September 18th, 1995
Harry Potter and Hermione Granger were on their way to the Headmaster's office, after getting an odd summons earlier that Monday morning after breakfast. It simply asked them both to bring a pack with the contents of their school trunks. The Headmaster had been made aware of a special mission that needed the two Fifth Years. Of course, even the Greatest Wizard Alive (an opinion shared by most of the Wizarding world, not all) did not have any idea how this one 'mission' would not actually be a mission to help the Wizarding world, but another one altogether.
"Harry, this is rather odd, don't you think?" Hermione Granger asked. They had just passed a statue of the last hollow knight before the path that led to the Headmaster's office was located.
"Yes it is, Hermione. I've never known the Headmaster to call for us both so early in the school year. I just hope that your birthday tomorrow will be fun." Harry Potter answered.
"That is sweet of you Harry to remember my birthday. Thank you," Hermione internally wondered if this was just something cooked up by the Headmaster and Harry to make up for last year. Between the Tournament, Skeeter, and more things that made Fourth Year the worst in her memory, she was hopeful this year would be better.
It wasn't long before the two Fifth Years were standing in front of the gargoyle that guarded the staircase leading up to the office of Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore.
"Reese's Peanut Butter Cups!" Harry and Hermione stated, in stereo. This latest password was something they were surprised at. Being a Muggle candy and not one from their own world, it puzzled both of them. The Stone Gargoyle nodded his head, moved aside, and the two Fifth Years went up the stairs to the Headmaster's office.
After reaching the door and opening it, they found several odd things to add to their puzzlement: five large trunks, two of which had multiple locks on the outside; a Muggle device known as a laptop computer, complete with 10 spare battery packs and solar panels to charge them; a large carton of .45 ammunition along with two pistols, complete with cleaning kits and other gear needed for two individuals to be armed in such a fashion; along with several boxes of other Muggle devices, shrunk to fit into the space a large textbook would take up. In addition to the items on the floor in front of Dumbledore's desk, Dobby the House-elf, Fawkes the Phoenix, and A.P.W.B. Dumbledore himself were present.
"Ah, Mr. Potter, Ms. Granger, thank you for coming. I have something rather important to ask of the two of you, if you would be open to it. Please sit down," hastily he conjured two comfortable armchairs for the teens. "I will explain what I know soon."
"Of course, Professor Dumbledore, we will listen to you." Hermione said. Harry just gave a nod of his head after sitting down.
"So, to begin this explanation I need to go back to the summer. Shortly after I helped young Harry regarding the misuse of magic hearing, I returned to my office to find an envelope on my desk. In it was a letter as well as instructions to a spell that I have never seen before." Dumbledore pulled out the letter from his robes and handed it to Hermione so she could read it.
On it, the following was written: "Headmaster, if you are reading this then time is short. There is a window that will open up soon to provide assistance to a Great Need of Mine. Please gather food and clothing supplies to last two people several years, along with a copy of the entire Hogwarts Library, including copies of all tomes available through the Ministry of Magic's own Library. You will know the two by the following traits: he will have raven hair and eyes of emeralds, and has faced Great Evil more times than anyone his age should have to by the time you are reading this; she will be a firstborn with eyes of chestnut and a love of learning yet filled with a passion for justice to the non-human beings of the Realm. Any additional supplies you can think of that will help them in this quest, please feel free to gather them. You may take this letter to the Head Teller of Gringotts, should you need additional funds or books from my vault. If the stasis charms have held, gather any potions ingredients or samples of the beasts and plants there also, for I feel they may have need of them. –Merlin"
"Naturally, I was concerned this may have been a prank of some kind. Using every detection charm and spell I know, I tested the envelope and its contents to determine their validity. Nothing I tried led me to think it was a prank or false. No curses either, and there was no trace of the magic used to make it arrive on my desk. I set out to visit Gringotts and speak with the Head Teller. I brought the entire envelope with me in hopes that they had methods of checking it against all known examples of Merlin's handwriting and Magical Signature." Seeing a look of utter confusion on Hermione's face, he nodded to her, nonverbally inviting her to ask one of the dozens of questions he knew had potential to be rapid fired off by her.
"Professor, may I ask what spells you used to verify the contents of the envelope were actually written by Merlin?" Hermione asked.
"If I were to list them all it would take several hours, as I used over 250 different spells Ms. Granger." Dumbledore answered.
"Professor, I understand the food, books, potions ingredients, the samples of plants and beasts, but what are the computer, firearms, and other Muggle items for?" Harry asked. He had silently read along with Hermione, and taken quick stock of the gathered pile of items.
"That is a good question Harry. To answer it, I would merely state that it would not be a bad thing to be more prepared than less prepared. I am surprised neither of you has asked why I came to the conclusion the letter was referring to you both." Dumbledore offered.
"Well, it is rather obvious; you are Albus Dumbledore, one of the Greatest Wizards Alive. Also, you may have ways of confirming who the letter referred to with the Goblins." Hermione answered.
"Your reasoning is sound Ms. Granger, and quite correct. They were able to verify it did indeed come from Merlin in addition to it referring to you both, and somehow was set to appear on my desk in the time it was most needed. I visited his vault and gathered several useful items, which are now in the oldest trunk here in this office. As for the Hogwarts and Ministry Libraries, fresh copies of both are stored in the large trunk with six locks. Dobby learned of my need to gather food and clothing and volunteered to help, even before I told him who I suspected the letter from Merlin indicated none other than the two of you. And now, for the spell itself. While I have only had a little over a month to decipher it and its purpose, I know it has to be done before the clock strikes 10 tonight."
"May I see the parchment the spell was on, please?" Hermione asked. Harry, while he didn't doubt the spell, figured that if Dumbledore trusted it, he could as well.
Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore pulled out the scroll containing the spell and instructions from a pocket in his robes, and handed it to Hermione.
Taking it, Hermione opened it and was only able to read the top paragraph: "Headmaster, the following spell must be performed no later than two hours before the eve of Her Birth anniversary, in your office, with all supplies gathered inside a circle no larger than two broomsticks in diameter. Do not attempt to stand inside the circle, or allow any other human inside it while performing the spell. It would help to have a House-elf inside with them while you chant the spell, to keep all other beings outside the circle from doing anything to interrupt the spell." After this, the rest of the spell was written in a language that Hermione had never seen before. It was long, and full of several unusual sections of text that kept repeating in different patterns.
"And you understand this language, Headmaster?" Harry asked.
"Indeed, I do Mr. Potter. From all that I can gather, the supplies and the two of you will be sent to an alternate realm or reality if you want to use that term. Magic is native to you both, so that should still work. It appears that this spell is designed to halt time for this realm, and send the two of you somewhere else for a time. In effect, it feels much like a Time Turner, only to a different reality. I have consulted with the best of Gringotts, and they have come to the same conclusion. You both will be sent to a different reality, and time here will stop until your return. You should age normally there, and return to how you are now once this Great Need of Merlin's is complete. Interestingly, while I was in Merlin's vault, I found another envelope, addressed to me by name. The Goblins swore to me that his vault has been sealed since Merlin's death, so how the envelope got there is a curious matter. Inside it, were instructions to return, written in the same language. I felt like you two would need a book or two to learn the language, so I have included a copy of my personal Library in the trunk with the clothing. Also, I have written each of you a personal letter, should you wish to read it on the other side."
"Very well, Headmaster. I agree to do this. Harry? What about you?" Hermione asked.
"I agree as well. I can't leave you alone wherever this Great Need takes you." Harry replied.
At that, the Headmaster stood up from his own chair, and gestured to the middle of the stack of supplies. Dobby went to the spot, and then took a hand each of Harry James Potter and Hermione Jean Granger. They also stood, and moved to be on either side of Dobby.
"Dobby, I believe you will be able to go with them, if you want to. Mr.- Harry, Hermione, if I may be less formal with you both for a moment, I wish you both luck and I will be thrilled to read of your adventure when you get back."
Dobby had already committed to going with the Great Harry Potter and his Hermione Granger. He had secretly placed a stasis charm on Hedwig and Crookshanks, and placed them inside a small compartment in one of the trunks, as he knew Harry and Hermione would miss their familiars on this journey.
Professor Dumbledore began chanting the spell. It took him exactly seven minutes to recite it. Once it was complete, the supplies, two teenagers, and one House-elf were transported out of Hogwarts, and even out of the Wizarding world. Their destination was a place that no humanoid had stepped foot on since it was launched a few million years prior. Curiously, Fawkes and Albus Dumbledore also were transported, though not to the same spot. They found themselves on a planet in a distant galaxy, in a different reality. Albus Dumbledore had adopted a motto from a Muggle group known as the Boy Scouts: always be prepared. In his robe pockets were shrunken trunks of food and enough potions ingredients to brew gallons of Pepper-Up, Skele-Grow, Blood Replenishing Potion, along with every other potion he had learned how to make. Chuckling to himself, Albus looked at Fawkes and said, "It would seem we were also needed, my friend. I hope we will see young Harry and Hermione someday soon before they return."