The Sugar Quill
Author: ArtooC (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Timeslide  Chapter: Hermione
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PART ONE:  HERMIONE

Chapter One

The only way she could adequately descibe how her brain felt at the moment was to say that it was being simultaneously ripped apart and smashed together.  She moaned, and turned in bed.  One moment, she knew what was happening; she was Hermione Granger, future Head Girl of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, girlfriend of Ron Weasley, best friend to Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley (and also the aforementioned Ron Weasley), and was in the middle of an Apparition lesson that had gone hideously wrong.  The next moment, she remembered none of this, not even her own name, but she felt the absence of the knowledge heavily and recoiled from the pain of it.  And then a split second later, all of her memories would land heavily in her brain, and she would grasp them greedily, only to have them whisked away in the next second.

How long this went on, she could not guess; she was only vaguely aware of her change of surroundings from hard stone floor to soft bed, only vaguely aware of soft voices talking about her, wondering things.  She did not have the time to wonder where she was; she was too heavily involved in a battle for her memories. She could tell that she was winning.

After quite some time of combat, (and her unconscious self was no safer than her conscious self; her dreams were ridden with either vivid memories or tantalizing nothingness) she felt the knowledge settle in again and it clicked in place.

It would not leave again.  Smiling with relief, she fell asleep.

* * *

When she woke, she did not immediately open her eyes.  She heard soft voices discussing her predicament:

"I believe the worst is over, but she may need some time to recover, and her memory may be severely affected."

"Well, she may stay here for as long as she needs, of course."  This voice was female, and worried.  "She will recover, however?"

"I believe so.  Give her this draught every four hours, and she may make a complete recovery."  She heard the--she assumed--doctor take his leave, and lay there for a few minutes still, trying to decide on a course of action.  Perhaps it would be best if she pretended that she did not remember much of anything. That way, if she seemed ignorant with this place's customs, it would not be suspicious--though she doubted that she would be unfamiliar with them, as this voice was clearly English.  For all she knew, however, this was some stronghold of Voldemort's--appearances could be deceiving, after all.  It was practically impossible to wrench a group Apparition apart, though, so she didn't know if it was really he who had done this.  On the other hand, he seemed to be very good at achieving the practically impossible.

Making up her mind, she groaned and sat up, and then wished that she hadn't. Her head still hurt, quite a bit, from the battle that had taken place within her skull, and she thought wryly that she was going to have no trouble at all pretending to be convalescent.

A woman with honey-colored hair who was about to leave the room turned happily.

"You are awake! Do not try to get up, the doctor says that you are to stay in bed for another week."

Another week!  When she could be figuring out how to get out of here and find the others!  But while these thoughts went through her mind, she was noticing other things, uneasily:  the old-fashioned decorations in the room, the long, white dress the woman was wearing, her subtle inflections, the fact that the doctor has prescribed some sort of miracle cure for amnesia (nonsense, of course)--something was very wrong here.

"How long have I been here?" she managed to croak out.

The woman smiled.  "You have been here for little more than two weeks. Today is Saturday."

As Hermione gaped at the amount of time that had passed, the woman sat on her bed.  "Can you remember anything?  What happened to you?"

She pretended to search her memory.  "Just...no, nothing.  I can't....wait....I can't remember anything!"  She turned desperate eyes on the woman.  "Are you my sister, or something?  All I remember is my name!"

"My name is Jane Bingley," the woman said gently, "I am not your sister, and I do not believe that we have ever met. You were found by the river and would not wake. We had hoped that you might provide more information upon your awakening; however, a name is enough at this juncture."

"H-Hermione.  I can't remember my last name."  Her mind was reeling.  Two weeks--and why hadn't she been brought to a hospital?  Suspicions were beginning to form...

"Ah--this is going to sound very odd, but--what year is it?"

The woman's eyebrows raised. "You do not remember that, even? The year is 1810 in the age of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Hermione's eyes rolled to the back of her head, and she passed out again.

* * *

This time, the room was empty, and she attempted to muddle her way out of bed to look at the bookshelves.  After a few steps, however, it became apparent that this was *not* going to happen, and she collapsed in a chair.  Looking down at the white cotton nightdress that had been provided for her, she sighed in disbelief.

It was impossible to time travel.  She'd been studying the whole thing this summer, because it was strikingly similar to Apparition--point in case, she thought wryly--and while it was both fascinating and theoretically possible, it was practically impossible.  To time travel, one had to summon a Temporal--a kind of elemental--and persuade it to take you to another time and place.  The Temporals were incredibly powerful, and could do almost anything, but required a human life-force to transport humans--therefore, one could time-travel, but one would almost certainly end up dead when one got to one's destination.  Unless, group of people.  Wait a minute, though...

Voldemort had many followers, and still punished them constantly for being absent in his time of need.  If he had forced someone to summon and then enslave a Temporal--possible, though difficult--he could use their life force to transport anyone he pleased.

Why transport the five of them, though?  Pretty obvious, actually--here they were, separated, somewhere they couldn't even owl Dumbledore for help because he didn't exist, and probably in varying degrees of life-threatening danger, which the other three probably didn't even know about, with the possible exception of Harry.  They didn't cover Muggle history at Hogwarts, but Hermione's favorite subject in her Muggle school had been history, and she knew that there were some very nasty things in it.  She was clearly in a Muggle household here, and the others probably were as well.  She wondered what they were making of it.

But wait!  The others probably didn't even know that they were wizards--she'd had a problem with her memory when she'd arrived here, and she remembered the Memory Charm that she'd cast on herself to make her remember everything.  That's probably what had happened while she was sick--a Forgetfullness Charm of Voldemort's had been trying to cancel out her own Memory Charm.  She took a ridiculous amount of pride (given the circumstances) that her Charm had been the one to win.

This was even more alarming--not only were they separated, not only were they stuck in dangerous bits of history that three fourths of them didn't know about, not only did no one in their own time know where they'd gone (*Wait, Ginny was watching the Apparition lesson, maybe...*--but then she remembered, with a shock, that Ginny had been pulled into the Apparition accidentally.), but they had no memory of who and what they were.

But Hermione did.  That was where Voldemort had goofed, that was where he'd messed up--he hadn't counted on her Memory Charm, and *since* she remembered exactly who she was, maybe she would be able to get the others and return to her time.  She'd have to contact them to find out when they were...maybe through a Dream Calling?  She wondered if she'd need her wand for that...

Her wand!  Panicking, she shot out of bed and began to search the room for her clothes.  Finding them in the wardrobe, she sighed with relief when her fingers touched her wand in the pocket of her jeans.

Suddenly realizing a pressing call of nature, she decided to search for the bathroom, hoping that they hadn't used chamber pots in 1810, and wishing that she could dredge up more memories of her ages-old history class on the subject. As she tottered out into the hallway, she accidentally came face to face with a man, and gave a short scream of surprise, as (it must be said) did he.  When they'd both calmed down, she felt very embarrassed.

"I'm sorry," she muttered, "You startled me."

"Oh no, no, quite all right," he burbled, "You startled me as well.  Allow me to introduce myself--I'm Charles Bingley."

She smiled as graciously as she could.  "I'm Hermione.  I'm afraid I can't remember much else, but I must thank you and your wife for your generous hospitality."

He grinned, and she decided that he reminded her a little bit of a teddy bear. "Oh, no trouble at all--things were getting a little dull, anyway!"

She winced, and smiled back.  "I'm--ah, I'm afraid I'm not as strong as I thought I was--I should probably return to bed."

"Ah, yes of course--do you require assistance?"

"No, no--" she smiled painfully once more, "I should be all right."

"Very well then, Miss Hermione--I'll take my leave of you."  He bowed slightly and moved away.  Foiled, Hermione returned to her bedroom and looked under the bed, where she discovered--to her consternation--a chamber pot.

Chapter Two

Mrs Bingley--or Jane, as she had insisted on being called--proved to be one of those extremely tiresome people who found the good in everyone.  In the subsequent weeks that Hermione spent in the Bingley household (she graduated from invalid to babysitter along the way) she grew to like Jane (and by extension her husband and children) but after a time around them, she began to feel distinctly unworthy.  She knew that she was incredibly lucky to have been found by these people, as they'd given her a home "until you remember your past, and your real family is found--though we shall be sorry to see you go," Jane had told her. But sometimes, Jane managed to get on her nerves.  No one was supposed to be that good!  And now, Jane's sister and her husband, Mrs. and Mr. Darcy respectively, were coming to visit with their daughter, and Hermione shuddered at the thought of a household filled with extremely good people and another child to watch.  There was to be a ball, as well, which was worrying as it meant that more of Hermione's precious time (spent working out the problem of the Dream Calling) would be needed to learn the customs and elaborate dances that she would need to know to avoid disgracing her hosts.

There was another problem.  Dream Calling spells were tricky at best, but when working in different times, they were incredibly difficult and draining.  She thought that she had it worked out, but would need a few more days until she could perform the thing solidly, and by that time, the Darcys would have arrived...she sighed, and flopped back onto her bed.  She wished Ron were here.  He would probably figure out a way to make the whole thing much more enjoyable (she wasn't sure how, but that wasn't the point) and also, she wouldn't have to worry about where he might be, and whether he was still alive or not--she put the thought firmly out of her head.  He would be alive.  There was simply no other option.

* * *

The dinner that night was lively.  Hermione liked Mrs. Darcy immediately; she had a spark of humor (and mischief) in her brown eyes that made Hermione think that perhaps this wouldn't be so bad after all.  Her husband had proved to be tall, dark and aloof--very unlike the cherubic Bingley, but the two seemed to get on very well, and were soon discussing arcane business items that made no sense whatsoever to Hermione.  Jane and Mrs. Darcy's sister, Kitty, was also present, having come with the Darcys, as was Mr. Darcy's sister Georgiana, and the Darcys' daughter, Penelope, who was a wonderful child, grave and curious.

After the dinner, the women withdrew to the sitting room, and began to chat.

"Hermione," began Mrs. Darcy, "I have heard that you do not know your past--is it true?"

She murmured that it was.

"And yet no one from this town knows you?"

"I am afraid not, Mrs. Darcy.  But--I *am* beginning to recall a very few things--faces, first names, and the like."  Mrs. Darcy laughed, a rippling sound.

"Oh, do call me Lizzy.  Even after six years of marriage, Mrs. Darcy is unfamiliar to me," she grinned at Hermione.

Hermione grinned back.  "All right.  I understand."

"So," Kitty said, "What is a pretty girl of your age doing without admirers?" Hermione looked at Kitty, who could not be much older than herself, with dislike.

"Who says I have no admirers?"

"Oh?" Jane's eyes flickered with interest.  "Who?"

Put on the spot, Hermione stumbled.  "Ah--well, you know, I cannot really remember, but I *think* I might have had an...agreement...with somebody."

"How do you know if you can't remember?" asked Georgiana with curiousity.

"Well, I...I cannot quite....I remember his face," she said hopelessly.

"What does he look like, then?" Kitty demanded.

Completely entangled now, Hermione gave up.  "Well, he is tall..."

"Ooh!" Kitty giggled.  "Tall, dark and handsome?"

"Kitty," Jane said admonishingly.

"Yes, do be quiet, Kitty," said Lizzy, leaning forward.

"Well, no, actually," said Hermione, encouraged now.  "He's got red hair, and quite a lot of freckles, and brown eyes, and a sort of a long nose...."  Her voice trailed off unhappily.  "And I miss him.  But I cannot remember his name!" she hastened to say.

The women looked at each other.

"Well," said Lizzy, "It appears that you must regain your memory.  Or we will be required to find every tall, red-haired freckled man in England!"  They giggled.  As Hermione rose to go to bed, she looked back.

"Thank you, Lizzy."

* * *

*Stupid.  Stupid, stupid, stupid.*  Hermione cursed herself as she struggled with her hair, which characteristically refused to stay put.  *Why, oh why, did I agree to go to this stupid ball thing?  I'll only fall over my feet and forget the dances and be a wallflower and embarass Jane and Lizzy.*  She accidentally yanked her hair harder than she'd meant to, and cried out, "Oww!"

Lizzy came in.  "Are you all right, Hermione?"

"Yes," Hermione sulked, "I am just having a little trouble with...well, with all of it, actually," she said, gesturing at the dress lying on the bed and the pearls that were supposed to go into her hair.

"Oh, dear," Lizzy said, noting the mess that Hermione had made of her hair. "Let me."

"Do you remember the dance steps we taught you this afternoon?" she asked.

"Y-yes.  Mostly.  Sort of."

Lizzy smiled reassuringly through the mirror.  "Do not be worried.  You dance very well. But if you do not wish to dance, it is not required."

Hermione looked anxiously back.  "Really?"

"Of course.  My mother always forced all of us to dance with all the rich young men--not that I minded, as I love to dance, but she was always very unsubtle about the whole thing.  I apologize if this hurts, but it's necessary," she said, twisting Hermione's hair up.

"Is that," said Hermione, wincing, "how you met Mr. Darcy?"

Lizzy dimpled.  "At a ball?  Yes.  Dancing?  No."

"Why didn't you dance?"

"He," she put a pin into Hermione's hair, "was insufferably rude, and didn't ask me, that is why."

Hermione's eyes widened.  "So why did you marry him?"

"That is a very long story for another time."

"Oh."  Subdued, Hermione looked at herself in the mirror.  "Thank you, Lizzy. It looks beautiful.  So do you, by the way."

"Thank you," she smiled.  "Can you recall any other things about that young man of yours?"

"No..."  But she really wanted to talk to someone about Ron, so she changed her mind.  "Yes.  A little.  I remember--I remember that we've known each other for a very long time.  And that we fight a lot, but not about serious things.  Well, not usually, anyway."

"Hm," said Lizzy, but her eyes were sparkling.  "Well," she said, bustling out of the room, "It sounds like the beginning of a very good marriage."

* * *

The ball, she hated to admit, had been lovely.  She'd even danced a few times, overcoming her terror of the excruciatingly stylised dance steps and joining in, dancing once with Bingley, and once with Darcy.  Darcy was a very good dancer, and watching him dance with Lizzy was breathtaking.  They moved very well together, suggesting that they had danced this dance many times before, and Hermione thought about what Lizzy had told her earlier.

Tonight was the big night for Hermione, however, because she'd decided to try the Dream Calling.  As she relaxed backwards into bed, she closed her eyes and cleared her mind of everything but the people she wanted to gather--Harry, Ron, Ginny, and Professor Protosileus.  For a setting, she picked a grassy field much like the one they'd Apparated from.  As she drifted off into tense sleep, she felt the dream forming around her...

* * *

They were all sitting on a field, and she looked around tensely to see that of all of them, only the Professor was missing.  She did not stop to think of the implications of this, and merely hurried to get the explanations and Memory Charms out before she let the dream collapse.  She could already feel it tugging at the corners of her mind.

"Hi," she said, "This is really hard, so it won't last that long.  Just let me...here."  She took out her wand, pointed it to each of their foreheads, and said, quite firmly, "*Memorium*"

"What--what happened?" Ron said.  "I couldn't remember anything..."  Oh, it was so nice to hear his voice again...

"Yeah, neither could I..." Harry chimed in.  "'Mione, what's going on?"

She smiled, but the effort hurt.  Doing anything hurt, so she tried to force the words out as quickly as she could. "Something--probably one of Voldemort's plans--pulled us apart during our group Apparition--and Ginny, too--and threw us back in time.  He would have had to summon a kind of Elemental--"

"Like Professor Silverleaf?" Ginny asked.

*Good, Ginny.  Smart girl,* she thought.  "Sort of, a Temporal, which is a different race of Elementals, with kind of different abilities.  They can jump through time, and somehow he got them to drag us to different times."

"How do you know this, 'Mione?" Ron asked, "I've had no memory the entire time, I didn't even know I was a wizard!"

"Remember when I put that Memory Charm on myself?  Well, I guess it held my memory in place.  All I know is that I knew exactly who and what I was, but I was sick for a few weeks."

"A few weeks!" Harry said, alarmed, "I've only been away for a few days!"

Ginny and Ron began to speak at this, but Hermione was too close to blacking out to register what they were saying apart from Ron's last words.

"And I've been away about two months, too, but luckily I'm nowhere dangerous.  I think that was a mistake on Voldemort's part--not that I'm complaining!"  What she really needed to know, though, was when and where the others were.  Without that, she couldn't figure out a way to get them back.  "What about the rest of you, when've you gone?" she asked.

"I'm in Venice," Ginny said, "in 1505.  It's kind of neat, but I think there's about to be a war."

"I'm in Athens, in 1943," said Ron, "I'm staying with a nice British couple--they just kind of took me in, even though I was wandering the streets in a daze!  There's a war where I am, too, though--everyone's wondering if the Germans are going to get to Athens or not, and whether or not they should pick up and get out of there."

"Hey, you're kind of near me, then," Harry put in, "I'm in the same war, same year, but I'm in Warsaw, in the ghetto.  They made me a soldier," he said, somewhat proudly.

*Oh, no.*  "Harry," Hermione said with alarm, "You're not in the Jewish ghetto, are you?"

"Um...yes?"

"That's really dangerous!  What month are you?"

He paused.  "May. May first, currently."  *No.  No, no, no--they liquidated the ghetto in May, I remember it from the history class in my old school ...  He has to remember that, he has to...*

"Harry!  Do you remember what happened in the Warsaw ghetto in the beginning of May 1943?"

"No...should I?"  Now he was getting worried.  *Well, good.* "Yes!  I," but as she was about to continue, she felt a lurch in her stomach, and knew that the whole thing was about to dissolve.  "--oh, damn."  She'd let the swear word out without thinking.  "Look, I can't hold this any longer.  As soon as I figure out how to raise a Temporal I'm going to come and get you all, okay?  And then we'll go back to *our* time."  *I promise.*  "Just--remember!" And then everything went black.

Chapter Three

The stunt with the Dream Calling had cost Hermione another week--it knocked her out flat, and the doctor had to be called again, though he was clearly baffled by the illness.

Forced to spend another week in bed, Hermione spent the amount of time that she wasn't unconscious thinking.

Clearly, she had to get them out of where they were.  Ron and Harry were both in extremely precarious positions--she swallowed as she remembered what the Nazis had done to Athens--and needed to be gotten out.  Ginny's situation didn't seem quite as bad, but--Venice did manage to make itself the enemy of just about everyone, and if she weren't rescued she'd probably be married off fairly quickly anyway, which might be a fate worse than death.

Something had to be done.  But what?  She'd intended to ask the Professor, but he was clearly dead as he was unable to be summoned by the Dream Calling. Maybe he'd been killed immediately on entry into the past.  It was possible. She was lucky she hadn't been dropped into a war zone herself--she supposed Voldemort's control over the Temporals wasn't as complete as he'd thought.

The Temporals.  She'd have to summon one, and try to persuade it to take her to the other times without using up her life force.  It was always possible--the fact that they were working against Voldemort might help.  And she knew Professor Silverleaf, an Elemental, which might make a difference as well.  Of course, Professor Silverleaf wasn't very popular with the Elementals right now, as she'd brought them to the attention of Voldemort, but still...

Otherwise...she didn't want to consider it.  She'd have to do the suicide run. It would be all right as long as she could hold out long enough to get them all home, and then...well, who knows?  Perhaps she'd make it.  But better her death than all four of theirs...right?

* * *

When she went downstairs, Georgiana was playing the piano.  She smiled at her, and sat on the couch with a book she'd found in the bookshelves upstairs, one called, "Upon the Segregation of the Queen:  A study of bees".

Jane and Lizzy came in, laughing, from picking flowers.  "Hermione! You ought to be in bed!"

"I couldn't sleep.  And I wanted to hear Georgiana."  The girl at the piano blushed.

"Ah yes, she is marvelous.  And on the harp, she is equally exquisite," Lizzy beamed.

Hermione half smiled back.

"Listen...Jane...I want to thank you and your family.  For everything you've done for me."

Jane smiled gaily.  "Of course, Hermione!  How could I have done anything differently?"

"I--I know," the words seemed to be sticking in her throat for some reason, "but I just wanted to say it.  Really, I'm truly grateful for it--all of it.  I just wanted you to know."

Lizzy looked at her concernedly.  "Are you all right, Hermione?  Maybe you should lie down."

"No!"  The vehemence of her reply surprised the others.  "No.  I'm just...I'll just go for a walk."

"All right," said Jane, "be careful!" directed as Hermione's back as she bolted from the room.

"Be careful..." she muttered to herself.  "As careful as I can be."

* * *

She sat cross legged on the grass, isolated in the sunshine, and concentrated, as the book had told her.  Her mind clearing, she firmly put the birdsong out of her head, the buzzing of the bees, the heavy smell of pollen.  She stared straight ahead, not seeing anything.  And eventually, something came.

It strongly resembled a small, wizened little man.  At the same time, however, he was a great strapping young man, and a wailing small baby.  She wasn't quite sure how he managed to handle all of this at once, but since as soon as she started thinking about this he started to disappear, she quickly put it out of her mind.

He took one look at her.  "Yes?" he said coldly.

"I--" she said, "I need to ask you a favor."

"I don't give favors."  It looked as if it might flit away.

"Wait, please!"  It stopped and looked at her again.

"Something for something.  I give no gifts."

"But please--we have something in common."

He was incredulous.  "Oh?"

"We both hate Lord Voldemort."

His face closed.

"I do not know of Lord Voldemort."

Seeing her advantage, she pressed it.  "Yes, you do.  He's enslaved some of you, hasn't he?  And he's stranded me here, and my friends other places.  And if you help get me back, you'll be working against him, and I can tell the leaders in my time about the way he's treating your people, and they'll try to help you get them back."

He eyed her again.  "Perhaps.  I may help you for a time.  But," he warned, "I may change my mind.  Then, you will have to pay a price."

Hermione smiled, relieved.  "All right.  We'll see."

"What is the first time and place?"

She thought hard.  Who to rescue first?  Harry and Ron were in the most danger...but then, if there was anything they had plenty of, it was time, so that really wasn't an issue.

She made her decision.  "Athens, 1943."

"Would you like to be dropped off near any particular person?"  Once he was helping, he was really quite courteous.

"Yes.  Ronald Weasley, please.  He's probably the only temporally disturbed person in the area, so he should be easy to find."

"All right, then.  Be ready."

And then there was that semi-familiar rushing in her stomach, and the world seemed to be spinning around her, and the next thing she knew, she was falling, falling...

 

//
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