Continuing Tales

Past Imperfect

A Harry Potter Story
by Vitellia

Part 14 of 27

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Hermione waits at one of the castle windows until the Ravenclaw versus Hufflepuff game has started before she turns and makes her way up to the Gryffindor common room. She wishes Gryffindor was playing, because then she could be certain none of them would be anywhere near the dorms. On the other hand, if Gryffindor were playing, Minerva would want to taunt Snape and gloat every time the lions scored, and would notice when he slipped off to meet Hermione for their trip to Gringotts.

Hermione's own younger self is probably the only one who would prefer to be in the common room with her books than watching the game, but she watched young Hermione walk out to the pitch flanked by Harry and Ron earlier.

The common room is empty when she enters, and she slips the invisibility cloak over her before heading up to the fourth year boys' dorm room. When she opens the door, she startles at the sight of Neville Longbottom sitting at his desk with books and parchment spread about before him.

In the split second before Hermione can duck back into the corridor and close the door behind her, Neville snatches up his wand and shouts, "Stupefy!"

When Hermione falls, the invisibility cloak slips, showing her legs. Neville pulls it off, exposing the rest of her. "Professor Greene!" he gasps. "Blimey! I'm sorry. Finite Incantatem."

Hermione sits up and takes the cloak from him. "I could take House points for stunning a professor, but then I'd just have to award you the same number for the best stunner I've ever seen from you."

"I've been practicing."


"You have a cloak like Harry's."

"Again, obviously."

"I don't mean to be impertinent, Professor, but what are you doing here?"

"I could tell you, but then I'd have to Obliviate you." It's the oldest wizarding joke there is, but it seems to fit the occasion, and, unfortunately, in this instance it might end up not being a joke. "What are you doing here, Mr. Longbottom? Why aren't you at the match with your friends?"

"I wanted to work on my Potions essay, so I told them I wasn't feeling well."

"Ah." Hermione can relate to that. If she ever said she wanted to skip a Quidditch game and study, the boys would try to bully her into going. "Since when do you want to skip Quidditch to study Potions?"

"Since Professor Snape stopped yelling at me – well, as much anyway – and started teaching me, just like you said he would. And I want to learn. My parents had…an accident when I was younger, and Gran says maybe someone will develop a potion someday that can help them. I never thought I could actually be good enough in Potions to help with that, but now... I'm really grateful for what you said in your office, Professor. I wouldn't have even thought it was worth trying otherwise."

'Grateful enough to step outside for a few minutes and not say anything to anyone – especially Ha– Potter or Weasley – about my being here, or about the cloak?"

Neville looks uncertain.

"I promise you that I'm not doing anything that will hurt anyone."

He bites his lip.

She hesitates. "The reason I'm here is….not unrelated to what happened to your parents."

"You know about my parents?"

"I do. I'm working against the people who tortured your parents."


"I don't like Obliviating people, Mr. Longbottom, but I will do it when necessary," she says. "I think I can trust you. I think you're an honorable person and if you give me your word, you'll keep it."

He thinks it over for a long moment, then says, "You can, and I will." He leaves the room, closing the door behind him.

Hermione casts a silencing spell and says, "Accio Marauder's Map." It flies out of the cupboard next to Harry's bed and into her hand. She sighs. She kept telling him when they were in school to keep the Map warded, and he always said, "Yeah, yeah, I am, quit nagging, Mione," but obviously he was just humoring her. And thank goodness, she thinks now as she puts the Map in her bag.

Neville is waiting in the corridor when she comes out. "I'll keep my word, Professor."

"I know you will, Neville," she says, wishing she could hug him. He startles a bit at her use of his first name, then smiles shyly.

Hermione walks through the empty common room and through an empty castle and out the front door. She slips the cloak back on so she can take the shortcut past the Quidditch pitch, girding herself for Act Two of The Black Sisters Go To Gringotts, starring a very nervous Hermione Granger. As she approaches the gates, Snape's black figure appears as he removes the disillusionment charm. She takes a deep breath and removes the cloak. It's showtime.

Past Imperfect

A Harry Potter Story
by Vitellia

Part 14 of 27

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