Consequences of Meddling With Time
Summary: Hermione Granger is given a Time-Turner and instructions to use it. Only, using a Time-Turner can be a little tricky if not used correctly: a mistake made in counting or a slip of fingers can make the user jump irregularly and thus she could accidently alter her time line. And when such an accident happens, Severus Snape uses Hermione's Time-Turner in order to fix a horrific wrong. However, it's his younger self who becomes the one who must ensure that history is not altered.
Disclaimer: Not mine. I just borrowed them for a while. I promise to put them back when I'm done. Oh, nope, no money either—just for fun.
I want to give a great big thank you hug to EverMystique for combing through this to point out my numerous errors and help me make this presentable for reading. You're the best, thank you!
Hermione pulled out her Time-Turner as she entered the corridor, trying to avoid being banged into by the other students scurrying from the classroom. She tried to adjust the rings, cursing when a Ravenclaw accidently slammed into her.
"Sorry," he said as he continued on his way.
"No problem," she said to his retreating back.
Okay, she thought as she ducked into a doorway. She needed to go back two hours so that she could make Ancient Runes on time. Hermione stared at it and carefully aligned the rings on the tiny hourglass. The door opened behind her and made her stumble just as she'd turned the hourglass for one rotation. The corridor and everything around her spun in a dizzying speed, and she found herself getting sick.
When the spinning stopped, Hermione fell to her knees and her hand slammed on the floor to prevent her from falling on her face. "Bugger!" She scrambled to her feet and picked up her bag to fling it back over her shoulder. She looked around wondering if she'd miscalculated the alignment. "What the—?" The corridor was dark and eerily quiet.
Hermione looked at her Time-Turner and tried to figure out what went wrong. Idly, she started to walk toward Professor McGonagall's office, adjusting the rings and setting the Time-Turner to return her to when she'd left. If she could return to the right time, everything would be fine. One back rotation of the outer ring and the hourglass the other way, I will return to the time I left from…
"Twenty points from Gryffindor, Miss…" a silky voice said from behind her.
"Granger, Professor," she said automatically, wondering what infraction she must have committed this time. "Curfew! Drat, I'm—it's—oops!"
"Very well articulated, Miss… Granger." Professor Snape stepped out from the shadows. He held his wand casually in his fingers as his eyes roamed over her suspiciously. "Who are you?"
Hermione gasped, wondering what he was on about. Maybe he couldn't see her well in the dimly lit corridor. "Miss Hermione Granger. I'm a third-year, sir. I have Potions with you on Tuesdays and Thursdays."
"Yes, I have third-year Potions with Gryffindor and Slytherin on those days, but you are not a student in my class," he said coolly, crossing his robes across his chest as he crossed his arms. His wand stood out against the dark robes even though it was nearly as dark. "So I will ask again. Who are you?"
Hermione stepped back in shock. "I'm not—but I am!"
"No, you are not," he sneered.
Hermione gasped. "I need to see Professor McGonagall," she said, trying to control the panic in her voice.
"No. You are coming with me, and then I'll send for Professor McGonagall." He grasped her arm and pulled her with him down the corridor, all the way to his office.
Hermione complied, knowing that once she spoke to Professor McGonagall everything would be straightened out.
He thrust her into his office and ordered her sit. "Now tell me again, and do not lie to me, Miss Granger," he said in a cold menacing drawl. "Who are you, and how did you get in the castle?
"I-I'm a student, sir. Your student. I am a third-year," she repeated, wondering why he didn't recognize her.
He glared at her, and Hermione was actually beginning to fear him. "Do not toy with me. I know every student in this castle by name and face, and you are not one of them. Tell me the truth."
She sat in stunned silence momentarily. Surely the Time-Turner didn't take her so far back that she was at a time before she started Hogwarts, but that was the only explanation that made any sense. "Professor McGonagall will know me," she said, knowing that she was lying.
He glared at her and then smirked. "We shall see about that." He turned as if to go and then stopped. "Stay here. If you try to leave, I'll know. The wards will not let you out." He spun on his boot heel and left her in the room.
Hermione swallowed her fear and withdrew the Time-Turner, turning the hourglass in hopes of getting to her own time. The room spun so fast that all she could see was pitch-blackness with flickers of light. When the spinning stopped, Hermione stumbled again, and she grasped at the chair. The office was completely unfamiliar to her. The bookshelf was crammed with objects, jars, and books in a hodgepodge manner, and the desk had papers stacked in piles. Even the quills in the quill cup looked ruffled.
Hermione slipped from the office easily enough and stared down the corridor. It was deserted. She'd only gotten a few steps before she heard an unfamiliar voice, shout, "Stop right there, you filthy Mudblood."
She turned around and saw two very gruff Slytherins approaching. She turned to flee, but her path was blocked by three more Slytherins who seemed to be a bit older than the boys now behind her. "Looks like we caught us a Gryffindor," one of the larger boys said.
"I don't know her," a skinny boy on her left said.
"Doesn't matter," a dark-haired boy who had spoken first replied. "You can tell Potter that hexing Slytherins is not to be tolerated."
"Yeah," the dirty-blond haired person said as he pulled his wand.
"Nah, I wanna do this personally," the dark-haired boy said, pushing up his sleeves.
"Please, don't. Just let me go," Hermione pleaded.
"No!" he said. Before she could move, he punched her in the face. She stumbled backwards, and her eye felt like he'd hit her hard enough to make it explode from its socket. "You Mudblood scum, you have no right being in this school."
"Yeah," the skinny boy with a crooked nose said. He grabbed her arms, and the dark-haired boy slugged her in the gut.
Hermione tried to struggle from the grip of the boy holding her, but he was surprisingly strong. She was helpless as two of the boys took turns punching her or casting cruses at her. She sagged to her knees, but her arms were still held behind her in the boy's firm grip. The large boy punched her once more, knocking her loose from the one holding her as another cast a hex. He hit her hard on the side of the head, making everything around her spin as she was literally knocked to the ground. The skinny boy kicked her on her side, making her curl into a fetal position and hexed her again. She fought to draw breath, forcing her lungs to work against the pain in her body.
"That is for Potter and Black hurtin' Snape," one of them snarled and kicked the low of her back. "Remember this, Mudblood: Rosier, Mulciber, Thortenson, Hurshiser, and Rowe." The ones in front of her turned and left, all five of them laughing as they walked away.
It hurt to breathe. She couldn't move. Her face, ribs, and body throbbed with intense pain. The ringing in her ears grew louder and the corridor seemed to get fuzzy. She closed her eyes and gave into the darkness.
Coming around, Hermione wondered how long she'd been on the floor. Not long, she figured, since no one seemed to have seen her. She tried to think clearly. Years. I went back years, not days. She shifted, the pain nearly making her pass out again, and pulled out the Time-Turner. Ignoring the queasiness of her gut, she adjusted the outer wheel to match up with the inner ring so that the runes aligned for return. Taking a breath and pulling her bag to her, she set the Time-Turner in motion, praying that it would work. The revolving sensation in the position she was in on the floor made her throw up. She checked her surroundings. I'm back to the first stop. When Professor Snape didn't recognize me. Hermione saw a girl approach. "What year is this?" she asked, barely a croak.
The girl stopped and knelt down, her brow furrowed in both concern and confusion. "It's 1984. Are you all right?" she asked, her hands hovering over Hermione as if she was afraid to touch her. "I can go get Professor Snape?"
"Yes, please," Hermione said, nodding. Nine years, I'm off by nine years. As soon as the girl hurried off, Hermione opened her hand and adjusted the Time-Turner's rings for a return of nine years. She heard the girl talking to someone, presumably Professor Snape, pleading with him to hurry. Hermione quickly activated the device before they could see her. The spinning made her head ache unbearably. She had no idea if it worked or not; she'd blacked out, barely breathing when the Turner stilled in her palm.
Severus left the Great Hall and headed to his office to collect the essays he wanted to grade during his fifth-year Potions class. He rounded the corner, and his heart stopped for a second before he ran to the student lying on the dungeon floor. It was Hermione Granger, the princess of Gryffindor. Shite!
He knelt down beside her and drew his wand, watching the tip glow a bright blood red, signifying internal injuries. He looked up, wondering which of his Slytherins had beaten her so badly. Surely Malfoy wouldn't? The boy wasn't the fighter type. Goyle maybe? Crabbe? Flint? One of the older ones?
He brushed her hair from her face and frowned at the discoloration. Something gold attached to a very long gold chain slipped from her hand as he gently rolled her onto her back. Severus picked it up, recognizing her Time-Turner. At least none of my Slytherins got hold of this. He gently removed the artifact and slipped it in his pocket.
He summoned a chair from his office and Transfigured it into a stretcher. He levitated her onto it and heard her moan. That was a good sign.
He levitated the stretcher, carefully maneuvering it all the way to the hospital wing, wondering how the girl had gotten to the dungeons so quickly. She'd been at lunch, sitting with Potter and Weasley.
He stood by as Poppy healed her wounds and gave her restorative potions. "Don't give her the sleeping potion yet," he said softly, trying to push the worry from his tone. "I must ask her a few questions."
"If one of my Slytherins did this, I need to know now, not later," he said in a tone that booked no argument.
She nodded and stood back.
Severus knelt and gently touched the girl's face. "Miss Granger, can you open your eyes?"
She stirred and he gently cupped her head. "Look at me, Miss Granger," he said as encouragingly as he could.
She opened her eyes. "You know my name?"
"Oh, yes, I know your name," he replied, smirking at her delirium. "I've known it for years. Who did this to you?"
"I don't know, sir," she answered, trying to raise her head to look at him properly.
"You didn't recognize them?" he asked, pleased that it wasn't Malfoy but concerned because that meant it was one of the older students.
"No," she said, trying to shake her head. She swallowed. "Wait, I remember, I think." She swallowed and looked like she was trying to recall. "Oh, Rose… Rowe, and McCulver, no, something like that."
Severus' brow creased as he tried to match the names she gave to any in his house. Certain that her injuries were what was causing her confusion, he opted to use the most efficient means of obtaining the necessary information. "Legilimens," he said softly and plunged into her mind. The boys' faces came to him easily. Severus gasped, breaking contact. That's not possible! "Thank you, Miss Granger," he said, rising to his feet.
"Severus, did you see who did this?" Poppy asked from over his shoulder.
"Yes, I did. I'll deal with my Slytherins. You just make her well," he said and turned his head before she saw the concern in his eyes. Rosier, Mulciber, Hurshiser, Thortenson, and Rowe. There is no mistaking them. It was them— Rosier, Mulciber, and Thortenson as they were in their sixth year—Rowe and Hurshiser were in seventh. He looked at the severely injured girl, the swollen eye, bruised jaw, the blood coming from her right ear from a left hook, and her bloody nose. Rosier is left handed.
Poppy nodded and picked up a flask, pouring out a small amount of bluish liquid into a cup. "Don't worry, she'll be fine," she said, bending down to help Hermione drink the potion.
Severus nodded and backed away, not wanting to leave, but knowing that he couldn't stay. Finally, when Poppy finished giving Hermione the Dreamless Sleep, he turned on his heel and strode from the room.
Severus walked toward the Great Hall for dinner several days later, having just come from the hospital wing. Miss Granger remained in critical condition. She suffered damage to her kidney and liver, plus a concussion that caused swelling of her brain. He'd brewed potions for her all afternoon, but so far nothing was helping Miss Granger, and she was slipping away.
Not only that, but Potter and Weasley had found out and were demanding that the ones responsible be expelled. Severus couldn't expel them—they were adults now—Death Eaters. In fact, Rowe and Hurshiser had been Death Eaters when Miss Granger had been beaten, seventeen years ago.
A loud, angry ruckus was coming from the direction of the Entry Hall as he descended the stairs. Nearly all of Gryffindor and most of Slytherin house were fist fighting and casting spells at each other as Professors Flitwick, Sprout, and Lupin along with the Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff prefects were trying break up the fighting. Several of the students had been Stunned and some were locked in Body Binds by the professors to gain control. Apparently more fighting was going on in the Great Hall as well.
Severus was forcing Mr. Wood off of Mr. Flint when Dumbledore appeared, his eyes flashing and his power raging visibly from his person.
"STOP THIS NOW!" Dumbledore's voice echoed off the walls, effectively stopping most of the students from fighting.
"Those who were engaged in this brawl, sit on the floor NOW," Dumbledore demanded. Many of the students sat, with the exception of Mr. Potter, three Weasleys and Mr. Colin.
"You five, up here on the stairs," Dumbledore ordered, and then he looked at Severus. "Professor Snape, please have your Slytherins who are not immobilized or injured wait in the first classroom down the corridor. I'll be there shortly. Professors Flitwick and Lupin, I would like you to help the injured to the hospital wing. Professor Sprout, assist the professors in the Great Hall to stop the fighting in there."
Severus nodded and grabbed Flint by the collar as he ushered his Slytherins to the classroom, many limping, staggering, or leaning on a friend for support. He allowed the grumbling and sneering, listening to the varied complaints. As soon as the door closed, he rounded on them "What in blazes are you thinking? Brawling in the Entry Hall like Muggles!"
Several of them started talking at once, the loudest saying, "They said we killed Granger."
"They accused us of beating—"
"None of us touched that—"
"… as if it was one of us who did that—"
"We didn't touch the girl!"
"Silence!" Severus snapped, scowling as darkly as he could. "I am well aware that none of you touched her." He waited only a second before speaking again. "But that does not excuse you from brawling."
Many of the older boys look murderous.
"They said it was us seventh-years," Mr. Runyan growled from the back, his arms crossed and sporting a split lip. "Them Mudbloods and blood traitors all accused us of beating that third-year to death."
"Miss Granger is not dead. Yes, she was beaten rather badly, but she was not beaten to death, and it was not a seventh-year who did this," Severus said coolly.
"But then who?" Malfoy snarled. "She was found in the dungeons, wasn't she?"
"Did it ever occur to you that it might have been Sirius Black?" Severus asked, hoping to waylay blame.
None of the older boys bought the ruse.
Severus spoke sternly. "I do not know who did this, but I know beyond all certainty that it was none of you, and I will stand by you, even against the Headmaster."
Hermione Granger died only a week later. The animosity between Slytherin and Gryffindor escalated to what it had been when Severus was a student. Strict curfews were in effect and all the professors were on alert. Skirmishes broke out frequently. Fights continued to happen in empty classrooms and in the corridors. All unused classrooms were magically sealed so that no one but the Headmaster could open them. The professors carefully warded each classroom as soon as lessons were over, and a portrait was assigned to the inside to alert the Headmaster if anyone broke into any of the classrooms after hours.
Aurors patrolled the corridors.
And Severus noticed that his Dark Mark was getting darker.
The following year things were nearly disastrous.
Three weeks into term, Severus received an owl from Lucius Malfoy. Over the summer, many of the young men who had been so furious at being accused of killing Granger had declared that they wanted to pledge themselves to the Dark Lord. Rumors were that the Dark Lord had achieved a rebirth and lived somewhere as an infant. Severus had no idea how this could be true, but it was undeniable that his Dark Mark had appeared on his arm again and occasionally itched or stung.
Potter somehow became a Tri-Wizard champion. His first task, stealing an egg from a nesting dragon, nearly killed him. The second task, which involved saving Weasley from the merpeople, the idiot boy nearly drowned because he insisted on saving all the hostages. The third task, Potter returned clutching Diggory's body while proclaiming that the Dark Lord had returned.
By that time, Severus already knew that the Dark Lord was back. He'd recreated his adult body from his infant one. But what really unsettled him was the number of Slytherins from his house who were talking about joining, and he was aware that there were Ravenclaws who were of the same mind.
When Severus returned to the castle to report to Dumbledore, he had very bad news to relay to him. The Dark Lord's numbers were already staggering, and Severus recognized the faces of the junior Death Eaters who'd knelt to receive the Dark Mark. Even Flint, Pucey, Warrington, Montague, Bole, and Derrick were among them, all of whom that had been accused of beating Miss Granger to death.
Severus stood in the small unused classroom holding Miss Granger's Time-Turner on his palm. The battle at Godric's Hallow still raged, and things looked really grim. Nagini had successfully coaxed Potter upstairs, away from Weasley, and the Dark Lord had been summoned. Thankfully, Severus was able to send Phineas Black to headquarters in time to have the Order respond the same time that the Death Eaters arrived to see the Dark Lord kill Potter. There was no hope now.
Severus reread Miss Granger's daily planner, as he had repeatedly over the last few years, reviewing the notations she'd made regarding the use of her Time-Turner. He'd go back. He knew when, the particular day was etched in the mind of the Death Eater lying unconscious on his office floor, as well in his memory. The guys of his house had bragged about 'defending his honor' on a third-year Gryffindor Mudblood when he'd returned from the library after he'd spent a week in the hospital wing. At the time Severus hadn't cared, he'd been too furious at Potter and Black to give it any further thought. But when he saw images of his housemates beating Miss Granger in her mind, everything had clicked into place.
Still, Severus hadn't done anything. Meddling with time was dangerous.
His gamble hadn't played out well and he'd lost—they would all lose.
Severus looked at the gold artifact on his hand and fingered the box in his pocket. If things worked out, everything would be fine. He aligned the rings, matched up the miniscule runes and took a deep breath before setting off the device. The room spun at a disorienting pace, a dark blur, until he found himself standing in the same room.
The room's occupant jumped to his feet and drew his wand. "Who are you?" the boy demanded.
"That is going to take some explaining," Severus said softly.
~ T. B. .C. ~