A/N: This chapter's one big mess of timey-wimeyness, so good luck keeping track! Actually, scratch that. Don't even bother trying to understand everything. Just smile, nod, laugh on cue, and hope to all the wizarding gods that I'll someday write in chronological order.
But oh my Merlin, I'm almost at 400 reviews! Which isn't so much for some people, but I'm freaking out. So THANK YOU SO MUCH, to all of you wonderful readers for sticking with this convoluted story!
General Disclaimer: Moffat and Gatiss have nothing on my overly complicated and incoherent sub-plots.
31 July, 1925
Outside of Ithaca, New York
"aaaaiiiIIIEEEEE!" Jamie stumbled forward through steps and years. For a single moment he thought the sensation had at last stopped, and that he once again felt solid ground beneath his feet…
"AAAHHHH!" Al's scream erupted out of nowhere, and Jamie had no time to react before his brother collided with him. Stumbling back and catching his breath, his foot fumbled back onto nothing. It was only by a quick shuffle that he avoided cascading both of them over the cliff (not that he had any idea what a steep ledge was doing here; what happened to the field? What happened to everything?).
"Ow…" Al groaned, slowly picking himself up. He glanced up at Jamie, around them at the barren hills, and then out at the steep incline they'd been inches from falling over. "Ah, wha'?"
"No idea." Jamie stepped away from the edge, wincing from being the 'landing' for the younger boy. "You could say sorry."
Al blinked up at him disbelievingly, clearly thinking that other things took precedence. "Where's 'Ogwarts? Where's mum an' dad? Where's Lil—"
The shriek was all the warning that the boys got before a small figure appeared and rammed straight into them. With thuds and screams the entangled group cascaded down the hill, rolling to a not-so-gentle stop as the grass met a pebbly pavement.
"Ohhh." Jamie groaned as they at last came to a halt. He took a moment to make sure no one was covered in blood, and then felt perfectly comfortable with complaining. "My head."
"My ev'rything." Al moaned. The new situation then dawned and he blinked at the newcomer, 'horrific' injuries easily forgotten. "Wait. Lils?"
"'Gain! 'Gain! 'Gain!" Lily, having landed on Jamie, clapped her hands and didn't seem to be at all bothered by the fall. The other two supposed they were happy she wasn't shrieking.
"Ah, no." Jamie winced, his eyes closed. But chest suddenly felt far lighter. He opened his eyes a crack. "Lils? Don't run off, we could be—LILY!"
Jamie was on his swaying feet in a split second, and as Al jerked up at the exclamation he was just in time to spot the panicking boy grab their sister away from the car on the road (failing to realise that the car had long ago stopped, and had indeed been waiting for them). He clutched his squirming baby sister as his heart slowly fell from his throat. "What were you thinking?! Don't walk into roads! Tickling dragons is one thing, but don't scare me like that. Are you trying to—"
"'t stop'd." Lily crossed her arms, unrepentant.
"—take my place as the 'crazy one', because if you are I—" Jamie paused in his rant, the meaning of her words hitting him. He looked up at the open-top convertible where an aviator-clad woman was waving in the passenger seat, a wildly patterned scarf hugging blonde hair away from her face, "—Auntie Luna!"
Al again jerked up in surprise, looking at the car with equal shock.
"Hello Potters!" Luna cheerfully stepped out of the old-fashioned car, her grin bright though a bit strained. "You are all very late."
As Lily squeed and raced over to hug her aunt, the boys stared at her and the headdesking driver still in the car in sheer bewilderment. Jamie slowly got to his feet. "We're…late?"
"Or I was early." Luna nodded, helping the boys up one by one and hugging them a bit too tightly. "I appeared here a week ago, Paw-Paw's Snorkack radar accidentally found me, and then it buzzed again for you! You were thus only 'late' by a few hours. Not to worry, we had a lovely chat while waiting."
"A 'lovely chat'?" The man in the car said disbelievingly, leaning across the aisle to stare at them. He couldn't have been over thirty, and the soft brown curls that hugged his boyish face made him seem younger still (though the old-fashioned, formal tweed aged him right back up). His accent lapsed mid-way between British intonations and American abruptness, as though his voice hadn't yet decided which it preferred. "We're been sitting here for four hours. Not that I blame you lot; chaotic magic can't be helped. But her! Talking non-stop about 'Wrackspurts', 'Blibbering Humbingers', 'Crumple'—oh, which reminds me." Glaring at Luna he wagged his finger at her with each point. "For the last time: the radar thought you were a centaur, there are no 'Snorkacks', and I'm not your grandfather!"
"In-law." Luna nimbly replied, unfazed. She ushered the bewildered children into the car. "Kids, this is Newt Scamander. Paw-Paw-In-Law, meet Jamie, Al, and Lily."
"Pleased to meet you." Newt nodded at them before returning to glare at Luna, who was retaking her seat in the front and closing the door. "Not a word about your 'Snorkacks' on the way back!"
"Of course not." Luna easily agreed as the car started. As they began to go off down the road, she turned around to face the kids sitting numbly in the backseat. "I'm sure you're confused and in shock at the moment, so I'll go into detail later. Just know that we'll get you home safe to your family. Still, until then: who wants to explore 1920s New York with dragons?"
It was difficult to determine whether Newt's groan ("There are no dragons in North America!") was louder than Jamie's gleeful shout.
18 April, 2003
TARDIS on Roald Dahl Plass, Cardiff, Wales
The TARDIS came to a stop. This was met with rather nonchalance from three of the people onboard. The fourth wasn't quite as calm about the rough landing, already unbalanced from the turbulent flight. Yet all of the humans were rather more flummoxed by something else, for just a few minutes ago the Doctor had gone mental.
Not that this was an unusual state of affairs, as Amy and Rory knew full well. Yet it was odd for the Doctor to suddenly stiffen in thought, point wildly at John, and begin to exclaim that, magic aside, the blogger was utterly impossible and lost geographically, temporally, and dimensionally! Which was when the alien had raced to the console, not bothered to explain a wink to his startled companions, and set them on this current course to Cardiff, Wales, Earth, circa 2003.
"A DIFFERENT UNIVERSE!" The Eleventh Doctor was still bounding around the console, more excited than despairing at this possible hiccough. "Fantastic, makes far more sense. Right John, we'll get you home in a jiffy. Just need to get enough rift energy to find your right uni." He paused, tilting his head. "The all-encompassing, on-academic sort of 'uni', of course, though there'd definitely be studying somewhere in those boggles of galaxies.
"No. No, what are you talking about? That doesn't make any sense!" John angrily retorted, stalking up to the main console while the Doctor raced around plugging and twisting and pushing controls. "I've already told you: the three of you were at the Ministry of Magic and rescued us in 2005."
"Nope." The Doctor slid to a halt in front of John. "Weeellll, okay. Maybe. But it wasn't us. Not us us in this 'verse—ohh, 'verse! Far better nickname, brand new and shiny. Well then! Magic might exist in this 'verse as well—"
"It does." Rory corrected without pause.
"—but you," the bow-tied man stuck his finger at the muggle doctor, "John Hamish Watson, do not. You shouldn't even be in our Victorian London, let alone the 21st century! Scrambled to bits and bobs, you are. A curiosity at best, impossible nonexistent paradox at worst. Isn't this brilliant? Who'd have guessed reality in one 'verse in a literary phenomenon in another!"
"What?" John said in exasperation as the alien returned to racing about the controls. "That doesn't make any sense. This isn't 'brilliant', and of course I exist."
"Course you do, but not in this universe." The Doctor cried out while whirling a few thingy-ma-gigs. "In this 'verse, Arty got the idea for you lot from Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint. Goodness knows I've questioned them about it enough!"
"Doctor?" Amy came up but dodged out of the Time Lord's way. "If Harry Potter and magic exists here, why can't John?"
"Repeat: contradictory, paradoxical, all that lot." The Doctor called out. "We'll still check on the Ministry of Magic to be sure. If nothing's wrong we can be tourists! But first, getting John home."
"YOU AREN'T STRANDING ME IN ANOTHER UNIVERSE!" John shouted, patience having at last run out.
"That's—" the Doctor froze at his words before swallowing, leaving the flight controls alone for a moment, "—not what will happen, I swear. We'll make sure it's your home. The right universe." A light came into his eyes. "Hold on a mo, you can land with my counterpart and be right as rain! Then he'll make sure your Ministry's taken care of and your time loop will be fixed of any nasty plotholes. Easy peasy!" The Time Lord enthusiastically turned back to the controls.
Amy groaned and Rory knocked his head against the wall, both knowing that with the Doctor nothing could possibly be 'easy'. John (taking his cue from the others' less-than-confident demeanours) felt the sinking feeling in his stomach increase.
"Doctor," Rory hedged, "maybe this isn't the—"
"Nope, shush, I'm doing something exceedingly impressive." The Time Lord flipped a final switch and gleamed as the console began to dance with light. "No super nova needed when you have centuries to plan for alternatives, and good old Cardiff for constant refuelling! The Rift will run dry for a bit, but that's never hurt anyo—"
The flaming lights and sound that had started to envelop the TARDIS suddenly died, the twinkling stars falling and vanishing to the ground. The Doctor stared, his mouth dropping open.
"Huh?" He pulled out his screwdriver, swishing and flicking it uncertainly. "That's…not supposed to happen. All the energy Sexy could give was in that! Combined with the Rift, that ought to've made a crystal clear image." He muttered to himself, arm zig-zagging at the now bare expanse of air. "Shown both past John and when he vanished, and that world's Doctor to make sure he, she, whoever, is a Doctor, because we don't need another mess like that again…"
"An image?" Rory murmured to Amy.
"Madman with a box." Amy answered simply.
John watched the proceedings incredulously. "'Sexy'?'"
As a flummoxed Time Lord and his three confused companions vanished from Roald Dahl Plass, three different people slumbered beneath the ground. That is, two of them slept. The third stared in rampant, joyous disbelief at the others, trying to convince himself he wasn't dreaming.
18 April, 2003
Torchwood Three, beneath Roald Dahl Plass, Cardiff
Captain Jack Harkness often woke to—pleasant—experiences. But hearing the alarm signalling a blue police box's approach was an especially nice surprise. He'd been about to race out of bed and Torchwood (not caring about his lack of pants: 'pants' in either the American or British sense), but froze when golden streams of light danced barely inches from him.
Jack thus had a front row seat as two sleeping forms materialised, wrapped around each other and—when solid enough—fluidly cozying into his pillows. They were rather more dressed than he was, but that wasn't the important bit. He rubbed his eyes, blinking at the familiar, unconscious people.
He blinked again. A grin began to grow.
Jack decided that, even if this was a dream, he had the right to brag. He shakingly reached to the bedside table and his phone. Without taking his gaze away from the figures, he typed out a quick message:
'I win. WIN! HAH!'—JH
Sending the missive off he returned to staring. Rubbing his chin to check for drool, a soft ping! reluctantly drew his attention back to the mobile:
'A ménage à trois with our fabled hero and a feisty redhead? Send me the address.'—IA
Grinning he began to respond, not noticing one of his bedfellows stirring. 'No, much better! You won't beli—'
"JACK?" The yelp turned the Torchwood agent's attention back to the bed. "WHAT!"
"Morning!" Jack gave a huge beam, flinging the mobile away without a thought. This was met with a squeak from his new bedfellow, as the movement revealed the immortal's total lack of clothing. "Had a nice nap?"
"What?" The other man said with further panic, checking down and sighing with relief at spotting the blonde nestled against him. His gaze jerked back up—but up to the wall behind the naked ex-Time Agent rather than look directly at his bared features. "What's, what's going on?"
"No idea." Jack shrugged, happiness not diminishing. He pretended not to notice the clear hints from the other to cover up, including a pillow being tossed at his family jewels. "You two appeared in a flash of gold, and I'm not . Now, how 'bout we wake up Rose?"
This statement (complete with a suggestive eyebrow wag) only got him a peeved glare.
"Or something else?" Jack waggled his eyebrows harder, making sure the meaning hadn't been lost. His companion just groaned, still looking anywhere except at the nudity.
"Don't get me wrong," the 'invading alien' said testily, running a hand through his morning bed hair, "it's brilliant to see you. But what? How're you alive?"
"Oh." A dawning look came over the immortal's face. "Ohhh. OH! Thought our timelines got mixed up again, but this is so much better." He leaned forward, the broad grin never leaving his face. "Doc, you're back in your universe."
"So that didn't work." Amy leaned against the wall, frowning. "Unless it did. Doctor, did something happen?"
"Bright side, I'm not stranded in another universe." John said grumpily as the Time Lord raced around with a frenzy, pressing buttons and doo-hickeys almost at random. "Bad side? I still don't see London or the Ministry of Magic, and I'm pretty sure I've been kidnapped by mad aliens."
"Not aliens." Rory said half-heartedly, gesturing at himself and his wife.
"Depends on your perspective!" The Doctor shouted down at them, but otherwise ignored the conversation as he was now attempting to hang from the rafters.
"Right…" Amy drawled out, pressing her lips tight. "Doctor, we're going to London."
"Finally." John sent her a grateful look.
"Kind of busy right now!" The Time Lord protested. The muggle doctor gave him a less-than grateful scowl.
"We need to get John home and I want to see magic." Amy said sternly, her words holding no room for argument. "What happened to your 'saving-people' thing? There are people and they need saving. Hop to it!"
"It's more difficult than that. The old girl's been glitchy lately." The Doctor poked his head down from his perch on the roof, waving his sonic screwdriver at a particularly shiny panel. But then, as though realising what he'd said, he tapped the machine apologetically and seemed to begin speaking to it. "Sorry, but it's true. No, no, I didn't mean that! Stop grumbling at me. As old as you are of course there's some wear and tear…not that I'm calling you old. Course not! Barely mature. Barely legal even! In TARDIS years, that is, which is absolutely not the same as dog years."
"Is he talking to his spaceship?" John asked Rory in a quiet aside. The other man shrugged.
"Be happy she isn't talking back."
"DOCTOR!" Amy scream brought both conversations to a hold. "DO YOU WANT HARRY POTTER TO OWE YOU A LIFE DEBT OR NOT? THINK OF—" she hesitated, mind racing. A light bulb flickered on with a smirk, "—think of gaining access to Diagon Alley. Think of all the shiny. Shiny, Doctor! MAGICALLY IMPOSSIBLE SHINY!"
There was a pregnant pause. With a quick scramble and a thud, the Doctor fell back to the console with a giddy expression.
"Very good point!" The Time Lord whirled the main gears into action, shouting over his shoulder. "Not every day you get to meet a fictional wizard. A few glitches can wait, hmm? We can check on John being real or not while doing a stop over in 2005 London—"
"Or you could drop me in 2007." John suggested sarcastically.
"Nonsense! You're our resident magic expert." The Doctor didn't notice Rory's significant cough. "But magicy magic! POTTER! Not that I care about life debts…though…hmm…" he paused to turn towards Amy questioningly, "you think one of those can get me a tour of Diagon Alley from a wizarding legend?"
"Of course." Amy said happily. When the Doctor had turned back she continued in a low voice only John caught. "Or a threesome and horcrux."
John felt no qualms in stumbling away from the terrifying girl. Rory (though he hadn't heard her exact words) gave him a sympathetic and understanding glance. The blogger once again questioned the sanity of everyone around him, and he wished this wasn't such a common occurrence.
1 September, 1991
Hogwarts Express, Northern England
Sally-Anne Perks fell with a grunt, a moan escaping as her back hit something hard. She lay there for a moment, winded, not opening her eyes. She wondered if she'd she been hit by a stray bludger? They'd been whacking them about, it wouldn't be that strange. But she didn't hurt in any particular area: it was more of an all-around, annoying, tired tingle. Like she'd been tossed into a Floo without warning.
Also, she didn't think she was sitting on grass. It was more like carpet…carpet that was vibrating?
"Are you okay?" Someone said from above Sally-Anne, drawing her muddled questions to a screeching halt. Opening her eyes she gave a shriek at finding a girl and mounds of bushy hair inches from her face.
"What's wrong?" The unknown girl leapt back in surprise. After looking behind her in consternation she glanced at Sally-Anne, a frown forming. "Why did you scream?"
"You were hovering over me!" Sally-Anne bit out, her heart slowing from its panicked race. She took in the girl's outfit (which seemed to be Hogwarts robes, except the normally coloured House tie was black) and the unfamiliar corridor they were in. Scrambling to her feet she craned her head into a compartment with a hooting owl inside; the window on the opposite wall showed the countryside whizzing by. "I'm—I'm on a train?"
"You have a concussion." The girl popped back in, her voice concerned but nosy. She was looking at Sally-Anne with a curiously inspecting gaze. "I think. Unless you didn't hit your head and it's a magical concussion? I know 'The Standard Book of Spells, Grade 1' talked all about a stunning charm that knocks you unconscious, which is supposed to be terribly disorienting. I haven't tried it out myself yet, except for wand movements and basic pronunciations, but the book made it all too clear and…oh, wait, I'm not entirely sure if that causes amnesia…"
"Wait!" Sally-Anne cried, holding up a hand before the monologue could continue. The other girl had barely taken a breath but had managed to tire out her companion rather than herself. "What?"
This jarred the bushy haired girl from her thoughts to sympathy. "Sorry, I should be making sure your head injury isn't too bad. Can you tell me your name? How about the last thing you remember? Or how old you are? You look like a first year. Oh, we might be in the same class!"
Sally-Anne felt herself swaying on her feet, the situation and her new, overly keen companion taking its toll. Taking a deep breath she tried to bring sense into this. "I'm, I'm Sally-Anne Perks. I remember playing at Hogwarts, then there were a lot of weird statues and…" she drifted off in noticing the girl's conflicted expression.
"I don't know about any of that." She nibbled her lip, making her large front teeth even more prominent. "That also doesn't show whether or not your brain's okay, because it was obviously a dream. Though it's odd that it took place at Hogwarts. But we'll be there soon enough and you can ask the teachers."
"Okay…?" Sally-Anne was feeling more and more overwhelmed by the moment.
"We need to figure out how injured you might be." The girl gave a thoughtful frown. "Something to test your memory. Can you tell me who the Headmaster of Hogwarts is?"
"McGonagall." She clutched onto the fact, happy to at least have this answer.
"No, she's Deputy Headmistress." The girl frowned, twiddling a finger through her thickly curly hair. "Maybe you're a muggleborn too and got mixed up? We need something more general. What year is it?"
"2007!" Sally-Anne said rapidly, wanting to get out of whatever this situation was. But judging from her companion's dismayed expression, even by saying the date she'd said something wrong. In the next moment she was being pulled into a car as the unknown girl tugged her into a seat and all but forced her to lie down.
"I'm sorry." The bushy haired girl said sympathetically, struggling to keep Sally-Anne down so that she could 'relax'. "But you definitely have a concus—no, don't fight me! We'll get to Hogwarts and the teachers will be able to help. You'll see."
"Help me?" Sally-Anne snapped, not able to loosen the older girl's grip. "I've been transported to a stupid train and kidnapped!"
"I'm not kidnapping you!" The girl scrambled to keep her 'patient' calm.
"You're mental." She retorted, anger swirling. "Who do you think you are?"
The door opened again, as though as by cue. A boy (with a rounded, hesitant face) poked his head in. "Hermione? Have you found my toad…" he trailed off in surprise as he caught sight of the two girls.
"One second." 'Hermione' huffed, now all-but sitting on a furious Sally-Anne. "She has a concussion and—"
"I DON'T HAVE A CONCUSSION!"
"—I have to deal with this." Hermione took out her wand and addressed her 'kidnappee'. "I'm really, really sorry, but this is for your own good."
"Err," the boy slowly stepped in, though he'd obviously rather be anywhere else. The door shut behind him, "what're you doing?"
"Helping." Hermione said primly before pointing her wand at a suddenly nervous Sally-Anne. "Again, I'm very sorry about this. Stupefy!"
The car, her 'kidnapper', and the crazy girl's friend went black. Sally-Anne didn't feel herself hitting the cushioned seat.
"Wait a mo. Sherlock Holmes and Gregory Lestrade in 2007 London?" The Doctor clicked onto the trouble. His excitement petered out into bewilderment in record time. "The Potters moved into Baker Street in 2005, meeting Holmes and Watson? You all got entangled with Moriarty, and the sum up is that Rowling travelled through time and wrote the books."
"Basically." Harry hedged.
The Doctor shook his head as though swatting away wrackspurts. "All of this was in the early 2000s? As in, Holmes, Watson and Lestrade were not in Victorian London?"
"…yeah?" Lestrade's brow rose at the apparent non-sequitur. "What does history have to do with this?"
"This doesn't matter." Ginny cut in. "Our kids are gone and John's vanished too! So do some whirly-gig thing and help us find them."
"Knight on blue steed, that's me. Off to save the world with whirly-gigs and friends." The Doctor flicked another switch before pivoting around. Leaning against the console, he sent the small group an appraising look. "But I like to know who my companions are. Being the big fan as I am, I know we have a problem."
"Excuse me?" Ginny irritatedly said.
"Weeping Angels attacking Hogwarts, Mycroft Holmes and a magical J.K. Rowling in 10 Downing Street, John Watson being kidnapped in 2007 London, Harry Potter and co onboard the TARDIS, various books in different times scrambled together…it's all a bit fictional for me." The Doctor rolled off, gazing at them more speculatively. "I'm as sentimentally foolish as they come and love a nice deus ex machina, but this is raising every alarm there is. So while I'm happy to chat, trust you? Take you anywhere? I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'll have to pass."
"You utter fool." Sherlock stalked forward, aura blistering with anger. "'Fictional'? You're claiming to travel around in a time travelling spaceship!"
"TARDIS. Also travels through space." Lestrade spoke up. When his exasperated companion turned to him, he shrugged. "So I watched the show as a kid."
It was the Doctor's turn to blink at a non-sequitur, but he turned back to Sherlock. "My running around has nothing to do with this. Not compared to you, who ought to be in the Victorian period! Instead of a…oh, who knows: an alternative universe crossover with pish-posh writing judging from the barely coherent plot!"
Sherlock gazed at him, annoyed at an unsolved problem. The Time Lord noted all of their confused or angry expressions; his eyebrows creased.
"Come now. The 1880s and 1890s? Sir Arthur Conan Doyle? Fanfiction?" The Doctor rattled off, but was only met with blank faces. He threw his arms up with a frustrated stab. "Robert Downey Jr. and bromance! You must know about this. Haven't you lot written a drabble or two?"
The others' befuddlement only heightened.
"Blimey." The Doctor whistled. "How to prove a point. Or no: how to poke logic holes in a crossover. Oh! When made up, the fandoms are never both properly canon. You!" The Time Lord spun and pointed at a flabbergasted Ginny. "Maiden name Weasley, pro-Quidditch player, has a mad bat-bogey hex, and you've likely repressed your entire first year at Hogwarts?"
Ginny's eyebrows rose, an angry flush resting on her cheeks. "I…yeah? But why—"
The Doctor turned to the wizard without pausing. "Scar horcrux, 'It does not do to dwell on dreams', and in the Forbidden Forest the last thing you saw was her face?"
Harry's eyes narrowed. "What're you getting at?"
The Time Lord was already twisting back to Sherlock and Lestrade, a triumphant grin in place. "See there? Though fictional, the Potters have kept to their story! But you two are out of time and canon."
"We aren't 'out of time'—"
"Out of your proper time period." The Doctor corrected. "Which makes me even less keen on this trip. Who's to say you aren't a bunch of alien tourists who can barely tell your Hobbits from your Klingons?"
"You want proof that we're who we claim to be. That's it, isn't it?" Harry interrupted the building up argument, not knowing the whole story but not particularly caring. "So long as you'll be quick about it, I can prove Rowling's books are true. I'll also vouch for those two. Happy?"
The Doctor perked up, though still looked wary. "How so? I've already seen 'magic'…though, to be fair, I've seen plenty of other species do similarly."
"We need to take a short trip to, oh, say sometime in 1991. Doesn't matter." Harry said, impatiently tapping his foot. "We're aiming for Charing Cross Road, London."
As the Doctor whirred the TARDIS into motion, Lestrade nudged Sherlock. Keeping his voice low, he asked what seemed to be a pertinent. "You know why an alien thinks we should be in Victorian London?"
The glare Sherlock gave the ex-Scotland Yard detective would've sent a lesser man running for cover. But as it was, Lestrade just sighed.
"So fantastic, neither of us know." He said as Sherlock spluttered. "Another mystery to add to this mess. Just what we need."
4 July, 1924
Brooklyn, New York
One dark night in Brooklyn, a spark of light was all the notice anyone had before a small body crumpled to the ground. Unlike some of the other time-displaced children, his 'landing' had missed a soft garden by several feet, and his head hit the concrete with a resounding crack.
Though the four year old's eyes had fluttered open at impact, in short time he'd settled back into oblivion. During his consciousness he had barely noticed the rain pattering against his skin, slicking back his blonde hair, or soaking into his red uniform. He certainly had had no time or presence of mind to realise that he was on a grimy doorstep in front of a clean but barren apartment building.
While he had hit his head, this was no story of amnesia. Instead it would only result in a rather nasty headache, and Steve would remember everything perfectly. But the sheer impossibility of the story combined with his age would, in a few years' time, make it seem like a faint dream. He was young enough for his accent to change, and he would soon enough fit into a new life with relative ease—though it was only after decades of trauma that the true adventure would begin. It would only be years after that when he'd discover the fixed point that had stranded him there.
But this was all in the future. For this boy in the dripping rain, his new life would begin in the morning when he'd be woken by a scream. Not that Mrs. Sarah Rogers was easily scared. But anyone would be startled if, when putting out the milk, they found a small boy on their doorstep.
1 December, 1997
Forest of Dean
"AAAHHH!" Teddy screamed, not sure what was happening except that something had. One moment he'd been looking over at the tables trying to find Harry and Ginny, and the next he was falling through nothing. Feeling his breath leave him, when seemed like a few moments (or hours or eons) he made a hard collision with a dirt floor. He lay there without rolling over, an aggreved groan escaping him.
"…you saw that too?" A panicked, familiar girl's voice sounded out from above him. But the young wizard was still feeling short of breath and only slowly rolled over. "It's impossible! Nothing can break through the charms, and if they could get through one person why aren't there a crowd of Death Eaters? How—this can't be—"
"I don't know." A male voice said simply, far more wary than the stammering first person. But Teddy had no trouble placing this second voice, and even this made him instantly relax. Yet when his eyes opened in relief, they instantly turned to shock. "Who are you?"
Teddy gaped at the two people staring at him, their wands pointing at his temple. He couldn't form an answer.
"Who are you!" Harry Potter all but shouted, crouching to get his wand closer to the petrified boy.
"Don't—don't you know me?" Teddy at last managed to get out.
It was the hurt that came across in these short words that drew the two teenagers to a confused halt, allowing the younger wizard to peer at his godfather more closely. Once he did, the differences between the man he knew and the guy pointing a wand at his head became obvious. For starters, this Harry Potter couldn't be more than a teenager. Also, in stark comparison to the confident man who was always laughing or smiling, this one looked exhausted. Lines of tension stretched across a face, and he'd crossed the mark from being skinny or a bit scrawny to being gaunt and half-starved.
This Harry Potter was also glaring at Teddy with such hatred that the boy couldn't help but choke back a frightened gasp.
"Should we?" Someone who Teddy was sure could only be Hermione Weasley (also younger, also tired, also too-thin, also looking as though the world was on her shoulders) said in a tight voice, though not angrily like Harry. It took the young boy a moment to realise that she was replying to his question.
"I—I—" Teddy paused, not knowing what to do. For whenever he'd been in trouble before, these were two of the people he'd go to for help. But now they weren't really them, and they were looking at him as though he was a monster. Not knowing what else to do, a rushed story burst out of him, "—YES! Yes, you do! You're my Godfather and Aunt! Don't you remember? Dad, I just saw you." He turned to a stupefied Harry in desperation, using the moniker he tended to do when he was scared. "We were at Hogwarts and, and, and I was playing with Jamie, Al, and Lils when everything vanished. It felt horrible, worst than apparation, and then I landed in this tent and…and you and Aunt Hermione look like you hate me!"
Both teenagers froze, uncertain of what to do with this outburst nor with a crying child. Hermione crouched down as well, peering at Teddy uncertainly.
"Hermione," Teddy heard not-Harry hiss. He tried to gulp back his fears to pay attention, "don't tell me you believe that. It's obviously a trap."
"He's a scared child." Hermione softly argued. Though she didn't put down her wand, she wasn't looking at Teddy like she wanted to attack him. Ignoring Harry's noise of protest, she addressed the young boy. "What's your name? How old are you?"
"Ted—Teddy Lupin." Teddy scrubbed his tears away, already feeling embarrassed for crying (not that he didn't feel much better). "I'm ten."
"Teddy Lupin?" Hermione repeated, brow crinkling in disbelief. Her wand was still pointed at him. "It's not possi—" her voice clenched at a thought, "—possible. Teddy, can you tell me what year this is?"
"This is ridiculous." Harry let out an impatient breath. "It's either a trap or the kid's deranged. I'm not taking my chances on either."
"He sounded genuine." Hermione quietly muttered to her friend. "Yes, it's impossible. But he's obviously terrified."
"He's acting!" Harry retorted, not taking his distrusting gaze off of the child. "So you, 'Teddy'. How'd you manage to travel back years in time?"
"I, what?" Teddy looked at them, stunned. It dawned on him why they looked so young. "I, I dunno! I did? What year is it?"
"I'm asking the questions." Harry said cooly, but Hermione interrupted him.
"It's 1997. You clearly think you know us," she ignored her disgruntled companion, "but can you prove it? Like tell us something only we would know?"
"Um, ah," Teddy's thoughts spiralled with the impossibilities of the moment, and trying to figure out what to do. His panic only grew, "my dad was a werewolf?"
Harry snorted at this. Hermione sent her companion a pointed look before turning back to Teddy with a carefully patient expression. "You mean Remus Lupin? That's common knowledge."
"Especially amongst the Death Eaters." Harry muttered but stopped in recognising his best friend's all-too familiar determination to get at the truth.
"Teddy, we'll need something more specific if we're to trust you." She continued softly, trying to calm the panicking boy. "You said Harry's your godfather. Has he ever mentioned something…secret to you?" She sent Harry a pointed look when he snorted at the apparent ridiculousness of this.
Teddy scrambled to come up with something, all while struggling to push aside his fear of what had happened to him and everyone else to the side. What mattered at the moment was to make them realise they were his family. "You, you two and Ron all became friends when a troll got into Hogwarts! Harry'd laugh about it, saying it was easier than how the Marauders did it. Y'know, turning into animals and stuff. But I always thought he was…" he remembered who he was talking to and finished softly, "…nuts. Who sticks their own wand into a troll's nose?"
Both of the teenagers stiffened at the mention of Ron. Though Hermione's stern expression then flickered into something resembling a smile, she soon returned to the stoic features that Harry hadn't budged from. "That is more specific." She admitted, not lowering her wand. "But a lot of people know about the illegal animaguses and the troll incident."
"Oh. Okay." Teddy said softly, having thought that this would do it. But he brightened in remembering another detail. "The monster it your chest!"
"The…what?" Hermione brows crinkled in utter confusion. But Harry was now gaping at Teddy in sheer incredulity.
"Yeah, Aunt Ginny's always teasing him about it!" Teddy said enthusiastically, judging by his expression that he'd hit gold. "At Hogwarts she was dating someone else, but you really liked her so, so you like," the little boy scrunched up his face, a bit confused, "dunno. Imagined a monster in your chest? It never made much sense, but it's pretty funny. Is it like getting butterflies in your stomach? 'Cause that sounds better than monsters."
Hermione—who'd been watching Harry's indignant expression—at last gave way to laughter, wand waving up and down as her hand shook.
Harry sent her an icy stare before transitioning it to Teddy. "How…the hell…do you know that?"
"Ginny told me." Teddy said simply, not feeling as nervous now that Hermione was laughing.
"Ginny told…?" The Boy Who Lived gaped at the child before shaking his head. "She doesn't know either! I never told any…one." Realising what he'd just admitted, he snapped his mouth shut. But it was too late.
"You 'never told anyone'?" Hermione got ahold of herself to grin at Harry's fidgeting state, a smile brimming over a face that seemed to have been empty of one for far too long. "Are you saying you actually personified jealousy as a—"
"Not the point!" Harry rapidly cut her off. Unbalanced, he warily looked back at Teddy. His wand was still pointing at the child. "How did you know that? I haven't told anyone, Ginny or otherwise, and I have absolutely no intention to."
"She kinda found out by accident. Sorta. It's complicated." Teddy said, ending with a shrug. Noticing that they were still staring at him anticipatorily, he scratched his head. "It happens in the future, where I think I'm supposed to be. So, how do I get back?"
This statement was enough to drain the remaining laughter from Hermione's face. Harry glanced at her, indecision still on his features.
"Come off it." Harry said to her softly. "You know this is impossible. Travelling back a decade? He must've found out some other way. Legilimency or, or—"
"Or what?" Hermione gestured at the child, giving the still-nervous boy a reassuring smile. "That time travel is impossible now, but in the future? Teddy seems to be telling the truth. More importantly, he knows obscure things about you! But what, you want to…to…to steal Veritaserum or whatnot to question him? He's not a Death Eater."
There was a lengthy pause. Harry's expression transitioned into a considering stare. Seeing this, Hermione let out a world-weary groan.
"Oh, you've got to be joking." She thudded her head onto a palm. "No, we aren't doing that!"
"It's the only way to know for sure." Harry said stubbornly. "Unless you know Legilimency?"
Hermione straightened up to throw an exasperated look at her best friend. "First the Ministry, now this? Where would you even find it!"
"I'm sure an Apothecary could—"
"That's like saying we could get felix felicis at a corner shop." She retorted. "If you'd take off that thing, you'd see how unreasonable you're being."
"'Unreasonable'?" Harry scoffed, clenching something beneath his shirt at her words. "Case you forgot, we're in the middle of a war! Of course I'm suspicious of a kid popping up out of nowhere and calling me 'dad'. Now, either we get the potion or we chuck him out."
"Ah, what?" Teddy glanced between them, not comprehending any of this. But from Harry's suspicious look and Hermione's apologetic one, he didn't think it could be anything good. "What's going on? What're we finding? And, ah…did you say 'war'?"
27 July, 1994
Anthea hadn't been drinking. Nor was she one for mind-altering substances, no matter if it was medicine or rather illicit drugs.
Yet, as she sat in a corner of a semi-crowded cafe, she wasn't exactly in her right mind. She attributed this to a lack of sleep, caused by the migraine that had ebbed on and off ever since being flung back in time. Not that it was time travel or being stuck in the 1990s (of all places) that had caused this. Rather, the sweltering headache was caused by the mounds of memories that did not actually belong in her head.
It was because of these irritated, muddled thoughts, that it took Anthea a bit to process the simple though improbable fact that a baby had appeared out of thin air.
Before this realisation had occurred, she'd been doting a blot on an otherwise blank notebook page, neutrally ignoring a cup of now-chilled hot chocolate. Becoming bored with this, she glanced absently around at the others in the café and at the odd decor. She frowned at the elephants plastered over the walls; one in particular was fiery red with a trailing tail, reminding her oddly of a roaring dragon. Of a phantom pain of the spiked tail piercing her shoulder, white hot pain spiralling out as the creature's roar screamed above her…her?…not her. Him, and there was no Hungarian Horntail here. Only muggles.
Anthea jerked her sight away from the wallpapered elephants, glancing out the window with a panic, clinging for a distraction as the ache faded from her shoulder as quickly as it'd come. Though it was foggy, the outline of Edinburgh Castle was clear enough through the drops of water splattering against the glass…and the memories shifted to another castle. This one alight with flames, Death Eaters swarming the corridors, bodies left in their wake, and her rushing by it all, thoughts thudding with desperate guilt. Fearful exhaustion wound through her muscles, dragging her down as she struggled with every step…every spell…every moment where her strength should have long ago combusted into ashes.
"Oh hell." She shuddered again, falling back to reality as the pen fell from her fingers. Inhaling thickly, she stared down at the untouched mug while struggling to keep back another spike of memories. It was because of this that she didn't notice a weight appearing in her lap. It might've taken even more time for her to notice if a little hand hadn't reached up and tugged on her sleeve.
It was thus that Anthea blinked down at the giggling baby. At first she wasn't surprised, merely relieved that this intruding memory wasn't accompanied by an oh-so-familiar headache. But as the seconds passed she realised that this child didn't resemble James or Albus Potter. Nor could it be Teddy Lupin as this baby was a girl, one with brown hair, brown eyes, and squealing as a pucker of blue magic appeared around her fingers. She then frowned, trying to recall which of the Weasley children looked like this.
Yet it was only when her cup of cocoa began to lift from the table that the witch numbly realised this was not one of Harry Potter's memories. Which meant a baby had actually appeared in her lap…and was doing accidental magic in a muggle place.
Anthea gave a small shriek, scooting her chair back against the wall. The baby gave an answering cry and the chilled hot chocolate was tossed up with a Boom!, blasting and flinging the liquid around the room. Shouts of surprise issued from around them, with everyone turning to the stunned woman (with her now soaked notebook) and the wailing child at the epicentre.
The harried staff didn't quite push the two of them off the premise. But in short time a bewildered Anthea was clutching the now sobbing baby to her chest, walking in stunned aimlessness. Yet luck was again not on her side, and within minutes the small drizzle had turned into a proper Scottish rainfall. She followed the hurrying crowds down the pavement and into the shelter of the Scottish National Library. Which, conveniently itself, also had a small café (likely for just this purpose, as various tourists lacking umbrellas or hats were likewise trampling through the entranceway).
Buying some fruit and sitting at a free table, Anthea shrugged off her coat, grabbed some food at random, and stared at the small being as it stared right back. It was only with this break to think that her thoughts calmed down, and she realised that she might've just kidnapped a child. She spat out a piece of banana.
The baby (now cheered up) laughed at the woman's silliness while stretching out to pound a strawberry into pulp.
"You think it's funny, do you?" Anthea said with a sigh, wiping away both of their messes with a napkin while idly wondering what babies ate. Or if she was holding the young girl properly; at least she wasn't falling off her lap, which was something. "I've been avoiding the Ministry for months, and now they'll get me because you—you—you apparated onto my lap!"
"Ga-foo." She drooled onto her hand.
"Or flew." Anthea gave a miserable groan, trying and failing to wipe up this new mess as the child just kept replenishing it. "I should go back. See if anyone's missing a baby."
"BalaBALALAA!" The child said cheerfully, stopping drooling to stick her fist in her mouth.
"They'll be frantic. Probably try to hex me." Anthea looked at the little girl with a mockly stern expression (though her true anxiety shown through), covertly drawing the Elder Wand from her pocket so that none of the patrons around her could see. "Let's see who you are before I'm sent to prison, hmm?" She let out a quick identity defining charm.
The baby burped at the spell hit her, but took little notice as a piece of parchment furled out from the wand. Anthea, repocketing the wand, took the paper in her free hand and began reading.
"Can always owl your parents. If they're magic, at least." She murmured—half to herself and half to the uncaring baby—while scanning the first line. "Don't really want to go back to what might be a 'crime scene'…oh, Jessica's a very pretty name. Wonder if you go by Jessie? Jess? Sweetie, does your mummy call you…" her voice trailed off as she read on. Her expression paled.
The baby started giggling again, grabbing another strawberry. Anthea took little notice of the prelude to a new mess, her focus on the parchment.
"This doesn't make sense." The woman wrenched her eyes from the paper, staring down in utter confusion at the now strawberry-covered child. In light of everything else, she didn't care if anyone heard her 'talking' to a baby. "According to this, you don't have any parents. You live in an orphanage which, if I remember correctly, doesn't exist yet."
Jessica let out a soft coo.
"You're also not due to be born in over a decade." Anthea said with further disbelief, threading her fingers through the little girl's thin hair. Her newest headache had nothing to do with transplanted memories, and instead with how her life seemed to be a cosmic joke. She sighed, eyeing the baby covered in fruit. "I know you don't understand a word of this, but I think you're as impossible as I am. Or I've finally gone mad. It's a toss-up at this point. Oh…and fantastic. You're drooling again."
1 September, 1991
Hogwarts Express, Scottish Highlands
Sally-Anne snapped her eyes open, coming back to consciousness. Catching up to her present situation wasn't difficult, as the deranged girl with bushy hair was gazing at her sheepishly.
"The conductor said that Professor McGonagall will be waiting for you when we get to the station, which will be soon." A flustered Hermione rattled off as Sally-Anne remained overcome and speechless. "They, ah, said I probably shouldn't have hexed you, and I'm dreadfully sorry, but I didn't know what to do!" She gazed at her, biting her lip. "Sorry. I, I thought you were hurt."
"It's fine." Sally-Anne sighed, sitting up from the seat with a groan. She could feel the train slowing down around them as noises crescendoed from the corridor. Though she wasn't really okay with this, something was obviously really wrong and she didn't want to be abandoned by the only person who'd even tried to help her. Even if the girl was more than a bit crazy. She rubbed her head. "Look, why did you freak when I said it was 2007?"
"Because it's 1991." She replied, taking Sally-Anne's resulting gape in stride. "Don't worry, the teachers will get you fixed up. Though the Professor didn't seem to recognise your name. Oh, that reminds me! Did I introduce myself? I'm Hermione, Hermione Granger. I would say you ought to get changed into your uniform, but you probably don't know where your trunk is."
"…what? No, I…"
"At least you have a good excuse." Hermione frowned before looking sheepish again. "Sorry, that came out wrong. I meant these boys I ran into earlier, Harry Potter and Ron Weasley." Her voice lowered, as though she was conspiringly telling awful secrets. "Would you believe those two were picking fights with other students? Weasley also did this extremely long spell which, honestly, I don't think worked at all, and I have the sense he's barely picked up a textbook." Her indignation grew with the last. "Can you believe that? It's a school of magic! Who wouldn't want to read about, about…why are you waving your hand at me?"
Sally-Anne stopped the movement now that her attention had been caught. Her eyes were now wide with shock, words shaky. "Did you say…no, you couldn't have just said 'Harry Potter'. Or, or 1991?"
"I know!" Hermione said with excitement, misreading Sally-Anne's terror for enthusiasm. "Imagine, a world-famous hero at Hogwarts with us. I've heard so many stories about him, though I only found out I was a witch this summer." Her grin ebbed into the smallest of frowns. "He is a bit short. I know he's eleven, but all the books made him seem so different. Larger than life?"
"You're Hermione Granger." Sally-Anne stared at her, the previous sentences having washed over her. "Who was just with Harry Potter and Ron Weasley. You're Hermione Granger and you're…eleven. It's 1991. 1991? 1991! No, this is a prank. A stupid joke."
Hermione peered at her in concern. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine!" Sally-Anne's laugh was shrill and more than slightly frantic. Hermione edged away, now nervous. "I'm out of my mind, being pranked, or meeting a war hero…you're Hermione! It's the '90s and I…I…oh Merlin."
Hermione gave a small shriek, diving forward to catch the other girl as she fainted.
31 July, 1925
Outside of Ithaca, New York
Jamie looked out the window, watching the landscape rush past. Luna had explained that she needed to talk to Newt for a moment, and though listening to his aunt try to convince the stubborn man that taking kids on an adventure wasn't a colossally horrific idea was entertaining for a bit, the young boy's attention couldn't be held for long. His poking 'fight' with Al had also become boring, and Lily was busy nibbling on her seatbelt (one that was rather more conjured than real, considering the time period). Wiggling his toes, the little boy gave into the inevitable:
"I'm booorrreeed." Jamie whined, giving up the wiggling and tossing up his arms with a humph. Al nodded in agreement while Lily perked up. "Auntie Luna, you can't be boring! 's'gainst the rules. We need ta—ta—go Snorkack hunting!"
"Merlin." The driver made a strangled sort of choke. Jamie recognised it as the sound that adults made right before they rushed out of the room and his parents sighed about being banned from yet another place. He frowned, remembering that he wasn't absolutely, entirely sure where the rest of his family was (something which was exceedingly rare, considering the overprotective Potters). But he put this to the side as boring grown-up stuff that he didn't have to worry about. "Tell me he's joking. Or are you all in on this…Snorkack thing? What 'rules'?"
"Think of them more as guidelines than rules. Or rather, the absence of rules." Luna said to him airily, before turning to look at the back of the car. "I'm sure we can go searching for them later. But we're in a bit of a situation right now, so we're going to be 'playing it safe' until we can find your parents."
Al scrunched up his expression, as though he couldn't even contemplate 'playing it safe'. Jamie couldn't disagree. Lily stopped nibbling to give Luna a betrayed look (in a way only a small child could). "Bu—bu' no fie-fie?"
"Please tell me," Newt said tightly, with the air of a man clutching onto a last string of sanity, "that she means 'fairies'? But I'm glad you finally agree with me."
"No, I still think an adventure sounds wonderful. I'm also rather certain she means 'fire'." Luna corrected, earning her a 'proud' nod from Lily and a choke from Newt. Noting the latter, the woman turned to him with a reassuring remark. "Oh don't worry, none of them are arsonists."
"That's…good?" Newt cautiously hedged.
"They're just preoccupied with dragons. Oh, and nundos. Dangerous things in general." Luna idly finished and—not noticing his gape—turned back to the listening kids. "Onto the important things. Are any of you scared, terrified for your life, or feel otherwise mentally traumatised?"
The three children gave unconcerned (albeit confused) shrugs, not really understanding.
"Brilliant!" Luna said brightly as Newt grumbled about not knowing who was the most insane. "Now, don't worry about your parents. I'm sure they're fine. We need to focus on getting home. One obvious problem is that we're in the United States, which is a bit of a set back—"
"You were flung back seventy years!" Newt cut in. "Compared to that madness, being in New York isn't an issue."
"Quite right." She nodded, continuing without concern. "As Newt wisely pointed out, our temporal dilemma is a bit more pressing than our geographic displacement." She paused at the kids' confused stares. "What I mean is that, until we figure out how to get home, this will be an excellent opportunity to learn about America. So that's why we'll be joining Newt on an adventure to search for Snorkacks!"
"YAY!" The kids cried as one.
"NO!" Newt exclaimed, at last glancing from the road to gape at Luna. "Are you mad? There are no Snorkacks, and I'm not taking you four on exhibitions! Putting aside the fact that you're all but strangers, any creatures I'm looking for could be dangerous. Especially to precociously curious children!"
Luna gave a non-comital hum. Jamie and Al grinned at each other, knowing that a little stumble of danger wouldn't stop their unofficial aunt. Lily continued to nibble at the conjured seat belt, wholly unconcerned about what was going on around her.
1 September, 1991
Hogwarts, Scottish Highlands
Professor Minerva McGonagall peered at Sally-Anne. The little girl fidgeted, not sure whether she ought to meet the piercing glare or look away.
"I'm afraid," the professor slowly said, "that what you've described is impossible. If you'll come with me, Hogwarts' Healer has been informed about your head injury."
"I don't have a concussion! Honest." Sally-Anne repeated for what felt like the hundredth time. "Come on, time travel can't be that rare."
"True, but one cannot travel years back in time." McGonagall, without further ado, sent a diagnostic charm at the girl. She frowned at the results. "Still, it seems you're correct about the lack of a concussion."
"See?" She spoke triumphantly. "I'm not crazy either, so don't try that."
"You'll need to see the Headmaster…" McGonagall paused, glancing into the Entrance Hall where all the first years were nervously waiting, "…which might be a bit difficult at the moment."
"Oh. The feast. Right." Sally-Anne tugged at her hair, remembering what she'd heard about Hogwarts. "Can we, err, not talk to him in front of the whole school?"
"Of course we won't." The teacher reassured her, glancing down at the list of new students as her forehead creased. "What's your full name again?"
"Sally-Anne Perks." She stood on her toes to try and peer up at the list. But the Deputy Headmistress suddenly looked relieved, rolling the parchment back up before the girl could distinguish anything more than squiggles.
"It seems, Miss. Perks, that you are indeed one of the new students." McGonagall gazed at her speculatively. "If you have truly 'time travelled' then Hogwarts must be very welcoming towards you indeed."
"I'm on the list? Wicked!" Sally-Anne gave a small cheer. "I wasn't supposed to go for another year. So I can be Sorted?"
"It appears so." The professor's inquisitive look hadn't dulled. "But directly after the feast you are to come with myself, Madam Pomfrey, and Headmaster Dumbledore to get this straightened out. If you feel at all faint or sick in the meantime, come to the Staff Table immediately. Do you understand?"
"Yeah, yeah…" but Sally-Anne's thoughts were a million miles away, "…I'm going to Hogwarts. Oh! If I'm a Gryffindor, d'ya think there can be a 'Golden Four'? 'Golden Quart-something'? Ooo, I can fight a troll!"
McGonagall blinked. Her voice was dry as she ushered them both inside to the other first years. "I haven't the faintest what you're talking about, but I can assure you there will be no troll fighting! Of all the tales to hear…" she gave a small humph, letting Sally-Anne join the other new students (most of whom seemed far more nervous than the now brightly smiling time traveller). "Honestly, Sorting rumours get more ridiculous with each passing year."
"Humans are brilliant!" The Doctor exclaimed, bursting back into the TARDIS with a large beam in place. He was in a swaying run, only just managing to keep hold of the teetering, towering boxes in his arms from toppling over. It was only in reaching the Consule that he let them go with a satisfactory Plump! to the floor, quickly beginning to dig through the parcels. "Always knew that, but this proves it beyond a doubt. Who knew Bertie Bott's really are every flavour, and sweet Rassilon, Flourish and Blotts! Biting books! Nutty novellas! Shrieking short stories! Pu…wait…puking poems?" He paused, taking a second glance at this book in question. But this was followed by a shrug and a cheer. "Puking poems!"
The two muggles were the next to reenter the blue police box, albeit at a more sedate pace. Greg carried a few bags of his own (where the edge of a Foe Glass could just be spotted), with his attention focussed on spinning a sneakoscope around his palm. As for Sherlock, it was far less certain how many items he'd procured from Diagon Alley. This was because he'd been the only one to 'persuade' their resident wizard to minimise said immense quantity of objects (legally or otherwise gotten) to fit snugly in his pockets. Still, this didn't stop him from sending a sour look at Harry as he and Ginny at last trooped inside.
The Potters were looking rather worst for wear. Indeed, their expressions wouldn't have been out of place on those who'd been swept up by a tornado before being plopped far from Kansas (or in Kansas, as the case would have it), bewildered as to what had happened and how they'd survived.
"They're—they're worst than the kids." Ginny said in a strangled gasp, disbelieving her own statement. Harry gave a numb, shocked nod in return. It demonstrated how ghastly this short 'shopping trip' had been that this allusion to their missing children didn't fill the parents with sorrow or a burst of adrenaline. Instead, they both slumped against the TARDIS' walls, exhaustedly watching as the alien and muggles dug through their newly-gotten items.
"Never again." Harry hollowly stated, looking at his wife with something akin to desperation. "We—we gave them 5 galleons each! How did—did—" he struggled to put the chaos into words. Giving up he threw his arms in the air in defeat, "—did that even happen?"
Ginny bit her lip against what would've surely been a stream of curses (insulting and/or magical). "I'd guess the time turner Holmes nicked has something to do with it. He had plenty of opportunity to use it before you spotted him."
"Yeah." Harry tugged at his moleskin pouch, where the 'confiscated' item now lay. Not willing to test their crumbling sanities further, neither dared question how the muggle had even found this rare item to steal. "He's still sore about that, and for stopping him from interrogating that one shopkeeper for blackmail. I never did find that ruddy Veritaserum! The git swears he didn't steal it. Hah."
"Better than Lestrade at Gringotts." They suppressed a shiver at the thought. "Equal rights and workers unions are one thing, but he was about to start another Goblin War!"
"Don't forget the Doctor." Harry stated simply. This was enough to set both Potters glaring at the Time Lord—who was still riffling around his 'purchases' and gleefully exclaiming about the trip in a voice loud enough to carry through the TARDIS:
"—a magical photo with not one flobberworm, but two! Then there was a half-kneazle who was surely a young Crookshanks, Garfield face and all. Can you believe it old girl? Course, the owner was huffy about me freeing some of the animals. Not my fault she can't speak owl…but oh! Look, an actual quaffle! I had the bludgers as well, but there was a small mishap at the store. The lock was shoddy, mind you, not my fault at all that they went astray. Wait, HERE! A bonafide two-way communication mirror circa Marauder Era. There was a nifty orrery of the solar system next to it, but that owner was a tad annoyed at me pointing out the discrepen—OH! SEXY, LOOK!"
Harry and Ginny exchanged an exhausted glance, not wanting to think about how many businesses their 'companions' had ransacked or destroyed, how they'd been now been banned from Diagon Alley in multiple time periods, why the Doctor seemed to be talking to the TARDIS and addressing it as 'Sexy', nor how the aforementioned alien had managed to get numerous wands…all of which he was presently waving around it one big chunk (his hands tightly clasped around them to keep any from escaping).
"Ollivander's a mite scarier than in the books." The Doctor said nonchalantly, 'flicking and swishing' with his wand collection whose joint width more closely resembled a tree trunk than a nimble branch. His beaming grin was at Cheshire proportions, stretching from ear to ear. "Not that pleased about someone barging into his back storage room. But wands! So many wands! How could I resist? This takes cosplay to a whole other level. Imagine walking in with these and shouting the levitation spell! A jelly-legs jinx! Bat-bogey hex! Fiendfyre! No, wait. Not the last. Too destructive. What's just as good is a nice little, Incendio!"
With the Doctor's final word, the numerous waving wands gave an almighty BANG! as a flaming fireball blasted into the wall right above the Potters' heads.
Harry and Ginny slowly looked up at the now-charred wall, blinked, and slunk with identical dismayed groans to the floor. The Doctor remained frozen, grin spiralling into a slack-jawed expression. Greg's brow crinkled in confusion, more surprised than shocked. Sherlock merely raised an eyebrow at the 'interesting' development.
"No. Oh Merlin, no…" Ginny gave a whimper at even the contemplation that this mad man had magic to utilise further destruction.
"Doctor," Harry gritted out, fighting back a blossoming headache, "are those trick wands?"
The Time Lord didn't answer, still stunned and staring at the remains of the fireball in slack-jawed disbelief. But as the seconds ticked by his grin slowly reached its old peak as his hair seemed to start bouncing with happiness. Suddenly he sprung into action, flinging the wands into the air with a joyous cry. "I conjured fire! I'M A WIZARD! 'Yer a what', you ask? A WIZARD! AND A THUMPIN' GOOD ONE, I'D WAGER, AS THE SPELL WORKED—oh, I mean, I'm very sorry for almost combusting you, and sorry old girl for actually getting you—BUT OH MY MERLIN! I CAN GO TO HOGWARTS! MY INTERGALACTIC OWL REALLY WAS LOST: I KNEW IT!"
As the cheering continued, the Potters yet again reconsidered this entire endeavour. They also cautiously drew their own wands.
"Look," Harry said to Ginny in a low breath, eyeing the still-exclaiming Doctor as though he was an Erumpent Horn, "we should leave. We'll find another way to get the kids. If these three could all but destroy Diagon in an hour, I don't want to see what'll happen if the most insane one actually has magic."
"We shouldn't leave." She bit her lip once again as Greg and Sherlock picked up two of the discarded wands, beginning to wave them. "They're distracted. So we should stun them, hide the magical items, and fly this thing ourselves. How hard could it be to figure out the controls?"
"Pretty hard." Harry watched as the two muggles were thankfully proven to be actually nonmagical. Not so reassuring was the Doctor's new enthusiasm for levitating everything within his reach—including the aforementioned, and now disgruntled muggles (Sherlock's curiosity concerning levitation was easily overrun by irritation when he found himself unexpectedly clutching at the rafters). "Why do we always get stuck in these situations?"
"I've been asking myself that for years." Ginny squinted at the Doctor, anxiety giving way to momentary confusion. For the alien had gleefully grabbed the sonic screwdriver from his pocket and was lining it up with his illegally gotten wand. "Love? What's he—oh SHI—PROTEGO!"
The shield stopped the Potters from rocketing back from the explosion. The Doctor wasn't as lucky, but even knocked back and sprawled out on the floor, his thrilled expression betrayed his intention to try it again. The muggles glared down at them from the rafters, their attempts to wave themselves down or shout for help coming to nothing.
Harry and Ginny began to (again) reconsider the wiseness of staying with the present company. For this 'rescue mission' had fallen into explosions and calamity before it had even begun.
18 April, 2003
Torchwood Three, beneath Roald Dahl Plass, Cardiff
Rose Smith yawned, only slowly realising she'd been woken by a shout. As this dawned she wrenched her eyes open, ready to face whatever new adventure awaited. But instead of seeing a monster…
"ARGH!" She jerked backward, a high-pitched scream escaping her. Flipping around to shield herself from further scarring, she was relieved to see her husband's equally shocked face. Leaving her eyes now tightly closed, she tested out a single word. "John?"
"Yeah?" The half-Time Lord half-human asked hesitantly.
"Tell me I'm hallucinating." She drew in a shaky breath. "That Jack Harkness isn't lying naked in our bed, and that he isn't looking like Christmas' come early."
"Technically, this is my bed." Jack helpfully put in, cheeriness undiminished. "But you're both welcome to it…"
Rose, reopening her eyes, stared at her husband with matching disbelief. She then burrowed her face back in her pillow and summed up both their feelings with a muffled voice. "No. Nope. Nuh-uh. Hallucination or not, I don't care. I really don't. I'm going back to sleep. Screw this."
"If by 'screw this'," Jack answered nonchalantly, "you mean what I think you mean, than I definitely second this."
"Oh, for the love of Rasi…" the Meta-Crisis groaned, so completely done with whatever the universe (or universes) had thrown at him. But his assuredly epic rant of an existential crisis was cut short. For half of Torchwood (weapons locked and loaded) burst into the room, having been 'summoned' by the rousing screams.
A/N: If you've lost count, here are the current time-confused groups:
TARDIS Mark 1: Harry, Ginny, Sherlock, Lestrade, and the Tenth Doctor.
TARDIS Mark 2: John, Amy, Rory, and the Eleventh Doctor.
1925 Upstate New York/Manhattan: Jamie, Al, Lily, Luna, and Newt.
1924 Brooklyn: Steve Rogers
1991 Hogwarts: First year HP peeps and Sally-Anne.
1994 Edinburgh: Past!Anthea and baby Jessica.
1997/1998 Britain: Second War HP peeps and Teddy.
2003 Cardiff: The Torchwood crew plus Rose and TenTwo.
2007 Downing Street: Mycroft, present!Anthea, and Mary (partly Darcy, though she's run off in a panic).
To make things even more confusing, here's a preview of places/times/characters still to come:
1981 Godric's Hollow: The Marauders, Lily, baby!Harry, and a few time-displaced wizards.
2007 Paris: 'Marlene Mckinnon'/NotMary, Gladstone, and a future someone.
2007 Burrow: Ron, Hermione, and three 'kidnapped' actors.
2010 New York: A mix-match of various characters.
2013 Greenwich: A mix-match of various characters.
2017 King's Cross: HP Epilogue characters plus an extra.
This mess is what happens when I try to combine my favourite fandoms into one fic. There's lots of insanity on the way but, contrary to popular belief, I do have a plan to bring this craziness together! Now, whether or not it will work is another story (like those who're reading my convoluted 'Hallowed Time Twists' can attest to).