Chapter 4 : Chapter 3: The Love We Had, We Had To Let It Go
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(Never sing a song for you.)
The love we had, the love we had, we had to let it go.
(Never giving in again, never giving in again.)
-Hurricane, 30 Seconds to Mars.
Chapter 3: The Love We Had, We Had To Let It Go.
Late August 1993-Island.
After nearly two and a half months following the end of her second year in the wizarding world, life had changed drastically for Hermione Granger. She had never been a big girl, but after going nearly six weeks adrift with very little food had caused her body to burn off any remaining baby fat. Nearly a month on the island now and she was finally beginning to gain back some of the lost weight. Some of this weight was in the form of muscle from the daily sparring she did with Halt for long hours of the day. If she got anything out of this unexpected detour to her summer vacation, it would be that she was far fitter than she had ever been and even possibly the majority of the members of Hogwarts' Quidditch teams.
After four weeks, she was finally able to remove the splints from her arm and Halt set about getting the appendage back into shape with different exercises. Sometimes they were normal like push-ups, other times they were odd like having her pick up a large rock or sometimes a bucket of water, and move it to one side of the camp only to pick it up again and move it back. Regardless of how strange she thought the exercises were or how irritated she became at the amusement Halt got out of watching her do them, they helped her begin to build up the strength in her arm. By the end of August, or what she guessed was August-she had lost track of time so it could have been September by then-Halt finally gave the okay for them to begin training with real knives rather than the wooden sticks she had been learning with. It was painful work; most nights would find her rubbing a herbal paste that Halt had showed her how to make, into the cuts running along her arms where she had not dodged fast enough. They were not serious injuries but were deep enough that they would most likely leave scars.
At night when she wasn't too exhausted, Hermione would spend her time staring at a feather she had taken from one of the birds they had had for dinner.
"Wingardium Leviosa!" she said moving her hand as if she was holding her wand, the feather remained where it was as it had with every other time she had tried the spell. She had been attempting to teach herself wandless magic but with only two years at Hogwarts, the witch hadn't even begun to read up on wandless magic so she was completely at a loss of how they were performed. But that wasn't stopping her from trying. Hermione was the brightest witch of her year, so she should be able to teach herself to cast spells without her wand. After all, all magical children exhibited a form of uncontrolled wandless and nonverbal magic in the form of accidental magic so there had to be someway to recreate a controlled form of the ability.
Halt had asked her what she was doing after the third night in a row she had spent practicing and after some internal debate of the pros and cons of breaking the statute of secrecy she told him. She doubted the Ministry could do much worse as she was already out of contact with both the civilized Muggle community along with the Wizarding World. To top it off, her precious vine wood wand was at the bottom of the sea. They were more than welcome to search for it if they were that bent on snapping it. So she gave him the basic speech that the Deputy Headmistress had given her parents. Much to her own surprise, he wasn't all that amazed to find out magic existed. When she mentioned this to him his answer shocked her.
"There is a man on this island. He hardly leaves the compound where the patrols come from and he has one of those magic sticks you speak of. He's one of their lead researchers. I don't know what he does to them but I've seen the bodies they feed to the giant catfish. They barely look human anymore and some, I swear, had tails or feathers. When they gathered up the prisoners, he was the one that determined if you were useful or not. Those that passed his examination joined the soldiers that act as guards for the compound. They are trained guard dogs, nothing more. Those that didn't pass were taken to the cells under the research building and they didn't come back out till they started dumping bodies in the river, gave the local giant catfish population a taste for human flesh. Periodically, they get a plane with more research subjects but none of them ever come out, save to be thrown in the river."
"That's horrible," Hermione breathed, horrified at the description, "you said a wizard is in charge of it, but I thought this is a muggle-erm, non-magical compound! How does the local Wizarding government not know about this? This is a clear breach of the Clause 73 of the Statute of Wizarding Secrecy!"
"I don't know if you noticed, girl, but out here, there aren't any laws-magical or otherwise. No one's going to swoop in and tell the bad guys they're being bad. They can do what they want to whoever they want whenever they want, and no one is going to stop them."
"Except you," Hermione said, looking over at the gray-haired man.
"Except me," Halt agreed but didn't seem too convinced of the statement, "and maybe you in time. You're getting the hang of the knife, so we might be able to put you to some use soon-as patrol bait if nothing else." Hermione huffed at the comment and tossed one of the nearby training sticks at him, missing by a good three feet. "Remind me when I finally take you out for some real action that you're a sucky shot."
June 1st, 1993-Home Base, Hook Norton.
(AN: In this section when older and younger Hermione meet I will be referring to older as her alias Emma and younger as Hermione to help keep things straight.)
June had finally come and unless Hermione acted, she had less than a week before her parents would be dead and her younger self sent adrift at sea. She gathered the papers from her desk, forms forged by one Bill Weasley. If signed, these would give guardianship of Hermione Jean Granger to Emma DeVincent-formerly of France-as well as an envelope containing false identities and passports for her mother, father and younger self, as well as a deed to a small house in Australia and an arrangement with a local magical resident to privately tutor her younger self once they had settled in. It had taken a great deal of letters and phone calls to sort out the house and tutor, the only things that could not have been dealt with in her time, but finally it was settled without draining her limited supply of money. Papers safely stashed in her beaded bag, Hermione went to bed. Tomorrow, she would meet her parents for the first time in nearly five years.
Dressed in a simple cream skirt and white blouse, her Emma look in place with her hair in a neat bun and glasses perched on her nose, Hermione made her way to her old home. Apparating to an alley between a small store and a laundry mat, she walked the quarter mile to her old street, her heels making a click-clack sound as she walked. Hermione had to pause when she finally made it to the sidewalk leading to her door-her dad's familiar car parked out front. Taking a deep breath, she walked up the sidewalk, up the steps to the door. She nearly turned and left when it came time to ring the doorbell. Shoving all her roiling emotions back behind her shields, Hermione pushed the button. Moments later, the door opened to reveal a bushy haired teen and Emma froze.
"Can I help you?" Hermione asked, a confused look crossing the teen's face at the sight of the well dressed woman on her doorstep, "Miss?" Emma shook her head before clearing her throat as she stared down at the innocent and hopeful face that was her younger self.
"Yes, my apologies, are your parents' home?" Emma asked with a smile, her lilting voice holding a distinctly French accent. "I work with the Scarlet Rose Travel agency, there has been some mix-up with your travel papers and I was sent to sort it out."
"Oh, yes, come on in. You can wait just in here while I get Mum and Dad." Hermione said leading the French woman to the living room off the entry way before scampering off further into the house to find her parents. Emma wandered about the room, looking at photos she had not seen in what seemed a lifetime. Reaching into her bag, she pulled out a small hollow glass ball with a glowing cube inside that seemed to spin on its own in the center of the ball. Carefully placing it behind one of the larger photos, Hermione went and seated herself on the couch looking like the proper guest. A few moments later, Mr and Mrs Granger entered the room.
"Hello Mr Granger, Mrs Granger," she said politely as she stood to shake each of their hands in turn, her appearance as a travel agent tightly in place to keep her turmoiling emotions in check at the sight of her living, breathing parents. "My name is Emma DeVincent, and I'm with Scarlet Rose Travel agency. I believe there was a bit of a mix-up with your travel papers. You are planning on leaving for France on the 6th of this month, correct?"
"Yes, we are, please sit down." Mr Granger said, seating himself in a chair while his wife took the other, leaving Emma with the couch to herself. Hermione was nowhere to be seen, but sounds of dishes clattering from the direction of the kitchen said she was in there.
"You see here," she said unfolding a small stack of papers and passing them over for the Grangers' to look over. The moment they were both distracted reading the document, Emma cast a non-verbal Stupefy. With both parents out and no alarms raised, she stood and headed to the kitchen, one more Stunning Spell found Hermione unconscious on the floor of the kitchen, tea spilling from an overturned teacup on the counter to the tile floor. Kneeling, Emma dug through Hermione's pockets till she found what she was looking for, 10 ¾ inch vine wood with a dragon heart string core.
Picking up the wand Emma felt like she had gone years missing a limb without knowing she was missing it, only to find she finally had it back. Walking back to the living room, she paused to look over her parents, slumped unconscious in their respective chairs. Kneeling by her mother, Emma picked up her hand to clasp it in her own.
"I missed you, Mum." She said softly, picking up her father's hand and clutched at it as if he might disappear. "Dad, I'm so sorry." She let out a shuddering gasp as her tears threatened to spill over, so she clenched her eyes closed to staunch the flow. Bowing her head, Emma rested her forehead on the clasped hands in her grip. "I know I can't be with you again, it's better this way. I'm going to make things right, I promise you. You are going to live to see Hermione graduate like she was supposed to and you will be proud of her. She will go off and get married to some fella and have lots of grandkids that you're going to spoil rotten. She is going to be the daughter I can't be. I can't be there for you, not after this, but I can make sure you are safe and far away." She placed a kiss on each of their hands before she stood, staring at them for a long moment, committing everything she could of them to memory. "Goodbye."
With a deep breath she locked her emotions away once again and did a quick check to make sure her makeup had not smeared. She moved back to sit on the couch before casting the Rennervate and Confundus Charms. Once both Muggles were roused and thoroughly confused, Emma brought out the guardianship documents and convince them they had already agreed to sign the papers along with letters of resignation for both Grangers' for their dental practice. These she would send to their work place at a later date. The final line signed, she recast Stupefy on the both of them.
Then came the next phase of her plan and the most difficult, she had to wipe any memory of Hermione having ever gone to Hogwarts or meeting Harry and Ron while still leaving the memories of their daughter's magical inclination intact. She implanted a few suggestions that they had moved to Australia and lived in a little town for two years before moving to their current home only recently. According to them, they had been visited by a Deputy Headmistress of a school in Britain but had opted for a private local tutor as they had moved to Australia shortly before Hermione would have left for the first term. The Grangers' wished to move their practice to a larger community hence the recent move and hiring of a new tutor. Any discrepancies the mind would fill in on its own over the next few days, making the implanted memories mesh nearly flawlessly with the real.
She had modified memories before wandlessly, but usually those memories were resent and it was a clean wipe; not certain scattered moments that were years old. It took time but was made a lot easier now that she had her wand. Her parents finished Emma moved to the kitchen, now for the hardest task, she had to erase the farm more extensive events of two years at Hogwarts and her friends from Hermione's mind. It wasn't the best option but she needed to keep her younger self out of the picture and safe. If Hermione remembered her friends, even if she was convinced she needed to go into hiding, there was a chance she would contact someone and Emma's plans would be ruined. So even though it meant that Hermione would never remember meeting Harry or Ron or her time at the magical school in Scotland, at least she could grow up in a loving home with her parents.
Hard part done Emma pulled out one of her empty trunks with an expansion charm on it and began emptying the house's contents into the trunk, even going so far as to shrink Mr. Granger's car and packing it away. House emptied, Emma moved Hermione in to the living room with her parents. Laying them next to each other she retrieved the glass ball from the shelf. It was a special device the twins had come up with that blocked the use of magic from the Ministries censors, since the last thing she needed was Hermione getting expelled for underage magic when Emma was both of age and needed Hermione's name to remain on the Hogwarts student roster. Placing the ball in her beaded bag along with her shrunken trunk, she hauled out a tin camping plate before tapping it with her wand. Placing each of the three Granger's hands on it along with her own, she waited and moments later, the Portkey activated.
It was early the next morning before Hermione left her younger self and parents to sleep in their beds in their new house in Australia. She would check in on them to make sure they were handling the lapse in memory and the move okay. For now, all she could do was kick off her heels as she collapsed on her bed.
All the pressure that had been weighing on her the last month had finally lifted, leaving her exhausted and strangely giddy. She had done it; she had irrevocably changed history. This was proof that she could drastically change things. Emma had been worried at first when she had begun altering her younger self's memories but when it seemed to have no effect on her own memories, she felt better. Using the Veil as a Time Gate seemed to have put her in an alternate reality of some sort, so she didn't seem to have to worry about her choices effecting her memories or current being.
She slept peacefully that night, without fear of nightmares from that fateful boat trip that never happened.
Next Chapter 4: Do You Want Me Dead Or Alive To Live A Lie- Young Hermione finally gets a grasp of the art of Wandless Magic and Older Hermione meets The Friendly Canine Convict of Little Whinging.
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