AN: Wow, this took longer than I expected it to! So sorry it took so long, some of the scenes took a while to figure out how to do right, and it's been a bit difficult to find the time to actually type it up. This chapter was actually going to be a bit longer but I wanted to get someting up before I was swamped by end of the year testing and all that (which also means that this is hasn't been beta'd, so I apologiz for any mistakes).
I should probably say that it might be a whil before the next chapter comes out; I want to spend some time to finish sketching out all of the major plot details before we actually get to that part of the story, and then I'll have a chapte to write. I have no idea how long it'll take but hopefully I'll be able to pick up the pace once summer rolls around.
It would also probably be worth mentioning that due to the fact that I'm exploring territory that I don't know a great deal about, this might end up being slightly AU-ish, but I'll try to stick to cannon as much as possible.
"Are you sure that this is safe?" yelled Remus over the whirring of the TARDIS engines.
"Of course it is!" replied the Doctor, as though it was the most obvious thing in the world. The Doctor was the only one of the three who was still steady on his feet, and was bouncing around, fiddling with a few of the knobs and dials on the console. "And… we're there!"
With one last great lurch the shaking and movement of the machine ceased, and the two wizards relinquished their holds on the railings.
"God, I never knew that time travel was so… rough," Sirius commented, straightening.
The Doctor placed a hand on the large cylinder in the center of the control panel. "I suppose she hasn't quite gotten used to the time stream in this world. She usually flies a lot smoother than she just did," he said cryptically. Remus looked at the Doctor quizzically, not quite sure of what the man meant, but said nothing.
The Doctor quickly made his way to the doors and beckoned for the two wizards to join him. "Well then, shall we get down to business?"
"Where exactly are we, anyway?" The TARDIS doors had opened and the travelers had stepped out when Remus put forward the question.
The room was lit with a sort of pale white light, but the dark floors and walls gave the space an eerie shadowed atmosphere. The room was high ceilinged, and several steps descended towards a raised platform in the center of the room, not unlike seats rising up from a central stage. And on that platform stood a majestic, old fashioned archway, seemingly supporting the rippling of distorted that stretched between the stone boundaries. Sirius felt almost as if they were intruding upon some dark, unknowable secret, and yet he also felt as though he was being welcomed home after a long departure.
"Yeah, what is this place?"
"This," the Doctor said with a sort of flourish, taking a few steps down towards the foreboding archway, "is where one of the few known Temporal Archways is being kept and studied. And here Padfoot will gain full access to the unique powers that he has stumbled upon."
"And how exactly am I supposed to do that?" Sirius asked, his gaze sweeping over the room. His eyes crossed Remus's, which were asking how the Doctor knew of Sirius's old nickname. Sirius gave the smallest of shrugs before speaking.
"That, my friend, is something that I will leave to you."
"You mean you don't know?"
"I never said that!" protested the Doctor. "But I've never quite been in this situation before, so I wouldn't know. Do you expect me to know everything?"
"No, but we did expect you to at least know enough to get us to where we actually need to be to fix whatever's gone wrong," Remus retorted. His gaze flitted down to where the archway stood, and a small frown creased his face. "Sirius?"
The Animagus had made his way down towards the dais and was now standing in front of the stone arc. "This feels… familiar to me somehow. I can't quite explain it, but…" Sirius reached out a hand and let his fingers brush the surface of the shimmering veil of silver. The areas where his fingers made contact glowed a bright, vivacious blue.
A sudden rush of sensations and images overtook him, and Sirius withdrew his hand with a yelp. Remus's eyes widened and he moved forward to join his fellow Marauder, but the Doctor extended and arm to hold the werewolf back. "Sirius needs to figure this out on his own," the Time Lord whispered.
Sirius simply looked at the arc for a few moments, before realizing that he had just done what he needed to do. His right hand reached down and grasped his wand while his left moved forward one more. He made contact with the veil once more, but this time laid his entire palm on the rippling space.
The energy rushed into him for the second time, with more force than before, but this time Sirius knew what to expect. His fingers contracting, he sifted through the images assaulting his conscious and focused more on the power that was forcing them through. The tip of his wand suddenly sparked and glowed seemingly all of the colors at once and yet looking as though it weren't lit at all. After a few moments of this the wood began emitting wisps of a soft, yellow smoke-like illumination.
Sirius began feeling the harshness of the energy recede and become more gentle and welcoming. The Animagus felt the temporal power begin merging with his own magic, and he found himself welcoming it more gladly than he once would have expected. After a heartbeat his vision was clouded by the same wispy light that his wand was letting off, and he decided to stop whatever was happening before it overtook him more than necessary. Sirius fluidly withdrew his hand and took several steps back, abruptly gasping for breath.
"What just-" he began breathily, before collapsing.
"Sirius!" The Doctor did not bother holding Remus back this time as the wizard's feet cascaded down the steps towards his best friend. "Merlin, what did you have him do?" he yelled at the Doctor, who had swiftly followed the werewolf's path.
"He just needs to rest while he adjusts to the sudden influx of power. He'll be fine in a little while," assured the Doctor, as Remus bent over Sirius to check his pulse. All appeared to be normal with the Marauder, other than the fact that he was unconscious.
"If you say so." Remus was completely unsure of how to react to what had just happened. He had seen the way that the curtain suspended by the archway had merged onto Sirius's hand and how its energy visibly flowed into the wizard. Sirius's wand had begun to expel a similar sort of light, and Padfoot seemed to radiate power and knowledge in the moments before he stepped back and collapsed. For the moment, Remus settled on making sure that his friend would be alright before figuring out the larger consequences of what had just transpired.
"C'mon, let's get him into the TARDIS. There should be a spare bed where he can rest and I daresay it might not be best to linger here for too long."
Remus swung Sirius's right arm over his shoulder and waited for the Doctor to get Sirius's left. The Time Lord paused for a moment before walking around the duo and retrieving Sirius's wand, which had clattered to the floor. The Doctor handed the wand back to Remus, who took it in his right hand, before the Time Lord reached down and grabbed Sirius's left arm, and the two men hoisted their fallen friend upright.
"Easy does it, now," the Doctor murmured as they began the careful process of bringing Sirius back up the incline to where the TARDIS was standing proud. A minute and a twist of a key later, the Time Lord and the wizard pushed the doors opened and entered the TARDIS's warm glow.
Remus might have imagined it, but he could have sworn that he felt some sort of pulse ripple through the TARDIS as they crossed the threshold, but any trace of this strange welcome faded moments after. Leaving Remus to support the unconscious Sirius on his own, the Doctor dashed up to the central console and began working with the machinery. A few lever pulls and one great lurch later the Doctor was back with the wizards.
"I've got her drifting through the Time Vortex for now," the Doctor explained as he guided behind the console and down a corridor that Remus had not bothered to notice before."Don't want us to stay where we might not be welcome. Now, right through here there should be a place suitable for Sirius to rest in…"
They passed a few doors before the Doctor seemed to locate the right one. Opening the door, the Time Lord led the way inside. The walls were draped in red and gold, the floors covered in a lush, grass-like carpet, and the deep blue ceiling was a representation of a star-speckled sky. Beside the Gryffindor-colored bed stood a table supporting a glass of water and an intricate frame containing a lively photo of the seventh year Marauders, laughing and joking as they once had. Remus felt a mixture of remorse, nostalgia, bitterness and longing as he stared at all of his friends and himself. In one corner of the room an ornate desk lay pristine and ready for use. Across from the bed was an average dresser; nothing too spectacular. Remus could tell that this was a room in which Sirius would not object staying.
The conscious duo laid their unconscious companion gently down on the bed. Remus looked at the fallen Marauder worriedly for a few moments, and didn't notice the Doctor making to leave until the man's voice emanated from where the door was.
"I think I'd best leave you to your own devices for the time being." Somewhat startled, Remus jumped and whirled around to where the Doctor was standing casually in the doorway. "You might want to take a look around; we'll be staying here for a while and you'd best get acquainted with this place." With that, the Doctor was gone.
Remus took another glance at Sirius, who appeared peaceful enough. Assured that his friend would be fine for a while, Remus made his leave.
The werewolf frowned a bit as he closed his friend's door. The other doors seemed to have shifted in his absence. He shrugged to himself, having encountered stranger things in his time, and began walking, not entirely sure where he was headed. A quarter of a minute Remus spent in the hallway before opening the first door he happened across.
The crisp smell of parchment hit his senses before his eyes caught up with the scene. The library was quite large, though Remus had been in more sizable ones during his life. Yet as Remus began walking he realized that many of the books seemed foreign to his eyes. In fact, he recognized very few of the titles at all. Remus ran his finger over a few of the books' spines, making a mental note to return to this library should he ever find himself with a free moment. With an appreciative semi-smile, Remus made his way back out into the hallway.
The next room the former teacher found himself in was another bedroom. In this room, however, the starry sky reached down the walls towards a forest landscape. The bed had an orange and purple bedspread, and the desk seemed much better stocked than his friend's was. Suspended in one upper corner was a realistic replica of a crescent moon. Remus had an inkling that this room was his, but either was the moon reminded him of something of which he needed to ask. Further down the hallway Remus encountered a door not made of wood, as the other doors were, but instead it seemed to be a sort of stained glass. Cautiously, Remus made his way inside.
His feet hit soil and foliage instead of carpet or granite. A gentle light shone through the leafy canopy of the strangely familiar forest the room seemed to contain. Walking, awestruck, though the wood, Remus noticed a figure sitting on a ledge several yards away. A few steps closer and Remus realized that it was the Doctor.
The man in question looked up as Remus drew closer. "Ah, Remus, how good of you to join me! Come, sit down!" Remus paused a moment before joining the Doctor on the small cliff that dropped down to more of the wood.
"Nice place, isn't it?"
"You've got a forest in a time machine." Remus stated this with a sort of casual disbelief, as though any other time he would be fully skeptical but had seen enough over the past day that he wasn't as surprised as he should have been.
"Sometimes even I'm surprised with what this place comes up with," the Doctor mused. There was a pause. "Did you want to see me about something?"
"Actually, yes, I did," Remus replied, somewhat startled that the Doctor knew his intentions so well, but decided it wasn't worth asking about. "I was wondering, how long is this going to take?"
"I'm not entirely sure, I must say. It could be a day, it could be a month, or longer. Why do you ask?"
"Oh, well, I-"
"Afraid your lycanthropy will make things much more complicated?" the Doctor asked knowingly.
Remus was taken aback. "How did you-"
"Like I told your friend, I know a whole lot more than I let on."
"Well, that's great and all, but we still have a problem on our hands. I don't believe that we have any way of procuring Wolfsbane potion; without it I won't have any control over myself."
"Don't worry, my fine friend." The Doctor put a comforting hand on Remus's shoulder. "Should the full moon come around you can weather it out in here. And, although this is but a theory, I daresay that the full moon will not have any effect on you in my ship."
"Is that even possible?" Remus had not heard of a werewolf avoiding transformation on the night of the full moon.
"Like I said, this is only a guess. But the TARDIS has all kinds of shielding and the like. I doubt that moon will have much of an effect here. And even if it does, you can wait out the transformation in one of these rooms."
"Well, let's hope it won't be an issue at all."
Sirius found his eyes opening to a starry sky. The star he was named for seemed to be glowing brightest of them all. Sirius lay there thinking for a few moments before his memory caught up with him and he shot forward.
The last thing he could recall was the feeling of the strange magic flowing into and through him. So how did he end up in the Gryffindor-colored, starry-ceiling bedroom? What had happened to Remus and the Doctor?
Sirius's gaze darted about, looking for his wand, which he quickly found on a bedside table, sitting next to a haunting picture of the Marauders in their prime. Sirius locked eyes with each of his companions for a moment, unsure of what to think of the photograph. Then, removing himself from the memories of the past, Sirius tightened his grip on his wand before leaping off the bed and setting out.
The Animagus paused outside his room for but a few moments before swiftly taking a right, not bothering to wonder how he seemed to know where to go. He passed several doors without a thought before he came across an entryway with tendrils of gray smoke wafting through the cracks. Unsure of what he would find, Sirius twisted the knob and stepped through the doorway.