Chapter 2 : Welcome Home
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The first thing I was aware of was pain - sharp, sudden bursts that shot up my arm from the palm of my left hand. I had never heard of time-travel splinching, but right then and there I was deathly and illogically afraid that that was what had happened to me. Somehow, my hand had gotten sliced off in the journey through time, and now I was going to bleed to death; no one would be able to identify my body and no one would come to my funeral because, technically, I didn't even exist yet.
Desperately struggling to swallow the hysteria that was creeping up my throat, I forced my eyes open to face the truth, whatever it may be. It was difficult to see much of anything - it was much darker here than I had expected - but once my eyesight had adjusted, I let out a strangled cry.
My hand was still very much attached to my body, but there were vibrant smears of blood all over the palm of it. Somehow, during the time-travel, I had closed my fingers tightly around the pocket watch without realizing it. Evidently the pressure had been too much for the old piece of jewelry; shards of broken glass from the face of the watch were lodged uncomfortably in my skin.
I didn't care so much about the pain or the blood as I did about the watch itself. My only method of returning home was now destroyed. This time, I couldn't smother the wave of helplessness that washed over me or the childish tears that stung my eyes. I fumbled half-heartedly for my wand, desperately praying that Reparo would work.
"Excuse me, are you lost?"
I froze. Preoccupied with my injury, I hadn't really observed my new surroundings yet, but, as the unfamiliar voice reached my ears, a startling realization hit me: I was outside.
Time-travel was supposed to send you to the exact same where with a different when, but if that was true, I should've been standing inside Malfoy Manor instead of on a luscious stretch of green grass.
The only "Manor" around was a normal-sized house just a few yards away from me, out of which the owner of the voice had emerged. Before I could fully register what was going on, the voice murmured Lumos and I was facing something even more shocking than the broken pocket watch and the absence of Malfoy Manor combined.
It was like looking in a mirror; standing in front of me was a young boy with pale blonde hair and brilliant grey eyes that were widened in surprise - a boy who looked just like me. The only major difference was that, while my left hand was cradling the broken watch and my right hand was burrowed in my pocket, this boy was clutching a wand and a broomstick.
I knew I should come up with a story, an identity, anything but the truth - which would surely land me straight in St. Mungo's - but I couldn't do it; it was as though the filter between my mind and my mouth had completely disappeared. "Dad?" I whispered.
It was only when I noticed the other boy's lips moving with mine - just like a real mirror image - that I realized we had both said it at the same time. There was barely enough time for me to digest this before he was bounding towards me, a childlike eagerness replacing his previous confusion.
"You're here," he said breathlessly, abandoning his broomstick on the ground as he reached me. "Mum! Come quickly; he's here!" he called over his shoulder.
He tentatively brushed his fingers against my chest, as though testing whether or not I was a ghost. I backed away from him, a wary expression on my face. "I'm sorry, but who are you?" I demanded suspiciously.
Despite his uncanny resemblance to my father, this boy seemed nothing like him; to my knowledge, my father had never once referred to Grandmother Narcissa as anything other than 'Mother'.
The only logical conclusion I could draw was that this was some distant Malfoy relative I had never heard of who just happened to be spending the holidays at Malfoy Manor in 1991 - a slightly altered version of Malfoy Manor, at least. Perhaps he had gotten a concussion while riding his broomstick and was now under the delusion that I was his father.
Instead of answering my question - obviously this was a very impertinent member of the family who did not adhere to the rule-book at all - the Malfoy boy roughly grabbed my injured hand. "Wicked!" he exclaimed, turning it this way and that despite my cries of pain. "You've bloodied this up pretty good." And, paying no attention to my protests, he grabbed me by the arm and started dragging me towards the mysterious house.
"Oi!" I said, hurriedly wrenching my arm out of his grasp. "First of all, I can walk. And second of all, I'm not going anywhere with you until you tell me who the bloody hell you are!" If my father had taught me anything, it was that a raised voice and just a dash of bad language could get you exactly what you wanted.
The Malfoy boy sighed. "He didn't tell me he was this difficult," he mumbled under his breath, seemingly to himself. Then, more urgently and louder than before, he called, "Mum!"
Before he had even closed his mouth, the backdoor to the house swung open with a purposeful creak. I stiffened and fixed my eyes on the doorway. With all the craziness that had already happened, I wasn't quite sure who I expected - Grandmother Narcissa, the Grandfather that no one ever talked about, or maybe even Merlin himself.
But the woman who emerged from the house wasn't any of those people. Her hair was a messy heap of dark red corkscrews on top of her head, and there were freckles sprinkled generously across her cheeks. If I had seen her on the street, I would've never pegged her as the blonde boy's mother, although that might've had something to do with the fact that I knew her.
"Rose Weasley?" I sputtered incredulously.
The woman was much older than the thirteen-year old Gryffindor I knew at Hogwarts, but the resemblance was still there; they both had an obnoxious tangle of curls, eerily blue eyes, and that memorably enticing smile.
And, unlike most of the other curve-balls that had been thrown at me, there was not even a semi-logical explanation for her sudden appearance in what was supposed to be the past; my futile attempts to find one left me dizzy with confusion. Of only one thing I was absolutely certain: these people - whoever they were - had been expecting me.
The woman - Weasley? - gently grabbed onto my arm and gestured for her son to do the same. "It's no use discussing this out here," she remarked firmly and, this time, when they attempted to lead me inside, I didn't protest.
The house was refreshingly warm. My mind was so engrossed in sorting out just what was going on that I hardly noticed the quirky mismatched furniture or the delicious smell of fresh-baked pumpkin pie that permeated the kitchen. Everything had a surreal sense to it; I was becoming more and more convinced that I had fallen asleep on that random mattress and this was just a very vivid and very absurd dream.
They guided me into a chair at the kitchen table. While the boy studied me with shameless curiosity, Weasley extended my arm across the table to closely examine my injured hand. I struggled not to wince or cry out as she began to meticulously remove the embedded shards of glass.
"Please," I gasped, carefully averting my eyes from the nausea-inducing sight of my bloodied hand, "Weasley - or whoever you are - tell me where I am." I didn't think I could handle not knowing for much longer.
The boy propped his chin up in his palm and grinned cheekily at me. "Well, actually, I'd say it's more a matter of when you are," he said unhelpfully.
His mother's gaze flitted swiftly away from my injury to his face; something about his comment had obviously made her uneasy. "Leo," she said sharply, "why don't you go find your sister? Perhaps she can take a look at this pocket watch." The boy - Leo - grumbled under his breath but obediently left the table.
When we could no longer hear his footsteps pounding up the staircase, she glanced up at me with a fond smile curving her lips. "Pocket watches are very rare and very powerful magical artifacts," she informed me randomly, pausing to wiggle a particularly deep shard of glass out; I bit back a sob. "They are also not usually intended for thirteen-year-old boys who are easily misled.”
Her words were laced with a tint of admonishment as she pulled her wand from her pocket and began to heal the wounds on my hand.
Just as I was about to open my mouth and demand that she elaborate on her bizarre statement, Leo charged loudly into the kitchen with a girl trailing behind him. Although the two children shared the same shocking grey eyes - my eyes, I realized uneasily - the girl hardly seemed like she could be his sister; she had Weasley's hair and a frighteningly calm demeanor.
"I told you he was here!" Leo boasted to his sister smugly. He flung himself into the seat next to me and returned to the consuming occupation of observing my every move. Both witches ignored him.
"Lyra," Weasley said, "can you fix this pocket watch?" She slid the object across the table, a knowing twinkle in her blue eyes. The girl climbed into the last seat and propped herself up on her elbows to examine it; after a few moments of nudging the broken jewelry with her wand and murmuring under her breath, a small furrow appeared between her eyebrows.
She frowned and glanced up at Weasley, who was examining my healed hand with a satisfied expression on her face. "No, Mama," she said, obviously saddened by this fact. "One of the pieces must be missing."
Leo bounced excitedly in his seat. "Does that mean he has to stay here forever?" he prodded the older woman, clearly delighted by the prospect. "Are you gonna stay here forever?" he asked me.
"Of course he's not," Lyra scoffed, evidently disappointed with her brother's stupidity. "If he did, we would've never been born, you big dummy."
Leo was apparently not happy with being called a 'big dummy'; he reached over and pulled one of his sister's dangling red braids. She shrieked and swatted at him angrily, and a battle broke out between the two siblings.
I was so overwhelmed with hunger, exhaustion, and bewilderment that, at that point, I wanted nothing more than to crawl into my bed back at the real Malfoy Manor. I bitterly regretted ever picking the stupid pocket watch off of the floor. "Could somebody please just tell me what's going on?!" I exclaimed, raising my voice to be heard over the two bickering children.
They fell silent. Weasley smiled again; there was something in her expression - something that I couldn't quite name - that made me think she was enjoying my suffering immensely.
"When you used that pocket watch, you intended to go twenty-eight years into the past," she told me, and, although I still had no idea how she knew this, I confirmed her statement with a nod. She paused, and then hesitantly added, "Well, you actually went twenty-eight years into the future. It's the year 2047 and you're forty-one years old."
I waited for her solemn expression to melt into a grin and for the two children to yell, "Just kidding!". When they didn't, I snapped, "Don't be ridiculous!" I didn't know who these people were, but they were obviously just trying to trap me here. I reached across the table and latched onto the pocket watch, dragging it towards me; if they honestly expected me to believe something was broken just because some naive kid couldn't figure out how to fix it, they had another thing coming.
"Reparo," I said. Nothing happened. I tried the spell again, this time louder, but, still, the pocket watch remained broken.
Weasley pressed her lips into a thin line and tugged the piece of jewelry from under my fingers. She murmured the charm once and when, just like with the little girl and me, nothing happened, she glanced up at me with an exasperated but expectant look, as if to say, "Do you believe me now?"
I shook my head. "This doesn't make any sense," I insisted. "If this is the future, then why am I at your house with your kids?" Lyra let out an irritated sigh and Leo smacked the palm of his hand against his face. Ignoring them, Weasley grabbed my newly bandaged hand gently, her blue eyes filled with such sincerity that I was almost tempted to believe what she said next.
"Because they're your kids too."
For a moment, all I could do was stare at her blankly. Her words took a ridiculously long amount of time to register, mostly because the only conclusion I could draw from them was too preposterous to believe; was she honestly implying that I would eventually lower myself to marry a Weasley?
"You can't be serious," I stammered incredulously. My eyes flitted between each of their faces, searching for any hint that this was all just a big joke, but their expressions were painfully earnest. "No, I don't believe you. Not without any proof, at least." I raised a challenging eyebrow at them.
Leo made a frustrated noise. "We're all the bloody proof you need," he said, pressing his cheek against his sister's. He opened his grey eyes as wide as they would go and pointed at them, his lips twisted into a frown.
Weasley knocked him lightly on the head with her fist. "Language, Leo," she chided, pushing away from the table. "That's no way to treat our guest." She stood up and started distractedly shuffling through a stack of papers on the kitchen counter.
"But he's not our guest; he's our dad!" the boy cried, dejectedly resting his chin on top of his folded arms and narrowing his eyes at me. "You never told me he was this much of a prat when he was my age," he shot at his mother accusingly, obviously not caring that I was sitting right in front of him.
I glared at the little git, and would've thrown an insult right back at him if Weasley hadn't retrieved something from the pile with a victorious, "HA!" and raced over to lay it in front of me.
With my eyebrows furrowed together quizzically, I studied the piece of parchment. It was an issue of The Daily Prophet that was dated December 23rd, 2047 - twenty-eight years into the future, exactly as Weasley had claimed.
When I glanced up from the paper, all three pairs of eyes at the table were fixed on me. I shrugged; a newspaper was easily forgeable. "If you really want me to believe you, then let me meet myself," I demanded. "I'd really like to know what the hell I was thinking marrying a Weasley, anyway."
For the first time, Weasley looked unsettled. She shifted nervously on her feet, not quite meeting my inquisitive stare as she replied, "You're away on business right now."
And despite how much I didn't want to believe the lies they were feeding me - despite how much I wanted to think that this was a dream or at the very least some sort of trap, that the newspaper was forged and Leo and Lyra were just two children with an uncanny resemblance to me - there was a part of me that had to admit that the whole this-is-the-future explanation was a lot more logical than most of the theories I had concocted so far. And that same part of me was incredibly interested in what my future was going to be like, which I suppose is why I blurted out the first response that came to mind: "What business?"
Weasley shook her head, an amused smile twitching her lips. "I'm sorry, Scorpius, but we're really not supposed to tell you much about your future." She sent a warning glance at Leo and Lyra, who stared back at her innocently.
"Can't I at least know when I'm going to get to go home?" I huffed.
"I'll Floo the Committee of Time Travel right now, but it might take a few days to figure something out," Weasley told me. "Leo, why don't you show Scorpius around the house and help him get settled in?" She disappeared into another room without waiting for a response.
Leo's face lit up with a smile, his previous dislike for me completely forgotten. "Come on!" he exclaimed, hopping out of his seat at the kitchen table. "You can sleep in my room." He grabbed onto my wrist - this family was entirely too touchy-feely for my taste - and pulled me out of my chair.
I grudgingly stumbled out of the kitchen and up the stairs after him, wondering just how I had gotten myself into this mess.
A/N: Sorry this took me so long; it was much more difficult to write than I had expected. It's a bit hard to imagine how someone might react to meeting their future family, but I did the best I could. Do you think Scorpius' reaction was believable? What about the interactions between the characters? As always, I'd love to hear what you think. Thank you so much to everyone who reviewed the first chapter and to everyone who I know will review this chapter :)
Note: parts of this chapter were re-written on 6/4/12.
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