Title: Time And Time Again
Author name: Moonstarlet
Category: Humor, History, Romance and far too much Angst
Keywords: Harry, Lily, James
Spoilers: PS/SS, COS, POA, GOF
Rating: Ever Had Créme Bruleé? No? This Is The Next Best Thing
Summary: Voldemort plans to go back in time to kill James and Lily before Harry is ever born. Can Harry save his mom and dad? What happens when the mom likes the son? Plus, the Marauders at 15...oh lordy!
Disclaimer: Harry Potter, Hogwarts and all related characters, settings, spells, etc. are the property of JKR, WB, Scholastic, Bloomsbury, etc. I am making no money from this and intend no copyright infringement.
A/N: I've been worrying about this chapter for the last two years. It's finally out, for better or for worse. I hope you enjoy. It's Harry's big hero scene. So... And a 1, and a 2, and a 1,2,3,4!
Easter Break, 1976
Diagon Alley was deserted. Besides the Blacks, James and Harry, there were only a handful of other people on the street. They carried their bags close to their bodies, walked quickly and kept their heads down, not looking in any direction except forward.
Standing at every other corner were people of indiscriminate sex in indigo robes with hoods concealing their faces. They held their wands across their chests and their heads moved left to right, back and forth as their eyes, presumably, scanned the streets for suspicious activity. Harry guessed they were Aurors.
When Harry felt someone take hold of his hand, he looked up.
"It's best to try to ignore them, dear. Otherwise..." Mrs. Black moved between Harry and the Auror, speeding up as she went. "Come along, children. We'd better be quick about getting what you need." She gave the Auror another guarded look.
The inside of Flourish and Blotts, which was always one of the nicer stores on Harry's previous visits, was dusty, dark and oppressive. The display window appeared not to have been cleaned in ages, a thick layer of film kept most of the sunlight from entering the store. The glass-encased sconces were hazed with dirt and wax. The bookcases, usually so well organized and tidy, seemed to have been carelessly managed: entire shelves were void of everything but dust, while in others, books appeared to have been thrown onto the shelves, staying wherever they landed—on their sides, upside down or half way off the shelf. The books themselves were mishandled: spines were cracked, bindings were coming unglued, pages were falling out and Harry saw with shock that one book had an entire bootprint on its cover.
Mrs. Black, with the boys entow, approached the empty service desk and rang the bell. A long silence followed as everyone waited for something to happen. After what felt like eons, a tall, thin old man whose face appeared to be made of nothing but wrinkles and whose hands were curled into claws and swollen at the knuckles appeared out of a door concealed in the wall.
"What'll it be?" he asked.
"One copy of Intermediate Transfiguration, and one Standard Book of Spells, Grade 5."
The old man narrowed his eyes and squinted at them. "A bit late in the year to be buying school books, ain't it?"
Mrs. Black's lips pursed and her eyes flashed. "I don't see how it's any of your business, but my two boys here," she waved a hand at Sirius and James, "charmed each book to attack the other. They ended up with nothing but scraps."
"That so?" the old man said, looking at the group with a sly expression on his face. He looked Mrs. Black up and down then said, "Let's see your money."
Five galleons appeared in Mrs. Blacks palm, she threw the money on the counter. The old man peered at the gold, his face only a few inches from the desk's surface. He grunted, put the money in his pocket then turned, quickly disappearing down one of the aisles. A few moments later he came back carrying the books. He slid them across the desk.
Mrs. Black handed the books to James and Sirius, turned sharply on her heels and walked out of the store, her nose elevated generously.
They were treated much the same in Madam Malkin's (James needed new robes because all of his were stained with an unknown substance that seemed to be impervious to all spells) and the Apothecary (both Sirius and James were running low on wolfsbane). In the Leaky Cauldron, however, the group received their first smile of the day from Tom, the bartender.
"Afternoon, Donna. How's Thaddeus?" he asked as Mrs. Black and the boys passed.
"He's in good health, Tom, if not good spirits."
"Oh? How's that?"
Mrs. Black sighed, slipping into a chair. "He's overworked. Tired."
Tom nodded sympathetically. "Give 'im my best. You, too." He pulled a notebook out of his robes. "What can I get ya?"
Everyone made their orders, then settled in, placing their bags under the table and leaning back (the better to people watch).
In Harry's time, the Leaky Cauldron was dark, the perfect place for shady people and "private" conversations. On this day, however, Harry doubted that there was a corner of the tavern that wasn't illuminated. The light was nearly blinding. There wasn't much talk, probably because every word could be heard throughout the room.
James stood up, "I'm gonna go say 'hello' to John." He walked off towards the restroom. Harry smothered a grin: his father was a very colorful character.
Their meals arrived—a salad for Mrs. Black, roast beef for Sirius, shepherd's pie for James, a hot turkey sandwich drowned in gravy for Harry, and Butterbeers all around.
When more than a few minutes had gone by and James still hadn't returned, Harry felt a niggling of worry. I've been here for months and nothing has happened. Wouldn't it be ironic, he thought, if something happened to my Dad while I was busy eating a sandwich.
He stood up, attracting Mrs. Black's attention. "I'm just going to make sure D-, uh, James didn't fall in the toilet. I might need your help, Sirius."
Sirius looked up from his plate, his eyes wide. "Why?"
"Just come on."
The men's room door was shut and locked. Harry knocked. "James, you in there?"
"I'm kinda busy, sonny," came James' wavering voice.
Sirius rolled his eyes. "Make sure there's toilet paper before you commit to anything." He winked at Harry.
Harry frowned. "You need anything, James?"
"No. I'm pretty set, Junior."
Harry went cold. James had referred to Harry as his son twice, albeit indirectly. "Okay, old man. Just don't strain yourself. See ya in a bit."
Harry pulled lightly on Sirius' shoulder, backing up until they were hidden around the corner.
"Be quiet," Harry whispered, one finger to his lips, another to Sirius'.
"Why?" Sirius said at normal volume. Harry wanted to choke him. Instead he pressed his finger harder against Sirius' mouth.
"I can't explain how I know, you just gotta trust me," he breathed. "There's somebody in there with D-, James."
Sirius crossed his arms and smirked. "Sure, there is. Probably a sexy barmaid."
Harry ignored him. "Go get the Auror that's standing at the entrance. Now. Hurry."
When Harry pulled out his wand, Sirius grew alarmed, realizing that Harry was telling the truth. He swallowed, then pulled out his own wand. "If my best friend is in trouble, I'm not gonna run! I'm gonna stay and fight!"
Harry shook his head, wondering how long Sirius would make him argue about who would get rescue James. "This is about me, not him. Just go get the Aurors and hurry." Without waiting for a reply, Harry turned the corner and made his way toward the restroom.
Sirius rushed into the dinning area and out the door, his robes flapping as he passed.
From behind the bathroom door, Harry could hear James conversing with his captors.
"What've you guys got against me anyway?" he asked, each word rising half an octave above the one before it.
There was a pause, then an answer from a high-pitched nasally voice. "Nothing really. Don't take it personal or nothin'..."
"Shut up, Pucey! We're not supposed to talk to him!" a second, deeper voice said.
"He didn't say nothin' about not talkin' to the kid. And besides, what's You-Know-Who got against him anyways? He's just a kid."
"Yeah! I'm just a kid. Wouldn't hurt a fly."
There was a thump, the sound of flesh striking flesh, then, "Ow! Jeez. You coulda just said it was a private conversation. I woulda kept my nose out of it. You didn't have to hit--" James voice was cut off and replaced by a gagging noise.
The second voice spoke again. "He's talking too much. He's too cheerful. Something's up here. You go check outside."
The man called Pucey whined, "Why do I have to do it? Why don't you do it?"
"Cause... cause... cause I'm your senior and that makes me the boss. Now do it!"
The door opened slowly and Harry slid back into the shadows. Pucey poked his head out, looked left, right, then went back into the bathroom. "It's all clear."
There was a brief scuffle, the door opened again and Pucey was pushed out. "Do it better, you idiot!"
Pucey regained his balance and began walking towards Harry, grumbling to himself. He turned the corner, his back to Harry, then collapsed in a soundless heap.
Harry flipped him over. Pucey was wearing the standard-issue Death Eater uniform; gray mask, black robes with the hood drawn over his face. Harry stripped him.
When the robes were on, the hood drawn up and the mask snugly in place, Harry briefly attempted Pucey's nasal voice. When he couldn't achieve it, Harry decided to talk as monosyllabically as possible.
Harry returned to the bathroom door, opened and shut it behind him, his heart thumping so hard that he thought it might explode.
James was lying on the floor, a used handkerchief stuck in his mouth. A purple bruise was growing on his left cheek, and he looked terrified, but he was still alive.
"So? Anybody out there?" the second death eater asked.
Harry shook his head, "'S clear."
Harry could see the other man's eyes narrow through his mask. "You didn't just stand outside the door and count to 20, did you?"
The man continued to stare at Harry, before shrugging his shoulders and pulling out his wand. He pointed it at James, paused, then glared at Harry. "Well?"
Flabbergasted, the words popped out of Harry's mouth before he could stop them, "Well, what?"
The death eater rolled his eyes to the ceiling as if to say 'why me?' then waved a hand at Harry. "You know the rules. We say the curse at the same time, that way no one can point the finger at the other if we get caught."
"Oh, right." Harry pulled out his wand and pointed it at James. James' eye went round like saucers, he jerked his head back and forth—attempting to make himself a difficult target-- and started screaming into the cloth that gagged him.
"On three," the death eater said. "One..."
Harry didn't wait for two. He twisted in the tiny bathroom and shouted, "Stupify!"
The death eater's eyes widened with shock before fluttering closed. Harry conjured ropes for the unconscious man, then began to untie those binding James.
Once his arms were free, James ripped off his gag, "Who...? Harry!?"
Harry had pulled off the gray mask, beaming. "I saved your life!"
Taking the hand Harry offered, James got to his feet. "Yeah, well, considering I gave you life, I think we're even."
Harry's smile widened—he suddenly felt elated--"You gave me life, huh?"
James nodded, rubbing his wrists where the ropes had held him.
"I think Mom might have had a little to do with that."
James grunted, matching Harry's grin. "Yeah, well, I---"
The door burst open with a loud bang and both Harry and James were knocked unconscious.
They woke, a few minutes later, in an unused room, within seconds of each other. Both grabbed their heads, groaned, leaned over their beds and puked. Both then said, "wha happened?"
Sirius stood between the two beds and grinned. His cheeks were flushed and his hair was windswept, but he looked like he was having the time of his life. "You guys were wicked! There're Aurors swarming all over the place, and the two of you made 'em look like hacks! God, I wish I coulda been there. I'm never gonna forgive you, Henry, for making me get the boys in blue. Big sodding help they were. Those death eaters are outside crying their eyes out. One of 'em, the small guy, Pucey, I think, swears up and down that you're ten feet tall, had glowing red eyes and the two of you dueled for 10 minutes before you knocked him out. The rest of it I know is a load, but did you really duel 'im, Henry? What kinda spells did you use? Did ya fight dirty? I woulda fought dirty. I woulda--"
Harry groaned. James threw a pillow and, when Sirius stopped to take a breath and dodge the projectile, he said, "D'ya mind? My head feels like it's been run over by a stampeding Welsh Green. Just shut up for a few minutes, eh?" He then rolled over and threw his arms over his head.
Sirius wrapped his arms around the pillow and bounced on the balls of his feet, his face aglow. "I knew you'd be alright, mate. Wasn't worried a bit." He sat on the side of James' bed and continued, "I know what I want to do when I graduate." He poked James in the leg. "You hear me? I'm gonna be an Auror. Or maybe a spy. Yeah, an international spy. Fighting crime under the cover of night. No one would suspect me; a handsome, carefree playboy by day and a dangerous secret agent who could kill someone 15 ways with a spoon by night." He patted James' leg. "And you could be my trusted sidekick. Sirius Black and James Potter, the world's arrrrrgh!"
James ripped the pillow out of Sirius' arms and began smothering him with it. Harry watched with mild interest before drifting off to sleep.
A/N2: As I type this, I'm watching Satan in "South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut" reach impossibly high notes. Perhaps this sounds blasphemous, but I really wish I could do that. I'm also watching an old episode of The West Wing. Oh! That reminds me. I meant to have a trivia question last chapter, but totally flaked. So here it is: Who is Donna Black's namesake? Give his/hers/its full name. There is a hint in this A/N. See you in a few weeks. (Hopefully, I'll remember to give you the answer) Sincerely..., me.