Disclaimer: I don't own anything Harry Potter related - that honour belongs solely to JK Rowling. And anything Marvel-related, however thin, don't belong to me either. I am merely playing around with characters and powers, no copyright infringement intended.
A/N: I hope you enjoy this second chapter.
Just to reiterate…For those late to the party, this story was once JulesSC's but she has given me full permission to adopt and publish it. These first few chapters are hers (posted almost verbatim with a few minor corrections/changes). Newer chapters will be up soon enough.
A guest reviewer commented that the character Parker was an OC Mary Sue which I've used to insert myself (or, I suppose, Jules) into the story. Parker is not technically an OC. She's inspired quite heavily (ability to drop from large heights, climb the side of buildings, steal things without others noticing, etc.) from the show Leverage, which is simply brilliant. In that show, Parker is (shocker) a thief, trained from a very young age to commit such acrobatic abilities. Jules' notes tell me that she'd intended Beth Riesgraf (the actress who portrayed Parker in the show) to be the same face for the Parker in this story, if you could picture her younger to fit the story later on. But I appreciate "guest's" cowardly way of critiquing Jules (and my) work without even reading it. And I sincerely mean that in all my sarcastic glory.
Chapter 2: The Big Reveal
"Let's head inside, shall we?" Hermione suggested. "There's a lot we need to discuss."
Mr. and Mrs. Weasley looked at each other and warily nodded. Ron's brothers didn't look much better. Harry noticed that their wands were still out, gripped tightly in their hands as the eleven of them made their way slowly towards the house.
They were so elated to be back in the presence of the Weasleys, alive and well even if they were suspicious, that they almost didn't remember what they had to do the moment they were inside the house.
Ten feet away from the backdoor, Harry flung out his arm in front of Ron. "Wait," he said, his voice quiet but commanding, a strange thing for someone his physical age. "Remember what we have to do when we get inside."
Immediately, Ron's face darkened. "Oh, yeah," he said, cracking his knuckles in a menacing way, quite reminiscent of Draco Malfoy's minions, Crabbe and Goyle.
"W-what do you have to do?" Mrs. Weasley asked, her eyes narrowing even as her voice waved fearfully.
Bill and Charlie seemed to be on alert.
"Mum," Ginny said, her voice shocked. "We wouldn't hurt you. You're our mother. You're our family."
Mrs. Weasley looked slightly abashed. "I'm sorry, Ginny, dear but...We're just..."
"Confused," her husband supplied.
"And we'll explain it to you," Hermione assured them kindly. "We just need to do one small thing first."
"Don't worry," Ron said, his voice low and frightening. "It has nothing to do with you. We just need to find Scabbers."
"Scabbers?" Mr. Weasley repeated, bewildered.
Mrs. Weasley relaxed slightly thinking that maybe she had imagined the unsettled feeling in the pit of her stomach and though the four children needed to be thoroughly examined after their terrifying, mysterious ailment minutes before, they were simply being children now.
Her heart calming down slightly, she looked at her youngest son again only to have a minor heart attack when she caught sight of the piercing in his left ear, and the fanged dragon's tooth dangling from it. "Ronald Billius Weasley!" she halted in her steps, causing the others to stop as well, staring at her expectantly. "When did you do that!?"
She pointed accusingly at his ear, and Ron reached up to touch it.
He was surprised to find the piercing – he'd had it done in 2002, just months before Neville had found them, at a tattoo parlour in the muggle town he, Harry, Hermione and Parker had been stationed at for a few days. Harry had wanted a tattoo himself but Ron hadn't been so daring, choosing to go with something less permanent. When the piercing had healed up, Hermione had given him a dragon's tooth earring she'd bought for him the next town over – a small Wizarding community they'd stopped in for just a few hours to re-stock on supplies.
"Wicked," Ron breathed. His ear still felt a little sore and stinging, as though he'd just had it pierced all over again moments before. It must have happened while he had been writhing in pain on the ground as his future and past merged to become his new present, carried over from the future. He just hadn't realized it due to the excruciating pain he felt everywhere else. "I still have the earring, too."
"Didn't think you would," Harry admitted.
Ginny nodded as another thought occurred to her. "Do you still have your tattoos?" she asked Harry.
His eyes widened. He couldn't very well shuck off his shirt and looked at the tattoos he had on his back so he pulled up his shirt sleeve. He sighed in relief as he saw the Celtic symbol permanently etched in ink on his skin – the symbol for protection against bodily possessions. The skin around it was very red, much like it had looked the first day after he'd gotten the tattoo, and he figured that this must be the reason he'd felt his wrists burning earlier.
"Thank God," he breathed.
He really didn't fancy having to get his tattoos all over again. They were necessary – well, most of them were – and he was grateful for them but pain wasn't something he enjoyed even if the pain of getting a tattoo felt like a mild discomfort compared to some of the other things he'd gone through.
Ginny beamed though she didn't dare look for herself if she, too, had retained her tattoos. Hermione had made them all get the protection tattoos – these were much more permanent than necklaces or bracelets and no one could remove them from their bodies.
Parker had witnessed two of Harry's tattoos being done and, after a tutorial by the smitten young man working at the parlour, Parker had been confident enough to steal a tattoo making kit from a muggle store so that she could work on the others' tattoos herself. This way, they saved money and they didn't have to stay in one place to long: sitting still would only get them killed.
Of course, they'd stopped at another muggle town just a few weeks later so Parker could get her protection tattoos; she didn't want to risk botching it up by doing it herself one-handed.
"You..." Mrs. Weasley looked faint and angered at the same time.
Harry didn't think it was a safe combination at all. On the bright side, Bill and Charlie seemed a little calmer and Fred and George were already snickering to themselves. Only Percy scowled, looking like he disapproved more than his mother did.
"What sick person would willingly give a twelve year old a tattoo!?" Mrs. Weasley thundered. She turned her glare on Ron next. "Or a piercing!?"
"It makes more sense when we explain everything to you, from start to finish," Ginny assured her mother. They had already agreed to keep the entire Weasley family in the loop – they were all skilled Occlumens, even fifth year student Percy who had found the subject fascinating in his second year and begun training hard since then.
"Oh, I can't wait to hear it," Mrs. Weasley glowered.
The moment they were in the house, Ron quickly walked out of the kitchen and straight up the steps, a reminder from Hermione to act calm and unassuming fresh in his mind. As much as he hated that rat traitor, loathed him with every fibre of his being, he didn't want to mess their plans up and have Pettigrew escape before they needed him to.
Scabbers, as it turned out, was sleeping, locked up in his cage on Ron's bedside table. Sneering at the rat, he grabbed the cage and turned to head out his bedroom door.
He was startled to see Bill standing in his doorway, eyeing Ron warily. "Afraid of something?" Ron asked, nodding towards the wand in Bill's hand.
He couldn't blame his brother – having fought in two wars and having been on the road fighting Death Eaters and dark creatures for over a decade had taught them all to be insanely aware of their surroundings and wary of everything and everyone. Even each other.
Bill looked somewhat embarrassed. "No," he lied instantly.
Ron raised an eyebrow.
"Well, you can't blame me," Bill defended. "You're acting very odd. You all are."
Ron nodded, agreeing. None of this must've made any sense whatsoever to his family. First they had been visited by ghostly beings. Then the four of them had been writhing in pain. Then Harry and Ginny had started snogging. And now here they were, being so sombre about a rat and acting far wiser than children their age should.
"You'll understand soon," he assured his brother, trying to make his voice sound as non-threatening as possible. His anger at the rat he was carrying made it difficult.
When he and Bill joined the others once more, they had all convened in the living room. Harry was informing Mr. and Mrs. Weasley that they needed to speak with Dumbledore immediately.
"Are you sure it's that important?" Mrs. Weasley wondered. "I'm sorry for asking, dear, but I wouldn't want to impose on the man...Surely he's quite busy..."
Harry nodded. "He'll make time for this," he knew this without a doubt.
With another sceptical glance at Harry, Ron and the girls, Mr. Weasley made his way towards the fireplace, threw some Floo powder into the fire and stuck his head in as soon as the flames turned green to make a fire-call to Albus Dumbledore.
While he did that, Hermione turned to the cage Ron was carrying. She hurriedly took off the beaded bag she carried around her neck, rummaging around for their wands. She took out the six sturdy wooden sticks she'd stuck in one of the side pockets and took out the one she owned.
"Do you think we still have the trace on us?" Ginny wondered.
"Of course you do," Percy scoffed. "You're all underage, aren't you?"
Harry and Ginny shared a look, grinning, and turned to Hermione. She bit her lip. "I'm not sure," she admitted. "Magical traces can be quite tricky. There's no telling...I hope we don't. I need my magic right now."
"Go ahead," Harry said, nodding at the cage. Pettigrew was still asleep – Sirius hadn't escaped from Azkaban yet so he was still the fat, lazy, useless lump he was before then, sleeping most his days away. "We have to risk it. I might be able to stun without a wand, but all that other stuff...You're the one we need."
"Harry!" Molly gasped, outraged that these underage youngsters were even talking about attempting magic outside of school.
She was ignored, however, and with a nod, Hermione went to work. Pointing her wand at the cage, she quickly sent a red stunner at "Scabbers". They wouldn't have known the difference between him being asleep and him being stunned if it hadn't been for the squeak he made before going completely still, not a single snore escaping him.
"Have you gone mad!?" Percy shouted, eyes blazing at their blatant cruelty for the pet that had once been his.
"Shut up, Perce," Ron said, in no mood to humour Percy's rage when there were more important things at stake at the moment.
While Hermione set out to work on ensuring that "Scabbers" would never be able to escape or find out any information about this sudden change of events unless they wanted him to, Harry subtly worked on testing the Occlumency shields of the people in the room. He knew that he would never have to test Dumbledore or his five friends from the future; their shields were impenetrable. Harry had made sure he and his friends had strengthened their minds after the war with Voldemort.
He probed the mental shield off each of the Weasleys. Molly and Arthur had incredibly strong mental shields. So did Bill and Charlie.
Percy, Fred and George, surprisingly enough, had mental shields as well. He knew that they did master Occlumency during the course of their lives but he'd assumed they'd done it after Voldemort's death – well, Percy and George, anyway. Clearly, Percy, Fred and George had decided to do this even earlier on.
He didn't know why Percy had dabbled in Occlumency – though he suspected it was Percy's thirst for knowledge that had led him to it – but he suspected the twins learned to protect their minds to protect the secrets of their future business from teachers and rivals alike; they were strangely paranoid when it came to Weasley Wizarding Wheezes.
Satisfied with their mental defences, Harry turned his attention to what Hermione was doing.
Hermione waved her wand again and, without saying a single word out loud, transfigured Scabbers' cage into a metal box so that Pettigrew wouldn't be able to see anything on the outside if and when he was awake. She tapped it once to charm it so that it was unbreakable and tapped it once more to make sure that no sound from the outside would ever reach Pettigrew's ears inside it.
Unlocking the tiny door of the metal box, she took the unconscious rat and gripped it tightly in one hand. She waved her wand at him again and silently cast the charm to ensure he would never be able to transform unless she allowed him to.
She handed the rat to Ginny, who looked absolutely disgusted at having to touch it, and summoned a tiny matchbox-sized wooden box from within the depths of her beaded bag. She tapped the box once and it grew to the size of a first-aid kit. She unlocked it with another tap of her wand and took a small syringe filled with a tranquilizer potion that would keep Pettigrew unconscious for the next twenty-four hours.
"There," she said as she took Scabbers from Ginny and injected the tranquilizer potion into his blood stream. "That should do it. We just have to keep doing that every day so he won't have any consciousness."
"How dare you!?" Percy glared at her, watching with narrowed eyes as Hermione calmly placed the unconscious rat back in the metal box and shut the lid, cutting Pettigrew off from the outside world entirely. "That's animal cruelty! And you, Ron! Letting her! I thought you'd care for Scabbers a little more than this!"
Ron rolled his eyes. "Will you calm down!?" he snapped at his brother. Despite how much he missed his entire family, he'd forgotten how annoying Percy could be. Now that the reunion had more or less taken place, pressing matters and Percy's lack of knowledge and accusations were grating on his nerves. "We have a good reason."
"I doubt it!"
"We do! And we'll prove it to you! We'll just have to wait for Dumbledore!"
"I'm already here, Mr. and Mr. Weasley," the kind, bemused voice of Albus Dumbledore broke through.
Everyone started and swivelled around to look at him.
They had been so focused on what Hermione was doing to Scabbers – or Pettigrew as the time-travellers called him in their minds – that they hadn't noticed Arthur explaining to Dumbledore his requested presence, or Dumbledore himself stepping through the Floo network into the Burrow.
"That was very impressive, Ms. Granger," he said to Hermione who looked a little startled at being called her maiden name.
She had married Ron just a year into Voldemort's defeat and had been referred to as Mrs. Weasley since then. They hadn't had a lot of chances to be called by their surnames after they'd gone on the road again after Zankou's rise but Ron and Harry had always teasingly called her "Mrs. Weasley" every now and again.
"Wordless magic," Dumbledore continued. "Far more advanced than something any soon-to-be second year student would be able to do...Not even most adults could achieve it."
Hermione blushed at that last part. In truth, only she and Harry had been able to do magic silently. Harry had taken to more defensive and offensive magic; things that would be useful in the battlefield. She still had trouble doing those spells silently, but transfiguration and charms were easy for her, especially things that were as simple as turning a cage into a metal box.
"Thank you, sir," she said, truly grateful. Her eyes turned a little shiny looking at the man who had died so valiantly eighteen years ago, standing before her alive and well.
"Sir, there are some things that we need to discuss," Harry said, and Ginny noticed that his eyes were a brighter than usual and his voice rough. He cleared his throat as discretely as possible and continued, "If it's possible...We need Remus Lupin here as well."
Dumbledore's eyebrows rose up so high that they disappeared into his hairline. He had no idea Lupin had contacted Harry. After the death of three of his friends and the arrest of the one who had betrayed them all, Lupin had closed in on himself. Believing himself to be far too dangerous now that he had no one to contain his darker side, he'd hidden himself away, choosing not to contact Harry even after he'd returned to the Wizarding world a year ago.
"Lupin, really?" he wondered casually. "And why is that?"
"I'd rather explain it all in one go," Harry said, almost apologetically. "I'm sorry for creating such a fuss but it's very important, sir, and there's one matter that's quite urgent right now."
Dumbledore seemed surprised at his words but nodded anyway. "Alright," he said, and silently called Fawkes, his loyal phoenix, to him. In a brilliant flash of fire, Fawkes appeared on his shoulder, giving a short trill of greeting.
Harry grinned at the bird. He hadn't seen Fawkes in nearly twenty years, ever since Dumbledore had died, but he'd never forget such a magnificent, faithful creature such as him. Fawkes seemed to recognize him somehow because his eyes locked on Harry before he sang another beautiful note.
"Fawkes, I need you to retrieve Remus Lupin for me," Dumbledore addressed his phoenix gently. "Bring him here immediately, please."
Fawkes stood a little taller, his head thrown back, and with a trill of goodbye, he disappeared in another flash of fire.
Ginny sighed. "I've missed that bird," she said fondly, linking hands with Harry.
Molly gazed at her incredulously. "Ginny, you've never seen it before," she chided.
Ginny grinned but chose not to say anything yet.
The fireplace roared with green flame once more and Harry briefly thought it was Lupin before Neville – twelve years old, small and a little pudgy, unlike his well-muscled form at thirty-five – stepped out of the fireplace with a formidable looking woman in her sixties Harry remembered to be his grandmother, Augusta Longbottom.
"Harry!" Neville broke into a large smile. Harry was glad to see some of that haunted darkness was gone from his eyes and smile. "Ron! Hermione! Ginny! I can't believe we did it! We really did it!"
Ginny laughed as she hugged her friend. She saw his eyes flicker to the window, looking out at the hill overlooking where Luna's house was. She was so sorry for Neville. Not only did he lose his wife so early in life and had to go through grieving her loss, he also had to go through getting her back alive without any memories of him or their life together.
Augusta Longbottom flicked her eyes from Hermione and Neville, who were now embracing, to Dumbledore to Harry, her eyes immediately seeking out his scar.
She stood a little taller. "Albus," she said, her voice as severe as she looked. "What the bloody hell is going on?"
Dumbledore frowned. "That's what we're here to find out, I suppose," he said calmly.
"The strangest thing just happened at the manor," Augusta continued, and launched into a detailed description of the odd ghostly apparition of an older Neville that had appeared in her sitting room half an hour ago, resulting in Neville's pain-filled fit and his insistence they went to the Burrow, of all places, when he'd recovered.
"That's odd," Bill murmured. "That's the same thing that happened to them," he jerked his thumb in the direction of his youngest siblings, Harry and Hermione.
Dumbledore's eyes twinkled even as he looked on sombrely at the five of them. "You don't say," he muttered.
He could only think of one thing that could cause the mystifying events Augusta had described, though he had only seen it in the memories of his friend Nicholas Flamel. Flamel had asked him to view the memory when Dumbledore had considered time travelling himself, and had warned him of the risks of such an act. In the end, Dumbledore had been discouraged from it.
What could've forced them to do something so dangerous? Dumbledore wondered. While Harry might be curious and had a streak for adventure and doing the right thing – as was witnessed just weeks ago with Quirrell – he didn't think the young boy would ever do something so risky, not just to himself or his loved ones, but to their world in general.
Then again, who knew what future he had come from? Who knew what had pushed him into committing such an act.
Dumbledore prayed it had nothing to do with Voldemort winning the war.
"Harry," Dumbledore said, his tone calm even if his question was insane. "What year did you come from?"
Mr. and Mrs. Weasley looked at him as though they hadn't realized just how delusional he had been all this time. They weren't the only ones.
However, Harry and his four friends smiled widely.
I knew Dumbledore would get it before we even explained anything, Harry thought smugly. Ron owes me five galleons.
He checked Augusta's metal shield and was surprised to find that it was almost as strong as Dumbledore's. I knew she was a woman to be reckoned with but this is very powerful…Quite a formidable grandmother Neville has. At least we don't have to worry about any information leaking out to unwanted sources via Legillimency.
Thankful that they didn't have to exclude Neville's grandmother, which wouldn't have gone well with her at all, Harry met Dumbledore's eyes levelly and answered in the calmest voice he had.
Mrs. Weasley gasped. She clutched at her heart and almost fell backwards had it not been for her husband. "Albus," she gasped. "Albus...Surely it's not true..." she said, raising her voice slightly to be heard over the chatter that had broken out amongst her five eldest sons.
Dumbledore gazed into Harry's eyes as though to search for the truth. To his surprise, Harry's mind was highly blocked from his and not even his most powerful probing could bring out a slither of truth. It was odd, since just weeks ago Harry's mind had been an open book. Now he had turned into a master Occlumens. Of course, if it had been years into the future like Harry had said, then the boy sure had plenty of time to gain that much resistance.
Harry, feeling his probe, allowed his mind's defences to lower slightly, letting Dumbledore see bits and pieces of his memories of the future, not giving him anything truly substantial so that he could be told with everyone else later.
He gave the Headmaster enough to know that Harry was telling the truth.
Dumbledore sighed and nodded, a little sombre as he saw the memory of Harry and his friends in the forest surrounded by Death Eaters moments before they fell back in time. Clearly, the future wasn't what Dumbledore hoped it would be.
"Yes, Molly, I'm afraid it's true," Dumbledore said heavily.
Harry's defences went up again, creating an impenetrable barrier.
"But...How?" Arthur sounded absolutely flabbergasted.
Before anything else could be said, another flash of fire – bigger this time, the size of a fully grown human –appeared right next to Dumbledore. Remus Lupin was there, Fawkes perched on his shoulder.
Harry's breath caught in his throat. He hadn't seen Lupin in seventeen years and the last year he had been alive hadn't been so great for Harry: not only did they have very little contact with each other but the last time Harry had seen him alive, he had yelled at Lupin for being so self-deprecating when Tonks and his unborn child needed him.
Lupin looked almost the same way he had the first time Harry had met him in the original timeline in third year. He didn't look nearly as haggard or worried, but Harry reckoned that had more to do with no news of Sirius escaping. That had to have taken a great toll on Lupin.
His clothes were still shabby and his hair was still streaked with grey despite him being in his early thirties – a side-effect of his monthly transformations –but his eyes weren't as haunted. The full moon was almost three weeks away so he looked healthier than usual.
He looked a little startled, however, when he noticed that he wasn't in Dumbledore's office at Hogwarts. His head spun this way and that as he took in the people he was surrounded with.
His eyes fell on Harry and Harry could see his chest stop moving as he stopped breathing. Harry's resemblance to James Potter was, after all, very striking. It had grown even more striking as Harry had grown older. By the time he was in his twenties, he could've passed for his father's twin, with just his emerald green eyes to differentiate between them.
Lupin's eyes dragged all over Harry's face, taking in James' features and his messy hair, before they rested on his lightning bolt-shaped scar. His chest made a shuddering motion as he started to breathe again.
"Harry…" he whispered hoarsely.
And this concludes the unchanged second chapter of Harry Potter and the Time Travellers.
Please do leave a review just to let me know what you thought of the story.
Thank you so much for reading.