Hermione had silently packed the few things she could take and levitated them down into the common room. Crookshanks mewled softly in his carrier as Hermione prepared herself. She would miss her companion greatly, but Professor McGonagall had personally agreed to provide for Crookshanks while she was away—serving to ease her mind slightly.






                Glancing at the clock on the common room wall, Hermione sat down at a desk in the corner and relinquished a piece of parchment, a quill, and ink from her satchel. Having only a few hours left until her departure, Hermione commenced writing.






                Though Dumbledore had warned her of the chance of her becoming a memory lost in time, she would not allow this to simply pass without some initial planning on her part. Hermione wrote down everything about her she could squeeze onto the parchment: her full name, house, who her parents were, where they lived, and of course her two best friends and what she knew about them.






                Neatly folding the parchment, Hermione waver her wand, casting a charm on the letter. It disappeared from her hands and she smiled, knowing that it had been conducted correctly. Having studied this method of communication within one of the numerous books she had studied over the week, she deemed it as a charm that could come in handy.






                In the event that the initial recipient loses memory of the writer—or important things to do written by said correspondent, he or she will receive the parchment promptly. Hermione recalled the passage clearly.






                She glanced around the common room’s warm atmosphere once more before exiting and making headway for Dumbledore’s office.






                “I hope everything has gone well for you this week, Miss Granger,” Dumbledore greeted her as she entered his office where McGonagall stood with an old trunk beside her.






                “I have had better, but I cannot argue. Thank you, Professor,” Hermione said clearly exhausted. Dumbledore’s face feigned slight worry before he moved on to retrieve the time turner.






                Hermione walked over to Professor McGonagall and placed Crookshanks beside her feet on the floor.






                “He doesn’t get into much trouble very often, but he does have a bit of a tendency to chase rats,” she smiled slightly to herself recalling the summer of her third year. It had been an all out battle between her and Crookshanks and Ron and Scabbers—who now could be referred to as Peter Pettigrew.






                “Duly noted, Miss Granger,” McGonagall said with a small smile. Being a cat animagus herself, she believed she would be able to contend with the ginger colored cat quite well. Stepping back, she allowed Hermione to gain a view of the dusty, old trunk that sat on the floor beside them.






                “You will be taking this trunk with you, Miss Granger,” McGonagall said with a slight flourish of her hand.  “It is full of many clothing articles I owned as a young student at Hogwarts. They should provide you with adequate clothing of the time period you will be traveling to until you are able to take a trip to Hogsmeade and buy your own if you wish.”






                Hermione was slightly taken aback by the Transfiguration Professor’s generous offer. “Thank you, Professor. I will do well to take great care of them so you may have them once again when I return. Thank you,” she spoke inclining her in gratitude. Had she been looking up, she might’ve caught a glimpse of the old witch’s eyes clouding slightly under a sheen of unintentional tears. Hermione had grown to be one of the greatest—if not the best—student to pass through Minerva McGonagall’s class. She would always hold a special place in her heart for the bushy haired girl her won over her respect.






                Dumbledore took place beside his colleague, holding the time turner open by its chain, ready to bestow it upon Hermione. “Miss Granger, within Minerva’s trunk you will find your enrollment papers, a fully thought out family lineage prospect in case you are questioned, as well as a letter to my past self so that I may be aware of your importance at Hogwarts. The letter is very vague and I ask that you do not tell me of the future events and what’s to come.” Hermione nodded taking in his words as he gave her instructions.






                “You will go by the name Hermione Sivad. You will be a half-blood student: your mother was a muggle, and your father a pureblood wizard. Your mother died at a very young age and you were raised by your father until he passed away from dragon pox your third year at Beauxbatons.






                “Your father, being an exceptionally man sturdy in his funds, left you whatever he had left for your tuition. You made a living the best you could with what he left behind, but after two years of funds, you could no longer afford the cost of attending Beauxbatons and holding down the home you had with him.






                “By order of the Ministry of Magic’s Schooling and Magical Education law, you were required to attend Hogwarts where funding is helped and you could afford to save whatever remained in your father’s savings. Thus, you are brought to Hogwarts as a transfer student for your two remaining years.” Dumbledore completed his clearly well-organized plan and searched Hermione’s face for any falter or sign of misunderstanding. This was her life story, and she must have it memorized and know it as distinctly as he told it to her.






                Hermione’s face did not falter, strongly nodding her head in understanding, confident in her abilities to remember what Dumbledore was telling her. “I understand.”






                Dumbledore nodded as he stepped forward and placed the time turner around her neck. Hermione fixed her hair over the chain and stared down at the turner’s pendant glittering in the dull glow of the room.






                “Keep this time turner with you, hidden at all times. This is your link to then and now—you mustn’t lose it,” Dumbledore stressed to her despite knowing her high level of responsibility.






                Hermione nodded once more. This was it; there was no turning back for her now. Swallowing hard, she stepped forward—fastening a leather belt around the trunk’s carrier handle and hooking her body within it. She knew that time travel was very unlike the twist and pull of a portkey, but she was not prepared to take chances in leaving behind her keys to the past. She tightened her school supply-filled satchel and firmly secured it on her body.






                She looked up at the two professors whom taught her to be as strong as she was now, and thanked them in her mind.






                The two looked at the girl crouched beside her things on the floor.






McGonagall had misty eyes and Dumbledore stood with a smile on his face. “We have complete faith in you, Hermione. No matter where you are sorted, you will always be a Gryffindor at heart,” Dumbledore said with a hint of knowing in her voice that made her want to question, but instead, she decided to leave it be.






                “Thank you,” Hermione said quietly, acknowledging both professors. Taking a deep breath she adjust the time turner, turning it 5 times—one for each decade that had come to pass. She felt the magic filter throughout her as the chain of the necklace grew hot against the nape of her neck.






                Within seconds, the world she had come to know faded out into a mesh of ever-swirling, dark clouds. Hermione Granger was no more.








                Flying through time, Hermione felt as the something was pulling her down by the back of shirt collar—sending her falling at miraculous speeds toward a never-ending ground. The pressure on her being was stronger than that of an apparition. The trunk attached to her continuously slammed into her body as they were thrown through space.






                The sensations began more strong and rapid as she neared her destination. Her head pulsed painfully and her stomach churned, turning flips. Just as she felt the bile beginning to creep up her throat, she was slammed facedown into the cold, hard earth beneath her. Before she could register anything, she felt the weight of her luggage slam down unmercifully on the ground—hitting her head partially. She groaned in pain as she struggled to move her fatigued body to no avail.






                As the pain began to course throughout her, her senses activated once more. She could hear the rumble of thunder off in the distance and feel the cold, moisture-ridden grass surrounding her body. The smell of rain filtered into her nostrils as she felt the cold, strong patter of incessant rain hitting her back.






                Her eyes began to deny her wishes as they threatened to close into a forceful sleep. She continued to fight the feeling, but soon gave up and allowed her limp body to mesh down into the earth. Before obscurity claimed her, she heard the sound of two feet softly hitting the earth above the continuous downpour. Feeling the sponge-like ground sink close to her head, she painfully turned her head to the side.






                Coming face to face with a pair of black, mud ridden shoes framed by dark slacks and robe. Managing to raise her eyes to the figure, she saw a tall, pallid man looking down on her—his face stoic and framed with dark hair that clung to his face in the unrelenting rain.






                Hermione managed to whisper the word “Help…” before the man raised his wand, pointing it toward her. Before she could comprehend what was happening, her senses abandoned her and the darkness consumed—silencing her completely.











A/N: I hope you all enjoyed this chapter. Things will really start to pick up from here! As always, If you have any questions, comments, or curiosities to share, feel free to message me or leave a review! The next chapter should be up in no time, so keep checking back! See you soon!

Previous Chapter Next Chapter

Favorite |Reading List |Currently Reading

Back Next

Other Similar Stories

No similar stories found!