Disclaimer: Harry Potter belongs to JKR. (I almost just wrote "owns JKR"... Yeowch, my brain must be dead.) No copyright infringement is intended.
Author's Notes: This is a story I started awhile back, when I had spent just a little too much time thinking about certain events in HP canon. I actually rather like it, even. Please don't forget to review, I would appreciate it. I like reviews, hee.
1 November, 1981
Twenty-two year old Sirius Black clutched his wand in one hand and a time-turner in the other. There were still tears streaming from his eyes, and he was bleeding in several places, but he was about to make it all better. The time turner was his key to happiness -- he'd broken into the Ministry to get it. No doubt they'd be after him already, since they'd been after him even before he'd stolen the time-turner.
Four hours ago, though, they hadn't had any reason to be after him.
"Oh, Lily," he gasped, the pain still so fresh it burned his chest. He was afraid if he held the time-turner any more tightly, he'd break it. "Oh, James."
For a very brief period after he'd discovered Peter's betrayal, he'd considered going after the little rat. He'd gladly kill the son of a bitch for what he done. But then it had occurred to him that killing a traitor wouldn't bring Lily and James back. He'd thought nothing would bring them back; then he'd remembered there was such a thing as a time-turner. If he had a time turner, he could bring them back.
He knew so much suddenly, that everyone before had been desperate to know. He could do so much now that he couldn't do before. Everyone he could save had flashed before his eyes, and he'd made up his mind.
It was only a few hours that he was getting rid of, but they were such important hours. He couldn't do it lightly, if he did what he wanted to. He had to do it, though.
He'd risk anything to have the Potters back.
He was in front of their house -- or rather, he was in front of the smoldering ruin that had been their house. It was empty, they were dead, Harry was gone, and he was a hunted man. For now. But not then.
He was going to change everything.
Mind fixed firmly on his objective, Sirius spun the tiny hourglass five, six, seven times. The world blurred around him and as he rushed back in time, he felt his injuries overtake him and he unwillingly lost consciousness.
31 October, 1981
Sirius awoke on a couch somewhere, his head pounding. He sat up quickly, though his vision blurred, and looked around. His heart leapt into his throat and he almost started crying with happiness when he saw where he was.
Lily and James's living room.
The clock on the mantelpiece told him that he had over two hours before the attack. Laughing voices could be heard coming from the kitchen, worry faintly detectable in their undertones. Harry was sitting in a playpen a little way away, staring curiously at his godfather.
"Hiya, lad," murmured Sirius, swinging his legs off the couch and wincing at the pain in the muscles he'd overused just a few short hours ago -- but still several hours into this future. He stood up immediately. His head swam.
He swore, and Harry grinned. Sirius grinned back, asking, "Is this what you feel like when you try and walk?"
The voices in the other room quieted.
"Sirius?" called James, anxiety suddenly obvious as he spoke. He appeared in the doorway, frowning worriedly. If he hadn't been determined to have twenty more years with them, Sirius was sure he would have broken down at the sight of that familiar face. It seemed to him that he'd seen it dead just a few hours ago... but that was the other future, the one that Sirius was not going to let happen.
"God, Sirius, sit back down. You're in terrible shape," insisted James.
"Got some things to do," Sirius returned, shaking his head. He was pleased to note that the action didn't cause the nerve centers in his head to explode with pain.
Lily came in behind her husband, also looking concerned. She suggested levelly, but clearly with no real hope, "Surely they can wait a little while?" She had an apron on and a wooden spoon in her hand; clearly, she was cooking their supper.
"No, they can't."
Sirius tested out his legs by walking across the room and peering out the window. He saw no signs of massing dark wizards, and his legs seemed to be holding, so he turned and walked back. On his way, he scooped Harry from the playpen, more from need of something to do than because he actually wanted to hold the child. He had some lives to say.
James caught the expression settling over his best friend's face and hurriedly stepped forward. He snatched his son away and backed up again. Lily looked confused, and Harry began squirming.
"Sirius," James began in a very low voice full of forced calm, "Sirius, you've got your battle face on."
Sirius had expected that. "Good," he said, searching his pockets. "Where'd you put my wand when you brought me inside?"
"The end table," supplied Lily, when her husband didn't volunteer the information. Her eyes had widened slightly and she was beginning to look a little pale. "... Next to the time-turner."
He'd started back to collect his wand, but something in the way Lily said the last word stopped Sirius. He looked over his shoulder at the couple. "You took the time-turner off my neck?"
James nodded, bouncing Harry some to quiet him. His hazel eyes serious, he asked, "Where'd you get a time-turner, Sirius?"
"I stole one from the Ministry," answered Sirius bluntly. "About six hours from now."
"Six hou-- What's going on, Black?" Lily demanded, her hands clinging to the back of James's shirt.
"In an couple of hours, Peter's going to betray you and the Dark Lord is going to show up on your doorstep," explained Sirius. He was very glad his voice didn't waiver much. "He's going to kill both of you, and then he's going to go after Harry."
They stared at him, even Harry who probably didn't understand exactly what he'd said. James was whiter than Sirius had ever seen him, and Lily was shaking. "Oh my g--"
Sirius knew he was being harsh, but he hadn't time to think of a better way to say things. "I didn't want that to happen, of course, and since at that point I was already wanted for apparently being your Secret Keeper, I figured I had nothing left to lose. Hence the time-turner, hence my presence, hence why the things I need to do can't wait."
There were a few tense moments of silence, during which Sirius let them think about things. Such as how he had to be the real Sirius because only the real Sirius knew the Secret of where they were staying -- unless Peter really had betrayed them, in which case they might as well trust him and go along with whatever he had to say, because they'd probably end up dead anyway.
"You have a plan?" snapped James, faintly, proving that he intended to be a game sport about things and cooperate. Relief washed over Sirius and forced him to smile.
"Yes. I have a plan."
31 October, 1981
"Messing with time is very dangerous, Mr Black," Albus Dumbledore stated, looking over his half-moon spectacles at Sirius.
"I know that," Sirius assured the Headmaster. Everything about him felt tense; he could practically feel the seconds ticking away. "I've thought it out carefully, I assure you. Anyway, there's not much that can be done to avoid messing with time, at this point, as I'm sure you'll agree."
Dumbledore did not look entirely happy as he nodded. "Indeed."
"I've given the Sirius of this time -- the one that didn't see James and Lily dead -- instructions and the time-turner, and he's going to go back exactly as far as I did, at exactly the same time as I did," Sirius said earnestly, moving a little closer to the Headmaster's desk. "If things work out as I hope they do, then that Sirius will just sort of... fade out."
"And what if it's you that 'fades out'?" questioned Dumbledore, his tone mild. "All this effort of yours might turn out to be-- have been a waste of time."
Not sure the pun was intentional, Sirius ignored it. "That's what I've come to talk to you about..."