It was around 2:00 by the time James and Hermione got back to school. They’d spent the rest of their day eating lunch and walking around the sunny village. When they arrived back at the one-eyed witch, both were sorry that they’d had to return. “So, who’s going to go to the common room first? We can’t go at the same time, that would be suspicious,” Hermione asked as James pulled himself out through the witch’s hump. “You can. I’ve just realized that I need to do some research on Sleeping Drafts…I’ll just nip into the library and come up to the tower in an hour or so,” James said, dusting himself off. Hermione headed off to the common room, careful to conceal her purchases in her schoolbag. She climbed through the portrait hole quickly, eager to see her friends. Sirius and Lily were sitting on a couch together, playing a rather unanimated game of Gobstones. Hermione snuck up behind them and covered Lily’s eyes with her hands. “Bloody HELL!” Lily shrieked, caught completely unawares. Hermione grinned, and withdrew her hands. “Guess who?” she said sweetly. Lily rolled her eyes. “I can’t believe you actually did that,” she said. “It was worth it to make you scream!” Hermione taunted, sitting down next to her friend. She felt an elbow hit her stomach. “Ouch!” “Don’t I get a greeting?” Sirius teased, pulling back his elbow. Hermione frowned. “Not after that, you don’t!” she chided. Hermione turned to Lily and started asking about her day while Sirius pretended to skulk. James came in about an hour later with a bundle of potions books clutched under his arm. Lily immediately turned to him, (leaving Hermione quite in her dust,) and began asking if his detention had been terrible or not. “Well…it wasn’t that bad…” James said, winking conspiratorially at Hermione. Luckily for the both of them, neither Lily nor Sirius noticed. The night dragged on, not quickly enough for Hermione. She was excited to retreat to her room and wrap Sirius’ present, ready for the next day. Finally, she managed to drag Lily away from James and the two girls headed up to their room. “What’s the big idea, huh?” Lily mumbled crossly as Hermione pulled her by the elbow up the stairs. “You’ll see!” Hermione said, grinning. The second they entered their room, Hermione flopped down on her bed and opened her bag, motioning for Lily to come closer. “It’s Sirius’ birthday present! Do you think he’ll like it?” Hermione asked excitedly. Lily’s face lit up. “Oh definitely! What a great idea! Gosh, I’d kill for one of those, they are so convenient! I mean, muggle cameras are way better for convenience like that, but the pictures they take just aren’t as good!” Lily babbled, inspecting the camera closely. Hermione smiled. “I’m so excited to give it to him.” She said. Lily nodded vaguely as she replaced the camera. But she wasn’t looking at the bag…she was staring out the window, frowning slightly. “Is that an owl?” she asked curiously, just as the animal in question came zooming into full view. Hermione recognized it immediately. She had seen it too many times, every morning at breakfast for six years, delivering sweets and letters to its owner. It was Draco Malfoy’s eagle owl. But…Hermione realized with a jolt that the owl was from her own time. How had it gotten here? Was Draco in contact with their time? “It’s for you!” Lily exclaimed. She had walked over to the open window and was staring at the letter attached to the owl’s leg. It hopped impatiently on one foot, holding the letter out to be unattached. “Do you think it’s from Sirius?” she asked, grinning. Hermione frowned. “Uhh…maybe…can you take it off?” she asked, not entirely sure she wanted to know what the letter said. Lily did and handed the letter to Hermione as the owl flew off into the night again. Hermione opened it apprehensively, as soon as Lily had left to get into her pajamas. “Dear” Granger, I suppose you are wondering where my beautiful Brielle came from? (Hermione assumed this was the owl). Well, by now, I’m sure your cunning mind has come to the conclusion that I’m somehow in contact with our world…well for once you are wrong. I’ve been reading up on the side affects of this spell when not performed correctly lately. It appears that what’s happening is that our worlds are somewhat…merging, if you will. Objects are leaking from our world into this, and vice versa. The only way to reverse it is…if you come back. I know you aren’t eager to leave your doggy friend, but for once, think of someone other than yourself, Granger. Yours untruly, Draco Malfoy Hermione crumpled up the letter in her hand, feeling anger course through her. What right did he have to talk to her like that? But the idea of the worlds merging was beginning to sink into her brain…what would happen if it kept going? Would bigger objects start to merge? Things like…people? Hermione tossed the letter into the fire, refusing to think about it. But she knew her time was running out…and fast. As she sank onto her pillows however, she decided to push such burdening thoughts out of her mind…for the meantime, at least. It was Sirius’ birthday, and she wanted to make it as happy as she could. **** Early morning sun rays were barely creeping through the curtains when Hermione woke abruptly. Excitement coursed through her, and she got out of bed hastily, not even pausing to get dressed. She grabbed her gift and left the room silently, careful not to wake Lily. She wanted to surprise Sirius completely by waking him up and presenting him with the camera. Outside the boys’ door, Hermione put her ear to the door, listening for sound within. There was nothing. Slowly, quietly, she turned the doorknob and nudged open the door just wide enough to let herself in. Her bare feet made no noise on the carpeted floors as she crept to the edge of Sirius’ bed. He was sleeping, one arm curled under his pillow. Hermione paused a moment, and smiled at his silent form. Then the moment passed…and she sat on his stomach. “OOF!” “HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SIRIUS!” Hermione screeched, grasping him in a joyful hug. Sirius sat up, grinning, when he realized who it was. “Hermione! What a brilliant surprise!” he said happily, hugging her back. “Yeah…right…brilliant…”mumbled Remus sarcastically, sitting up blearily. James groaned and rolled over. “Did you have to wake us ALL up?” he shouted into his pillow. Peter was sitting up in his bed, smiling slightly. “Oh come on James…just get up, we have presents to give him!” he chuckled. Sirius grin grew bigger. “I love presents!” he laughed. Hermione smiled timidly. “Well…here’s one, to start you off…I hope you like it!” she said shyly. She was nervous…what if he hated it? It hadn’t been a good idea after all…she was silly to have picked it out… “OI! A CAMERA!” Sirius shouted, ripping it out of its packaging. James sat up fully. “What? You got him a bloody camera? Oh god he’d going to be unbearable…” he groaned. “Smile!” Sirius said, and snapped a picture of Hermione. She immediately started shrieking. “AACK! SIRIUS! WHY DID YOU TAKE A PICTURE OF ME! IT’S EARLY IN THE MORNING AND MY HAIRS NOT BRUSHED AND IM NOT EVEN DRESSED!” she shouted. Sirius laughed. “I know…but you look beautiful anyway.” He said. This stopped Hermione in her tracks, and she merely smiled. “Thanks,” she said quietly. That’s when she saw it. Lying on the windowsill in the corner of the room was what was unmistakably Harry’s Firebolt.
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