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?


58. Chapter 49: Gift



The abandoned girls’ bathroom was as dank and uninviting as ever. Moaning Myrtle, not wanting to cause any trouble whilst Dumbledore was present had vacated the vicinity and seconded herself to a prefect bathroom; however this was not without the obligatory wailing and carrying on that usually accompanied Myrtle.


Hermione merely rolled her eyes at the flooded floor as she entered with Dumbledore and Madam Evangeline in tow.


Hermione was the first person to approach the sink and feel for the tiny snake that was etched into the cold-water handle. Fortunately it was there, and she stepped back so that Madam Evangeline would be able to see and feel for it as well.


Madam’s breath caught in her throat as her fingers traced along the carving.


“So the legend, it is true?” she gasped, turning to Professor Dumbledore for validation.


Dumbledore only had time to nod his head before Hermione spoke.


“We must hurry. I know that it is the summer holidays and there are no other students around to interrupt us, but I don’t think that some of the other teachers would approve of what we are doing. I believe that most of them do not even know that you are here Madam. Indeed, I think it would be a good idea to keep it that way. Many of them do not believe in the Legend either way.


Madam Evangeline morosely nodded her own head. “You know that there is no going back after this?”


Hermione felt her mouth press into a tight line whilst Dumbledore responded for her.


“We are aware Evangeline, and we are grateful for your services. People with your talents are hard to come by.”


“Thank you for your support, Albus,” replied Madam Evangeline, pulling the sleeves of her robes up her arms. “Shall we get started?”


Hermione pulled her wand from a pouch in her cloak before wrapping the fabric tighter around herself. She did not want it to get in the way, but she knew that the Chamber of Secrets was even colder and despairing than the bathroom they were currently occupying. A small cage was held in her left hand, and within it squirmed a white rat. It was the kind that she had read about in science-fiction novels: all red eyes and pink tail. Perfect for humans to intervene as they wished.


She was as ready as she was ever going to be.


Evangeline stood so that she faced the sink, and her hand reached out once more to feel the small silver snake.


Open,” her mouth hissed. Hermione did not understand the parseltongue, however she knew from Harry that this was the password to enter to domain of the Basilisk.


All at once the bathroom fixtures began to move and separate. The halves of the wall slid out of sight allowing Hermione the space to step forward into a dimly lit chamber.


 The stone-carved serpents that rose from the ground the support the ceiling were exactly as Hermione remembered them. Hermione could hear the footsteps of Professor Dumbledore and Madam Evangeline behind her, and trusting they were following her, she put her feet one step closer to the giant stone face of Salazar Slytherin. The image was powerful and Hermione had to reassure herself when she imagined the wisps of his long, thin beard move slightly. Surely, it was a trick of the eye.


The rat squirmed in the cage. Perhaps it could sense what was about to happen.


“Professor?” Hermione whispered. “I’m not sure that my transfiguration skills are quite up to scratch. It has been awhile since I have transfigured invertebrates and – “


Hermione was cut off by Madam Evangeline’s hand on her shoulder.


“Self trust is the essence of heroism,” she said to the young woman, turning her slightly so as to look her in the eye. Hermione could feel the blood rush to her face. 


“I’m not a hero,” she replied, her voice becoming weak with the horror she felt. “I can’t be.”


Evangeline raised an eyebrow towards Hermione, wagging her finger in front of her face to punctuate her point.


“From what I have heard from Albus, it seems to me that you are. You certainly have the courage for Gryffindor, and you seem to be constantly treading the line of safety and danger. Most importantly, you will give everything for those you love. You wouldn’t be here in this position if that weren’t the case. Whether you believe me or not is your choice, but it was also your choice to follow through with the plan, and we have come too far for you to back out now.”


Hermione knew that Madam Evangeline spoke truth. With that assertion, she placed the cage on the grimy stone floor. The rat squirmed inside as thought it knew what was about the happen.


Hermione’s hand immediately shot through the opening of the cage’s door, and in one swift movement the rat was wriggling around in her hand. Taking a deep breath, she pointed her wand at the struggling creature and whispered the incantation.


Right before her very eyes, the creature had transformed into a handsome rooster. What could been of its black feathers in the dim light, shone like ebony.  Its brilliant red comb stood out from the rest of it, as the bird attempted to assert its pride.


The rooster opened its mouth, ready to crow; but not before Hermione had tapped it gently on the head with her wand issuing forth a silencing spell.


With a nod from Hermione, Madam Evangeline stepped forward so that she was several feet in front of her companions. This action prompted both Hermione and Dumbledore to remove black eye masks from their robes. Madam Evangeline copied their actions, keeping a firm grip on the rooster that was still opening its mouth in an attempt to make sound.


“I will speak,” she said to the others, “so listen carefully and be prepared to stun the creature. I will lift the spell from the rooster, forcing it to crow, thereby killing the Basilisk.”


Hermione nodded before realising that she could not be seen.


A soft ‘yes’ escaped her as she felt anxiety rear in the pit of her stomach. Dumbledore stayed silent, however Hermione could feel his comforting presence beside her.


The strangled hissing stopped almost as soon as it began; short but clear in the air.


At first Hermione detected no change, and she wondered if Madam Evangeline had indeed summoned the monster.


Again Madam Evangeline spoke Parseltongue, but this time with more urgency. Hermione was glad that she couldn’t understand what was really being said. She was sure that it would give her nightmares for weeks.


This time, Hermione could sense the ground move beneath her feet. It was ever so slight, but enough to increase Hermione’s heart rate three-fold.


It had heard, and it was coming for them.


Gripping her wand tightly, Hermione wished her bladder had chosen a better time to be inconvenient. Needing to go to the toilet was immensely distracting when your life was on the line.


A deeper, more resonant hissing had begun now. She would sure that the monster was close enough to be able to smell them.


All of a sudden, the rumbling beneath her feet intensified and Hermione had to fight to keep her balance. However, that fight was instantly vanquished when she lost her balance entirely and fell forward onto her knees. A sharp pain shot up her legs, as she thrust her arms forward to stop her face from imbedding itself into the cold and wet stone.


Not knowing whether Dumbledore or Madam Evangeline were alright firmly set Hermione’s panic, and she could feel herself trembling so badly that her arms were struggling to keep her up.


‘If only I could see’, thought Hermione with absolute futility. She would not take off the blindfold until Dumbledore told her it was safe to do so.


An almighty squawk sounded through the air, and small rocks began to tumble from the ceiling as there was a final crash.


‘We’ll be buried here for sure,’ was the last thought Hermione had before the darkness enveloped her mind as well as her body.




For what felt like the umpteenth time in her sojourn to the past, Hermione woke up in the Hospital Wing of Hogwarts.  Attempting to rub the sleep from her eyes, Hermione was shocked to find both her hands had bandages covering them.


Her knees also felt rather stiff, and it did not take much investigation to find that they too were bandaged; however these injuries paled into insignificance when Hermione felt the lump on her head. It felt as big as an egg, and yet Hermione had no recollection of how it got there.


Fortunately Poppy Pomfrey had seen that Hermione was waking, and had bustled over with a tray of potions and poultices.


“Albus seems to have got into the habit of knocking you around a bit, hasn’t he?” she said, pulling a side of the blanket up to reveal one of Hermione’s knees. Pursing her lips, she started to unwrap the bandage.


“What happened?” Hermione tongue felt thick, and she was finding it tricky to talk. Poppy seemed to know exactly what she needed, because she reached over the bedside table for a glass of water.


“Small sips, dear. I’ll need to give you some Skele-grow in a minute for your knees. What that man thinks is a mystery to us all. Truth be told, I’m not sure what happened to you.  Fortunately Evangeline and Albus seemed to fare much better. Wrong place at the wrong time, is what Albus said to me. A bump to the head is the most worrying thing… apparently there were rocks falling and one came a little too close to you. You must have broken your knee caps when you fell, but as I said, it’s nothing a little Skele-grow can’t fix once I’ve cleaned up the last few bumps and scratches.”


Hermione handed the now empty glass back to Poppy before falling back against the pillows. She could feel a cool trickle of water and potions against various parts of her arms and legs as Poppy cleansed her wounds.


Another glass appeared beside Hermione and she knew that she would not have to bring it too close to her nose to be able to recognise the vile smell that was Skele-grow.


“Pinch your nose, and down the hatch,” trilled Poppy as she adjusted the blankets back over Hermione in an orderly and efficient manner. Hermione did as she was bid, taking a few deep breaths once she was done to make sure that it stayed in her stomach.


A short while later she began to feel a tingling around her knees, and she knew that the potion was doing what it was meant to.


“If you’re not in too much pain, I’ll call Albus to come and see you. I can’t say I agree with him being here, what with the head injury and all, but he was insistent. I’ll be back in a moment, dear.”


Once again, Hermione lay back against the pillows. She had been quiet for some time, allowing Poppy to do her work, but now that she thought about, she was sure that she could piece together some of the events.


She could remember being in the chamber, and feeling the Earth move, then the rooster crowing.


Remembering even that much made her head ache, so she lay very still until she could hear the clicking of Dumbledore’s high-heeled boots coming closer to her.


“Another small success,” said Dumbledore with a smile when he appeared at the end of her bed. “Evangeline freed the rooster just in time. The large crash that they may or may not have heard was part of the chamber collapsing as the rooster’s crow killed the Basilisk.”


Hermione let out a sigh of relief.


“That’s so good to hear. Finally, we have some good news. Did you manage to collect some of the fangs?”


Dumbledore nodded. “Indeed I did. It was a little messy, but Evangeline also managed to secure some of the venom as well. It will be good to have a little on hand, just in case.”


The pair was silent for a few moments, and Hermione wish that the headmaster would leave her to rest. Perhaps he could sense what she needed, or perhaps he was using his skills of legilimency, because he left a short while later, leaving Hermione to ruminate on exactly how they were going to use the Basilisk venom to destroy the horcuxes that were still laying in wait, securely above Aberforth’s bar.

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