Hermione Weasley makes a desperate journey into the past to change the future.
DISCLAIMER: Harry Potter is owned by Rowling and Scholastic. I am making no money from this work.
SUMMARY: Hermione Weasley makes a desperate journey into the past to change the future.
The History That Never Was
A deep blue flash of light followed by the bone rattling reverberations of a gong ringing heralded the arrival of a witch teleporting into the meeting room. Strong winds blew around, fluttering robes and ruffling hair. Parchment was strewn about and someone’s teacup tipped over. Then the wind died away and a massive wave of magical energy nearly knocked the entire staff of the Durmstrang Institute of Magical Arts out of their chairs.
The witch was average in height, painfully thin and worn looking with lines around her eyes and lips. Her brown frizzy hair was messily pulled away from her face in a simple bun at the back of her head. It seemed less likely that it was done so for any fashion or style and more as a way to keep it out of her face. Her heavy winter robes were once fine and expensive, but they had long since faded from too many washings and were frayed at the edges and worn thin in spots. They were also far too bulky and heavy for these early fall days.
However, much like the vaunted halls of Hogwarts, it was impossible to apparate into Durmstrang as the powerful wards would prevent it. The staff, both teaching and support, were instantly on their feet in the face of witnessing the impossible; eyes narrowed in suspicion or wide in shock. Everyone had a wand pointed directly at the interloper.
Even as the powerful magic began to ebb and wane, she looked up at them all and smiled what was more a grimace of pain than any proper greeting. Her hazel eyes paused at each of them, noting their fine if plain teaching robes, their strong and healthy bodies and the near forest of wands trained on her. A look of relief flittered across her face.
She knew them all. Oh, she hadn’t met all of them, only a few. However, she knew their faces and their names. They were her hope for the world. For Harry…
Headmaster Steffen Reinstadler of Durmstrang and his faithful staff members. She recognized Igor Kakaroff from the Tri-Wizard Tournament held during her own forth year at Hogwarts. But the others she had seen only in pictures and pensieves.
Tsvetanka Duskalova wore sensible earth tone robes and had a bit of fresh potting soil staining her fingers. Gavrail Kovachev had wispy white hair ringing his head from temple to temple and still smelled of potions fumes and brimstone. Sergei Sarapov was tall and thin, his eyes squinting from years of reading books with fading ink. His mustache practically seemed bigger than the rest of him. Thalia Danaiellis was a tiny and prim woman without a single hair out of place, a frown down turning her plump lips. Gunter Ulrich Krum looked like an older, healthier and better fed version of Victor.
Hermione swallowed softly at that observation and pushed down a wave of grief as she hurriedly turned her attention onwards.
Gizella Szepesi was plump and matronly, a more sophisticated version of Molly Weasley.
Bianka Bitschi seemed overly starched and stiff at first, but her eyes were soft and warm. She had both the discipline and compassion inherent in all medi-witches. Vladimir Vasilov was easily the youngest at the table and his robes were a bit more expensive than one might expect from a teacher. However his slim toned body and silken dark hair made him a very handsome prospect for marriage. Serafina Gorka was a beauty in her youth, that much was obvious in her slightly aging features. It was easy to imagine that she still inspired naughty dreams for her students. Finally, there was the earthy and practical Pantelis Papadopoulos whose open face and broad shoulders made Hermione feel an odd homesickness for the Burrow. This man would have fit right in with the Weasleys, she knew.
Then she turned her gaze to the room itself, the plain stone walls with its tall and narrow gothic windows seemed to sooth her and the grimace melted into a more genuine smile.
“My name is Hermione Weasley and if you scan me before the last of the magic dissipates; you will find it is temporal magic that brought me here to you.”
Eyes went wide all around the room, but Headmaster Steffen Reinstadler didn’t waste a second and sent several detection spells as the witch. The first spell left her glowing a faint blue and the second a bright yellow. The third left her with red glowing runes over her head that had many of them gasping in shock.
The Headmaster gaped at her a moment in disbelief before he attempted to pull himself together.
“By Merlin…you weren’t lying. You’re nearly crackling with temporal magics. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
The witch, Hermione, nodded.
“I don’t have long. The spell that sent me back in time is killing me even as we speak. In order to send me so far back in time it required the willing sacrifice of several witches or wizards…including the person traveling. I have maybe a half hour to live.”
“How do we know you speak the truth?” a heavily accented voice practically growled.
Hermione turned to look at the man and grinned.
“Oh Igor…you always were a shrewd one.”
Then she pulled out a wand. Everyone tensed and wands which had been lowered were raised again. However, she surprised them all.
“I, Hermione Weasley nee’ Granger, do hereby swear on my magic and my life that I am speaking the absolute truth when I say that I have traveled back in time in order to prevent the second and third rise of the Dark Lord known as Voldemort.”
Everyone flinched at the name of the Dark Lord even as her entire body flashed with light and then she smirked at the Dark Arts Professor of Durmstrang.
“Will that do, Igor? I don’t really have much time to debate this and I have much to say before I keel over dead.”
Headmaster Reinstadler cast a sideways glance at Igor warning him to be quiet and turned to study the witch.
“Mrs Weasley…please. If you know who Igor is…then surely you know what he was?”
She nodded once.
“A Death Eater. One who turned on his former Master and was killed in what is your future and my past for betraying the Dark Lord.”
Igor paled significantly and many others exchanged looks of surprise and fear. After a moment the Headmaster nodded and addressed Hermione again.
“I have two questions. First, how did the Dark Lord come back? He’s dead. Secondly, why bring this information to us? Why not Albus Dumbledore? It was he who led the fight against the Dark Lord, after all.”
Hermione smiled, but it was a sad one filled with vast regret.
“Excellent questions, Headmaster Reinstadler. As for the first, Voldemort created several vile bits of dark magic anchoring his spirit to this plane of existence. He is without a physical form, but he cannot die in truth until all of his horcruxes are destroyed.”
Professor Sarapov, a tall thin man with a balding head and a thick walrus-like mustache, trembled visibly as he leaned against a chair to keep from collapsing.
“As is more than one?”
Hermione turned to face Professor Thalis Danaiellis and nodded her head, her lips twisting into a fierce scowl.
Half of the room looked ready to faint and the other half looked confused.
“As to the other half of your questions, Headmaster,” she said turning to Reinstadler, “As much as I respect and admire the knowledge and power Albus Dumbledore welds, he has one major character flaw. He will give unrepentant murders a second, third, forth, fifth and however many other chances he can. He sacrifices the innocent to save the guilty.”
She turned to smirk up at Igor Kakaroff.
“Igor here served what…two years in Azkaban for his crimes and lost almost all of his worldly possessions? He was repentant. He regretted his mistakes and has been working ever since to make up for them. Ultimately, in my timeline, he paid with his life but he never returned to that lunatic monster.”
She huffed out a breath and shook her head.
“Dumbledore is of the mistaken belief that if he gives them all a chance, they too will follow Igor’s path back to the Light and to personal redemption. The sad truth is, almost none of them are as strong as Igor is and only pretend to change simply to avoid punishment. Dumbledore is blinded by his own good intentions and the repentance of two Death Eaters; Kakaroff and Snape.”
Many searching looks were exchanged among the staff at that. Albus Dumbledore was not the most well liked individual in the halls of Durmstrang, but he was respected. Oddly, it seemed as if this worn and battered witch echoed many of their opinions of the man; he was powerful and knowledgeable, but dangerously naive and optimistic. The man was a scholar or philosopher, not a true warrior or politician.
Finally, Headmaster Reinstadler broke the silence.
“Mrs Weasley…can you, er…tell us why you’re here? I can’t honestly believe that you would risk so much just to offer vague warnings of a danger yet to come.”
Almost absently, she nodded her head even as she tucked away her wand and opened up a bag that was hanging over her shoulder and began to rummage inside it.
“What I want is for you all to find Harry Potter and rescue him from his relatives and train him for what is to come.”
Professor Duskalova gasped faintly.
“The Boy Who Lived?”
Hermione nodded and pulled a handful of books out of her bag.
“Yes. Harry. My best friend.”
She looked wistful and sad for a moment, turning to gaze out the window as she shuddered out a hitched sigh. Then her eyes turned back to them and they were hard as stone.
“He’s the one who sent me back in time. He cast the spell himself, willingly draining his own magical core and sacrificing his life force to hurtle me backwards through time.”
Igor gasped softly and then collapsed into his chair; a shocked looked on his face.
Hermione’s eyes turned towards him and the lines in her face softened slightly in regret.
“Igor…it was…necessary. It was also one of the hardest things we’ve ever done. Both Harry and I are fighters. We have been ever since we were children. Neither of us were suicidal, but we really had no other choice.”
Headmaster Reinstadler gestured to a chair at the table with one hand even as he gestured his staff back into their places with the other.
“Sit Mrs Weasley. Please. Explain it all to us so that we can understand.”
She smiled and nodded, sitting down and placing the books on the table in front of her. Everyone else slowly regained their seats and turned to look at her, amazement and fear hidden in their eyes.
“Yes…um, there is so much I need to tell you. So much you all need to know, it’s almost overwhelming and I’m not sure where to start.”
“Why don’t you tell us why you came here. Why us? You explained why you didn’t go to Dumbledore, but why us? We’re not the Aurors. We’re school teachers.”
“Okay. I’ll start at the ending and then go back to the beginning and tell you how we got there. I suppose I could have gone somewhere else and then had Harry send me backwards in time, but there were very few places we could have gone that would take us in and it would have been dangerous to travel to any of them. We couldn’t risk it. You see, the spell only allowed me to travel through time, not space. I started in this room even as I landed here. Only the date was different.”
She looked around the room again, her eyes sad and wistful.
“It’s so much nicer during this time period. The scent of death and decay is nowhere to be found.”
Then her eyes focused onto the Headmaster again.
“I started my journey through time here because here is where I lived. Durmstrang was the last standing bastion of Light in all of Europe.”
She cackled a laugh that was half crazed with grief even as the staff all exchanged looks again.
“Emperor Voldemort’s Dark Army had laid siege to our walls and wards. We were trapped inside Durmstrang fortress, our supply of food nearly gone and disease running rampant inside the walls. Thousands of dark wizards, dark creatures, and abominations waited outside for all of us to die of starvation so that the wards would finally drop into dormancy and the fortress would be his.”
“…dear Merlin…” Gizella Szepesi whispered.
“He needed it, you see, because the muggles had already destroyed so many wizarding encampments. In fact, Hogwarts was one of the first magical fortresses to be destroyed with their bombs, but the muggles never found Durmstrang. Emperor Voldemort wanted to turn it into his palace.”
Hermione looked down at the books in front of her and sighed sadly.
“When I left to come back in time, it was a gamble of pure desperation on our part. With me in the past and Harry dead, there was only one person in the fortress left that was strong enough and trained enough to hold the wards.”
She looked up, a small smile quirking one side of her lips.
“Harry’s lover, Victor Krum was Headmaster of Durmstrang. Once he dies, the wards will drop and go dormant, waiting for someone strong enough to reactivate them. The Emperor is definitely strong enough.”
Professor Krum gasped.
Hermione turned her head and nodded, a single tear sliding silently down her wrinkled cheek.
“Yes. He’s a wonderful man, and a dear friend.”
Then she chuckled and flipped through her stack of books until she picked one up and slid it across the table to the Charms Professor.
“Here. This is a book he wrote on the history of the third rise of Voldemort. It focuses on what happened in Eastern Europe in general and at Durmstrang in particular.”
Professor Krum took the book with a trembling hand and opened it up. Inside the front cover was tucked a note addressed specifically to him.
“Victor wanted you to have that book. Hopefully, it will have something in it that will help prevent the events that happened in my timeline, but even if it doesn’t, he wanted you to have it.”
Hermione’s smile softened.
“He loved you Professor. He took the job as Professor here and later as Headmaster to make you proud of him.”
Then Hermione turned to Headmaster Reinstadler and picked up the next book on the stack.
“This one is mine. It details events in Great Britain during Harry’s school years and Voldemort’s second rise as well as the beginning of his third.”
She handed it over to the Headmaster, a fierce look in her eyes.
“Study it. Learn it. Follow the instructions I’ve laid out for you. It details every one of Voldemort’s horcruxes; where they are, how to retrieve them, and how to best destroy them. It also details the Deathly Hallows; where they are, how to retrieve them, and why they need to go to Harry.”
At the skeptical looks blossoming around the room and Gavrail Kovachev’s cry of, “Why him”, Hermione scowled.
“Harry Potter is the last living descendant of the Perevelle family. Only he can unite the Hallows and wield them as the Master of Death. No one else. In another’s hands, they act as cursed objects bringing downfall and ruin upon those that would claim them.”
She turned back to Reinstadler and pointed to the book in his hands.
“It’s all detailed in there. Everything I could think of. Everything I could remember.”
Then her eyes turned cold and hard again.
“And remember, it must be Harry who destroys the horcruxes and gathers the Hallows. He didn’t survive the killing curse by accident. He’s a child of prophecy and destined to be the Master of Death. Only…”
She sighed and turned sad again, her eyes unfocused as she looked into her own memories and the tragedies that lived there.
“…Dumbledore was the one who originally heard the prophecy, but he misinterpreted it and didn’t truly understand just what it all meant. Mostly because he didn’t realize that particular prophecy wasn’t the only one spoken about Harry and because he was too busy trying to save dark wizards from themselves. He had an ideal of how the wizarding world should be and tried to force the prophecy about Harry into making that dream come true. In many ways, he doomed us all.”
Headmaster Reinstadler gaped at her for a moment. It was clear that he wasn’t sure how to respond to the flood of information being poured out for him. It was wildly fantastical, and yet heartrendingly terrifying at the same time.
“I…I…I simply don’t know what to say. This…this is…”
He broke off, shaking his head faintly in denial.
“It’s overwhelming and horrifying and you want to just scream that it couldn’t possibly be true?” Hermione asked.
He nodded in silent agreement and she sighed.
“Believe me, I understand. Trying to absorb nearly 70 years of history that hasn’t even happened yet is…a lot to ask of anyone. When that history also includes a Child of Prophecy, an insane Dark Lord that keeps getting resurrected from death, horcruxes, and the Deathly Hallows than it’s even worse.”
Then she picked up two more books. These ones were a bit smaller than the others and had matching covers in deep blue silk with silver edging.
“These two books were written by Luna Scamander nee’ Lovegood. The first is a book on soul magic; specifically the magics that Voldemort used to rebirth himself twice. It is, in all honestly, the most vile and twisted magic I’ve ever seen and it’s all documented here. Hide this book. Destroy it if you must, but you will need to understand the basics at least in order to undo what he has wrought.”
She sighed and slid the first book over to the Headmaster. Steffen looked down at the book, a look of near horror on his face. Slowly, he reached out and pulled it closer to himself and shuddered. The contents of that book were terrifying to contemplate and this strange witch that traveled through time just handed it over to him. He was amazed and shocked at her audacity and the burden he would now have to bear.
Hermione gazed at him sympathetically for a long moment and then picked up the other book. Her smile was sad and regretful as she waved it in the air.
“This one is about the timetravel magics that brought me here. Luna was the one who crafted the spell and made all this possible.”
Hermione’s eyes watered up and her smile twisted into an expression of pain and grief. Her bottom lip trembled slightly and her voice hitched.
“This…this was her redemption for it was through her that the Dark Lord returned the third time.”
Igor gaped. Then he leaned forward over the table, his hands clenched tightly to the wooden surface as his eyes blazed with emotion.
“She resurrected that madman and you trusted her to create a spell to send you through time?”
Hermione shook her head, a pleading expression making her watery eyes wide as she hastened to explain.
“You don’t understand. During his second rise, there was a war. Luna fought on the side of Light. She was my friend and one of Harry’s most trusted Lieutenants. But she was captured and held in the Malfoy family dungeons. I myself helped her to escape.”
Hermione’s breath hitched and a tear rolled down her cheek.
“What no one knew at the time was that she was pregnant. Luna admitted that she had been…violated, but she never saw her attacker. She was silenced and blinded and raped. After the final battle when Harry defeated Voldemort she came to us and said she was going away. That she needed time and space to heal from her ordeal. We told her we loved her and wished her well and sent her on her way.”
Hermione barked out a laugh that held only pain and no humor. Her eyes were wild with grief that was tainted with a hint of madness, even as more tears slid down her cheeks.
“We didn’t know it at the time, but she left to give birth in another country. She thought she was carrying a Malfoy child and didn’t want to raise her rapist’s heir, so she birthed him and gave him up for adoption somewhere in Norway. Then she left and went on her way, trying to piece her life together. She eventually married and had children of her own.”
“Then what happened? What drove her to write two such books?”
Hermione turned her head to smile sadly at Professor Krum. The older wizard’s expression was one of terrible understanding and gentle sympathy. He remembered the Great War against Grindlewald as one of its survivors. He knew the type of pain that Hermione described for he had seen it over and over again in his youth.
“The child…it wasn’t a Malfoy although she didn’t know it. It was Voldemort’s heir and he somehow came back and possessed his own son and so began the third rise.”
Professor Krum gasped and Madam Bitschi murmured, “Oh…that poor girl.”
Hermione looked over at her. She was elderly and was wearing the symbol of a medi-witch pinned on her collar. Hermione nodded sadly.
“I don’t think Luna ever really recovered once we finally realized the truth. You see, at first we had no clue what was really happening. It started as a bunch of disappearances. Witches, wizards, goblins, muggles and all manor of creatures magical and mundane. They just…disappeared.”
“Harry’s wife Ginny was one of the first to disappear. She left the house to go to a shop and never returned. She was just…gone.”
Professor Krum’s expression shifted into a frown of confusion even as he tilted his head to the side.
“Wait. I thought you said that Harry was Victor’s lover? How could he have a wife?”
Hermione sighed and shook her head.
“They didn’t become lovers until after…” she grimaced and changed what she had been about to say, “…they were both widowers by then. It was more like longtime friends turning to each other for comfort than a passionate love affair. Harry and Victor were good for each other and together they orchestrated most of the Light’s victories and rescues…but it was already too late by then.”
Professor Danaiellis frowned thoughtfully even as her fingers smoothed out a nonexistent wrinkle on her robes.
“What do you mean, it was too late?”
Hermione barked out another laugh that was chilling to hear as it held echoes of madness and despair in it.
“Those disappearances? Voldemort was behind them all. Several hundred wizards, witches and muggles all turned into inferi. No one had a clue that he had returned until the day he lead an army of undead and marched to Hogwarts killing everyone in his path. We were barely able to get the children out of there before they were all killed. As it was, we still lost nearly half of the student population.”
The staff paled and the Headmaster clutched the books in his hands until his knuckles turned white. Hermione didn’t seem to notice, her unfocused eyes looking into a past that hadn’t happened yet.
“He only then announced his return and let everyone know who he was. A week later, he murdered the entire muggle royal family of Great Britain and claimed the credit in the name of magical blood purity.”
Her eyes turned hard and she glared around the room. It was suddenly evident that this witch was a warrior; a vicious and deadly fighter.
“The muggles declared war on all magic users at that point. It was a slaughter. Muggle repelling wards might hide magical enclaves from muggle eyes and minds, but they don’t hide them from muggle technology. Thousands died in the first month. We tried to tell them that it wasn’t every magical that hated muggles, that it was only a small percentage of the population, but they were incensed. The Royal House of Windsor had ruled Great Britain for so long and they were murdered to the last child. It was deemed an act of war by a man claiming to be the rightful ruler of all wizarding Britain and the muggles treated it as such.”
Professor Vladimir Vasilov scoffed. He was a slim man with dark hair and bright blue eyes. To Hermione, he looked so young and healthy, untouched by madness or war.
“Yes but, forgive me, they were only muggles. What could they do?”
Hermione rolled her eyes and grinned. It was nostalgic in a way. It had been so long since any wizard or witch needed to ask just what a muggle could do. In her timeline, that answer was all too apparent.
Then she smirked wickedly and narrowed her eyes. Time to shake up some thick pureblood minds and open their eyes.
“You mean besides destroy the British Ministry of Magic, kill thousands of magicals and then finally blow up Hogwarts itself?”
Hermione shook her head and grew serious once again. This was no time for joking, and really, it wasn’t funny at all. She was just so used to the gallows humor of Harry and Victor that was more of an effort not to finally go stark raving mad from the pain of it all than any real sort of cheer.
“Technology. I don’t know if they could do now at this point in time what they did then. In the future, I mean. But they had technology that could detect strong magic signals such as wards and strong concentrations of magic use. They sent bombs to those locations. When Voldemort killed the muggle royal family, he essentially signed the death sentence on magical Britain.”
“We all fled the island, light and dark alike. Some countries followed England’s example and chased the magic users out of their lands. Others opened up their borders to refugees. It was chaos as people fled from one country to another. Whole magical villages were destroyed and others became flooded with people in dire straights. And the whole time, Voldemort built up his army and recruited followers from all over the world. People terrified of the muggles, people wanting to fight back and reclaim their homes. It didn’t matter to them that he was the one that started it all, only that he promised to finish it.”
Hermione stilled and looked down at the table for a long moment as everyone tried desperately to absorb her words. Finally, she looked up and ran a hand over her face to wipe away her tears.
“When I said that Durmstrang was the last bastion of Light, I meant it literally. Even if Harry had somehow fought his way through the army at our wards and killed them all, we would have died. I doubt there were enough magic users left in all of Europe to birth a new generation. Between the muggles hunting all magic users and the Dark hunting down the Light, we were doomed.”
They were aghast.
The Headmaster wavered between horror at what he was hearing and a sort of fierce pride that even against such a vast enemy, Durmstrang hadn’t fallen. It’s one thing to suspect you held the wards of the strongest magical fortress in the world and another to have proof.
Professor Krum’s eyes were tragic and it was easy to see that he was thinking of his young grandson not yet fitted for a wand and trying to picture him as the last Headmaster of Durmstrang, alone to face off against an insane Dark Lord.
“But…but why? Why would he do such a thing? Why start such a war and then wipe out everyone?”
Hermione snorted. It was a graceless sound.
“Because Voldemort doesn’t care about the magical world. He says he’s all about pureblood culture, but that’s a lie he uses to trick people into following him. He only truly cares about power. He wants to rule the world; he doesn’t care if those left as his slaves are muggle, magical or creatures as long as it’s him they worship as their living god.”
Headmaster Reinstadler sucked in a breath.
“He’s a madman.”
Hermione nodded solemnly.
Then Hermione grimaced and reached up to press her hand to her chest over her heart and blinked her eyes rapidly.
“Are you well?”
She offered a smile to Madam Bitschi, but it wasn’t very reassuring.
“I think…that I need to move this along a bit faster than I’d originally thought. The timetravel spell is catching up to me.”
Then she sighed and pushed the last book over to Professor Krum.
“That’s Harry’s journal. I doubt you’ll be able to read it since it’s written in parseltongue, but it’s absolutely full of magic and spells as well as descriptions of his adventures. Harry wanted it to go to his younger self. It’ll tell young Harry about the Potter family, about what it means to be Master of Death, and what the prophecies he was born to fulfill are.”
She shook her head slowly, her thoughtful expression tinged with regret.
“I never read it since I’m not a parseltongue, but it is Harry’s greatest hope that it will be able to guide his younger self through life. Albus Dumbledore did all he could to arrange Harry’s life and send him in a certain direction. Unfortunately, it was the absolute wrong direction and led to the downfall of the Wizarding World. Harry was born to be a warrior, not a martyr and that will help him on his way.”
Professor Krum opened the book and looked down at what appeared to be runes formed from twisting turning squiggles. They almost seemed to move on their own and he was certain that he heard the soft hissing of snakes in the background, but he couldn’t read it.
Sighing, he closed the book and looked up at the witch with the tired eyes.
“Just to be certain I understand exactly what it is you want…”
He trailed off and Hermione looked up at him, her eyebrow cocked in anticipation.
“You wish us to somehow have Mr. Potter attend school here in Durmstrang instead of Hogwarts and…guide him on his quest with the information in these books?”
Hermione beamed a smile at Gunter and nodded, her face lighting up.
“Yes! Only, I would prefer it if you could get his guardianship away from his muggle aunt and signed over to a wizarding family outside of England as well. The abuse and neglect he suffered there affected his physical health, his magical strength, and also his personality. Dumbledore selected them with the idea of raising Harry to be a martyr and they will…ruin him if given the chance.”
Vasilov, who had scoffed at the idea of muggles being dangerous moments ago, gaped at her in shock for a moment.
“You want us to somehow gain guardianship of him? He’s the Boy-Who-Lived! No one in Britain will allow him to leave, especially Dumbledore!”
Hermione sighed and shrugged helplessly. He was correct, after all.
“I’m not sure what to advise for that end of things. Perhaps going through his muggle aunt would be best. She could legally sign over guardianship. And to be truthful, as long as she thought she could get away with it, she would do so in a heartbeat. She despises magic and Harry as a result of him being a wizard. She never wanted him in her home.”
She reached up and pressed her hand against her chest again, going slightly pale and tilted her head down. She breathed deeply and slowly for a moment before the color started to return to her face. The medi-witch was watching her carefully, her wand in hand. Hermione looked up and waved Madam Bitschi off.
“It’s not going to be easy, although sneaky is probably best. I’d suggest sending squibs or muggles though. He’s got wards on his house that alerts Dumbledore if a witch or wizard show up.”
She grimaced and shrugged apologetically at Professor Krum at that bit of information.
“However, I think it’s important. As I said, they were chosen by Dumbledore because their irrational hatred of magic encouraged them to abuse and neglect Harry. Dumbledore wanted Harry’s spirit battered to the point of nearly being broken. He wanted a martyr, someone prepared to die for Dumbledore’s idea of what the world should be.
Unfortunately, that’s in direct opposition to the prophecy stating that as Master of Death, Harry would unite the wizarding populace; both Light and Dark. That requires a leader, a warrior, a politician, and someone with a lot of knowledge of when and how to use the power he welds.”
Sighing, Hermione reached down into her bag again and rummaged around. She pulled out a small wooden crate about the size of a matchbox. Then she pulled out two more and set them on the table in front of her. Then she did that with two more and lined up the five small wooden crates in front of her.
Finally, she looked up from her task directly at Professor Krum. Her eyes were haunted and she seemed so much older than she had earlier, as if the weight of her thoughts were visible on her flesh.
“Harry…my Harry, had none of that. His power was stunted. He learned to fight, but not how to lead. He became of mixture of Light and Dark by necessity and circumstance against his will. He feared and hated the Dark as Dumbledore taught him to and so he ignored and feared half of his strength. When he had no choice but to use it, he was wracked with guilt and self hate.
Intellectually, emotionally, academically, and ultimately, philosophically; Harry was not up to the tasks he was meant to perform. He wasn’t raised and trained to do them. He was raised to die a glorious death saving others. That didn’t happen though, and he was lost from that point on. Desperately trying to do that which he had no clue how to do.”
There was a long moment of silence as everyone tried to take in her words. There was no doubting the passionate belief and plea in her voice, but the content…the message, that was a very difficult and bitter pill to swallow. No one wanted to believe that the fate of the world rested on the shoulders of one small baby, and yet…he did survive the killing curse.
He if could do the impossible as a mere babe still nursing at his mother’s breast, what could he do with proper training and full use of his magic and power?
Finally, Headmaster Reinstadler broke the silence and held up the book that Hermione had indicated that she had wrote.
“And this contains all we need to know about how to train The-Boy-Who-Lived and to prevent the return of the Dark Lord?”
Offering up a wane and wobbly smile, Hermione nodded.
“Yes. I’ve tried to organize it all in some meaningful way. There are sections about the horcruxes that detail all the information about finding and destroying them. There’s a section about the Deathly Hallows. There are also sections about all the prophecies that Harry’s under and what they might mean. I’ve also included a brief history of people that might help or hinder you based on what they did in my timeline.”
Uncertainty crept across her face and she trembled slightly.
“I just hope it’s enough.”
Then she gestured to the small wooden crates lined up before her.
“These should help. Hopefully, they’ll add detail or proof to help you believe.”
Then she pulled out her wand and tapped the first crate. It swelled up, enlarging back into its true size, pushing the other crates out of the way.
Hermione’s face paled and she swayed in her chair.
“Whoa! That took a lot out of me. Time is running short.”
Finally unable to stand and watch someone suffer any longer, Madam Bitschi stood up from her chair and walked across the room with her wand drawn. She flicked it at Hermione to run a medical scan, ignoring her gestures to stop.
Hermione glowed a sickly green yellow that was very dark around her heart. The medi-witch gasped and then frowned.
“You are in the beginning stages of cardiac failure. I need to get you to the infirmary right away.”
Hermione smiled and shook her head.
“No. I’m dying and nothing you can do will stop it. I knew this would happen before I volunteered for this mission.”
Madam Bitschi flicked her wand again and Hermione sighed and relaxed slightly as she began to breathe easier and the pains in her chest lightened a bit.
“I’m afraid I will have to insist. I will take you to the infirmary. You can explain the boxes later.”
Hermione frowned and gripped her wand.
“There is no later for me. You are simply wasting what little time I have. I will not go to the infirmary as nothing you can do will save me. Why? Because at this very moment, my magical core is imploding. My magic is draining from me and once it is all gone, I will die. End. Of. Discussion.”
Madam Bitschi’s gasp was echoed around the room. She raised her wand and cast a complex monitoring charm at Hermione. Above Hermione’s head glowing blue runes popped into view. They were shifting, switching from rune equation to rune equation as it constantly recalculated her magical core.
“Great Circe!” Gizelle Szepesi exclaimed when she saw the runes.
Everyone else looked up at them at her reaction. It was painfully obvious to all that the runes were acting as a countdown, visibly showing the lowering power levels as the magic drained out of her.
Hermione huffed and banished the runes with a wave of her wand.
“If you are through, I have to finish here before I die.”
Then, ignoring the medi-witch who obviously was just barely restraining herself from dragging Hermione away to the infirmary, she turned to the enlarged crate. Smiling slightly, she pried off the lid and reached inside. She pulled out a carefully sealed and labeled crystal jar. Inside of it was a shimmering and swirling silver liquid.
Hermione handed it over to Headmaster Reinstadler and beamed a proud smile.
“Pensieve memories. Fifty jars full of them in each crate.”
She gestured to the one open crate and the four others that were still reduced down in size.
“Two of them are filled with Harry’s memories. One of them is all mine. The other three are a mixture of various people’s memories that witnessed or participated in important events.”
She turned to smile at Professor Krum, her eyes softening into gentle understanding.
“Some are Victor’s.”
He smiled back at her, conflicted with excitement and trepidation over what he would find when he viewed his grandson’s memories of events that would, hopefully, never happen.
Then Hermione turned back and rummaged through her bag again. She pulled out a large marble bowl and carefully set it on the table.
“This was the hardest thing to get for you.”
They all looked at the pensieve. They were terribly rare objects of immense value. It wasn’t very fancy or large, but it was obviously powerful. The more sensitive at the table could feel the magic thrumming through the runes carved on its surface.
“I couldn’t bring back anything that already exists in this time period. It would cause a paradox to have two identical objects in the timestream.”
She turned and smirked at Madam Bitschi.
“That’s what’s killing me, by the way. I already exist in the here and now. I’m a child in England, still unaware of the magical world.”
A few of the teachers gasped as she had just essentially admitted to being a muggleborn. A muggleborn inside of Durmstrang.
Then she turned back to face Headmaster Reinstadler and gestured to the pensieve.
“This is the work of two witches and one wizard; Padma Kinnear nee’ Patil, Gabrielle Rousseau nee’ Delacour, and Julien Beauvais. When they learned we needed a pensieve that did not exist in the past, the three of them worked tirelessly to create one.”
Hermione snorted, a bit of humor touching her eyes for the first time.
“I can’t tell you the number of times they accidentally blew up their lab. However, in the end, they didn’t fail us or you. It’s a fully functioning solicitor’s pensieve. It can allow one to enter the memory or show it in presentation format to an audience.”
Headmaster Reinstadler held up the crystal jar and peered at the silvery memory and then turned it to see the label carefully written out.
“Harry Potter, 1992, 2nd Year Hogwarts, Chamber of Secrets, Destruction of the Diary Horcurx and the Basilisk.”
Then he turned and blinked at her.
“Is this…label correct?”
His voice was strained with shock. The idea of a twelve year old child facing off against a basilisk and a horcrux made him want to vomit.
Hermione gazed at him solemnly and then nodded.
“Yes. Lucius Malfoy had the horcrux and then gave it to an eleven year old girl. It possessed her and used her body to open Slytherin’s Chamber of Secrets and awaken a thousand year old basilisk that had been under magical hibernation. It used the basilisk to attack the student populace. Then the horcrux began to drain Ginny’s lifeforce to revive its maker.”
However, it was Professor Gunter Krum that recognized the name.
“Ginny? Is that the witch that Harry married?”
She turned her head and nodded.
“Yes. She was. Harry saved her.”
Then Headmaster Reinstadler cleared his throat and held up the jar.
“Can we watch this?”
Hermione nodded and held out her hand for the jar. He carefully gave it to her and watched as she cracked the seal and poured the silvery memory into the pensieve.
“Now remember, unless a memory is in the pensieve, you must keep it stored in a crystal jar with an airtight wax seal or it will evaporate away.”
Several of the professors nodded in acknowledgement of the warning. Then she pointed out a series of four runes to the Headmaster.
“You must tap your wand against these in order to activate the presentation mode. Once the memory is finished playing out, it will automatically stop. If you want to pause it in mid-play, you tap this rune here. Tapping it again will resume play of the memory.”
Then, she gently tapped her wand against the four runes and the pensieve began to play. The memory rose up in a silvery mist and the scene formed in perfect three dimensions out of that mist to show a small boy with round glasses and wearing dirty torn robes standing before an immense iron door locked with magical metal serpents.
They watched as the boy hissed in parseltongue at the doors and they opened. Some gasped at this proof that The-Boy-Who-Lived was a parseltongue, others gaped in awe of the legendary chamber beyond the doors.
They watched, horrified as they witnessed Harry confront the glowing specter of the Dark Lord as a young student and goggled at learning his true identity. It was clear to all that the boy didn’t understand the danger he was in or what it was he faced. A few cringed as he ignored the ghostly horcrux in favor of checking on the young witch dying on the ground before him.
Then they were stunned at the size of the beastly basilisk that arrived and the appearance of a phoenix and the legendary Hogwarts Sorting Hat. When Harry pulled Gryffindor’s magical sword from the hat, jaws dropped around the room.
To call what happened next a battle was a fallacy. It was painfully obvious the boy was untrained in magics or swordplay. He was woefully outmatched. It was only pure dumb luck that he managed to kill the basilisk at all.
The thing that stood out the most to the majority of them was that the basilisk venom didn’t kill him. Even with pure phoenix tears cried directly into the wound, he should have died. In fact, he should have been dead long before the phoenix arrived at his side to cry those tears.
Once again, The-Boy-Who-Lived survived the unsurvivable.
The memory then ended with Harry stabbing the horcrux with the basilisk fang that had just pierced his flesh and destroying it. Even as the young Dark Lord’s shrieks of pain faded away as his specter dissolved into nothingness, the mists that formed the memory slid back down into the pensieve.
Headmaster Reinstadler seemed at a loss.
Hermione nodded even as she seemed to smile at him in understanding sympathy.
“It’s amazing to watch, I know. He should have died then. Yet…he’s Harry Potter and the impossible often happened around him. Ancient magical artifacts thought to be mere legends appear, mystical firebirds rush to his aid, and even the venom of ancient and deadly basilisks can’t kill him. And at that point in time he was working with only a mere fraction of his true power.”
“How…” Igor’s eyes were wide with shock as he turned to her.
Hermione shrugged and waved a hand through the air vaguely.
“He’s Harry Potter. It’s as complex and as simple as that. He’s a Prophecy Child. His destiny was not just to defeat Voldemort, although that is part of it and his first task. His destiny was to unite the Wizarding World. Light and Dark. Muggleborn and Pureblood. All the various Ministries and Governments…”
Professor Krum’s eyes lit up in the beginning of understanding.
“Instead of Emperor Voldemort it was supposed to be Emperor Potter.”
Hermione turned to face him, her eyes both wise and haunted.
Headmaster Reinstadler nodded slowly even though a look of confusion washed across his face. “But why? Why would he…or anyone really, be prophesied to unite and then rule all of the Wizarding World?”
Hermione sighed and slumped back into her chair, her hand reaching up to press against her chest even as a gray tinge began to form along her cheeks.
“We believe Harry’s immense magical strength and his destiny was brought about, not in response to Voldemort despite him being an obstacle, but in response to the growing and changing Muggle World. That was Dumbledore’s greatest mistake. He saw Voldemort as the ultimate danger to the Wizarding World and focused everything he had on maintaining the status quo while holding that madman at bay. The truth is, Voldemort could have been put down for good by the time Harry and I graduated Hogwarts without half the danger and pain we suffered if only Harry had been properly raised and trained.
Instead of teaching him to be a leader and warrior, a politician and thinker, Harry was raised to be a symbol; a martyr. Because of that, he never even tried to head in the direction he was meant to. By the time he learned of the prophecies that said he would unite the world and save it, it was far too late. The prophecies warped and shifted to the reborn Voldemort. He would rule the world and then destroy it.”
Professor Vladimir Vasilov shook his head in a clear effort to understand just what it was Hermione Weasley was trying to explain. Everything she said or inferred was going directly against long held beliefs he had been taught since his childhood.
“Okay. I understand that a prophecy will warp and twist when the one who was meant to fulfill it cannot for some reason. It’s been documented in the past and warned about in a variety of tomes and studies. What I don’t understand is why a prophecy would be made of someone who would unite and save the Wizarding World from muggles.”
The word muggle was said with a mix of scorn and confusion.
Hermione shook her head at him sadly.
“That’s because you know nothing of muggles or their culture. Most purebloods don’t and I’ve found that the ones who speak the loudest about how backward and useless they are at the ones who understand them the least.
Muggles outnumber us nearly 10,000 to 1 and with their technology they can equal or better us in most things. Only in a few areas is magic still better or faster than muggle technology and that area is shrinking constantly.”
Most of the faces around her reflected skepticism or smug arrogance in their firm belief in wizarding superiority. She sighed.
“Look, even without all of the books and memories I’ve brought you, if I can convince you of the dangers the muggles represent, I’ll consider my imminent death worthwhile. Point of fact, I’m dying. I have no reason whatsoever to lie or sugar-coat the truth. I don’t have the time to do so, for one and nothing you can do to punish me for my sophistry would effect me for another.
The plain unspoken truth of our world is that right now, the ONLY thing keeping us from being wiped out by the muggles is their ignorance of us. Only the highest members of the muggle governments are aware we exist and they are kept almost totally ignorant of what we can do and how we live. Why? Because if those leaders learned about how our society operates they’d either kill us to the last being or invade us to take over in an attempt to save us from ourselves. And if the population of regular muggles learned of us, it wouldn’t matter what the governments wanted, we’d be overrun in months as mobs formed.”
“Muggle repelling wards will keep them out.” Professor Vasilov insisted, even though his voice didn’t carry the conviction it had even moments earlier.
Hermione snorted in dark amusement. Her eyes gleamed with a hint of madness.
“Wrong! Muggle repelling wards effect the mind and the eyes of muggles. It does nothing to their technology. It took the muggles two weeks after the Royal Family was murdered to develop a way to use technology to detect magic. Two short weeks. Then they dropped bombs on us. Bombs we never found a way to ward against. No shield could stop them.”
Vasilov opened his mouth to argue more, but Gunter Krum silenced him with a gentle touch to his arm.
“Vladimir…you are young and uneducated about the true strength of the muggles. But I…I remember. The war with Grindlewald was fierce yes, but many forget that the muggles played their part in that war. Their armies were vast and they had machines of war that terrorized the skies, the oceans, the fields, and the towns. Muggles do not match us in many ways, but in dealing out death to the masses they truly are our superiors.”
Igor Karakoff sneered, but didn’t naysay Gunter’s words and Hermione nodded in enthusiastic agreement.
“Yes!” Hermione exclaimed, “Their primary weapon, that which even the merest muggle soldiers carried, smashed through all but the strongest shields, killing the witch or wizard that cast them. They had weapons called FAE’s or Fire-Air Explosives that literally turned the air to fire and sent shockwaves of explosive energy through the surrounding area. Between the bombs, the FAE’s and the soldiers with their guns and bullets, we lost most of the British Wizarding World in less than a month.”
She shook her head, and went on, ignoring the growing pain in her chest.
“According to the prophecy that Dumbledore never knew about and as such invalidated with his actions; all of that could have been avoided. Harry could have untied us and we would have prevailed against the muggles. Instead, Harry wasn’t prepared for his role and thus the prophecy warped. It is the firm belief of most people from my future timeline that with Harry unable to fulfill his destiny, Magic herself gave up on the Wizarding World and facilitated Voldemort’s rebirth so that he could hasten the end of our world.”
She gasped and turned a bit grayer about the face and grimaced in pain. Madam Bitschi stood again and waved her wand at Hermione in a precise manner to measure Hermione’s magical core. The runes appeared over her head again and were still in countdown, but it was shocking to see how little magic she had left. Hermione ignored it and the medi-witch.
“We were a society divided even before Voldemort returned. Purebloods against halfbloods and muggleborns. Magical humans against the muggles and the other magical races. Rich against poor. Light against dark. When the muggles attacked, we wouldn’t work together against them even if we knew how; which we didn’t. And so, we were doomed.
On the day that I came back in time, Durmstrang was the last bastion of Light wizards and witches in all of Europe. There were rumors of a hidden enclave in Southeast Asia and of several in the Americas, but that was all. But wizards and witches weren’t the only magical beings that the muggles went for.
When I left, the centaurs, merfolk, and dragons had all been rounded up and fitted with magic repressing collars. The survivors of the various herds ended up living out their lives caged in muggle zoos so that the muggles could come gawk at them in amazement.
The goblins had been enslaved and sent to work in various mines, factories and other hard labor jobs. The house-elves…”
Hermione trailed off with a gasp that was half remembered horror and half agony.
“The house-elves were slaughtered to the last. They were the only magical beings that sided with the wizards and as such they were put down like rabid animals. The other magical beings didn’t lift a hand to help us at first because they had spent centuries being oppressed and treated horrifically by wizards and felt we were simply getting what was coming to us. It wasn’t until the muggles turned on them too that they realized the danger they were in, but by then it was far too late.
And while this was happening, Voldemort was doing half of the work for them while keeping the muggles incensed with hatred for all things magical. He slaughtered wizards, witches, goblins and muggles with little thought to who or what his victims were. Everyone was either his marked servant or worthy of death in his eyes.”
Tears pooled in Hermione’s eyes. Igor’s expression was one of remembered horror as he remembered his own painful past. Vasilov and Sarapov shared a silent look of determination and silent promise. This tale of horror would not come to pass if they had anything to say about it.
With a hitched breath, Hermione continued.
“Every time we came close to negotiating a peace treaty with the muggles, he’d go off and do something horrific to keep the muggles fighting us. I think he found it amusing.”
Then Hermione seemed to crumple and her grey skin turned chalky white. Everyone was witness to the runes counting down her death and she was close…so close to the end. Slumping against the table for support, she reached out a hand and grasped onto Headmaster Steffen Reinstadler.
“Harry is the key. He can prevent this from happening. He’s the one with the power to defeat Voldemort, unite us, and lead us into the future safely so that we can thrive and prosper as a people. But he can’t do it alone. He needs to be saved from his relatives, hidden from Albus Dumbledore, and raised to fulfill his destiny.
Do what I ask. Please! If you raise him right…he’ll become the Master of Death. He’ll have the power to take life or give it. He’ll be the one to herald a new age of magic.”
Her eyes were showing panic now.
Headmaster Reinstadler looked at her solemnly for a long moment, then he nodded his head.
Hermione Weasley nee’ Granger relaxed all the tension from her body and she smiled at him, her eyes softening in relief and joy.
“Thank you, Headmaster.”
And then, with one last sigh, she died.
Durmstrang Staff (in order of appearance)
Headmaster Steffen Reinstadler (M)
Professor of Dark Arts Igor Kakaroff (M)
Professor of Herbology Tsvetanka Duskalova (F)
Professor of Potions Gavrail Kovachev (M)
Professor of Arithmancy Sergei Sarapov (M)
Professor of History Thalia Danaiellis (F)
Professor of Charms Gunter Ulrich Krum (M)
Professor of Runes Gizella Szepesi (F)
Medi-Witch Madam Bianka Bitschi (F)
Professor of Transfiguration Vladimir Vasilov (M)
Professor of Astronomy Serafina Gorka (F)
Professor of Magical Creatures Pantelis Papadopoulos (M)