Over the past few—ages, actually—I've realised how horrendous it was that I left a few stories completely unfinished. Each story was abandoned for different reasons. I stopped work on 'A Scandal in Baker Street' because I'd originally been far too ambitious with the plot. I now have no desire to write up every single subplot I instigated, much to my chagrin. That's what I get for trying to reconcile "Harry Potter" and "Doctor Who" canons with the real world! For a bit I also thought I'd put in Marvel canon? This plot completely got away from me. A parallel reason I stopped this was because I felt queasy writing fanfiction about 'real' people. It kept nagging at me until I didn't want to continue. Looking back, I should have kept it at just combining HP and SH, and not tried to make a sequel.
With all of that being said, it isn't fair to the readers that I left this unfinished for years. While I'm sure most of those old readers currently seeing this won't remember the plot in the slightest (even I have to search my memory), I thought it only right to post up my outline of this story alongside various scenes that I'd already written. This 'outline' will show what a horrendous clusterf— of overlapping time streams I had planned! If you're confused, don't worry, I am too.
Thank you sososo much for all of your support! I hope you've enjoyed this crazy journey,
ps: To those reading 'A Stricken Lament'? Don't worry, I'm not abandoning fanfiction, and I still love that story! To those who are hoping I'll update 'Hallowed Time Twists'? That story will soon be getting a similar treatment to this one where I lay out the entire plot I had planned. While 'HTT' won't be thoroughly finished, I do have another time travel fic on the sidelines.
To (maybe) help, here's a guide to the different characters who are either 'real people' and/or use aliases:
Philip Anderson: James Moriarty (originally thought to be Sebastian Moran)
Rodolphus Lestrange: Sebastian Moran (originally thought to be James Moriarty)
Anthea Rawthorne: J.K. Rowling
Mycroft Holmes: Mr. Rowling
Harry Potter: Daniel Wright
Ginny Potter: Claire Wright
Ten's Meta-Crisis/TenTwo: John Smith, David Tennant (plays the 'fictional' Tenth Doctor and Barty Crouch Jr*) (this was only planned, I never wrote it in)
Rose Tyler: Rose Smith, Georgia Moffet, future Georgia Tennant (plays the 'fictional' Jenny, much to her annoyance) (this was only planned, I never wrote it in)
NotMary (the blonde woman who stole Mary Morstan's name in 'Sherlock Season 3'): Marlene McKinnon (stole this identity instead of Mary's), Susan Foreman (the Doctor's granddaughter), Perenelle Flamel (this was only planned, I never wrote it in)
Daniel Radcliffe: The Master
Yeah, this story's messed up. It's what I get for trying to shove in everybody I can!
The Potters go to Hogwarts where Weeping Angels take all the kids and Luna. The worried family reveals themselves to the Aurors. Recognising the statues and knowing Moriarty's involved, Harry knows that Anthea was lying about taking care of him. Ignoring the Aurors, Harry grabs Ginny and apparates away, to both get to a man who might know how to contact the Doctor, and to a woman he dearly wishes to interrogate.
The Doctor, the Ponds and John have finally gotten the TARDIS up and working, but find it impossible to get back to the church. The Doctor, grumbling about fixed points in time, tries for 221 Baker St. instead. This also fails. John mentions the Potters' address, which again doesn't work. The Doctor, eyes lighting in excitement, finally tries to get a point on Sherlock Holmes himself. There's complications due to something (aka: Sherlock's moving around in time). But eventually the TARDIS takes off to destination unknown.
A disgruntled Sherlock and Lestrade, slamming into 10 Downing Street, paused outside of Mycroft's door at the sound of screaming inside. But Sherlock storms in anyway, adding to the shrieks insisting Mycroft tell him where John is. Lestrade, trailing in, is met by the odd sight of the furious Potters getting back into screaming. Mary had clearly long since given up this lost cause and was shuffling papers in the corner, looking back every few seconds as though checking that the line hadn't been crossed into murder. Mycroft was staring at the Potters with what seemed like genuine shock over his expression. Anthea was beside them, looking unsurprised but apologetic, her phone nowhere to be seen.
Lestrade cleared his throat, asking what was going on. Anthea, grateful for the break in screams, explained that John had disappeared in a flash of golden light and that numerous wizarding children had been captured by. Anthea calls up UNIT's Martha Jones. Martha, now on the phone, seems uncertain. But because of the direct order from 'the British government' reluctantly texts the Doctor a set of coordinates.
There's a small voice that they can't identify from outside. Then a knock on their door along with a called out, "Bonjour? Hello? Martha? Well…did anyone call for a Doctor?"
Harry answers the door. They all see his back freeze before his wand is instantly drawn. The next moment, the door's been flung wide and Harry is pinning a shocked Barty Crouch Jr. to the wall, wand at his throat. The 'conversation' shifts between Harry shouting about Death Eaters and impossibilities, and the Doctor slowly coming to terms with the situation and fanboying over the magical awesomeness.
The 10th Doctor (identical in looks to Crouch Jr) happily accepts the Veritaserum once assured that it's not aspirin. In fact, he's joyful to have any potion at all ("Brilliant!" and all that lot). Soon enough, everyone's satisfied that this really is the Doctor and not Barty Crouch Jr. They're a bit concerned about the resemblance, but the Doctor shrugs and says that genetic anomalies happen all the time.
Mycroft hasn't the faintest about John and is concerned about Hogwarts. But he does pause, realising very clearly that this was likely more of an attack on the Potters. Taking a potion out of a hidden case, he gives it to Harry, telling him it's to be used against enemies. When Ginny asks what it is, Mycroft says it's a volatile attempt to cancel out magical energy. In further explanation, he tells them that he was trying to produce a potion which could protect against any spell by vanishing any magic that comes into contact with the person who ingested it. But this early attempt would just as likely cause the magic of the person who took it to vanish, perhaps even leading to death. Mycroft warns that throwing it or poisoning anyone with it would likely only have a temporary effect, so to be cautious.
This is when they get a Patronus from Ron, saying that he knows the Potters were at Hogwarts and that he's coming to Paris. Harry and Ginny, sharing a quick look, say it's about time they moved anyway. The Doctor, never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, beams and drags the five Potters and Sherlock out to the TARDIS.
The 10th Doctor, hearing about the bow-tie fellow at the Ministry (the 11th Doctor), theorises that they met a future him and that that is where John might be. But because of wibbly-wobbliness, it'd be extremely hard to meet up unless the future him remembers this and—he freezes before plotting out a random spot for the TARDIS and, in landing, shoving them all outside. After five minutes where another TARDIS/the Doctor/or John fails to appear, Ten reluctantly admits defeat. In rapid sequence he jots off various things as being very, very bad ideas. For his future self should have been here if he'd remembered it!
Sherlock, infuriated, asks if there's any way to detect a large amount of 'timey-wimey' activity (which had already been mentioned that, whatever had happened to John, would have had to put off). Harry asks if he has another option of plotting the trackers on his kids through time and space. The Doctor, jumping up in excitement, races back into the TARDIS while shouting back that he has "Just the thing!"
After rattling a bunch of buttons and pressing an assortment of levers, the Doctor swirled to them with a proud grin, announcing that the Potter kids are at sometime in New York! As there was a ridiculous amount of timey-wimeyness in New York, 1945, there you had it. Ginny, uncertain about all of this, asks how the Doctor knows that's where they are? The Time Lord grins and says that that's usually how it plays out and, even if they're not there, doesn't that sound like the place to be? One lever later and the TARDIS is jolting off to New York.
~ Part 8:
At some point before New York, the Doctor gave Harry his white communicator box since, as he happily said, he was always the one who seemed to get separated and in mounds of trouble. They wander around the darkened streets for a bit, until the Doctor's detector goes crazy in two different directions. They decide to split up: the Doctor with Harry and Ginny with Sherlock (as everyone doubted putting Harry and Sherlock together wouldn't result in homicide).
The Doctor and Harry turn to the right. Within this, the Doctor looks askance at him, a man with lessening hope with every footstep. He starts to tell the story about going to Privet Drive after the Time War, desperate and in search of anything to hold onto. But a man and dog had convinced him he was wasting his time searching for magic. Harry blithingly asks how this is supposed to make him feel better. The Doctor smiles gently and says that the man gave him something even better: hope and a flower.
Ginny and Sherlock turned to the left, not stopping in their bickering until they almost ran into River. The new woman stared at them in surprise before coming to her senses and jumping to her feet. She rapidly asks them where the other two are. Neither Ginny nor Sherlock recognise her, but the woman groans, says her timeline is entirely mixed up, and would they please tell her where the Doctor and Harry Potter were before they got themselves killed. Jerked into motion, the three race back towards the two they left behind.
By this point Harry and the Doctor had reached an apartment building with the door swinging open on rusted hinges. Harry, peering inside, saw a small stone cherub on the floor. Taking this as a sign the two warily went in.
River hesitates at the entrance in noticing the time. Deeply regretful, she tells both of them to hurry, and races away. Sherlock and Ginny, utterly confused but worried, run into the apartment building.
Harry's slamming open every door, looking around with his wand, and calling that the coast's clear, while the Doctor's doing the same to the rooms on the other side. But as the seventh door is burst open, Harry hesitates, his attention pricked. He moves forward towards the mirror glimmering in front of him, wand still ready, but staring before him instead of around. For the gaze was familiar and entrancing: the gilded Mirror of Erised, seeming smaller but no less grand then when he had first seen it as eleven. Then, well, things get nutty and a Weeping Angel attacks Harry, sending him back in time.
I also wrote all these scenes about George and Ron finding out more about what the Potters have been up to, but I've honestly lost track if they'd even still fit into the story so I've left them out!
"A bow-tie, you say." The Tenth Doctor made a face. Trying to picture this further, he scrunched up his nose. "Tweed or no tweed?"
"Tweed." Harry made a valiant effort to keep his patience in check. Having locked up all the illegally gotten wands, he was feeling a touch more relaxed. But only a touch. "I'm sure it's your next regeneration."
"Hmm." The Time Lord puckered his lips. "Bow-tie bow-tie bow-tie. Nope, don't think I have one. Nor tweed. Did he have anyone along? Friends, robotic dog, giant alien face—oh! OH! Not another word! I've an idea."
"Oh good," Sherlock stated in a deadpan. None of the humans' anticipations were diminished when the Doctor made a bee-line for the mounds of packages and gleefully dug through the stolen magical goods. "Potter, you're sure you got all the wands?"
"Yeah," Harry said before hesitating. "Though, knowing that maniac?"
Ginny twitched, pulling out her own wand in anticipation. This precautionary move was unneeded, for within a few minutes the alien had given a shout of delight. He shuffled back to them, awkwardly carrying a huge stone basin.
Ginny's wand arm fell to her side. Harry blinked. "You actually found—"
"A Pensieve? Yep!" the Doctor cheered, thumping the heavy object on the floor before them. Peering over the side his excitement only grew. "Saw this collecting dust in a corner and just figured, 'Why not?' Having a telly for memories can always come in handy. So pop in your memory of my older self, we'll see what was said, and…and…" he trailed off as he looked up at Harry with widening eyes, "a telly for memories. YES! FLUFFY. QUIDDITCH. HOGWARTS! THE ANTI-CLIMATIC FINAL BATTLE, ESCAPING FROM GRINGOTTS, THE EPILOGUE! THE—"
"Stop! Just…stop." Harry held up a hand to halt the hyperactive Doctor. "If it'll get you to calm down, I'll show you something after we've made progress." The words then caught up to him. "What epilogue?"
"The Epilogue!" The Doctor grinned, calmer but now thrilled at the future prospects. "Who could forget? 'Nineteen years later', King's Cross—ah, wait. You lot are looking odd. Spoilers? Forget I said a word." He still seemed ecstatic. "Now then, memories!"
"Golden light, bow-tie me, and bow-tie me showing up in the Ministry of Magic while saying he knows John Watson?" The Doctor's face pinched. "Still haven't the faintest about the kids, but the missing Watson might not be so much missing as hitching a ride."
"Excuse me?" Ginny frowned.
"He thinks that a future him has taken John," Sherlock was leaning against the railing and looking wholly unamused. "On very little evidence, might I add. I also fail to see how this could help if it was true."
"That's easy!" The Doctor grinned, starting to set some levers in place. "Don't know if that's what happened, but if it is then future-me remembers this moment. So when he finds himself with a hitchhiker, he'll know where to go to. Which will be," he paused, scrunching his mouth. His fingers then snapped, pulling at cords and punching buttons with a frenzy, "King's Cross Station, London, Earth, 1 September 2017 at 11am!"
"What?" said Ginny blankly. She turned to the other two as the TARDIS began to coo and click. "Does he really think this will work?"
"You have a better plan?" Harry tightly gripped onto the rails as they began to take off. "If we do find anyone, maybe they'll have a clue about the kids."
"So bored." Sherlock groaned. With closed eyes, he was rapping his head against the outside of King's Cross Station. His companions weren't doing much better. "This is doing absolutely nothing to find John."
"Pretty sure I was clear." The Doctor frowned up at the enormous clock, even though his internal one was right as rain. "Wasn't I clear? Harry Potter Epilogue. Simple, clear-cut. Future-me wouldn't forget this date! Think he got confused and raced to 9 ¾?"
[The Doctor and Sherlock race inside to see the platform]
"We're hitchhiking with a madman," Ginny said to her husband idly. He mumbled in response, seated with his head resting against his legs. "A madman with no idea what he's doing. You know, I think this might be the strangest thing we've ever done."
"Hardly," Harry grumbled. "Maybe in the top ten. Maybe." There was a pause, then a rapid nudging of his shoulder. He blearily straightened up. "Gin—oh. You've got to be kidding me."
"Hello to you too." A woman grinned down at the sitting people, crossing her arms. Harry glanced at his wife (who looked as shocked as he felt), and then looked back up at the incredibly familiar witch. There were a touch more lines around her face and her hair had lost a hint of its fiery brightness, but there was no mistaking who she was. "You really aren't supposed to be here."
"Holy Merlin," Ginny peered up at her future self, disbelief stretched over her expression.
The older witch was momentarily confused at this reaction. It was only after a pause that she rolled her eyes. "Lo. I'd try to get used to seeing past and future versions of us as soon as possible. It makes everything easier."
"This…happens a lot?" Harry hedged, his shock only marginally decreasing.
"Fair amount." Future-Ginny gave a flickering grin, as though holding back a snigger. "Though I'm nothing compared to you, love. You're practically a walking paradox. On that note, all of you should really leave. Harry's chatting with Ron and Hermione, and I know you don't see them."
'No, wait!" Ginny's confused thoughts caught up to her. "The kids, where are they? Where can we find them!"
The smile didn't leave, though it turned a touch sad. "Spoilers, sorry. I couldn't tell you if I tried."
"Are they safe?" An edge of panic entered Harry's tone.
"That one isn't even a spoiler." Future-Ginny gave them a reassuring smile. "As though those hellions wouldn't run after danger and come out of it laughing."
The humans hadn't even bothered to disembark in the previous dozen stops. This hadn't bothered the Doctor, who continued to bounce from one world's time zone to the next. The fact that his 'companions' had long since become reduced to sulking and muttering at a table had passed him by.
"Mutiny," Sherlock sullenly intoned. The Potters gave groans of full-hearted agreement, but this didn't deter the detective from elaborating. "We're following a fool. Worse yet, a fool lacking a plan. He likely thinks we're playing an intergalactic hide and seek!"
"We know you're right." Harry angrily scrubbed at his hair. "But it's not like we know how to work this thing. So, seeing as how a time machine will be useful…"
"Blackmail," Ginny supplied, lips pursing, "as we can't very well bribe the bloke. So, leverage? Do we even have anything on him?"
"Torture," Sherlock opined an alternative. It said much about their mental states that this suggestion wasn't immediately shot down. "Everyone has a line. I hardly care that he's an extraterrestrial! It is three versus one. We simply bend the Doctor to our demands."
"Which is all well and good," Harry didn't exactly disagree with the sentiment, "but we don't have 'demands'. None of us have anything resembling a plan! So hijacking's premature."
"Anything would be better than this," Ginny darkly muttered.
"This may sound odd," the Doctor said slowly, clearly focussing on the words even while his gaze and screwdriver surveyed the empty streets. "Odder than odd, actually, or perhaps less so considering our current preoccupation—"
"Doctor," Harry cut in with a tinge of testiness, his whole attention on inspecting the passing alleys, "I'm not in the mood for chatting."
"Course you aren't. Lost kids, Angels on the loose, still queasy from the journey, all sorts of wibbly-wobbly nonsense and…" he caught sight of the other's impatience and skipped ahead, "right. Non-sequitur, but I need to ask. You said Jo's novels were generally correct. Does that include that you grew up on Privet Drive, Surrey?"
Harry glanced at him, thrown by the tangent. "With the Dursleys? Yeah." He kept staring. "Why?"
The Doctor's mouth puckered, as though this was something he'd expected but had hoped was false. "Small potential issue. Hopefully an ill-tasting prank. I don't suppose you know a ginger man with a dark humour?"
"Loads," he continued to stare at him, lost. "All my brothers-in-law, to start."
"Any of them have a big dog and like to time travel?"
Harry's incredulousness grew. "No. To either. What're you on about?"
"What I said." A small scowl grew on the Doctor's face. "A redheaded man with a large black dog on Privet Drive told me that magic didn't exist."
"So you believed him? Wait," the wizard's exasperation returned, "why were you on Privet Drive?"
"Post-Time War I was feeling a bit…well." A shadow passed over the alien's expression. He shook it away. "Pardon me for looking into magic. I waltzed over to Privet Drive in 1981, as one does. But before I could see if there was or wasn't mini-you on number 4's doorstep, this ginger fellow pops out and claims it's all fake. The novels, magic, everything."
Harry blinked. "Okay. Putting aside your attempt to stalk me, I repeat: why did you believe this bloke?"
"He knew about me," the Doctor's harshness fell away to confusion. "Even pointed me towards Rose Tyler. He was right about other things, so why not about magic? What I figured, anyways. Weeell then, sounds like any of the Weasleys?"
"Maybe. Hopefully not. The last thing we need is more people in this mad family lost in time."
"Okay, second question." The Doctor again broke the silence, much to Harry's annoyance. "The Sherlock Holmes and Harry Potter characters both exist in this universe? 'kay, brilliant. But how'd you main characters meet?"
It took Harry a moment to process what was being asked. It took even longer before he realised he was, in fact, one of the 'main characters'. "A few years ago Ginny and I were renovating our flat."
"Grimmauld Place?" The Time Lord piped in.
"Err, yeah," the wizard sent him a perturbed look, recalling the earlier hint that he'd stalked him through time and space. "Mycroft Holmes was a consultant to our Ministry on some research. He recommended a London residence that was already under government protection, since his brother lived there. It was only after moving into 221 Baker Street that we realised how bloody irritating Sherlock Holmes is."
"You lot seem like friends?"
"It's complicated." Harry made a vague waving gesture. "This was all back in 2005. James Moriarty—you know Moriarty?—came after us. He set dementors around Britain and London's Underground, killed the Head Auror, and kidnapped John Watson, Mycroft, and my son Jamie. He then blamed Sherlock and I for the attacks. It…wasn't pleasant."
"Moriarty wanted to take us down, but he also wanted to try and 'take my place'. He planned on stealing my memories and the Elder Wand, blast himself into the past through the Veil of Death, kill my younger self, and…yeah." Harry shrugged. "Clearly, that didn't work. He got the wand, but Anthea—Mycroft's research partner and old assistant—pushed him away and got the copy of my memories. Moriarty and Anthea were sent into the past. We didn't hear from Moriarty again until his voice was broadcast through Hogwarts when the kids were attacked."
"That explains a bit," the Doctor said thoughtfully. "What about this Anthea? Don't think I've heard of her."
"Really?" he said in surprise. "Thought I remembered all the characters. Which 'fandom' is she in?"
"None of them." Harry pursed his mouth. "'Anthea' is a pseudonym. She was a magical reporter trying to get a scoop on me, but pretended to be a muggle and began working with Mycroft. When she was trapped in the 1990s she took my memories, used the Elder Wand to cast a notice-me-not over all magical beings, and wrote a bestselling series of novels." The Doctor's eyes widened. "By the by, I wouldn't mention this to any other wizard. Unless you want Rowling chucked into Azkaban for obliterating the Statute of Secrecy."
The Doctor's mouth formed a slow 'o' of realisation. "That's why the fictional books actually aren't!"
"Yep." Harry turned his head to the side, curiosity brimming. "While we're on the topic, what's the story behind yours?"
"The 'Doctor Who' telly show," he halted as the Time Lord stared at him. "On BBC for decades? A complete history of…" comprehension dawned, "wait. You didn't know? You don't know?"
"What?" the Doctor said, eyes blinking as though in slow motion.
"Hold on." Harry stopped and turned completely towards him, surprise over his features. "Rowling put a notice-me-not over her series, so there's a damn good reason I hadn't a clue. But you? In all these years, didn't you catch a reference to it? You're telling me that none of your companions were Whovians?"
"Fans of the show. Doesn't matter," he waved this away. "Are you honestly saying you don't know what I'm talking about? It never came up? Wow. You'd think at least Jack Harkness would've mentioned it!"
"How do you know about—"
"Again, madly popular telly show!" Harry exclaimed, not believing he was having this conversation. "Merlin. You're telling me you have no idea who David Tennant is?"
The Doctor's brow creased. "Not ringing a bell."
"Not ringing a…he's an actor and your doppelganger!" He let out an exasperated breath. "Forget it, we don't have time for this. I'll explain once we're back on the TARDIS, alright? If we can connect to BBC iPlayer, we'll have a marathon."
"Huh?" The alien and the wizard started up again, the former still bewildered.
Harry moved deeper into the gloomy room. He gazed at the filmy glow against the pure, milky glass. As impossible as it seemed, what confronted him drove all thoughts of the Weeping Angels from his head.
The mirror was more beautiful, more enchanting than he remembered it. Which was hardly surprising, for the last time he'd seen this object had been when he was eleven and in the midst of a life-threatening adventure. He had been in no position then to examine the mirror. Not that he should be now, but he found it all but impossible to resist. His only other thought was vague wonder at what it was doing here.
He gazed at the gilded silver, at the metals' intricate weaving. This was spell-binding in itself, never mind that it was just the holder of the true magical object. His eyes flickered upward though he didn't have to read the eloquently cursive words. This particular sentence could be recited like a half-forgotten nursery rhyme:
erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi
Harry stepped into the room as though in a trance, taking quick steps until he was near enough to have his breath fog the glass. Without conscience thought his hand rose to brush the mirror's surface, retreating the milky whiteness to the edges. The sight before him was beautiful, of course. He'd have expected nothing less. The shadows stood around him: laugh-lines cheerfully entrenched in their features, sparkling eyes of chocolate brown and emerald green staring back with love.
Ginny's freckles were abundant, as though she'd spent the day drinking in sunlight. It took a twinge of scrutinising for Harry to spot the other differences in her, though once he saw them he couldn't focus on anything else. For there was no rough scar hiding at her crimson hair line, no worried shadows in twin circles around her eyes, and only laugh lines indented her skin. She smirked at him. He couldn't do anything but sadly smile back. Her gaze moved to her side and he followed it to the other figures beneath the glass.
The kids were unchanged…except that they were here, in front of him, safe and happy. Teddy was batting a tip-toed Jamie away from scruffing his turquoise hair (falling into an intense poking war). Lily, Weasley red hair curling around her, clutched her toy Nundo with a toothy grin as she was held by her mother. Al was in the midst of a silent laugh while being hugged by a tall figure, one whose eyes were shining with mirth. The last was not a battle-scarred man, one who had risen and fallen more times than he cared to remember. This was not an ex-Head Auror who'd felt his only chance at happiness was to run.
Harry winced at these thoughts. He only then noticed that the reflected forehead was unmarred by a bolt of lightning. Indeed, no scars criss-crossed the mirrored skin and no nightmares lurked in the grinning gaze. He guessed there wouldn't be a burned circle at the man's neck, or a line over his heart.
This carefree family (one that was nearly his, almost close enough to grasp) was whole. There was no trace of past memories, current fears, or future grief. There was only love. Simple, uncomplicated. The single thing he'd always craved.
Harry placed a hand against the cold glass, clenching his fingers as the figures beckoned him forward. The tickling/poking fight even ceased as his reflected children pressed their faces against the mirror. But they weren't desperate like him: they had fun scrunching up their mouths and noses as they laughed at the shapes.
Mirrored Ginny grinned down at them before glancing back up to meet Harry's gaze. Her smile softened and she murmured something he couldn't catch. But it was still enough to draw him closer as he felt as though he could step through—breaking the glass into thousands of shards—and join them in their world.
His shadowed wife glanced away from him to rest a hand on her scarless husband's shoulder. His reflection gave an easy smile. Harry wasn't sure why, but this one gesture was enough to make numb envy and aching pain spark through his fogged mind.
Which was when the wizard felt a touch on his own shoulder…and for an instant he thought he'd stepped through. That Ginny was beside him, completely carefree. That he'd run once more (like the coward he was), forever chasing after dreams. That the mirror had cracked in half. That the soft fingers pressed against his shirt tightened, and for a split second he knew he'd gotten past the glass barrier—
Harry didn't blink. He never even saw the Weeping Angel.
[Sherlock and Ginny find the Doctor, and as they run over to Harry they're only just in time to see him disappear with a blink.]
The Potter kids land in New York, 1920s. But they're quickly found by Luna Lovegood and Newt Scamander. I wrote a bunch of the 1920s scenes, but for the life of me I can't figure out where I put them!
I'm skipping a bunch, but Harry time travels and lands next to Anthea in 1993, blah blah blah. Some other stuff happens I don't know about, then he falls into another time thingie. Harry lands with a smack in the snow. Sirius Black wakes him up, before informing his terrified godson that he's in Godric's Hollow, 1981, the night before Halloween.
Harry landed messily. Thankfully, not on the concrete. But ending up splayed out in the hedge next to it wasn't much better. Spitting out a branch, he scrambled up to a sitting position, looking around him in a daze. He wasn't in the building anymore, nor was he in anything that looked like New York. For even in the dark a suburban street was clearly spread out before him, small streetlights dimly casting shadows. He allowed himself a few seconds to gape, kneeling on top of the hedge.
The wizard rubbed the side of his head, dimly noting that he wasn't hurt and that he still had his wand. But he didn't know what on earth had happened. He scrambled back for the memory: he'd been searching the building, found the Mirror of Erised, stared at it, felt a hand on his shoulder and…
Harry suppressed an angry shout, wanting to kick himself. Had he seriously been entranced by the mirror? It hadn't even shown him much! Only his peaceful, whole family…he gave a small sigh at this thought. No, it had shown him a great deal. But that didn't excuse him being distracted, especially since it seemed like a Weeping Angel had managed to sneak up on him.
He felt a spike of panic at the last. Drawing his wand he waved a temporal spell.
1993 and without a TARDIS. Brilliant.
At least the Doctor will have figured what had happened to him. If he could leave a message or something, he might not be stuck. But he'd first have to figure out where he was.
Still in his elevated place, Harry gazed around him, thankful to see that there was no one around. But he also got the strangest sensation that he knew this place. A muggle suburb that wasn't Privet Drive? He frowned, trying to recall what it was. But a shout drew this contemplation to an end:
Harry dived sideways, narrowly avoiding the stunner. But the movement caused his precarious balance to falter, and the next thing he knew he was sprawled on a grassy lawn. Pointing his wand back through the hedge to where the spell had come from, he scrambled up to a kneel, crouched beside the barrier. He could just hear approaching footsteps, just one pair.
"I don't want any trouble," Harry quietly called out. In the pauses he placed a few enchantments on the hedge: mainly protections, but nastier hexes were also scattered within. "I accidentally came here and just want to leave."
"Uh huh." A woman answered, voice equally soft. She was on the other side of the fauna border and still approaching. "Like you aren't waiting for Potter."
Harry's initial thought that she sounded familiar was pushed into confusion. "What're you on about?"
"Of course Death Eaters would have guards around Privet Drive." She seemed to be talking to, or chiding herself. "Silly to think not—so. One of you saw he was heading out of his protection and decided to set up an ambush?"
"The f—" Harry cut off his own swear, realisation swelling. 1993. That was when he'd run away, getting only a few streets away before summoning the Knight Bus. "This, this can't be Magnolia Drive?"
"Here I thought you people could get no stupider." The woman harshly whispered, pausing right on the other side of the hedge. Perhaps it was this sarcastic insult that did it, but he could finally place the voice.
"Anthea?" Harry gawked, bewilderment once again growing. "You've got to be kidding! Why are you attacking me? What're you doing here!"
There was a lengthy pause.
"How do you know my—GAH!" Anthea's exclamation ended with a cry. This quickly morphed into a chorus of low swears and jabbered spells. "What did you do to my hand!"
"It's stuck in the hedge?" He scrambled to make sense of the situation, but was at least relieved a true enemy wasn't firing on him. "You shouldn't have touched the vines."
"Release the spell!"
"Not unless you stop attacking me." Harry replied back, wand still raised. But he then sighed. "Anthea, it's me. Harry. You weren't the only one sent back in time."
"…Harry Potter?" There was a hush. "The Veil?"
"A Weeping Angel. Nasty creature that plays with people's timelines." He stretched, waving his wand with the counter spell and climbing to his feet. "Now, why're you stalking my younger self?"
"Stalking?" Came the incredulous reply. Harry, still feeling unbalanced, decided not to climb the hedge and instead blasted through it (repairing the damage as soon as he was through). "You've got to be kidding."
"Nope." Harry, repocketing his wand, looked at the figure before him. It was indeed Anthea, but one who looked far closer in age to the one who'd fallen through the Veil. She was also staring at him in something akin to disbelief. "I just fell here randomly. Unless the same thing happened to you, you purposefully came here."
"Merlin, this is ridiculous." Anthea groaned. "Mr. Potter? As impossible as it is, it's nice to see you. But I'm not a stalker! If anything, you ought to be thanking me."
"Thanking you?" Harry remembered her book series and the headaches that was still giving him. "Why, exactly?"
"Because, you daft git," she gave him an impatient scowl, "you're looking at your fairy godmother."
A thick pause sweltered.
"Fairy godmother?" Harry at last hedged, thrown by this entire mess.
"Do you know how many times you ought to've been killed? Hmm, do you?" Anthea walked up to him, eyes narrowing. "Because I do. You're a magnet for trouble and have the worst bloody luck I've ever seen!"
He took a step back, unhinged. For lack of a better option he tackled one of the few points that made sense. "Worst and best luck, actually."
"No! Just horrible luck!" Anthea gave a cry, flinging up her arms. "But oh no, feel free to disagree with the woman who's seen your life from an objective viewpoint. That's sure to be productive."
"Back up." Harry rubbed his eyes, not wanting to deal with any of this. "What do you mean by 'fairy godmother'?"
"I've saved your arse so many damn times…" she took a calming breath, reigning in her patience. "Listen. How often have you thought, 'Huh, that didn't make any sense. I should have been maimed or seriously injured. Guess I'm just lucky!'"
"…a few times, I guess."
"You aren't lucky. It wasn't luck." Anthea bluntly retorted. "An eight year old doesn't have enough magic to apparate to a rooftop to escape from bullies, but he could be levitated. A freed snake—niceties aside—would have taken a few bites out of people if someone hadn't helped him get to Brazil. There'd be no reason for Mrs. Weasley to ask her daughter where Platform 9 ¾ was, unless she was confunded or imperiused to do so. A wand can't just 'backfire' unless it's helped along. Phoenix tears can cure basilisk venom, but that wouldn't have mattered if Fawkes hadn't had a hand in blinding the beast. And now? Now, in ten minutes, a startled teenager will either be run over by the Knight Bus or be summoned to safety at the last moment." She gave the smallest of smiles at the man's dumbfounded expression. "You think I'm stalking you? I wish it was that simple."
Harry let out a slow exhale, not sure if he was believing any of this (or, if he did, what the ramifications could be). "So you get my memories, are sent back in time, and automatically assume I'd have been killed countless times if not for you?"
"No, Mr. Potter." Anthea said with a twinge of sarcasm. "I got your memories, was sent back in time, and couldn't help but notice all the plotholes in your recollections. If your life was a novel it'd be a wreck."
He hesitated, not sure if she'd already started writing. "So…it wouldn't make a good book?"
"What?" She blinked at him, thrown by the tangent. But she shook her head impatiently. "I'm a reporter, got that? I'm trained to look for things that don't make sense. So it was easy enough to sort through the memories, pinpoint where I must have interfered, and plan a list accordingly."
"Because you figured you must have done it the first time around." Harry shelved the book question, having gotten what amounted to an answer. He focused on the small fact that, apparently, he'd had someone constantly saving his life since he was a kid. "Not saying I believe you, but a list? Ah, any highlights?"
Anthea gave him an unimpressed look. "Take your entire 'seventh year'. If the starvation hadn't killed you, the flying dragon or horcruxes would have. Also, I'm guessing a few well-placed imperius curses ensured that Ron Weasley would interrupt any mention of Voldemort by name. If that doesn't work, I'll just confund the lot of you."
"Huh." As much as he hated to admit it, this was making a lot of sense. Still, there was one thing he could ask to make sure. "What about the first killing curse I survived? You had a hand in that?"
"No, actually." A crease of a frown appeared on Anthea's face. "I'm assuming your mother put some sort of defensive charm over you, but honestly? I haven't the faintest."
This was enough proof for Harry. "Alright, I'll believe you."
"What?" She blinked, thrown. "You believe me because of something I didn't do?"
"I believe you because you admitted you didn't do it. If you were trying to seal your story, you'd have done the opposite." He finished at that before changing the topic. "You reckon I'd have been killed a lot?"
Anthea hesitated, clearly wanting to ask more. But she sighed and took hold of the tangent. "Tonnes."
[Harry goes crashing into another time, leaving Anthea behind, blah blah blah]
Harry slammed into the snow. As the moisture seeped through his clothes and into his very skin, the pain arching his body became multiplied rather than numbed by the cold. He lay there, eyes shut and fingers curling into the frozen remains of grass and dirt. Wherever—whenever—he was, it was dark and silent. The Weeping Angel's stare replayed in his head, quietly condemning his failure. Perhaps because of this, he found that he never wanted to look around. Screw his survival and auror instincts, or basic comfort. For once, he was satisfied with the blissful ignorance that everything had once again fallen apart. A bit of his mind spurted out the phrase Schrodinger's Cat, but the rest of him quickly silenced the annoying voice.
As long as Harry stayed still he could pretend that everyone was only a few paces away. If he didn't explore, he could imagine that it was still 2007. He wouldn't discover he was trapped in the Middle Ages, another futuristic world or—Merlin help him—1997. If he simply stayed here in peaceful denial he could imagine he was safe in bed at home. That Ginny was asleep beside him and that the kids were in their rooms, slumbering quietly…
"PRONGS!?" A terrified scream ripped Harry from his thoughts. Before he could recognise the mind-bending meaning of that word, footsteps were pounding towards him. Within seconds rough hands had turned him over and there was a muffled gasp from above him.
Horrible realisation surged through Harry, even icier than the snow. Now it wasn't only the pain that was keeping his eyes shut tightly. For even after so many years, he knew that voice. Just as quickly, he realised where (when) he was, that his young godfather would quickly realise he wasn't his dad, and that he was in no state to fight off any curses.
"Merlin." Sirius Black spoke more quietly, the panic in his tone retreating to something like sorrow. It was this emotion that made Harry—though tense—open his burning eyes. Peering up through cracked frames a dim part of him noticed that this man was different than his young, cheerful godfather from photographs. This wizard was harder, eyes graver, with more lines skittered across his face. The man brushed a shaking hand over Harry's fringe, pulling away the wet hair to reveal a faded lightning bolt. "You, you have a scar. Your eyes…"
"I'm, I'm not James." Harry coughed out the words, keenly aware that his wand was feet away and that his every muscle ached. "I'm his cousin. Surprise visit and I—" his stammering and on-the-moment lie was cut off as Sirius suddenly pulled him to his chest. Flinching in pain from the jerking movement, he panicked before realising he was being embraced rather than attacked.
It took another moment before Sirius' shouted words dawned on him. "YOU IDIOT! Diving through the Veil? Do you have a death wish?"
"Sirius. Sirius?" Harry stammered, eyes further widening in disbelief. It was only then that his godfather pulled back. Keeping his hands firmly on Harry's shoulders, the animagus' mouth twinged between a broad beam and a furiously harsh scowl. "Holy f—"
"Harry James Potter," Sirius whispered, though every word came out clear as Veritaserum, "if you were really that bloody stupid I'll—I'll get Lily to ground you! You see if I don't!"
Which was when the stupefied Harry was tugged back once again into a hug.
"It's, it's really you?" Harry scrambled out, his thoughts in disorder. "Wait. LILY?"
"Merlin, it's good to see you." Sirius gruffly said, his hold tightening. "But you'd better have a damn good reason for being here and looking twenty years older."
The Potter kids, Luna and Newt head into Manhattan. Luna catches them up on what's happened: in the past few weeks she'd helped Newt find a magical object rumoured to allow your heart's desire to come to light. Newt had come to the US in search for this, keen to know where the animals he longed to find lived. Luna was happy as well, figuring she'd either see where the Snorkack was or find a way back home.
Coming to an apartment they're met with the grumpy owner, Abe, who insists he won't let them anywhere near the object. He says it's too dangerous, something which could drive any man mad…. Which is when John Openshaw stumbles through the door from the interior of the house.
Teddy lands in a tent in 1997, and finds teenage Harry, Ron, and Hermione pointing wands at him. He's able to convince the three that he isn't a Death Eater. Time pasts and supplies are running out for the teens and child on the run. Teddy convinces them he knows someone in this time who could help: Aunt Anthea.
Teddy raced up in excitement, a huge grin in place. "I know what to do!"
Ron looked up at the boy, confusion crossing his and his companions' faces. "You know what now?"
"Where to go." Teddy nodded simply. "Since you three keep saying I'm too young for the war, I know where I can stay."
Hermione suppressed a groan. "We've gone over this. Many, many times. Metamorphmagus or not, you aren't getting anywhere near—"
"I know," Teddy waved this rebuke away. "Course I wish you lot weren't overprotective, but that's not what I meant. You want me out of 'harm's way' but there's nowhere else to go, right?"
"Yeah?" Harry hedged, finding it unlikely that after weeks of arguing the boy would just agree.
"There is someplace else. I just remembered!" Teddy grinned widely, proud of his epiphany. "I can go to one of my goddad's friends. There. Easy."
There was a lengthy pause.
"Ah, kid?" Ron said slowly, eyeing a likewise incredulous Harry. "Last I checked, your 'goddad''s friends are also on the run. Namely, us."
"Not this Harry," the young boy said in exasperation, as though the others were being thick for not understanding. "My proper goddad! He has a friend back in this time." He frowned. "Okay, not really 'friend'. That's why I didn't think of her 'til now. The adults are kinda mad at her, but she's awesome and cool. Harry likes her too, though won't admit it 'cause of the books and stuff. But Ginny thinks she's really funny and she always brings the best gifts and—"
"Hold on," Hermione lifted up a hand to draw his rambling to a halt. "What do you mean he has 'a friend back in this time'?"
"There was this whole thing with time travel a few years back," Teddy explained, not noticing the effect it had on his companions. "A bad guy framed my goddad for a lot of stuff. Complete nutter. Blew up a bunch of things around London, killed some people, kidnapped J…ahh…other people. Anywho, this bad guy had his big 'plan of doom' of going back in time and changing stuff, but my goddad's friend stopped him! Err, partly. She was also sent back in time and lived through the years again. So yeah. She's somewhere here."
Hermione cast a look at a stupefied Harry as the words washed over her. She struggled to get a handle on everything. "That would be so lonely."
"That's your response? 'So lonely'?" Ron repeated incredulously, eyes wide. "Teddy, what happens in the future! Does the war never end?"
Teddy looked at his de facto uncle in confusion. "Huh? Course it ended."
"You have maniacs blowing up parts of London!" Ron exclaimed.
The younger boy scratched his head. "That was kind of an one-off thing. See, Harry'd just become Head Auror, but this mental dude hated him. So all this stuff happened, the press went insane, and…err…it was kinda the last straw. That's when they moved to France."
This brought all three to a halt.
"Head Auror?" Harry said weakly, disbelief threading his words. "I join the Ministry?"
"I'm more concerned about the rest," Hermione said carefully. "You said that someone framed Harry? Who moved to France?"
Teddy gulped. "Maybe I said too much."
"Kid, you've already said plenty of spoilers," Ron said bluntly. "I don't think answering her will change anything."
His hair changed to an embarrassed fire engine red. "This guy Moriarty was mental. He portkeyed a bunch of dementors to…to places."
"To places?" Harry questioned.
Teddy looked down, red fading to a dreary brown. "Some went to Diagon and Hogsmeade. People were hurt, but it wasn't anything compared to," he took a breath before continuing on, "compared to what happened in the rest of London. Lots of dementors appeared in the Tube."
The other three were struck speechless, the horrific implications hitting them at once.
"At the same time," Teddy softly continued, "two other attacks were happening—"
"What?" Harry said hollowly, his throat suddenly filled with cotton.
"—a wizard attacked us," Teddy all but mumbled. "Aunt Ginny tried to stop him, but she was the only magical adult there. Everyone was okay, but he kidnapped some people. Including Jamie. He was fine! They were all okay. It was a weird few weeks."
A silence descended.
"You said two other attacks." Harry found it difficult to get the words out.
Teddy regretted getting onto this topic. "The current Head Auror was killed. My goddad had just been made second-in-charge, so he became boss and this mess was plopped on his lap. He did a really, really good job, but the press went mad. Everyone was scared and all these stupid rumours said it was my goddad's fault."
"What!" Hermione gasped, torn between horror and outrage. "His son was kidnapped and people blamed him?"
"It was really stupid," Teddy agreed, looking miserable. "Then there were these murder charges and a lot of stuff I don't get, but you three were pretty much non-stop at the Ministry."
"Murder charges?" Ron blinked, not all that shocked. "All three of us were there?"
"Yeah. Course," Teddy shrugged. "That was one of the press' problems: they didn't like how much power the Weasley-Potter family had at the Ministry."
This again left them speechless, none of the teenagers able to imagine a future where they were not only on good terms with the magical government, but were effectively in charge of it.
"Anyway, it all blew up," Teddy let out a slow exhale. "They rescued Jamie and got rid of Moriarty, but Uncle Harry and Aunt Ginny were sick of all of it. So they left Britain. My gran an' I are the only ones who know they're in Paris."
"Only you two?" Hermione said quietly, her words muffled.
"Err," Teddy hedged again, realising he'd let slip another thing he shouldn't have, "yeah."
"That can't be right." Ron's face scrunched up. "You mean you two and my family."
"Not, not really." Teddy looked thoroughly miserable at this point. "The press turned around and started calling Uncle Harry a hero again. The Weasleys thought that this'd bring the Potters back to Britain. But they didn't want to do that. Between the media calling them things and criminals trying to attack them…" he shrugged, "well, yeah. But Aunt Hermione still had a high position in the British Ministry so she started," this last part was said rapidly, "botheringthePotterstocomeback. So far, it's not working."
"This woman you spoke about," Harry at last said. "Where would we find her?"
Teddy crinkled his brow. "Dunno. Used to visit her in Downing Street, but I don't think she's there yet."
"Downing Street?" Hermione repeated before sighing. "No, never mind."
"I can just Google her house." Teddy didn't seem overly bothered, nor did he realise he was saying anything strange.
Ron looked confused. "Do what now?"
"Search on the internet for her address," Hermione explained. Seeing that Ron didn't comprehend this any better, she tried again. "The internet is found on muggle computers and can be used as a search engine, as well as many other things. Think of—oh, I don't know—of all of the information in Hogwarts' books being accessible by putting a few keywords into a machine to search for particular information. 'Google' is one of the main search engines."
Anthea opened her front door and froze at the group of four children.
"Hi Auntie Anthea!" The youngest boy scrambled out of the teenage girl's hands and stepped towards the woman. He was the only one of the small group not pointing a wand at the shocked witch. "Don't know if you know me, hope you do. Teddy Lupin, remember? I time travelled too! But it's really dangerous right now so could I stay here for a bit?" He gestured behind him. "Don't mind them, they're on the run from evil wizards. They also don't know about your you-know-what on you-know-who, or who you are. So! Can we come in?"
"Of, of course," Anthea gulped. Stepping inside she gestured them through, quickly shutting the door behind them. She stared at the teenagers in dawning horror. "You're here. How are you here?"
"Not exactly by choice," Ron grunted out, his wand still raised. "You aren't telling anyone where we are, understand?"
"Ron." Hermione hissed, knocking his wand away from the now gently swaying woman. The girl turned to her apologetically. "I'm sorry about this. Teddy said we could trust you and we didn't have many other options."
"You're a time traveller?" Harry said bluntly. Though his wand now hung at his side, no one questioned how quickly he'd be able to cast a spell if need be. "How do you know my older self?"
"We're business acquaintances." Anthea swallowed a knot in her throat. She scrambled to make sense of this. "I, that is…you're all half-starved, what am I thinking? I'm sure I have some biscuits, take away," she considered this tangent with vague desperation, "hmm, plenty of baby food. I can run out and—"
"You aren't going anywhere," Ron cut in bluntly.
"We aren't holding her hostage!" Hermione all but glared at her friend. "Could you not threaten allies?" She turned back to Anthea. "I'm really sorry about this. But food would be amazing. We can pay?"
Anthea struggled back a laugh. "Of course not, I won't hear of it. Come in, I'll see what I have. Living room's to the left."
Teddy plopped happily onto a fluffy green armchair. The three teenagers less certainly made their way to a dark leather couch, scanning their surroundings as though expecting Death Eaters to jump in through the windows. To any casual observer, the living room was utterly normal. Painted in cozy shades of blue and gold, the furniture dotted around seemed to be just old enough to be antique, and just worn enough to be well loved. Though not scruffy like the Burrow, this and the hallway gave off a comfortable though elegant air.
Between the colours and the bookshelves lining the walls, a distinctly Ravenclaw taste hung about the area. This was only multiplied by the mounds of scattered and bound papers littering the main table, where quills and biros were flung about a twinge haphazardly. An idle glance over these writings showed that they were split between official financial papers, and rougher parchments where paragraphs or pages were scribbled in messier handwriting.
Sounds of muffled rummaging and cursing flowed in through the open door, presumably from the kitchen. Teddy was perfectly at ease, lounging back with his feet crossed against a pile of papers on the table. The Golden Trio were sitting more nervously, fingers twitching over their wands or hands nettling in their laps.
"This is a bad idea," Ron muttered, not taking his eyes off the doorway. "She's supposed to be a family friend? That's too vague. How do we know she isn't contacting Snatchers?"
"Because she's awesome," Teddy replied. "She's really, really nice."
"I understand that." Hermione turned to the young boy. "But last time we barged in on someone—Teddy! Take your feet off that!"
Not waiting for him to respond, Hermione picked a startled Teddy's legs up and plomped them to the floor. Shaking her head and murmuring about being tossed out for rudeness, she scooped up the pile of papers the boy's feet had spread around and began straightening them.
"Auntie Jo has kids," Teddy groaned at the teenager's naivety. "You're just like Gran! I'm tired, why can't I put my feet on this? She probably won't mind, she's used to it."
"That doesn't mean it isn't rude," she humphed, flipping a few papers to put them back into something resembling order. As she did so, she couldn't help but scan a few lines. "Hmm. Odd she'd have these out."
"What?" Harry asked, paying more attention to where approaching footsteps could just be heard through the doorway.
"These papers. They sound like a story." Hermione read a few more lines, becoming interested. "Listen to this: 'For a few days, the school could talk of little else but the attack on MN. F kept it fresh in everyone's minds by pacing the spot where she had been attacked, as though he thought the attacker might come back. H had seen him scrubbing the message on the wall with Mrs. Skower's All-Purpose Magical Mess Remover, but to no effect; the words still gleamed as brightly as ever on the stone. When F wasn't guarding the scene of the crime, he was skulking red-eyed through the corridors, lunging out at unsuspecting students and trying to put them in detention for things like "breathing loudly" and "looking happy". G seemed very disturbed by MN's fate. According to R, she was a great cat lover'." Her mouth scrunched as she stared at the words. "Odd, it almost sounds like—"
"Accio rough draft!" a frantic cry sounded from the doorway, causing most of the papers to be yanked from the table as well as from Hermione's hands. Anthea didn't bother catching them, letting them fly past her into the corridor. Dropping a tray of biscuits, crackers, and cheese on to the table, she spun around and practically raced to a smaller table, frantically rifling through the parchments. "Sorry! Forgot this was a mess. Help yourself, I'll be right back. As soon as I find…where did that man put it?"
"Um, Miss?" Hermione exchanged a startled look with the others as the witch shortly cursed and belted to a short chair that was likewise covered with papers. "What are you looking for?"
"A book. That my husband, in all his wisdom," Anthea muttered, picking up page after page, "thought should be made unsummonable. Dratted man."
"Wouldn't it be on the bookshelf?" The younger woman gestured towards it helplessly, also rethinking this endeavour.
"No, I was reading it to," Anthea halted mid-stride, slowly pivoting to face the trio. Anxiety was etched across her face, "my daughter. The couch."
Harry's eyes widened with realisation. Turning around he rummaged behind the cushion he'd been leaning against. "Thought something was jabbing me."
"Yes!" Anthea snatched the colourful book from his outstretched hand, spinning around and hurtling towards a bookshelf before any of the kids could properly see it. In moments the book was back in its place, lost amongst the many titles. "Thank you. Sorry about that. Really, eat!"
The Golden Trio could only stare at her. Teddy sniggered, grabbing a chocolate biscuit. "Was that what I think it was?"
"Maybe. Shush." Anthea sunk into a chair, peering at them tiredly. "So Teddy's somehow travelled back in time and you're on the run from practically everyone."
"Yeah," Teddy spoke up before the others, swallowing a thick bite before continuing. "It's been awesome! Though now I see why we never go camping. Was that the second book?"
"I see," Anthea sighed, "and yes. Could you not talk about them?"
"Can I have a sneak peek?" Teddy leaned forward, looking excited. "Or, oh! I have a great idea! You need more nundos in the story. Nundos make everything better. Or pirates! Can they fight pirate nundos?"
~ Part 13: The Woman Who Wouldn't Wait
This next bit is a montage of what Anthea had been up to since she'd stopped Moriarty and been pushed back in time herself. She also runs into Mycroft (who'd been cast back in time when a Weeping Angel invaded 10 Downing Street), and picks up a stowaway kid who'd been caught up in the Hogwarts Weeping Angel attack.
I'd written basically this entire chapter, so that's why there's so much of it! I have a soft spot for Anthea. There's also a mention of Anthea revealing magic to the muggles. This was all foreshadowing to a planned third book, which I am now definitely never going to write (I'm sorry). Picture all of this insanity plus Marvel and Infinity Stones, and there you go!
Anthea woke up to a crunching headache. Her face was planted against what felt like pebbles. After a small twitch left her body wincing in soreness, she made a vague decision to avoid all movement in the future.
Though, this didn't seem like the best place to take a nap (no matter how much her exhausted mind and body desired one). Something seemed off, dangerous. Anthea drowsily tried to recall why this was. Yet her usually sharp memory was slow to respond and, when at last it did, it wasn't with what she'd expected:
~Wind-swept ocean drops flicked against his nose, his clothes, and his already wet cheeks. But a bit of moisture wasn't enough to move him from this spot, not when sitting at this cliff ledge was so peaceful.
He gave a swift and silent thanks that Hermione wasn't a legilimens and couldn't 'overhear' his last thought. Even though he hadn't meant it in a dark sense. It was only that, with the world being so twisted around, it was bliss to stop. Stop, think, and watch the horizon while tossing pebbles into the ocean.
He pretended he didn't hear Bill call that dinner was ready.
But he was less successful in his effort to forget the newly dug grave in the yard behind him. Because no matter how long he stared at the effing pebbles and the effing ocean and the effing world that didn't give a damn, Dobby (with his socks, enthusiasm, and addiction with saving his life) wouldn't leave his mind.~
Anthea jerked up, eyes darting open in shock. Her body's instantly straining complaints were shoved aside. Instead of worrying about moving and pain, she replayed the memory.
She'd never been to that cliff face.
The name 'Dobby' only rang a faint bell, one with no grieving sorrow attached.
No 'Bill' had ever called her to dinner.
Most jarringly: she had never been male and certainly had never referred to herself as thus. Yet, the 'inner monologue' in this bizarre memory had made the gender clear.
Still, against all of that, the memory felt like her's. It was a scene that could now be easily pulled and reviewed from her mind and, though the scene was odd, the experience didn't seem 'foreign' like shared Penisieve memories…
"Knut for your thoughts?" Came a sly voice to her left.
Anthea again jerked upwards, startled more thoroughly into the present. Moriarty was grinning at her with a cheshire beam. She wasn't sure how the hell he could be so cheerful, seeing as how he too lay prone on the beachy pebbles. Blinking rapidly but labourously, her breath quickened as she truly took in the madman.
"Did I distract you?" Moriarty tsked, slowly pulling himself up. Anthea spared a single glance at the knife laying between them. With a burst of adrenaline and nary a thought, she forced herself forward. "Sorry pet. Always wondered what first came to mi—urgh."
"Will you shut. UP!" Anthea grunted, emphasising every word with a kick. Though they weren't very strong they hit the target. Ignoring the knife and her own protesting body, she scowled down at the man now clutching his abdomen. "What did you do? Where are we?"
"London, I imagine." Moriarty groaned out, though even with his pain a grin remained visible. "Not quite a train from Manchester, I admit. I wonder where you got that one?"
"What?" Anthea swayed. Her pain, his nonsensical words, and the not-quite-right London skyline made her stumble on the spot. "The, the time travel?"
"Right in one." Moriarty beamed at her. No longer holding his chest, his eyes glistened in reverence. "But, I have a wee confession. All I said before? Lies."
"What?" She repeated, voice chilled.
"Weeellllll, mostly." He idly waved a hand. "I do love me some chaos and mayhem in the morning. But at the end of the day, I'm a fanboy. Said as much to Sherlock from the start. But oh…he had nothing on you."
"I'm your biggest fan, love." Moriarty drawled, getting to his feet as she stared uncomprehendingly. "I'm the first Potterhead. The catalyst. Your muse. So I have only one question to ask."
He moved forward until he was mere inches from her stupefied figure.
"What," Moriarty said these words slowly, lovingly, "did you think of first? Please don't say Quidditch, or I might still have to kill you."
Anthea swayed, gaping at the man and his incoherent statements.
"Say, oh please say, that it was the very smell of magic in the Great Hall?" He inhaled, as though he too could taste this in the air. "The claustrophobia of the cupboard under the stairs? Gasping for breath with the last few seconds of gillyweed? Or was it the sheer fear and fury as the Dark Lord rose above you? Love, death, hate. Which was it?"
Something clicked into place. Not all of Moriarty's words, nor even most of them. But it was just enough to spark a realisation.
Harry Potter's memories.
Because no, she had never been to that cliff top. She had never mourned the brave House Elf, one she hadn't had the pleasure of meeting.
But Mr. Potter had and, considering the headache still growing in her mind, she'd hazard a guess as to what was to come.
"You've remembered something else." Moriarty stated rather than asked, gazing desirously at her horrified expression. "Here's your exclusive! Big, bold, with no copyright to boot. I'm all a tizzy! To be a part of this, to see the once upon a time. It's, dare I say it, positively magical."
"Stupefy." Anthea growled, waving her wand by instinct. It was only after Moriarty had slumped to the ground that she realised the obvious. This wasn't her wand. It was too long, had bulbs of wood—
~Dumbledore swished and flicked, sending musical notes into the air. His happiness soared, though a good portion of this was tiredness brought on by a full belly.
Voldemort waved it like a child would, appearing almost curious as green light burst out like a cannonball's fire. He closed his eyes at the last, not wishing to see the curse slam into his chest.
This time, it was he who used it. Though he tapped it he didn't pay attention to the Hallow. Instead, his eyes and thoughts lit up as a hazel and phoenix feather wand was stitched up tight.~
"Potter's." Anthea gripped the wand tightly, clenching her teeth. She wasn't sure if she was more afraid, annoyed, or bewildered. Whatever it was, she tried in vain to shake away the headache. "The Elder Wand. As though this couldn't get any bett—ah. Right. Tempus."
A wave, a spell, a glistening date.
Mycroft dropped onto the grass, a moan escaping him. His umbrella rolled away a bit, half-bouncing as it likewise landed from the long journey.
Blinking his eyes open and sitting up with a wince, he glanced around with a frown. That he was lying in St. James Park at night (around one or two in the morning, he'd wager) was immediately obvious. Everything else was, at this moment, less certain.
Fetching his umbrella Mycroft used it to help himself stand. With a stretch he regained most of his balance, walking with the slightest of limbs towards the pond. About to avoid the sleeping man on a bench, spotting something made him change his mind and steer towards him instead. Without waking up the homeless man, he peered at the newspaper tucked within his arms. Though it was creased and greasy (from a day old fish and chips, if he wasn't mistaken), it was simple enough to spot what he was looking for.
Mycroft's frown deepened. Yet he straightened back up and started to walk off in his original direction, the limp disappearing as feeling fully returned to his legs. His thoughts were more awhirl than they typically were, but logic still held sway. For the overall circumstances were clear enough:
~ A doppelganger had set the 'locked' Weeping Angel on him. From the characteristics, it actually was himself (though a metamorphmagus or someone under polyjuice were options). But this was a side concern, at most, and would be dealt with in the future.
~ The creature's powers had taken full effect. Judging from the newspaper's date (with the 'unfinished' London skyline adding due credibility), he was now in the early 1980s. Perhaps?
~ A recovery time travel was to be explored. If not, opportunities would be embraced.
He had someone to visit. On that note, it seemed that she'd left a few details out of her history.
"I appreciate the coffee," Anthea sent Mycroft a narrowed look. "Why are you here."
"To see an old friend." He said evenly, though his stare revealed underlying concern. For him, it was the equivalent of wearing his heart on his sleeve. "Are you alright?"
"Peachy." She sniped, slamming down her cup. "How did you get here?"
"Jo—Anthea," Mycroft sighed instead of answering, mouth sloping into a frown, "how long have you been here?"
"I asked you first," said the witch, holding tight onto what was left of her dignity. "Merlin, right when I thought I'd at least gotten rid of your nonsense. One of the few silver linings and…screw it. How did you get here?"
He paused, a flicker of hurt showing. But the calm facade was quickly back. "A weeping angel. Nasty time creature with no sense of decency. I got here two weeks ago and have spent the time robbing a bank and tracking you down. The latter was more difficult than I expected, the former less so. On a not unrelated note: when, might I again ask, did the Veil transport you?"
"I've been here five years." She took a jerking sip of her drink. "A bank robber? I'm surprised. Your long-term plans haven't borne fruit yet?"
"Desperate times." He gave a mild shrug of his shoulders. "I'm rather shocked you didn't do likewise…oh. Jessica?"
"Adopted. I found her, she was alone, and I unlike you have a conscience." The anger in her eyes increased. She reached over to lay a protective hand over the toddler, not reacting as the man flinched. "Don't mention my daughter and leave us alone. Do you hear me? I've already been abandoned and left for dead. There's no need to rub it in."
"I didn't mean offence." Mycroft stared at her sadly. "Not for any of this. I merely wanted to see you, and you have every right to be angry with me for dragging you into this. If Neil is waiting for you…"
"Neil?" Anthea swiped back, anger not abetting. "Who's 'Neil'? It's only Jessica and I."
Mycroft froze, his shock for once palpable. "That can't be right. You said you met him before now…"
"What?" she steamed. "I said?"
"Oh." Mycroft slumped back in his chair, his expression transitioning from surprise to mild hope. "The calls, the pictures…I see. That clears up quite a lot."
"That cleared up nothing!" Anthea hissed, standing up and forgetting about the lukewarm coffee. "Only that you enjoy my misfortune. But guess what? I don't need you. I don't need any bloody 'hero'!"
"I know, Anthea. All I am attempting to say is—"
"SCREW YOUR CHARITY!" she shouted, almost missing his quiet next words.
"—I love you."
"We're married." Anthea sat in St. James Park, stroller beside her.
"Possibly." Mycroft paused then corrected himself. "Highly likely, considering the lack of a Neil and how I fee—"
"Don't," she whispered, eyes scrunched tight and breaths coming in short whiffs. "I heard you the first time. Future me has three kids, you've never met my husband while a notice-me-not charm's over every picture of him, and the great, emotionless Holmes has fallen in love with a married woman. Who'll be me. What, I'm supposed to be flattered?" Her heated irritation was all-too tangible.
He rubbed at his cuffs. "That is only the start of it."
"Really?" Anthea intoned, sarcasm heavy in every layer of her muffled voice. "Well then, go on! Tell me how it could get any more complicated."
"Your future self was…saddened…when I met her kids," Mycroft said slowly, peeking at her slouched figure. "She said that there were two massive ways to create a fixed point in time. Though she was cut off, I believe they were: if one saw their own gravestone, and if one saw their future offspring. I think…no. I believe she knew that when I saw the children, the fixed point was solidified. There could be no loopholes or further time travel. We would both be stuck here."
There was silence. Awkward and penetrating.
"Not to change the subject, but even with the complications," he continued with a strange gentleness, "this doesn't seem much like you. I was half-expecting you'd used your future knowledge to take over a small sovereignty. I apologise, but I must ask: did something happen?"
"'Did something happen?'" She lifted her disbelieving head up before her expression twisted into one of fury. "YOU BAST—"
She was cut off by his hand muffling her shout. Thankfully, no one noticed. Once she'd calmed to merely a deathly glare, he took his hand away.
Anthea's eyes were scorching, hands wrapped into fists. "You want the story, hmm? I stopped Moriarty from getting Harry Potter's memories and—oh yes—got stuck with them myself! I got my exclusive. I got to see him suffer through eleven and some years of abuse, experience countless death-defying adventures, feel his pain of losing person after person, and intimately know the terrifying truth of having no family! Being stuck here drove the…it drove the point home." She choked out, syllables slurring together. She gave a burst of laughter devoid of amusement. "But no, what am I saying? You're you. You don't care."
"You're wrong," Mycroft said softly. "I do care."
"YOU DON'T!" she cried out, not noticing a few birds take wing in shock. "You never do, or did, or whatever! The impervious Holmes, priding himself with being an inhuman machine. You don't care that these horrible memories are all I can see when I sleep. You don't care what it's driven me to; even listening to four different therapist idiots suggesting it'd go away if I 'wrote them down'! You don't care that I'm raising my daughter, who was plopped onto my bloody lap. You wouldn't care about my 'future kids' if not for a technicality. You're only saying meaningless, bureaucratic spiel, just like you always have! But I'm not blind. You never, ever, showed any signs," she choked out, voice hard and shattering, "that you felt about me like I did you. So screw you."
All the sound that could be heard was the faint murmurings of passersbys and the squawks of hungry ducks. Anthea angrily wiped away her tears, and maybe this was what unfroze Mycroft.
"I do care," he answered, voice more gentle than most had heard it. "About you, about your daughter, about everything. I am…uncomfortable…with emotions." He stiffened at the last. "They are not necessary or are harmful in the vast majority of events. But I am not so foolish to dismiss them here. Let me prove this, my friendship, by helping you. Never mind any fixed points or relationship complications." A small smile lingered. "Let us merely be partners in crime."
Anthea was doubtful, anger still boiling.
Mycroft waved this unspoken uncertainty away. "We can plot and use future knowledge to our advantage. Money will never be an issue, your daughter can attend the best schools, we can do whatever we wish, and power will be easily graspable with our blackmail on most public figures. No need for dating or any such nonsense. If something does change, we'll adapt. I fail to see any problem."
"You're missing the point." She seemed slightly more hopeful, yet anger seeped away to tiredness. "Unless you have some brilliant solution to these memories—which doesn't involve me being hit with an obliviate—I won't be able to help much. I won't matter."
"My dear," he took her pale hand. His gaze was sad, hopeful, and oh so human, "you have always mattered. But as for the memory problem? Perhaps those four therapists were not complete idiots."
Anthea blinked, shifting her incredulous gaze between their hands and him, lips slightly parted. "Now I know you've gone mad."
Mycroft tapped against the phone as it rung. "Hello, Mrs. Holmes?" He gave the smallest of winces at the name. "We haven't met, but I was wondering if you'd be open to a discussion of [insert mathematical time travel jargon here]." There was a lengthy pause. "Yes, proof. An hallucinogenic tea, a small chemistry mishap resulting in the creation of life and nasty green boils, and…oh, how about Redbeard." Another pause. "Lovely to talk to you as well. Saturday for lunch would be perfect. The usual, late at 2? Splendid. See you soon."
He hung up. Anthea stared at him. "What just happened?"
"I told my mother that I've time travelled," Mycroft said. "We'll be meeting her and father this weekend. They insist on calling tea 'lunch', but aside from that there is no issue."
There was a pregnant pause.
"You're…" she tried to stiffle a laugh, "let me get this right. We're stuck decades in the past and you're taking me to meet the parents?"
"Not quite like that." He sent her a look. "Between them and Sherrinford, they could be useful. Even if not for contacts, at least to ensure that Sherlock and my younger self do not find out along the line."
"We're meeting your parents," Anthea replied bluntly. "I assume you won't be introducing me as just a time travelling friend?"
Mycroft's mouth opened before closing. He cleared his throat and tried again. "I was considering being discreet."
"Because of the complications?"
"Because my mother might be a tad overenthusiastic." A look came to his eyes and he frowned, almost talking to himself. "Though this would explain her future insistence that I 'settle down'…"
Anthea bit her lip, placing down her biro. Scooting her chair back she shouted into the next room: "CLOSED TIME LOOPS. HOW OBVIOUS CAN I BE FOR KIDS?"
After a few moments Mycroft came around the corner, raising an eyebrow at her disheveled form. "Have you skipped ahead or are you writing an outline?"
"Outline, obviously," she huffed, gazing up at the ceiling in thought. "Foreshadows. Now."
"Full sentences and proper Queen's English. Now." He pulled a chair out for himself. "All preferably without shouting. You're lucky she could sleep through a hurricane."
Anthea merely sent him an unimpressed look.
"Fine, fine. Foreshadows." Mycroft frowned, recalling the vague 'plot' Anthea had previously related. "A simple cypher on the wall that could—"
"Ah, yes," he easily backtracked. "With the time turner, correct? I recommend basic slap stick humour, albeit without maiming. Hermione Granger appearing and disappearing whenever her friends' backs are turned, she referring to a conversation that has yet to occur, or perhaps her ducking an instant before Dean Thomas' concoction explodes."
"Seamus Finnegan," Anthea mumbled, pen already whirling with these suggestions.
"Seamus explodes things. Dean's his side-kick, sort of. Or boyfriend. I'm not sure if they were together as kids because Potter's supremely oblivious and," she paused, "doesn't matter. Thanks."
"Not a problem." Mycroft eyed her. "When you have a moment, the Swiss estimates are almost done. One last contact has to come through."
"Brilliant." Anthea sent him a small smile, pen halting, poised above the paper. She inspected him, faint happiness not fading. "This is weird, isn't it."
"An ordinary night, all things considered."
"For us, maybe. Which is the point." Though she didn't sound convinced. Biro was dropped to the table as her hand waved vaguely. "This is so—strange. All of it. We've been tip-toeing around half the things while diving head first into others, and none of this makes sense."
Mycroft glanced from her, to the page, and back again. His answer was rather dry. "Perhaps you ought to leave contemplating closed time loops until the morning?"
"That's not the problem!" Anthea groaned. "Can't you see it? You and me, us: we don't make sense. We're sort-of-not-really together, sort-of-not-really parents, sort-of-not-really business partners, and likely keeping more secrets from each other than we share. Our timelines are so twisted up that I've lost hope of ever untangling this mess. I don't know the future, and all you know is that future me might have or might not have lied to you about everything!"
"Stop overthinking this," Mycroft met her disbelieving look with a curt nod. "Our timelines were twisted in the past, but they have since straightened out. We don't know the future for certain, though nor does anyone else." He moved towards her, resting his arm around her shoulders. She tiredly leaned in as his voice quieted. "What I do know is that we have a complicated but real relationship, that we are taking care of Jessica, that we are most definitely business partners, and that we tell each other the secrets that we can." He gave her fingers a small squeeze. "I also know you're about to collapse, being too abhorantly stubborn to take care of yourself."
"Git," Anthea muttered, poking him while a grin remained on her lips. She stifled a yawn, not wanting to admit he was at least partly right.
Mycroft chuckled. "You are also horrible at hiding your shows. Though would your [insert biological term for yawning] count?"
To which she either laughed or chucked the pen at him. Or both.
That night might have ended with a collapse in bed, final touches added to a bank heist, or pillow-talk of a time-turner's more interesting uses. Knowing them, perhaps all occurred. They might have perhaps finished off with thrown clothes and gasps that (thankfully) failed to awaken their daughter.
"I'm going to gaol," Anthea's muffled voice came from where she lay on the couch, face buried in a throw pillow. "They're going to toss me in Azkaban and throw away the key. Or they won't bother with a trial and I'll 'mysteriously' vanish. I'm going to be kissed!"
Mycroft didn't raise an eye, continuing to feed Jessica without overt concern. "You do realise most people are happy when their novel's been accepted for publication? Accepted for the sixth time, might I add."
"It's going to get me killed! Potter's going to murder me!" Anthea rolled over to her side to glare at the man. "Which is entirely your fault for convincing me to submit it!"
"On that note," Mycroft stated idly, "most people wouldn't submit their book for publication, panic when it's accepted, and go to the publisher to alter enough memories so that everyone thinks they hated it. Multiple times at multiple publishing houses, might I again remind you."
"WHY DID I DO THIS?"
"As though we haven't already broken every other law," he huffed. "But truly, everything will be fi—"
"I'm shattering the Statute of Secrecy to pieces! IT'S NOT JUST 'SOME LAW'!" Anthea retorted before panicking again, a frantic look in her eyes. "No, nope. Not happening. You aren't talking me out of this!"
Without further ado, she grabbed her wand and apparated to the latest publishing house who'd had the ill-fortune of loving her first novel.
"Every time. Every single time," Mycroft muttered to himself. He made a face at the giggling Jessica. "Your mother is very silly. Brilliant, but ridiculous."
"GIVE IT TO ME!"
"Wait a few days," Mycroft came as close as he could to pleading, stretching to keep the Elder Wand away from the shorter Anthea's reach. "Only a few days. A week, at most. If you're still regretting it then you can go and obliviate everyone."
"THAT'S A HORRIBLE IDEA! POTTER'S GOING TO KILL ME!"
"Three days!" He struggled to hold her back from clamouring for the wand. "You're the one who keeps submitting the book and then regretting it. It's not even a big firm this time! They publish maps, for heaven's sake. So wait 72 hours. If you still don't want it to be published, no harm done."
The moment Mycroft walked through the door a series of spells hit him. His body-bound, silenced form was none too gently levitated into the living room by the furious witch. Dropping him to the couch, she stared daggers at him.
"You knew," Anthea gritted out, and these two words (combined with the wand still pointing at him) was enough to be more terrifying than any mad dictator or raging politician. Mycroft couldn't exactly protest or agree with her statement, still being silenced. He could, however, take a guess at what she was referring to.
"Scholastic already bought it," her tone was filled with exasperation. "Swept it right up at an auction. You know what this means? It's entered the bureaucracy. I can't obliviate hundreds of people!"
"Alright fine, yes. I could actually do that," Anthea admitted, though none of her anger lightened. "If I knew who'd read it. But I don't know! I can't find out which servers it's on! Bloody electronics, always knew they'd ruin everything. It's being published and I'M ABOUT TO BE UNDESIRABLE NUMBER ONE!" Her rage subsided into horror. "Oh…oh Merlin. I'm actually breaking the Statute. Is that treason? It's definitely treason. Or worse. An entirely new level of international crime and—" she returned an icy glare at him, "oh, and you. You're going down too, because how dare you trick me. 'Three days isn't that long, it's fine, don't worry'. WELL GUESS WHO'S WORRIED NOW!"
"Why didn't you remind me? Did you remember?" Anthea's frustrated tone came through. "I forgot the foreshadowing!"
Mycroft sent her an odd glance. "I assumed you would be celebrating the novel's release, or drowning your worries at a pub. Though it is quite an accomplishment, I daresay. Congratulations again. I wouldn't worry about a minor detail."
"A minor detail?" she repeated, self-annoyance coming through loud and clear. "I forgot the Hallows!"
He gazed at her for a beat, brows creasing. "I thought they were introduced in the seventh book. I believe you just published the first."
"Which mentions the Invisibility Cloak!" Anthea facepalmed, quietly groaning. "Never mind. It's fine. I'll hint it's odd at…some point."
"Maybe with Moody? I think he had a Cloak somewhere there. So mention it's worn down. Or Ron could go, 'Blimey, surprised it's lasted so long! So-and-so-brother-or-whoever said blah-blah-blah, so obviously Harry, that's a weird Cloak.' Hmm. Too obvious?"
"Of course not," Mycroft said breezily, only having a faint glimmer of what Anthea was worrying about. Frankly, he thought she was a touch overzealous with symbolism and the like. But he was a wise enough man not to say so.
The forgetfulness on this one point would persist. Through the years Mycroft was tempted on several occasions to remind her, but was too amused by the entire situation and thus remained silent.
J.K. Rowling smiled at the cameras, happiness shining. "Harry? Oh, he came to me on a train ride from London to Manchester."
"A train?" Mycroft repeated as they walked out the back exit of the bookstore.
"Only a partial lie. It was when you told me point-blank why I should write the books," Anthea sent him an exasperated glance. "Was it necessary to tell me I'd be a bestseller while I was drinking?"
"Jessica was amused," he pointed out.
"Because her mummy spat orange juice across the cabin," she said, though her annoyance receded. "You can't do anything the normal way, can you? It always has to be some grand show."
"I feel I've been rather discreet," Mycroft replied, unconcerned.
"That word doesn't mean what you think it does," Anthea answered, turning her head to look at the night sky. She gave a small smile. "Not that all grand gestures are bad, mind you."
"So you doubt I can be discreet?" his tone had an amused challenge in it.
Anthea gently laughed. "Anyone who's known you for five minutes doubts that. Plausible deniability with multiple crimes and hiding your part in a massive, worldwide con is different than being overly melodramatic in every aspect of your life. Surrounding you there's always," she waved vaguely, "fireworks, gun chases…things more magical than actual magic."
"I wouldn't say that," Mycroft disagreed, putting a hand in his pocket. "In fact, I enjoy traditional, low-key methods every now and then. But only when it counts."
Anthea sent him an amused look. "Really? Like what…" she froze as he pulled out a small box, "Mycroft?"
"I discounted emotion and love long ago. But you proved me to be a ridiculous man." He knelt down on one knee, opening the box to reveal a sparkling ring. "Don't think that this has anything to do with 'destiny' or future knowledge. This is instead the story of a foolish man who stumbled into the tale of the most remarkable woman he's ever known. So as trite, traditional, and as dreadfully human as this is…I love you. I don't care what adventures await us, or how twisted our timelines might ultimately become. I see no point in waiting further when I want to spend every one of these impossible years with you. Will you marry me?"
Anthea's throat was dry. She mouthed her answer before finally gasping out. "No, no business transaction? Or a dozen doves or…or a galloping unicorn with…"
"Anthea?" Mycroft asked, a hint of something undefinable in his voice.
"…yes." She didn't notice the tears racing down to her emerging beam. "YES!"
Within moments the ring had found itself on Anthea's finger, one or the other had swept them into a tight embrace, and they kissed. Neither noticed the fireworks exploding overhead…where the display could have been due to Anthea's accidental magic, or come about because of Mycroft's utter inability to be discreet.
'Could you elaborate?'—MH
'We're supposed to be flying under the radar. This isn't it'—JK
'You're an internat'l bestseller'—MH
'& youve constantly groaned about the fame. I figured your new identity would reflect this.'—JK
'None of the 3 possibilities do! Which is fine, but Neil the neurobiologist, Cambridge prof, or MI6 consultant will do the opposite of what you want. Theyll turn heads.'—JK
'Of course they won't. That's why I chose Cambridge rather than Oxford and MI6 over CIA. The paperwork and witness statements will, of course, be immaculate.'—MH
'Unless you want your own horde of paparazzi, choose a less noticeable fake profession.'—JK
'At casting. Stuck.' —JK
'It can't be that difficult. If it is, plastic surgery does wonders.'—MH
'Hilarious. It's Crouch Jr. This bloke's identical.'—JK
'Which is the opposite of a problem.'—HM
'Tennant could be Crouch's twin. The good twin, though. He keeps…leaping about?'—JK
'I miss the issue. Is he a DE about to attack?'—HM
'Pardon. Tennant as in David Tennant? 10th Doctor?'—HM
'I think? I'm not a fan of the show.'—JK
'Hire him. Hire him but keep your guard. I'll explain later.'—HM
'…he just kneeled in front of me, pledged his eternal allegiance, handed me a banana, and hugged me?'—JK
'Smile, nod, ignore his antics, and hire him.'—HM
'The banana's rather good. Am starting to think fanboys have their uses.'—JK
'Just don't run with that man.'—HM
'Rushed and cant explain, but Im fine. Dont know how Im in range, doesnt matter. Hopefully be back in 5mins, but in case not e. wands by the sink & I love you & the kids. SO MUCH'—JK
'What's going on?'—HM
'Not sure busy runnin4 life'—JK
'I see. You had to get mixed up with him, didn't you.'—HM
'How was I to know tennant wasnt tennant? Someone didnt tell me I was hirin an alien! A timetravelling alien whos still fanboying WHILE ROBOTS W/WHISKS R ATTACKIN US!'—JK
'That'd be Daleks, love. I recommend hiding. Do you have a wand on you?'—HM
'Nvm, found it by sink.'—HM
'YEAH! But now I know whats trying to kill me, thanks! Feel much better.'—JK
'No need for sarcasm. I'd also advise not texting while running for your life. I quite like you alive.'—HM
'Funny. I've mainly been hiding. Currently I'm crammed in a cupboard while future-me's giving a speech. A CUPBOARD UNDER THE STAIRS. So I'll be sarcastic if I want to be, as my life makes no sense! STOP LAUGHING. I KNOW YOU'RE LAUGHING.'—JK
'I'm not laughing. Shouldn't future-you know about this?'—HM
'She does! She's sneaking glances back at me, but it seems impor'—JK
'Jo? You sent the message prematurely.'—HM
'Future-me just revealed magic to the muggles. I'm back in the TARDIS, but oh Merlin. Holy frea'—JK
'YOU! THAT'S WHAT YOU'VE BEEN SETTING UP! You knew about it in the future from me telling you that I knew after I found out from the Doctor, and when you came back you started rearranging things…wait, no, b/c I found out now but you've been setting things up so future-me will tell me…I'M GOING TO KILL YOU!'—JK
'Are you really certain it's wise to spend so much time texting?'—HM
'CRUCIO YOU INTO ITTY BITTY PIECES! AK IS TOO LIGHT'—JK
'I swear it was your idea in the future! Or, alternatively, it was time's itself, if one wishes to explore the concept of a self-forming loop. Quite like a vanished object which is everywhere and nowhere at once. Fascinating, really.'—HM
'SHUT UP! IT WAS YOUR IDEA! Which I'm going to be chucked in Azkaban for! The Doctor won't stop blabbering. Oblivious man missed the announcement. Serves him right if he's the only one who doesn't find out about magic. Merlin! I'm going to be shunned, exiled, excommunicated…'—JK
'You can't be excommunicated from magic or from the wizarding world, dear.'—HM
'Don't 'dear' me, you b—d! I'm sure you somehow made sure I saw that.'—JK
'I assure you I haven't done it yet. Likewise, I have no intention to.'—HM
'Anthea, I really am sorry.'—HM
'I love you?'—HM
'I'm bringing home a robot with a whisk. Start running. Now.'—JK
"Yes, what, No! NO, you can't bring the iguana! Wait, iguana? When did you get a—NO, DON'T SHOW ME! For Merlin's sake!" Anthea shouted into different rooms, letting out a silent curse at the madness that was her life. Having had it with the protests, her scream echoed out in a way that allowed no budge room. "IF YOU LOT AREN'T PACKED IN FIVE MINUTES YOUR STUFF WILL BE LEFT HERE! SAME FOR ANYMORE REPTILES, AND I'LL TAKE AWAY YOUR BROOMS FOR A MONTH!"
After this, the house was mercifully quiet (at least in comparison to the thudding hippogriffs before). Anthea let out a sigh of relief, relaxing as she felt arms wrap around her waist. She leaned back against the familiar man.
"We don't have to go," her husband murmured in her ear. "We know what Tube stations to avoid."
Anthea bit her lip, wanting so horribly to agree but knowing she couldn't.
"Yes yes, it's so both of us gain peace of mind," Mycroft sighed, not relinguishing the hold. "All things considered, getting the children out of the city is most pressing. Overprotective, but still."
"We don't have all the pieces to the puzzle," Anthea mumbled back, hating this. "Moriarty knew far too much and I don't care how it originally happened. The Ministry could easily find out, or the Potters could be furious, or—"
"Relax, it will be fine," he pressed a soft kiss onto her hair. "But if not, take the emergency portkey. The house will be set up by then and we can both go searching for the lead."
When an assassination attempt is made against Daniel Radcliffe, present-day Anthea informs Ron and Hermione that it would be a good idea to get him and his two main co-actors into protective custody. The rest of the chapter would be about the movie cast's reactions to being bombarded with magic. The three kids make Ron realise that Harry had been the DADA teacher all along. Going to hunt him down, he discovers that Harry had never shown up back to work.
The muggles beg a reluctant Ron to take them to the Room of Requirement. Walking back and forth, all of their minds drift to wanting to find/meet the Potters. Opening the door, they find four time vortexes with pre-set destinations. I actually have tons of these scenes written, but it's basically just humorous anecdotes of muggles freaking out over magic being real. I'm cutting them out as they were barely in rough draft stage.
Bonding and explanation session between Harry and Sirius. They go to the older Potters, blah blah blah, most of this is written. The key point is that late in the afternoon Harry discovers that his mum has absolutely no idea about any sort of blood/love magic. Harry freaks out a bit at this, wondering how the hell he survived. While in the nursery and looking at the toddler, the obvious solution dawns. Harry, drawing Mycroft's potion from his pocket, hesitantly pours the contents into his younger self's mouth. A few minutes later, the giggling little boy has not spontaneously combusted, and Harry breaths a sigh of relief.
Going downstairs and meeting with his mother, Harry says he put the spell on the toddler himself. Then, staring at her sad eyes—so identical to his own—he tosses away the Doctor's previous warning about not messing with time. He tries to tell her everything, warn her to get out of the house, to avoid Voldemort…to only find he choked on the words, unable to say any of them.
Sirius cuts in, tugging Harry away from his confused mother. The older man quietly asks if Harry had the same problem? The Boy Who Lived shortly nods, eyes red, as the two silently mourn over fixed deaths that have not yet happened and that they can never change. Hearing Lily start to come down, Harry finds that he can't face her and flees. Sirius pauses to say a quick word of good bye to both Potters, forcing cheerfulness, before following his godson out into the dark. This ends with a short scene about fireworks in the sky, owls whizzing around the country, and wizards and witches everywhere raising a glass to, 'The Boy Who Lived'.
"So we're in Godric's Hollow. 1981." Harry shivered, hoping beyond anything that this was a surreal dream. The fact that his dead godfather was happily sitting on a log next to him and that his dearly departed parents were somewhere in the village more him feel more like ripping out his hair than shouting for joy. "You arrived here when?"
"Two years ago." Sirius finished up the last healing spell before sitting back with a satisfied smile. "How do you feel? These spells were never my thing, but it's enough to get you to Lily. She's brilliant at healing and, well, countercursing—"
"Lily?" Harry felt he was well within his right to gape in returning to this earlier question. "Lily Potter, my mum. You're telling me we're going to see her. Lily Potter."
"Err," Sirius hesitated, his enthusiasm at last fading enough for him to realise what he'd said, "she'll be happy to—"
"To see us?" Harry felt his headache transform into a pounding migraine on level with a horcrux. "I get that I'm in the past, I can even deal with the sheer insanity that you're alive and that—overcoming all impossibility—we ended up in the same damn time. FINE! But you want me to waltz up to my parents and say, 'Hi mum! I'm your orphan son from the future, and this is dad's older best mate who I'd thought was dead. Surprise! Mind healing my injuries for me?'"
"Not at all." Sirius scoffed, waving a hand in dismissal. "We're going to wait 'til Dumbledore, Remus, and mini-me are gone, then we'll waltz in and I'll say, 'Hey Lils, I'm home! Before you hex me for ruining that godawful vase of your sister's, meet my human shield. Harry, your mum. Lily, meet your future son who's in dire need of healing from mysterious injuries which I have no idea how he got. Say, is there any more of that rhubarb pie left?'"
Harry kept silent for a moment. He exhaled a slow breath. Opening his mouth, he closed it again. Closing and reopening his eyes, he tried to fight down overwhelming senses of panic and frustration. "You've already talked to them."
"I've been here two years. What do you think was my first stop?" Sirius shook his head. "Once James got over his paranoia they wouldn't let me leave. Have I ever mentioned how insanely frightening your mum can be?"
Harry ignored the last. "Dumbledore, Remus, and your younger self don't know about you."
"Plus the rat." Sirius corrected. "Again, James' paranoia. Between me telling him Wormtail was a traitor and how the Dursleys treated you, he and Lils became less than trusting."
Harry made another failed attempt to keep calm. "So you're—you're a houseguest—who's changing history."
"Weeellll," Sirius drawled out the word, "being a 'houseguest' would be pretty obvious. Especially since people used to randomly pop in all the time to coo over little-you."
Harry hoped he wasn't blushing. "Not a houseguest? Don't tell me you're the family dog."
"Course not!" Sirius seemed offended at the thought. "With the Marauders knowing my animagus form? Pah. But don't you know how easy it is to transform one animal into another? That is, easy for someone like your dad. Transfiguration genius, I swear. The prat had a good laugh at making me a tabby."
"What do you…" a small memory sprouted in Harry's mind, though the idea was too silly, too ridiculous, "we had a cat. Mum's letter mentioned it, but that doesn't…wait. There was also a vase." He shot a sudden glare at Sirius as a truth fully formed. "You blamed me for breaking mum's vase!"
"I did? Baby-you?" Sirius asked, confused. Then realisation blossomed. "That's a fantastic idea! Little-you's too cute for Lily to get mad at."
"YOU'RE THE CAT?" Harry resisted the urge to either burst into hysteric laughter or race away in terror from what his life had become.
"I thought we'd established that." Sirius said nonchalantly, chuckling at Harry's shock.
Harry wasn't exactly sure what was happening.
He wasn't being attacked or tied up—which was a nice change—and he was pretty sure he wasn't dreaming. He hadn't yet ruled out an hallucination, but was likely only keeping that option open so as to keep from completely losing his head.
Honestly, Harry was a touch proud of himself for not having a nervous breakdown. Yet. For he figured that most others would (quite naturally) be less calm if their very-much-dead father was glowering at them.
He wasn't freaking out. Course not. He was calm…tranquil, completely chill. That his not-actually-inferi dad looked a moment from cursing him was absolutely fine. Nor was he the least bit phased by Lily Potter (the first, not the second, and who should definitely be dead) hovering over him, exclaiming over his leg while enchanting overflowing plates to his place at the table.
This abundance of food remained untouched. The only one of the four eating was Sirius, who was chowing down on a chicken leg and was wholly unconcerned with the tension blanketing the dining room. Harry (clutching onto any distraction with a frenzy) noted the blaring crimson tablecloth with gold polka dots, and the even brighter green-blue wallpaper that he'd mistaken for mould in his own time. He vaguely wondered if both his parents were colour blind.
Harry's gaze moved around the room. In quickly leaping over James Potter's glare (again, the first rather than the second, as screwed up as that was), he noted that Sirius was grabbing bites from the full plates that were beginning to tower in front of him. The dark-haired time traveller considered the sheer insanity his life had become when the most 'normal' part of a situation was his 'really-seriously-should-be-dead' godfather (did anyone stay dead these days?) stealing food from him.
Still, that wasn't fair to Sirius. For in-between bites the dog animagus was keeping up a lively conversation with the 'glowering-somehow-alive-younger-father', most of which centred around convincing the man that Harry was not only baby Pronglet all grown up, but that he was innocent of everything ever, and, "Really James, if a glaring interrogation is how you greet everyone, no wonder you don't have more time travellers coming by! Have some chicken. Chicken makes everything better. That, and not hexing your adult son. No? Alright, more food for me. Harry, you eating those potatoes?"
Harry really was grateful for Sirius' talking, even if it was more rambling than proclaiming him to be safe. This was because he himself hadn't been able to utter a word since he'd entered the house. Not that he was freaking out. He really wasn't. He just…had a frog in his throat. That was it, completely natural, and if he kept telling himself that maybe he'd start believing it.
"…come on!" Sirius at last exclaimed, flinging a drumstick back onto the table at some muttered comment James had made. His patience at last gave way he whacked his younger best friend's shoulder. "I've been telling you all about him since I arrived, and you were near over the moon about every story. But now that Harry's here you want to chuck him out? Mental." Sirius tutted. "You've gone senile in your old age."
"You've been telling us," James gritted out, tapping the table with his wand and not taking his gaze off of the increasingly anxious Harry, though he continued to only speak to Sirius, "about our teenage son. Now this bloke arrives, doesn't say a thing, and I'm supposed to just believe this?"
"Time's already gotten screwed up. You knew that with me! Harry, tell them your timeline's a mess." Sirius argued. The wizarding hero remained speechless. His godfather gave a weighty sigh. "Okay, so he's choked up to meet you and Lils. Can't blame him. If you ask me, that's a sign that all you need is a nice, emotional reunion. Y'know, tears and hugs. That doesn't include assuming he's a Death Eater." Peering around to see James' unconvinced scowl, the dog animagus let out another groan. "Howling hippogriffs, of course the kid's shocked! He grew up an orphan, you idiot. Seeing you two would—"
"My poor baby!" Lily snapped out of her fussing over the food by the end of Sirius' statement. Leaping forward to embrace her future son, Harry couldn't do anything but stiffen in shock and send Sirius a pleading look. "Of course he's surprised, don't be silly James. They've taken Veritaserum, know all about us, and Harry's Patronus is a stag! He also eats just like you: namely, nothing. You're skin and bones! Eat up before you wither away."
"See?" Instead of helping an increasingly frantic Harry escape from Lily's tightening grasp, Sirius used his discomfort-verging-on-terror as an example. "He freaks out at a simple hug. Emotionally stunted? Possibly. Big family embrace maybe not actually the best idea? Sure. But this proves you can't throw him to the Aurors. Like a Death Eater could be a big softie like him!"
"Sirius," Harry at last muttered, still struggling to escape from his mum's grip, "you aren't helping."
"So you do speak." James instead replied, not lessening his suspicious stare.
"I—yeah. Yeah." Harry stumbled out, glancing down. He gave a deep inhale, trying to grab his Gryffindor courage. "Err, mum? Could you let me go?"
"He called me MUM!" Lily shrieked in his ear, her grip only growing tighter.
"Kill me now," Harry mumbled low enough that no one could hear, shifting so he could at least partly breathe. Clearing his throat, he spoke louder.
Harry wasn't sure how he'd found himself here. One minute he was exploring the house, the next he'd spotted a door ajar and peered into an oddly familiar room. Checking out the rest of the place was abandoned as he edged into the nursery.
He took a few slow steps until he was next to the bassinet, close enough that he could reach out and touch the baby if he so wished. As it was, only a tuft of black hair could be seen over the blankets. He didn't move the cloth.
"Hey there." Harry whispered absently, leaning against the crib and not lifting his gaze from the bundle. "Sleeping? You look peaceful."
A small snore was his only answer.
"Right, shouldn't disturb you." The man gave the slightest of grins. He didn't note quiet footsteps entering the room. "Force of habit. Ginny always thought I'd wake the kids up, but she didn't get it. Remember this in the future: chatting to the kids puts them right to sleep, especially Lily. Sorry mate, but you're that boring."
"I prefer a lullabye, myself." A feminine voice spoke behind him. Harry stiffened.
"Oh. Sorry." He slowly turned around, reluctantly meeting his mother's gaze. "The door was open…"
"You were curious." Lily corrected, her lips twitching in a smile.
"Yeah." Harry gave the smallest of grins back, voice still low and features pale. "Also, in my defence, I'm more of the 'bedtime story' parent."
Lily gave a short chuckle. "Tone deaf like James?"
"Hm-mmm." He hedged, relaxing more. Lily came up to stand next to him, both of them idly gazing down at the crib. "Really though, I'm sorry for sneaking about."
"No need for apologies. Especially as I was eavesdropping." She arched her gaze up at the wizard, something undefinable in her gaze. "You said 'Lily'."
"Yeah. I did." For some reason the words were sticking in Harry's throat, as they and his thoughts became garbled. "Lily Luna. She's six. My daughter, that is. Not you. Course not you, I don't know why I said that. But she's named after you. That's obvious. Incredibly obvious. Christ, sorry. I'm making a mess of this."
Lily caught Harry's hand as he nervously raced it through his hair. She was grinning as though biting back a laugh, letting her grip go. "You've also got your father's way with words. If it helps, I promise I don't bite."
He let out a swift exhale, taking a reflexive glance at the door to see if he could make a run for it. But Lily was already continuing.
"Thank you." Her voice was barely more than a whisper. "For the name, I mean. I'm sure I've already told you this, but…" she trailed off, sleeve wiping at her eyes. Shaking her head she turned back to her grown son with a glistening eyes and a bit-too-big smile. "So tell me about my grandchildren. Oh, and your wife! You said 'Ginny'?"
"Ginny Weasley, and—" but he was quickly cut off.
"Weasley?" Lily interrupted before catching herself. "Sorry, sorry. Though goodness, Molly's and Arthur's little girl?"
Harry was caught off guard. "She is. I didn't realise you knew them?"
"Not well." She admitted. "But as there's only a few parents in the Order we all vaguely know each other. I remember how thrilled Molly was to finally have a daughter, and oh, she's absolutely precious. I saw her not a month ago; all red hair and bubbly laughter." She caught herself. "You must think I'm mad, going on about your wife as a baby!"
"I don't think I can say much." Harry gestured at the crib to make his point. He contemplated his next words, and what he should skip over. "But yep, it's the same Ginny. She's absolutely brilliant. We started dating at Hogwarts and have been through a lot. I don't know what I would've done without her." He forced himself to stop before giving specifics. Glancing up he shifted gears at Lily's questioning gaze. "Anyway, we have four kids. Three technically, biologically, but it's complicated."
"Complicated?" She questioned.
"I have a godson, Teddy." Harry briefly explained. "His parents were killed in the war, so I consider him my own."
"Ah." Understanding concern laced through Lily's voice. "I'm sorry."
"He's still grown up with family." Harry took a sad glance down at the baby, missing his mother's wince in seeing this. "So Teddy's the oldest, then there's James, Albus, and Lily, our youngest."
Newt goes back each day, while Luna and the kids usually wait in a cafe across the street. Day after day, Abe refuses to let him in. But John Openshaw, a man clearly a bit deranged, waltzed back and forth. When asked, Abe sighs, says it was a mistake to let John in, but now that the harm's already been done if he doesn't allow him back he'd take a dive off a skyscraper. Newt, highly doubting Abe's telling the truth, corners John outside of the building before either enter and asks what he sees and why he keeps coming back.
John, opening and closing his mouth, at last stumbles out that he lost his family in WWI. The mirror is the only place he can see his loved ones around him. Newt, sympathetic but taken aback, asks if the legend is true and the mirror can grant his greatest desires? John, distracted this entire time, stutters out that Abe told him that was just a legend. He also said that it did not do to dwell on dreams and forget to—
Newt cut him off, a frown in place. He contemplates that maybe Abe's hexed the mirror somehow, to make it a curse rather than a blessing. Luna, frowning and holding the kids back, cuts in saying that it seems highly unlikely, and that it did not do to make Dark Lords out of molehills. "Why," she finished with a light frown, "that'd be changing the very make up of the object! Do you know how difficult that would be?"
Newt looked at her, interest sparking. "'Difficult', not 'impossible'? Tell me, where you come from, is there a way to do that?"
Luna hesitated. "A large confundo? Or—"
"What was that about wrackspurts?" Newt said rapidly, eyes widening with excitement.
Harry talks to the Ninth Doctor who appears at Privet Drive, telling him magic doesn't exist and giving him a letter. Give a reason of why the white box doesn't work: or that he was about to do it, before recalling the Doctor's remembrances.
The Tenth Doctor and Ginny appear, picking up Harry and Sirius. Plans are made for how to find John, Luna, and their kids.
The 10th Doctor froze, eyes widening in realisation. "Redhead the Idiot."
"Excuse me?" Ginny sent him a quick glare, not in any mood to deal with this.
"Not you." He waved vaguely. "Your husband. Blimey! He—I met Harry Potter! Harry Potter lied to me!" He inhaled sharply. "I WAS RIGHT! HAH! Oh, not an idiot after all. Very, very smart indeed."
"What?" She gasped.
"Your husband's a genius and saved my life!" The Doctor shouted while racing out of the console room. "SO NOW WE'LL SAVE HIS AND HIS LITTLE DOG'S TOO! Well, not exactly 'little'. OH, A MARAUDING GRIM! THIS IS SO BRILLIANT!"
Ginny gaped as the form raced away, though she felt a niggling hope begin to rise within her.
"Let's see what he has to say." The Doctor opened the envelope, unfolding the centuries-old papers carefully. Both stared down at the single sentence of messy handwriting on the first page:
'Doctor, if I haven't yet disappeared, DO NOT READ ON! For once in your life, be patient.'
"I have definitely read that before." The Doctor nodded, unsurprised, and chucked the paper to the ground. Ginny sent him a look before returning to scan the next sheet with another short message:
'You have the mind of a child, I swear. STOP READING THESE! Just so you'll stop, with each one I'll give you a spoiler. You're never going to tell Rose the most important thing. I'm sorry. Stop looking at these!'
The Doctor likewise flipped this onto the floor. His voice was subdued. "I read that one right after I grew close to her. Stuffed the sheets back into the envelope after that."
"But you read on later?" This wasn't a question.
Instead of answering, he opened the next sheet.
'You aren't alone, and that will hurt more than anything else. Please stop reading.'
The Doctor also tossed this to the ground. But instead of unfolding the next sheet, he gave Ginny a curious look. "I've wondered about this for years. Because I have no patience I've tried to read all the sheets, but your husband must've done something. I could never figure out what it was, though now? There could be a spell on this."
Ginny only now realised she'd been crying. Without wiping these away, she gave a gruff nod for the Doctor to continue. The last paper was unfolded and she read it aloud:
'Love, I know the Doctor's going to look through these. So the message will reveal itself to the magic words of what kind of tattoo I have.'
"A tattoo? Huh. I admit I thought there was a password and tried everything." The Doctor grimaced—whether out of guilt or of embarrassment for not getting the answer, she wasn't sure. "Since we'd talked about Rowling's stories when we met, none of 'I solemnly swear', 'thousand sunlit days', or 'Mischief managed' work."
"Golden snitch," Ginny spoke softly to the paper. "It's a pesky magical one, is always flying about."
Writing began to curl around the paper and the writing sharpened for both of them:
'I'm fine, I'm safe. You wouldn't believe half of what's happened but it was always inevitable. Doctor, yes, the man on Privet Drive was me under a glamour. Your younger self left at midnight, 1st November 1981, and we're still waiting outside of number 4. I'm sorry I lied, but there wasn't much of a choice.
Ginny? I'm so sorry. I should be able to find you, but in case I'm wrong and this has already become a fixed point: know that I love you and the kids more than anything. I always have, I always will, and I will never stop trying to get back to you. But no matter what happens to me, please find the kids and live your life.
Maybe I'll see you in five minutes and you'll rage at me for having written this. But we both know not to take things for granted. So if 1981 doesn't work, go back to our own time. If I need to take the slow path, I will. I promise I'll find you.
Ginny drew in a harsh breath, eyes closed. "That stupid…noble…brilliant GIT!" she shouted, swiping the other papers up so that she'd have something to stare daggers at.
"Actually, that was fairly reasonable—"
"Not another word." She transitioned her steely glare at a suddenly nervous Time Lord. "Get us to Privet Drive in 1981 NOW, and so help me Merlin if you even mention a fixed point in time!"
The street lights turned back on one by one. Soon after both Albus Dumbledore and Minerva McGonagall had disapparated.
Five minutes after that, two figures appeared out of the bushes in Number 3 Privet Drive. Walking down the driveway and turning into the next, the man glanced at the large dog trotting by his side.
"You okay?" The redhead murmured, wincing at a spasm of fireworks in the sky (or shooting stars; it was hard to tell). "Don't know when he'll appear. We might be here for awhile."
The dog barked reassuringly, nudging the man's hand.
"All right, I get it." The man smiled sadly. He touched his pocket to assure himself that an envelope still lay in its depths. "So I'm nervous."
They continued forward, edging closer to a doorway that was all too familiar to the wizard. But there was one alteration to the otherwise pristine vision of Number 4 Privet Drive: a small basket sat on the front porch. The dog bounded ahead, resting its head on the blanket around the huddled shape within.
The man came up at a slower pace. Sitting on the top step, he peered down, gaze uncertain. He shifted the letter to the side and drew back the cloth, his breath becoming unsteady as his eyes rested on the slumbering toddler. "Bloody hell. It—it worked."
The dog nodded, sadness coming across even without words.
"I mean, I knew it would since it already did. Of course. But…but…" the man halted his rambling, voice unsteady, "…it's really been in my blood the whole time?"
There was a muffled whimper. The baby rolled from his side onto his back, still in a fast sleep.
The man breathed out slowly, glanced at the street, and then back to the young boy. His voice was barely a whisper. "It's really there. Like lightning. I—I don't know why I'm surprised. Stupid of me, huh." His fingers, as though moving of their own accord, drifted to the enflamed scar on the baby's forehead. Touching the skin he winced. "He's freezing."
Drawing his wand the wizard sent a warming spell at the child. The latter sighed in unconscious relief, drifting into a more peaceful rest.
"Bloody Dumbledore." The man groaned, putting the wand away. "What was he thinking? It's 1st November! Did he want me to die of frostbite? …I mean him, or younger me or…how…how are you even laughing as a dog? Stop it! You know that time travel is complicated and aggravating."
The dog didn't stop barking in amusement (though kept it relatively quiet). The redheaded man, groaning, turned back to the toddler. A few minutes passed as thus, with the animal calming and glancing down as well.
"He's really small." The wizard said at last. "We only just saw him, but with his parents it seemed…he seemed safer. Like a normal kid. You know, I keep thinking how much he looks like Al? My younger son. Poor kid's identical to me. But back in Godric's Hollow, when his dad was holding him I could almost swear…and knowing what was coming…well. Never mind, it doesn't matter." He hushed in contemplation. After a lengthy pause he sighed. "Can you believe people celebrated today?"
The large, Grim-like dog blinked sympathetically.
"Though I get it, I do. The war was over and that's bloody well fantastic." An edge of anger lay in the man's voice. "But I was orphaned! All everyone cared about was the scar, and that's never going to change. No matter what I say, no one will ever give a damn about my parents, about their sacrifice…this, this potion will only increase that. They'll never have a clue what this kid, what I had to live through and…" he choked up, glancing away and harshly rubbing his eyes, "…right now? He's as innocent as Al. He doesn't deserve this. No one does."
Hearing a shuffling, Harry blearily looked back and saw Sirius gazing at him with worry clear in his furry expression.
"I'm fine." The wizard didn't sound like himself. Coughing, he continued on. "Don't worry. It just—all of this—everything came back to me. Stop making those puppy dog eyes, you mutt. I'm fine."
There was a pause. In the next second, there were two men sitting on the stoop.
"You aren't 'fine', but we could always kidnap him." Sirius suggested, resting his hand supportively on Harry's shaking shoulder. "What's the worst that could happen? Give little you a brilliant childhood, tell him to lie at Hogwarts and say he was miserable with the muggles, and then—"
"I don't remember it." Harry ran a hand angrily through his glamoured red hair. "The other stuff we 'changed'? We knew we'd already done it. But this? Just a guess, but creating a paradox is likely a monumentally horrendous idea."
Shifting his gaze back to the toddler, a tragic gleam entered Sirius' eyes. "So there's no way around this? I can't believe that. With James and Lily, yes, I hate but understand that. But giving you a family wouldn't change anything crucial."
"It's a fixed point." Harry groaned before perking up at a noise. With one last glance at the toddler he stood up. "Closed time loop, whatever. We're out of time anyway. You know what I said before, turn back."
"Please." Godson stared beseechingly at godfather. With a mournful sigh from the latter, his human form shrunk to a dog. "Thanks. It'll, it'll be okay. The future's a good one. You'll get to meet everyone! Well, hopefully. Merlin knows the kids will worship you."
This perked the animal up, though he did cast one more glance at the basket before trotting back down the walk after Harry.
Harry, walking towards the materialising blue police box, checked his watch. Taking out the enveloped letter and a biro, he quickly jotted down a note on the front and melded it into the preserving spell covering the entire thing. Finishing this he repocketing the pen and waited. Moments later the TARDIS' door opened. The wizard got a quick glimpse of the inside, but the view was slammed shut when the leather jacketed man noticed he had company.
"Hello Doctor." Harry didn't bother faking a grin.
The Time Lord stared suspiciously back, not answering or moving forward. He seemed ready to flee back into his machine. Sensing this Sirius stiffened, fur practically standing on end.
"Don't leave!" Harry, realising the same thing as his godfather, let an edge of panic enter his voice. "I know a future you. There's something you need to know."
"A future me?" A sneer entered the Doctor's face, self-deprecation in every syllable. "I don't care. Nor do I believe you."
"I know you're exhausted." The wizard quickly said. "I know you couldn't hate yourself more than you do right now. That's why you're here. You're that desperate."
The Doctor stiffened, glare increasing. "You know nothing—"
"You're desperate to find some sort of magic. Anything at all." Harry sighed. "You fell in love with J.K. Rowling's books ages ago, and after the genocide? You'll try anything to find something worth living for. So I hate to say this, but you won't find that here."
Instead of becoming more enraged, it was as though these words caused the other man to sink in on himself.
"Come on." Harry waved vaguely around. "You really came to Privet Drive to find magic? Mate, did you even read the books? You call yourself a fan."
"What?" This strangely respirited the Doctor, blatant offence rippling across his expression. "Oh no, don't you dare! I've been a Potterhead longer than you or your great-grandparents have been alive. Who do you think you are?"
"Someone who knows how to distract you." Harry grinned before he fell back into seriousness. "There's no magic, Doctor. There isn't. But there is hope and, believe it or not, there is life after war."
The Time Lord paused, anger simmering. "Life? Redhead the Idiot, you don't know the meaning of war or loss. Of wishing only for no more! What gives you the right to talk about this? I'm going, this idea was moronic, a blasted flight of fantasy…"
Sirius growled in rage. Harry kept his expression even, though his thoughts were spiralling. He at last remembered something from the tv show, grasping onto it frantically. "Would you have told Susan to give up?"
The Doctor stopped turning. Spinning back to the duo, his jaw dropped. "You can't—you—"
"I do know you. But no, I can't say my name. 'Spoilers' and all that rot." Harry was relieved when Sirius stopped looking quite as murderous. "Like I said, I'm friends with your future self and beyond desperate. Take this, okay? Keep it safe and only open it when, when…when in New York, the angel causes the worried father to disappear." He ignored the dog's snort.
The Doctor gaped, weakly taking the out-stretched envelope.
"It'll keep; for centuries if needed." Harry gazed at the envelope. "You probably want proof I'm on you're side. You're looking to find hope, right? I'd recommend an infestation of mannequins in a London department store. I'm sure the TARDIS can work out the details, she always takes you where you need to be."
"Sounds barmy, I know, but you've done weirder things than this. So take a leap of faith!" Harry didn't wait for him to agree. "Just take the risk. Don't be afraid to run with her."
The Doctor turned the envelope over in his hands, curiosity slowly returning to his gaze. "Mannequins. Huh."
"Blood-thirsty ones." Harry gave a small grin. He gazed at the broken Time Lord, strangely reminded of the toddler he'd just left behind. "Doctor, it gets better."
"But no looking for magic and no going to Number 4?" Nine stared at him. Perhaps spotting what he was looking for he glanced down. "That's a big dog you've got there."
"His bark's worst than his bite." The wizard ruffled his fur to prove the point. "By the way, no, you haven't been ginger yet."
The Doctor gaped in true horror, a bit of his older or younger self shining through. For right now, no matter his attitude, every part of his nature didn't want to grow up.
Harry shrugged. "I expect neither of us want to chat. You have a date in London with some monsters and a shop girl. After that goes fantastically, remember to eventually open that letter."
"A shop girl." The Doctor pocketed the envelope, tilting his head. "So I'll know I can trust you depending on how that turns out?"
"Exactly." Harry nodded. "Worst case? I've stopped you from chasing after a fairy tale and given you some paper. I'm not even asking for a lift."
The Doctor gave one last glance at Number 4. His expression was torn and exhausted beneath the vague smile. He gave a burst of exhausted laughter. "Magicy magic, huh. I'm being ridiculous."
"You're being human," the wizard corrected, "and isn't that what you've always wanted?"
The Doctor only sighed and spun around. Without a good bye he trodded back to the TARDIS. Just when the door was reopening, another statement made the alien pause.
"Give my love to my family, will you?" Harry's voice crackled before he coughed. "This should work but you can never be too careful. If it doesn't, I beg you: take care of her and find my kids."
The Doctor, hand resting on the handle, turned to face Harry. Scrutinising the other man he slowly nodded in agreement. The next moment he was inside the police box and dematerialising to another time, space, and a blooming flower.
Harry let the glamour fall. Backing away a few steps, his head fell to his hands as he finally let the shaking overtake him. Sirius, transforming back, embraced him without hesitation.
The two waited on the street corner, ears craned to pick up an all-too familiar noise.
Ginny sprung up the moment the TARDIS ground to a halt. Not paying mind to the shouted warnings she raced to the doors and burst them open to be met with a chilly night. There were suburban houses dotting the street, but her attention was instantly drawn to two figures who had twisted around to face the time machine. Her heart thudding with sheer relief, she flew into her husband's arms as he swung her around, embracing each other as tightly as possible.
"You're here, you're real," Harry murmured into her hair, voice shaking, "it worked."
"Thank Merlin." Ginny squeezed her eyes shut against happy tears, coming back to rest on the pavement once the joyful swinging slowed to a halt. "You're okay! Love, you're utterly brilliant and…" she reopened her eyes. At the sight that met her, her breath caught in her throat as her jaw dropped, "Harry? There's, there's…"
"Why, if it isn't Mrs. Potter!" Sirius, standing up, grinned cheekily at the bewildered woman. "It's been ages. Hmm, remind me to see George about a bet and interested winnings at some point."
"Sirius." Ginny stated in shocked disbelieve, not letting go of her husband for anything. "Sirius Black. Who's here, knows me, is alive, and…" realisation hit as she let out a curse. "Of course more impossible things would happen. Doesn't matter. You're both okay, safe, and I'm never letting you out of my sight again! Do you hear me Harry? Why the bloody hell are we in Privet Drive!"
"Because Harry saved my life five minutes ago." The Doctor strolled forward, glancing around in consternation. "Though he was ginger and lied about magic not existing, which was not cool in the least. Still, thank you very much for the tip about Rose."
Ginny, still in the embrace, stared up at her husband in utter confusion. "What's he on about?"
"Remember the time the Doctor mentioned stopping by Privet Drive?" Harry said softly. "That he was turned away from Number 4 by 'a man and his dog'?"
"What? But it…oh. But that was in…" Ginny at last broke the embrace, piercing gaze intent and horror palpable, "for the love of Merlin, tell me you didn't land in Halloween 1981."
"Right before and, yes," Harry sighed, his exhaustion clear, "in Godric's Hollow. It's where I found Sirius."
"Did you meet them?" Ginny stilled, her voice quietly sympathetic and non-accusing. "Did you change anything?"
Harry opened, closed, and reopened his mouth, not sure what to say. "Does it count if I did it because I knew I'd already done it?"
"Ooo, wibbly-wobbliness!" The Doctor rubbed his hands. "Brilliant. Had fun?"
"If fun means saving himself and vanquishing Voldemort," Sirius replied drily, smirking at the others' dawning shock and Harry's glare, "then yeah, you could say that."
"Harry." Ginny's tone was strained. "What is he talking about?"
"…turns out my mum had no idea about any 'love protection' spell." Harry said rather sheepishly. He took an empty vial from his pocket and shook it. "Good news? Mycroft Holmes' shield against the killing curse definitely works. Bad news? There's never been any blood protection connected to my aunt, and I might've, kind of sort of, used my younger self as a test subject…which saved his and my life!" He quickly backtracked in case the last didn't go over well. "I knew it'd work since I'd already done it. So he's sleeping safe and sound, no lasting harm. Everything's good."
"You're telling me," Ginny shook herself out of the surprise to focus on the main matters at hand, "that you put an unknown, untested potion in your younger self, hoping it wouldn't kill you? Then you left that poor child alone on your BLASTED RELATIVES' FRONT PORCH, knowing the blood protection was worthless? Nope, never mind. You aren't brilliant. You're a reckless idiot!"
"But I knew it'd work. There was no other option and…" Harry blinked, taking a few steps away from her continuing anger, "…for the record, the front porch bit was Dumbledore. At least I put up a warming charm. So I'm the last person you should be annoyed with! All I've done is avoid universe-shattering paradoxes, saved mini-me, stopped a war, and resisted all temptation to do otherwise. I'd call that a win."
"Love, be quiet." Ginny growled, worry and rage finally overflowing. "What did Mycroft tell you about the potion?"
"We don't have to go over this…"
"WHAT DID HE SAY?" She screeched, no longer giving a damn who heard.
"…that there was a good chance it wouldn't work." Harry reluctantly sighed.
"What else?" Ginny's eyes glinted. "Something about how it was more likely to kill a test subject than save them? OR THAT HE GAVE IT TO YOU TO USE AS A POISON?"
"Wait, what? Poison?" Sirius rapidly waved his hands, distancing himself from the situation. "Harry never mentioned that! I'm completely innocent and you shouldn't even contemplate hexing me."
"DON'T THINK I'VE FORGOTTEN YOU BET ON US GETTING TOGETHER!" Ginny screamed. But without wasting anymore time she strode purposefully down the street. The men watched her go in confusion.
"Where's she going?" The Doctor asked after a weighty pause. "Good to see you, by the by. And Sirius Black? Enormous fan! Loved the Marauders spin-off. I'm the Doctor."
"She's going to kill me." Harry groaned, not paying attention to the other two. "All for saving my younger self! What's she doing with—" his voice trailed off. For Ginny was returning with a very familiar basket in hand. "No. Absolutely not."
"We're going to check him for every symptom known to mankind, then bring him back to this horrid place before anyone knows he's gone." Ginny sent a glare around, daring them to challenge her. "The first person who says he's already been checked by a healer will be left in 1981! DON'T TEST ME!"
Holding the basket carefully she walked to the TARDIS. The others exchanged frightened though relieved looks before hurrying after her.
"Oh yes, you're a cute widdle baby, aren't you!" Ginny puffed out her cheeks as the little boy in her lap laughed. His forehead was smeared with the best anti-pain lotion the 51st century had. "Yes you are, yes you are!"
Mini-Harry clapped his hands, giggling in delight.
Older Harry kept taking incredulous glances at the two of them, while sending icy looks at the godfather who wasn't even bothering hiding his laughter.
The Tenth Doctor muses that they ought to follow the one coincidence with all of this, and meet this mysterious Barty Crouch Jr. The others, though reluctant, eventually agree. They land in fourth year. Getting separated from the group, the Tenth Doctor accidentally finds himself looking like Moody and in front of the Gryffindor fourth years. Realising what lesson it is, he takes up a wand—and is thrilled that it somewhat works for him! He then goes about teaching teenage!Harry how to fight out the imperius curse.
The Doctor and Harry go to the DADA classroom and are faced with a bound Barty Crouch Jr. The latter simply grins at them, asking if they've solved the problem. In all, the three use the time vortex to go to an anonymous suburb, Crouch reveals that he is the Master and that the Cahn Sisterhood brought him back to life with an Elixir, the Master (perhaps using Moriarty's advice?) chose to take the form of a hero, and then found his way into the wizarding world.
The Master is once again seemingly killed. The Doctor, desperate to save him, tries to put his Time Lord essence in his pocket watch. But this seemingly fails and the heroes are forced to go away while the Master was still technically alive. But in that last breath something changed, for he had only been in this body for thirty years, and the Elixir could grant life for far longer than that. So it was in that final moment that golden light pierced through his essence, and a last thought drifts through his mind before the memories vanish into the locked pocket watch: 'Make me a hero.'
That morning, when Mrs. Radcliffe went to put the milk out, her scream awakened the neighbourhood. For sitting on her porch was a baby with dark, messy hair, almost enveloped with an adult's clothes. To his side rested a pocket watch, snapped shut.
The TARDIS returns to present day London, still at a loss as to find the kids and John. They do reunite with Ron and Hermione, who are with the muggle actors to protect them. This is like, a whole thing I was planning but never got around to writing, so I'm not expecting it to make sense. I'd just go with it?
Part 19: The Sound of Drums
Back in the TARDIS everyone is subdued. But that's before a cutting curse spins out of nowhere, almost hitting Daniel. The attacker is captured, but after Veritaserum they're stunned to discover it's an older Harry Potter. The latter, after a bit, asks for the time.
Daniel missed this, having gone to another room to calm down after the panic. He momentarily freaks out before finding, in a spasm of disbelief, that his fingers were clutching the pocket watch he almost always had around his neck. He stared down, trying to recall why he'd had it on, and why he'd never thought about this before. Indeed, his mind had always almost skipped over it. But now? It was as though it was calling to him, begging to be clasped, ordering to be opened…
The older Harry sighs and, waiting one more minute, shakes his head. "He was the Master, but he's gone by now."
They all stared at the would-be assassinator. Head drooping forward above the ropes restraining him to the chair, his green eyes weren't visible. Still, his glasses and otherwise familiar form were all too clear.
"They got my age wrong." Harry, standing warily over the unconscious stranger, was the first to steak. The others nodded around him, still watching the doors in paranoia.
"Do you think he's okay?" Emma said hesitantly, glancing at where Daniel had left.
"He was almost killed. So, no." Ron spoke roughly, though his concern shone through. "Let him splash water over his face."
"But how'd he get in?" The Doctor looked up at the TARDIS accusingly. "Ought to be impossible! Old girl, what were you thinking?"
"Could've snuck in." Ron replied, sneaking a glance at his pale best friend. "I'm more concerned about why he looks like Harry."
"Or what else he's done with 'my body'." Harry growled as Ginny half-hugged him. "He'll likely lie through his teeth."
"Then it's a good thing we have this." Sherlock drawled, pulling a vial from his pocket and shaking the clear liquid inside. To anyone looking surprised, he sent them an unimpressed stare. "You thought I wouldn't procure something from the aurors? Three drops, I believe. If someone will wake him?"
"Ennervate." Harry intoned before anyone could argue.
The man stirred, eyes fluttering open as he groaned. In feeling the restraints he gave an automatic jerk, before falling still as realisation crept over him. His stare went up; the surrounding crowd was met with shining emerald eyes. "Huh. What a wake-up."
Ginny backed away from the wincing man, her hand and his cheek red. She glared at him furiously. "How dare you masquerade as my husband! If you've done anything else, anything at all, you'll regret it for the rest of your very short life."
The man flinched at the words more than the slap. "Ginny, you really have to—"
"DON'T CALL ME THAT!" Ginny yelled as Harry stepped forward, equally rageful and with a wand aimed at the intruder.
The prisoner blinked before sighing and backtracking. "Mrs. Potter, you have to listen to me. This is more complicated than you know and—" he paused, his thoughts considering, "—no, this is wrong."
"I know it is." Harry growled, a curse at the edge of his tongue.
"That's not what I meant." The unknown man shook his head, wincing as he did so. "Sorry, it's been ages since I've done this. Sherlock, give me the Veritaserum. After you know who I am I'd recommend taking the enchantment off. It'll make the explanation a lot easier."
Everyone froze at the words.
"How did you know that? About the truth potion?" Harry asked as evenly as he could, for the small bottle was hidden within Sherlock's hand.
"You can ask me in just a moment." The man gave a small grin, one which reminded everyone far too much of the Boy Who Lived.
Instead of answering, Sherlock stepped forward. The prisoner opened his mouth and three drops were silently poured in. His eyes, after a few moments, went glassy.
"What's your name?" Ron jumped on the question, anger under every syllable.
"Harry James Potter." The previously unknown man answered unemotionally.
The room again froze.
Harry felt his heart pounding at an almost dangerous rate. Ron shot a glance at him before stating his next question in a slightly shaky tone. "When were you born and to who?"
"31st July, 1980. To Lily and James Potter." Was the calm reply out of the far too familiar mouth.
Ron slowly lowered his wand, though his confusion had only grown. "Are you under any spells, curses, potions, or other outside forces?"
"I'm under Veritaserum." Everyone waited a beat but no further reply came.
"Are you being threatened? Bribed? Blackmailed? Are you under anyone else's orders or control?" Ron was at a loss.
"I'm under Veritaserum." Was the frank, repeated response.
Harry at last found his voice. "How—how old are you?"
"65." Came the unemotional answer.
"But why?" Ginny, still hugging her husband, looked at the other man with fright. "Why would you try to kill that innocent boy?"
"Because he isn't innocent." 'Harry' replied, the slightest hint of anger coming through.
"That doesn't answer it." Harry growled, striding forward and aiming the wand at his counterpart's head. "How did you know Sherlock had Veritaserum?"
"Because I've already done this." Was the return to a calm, cool answer.
"We should take off the potion." Ron put a hand on Harry's shoulder. The latter reluctantly stepped back, still not trusting the other man. "He was right, we don't know what questions to ask."
Hermione, eyes filled with uncertain tears, stepped forward. With a wave of her wand the newest man's expression cleared. He gave a quick gasp, rapidly blinking to clear his senses.
"Thanks Hermione." He sent her a small smile…which faded when it wasn't returned. "I know you have questions."
"Why would you try to kill him?" Harry venemously whispered, wand focused on his counterpart. "I'm not a murderer!"
'Harry' stared back at him, expression unreadable. "No, I'm not."
"But you knew it wouldn't work." Hermione's eyes widened in realisation. "Harry, err, 'New Harry', were you behind the earlier attack?"
"Against Radcliffe? Yes." But 'Harry' then shook his head at Hermione's hopeful look. "Not only to get the three of them to you, though that was part of it. Honestly, if I'd managed to kill him I wouldn't have been too bothered."
Harry's jaw dropped. No one knew what to say.
"He's, he's a child." Ginny whispered, disbelief gathering as she stared at what seemed to be her future husband. "A complete innocent!"
"HE'S NEITHER!" 'Harry' shouted before wincing, looking down and trying to calm himself. He took a deep breath. "He isn't a child or an innocent. You don't know how hard it was to let him live, how much I wanted to crucio that monster until even he felt remorse." He gave a hollow, mournful laugh, chilling everyone in the room. "Blasted paradoxes." He leaned his head back against the seat.
"You're lying." Harry stared at his counterpart. His voice was quiet but determined. "I wouldn't feel that way towards anyone, not even Voldemort."
"You did to Peter Pettigrew. Also to Bellatrix Lestrange." The older Harry pointed out.
"Only because they killed my…" Harry's voice trailed off. He stared at his counterpart in horrified realisation. "You're lying."
'Harry' remained silent.
"YOU'RE LYING!" Harry raced forward and, ignoring everyone's shouts, put his wand at the seated man's temple. "You got around the Veritaserum, you're not actually me. Say it!"
"What time is it?" 'Harry' asked instead, paying little attention to the exclamations or to the wand at his head.
"Two minutes past six." The Doctor slowly replied when no one else did.
"Ah." 'Harry''s eyes opened and he stared at his counterpart. "I am really, truly sorry. But I'm not lying and I'm not the enemy. That's Radcliffe."
"He's just a kid." Harry snarled, grip on his wand not loosening.
"Or a Time Lord with a fob watch. One that was locked until two minutes ago." 'Harry' corrected before turning to the petrified Doctor. "The Master is back. Please, I'm begging you…try to kill him before he escapes."
"So you're Harry." Ron said, sitting around the table with his wife and sister. All three were gazing with blatant shock at the man rummaging in the cupboards.
"Yup," 'Harry' said before lightly cursing. Shutting the cabinet he turned to Ginny with a beseeching look. "Where do we keep the cups?"
"Second on the left." Ginny murmured. 'Harry' grinned in thanks before turning. "Shouldn't you know that?"
"Lily burns down the kitchen in a few years. Everything got rearranged." He pulled out a mug triumphantly. Turning, he realised his family was staring at him in even more confusion. "Ah, right. This is before the kids turn completely mad?"
"I would think so." Ginny said faintly, watching as he made some hot cocoa.
"I blame the Weasley genes." 'Harry' sighed, though a proud grin remained. "Future-you blames me, especially for letting Lils and Fawkes be friends."
"Fawkes the phoenix?" Ron said disbelievingly.
"My daughter's a bit of a pyro." The dark-haired man shrugged as though used to the insanity. "Still better than Jamie. He won't admit to the explosions no matter what we do."
"Harry." Ginny stood up, summarily cutting off her husband's rambling. He turned to her, raising an eyebrow. "Stop trying to shock me."
He shrugged. "I'm not lying. The kids have gotten us banned from Buckingham Palace, Downing Street, and the Pentagon."
"My baby daughter's obsessed with nundos," Ginny interrupted, a spark of impatience growing, "and my boys create mini-dragons for fun. Who hasn't known since day one that they were insane?"
Ron and Hermione slowly raised their hands. 'Harry' and Ginny sent them incredulous looks before turning back to each other.
"Can we talk about the elephant in the room," Ginny continued quietly, inching towards her future husband. "Why do you hate 'the Master' more than Voldemort?"
'Harry' winced. "I'm pretty sure that's a spoiler."
"I don't care." Her eyes narrowed and she poked his chest. "The other you got it so catch us up! I have these awful scenarios going through my head and…damn it. Just tell me."
'Harry' paused, hot chocolate in hand. He breathed out. "Depends on one thing. Can you lot keep a secret from my younger self? If not, I'm sorry, but I'm not risking everything for your peace of mind. Y'see, I had to believe—something—for this to work."
The three slowly, hesitantly nodded.
The older man sighed, taking a long sip to forestall the explanation. Drawing out a chair he sat down, frown in place. "The younger me believes that his worst fear will happen, and right now he's trying to think up any loophole or contingency plan to get around it."
"Worst fear?" Ron frowned. "What do dementors have to—"
"Dementors have nothing to do with this." 'Harry' dismissed, voice grim. "My worst fear has always been losing my family, and I basically told my counterpart that the Master would cause this to happen. The information…wasn't taken well."
Hermione began to turn red with an anger that was reflected on the other two. "Excuse me? I don't care who you are! I'm not going to let my brother race off on a, on a revenge quest!"
"Which is why I told the three of you," 'Harry' sighed. "I agree, alright? But this has already happened. Past me's going to believe in a false future, you lot will know the truth, and while you'll keep your Harry from leaping into suicide missions you can't tell him any of this."
"Why not?" Ron growled. "Knowing you—him, whoever—this will eat him up!"
"I'm not denying that." 'Harry' sighed, looking older than his years. "But I needed an incentive, I needed to be desperate. All I can tell you is that it works out."
Ginny had remained silent but finally broke at these words. "You mean," she said in a hollow voice, "he needs to be 'desperate' enough to sacrifice himself?"
'Harry's hesitance was all the answer they needed.
"Fuck you." Ginny said quietly, meeting her future husband's gaze with raging eyes. "Screw you and any self-fulfilling prophecy." She abruptly stood, slamming back her seat and glaring at all of them. "I'm telling him the truth! Just try to stop me. I dare you."
She was out of the door in moments.
'Harry' (rather than being worried or rushing after her) had an odd expression on his face. "That conversation makes far more sense now. I get the feeling that'll be happening a lot."
"What?" Hermione asked, both she and Ron glaring at him and close to joining Ginny.
"It's just…timey-wimey." He groaned at the horrible description. "When she finds younger me she'll only make him incredibly confused."
"Why?" Ron said blankly.
"Because this is already a fixed point in time." 'Harry' answered drily. "You don't think I've been trying to change things? It's physically impossible. So since Ginny knows that my younger self won't know the truth, she's going to be tongue-tied."
"Gin," Harry was leaning against the wall, gazing blearily as she raced into the room, "whatever it is, I really don't want to—"
"You need to hear this!" Ginny cried out, leaping forward to grab her startled husband's shoulders. "Your older self's a bastard. He was—" she choked on the word, eyes widening as she tried and failed to get it out, "it's—he told us—you need to understand—"
"I'm sorry, but my head's really a mess." Harry sighed, pulling back from her. "Could I get a few minutes to—"
"—ARTIE!" Ginny finally managed to squeak, rubbing her traitorous throat. "It isn't like Artie, I swear." She scrambled to think of ways around whatever enchantment the older man had apparently put on her. "It's, it's something else!"
He blinked at her, his expression hardening at the name. "No." He agreed, features resolute. "You're right, it won't be. I promise I won't allow that to happen."
"YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND!" She screamed, silently cursing. What she didn't know was that getting around fixed points in time or closed time loops was on the wrong side of possible. "What happened to Artie won't happen again because—because—"
'Your older self was lying!' Ginny shrieked in her head. 'We won't lose another child and you won't lose me. There's no need for loopholes or calculations. There's no need for revenge or going after the Master. YOU DON'T HAVE TO MAKE A SACRIFICE!'
But she could only choke on these words.
"—because I'll find a way around it." Harry finished incorrectly, wrapping his crying wife in a hug. "I promise. Nothing will happen to you or the kids."
With his single-minded determination and breaking response, Ginny could only begin sobbing as so much remained unspoken.
"Take the spell off me." A red-eyed Ginny stumbled into the kitchen, staring hollowly at 'Harry''s concerned look.
"TAKE IT OFF!" She yelled, not caring when 'Harry' sent off a muffliato around the four of them. "YOU SHOT IT AT MY BACK."
"There's no spell." Hermione, forlorn, answered instead. "He didn't put anything on you."
"HE DID SOMETHING!" Ginny, eyes wild, shakingly pointed at the older man.
"You're right, I did. Though not by choice." 'Harry' reluctantly, tiredly agreed. "Saying what I did, I made this into a closed time loop. Or rather, its always been one. I couldn't say anything else, it's a circle."
This was met with silence, all of them remaining standing and leaning against any surface.
"Does it," Ron began carefully, "does it all work out okay?"
"Of course it doesn't." Ginny sniped, pulling at her long hair in frustration.
"It does." 'Harry' corrected.
"It doesn't! This clearly tortures you." Ginny took a pause to steady herself and control the continuing trickle of tears. She wrapped her arms around herself. "Just like it will my husband, and I can't do a thing to stop it."
"Doesn't mean you won't try." 'Harry' said softly, taking a step closer. But when she flinched away he halted, a wince crossing his own face. "I'm not saying it was easy, but I'm fine."
Ginny gave a hollow laugh, wiping her tears away. She looked up at him with an unamused, red-rimmed gaze. "Merlin, Harry. Thirty years. Thirty years, and you still can't lie to me decently."
'Harry' paused before letting out a low exhale. A stab at a half-smile crept in. "Indecently, then?"
"Okay!" Ron grabbed Hermione's hand and pulled her towards the exit. "That's our cue to leave. Try not to kill each other, have any mental breakdowns, or do what you two do anywhere near the table or places with food."
"Ron!" Hermione cried out, but the door was already swinging shut behind them. The two Potters stared after them, mouths agape.
"Yeah," 'Harry' broke the silence, awkwardly running a hand through his hair, "don't get me wrong, I do love you. But I was joking. I'm happily married."
Ginny shook her head, trying to clear away morbid thoughts and grim theories. "My wonderful husband's in the other room. So no wicked deeds on the table for us, I'm afraid."
"Hmm." He turned to her, eyebrows raising. "You're planning what to do with younger me to traumatise Ron, aren't you."
"Obviously." She scoffed, slightly insulted that this was ever a question. Especially when distraction was so desperately needed on a number of levels.
Yup, that's the end.
For real this time, thank Merlin.
There we have it folks!
This is the entirety of what I have for the 'conclusion' of this story. Is everything wrapped up? Nope, not at all. Is anything explained well? Of course not! If there's any loopholes left, assume I blanked on mentioning them, I messed up, or I'd planned on putting them in a 3rd story. Any Marvel references can go in that last category, because for awhile I'd convinced myself that I could cram an enormous amount of fandoms into this ridiculous thing.
To close at least some plot holes? All the parents find their children, though some of the orphaned kids at Hogwarts (like Sue Anne Perks, baby Jessica, and Steve Rodgers) ended up in different homes. John's found and he and the 11th Doctor team up with our favourite heroes. Older!Assassin!Harry is really the good guy, as he's trying to stop Master!Radcliffe from destroying the world. Yeah, don't ask me why I came up with this.
The Master's grand plot was to reveal magic to the entire world. Picture 'The Incredibles': "When everyone's super, no one is!" This actually works, as Anthea and Mycroft had been planning the same thing but hadn't realised how it'd blow up in their faces. Wars, carnage, and witch hunts spring up across the world. Older!Assassin!Harry tried to stop the chaos by going back in time and taking out the Master. This doesn't work, but Older!Assassin!Harry does manage to avert the crisis. After some adventures the TARDIS manages to bring him and younger!Harry back with just enough time for younger!Harry to stop Anthea from making an announcement and to capture the Master. Older!Assassin!Harry can return to the future knowing what he knows, younger!Harry's angry but relieved all his kids are safe, and everyone sets out to live in happier times.
Yeah, I really should have just stuck with the first book. Oh well, the entire plot's out here now. I'm officially counting this fanfic as 'finished'. I do want to give an ENORMOUS thank you to all of the incredible readers who have stuck with me for years! You are all absolutely amazing. I hope that this will give at least some closure to this story (or a finale to new readers).