Disclaimer: I do not own any of J.K. Rowling's characters or setting, only my plot and my OCs.
A/N: PLEASE READ THIS.
All my stories are set in the same 'universe' and on the same timeline as each other. That timeline accepts everything that happened in the books as fact (any errors are accidental), as well as - where possible - the extra information JK Rowling has given us; however, it was originally written and published before Pottermore was opened to the public, so I didn't have the information from that to work with. Although I have republished the earlier chapters, I haven't changed the content, only polished the writing in places; I do not intend to rewrite my stories with the Pottermore information (which is so extensive I'm sure I'd still get things wrong anyway) as that would be a great deal of work and I prefer to work on new projects.
This is the only one of my stories on this timeline to stray into the weird and wonderful realm of time travel. In all my stories, I try to stay true to Rowling's spirit and portray her characters as accurately as possible, although I add embellishments to her world and timeline for the sake of my plots. I try to keep these believable within the Potterverse, and that includes my theories and explanations of how time travel works. This is not a 'go back and change everything for the better' story; it has many, many plot twists, but in its essence it stays true to JK Rowling's world.
Lily Potter grimly tossed down the remains of her drink, set the glass down, picked her bag up, and left the Muggle bar, emerging into the mild August night and the yellow light of the street lamps. The whiteness of her knuckles gripping her handbag showed the nervousness that her face did not; it was long past midnight, and she was alone in a strange and less than salubrious area.
She was angry too. How could he just leave her here, in the middle of an unknown Muggle district? He had claimed to love her; that wasn't the kind of thing you did to someone you loved. Love? It had sounded more like hate as he spat out those horrible words across the table before he left - did love turn to hate so fast? She didn't understand how it had all turned so bad anyway, when it had only been a fleeting bit of fun and she had never thought of it turning into anything more serious.
She stopped and took a few breaths of the summer night air. Her head was spinning from the effects of downing the unfamiliar Muggle spirits too quickly. She was not the things he had called her, she wasn't. She liked having fun, that was all, and if she'd been a young man nobody would have thought twice about it. But she was a girl, so they labelled her, judged her, even the ones who said they loved her... It wasn't her fault he had misunderstood the situation. When had she ever behaved as if it was something serious, as if she wanted to settle down and make her future with him? She knew, uneasily, that she could have let him down more gently, but she was drunk and it had seemed like a joke, the things he was saying. His anger hadn't been a joke though, that hard disgusted tone that spoke ugly words and sounded like a stranger...
Miserably, she stumbled down the street, ignoring the catcalls of a couple of men who had left the same bar as her, and hurrying away from them. Round the corner, there were no catcalling men, because there were no people at all, and the street lights were further apart. Her shoes were uncomfortable, pinching her toes and rubbing her heels, and for the first time she was aware of just how short her skirt was. She straightened up. There was no need to make herself look more stupid and vulnerable than she already did. She was perfectly sober really, and if she concentrated, she could almost stop her head spinning. But she really could not walk in these heels, she realised after another few wobbling steps. Feeling humiliated, she slipped the shoes off and continued up the pavement in her sheer, skin-coloured tights, heedless of the dangers of broken glass or other objects.
She wanted to go home, but home was in Devon and she was hopeless at Apparition at the best of times; it wasn't worth risking in this state. But, she thought in a moment of relieved clarity, she could call the Knight Bus. Yes, that was what she'd do. And she could sneak into the house quietly, and her parents need never see or know, and tomorrow would be a new day and she could pretend that none of this had happened and that Tim Fawcett didn't exist... She fumbled in her bag, looking for a hand mirror. She refused to call the Knight Bus in this state; there might be somebody she knew on it. Her fingers found something small and metallic. Keys? Necklace? No…
It happened so suddenly, so unexpectedly, that it was over before she realised that it had begun. There was a roar, a flash of gold light, a feeling like a strong wind; so strong that it caught her off her feet and flung her heavily against a wall. The roar got louder, and there were voices in it; young men's voices, shouting. Then all was silent, and Lily was sitting, curled in a foetal position, her back against the wall and her head on her knees.
"What the hell?" an angry voice said, "What did you do?"
"That wasn't me!" the second voice was somehow familiar… and yet not familiar.
"Well it sure as hell wasn't me," the first voice said roughly.
And suddenly Lily, through the alcoholic fog, realised what it was that she had touched. Aunt Hermione's specially modified Time Turner. She had been showing it to Lily's parents only the other day, and had accidentally left it on the table in the kitchen.
"I'll take it," Lily had said, "And give it to her when I go to London," and she had put it in her bag there and then, so she didn't forget.
Only she had forgotten of course; she had forgotten even to get in touch with Aunt Hermione. But what exactly had Aunt Hermione said it did? All Lily really remembered her saying was that it wasn't finished and was unstable. Her father had told Lily to be careful with it when she took it. She groaned, and the two young men, who were still arguing about who had caused the golden light and the noise, heard her and turned towards her.
"Holy shit!" one of them exclaimed, "Where did she come from?"
Slowly, Lily uncurled herself, her hand sliding into her bag and finding the comforting shape of her wand.
"Fucking hell," the other young man muttered, "Now we'll have to modify her memory."
So they were wizards. But they clearly did not realise that she was a witch.
The first young man knelt down beside her.
"Hey! Are you okay?" he asked.
The next instant, her wand was against his throat.
"Try to modify my memory, and I'll hex you, I swear I will!" she hissed, her voice only slightly slurred. Shit! Why had she said hex, like a silly school girl? She should have threatened to kill him...
"Whoa!" he held his hands in the surrender position, and glanced over his shoulder at his friend, "She's a witch."
"I can see that," the second young man, the one whose voice was so strangely familiar, sounded amused, "She's also drunk, so I'd watch what you do, Padfoot, or she'll hex you anyway by mistake."
Drunk? She wasn't that drunk. He was laughing at her and she didn't like that...
Padfoot. Why was that name so familiar?
Her brain cleared with the sudden, shocking realisation.
Aunt Hermione's Time Turner. It sent you back in time, like a normal Time Turner. Only where a normal Time Turner would only take you back to your own past, this one would take you however far back you wanted, or at least that was the idea; Aunt Hermione hadn't finished it though, and it wasn't stable... There had been more as well, which she only vaguely remembered; something about a pull of blood, needing the force of a connected bloodline to pull you to a specific time...
And here she was, and Padfoot… Padfoot was the nickname of Sirius Black, her father's godfather, who had died long before she had been born. Which made the thin boy with untidy hair who stood in the shadows and spoke with a voice that was both like and unlike her father's… That made him James Potter, Lily's own grandfather.
"Look, we're not going to modify your memory," the man who must be Sirius said, "We thought you were a Muggle, that was all."
She realised that she was still stabbing him in the neck with her wand and withdrew it slightly, although she did not lower it. She had to be sure.
"What's your name?" she demanded. She was sobering up and her voice was steadier.
He looked at her uncertainly, her wand still trained on him, and she remembered that when her grandfather had been young, they had been in the middle of the First War, unable to know who to trust.
"Sirius Black," he said at last, "And my friend's James Potter. And now would you put the wand down? You're making me nervous."
She did not move it.
"What's your name?" James asked, from behind Sirius.
She laughed harshly.
"You wouldn't believe it if I told you."
Sirius raised his eyebrows.
"Look, Padfoot, maybe we should go somewhere less public," James said, in a low voice, "I mean…" he glanced at Lily, in her thin tights (with a ladder in them now, though she wasn't sure if that had happened when she fell over, or if it had already been there), short skirt and skimpy cardigan over a revealing top, her shoes on the ground beside her.
"Right, yeah. Maybe you'd like to tell her that," Sirius said wryly, "Because at the moment, she's still got her wand trained on me, so I'm not really in a position to make suggestions..."
"Look," James turned back to her, "I know you've got no reason to trust us, really. Except that we haven't tried anything yet, even though I doubt you could take us both on…"
She looked up at him. He looked like her father, only with her brother's brown eyes, and she almost smiled. She had been hearing stories about these two all her life. She knew them almost as well as she knew her living grandparents, the Weasleys.
"I trust you," she said, "I know who you are."
James raised his eyebrows at Sirius, but was met with only a shrug from his friend, and then held out a hand to Lily. She lowered her wand, took his hand - her grandfather's hand, she thought with a shock - and allowed herself to be pulled up.
"Um, listen, Prongs," Sirius spoke to his friend in an undertone, "I don't think the bike'll take three…"
"No problem," James picked up the broomstick that he had let fall to the ground as they argued, "I'll fly. You take the girl," he flung one leg over it, "See you back at yours, right?" And he was gone.
Sirius smiled warmly at Lily, and Lily suddenly remembered that according to the stories (not her father's stories, but there were plenty of others that had emerged once it was finally proved that he hadn't been a traitor), her father's godfather had been a notorious womaniser, and she realised firstly that he had no idea that she was his best friend's granddaughter, secondly that he was perhaps a year older than her at the moment, and thirdly that she was wearing a particularly provocative outfit, which was also singularly unsuitable for straddling a bike.
"Do you mind flying?" he asked her.
She gave him a haughty look.
"I play Quidditch, actually, so no…" she broke off. She had been on the point of telling him that she had played for the Gryffindor team. But he would then want to know why he didn't recognise her, considering how close they must be in age.
"Well, that's good," was all he said, and offered her his hand to help her on. Lily was her mother's daughter, and had to bite her lip to stop herself snappily rejecting his help. But soon she was seated on the famous flying motorbike, and he had climbed on behind her, putting his arms around her. He was very close to her, and his solid warmth was a relief, for she had been starting to feel very cold. The bike roared into life, sped off along the ground for a few moments, then took off, a little like a Muggle aeroplane.
With the wind in her face, she was sobering up quickly - and realising that she was very cold - and the sheer unreality of this situation was hitting her anew. These boys were dead. At least, in 2027 they were dead. Now, they were very much alive. What year would it be? They were only around twenty.
And James… James had died at twenty one. Her stomach sank at the thought. It had never really struck her before. He had just been her grandfather, and grandfathers did die, sometimes before their grandchildren were born. But he had been so young. And Sirius… the handsome boy with the mischievous smile, who was sitting behind her on the bike and warming her with his body heat… Sirius would spend the next twelve years in Azkaban for betraying his best friend and murdering a street full of Muggles, neither of which crimes he had actually committed.
"So," Sirius called, above the roar of the bike, "Still not going to tell me your name?"
She shook her head. "I can't. Honestly. You'd probably crash the bike if I did."
She felt his grin through his chest.
"Is it that bad?"
She closed her eyes.
"You have no idea."