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Summary: In an attempt to get rid of Harry Potter forever, Voldemort sends Harry a cursed time turner. Unfortunately for both of them, the time turner doesn't work properly, and sends Harry, Hermione and Ron back in time to meet . . . you guessed it! the Marauders. Post OOTP

Cursed Blessing

Chapter Two

Ron gaped at the two in shock. "Snape's here? As a student? Oh god, we are so dead!"

Hermione nodded. "And that's not all. After all, have you forgotten who went to school with Professor Snape?" Ron looked clueless, but Harry's face lit up with the first true smile Hermione remembered seeing in a long time.

"We're going to meet the Marauders. I'm finally going to meet my dad!"

"Well, what are we waiting for?" Ron demanded. "Let's go find Harry's dad!" Following his own advice, Ron darted out of the compartment, not noticing Hermione blanch. Harry noticed, however, and paused momentarily in his headlong rush after Ron to ask her what was wrong.

"Oh, you two are so impossible!" Hermione exclaimed slightly hysterically. "We can't just go barging up to your father saying we're from the future! That would mess up the whole space-time continuum!"

Harry stared at her, nonplussed. "Is that a bad thing?"

"Yes! We need to act the same way I told you back in third year! No one can know who we are, or even recognize us, or else we could change the future! WE COULD NEVER BE BORN!"

Harry winced. "Oh. I'll go get Ron, then . . . or not . . ." For as Harry turned to leave, the door opened of it's own accord, and five people poured into the compartment. Ron, the only one Harry recognized, was wincing and avoiding looking at Hermione. The other four, however, where none other than-

"Sirius Black, James Potter, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew, at your service, mates!" a teenage Sirius Black said enthusiastically, grabbing Harry's hand and pumping it delightedly. Harry attempted to return the handshake, but before he could Sirius's hand was replaced by James's, then by Remus's, and then by Peter's. Harry suppressed the urge to strangle the chubby blond – he was still on the good side in this time, after all.

"We met your friend in the hall," James explained to Hermione, absentmindedly messing his hair with his hand. "Said his name was Ron Weasley, and that he wanted us to meet someone-"

"-but then, quick as you please, he clams up and won't say another word on the subject," Sirius chimed in.

"That was after I asked him if he was related to Arthur and Molly Weasley," Remus added helpfully, helping a flustered Hermione pick up some of her things that had fallen to the floor during the quintet's rather exuberant entrance.

"Oh, he's not related." Hermione quickly assured the brunette.

Remus clearly thought them suspicious. "What are your names, anyway? I've never heard of Hogwarts accepting new, older students."

Harry paled – this was exactly the situation Hermione had feared. They would obviously have to come up with some sort of cover story, or else they could kiss their futures goodbye. Unfortunately, Harry had no idea what to say. Hermione, apparently, did.

"My name is Holly McClane, and this is my brother John."

Remus frowned. "I've never heard of the McClanes."

"We're muggleborns," Hermione said, getting into her explanation. "Our parents died when we were six, so we've been shipped around from home to home ever since, learning magic out of books. Just this summer Dumbledore tracked us down, and he's finally offered us a place here at Hogwarts. Ron here has been shipped around with us for the past few years."

They quartet bowed their heads, murmuring sympathies for the "deceased" McClane parents. Harry stared at Hermione in barely disguised awe – how did she come up with these things? Hermione flushed, whispering quietly, "John and Holly McClane are characters from Die Hard, a movie I saw over the summer. Don't look at me like that! It was a spur of the moment decision."

"Maybe," Harry whispered back, "but you aren't the one saddled with the name 'John' for the rest of the year."

"Well, I'm SORRY Harry, but it's not like you had any ideas!"

"And our touching muggleborn background?"

"I read it in a book."

"Figures."

"Well," James said cheerfully, missing their whispered conversation. "Welcome to Hogwarts!"

"Yeah!" Sirius exclaimed. "Since you're new here, I guess it's up to us to give you the run-down on Hogwarts. Firstly, you must be sorted into Gryffindor, as it is the only decent house to be in. Er . . . you do know about the houses, right?" He asked, backtracking.

"Oh yes," Hermione quickly reassured him. "I've spent the last few days lecturing them on Hogwarts, a History."

"Have you?" Remus asked eagerly. "I've read it a few times myself, and it's absolutely fascinating . . ." The two were soon off in a world of their own, rhapsodizing about Hogwarts, a History. Sirius, James, Harry and Ron simultaneously rolled their eyes. Some things never changed, it seemed. It was then that Harry realized Pettigrew had been missing for most of the encounter.

"Where's Wor . . . er . . . Peter?" Harry asked.

"I saw him leave about ten minutes ago," Ron supplied helpfully. Sirius and James didn't seem concerned in the least, although it was for a different reason than Harry suspected. Harry had always assumed Peter was a lying, treacherous bastard, even as a child, but it was clear this was not the case.

"He's gone to plant the potion." Sirius said happily.

"For the prank we're pulling," James clarified.

Harry and Ron exchanged delighted glances – they'd get to see one of the infamous Marauder's pranks in action! Feeling the need to maintain his cover, though, Ron asked casually, "You pull pranks a lot, then?" This seemed to be exactly the way to get James and Sirius to open up to them.

"Of course! Around Hogwarts, there is no doubt who the Kings of pranks are." Sirius boasted arrogantly.

James snickered. "You should've seen Evans's face last turn when we spelled her skin green. Clashed horribly with her auburn hair. Which is something else . . ." he trailed off dreamily. Harry inwardly felt heartened. He may be thrown across several decades with only his best friends for support, but James Potter would always be head-over-heels for Lily Evans.

"Done!" Peter declared, striding into the cabin and closing the door behind him. "The hallucinogenic potion has been distributed to all Prefects and Heads, excepting Moony, and will induce several minutes of mass hysteria."

As James and Sirius slapped Peter on the back, Harry couldn't help but notice how chummy they were with Pettigrew. If Harry weren't already completely prejudiced against Peter, it was entirely possible he would have befriended Peter the easiest out of the group. The boy, although chubby, exuded an aura of competency, and seemed like he was the man everyone went to when they needed support or comfort. This new side of Pettigrew frankly scared Harry, so he decided to avoid eye contact with the rat animagus as much as possible.

The Marauders didn't disappoint. Not two minutes later a sixth year Hufflepuff came darting into the compartment, screaming, apparently under the belief soul stealing, technicolor toads were chasing him. "NO! GET AWAY! I DIDN'T MEAN TO STEAL YOUR LOLLIPOP!" the terrified boy screamed as he ran back out of the cabin. Everyone in the compartment burst out into laughter, save Hermione, who tutted disapprovingly, her previous conversation with Remus forgotten.

Eventually, after two more such incidents, the boys settled down, which was a good thing, because not thirty seconds later did a younger, cleaner version of Severus Snape burst into the compartment, wand drawn, a furious expression on his face. His anger faltered, however, when he realized the compartment was occupied by not four, but seven people, four of whom were glaring at him in hatred.

Peter, to Harry's surprise, was the first to speak. "Nice of you to drop in, Severus!" the blond squeaked cheerfully, but was silenced by a glare from Snape.

"WHAT WERE YOU THINKING, PRANKING THE PREFECTS, OF ALL PEOPLE?" Snape roared, causing Peter to retreat, wincing as he pretended to wipe Snape's imaginary spit from his face. The boys laughed at this, causing Snape to flush an unfetching shade of pink.

"Why shouldn't we?" James asked cheekily, always one to provoke Snape.

"Are you saying Prefects are more important than 'normal' people?" Sirius demanded. A figure appeared behind Snape, but no one noticed.

"Are you saying they're . . . better? Superior?" Remus quickly put in in mock outrage, winking at the figure, who frowned disapprovingly. Harry took a better look at her, and his heart jumped when he recognized her. It was his mother! She was as beautiful as he remembered her from Snape's pensieve, with long waves of auburn hair, and beautiful, almond shaped emerald eyes, which were currently suspiciously taking in the scene before her.

"What's going on here?" she demanded fairly politely, but no one mistook the disgust in her eyes. Hermione, the only sensible one of the eight, it seemed, replied promptly:

"Mr Snape didn't approve of these four's prank, so he voiced his objections. Mr Potter didn't seem to agree, and retaliated in the manner he seemed fit the occasion." Lily seemed impressed by Hermione's little speech.

"It's so refreshing to meet someone who isn't a testosterone crazed male with a dominance problem." Lily said brightly. "Oh, by the way, Potter, Black, I'm not going to call you in this one, since you aren't at school yet, but you pull anything else, and Headmaster Dumbledore will be informed. Same goes for you, Snape." She gave Snape a pointed glare, who, getting the message, beat a hasty retreat, clearly outnumbered.

It seemed Gryffindors stuck together, even if they disliked one another, Harry thought mindlessly as he studied the Marauders and Lily's interaction. If you'd asked him two hours ago, he would have given anything to get the chance to know his parents, and now he was given the chance for free! Relishing in the glow that came from simply being around the people who would one day give him life, Harry sat back and enjoyed the train ride as Lily and Hermione began a rapid-fire debate, Ron bonded with Sirius, and James, Remus, and Peter played a spirited game of Exploding Snap. Life couldn't get much better than this, Harry thought happily, as his eyes closed and he sank into the realm of dreams.

.::.

Present Day – The Riddle Manor

"Well?"

Peter Pettigrew winced, shifting uneasily as his twitchy blue eyes searched for a scapegoat. The man speaking to him turned impatiently to him, spider- like fingers absently clutching and unclutching his wand as his red eyes bored into Peter's.

"I'm waiting, Wormtail," Voldemort hissed, quickly growing impatient. The news had to be bad, or else Peter wouldn't be acting so much more cowardly than usual. His assumptions were correct.

"Well, my Lord . . . Potter got the timeturner, as you instructed . . ."

"And? Is he dead?"

Peter winced, eyes firmly shut as if not seeing his master would somehow protect him from the Dark Lord's wrath. "Not exactly . . . that is to say . . . er . . . no."

Voldemort's voice was silky smooth. "Why not?"

"Well, my Lord, we programmed the timeturner to take him back 20 billion years, like you said, and gave it to him. That way, earth wasn't yet created, so he would appear in space, and consequently die in under 30 seconds."

"What went wrong?"

Peter winced. "We're not sure, my Lord. Something went wrong, and the timeturner's destination changed. So it's no longer set to 20 billion years B.C."

Voldemort was quickly getting tired of this question and answer session. "So when IS it set, Wormtail?"

"Er . . . that is to say . . . we have no idea," he finished hopelessly. Voldemort sighed as he massaged his temples. Perhaps once he conquered the world he'd be able to find some decent minions, as his current ones apparently seemed dead-set on proving just how incompetent a person can possibly be.

"So you are saying, Wormtail, that my most hated enemy is lost somewhere in time, and we have no idea when."

"Er, along with Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, yes, sir."

Voldemort raised his wand. "I am not going to kill you for your idiocy, Wormtail. Frankly, I am too annoyed to do so at the moment, so IF I WERE YOU, I would LEAVE NOW before I change my mind. GO!" Wormtail quickly fumbled for his wand, and disapparated with a pop, leaving a seriously irritated Dark Lord behind him.

"It seems the saying is true," He mused. "If you want something done, you've got to do it yourself."

.::.

"So you grew up with muggles, then?" Lily asked Hermione in interest as the two girls munched on Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans. "It must have been tough, learning all your magic out of books. How did you learn Potions?"

Hermione winced, frantically thinking up an answer. "Well . . . we learned the theory from the books, and, well, we've never made real potions, but we've had lots of experience in cooking and Chemistry."

Lily brightened. "Cooking is rather like Potions, isn't it? I'd never thought of that before . . . no wonder I do so well in Potions, I'm a very good cook. I make these brownies . . ."

Harry, listening in on the conversation, smiled. This was the life, sitting with everyone he cared most for . . . excepting Peter, of course, who was currently telling a most entertaining story about his Aunt Hilda's first encounter with Sirius.

". . . and then she say, 'Peter! Where did my pie go, you nasty boy? Show me your hands!' So I do, and, of course, there's no blueberry stain. Auntie Hilda huffs and stalks away, but runs straight into Sirius, who is covered in blueberry juice! By the way, Padfoot, you owe me five galleons for that incident."

"What for?" Sirius asked irritably.

"You bet me you'd get away scott free, because you were SO charming no one would ever suspect you."

"Well, if I hadn't run into the lady she would never have caught me . . ." Sirius protested, but grudgingly handed over the gold to Peter, who grinned happily.

The blond suddenly perked up, baby blue eyes twinkling. "I'd nearly forgotten to go see Sara! I'll see you guys later!" With that the boy strolled out of the compartment, looking much more confident than the slimy, traitorous Wormtail of Harry's day. Ron asked the obvious question.

"Who's Sara?"

James laughed. "Peter's girlfriend."

Harry and Ron gasped simultaneously, "Pettigrew has a GIRLFRIEND?" The idea was completely absurd! Who would be attracted to that rat? Alright, he was still a decent guy now, Harry told himself, but still! The kid obviously was evil deep down, even if he didn't show it yet.

Sirius arched an eyebrow. "Of course he has. They've been going out for . . . oh, it must be about two years by now. Sara's the sweetest girl you've ever met, and I can't blame Peter for being head-over-heels with her. Git."

Ron stared at him. "Why does that make him a git?"

Sirius leaned towards the time-travelers mysteriously. "Because Prongs, here, is madly in love with Evans – that's the girl talking to Hermione – and it totally kills Prongs every time he sees Pete and Sara together. Jealousy that Peter can get a girl and he can't, I suspect."

Harry was confused. "Shouldn't he be happy for his friend?"

"Oh, he is!" Sirius assured the duo. "He's been in love with Evans since the day he met her, is all. He's getting tired of waiting."

"But he WILL keep waiting, right?" Harry asked anxiously. Imagine what would happen if James gave up on Lily! He wouldn't be born!

Sirius laughed. "Sure he will! It's James, isn't it? Stubborn as a mule, head thick as rock, that boy. But I personally think Lily'll come around one day. Prongs's is too good of a guy for her to miss."

"I agree." Harry stated, and Ron nodded in agreement. Suddenly, Sirius's eyes twinkled mischievously.

"Speaking of relationships. Holly, baby!"

Hermione, recognizing her fake name, looked up from her mindless banter with Lily. "What, Sirius? And don't call me a baby, because it is simply ridiculous."

He ignored her rebuke, instead flashing her a charming grin. "Since you're new to Hogwarts and all, I don't suppose you'd like me to give you a tour of the grounds? Just you and me, of course."

Harry suppressed a laugh. Sirius was hitting on Hermione! Then again, that was entirely wrong in so many ways, considering he was about twenty years older than her . . . or at least, he was . . . Harry wasn't too sure on whether or not he wanted his godfather going out with his best friend. Ron, however, was positive he didn't like the arrangement.

"Back off!" Ron snarled, quite startling Harry and Hermione. "Why can't Lily or someone else show her around?"

Both Harry and Hermione were confused as ever, but Sirius seemed to get what was wrong with Ron, because he backed off quickly, stumbling onto James's lap, hands held up in mock surrender.

"Sorry, sorry! Don't bite my head off!"

James pulled him to his feet, eyeing Ron curiously. "Why didn't I see it before? If you want us to stay away from your girl, Ron, just say the word. We don't hit on other guys' girls."

Both Lily and Hermione bristled. If Harry hadn't known better, he'd have said they were twins or something. A resounding slap echoed across the cabin as Lily smacked James across the face, face red with rage. Beside her, Hermione was raging on.

"Women aren't property for men to own, you chauvinist pigs! I am not anybody's girl, and would prefer to stay that way! Men! Honestly!" Harry watched in shock as Lily and Hermione stalked out of the compartment, leaving a laughing Sirius, a rather embarrassed Ron, a wincing James, and a quiet as ever Remus, who was reading his book, noting the events taking place with mild amusement before returning to the novel.

"Geez, what's wrong with them?" James snapped angrily as he gingerly prodded the cheek Lily had slapped. Judging by his expression, more annoyed than angry, Harry suspected this wasn't the first time Lily had slapped James. Things really didn't look good for his parents.

"They're chicks, mate. No one understands them." Sirius said sympathetically, winking at Ron, who flushed brighter. "Seriously, though, mate, if you want us to stay away from Holly, all you gotta do is ask."

Even Ron's ears were red by now. "Why would I want you away from Her . . . ah . . . Holly? I mean, why would I care?" he asked indignantly. James, Sirius, and Harry snickered. Now that Harry examined the situation, it really was obvious Ron fancied Hermione, or else why would he be acting so jealous?

"Don't worry about it," Harry assured his beet-red friend. "When you feel like confessing, you know where to find us." Ron started to protest, but decided against it and closed his mouth determinedly, pretending to ignore the other boys. Harry shrugged. If his friend wanted to live in denial, it was fine by him. Ron was ten times as stubborn as James, and based on the tales Harry had heard about his father . . . Ron was doomed to live a life of loneliness if Harry kept bothering him about Hermione.

.::.

Harry sighed as he watched rain drops splatter against the window of the Hogwarts Express. It was late afternoon, and according to his watch they should be arriving at Hogwarts within the hour. Good thing too, because Harry hoped the sight of Hogwarts would bring Hermione out of the tizzy she was currently in.

Peter had never reappeared, apparently off with his girlfriend, doing Lord knows what. The girls, however, had reappeared about an hour ago, still simmering, and it didn't take long for another argument to break out between James, Sirius, and them. Harry wasn't even sure of the topic, but soon enough they'd vacated the compartment again, Lily announcing to Hermione that it was high time she met some of the saner company Hogwarts had to offer – namely, people other than James and Sirius.

So that left Remus, James, Sirius, Ron, and Harry sitting in the compartment, five teenage boys with nothing to do. It is generally a rule to NEVER leave bored teenage boys together, because nothing good can come of it. Sure enough, twenty minutes later the boys had magicked the seats out of the way, and had a tiny yet functional boxing ring, which was soon put to use. This, being a muggle pastime, delighted James, Sirius, Remus, and Ron, and Harry watched in amusement as the four boys began a sort of makeshift boxing tournament. Somewhere along the way the boys had lost their shirts – perhaps the exertion made them too hot to keep their shirts on? – and it was in this state that a voluptuous brunette found them when she marched into the compartment as if she owned the place.

"OOH!" she squealed at the sight of the four boys shirt-less, wrestling in a way she obviously thought very attractive. "Siri! I missed you SOOOO much!" With that, the brunette flung herself onto Sirius, who looked pained.

"Francesca, get OFF! Geez, couldn't you have at least waited till we got to Hogwarts to attack me?"

Francesca pouted. "Siri, baby, don't be mad. I just missed you so much I had to see you! Aren't you glad to see me? And what did you do to your hair? It's getting messy again; I'll have to cut it for you. What happened to this compartment? Where did the seats go? Why ARE you all shirtless? Why isn't that boy? Who ARE those two boys? I've never seen them around Hogwarts. Are they new? Why didn't you write me? Did you like the picture I sent you of me in that string bikini-"

She was cut off by Sirius, who, flashing the guys an apologetic smile, grabbed the airhead around the waist and hauled her off down the corridor. Harry stared after them in shock, not noticing Ron's similar disbelieving expression.

"Who was that?" Ron asked in disgust. "Was it even human?"

Remus sighed while James laughed. "Francesca Cooper. Sirius's Flavour of the Week."

Harry remembered Sirius vaguely mentioning his multiple girlfriends during that glorious Christmas at Grimmauld Place 8 months before. "He's a bit of a player, then?"

Remus rolled his eyes. "TELL me about it. He has a new girlfriend every month, snogs 'em for a week or so, dumps 'em, and then spends the next three weeks flirting till he finds a new one." Harry winced. It was a good thing Hermione and Lily weren't here to hear this.

"Sounds . . . er . . ." Ron trailed off, unsure of what to say.

"Degrading to the girls? Disgusting? Disrespectful?" Remus suggested.

"Now, now," James interrupted. "We're not being fair, here. All the girls at Hogwarts know Sirius's reputation, so if they still try to get together with him, it's entirely their fault."

"True," Remus agreed. "Although he's been with Francesca longer than most others, hasn't he?"

James snorted. "That's cause she's exactly what Sirius is looking for at the moment. What with leaving home and all, he needs a stupid, attractive girl to get his mind off problems."

Harry snorted. "You really are a chauvinist pig, you know? Holly was right."

James laughed. "Keep thinking that, kid. Seriously, though, don't bug Sirius too much if you can help it. He ran away from home at the start of the summer, and he's still a bit . . . I dunno . . . delicate."

Ron snorted. "SIRIUS? Delicate? You can't be serious."

James grinned. "No, I'm James."

Harry groaned at the pun, noticing with relief that Hogsmeade station was approaching. Off in the distance Harry could see the vague outline of Hogwarts castle, complete with towers, bridges, and turrets. Even twenty years in the past, Hogwarts was still his home.

To be continued . . .

A/N: Well! Here' s chapter 2! REVIEW!