Continuing Tales

Past Imperfect

A Harry Potter Story
by Vitellia

Part 21 of 27

<< Previous     Home     Next >>
Untitled Document

The finished potion is as deep a crimson as the blood they added. It sits on Hermione's desk as she waits for Harry, dressed for the Yule Ball that starts in less than an hour.

"You wanted to see me, Professor?" he says, appearing in her office doorway in dress robes.

"Thank you for coming, Mr. Potter" It's so disconcerting calling him of all people by anything but his first name. "I have something that might help with your headaches."

"You know about those?"

"I do, and I know why you have them."

"It's to do with my scar."



"Yes." She hands him the potion. "This will stop them."

"How often would I have to take it?"

"Just this once."

He examines the bottle, then looks up at her. "Did you brew it?"

"Yes," she says, wishing Harry could know that Severus had helped him, but Severus thought it would make Harry less likely to take it without questioning her further, or worse, saying he wanted to ask Dumbledore about it.

He hesitates a moment, but swallows it and Hermione watches as his scar fades to the faint silvery white of an old injury. She conjures a mirror and hands it to him. A look of wonder crosses his face as he stares at himself. "I can feel it," he says. "Or, rather, I can't feel it."

"It was hurting before you took the potion?"

"No. I wasn't even aware of it. But now that it's gone – whatever it is – I feel different."


"Yes. Absolutely better," he says. "How did you know how?"

"I study the Dark Arts, remember?"

"Right," he says, standing up. "Well, thank you, Professor."

"You're welcome, Mr. Potter."

After he leaves, she opens the door from her office to her sitting room. Severus is waiting for her, the same look of wonder on his face that Harry had worn as he looks at his left arm. He's rolled up the sleeve to show what's left of the Dark Mark, a pale gray shadow of what it was just a few minutes before.

"He said he could feel it, once it was gone," she says, "that he felt different. Do you?"


"We did it, Severus. We really did it."

"We did," he says. "I'm free. I never thought I would be, you know."

"I know."

"Come here," he says, holding his arms out to her, and wrapping them around her when she does. "You've set me free, Hermione."

"What will you do, now that you're free?"

"I have no idea," he says. "I never dared to make plans."

"Never dared to hope?"

"No," he says. "What about you? When you go back?"

"How can I make plans when I have no idea what that world will be like?" She tightens her hold on him. "I don't want to go back."

"You don't have to tonight. Tonight you have to chaperone a castle full of hormonal teenagers and keep any little witches and wizards from being conceived in the rose garden." He offers her his arm and says in his silkiest Lucius voice, "Shall we, pet?"

"Let's do, love," she replies in her most posh Narcissa tones.

Hermione is surprised to find Lucius and Narcissa themselves are in the Great Hall when they arrive. She forgot that as a member of the Board of Governors he was likely to be there.

"So you're the famous Professor Greene," Lucius says after Severus introduces them.


"My son never stops talking about you. Well, he occasionally stops long enough to talk about that Granger girl."

Not sure which statement is more surprising, Hermione says only, "He's an excellent student. I enjoy having him in my class."

"I'm delighted to hear it, Professor. Now if you ladies will excuse us for a bit, I need to speak to Severus."

Severus walks with Lucius out of the Great Hall and down an empty corridor. He casts Muffliato and looks at Lucius.

"The Mark," Lucius says. "It's all but gone."

"Mine as well."

"Do you know why?"

Severus hesitates. The Dark Lord is gone. There's no reason to pretend to support him any longer. "Yes."

"Is he gone? Truly gone?"


"And you had something to do with it?"



"I could tell you," he says, and Lucius joins in to finish in unison, "but then I'd have to Obliviate you."

"I'm glad, actually," Lucius says after a long silence. When Severus only raises a brow and waits, he continues, "Do you have any idea how much money I was spending when Tom Riddle was alive? The man never earned a galleon in his life, and he had more expensive tastes than Narcissa – and that's saying something."

"So you'll start looking for a Dark Lord with better return on investment next time round?"

"I don't think I'll look for one at all."

"What about purifying the wizarding race of all that dirty blood?"

"Draco would have me believe that blood has nothing to do with magic, that it's all about genes and DNA and a lot of other things he's eyeball-deep in reading thanks to a book that Professor Greene gave him. Once he finished it, he got that Granger girl to help him track down more, for which I had to change galleons into pounds so her parents could order them on the line, whatever that means, and owl them to her for Draco. Now he's after me to hire a Muggle genetics professor from some university to tutor him this summer."

"At the Manor? You'd have to Obliviate the poor fellow after every session."

"The plan is for him and Granger to meet the tutor at the university library."

"And you're all right with that?"

"Some of what Draco's been reading is actually quite fascinating. Do you know there's a field called evolutionary biology where they have research that shows monogamy isn't natural for males? I showed it to Cissy but she's having none of it, of course."

"I meant his friendship with a Muggleborn witch."

"Oh, that. I think it's a bit more than friendship. Do you know he actually wanted to ask her to the ball? He would have if some other bloke hadn't got in first. He was quite put out. But he's planning on inviting her to our New Years Eve ball." Seeing the dark look Severus gets at this, Lucius says, "You disapprove? I always suspected you were only going along with that blood purity business for appearance's sake."

"I was."

"It was preposterous, really, when you think about it. Riddle was a halfblood, for fuck's sake. No offense," he adds, realizing to whom he's talking.

"None taken."

"Cissy will be delighted about being able to renovate that wing we've been keeping for him just in case all these years."

"I should think you'd have enough space even without that wing."

"Yes, but it has the best views in the Manor. Entitled berk, always had to have the best of everything that didn't belong to him. Anyway, we'd best get back before Cissy starts wondering if I'm following the dictates of evolution and chasing after seventh years."

"You're quite a good dancer," Hermione says.

"You say that as though you're surprised," Severus replies.

"It was hard to picture."

"All of us in my House were taught. It wouldn't do for any of us to make fools of ourselves publicly." He glances at Ron and one of the Patil twins dancing nearby. "If Weasley were in Slytherin, Miss Patil's toes wouldn't be suffering such absuse."

"That was never going to happen. Fred and George perhaps, but never Ron."

"Agreed. Though perhaps part of his problem is that he isn't paying attention to his own date."

Ron is glaring daggers at young Hermione and Viktor Krum, to the mounting annoyance of the girl on whose toes he's stepping.

"He isn't the only one distracted by your younger self's Cinderella at the ball transformation either," Severus remarks, glancing at Draco.

Hermione follows his gaze. Even though Malfoy is dancing competently and leaving her toes in peace, Parkinson is clearly unhappy about where his eyes keep straying. Having had enough, she pushes him away and stalks off the dance floor, grabs Neville and pulls him back with her, giving Malfoy a triumphant glare as Neville sweeps her away.

"Neville's quite a good dancer, too, isn't he?" Hermione says.

"His grandmother wouldn't have permitted him not to be."

"You know they were married in my time?"

"Longbottom and Parkinson? Really?"

"He did look quite dashing killing that snake."

"Longbottom and dashing are two words I never thought to hear syntactically linked."

"You're adorable when you're excessively formal."

He glowers.

"And when you glower like that. But especially when you're drunk." She giggles. "Her-my-oh-neeeeee."

"You will pay for your impertinence."

"Is that a threat or a promise?"

"Both," he says, and the look in his eyes accompanied by the tone of his voice makes her go slightly weak in the knees.

The song ends and they walk off the dance floor, passing Draco as he approaches Viktor, taps him on the shoulder and asks, "May I?"

Viktor acquiesces graciously, but young Hermione is clearly stunned as Draco takes her in his arms for the next dance.

"Do not," Hermione says, glancing around and casting a Muffliato, "under any circumstances let my younger self marry Malfoy," Hermione tells Severus.

"Wasn't it Weasley you hoped to make jealous by appearing on the arm of an international Quidditch star?"

"Don't let her marry Ron either."

"How about Krum?"

"Oh, there was never any danger of that."

"Good. He's a bit old for you."

She laughs. "Look who's talking."

"You're in your twenties now. You were fifteen then." He glares at Viktor. "Did Mr. Krum behave himself when you were in fourth year?"

"Would I have been a virgin so long past my expiration date if he hadn't?"

"Yet another unkind comment for which I suppose you expect me to apologize."

"Only if I have to apologize for throwing Sirius in your face."

"That was unkind."

"It was," she agrees. "But you deserved it."

"Debatable," he says. "However, I will endeavor to be…less unkind in future."


"Only to you. I make no promises about my unpleasantness in general."

Later, after a review of the Muggle curriculum and a foray into the first chapter one of The Ancient Arte, Severus is idly tracing patterns on the smooth skin of Hermione's left hip. "Apparently you'll be spending New Years with the Malfoys," he says.

"What did I tell you about pronouns?" She runs her fingers through the hair at the back of his neck. "And I was serious earlier. Do not let my younger self marry Malfoy."

"Or Weasley. I remember."

"You're not taking this seriously."

"I am, actually, but I'm not sure what I can do about it. She's a teenage girl and I'm her teacher. I can't very well tell her whom to date or not date."

"Then tell Malfoy. You're his godfather."

"That will have just the opposite effect. You are familiar with Romeo and Juliet?"

"I should never have paired them in Defence. I was only trying to nudge him away from being a pureblood supremacist berk. I never thought he'd develop a bloody crush on me. Her," she corrects.

"See, the pronouns do get tricky."

"I don't want to go back."

"I wish you didn't have to," he says. "It'll be torture, watching her grow up, waiting for you to come back to me."

"What if you don't have to wait?"

"Hermione! I have never, in all my years teaching –"

"No, listen. What if we can stabilize the potion and I don't have to go back? What if I stay here until right before I'm supposed to go back, and then make just a short hop forward in time? We could leave Hogwarts, so no one would notice my younger self looking increasingly like me. We could go to Canada or Argentina or Greece or, well, anyplace."

"Even if you only make 'a short hop forward' you'll still end up reintegrating with the you who's in fourth year now, though, as I understand it?"

"Yes," she admits.

"And even if we could sort out all the problems that would cause, the bigger problem is that we don't know the long term effects of the potion, and your diagnostics are troubling."

"Let's work on the potion, see if we can modify it so I can stay here longer."

"We can try," he says, "but I've already been doing some research, and –"

"You have? You 're so sweet."

"I am not sweet."

"We can agree to disagree."

"In regards to the matter at hand," he says sternly, then his voice turns gentle again. "I'm not optimistic about the long-term effects. The fact is, you don't belong in this time, and the longer you stay here, the more risk to your health – and your magic."

"I could end up a Squib?"

"Or worse," he says. "If you stayed here because of me, and anything happened to you, I could never forgive myself."

"But we can try?"

"We can try."

Past Imperfect

A Harry Potter Story
by Vitellia

Part 21 of 27

<< Previous     Home     Next >>