Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter. I merely screw with the characters for no monetary gain whatsoever.
A/N: Kind of AU and very out there, but bear with me. Inspired by The Time Traveller's Wife, which I just finished reading. It was amazing.
Written as a combined response to a couple of challenges on the HPFFC forum, but mostly to the Random Prompts Challenge of Corinne Marie.
Dedicated: to everyone who's fallen in love with the wrong person and kept on loving them regardless.
He first appears to her at the bottom of her parents' garden when she's six. She is sitting on the bank of the small stream when a battered and bruised blonde-haired teenage boy staggers over the crest of the small hill and collapses a short distance away from her at the edge of the water.
"Mummy!" she shouts in shock and considerable apprehension, but he raises his head feebly.
"Please don't," he begs weakly. "They can't know."
She gives him an odd look and edges slowly away. A familiar-unfamiliar mark writhes on his forearm and there's blood on his knuckles.
"Who are you?"
"My name's Draco," he informs her wearily, struggling up into a sitting position and with a slight hissing noise of pain points his wand at the blood on his legs and mutters a spell. She watches, entranced, as the blood recedes and his skin smoothes over gracefully. "Who're you?" he asks, snapping her from her fascination.
"I'm not supposed to talk to strangers," she tells him firmly, her long red hair swinging behind her in the neat plait her mother had tied it in that morning.
"No, I don't suppose you are."
They sit in silence for several moments, the broken teenager and curious child.
"My name's Roxanne," she caves and informs him eventually, her hands twisting in her t-shirt. "Where are you from?"
"I'm from the past," he tells her, and she looks into his grey eyes and reads the truth and moves closer.
"You're a time-traveller?" she inquires breathlessly, dropping down onto her knees and gazing up with enrapturement. "That's so cool."
He laughs shortly and coldly once, with little amusement. "It's not exactly by choice. Vol- someone's experimenting with me. To see if it can be done. Looks like it can."
He picks a flower from the ground, a small purple crocus.
"Are you going?" she asks in disappoint, her small hand reaching out and brushing his knuckles ohsogently. "You don't have to, you know. I could bring you to my house and mummy can give you supper …"
He pats her once awkwardly on the top of the head and smiles harshly, his lips pulling up thinly on one side.
"I doubt I'd be very welcome in your house, little Weasel."
She glares at this and is about to tell him exactly how much she cares whether he's welcome or not when she hears Fred calling her name from the house and his outline has started to blur and something has twisted in his expression.
"Goodbye, Roxanne," he says more gently than she expected, and she waves once before he vanishes entirely and Fred is bowling her over and over and shaking her because he gets entirely too impatient when she doesn't respond quickly.
"Earth to Roxy," he laughs, shoving her in a brotherly way that has her responding with a swift punch to the gut and soon they're tussling like a pair of puppies.
"So what were you doing out here?" Fred asks breathlessly once they've exhausted themselves and are lying on their backs in the grass, gazing up at the blue-and-white spring sky.
She briefly considers telling him about Draco but his tired grey eyes swim behind her eyelids and she thinks of all the blood and his quiet plea not to tell anyone and besides she rather enjoys having a secret that nobody else knows because she shares everything with Fred and it's nice to have something all to herself.
"Fred! Roxanne! Dinner time!" their mother calls from the house, and they're sprinting up to the house, shoving at each other, arriving inside in a whirlwind of energy and hunger and lingering secrets.
He comes back many times over the next few years. Sometimes she's down at the creek and he just drops out of thin air. It makes her jump the first few times but then she's used to it. She's taken to hiding food down there, beneath a rock, just in case.
She gives it to him because he's sarcastic and rude and can be quite cruel but he always says sorry when he looks at her because it seems sometimes he forgets that it's her and not another person entirely, maybe a member of her family he knows in his own time that he doesn't get along with.
"What's happening in your time now?" she asks quietly one late summer's day when she's around eleven and he's a month or so older than the first time they met.
"Death. Destruction. The usual."
She sighs and her head drops easily onto his upper arm.
"Dad never tells me anything about the war."
He snaps his head round to gaze at her, examining the way her auburn eyebrows tilt upwards with amusement at having finally caused him to react a little more dramatically than usual above her blue eyes and her little rosebud mouth.
"He's right not to. The only thing that gets me through every day is knowing that one day something's going to go right or else you wouldn't be here."
She laughs and snuggles closer and he's suddenly struck by the appalling thought that he's friends with this impish little child and she's known him for five years even though he's only known her for four weeks – and it doesn't bother him. She's a little breath of fresh air in a world so utterly devoid of colour he forgets that there's a difference between living and being alive sometimes.
"I think you do the right thing in the end," she muses absently, tearing grass up with her delicate fingers. "I mean, whenever Dad or Uncle Ron or Uncle Harry mention you it sounds like they want to punch you senseless but they haven't got around to doing it yet so you must have done something right."
He laughs, quite unable to help himself, and only notices that he's blurring as she sighs in disappointment.
"See you soon," she says, and her lips press against his wavering cheek before he's gone entirely and she's left staring at empty space.
She doesn't see him for two years. She waits forlornly down by the little stream whenever she's home, and when she's at Hogwarts she can't quite help worrying that he's all alone and hurt and she's not there to help him.
The first evening of summer she races down to the bottom of the garden, abandoning her school paraphernalia in the house. He doesn't come. She goes back up to the house when it's getting dark and she's given up.
Miserably she gets into her pyjamas and goes to bed, deftly plaiting her long red hair. She's considered cutting it off for a long time now, but every time she gets close to doing so memories of him winding his fingers in the curly ends and tugging gently when she's asking too many questions flood back and she almost starts crying before realising that it's stupid to be upset about someone who's old and married in her time anyway.
She's woken in the middle of the night by the soft rattling of stones against her window. She pads across the room on silent feet and he's down there, swaying back and forth uncertainly.
She holds a finger to her lips and hurries downstairs, pausing to grab a spare slice of pumpkin pie off the kitchen counter and carrying out with careful hands to him.
He's staring blankly off into middle distance, and there is such horror in his expression that she doesn't even bother trying to speak to him. She just reaches out and takes his hand and leads him silently down to their little spot down by the creek.
She presses the pumpkin pie on him and resists the urge to beat all the truth out of him until he's forced down the pie and leant back against the tree trunk with bone-weary exhaustion.
Her fingers lingeringly trace a long cut down the side of his face.
"What happened?" she asks softly, and his eyes flick to burn into hers.
"How long is it since I last visited?" he inquires tiredly, passing a hand over his face. "You have boo- a figure."
She smothers a laugh. "I'll forgive you for being tactless. You look like you've been half-killed."
His eyes run over her in a way that make her feel all hot and cold at the same time and then he drops his head into his hands, moaning so softly her heart breaks for him right then and there.
She kneels down next to him and her arms go around his neck, pulling him in until his head is buried in the crook of his neck and these tears are running down his cheeks and soaking into the collar of her over-sized t-shirt until he's shuddering and gasping and her hands are running gently through his hair, humming a lullaby to soothe him, and it's quite ironic because she's both three and twenty-three years younger than him and she shouldn't be feeling like the older one.
"I did something terrible," he tells her. "At least, I was supposed to."
His hands are clutching at her sleeves now, his face still hidden in her shoulder, half-covered by her hair which has come loose during the night.
"Tell me," she whispers, and he takes a shuddering breath.
"I was meant to kill a man and I just couldn't. I failed. Vold- I was punished. He sent me here. At least, he sent me away in time. He likes it as a punishment because I always come back thoroughly miserable and confused."
Roxanne has managed to put two and two together from fragments of conversation and books written and half-given snippets of information.
"He can't read your mind? I thought he was a legilimens."
Draco laughs once, harshly, and draws away from her, dropping his head onto his knees, tangled blonde hair falling into his face.
"I keep you wrapped up so deep he'll never find you."
She smiles at this, and curls up against his side. His arm falls quite naturally around her shoulders and they both take a deep breath and gaze up at the stars.
"It's weird to think I'm wandering around right at the moment with all of this behind me," he announces inattentively. "I wonder what I'm like."
She chuckles and the heave of her chest draws his attention and he realises all over again that she's changed since the two days and two years since he last saw her.
"I'll see you in September," she informs him. "Your son will be in the same year as Al and Rose."
He can't decide which one to ask about first. "My son?"
"Yeah," she replies, her fingers knotting into his quite naturally. "Scorpius. It's the most retarded name I ever heard. Well, apart from Al's."
"Al isn't that bad a name," he replies, his thumb tracing circles on her pale skin.
She raises an eyebrow and glances at his face. "Short for Albus Severus."
"Ouch," Draco says. "Poor kid. I'll have to name mine Scorpius now just so he's not the only loser wandering round with such a stupid name."
Roxanne laughs and Draco takes a moment to question and locate and label the bubbly feeling that rises in him when she laughs like that and then battles it down just as quickly because if love is the answer then he needs to rephrase the question, and quickly.
"Shit, Roxanne, what am I doing?" he asks suddenly, the comforting weight of his arm disappearing from around her shoulder and hurriedly tucked back into his chest.
"You're leaving," she tells him forlornly, tracing the blurry outline of his shoulder. "I'll see you again soon."
It sounds more wistful than expectant and as he fades out of view he can't help but wonder what she'll be like when he next sees her.
He catches sight of her across the station, through the steam. She's laughing with a red-headed boy he assumes is either brother or cousin and his eyes run over her long, loose hair that she was thinking about having cut during the summer and is pleased to see that she's decided to keep it long.
Astoria is hugging Scorpius tightly and the boy is muttering in embarrassment. The steam parts briefly as Draco hangs back from this little family scene and he catches sight of two black-haired boys, a red-haired little girl and, finally, the scar lingering in between black hair and green eyes. Draco nods once, and Harry nods back. Draco's gaze travels to the younger boy with the same black hair and green eyes as his father, and Roxanne's words float back to him.
It's the most retarded name I ever heard. Well, apart from Al's.
He suppresses the smile and turns around to find her there, staring at him and he's desperately trying to remember how much information it's okay to impart since, for her, a whole lot of it hasn't happened yet and he quite possibly hasn't made those many mistakes already.
"Hello," she says guardedly, her big blue eyes all the while searching his, seeking some resemblance to the boy she knows in the garden. "When will you be back?"
Astoria is busy waving to Scorpius aboard the train, so Draco has time to press a list of dates into her small hand, his skin sparking with the electric touch that he's missed so much and is just wrong because she's far too young in this time.
"I'll be waiting," she promises, tucking the list into her pocket and looking thoroughly undecided about hugging him.
"Forgive me," he makes her promise. "Forgive me for all the idiotic things I'm going to do."
Her lips curl upwards in that irresistible smile and he fights back the onslaught of memories.
"This is beyond bizarre," she informs him with a giggle, and then she disappears into the steam and he doesn't see her before he and Astoria leave the station.
Roxanne studies the list of dates and broods silently in the corner of the compartment, ignoring James' repeated attempts to draw her into the conversation.
"What is that, Roxy?" Fred asks after a short while, and she quickly crumples the paper up and shoves it into her pocket.
"Mind your own business," she orders him rudely, tucking her legs up under herself.
"Wow. Temper, temper," James comments, and as his idiotic friends from Gryffindor laugh along with him Roxanne rises and stalks out of the compartment with as much dignity as she can muster.
Seeing Draco was surreal. She muses on this as she wanders back and forth in the corridor, no particular destination appealing to her. He's changed very much, and she can't imagine what it is he could be apologising for. But then it's all in her future and his past and the paradoxes make her brain hurt.
She resolves to attempt to consider her Draco as a different person from the real Draco. It's hard because there's something lingering in the eyes of the Draco at the station that makes all her feelings for her Draco get mixed up inside her even further.
With a sigh, she pulls out the list of dates again. There are many for the Christmas holidays, but ohsofew in the two years following.
She slips back into the compartment full of rowdy boys with some of the fight back in her. She swears amiably at James and shoves George Thomas onto the floor to get her seat back, settling comfortably down for the remainder of the journey.
She brings an extra jumper that she's nicked off her dad when she goes down to wait for the first time in the Christmas holidays. There's four inches of snow on the ground and she's sure he'll only appear in his usual jeans and shirt.
She's right. He coalesces directly in the stream this time, swearing as the freezing water sloshes in over the tops of his trainers.
"I hate winter," he complains as he pulls the jumper over his head. Roxanne, trussed up in several jumpers as well as a coat, hat, scarf and gloves, nods in agreement.
"I can't wait for spring."
They huddle together under the tree, arms around each other for warmth.
"I saw you at the station," she tells him, her head nestled comfortably onto his shoulder. "You said you needed me to forgive you for some stupid things you're going to do."
He chuckles, his cold face pressed into her hat so his voice comes out a little muffled.
"I dread to think what I meant."
"This is all so weird," she confesses, shivering a little. "I don't know how to think of you or how any of this works."
He shrugs and then winces as a cold wind knifes into his back.
"Me neither. I'm going to settle for enjoying it."
She laughs and agrees and then hefts a snowball at him. He swears at her and chucks one back and a war ensues that's of a far more enjoyable nature than the one he's fighting in back in his time.
He disappears just as her snowball would have smacked him directly in the face and she yells that he's cheating at empty air before barrelling back up into the house and almost jumping into the fire in her desperation to be warm.
"Roxy, where have you been?" her father asks in astonishment as she sheds layers like a snake shedding skins. "You're soaked!"
Her hair cascades down in loose, damp curls around her face and elbows as she grins.
"Outside. The snow's fantastic."
He rolls his eyes. "You spend far too much time hidden away outside."
She just grins and stretches out in front of the fire like a dog, letting warmth seep back into her bones with a sigh of bliss.
She can't help her thoughts wandering to Draco.
The next time he appears, mercifully not in the stream this time, she grabs his cold hand and drags him, protesting, up the garden and into the house.
"Are you crazy?" he hisses at her as she abandons her coat and scarf on the stairpost and leads him upstairs.
"Relax, freakshow. My parents are out at Uncle Bill's with Fred. I told them I wasn't feeling well."
With a sigh of contentment he sinks back onto her bed and gazes around himself with delight. He loves the fact that while he's spent two or three months suffering under the every whim of a madman she's been growing up and evolving and changing.
"Hey," he says suddenly, rising up off the bed and causing her to turn around from where she's hanging up her damp cardigan in surprise. "That's me!"
He plucks a photo out of the corner of her mirror and she blushes.
"I miss you a lot," she admits quietly. "You go away for a long time sometimes."
Without thinking he wraps her into a hug, her head nestling under his chin.
"I'm sorry. You know I can't help it."
She draws back and half-grins, then tackles him onto the bed and snuggles into his embrace.
"I wish you could stay here forever," she murmurs as his arms go around her unthinkingly, his fingers twisting in the ends of her hair. "Then I could introduce you to people. All my friends think there's something wrong with me because I'm not interested in any of the boys at school."
He can see the direction this conversation is going and with some of his infamous Slytherin cunning steers the topic back around in a safe direction.
"So who wins in the end? Potter or the psychopath who I can't entirely hate because he brought me to you?" he asks, and she smacks him half-heartedly.
"I'm not telling. It would probably mess up the space-time continuum or something."
He laughs loudly. "Yeah. Because you know so much about time travel and metaphysics."
"Shut up," she commands fierily, and he takes a hint and stifles his chuckles.
"So you won't tell? Not even if I put on my best puppy-dog face?"
She giggles and her hand caresses the side of his neck gently.
"I don't understand you. Everyone I know paints this picture of you as a horrid, selfish, egotistical Slytherin idiot who was up to his eyeballs in the Dark Arts."
He sighs, pulling her a little closer. "I was. I mean, I am. I'm a Malfoy, I don't really have a huge choice."
"Why can't you just be nice to people?" she asks, and he can't help but smile for her naïveté.
"It's not that easy in my time," he replies, and she blinks.
"Well, it sounds like you have a personality transplant whenever you come to see me. I don't get it."
"It's weird considering technically you don't even exist when I'm this age – but you're the only person I can just be me around. I hate admitting it, but I do put up a dreadful front."
She eyes him disbelievingly and he's just about to add something further when his vision starts blurring.
"Shit," he says crossly as he disappears, and she laughs.
When her parents arrive home she's asleep on her bed with damp hair strewn across her pillow and the ghost of a smile lingering on her face.
He doesn't come back and she misses him for a year, maybe a little longer. She sometimes catches glimpses of him through the trees but he's always gone just too quickly. She only just about has time to shout his name.
And then one sunny summer's evening she's sixteen and in a bad mood because she's still getting stick at school and from her family about her total disinterest in boys and she's bored of playing the tomboy to deflect comments about her sexual persuasion because it's easier that way.
Then he lands in the water with a splash and with a cry of joy she rushes to him and drags him out. Her joy is replaced with horror when she rolls him onto his back and finds his face marked with hex wounds and, with trembling fingers, she peels his shirt back to find his chest rent with bloody wounds.
He breathes steadily in and out, unconscious, as she swears and wishes she was old enough to do magic because it's less than a year before she can and then she slaps him hard on the cheek.
"Ouch!" he protests weakly as he comes to, clutching his cheek, and she exhales loudly in relief before grabbing at the lapels of his shirt.
"Don't you ever, ever scare me like that again!"
"You grew," he accuses as he fends her off and pulls his wand out painfully and performs the spells he's getting good at now.
"It's been months on my end," she reminds him, sitting back on her heels and watching as the gashes zip themselves up. "I'm already sixteen,"
"Well it's been weeks on mine, for a change," he tells her. "I think the end is close."
She studies him for a brief moment, his shirt still hanging open and exposing his pale chest and she sighs mightily.
"I'm not going to see you again, am I?" she murmurs desolately, holding out the now-extremely crumpled piece of paper with the list of dates on and handing it to him. He reads the date that must be today's, the last one, and sighs.
"Not like this."
"Please," she whispers tremblingly, her eyes wide and innocent and desperate. "Please make it count."
And he figures what the hell, he's eternally damned anyway, and so he kisses her because she's the same age and twenty-three years younger and the complications fade away as her clothes come off, and he's a seventeen-year-old boy so his moral compass isn't exactly accurate and his clothes join hers soon afterwards.
And she's crying with some strange combination of anticipated loss and joy and love and he can't help crying just a little himself because feeling like this with her is perfection as their lips meld and his brain speedily rewinds through the afternoons of sitting with her and discussing their lives and their hopes and aspirations and what he's going to do when this –that– bloody war is over.
And when they're finished and they collapse naked onto the soft grass his hands wander lazily up her bare back and tangle in her hair.
"I love you," he tells her sadly, and he feels her lips curve up against the skin on his chest.
"I know," she replies gently, her fingers tracing the pattern of scars on his shoulder. "I wish it didn't have to be like this."
"I want you to be happy," he orders firmly. "I want you to meet a boy who's the right age in the right time and I want you to marry him and never regret any of it."
She laughs. "And I want you to go find Astoria and marry her and name your son Scorpius so Al doesn't feel so lonely and so that Rose has someone to rebel with."
"Don't you need someone to rebel with?" he asks in amusement, the idea of his son and the Weasel's daughter flashing round inside his head with considerable hilarity.
"Stupid," she says, tapping his nose. "I've always had you. I'd be strung up and stoned to death if they found out I was in love with the original Malfoy git. No offence."
He chuckles. "None taken. That picked up from Ron?"
She nods and grins. "No surprises there, I assume?"
"None at all," he replies with laughter shaking his voice.
"I'll miss you," she confides softly, finally disentangling herself from him and going round picking her clothes up. He mimics her and dresses himself hurriedly, drawing her in for another searing kiss.
"We made it count," he reminds her, and she kisses him again before resting her forehead against his.
"Yeah. We did."
"Just make sure you don't get pregnant or anything," he commands with a laugh. "I can't even imagine the confusion that would cause."
She's still laughing as his outline begins to blur; even though there are tears running down her cheeks she's still laughing and he fixes that memory firmly in his head before the sunlit garden disappears entirely from in front of him, and even as Voldemort leans over him his head is absolutely full of Roxanne and nothing else at all.
And he sees her at the station in September and she smiles forlornly at him from across the platform, her eyes big in her pale face and he thinks accusingly that she's far too thin now. He's even about to go over and tell her off when Astoria links her arm through his and he has to lose her all over again as he turns to his wife who he loves but just doesn't love like he loved and loves Roxanne.
"Do you want some coffee?" she asks him as students rush around them, headed for the train. He smiles at the thought of the muggle beverage they're both so fond of and nods. She disappears into the muggle part of the station and instantly Roxanne is there as the steam billows up around them for a moment.
"Don't," he warns quickly. She wraps her arms around his waist anyway, and rests her head on his shoulder for just a second.
"I didn't get pregnant," she tells him proudly, and he can't help the chuckle because in the twenty-two years and the single month since they last saw each other she hasn't changed, not a bit, and it's completely surreal to him.
"Eat more," he orders as the steam begins to seep away again, and presses a desperate kiss to her forehead. "You're too thin."
She cocks her head to the side and takes a step away from him.
"Life sucks," she comments blankly, and he shrugs.
"If it didn't we wouldn't appreciate the good parts as much."
Then he tosses her a chocolate bar from in his jacket pocket, his hair falling into his face, and her fingers are almost reaching up to brush it away when her name is called and she whirls to find Fred beckoning her up to the train whilst shooting an odd glance at Draco.
"Same time next year?" she suggests with a laugh, and he grins as he catches sight of Astoria heading back towards it.
"I'll look forward to it. You'd better have put on some weight. Oh, and I want one more thing explaining – why?"
She blows him a kiss, grinning, uncaring that several of her relatives are hanging out of the train windows and can see everything, and he stands and watches as she clambers up the steps and is immediately besieged by several family members.
"Wasn't that Roxanne Weasley?" Astoria asks in confusion as she hands Draco's coffee over. He smiles absently and nods as he watches her face in the window turns towards his and that smile stretch across her cheeks.
"Yes. It was. I knew her a long time ago."
Astoria shoots him a keen glance but he's just watching her slide away from him for the last time.
He gets an owl several days later and as he pets its feathers absently he unrolls the piece of parchment and can't help the tears that escape as he reads the single line in the achingly familiar curving script.
For it was not into my ear that you whispered, but into my heart. It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul.
A/N: Well, don't say I didn't warn you.
Please don't favourite without reviewing, thank you.
I would love some feedback as to whether it seemed plausible or squick-y or just plain weird. Hope you enjoyed.