Thank you to thoes who reviewed. Here's chapter two.


Chapter 2

He lay there for a moment as the pain washed away, glorifying in the sense of relief. Silence replaced the rushing in his ears only to be broken by a piteous groan from a few feet away.

"Malfoy?" He croaked. He didn't dare try to move yet.

"What?!" The response was snappish but faint.

"You in pain?"

"No, I'm just about to get up and dance a Tango with a Tarantula. Of course I'm bloody in pain you thick-witted arse!"

Ron struggled to open his eyes. "Good. Knowing that makes it hurt less for me." The light seared his sight, marking the inside of his lids with the pattern of the shapes he briefly glimpsed.

"It wouldn't have been a problem if you hadn't cocked things up so royally."

Raising a clumsy arm, he shielded his eyes from the light and attempted to open them again. "I'm not the prat that squealed for help when he nearly dropped the box." Trees, he decided; the shapes were trees.

"I was telling you to wait, not to grab hold of the object that could have killed us both." Malfoy sounded utterly indignant. "And I did not squeal!"

"You squealed like a girl!" He pushed himself up, just about managing a sitting position as he squinted around. "We're in some woods."

Malfoy was mimicking his actions a short distance away, his usually impeccable attire in disarray. "Your powers of observation never fail to amaze, Weasley."

"Halloo?" A new voice called out from behind them and they both turned to the source of the voice which was now accompanied by the trampling of the undergrowth. "Is there anyone there?"

Ron glanced quizzically at Malfoy before giving a vague shrug. "Uh...Hello?" He clambered awkwardly to his feet. As he finally straightened a small, wizened old figure burst through the foliage at the edge of their clearing before pulling up short at the sight of them. The old man was wearing robes that, although they looked new, even Ron recognised as being of an archaic style.

"Greetings young sir..." The old man appraised them with a critical eye, his attention lingering on their robes and making Ron feel uncomfortable. "By what name may I have the pleasure of addressing you?"

Ron stared in gormless silence for a moment before his brain re-engaged with the rest of his body. "Uh... Ron, my name's Ron."

"Ron, Ron." The man rolled his r's as he repeated the name, as if trying to commit it to memory. "And what about your companion; what might you be called?"

Up to this point, Malfoy had remained seated on the floor. "Draco Malfoy." He declared imperiously as rose to his feet with a deceptive ease. "What is your name?"

The man had approached them and was beginning to circle, measuring them with his eyes. "Hmm? Oh, well that's not important right now... When are you from?" His formal tone had dropped away in his apparent distraction over Ron and Malfoy.

Ron folded his arms uncomfortably as Malfoy twitched uncomfortably away from the odd old man. "Well, we were in the-"

"No, no, no!" The man was suddenly flapping his arms in Ron's face, sending him reeling backwards a few paces backwards. "Not where, when?" And don't tell me anything more than the year... we can't have you causing a paradox by telling me something that you shouldn't."

"What?" Ron asked, thoroughly confused.

"No, when. Are you a simpleton?"

Malfoy sniggered at this and Ron cast a withering glare at him before turning back their constantly circling observer. "I'm not a simpleton, I'm just confused."

The man didn't even look at Ron as he waved a hand absently in the air. "Why? It's a simple enough question."

"Yeah, but it's a bit strange, isn't it? How often do you meet someone who doesn't know what year it is?"

Narrowed eyes snapped up to meet Ron's, making him feel uncomfortable. "Quite. Humour an old man with a bad memory will you?"

Malfoy answered the question before Ron could. "The year was 19--."

Suddenly the shrewd old man's attention had snapped to the previously quiet Malfoy. "Was, eh? At least one of you has got a bit of intelligence.

"Oi!" Ron scowled at the two people who seemed to be conspiring against him. "That's not fair; he only said three words!"

"Can I help it if everything that comes out of my mouth is pure genius, Weasley?"

"Could do with a little modesty though."

This time it was Ron's turn to look smug although the expression fell from of his face when the sprightly old man suddenly darted forward and dug a finger deep into Ron's stomach. "Ow!" He swung his arms in front of him, ready to ward off any further attacks. "What the bloody hell did you do that for?"

"Wonderful! Simply wonderful!" The old man didn't seem to be listening to them as he stalked over to Malfoy. "You too?" He asked, trying to repeat his earlier attack.

Malfoy was ready for him and slapped the gnarled old hands away before they could connect. "I don't think so old man."

Contrary to their expectations, the man seemed pleased to hear the resounding slap of skin on skin and he beamed at them. "I'd say that looks like complete success, wouldn't you?"

Bewildered, Ron looked from the old man to Malfoy, trying to comprehend what was going on.

Malfoy groaned, "What I wouldn't do to go back to-"

Ron missed the last of what he said as he was lurched off his feet and his senses were overloaded for a second before he found himself on his hands and knees in the Time Room back at the Minstry of Magic. Glancing around, he found the wide eyes of Malfoy staring at him in confusion. "What did you do?" Malfoy demanded as he stood up.

"Me? I didn't do-"

"Shh!"

"Don't tell me to-"

"Shut up! Can't you hear that?"

Glaring at Malfoy, Ron kept quiet for a moment and could just make out two voices in the circular entrance room.

"I've never seen a vein that big..."

Ron turned to Malfoy, a question shaping his lips.

"Yes that's you- Let go of me!" Malfoy struggled to free himself as Ron grabbed hold of his arm and started to pull at it.

"We've got to get out of sight!" Ron hissed as he tried to drag Malfoy away from the centre of the room. "We can't be seen by ourselves."

"What are you talking about? This is our chance to change what happened." Malfoy was still digging his heels in and Ron could hear his other self approaching the door to the Time Room.

"And you called me an idiot!? Malfoy, if we see ourselves then all of time could, I dunno... implode or something." Ron was behind Malfoy now, using his greater mass to force the slimmer man to move.

"Time will implode?" Malfoy sounded incredulous. "That's-"

Ron cut him of sharply; "Hermione explained it to me once." They had nearly reached a large cabinet full of smaller unexplainable timepieces and the main door was beginning to open. "It's something to do with-"

"Granger?" Malfoy suddenly stopped resisting and hunched down behind the cabinet, leaving just enough room for Ron to join him as the other Malfoy struggled in through the door.

It was both surreal and uncomfortable listening to themselves on the other side of the room, the minutes seeming to drag before they heard the clatter of the box hitting the desk. Peering around the corner, he watched in fascination as his own exclamation of "Oh Bollocks!" was abbreviated by his sudden disappearance.

Certain that it was now safe to come out of their hiding place, Ron gave Malfoy one last hard elbow in the ribs – Malfoy had started it – before moving over to where they had previously been standing.

"Strange." He muttered to no-one in particular.

"Very," Malfoy agreed, turning away and marching towards the exit. "Smell you later, Weasley."

Ron stared incredulously after him, "You're just going to leave?"

"Yes." Malfoy didn't even turn around.

"But... what just happened?"

"You just nearly ruined everything, but I managed to set things straight."

Leaving Ron fuming, Malfoy swept through the door, letting it fall closed with an anti-climactic snick.

"Wanker." Turning away, he looked back at the scene of their disappearance. The box which had been the source of their troubles had gone but Ron didn't remember having seen it in the clearing they'd ended up in. At the same time, he hadn't made a concentrated effort to look for it and his brain had been scrambled by whatever magic had sent them there.

Sighing, he thought that he should probably make his way back up to the Auror's department and make a report. There was going to be hell to pay when his superiors found out that he had lost the box, and then there was the paperwork. To his mind that was punishment enough but he doubted that anyone else would see it that way.

Shoulders slumped and feet dragging, he started to make his way back upstairs. Before he had reached the door to the entrance chamber he found that the floor had suddenly dropped away from beneath him and everything went dark. For a moment he felt as if he was falling through the darkness but after a few interminable seconds his foot touched solid ground again and his vision returned to him.

"What!" A disbelieving voice yelled behind him and he spun around, catching a glimpse of the extravagantly decorated and spacious room before his eyes settled on the loathingly familiar figure of Draco Malfoy.

Ron groaned; Malfoy looked like he was about to hex him.

"What are you doing in my house?" Malfoy demanded, his hand slithering towards his wand.

"I don't bloody know, do I?" He glanced around suspiciously. "This is your house? It's very..."

"Watch what you say..."

"...Green." And it was... the furnishing was expensive and extravagant but there seemed to be a lack of taste overtaking it all; never before had Ron seen green chintz or green doilies.

Malfoy did a reasonable job of pretending that Ron was deluded and the decorating had been done in the height of modern fashion but they both knew that he was covering for the fact that the room was supremely hideous. "Well it is the Green Room." Malfoy concluded.

"The Green Room where?" Ron suspiciously eyed a portrait of a rather dour looking old lady in a green dress.

"In the Manor." There was a definite note of puzzlement in Malfoy's voice and he seemed to have given up the idea of cursing Ron.

"The Manor?... Hang on, do you mean we're in Malfoy Manor?"

"That's what I said, isn't it?"

"A minute ago we were in the Department of Mysteries."

"Thank you for your insightful input, Weasley; your skills of deduction never fail to impress."

Distracted by the visual overload that the room offered, Ron ignored Malfoy's biting sarcasm, his eyes alighting on a lumpy and malformed bust. "That is the ugliest statue I've ever seen."

"I beg your pardon!" The portrait of the lady in green had risen from her chair in indignation. "That is a magnificent likeness of Salazar Slytherin himself, wrought by my very own hands after he came to me in a dream." Her voice had taken on a wistful edge now, and she looked off into the distance, Ron's insult to her handiwork apparently forgotten. "He was magnificent when he came to me, across the years, to tell me of the great plans that he had for the Malfoy family; how we were to take up his name and carry out his work..."

Ron stopped listening at this point, but continued to stare at her in disbelief for a moment before turning to Malfoy, who was starting to turn an interesting shade of angry.

"Don't you dare!" Malfoy hissed as he stepped threateningly towards Ron, who was suppressing laughter only with the most heroic effort.

"Or what?" Ron asked, a snigger finally bursting out. "You'll set your mad old granny on me?"

Fists clenched in anger, Malfoy pointedly turned away from Ron's laughter and once again everything went dark and they were jerked off of their feet again and unceremoniously dumped onto the floor somewhere else.

This time the lurch from one place to another only sent Ron slightly off-balance and he had a few seconds to glance around. He had a brief impression of Malfoy standing against a backdrop of pleasantly muted decorating and a rack of informational leaflets before a red-haired missile hurtled around the corner and crashed into him.

"Sorry, sorry, sorry!" The other figure apologised profusely as he bounced back up off of the floor and held out a hand, a distracted grin plastered across his face.

Ron stared in disbelief at the face that was beaming expectantly at him. "Dad?" He questioned incredulously.

Arthur Weasley's face took on a politely puzzled look. "I think you might have bumped your head...I'm not your father."


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