Time in a Bottle Chapter 2

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“You think the girl may be a cousin of yours?” Madame Collins asked. She was a tall, stout brown haired woman. Her hair was in a no-nonsense bun and held with a small cap. She was peering at the Dumbledore brothers over the top of her small pewter spectacles.

“Our fathers are working on a long-range portkey,” Aberforth lied. Aberforth and Albus were fortunate enough to have inventors close in the family. It came in handy often to explain odd behavior or occurrences. “Hannah has private tutors and would think it would be a laugh to surprise us at school.”

The healer tut-tutted at the boys and let them into the infirmary. Albus quietly prayed for forgiveness and watched as Madame Collins pulled aside a curtain to show an unconscious girl. He was glad Aberforth was doing all the talking. At least he hadn’t lied. So far.

The girl had a mass of curly brown hair. It still had small bits of grass in its tangles. She must have just arrived. Her skin was fair and her face pretty. The robes were quite interesting, although a sheet covered her to her waist.

Albus desperately wished she would wake, but wondered what mayhem would occur if she talked without him there. Especially if Aberforth went on with this plan.

“That’s Hannah,” Aberforth said firmly. Albus let out a breath.

Their father’s experiments involving time were illegal and the both of the boys knew it. Apparently they had finally worked, since this girl seemed to have a once-working time traveler and, perhaps was from the future. They were lucky Aberforth was there to hide the evidence. There would be a lot of questions to answer if he hadn’t.

“Well,” said Madame Collins, relaxing. “Such a naughty trick! We’re going to owl your father at once.”

“Excellent,” said Albus. “They’ll be happy to know where she is. I’ll sit with her for awhile, in case she wakes.”

Madame Collins bustled off and Albus turned to his brother, quickly.

“Owl father so he’ll come up with a story to complement ours,” Albus said quickly. “I’ll stay with her to find out what happened.”

Aberforth nodded once and ran to the owlery.

Sometimes it was good to be Head Boy.

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She heard things first. She didn’t even register she had a body, let alone had eyelids to open. Her ears were working, however and she could hear plotting.

“Father said to do whatever it takes to keep her from talking.”

This did not sound good. Where was she?

“So first we beg, then we bribe.”

“Exactly.”

Oh, for pity’s sake.

She struggled with consciousness and felt her body stirring.

“Go stall Collins,” one of the voices said. “I’ll brief her.”

Feet echoed away on stone and she opened her eyes, after a bit of struggle.

A red haired boy sat near her wearing old-fashioned robes, an antique Gryffindor badge on his breast. His face was good-looking, but unfamiliar. She reached for her time-turner and it was gone. She went white.

“Please,” said the boy, looking slightly desperate. “My name is Albus Dumbledore. My brother, Aberforth and I have convinced the authorities you are our cousin, Hannah, from France. They think our fathers are developing a long-distance portkey and something went wrong when you decided to surprise us at school. You crashed near a Care of Magical Creatures class. Fifth years. Aberforth was there, thankfully.”

She felt her head swim.

“Where’s the time-turner?” she asked, her tongue feeling thick and slow.

“Found broken,” Albus said quickly. “Still being developed in this time. Illegally. By my father and uncle.”

“When am I?” she asked.

“1857,” Albus said quickly as footsteps started hurrying to them.

Aberforth arrived nearby with a stern-looking woman, wearing healer’s robes. The girl seemed to relax a bit. Albus was still a bit nervous. This girl could do anything.

“Hello, young lady,” Madame Collins said, in a soft tone.

“Bonjour, Madame,” the girl said. Albus relaxed a bit. “I apologize for creating such a disturbance.”

“Your name?” Madame Collins asked, patting the girl’s hand and feeling her forehead.

“Hannah Dumbledore,” the girl said. Albus felt intense relief. “The model needs work, oui?”

“Well,” said the healer, satisfied thinking the story the Dumbledore brothers had given her was close enough. “I’ll let you rest a bit. The Headmaster will want to see you later. Try not to do anything else dangerous.”

“Of course,” the girl said, plausibly faking a light accent. Aberforth was grinning from ear to ear. For some reason, she looked amused at him. She must be delirious.

Madame Collins strode off to her office and left them alone.

“Thank you,” Albus said, looking genuinely grateful.

“What year are you from?” Aberforth asked, excitedly.

“1997,” Hermione said, groggily. No one had briefed her on protocol if stranded in history. Maybe disclosing that much was too much.

Maybe she was the reason Dumbledore had such an advantage, she mused. Because she briefed him on a century of magical advances. This was madness. And possibly dangerous. How was she going to get home before she changed things too much? Perhaps she was meant to never go back and she had never read of a Hannah Dumbledore in any of her books. Damn.

“Incredible,” breathed Aberforth as he stared at her.

“Thank you again, for trusting us,” Albus said, nodding at her. “Our father has been owled and excuses are being made.”

The girl nodded, looking tired.

“What’s my father’s name?” the girl asked.

“Brian Dumbledore,” Albus said. She smiled wistfully.

“Who are you?” Aberforth asked, sitting on the edge of her bed.

“Hermione,” the girl said. “I don’t know how much else I should say. I’m a Seventh Year at Hogwarts. I use the turner to take multiple classes. There was a fight in the corridor and I got pushed. I woke up here.”

Albus nodded wonderingly. Were such things common in the future? Incredible.

“I’m guessing they’ll send someone for me,” Hermione/Hannah said. “When they figure out where I am.”

“Until then, you’re family,” Aberforth said eagerly. Albus shot him a look. The girl was pretty and moving. That seemed to sum up his standards.

Albus would have to keep an eye on her. Crime might be nearly existent, where she came from. She was very vulnerable.

The girl let out a small laugh and Albus frowned at her. She seemed to think too many things were funny. She might be reaching hysteria.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “But I’ve just walked into history and it’s a bit disorienting.”

Albus patted her hand warmly.

“We’ll see what we can do to keep you close by,” Albus said, shooting a warning look at his brother. “I’m guessing things have changed in 140 years. You might need a little help.”

“Thank you,” Hermione said. “I might have had to make some quick excuses if you hadn’t showed up.”

“We aided our father as much as you,” Aberforth blurted out. “The Ministry would use this as an excellent excuse as to why time devices shouldn’t be made.”

Hermione nodded. She supposed it could be worse.