Ok, so I know I said this was done, absolutely finito, complete. But I got to thinking about certain events in HP and how in this sort of AU I've set up it could easily have been influenced by a certain Time Lord. That's all I'm saying; you'll see what I'm talking about once you read. Once again, thanks so much for the incredibly unexpected number of reviews, follows, favorites, and C2s, and I hope that this is a good enough gift in return. So enjoy!
Dobby's Polka-Dotted Sock
In hindsight, it had been a bit of a risk, but the Doctor had been curious. And when the Doctor was curious, he tended to wave away caution like it was made of tissue paper.
Several days, birthday parties, and Sunday dinners had left him with many, many stories of the new wing—it could hardly be called anything else, ever expanding as it was—of his family, but stories were hardly enough. After all, history for most people was just stories, but he lived and breathed it every day! Well, maybe every other day, he did sometimes go to places that could be considered his relative future.
So, wanting to observe for himself, the Doctor had taken the opportunity to visit the Wizarding World in the interwar years, as something of an enlightening, educational experience. It was odd observing the relative peace of the witches and wizards going about their business, yet knowing that in just a few years' time, it would all be ripped asunder. Such false security reminded him of how the so-called Muggles behaved during their own interwar period. Funny how, for all their differences in ability and lifestyle, humans were humans.
He'd chosen to spend a day in Diagon Alley right at the start of the summer hols, having reasoned that anyone he should not run into—namely Weasleys—would be at home with their families. And that ought to have been the case, especially as it was now nightfall.
So naturally he was practically frozen on his bar stool when a raised, warbling voice bemoaned, "Oh it's no use, Perkins, there's no excuse for me!" It was a voice he recognized almost instantly, for it belonged to Brian Williams.
Or perhaps, in this case, it would be more accurate to call the man Arthur Weasley, for when he turned to look, the patriarch of the rather motley crew was seated at a booth, dressed in the standard wizarding fare, with an older companion who had fluffy, white hair. Arthur himself had a bit more hair than he would in the future, and it was much closer to the red of his wife and children.
"Of course there's excuses, Arthur, there's loads of excuses," the elderly wizard was saying rather reasonably. "The whole thing happened at Hogwarts, you weren't even there."
"No, but she got the blasted thing here, Perkins, and I was right there! Didn't even notice, what sort of a father am I? Terrible one, that's what."
The Doctor's eyes widened in shock. Arthur, a terrible father? Perish the thought! As surreptitiously as possible, he got up and moved to the end of the bar closest to the red-haired man's booth in order to better hear. 'She' could only mean Ginny, the one female of the original Weasley brood. He recalled quickly how many years back he had gone and realized—ohh. It was just after the whole Chamber of Secrets debacle, one of those stories that had been quietly muttered late one night, and not supposed to be brought up again.
But here, in this moment, was the living proof of the fallout from that episode, as clearly Ginny wasn't the only member of her family suffering. Judging by the amount of Ogden's Firewhiskey bottles sitting around the wizard, poor Arthur was trying and failing badly at forgetting his despair.
"Listen, Arthur," Perkins attempted once more, "it's not your fault. It's bloody Malfoy's fault, that's whose fault it is, and he's been thrown off the Board of Governors for it. He deserves more, certainly, but at least he'll never hurt your kids nor anyone else's again."
Arthur did at least nod in acknowledgment of this point, but took another miserable swallow of the burning liquid. "But I should have stopped it before it happened. My poor little girl, all she's done since she's got home is sit in her room, only comes out for meals. Molly's going spare. I keep trying to get the boys to invite her up to the pitch with them, but they all feel so badly for not noticing either that they're too embarrassed to talk to her. And they claim she can't even fly, but she was out on the pitch all last year when they were at school…" Arthur continued to speak, but it gradually trailed off into unintelligible mumbles that somehow still managed to tug at the Doctor's heartstrings.
"So get her out of the house," the other man recommended, "get the whole family out. Take some leave and go on vacation somewhere, maybe camping. I'll lend you my old tent if you'd like; Merlin knows it's not getting much use these days, what with my lumbago and all." It wasn't bad advice, to the Doctor's mind, after all he continued traveling through time and space escaping some memory or another. Why shouldn't it work for the Weasleys?
But Arthur just gave a weary shrug. "And where would I get the money to vacation, Berkins- er, Perkins?"
"Could always enter the Draw," Perkins suggested halfheartedly, to which the redhead gave a snort. Arthur's colleague shrugged and stood. "Ah well, I'm heading home, then. You ought to as well if you know what's good for you." He made his way over to the fireplace and grabbed up some Floo Powder.
"I can't, not just yet, they won't be asleep," was the pitiful reply.
"Suit yourself. Make sure he gets home sometime, alright, Tom?" The bartender nodded once, and the old wizard disappeared in the flames. Arthur just slouched further in his seat, completely occupied by his thoughts.
"Excuse me," the Doctor beckoned Tom the bartender over. "Just what is this 'Draw'?"
"Well it's the Daily Prophet Grand Prize Galleon Draw, mate, happens every year. Loads of people in here buying tickets all day, seeing how the drawing's tomorrow morning. Where you been?"
"Oh, around," he gestured vaguely. "So it's a lottery of sorts. What's the prize?"
Tom shook his head at what he obviously perceived another naïve question. "Seven-hundred galleons. Not too shabby, if I say so."
"Not too shabby at all," he agreed, though the man was already heading back into the kitchen for something, leaving him alone. Not entirely alone, necessarily, as Arthur was still sitting at the booth.
He really did love to tempt fate, didn't he? With a decisive nod, the Doctor got up from the stool, leaving his mostly-cold mug of tea, and walked over to the man who wasn't supposed to meet him for another six years, dropping into Perkins' old spot.
"So then," he started, making Arthur blink and look up at him blearily, "someone's been through the runner recently, eh?"
"You could say that—sorry, who're you?"
"Just a concerned fellow patron of the Cauldron," he assured smoothly, "who couldn't help overhearing some of your trouble."
"Oh no, I didn't mean to ruin your evening, my apologies," ever considerate, Arthur immediately began to excuse himself.
"Hang on a minute, did I sound angry?" He interrupted with a slight smile. When the other man fell silent, he continued, "That's better. No, it's really me and everyone else who should be apologizing, because I am so very sorry for what has happened to your family." Arthur looked down, clearly more than a bit ashamed, and so the Doctor gave him a moment, instead calling out to the returning bartender, "Could we have another drink for my friend here, Tom? Make it a water," he added in an undertone. Might as well get to work counteracting that hangover as soon as possible. "It'll be on me," he spoke at normal volume now.
Arthur reached across the table in some attempt to grab his arm and stop him, but missed somewhat and ended up clinging to his elbow. "Oh you don't have to do that."
"Oh yes I do," the Doctor answered, gently prying the other's fingers from his jacket. "Now then, seems to me you're putting an awful lot of blame on yourself for something that you didn't do."
"No, but that's just it," Arthur argued morosely. "I didn't see that bloody diary, even when Malfoy put it there right under my nose. What sort of idiot doesn't notice a suspicious object in his own daughter's cauldron?"
"But you weren't the only one there, were you?" He pointed out, causing the other to grudgingly nod. "Plenty of people all around who didn't see a thing either, and that's what Malfoy was counting on. And really, a little book stuck in a cauldron with a bunch of other books is hardly suspicious." Another slow nod was the only response, and so the Doctor leaned across the table gripping the other man's shoulder tightly. "You're not a bad father, Arthur. Take it from someone who knows."
The red-haired man looked at him with a somewhat puzzled expression, no doubt dimly noting his fairly young appearance. But Tom sent the requested water over to the table at that moment with a flick of his wand, effectively distracting him. Arthur took a long gulp of the liquid before muttering, "I just wish he'd had the decency to hurt me instead. If it was all just some ploy to discredit me, why couldn't he have gone after me instead of my little girl?"
"I know, I know," he agreed solemnly, "and that's natural, Arthur, to want that."
"If I'd known he'd go that far just to derail the Muggle Protection Act…" the other man shook his head, "Maybe I would have thought twice about it. Maybe we aren't ready just yet."
"Don't say that!" He hastened to say. "Why, it's incidents like these that show just how badly the Muggle Protection Act is needed. The way they're treated—the way human beings are treated in this society is wrong, and you know that."
Poor Arthur. Aside from a genuine love and concern for those of 'impure' blood, the Doctor knew the underlying motivation behind the usually mild-mannered man. Acting to protect his family during the war, he'd hidden the true identity of Charlie—or rather, Rory—and now if he were to reveal the truth about his son in the current climate, he'd be branded a hypocrite and his family would be even further ostracized for even keeping the child. Arthur just wanted the Wizarding World to be able to accept; the simplest, most human desire.
"Muggle-borns and their families, intelligent creatures or those with that lineage," he refused to use the term 'half-breed', "Squibs, and even Muggles themselves without knowing—they're all counting on you, Arthur. They look to you, to fight their battles they're barred from even having a say in, and they're amazed by your kindness and courage."
Arthur was now staring openmouthed at him, seemingly amazed himself by the words coming from this would-be stranger. The Doctor knew since the Universe hadn't exploded yet that the other man would probably never remember this meeting, but he hoped at least his words would filter through.
"And not only them, but your children, Arthur. They look up to you, and even in the darkest of times, even if they don't say it, they will be proud of you. Lucius Malfoy thought he could stop you by harming your daughter? Ha! If anything, she's even firmer in her belief in you, and she would never want you to stop."
He knew this personally from Ginny, who had said it in less words on her wedding day when stating to Arthur that, "Dad, I'm the luckiest bride in the world, and probably the Universe—" she'd thrown a wink his way "—to be on your arm, and everybody knows it."
Right now, however, Arthur just looked at him with the desperate gleam of hope in his too-bright eyes as he asked, "You- do you really think so?"
"I know so," he asserted, and Arthur gave the closest thing yet to a smile. "And I know she and the rest of your family would rather have you home with them than here feeling sorry for yourself."
"You're probably right," the other man agreed before downing the rest of his water.
"Another?" Tom asked, but the Doctor shook his head.
"Nah, think that's enough liquid in him."
"I think so, too," Arthur mumbled before staggering to his feet and to the loo. Both he and the bartender chuckled.
"Say, Tom," he began casually enough, "you wouldn't have any more of those tickets, would you?"
"Well sure, but I'll warn you near everyone's entered, and some more than once," the man cautioned, fetching one for him regardless. "Seems a silly way to waste two galleons on the off chance you'll win seven-hundred."
"Ah, but I won't be winning," he said, whipping out a pen—which Tom raised an eyebrow at—and promptly filling out Arthur's information. The bartender merely shook his hand and retreated back behind his bar.
Soon enough, Arthur came stumbling back into the room, turning his head this way and that in search of the fireplace. "Getting late," he noted absently. "Should be at home." The Doctor got up and made his way to him just as the man lunged for the jar of Floo Powder on the mantle and missed. The wizard only seemed mildly surprised to find himself suddenly falling into his arms. "Thank you."
"You're welcome. I'd say Flooing is out of the question. Not to worry, I'll drop you off—" Oh dear, he couldn't quite go waltzing into the Burrow, could he? None of the Weasleys currently at the misshapen home had recognized him when they first met, so really there was only one option: Rory's house. "Listen, might not be best for the wife and kids to see you in this state, Arthur. Alright if I drop you with a relative?" The other man nodded and he patted his shoulder. "Good man."
Beginning to half lead, half drag the red-haired man to the side door, the closest exit to the TARDIS, he said over his shoulder, "Tom, would you mind Flooing Molly and letting her know her husband will be at her son's house?" Molly was clever enough to figure out that would mean Rory in Leadworth, and hopefully would give her less cause to worry. The bartender nodded and so they exited the pub.
Arthur, who seemed to have only been half paying attention, inquired bemusedly, "You know Molly?"
"Oh sure, we're very close—" it wasn't quite a lie, at any rate "—practically treats me like her own son."
"She treats everyone like her own son. Including me, most times," the wizard replied, sending himself into a fit of giggles as a result. The Doctor smiled in some amusement, supporting the other male with one arm as he raised a hand to snap. The TARDIS flung open her doors, allowing him to quite literally carry Arthur Weasley over the threshold. Hopefully the man was drunk enough he'd think the ship was some sort of dream in the morning.
He dumped his not-yet relative in the pilot's chair and made his way to the controls. Arthur sat like a lump for a minute, blinking and looking around slowly. "What's this then?"
"It's my ship," he stated, not really having any cover-story planned.
"Like the Muggles have? That's amazing! I thought they needed water."
"Yes, well it's still a rather rocky ride, so sit tight." He pulled the last lever and sent them flying through space, but not time, from London to Leadworth. Arthur somehow managed to stay seated, he was pleased to note, and as the engines wheezed and groaned signifying they'd stopped he realized it was quite a good thing that Amy and Rory were not next-door neighbors before being married.
He pulled Arthur up again and got him out the police box doors. Having parked around the corner from Rory's house, he hoped the nurse was either out or deeply asleep. As they made their slow and steady way to the front door, Arthur asked, "Here a minute, how'd we get to Rory's?"
"Shush, Brian," he switched to the man's pseudonym, just in case someone was out and about and recognized the supposed Mr. Williams. It wouldn't explain the man's odd attire—though the Doctor was rather a fan of the bowtie the man was sporting today—but it'd keep more questions from being asked.
"How do you know Rory?" The wizard persisted anyway. Rory's door was locked, which he supposed was a good sign, but one good blast from the sonic and he had it open. "And how'd you do that?"
"Magic," he supplied, a bit flippantly to be sure, finally getting them inside and shutting the door. The hall light was on, but the house was silent. He continued leading the other man in the direction of what he hoped was a sitting room with a couch.
"That's breaking the Statute of Secrecy, that is," Arthur informed him in a slightly hushed tone, but he was grinning something awful. "You'll get us in real trouble."
"Not if you keep mum about it," he responded. Ah, here was the sitting room, complete with a couch and throw blanket. He let the other man fall onto it and then helped rearrange his legs so he was lying down. "Now you just try for some sleep, and Rory will be there in the morning."
"How do you know Rory if you're so magical?" Arthur asked again, still smiling a bit even as the Doctor covered him with the blanket.
"Oh we're great friends—except not quite yet in his timeline. Meaning that I should probably go." Straightening up, he took a step back. "Goodnight."
But Arthur was already snoring. Smiling to himself, the Doctor let himself back out the front door and returned to the TARDIS. After all, he needed to get a lottery ticket to the Daily Prophet office before morning.
Twenty year-old Rory Williams was a bit alarmed when he got back home that morning after night-shift training at the hospital to find a man asleep on his couch. That alarm faded quickly when he realized it was his father, though he was puzzled to find the man stinking of alcohol and in full wizard regalia.
"Er, dad?" He tried, poking at the other man's shoulder. His father gave a groan and turned away. "I'll, um, I'll get the aspirin," he decided with a nod. Once he'd returned with that and a glass of water to take them with, he found his father starting to sit up, rubbing at his head. "Bad hangover?" He asked, bemused.
"Not the worst I've had—oh, but don't tell your younger brothers or sister that," his father instructed before taking the proffered medicine. "Amazing how they fit potions into these little capsules," the older man remarked and Rory refrained from rolling his eyes.
"What did you come over here for?" He asked instead.
"I- I don't really know. The last thing I remember is going to the Leaky Cauldron with Perkins. Perhaps I, well, I must have had a bit too much to drink. As to how I got here, I haven't any idea." Rory raised an eyebrow at that.
"Then mum's probably worried. You might want to head back."
"Yes, you're probably right. Are you busy right now?" Rory blinked at the unexpected question, but shook his head. "Then why not come with me? I'm sure there'd be enough for breakfast and your mother would love to see you. Ginny, too, I'm sure she'd love a visit from her brother," his father was practically pleading now. Rory had gotten a rather barebones account that his sister's first year at Hogwarts had not gone very well, and he'd been meaning to stop by. He had a date that night with Amy—a year after the 'kind of boyfriend' incident, she had finally agreed to call them dates—but he was sure he could make it back by then.
"Sure," he replied to his father, then held his arm out and prepared for the discomfort of Side-Along Apparition. After a squeezing sensation he was standing on the Burrow's front lawn and hurried to follow the other man inside.
"Molly, I'm—" His dad did not get to finish, however, as his mother emerged from the kitchen red-faced and fuming.
"Arthur Weasley! How dare you stay out so late and behaving so badly you needed Perkins to take you home! There I was, absolutely beside myself, until finally Tom from the Cauldron Floos me just to say that your friend had volunteered to drop you off, and not even at home!"
"He did?" His father asked bewilderedly, then seemed to realize his own survival was at stake. "I'm sorry, Molly dear, but I didn't want to wake the children. So- so I had him drop me in Leadworth. Rory had a night-shift, didn't you Rory, and now he's rather tired and hungry—"
Rory reluctantly resigned himself to being flung under the metaphorical bus and into his mother's very literal arms as she caught sight of him and pushed past his father. "Rory, oh my baby! It's wonderful to see you dear, but you're so thin. And bags under your eyes, too, they're not working you too hard at that- that—what do they call it again?"
"Hospital, mum," he supplied with a sigh, catching sight of the twins in the hallway, grinning at him in amusement at his predicament.
"Why, if it isn't dear old Rory—" one of them stated.
"—popping in for a visit, and despite his very special job," the other noted.
"How generous of him to make the time," they chorused together at last.
"You've been home less than a week," Rory pointed out, somewhat cross.
"Mum, do you want me to get the bacon? It's going to burn," Ron called from the kitchen.
"Oh! I'll be there in a minute, Ron, be careful not to burn yourself," his mother fretted as if her youngest son were still four and not thirteen. "Rory, see if you can fetch Ginny from her room, there's a dear. Arthur, breakfast, and then we'll talk," the matriarch of the family warned, and their father followed with slumped shoulders. Fred and George shrugged at him, then pointed up the stairs.
"Good luck," they both offered, before joining the others in the kitchen.
Rory frowned, but made his way up to the second-highest bedroom, knocking softly on the door. "Go away!" Was the almost immediate response.
"Well great, I come all this way, and now I'm being told to shove off for Leadworth," he remarked with a shrug. From the other side of the door, he could hear a mad scrambling before it was yanked open.
"Rory!" His sister, small, skinny, and unnaturally pale, looked up at him in shock, still in her nightie.
"Hey," he greeted, "how's my favorite little witch?" It was the way he'd greeted her for years and always brought a smile to her face, but this time she burst into tears, burying her face in his shirt. "Ginny?" He asked in some dismay.
"Oh Rory, I'm a terrible witch! I ought to change my name and be a Squib like you!" The girl practically wailed. Taken aback, he wrapped his arms around her and rubbed circles on her back.
"Come on, Ginny, you don't want that. You've been excited for Hogwarts ever since Bill went, even I know that."
"No, but I did horrible things, Rory—I didn't mean to, but I was so stupid!"
"You're not stupid," he crouched down to get to her eye level. She wiped at her eyes and then fell silent, listening to him. "Look, I don't know everything that happened, but if you say you didn't mean to do what you did, I believe you. So how about we get breakfast and you can tell me all about it after, if you want."
After a moment, she nodded. "Ok."
Forcing a smile to his face, he stood back up and took her hand, leading her down to the kitchen. The rest of the family, minus Percy, were seated around the table and pointedly ignored the evidence of Ginny's tears when they joined them. But scarcely had Rory sat down than did his other brother enter from the sitting room with a letter clutched in his hand.
"Dad, you've got something from the Prophet. They're saying you won the Grand Draw!"
"What?" His mother shrieked, already snatching the letter out of Percy's grasp.
His father looked up in astonishment, and the others besides Ginny all crowded around their mother trying to read over her shoulder.
"Way to go, dad—"
"—seven-hundred galleons! Wicked!"
"Arthur, you entered the lottery?"
"I- I don't think I did," his father was shaking his head, and Rory was really beginning to worry. Just how much had his father had to drink last night, and how had he managed to get to his house without splinching himself?
"Well then, what are you going to do with the money?" Percy asked. "It'll more than cover next year's school supplies, not to mention Ron's need for a new wand—" the three younger boys were rolling their eyes at the potential practical uses of the money. Rory was still trying to wrap his head around the fact that his father had somehow managed to win the equivalent of thirty-five hundred pounds.
"We should do something for the whole family," Ginny suddenly piped up, but when they all turned to look at her she turned rather pink and looked down at her plate. "It's just, Bill's out there in Egypt, all alone, he must miss us…I miss him," she muttered.
His father, however, was now beaming in joy. "You're absolutely right, Ginny," he stated warmly, causing everyone to now look at him in surprise. "That's just what we'll do, we'll visit Bill—the whole family. Weasleys, we're going on vacation!"
That in itself had created a whole new explosion of noise, which was almost as bad as Amy's reaction that night at dinner.
"What do you mean, you're going to Egypt for a month?" She all but demanded.
"Um, well, it was dad's idea, sort of a reward for getting the job," he tried to explain lamely.
"You've been working at the hospital for a year," she pointed out.
"It takes a while to get the money?" Apparently it only took one night of binge-drinking, but she didn't need to know that.
"Rory, this is Brian. Boring, doesn't go anywhere except the golf course—" 'golf course' had become code between the two Williams men for the Burrow "—unadventurous Brian."
"Yep," he agreed with a nod. Amy sighed in frustration. "Look, I was just as surprised as you, really," he tried, reaching across the table for her hand, "but it'll only be for a month. I- I don't have to go," he offered, inwardly cringing. His family would be upset, especially Ginny, but he wasn't going to risk ruining things with Amy, the one person he could envision a future with.
"No, no," she hastened to say, squeezing his hand once before pulling hers away. "I don't want to keep you from family-time." She had no way of knowing, of course, how true that was. "I'm not going to be that kind of girlfriend." When she looked up at him to see him grinning, her eyes narrowed. "What?"
"Nothing," he said hurriedly. "It's just, you've never called yourself my girlfriend before."
Seemingly unbidden, a corner of her mouth turned up in a smile. "Yeah, well, I am, stupid face. Just remember that when you meet some exotic belly-dancer in Cairo or whatever." He was unable to hold in a snort at that, causing them both to start laughing. "Ok, but seriously," Amy finally managed to say, "have fun, and- and keep in touch."
"I promise," he assured, feeling a little badly. He knew how much Amy wanted to travel after all, though perhaps not to Egypt. She had her eyes set on something a little more beyond.
"Well good. Can't say I'll get back to you regularly, I mean, me and Mels will probably be super-busy and all," she stated somewhat brazenly, but he recognized it for the front it was.
"I'll miss you."
"Miss you too."
Over the course of that month Rory did miss Amy, missed her more than anyone or anything in his life, more than he'd ever missed or wished for magic. They wrote back and forth and whenever he could get far enough away from all the magic he would call—his cell phone somehow had incredibly great service, even out in the desert. Bill was the only one to notice as the rest of his family were too busy being tourists for the first time in their lives. On their last day there, his older brother took him to a bazaar and pushed him none too gently into a tent selling jewelry that specialized in rings.
The night they returned, Rory begged off sleeping at the Burrow and ordered his father to Apparate him home. The minute he appeared in Leadworth, he was out the door and running to Amy's house, and when he burst in—much to the surprise of Amy, her parents, and Mels—he proposed. With the widest smile he'd ever seen on her beautiful face, Amelia Jessica Pond said yes.
Yeah, this got deeper and longer than I thought. Ah well, I like so it stays. And yeah, near the end there it sort of turned into a 'How the Doctor Inadvertently Helped Amy and Rory to Get Engaged' story. Make of it what you will. This I hope helped explore more of the Doctor Who/Harry Potter character interaction that you all liked so much, as well as showing grownup Rory with his family a bit more. I'd love to hear any thoughts, thanks very much for reading what was essentially written on a whim, and please review!