Author's Note: This is my first fanfic and most beloved baby. My baby, I tell thee! Which I created through blood, sweat, tears, and my original 'wtf?' reaction to Harry Potter's Epilogue.
While this fic starts out light-hearted, consider yourself warned: happy endings aren't exactly my thing. I love comedy, I love tragedy, and I craved a Next Generation time travel fic that encompassed both. Thus, this monstrosity! My advice? Run while you still can. You heard me, shoo!
General Disclaimer: While my Gringotts' vault might be filled with knuts, it's thanks to my private army of eccentric nifflers and not because I'm profiting from J. K. Rowling's heptalogy.
"People don't understand time. It's not what you think it is. It's complicated. Very complicated. People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect. But actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint, it's more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey…stuff."
— The Tenth Doctor, Doctor Who.
Lily Potter was not an easily startled child. She'd grown accustomed to her cousins' antics, Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes' fireworks, house-rocking explosions, and the paparazzi's frenzied queries. Though, to be fair, much of the fiery destruction was arguably her fault.
Whatever the case, she was rather surprised to be getting even one calm Summer afternoon. Lounged on the living room couch, she was sleepily content with rereading the same paragraph in Standard Book of Spells, Grade 1 over and again. Happily ignorant of what her parents had snuck off to do, she wasn't paying attention to her dog napping in the corner, or her likewise asleep and snoring brother by the fireplace. She was unaware that her other brother had nipped into the kitchen and had met a traumatising sight, one that he figured he might as well take advantage of. Also unbeknownst to her, with this task completed, he was making a quick beeline straight to her in the living room.
So though it took a lot to startle Lily, when the air was pierced by the youngest Potter's shriek there was no doubt about what—or who—had caused it. For within the very short list of people who could manage (or dare) to ruffle her feathers, one had just burst into the room and had sent his little sister spiralling off the couch.
Jamie Potter ('James Potter? What, am I in trouble? You can't prove a thing!') could have easily launched onto an unoccupied seat, but that would have defeated the point of his noisy entrance. He watched, unperturbed, as this spiralled into further chaos. For Lily's scream was accompanied by the textbook flying from her hands, cartwheeling through the air, and ricocheting off of Al ('Call me Albus and I'll hex you.') Potter's dozing head. The latter awakened with a curse and flailing arms, falling to the floor on top of his outraged sister.
Snuffles, Fang's son and the Potter's pet dog, gave a snort. He then rolled over and continued his nap.
"They're doing it. Again." Jamie fluffed the pillow. Pushing something into his pocket, he ignored his siblings' glares and scrambles off the floor. He reclined on the couch, kicking his feet up onto the armrest. "Don't they realise how gross it is? They're old, practically ancient. They shouldn't be snogging! Especially not on the kitchen table when I innocently walk in for breakfast."
"It's mid-afternoon and you've never been 'innocent'." Al mumbled, straightening up. Rubbing his head he tossed Lily's book back to her. He then blinked, refocusing on the words rather than how he'd ended up on the floor. "Hold on. The table? They do know we eat there, right?"
Al Severus ('Why're you bringing up the middle name? Call me Al! S'not that hard.') could have been the reincarnation of his father. That is, if either of the killing curses flung at Harry Potter had managed to do their job. As it was, Al had inherited practically everything from his dad…aside from terrible eyesight, a megalomaniac after his blood, and an overwhelming humility. Not that Al couldn't be humble, it'd be embarrassing if a Slytherin wasn't able to fake that.
His sister sniffed, standing up and stomping her foot on the ground. "You're a seat stealer. Seat stealer!"
Jamie gaped at his siblings for missing the situation's direness. "I'm scarred for life, don't you get it? Mum and dad shouldn't be doing that."
Jamie Sirius, the seat stealing mastermind of the Potter children, was sure his parents were seers. That is, at least as far as his name was concerned. With hair permanently ruffled and clothes reeking of the latest exploded concoction, the eldest of the Potter siblings thrived by being even more curious, reckless, and mischievous than his father. But whereas trouble had always found Harry, Jamie raced towards it like a niffler let loose in Gringotts. Because of this, everyone argued that he most took after Ginny. Still, it was an open secret that his Aunt Luna was also to blame (though his Uncle George was miffed he didn't get this honour).
Al groaned. "Shut it already."
"I think it's romantic." Lily pushed Jamie off part of the couch, sitting back down and flipping her book open (albeit with a last glare). "Their love story's adorable. Damsel in distress, knight in shining armour—"
"Damsel in distress?" Al slumped back onto the armchair, looking at Lily as though she'd spontaneously turned into a hinkypuff. "Aren't you always saying that stuff's rubbish?"
She waved her hand, once again trying to study her book. "Duh. But then mum fought and helped save Hogwarts! They're like hero and heroine. Adorable."
Lily Luna, the youngest of the Potters, resembled a sleeping dragon who dunderheaded people insisted on cooing over and tickling. Having inherited her mum's spunk and cursing prowess, many were despondent that packed into her petite frame was a bright red Weasley temper. Yet, she wasn't much of a Gryffindor. This wasn't startling, seeing as how none of the siblings exhibited traits typical of the Lion House (aside from a disregard for rules and a 'healthy' dose of recklessness). Harry and Ginny had actually been shocked when Jamie followed in their House footsteps, having assumed that his habit of manipulating disaster and escaping in the aftermath was positively snakelike. They were similarly surprised when Al hadn't become a Ravenclaw, but were proud that their branch of the family was the first to have a Slytherin Weasley (though that was merely because 'Potter, Albus' alphabetically trumped 'Weasley, Rose').
With Lily being Sorted in less than a week, her parents had conceded that they were terrible at predictions and would be even more horrific than Trelawney at her job. To avoid losing even more sacks of galleons to George, they agreed to stop gambling on their kids' possible Houses. Of course, this didn't stop the Potters from separately betting that their little girl would soon be wearing green and silver.
Jamie frowned as his siblings chattered about heroes, feminism, and other rubbish while ignoring the important, scar-inducing point. "Mum and dad are old. Old plus snogging doesn't work."
Al rolled his eyes. "They're our parents. How do you think we came into existence? They've done worse than kiss."
Both Lily and Jamie paled.
"Eww, eww, EWW AL!" She slammed her book shut. "I didn't want to picture that. You're both insensitive gits! James for being an unromantic idiot, and Al for taking that too bloody far."
"Language Lils." The oldest sibling chuckled while still looking disgusted.
"Shove it. Like I didn't learn everything from you."
Al blocked out Lily's and Jamie's bickering, feeling that it was more productive to gaze around the living room. He silently cursed Scorp for being late and for always using the excuse about a slow floo connection. How could the floo even be slow? You only had to step into a fireplace. It wasn't exactly master arithmancy.
"Oi! Don't be mad at me because mum and dad are being gross."
"I'm mad because you flung me off my seat! But it's not gross, it's love."
"Ugh Lils, bad mental pictures."
"That's your own fault! I just meant kissing. Nothing like, eww…"
Straining his eyes towards the overlarge fireplace, Al watched intently for a chance to escape his siblings' shouting, but the fire remained just that—a large fire. No flicker of green, and not even a hint of his best mate who was supposed to have been here half an hour ago.
The fireplace remained just as it had always been at Potter Manor: faded silver lining each worn brick, a thick pile of timber in the middle, and the top mantle perched with precariously clustered pictures in all shapes and sizes. Most of the photos were snoozing or talking amongst themselves, though frozen muggle pictures were scattered here and there. Al darted his gaze over the familiar and unfamiliar faces, but the photos didn't capture his attention like they had when he was young.
Boredom washed over him as Lily and Jamie started to throw books and pillows at each other. Snuffles woke up with a startled yip at the yells and began to bark at the siblings.
'Nothing strange here.' Al stretched back in the seat, thinking that Scorp (an only child) would probably think him mad for considering this to be normal. But this was, after all, utterly tame by Potter-Weasley standards. It was only when curses, tables, and gnomes started flying that most of the family even became interested. He supposed that was a symptom of having a ridiculous amount of mischievous cousins, all of whom took the adults' stories about their Hogwarts days as records to break, rather than as warnings.
Al's thoughts drifted to the shouting lectures Aunt Hermione would give his dad and Uncle Ron whenever yet another Weasley or Potter bewitched a car, truck, bus, or kayak to fly to Hogwarts. But those stunts, among many others, were now practically rights of passage in the family. Al himself had sent Lily a Hogwarts toilet seat in first year, had snuck into the other Houses' Common Rooms (except for Hufflepuff's, which was considered an impossible task), and was making plans with Jamie and Fred to recreate his Uncles' indoor swamp (which would this time be far larger than a mere corridor. Pfft, child's play).
The boy mused about the upcoming year, but slowly became aware that he could hear his own thoughts. Which hadn't been possible a moment ago with all the shouting. Frowning at the room's sudden silence, he looked around to see if his siblings had exhausted or killed each other.
At first glance, it appeared as though a tornado had struck the living room: books and blankets were lying haphazardly, Snuffles was cowering under the couch, and a line of cushions divided the room into two enemy territories. Lily was sitting calmly in the middle of her's. She held her textbook upside down, but was too busy suspiciously eyeing Jamie to notice. Al could see why. Temporary ceasefire of no, their brother was sitting too still and looking too intent to be doing anything but plotting. Jamie wasn't even glancing at Lily and was instead examining something glittery he was pulling from his pocket.
Al ignored the war zone and focused on the more present problem. "What are you doing?"
"Hmm." Jamie looked up, distracted. "Huh?"
Lily growled, throwing her book to the side. "You're planning something! What're you holding?"
Jamie's smile instantly rivalled the cheshire cat's. "I found it." His sister continued growling, clearly after a better answer. He gave her a wary glance before deciding it'd be better for his health to co-operate. "After I escaped the kitchen, I realised it'd be the perfect time to search for dad's Cloak. So I snuck into his office—"
"You did WHAT!" Lily shrieked, the office being forbidden territory without an adult. As fond of fires and explosions as the Potter kids were, there were certain lines they'd learned not to cross. "There are dangerous things in there!"
Jamie lightly shook the glittery thing hanging from a chain. "I wasn't going to touch anything. Sheesh, Lils. I was just innocently trying to steal the Cloak."
"I don't think you know what 'innocently' means." Al said drily.
"I didn't find it anyway." Jamie said, but rather than being sullen he waved the chain around. "But I got something almost as good. Look at this!" He let his hand come to a rest and proudly held up the object.
Lily scooted forward, curious despite her lingering annoyance. "What is it?"
But Al froze, his mind making the connection with a long ago bedtime story about a golden hourglass. "You didn't. You can't be that stupid."
"I did and I am." Jamie smirked, rattling the necklace. He then paused, frowning as he thought back over what he'd answered. "That, ah, didn't come out right."
"PUT THAT BACK!" Al dove for his brother and almost pushed them over the couch. "Don't you listen to Aunt Hermione? What's wrong with you!"
Lily puffed her cheeks out in annoyance as her brothers wrestled for the chain. "What is it?"
"It's so dangerous! If that thing activates—"
"We'll be able to see dad's adventures." Jamie said, back to being smug as he shoved Al away. He held the necklace up and out of his brother's reach by climbing onto the back of the furniture. "You know he always leaves out the details. Even Uncle Ron's silent on tonnes of subjects, 'You're too young' and all that rot. This'll solve that!"
Al gritted his teeth, wondering if he should take a leaf out of his sister's book and start flinging things at Jamie. "Right. So you're willing to risk messing with time?"
Lily's eyes widened in recognition. "Ohh, is that Aunt Hermione's new time turner? This'll be so fun!"
"See, it'll be fine." Jamie said plaintively to his brother, glancing at a now more complacent Lily with pride. "We'll go back, hide, watch the action, and when we return no one'll know we even left."
Al eyed the time turner warily. Against his better judgement, his siblings' enthusiasms started to rub off on him. Or rather, he found himself considering joining in on another of Lily's mad schemes. He wondered if messing with this could really be anymore dangerous than some of the other things they'd pulled. Most importantly, he couldn't help but agree with Jamie—at least with the broad strokes. So as he sat there considering it, he began imagining seeing the many family stories and legends in real life. They couldn't do any harm if they hid, could they? Why not race away on a proper adventure? Why were his parents even hiding so much?
"No, no." Al shook his head, trying to clear his thoughts. "You heard dad and Aunt Hermione, this thing's experimental. It's dangerous."
Jamie humphed, as though the idea that a Potter with Weasley blood would avoid danger was preposterous. Which, to be fair, it rather was.
"Relax Al." Lily slid up to her brothers, curiously eyeing the time turner. "We can see mum's valentine that no one will talk about! We can see their first kiss! Or, or, oh! Uncle Ron's and Aunt Hermione's wedding when Uncle George—"
But Jamie was shaking his head, making a face. "We're talking about a time turner here, we aren't going to waste it on mushy stuff. Instead, wait. Yes! We'll see the flying car! The escape from Gringotts! Why Professor Longbottom killed the giant snake!"
"Did Luna let another Snorkack loose in here?" A familiar voice chimed in. Teddy Lupin stood in the doorway. Arms crossed over his chest, he stared at the disaster area with the three Potters standing dead centre.
"TEDDY!" Lily shrieked. Necklace forgotten, she ran and jumped on her godbrother. The latter just laughed at being toppled over, rumpling her hair before (with a shriek about ruining her ponytail) she pushed his hand away.
"Hey Lils! It's been, what? Two days?"
"Three." She stuck her tongue out, rolling off of him. "Thanks for leaving me with these prats."
"OI!" Came two simultaneous protests.
Teddy snorted at the Potters. Getting back to his feet he wiped imaginary dust from his clothes. "I do have a job, you know. Making sure food gets on the table and all that?"
"You can't cook." Al returned to glaring at his brother, not letting the distraction put him off.
"You come here for dinner." James spoke at the same time, though his attention was still on the glimmering necklace.
Teddy frowned, knowing that an angry Al and a distracted James could never be good. He followed his godbrother's gaze, gasping when he saw the small hourglass. "No way."
Jamie grinned broadly. "I know!"
"I don't think you do." Teddy joined Al in glaring at Jamie. "How did you get that? Forget it, I don't care. Just put it back!"
"Teddy?" A deep voice sounded from the hallway. James quietly cursed, stuffing the necklace back in his pocket.
"I thought I heard you…come in…?" Harry Potter stepped into the room and stopped at the sight. He couldn't keep back a snort at the mess that hardly resembled a room. While his wife's first reaction would have been outrage at her maniacs for children, the 'Man Who Conquered' seemed reluctantly proud that his kids were more destructive than he'd ever been.
"We'll clean it up." Lily squeaked, grabbing a pillow and tossing it over the couch she'd aimed for.
But Harry was clearly on the cusp of laughter. Al couldn't blame his dad. Lily looked like she'd been caught with her hand in the cookie jar, and even the normally unflappable Jamie was horror-struck. ''Still', Al thought, 'dad wouldn't be laughing if he knew what was going on.'
"Eh, it's not too bad." Harry spoke as his mouth twitched with laughter, blissfully unaware of his youngest son's musings. "But how about you get everything in order before your mum comes in, hmm?"
As his dad finished, Al watched as Lily and Jamie dashed about, flinging items over each other as the threat of their mother's ear-shattering reaction surely ran through their heads. Snuffles gave a terrified yip as he was catapulted halfway onto an armchair by Lily.
Harry shook his head in amusement. Al remembered him mentioning he found it hilarious that the threat of his wife's anger to the younger generation was akin to the threat of Molly Weasley's wrath for his. Al could never grasp his dad's—odd—sense of humour. Still, the older wizard's smile was replaced with concern once he noticed Al's and Teddy's fearful and conflicted expressions. "What is it?"
Al hesitated, but Teddy yelled out. "Jamie has your time turner!"
"Teddy!" Jamie paused across the room, arms raised in mid-couch-cushion-throw. Aim thus destroyed, the cushion flew into a corner and slammed into a vase. This caused Snuffles to give another petrified bark, jumping out of the armchair to cower behind Jamie. But, with Teddy's words hanging in the air, the paling Harry took no notice.
"What?" Surprise had barely shifted across Harry's face before it was replaced with dread. Eyeing his oldest son, he moved towards him as though nearing an Erumpent horn. "Do you really have it?"
Jamie likewise paused, but then crossed his arms and stared at his father defiantly. "Sure. Yeah, I do. I wanted to see some of your adventures. What's wrong with that? Not like you'd ever tell us about the truth about them."
Harry drew in a shaky breath, all laughter gone and replaced by an edge of panic. He took another few cautious steps forward. "Jamie, listen to me. That time turner's unstable, it activates if it's dropped or touches magic. Even the Unspeakables have accidentally set it off while testing it! Do you understand? I'm sorry if you're frustrated, but this is dangerous! Hand it back to me, slowly and carefully."
James was less sure than before, taking the necklace out of his pocket with a frown. But he wasn't done. "If it's so dangerous, why'd you have it?"
"Exactly because it's dangerous!" Harry answered his son, his frustration showing through his words. "The Unspeakables had security concerns so Hermione recommended me. I only agreed because I thought it'd be safe in my locked office!" His voice was shaking by the end, though he was clearly focusing on putting his anger aside until after he'd gotten the object far away from his kids. "But we'll speak about that later. For now, just give it back before anything happens."
Jamie scowled, still not convinced. "You've used a time turner before. They can't be that bad."
"It wasn't an experimental one!" The be-speckled wizard's exasperation became obvious. He winced as Jamie tossed up the chain before catching it with a smirk. "DON'T DO THAT! This can go back years!"
"I know!" Jamie snatched the necklace from the air again, though his arrogance had become replaced with anger. Now keeping the chain nestled in his grip, he glared at his stunned father as his voice raised. "That's the point, I WANT TO KNOW THE TRUTH! Not bits and pieces of stories!"
Lily and Teddy seemed as stunned as Al felt, for a screaming and vaguely insightful Jamie was about as common as a Wrackspurt sighting. Still, Al found his dad's reaction even stranger. The older man had frozen and momentarily seemed a thousand miles away, as though he was remembering a distant event.
Al frowned as his thoughts too wandered from the tense room. He hated to admit it, but his brother did have a point. What they heard about their family's past didn't make much sense. The stories were entertaining but they all seemed disjointed. Almost worse were his whispering aunts, uncles, parents, and grandparents who always fell silent whenever the kids walked in.
'It's like the escape from Gringotts.' He thought as the room's tension rapidly swelled. 'It happened, but why did dad break into it? Why did he become a fugitive? Was it because of Gringotts? Then why did he begin working at the Ministry?'
Al returned to reality just as Snuffles yelped (his overworked nerves finally snapped by the scream). But Al looked away from the dog to his brother's red flush, for as soon as the yell had left Jamie's lips his furious expression had turned into apologetic surprise.
"Look, I…" fingering the time turner, Jamie looked at his dad nervously. Opening and closing his mouth the words were stumbled. Yet the message came out clear as day, for Al's dad and brother were suddenly looking apologetic as the tense atmosphere lessened, "s'not the right way to do this, I know. Sorry."
Jamie began to hand the necklace back to his father. Yet at that moment Snuffles—still panicking—raced for the door. The startled boy in the way buckled over as the dog collided with his legs, a chain spiralling out of his grip.
Harry frantically dived for the necklace flying out of Jamie's hands. Al and Teddy similarly leaped forward. Lily too jumped into the fray, but only succeeded in knocking into Jamie and pushing them both further towards the chaos.
"NO!" Harry yelled as the chain slipped through his fingers, his seeker abilities falling short as his path was obstructed by his children. "GET BACK!"
In hitting the floor the hourglass snapped neatly in half, sending an outrageous amount of sand out into the air. Harry and Teddy scrambled to push the others away, but to no avail. The sand swept by an unnatural wind was already all around them: crumbling in Lily's hair, sticking to Harry's glasses, licking Teddy's tongue, spiralling around Jamie's fist, and sticking stubbornly like an itch to the end of Al's nose.
The room and world steadily disappeared. Flickering out of reality, the sand, desperate golden flings of magic, broken picture frames, and Snuffles' echoing barks surrounded the four people struggling to escape.
All but blinded, Al rapidly blinked. In this, he got a last flash of his mum. She'd come to a running stop in the doorway, staring in horrified silence as her family faded into the swirling cloud of sand.
A/N: Yay cliché time travel fics! Bask in the wondrously ridiculous plot and grammar that vaguely resembles English.
This story takes place two years after the Epilogue. James (more commonly going by Jamie, because I think it's adorable) is going into his 4th year at Hogwarts. Al's in his 3rd and Lily's entering her 1st. In this story Hermione's the Department Head of Magical Law Enforcement, working closely with the Unspeakables on their tests with time magic. As I wrote this before Ron was revealed to have gone to work with George, in this tale he never stopped being an auror.
A few notes on the Lupin and Potter kids. Teddy adores the Potters, viewing them as surrogate parents and siblings. A Hufflepuff at heart, his sense of fair play led him to training with the aurors, and he holds a precarious position as the family's voice of reason. As for the biological Potters, Jamie has all the curiosity of his dad and the imagination of his frequent past babysitter, Aunt Luna. Al and Lily are particularly close, having bonded over conspiracy plans. Jamie and Al are the ones most at a loss as to where their identities stand within this larger-than-life family, for neither want to be mirror-images of Harry Potter. In the midst of this, Lily's endearingly insane: a scheming Slytherin who's a hopeless romantic, many of her plots revolve around matchmaking her poor victims while pulling Al in for the ride.
In all? The Potter/Weasley craziness is genetic. People in this timey-wimey universe, beware: there be ticklish dragons here.