the pearl

Time Turner

It was a bleak, colourless day when Hermione Granger discovered they were out of time.

Not in the sense of impending doom, but a physical lack of time.


When the War had finished and Hermione began her official adult life, the Ministry, in honour of services rendered to all Wizardkind, had congratulated her, awarded her, and then promptly filed her into the Department of Mysteries. They assigned her a task that, although often tedious, had just the right amount of research and problem solving to keep her preoccupied enough not to notice the slow reconstruction of Wizarding society.

(After all, it's all well and good to have a clever, passionate, idealistic young lady fighting in wars, but when you're mending together a badly torn society, the last thing you need are idealists...)

Hermione's title was, officially, Assistant Chief Timekeeper. And, for the first six months of her new position, that was what she did.

In a small room, buried several floors down, hidden away from the public, Hermione Jane Granger, born to Muggle parents, heroine of the Great Godric's Hollow Battle, injured at the First Ministry of Magic Attack, recipient of the Silver Moon of Eustace Langmeadow the Third...she, quite literally, kept time.

She maintained the charms on the large, specially fashioned bell jar that held the golden glimmering particles of time. Using a carefully constructed spoon (which would transform from gleaming to tarnished in seconds), she delicately measured out precise amounts for new time-turners. On a map of the world, with golden points scattered to and fro, she recorded time-travellers, marking their location, their original time, and any changes they were affecting. She wrote reports. She filed documents. She listened to the Chief Timekeeper, a wrinkled sage, centuries old, who told her of when there were Assistant Assistant Timekeepers; an entire legion of wizards preventing the terrible consequences of time travel.

It was regularly boring, occasionally exciting, and, oddly enough, just what she needed.

And then it all changed.


She noticed it during the first check of the day. After reviewing the time-travellers, cross-checking the status of all time-turners, and preparing a cup of tea for the Chief Timekeeper (who never seemed to leave and never seemed to sleep), she looked at the bell jar of time particles and stopped, staring at the jar in horror.

Along the side of the jar, carefully trailing along the side in a fine script, there were marks, showing the amount of time particles in the jar.

Her notes from yesterday recorded, in her precise block lettering, exactly 50.35 millennia left in the bell jar.

There was now 28.74.

She checked and double-checked everything. The current time-travellers. The former time-travellers. Any former Death Eater activity. Any future villainous activity. The number of time-turners in existence at any given point in time and space. She contacted alchemists, historians, monsters, aurors, mystics, and heroes.

And it wasn't until she saw, with her own eyes, the time particles disappear from the bell jar, with no explanation, no rationale, that she truly began to worry.


She tried to explain it, over dinner one night with her two best friends, and they didn't understand.

"It's strange..." she said. "You would think that there would be some sort of documentation. Some sort of...detail, from history, from somewhere, that would tell us what was happening..."

"Quick, Harry, send everyone an owl," Ron laughed. "Hermione's discovered you can't find everything in a book!"

Hermione frowned. "No, really..." She looked back down at her leftover dinner. "It's like...whatever we got the time particles from, whatever source, it's drying up..."

"So it means less time-turners, right?" Harry said. "What with your third year, I think you'd be pleased..."

Hermione sighed, shrugging. "I don't know," she said softly. "I just don't know..."

There was a silence for a few minutes, Hermione looking down at her food while Ron and Harry looked at each other in confusion.

"Hey, Hermione," Ron finally said, smiling widely. "Mum was asking about you again. She keeps asking when you're going to settle down..."

Hermione half-smiled, still looking down at her plate. "I have plenty of time..."


She recalled every time-turner still in the country, cracking open the tiny hourglasses and pouring them back into the bell jar. There are a few complaints, from seasoned travellers and frenetic students, but, as the jar continued to empty, the complaints dried up.

When she wasn't refilling the jar, she researched, tome after tome of books about time, about the time particles, about the jar, about the department, and about the ancient wizards who first learned how to bottle time and use it for their own purposes.

She caught a few references to an ancient people who assisted them in this project, who taught them about time and about possibility, but they came only from secondary sources, footnotes within endnotes, written centuries ago — barely worth mentioning. There was a mention of an evil wolf, and she wasted a day researching time-travel, astronomical patterns, and werewolves, all for nothing.

She gave up on magical sources and went to the scientific world. Physics and mathematics and theories far beyond anything she ever learned at Hogwarts. But even those left her at a loss.

Tucked inside her desk, under lock and key, she kept a Muggle notebook. She wrote down her most terrifying theories in the notebook, using a ballpoint pen, as if even using the tools of magic would cause these theories to become true.

In her darkest moments, when the jar lost millennia rapidly, when there were no more time-turners, when the Chief Timekeeper looked even more fragile, one theory kept coming back to her.

Without the time, there would be no more magic.


There were fewer than 5 millennia left in the bell jar when the Chief Timekeeper disappeared.

Hermione was speaking to him, trying to broker a deal with the Chief Alchemist of Time in China, when, suddenly, he became translucent, then transparent, then he wasn't there at all, in-between words, the faint scent of old books and cinnamon still on the air.

The level briefly jumped to 10 millennia, then, just as suddenly, dropped down to 4.


There were four particles left, sitting in the spoon that used to collect them by the hundreds. Hermione sat in her office, staring down at the small sparkling particles that were the only light in the office.

Three particles.

When she blinked, they stayed imprinted on her retinas, little sparks of redness against the dark.

Two particles.

Her last report sat on the desk, outlining everything that had happened, and what she predicted would happen. She wondered what would happen if she disappeared, lost to the streams of time.

One particle.

And, then, it happened.


Light. All-encompassing glowing golden light, streaming from a doorway that hadn't existed before. Hermione blinked, raising her hand to cover her eyes.

The light faded, slightly, as a figure stood in front of the light.

"What...what's going on?" Hermione shouted, reaching for her wand. Her eyes adjusted to the light, and she looked towards the door, trying to see the person standing there.

"Time..." the person said, her voice soft. "It's all around me..."

Hermione held her wand tightly as she took a step forward. "Who are you?" she demanded. "What are you doing here?"

The woman, her blonde hair fluttering in a breeze that only surrounded her, looked at Hermione. "I can see it all..." she said, a strange undertone to her voice, like ancient machines groaning behind her. She looked directly at Hermione, her face streaked with tears. "You've seen so can you stand it?"

Hermione stared at her, her mouth slightly open. "I..."

"And...time..." The woman's voice trailed off. "They've gone away and there's no..." She looked towards the empty jar, the empty spoon, the empty office. "No more time..." Her eyes focused on Hermione again, sharp even as the bright light clouded everything.

Hermione looked away from the woman's stare. "I..." She stopped, looking back up at the woman. "Is it you?" she said. "Did you bring the time?"

The woman smiled, beatifically, and shook her head. "No...They—" Her voice caught. "They...he never mentioned a 'they'..." She stopped, looking up towards the map on the wall. "All those little points of light...just wiped out like that..." She raised a hand, and the map became full of scattered points of light, time-travellers appearing magically through the country.

"Time..." The woman said. "My name across all time and space..." She raised her hand again, and there was a wolf howl in the distance.

"How...?" Hermione looked at the woman. "What are you?"

The woman smiled, and leaned closer. "I know you.." she whispered. "All that is...all that was...all that ever could be...time's been around you since before you were born..." She chuckled. "I thought I was the only one."

Hermione frowned. "I don't..."

The woman looked away. "Doctor?" she said, her voice soft, her eyes looking towards a distant point. "My Doctor..."


The woman looked back at her, tears streaking her eyes. "I see everything, Hermione..." She stepped closer. "And I know what I must do..."

"How did you—" Hermione stopped, transfixed as the woman moved closer. She reached out for Hermione's chin, stroking her cheek lightly, then, slowly, kissed her.

The golden light consumed her, the woman's lips against hers, sweet and soft and tender. Hermione closed her eyes, bathed in the warmth, and, suddenly...

It was gone.

Hermione blinked, looking around dazedly. Her eyes caught the map, flickering brightly with points of light, and she gasped, quickly looking at the bell jar.

The jar was empty.

She sighed.

A golden sparkling light fell from her mouth, flowing towards the jar. Her eyes widened as the jar filled, past the original mark, to the top, flowing higher and higher until it reached the top.

"Time..." she whispered softly. "All the time we need..."

And she smiled.

This Doctor Who story was written by Kate Bolin. If you liked it, there's plenty more at And you can feedback her at