Chapter 1: Recipe For Disaster
I think that God, in creating man, somewhat overestimated his ability.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake.
Macbeth - Shakespeare
The Potions Classroom of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was unique in several ways. The most unusual of these was a peculiar anomaly in the fabric of space itself that caused a small, localised atmospheric shift and seemed to grind the passage of time to a halt.
Harry was watching the ornate clock that hung over Professor Snape's desk; each of its intricate hands were moving at a leisurely rate, the ticks and chimes coming achingly slowly. He was not the only one whose eyes sporadically returned to the clock before sighing in disappointment to find that mere seconds had passed. Minutes spent in the dungeon seemed to pass like hours, and even his fellow students appeared languorous and torpid.
Snape was speaking to them in his usual acerbic manner, lacing his words with snipes at the Gryffindors' expense. They were berated for setting up their cauldrons too loudly, for talking in class, for dropping their quills on purpose and for all manner of imagined crimes. After Gryffindor had lost its thirtieth house point within ten minutes, Ron protested.
"But sir!" he cried, "that deduction of points isn't fair- I wasn't talking!" Snape, who seemed to be in a particularly foul mood, turned to face Ron with a deliberate slowness that made his whole demeanour more icy.
"Detention, Weasley," he growled, "for disrupting the class and daring to contest my method of teaching. I clearly heard you talking to Potter, and am obliged, therefore, to separate you. Weasley, next to Bulstrode. Potter, you can go..." Harry thought he could detect a note of glee in Snape's eyes as he picked a seat for Harry. Ron, grumbling, picked himself up and plonked down next to Millicent Bulstrode, an enormous Slytherin girl that bore a striking resemblance to a moose.
"...next to Malfoy." Snape finished, his eyes glinting maliciously. Harry's stomach dropped about three floors.
"But sir-" he began.
"Now!" Snape roared and Hermione cast him a sympathetic look before Harry gathered his things and set them down next to Malfoy's. The Slytherin looked at him as though he were a piece of dragon dung, as clearly irritated by this particular seating arrangement as Harry was.
"Just try not to fuck up the potion as usual, Potter," he hissed out of the corner of his mouth. Snape noticed but said nothing and once more Harry was struck by the distinct unfairness with which he was treated in comparison to snide gits like Malfoy whom Snape seemed to like. Normally Malfoy was partnered by the ever hulking and intellectually challenged Crabbe or Goyle, but both boys were currently holed up in the Hospital Wing, after having eaten sixteen cakes each and suffering acute indigestion.
Ron was looking patently chagrined by being forced to partner Millicent, who had the size and body mass of a young rhinoceros.
Snape, smirking to himself at the improved seating arrangements, turned back to the board and tapped it with his wand. Curly white writing scrawled over it, detailing the ingredients list and method for a new potion.
"Now that we have finished the series of lessons on the Dream Potions, we are going to start your next topic," he said. Predictably there was no rustle of excitement, and Snape looked rather put out. "Today I am going to have the misfortune to teach you the immensely complex Pertho Draught. I wonder, can anyone tell me the origin of the name?" Hermione's hand shot into the air as usual and Snape rolled his hooded eyes, "Yes, Miss Granger?" he asked jadedly.
"The Pertho Draught was given that name at some point in the early 11th century, subsequent to its discovery. It was given that title because of the unique methods used in preparing the potion, namely the amalgamation of two ancient forms of magic."
"And what are they?" Snape asked her, as if hoping for the wrong answer.
"Rune magic and Herb magic." Hermione said without missing a beat, "there are no animal based ingredients found in the potion and the potency relies on the use of complementary herbs and runes." the Gryffindors whooped, but Snape merely curled his lip.
"Correct," he said, although it looked like it cost him a great deal. "there are many properties of this potion, depending on the way in which it is made and the main elements used. Today we shall be brewing one of the more simple versions containing rosemary, pomegranate seeds, onion, mint, holly and rose petals. These ingredients, when used in conjunction with the runes Kenaz, Dagas, Raido, Pertho and Jera bring about what effects?" The question was ridiculously advanced to pose towards a group of sixth year students. It was something that took a year of studying to answer, a year of reading about the various plants and runes and drawing from them a conclusive theory about their effects. Even Hermione looked stumped. Then Draco Malfoy raised one elegant hand,
"Mr. Malfoy?" Snape said.
"Without the specifications of the parts of the plants, I can only guess," he drawled.
"What would you have said?" Snape asked, and a look as close to kindliness as Snape ever went crossed his face.
"Well," Malfoy frowned slightly, "one of the properties of rosemary is its ability to augment mental powers and strength of will."
"Correct," Snape encouraged.
"Pomegranate seeds are known to bring about ease of divination, but their uses also extend to the granting of wishes and luck," Malfoy paused for a moment, looking thoughtful. Harry looked up, surprised, Malfoy's knowledge of all things potion was clearly more extensive than he had surmised. "onion is used for prophetic dreams," Malfoy went on slowly, "mint for travel, holly for dream magic and rose petals for divination and psychic powers."
"Very good," Snape said approvingly, "and all together?"
"Their combined properties would most likely bring about the effects of a powerful, trance-like state through which a sense of foresight would penetrate, giving the drinker the temporary power to look into the future."
"And the runes?" Snape asked.
"Merely used for augmentative purposes," Malfoy replied, "Raido would give the drinker a sense of control over what they saw, and aid through what would be a journey of the mind. Kenaz would provide ease of learning and encourage knowledge. Jera would promote gestation and change, speeding the cycle of time, and Dagas would render the drinker invisible, allowing them to act as a catalyst between the worlds of the present and the future. Lastly, Pertho would allow for the unearthing of hidden knowledge and discovery of the unknown."
Malfoy finished and the Slytherins clapped wildly. Snape looked ecstatic.
"Excellent!" he exclaimed, "thirty points to Slytherin!" Harry scowled slightly, but even he had to admit that Malfoy's answer had merited the reward. Malfoy himself looked much more relaxed, and was heartily accepting congratulations from his friends for the depth of his knowledge. Harry consoled himself by dreaming about the next Quidditch match between Gryffindor and Slytherin, in which he was sure to show Malfoy exactly what he could beat him at.
Malfoy chose that particular moment to shoot a smirk in Harry's direction, and settled himself back in his chair with an air of self-satisfaction. Harry noticed Hermione looking at the Slytherin, her lip stuck out petulantly.
"This potion, as analysed so correctly by Mr. Malfoy, is one of a series of draughts to give the drinker an insight into their own future, by allowing them to swap either the minds or bodies of their future selves. Within some of these potions, when the makers have sufficient innate magic to command the spell, they can actually transport themselves into their own futures, leaving their own bodies in a deep dream in the present. The more weaker versions, such as the one we will be brewing today, merely allow the drinker to look through the eyes, undetected, of their future selves for half an hour, in order to watch themselves as they will one day be. This potion gives you no control over your future body; if you brew it correctly you will find yourselves watching a moving image as though you were inside someone else's head. Whilst being very complicated, it is not an especially difficult potion to brew, and relies on strength of will and power to complete successfully," Snape smiled twistedly, "I expect you to spend just over an hour making the potion and for the last half hour of the lesson you will all get to sample some of what you made. I do not doubt that at least one unfortunate person will be sleeping in their future, and will therefore leave here disappointed." He glanced around, as if praying it would be a Gryffindor.
"Sir?" Blaise Zabini of Slytherin had raised his hand.
"Yes, Zabini?" Snape asked.
"How do we control to what time we travel?"
"That is detailed in the instructions," Snape said, "but as you drink the potion you must concentrate very hard on the number of years you wish to have passed. You will be making this potion in pairs, and it is wise to use each batch of potion to transport yourselves to the same period of time. What I mean, is that you and your partner must agree on a date to head for, rather than both of you drinking with different intents. Now," he turned over a gilt hourglass filled with sand, which began to trickle through into the bottom bulb, "you have just over an hour, all ingredients can be found in the students store cupboard, instructions are in the textbook, begin!"
There was a flurry of activity as the students unpacked their brass scales, pestles and mortars, and their size 3 pewter cauldrons. Harry, resigned to the fact that he would be working with Malfoy for the entirety of the lesson, sighed heavily.
"Oh relax, Potter," Malfoy spat, hearing him, "at least it means you've got a chance at passing this lesson, I'm not exactly going to let you ruin this potion for me." Harry clenched his jaw,
"I'll get the supplies, shall I?" he forced himself to say. Malfoy, who was jotting down some preliminary notes from the board in his elegant scrawl, nodded impatiently. Harry made his way over to the store cupboard. The inside was large and lined with shelf upon shelf of jars. They were filled with viscous fluids, slimy things with tentacles, tiny eyeballs, sprigs of plants and powdered herbs. Harry hated it in here, he always felt as if the eyeballs were watching him.
Trying to ignore the twelve other people who were also jostling to collect their ingredients, Harry picked up the jars of rose petals, rosemary, onion, pomegranate, mint, and holly. He had come to understand that the older spells relied much more on using ingredients that were more readily available. It wasn't until the 1500's that bezoars became widely available, or pickled Boomslang liver was often used. He was grateful that this potion didn't require the use of anything revolting, and thanked the ancient witches for their ignorance of the potency of Manticore bowel.
When he returned to their table five minutes later he saw Malfoy was looking over the notes with a frown.
"This shouldn't be too difficult," he said quietly, then turned to Harry with a familiarly supercilious expression. "Shred that onion into strips no wider than a centimetre or so."
"Stop bossing me around," Harry snapped as he laid the jars down on their table. The knowledge that Malfoy was just going to sit and supervise whilst he did all the work was intolerable, "you do the unpleasant jobs for once."
Malfoy glared at him, "And ruin my manicure?" he said sarcastically, "I don't think so."
"You're such a ponce," Harry retorted, but picked up his black-handled knife anyway, digging it into the onion with more force than was entirely necessary.
"Yeah and you're a plebeian," Malfoy replied smoothly, "so just get on with it, Malfoys don't do menial labour."
"That's your excuse for everything," Harry said unwaveringly, and then feigning a high-pitched, mocking voice, "Malfoys don't do menial labour, Malfoys don't ruin their manicures, Malfoys don't do anything other than sit around sneering." He looked up and grinned contemptuously to see Malfoy glowering at him, the picture of dislike.
"God, Potter, could you be any more of an arse?" he asked rhetorically, taking the shreds of onion that Harry chopped and weighing them on a handsome set of silver scales.
"Better than being inbred," Harry muttered but Malfoy heard him.
"More onion," he snapped shortly, peering at the dial on his scales, "we're eight grams short." Harry moved his knife cleanly and rhythmically, finding a strange satisfaction in parting the onion flesh like water, imagining it to be Malfoy's face. They worked for five or ten minutes in relative silence whilst all around them raged a
storm of noise.
Snape's choice of pairings were not very popular among the students. Hermione could be heard exchanging hissed insults with Blaise Zabini, with whom she was partnered, and Ron and Millicent were arguing loudly over something. There was the crash of broken glass and Harry watched as Snape ordered Ron to clear up a jar he had inadvertently knocked to the ground. Ron's face was like thunder and Harry gave him a compassionate glance.
"When you've finished staring at Weasley," Malfoy's cold voice rose him from his reverie. Draco was looking at him with something unreadable touching his arctic eyes. He motioned to the onion, and Harry gathered it in his hands.
"Here you go," he said, dropping the onion into the scales, which tilted slightly.
"You have no finesse," Malfoy commented, "that's why you are terrible at potions." Harry thought better of answering, as Snape had begun to prowl around the tables, watching them like a hawk. Harry picked up the parchment and read it.
"Pomegranate seeds need to be mixed in with the onion before they're added to the cauldron," Harry said, pointing his wand at his cauldron and saying, "incendio." A blue, magical fire was lit underneath it, making the water inside begin to bubble. "Here you go." he handed the pomegranate to Malfoy, "you can do that."
Malfoy looked at it in distaste, "Ugh, this fruit is disgusting." he said, as the fleshy seeds stained his fingers pink. Harry looked at him derisively,
"You hold salamander intestine every day and you can't handle pomegranate seeds?"
Malfoy shot him another glare. "Salamander intestine, contrary to popular belief, does not have a gelatinous quality," his face then resumed its smirk, "but you wouldn't know that, would you Potter? The last time we brewed the Salamander Seasickness Cure, you didn't even use salamander, did you?"
Harry's face reddened slightly. He could recall, with perfect clarity, the moment when Snape had ladled his failed potion into the air for the entire class to ridicule. It was supposed to be silvery but was instead was a dark brown, and utterly useless. Harry cringed at the memory.
"Unfortunately for you, Malfoy, your superiority is enclosed solely in this classroom. Pity it doesn't extend onto the Quidditch pitch, but, I suppose, you can't be good at everything," Harry grinned again, watching the tips of Malfoy's cheekbones redden as he carefully extracted each pomegranate seed and tipped them into the scales. He loved knowing that he was the only person who could get under Malfoy's skin this way. Ron's insults bounced of the Slytherin's crystalline façade, but something about Harry's always struck him much deeper.
A couple of people had looked up and turned their heads in their direction, watching with interest. Snape, unfortunately, was one of them.
"Potter!" he snapped, "Watch your tongue!" Harry scowled and returned to their list.
"Done." Malfoy said with a long-suffering air. He tipped the contents of the scales into their cauldron where the liquid turned a sickening yellow and bubbled menacingly.
"Is it supposed to look like that?" Harry asked.
"Of course it is," Malfoy replied, as if daring Harry to contradict his potion-making abilities. He then added with a hint of humour, "what, don't you trust me?" Harry almost smiled but caught himself just in time.
"That'd be a no," he said coolly, "how long have we got left?" Malfoy looked over at the hourglass and the trickling stream of golden sand.
"About thirty-five minutes," he said, and picked up the next ingredient which was the rosemary. Harry hated working with the plant, it always left a distinct scent on his fingers that reminded him of the sausages Uncle Vernon used to shove into his piggy mouth at breakfast. Harry, with his meagre portion of grapefruit, had come to see that recurring scene as a symbol of everything he was denied.
"I'm going to crush this," Malfoy announced unnecessarily, "shred the leaves of the mint and then out them into the cauldron. They have to go into the mixture precisely six minutes after the pomegranate seeds to allow them to soften, so hurry up."
"Yes sir." Harry sighed, raising his fingers to his brow in a mock salute. He saw that Malfoy was suddenly watching him with a hint of amusement curling his customary smirk. "What?" He asked warily.
"Nothing," Malfoy looked away but the expression remained, "I knew you were the submissive type really, Potter." Harry flushed deeply and looked away in embarrassment, but he wasn't sure why.
They worked for a bit longer, a lull falling in their insults, their fingers working smoothly over their ingredients. Harry found himself drifting off into a daydream, watching Malfoy's hands work over the rosemary. His slender fingers plucked every leaf from the stem with a delicate care that Harry had never seen before. The ivory of his skin became the colour of adroitness and the way in which his nails, too long to be anything but effeminate, sliced through the green plant somehow held his attention. It contrasted starkly with the strength with which he crushed the rosemary into a pulp, and it was a paradox that Harry was riveted by.
"Ouch!" The knife had driven cleanly through the skin of his finger and tiny beads of blood were blossoming there. Malfoy looked up.
"What did you do?" he asked.
"I asked if you'd be my date for the Winter Ball," Harry snapped acidly. "What does it look like?" Malfoy rolled his eyes.
"Fine, Potter," he said, "but that only demonstrates what I said about you having no finesse."
"Oh shut up," Harry sucked gently on his finger, frowning. He glanced back up to the hourglass and managed to shove the mint in the cauldron in time to watch the potion turn to a deep gold.
"That's more like it," said Malfoy, satisfied, and he tipped in the last of his crushed rosemary, "we're nearly done."
"What now?" Harry squinted over Malfoy's delicate writing, "Malfoy, you write like a girl." Malfoy muttered some that Harry didn't quite catch but it sounded something like, 'nothing wrong with being refined.'
"Now we work on the runes." he said, picking up a well-thumbed copy of 'Divination Potions: The Gambler's Favourite, by Seamus Luckalot' and flipping to one of the later pages. "It says here that when the potion is a deep golden colour, we draw the runes in the air above it, and then concentrate hard on our aim, and then we throw in the rose petals. Damn it, there's a potion smudge over the last few words."
"We'll borrow someone else's book in a minute," Harry murmured, pulling out his wand, "come on, we don't have long left."
Malfoy took out his wand as well and, bringing the cauldron to a simmer, he and Harry drew the runes in the air above their mixture. The tips of their wands left a thin golden light in the air, making the runes visible, shimmering like precious jewels, emanating with magic. The runes were spiky shapes, formed from several straight lines crossing each other, each unique and each inimitably powerful. Malfoy was watching them spin thoughtfully.
"What date shall we aim for?" Harry asked.
"Not too far in the future," Malfoy said, "I dread to think what I'll look like in my fifties." Harry smirked.
"Knowing you, you'll be as vain as ever," he said.
"As opposed to you, Potter, who has never picked up a mirror in your life," Malfoy reached over and yanked none too gently at a particularly stubborn strand of jet that hung over his eyes.
"Ouch," Harry pulled back, scowling, "you're such a girl when it comes to your hair," he added as an afterthought.
"A girl?!" Malfoy snapped, "There is nothing remotely feminine about being concerned with the art of grooming."
"Oh yeah?" Harry asked, with a sly grin. "So what would you do if I said I could see a split end?" Malfoy looked horror struck.
"Where?" he asked urgently, holding strands of platinum up to his eyes. Harry snickered at him and received a prompt swat on the forehead.
"Are you intent upon assaulting me for the duration of the lesson?" Harry asked, "only please inform me now so I can slip you some poison."
"I would be highly surprised, Potter, if you could even identify a poison out of that store cupboard," Malfoy said with an irritatingly superior look.
"I'm sure I could find something toxic enough to even knock out you," Harry said cuttingly. There was an unpleasant silence as they locked gazes. "Look," he went on, rubbing his temples as Malfoy glared at him, "let's just aim for today eight years from now. We'll be twenty five and hopefully in the prime of life."
"Ok," Malfoy shut his eyes and Harry followed suit, his mind chanting the date over and over, echoing in his head like some holy mantra until it was drumming on its own. He concentrated with every fibre of his soul, forcing his own magic to come out and to mingle with the runes, knowing that Malfoy's was doing the same and that the Slytherin was concentrating with equal fervour. When Harry felt himself physically drained by the loss of energy and unable to keep up the chant in his mind, he opened his eyes. Malfoy looked pale and wan, but his eyes were dancing and Harry could feel their magic pooling amongst the runes, adding potency to their potion, making it stronger.
"Do you think it worked?" Harry asked. They were the only two that had reached that level yet, and the rest of the class was still absorbed in the making of the potion itself.
"I guess so," Malfoy said. "How would I know, Potter? I'm not psychic."
"Fine, fine," Harry said quickly, knowing from past experience that whenever he heard that grating tone in Malfoy's voice, a Jelly-Legs curse was surely on the way. Without warning the runes that had been hovering uncertainly above their cauldron sank into it and the potion deepened in colour until it resembled molten gold itself.
Malfoy picked up the jar of rose petals, and tipped them out into the cauldron. They were each beautifully velvety and damasked in the deepest purple Harry had ever seen. They sat littered atop the thick mixture before sinking into it and the potion emitted some bright gold sparks.
Professor Snape, who was at the other end of the classroom said absently, "When the potion has sparked, and thickened, you may sample a little. You will soon fall into a trance and, if you have done it right, be granted a taste of your future."
Harry was about to attract his attention when Snape hurried over to Millicent Bulstrode whose cauldron seemed to be melting into a toxic, metallic pool that emitted some foul-smelling fumes. Ron was casually wafting these away with his text book and smirking as Snape tried to control the disaster.
"Oh screw it," Draco said. "Let's just see if the sodding thing worked then we won't have to spend any more time together." he poured himself and Harry a tumblerful of what looked like liquid metal.
"I'll drink to that," Harry said and they raised their glasses with a sense of irony. With one swift motion, they drained them. The potion tasted bittersweet with a hint of some sour fruit that he couldn't identify. It wasn't a pleasant taste, and left a stinging sensation burning his mouth. Malfoy looked equally revolted, by the way his face was screwed up in disgust.
"Nice," said Harry, putting his glass down, "shouldn't be long now." Draco, having drunk his glassful, was looking at the potions book from the next table.
"Shit," he suddenly exclaimed. His usual poise vanished from his person at once and the glass he was holding tumbled to the floor and smashed into a thousand pieces.
"What?" Harry jumped, looking alarmed.
"What colour were the rose petals we added, Potter?" Malfoy asked through gritted teeth and with the air of one about to receive some horrible news.
"Purple," Harry said slowly and Malfoy closed his eyes.
"The rose was supposed to be black," he said. "We've made the wrong potion, we've..." he never finished his sentence. Harry watched with horror as Malfoy keeled over backwards and slumped on the floor. He couldn't get up, though, because a cold, trickling sensation was filling his veins, turning them to ice, and he was wrenched from his body with ethereal hands of steel, body frozen rigid, eyes snapped shut.
Through all the blinding colours piercing his brain with their poisoned arrows, Harry could hear the faint screams of his classmates. They all merged into one deafening tunnel of noise that rang around his ears and echoed achingly loudly.
And then everything went pitch black.
It was like the jerk of a Portkey but infinitely more painful. Harry could feel his spirit being tugged from his body and he could feel himself resisting with terror, and screaming out in pain. Then everything spun around him and he lost consciousness. When he came round he became aware of three things, even before he'd opened his eyes.
One: He had a splitting headache.
Two: He wasn't wearing an awful lot.
Three: He was not alone.
There were warm arms encircling him, he could feel them stirring against his skin, and there seemed to be a lot of naked skin available to stir against. He still didn't open his eyes, though, his head was groggy and confused, and he could feel a pounding ache in his temples. There was someone moving next to him, but Harry couldn't for the life of him remember who it was and he silently cursed whatever he had been drinking that night. He could smell something, there was a head nestled close to his and the person's hair smelt faintly of coffee, coffee and smoke. It was a nice smell and Harry instinctively huddled closer, feeling the arms around him tighten slightly.
The unsteadiness of his mind coupled with a lingering disorientation prevented Harry from the countless suspicions that would have ordinarily invaded his mind at once. As he felt the arms close their embrace, he became aware only of a delicious warmth spreading through his body and the most tender sense of comfort he had ever known.
"What the FUCK!?" a voice laced with astonishment and dismay rang out suddenly and Harry's eyes flew open. To his immense and everlasting horror he found himself staring into the face of Draco Malfoy.
It was Malfoy, but it didn't look like Malfoy. It was Malfoy aged eight years, Malfoy with flawless, high cheekbones, a vast expanse of pale skin, blond hair that brushed his adult grey eyes, eyes that were widened in shock.
As the last, numbing tendrils of fog cleared from Harry's mind he sat up with an incredible jolt.
"What are you doing!?" he cried. "What's going on?" but Draco looked as dismayed and confused as he did.
"You...?" he began, stuttering, "We...? What...?" Harry came to his senses long enough to realise that they were in a bed.
Rolling out with as much speed as he could muster, he stumbled from the bed and leaned against the wall, breathing hard and looking about him. His heart was thudding painfully loudly, and his breath was coming in short, rough gasps. He held his hand over his eyes, as if willing whatever terrifying scene was before him to go away. They were in a large, well-furnished room, with a huge bed in which Draco was currently lying.
"What's happened?" Draco asked blearily, sitting up at once. "Why are you in my bed?"
"Your bed?!" Harry yelled. "How the hell do we know whose bed it is, or why we were both in there?"
"Ok," Draco seemed to be trying to calm himself, "let's just think. Where are we?"
"I don't effing know!" Harry yelled, pacing around the unfamiliar room, his eyes travelling over the alien walls without really seeing them.
"Just calm down for fuck's sake," Draco snapped, "obviously something has gone wrong. What's the last thing you remember?" Harry screwed up his eyes as he thought long and hard. He remembered a lot of darkness in his mind, and before that they had been in potions, and Draco had been yelling something about rose petals.
"I remember Potions," he said with difficulty as disjointed memories began to splinter and fragment into his mind, "and you looking at a book and then shouting something," he couldn't remember what it was that Draco had been shouting, only that it had something to do with their present predicament.
"Hmm," Draco said, clearly thinking hard, "I remember that too. Something about the ingredients we were using."
"Did we add the wrong ingredients to the potion?" Harry asked as the thought struck him. "Is that why we're here, together?"
"Something has evidently gone wrong," Draco drawled in a more familiar manner, "if you're anywhere near my future." Harry rolled his eyes.
"I didn't think we were meant to have control over our bodies," he said, looking down at his adult figure, "I thought we were just going to see through our future selves' eyes." Draco looked very pensive, as if contemplating something.
"I think I know what happened," he said slowly, his brow furrowed as he, too, fought to concentrate. "We added purple rose petals to the mixture didn't we?" Harry nodded, flashing memories assailing his beaten mind. "We should have added black ones, the rose petals were the spell's most volatile ingredients." Draco held his head in his hands as he realised their mistake.
"How much of a difference will it make?" Harry asked warily. Draco's answering voice was muffled as he spoke through his hands.
"Black petals are for divination," he said dully, "for seeing the future, not particularly potent. The colour purple is used for calling up the power of the ancients and for augmenting any runes or sigils used in the spell. It has a lot more power behind it, and I think, coupled with our own innate magic, it made the potion more concentrated."
"So we've transplanted our bodies instead of our minds?" Harry asked, startled. Draco nodded looking aghast. "Oh shit," Harry went on, "this is not good."
"You think?!" Draco got out of the bed and walked up and down the other side of the room.
"What can we do?" Harry asked earnestly, feeling distinctly uncomfortable and helpless.
"We can see if the spell wears off after half an hour," Draco said decisively. "If it doesn't then we'll have to find an alternate way back."
"Do you think it will wear off?" Harry asked, seeing a faint ray of hope in what was otherwise a horrific nightmare.
"I assume so," Draco said, "there's no reason why it shouldn't. As far as I am aware, all the spells used for these purposes run under a time limit. I don't think we'll be stuck here for long." Harry breathed a sigh of relief, and with his appeasement he suddenly noticed that he was half-naked.
He walked slowly over to where a long silver mirror hung on the wall and gazed at his reflection with wonder. The years were good to him, he had grown into a tall, well muscled young man with an olive, even tan all over his body. His jaw line was strong and well-chiselled, with a shadow of stubble grazing his chin. His eyes were the same clear green and he realised that his vision was corrected, and he could see with marvellous clarity. His hair hadn't changed much in length, but seemed to lie flatter so that he could tousle it appealingly into a controlled mess. He was shirtless and only wearing a pair of heinously low-slung white linen trousers that did little to make him feel more adequately covered.
He looked up and noticed Draco watching him.
"You look different," was all the Slytherin said.
"So do you," said Harry, motioning him to come and stand in front of the mirror. Adult Draco was slimmer, about the same height but less powerful than Harry. His body was still pale but toned and perfectly flat, and his skin seemed to shine like liquid pearl as the shafts of light through the windows landed on it. His face was more sculpted than his adolescent self's, and grey shadows settled under his prominent cheekbones, making him look strikingly elegant, even when viewed in such a state of undress.
"Nice outfit, by the way," Harry said, and Draco looked down at himself to realise he was only wearing a pair of dark grey boxers.
"Oh crap," he groaned as a flush of mortification tinted his cheeks, "Just what I need right now. It isn't a really good day until my worst enemy has seen me half naked." Harry drew his appraising glance away from Draco before it could be noticed, and gave a short snicker to himself.
"I have to say," he replied carefully, "we didn't seem much like enemies earlier, when we woke up."
"That must have been the spell," Draco frowned, "that's the only way we can explain this, by casting it together we must have somehow tangled our future selves together." Harry heartily agreed, unwilling to consider a possible future in which he and Draco became anything less platonic than fervent opponents. There was suddenly a very pregnant silence between them as neither looked at the other and Harry began to feel acutely embarrassed for some unknown reason.
Harry quickly turned around and found a large, grey sweater hanging over the back of a chair. He pulled it on quickly and noticed Draco doing the same with some clothes he found on the floor. There was a magical clock hovering six inches above the bedside table, bright blue numbers flashing 2:36 pm, exactly the time they had drunk the potion in their past.
"I guess we came to the right year," Harry muttered, more for the sake of having something to say to break the prolonged quiet, "even if our locations are a bit messed up."
"Yeah," Draco replied distractedly, rubbing his face, "well, if we've only got half an hour or so here, we might as well look around. See what the future's like for one of us."
They left the big bedroom and found themselves wandering down a short passage into a living room. It was very tastefully furnished, with white walls and laminated flooring. The furniture was all grey or black and there were two large leather sofas against two adjacent walls, framing a low, glass coffee table. The windows were ceiling to floor and bright light was flooding in from what looked like a surrounding city.
In one corner there was a silver television set, and in the other there was a bookshelf overflowing with books, photograph frames and small pieces of art. On one of the walls there was a painting of a city scene and on the other was a wizarding picture of a stormy seascape. Harry could tell the picture was magical by the tossing waves that actually moved and the occasional bird that crossed it. Beneath it was a silver fireplace in the cavity of which were stationed several tall pillar candles.
"Nice," he heard Draco muttering from behind him. The blond had pulled on a pair of faded jeans and a black t-shirt. Harry paused for a moment to consider how well muggle clothes suited him, but prevented himself from commenting on it, and then shuddered to think where that thought may have come from.
He wandered through into an adjoining kitchen. It was very small, and painted white to match the living room. There were several recognizably muggle appliances, a bottle of Château Margeaux, and some mugs lying around. There was also a calendar hanging above a coffee machine and Harry looked at it with interest.
"Look at this," he said and beckoned Draco over. The date on the calendar said, 'February 2004' and Harry's heart thudded a little faster with excitement.
"Wow. We did it," Draco said with a marked note of awe at their own skill, "we really are in the future." The calendar was littered with scrawled comments marking planned days and evenings out. Harry gazed at it for a minute before his curiosity got the better of him and he set off to explore the rest of the flat.
He found a large, completely white bathroom, an office filled with yet more books, oddities, parchment and quills, and a secondary living room complete with glossy black grand piano that stood in the corner in a stately manner. Harry ran his fingers over the keys, listening to them tinkle beneath his hands, and wondering if he could play the piano in his future.
All the rooms were lit with floating glass spheres which hovered motionlessly in the place of lamps or candles, a golden light emanating from their crystalline depths. The flat was beautifully decorated, and seemed to suggest affluent inhabitants. All things considered, Harry was very impressed.
"Oi, Potter!" Draco's raised voice summoned him back into the living room. He was standing outside the glass doors, on what appeared to be a balcony. "Check it out, it's a penthouse!" Brimming with excitement, Harry made his way through the doors and found himself on a small balcony. He followed Draco up a set of wrought iron stairs and emerged onto a roof top. "Whichever one of us owns this flat, owns the whole floor." Draco said, wandering along the roof. There was a low wall surrounding it and from their lofty height they could see for miles. The sun cast a shimmering golden haze over what was unmistakeably a city. There were tall, searing spires that pierced the sky like needles, juxtaposed to smooth, glinting domes. The buildings for miles around hung like insubstantial entities, draped in the haze of the afternoon and soaring towards the clouds that streaked across the sky, colouring it a pale pink streaked with ribbons of gold. Everywhere he looked Harry noticed sunlight reflecting off rooftops and the warm sheen of metal as it bathed in the afternoon sun.
He could hear voices and cars from all around him. He walked over to the edge of the roof and looked down. There were lines of traffic negotiating the roads beneath them, and pedestrians, flitting from shop to shop below. Could it be that their future selves lived among muggles? It was apparently so and Harry looked over to where Draco was standing to see how he was taking this scrap of information. He looked even moodier than usual, if Harry had hitherto believed that to be possible.
"What's wrong?" Harry asked.
"Nothing," Draco said, "it's just so different to what I imagined I'd see."
"What did you expect?" Harry asked.
"To be at the Malfoy mansion in Wiltshire. To see myself and some beautiful blonde lounging beside our beautiful pool whilst our two beautiful Malfoy children go swimming or something," he sighed. "Not in a city flat with you, Potter."
"You have to admit," Harry said, "the flat is great, even by your standards, and you said yourself that we're probably only here together because the spell went wrong. This might be my future life and you just got tugged along for the ride."
"With any luck," Draco said quietly, although he really didn't sound all that hopeful.
"Still," Harry said, "it is lovely. I can imagine being happy here." They stayed on the roof for about ten minutes, sometimes in silence, sometimes in speech. It had an incredibly peaceful air, and Harry could almost feel the magic surrounding him with its bitter scent.
They descended back into the flat a few minutes later,
"What is that thing?" Draco asked suddenly, poking at the television.
"A television," Harry replied, "it's a muggle invention." Draco recoiled sharply.
"A what?!" he barked. "Why would that be here?"
"I don't know," Harry replied with equal ire, "just like I don't know why we're living amongst muggles, why I don't seem to have a broomstick, and why you're here in what is evidently my future."
"Supposing it's mine?" Draco asked. "What if you've intruded into mine?"
"Then I'll find away to get to my own body where I can go back to ignoring your existence." Harry replied, "How long before the spell should wear off?" Draco looked at a slim, silver watch around his wrist and his face visibly paled.
"Ten minutes ago," he said and Harry felt a sudden wave of nausea overtake him.
"Oh dear," he said, and sat down on a chair, his legs weakening beneath him.
"That's all you have to say?" Draco looked aggravated. "We might be stuck here together, and all you can say is 'oh dear'?"
"Don't take this out on me!" Harry stood up again, anger flaring. "This isn't my fault!"
"Oh right," Draco sounded sarcastic, "because you're just a potions whiz."
"It's you who put the rose petals in!" Harry retorted, "It's you who fucked up this potion, not me."
"Well how are we going to get back now?" Draco shouted, "What plan has the great Harry Potter formed for our escape?" Harry clenched his fists in anger and he and Draco faced each other across the living room, two sets of eyes blazing.
"You got us into this mess." Harry said coldly, "You get us fucking out of it." some part of him knew Draco was only picking a fight with him because he was scared and it was an instinctive reaction for him, but right now, Harry didn't care.
"I did not get us into this," Draco replied with equal iciness. "You neglected to bring me the right ingredients, but then again, I should have learned never to trust anything you give me."
"That's right," Harry shouted back, "because my life's sole purpose is to thwart you at every turn. Get a grip, Malfoy, not everything revolves around you!" Malfoy recoiled, stung, "can we just try to find a way home," he went on, "without dwelling too much on your superiority complex."
"Oh I have a complex?" Draco cried. "Whose misguided belief in his own heroism led to the death of his godfather, and the countless other poor people who've had the misfortune to know you?"
Harry was prevented from venting his frustration on Draco with his fists by a knock on the door. His heart jumped into his throat and Draco shot him a panicky look.
"What do we do?" he mouthed. Harry was very unwilling to answer the door, just in case he made a prat out of himself with someone his future self knew and he didn't. He could hardly claim amnesia.
"Hello?" a strangely familiar voice filtered through the door, "Harry? Draco? I know you're in there, let me in!" Harry's stomach flipped as a flicker of recognition shot to the fore of his mind.
"I think it's Hermione," he whispered in awe, and they made their way to the door together. Harry opened it and his eyes widened in shock. It was definitely Hermione, but nothing like the Hermione he had once known. She was tall and slim, with her once-bushy brown hair now tamed and highlighted. She was dressed in chic pinstriped business robes, clasped at her throat with a black emblem. She greeted the stunned Harry with a chaste kiss on the lips and did likewise with Draco who was too astonished to move.
"Why are you both looking at me like that?" she suddenly asked suspiciously, her voice a little deeper than Harry remembered. "And why did you take so long answering the door?" She looked over their hastily-pulled-on clothes and ruffled appearance and a light of realisation seemed to dawn over her face, "Oh, sorry," she winked at them cheekily, "did I interrupt something?" she missed the look of horror exchanged by Harry and Draco and made her way into the living room, setting down her leather briefcase and unfastening her cloak. Underneath it she wore a black pencil skirt, a white shirt and leather, pointed stilettos. Harry was gazing at her, dumb, in a mixture of surprise and admiration.
"Hermione," he said breathlessly, "you look amazing."
"Why thank you," she smiled, and then narrowed her eyes, "are you ok, Harry? You look like you've just been bitch-slapped."
"I...um," he said, his mouth suddenly drier than parchment. He looked helplessly at Draco who looked equally overwhelmed. Hermione's eyes flicked between them.
"What's going on?" she asked, and when Harry remained speechless, she turned her eyes to Draco. "Draco?" he seemed to regain some power of speech.
"Granger," he said, "there's something you should..." he trailed off at the look on Hermione's face.
"Did you just call me 'Granger'?" she asked, a slight catch in her throat. Harry felt Draco stir beside him with irritation at himself, obviously they had moved further than last name terms.
"Er...yeah," he choked, "sorry, I forgot."
"Forgot?" Hermione looked absolutely incredulous, "Draco, you haven't called me that since we left Hogwarts, and I haven't even been a Granger for three years!" she gave a short, mirthless laugh. "What in Merlin's name has gotten into you?"
Not a Granger?!Harry's thoughts were moving so fast that he was afraid his head might explode. What was going on? In the confused silence that followed Hermione's outburst, his eyes roved to her left hand. There were two rings on her fourth finger. Hermione was married.
"We need your help," Draco blurted out. "We're not who you think we are." Hermione was instantly wary, and Harry found his tongue again.
"Yeah," he said, "yeah. Something's happened to us. We're not the Harry and Malfoy that you know." Hermione narrowed her eyes again quizzically.
"Will one of you please tell me what is going on?" she asked, getting slowly to her feet, her tone colder. "Who are you then?" Harry and Draco looked at each other, wondering how to explain something they didn't fully understand themselves.
"We're from the past," Draco ventured. "At least, our minds are. We were making a divination potion in 1996 which was supposed to give us a look into our future. Unfortunately, we switched bodies instead, and ended up here."
"What?" Hermione looked stunned, "are you kidding?"
"Nope," Harry said quickly, "and we have no idea how to get back. I promise you, Hermione, we're the Harry and Malfoy from the past."
"Prove it," she said at once, "prove you're not just Death Eaters or something." Harry looked back at her blankly.
"How do you expect us to prove it?" he asked. "Other than displaying our ignorance of everything that has happened in the last eight years."
"So, you have no memory of the last eight years," Hermione stated with effort and both boys nodded. "Oh sweet Hecate," she sat down again. "that would explain your strange behaviour," she said.
"Sorry about that," Harry replied, going to sit next to her, "but we've only been here forty five minutes or so, and without a clue of how to get back."
"You don't know how to get back?" she asked quickly.
"No," Draco sighed, "no idea."
"I wonder why this happened," Hermione said, "this is so weird."
"Hello?" Draco pointed to himself and Harry, "bit of a culture shock for us as well."
"I know, I know," Hermione said, her eyebrows knitted. "Oh and by the way, Draco, you're my friend in 2004. So you might want to drop the coldness." Draco looked momentarily astonished before his face adopted an ashamed expression.
"Sorry," he said numbly and Hermione nodded.
"You weren't to know," she said. "So tell me. What exactly do you remember about the time you're from, so that I know how much you're aware of."
"Um...we're in sixth year," Harry said, "Just about to start the series of Pertho Potions. I've just beaten Ravenclaw at Quidditch, and Ron has just found out about Bill's promotion in Egypt. That's about it really." Hermione looked thoughtful. Draco was prowling backwards and forwards along the floor, looking at it darkly.
"And what about you two?" Hermione asked, "How do you two get along?" the question startled Draco into speech.
"We don't of course," he said, "Potter and I still despise each other, as always." Hermione looked as though she wanted to laugh.
"What's so funny?" Harry asked as a snicker of amusement escaped her.
"Oh nothing," she said, calming herself, "I was just wondering what you thought when you realised you share a flat in your future." There was a very unpleasant silence.
"We thought it was a ramification of the potion going wrong," Harry said slowly. "We thought one of us had just got caught in the other's future."
"Are you telling me we actually share this flat?" Draco had gone very white and halted his pacing.
"Yes," Hermione nodded, "you do."
"Fucking fantastic," Draco said, "I'm roommates with a Gryffindor." There was another silence in which Hermione didn't look at either of them.
"You're not roommates," she said in a barely audible voice. "You're lovers."