Continuing Tales

Thirty-One Days

A Harry Potter Story
by keelhaulrose

Part 3 of 29

<< Previous     Home     Next >>
Thirty-One Days

She woke up the next day early enough to take a much needed hot shower. She took her time getting dressed, carefully pulling her wet hair back into a tight braid so it didn't appear as bushy as usual. There were bags under her eyes, and she still had the look of someone who had too much stress and not enough sleep, but she would only be able to get rid of that look through time and rest. Thirty one days would normally seem like an exceptionally long time, but considering she only had that one month to befriend the most notoriously withdrawn teacher of Hogwarts and try to convince him to hold onto his life later, and once those thirty-one days were up she'd be dropped right back in the middle of a battle, it seemed like an insurmountable task. Just another day as Harry Potter's best friend.

Jennae met her, and showed her the quickest way down to the Great Hall, which involved a secret passage Hermione didn't know about. She made mental notes so she could repeat the route, and happily settled down for a large breakfast.

"Are you taking Transfiguration with us?" Jennae asked as she ate.

"Yes," she said, retrieving her schedule from her bag and showing her new dorm-mate.

"We have Charms and Transfiguration with the Gryffindors, so expect them to get a little loud and have a few show-offs," she said, looking over the schedule. "Arithmancy is with the Hufflepuffs, so things are fine. I don't take Runes or Potions, but both of those are with the Slytherins. Herbology, too. So is Defense Against the Dark Arts, and let me tell you, that lot makes that class interesting."

"How so?" she asked.

"Because most of them know more about the Dark Arts than they do about defending against them. Don't pair up with Bellatrix Black. Just don't. She's terrifying. Lucius Malfoy isn't in our year, but he'll be around a bit, and can be scary if he stares at you just right though he can be very charming when you're just talking with him. And that Severus Snape, he knows a lot more than he lets on. Anything we do in class he'll probably pick up before anyone else. He can be a bit... disconcerting. But it's not really a big deal, I guess, I don't mean to scare you."

"I'm not scared. I've dealt with... their type before," she murmured, rubbing her forearm.

"Are you about done? I can show you a few places of interest in the castle, if you'd like."

"Of course," Hermione said, taking a last bite and standing. She slung her bag over her shoulder and turned to leave, running right into someone very familiar.

"Sorry, Harry," she said automatically, then quickly realized that the messy-haired boy was not her best friend, though he bore a striking resemblance. Except, of course, for the eyes.

"I could be Harry, if you want me to be, love," James Potter smiled back, and the three boys behind him snickered.

"I'm sorry, you look an awful lot like a friend I had at... my old school," she muttered.

"'s alright," he said with a lopsided smile.

"I'm... I... I've got to go," she stammered, ducking past them and hurrying down the table, feeling her face redden as she went. How could she have completely forgotten that her trip back would not just bring her face-to-face with some future Death Eaters, but also some former members of the Order of the Phoenix, including her best friend's father. She realized, with a sinking stomach, that she had probably just exchanged more words with him than Harry ever had. Seeing James was bad enough, but Sirius and Lupin were potentially problematic, with all the time she would be spending around them in the future. Her decision to go on this mission was looking more and more idiotic by the minute.

"I see you're making friends with some of the more attractive Gryffindor boys already," Jennae snickered as they walked out of the hall.

"If by making friends you mean running into them and calling one by the wrong name," she replied.

"You will quickly find out that James Potter and Sirius Black are the two most popular men in our year, with good reason," she explained as they made their way towards the library. "I think James is off the market right now, dating another Gryffindor named Lily Evans, but Sirius is single."

"Are you looking for a relationship?" she asked.

"Not a chance, we're NEWT level, and our class loads are insane. I've got lots of time for men later. But if you just want a fling while you're here, Sirius is handsome and doesn't seem interested in anything long-term."

"I'm not looking for anything," she mumbled as she peered into the library. Pince was there, looking like the exact same woman just with fewer lines on her face, even her robes looked the same.

"We'll go to the Potions dungeon next, then work our way back up to the Charms corridor," Jennae said.

Hermione automatically turned towards a shortcut behind a fake wall that she had discovered during her third year.

"Where are you going?" Jennae asked.

"Oh, I saw a bit of an... abnormality here," she muttered, stumbling while trying to cover up her knowledge of the castle.

"This place is full of hidden passages, I wouldn't be surprised if there are a few I haven't heard about," she smiled, coming up to Hermione and putting her hand on the wall, which allowed it to slip through easily. They walked down the hidden passageway until they came out a floor above the Potions corridor. Jennae was thrilled, claiming it took them five minutes less than normal. They peered into the dungeons, but upon seeing Slughorn decided not to walk through. Instead they retreated back up the stairs, passing by the Runes classroom, then the DADA room, the Transfiguration corridor, and finally arriving at the Charms room as Flitwick was opening the door.

"I don't have a seat-mate in this class," Jennae said as they entered the room. "So, for your time here, you can sit with me."

They took their place at a desk about halfway back, and almost immediately James and Sirius took the desk in front of them.

"Hullo, not Harry," James beamed at her.

"Prongs," Sirius sighed exaggeratedly. "You're not Harry, she's... well, we don't know your name, love, but I'd be happy to call you 'love' if you don't want to give us your name."

"Hermione Puckle,"she said quickly.

"Puckle? That won't do. It doesn't suit you. What was that first name again? Herm- mia- knee?"

"Hermione," she repeated slowly.

"Hmm... you're certainly not a Hermy, I guess it won't be too hard for me to call you your full name. Or, perhaps, I should just stick with 'love'."

"My name is fine," she murmured, turning red.

"No need to be so nervous, Hermione. I don't bite, unless, of course, you want me to," he waggled his eyebrows as James started laughing.

"Are you torturing the poor visiting student?" Lupin asked, sliding into the seat in front of Sirius, followed closely by Pettigrew.

"It's not torture, dear Moony," Sirius beamed. "Just being friendly is all."

"Friendly, you say?" Peter beamed. "We all know what you mean by 'friendly'."

"You're not helping, Wormy."

"I apologize for my idiot friends," Lupin smiled. "They don't know the meaning of the word 'subtlety'."

"It's alright," she murmured, busying herself getting out her textbook.

"How long are you here for, Hermione?" Sirius asked, leaning on her desk.

"Not sure. Might be a few days, might be a couple months," she lied.

"Well, I should apologize for making you feel so uncomfortable. Would you like me to give you a tour of the castle?"

"Jennae already has."

"Did she give you a tour of all the more... intimate spots? No one knows this castle better than the four of us."

"I'll be quite alright not getting caught sneaking around."

"Trust me, love, if you come with me you won't get caught. Thoroughly snogged, perhaps, but not caught."

"I'm still alright," she muttered, and was saved from the conversation by a younger Flitwick coming in. She played it cool throughout the class, she had decided early on that she didn't want too much attention from any of the teachers she would have again. She knew what they were talking about, but she only occasionally offered an answer and thought she did a good job being an altogether forgettable student. As soon as the bell rang she was standing and half-sprinting from the room, Jennae close behind. She was halfway to the Runes classroom before Jennae caught up.

"Are we avoiding someone?" Jennae smirked as Hermione, after checking to make sure the Marauders weren't behind her, slowed down.

"Not in the slightest," she lied. "I just don't want to be late for Runes."

"Sure, that's it. Okay, do you remember where the classroom is?"


"Good, if I show you there's a good chance I'll be late for Care of Magical Creatures."

"I wouldn't want that."

"Okay. Well, hopefully you'll make friends in Runes, but considering you're the only girl from Ravenclaw currently taking it..."


"Well, Care of Magical Creatures and Divination are at the same time. Divination isn't a big draw for us, but Care of Magical Creatures is always interesting, so we tend to go there. Runes is nice if you're planning on being a curse-breaker or work in the Department of Mysteries or something, but unless you plan on working with them it's kind of pointless to take the class."

"I guess you're right. Good luck on your exam."

"Good luck with the class."

Hermione waved as she hurried down the hallway. By the small group standing outside the Runes classroom it wasn't a popular option, just her, two boys from Ravenclaw, a Gryffindor girl she didn't recognize, two Slytherin girls, Snape, and, for some reason, Lucius. Lucius seemed to be in the middle of a story, and by the looks of it Snape couldn't be more disinterested in what his friend had to say, but he was offering the occasional nod or phrase to keep the older student going. She came to a stop behind Lucius and took a deep breath.

"Good afternoon," she said, as brightly as she could muster, and the elder Malfoy turned to face her.

"Good afternoon," he drawled, eying her.

"Am I in the right spot for Runes?"

"You are. I heard rumor we had a visitor from, if my information is correct, Beauxbatons, for a while."

"That would be me," she replied.

"Lucius Malfoy," he said, offering a hand.

"Hermione Puckle," she said, forcing herself not to wince as she shook his hand.

"Puckle, you say?"

"Yes. My father's name. My mother is a Delacour."

"Ah, one of the Delacours from France?"

"The same."

"Wonderful," he beamed, and she realized she must have passed his first test. She might not be a pure-blood, but her family was an old, and more importantly rich, family of wizards. Or, at least they were to the best of his knowledge. "How are you finding Hogwarts?"

"It is different, but not overly so. We sit our exams after sixth year, and that last year is focused on picking a specialty and making sure it would be a good fit post-education." Lying to Lucius was infinitely easier than lying to anyone else here, and she was sure if she ever had the displeasure of meeting Bellatrix she wouldn't mind spinning the biggest whoppers she could. If only she learned the fine art of the backhanded compliment from Fred and George.

"What specialty were you drifting towards?" Lucius was studying her with curiosity, and she realized this was a test, to see if she was worth talking to or not.

"Well, Potions is a strength of mine, as well as Charms and Transfiguration. I was thinking of getting a job as a curse-breaker when I'm older, but things are always up in the air."

"It takes a powerful witch or wizard to be a curse breaker."

"We'll see how that turns out for me," she shot back. "I don't think it'll be a problem."

"You certainly have the confidence," he chuckled. "Have you met Severus?"

"No, I haven't had much chance to meet any Slytherins yet. Just the Ravenclaws and the Gryffindors."

She saw Severus' jaw clench.

"Don't be rude, Severus, say hullo."

Snape turned towards her, his eyes barely visible through his curtains of hair, though she felt he could see her perfectly. "Hullo," he replied in his unmistakable low, slow, bored-sounding drawl.

"Pleasure to meet you," she replied, though not as cheerfully as she had said with Lucius. Severus in the future was not a fan of bubbly personalities, and she doubted that he was that much different than his younger self.

He grunted in return, then the door opened and he disappeared into the classroom without a second word. She bid good-bye to Lucius and followed Severus into the room. She knew she would have to impress him if she wanted him to give her a second glance, and this would be the class to do it. Runes was one of the few subjects she had gotten better at during her time on the run, with all the hours she pored over the Tales of Beetle the Bard, and more importantly, carefully translating the story of the three brothers. So throughout the class she raised her hand, though not with every question, answered smoothly and fluently, and asked intelligent questions she already knew the answer to. By the end she could tell the Professor seemed impressed, though Severus was as hard to read as ever.

Lucius was waiting outside the room, and starting walking beside her as they made their way towards the Great Hall for lunch. She resisted the urge to punch him and run, but Severus was a couple paces behind them, and while she thought he'd find it amusing at first, it would hardly endear her to commit assault on his friend for no good reason. After asking a bit about how she found Hogwarts he started questioning her further about her personal life.

"May I ask why you are here?"

"My grandfather on my father's side is sick, probably dying. I'm here for a while until he either gets better or passes. My father wanted me close by in case I need to visit before he passes."

"Oh, I'm sorry," he replied flippantly, obviously not sorry at all.

"It happens," she shrugged.

"It does," he nodded. "Oh, I have someone I'd like you to meet. Narcissa!" he called to his future wife, who was waiting near the Great Hall and scowling as she saw him walking towards her with another woman next to him.

"Lucius," she forced a wide, beautiful smile.

"Narcissa, this is Hermione Puckle. She's a Delacour from Beauxbatons, visiting Hogwarts for a while."

"Oh, pleasure to meet you," the smile turned sincere and she stepped forward to kiss each of Hermione's cheeks. Hermione felt ice running through her veins.

"You're going to have to excuse me, I promised Jennae I would meet up with her for lunch," Hermione said, spotting her dorm-mates sitting halfway down the table. "Good to meet you."

"You as well," Lucius smiled, drawing her hand up to his mouth and brushing her lips against her fingers, and she had to admit he was charming.

"Goodbye, Severus," she said softly as she passed him, and forced herself not to look back even though she felt his eyes following her all the way to her seat.

"Welcome back," Jennae moved over so Hermione could sit next to her. "How was your class?"

"Interesting," she replied truthfully. "How did your exam go?"

"Ugh, I swear sometimes I'm the biggest dolt. I forgot the scientific name for the Hippogriff..." she started chatting, and Hermione got drawn into a discussion about the creatures that were typically brought into their class, though none of them sounded nearly as dangerous as what Hagrid thought were class-ready examples.

After lunch she had a free period, and some Runes translations she had to do, so she headed up to the library. She retrieved some books to help her and settled into a table in a remote corner. Not too long after she felt someone's robes brush against her, and she looked up to see Snape settling at a vacant table not too far away with a large stack of books. She worked alone for a few more minutes, then pretended to get stuck on a little-used translation. Steeling her nerves she stood, and walked to Snape's table.

"Excuse me?" she said softly.

His head snapped up, and his eyes narrowed as he scrutinized her.

"I was wondering if you could help me," she said with a smile she hoped didn't make her nerves too obvious.

He didn't verbally respond.

"I'm having trouble with a rune. I can't find it in the book."

"Which one?" he asked, eyes shifting to the paper in her hand.

"This one," she said, pointing.

His hand shot out, grabbing one of the books from his stack, and he thrust it roughly at her. "I don't do homework for people," he growled as she took it.

"Thanks," she muttered, and she quickly retreated back to her table. She watched his back for a while, realizing just how difficult her task was going to be.

Thirty-One Days

A Harry Potter Story
by keelhaulrose

Part 3 of 29

<< Previous     Home     Next >>