A Secret is Meant to be Kept

When Ron lashes out at Hermione and gets them into a sticky situation, Hermione transports herself back in time. But the Marauders Era was a bit farther than she expected. She must figure out how to reverse the spell, deal with falling in love all over again and fight against some of the most notorious Death Eaters, who are inside the castle's walls. Not as intruders, but as classmates.

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24. Home

“You crush them with the blade,” Hermione said softly.

“The directions clearly state that you are to cut the Sopophorous bean,” a sharp tone hissed at her.

“Seems to be working very well for you,” Hermione said, turning her nose up at Severus, who made attempts to catch the bean every time it bounced away from their table.  Shaking his head as he poured the juice from the bean into the cauldron after following the instructions, Severus began to scribble in his potions book.

“Why are we doing this anyway?” James huffed from across the aisle.  “This is an Advanced Potion Making book, I’m only a fourth year.”

“Well, how else do you expect Slughorn to see who’s the proper material for his advanced potions class?” Hermione shrugged, returning to her work, no longer responding to James.

“You only say that because you excel at everything,” James rolled his eyes and Severus scoffed from beside Hermione.  “How did you do that?” he asked, attempting to catch his jumping bean.  After receiving no response from Hermione, he returned to his work, and Hermione's eyes were only drawn away from her cauldron when Severus slid his textbook over to her.  The number ‘12’ had a strike through it with a ‘13’ written above the number of Sopophorous beans that are to be used.  Hermione nodded at him as she looked at his cauldron, noticing he had achieved a much darker color than she was nearing.  Severus did not speak to her after that point in the class, only to ask if she had collected a sloth brain from the ingredients cabinet.  As he reached to hand one over to her, Hermione could not help but stare at the spot on his arm where she presumed the Dark Mark had already been burned.

***

After her final class of the week, Hermione made her way down the trail to Hogsmeade, walking alone in the cold air.  Her pace being slowed by the effort it took to trod on through the snow, she folded her arms and tried to continue on through the wind beating against her.  As she made her way through the village, she stopped momentarily and glanced through the window of Madam Puddifoot’s, then stopped in her tracks and stared blankly at the snow in front of her, pondering what she was actually going to do now that she had made it here.

“Following me, are you now, Granger?” that familiar monotone said, as its owner strode past her.  The greasy haired boy showed no emotion as he walked past her, clearly also unaware of where he was headed.  Hermione decided to enter the Three Broomsticks and claimed a table for herself.  She ordered a Butterbeer with ginger and put her head in her hands as she tried to get rid of her ongoing headache.  Severus walked in as the barmaid had walked away from Hermione’s table, and he was followed by two Slytherin boys and Peter.  Hermione’s eyes were trained upon the group as they sat down at a table in the corner, and she completely failed to notice the girl that had just approached her own table.

“Can we talk?” the sweet voice said to her.  Hermione looked up at the redhead, but it was not the one that had been in her favor all these months, it was the one that she had done her best to avoid all this time.  Hermione couldn’t help but to catch a glimpse of her eyes and she felt like melting.

Except for your eyes, you have your mother’s eyes.

The words reverberated in her mind as she thought of the phrase she had heard so many times.  When Hermione shook her head ‘yes’, she wasn’t doing it to Lily, it was for Harry, the Potter that she wished she could speak to more than anything in that moment.  But, Lily wasn’t a Potter yet and Hermione wasn’t sane and this wasn’t the life anyone had planned for.

Neither girl spoke for a few moments, Hermione staring at her unsteady hands as Lily stared at the shadow of a girl who sat opposite her.

“Dead ends make for new paths to be created,” Lily said softly.  “So, which way are we going?” she said, reaching a hand out to steady Hermione’s.  Hermione looked up at Lily for the first time in what seemed like forever since she truly acknowledged every feature on the girl’s face.  She was more than just her eyes, and even though she didn’t look much like Harry in every other sense, she looked like home to Hermione.

“Home,” Hermione whispered as if the word was hardly within her reach.

“Where is your home, Hermione?” Lily asked, using the softest voice she could muster.

“Potter Manor,” Hermione choked out, forcing herself to accept that it truly was her home now.

“You never looked at home there, I’ve only ever seen you look -” Lily hesitated as she looked at Hermione’s worn state and shaken body.  “Maybe home isn’t a place, maybe it’s the people you love.”

“I want to go home,” Hermione said.

“Let’s go home,” Lily said, taking Hermione’s hand and leading her out of the door to face the harsh winter air once more.

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