Feeling the need for privacy, at lunchtime Hermione was sitting in one of her favourite courtyards. It was a secluded one that was ignored by most of the other students and she was eating her lunch when an excited Lavender came up to her, holding a little pot made from creamy white stone.
“Hermione, I’ve found you – you know when we were talking before about how it would be great knowing who would be the best guy for you?”
“You mean Harry or Ron?” Hermione asked, hoping that her friend wouldn’t mention the ‘crush’ Professor Snape supposedly had on her.
To her relief Lavender didn’t.
“Well, when I was at Divination before, Sybil must have been reading my mind because she showed us her ‘Balm of Romantic Foretelling’ that would give us a glimpse of our ‘romantic future with our boyfriends’ or of possible futures if we had ‘many suitors’. I asked to take a little bit of it and she said yes!” Lavender said happily. Lavender prided herself on her close friendship with the overly-dramatic ‘seer’.
“Does it work?” Hermione said in fascination despite her thoughts of the Divination teacher, who in Hermione’s opinion spent so much time in the clouds with her airy-fairy ways, crystals and incense it was a wonder she could walk on the ground at all.
Lavender blushed. “Yes – it only lasts for a few minutes. When I tried it I found myself in a house with David."
Hermione smiled inside at her friends blush, for David was Lavender's boyfriend and Captain of the Ravenclaw Quidditch team.
Lavender continued. "We were having a romantic dinner for two and I could tell we were, well, happy.”
By now Hermione was intrigued. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this ‘balm’ really was a way that could give her a glimpse of a future life with Harry or Ron?
“Can you show me how it works?” Hermione unashamedly begged.
Lavender readily sat down on the stone bench besides Hermione, opening the pot to reveal a small amount of pink salve inside that sparkled in a peculiar way.
“What is it made of?” Hermione said curiously, peering down at the salve. It had the sweetish smell of jellybeans about it, which probably was to be expected from something concocted by Sybil.
Lavender smiled mysteriously. “I can only say that it is said to contain the essence that goes into the creation of time turners.”
“But they can’t take you forward in time - is it really safe then?” Hermione said in alarm. She didn’t want to take an actual trip into the future no matter how good it turned out to be.
Lavender shook her head reassuringly. “You don’t actually go into the future – the trip is only in your mind. You just have to rub some in the middle of your forehead and think of your boyfriend or,” Lavender winked at Hermione, “boyfriends and nothing else”.
Still feeling apprehensive but curious as well, Hermione dipped her fingers into the salve and then rubbed some on her forehead, feeling vaguely silly as she did so.
She thought of Harry.
The world seemed to spin around her and then Hermione found to her surprise that she was lying in a sumptuous, four-poster bed in a bedroom that was grand in its size but austere in its decoration. It was night, for she could see that it was dark outside through a gap in the rich scarlet curtains that were drawn over a tall bank of windows. However, there was a strange shimmering light that hung over everything in the room that enabled her to see objects clearly and to remind her that this was a vision only…
Excited, she managed to sit up despite the richly heavy cream bed cover on her and peeped down at herself. She was in an adult woman’s body – her skin was smooth and clear, her brown hair hanging in shiny waves past her waist instead of its usual bushy tangle. She blinked when she saw that the curves of her breasts were well, somewhat larger than before underneath her silken white nightgown which artfully clung to every part of her body. She lifted her (manicured) left hand and saw a glittering diamond engagement ring as well as a heavy golden wedding ring.
Smiling in delight, Hermione turned in unexpected shyness on her part to the dark-haired man lying beside her with his eyes closed, his face handsome. Even though he was in an adult body as well, it was clearly Harry. He was dressed in a scarlet and gold nightshirt and his messy black hair was set in a smooth, severe style that did not look as though it would dream of being untidy, even in bed.
Was he really asleep, Hermione wondered, as she gently placed a hand on his (bigger!) shoulder.
“Harry?” Hermione said softly, wondering how long this vision would last. In the future she would think twice of mocking the Divination teacher, that was for sure.
However, this adult Harry grunted and turned away from Hermione so that his back was to her.
“I’m trying to sleep!” he said in a curt voice. “I told you before it’s a big day at the Ministry for me tomorrow and I need my rest. You need your sleep – what will people say if you look haggard at the ball we’re hosting tomorrow?”
After a moment there was a snore from him.
Hermione blinked in shock. Surely Harry wouldn’t turn into this… cold, ambitious man, would he? Would he?
Uneasily, she decided to think of Ron.
The world spun around her…
This time Hermione found herself in a bed that creaked alarmingly when she sat up and looked around her.
This double bed was of a plain make, with a garish scarlet cover, and while the room was not as opulent as it had been in the vision of Harry, the walls were covered with Quidditch banners. An imposing display cabinet of dark polished wood that was full of shining trophy cups stood in the corner and Hermione couldn’t help but smile. It looked as though Ron had gone on to be a fine Quidditch player.
However, Hermione’s smile faded when she looked down at herself.
Her body looked plumper and her bushy hair had a slightly greasy feel to it as though she didn’t have time to wash it that often. She was wearing a plain cotton nightgown that was a faded scarlet colour, and her thin gold wedding ring felt as though it was too loose on her hand. The diamond in the engagement ring was smaller than the one in the previous vision and had a wan sparkle.
Hermione turned to the man lying beside her and saw in surprise a Ron who was quite different. His body was stout in his gold nightshirt while his auburn hair was only thin stubble on his head.
“Ron?” Hermione said almost warily as she placed a hand on his shoulder.
The eyes of this older Ron opened and he looked at her defensibly. “You’re not going to go on and nag about Sally again, are you?” he said in a sullen tone.
Hermione blinked her eyes in confusion. “Pardon?”
Ron went on as if he hadn’t heard her. “Honestly, it was only a one-time fling with her.”
Hermione drew back, startled, and then there came from another room the grizzly wail of a baby.
Feeling as though her usually astute brain was on vacation at the moment, Hermione said slowly, “That’s… a baby crying.”
Ron stared at her as though she was stupid. “Yeah, that’s Ron Junior crying all right. Aren’t you going to feed him then? I don’t want his blasted crying going on all night, you know.”
With that he rolled over, pulling his share of the covers over his head while the wailing of the baby increased to that of indignant squalling.
A now disillusioned Hermione was heartily wishing she had never wished to know what her future, or rather futures, would be like. Surely a happy future with either Ron or Harry had not been too much to ask for?
But if these visions were an accurate glimpse, then it seemed she either had the choice of being Harry’s glamorous, trophy-like wife or a plump, frumpy wife to Ron, bearing children while he had affairs.
She did not seem to be truly wanted or needed by either of them.
Hermione’s smile was bitter when she thought of Lavender’s suspicions that Professor Snape had feelings for her. A future with him could hardly be as disheartening as these ones were. But then, she didn’t need a ‘vision’ to know that he would be as cold and rude as he always was, with never an affectionate word for her at all.
However, the world started spinning around her again and she found herself in another four-poster bed.
Hermione flinched. This was not good…