Into the Pensieve
“Albus, you do realize what today is, do you not?” Snape’s asked, letting the last few words drip from his tongue in ominous intrigue. His beetle black eyes swept around the Headmaster’s office, taking in the sleeping portraits, finally resting upon the twinkling blue eyes of the Headmaster.
Appraising Severus over his half-moon spectacles, Albus took his time with his answer, wondering if he should speak all he knew, or partial truths. He settled, in the short run, for the latter. “Today is the day that Miss Granger comes back to us, Severus, I am well aware. We shall be getting a few surprises, that’s for sure. But, I have to ask you, with the strictest of confidence,” he paused and gave Severus a piercing stare, leaving him with the feeling of being seen through, “that you will not spread the word of the past and why she is back in this time. Harry does not know any of this, that I know of, and things will not be the same for Miss Granger.”
“Sir, if things really are different from her original future, then does that mean that she had decided to stay in the past? And, that she-”
“I will not let you bombard her with questions. She knows nothing of her decisions in the past, along with her chosen future. Do not do anything to dissuade her from what she has already elected to do. Even if that means that things did not work out in the past. You are not friends here, you are student and teacher. She knows not the decisions that she has made.” Dumbledore stood from his throne-like chair and swept around his oak desk, quickly walking to his Pensieve. The thoughts were swimming around, forming odd shapes and mystical swirls.
“From everything that I was told by her friends, and by Miss Granger in the past, the future could not be better than what it is at this time. Tell me Severus, that you will do nothing to disturb it.”
“With all do respect, Headmaster, do you expect me to go gallivanting off to the Dark Lord’s clutches again? You already know why-”
“I still trust you, Professor. However, we must use caution when dealing with emotions that had never been settled. There will be no convincing our visitors to return back to their rightful time with forethought. Am I understood?”
Snape inclined his head in acceptance. “Yes, sir.”
Dumbledore raised his wand to his temple, closed his eyes, and withdrew with it a shining silver substance that he immediately dropped into the Pensieve and watched connections form. “We’ll see you around seven o’clock, then, Severus. I expect you will have some company.”
“Good afternoon, sir,” Snape replied with annoyance. He left the Headmaster’s chambers, grief ridden, and headed toward his dungeon to await the time when Hermione, Sirius and Lily would come from the past to learn of their sordid future. Dumbledore wanted things to stay this way, with no time malarkey, and, there was nothing that Snape could do about it.
Hermione, Lily and Sirius landed with an ‘oomph’ in the middle of a dank dungeon, which was oddly familiar, yet different in the same respect. Hermione stood from the pile she had gotten herself entangled in and looked around her new surroundings. It was the Potion’s dungeon, that’s for sure, but things were different. The class was not exactly what she had left. Hermione startled when she heard a faint sneer from the corner.
“I see you have found your way back, Miss Granger,” Snape hissed in aggravation. “And, you brought some friends, I see.” His eyes skimmed quickly over Sirius and Lily and a small frown pulled his lips; Oh, how he hated Black.
“Sir, erm…It was an accident, I didn’t mean to bring them, they just…erm…came,” she finished lamely.
Sirius was the first to break the uncomfortable silence that had settled. “What is Snivellus doing here and why did you call him Professor?”
“Really, Black, I would have thought it obvious. I am the Potion’s Master…Miss. Granger’s Potion’s Master,” his lips curved into an ugly, twisted smile. “We have a lot to discuss, Miss Granger,” Snape said, turning his attention back to the bushy haired girl. “Later, of course, a class will be here soon.”
“Sir, I should have come back to the exact time I left,” she looked around the empty classroom, confused as to where her classmates were. “Where is everyone?”
As if on cue, the dungeon doors swung open, admitting a string of students who were silently finding their seats, ignoring their professor and the three people who were congregated around him. It wasn’t until Hermione turned around to view the class, that a sense of complete dread filled her. Her stomach tied in knots as she saw people she knew, people she had been in school with for seven years and, yet, there were some that she had never seen before.
Lily looked around at the entering class, smiling slightly at the similarities between her time and this; things were really not that different. At least the uniforms were still in tact and the houses had survived. Sirius, on the other hand, was watching Hermione intently. The way her nose scrunched as she caught glimpse of a red headed boy wearing Slytherin robes, and another fearful expression when she saw a tall, gangly boy in Gryffindor robes, being watched by the entire class as if he was going to explode at any second.
Hermione whispered, “Neville?”
Neville looked up from his desk and rolled his eyes at Hermione, as if she was just another annoying fan in his club of followers. The rest of the class had heard her faint wondering as well and looked at her, completely confused. A quiet murmur passed through the dungeons, echoing off of the walls.
“Miss Granger,” hissed Snape in a harsh whisper, “Perhaps it would be prudent for you to go see the Headmaster…Now.” There was urgency in his voice. Something was off; something was very wrong.
But Hermione was rooted to the spot, grasping like a death grip to Sirius’ arm, while Lily moved closer to her other side. Hermione was trying to get her feet to move along with the other two, but she stiffened as a member of the class stood from his seat, staring at her in bewilderment.
“Are you…?” A boy with short and curly brown hair came striding up to the front of the class, looking puzzled at Hermione. His hazel eyes pierced through Hermione, as if trying to read her like a book. “Mum?”
Hermione flinched at the sound of the word ’mum’ and backed away from the boy, wondering how on earth she could have a child when she was only seventeen. On top of that, she had never seen this boy before, yet he reminded her of Harry. He looked a little like James, yet there was something that was not right…Were those the pieces of her? Narrowing her eyes at the boy, realization hit her when she saw the sparkle in his eyes, and the strong, confidence that he held his head up with.
What had she done? How had she changed everything? Who, now, was going to save the world? She had to know if this was Harry, if he was indeed her son. She found her voice, small and frightened, “I’m sorry…Who are you?”
The boy disregarded her question and looked tentatively to her left side, where Sirius was narrowing his eyes for the sceptical look the student had given Hermione. The pale boy spoke gravely, addressing Sirius, “Uncle Sirius?”
Sirius blanched. He backed away quickly, nearly bumping into Snape. Uncle? It was another Black; another member of his accursed family. Whose was he; Bella’s, Narcissa’s? Either way, he did not like the sound of being greeted with anything but disdain from his family. Did this mean he was no longer on Albus’ side, had he joined Voldemort like his family had intended?
“Sit down, Mr. Potter,” came the angered voice of Snape, interrupting the awkward silence, trying not to let any information come of the questions. “This does not concern you. Miss Granger, Mister Black and Miss Evans, go to the Headmaster’s office and you shall find the answers you seek.”
Without being told twice, Hermione and the others walked quickly from the dungeon in search of the Headmaster’s chambers, hopefully getting answers to the burning questions they had raging in their minds. There was no talking, only complete silence as they reached the stone gargoyle. Hermione cursed herself, realizing she did not know the password. Just as she thought it, the Headmaster appeared from behind the stone guardian.
“Ah, Hermione, I was expecting you,” Dumbledore said, acknowledging the curious glances he was receiving from the trio. “We have much to discuss, if you would please follow me.”
Merely nodding at the Headmaster’s request, Hermione walked behind him, her hands trembling slightly out of fear. Lily was at Hermione’s left, holding tight to her arm, making sure that she had the comfort she needed, especially after that incident with Severus. Sirius was on the other side, though he was more distant than normal. His eyes met the floor and remained there until the Headmaster opened the door to his chambers and offered them each a seat.
“Sir-” Hermione started, but didn’t make it very far before Dumbledore raised his hand to quiet her.
“Let me explain first, Miss Granger, and then you can ask all the questions that are burning your brain.” Dumbledore looked rather happy, which was odd because Hermione knew how much he disapproved of messing with time. Why was he so smug?
“First, I’d like to say welcome back! I realize that it’s not exactly how you left it,” Dumbledore started, earning a ‘humph’ from Hermione. “A lot has changed since you’ve made certain decisions. The last time you came back, you were upset that everything had remained the same. Are you equally upset that things have changed?”
“Last time, sir? I’ve never gone back to…I’ve never done this before!” Hermione shouted in rage. It was annoying that the Headmaster spoke to her like she was always causing havoc, always going against the rules. She never has broken rules before now; except for adventures with Harry and Ron.
“Let me show you,” he suggested to her. Realizing there were two more people in the room, Dumbledore offered them as well, “You two are welcome to enter my thoughts as well.”
“Are we going into the Pensieve, Professor Dumbledore?” Hermione asked shrewdly.
“Correct, Hermione. I’ll prove to you that you have done this before. It will be interesting, of course, to see your reaction and decisions.” Dumbledore walked swiftly around his desk to a wardrobe in the corner of the room. “Step over here, you three, and let us begin another journey.”
As soon as Hermione, Sirius and Lily were shoulder level with the Headmaster, Hermione leaned in to the Pensieve. Following her lead, having never done this before, Lily and Sirius leaned into the basin as well.
It was the second time that day that the trio had landed with a thud on the ground, getting entangled with one another. Dumbledore appeared beside them and offered his assistance in helping them up. Before they had the chance to say thank you, the memory started.
“Headmaster!” Shouted James to the closed oak doors. He began beating the golden griffon knocker, coming very close to breaking it off. “Head! Master!”
Suddenly, the door opened revealing a very tired looking Albus Dumbledore. “Mr. Potter, Mr. Lupin,” he addressed them while inclining his head. “What is the meaning of this rather angered visit?”
The boys quickly dove into their story; Hermione, Lily and Sirius falling into a silver puddle. Both of them were speaking so fast and so loud that after five minutes of them continuing their rant, Albus sat down and waited out the storm staring at nothing but some paper in front of him.
“…And now they’re gone.”
“…Don’t know where they went.”
A mind numbing silence filled the air, causing both boys to shift in their seats while trying to catch their breath. The Headmaster looked calculating, pondering one of his various riddles.
“Sir,” Remus broke the silence, “what happened?”
Dumbledore sighed and used his strong hand to pet his long, white beard. He sat thoughtfully for another minute before answering Remus’s question. “I believe that they have gone back to Hermione’s time.”
James looked at his friend, as if to say “Is that all?!”
Reading his mind, Dumbledore answered, “Well, the problem is not that she went back in time. The problem this time is that she has taken others with her.”
“This time?” The boys chorused.
“Since Miss Granger’s initial visit-”
James yelled, “Initial Visit!?”
Followed quickly by Remus, “She’s only been here once!”
Dumbledore chuckled slightly, the confusion on these two boys was amusing every time. Of course, the first time it happened, it was rather gut wrenching. But, having watched them scare this easily a few times, Dumbledore couldn’t help but have a laugh at their expense, as they had done to countless others.
“Sir,” Remus said more forcefully. His girlfriend was gone, and the Headmaster was not helping matters. “What did you mean by ‘initial time.’
Knowing that these boys were not going to lighten up at all, Dumbledore stood from his desk and whisked around to a wardrobe that stood ominously in the corner of the office. When he opened the wardrobe, a shining blue light emitted from a strange stone basin. “It is called a Pensieve,” he replied before being asked. “In truth, Miss Granger has been here three times before. All of those times, however, she had gone back to her exact time of departure…alone. In those cases, it had no effect at all on her time or ours.”
“So, we wouldn’t have remembered her,” Remus concluded astutely.
James was red in the face, his cheeks puffing in and out with anger. He wasn’t getting answers damnit; he was being answered with stupid riddles about time and relativity. None of that mattered - what mattered was Hermione! “Why is this time so different,” he shouted. “If she hadn’t taken Sirius and Lily with her the last three times, why did she take them with her this time?”
“No one can be sure,” Dumbledore offered hesitantly, though he knew that James was in need of serious, straight forward answers. “However, I believe that each time she came here, she was becoming increasingly comfortable with you all. She had accepted your friendship quite quickly this time. While the other times she was more hesitant because of…events from her time.”
“But,” James interrupted, jumping up from his seat and walking toward the Headmaster, with Remus closely following.
“Hermione stayed here this time much longer than she had in the past. Some of it was my fault, I admit. I did not have a potion made for her, and was anxious to see just how brilliant she was - having correctly brewed a Time-Turner Draught three times without knowing it.” Dumbledore wore a look of pride. “She was able to get closer to you all. I should have sent her back before things got out of hand, but I see now that she wanted to do that herself.”
“But-” James tried again to ask another question.
“No more interruptions, Mr. Potter,” Dumbledore requested, raising his hands. “Time is never an easy thing to understand and I beg for your patience.”
James and Remus nodded their heads in reluctant acceptance as they looked over the Professor’s shoulders to his basin. They were about to enter the Headmaster’s thoughts as Hermione felt a tug on her arm.
A/N - Erm...I really hope that it wasn't too confusing for you. If it was, never fear, chapter 14 will be up soon, I promise. It will explain a little more! As always, thank you for reading, and thank you for your reviews! ~Jessi
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