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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47. Chapter 38: Die Last der Welt

 

Weight of the World

  

It was the hissing and spitting of flames that rose Hermione from her stupor. It was early in the day, and she had not yet had her morning cup of tea. At least this is what she attributed the cause of her slow brain function.

 

“Hermione?” a voice garbled out of the flames.

 

Hermione instantly jumped out of her seat. A head had appeared, and it peered back at her from the flames.

 

“Lily?” gasped Hermione, once she had recovered enough to make slight sense of the turn of events.

 

“Hermione, you have to come over,” the head of Lily urged her. “James and I have something important  to tell you.”

 

Hermione instantly thought the worst, and her heart filled with dread as she stood and started to get herself ready. Lily’s words had seemed more like a demand, than the usual request.

 

“I’ll be over in a minute,” she shouted back to Lily’s head as she left the room. Hearing a resounding pop, she knew that Lily was no longer in the Floo network; but she could not help wondering what was so important that it could not be written in a letter, or indeed told via the Floo system.

 

Shrugging a jacket over her shoulders, Hermione reached over to the small pot of Floo powder that sat on her mantlepiece. Grasping a pinch between her fingers, she threw it into the flames before transporting herself just down the road to James and Lily’s cottage.

 

Having now had more practice with the Floo network, Hermione no longer had to throw her hands out in front of her to stop herself from falling out onto the floor. She only had to step out of the flames, and wait a moment for the room to stop spinning and her balance to restore itself.

 

“Hermione!” a blur of red squealed at her before she felt Lily’s arms squeeze around her middle. It became uncomfortable to say the least.

 

“Lily? Lily!” Hermione finally had the chance to croak out. “What is going on? Is someone hurt?”

 

“No! I’m just really, really happy!” Lily still refusing to let go of Hermione. “We’re just waiting for Remus to arrive. James and I want to tell everyone together.”

 

Hermione looked around to see that Sirius was sitting on the armrest of the couch with a puzzled expression adorning his features. Apparently he had no idea about what was going on either; but Hermione did not have the chance to extrapolate any further information. A loud whooshing sound preceded a slightly dishevelled looking Remus in the fireplace.

 

“You had better have a good reason for getting me out of bed at this hour,” he grimaced, stepping forward as he used his hands to brush the soot from his clothing.

 

Lily began to speak, clearly unable to contain her excitement for much longer.

“Now that you’re all here, would you like me to get you something to drin-“ 

 

“Lils,” said Sirius, fighting to keep his voice calm and polite. “You clearly invited us here for a reason, you’re about to wet yourself. Do us a favour and tell us why we needed to be here before our morning coffee, please?”

 

Lily pursed her lips at Sirius before huffing slightly.

 

“Fine. James and I invited you here on this beautiful day to let you all know that -“ Lily paused, glancing around at the occupants of the room for dramatic effect. 

 

“She’s pregnant!” exclaimed James, finally releasing the information that he’d been bursting to say for the best part of the morning.

 

There was a moment where all they could hear was the clock ticking.

 

“How far along are you?” Hermione immediately thought to ask, beginning to make calculations.

 

“It’s only been three weeks. A healer confirmed it yesterday, but we couldn’t wait any longer. We had to give the news to someone,” Lily beamed.

 

Calculations completed inside her head, Hermione had to stifle a groan. There was no doubt in her mind that Harry was now in the room with them. She was running out of time.

 

Dumbledore was still convinced that Harry and the prophecy would act as bait to lure Voldemort into Godric’s Hollow, where he then could be made mortal and destroyed once and for all. But what if it all went wrong and Hermione lost her friends in the process? As triumphant the results could be, they may also be catastrophic.

 

Fortunately Sirius’ shouts for Firewhisky brought Hermione out of her ruminations.

 

“I’ll be anyone a sickle that the baby is a boy,” he chuckled as he poured a good measure of the liquor into a glass which James had fetched for him.

 

“You’re not drinking this early in the morning!” cried Lily, snatching the glass away from Sirius and replacing it with a freshly-brewed cup of coffee. “And neither are you placing any bets on my baby; besides I think it’s going to be a girl.”

 

“James what do you say?” replied Sirius, completely unperturbed by Lily’s brusk manner. Noticing that she had only removed the glass and not the bottle of Firewhisky, he added a quick dash into his coffee before she could notice.

 

James let out an enthusiastic laugh before gathering Lily in his arms so that he could pat her still-flat stomach.

 

“I’m going to have to go with whatever Lily says for the next nine months, so if Lily thinks that it’s a girl, then I think it’s a girl too. Hermione?”

 

Hermione pretended to mull the options over in her head, before deciding to tell the truth.

 

“I’m on Sirius’ side,” she finally verbalised. “Definitely a boy.”

 

Sirius let out a whoop of agreement before rounding on Remus.

 

“Alright Moony, it’s up to you. You’re the tie-breaker. Girl or boy?”

 

“Nooo, don’t make me choose,” laughed Remus. “You know that I was never good at making the final decisions! Oh, alright, fine…… I pick….a…..a….b-b-….girl!”

 

“Right,” replied Lily despite herself. “All bets are in, we just have to wait until the end of July before any of us can be proven correct.”

 

“Winners get to be godparents!” James exclaimed.

 

“Over my dead body are we picking godparents like that James Potter! You’d better think twice before making those kinds of decisions without me,” Lily said, shooting an eyebrow up in her husband’s direction. “Now clear up these empty cups, pregnant lady needs to put her feet up for awhile.”

 

James meekly obeyed, immediately moving the remnants of their small celebration to the kitchen.

 

“Well, I think i’m going to head off,” said Sirius, standing to leave. “I have a lot of sleep to catch up on. I’ll make sure to give Marley the news when she gets home from work this evening. We need to all catch up again soon.”

 

Sirius left with a quick wave. Remus left to go and find a coat he had left the last time he had visited. Lily went to show him out once he had found it.

 

James immediately rounded on Hermione. 

 

“Is it true?” he asked her. 

 

Hermione’s eyes widened, not quite sure what he was referring to.

 

“Is what true?”

 

“Is the baby going to be a boy?” he whispered urgently, eyes darting around the room to make sure that everyone else had left, and there was no one listening in to their conversation.

 

“I- err,” Hermione was at a complete loss of what to say. She had made herself a promise not to reveal any information that did not involve Voldemort. It would be dangerous if every person she loved found out what their future held. James and Lily were one step closer to a death sentence.

 

“I can’t tell you,” she finally said, not quite looking him in the eye. Unfortunately for her, James knew her well enough to call her out on her bluff.

 

“i know that you know, and I get why you might not want to tell me. It must be pretty horrible to know what you do, even if things don’t follow the old plan, knowing that there is a chance must be the most terrible thing.”

 

Hermione could only look at James with mournful eyes, not able to say a word for fear that it would betray everything she had been fighting to keep within her for the past couple of years.

 

“I don’t have to know what happens in the future Hermione, to know that it is not going to be good news.”

 

Hermione nodded, and put her arms around James in a silent hug. There were no words in any language that could adequately sum up the true extent of her unique situation, and she no longer had the mental energy to try and think about that. Every day was now lived simply to survive. To make it into bed each night was an achievement.

 

James immediately let go of Hermione when they heard someone clearing their throat behind them. Hermione looked up to see Remus standing in the doorway, coat in hand, but apparently not having had left yet.

 

“Hermione, I was just wondering if you wanted me to escort you back home, or rather if you’d just like the company; even if you don’t exactly live very far away.”

 

Hermione did her best to summon a grin on her face.

 

“Sure, Remus. I’ll just grab my things and I’ll meet you outside.”

 

A quick goodbye to both Lily and James saw Hermione out onto the street with Remus in record time. For a couple of minutes they walked in silence. The streets were busy with early morning shoppers and commuters. Although the village had started out quite small, it had certainly grown over the past couple of years and new businesses were popping up all over the place brining with them a hefty number of customers.

 

Finally, Remus summoned enough courage to speak.

 

“What did James mean when he said that although he didn’t know what the future held, but ‘it is not going to be good news’?”

 

Hermione’s body immediately stiffened, and it had nothing to do with the cool breeze which signalled that winter was approaching. It seemed like an odd remark to make. Was there the chance that Remus suspected something?

 

“I don’t think that there was anything in it,” replied Hermione wanting to diffuse the situation as quickly as possible. “I think he meant that times have never looked so bad with You-Know-Who and that it is very difficult to imagine something brighter for the future. Even if you look out on the street here, you can quite easily see that the only people that dare come out are muggles.”

 

Remus shrugged, and stared down at the ground, kicking a couple of pebbles out of his way. Hermione hoped that he would let the matter go, but her wish did was not granted.

 

“I just thought there might have been more to it than that. You guys are always so close, and I can’t help but wonder why. James has only known you are few days longer than what Sirius and I have know you, and yet it seems like he knows something that we don’t. You’ve never been together with him, but you seem quite intimate. I just don’t understand it.”

 

Hermione did not know what to make of the situation. Remus had always been insecure around the others in the Marauders’ group; but this felt like there was more to it then just his poor self-worth.

 

“I don’t know what to say,” Hermione admitted to him.

 

Remus turned and stopped them both from walking any further. Hermione could feel the warmth of his hands permeate her jacket where they were resting on both her shoulders. His hazel eyes found her brown ones, and refused to leave.

 

“How about you start with the truth?” he countered. “You always said to me that Dumbledore would not let you out of the Room of Requirement. He wouldn’t let you wander about the castle, and yet you still met James. How could that have happened?”

 

Hermione felt her palms begin to become damp, and her body filled with heat as her heart raced within her chest.

 

“This really is not the place to discuss it,” she murmured so that nobody passing by would be able to hear her.

 

Remus raised an eyebrow in her direction. He was not sure where his courage had come from, but he had wanted answers for a long time, and now seemed as good as any to get them.

 

“Dumbledore seems to be getting an awful lot of information from somebody within the Order. There is no way in the world that Regulus Black and Severus Snape would wander in of their own accord. Dumbledore must have a decent bit of influence over them, and I want to know why.”

 

Hermione fought to keep her features neutral, but she knew that if Remus looked down between them he would see the involuntary tremor of her fingers.

 

“I can’t tell you, Remus, please can we leave it at that,” Hermione beseeched him, not wanting to make a scene in the middle of town. “Why don’t we go back to my place and-“

 

“And what?” scoffed Remus. “You can defuse the conversation, and we’ll end up back at square one. You’re obviously in cahoots with Dumbledore. James knows something. Poppy Pomfrey knows something. Does Sirius know something? Does Snape know something? Does Regulus? Well what about Remus? What about me, Hermione?”

 

Hermione could not bear to look him in the face for much longer.

 

“I will answer your questions to the best of my knowledge if you just come with me and get off this street. Anyone could be listening. It is not safe.”

 

Hermione waited whilst Remus stayed in front of her, fists clenched by his side as he tried to make a decision within his mind.

 

“I’ll come with you,” he finally said in a defeated voice, knowing that even if he got very little out of Hermione, it was still progress and eventually he would wear her down. He was sure of it.

 

They walked down the road in silence before entering the dark alleyways that would lead to Peverell Lane. Remus already knew of the secret of the Fidelius charm, so it was without pause that they moved through the front door and into Hermione’s kitchen.

 

Sunshine was entering the kitchen unhindered, and made the yellow of the walls even brighter than what they already were. Being so close to winter, there were no flowers to place on the kitchen table, but it was equally homely without them.

 

Hermione immediately put down her coat and bag before busying herself with making tea. Remus sat in one of the kitchen chairs, staring straight ahead, but for all intents and purposes still looking as determined as ever.

 

“Thank you,” he said, taking the cup that Hermione offered him. It was all that he could think to say. Now that he was here in her house, he did not really have any idea about how to start what would inevitably turn out to be a very intense conversation. 

 

“Remus?” Hermione was the first to speak, and for that he was grateful. “I just want you to know that I didn’t want to lie to you. It just needed to be that way. When I finish explaining a few things, I just hope that you can at the very least understand why I did what I did.”

 

Remus nodded at her to continue before taking a sip from his cup. The tea was strong, but it did nothing to mask the taste of the liquor in it. There was definitely a splash of brandy or rum in there. Hermione was right in thinking that he might need it.

 

“Dumbledore was the person who insisted that I didn’t tell everyone anything about why I was here, or how I got here. Thankfully, no one ever did question it too much about why I didn’t have a family around or friends, or any kind of life to speak of. After being here for a little while I realised how tactless those kinds of questions were to anyone given the present ‘regime’ with You-Know-Who. So many people have lost their family, so my situation is unfortunately all too common.”

 

Hermione paused to take a sip of her drink, not quite sure what point even she was getting at. Her thoughts were jumbled. This was not how she envisioned Remus finding out about her past or present situations. In fact, she had hoped never to live through a moment where he knew the absolute truth about herself.

 

“You have to understand that when I first came here, I didn’t know where I was, or who I was, or what I was doing here.”

 

“But how could you not-“

 

Hermione held her hand up to silence Remus, which he obeyed.

 

“I woke up and I was in the Hospital Wing of Hogwarts. I don’t know who found me, or how I ended up specifically in the Hospital Wing, but I do have a little bit of an idea about how I ended up at Hogwarts. I’ll come to that bit later.”

 

Hermione looked down at her mug, knowing that the next part may well affect Remus more than anything else that she might tell him. It was the root cause of their relationship disintegration, and she had lived with the fact that he had been right all along. She was a liar, and she couldn’t trust him just as much as he couldn’t trust her.

 

“When I woke up, I was very disorientated and babbling all kinds of things. Poppy was there when I woke up, and she was the person who had the task of reorienting me to the world. That is how she knows about me.”

 

Remus nodded, allowing her to continue.

 

“When I woke up, James and Sirius were in the Hospital Wing at the same time. They were on the beds opposite purely as a precautionary thing. One of their pranks had gone wrong. So, they saw me there when I was about to be released. Unfortunately, I had no where to go, so James escorted me to see Dumbledore. When I was speaking to Dumbledore about my predicament, neither of us realised that James was eavesdropping.”

 

Hermione sighed, and gave herself another break to recollect her thoughts. After a moment or two of silence, she continued.

 

“I don’t know how much he heard. I’ve never asked him; but he knew that I needed a place to stay and so he offered me the Room of Requirement.  I never expected him to come and visit; and I never expected him to bring either you, Sirius or Peter around. But I have to admit that having you around was nice. I was very lost, and lonely during that time. I’ve still not forgotten all the little things you used to do for me, and the way that you would make the room transform. Friday was my favourite day of the week.”

 

Remus let out a little chuckle as he too remembered their little dates, and the way that they would often fall asleep under magicked stars as they pretended to camp or picnic. It was an afternoon and an evening of pure bliss and heaven.

 

“Friday was my favourite day of the week too,” Remus conceded before allowing Hermione to finish her explanation. He was too desperate for answers to desire any more interruptions.

 

“Do you remember when you took me out into the grounds, and I fainted?” Hermione suddenly asked Remus.

 

“Yes,” he replied, eyes immediately narrowing in confusion. “Why?”

 

“That was when I remembered what happened to me. Suddenly, I could remember Hogwarts and who I was, and more importantly who you were, and James and Sirius.”

 

“What do you mean that you could remember who I was, or indeed any of the others?” Remus could not make any sense of her words. It was preposterous to think that she had known him before she had turned up at Hogwarts and resided in the Room of Requirement.

 

“I was born on September 12, 1979 to muggle parents.”

 

Remus was still not comprehending what she was telling him.

 

“Hermione, don’t be silly. You certainly were not born last year. We just celebrated your twenty-third birthday for merlin’s sake!”

 

However, it only took one look at Hermione’s face for Remus to realise that she was in earnest.

 

“You’re not joking,” he cried out, emotions escalating by the second. “How are you not joking?”

 

“I was born in 1979, and I grew up like any normal child. When I was eleven I went off to Hogwarts with everyone else, and learned a few good things about magic; but there was a war going on, and by the time I got to the end of my sixth year I was needed to fight, which I did do. Losses were catastrophic…”

 

It was here that Hermione trailed off, not able to remove the sordid image of a dead Remus from her mind. His ghostly white hand had been inches from Tonks’, and their son had been orphaned, just as Harry had once been. Her eyelids began to sting where her tears collected, but she fought back. Too much of her logic and intelligence had steered her away from voicing the truth, and look where it had got her.

 

“But in the end we did have a few years of relative peace. There were still people out there who believed in You-Know-Who and followed his regime, but for the most part it was settled. Until one day, there was a man who couldn’t quite accept the fact that his master was gone. He had a knack for creating his own brand of twisted and evil magic, which sometimes worked, and it sometimes did not.”

 

“He had been using muggles as guinea pigs for his experiments, and he ended up killing them in the process of perfecting this one particular curse.”

 

“What did the spell do?” Remus was quick to ask, wondering what this man had to do with Hermione.

 

“He was trying to send people back in time.”

 

There, she had said it. She had said those horrid words that had been on the tip of her tongue since she had arrived. She only hoped that Remus would connect the dots quickly so that she would not have to explain herself in so much depth.

 

“Ok, and what do his time travel experiments have to do with you?”

 

“I was the person that was in charge of breaking up his little rink of organised crime, and he didn’t like that. He swore revenge on me, and acted it out in the only way that he knew how.”

“So?”

 

“So, that is how I ended up here,” Hermione replied somewhat warily, watching Remus carefully for his reaction. Never having to impart something so personal to anyone before, she was not sure how he would process and deal with the information.

 

Part of her was indeed expecting some kind of explosion from him; but his face was completely immobile after it had etched itself into an expression which resembled shock.

 

“Remus, please, say something?” she implored. She hated the way she was begging, but it was impossible to sit there and watch a lack of movement.

 

Not knowing what else to do, Hermione took the glass bottle of rum she had used to strengthen their tea, and poured a little into a regular drinking glass. Standing beside Remus she trickled a little of the golden liquid into his gaping mouth.

 

Instantly Remus spluttered back into life, half-swallowing and half-spitting out the rum.

 

“What did you do that for?” he bellowed, and Hermione wasn’t sure if he meant the rum, or the fact that she had just revealed that she had travelled back in time.

 

“You weren’t moving,” she replied, slightly annoyed as she put the now empty glass into the sink.

 

“What do you want me to say, Hermione?” he stated, his eyes now like solid amber resin. “Do you want me to be okay with all of this? Do you expect me to believe it?”

 

Hermione had no answer for him. She knew well enough that he had reason not to trust her.

 

“Whether you believe it or not is up to you. You asked for the truth and I gave it to you. Yes, I have immense knowledge of what your future holds. Yes, I have been helping Dumbledore with this information. Yes, I used it to convince Severus to join the Order, Regulus as well; although Regulus would have eventually joined us anyway. I just saved him a bit of time.”

 

“Who else knows?”

 

Part of Remus was relieved that Hermione had finally let him into her life a little bit deeper, but an even larger part of him was furious.

 

“McGonagall knows…” Hermione hesitated slightly before imparting the last part of information, but knew that she was now in it too deep to back out.

 

“The other person that knows is Severus.”

 

Hermione sat back and waited for the response; and it came far too quickly.

 

Remus suddenly felt claustrophobic; like all the air in his lungs had vanished. He needed to get out of the room as quickly as possible.

 

The werewolf within him began to rear, and he knew that if he didn’t get out soon he would say or do something that he would regret.

“I need to leave,” was all he said to Hermione before all he stood and walked straight out the kitchen and towards the front door.

 

Hermione immediately sprang into action, running after him before he had the chance to escape.

 

“Wait! Remus, wait!” she called out to him, grabbing the collar of his jacket to stop him from stepping out the front door.

 

“Be mad at me, be furious even. You have every right to feel that way; but please, whatever you do, please do not tell another soul about how I really got here. If this were to get out to any of the Death Eaters, then we would all be dead before You-Know-Who would raise his wand arm.”

 

“Fine,” snapped Remus before yanking himself free and disappearing out the open door.

 

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