A Dance Through Thyme [Harry Potter]

There are no strangers here; only friends you haven't met. An unknown man sends Hermione back to the Marauder's Era as revenge, however, the consequences are far more disastrous than what even he imagines when Hermione loses her memory of the past. Why did that man do this to her, and what secrets will be spilled? Who is the guilty party?

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38. Chapter 35: Die Mission Part 3

There is a part of this chapter which is taken from 'Deathly Hallows', obviously this part belongs to J. K. Rowling and not to me.

 

Part 3: Hermione and James

“It feels like we’ve got the easiest job out of all the teams,” said James to Hermione as they meandered their way through the quaint streets of Hogsmeade.

Hermione walked with her head facing the road ahead, seemingly focused on the task ahead. If she were honest with herself, she was really wondering how on Earth she had managed to pair herself off with James for this mission when he had been so adamant about being paired with Lily.

Oh, yes, now she rememeberd. James was one of few people who knew about the Room of Requirement. There was no chance in hell, heaven or Earth that Hermione would pair herself with Remus; and Sirius was put to better use. He was far more suitable to retrieve Hufflepuff’s cup. Therefore, James became her only option. She did not want the others finding out about the Room of Requirement.

“We’ll see about that when we actually go to retrieve the diadem. They had a tendency to put up a fight.”

James snorted. “Put up a fight? It is a fancy tiara, what kind of fight could it possibly put up?”

Hermione took a moment to give her friend a scathing look before turning her head back to the road. Pulling her hands out of her pockets, she blew her hot breath onto her cold hands. She wished that the weather could be warmer, but at least they were only going as far as Hogwarts.

The familiarity would be far more warming than one of the fires in the Gryffindor common room.

“It is not just a ‘fancy tiara’ James. It is a piece of Voldemort, and I would be rather appreciative if you could take this a bit more seriously. I might have a bit of an idea of what we’re facing, but to be honest with you, I feel like I don’t have any clue at all.”

Sensing that Hermione was being deathly serious, James quietened down. They were on the main road now, quite near the castle. Certainly, they were close enough to see lights flickering at windows, and a small black spot in the distance that signified the front gates of the school.

James looked up ahead, his eyes squinting against the bright light. It was very early in the morning, and the sun was only just rising and casting a faint pink glow to the fallen snow around them.

“I think that’s McGonagall up ahead. She must be there to let us in.”

A couple more minutes of walking found them at the gates of Hogwarts. Professor McGonagall was indeed waiting to let them into the grounds. Despite the early hour, she looked as put together as she always had been. Her hair was pulled back into such a severe bun that Hermione wondered if it ever gave her a headache.

“Come in quickly,” she said in a low voice. “We need to get you in and out before the students come down for breakfast. Do you know exactly where you are heading inside the castle?”

James shrugged his shoulders, and looked over at Hermione. She had her arms up in a gesture that suggested she was blindly following what was in her memory. It had been proved right so far; but it had played tricks on her before, and there was no telling whether her brain was being truthful, or merely creating a memory for the sake of filling in the blanks.

“I don’t know,” Hermione replied, her voice small and defeated. “We will have to see when we get there. All we can do is get up to the Room of Requirement, and see what happens next.”

McGonagall nodded and lead them up to the main doors of the castle. Her voice may have been quiet while they were speaking outside, but now she whispered, fearful of being heard.

“I have to leave you here. I cannot be caught by the other teachers. There would be no explanation that would save us. Good luck.”

With her mouth pressed down into a firm line, she swiftly turned on the spot and began scurrying away presumably back to her own living quarters.

“Right,” said Hermione, turning to face James. “We have about forty-five minutes to get up to the seventh floor, find the diadem and get back out into the grounds. Let’s go.”

The pair bolted up the stairs as fast and as quietly as they could. Reaching the seventh floor in record time, they felt pleased with themselves so far.

Panting, and rubbing her hand over a stitch that had formed in her side, Hermione walked around in a slow circle a couple of times in an effort to stave off leg cramps. She had forgotten that her fitness was not what it once was. James didn’t seem to be in much better shape either, but it was Hermione who recovered first and began pacing in front of the bare patch of wall.

I need the place where things are hidden. I need the place where things are hidden. I need the place where things are hidden...

The door to the Room of Requirement materialised as it always had, and Hermione half-expected to find her little apartment nestled away behind it, exactly as she had left it. But this was not the case.

Towers seemed to rise above her and James when they entered the room. Piles of broken chairs littered unlikely corners. An old record player was still playing the warped music of a broken vinyl record. Old toothbrushes were gathered in an old tin cup, with decades of old meals still left in the bristles. Textbooks, covered with a rainbow of graffiti lined bookshelves.

Junk. That was all it was. Things people were too lazy to throw away. Things that people hoped to come back to find later. Hermione hoped that Tom Riddle had not come back yet to retrieve his stolen goods.

“I’ll go this way,” James pointed to the path straight ahead that lead to a couple of old upright pianos that were standing back-to-back. “You can go that way.”

Hermione looked past his finger to see another corridor created by mattresses, cushions, pillows and blankets. At one point in time, someone had strung some thick twine across various points in the room. Hundreds, if not thousands of small objects were hung there. Key-chains had been looped around, padlocks were clicked shut and many pegs seemed to hang on their own without any clothing to attach themselves to.

Hermione nodded and started to creep down the narrow passageway, hoping that the pillows would not topple over and bury her in a sea of feathers. From what she remembered, the diadem was positioned on a stone bust of an old warlock.

Suddenly remembering that James would not understand the power it held, she called out to him.

“James! James, whatever you do, don’t touch the diadem with your hand. Do not let it near your bare skin.”

He called back in agreement, and Hermione let herself relax a little and focus on searching for the horcrux.

Wandering up and down each of the aisles, Hermione realised the magnitude of the task ahead. It could take her and James hours to find what they were looking for. The room seemed to get bigger and bigger with every corner that she turned.

“Accio diadem!”

Hermione heard James call out the spell, hearing the desperation clear in his voice. She understood his frustration, because she had felt it once. Following the sound, she came out to a small clearing that was created by a ring of small wooden boxes.

Hermione wordlessly opened one of them with her wand. A coil of pearls was neatly resting on the worn velvet lining. Her eyes flicked around the space, hoping for a clue of some kind. It was at this point that she wished for Harry most of all. He had a way of feeling the horcruxes in a way that Hermione never could. He may have been able to sense it within a minute of entering the room.

Looking down at her watch, Hermione saw that they had been in the Room for over twenty minutes. They only had a little while longer to find the diadem.

At that moment, the glass in Hermione’s watch caught a bit of light from somewhere in the room. It was not the candlelight that illuminated the room, but something far brighter and more brilliant.

Hermione lifted her head to search for the source of the light, and directly out of the corner of her eye she saw a tinge of blue. Whipping her head around, she came face to face with numerous stone busts. Each seemed to have a headpiece on it, each with a varying degree of ridiculousness. One of them was covered in various peacock feathers, whilst another was so small that Hermione doubted that it would have ever been seen on anybody’s head.

In amongst the various metals and jewels, Hermione saw a faint blue glow surrounding just one of the pieces. Her mind immediately catapulted her back to her seventh-year at Hogwarts.

Flames of abnormal size were pursuing them, licking up the sides of the junk bulwarks, which were crumbling to soot at their touch.

‘Aguamenti!’ Harry bawled, but the jet of water that soured from the tip of his wand evaporated in the air.

‘RUN!’

Malfoy grabbed the Stunned Goyle and dragged him along; Crabbe outstripped all of them, now looking terrified; Harry Ron and Hermione pelted along in his wake, and the fire pursued them. It was not normal fire; Crabbe used a curse of which Harry had no knowledge: as they turned a corner the flames chased them as they were alive, sentient, intent upon killing them. Now the fire was mutating, forming a gigantic pack of fiery beasts: flaming serpents, Chimeras and dragons rose and fell and rose again, and the detritus of centuries on which they were feeding was thrown up in the air into their fanged mouths, tossed high on clawed feet, before being consumed by the inferno.

Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle had vanished from view: Harry, Ron and Hermione stopped dead; the fiery monsters were circling them, drawing closer and closer, claws and horns and tails lashed, and the heat was solid as a wall around them.

Hermione could feel herself hyperventilating at the memory; it felt like the heat was back in the room with her. She had not felt safe since she had landed in the past, but this feeling was now completely and utterly exacerbated to the point of delirium. She saw James in front of her with a look of both horror and concern on his face.

“Hermione?” Hermione?” He seemed to be trying to grab her attention; trying to snap her out of her trance.

Hermione shook her head, attempting to create lucid thoughts in the process.

“I found it,” she said to him, wondering if the hallucination was the work of the horcrux. It was almost certain in Hermione’s mind, and nothing scared her more than the fact that it had chosen a memory which was yet to truly take place in this timeline.

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