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Chapter 1 : This is your mission, if you should choose to accept it.
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And I'd like to thank my wonderful beta for my rewrite, motherconfessor! ♥
**Chapters 1-6 new/rewritten as of December 4, 2016**
Hermione Granger fidgeted as she sat and faced Professor Dumbledore’s desk. Her heart raced as she thought of at least a dozen reasons he could have asked for her that evening. The letter that he had owled to her earlier that morning was still firmly clenched in her hand.
She swallowed loudly as she watched Dumbledore scribble with haste across the parchment on his desk. Whatever he wrote seemed to have been very important. The look on his face was one she had seen him wear on few occasions; usually when something serious had happened. It left her feeling exceptionally unsettled.
As she waited for him to finish, she couldn’t help but to think that it felt quite odd that he had summoned only her to his office. Never could she remember a time when she had been called to see him -- especially without Harry or Ron. She didn’t enjoy keeping secrets from the boys if she could have helped it, yet Dumbledore specifically stated not to tell them anything. She worried she done something wrong.
Finally Dumbledore rolled up the piece of parchment, and with a quick swish of his wand he sent it neatly into an envelope, before sealing it with purple wax. When he looked into her eyes she immediately felt more anxious than before. A crease formed between Dumbledore’s brows and his shoulders sank as if he bore the weight of the world on them. It was the first time he had ever appeared as old as his grey hair and wrinkles would suggest he was. She had never seen the man look so tired and defeated. There was something incredibly wrong about it. Someone so powerful should not have looked that way.
His piercing blue eyes screamed of sadness, which caused Hermione’s brown ones to widen. Whatever he summoned her for could not have been good news.
“I would like to thank you, Miss Granger, for agreeing to meet with me this evening,” he began solemnly. “I am afraid I have a rather large task to ask of you.”
Hermione grew more nervous by the moment.
“Sir?” she asked, her voice trembled.
Dumbledore clasped his hands together; his eyes seemed to lose their signature twinkle.
“As you know, Harry, Mr. Weasley and yourself have successfully destroyed all, but one, of Lord Voldemort’s Horcruxes, yet he remains at large. Despite numerous efforts, I have detected neither hide nor hare of him.”
Dumbledore sighed heavily as he stroked his long, snowy beard. Hermione waited patiently for him to continue, still unsure as to why he had called for her, and how she could possibly have done anything to find him. If Dumbledore, who was the greatest Wizard she had ever known, had not located Voldemort, what on earth could she have done differently?
“Perhaps I had been going about this incorrectly,” he said quietly. “If there were a way we could destroy Voldemort, before he became so powerful, that would change everything.”
Hermione cocked an eyebrow, she was undeniably confused.
“But sir, the prophecy?”
Dumbledore smiled kindly. “Miss Granger, do you honestly believe that all of the prophecies which lie in that hall come true? Or for that matter, are accurate? Certainly not.”
“So what is it that you needed me for, sir?”
Dumbledore opened a drawer in his desk and pulled out a small wooden box. “Time. What we need is more time,” he answered cryptically.
Slowly it began to dawn on Hermione. He had given her a similar response four years prior, when she and Harry were desperate to find a way to save Sirius Black from the Dementor’s Kiss. But surely he was not asking her to travel back in time? All of the time-turners had been destroyed. She was there when it had happened.
Silently, Dumbledore opened the box; Hermione caught a glint of gold resting inside of it. Her mouth popped opened when he began to pull out the thin golden chain, and she gasped as her eyes rested upon the small hour glass pendant dangling before her.
He had a Time-Turner.
“But -- but how, Professor? I thought they had all been destroyed?” she whispered.
“Ah, but you see, Miss Granger, I happened to have had one in my possession on that very evening. I’ve kept it ever since, biding my time and waiting for the correct moment to present itself. As it seems, that moment has arrived,” he explained.
Hermione’s heart thumped wildly in her chest. How far had he planned on sending her back? When would she return home? Would she return home? And most importantly…
“Why, sir? Why me?”
Dumbledore’s eyes softened and a hint of the twinkle she had become accustomed to over the years made a small appearance.
Hermione opened her mouth to provide at least a dozen reasons as to why not, yet Dumbledore raised his hand to silence her.
“You are exceedingly clever, more clever than most, also exceptionally brave. Those two traits rarely go hand-in-hand. I do not feel I could trust this task to anyone else,” he explained, sincerely.
Hermione felt a lump in her throat, and tears prickle at the corners of her eyes. She felt nothing but shock and gratitude at Dumbledore’s words.
“Thank you, sir,” she paused to wipe away a single tear that slid down her cheek. “That means more to me than you know.”
Dumbledore smiled warmly and inclined his head towards Hermione. She took a moment to compose herself before asking for more clarification regarding this mission he chose her to partake in.
“Sir? I was wondering, just exactly how far are you intending to send me back?”
Dumbledore leaned back in his chair, and his expression turned businesslike once more.
“To the year nineteen seventy-seven, Miss Granger.”
Hermione’s heart felt as if it had stopped beating altogether.
“That is the year that Lord Voldemort truly began to build up his army, when the war was just beginning. Yes, before that he had committed many atrocities, but up until that time, he did much of his work underground. Only I, and a few others, were aware he had been behind such matters,” he began explaining.
“But what am I to do to prevent the war?” she asked, panic leaked into her voice.
He looked at her over the top of his half-moon spectacles. “Alas, I am afraid I cannot provide the answer to that, Miss Granger. It will be something you will have to discover on your own.”
How could he send her into this practically blind? How could he not have had a plan for her? What would she discover on her own?
“When will I be leaving, sir?” she asked, trying to mentally prepare herself.
“I will allow you to return to your dormitory for the evening and give some more thought to the seriousness of this task I lay out in front of you. It is imperative that you do not breathe a word of this to anyone. If you succeed, the present that you have come to known will no longer exist. Everything and everyone you have known may be different. It is important that you understand that,” he told her.
Hermione felt her body grow cold at Dumbledore’s words. When she returned, would she still be friends with Harry and Ron? Would it be possible for Harry’s parents to survive? And if they do, would Harry still be the same person she had grown to think of as a brother? Would he even still exist for that matter? Only then did Hermione truly begin to understand the implications of what her presence in the past could possibly mean.
“I understand, sir.”
Dumbledore stood up, signifying the end of their meeting for the evening. He walked towards Hermione and gently patted her shoulder.
“Get some rest, Miss Granger. If you should decide to accept, please be at my office by nine tomorrow morning. You may take whatever belongings you feel are appropriate, but please keep things to a minimum,” he advised her.
When Hermione arrived back to the common room, she was relieved to find it empty. She knew she did not have the acting skills to pretend as if nothing was wrong. Besides, she did not know if she could handle seeing her two best friends, knowing that it might have been the last time she would ever see them. At least, as they were now. Next time she would see them -- if there was a next time -- they would be completely different than what she had known.
Hermione dragged herself up the stairs and into her dormitory. Lavender and Parvati were fast asleep, their soft snoring filling the room. After she undressed and tucked herself in bed, she closed the hangings around her and whispered, “Muffilato.” She let herself cry as she wondered how she would be able to face seeing Harry’s parents and Sirius Black, knowing that in her time, they were all deceased. What if she failed?
A dark thought crossed her mind. That traitorous rat, Peter Pettigrew, would also be at school with them. How would she handle meeting him, knowing what he had become? Would she be able to control herself, or would she whip her wand out on the spot, and blast him away?
Hermione turned on her side and closed her eyes, praying for at least a few hours of sleep. She knew that she would end up taking on this role, but worried that she was in for more than she bargained for.
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