Continuing Tales

Past Imperfect

A Harry Potter Story
by Vitellia

Part 7 of 27

<< Previous     Home     Next >>
Untitled Document

Severus sighs. Hermione is making lists again. That means she's nervous. Or breathing.

"Six bottles of the Time Turner potion and the instructions for brewing more of it, the book with the Horcrux potion, a list of all the Horcruxes and their locations…"

"As if you'd forget any of those."

"Still, it's good to have things written down." She pats her beaded bag. "I have everything packed."

"Including the tent?"

"Gods, no. If camping is involved, I'm throwing in the towel and letting Riddle do his worst."

She rummages in the bag one last time. Invisibility cloak, Marauders' map, potions books, carefully wrapped and warded basilisk fangs, hair dye, straightening potion, contact lenses… She knows everything's there, but she can't help double and triple checking. It calms her nerves. They know where the Time Turner is, just need to get Minerva out of her office long enough for her to get it. She hates the idea of sneaking and lying to Minerva, but they can't take the chance she'll refuse to cooperate.

"Are you sure we should use Peeves to distract her?" she says. "I don't trust him."

"No one trusts him. But he's devilishly good with distractions."

"And I need something to tell your past self so you'll know I'm telling you the truth."

"Why not just let me use Legilimency?"

"Remember what happened the last time you tried that?" It was how he had ended their duel in sixth year, how he drove her far enough into the depths of her fury to cast Cruciatus. When he dared to invade her mind, she snapped.

"I do," he says. "But when you show up telling your story about time travel, I'll probably try."

"I don't want you in my head."

"Somehow, I don't think a good Crucioing will put me in the mood to help."

"So tell me a deep, dark secret no one else knows."

"My favorite color is black."

She rolls her eyes.

"My mother was Hogwarts Gobstones champion."

"That is neither deep nor dark nor secret."

"The person I loved the most as a child was my grandmother, Becky Snape. She died when I was six. She used to bake cinnamon raisin scones. She called me by a pet name so embarrassing that I would not tell you even to bring down the Dark Lord. She gave me a stuffed donkey from which I was inseparable until my father threw it into the fireplace in a drunken rage."

I'm so sorry, she wants to say, but knows how much he'd hate it, so she asks, "What was the donkey's name?"

He grimaces. "Eeyore."

"From Winnie the Poo?"

"Gran used to read me the stories."

And of course the sad, gloomy little donkey was the character who reminded his grandmother enough of him to choose that toy. Oh, Severus.

"Remember what I said about your magic when you go back in time," he says.

"That it might take a little time to adjust, but it will, so don't panic."

"Right, so no complicated or taxing spells right away, if you can help it."

"Okay," she says, then, "It's going to be hard."

"Is this just now occurring to you, that going back in time and putting paid to the Dark Lord might not be as easy as getting twelve NEWTs?"

"I know that will be hard. I was thinking about how hard it's going to be to have you hate me again."

"I didn't actually hate you."

"But I annoyed you. In fourth year I was this bushy-haired, buck toothed know-it-all waving my hand in class trying to show everyone how smart I was. You couldn't stand me. Do you remember what you said when Malfoy hexed my teeth that year?"

"Not one of my finer moments. And really, as though I should be commenting on anyone's teeth."

"I guess I'm just trying to prepare myself for you to be that way to me again. It was fine when I was in school, because I didn't know you like this. You weren't my friend, but now you are, and I'm going to miss the Severus I know when I go back. You won't be Severus. You'll be Professor Snape, all looming and glowering and sniping."

"Try not to take it personally."

"Are you my friend now because you're a portrait and the painter couldn't quite get all the nastiness in there? Or are you really you, and when I go back, is this you is going to be there underneath all the hurtful comments and nastiness, just waiting for me to find him again?"

"I wish I could tell you for certain. I think I am still who I was, and that four years of silent brooding –"

"Four years of sulking," she mutters.

"None of your cheek, Miss Granger. As I was saying, I had time to think, gain some perspective about the man I was, the choices I made. When you go back, I won't have that perspective. I'll be a right bastard."

"You won't believe your future self was my friend."

"Probably not. But keep being my friend anyway, if you can stand it."

"I'll try not to annoy you too much."

"Actually, I think you should just be yourself, and not walk on eggshells with me."


"That's how you became my friend, isn't it?"

"Well, yes, but you're a portrait and you couldn't hex me."

"My past self is going to wish I hadn't told you this, but think about which member of the staff was the closest thing I had to a friend when I was alive."

Hermione ponders this for a moment and then it hits her. "Minerva used to be almost as bossy with you as I was with Harry and Ron!"

He looks disgusted.

She beams. "You like bossy women."

"Just don't get carried away. You'll have to walk a fine line. Don't provoke me unnecessarily, but don't be a doormat either."

Hermione is still grinning when Draco comes in, but her smile fades when she remembers that Portrait Severus isn't the only friend she's leaving behind.

"Have you come to your senses yet, Granger?" Draco asks.

"Good luck, Hermione. I'll see you in Minerva's office," Severus says, leaving her and Draco to say goodbye. The plan is for her to leave from there, and Severus will come back to let Draco know everything went off without a hitch.

"Draco," Hermione says, putting her arms around him.

"Don't cry, love. Minerva will get suspicious."

"What if I mess everything up? What if I let you become a racist arsehole?"

"You won't."

"How do you know?"

"Because you promised me. And you keep promises to people you love."

"And I do. I really, really do."

"I know."

"Kiss me?"

He does, and she almost wishes she could say sod it all and stay. Almost.

"Be safe, Hermione."

She nods, picks up her bag and walks out the door.

When she gets to the Headmistress's office, Minerva looks older and frailer than ever. Phineas slips out of his frame to find Peeves, and as Hermione starts talking about the progress her OWL students are making, the expected Patronus comes to summon the Headmistress.

"Why don't you come back after dinner, Hermione?" Minerva says as she moves slowly toward the door.

Well, that buggers things up. Hermione just assumed Minerva would ask her to wait in her office. She picks up the file folders she brought with her and drops them, scattering papers everywhere. "I'm so clumsy!" she says, kneeling on the floor to pick them up. "I'll let myself out as soon as I get these."

She picks up the papers as slowly as she can without being obvious about it, and is still at it when the door closes behind Minerva. She lets out a breath and stuffs the rest of the papers haphazardly into a folder. She walks behind Minerva's desk, pulls the leather chair out and crawls underneath.

"On the left side," Albus says from his frame. She runs her hand over the smooth wood. She can't feel anything, but when she murmurs the password Albus gave her, a small drawer appears. She pulls it open and removes a blue suede pouch. Inside the pouch, a golden Time Turner glistens. She slips the Time Turner's golden chain around her neck, closes the drawer, and stands up to find Minerva glaring at her.

"Professor Granger," Minerva says in her Scary Headmistress Voice.

"I'm sorry. I – "

Peeves tears in through the wall. "I'm sick and tired of being manipulated and used. 'Oh, we'll have Peeves distract her. He's always good for a bit of mischief.' Well, here's some mischief for you, missy!" he shrieks at Hermione and grabs her bag, upending it and scattering everything on the floor.

"No!" Hermione cries, scrambling on the floor to gather all the things she had packed so carefully.

"Perhaps I should explain, Minerva," Albus says.

"I think Professor Granger should explain."

"Albus told me about something he left in the desk, something that can help undo all this…this mess."

"What mess, Professor Granger?"

"This. All of it. Everything." She's babbling, but she can't seem to make herself coherent.

"A Time Turner, Minerva," Albus says.

"No," Minerva says. "Absolutely not. You are not going to muck about with Time, Miss Granger."

She's been demoted from Professor to Miss. This isn't going at all well.

"I'd have thought you knew better than to get involved with some harebrained scheme Albus cooked up. Now give me that Time Turner."

"Albus didn't cook up this particular scheme, Minerva," Severus says. "Hermione and I did, and it is not in the least harebrained."

"Severus!" Minerva gasps.

With Minerva distracted by Severus speaking for the first time since he died, Hermione makes a dash for the door. Minerva doesn't reach for her wand quickly enough, and Hermione is already out the door when she finally grasps it in her left hand.

Hermione's lungs are about to burst as she runs down the corridor and into the first open door she sees. She finds herself in empty living quarters that are being remodeled. She slams and wards the door and shouts "Out!" at the elves hanging wallpaper.

"Miss, we is – "

"You is getting out!"

The elves pop away with a terrified squeak and Hermione gives not a single fuck if they do iron their hands because she needs to get out of here right now. She feels the wards on the door shimmer as Minerva begins dismantling them. Hermione casts another layer of wards, rather nasty ones, which she feels bad about, but it can't be helped. Minerva would have made short work of them in her prime, but with her injuries from the war, Hermione thinks she's bought herself enough time.

She takes a breath and starts turning the device, counting carefully counting the exact number of turns she needs. As she reaches the last one, the wards glow green and then dissipate. Minerva flings open the door and points her wand, shouting, "Stupefy!" just as Hermione vanishes.

Past Imperfect

A Harry Potter Story
by Vitellia

Part 7 of 27

<< Previous     Home     Next >>