Word count: 2680
Prompt: The man from the black lake---walking late one night, Hermione finds a stranger passed out next to the black lake. His clothes look like he's from another time.
Summary: Hermione finds a man from another time.
Hermione would have stayed to talk to Hagrid some more, but it was getting late. She needed to return to the castle before she violated curfew. True, she was Head Girl, and had a later curfew than the rest of the students, but she had to set a good example. After all, McGonagall had wondered if Harry and Ron had been a bad influence on her.
She had wondered about that for years, yet she still missed them. She smiled as she actually missed reminding them about their homework. She even missed reviewing and making suggestions to their homework. Of course, they hardly thanked her. Harry did, but Ron almost never showed any gratitude.
They had turned down the offer to return to Hogwarts. Harry was offered a place with the Aurors right after Voldemort's defeat, and Ron wanted to help George run the shop. She couldn't blame them, but she missed them terribly.
She felt a chill in the air as she made the trek back to the school. The black lake reflected the moonlight. As her path took her near the lake, she stopped. Maybe she was mistaken, but she thought she saw a body nearby.
Hermione drew her wand. Was someone sleeping by the lake, or was it something worse? She ran to it, wanting to do something to help. She knew she should send for help, but she decided to wait until she saw who it was.
She reached the body. Kneeling down by it, she checked for a pulse. She was relieved to know the person was alive. She turned the body over once she figured it was safe to do so. What she saw stunned her.
It was Harry. How could it be Harry? He was supposed to be with the Aurors. Why had he come up to the school without telling her? She started examining his body, checking for injuries. As she examined him, she saw something odd. He didn't have a scar on his forehead, and that wasn't the only strange thing.
The person's clothes looked like they came from another time. While Hermione wasn't an expert on fashion, she knew about different eras to know different types of clothing when she saw it. This person looked like he was from the 70's or early 80's. If that was true, then the person definitely wasn't Harry. Instead, it was his father, James Potter.
Before Hermione could do anything else, James stirred. He opened his eyes and started coughing. He tried sitting up, but Hermione pushed down on him. "You need to stay where you are."
"Where am I?" he asked hoarsely.
"You're at Hogwarts. Now, rest and I'll get help," she said.
James wouldn't hear of it. He managed to stand, although he appeared dizzy. "I need to stop him. I can't let him hurt my family."
Hermione stared at him. He must think he's reliving Voldemort's attack on his home. She bit her lip. How could make him believe Harry was alright? He looked frantic as he stumbled all over the place. She knew she had to act before he hurt himself.
"Mr. Potter, listen to me," she said, taking him by the arm. He didn't seem to hear her. He tried pulling away from her, but she kept a tight grip on his arm. "James, listen to me. Harry is alright. He's alive."
He stopped and stared at her. She cringed as his eyes blazed with fury. "Don't lie to me! Don't you dare lie to me!" He put his hand in his pocket, like he was trying to reach for his wand.
Hermione hoped Harry would forgive her, but she pulled out her wand and pointed it at James. "STUPEFY!" James collapsed on the ground. She pointed her wand at the sky and sent sparks, a signal that she needed help. She remained by his side as she saw two figures running from the castle.
* * * * * *
"I don't know how he could be here."
"This is impossible."
The first thing Madam Pomfrey had done was send for Professor McGonagall. Together, they had questioned Hermione about James's appearance. More than once, Hermione told them she didn't know how he had appeared. Finally, they stopped questioning her and Pomfrey went to look at him.
"Well, I can tell you that he will make a full recovery. Don't ask me how." She snorted as she faced Hermione and McGonagall. "It's a Potter trait."
"What's a Potter trait?" Hermione asked.
"To do the impossible," Pomfrey said.
"And disobey simple laws of magic," McGonagall snorted. "Do you think we should tell Potter his father is alive?"
"No!" Hermione said. They looked startled at her outburst. "I mean, we don't know if Mr. Potter's appearance here is temporary. If we tell Harry, his father could disappear before he could arrive."
McGonagall nodded. "Not to mention that there might be some dark magic going on, and we certainly don't want Potter involved if we can help it."
"In any case, he needs rest," Pomfrey said firmly. "Miss Granger, thank you for bringing this to our attention."
It was clearly a dismissal. Hermione nodded and left the Hospital Wing. Before she closed the doors behind her, she took one last look at her friend's father.
* * * * * *
It was times like this when Hermione wished Harry had given her both the Marauder's Map and the Invisibility Cloak. She didn't know why, but she kept being drawn to James Potter. If she had both items, she could sneak down to the Hospital Wing at night to look after him. As it was, she had to wait between classes.
She resorted to stopping by during her lunch break. From her brief visits, he appeared to be recovering, although he probably wouldn't be back to normal for a while.
"Miss Granger, what are you doing here?" Madam Pomfrey asked, startling Hermione.
"Just checking up on Mr. Potter and wondering…"
The nurse nodded, smiling. "Don't worry, he'll be fine. In fact, he was talking an hour before you were here. He knows he's at Hogwarts, but he doesn't know the year."
Hermione looked at her sharply. "He doesn't even know about Harry?"
Madam Pomfrey shook her head. "Professor McGonagall didn't think it would be a good idea to tell him yet, and I happen to agree with her. At last we have someone who actually has the best interests of my patients in mind."
As Hermione left the Hospital Wing, she debated whether to tell Harry yet. The only thing stopping her from writing to him was she didn't know how he would react.
* * * * * *
It was dark when Hermione returned to the Hospital Wing. She wanted a chance to visit James without Madam Pomfrey's interference. Fortunately, the nurse didn't lock the doors to the infirmary, which allowed Hermione to enter.
She had just arrived at his bedside, when she heard him stir. "Who's there?"
"It's me. Hermione."
James sat up, reaching for his glasses. "Who are you? I don't know any Hermione."
"No, because you're in the future, Mr. Potter."
He shuddered. "Please don't call me that. My dad is Mr. Potter. Call me James or…"
He looked at her suspiciously. "How do you know that?"
Hermione sighed. "There's a lot I need to tell you, but I don't think tonight is the best time to tell you. Madam Pomfrey would have my head if she knew I violated curfew just to see you."
James smirked. For some reason, this caused Hermione to shiver. Harry never smirked, and he was practically a clone of James. "What's life without a little risk? No risk, no fun."
"That sounds like an admirable philosophy," Hermione said dryly. "Anyway, you need to rest."
James nodded, then froze. "Wait a minute. Where's my family? Here I am, engaging in witty banter and I didn't even think about my family." He groaned and started pulling at his hair. "What kind of man am I?"
"The kind who gave his family a chance. There's a lot to talk about, but I'll be blunt: Harry is alive."
He blinked. "Harry's alive? My son is alive? He can't be."
Hermione nodded. "He is. He's my best friend, in fact. We've been friends since first year."
He shook his head like he didn't want to believe her. "No, you're wrong. You're lying to me."
She groaned. If he carried on like this, Madam Pomfrey was going to investigate. "James, just listen. You need to rest. Don't worry about Harry or Lily now. You can't do anything for them from your bed. Everything will be fine, I promise."
James was still agitated, but he appeared to be calming down. "Harry. Lily." He kept muttering their names as he drifted off to sleep. Hermione took that as her cue to leave before she was caught.
* * * * * *
Hermione wasn't used to surprising Harry anymore, but this was clearly the exception. His shock faded to suspicion. "Are you sure about this, Hermione?"
"I'm sure. He's your father."
"But how could he have survived?" Harry asked. "Hagrid would have noticed if his body was missing."
Hermione shrugged. "I don't know, but you're not the only skeptical Potter. He doesn't believe you're alive."
Harry snorted. "Can you blame him? The last he saw of me was Mum carrying me upstairs before Voldemort smashed the door. If I think this is a trick, he would probably think the same thing."
"I know it's sounds impossible, but you might be the only person who can persuade him. I haven't even told him about Remus or Sirius yet."
"That might be too much for him to handle, if he really is my dad," Harry agreed. "Fine, but if this is a trick, and it goes badly, don't say I didn't warn you."
Hermione smiled and kissed him on the cheek. "Professor McGonagall and Madam Pomfrey will be standing by if he reacts badly."
"And if this is a trick, especially a dark wizard trick, then I'll definitely teach the impossible a thing or two," Harry said darkly. "Lead the way."
She led him to the Hospital Wing, where James was resting. He didn't look as upset as the previous evening, but that could easily change. James looked at them when they entered. His eyes widened when he saw Harry. "Who's this?"
McGonagall pursed her lips. "This is your son Harry."
Hermione looked at Harry nervously. He watched his father with narrowed eyes, with his hand holding his wand tightly.
James laughed. "That's some trick. Good use of the Polyjuice Potion, I must say."
Harry muttered, "I was about to say the same thing."
Hermione rolled her eyes and sighed. "Honestly, did either of you pay attention in Potions?" she asked tersely, causing McGonagall and Pomfrey to chuckle a little. "Polyjuice Potion only works on living people. Even if you had the hair of a dead person, the potion wouldn't work."
Harry looked at her. "Really?"
She glared at him. "I know you didn't like paying attention to Snape, but it was important to listen to him."
James snorted. "Snivellus? A teacher? That's a good one."
Harry frowned. "Well, I'm convinced this is my dad."
"Why?" McGonagall asked.
"Only two other people would have used that name for Snape," Harry said. He looked at his father and added, "May I show you something?"
James glared at him. "Okay, if you promise you'll stop pretending you're my son."
Harry walked up to James. "Look at my eyes, Dad."
James continued glaring at him, but it started to soften. "Your eyes are green. You have Lily's eyes. Harry has, I mean had her eyes." He looked away then returned his gaze to his son. "Harry?"
Hermione saw tears begin to well up in Harry's eyes. "Yes, Dad. It's me."
"It is you." Before anyone could do anything, James brought his son down for a hug. "You're alive! My Pronglet is alive!"
"Pronglet? Dad, really?" Harry asked, his voice muffled. The others laughed.
"Sirius had the same reaction. Speaking of which, where is he?" James asked, looking around.
"We'll talk about that later, Potter. Right now, you need to rest," Madam Pomfrey insisted. She turned her attention to the visitors. "Now, if the two of you don't mind, he needs his rest."
The others knew better than to argue with her, so they left the Hospital Wing. Hermione was glad that Harry and James accepted the news that the other was alive.
* * * * * *
After a week, Madam Pomfrey released James from the Hospital Wing. When Hermione heard the news, she suspected his first act was to leave the school grounds and meet with Harry. She was surprised to see him waiting by the Gryffindor table when she came down for breakfast. "James, what are you doing here?"
He smiled. "Waiting for you, of course."
"I thought you would be on your way to see Harry."
"I have plenty of time, but I wanted to thank you first. Do you mind if we go for a walk and talk?" he asked.
"Sure. Let me grab some toast."
Minutes later, they were walking around the lake. As they talked, she was surprised at how different James was from Harry. Yes, he was an honorable wizard, but he had a carefree attitude that Harry never possessed. Of course, Hermione doubted James had to deal with the stuff that his son had to growing up. He could afford to be a carefree wizard, even during the darkest moments of the first war.
"Galleon for your thoughts," he said, breaking the silence.
James grinned. "You looked lost in your thoughts for a while."
"I was just thinking about you and Harry," she said.
He winked. "You're probably afraid of my reaction."
Hermione stopped and looked at him suspiciously. "What reaction?"
"About if I approve of you as my son's girlfriend."
She blushed. "James, Harry is not my boyfriend. We're friends, and nothing more."
"That's what they all say."
She glared at him. "It's true. Besides, he's not the Potter I fancy." She stopped and blushed even more. She certainly hadn't meant to say that.
His grin faded. "Harry isn't the Potter you fancy?"
"Forget what I said," Hermione muttered, feeling very hot in the face. She started to turn away, hoping he wouldn't look at her.
He stopped her and turned her back around to face him. For a minute, they didn't speak. Then, someone made the first move and they kissed. Hermione's rational self screamed at her to stop. This is your friend's father. He's still grieving over the death of his wife. Her passionate side won the battle.
Not caring they were in full view of anyone who happened to be outside, they continued snogging, their hands tugging on clothing. James's lips began trailing down her neck, causing her to gasp as his hands reached into her skirt. "James!"
He smirked. "Anyone can see us here."
"What's life without a little risk? No risk, no fun."
"Now you're talking."
They heard talking in the distance, but ignored it. Hermione soon found her shirt on the ground, with her bra next to it. She knew she should stop. Anyone could see, but as she said, life wasn't worth living without a little risk. Their clothes provided some protection from the dirt as their bodies joined.
When she had discovered James near this spot, she had no idea that she would be shagging him. She had never even considered having sex with Harry, yet James was a different story. She couldn't get enough of him. She met him thrust for thrust as they kissed and fondled their cares away.
As they dressed later, Hermione thought of the implications of her lovemaking with James. Harry would certainly feel awkward about it, but she was falling in love with James. She knew Harry would support her. She kissed James one more time as she headed back to the school. She looked forward to building her relationship with James even further.