Disclaimer: I own nothing and I make no profit.
Welcome to the lovely new and improved World Enough and Time. It has been over two years since the original version was completed and looking back I have decided to rework a few of the plot points and clean up the writing. This is not an overly ambitious project as parts of the story will remain largely the same (particularly the early chapters), but it is one that I am excited about nonetheless.
For any new readers that happen upon this I highly recommend that you stick to reading this version. If all goes according to plan this will be both a more enjoyable read and a smoother plot. I can safely guarantee that it will not be a long wait between updates. The story and the chapters are short and it has been easy going so far.
I'd also like to take a moment to make mention of my original beta, ellaminnowpea, who helped tremendously with the original version. Although I am undertaking this further revision entirely on my own, without her the story likely would have ended up an uncompleted mess.
One thing that is not apparent in this chapter but that I have changed from the original is Lily's middle name. While I have known from the time the family tree came out that Lily's middle name is Luna, I changed it in the original version to Patrice. Despite author's notes noting the deliberate change I received countless messages pointing this out to me and so in this version I have kept Lily's middle name canon.
While my writing is still nothing impressive, I'd like to think it has at least improved from the time I started the original story back in 2007. (Has it really been that long?) I would truly love to hear your thoughts whether you have read the old version or not.
So, without further delay, here's chapter one.
World Enough and Time - Chapter One
Lily woke slowly, unconsciously pulling the heavily layered, linen covers closer to her body to hold in the warmth that surrounded her. She kept her eyes shut, her drowsy mind slowly taking stock of her physical surroundings – the firm but lumpy pillow beneath her head, the starched, scratchy feel of the sheets against her legs. She could not remember what she had been dreaming about but a vague sense of unease settled over her as she continued to wake up. While her thoughts continued to sluggishly creep to the surface Lily registered a light tick tick tick sounding near her right ear.
For a moment Lily could not place the sound but she soon identified it as the soft tick of the second hand on her wrist watch. Although Lily never went to sleep with her watch still on there was no denying that she was now waking with it still firmly clasped on her wrist. A gift from her mother, Lily had always taken special care of delicate time piece, removing it each evening and placing it on her nightstand. So why was she wearing it now? Had she fallen asleep in the common room?
No. Lily was quite certain she was in bed. She opened her eyes to further inspect her surroundings but immediately shut them again due to a bright white glare that flashed at her eyes. For a moment they stung and watered and Lily let out a small, sleepy groan. She had never been particularly fond of mornings.
Taking more care to shield her eyes from the light, she rolled onto her back and lifted an arm over her face causing the muscles in her shoulder to protest painfully. Lily slowly peeked through her eyelids and her surroundings came into focus. The sun was shining brightly through a window right across from her and reflecting off the surprisingly white room. Pale stone walls, lines of white beds, white tables, white walls of curtains here and there along the room – the Hospital Wing.
The Hospital Wing?
Lily sat up and rubbed at her eyes. She tried to remember what had happened the day before, anything that could give her a clue as to why she would be waking up, sore and groggy, in the Hospital Wing. Her hair was loose and ruffled from sleep and it now fell into her eyes and to the sides of her face, the tousled red curtains contrasting sharply with the stark white hall she occupied. She felt sore all over but after a quick mental inventory found that there were no obvious cuts or bruises. Perhaps she had been hexed or jinxed.
The next thing that occurred to her was that she was still dressed in her school uniform. Or rather, she was partially dressed in her uniform. Her skirt and off-white top were crumpled and stiff but her scarlet and gold tie and black robe were draped across a chair next to her bed. Her wand was nowhere in sight.
As Lily tried and failed to dredge up any memories of what could have happened to land her in the Hospital Wing her head started to ache and she groaned. She gripped her head in both hands and waited for the pain to subside, which it did after a few minutes and then it was as if the pain had never come at all. Lily sighed and rubbed at her eyes again. With a quick glance around the long room she saw that all of the other beds were empty and that it seemed to be late morning. One of the windows along the opposite wall was open and a pleasant breeze came through but from what Lily could tell the grounds were nearly silent. Most everyone was almost certainly in class by now.
She glanced down at her watch – half past eleven – almost time for lunch.
A rustle of clothing sounded as Madame Pomfrey swept out of her office at the other end of the wing and Lily's head spun in the direction of the noise. One of the matron's arms was full of rolls of parchment while her other was held out in front her as she waved her wand and levitated several potions into a nearby cabinet. She busied herself in the cabinet for a few moments, her back to Lily, before she spun and her eyebrows shot up in surprise. She straightened, brushed down her skirts and said, "Oh wonderful, you're awake."
Lily nodded as Madame Pomfrey briskly crossed the hall towards her and could not help but think that there was something different about the nurse. She could not quite put her finger on what precisely was off, but at the sudden sight of a wand in her face all thoughts except panic flew from her mind. There was no need to worry however as Madame Pomfrey made a few waves and jabs, muttering to herself and then she replaced her wand in the pocket of her robes, apparently satisfied.
"I told the Headmaster I would let him know when you woke." Her tone was very formal and Lily frowned. Had she done something wrong, broken some sort of terrible rule that had resulted in her injury? Lily had always been on very good terms with the nurse and the cold tone left her feeling even more disoriented than she had upon waking.
She said nothing but watched as Madame Pomfrey walked swiftly from the ward and into the corridor beyond. Only when she was once again alone did Lily really register what the matron had said. She had said Headmaster. But Hogwarts did not have a Headmaster. Minerva McGonagall was Headmistress of Hogwarts and had been for as long as Lily could remember, since before even Teddy had gone off to school.
Frustrated that she could not pull up any memory whatsoever of how she had gotten there and how with each passing moment she became more confused, Lily pulled her knees up to her chest and wrapped her arms around her legs. There was nothing to do but wait for… whoever was coming. She sighed and tried to ignore the headache that was slowly returning. It was a few minutes later that she heard footsteps coming down the corridor. From what she could tell there were two people and they were walking quickly. Lily felt suddenly nervous. Where was her wand?
Hoping to see a friendly, or at least familiar, face Lily eagerly watched the doors to the Hospital Wing swing open. But she was instantly disappointed. While she did see a familiar face it was perhaps one of the least welcome she could imagine because that man was supposed to be dead.
Albus woke quickly to a rough hand shaking his shoulder. He swatted it away and rolled over.
"Albus! Al, wake up!" The whispered voice was hoarse and urgent. Al twisted onto his side and squinted at the form next to him. Blinking the sleep from his eyes he recognized Neville Longbottom standing next to him. What was Neville doing in his dormitory?
"What?" he croaked, his voice scratchy from sleep. Neville looked distinctly troubled. "What's wrong? What are you doing here?"
"Come on, not here," Neville said quietly. His face was pale so that in the dim light of the dungeons he looked almost like a ghost. His hands were wringing nervously. Something was definitely wrong. Al did not question the professor any further but instead got out of bed and followed him out into the common room. The fire that had been lit in the grate a few hours earlier had now completely died out and the room held a distinct chill that only the dungeons ever really achieved.
"Nev-" Albus stopped himself. "Professor, what's going on? Is something wrong? Why didn't Professor Hodgens come get me?"
Neville did not turn around as he exited the common room, Albus following close behind him. As they started down the corridor he merely said, "This is a personal matter, I didn't think it necessary to involve your Head of House."
The pair did not speak again as Neville continued to lead Albus through the chilly corridors. He wished he had put on some sort of shoes as his bare feet were especially cold as he walked on the stone floors. After a few minutes they reached the stone gargoyle that marked the entrance to the Headmistress's office and Neville muttered the password before the gargoyle moved aside.
"Whatever it is, I didn't do it."
Neville did not laugh – he did not even smile. Neither did Albus. He was only half-joking.
"No," Neville said after a moment, "I'm sure you didn't."
His voice was grave and sincere and Al felt something lodge up in this throat. They had reached the top of the revolving staircase and Neville opened the door and entered without knocking. Al followed nervously behind him. Professor McGonagall was seated behind the great wooden desk, her lips pursed and her hands folded in front of her. She did not look surprised to see them.
Silence surrounded the three of them for a moment and Al awkwardly slipped into one of the high-backed chairs facing the Headmistress. He felt Neville walk up to stand behind him.
"Mr. Potter," McGonagall began. "Albus…"
Al noticed the portrait directly behind Professor McGonagall give a slight cough and he knew it to be his namesake. Albus Dumbledore appeared to be asleep against his frame, quite like all the other former Heads of Hogwarts that lined the walls, but Al knew that they did not sleep half as much as they pretended to.
He turned his attention back to the current Headmistress and waited for her to continue. However when she did not, he felt increasingly uncomfortable. The grave tone and the use of his first name made Albus certain that something seriously had definitely happened. He suddenly felt as though he were on very unfamiliar ground here despite having been called to this office on a number of previous occasions.
"Yes?" he offered when McGonagall remained silent.
"It's about your sister. She's… "
Al's hands went slightly numb as he gripped the arms of the chair. "She's what, Professor?"
Professor McGonagall looked him directly in the eyes and said, "I'm afraid she's missing."
"Albus Dumbledore is dead."
Lily's arms were crossed tightly, her head tilted just slightly to the side, her entire pose speaking to the intense irritation she was feeling. She had been speaking with… with this impostor for the last quarter of an hour and his calm refusal to recognize the fact that he was posing as a dead man – one of the greatest wizards of all time – was beginning to grate on her nerves. Not even for one fleeting second did Lily consider that this could be the man that she had heard so much about, the man one of her brothers was named after.
Madame Pomfrey had left for her office when she had arrived back at the Hospital Wing with whoever this man was. The fact that matron had seemed so calm about the situation, as if nothing out of the ordinary was happening, further convinced Lily that something was in fact very much amiss. The Poppy Pomfrey that Lily knew did not put up with any nonsense and she would certainly never stand for something as outrageous as this.
But she had left Lily alone with this strange man and with no wand at her disposal Lily was left with very few options but to continually insist that this man was not Albus Dumbledore.
He, on the other hand, was asking her the strangest questions. How did you happen upon the Hogwarts grounds? Why is it that you are wearing a uniform and yet you are not currently enrolled? Lily had indignantly answered that she had been attending Hogwarts for over four years now but of course a dead man could not be expected to know such things. She then countered with her own interrogation. She wanted to know who she was talking to, why he was asking her these questions, how she had gotten here, and where her wand was located.
When he, once again, replied that his name was Albus Dumbledore Lily had snapped at him, once again, that Albus Dumbledore was dead. She said it with such finality that the man's white eyebrows rose and his blue eyes clouded over for a brief moment. They had been quite piercing until then and Lily was doing her best not to look away.
"I'm afraid I don't agree," the man stated, no sign of irritation crossing his features.
Lily resisted the urge to roll her eyes. "I don't know who you think you're kidding. The man's been dead for… what? Over twenty years now?"
The Dumbledore look-alike seemed to ruminate on that statement for a moment and then said, "Tell me your name and I will gladly tell you mine." There was no taunt in his voice, no challenge, no humor. It was an honest proposition and Lily heard herself responding before she had consciously decided to do so.
"Lily," she said and then stopped herself. She had only given her first name at least.
The man's lips turned up a bit as if in a smile and his gaze, once again, seemed to be looking into her. "Just 'Lily'," he said. "Nothing more?"
"I don't like to share it. I get a lot of stares."
"Not as many as myself, I assure you." He smiled.
"And why would that be?" Lily asked him with only faint sarcasm, "Because you introduce yourself as a dead man?"
"Well it's quite a long name – it does tend to carry on."
Lily quirked an eyebrow. "And what is your name exactly?"
"Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore."
For a moment Lily was caught off guard by the easy manner in which he rattled off the string of names. It was done with the sing-songy rhythm of someone who had said such a thing hundreds of times and it reminded her of the Dumbledore she had imagined from her father's countless stories. But her common sense pushed that aside and she sighed heavily before she said, "No, you're not."
"Then, may I ask, why would I pretend to be someone you are quite certain died before you were even born? Surely there would be very little to gain out of such a cheap trick. A pointless and rather futile deception."
This was precisely what Lily had been trying to work out from the moment she had seen him walk through the doors to the Hospital Wing. Why would someone impersonate a man so well-known and so obviously deceased? It would not fool anyone with even half a brain and then where would they be? Lily refrained from answering his questions and remained stubbornly silent as she glared at him.
His eyes were that fiercely sharp blue again. "Just a name, child," he said quietly.
Lily did not break eye contact with him. She knew that Albus Dumbledore had been one of the most skilled Legilimens in history and she knew that the real Albus Dumbledore would know in an instant if she lied. But she was not going to lie. She had no reason to. She was not going to pretend to be someone else while she accused the man across from her of the very same thing. Lily took a slow deep breath and let it out again, feeling unaccountably uneasy to be giving something as insignificant as her name.
"Lily… Potter," she said, braced for the usual display of recognition. But it was not recognition she saw in the man's expression. It was surprise. His blue eyes flashed for a moment and he studied her face as if looking for something but he made no other response. "Look into my mind if you can," Lily prompted brashly. "I'm not lying."
"No," he said gravely, as though he already had, "and neither am I. Which puts us in quite the unusual situation, does it not?"
"Missing?" Albus did not care that his voice shook as the word came out. His little sister was missing?
Professor McGonagall's eyes softened briefly as she gazed at the student before her. Neville's hand had dropped onto his shoulder and the grip tightened when Al had repeated the treacherous word. But Albus did not understand why they were being so… so despondent about all of this. Surely Lily was not really missing as they insisted. It was the middle of the night and she was not in her bed, but it would not be the first time she had sneaked out of her dormitory. So he told them as much, knowing that they already knew.
"We've searched the entire castle. She's not here."
But Neville was lying. He had to be lying.
"Then she's gone to Hogsmeade," he said frantically, twisting in his chair to look up at Neville. "She can't have just disappeared."
"I'm afraid she's done just that," McGonagall said and Al spun back around to face her. He did not realize that he was becoming quite frantic. Neville moved from behind him and took the seat to Al's right. Albus looked frantically between the two Professors, both of whom he had known for quite a long time, not understanding why they were telling him this.
"How can you be sure," he demanded. "How can you be sure she's not here if you don't know where she is?" His voice was almost a shout but he did not care. They must not have looked properly. If they had they would have found her and they would have given her detention and that would be the end of it. This was just some elaborate hoax, a trick, a lie. He did not believe them.
"I'm afraid it's not a question of where she is, Albus."
Al's head swiveled around to face Neville, a look of confusion on his face. Did they know where his sister was? Then, how was she missing? What was going on?
"So… you do know where she is?" He directed his question to Neville but it was Professor McGonagall who answered.
"Not exactly," she said as she pulled a box in front of her from the side of the desk. Albus had not noticed it before among all the other unexceptional items on the desk but now it held his full attention. The Headmistress's fingers wrapped tightly around the sides as though it held something of vital importance. Perhaps it did.
"It's not a question of where she is, Potter. It's a question of when."
Having no answer to this, and not entirely understanding the course the conversation had taken, Al leaned forward in his chair to better view the contents of the box. Professor McGonagall handed it to him and Albus took it with barely steady hands before placing it in his lap. The first thing he noticed inside was the Marauder's Map. This surprised him because he had lost it a few months before. He had felt awful about losing it, knowing how much it had meant to his father and to Teddy. He had been sneaking to kitchens after curfew and Filch had confiscated it. Although it had been blank at the time the old caretaker had still spitefully swiped it. Albus had only recently told his sister what had happened….
Al made a mental note to scour the map for "Lily Potter" at the earliest opportunity but he did not push the matter in front of two professors that, as far as he knew, did not know the truth about the aged parchment in front of him. He returned his focus to the box in his lap and saw that the map was not thing only thing it contained. There was also a small but noticeable amount of fine, white sand that spread across the bottom of the box, some shards of thin, broken glass, and a short golden chain. He did not immediately understand.
Albus looked up at the Professors, his mind trying to catch up as something icy seemed to settle in his stomach. 'It's a question of when.'
These were the shattered remains of a time turner.