The final chapter of this story is finally posted, seven months behind schedule, but whatever. You all love me anyway. The voices told me so. I hope you like how I set up the ending. I will do a sequel, but not just yet. I'm all Replayed out at the moment. I'll be working on my new fic for a while. On that note…
Charlie Weasley won the pairing poll! It was close for a while, but then he pulled ahead by a long shot. If you voted for someone else, don't worry. I'll be working on plenty of sideline fics. Honest! I have already written six chapters of a ten chapter long Harry/Lisa fic, I have the structure all set out for a Harry/Blaise three-part story, and I have some lovely ideas for some other fics which either aren't getting a pairing, or haven't had one decide yet. I really want to do a Harry/Padma fic because a) I think I could do something really original with that and b) Vellouette wanted it and she's been one of my most consistent and wonderful reviewers.
Disclaimer: I still don't own the characters. Neither does my cat.
24th October 1977
"Attention all students! There will be a meeting in the Great Hall in precisely one hour! Attendance is compulsory, anyone caught trying to avoid this will spend nine evenings helping Hagrid harvest centaur manure from the Forbidden Forest to use on his garden."
"Merlin, McGonagall sure has a pair of lungs on her doesn't she?"
"Ungh… Prongs? I'm pretty certain she was using a charm."
"I knew that."
"Sure, sure you did."
"Jeez, what time is it?"
"About' five o'clock Bambi."
"For the millionth time, call him Prongslet!"
"Yay! I won the argument! I am the champion! I am the champion!"
"How are you this awake?"
The five boys slowly roused themselves and dragged their tired bodies to the showers. Since this was Harry and co.'s last day, all the seventh years from all the houses had conspired to throw them a giant, going-away party the night before, out near the lake. They had neglected to inform the teachers of their plans, knowing that the copious amounts of contraband material they had gathered for the occasion would probably be confiscated, but going on McGonagall's rather maliciously early wake-up call, the boys couldn't help but suspect she knew.
They eventually stumbled down to the common room and were met by a bleary-eyed Ginny and Lily who accompanied them out into the corridors. The halls of Hogwarts were filled with hundreds of barely conscious students, all drifting with common purpose in the general direction of the Great Hall. The swaying figures shuffled along in a sort of dance, all trying to find a convenient seat. Most fell asleep as soon as they were sitting down. Some didn't make it that far.
And amidst all this, was Sirius Black.
"Good morning all! Such a jolly night wasn't it? I'll confess I don't actually remember most of it, but the parts I do remember seem to have been fantastic." He sat down next to a glaring Peter with a satisfied sigh and grinned around at them all. "What's with all the long faces dudes? It's not that early." He caught sight of a pretty blonde at the Ravenclaw table and his eyes widened for a moment, "Now, I seem to recall spending a bit of time with you last night sweetheart. The details are a bit hazy, but they also seem fairly raunchy. I don't suppose you'd be so obliged as to fill in the blanks for me would you?"
The blonde squinted at him for a long moment before giving a drawn-out, pained groan.
"Well, I guess that clarifies that." Sirius said with satisfaction, "Hey Moony! Guess who got lucky last night!"
"Black will you shut the fuck up?" Draco finally called out on behalf of everyone from over at the Slytherin table and received a round of applause for a moment before everyone winced and covered their ears.
"Good morning everyone," Professor McGonagall called out calmly from the head table with a decided smirk on her face, "Now I understand there was quite an event last night. I don't want the details since I think this morning's wake-up call was punishment enough those of you involved but suffice to say, we all think your behaviour was completely idiotic. We've called you here for another reason however which Professor Dumbledore will explain to you."
The still smirking Deputy Headmistress sat down firmly in her seat and faced Professor Dumbledore who was just standing up.
"My dear children," He began in a booming voice making several of them cry out in pain, "As you are all well aware, our four time travelling friends will be leaving at some stage today. It is safe to say that their time here has been… entertaining. They are a fine collection of individuals and would be greatly missed I'm sure if we were going to remember they'd been here. As we are not however, we do have a bit of lenience today. You see, teachers like having a day off too. Especially from our seventh years." There were a couple of week chuckles from this, "And so you see… we're giving you the day off."
There was silence for a minute before all the lower year students broke out in loud cheering. The older students groaned again in unison.
"So, enjoy your breakfast, and then the rest of the day!" Dumbledore cried out happily, "Oh and our older students may be pleased to learn that for undetermined reasons, the house elves have put a sobering potion in the pumpkin juice and covered the bacon in pepper-up potion. I'm not quite sure why since neither potion tastes particularly nice, but I'm not about to oppose those cute little creatures."
24h October 1997
"Are we all set Bill my boy?"
"Yes Albus. Everything's right on schedule. We're locked on to the tablet's signature and we should be able to pull our wayward travellers back home exactly when we planned."
Bill, Albus, Minerva, Remus, and Moody were all located in a small room in the dungeons of the castle, gathered around a rather intricate setup Bill had been preparing for days.
"Run us through it one more time would you Bill?" Professor McGonagall looked slightly nervous.
"Well, at precisely midday in both time periods, this summoning system we've set up here will lock on to the tablet they've got back there." Bill said, gesturing at the items he'd set up, "The tablet will basically be pulled through time back to us. As it requires symmetry to operate, it will take all four of them back with it. They don't even have to be holding the tablet like last time. Their magical signatures are still connected to it and they'll just be dragged through."
"It's almost midday," Severus called through to them from where he was outside, "You might wish to clear the room and let this thing do its job."
"What if they get injured?" Remus looked wary as they all hustled out, "If they're not expecting it, who knows what they could be in the middle of attempting?"
"Don't worry, I had Bill send through a small note to Harry telling and the others to say their goodbyes and be ready to leave at midday." Albus looked fairly pleased with himself, "Unless of course Mister Potter's watch is still slow, but I'm sure he's set it right by now."
"Umm… what will happen if he hasn't?" Moody asked warily after exchanging a worried look with Professor Snape.
"Nothing serious," Albus smiled at them, "Even I'm not a fool enough as to trust Mister Potter to remember something like that. He'll just get a bit of a shock when he's snatched through time without warning. We could have a few issues if he's in direct bodily contact with someone from that time, but the chances of that occurring at exactly the moment we take him are far too coincidental. Even if it did occur, I'm sure the tablet would be able to make the definition."
There was a stunned silence for a moment.
"Do you mean to tell me," Minerva began, her voice raising an octave, "That in order for nothing to go wrong, we are relying on Mister Potter's ability to do something trivially normal, the chance of him not being in the wrong place at the wrong time, a lack of coincidences happening around him, and the reliability of an eons old artefact we know only minor details about?"
"We're fucked." Professor Snape threw his arms up in the air as Remus slid down the wall to sit with his head in his hands.
"Weasley, is there any way we can cancel this whole thing?" Moody asked urgently.
"I'm afraid not," Bill whispered in horror, "If we go in that room now, there's a high chance that the tablet will stay in the past and simply swap us over with the other group.
"Shit. Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit!" Minerva shrieked with a decided lack of her usual decorum.
"Minerva," gasped Albus, "Please, control yourself. We'll just have to wait and see what happens."
"So you guys are heading off then" Remus smiled around at the group.
"Yeah, a note just appeared in front of Harry while he was decorating the front of the school with all the Hufflepuffs' undergarments," said Ginny, "We'll be summoned back with the tablet at midday precisely."
"We've still got… nine minutes," Harry told them all, re-pocketing his watch, "So, I just wanted to say… well, I've actually forgotten the entire speech I had prepared but, thanks for having us."
"Aww, no problem Junior Potter." Lily smiled at him.
"We said goodbye to him earlier. He said he didn't want to have to witness what was sure to be a valid display of Gryffindor sappiness. Where's Peter?"
"Off with Julie somewhere," Sirius shuddered, "Now that's a mental image I never wanted."
"We-we-we'll miss you all." James mock sobbed, "I'll never f-forget you!"
"Suck it up Potter. Be a man." Ginny scolded before laughing.
"Yeah, fat chance of that with anyone in that family." Pansy grinned.
"Elf, why aren't you defending me?" James whined to his newly agreeable girlfriend.
"The best lawyer in all hell wouldn't have a chance with this argument." Lily pursed her lips sceptically, "Maybe I should just cut my losses and move on to some willing Hufflepuff."
"I'm available Tuesdays and Saturdays." Sirius informed her before receiving a friendly punch from James.
"We'll see you in a few years." Remus smiled.
"And then, we'll be your elders! You'll owe us your respect!" James seemed delighted.
"Er… yeah. Whatever. We'll have this conversation another time," said Draco, "I think we should go now."
"Group hug!" Harry and Sirius called out simultaneously.
"Elf, will you please keep your boyfriend under control?"
"Easier said then done. You know what he's like."
"Wait, who's tugging me?"
"What the f-"
They were all flung about without care, each shrieking in self pity. A sudden jolt halted the whole event and the four present Marauders fell to the ground.
"Where the hell are we?" James spoke for them all as he shifted off of a wincing Sirius.
"I suspect a dungeon." Draco gave the obvious reply as he looked around at their damp, stone surroundings.
"Oh fuck it all." Harry stomped his foot, "Why must Voldemort keep kidnapping me?"
"Are you sure it's Voldemort?" Pansy raised an eyebrow, "I mean, these days, a lot of people seem to be compelled to try and relocate you against your will."
"I think I know a Voldemort dungeon when I see one Pan," Harry replied scathingly, "Oh wait… that candelabras has the Hogwarts insignia on it."
"I love being right." Pansy smirked.
They all turned as a crowd burst through the large doors. The Marauder students all gaped at the slightly familiar faces while the time travelling four all glanced warily at each other as a sinking feeling began to overwhelm them.
"Did it work?" Moody gasped out from the back of the group.
No one answered him for a moment.
"You have got to be fucking joking." Remus senior finally spoke out flatly.
Aww, I love happy endings!
It's all over red-rover. Well, clearly there is going to be a sequel, but Replay the original is over. Thanks to all my reviewers especially Black-Nyx, Vellouette, Lady Halaia, Dinkel, LandUnderWave, imakeeper, and Shivani. You guys were inspiring. Oh, and just so's you all know, the current review count at the time of posting this chapter is 124 which is pretty good since I only had 1 at Chapter 3 (and that was from my sister). I feel loved!
Thanks especially to Black-Nyx who has kindly agreed to beta the sequel.
Love you all later! ;)