First of all I want to say this to the regular readers of “Hermione’s Summers”: that story will continue. I just wanted to write something else, something short, for a change. Just a little break from Summers. This story has been haunting in my head for several weeks and if I wouldn’t write it, I would go completely insane.
This is a one chapter short story. Maybe, in the future, I will write a sequel, as I do have a small idea about that too. Enjoy this one!
Many thanks go to Kaitie, for beta-reading it and helping me point out something which might contest the logics of canon (that particular thingy has been removed).
Proof of Birth
Somewhere within a small tower of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry lie, in a dusty room, an endless roll of parchment and a magical quill. Whenever a witch or wizard is born, the quill writes down his or her name and date of birth on the parchment. Once every summer, Professor McGonagall enters this room and checks which of these children are old enough to come to Hogwarts.
Although it was the third week of term, McGonagall was in this room, pacing around. She gazed out of the window, feeling a bit awkward. Today was the day. Slowly the door opened and Headmaster Albus Dumbledore entered the room.
“Good morning, Minerva,” he smiled. “I expected to find you here today. Has it happened yet?”
“Good morning, Albus,” McGonagall answered. “Not yet. If I am not mistaken it will happen within the hour now. Just before I need to take my first class.”
“By the sound of it, I should have taken you as our new Divination teacher.”
“Don’t give me that, Albus,” McGonagall said with a smile. “You know perfectly well how I have looked upon Divination ever since I first studied that subject myself. It was such rubbish that I dropped it.”
“I know your point of view, and in all honesty, I must agree with your, Minerva. Although you must not deny you know things about the future. We’ve talked about your knowledge before.”
McGonagall sighed a bit impatiently and put a hand in the pocket of her robes.
“You know perfectly well why that is, and that my knowledge is far from complete.”
“Indeed, Minerva. And I admire your silence. It is not wise to talk about the future too much. Perhaps having forgotten the details is not a bad thing.”
“I know better than you can imagine, Albus. Remember our conversation all those years ago, when I joined Hogwarts as Transfiguration teacher?”
Dumbledore took off his glasses and tapped them with his wand to clean them instantly. As he put them back on, he walked around the desk with parchment and quill. He gazed out the window.
“I most certainly do. It was one of the more interesting applications. You had a very interesting story to tell. How could I refuse to give you the job? If I let you teach Transfiguration, I could resign from that position and fulfil all my tasks as a headmaster better. Besides, you already had several years of teaching experience at the best magic school of Europe.”
Dumbledore gave a playful smile, and McGonagall grinned.
“You also said I should speak not of the future too much, it could be dangerous,” McGonagall said. “Although I agree with your point of view, it makes me feel horrible.”
“Are you talking about Edgar Bones again?” Dumbledore said in a solemn, sorrow voice. “You could not have prevented what happened to him and his family.”
“I could have warned the Order, Albus,” McGonagall said. “Maybe he would have stood a chance. I knew You-Know-Who would… kill him, and his wife and children, one day.”
Dumbledore shook his head.
“Not many people stand a chance against a well organized attack from Voldemort and his Death Eaters.”
McGonagall winced at the name. There had been a time when she managed to bring herself in saying that name, encouraged to do so by a close friend. That was before she had actually seen the horror of Voldemort’s reign.
Only one more year, she told herself. One more year. Then things will be relatively calm again. Then Voldemort will strike against the Potters and meet his temporary doom in Harry. Again she felt the urge to warn Dumbledore about these events, but again she kept silent. On the other hand, if she kept silent, Voldemort would go to the Potters and fall.
She was quite sure she would tell eventually. She knew the Potters would be warned in advance. She needed to press Dumbledore a bit more to become their Secret-Keeper when the day came. Sirius Black was too risky, but she could not remember why. What was going to be wrong with Sirius? It was one of the many gaps in her memories.
There were some big gaps in her memories from before the accident. Would Sirius Black indeed turn out to be a spy for You-Know-Who? Who opened the Chamber of Secrets, and what was the monster inside? She could not remember any of it.
“Although I don’t remember everything, I know enough to change the course of history with a few words,” McGonagall said. “But I lack the courage.”
“Don’t blame yourself, Minerva,” Dumbledore said in a comforting voice, and put his hand on her shoulder. “The accident has not only changed your life forever, but has also given you a burden no man or woman can easily carry.”
McGonagall drew her hand out of her pocket, taking out a scorched, thin, golden chain to which a broken hourglass was attached. With a feeling of hate and sadness she looked at it.
“You still keep that thing with you?” Dumbledore asked.
“Not any more,” McGonagall said. “I’ve decided to dispose of it today. It’s not that I do not like this life, but it is not what I expected to become of it. I was happily married, and had two wonderful children. I will never see them again, and to them, I just vanished.”
With a firm and angry toss, she threw the ruined Time Turner out of the window and into the lake. She kept looking through the window for several minutes. The cloudy sky indicated that the weather was already preparing for autumn – which was only a few days away.
“The blasted Time Turner,” McGonagall said angrily. “Not only did the accident hurl me decades back to the past, but it also made gaps in my memories from before the accident. I should never have meddled with time. The day I first received a Time Turner, I should not have accepted it.”
“Maybe not,” Dumbledore replied, rubbing his temples, thinking. “However, I think it is best to not meddle with this, Minerva. It is best if the choice is your other self’s choice.”
“I know. The problem is that I will use that Time Turner for something big. Something it was not meant for,” McGonagall sighed. “I just can’t remember exactly what it will be.”
“I will be too young when I get my first Time Turner,” she continued after a few moments of silence. “Although someone, I have forgotten who, will warn me about the dangers, I will be too young too see the risks in the bigger picture of it all. At later age, when I get a new Time Turner, I will use it more often and more recklessly. One day, I just can’t remember when, it will malfunction and the accident happens.”
“It sounds like you were more reckless than I know you to be, Minerva,” Dumbledore said.
“I appeared sensible in my youth, Albus, but I did some very reckless things.” McGonagall said with a slight feeling of regret. “My first experiment to become an Animagus failed horribly. It was in my second year at Hogwarts. I ended up with cat’s hair all over my body. I somehow talked my friends into making a Pol-”
“Don’t tell,” Dumbledore said, while gently raising his hand. “We will see. In the future, we will see.”
Suddenly the attention of McGonagall and Dumbledore was drawn to the quill. It was lifted magically into the air. It dipped itself into an open ink bottle and touched down on the parchment, then it started the write. McGonagall and Dumbledore both looked at the new name, as the quill gently dropped on the desk again.
“That is it,” McGonagall smiled. “It has happened.”
“Well, then,” Dumbledore said and gave McGonagall a gentle kiss on her hand. “Happy Birthday, Professor Weasley.”
“What did we agree on when I told you all about my life, Albus?” McGonagall said as Dumbledore made to leave the room. “We wouldn’t use my old name again; it would be too confusing for the future.”
Dumbledore just smiled and left, gently closing the door behind him.
McGonagall stood there, alone again, in an empty room. She looked at the parchment, which just had written down the proof that she was born only moments ago.
September 19, 1980: Granger, Hermione Jane.
I hoped you enjoyed this one. As I said before, it’s about an absurd theory. McGonagall = Hermione. Although the theory is extremely unlikely, and I don’t support it myself, there are a few small clues in the book which might support it. McGonagall going highly emotional when Harry and Ron tell her they want to visit petrified Hermione, McGonagall saying to Harry: “I’m glad you listen to Hermione Granger at any rate” at the end of chapter 12, book 5, Bloomsbury (how did she know what Hermione told Harry?).