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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52. Chapter 43: Parsel

Chapter 43: Parseltongue

“I call this meeting to Order,” Dumbeldore’s voice boomed over the chatter, and the room fell silent at once. It was odd seeing him here, amongst all the squashy armchairs and soft rugs. An outsider might have seen this as a friendly gathering. A cup of tea was ready and waiting for when he finished speaking. Small plates of crumpets were close by.

 

Around the room, all the familiar faces looked bright and energetic as they sipped their drinks; grazing on the food that Molly Weasley had prepared with the help of Alice Longbottom and Dorcas Meadowes. Indeed, despite Hermione’s ever-present sense of apprehension she hoped that Dumbledore wouldn’t notice her sneaking a jam tart as he chaired the meeting.

 

Ordinarily this was the job of Alastor “Mad-Eye” Moody, but given recent events Dumbledore had been in charge of organizing meetings for the Order.

 

Hermione deemed this utterly unnecessary. It was not as if the Order had some grand schemes they were planning to carry out. Since the deaths of Gideon and Fabian, most of the missions had been aimed at minimising damage.

 

The fire that had occurred when the McKinnons had been killed was partly to blame. Although mostly recovered, their still damaged lungs slowed Gideon and Fabian down. They simply did not have the physical stamina to get away in time, as well as duel. It looked as though Molly had been keeping herself busy with caring for others to keep her grief at bay.

 

Turning her mind back to the present, Hermione surveyed the room. The Order had gathered in the annex of Aberforth’s bar. On the surface everyone seemed jovial – for some it had been awhile since they had last spoken. Letters were rarely sent as owls were constantly being intercepted, and more often than not, manhandled to the point of animal cruelty.

 

Dumbledore chattered on and on despite the air of growing tension in the room. Feet were shuffling around, and chairs were being shifted as the occupants of the room began to get fidgety and restless. Hermione could not blame them. Even those who adamantly denied Voldemort’s growing power were becoming convinced that the disappearances were more sinister than what they originally expected. Funerals were far too frequent to be ignored.

 

It was a terrible waste, Hermione decided. She knew exactly how the situation could be remedied, and yet it was like being in a full body-bind curse – unable to move until someone more powerful came along to help. Time was running out, and Hermione had already lost several important people in her life.

 

She had forgotten what acute grief felt like. Realistically, it had been so long in her life since someone she cared for had passed on.

 

Passed on. Passed away. What did those words even mean?

 

How was it any less hurtful than saying someone was dead?

 

Dead. Death. Dying.

 

They were not dirty words. They were truthful.

 

But the truth hurt sometimes.

 

Hermione’s eyes looked across the room to Sirius. He looked like he hadn’t seen the sun in several weeks. Dark hair was lank against his pale skin, and his usually vibrant eyes had lost that indefinable spark that made Sirius himself.

 

Hermione had long accepted that he loved Marlene despite any turbulence that was present in their relationship. Marlene had been a constant in his life, much like James and Remus.

 

James was sitting next to him, with Remus on his other side. At that point Remus happened to turn his head and make eye contact with her. Hermione looked away quickly, as though she had seen something unclean or obscene. She didn’t want him to think that she spent her entire evening looking at him; even so, nervous butterflies effervesced in her stomach, and threated to spill out of her mouth.

 

Usually Hermione had Lily to talk to, but she was at home with Harry. Her last letter had said that she was having some difficulty getting him into a routine. The nights were long and without sleep. Now that Hermione looked at James, she was sure that she could see a hint of a purple smudge underneath his eyes.

 

Molly Weasley, on the other hand, had brought along Ron. She kept him close to her in a sling as she busied herself by setting tables, and refreshing drinks. The crotched cushion covers and blankets were her contribution to the annexe, and they reminded Hermione so acutely of the Burrow that she had to rapidly blink several times when she first saw them. It was beginning to feel more like home.

 

The murmurs in the room had steadily risen in volume, and even when Hermione was concentrating, she found it hard to hear what Dumbledore was saying.

 

Out of one ear she could hear the quiet mumblings of Mundungus Fletcher. He was standing in one corner of the room with his coat open. Two young men were peering in. They were new members, only just out of Hogwarts. Hermione hoped they weren’t naïve enough to accept whatever ludicrous offers Dung had for them.

 

“I ask that you keep your voices down!” Dumbledore’s voice boomed above all the others. His face was still, but his eyes burned, especially when a small but disgruntled voice piped up from the middle of the crowd.

 

“What for? We ain’t done nothin’ for weeks, and You-know-‘oo ain’t stopping jus’ because we are!”

 

A general cry of agreement filtered through to where Dumbledore was standing at the front of the room.

 

Dumbledore remained calm despite the potential for a mutiny right before his very eyes.

 

“With the assistance of a select few, I am working on a top secret plan. For the safety of us all, there is no more information that I can indulge about the matter. All I ask is for your patience.”

 

“Patience?” another man said. “You want us to wait longer for answers. Now, Dumbledore, I have a family to take care of. I’ve got a missus who won’t leave beyond the front door without me. What am I supposed to tell her?”

 

“Yes,” yet another voice sounded, this time female. “What about the children? Should I even bother sending them to Hogwarts when term starts?”

 

Dumbledore allowed a few more individuals to vent their frustrations before he chose to intervene. He was as poised as ever, allowing the words to merely wash over him.

 

“I assure you,” he said at last, putting up a hand to silence the group. “There is no safer place to be than Hogwarts. The teachers are exceptionally trained witches and wizards, many of whom are members of the Order. There are no safety issues as far as children are concerned. Yes, we are working on some plans to improve the safety of the community as a whole, but we must not allow ourselves to get caught up in the day-to-day problems we face. Have I ever given you reason not to trust me?”

 

Silence followed his question, although Hermione was certainly rattling off a few reasons in her head as to why Dumbledore should not actually be trusted.

 

“Unless anyone has anything useful to contribute,” Dumbledore continued, “then I call this meeting adjourned.”

 

The meeting was stunned into silence for a few seconds before the angry mutterings started up again amongst one another. Dumbledore had left the room, and they ha no one to direct their frustration to other than themselves. Picking up their belongings, they filed out of the annexe and into the bar below. Aberforth could be seen behind the bar beginning to serve out drinks. Hermione started to slowly descend the stairs, wondering where on Earth she could go from here; metaphorically speaking, of course. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a flash of purple swish its way out the front door of the bar.

 

Running down the last of the stairs, Hermione did her best to weave through the crowd that had begun to gather. Propelling herself out the door, she came face to face with the Headmaster. His calm exterior was the antithesis of how Hermione must have looked. Her brain was working in overdrive with what Dumbledore had said in the meeting.

 

“What is the top secret plan that you are working on?” Hermione hissed into his face, angered that he would not inform her of his intentions.

 

“It is not safe to talk here,” replied Dumbledore as relaxed as ever. “I will send for you to meet me at Hogwarts when all the arrangements have been made. This may take a few more weeks. Good evening, Hermione.”

 

Apologies for taking so long to update. Shift work sucks.

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