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Fate Set Right

Chapter Text

September 1, 1992

 

“Snape, Aurora,” Professor McGonagall called. The Great Hall was silent for only a moment before harsh whispers started. The eleven-year-old looked at her father sitting at the high table; he gave the faintest of nods as she walked to the stool with the Sorting Hat.

They’d had a pep talk about this just last week. He’d warned her that life at Hogwarts might not be as fun as she had hoped because of his reputation. His double life meant he had to pretend to be the nastiest of people; he instilled fear in and out of the classroom, and he favored his house for more than just loyalty.

Her father had also warned her that he had to pretend to be the way he was for many other reasons, ones she was still too young to fully understand. Reasons that had him and her mother in such a state over the summer that they had considered sending her to Beauxbatons, or even Ilvermorny. She wasn’t sure who talked them out of it, but she wanted to thank them.

She clutched the stool with a white-knuckle grip and willed her heart rate to slow.

“Ah, now you are an interesting one,” the Sorting Hat said in her mind. “A Slytherin father and a Gryffindor mother. But it’s you we need to worry about now, isn’t it? So, let’s see, who are you more like? Oh! And there’s the answer, deep in your heart. You are so young, yet you know exactly what needs to be done. I see where you’ll be needed most.” And then out loud, it shouted with absolute certainty, “Gryffindor!”

The hat was removed from her head, and she glanced back at her father.  

Severus Snape gave a resigned nod and a hint of a smile, and was the first in the entire room, staff included, to applaud.

His clap was a demand, and instantly, the whole room was applauding alongside him

She made her way down the table, eyeing the few remaining students in hopes of finding the little red-haired girl whom she’d sat next to on the train. Ginny wasn’t looking at her. Then again, Aurora noted that pretty much everyone at the table was avoiding eye contact with her. Chewing her lip in a habit she’d learned from her mother, she looked around the rest of the hall, hoping for someone— anyone —to offer her a friendly smile.

Her eyes met another pair across the room, grey locking onto brown, and her heart sank.

Draco looked resigned, more so than even her dad. She could already feel him pulling away, prepared to ignore a lifelong friendship because she would be wearing red and gold instead of green and silver.

“Welcome to Gryffindor, Aurora,” a high, affected voice said. “And don’t worry about what anyone says, my friends and I will look after you. I’m sure they will, once they get here.”

Aurora turned and was startled by the person speaking.

“Wow,” a round-faced boy across from them said with wide eyes. “You two sort of look alike.”

“Maybe we’re related,” Aurora answered easily.

“I don’t think so, I’m Muggle-born,” said the wild-haired girl, raising her chin as if daring Aurora to comment on it.

Aurora shrugged. “Doesn’t mean anything,” she said with a grin. She watched as a smile lit the features she shared with this young version of her mother, glad that she didn’t look too much like young Hermione Granger.

And so began what Aurora would come to understand as a complex life in the halls of Hogwarts.

 

—————H—————

 

June 9, 1994

 

“We’ve got exactly ten minutes to get back down to the hospital wing without anybody seeing us. Before Dumbledore locks the doors,” Hermione warned Harry, and with that, they took off.

  Along the way, they had to dive into an alcove as Fudge and Professor Snape passed them by.

  “The Kiss will be performed immediately?” Professor Snape asked. Hermione noted that for all his desire to have Sirius in custody, he didn’t look very enthused about the Dementor’s Kiss.

Fudge continued to blather, and as they passed, Hermione swore that Professor Snape’s eyes met hers in the shadows. It had been like that since she’d arrived at Hogwarts: with every scathing remark and sneering insult, there was something like regret in his endless black eyes. Quiet apologies that she didn’t understand and no one else saw. She justified it with the fact that she was one of the few Gryffindors who was kind to Rory, though that didn’t explain first year.

When he and Fudge passed, they continued their route to the hospital wing. There was a moment of panic when Professor Dumbledore locked the doors, but when he turned and smiled, Hermione was sure it would be all right.

“Well?” he asked quietly.

“We did it!” Harry let out breathlessly. “Sirius has gone, on Buckbeak.…”

Dumbledore beamed, then flicked his wand. His Patronus came out of the tip and hovered in the air in front of him. “Events have occurred as they should, go to the safe house, he’ll meet you there.” The phoenix took off and Dumbledore turned back to them. “All is as it should be. Now, get inside, I’ll lock you in.”

Once inside, Hermione and Harry returned to their beds, allowing Madam Pomfrey to fuss over them and feed them chocolate, needed now more urgently than hours before.

“What do you mean, gone!” Fudge bellowed through the door, and Madam Pomfrey frowned.

“What do they think they’re doing?” she grumbled.

“I can assure you, Minister,” -Snape’s sneering grew louder- “if anyone knows what happened, it would be Potter.”

A moment later, the doors to the hospital wing flung open and an angry Cornelius Fudge followed a displeased Potions master.

The latter may have accused Harry of knowing something, but his eyes fell accusingly onto Hermione. She felt herself shrink into bed, absently holding the Time-Turner, careful not to jostle it.

“You’ve caused trouble in the past,” Fudge was saying to Harry. “I forgave that business with your aunt, and we knew there was something going on last summer. We know that Sirius Black is your godfather, boy, it would—”

“Cornelius, I think you’re forgetting a very important fact,” Professor Dumbledore interrupted, eyes twinkling. “The door was locked when we came in. From the outside, no less. How could he have helped Sirius Black if he was here under Madam Pomfrey’s care?”

Professor Snape snorted and the Minister frowned in confusion.

Hermione clutched the Time-Turner tighter.

“The Daily Prophet’s going to have a field day,” the Minister lamented, shaking his head. “We had Black cornered and he slipped through our fingers again ….”

Dumbledore placed a hand gently on Fudge’s shoulder and steered him toward the door. Hermione caught snippets of the conversation: Dementors removed from the school, maybe bringing in dragons instead.

“Do not think for one moment that I believe a locked door would stop you from aiding in Black’s escape,” Snape declared in a menacing tone. “And believe me,” –his eyes held Hermione’s while he faced Harry- “there will be an extensive conversation about this later.”

He turned in a swirl of black robes and followed Dumbledore and the Minister out the door. Madam Pomfrey shook her head, a wistful smile tugging at the corners of her mouth before she headed back to her office.

Harry got off his bed to sit beside Hermione. “Why do you think …?” he started, then trailed off. He looked at her hands, easing the Time-Turner out of her grip and examining it. Unlike before, she did not smack his hands away, letting him have a look at the device that helped save Sirius.

“Why do I think what?” she asked, looking at her lap.

There was another pause and a gentle whirring sound. “Why do you think Sirius was so … awestruck by you?”

Hermione chewed her lip, unsure, just as confused as she had been during her first interaction with Professor Lupin.

“Granger, Her … Hermione.” Professor Lupin was calling roll when he stumbled on her name, slowly looking up at Hermione with wide, misty eyes. His mouth opened and closed for a few moments as he struggled to say something. “I thought you looked familiar. Named for your mother, are you?”

Hermione frowned. “No, sir. My mother’s name is Helen.”

Lupin frowned as well, studying her more closely. “Adopted then?” She shook her head. He nodded once more, frowned, and continued calling roll.

Hermione heard Malfoy grumble something about her wishing she was adopted, causing a few snickers among the Slytherins, but she ignored it. Professor Lupin hadn’t asked her about her family or name again, though for the first couple of weeks, he looked wistful and heartbroken. Sometimes, when he would catch her in passing, heading back to Gryffindor Tower from the library without the boys, he would stop and look as though he wanted to say something. Hermione would stop and wait, but he would only bid her a good evening, afternoon, whatever time of day it happened to be, and continue on his way.

She’d nearly forgotten his strange behavior until they encountered Sirius Black in the Shrieking Shack.

“Harry,” Hermione warned when he started taunting a murderer. A man who had their friend’s wand and was more powerful than the two of them combined, even if he was out of practice. “Be quiet.”

Black turned to look at her, his eyebrows rising to his hairline.

“Kitten?” he whispered. “No, I’ve gone mad, alone in the dark all these years. Now I see… is it really Prongs? Am I hallucinating?” He glanced at Ron. “But if I’ve gone mad, why would I see Lily as a boy?”

The door opened then and Professor Lupin came in, taking in the scene before turning to Black.

“If I’ve truly lost my mind,” Black said, his voice much stronger, “then you would be a lot younger, Moony.”

“I know the truth, Sirius,” Professor Lupin said calmly. “I saw him on the map and then I Flooed”-he glanced at Hermione-”someone who would know. She confirmed.”

Black looked at her. “Then who—?”

They were interrupted by Professor Snape, who immediately moved to stand between them and the adults.

They argued between themselves about whether or not Sirius was the real reason Harry’s parents were killed. Professor Lupin begged Professor Snape to see reason, to put it all together like he had upon discovering Peter Pettigrew on the map. Professor Snape declared there wasn’t anything Black wouldn’t say or do to get his way, murder included. Sirius responded that he wasn’t the one who would do anything for something. Professor Lupin started to say something that Professor Snape cut off with a hiss, something about where hearts really lie.

Before Hermione could stop him, Harry pointed his wand at Snape and cast a Disarming Spell. Incidentally, so did Black. It threw Professor Snape against the wall, knocking him out.

The truth, in the end, was as Black had tried to explain. He was supposed to be the Secret Keeper, and had tried to convince the Potters to use someone else, someone who they all knew would not only keep them safe, but would be able to hide the information from anyone who tried to find it. In the end, they had chosen Peter because he was the least likely to come into contact with Death Eaters. But they had been wrong.

There was a binding spell, a conversation, Professor Snape rousing from his unconsciousness. They left the Shack and there was another argument between the men. This time it was about Black’s prison sentence, and whether or not he should be held in custody until they could get his name cleared. Professor Snape was adamant that they should take Sirius back and hold him while pleading his case to the Minister.

Then Professor Lupin stiffened and chaos ensued.

“I don’t know why he looked at me like that, Harry,” Hermione replied. “Why did Professor Lupin, and Pettigrew?”

“Snape never does.”

Professor Snape,” she corrected automatically. “And speaking of, if tonight taught you anything, Harry, it’s that you should be able to trust him.”

“Because he actually listened to reason?” Harry questioned with a snort.

“Because he stood between us and danger not once, but twice. He thought Sirius was a murderer as much as you did when he placed himself between us. And again, when Professor Lupin transformed. Had you not gone after Sirius ….”

“I know.”

“You don’t, though. You didn’t see the panic and fear in his eyes. He was harsh with us, yes, but justifiably.”

Harry said nothing and when she looked over, she noted the whirring she’d heard was the Time-Turner.

She snorted. “How far back are you planning on sending me?”

He grinned ruefully. “How far back can you go?”

“It’s only safe to go back a few hours. Wizards who meddle with time could destroy timelines. It helps that it can’t be activated on its own. And besides, I think I’m quite done with this thing. In fact,” -she gently took it from Harry’s hands- “I should see if Professor McGonagall will take it back before the end of term. If I miss classes, so be it.” She hopped off the bed and headed toward the doors. “I’ll only be a moment.”

Hermione held up the device as she exited the hospital wing, studying the golden gleam and the grains of magical sand. Such a beautiful little thing, though most dangerous things are.

She heard a warning yowl and only had enough time to glance down to see Mrs. Norris in front of her. She tripped over her own feet and the cat. As she moved forward, she felt one of her fingers catch on the Time-Turner, activating the very thing that Harry had been flicking and spinning for who knew how long.

“How far back can you go?”

Before the world completely faded, Hermione glimpsed Filch rounding the corner and wondered how he would explain this to the headmaster.