Author's Notes: Here's the final chapter. Thanks to all of you who have read and to my beta's: Arnel, Stephanie and Peter. They have all helped shape this story, especially when I decided to take it in a different direction back at about chapter 10. There is another note at the end, since much of what I want to say here, I can't. Thanks for reading this. MNF
May 10, 1985
Hogwarts Castle, Scotland, UK
Warm sunlight was glistening off the windows of Hogwarts castle, making it seem as if the castle were dusted with diamonds. Surrounded by sloping hills of green grass and trees dressed in verdant robes standing sentry, it was easy to believe the building itself was alive. The castle seemed to be beckoned to dance with its environment; frolicking to celebrate its ability to shake off the cold and trauma of the winter's passing. The inhabitants certainly felt it, especially when they were trapped inside listening to professors when they'd much rather be outside enjoying all nature was resplendent with. The students couldn't see, but a young mother was enjoying the day with her three sons as they awaited their father's arrival. He was inside teaching, or at least attempting to, wishing he too was outside, with his family. When Sirius was done, he'd join his wife and children and they'd be headed to London for a fun family weekend.
After the drama of his kidnapping and the birth of his youngest, Sirius took three weeks to allow his chemical burns and broken leg to heal before returning to his year long teaching assignment. Just recently an extension of said assignment had been offered by Dumbledore. Sirius had said he wanted to discuss the matter with his wife, although he'd instantly known his answer; he didn't want to continue teaching at Hogwarts. Filius Flitwick, the Charms professor for the last twenty-three years, would be returning and Sirius felt no guilt in moving on. The only reason he'd taken the job was to provide a safe place for his family while former Death Eaters were on the loose. They were all in custody, housed in a special set of cells in a fortified Azkaban. Sirius had done much of the charms work with James, employing magical versions of Muggle imprisonment techniques.
Outside, Anwen was sitting on a large quilt, on the grass, with her sons. Draco and Bas were practising their French by singing nursery songs with her. The music and the antics of his older brothers was quite entertaining to Ethan Seren Black, now four months old. Anwen had needed to put an anti-transfiguration charm on the baby to keep him put in his little carrier. Ethan had proved himself a powerful wizard already and would often transfigure his seat to help him move and ultimately get into trouble. After discussing the child's power with several healers at St. Mungo's, Anwen was convinced they'd need to oblige Ethan's magic until he understood what he was doing. Unfortunately, for safety reasons, the spell couldn't be done until the child was at least six months old. Until then, Ethan would keep his parents on their toes.
"Mummy, Ethan smiled at me," Draco announced happily. He'd been dancing in front of the infant and singing a song about animals at the zoo. The family would be visiting the London Zoo tomorrow, and the big brothers wanted to assure their little brother would know what he was looking at. Anwen didn't bother informing them Ethan couldn't really see very far, nor did he really comprehend what he was looking at. His responses were to the motions they were making, the bright colours of their clothing and the familiar sound of their voices.
"Excellent, I'm glad you're making him happy," she praised the blonde boy. Bas, generally quieter and more reserved than his exuberant counterpart, was holding his brother's hand and telling him about which animals were his favourite. Checking her watch, she was happy to see there was less than an hour left for lessons. Everything they would need had already been sent ahead to the hotel, and together they would Apparate their family directly to the lobby of The Enchanted Empire Inn and Suites. James and Lily and their sons would be joining the Blacks for the tour of the sights of magical London. Muggles never realised there was a whole area of the London Zoo which featured magical beasts and birds. Anwen and Lily wanted to ensure the boys knew all about both sets of creatures.
A fluttering of wings and a blur of red startled the family, but they were soon soothed by the coos and caws of Fawkes. Since his participation in siphoning off the excess magic in Anwen just before the delivery of Ethan, the phoenix had taken a strong liking to the witch and her children. She swore the way the bird and Ethan would look at each other that they were communicating. After hearing the stories of her infant's birth, nothing could truly surprise her about the child.
Draco and Bas had both learned that if they spoke calmly to the bird, and asked nicely, he would allow them to pet him. Anwen had taught them the "two-finger touch" method, as to not hurt Fawkes. They were having such a grand time together, Anwen failed to notice the man walking up the path from Hogsmeade until he was nearly upon them. She smiled politely, assuming he was here to see one of the residents of the castle. When he veered off the path and began walking toward the witch and her children, Anwen stood, positioning herself between the approaching man and her children.
"Hello, can I help you?" Anwen asked.
"I'm not sure," the man replied. He had blonde hair and a sophisticated air about him which made Anwen think he was from an aristocratic family. "I thought I was to find someone..."
"Are you aright, sir? You seem confused," she stated, concerned not only for his welfare but also for her children, as he'd stopped looking at her and was intently watching the boys and Fawkes.
"Are those your children?"
"They are. My husband is a professor at the school. Were you to meet with someone in the castle?" The enchantments on the castle were such that there were only a few situations in which someone would be granted passage inside them.
"How is he..?" the man trailed off. Anwen followed his gaze to Draco and then back to the man; Stunned by the revelation which she'd stumbled upon.
"Draco?" she asked the man. Before he could answer though, her son responded.
"Yes, Mummy?" Anwen twisted her body slightly.
"Nothing honey, why don't you and Bas sing another song for Ethan? Fawkes, could you please -" before she'd finished the sentence, the bird had flashed away.
"How am I here with you? Who are you?" Adult Draco asked, becoming agitated.
"Are you Draco Malfoy?" The answer to the question was already assured by the steely grey of his eyes and the luminous blonde of this hair.
"I am," he muttered, not looking at Anwen, but instead watching the younger version of himself with the other boys. Anwen didn't like how he was staring at her son. She doubted Fawkes would flash Dumbledore or Sirius back to her, but she knew her husband would run the entire way here, once he was made aware of the situation. Anwen simply needed to keep older Draco here and calm until one of the men arrived. Just to be safe, she put a shield charm up over her children.
"Draco, what are you doing here," Anwen asked in a much lower voice. "You're not from this time."
"Tell me how I came to live with you. I don't even know you." He was no longer angry, but rather confused. Anwen laid a gentle had on his arm.
"I'm Anwen Black, your cousin Sirius's wife. You've lived with us since you were one," she didn't want to discuss anything which might put the man on defence.
"The blood-traitor, Sirius Black?" Draco asked and Anwen nodded, although bristling inside over his characterisation of her husband. "Who are the others?"
"Those are your brothers, Bastien is only a few months younger and you've always been like twins. The little guy is Ethan, he's four months old," she calmly explained.
"You were singing with them?" Anwen was surprised by the question, and the softening of the gentleman's posture and gaze.
"I was. We were practising their French. We have a house there." She didn't want to give away too many details, especially Sirius's taking on of the viscountcy. Anwen was surprised when older Draco sat down on the grass, still four or five feet away from the children.
"Do you play games too? Do I have friends?" Older Draco looked so out of place sitting in the grass in his formal black and green robes with the Malfoy insignia on his chest. His face, however, showed none of the formality, which had put Anwen on her guard when he first arrived.
"We do, all the time. You have friends as well. You and your brother play with other young witches and wizards, but you also love visiting your grandparents' farm and playing with my brothers. They're "really cool" uncles, according to you," Anwen explained, still withholding as much specific information as she could.
"Is Harry Potter one of my friends here?" The question made the little hairs on Anwen's neck stand up on end with concern. Before she could either follow up or answer, Sirius and Albus came running down the walk. Anwen wasn't sure she'd ever seen Albus move so fast.
"Who are you? What do you want?" Sirius charged toward him, wand drawn. In response, Draco pulled his wand and stood. Anwen stood in front of Draco, her arms up in a stopping motion. Irritation clouded Sirius's face when he looked at her.
"Sirius, stop, he hasn't done anything to hurt any of us," Anwen tried to calm her hot-headed husband. He was far more likely to fire curses first and ask questions second. She was still waiting for age to temper his personality.
"Who is he?" Sirius demanded.
"I'm Draco Malfoy," older Draco snapped. "Apparently, you're my father here," he sneered. Sirius put his wand down, but not away. Albus arrived and wanted to interrogate older Draco, but a surprising question came from near everyone's knees.
"Your name is Draco?" little Draco Black asked. "That's my name, too. It means dragon in Latin. Mummy says I her little dragon, because I want to protect my little brother. Was I named after you? My big, long name is Draco Regulus Black. The Regulus is from my uncle Reg, who was a war hero with my Mummy and Daddy. The Black part came from my Daddy and Mummy." Little Draco then reached up to hold grown Draco's hand. "I like you. We have the same name. Come on, I show you my brothers."
Anwen, Sirius and Albus anxiously watched a hesitant Draco Malfoy be pulled over to where the boys were on their blanket. "That's Bas, he's my first brother and this is Ethan, he's the second. Do you want to sit down and sing with us? We's singing Ah, les crocodiles." The boy remarked, his French pronunciation very good.
"I don't know that one? Can you sing it in English? I don't speak French very well," Draco said as he sat down next to his miniature self.
"We know it in English too. It's easy, just remember, this is the crocodile snapping," the blonde boy said, clapping his hands together in a vertical motion. "And this is the crocodile swimming," he explained as he held his hands together and let them slither like a snake. Little Draco and Bastien began the song, doing the motions, which the adult copied; after the third verse, he even joined in singing the chorus.
"I don't like it," Sirius tersely whispered. "Why is he here?"
"I don't know," Anwen calmly replied even as she took his hand. "But if he was going to hurt one of us, he would have done it by now. Let's give him a few more minutes, and then we'll take him inside and find out what's going on. I'm going to send the kids to our quarters and let Kreacher take care of them until we're ready to leave for London."
"How did he get here? Do you know, Anwen?" Albus asked and the witch shook her head.
"We didn't get that far," she explained. "He seemed far more interested in watching our sons play. He wanted to know if he had friends and if he spent time with them. I'd venture he's had a very different life, perhaps without the simple joys our sons revel in."
The trio of adults watched the man with the children for a minute longer. They'd finished the crocodile song, and had moved onto Alouette, gentille, alouette. Adult Draco must have known this one for they were singing it in French. This made Anwen happy, as the English words about plucking beaks and eyes were somewhat disturbing. They'd learned the song from one of the medi-witches in France, and Anwen had never done the translations for them. When they were finished, Anwen called Kreacher. Oddly though, Dobby arrived with him.
"Dobby, is that you?" the grown Draco asked. The house-elf nodded, but also seemed to know to cower in fear.
"It is, Master Draco," the quivering elf replied. "You look so like your father. You're not from here, are you?"
"No, and I'm not sure how it happened," the man confessed. Seizing on the opportunity, Anwen stepped forward to address the house-elves. She pulled them aside, closer to Ethan in his carrier.
"Kreacher, Dobby, please take the boys to our quarters. Put up the enchantments and seal the door. Should anything happen which makes you concerned, please take them to estate in France, we will meet you there."
"Why are there two Dracos, Mistress Anwen?" Dobby implored.
"I don't really know, but I mean to find out. Please, take the boys and keep them safe," she directed and Kreacher pulled Dobby toward their young charges before he could ask another question. A second later, the boys, blanket and all, were gone.
"Well, as pleasant as the weather is, I think this is a discussion which should be carried on in a more private and secure location. Mr. Malfoy, if you will come me?" Albus directed and the blonde man nodded and strode along side the headmaster. Anwen and Sirius followed, hanging back enough that Sirius could quiz his wife.
"Why didn't you immediately bring them inside?" Sirius demanded.
"Because Fawkes was with us and he was able to flash indoors without creating a scene. I didn't want to go on the offensive if he wasn't here to do any harm," she justified.
"He's from another timeline, of course he's here to do harm!" Anwen manoeuvred herself in front of Sirius, halting him on the cobblestone pathway. She stood on her tiptoes and kissed him sweetly, completely disarming him and his anger.
"Sirius, we don't know that. Perhaps he's here to help, or he'll want to. I think meeting himself living a different life was surprising to him, and how I interacted with our children was of great interest to him," she explained. "Sirius, please, let's find out what he wants before we tear into the boy." Sirius studied his wife, her choice of descriptions for the grown Draco not escaping him.
"I don't like it, Anwen," he confessed as he took her hand and returned to walking toward the castle doors. "Remember what Remus had said, that message about Newton and laws and whatever it all was?"
"Believe me, I haven't forgotten," she replied. "I just have this feeling we need to listen to him. Please? If he ends up attacking me, feel free to hex him into next week." Sirius guffawed at her absolute seriousness as she said the last part, and her ability to disarm him with just a few words.
"That's more like it."
Once all were in Albus's office, tea and lemon drops passed around, Albus began the questioning.
"You must understand our surprise at your presence here," he started. "Perhaps it would be best if you were to start at the beginning, and tell us about everything which lead to your coming to our time."
Draco nodded and took a very long sip of his tea before starting. "I didn't grow up like your Draco. My childhood wasn't very happy. The earliest memory I have was of helping my mother cutting leaves and bark." His eyes were half closed, as if he was struggling with the past. His furrowed brow, tense muscles and bitter tone tore at her mother's heart, and Anwen reached over and threaded her fingers through his. Draco whipped open his lids, like a nightshade which was wound too tight and would pop open with the slightest prompt. He studied her face for a moment, and then began speaking to her. Anwen encouraged him without saying a word, her touch more verbose.
"The Dark Lord had been captured when he went after the Potter brat and his parents. We thought Pettigrew was our mole; instead he was yours." Draco looked to Dumbledore when he said this and Sirius caught Anwen's eye, surprised there were timelines where Wormtail had redeemed himself. "There were Potters in the house, but not the Mudblood or the baby. The blood-traitor was there with his parents, and his school friends, and half the Auror corps, and you," he turned away from Dumbledore and returned to Anwen's eyes. She urged him to continue with a soft smile, suppressing her urge to cringe at the hateful words which fell so comfortably from the man's lips.
"From the minute I was born, all my Mother and Father and Auntie Bella talked about was restoring the Dark Lord. An International Wizarding Prison was built in Greenland, impenetrable in every way. I'm seventeen years old, and they've been trying to free him since before I could talk. The attempts to do so have had heavy costs among his followers. Auntie Bella was first, then my father, then both grandfathers; their deaths made Mother not right in the head." Tears seemed to gather along Draco's lashes, although they remained unshed. He couldn't bear the concern in Anwen's eyes, so he cast his eyes away; instead committing the star and moon pattern of the carpet to his memory.
"James Potter became Minister for Magic, and he started passing all these laws regarding equality and giving rights to half-breeds and Squibs. When I started school there were classes about respect and diversity, and while I'd never say anything to Mother, I actually liked them. I was even dating a half-blood girl from Hufflepuff," he added, as if this was somehow shocking.
"Most of the finest families had lost their men, like Auntie Bella's husband and all of his family. The only men left seemed to be half-bloods and blood traitors. I had no idea what Mother was planning, I didn't even understand what she thought she'd accomplish, but I came home for the Christmas holiday my seventh year, and they were all gathered in our ballroom. She told me I was going to be the secret weapon."
"Draco, who was there?" Dumbledore asked.
"The Black women, the whole strange lot of them. Grandmother Ella and Great Auntie Wally; Aunties Lucretia and Cassie and all the other ones who I don't know. Great-Great-Grandma Violetta even came back from Austria for this gathering. There were other women there too; Mrs. Yaxley and Mrs. Rosier and ones I'd only met in passing. They said they were going to change the war," he explained. "I never thought we were at war. There was nothing to fight against. Sirius had come to stand behind Anwen through the roll-call of the matriarchs of his family. It didn't take much to realise this young man came from a world where there wasn't a Society Circle actively working against the Death Eaters; they were instead hoping to resurrect them.
"Great, the crazy-arsed Black family strikes again," Sirius said under breath, along with a string of curse words so colourful it would make a sailor blush. He then went on to begin his nervous pacing, looking greatly like the caged animal he could become. Anwen watched Draco tense at Sirius' movements.
"When you got there, can you tell me exactly what they said?" Albus interjected. "What magical items were in the room?" he pressed and Draco retracted from the pressure.
"Er, the room was dark, I think," the young man stammered, his concentration lost.
Anwen took both his hands in hers. "Draco, look at me. Ignore these two, neither of them have the patience the Lord gave a nursing sow," she jokingly scolded them. "Now, close your eyes, and relax your body." She began to hum the crocodile song from earlier, relaxing him further.
"Were you at Malfoy Manor?" she started her questioning, and Draco nodded. Anwen and Sirius had been there when they assisted Louise in her move from the estate and into Grimmauld Place. The place had given her the he-bee-jee-bees when she'd walked into the dark room with its vaulted ceilings and gigantic painted serpents. The room had no windows, so there was no natural light, only a monstrous chandelier, with candles held in place by snakes of all sizes. "Was there light?"
"Yes, some candlelight. The chandelier wasn't lit though," Draco responded.
"Was there an altar?"
"Er, I think so, but it was down on the dais for the instrumentalists," he explained and Anwen could picture it in her mind. "Mother's bone bowl was sitting on it." The witch had to steel herself at this news. You didn't use a bowl made from the skull of your ancestor for your average spell. The only spells which required such a vessel were blood magic or spells which involved the summoning of the dead.
"What were the other women doing?" she prodded in a different direction.
"They were seated in a circle," he explained as he remembered. Draco pulled his face together tightly, as if he was struggling to see something in his memories. "Some of them have potion items on their laps. Grandmother Malfoy has a very large snakeskin and Grandmother Ella has bark. It's like pale grey and sort of smooth." Dumbledore went round his desk and pulled parchment from inside a drawer and lifted his quill to take down the ingredients.
"Auntie Cassie has newt eggs, lots of them, and Auntie Lucretia has the long red flowers. They're very big and bright, with five petals," Draco explained.
"Fire Lilies," Anwen confirmed and Albus nodded. She suspected the bark was willow. Draco added a set of Rune stones was held by a grizzled looking witch and another ancient woman was holding a dark red candle. He added there was a pewter cauldron.
"Oh, and someone had a phial of this yellow shimmering liquid, but I don't know what it was. I'm sorry." Anwen gave his hands a squeeze.
"I'd bet my life it was Evening Primrose dew."
"You think it is the same potion and spell Mister Parker used when he visited?" Albus asked and Anwen nodded. Sirius caught up with the conversation at the mentioning of the name Harry used when he'd come back in time to kill Voldemort. This started another stream of curse words from his mouth.
"I don't understand?" Draco confessed. "I mean, I know it was that strange spell which brought me back here, but how did you know?"
"We've had experience with it," Anwen glumly replied. "Is there anything else you can remember about that night?"
"A lot of it is garbled and a mess, like I'm trying to remember something I dreamed," he explained and Anwen nodded. "Mother said she'd seen herself, like a ghost of herself, but it wasn't a ghost. She said the other self told her this was how to win the war.
"Mother explained I would go back in time, and it would feel very weird. She gave me a potion so I wouldn't be sick to my stomach. My instructions were when I felt well enough, I was to go and find myself. She taught me a locator spell, so I could find the me in this time. That's how I ended up here, with you and little me, this afternoon. After I found myself, I was to give her this note," he explained, pulling a letter from his pocket. Albus took it from him and began to scan it. His shoulders fell and he sank into his seat.
Anwen wanted to know what the note said, but she didn't want to discuss this in detail with this Draco here. "Is there anything else?"
Draco nodded. "I have this," he said as he produced a phial from his pocket. Both she and Sirius recognised the luminescent spring green, although Dumbledore did not. Anwen and Sirius looked at each other, the strange activities of Sirius's kidnapping and the evidence they now had shaking both of them deeply.
"May I have that?" she asked and Draco handed over the phial. "I need to ask you, have you read the note?"
"No, I didn't really want to know what they were up to," he explained. "Is what they were planning bad?"
"Yes, if my suspicions are correct, it's horrible."
"I don't want to be part of it then. Can you just send me back to my life or my time or whatever it was?"
"I believe I can," Albus stated. "However, I think you should remain here with us until we are certain of what has been planned, and how to safely return you. May I suggest you stay here, at Hogwarts, as my guest?"
"That's fine," Draco said. "You will tell me what's going on, right?"
"When we can, I promise we will," Anwen answered. "There are still some gaps which we need to fill." Draco nodded in understanding.
Dumbledore called for one of the school's elves, and had Draco shown to private quarters, well away from the students. While he was arranging that, Sirius and Anwen went about contacting their family and within minutes, everyone was convening at the estate in France. Albus was brought along, although he acquiesced and let Anwen explain everything to the others. It seemed he was the only one surprised by the time-travelling Draco.
"It's what you warned us about," James said to Anwen.
"Yes, and the potion is the final piece. Lily, care to do the honours of separating the parts and telling us what it is, although Sirius and I think we know," she asked even as she was levitating the potion across the table to the redheaded witch. A few flicks of her wand, and a list appeared next to the potion.
"Polyjuice," she announced, flabbergasted. "Polyjuice to make someone look like Sirius."
"Oh my goddess," Eva blurted out. "Do you think Narcissa is visiting versions of herself in all these different time lines?"
"It's the only way it would work," her husband answered, his brain putting the pieces of the horrible puzzle together. Shaken to his core, he wrapped his arm around Eva, who was also coming to understand..
"It would provide her with two-fold revenge; she can take out Harry or Lils and me or all of us; and making sure Sirius is discredited," James added.
"I take it you understand what is happening? All of you?" Albus asked, he still unclear of the greater ramifications.
James grimly nodded and spoke; "We've been pulled into a time war."
Author's Note: Yes, there will be a sequel, called "Time War" and it will be out later this year. If you want to read it, please put me on Author Alert. My health is going to be a deciding factor in when this story will start being published. I have an appointment later today which should help us create a treatment plan. I hope you've all enjoyed it. Thanks so much for reading and reviewing throughout. Now that it's finished, I would love to hear what you think. Thanks for everything, MNF