McGonagall stared around the room as hands slowly rose one by one. To everyone's surprise, even Firenze raised his hand. Out of all the teachers in the room, only Slughorn and Sinistra did not raise their hands.
"So, those of you who raised your hands, you understand the risks involved in sneaking into the Ministry?" McGonagall asked.
Several heads nodded.
"You, Miranda?" Sinistra raised her eyebrow at Hooch, who had raised her hand to volunteer to sneak into the Ministry along with the other teachers. "Weren't you the one objecting to this earlier?"
"Hey, I may not like the idea, but I'm not sitting on my pretty little bum when my colleagues are out risking themselves. Besides, it's not as if I want to see Miss Granger on trial," Hooch replied.
Sinistra snorted and gave Hooch a sharp, offended look. "I'm not sitting on my 'pretty little bum', I just have... reservations... about this."
"I never said you were," Hooch said with a raised eyebrow.
"You implied it," Sinistra said testily.
"That's enough! Both of you! I've said this in the beginning and I will say this again: I will not pressure anyone into going. And I'd expect all of you to do the same." McGonagall said.
Sinistra and Hooch grew silent, though Sinistra continued to shoot daggers at Hooch from time to time (and she's not the only one doing so, either).
Ignoring the silent glares that were being thrown across the room, McGonagall cleared her throat and said, "In that case, here's what I want everyone to do: try to find out everything you can about the time period between the 10th and the 12th century. I know we've only found very little clues so far, but now that we've narrowed down the time in which she might have ended up, perhaps we'll see something we missed before. Even if it doesn't seem to relate to Miss Granger directly, if you find it suspicious, report it. We need to make an educated guess here as to how far back do we want to summon her from. And Filius, are you ready with the summoning charm?"
"I just need the date. Otherwise, I'm ready." Flitwick said.
"Very well then. Miranda, I want you to find out all you can about the Department of Mysteries." McGonagall said.
Hooch nodded and said, "I'll try. There's not much we know about them."
"Didn't Mr. Potter and a few other students manage to sneak in there a couple years back?" Flitwick asked.
"Hmm... actually, yes they did." Hooch said.
"I'm willing to bet that after that fiasco, the Ministry probably changed the layout of the Department of Mysteries, just so that anyone can't just walk in like last time. Security might be even tighter than before." Vector said.
"I'd hate to involve Potter and Weasley on this. I know those two well enough to know that they'll try to come along, with or without our permission." McGonagall said with her lips thinned in disapproval.
"Knowing Potter, probably 'without'." Sinistra said with a snort.
"Well, you can't exactly blame them, now can you? She's their friend, after all." Hooch said.
"Still, they are students, which makes their safety our responsibility. I'll not have those two risking arrest— again. Goodness knows they get into enough trouble as it is!" McGonagall said rather testily.
"Right. No Potter and Weasley, then." Hooch said hastily.
"And Firenze, I don't suppose you can look into the stars for this?" McGonagall asked. Under normal circumstances, she wouldn't have even considered using divinations— even centaur ones —as a valid method of research. But she was desperate. At this point, Hermione could have landed anywhere between the 10th century and the 12th century. That's too huge a gap for them to simply make random guesses.
"The stars tell only the future, not the past. However, I can look and see if we can find some guidance." Firenze replied.
"Thank you, Firenze. I would appreciate that," McGonagall said. Then, she looked around the room and said, "If there's nothing else, shall we adjourn for now and meet again, same time tomorrow?"
Several heads nodded, followed by tired groans and the sound of chairs scraping against the stone floor as teachers got up from their seats (well, the human teachers, anyway, since Firenze didn't use chairs).
Hermione laid awake in her bed that night, thinking of what Godric said over and over again.
Marriage? To Godric?
Was she really ready for such a big step? Courting Godric was one thing, but... marriage?!
Supposed she said yes... would it affect the timeline in any way? What if Godric was meant to have descendants with someone else?
A pang of jealousy rose in her heart. As indecisive as she was, she still didn't want to see Godric with another woman.
Hermione sighed. She couldn't keep stringing Godric along, could she? It would be fair to keep his hopes up. And yet... she wasn't ready to give him up. She wasn't sure if she'll ever be ready to give him up.
A tiny, traitorous voice whispered in her heart. What if... what if she said yes?
"You have got to be joking." Hooch muttered as the teachers stood in the middle of a circular room with more doors that she'd care to count.
"How are we supposed to find the correct room from here? There's so many doors. And oh, look, they're spinning. Now isn't that nice?" Vector said with sarcasm dripping from her voice as the walls began to spin so fast around them that the doors looked like blur.
Just then, the walls stopped spinning. But by that time, they were no longer sure which door they'd come out from, let alone which door they were going to.
"Well... at least they've stopped." Flitwick said.
Vector walked up to one of the doors, took out her wand, conjured a chalk, then marked one of the doors with an 'X'.
Not long after the X was marked, it faded away from the door.
"Great." Vector groaned. "Now what?"
"That's odd. I could have sworn Potter did the same thing a couple of years ago..." Hooch muttered.
"I'm willing to bet the Ministry probably changed things around this time, for security reasons." Flitwick said.
"So, what do we do now? Just pick a random door and go?" Hooch asked.
"No, wait." McGonagall drew her wand and conjured a trail of sparkling golden glitter that hovered in the air. Then, she sent the glitter to hover in front of one of the doors without touching the door itself.
The glitter stayed.
Hooch smiled in triumph.
"Well, that worked. Everyone pick a door. We need to do this quickly. Don't wander too far. We'll meet back here in ten minutes, at most." McGonagall ordered. Everyone did as they were told. Just like McGonagall did, they all conjured a trail of glitter that they left hovering in front of their chosen doors.
It took some trial and error, but eventually, the teachers found the right room. Now, they were standing in front of the veil.
"Well, Filius?" McGonagall looked at the tiny teacher expectantly.
Flitwick cleared his throat. "Right, now, before we begin, I need a precise date."
They all looked at each other, hoping that someone would think of a date.
"Well, I didn't find any clues." Hooch shrugged.
"Neither did I. Although... I could pin-point the date Slytherin left... if that's any help at all." Vector said.
"Really? When was that?" Hooch asked.
"It was about a month after Godric Gryffindor died. Sometime in late September, I believe. It was shortly after the school-year began." Vector said.
"Do you really think that Slytherin leaving might have something to do with our Miss Granger?" Hooch asked.
"It's a possibility. She is muggleborn, after all." Vector replied.
"Well... it's a shot, at least. Firenze, what do you think?" McGonagall turned towards the centaur, who had been silent this whole time.
"The stars seem to point to an earlier time than that." Firenze replied.
"How early?" Hooch asked.
"The beginning of August. Three weeks before the death of your Godric Gryffindor. Venus was leaving Leo around this time, and crossed Uranus sometime in the beginning of August." Firenze said, unaware that the entire astrology-talk was completely lost on his colleagues, who normally wouldn't care a whit about these things. They did, however, pick up the 'three weeks before Godric's death' part.
"Three weeks before? Is that where she ended up?" McGonagall asked.
"The stars did not say, only that a major event occurred on that day. Venus represents a woman, leaving Leo, your Gryffindor. The time in which Venus crosses Uranus would be the time a major event occurred which was tied to the woman." Firenze replied.
"And that means... what, exactly?" Hooch looked at Firenze in confusion.
Firenze looked at Hooch as if she was a woman with the IQ of a three year old. "It means, Miranda Hooch, that something major occurred to Hermione Granger on that day."
Hooch glared at the centaur. "Right. Well, no need to get all 'huffy' about it."
Firenze opened his mouth to retort, but was cut off by McGonagall.
"Shall we vote? Late September— the date Slytherin left, or early August, as Firenze said?" McGonagall looked around the room.
"August." Vector said, then shrugged and explained, "Hey, it's better than wild guessing. We don't even know if Slytherin leaving had anything to do with Miss Granger."
Hooch opened her mouth to protest, then thought better of it. She sighed, slumped her shoulders, and said, "Fine. August."
McGonagall looked at Flitwick. "Filius?"
"I don't care either way." Flitwick shrugged. "But if I have to pick... September seemed more likely. At least we know that a major event did happen on that day."
"And Firenze, I'm assuming you're still going by early August, correct?" McGonagall asked.
"Well... it seems the majority voted August. So... shall we go with, say... what date was it exactly, Firenze?" McGonagall looked at the centaur.
"Third day of August, to be precise." Firenze replied.
"Very well, then. Filius?" McGonagall looked at Flitwick expectantly.
Hermione stayed in bed for as long as she could. She barely slept a wink since last night. She couldn't stop thinking about Godric's almost-proposal.
She'd tossed and turned all night, wondering what she should do. She thought about her life in the future— assuming she would still have that life if she returned.
It would be a life full of friends, family, and unfortunately, enemies as well. A life of fighting and achievements.
But still, a life without Godric.
In the end, if she had a choice... what would she choose?
She tried to imagine what it would be like, if she chose to go back to the future, knowing that she could have married Godric, but chose not to.
She would graduate Hogwarts, help Harry and hopefully take part in the final battle with You-know-who. And if, by some miracle, they survived, she would live on, watch all her friends get married and have children. She would have a career, perhaps a teacher, or a researcher, or even an auror. But she would be alone. She would forever pine for Godric.
Hermione's eyes widened. She got up so abruptly that her head began to spin. But it didn't matter. For the first time in days, Hermione smiled. Truly smiled.
She had her answer.
"Right. Everyone ready?" Flitwick glanced around the room. They all nodded. The teachers had stood in a half-circle in front of the veil.
"Now, remember, focus on the date we've all agreed on, as well as on Miss Granger. Do not let your mind wander. This is very important. And on the count of three, I want you all to point your wand towards the veil and chant together." Flitwick instructed. "Now, if we are all ready... one... two... three!"
The teachers point their wands towards the veil, or, in Firenze's case, his hand (since centaurs don't need wands). In a unified voice, they chanted the summoning spell, each focusing on the third of August. Golden light shot out of their wands and met in the middle of the veil. The tattered fabrics that covered the veil began to flutter wildly, as if some strong wind were blowing on it from behind the veil. They could hear voices calling out from the veil. It sounded like jumbled chatter that kept changing from moment to moment, just as one would hear if one were to pass by crowds of people very quickly.
Then, the golden light in the middle of the veil began to grow larger and larger until it formed a swirling vortex of light.
Anticipation grew within the hearts of the teachers. They kept their wands pointed at the veil, never wavering, never loosing their focus. And they waited... and waited...
Hermione hastily got ready. She showered, got dressed, dried her hair and brushed it. She looked at her reflection in the mirror.
"I look a mess." Hermione sighed in dismay. She conjured a ribbon and tied her hair back. She was about to grab her old school robes that she'd laid out on the bed, but she changed her mind. No, she didn't want to look like a student. Not this time.
Instead, she rummaged in the closet and found a nice, dark blue gown. Not too elegant, not too shabby, either. Just perfect for a casual day.
Or a casual date, Hermione thought with a blush.
She took one glance at the mirror. Satisfied that she now looked presentable, Hermione smiled. Then, she raced out the door.
Her heart was beating a mile a minute. She would find Godric and tell him her decision.
She was going to say yes!
There! Hermione's heart leapt when she saw him walking in the direction of the Great Hall.
"Godric!" Hermione called out. She smiled. Broadly.
Godric turned towards her and looked at her with astonishment at the brilliant smile she sent him as she raced towards him.
"Hermione?" Godric frowned in confusion."What's the matter?"
Hermione ran until she nearly collided into Godric. Thankfully, Godric caught her just in time.
"I had to tell you. I've been thinking. All night." Hermione said between breaths.
"Slow down." Godric said. "Catch your breath first."
"Right. Sorry." Hermione laughed. She took a deep breath and tried to calm herself, despite the fact that her heart was beating furiously with anticipation. Once her breathing became regular again, Hermione took a deep breath then spoke.
"I've been thinking. About your proposal..." Hermione said.
Godric's heart stopped. He froze, and swallowed nervously.
"A-and...?" Godric looked at her anxiously.
"I've decided... that I would—" Hermione's voice was cut off when she felt something tugging within her belly. She frowned and looked down on her stomach.
"What is it?" Godric frowned. "Hermione?"
Hermione's eyes widened in horror. She looked at Godric and muttered, "I.. I don't know... i-it feels like a portkey..."
A golden light swirled around Hermione. She felt herself being pulled backwards into what felt like empty space. Dimly, she heard Godric calling her name over and over again until his voice faded in the darkness that swallowed her.
She kept falling... and falling.. and falling. Then, a burst of cold air whooshed around her as she flew backwards and hit hard ground.
The last thing she remembered was seeing faces looking down upon her.
And then she fainted.
"Oh, dear." Hooch muttered as she knelt down and scooped up Hermione's unconscious form in her arms.
"Is she... alive?" Vector peered at Hermione curiously.
Hooch touched her hands to the side of Hermione's upper-neck (just above her throat) to check her pulse. Sure enough, she felt a steady— if faint —beating of her pulse.
"She's alive." Hooch said.
"Firenze, would you mind carrying her?" McGonagall asked.
Firenze walked closer until he stood next to Hermione and Hooch.
"Lift her onto my back and tie a rope around her, in case I couldn't keep her steady," Firenze said.
Hooch did as Firenze said and levitated Hermione until she lay face down on Firenze's back. Then, she conjured ropes and tied Hermione to Firenze.
"Right, then. Hurry. Before the aurors come!" McGonagall whispered. The teachers hurried out of the room with Hermione's unconscious form lying on Firenze's back. As soon as they got to the atrium, they apparated away.
Harry and Ron sat glumly in the common room, playing chess. It was late. Most students were already in bed, but neither Harry nor Ron could seem to sleep that night. Perhaps it was the stifling night air, or perhaps it was the disappointment of not finding anything that could help them bring Hermione back— even after scouring the entire Grimmauld Place. Either way, the boys seemed even more depressed than ever.
Ron placed his elbows on the table and rested his chin on his hand. Then, he sighed. Almost half-heartedly, he ordered his chess-piece, "Knight to E4."
Harry watched as the knight piece moved to the said square. But for some reason, his mind wasn't on the game.
"I feel like I'm wasting my time here, do you?" Ron asked.
"Yeah." Harry's shoulders slumped.
"She could be out there somewhere. And we're here sitting here doing absolutely nothing!" Ron said in frustration.
Harry let out a long sigh. "I can't think of anything else to do. We could go out and look, but I've got no idea where to go."
"Me neither." Ron sighed as well.
"Bishop to B7." Harry said half-heartedly. Then, he looked at Ron and said, "Do you think she's... alright?"
"She has to be, Harry." Ron insisted, though the slight frown and tightening of his lips suggested that he must've doubted his own words. He took one glance at the chess board, then said, "Pawn to F3."
The conversation stalled, only to be broken once in awhile by the sound of either Harry or Ron directing their chess pieces to this square and that.
Suddenly, the portrait doors swung open and a haggard-looking McGonagall stepped in.
"Mr. Potter, Mr. Weasley. Both of you, come with me, please." McGonagall said.
Harry and Ron glanced at each other in confusion, then rose to follow their Headmistress. As soon as the portrait door closed behind them, Harry spoke up.
"Professor?" Harry raised his eyebrow in confusion at McGonagall. "What's going on?"
McGonagall opened her mouth to speak, then, glancing at the portraits that surrounded the hallway, she changed her mind and said instead, "Miss Granger is in the Hospital Wing."
Harry and Ron's eyes widened in surprise. They looked at each other. Then, as if they'd completely forgotten McGonagall, both boys started to run towards the Hospital Wing, leaving the tired-looking Headmistress behind them.
McGonagall had half a mind to stop them, but she was too tired to yell. Plus, she'd just got back from breaking into the Ministry. Besides, she knew how anxious the two were in finding their friend. For once, the stern Headmistress didn't call them back to admonish them. Instead, she let the two boys run ahead and silently followed them to the Hospital Wing, though at a much slower pace.
Godric stared at the room that Hermione had been staying in before she was taken away. True to her character, her room was neat. Every parchment had been rolled away and neatly piled on the desk in the corner. The books she was reading were stacked neatly on that same desk. There's not even a single wrinkle on her bed to suggest that it had been slept in.
But then, a black piece of clothing caught his eye. It was laid out on the bed, as if she'd been intending to wear it before she was abruptly taken away. Almost hesitantly, Godric approached the bed.
It was her future school robe, complete with the insignia of his house embroidered on the chest.
Godric's hand shook as he clutched the robe as if it was his lifeline. He held up the robe to his face. Her sweet scent still lingered on it, taunting him with images of a future he could no longer have.
"Godric." A voice called out from behind him.
Godric turned and saw Salazar step into the room. He knew that the other Founders had access to all the common rooms, so he wasn't surprised to see Salazar here.
"I thought I'd find you here." Salazar said.
Godric didn't answer. Instead, he looked away and continued to stare at Hermione's robes, which he was still clutching in his hands.
"I thought I had time.." Godric said as he absent-mindedly traced the Gryffindor badge on her robes with his thumb.
"You couldn't have known." Salazar said.
"I proposed to her. The day before she disappeared." Godric said.
Salazar raised an eyebrow in surprise. "Did you, really?"
"Yes... well I did, in a way. I said to her, if I were to ask her to marry me, what would she say." Godric said as he recalled the conversation he had with Hermione that day.
"And...?" Salazar looked at him curiously.
"She said she needed time," Godric said.
Salazar was silent.
"So I gave her time." Godric said, his jaws tense as he spoke. Then, he sighed bitterly and said, "But it didn't matter in the end."
Godric let her robes fall from his hand and onto the bed.
"Is she... alive?" Ron gulped as he slowly approached the hospital bed Hermione was lying on. Harry stepped up to the bed and touched Hermione's hand. It was cold.
Harry drew his hand back. He was about to turn to McGonagall to ask, but then he caught the steady rise and fall of Hermione's chest as she breathed.
"Yes." McGonagall said.
"She's just asleep, that's all. Whatever brought her back must've been very taxing for her," Madam Pomfrey said while staring at McGonagall curiously.
"What happened to her?" Harry asked.
"That, is what we'd all like to know as well, Mr. Potter. However, I must ask you not to press her for answers if she is not ready to give it. I do not know how stressful the experience was for her, but she has been gone for quite some time." McGonagall said, though her gaze was directed mostly at Harry, as if she knew how stubborn Harry could be whenever he needed answers.
"How did she get back?" Ron asked.
McGonagall gave a secretive smile and said, "Magic."
Before Harry and Ron could ask what that's supposed to mean, McGonagall had cut them off, bid them good-night and left, leaving the two boys wondering exactly what their Headmistress was hiding.
Not long after McGonagall left, Harry and Ron stood by the bed that Hermione occupied in the Hospital Wing and stared at their sleeping friend. The only light in the room came from the moonlight that streamed through the window, giving Hermione's face a cold, bluish hue. Her face was pale and her hands were cold to the touch. They couldn't help but wonder exactly what Hermione had to go through in order to get back.
"Hermione..." Harry called out softly as he gently touched her arm.
But Hermione did not wake.
"Where do you think she's been, Harry?" Ron asked.
"Dunno," Harry shook his head. He ran his hand along her arms until they rested on her hand. As soon as their hands touched, Harry frowned, withdrew his hand and said, "She's so cold."
Feeling curious, Ron reached out to touch her hand as well. As soon as he touched her hand, he frowned. Unlike Harry, however, he kept his hand on hers, as if he was reluctant to let go.
Suddenly, Hermione stirred.
"Harry!" Ron's eyes lit up as soon as he saw Hermione's eyelids flutter. Harry rushed back to the bed.
"Hermione?" Harry called out hopefully.
Hermione squinted her eyes, as if the dim moonlight was too bright for her. Slowly, her eyes opened. She looked around, but it was clear from her confused frown that she still had no idea where she is.
"Hermione!" Ron shook her arm eagerly.
Hermione's eyes snapped towards Ron. She blinked and frowned in confusion. Then, gradually, her eyes widened in recognition and surprise.
"R..Ron..?" Her voice cracked, as if she hadn't spoken in a long time.
"I thought we'd lost you." Ron's shoulders sagged in relief.
"W-wha—" Hermione's gaze slowly swept across the room until her eyes caught Harry's. Hermione's eyes widened. "Harry..."
Her eyes flickered between her two friends before they widened as something finally dawned upon her.
"I'm back..." She whispered weakly.
Perhaps it was their imagination, but Hermione didn't seem to sound as enthusiastic about being back as Harry and Ron thought she should.
"H-how..." Hermione tried to speak in normal volume, but her voice cracked. She cleared her throat and said, "W-water..."
It took the boys a few seconds to realize what she meant. As soon as they did so, Harry immediately took out his wand, conjured a glass of water, and held it to Hermione's lips so she could drink.
Hermione drank a few sips, then laid back down on the bed.
"Where've you been, Hermione?" Ron asked.
Hermione's face fell. She wrenched her hand away from Ron's grasp and looked away. Pain was etched in her eyes.
"Hermione?" Harry frowned.
"I... I'm sorry, Ron. I... I don't want to talk about it. Not yet." Hermione swallowed. It hurt too much to think about what— or rather whom —she'd just lost.
"Why?" Ron looked in disbelief.
"Ron-" Harry nudged Ron in warning.
Ron gulped and back down.
"Please. I... I need some time. Could you at least give me that?" Hermione looked at her two friends.
Harry and Ron looked sullen, but nodded anyway.
"I'm sorry." Hermione said after awhile.
Harry patted Hermione's arm and said, "We shouldn't have pressed you, Hermione."
"Yeah..." Ron said guiltily.
Hermione sighed and gave them a bitter smile.
"At least you're back." Ron said with a wry smile.
"Yeah." Harry nodded in agreement.
Hermione didn't answer. Instead, she looked away towards the window.
The boys looked at each other and frowned. One thought seemed to echo in their minds: What was wrong with Hermione?
McGonagall came to see her first thing in the morning. The Headmistress had the curtains drawn close and cast a silencing charm around them for to prevent stray students from overhearing their conversation.
"How are you feeling, Miss Granger?" McGonagall asked.
"Physically? I felt like I've been run over by a herd of hippogriffs." Hermione groaned as she propped herself up on the bed.
McGonagall gave her a thin-lipped smile.
"How did I get back, Professor?" Hermione asked with a tinge of sadness in her voice.
"You don't remember?" McGonagall frowned.
"I remember falling and emerging somewhere... but that's about it." Hermione frowned as she tried to remember the details, but failed. All she could remember was falling in darkness and the sudden rush of cold air towards the end.
"We summoned you— from the Veil in the Ministry of Magic. You fainted... and we brought you here." McGonagall said. She went to the chair next to Hermione's bed and sat down. Then, facing Hermione, McGonagall said, "No one but the staff knows of your time travel."
Hermione stared at McGonagall. "You knew I travelled through time?"
"We couldn't have summoned you back without first knowing where you went, Miss Granger." McGonagall answered.
"Then... you know I went to..." Hermione bit her lips and trailed off.
"The time of the Founders?" McGonagall raised an eyebrow.
Hermione nodded. She swallowed nervously, then said, "Professor... what... what happened to... Godric Gryffindor?"
McGonagall looked at her curiously, then said in a quieter voice, "We summoned you... from three weeks before his death."
"T-three weeks...? He..." Hermione placed a hand on her mouth. "But he was fine when I left! He couldn't have... he..." Hermione swallowed, then looked at McGonagall and asked, "How... how did he die?"
McGonagall frowned, then shook her head. "We do not know, Miss Granger. That, unfortunately, is a tale that has been lost in time."
Hermione clenched the bedsheets with her hands and stared in horror.
"Did you know him personally?" McGonagall asked.
Hermione swallowed, then nodded.
"I... we... we were... close." Hermione bit her lips and looked away.
McGonagall raised her eyebrow at this, but decided not to comment. Instead, she patted Hermione's arm comfortingly.
"Professor?" Hermione finally looked at the Headmistress.
"Yes?" McGonagall said.
"D-do you know where..." Hermione took a deep breath, and continued, "Where his... grave is?"
McGonagall frowned thoughtfully. "Legend has it that it was in Godric's Hollow. But no one's been there in centuries and the specific location has been lost to history. I suspect it's been made unplottable since muggles began settling in that area as well."
"Godric's Hollow..." Hermione muttered absent-mindedly as she thought about how she could find his grave.
"Miss Granger..." McGonagall opened her mouth to speak. But then, she closed her mouth and shook her head, as if she suddenly changed her mind. Instead, she smiled sadly, patted Hermione's hand and said, "Get some rest. I daresay that the rest of the school will want to know where you've been."
Hermione's eyes widened in horror. She looked at McGonagall as if she was pleading for help.
"But I don't want to tell them anything!" Hermione cried. She clenched her jaws, looked down on her lap and said, "I'm... not ready. I've just lost someone I... someone close to me. I need time to grieve. I don't want to go out there and face all the questions, the gossips, and worse yet, the teasing from the Slytherins."
"Even if you could, I wouldn't have advised you to tell them about the time-travel, either," McGonagall said.
"You wouldn't?" Hermione looked at McGonagall in surprise.
McGonagall sighed, then said, "I will tell you this in the strictest confidence, Miss Granger: unauthorized time-travel, especially when the potential for changing history is great such as in your case, is something that the Ministry couldn't just ignore."
"But it was an accident!" Hermione argued.
"Yes... but you know how the Ministry is." McGonagall said sadly.
"Yeah." Hermione sighed and nodded.
"Miss Granger, our position is very delicate right now, especially in light of the war. You-know-who's supporters are already infiltrating the Ministry. I would advise you to keep a low profile, if possible." McGonagall said. Then, she added, "The details of your potions accident have been kept confidential. Only the staff knows of the full effect of the accident, and thus, only we are aware of your time-travel. The staff have all agreed to keep this information a secret. With any luck, none of this will reach the ears of the Ministry."
"I understand." Hermione nodded. Then, she looked up and asked, "What will I tell everyone?"
"Tell them... that the potion brought you forward in time. More specifically, the potion brought you to the potions classroom last night, in the exact spot where you originally disappeared from." McGonagall said.
"So, in essence, I never really went anywhere? The potion only caused me to skip forward a few months?" Hermione asked.
"Exactly." McGonagall nodded. "And it would keep you from being incriminated for meddling with history."
"Thank you, Professor," Hermione said.
McGonagall patted her shoulders gently and said, "I hope you don't think that we're being harsh. We're only trying to protect you."
"I know." Hermione smiled faintly.
McGonagall left soon after that, leaving Hermione alone with her thoughts as she lied on the bed to recuperate. As she did so, she couldn't help but wonder:
How did Godric die?
To be continued...
A/N: Ack! Don't kill me! Yes, Godric's dead. But I had to do it! Really! (Ducks from flying tomatoes).
And please excuse my shabby attempt at astrology. The whole Venus and Leo mumbo-jumbo that Firenze spouted in this chapter was exactly that: mumbo-jumbo. In other words, I made it all up!
For those of you who believe Firenze couldn't have gone up the stairs to the staff meeting room (wherever that may be), I suggest you go to YouTube and look up: "Liz Daffner Monte horse tricks" (and no, that's not me. lol! I'm not that skilled!) It's a short video clip of a horse going up the stairs. Yeah, I didn't think it possible for a horse to climb stairs before… but apparently, I was wrong.