Disclaimer: Harry Potter and his universe belong to J.K. Rowling. I own nothing.
Full Summary: Erica Costello's life has been absolutely crazy ever since they closed Hogwarts down. But it gets even worse when she gets her hands on a wonky timeturner and she is sent to the 1970s with no way of getting back to her own time. Now she is forced to hide at Hogwarts with annoying girls, crazy pranksters and a certain boy named Sirius Black that seems to have it out for her. SBOC and eventual JPLE. This story is AU after the sixth book.
A/N: I had posted this story a while ago under a different name for a contest. But now it's over and I've decided to post this to my regular account. I hope you guys like it. Please read and review!
September 30, 1997:
"I'll see you tomorrow, yeah?" Erica Costello whispered to her friends as she walked up the path to her house. She was trying to be as quiet as possible as she snuck into her house since it was an hour past her curfew. Normally, she would have been in loads of trouble but she wasn't exactly sure how her dad would react to this. He had been so despondent since her mother had died in a recent attack on Diagon Alley almost three months ago. He had thrown himself into his work, often going into the Ministry extremely early and not coming home until late. And the little time he was home, he spent it working in his study or locked in his bedroom. Erica's life had definitely been turned upside down since July. Her mother had been killed for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time and her school, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, had been shut down after Albus Dumbledore's death. Now instead of starting her sixth year at school, she was at home being tutored by some stranger.
"It's about time," her father, Frank, said as she walked in the door. "You better have a good excuse."
Erica grinned sheepishly and said, "I lost track of time?"
Frank shook his head. "Definitely not good enough. You can do a lot better than that."
"Sorry, I'll try really hard to lie next time," Erica said, rolling her eyes as she walked into the kitchen.
"Well, you'll have plenty of time to think of a real good one over the next week because you're grounded," he said.
"Grounded?" Erica said. "But Dad, that's so not fair!"
"Of course it's fair, you're home an hour past curfew!" Frank said, his temper rising.
"But Jake and Ryan didn't get home until one in the morning last night and you didn't even punish them!" Erica said, indignant. "Oh wait, that's right. You didn't even notice that because you didn't get home from work until two o'clock this morning." Jake and Ryan were her fifteen year old twin brothers. Erica also had two older brothers Sam, who was twenty-three and a reserve beater on the Falmouth Falcons, and Dean, who was twenty and a curse breaker for Gringotts in Egypt.
"Don't argue with me!" Frank said angrily. "I am your father!"
"Oh, so now you're my father again?" Erica muttered angrily as she got a drink out of the fridge. It really frustrated her that her father disappeared in his work when his family needed him the most, leaving his children to deal with their mother's death alone and yet still thought that he could wield his authority when it was convenient for him.
"What did you just say?" Frank said, his face starting to turn red. To say he had a bad temper would be an understatement.
"Nothing," Erica said. She sat down at the kitchen table and finally noticed all the timeturners on the table. "Still haven't got it yet?" she asked, pointing to them. Her father worked in the Department of Mysteries at the Ministry of Magic. He had been trying to replace all the timeturners that had been destroyed a year ago when Harry Potter had battled Voldemort in the Ministry of Magic but was having trouble getting it right.
"Don't try to change the subject!" Frank said as he sat down across from her. "Do you know how worried I've been?"
"Dad, I was only down the street," Erica said.
"It doesn't matter!" Frank said. "You-Know-Who could attack anywhere at anytime, you should know that by now!" He sat down at the table. "Erica," he said gently, "you're all I have left of Shannon." Erica looked down at this; it had been the first time he had mentioned her mother since the funeral.
"Dad, that's not true," Erica said gently.
"No," Frank said, "I know I have your brothers but you look so much like her. I swear, every time I look at you, I see your mother." He was right, Erica looked like an exact image of her mother. She had the same stick straight dark brown hair, dark green eyes and full, pouty lips. He sighed and said, "And no, I still haven't got it."
"Why's it taking so long?" Erica said, feeling a little awkward and ignoring what he said about her mother. She still didn't think it was fair that her brothers could go out and do whatever they wanted while she was punished just because she looked like her mother.
"It's very complicated magic," Frank said. He always became more talkative when you brought up the work that had consumed his life the past three months. "Barney Whitehorn was here earlier testing them. One of them actually took him back to the fourteenth century. Can you believe that? He said it took him twenty different tries until he got back."
"That's insane," Erica said, picking up one of the time turners. "What do you do with them when you find out that they don't work?"
"Take the spells off them and start over," Frank said. "And try desperately to figure out what went wrong."
Erica opened her mouth to respond but was cut off by someone from the living room yelling "Frank! I think I've figured it out!"
"That's Barney," Frank said to her before hurrying into the living room and kneeling in front of the fireplace.
Erica sighed. She could just picture her father kneeling in front of the fireplace, whispering with the floating head of his eighty-year-old coworker about something that probably wouldn't even work anyways. She picked up one of the timeturners and stared at it. There was nothing Erica wanted more than to go back in time, to before Voldemort had come back and everything in her life had been wonderfully normal. "It's a pity you don't work," she said to the small object before flicking it with her finger, causing it to spin. When it stopped spinning, the kitchen dissolved around her and her stomach felt as if she were going down a large drop in a rollercoaster backwards. Colors and shapes rushed past her in a blur and there was a loud buzzing in her ears. She yelled for help but couldn't hear herself. Finally, everything came back into focus and the buzzing was gone. She was standing in her kitchen but almost didn't recognize it. It looked completely different. There were no pictures on the refrigerator, none of those disgusting protein shakes her brothers liked so much out on the counter and none of her father's work cluttering the table. The wallpaper was different and the kitchen table was smaller and looked much more expensive. "What's going on?" she thought out loud as she looked at the clock on the wall and saw that it was 7:30 in the morning. At that moment, an elderly woman walked into the kitchen in a fluffy pink bathrobe and screamed in horror. Erica let out a small, high-pitched scream in surprise.
"What are you doing in my house?" the woman shrieked.
"Your house?" Erica said in shock. "This is my house!"
The woman's face turned red and she replied angrily, "My Lenny built this house thirty-five years ago and I have lived here ever since! This is my house!"
"Who the fuck is Lenny?" Erica said, still shocked.
The old woman had apparently had enough. She grabbed a rolling pin off the counter and tried to hit Erica in the head with it. Erica ducked and ran to the other side of the room, dropping the timeturner in the process. "Oh shit," she said, as it shattered on the tiled floor.
The older woman swung the rolling pin and this time got Erica right in the back of the head. "Get out!" she yelled. "Get out of my house or I'm calling the police!"
Erica didn't have to be told twice. She ran as fast as she could out of the house and didn't stop until she was four blocks away. Once she was what she thought was a safe distance away from that crazy, rolling pin-swinging woman, she sat down on the curb. She felt completely helpless. She had no money, muggle or magical, on her and had no idea what year it was. Finally, after she had been sitting there for what felt like an hour, she decided to stop feeling sorry for herself and she got up. She was in London, only a couple miles away from the Leaky Cauldron and the sun was out. Surely she could walk to the Leaky Cauldron, find out what the date was and get some money from Gringotts.
An hour later, she was walking into the dark, shabby inn that was the Leaky Cauldron. She breathed a sigh of relief when she saw Tom behind the bar, wiping at a cup with a white rag. She looked around the small, dirty room and saw that it was almost empty, there was only one wizard sitting in dark corner reading The Daily Prophet. She walked up the counter and said brightly, "Hello!"
"Hello," Tom said. "Can I get you anything?"
"Just some water, please," she said as she sat down on a stool at the bar. When Tom brought her the water, she said, "You wouldn't happen to know what the date is, do you? The days always seem to blur together in the summer."
Tom smiled and said, "I was the same way when I was at Hogwarts. It's the twenty-ninth of August."
"Oh," Erica said. That didn't make any sense. If she had only gone back one month, why was there some random old woman living in her house? "And the year is…?" she asked, trying to sound as casual as possible.
Tom looked at her strangely as he said, "1975."
Erica choked on the water she was drinking. Once she had regained her composure, she said, "Of course it is. Err… how much do I owe you for the water?"
"Nothing," he said, still looking at her as if she should be taken to St. Mungo's.
"Oh right, okay," she said. She got up and walked to a table next to a window in a daze. What was she going to do? She had gone back twenty-two years in time with only her wand and had no way of getting back. She wasn't even supposed to exist until 1981! When she realized that, she started to cry. She had never felt more alone or helpless in her entire life. She sat there for a long time, tears sliding silently down her face as she tried to think of ways she could get out of there.
Finally, when she decided she would go to the Ministry of Magic and explain her situation to anyone she could, she heard the bell on the door ring as someone walked in. "Hargid!" Tom said. "The usual, is it?"
"Not now, Tom," Hagrid said, "I've got ter get somethin' from Gringotts for Dumblefore firs'."
Erica was so shocked to see Hagrid that she was speechless. Hagrid was an extremely large man that was very friendly with the students at Hogwarts. He had been gameskeeper for years and became the professor of Care of Magical Creatues in her second year. She had loved his class, even though it was often a bit dangerous, and had planned to take the N.E.W.T. level course before Hogwarts closed. She found her voice and said, "Hagrid!"
Hagrid turned around and looked at her strangely. "I'm sorry," he said, looking confused, "Do I know yeh?"
"I'm a student at Hogwarts," Erica said. She suddenly had a wonderful idea. She would go and tell Professor Dumbledore what had happened. She knew he had to be headmaster now and still, well, alive. There didn't seem like there was anything that man couldn't fix.
Hagrid stared at her and said, "Are you sure? I don't recognize yeh."
"Positive," Erica said. "Is Professor Dumbledore up at the school?"
"O' course," Hagrid said, looking at her the same way Tom had when she had asked what year it was.
"I need to see him," she said. "Right away. It's an emergency."
"Can't it wait until school starts?" Hagrid said, looking a little surprised.
"No!" Erica said. "Really, it's a very big emergency. I need to see him right now."
Hagrid eyed the girl thoughtfully. He noticed her red puffy eyes and wet cheeks for the first time and decided to humor her. "All righ'," he said, leading her over to the fireplace. He grabbed a pinch of Floo Powder from the mantel, threw it in the fire and shouted "Dumbledore's office, Hogwarts!" Erica did the same and the next thing she knew, she was standing in the fireplace of the headmaster's office. She paled when she saw Dumbledore sitting behind his desk. It was almost like seeing a ghost, even if he was over twenty years younger.
"Ah, Hagrid, I didn't realize you would be bringing guests," Professor Dumbledore said, eyeing the small, teenaged girl next to his gameskeeper.
"I ran into her at the Leaky Cauldron," Hagrid said. "She said she was a studen' at the school and she had to speak with yeh righ' away. Emergency or summat."
"Yes," Dumbledore said, looking at Erica suspiciously now. "Hagrid, why don't you go back to Diagon Alley now while I talk with this young lady? Hopefully you won't run into anymore distressed students." Hargid nodded and soon left through the fireplace. "Please sit," Dumbledore said to Erica, motioning to the chair in front of his desk. Once she was seated, he said, "Now, please tell me what is so urgent that you have to lie to my gameskeeper about being a student."
Erica blushed and looked down at her feet. "I'm sorry about that, Professor Dumbledore. I don't know how to say this without sounding completely insane so I'm just going to come right out and say it." Dumbledore was looking extremely perplexed now. "I am a student at this school. From the future, I started in 1992 to be exact and I was just about to enter my sixth year in 1997 when I… err.. crossed paths with a wonky timeturner."
"Timeturner?" Dumbledore interrupted her, looking extremely confused.
"You don't know what that is," Erica said, her eyes widening. "That can't be good."
"No, I know what they are," Dumbledore said. "There was mention in the Daily Prophet of the Minister for Magic pressing a piece of legislature through that would allow the Ministry to make and regulate the use of them. But of course, this was all theory."
"Theory?" Erica said, trying not to sound too hysterical. "You mean, they haven't even been invented yet?"
"Well, no one has made an actual timeturner yet, if that's what you mean," Dumbledore said. "They don't intend to make any for three years, at the least. Like I said, it's all theoretical right now."
Erica sat there, completely speechless. She didn't know what to do now. She sat forward in her chair and put her head in her hands. "I'm never going to get back," she said, sounding very upset.
"You can't use the one you have?" Dumbledore asked.
"No," Erica said, sitting up and trying very hard not to cry. "It – It broke. I was trying to get away from this crazy woman who was swinging a rolling pin and I – I dropped it and it shattered. And I would have fixed it, except I was way more concerned with the rolling pin that was being swung at my face. And now I'm stuck here." She couldn't hold the tears back any longer. She put her head in her hands again, trying to hide the fact that she was crying from the headmaster.
"Miss Costello," Dumbledore said gently. "I can assure you that I will do everything in my power to help you get back to the future."
"Thank you, sir," she said, but it was muffled by her hands.
"Now, can you tell me how you got your hands on a bad timeturner?" Dumbledore asked.
Erica wiped her eyes and sat up. "I got it from my father," she said. "All the timeturners at the Ministry of Magic had been destroyed in the battle and – "
"There was a battle at the Ministry of Magic?" Dumbledore asked, unable to hide his shock.
Erica nodded. "Yeah, last year. It was in the Department of Mysteries. I don't know why it happened there but my father said they made a quite a mess. All I know is that Voldemort was there fighting Harry Potter and… well, you. Voldemort escaped but it finally made the Ministry acknowledge his return."
"His return?" Dumbledore said, looking extremely shocked.
"I probably shouldn't be talking about that," Erica said, looking down at her hands. "But they destroyed all of the timeturners and my father was trying to fix them. Except he was having a lot of trouble because it's so complicated, you know? Anyways, he brought a few home, which is something he's been doing all the time since my mother died, and he told me that he had taken the enchantment off of them. So I picked one of them up and started messing around with it. The next thing I knew, I was in my kitchen but some old lady came in and told me, very forcefully, that it was her house and she wanted me to leave immiediately."
Dumbledore looked very thoughtful for a moment. "So you know everything that happens in the war with Voldemort up until 1997?"
"Yes," Erica said, suddenly looking very awkward, "but I don't really think I should talk it."
"No," Dumbledore said. "You shouldn't."
Erica nodded and looked his kind, blue eyes. "So what can you do to get me out of here?"
"I'm afraid that there is nothing I can do right now, Miss Costello," Dumbledore said. Erica nodded and looked down at the floor. "However, I'm afraid that your knowledge of future events puts you in a very dangerous situation."
"Dangerous?" Erica asked. "Why?"
"I'm almost certain that if Voldemort were to find out about you, he would stop at nothing to capture you. With what you know, he would be able to figure out ways to gain power faster and maintain it without making any of the mistakes he will make, if I am to believe what you mentioned about his return," Dumbledore said. "And I can assure you that if Voldemort were to get his hands on you, he would not ask you nicely about what happens in the future. What we have to do is hide you and hope that he never finds out about you, which means you can't mention anything about what happens in the future in passing ever again. The slightest slip could ruin everything. Now, did you talk about this with anyone else?"
"Right after I left my house, I went to the Leaky Cauldron and asked Tom what year it was," Erica said. "I'm sure that must have given something away."
"Was there anyone else there?" Dumbledore asked.
Erica thought for a minute and said, "Yeah. I think there was one other person but I didn't get a good look at them."
"Then we mustn't hesitate in putting our plan into action," Dumbledore said.
Erica looked a little scared at this. "How are you going to hide me? Fidelius Charm?" she asked. She was wary of being locked away somewhere, alone for Merlin knows how long until Dumbledore could find a solution.
Dumbledore thought for a moment and then said, "That could work. But I think I'd like to keep you somewhere where I could easily keep an eye on you."
Erica understood what he was saying at once. "Here? You want me to stay here?"
"Yes. Unless you have a problem with it?" Erica shook her head and he continued, "Right. We will tell the students that you are a transfer student – "
"From where?" Erica interrupted, a little uneasy about lying to everyone she would come into contact with.
Dumbledore sighed. "I don't know. We'll say you were home schooled until now. You say you were supposed to be entering your sixth year?" Erica nodded. "So I assume you've already taken your O.W.L.s?"
"Yes," she said. "I got nine."
"Congratulations," Dumbledore smiled. "In which subjects?"
"Astronomy, Charms, Care of Magical Creatures, Defense Against the Dark Arts, Herbology, Potions, Transfiguration, Arithmancy and Muggle Studies," Erica recited.
"And you know that I am going to have to assume that you are right about this since I can not make you take them again?" he asked. Erica nodded but didn't understand why she could suddenly see the note with her grades on it so clearly in her mind. Dumbledore's eyes twinkled as he said, "Right then. You will stay here for now. Hagrid will escort you to Kings Cross on September 1st and you will take the train up to school with the rest of the students. You will be sorted into a house with the rest of the first years and will start your N.E.W.T. level classes while we try and think of a way to get you back to 1997."
"Thank you, Professor," Erica said.
"Now, come, I'll show you where you'll be staying until the first," he said, leading her out of his office. Erica was feeling very apprehensive about this. She didn't know how she would be able to lie to everyone; she had always been such a bad liar. She just hoped that Dumbledore could find a way to get her back soon.