Chapter 2 : Panic
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“Rose, please give me a straight answer—what the hell is happening?” I asked, figuring that this question summed everything up.
Rose didn’t answer and looked away, which confirmed that she was mad at me. Seriously, now was not the time for being moody.
“Rose!” I repeated, catching up to her while she took the lead, although she was speed-walking to avoid me. “Slow down!”
Lily and Hugo came running from behind, trying their best to catch up to Rose. Lily managed to step in front of her and looked her in the eye. “Rose, we have to stick together. I know you’re mad at Al for being an idiot and not listening to you, but we need you to cooperate with us so that we can get back home.”
Rose stopped and stared back at Lily for a moment, then looked wearily at me and Hugo. “Fine. And Al, I’m sorry—this isn’t your fault, it’s mine…” she said.
“How is any of this your fault?” I asked blankly, since this was the last thing I had expected her to say.
“I knew what that orb was capable of. Those engravings on the pedestal were the same as the ones on a time-turner, so I figured that it might be capable of taking us back or forward into time.” Rose admitted.
“But if you knew, why didn’t you tell me? I might have not touched it if I knew that!” I said angrily.
“You would have laughed at me!” Rose said, her ears turning slightly red. “It was just a theory! And besides, even I had told you, you would have touched that damn thing anyway!”
I opened my mouth once to argue, but closed it since I knew there was no point. I hated admitting this to myself, but she was right—I would have laughed at Rose and touched that orb anyway.
“This isn’t anyone’s fault, so let’s all just shut up and try to figure out how we’re going to get back home!” Lily said loudly. For once, I was glad Lily was here with us. She was good at keeping us all on track and focused.
Rose cleared her throat, taking charge again. “Lily’s right. Anyway, I think the first thing we should do is figure out where and when we are.”
“Great plan.” I said, clapping my hands together and taking the lead. My eagerness to follow directions struck the other three as quite odd, but I felt kind of responsible for this mess.
Rose walked close to me while Lily and Hugo followed. I could hear them bickering about something, but they kept their argument hushed so that me and Rose couldn’t hear.
A few minutes had passed, and I was starting to feel uneasy. This place was dauntingly familiar. But since when did I visit such dreary and creepy places? It was familiar…but at the same time unfamiliar.
“Al,” Rose said quietly. “Do you think you’ve ever…been here before?” Judging by the tone of her voice, I could tell that she was thinking the same thing.
“Yeah…” I replied. When we turned a corner, I gasped. The first shop I saw was called Madame Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions.
“Oh my god…” Rose said fervently, staring at the shop.
“We’re in Diagon Alley…” I muttered to myself, but it was hard to believe. What had happened here?
I glanced around the street, seeing that all of the shops had been boarded up. Ollivander’s was nearly crumbling, and the windows were shattered. The Apocethary was also boarded up, and the roof was nearly gone, as if it had burned. But the strangest thing of all was that Diagon Alley was…deserted. And never in my life had I ever seen Diagon Alley with no people in it.
We continued walking, nervously observing the ruined shops. Some showed signs of struggle, whereas others seemed like the owners had simply packed up and left. I saw a few shops that I had never seen before, too. Were we in the future? Was this Diagon Alley’s fate?
It was just now that I noticed the posters plastered onto every single shop doors, windows, and walls. At first glance I thought I saw my own face on those posters, but as I inched closer I saw that it wasn’t me: it was my Dad.
“Guys, look at this.” I said, trying to stay calm.
Rose and Lily also gasped as they saw the poster, while Hugo looked as if he was about to faint.
This could only mean one thing…we had ended up in the Second Wizarding War.
Rose read the poster out loud, her voice trembling. “Undesirable No. 1: Harry Potter. 10,000 galleon reward. Wanted dead or alive.”
Observing the poster, I noticed that Dad looked way younger in the poster, probably exactly the same age as me. Not only did he look the same age, he looked almost identical to me. Minus the scar and the glasses, of course. I read the time stamp, which read March, 1998.
“What to do we do?” Hugo said, white as sheet.
“We find a way to get back home.” I said, but Lily was glaring at me.
“That’s real helpful Al, you’re a genius. Why didn’t I think of that?” Lily said sarcastically.
“Well then, let’s hear your bright ideas!” I said to her irritably.
“Guys, stop! I can’t think when you’re arguing!” Rose said, who was pacing back and fourth. I could practically see those gears moving in her brain.
I had no ideas whatsoever on how to get back. And what made me feel even worse was that this was all my fault.
It was getting dark. The sky was orange streaked with purple, and we had no intention of staying here in Diagon Alley. Turns out most people come here when it’s dark, since we had noticed a startling increase in visitors when the sun was down. Most of the late night visitors were thieves, creepers, beggars, and I could have sworn I saw a group of Death Eaters not too far away.
“We’ll be safer in muggle London.” Rose said as she avoided two drunken men who were wolf-whistling at her. “I really just want to get away from here.”
So we walked quickly down the street that lead to the Leaky Cauldron, gaining strange looks from passerby. Apparently, twenty-first century muggle clothing looked very odd to them.
We walked through the Diagon Alley archway into the Leaky Cauldron, which was empty. Tom the barman was wearily cleaning some dishes, and looked up as we entered the pub.
“Potter?” he asked, looking at me.
“Er—no.” I responded, knowing that he thought I was my dad.
“Sorry. I thought you were…someone else.” he said, with one final glance at us. Then he continued cleaning his dishes, looking very weary and disheveled.
We exited the pub quietly, and entered muggle London. There weren’t many people out—just some people in cars driving past, probably on their way home from work.
“Why didn’t we just book a room in the Leaky Cauldron?” Lily demanded.
“It’s not safe in the Wizarding World.” Rose answered. “And anyway…we can use magic! Because in 1998 we technically don’t exist, so the Ministry can’t track us down!” she said, sounding slightly excited. (Rose had a rebellious side to her? That’s a shock.)
We managed to find the cheapest hotel in London called the Railview Hotel. When we entered the lobby, all I could see was ugly peeling wallpaper, moth-eaten sofas, and a middle-aged woman flipping through a magazine at the front desk. She looked up as she saw the four of us enter.
“You kids lost?” she asked, chewing on some gum.
“Er…not really.” Rose said, fumbling through her sweater pocket, taking out all the muggle money we had combined.
“Where are your parents?” she asked, scrutinizing us.
“They’re out of town.” Lily said shortly.
“So you decided to run away?” she asked, smirking. “Perhaps I should call the police—”
“NO!” the four of us said unison.
“Here, just take the money! That’s enough for three nights. And mind your own business!” Rose snapped, thrusting the Pound notes onto the counter.
The woman popped a bubble and glared at Rose, handing her two room keys. “Have a nice stay.” she said through gritted teeth.
Rose handed me a key and charged ahead in search for the room number that was on her key. Mine and Lily’s room was just across the hallway from Hugo and Rose’s.
“Good night Al.” Rose said, just before she closed the door, trying to conceal her tears.
She didn’t even let me respond, and the door was closed. To say I felt like crap was an understatement. This was entirely my fault. I shouldn’t have touched the orb. I shouldn’t have gone poking around in Dad’s office. And now Rose probably thought we weren’t going to make it back home. Who knows? Maybe we’d never make it back to 2021. Or maybe we would, but then we’d have to wait twenty-five years.
And what about my family? Dad would have surely started a search party by now. The four of us would make tomorrow’s headline—I mean the tomorrow that we’re supposed to be in.
I turned around, seeing that Lily had already collapsed onto the bed, staring blankly at the chipped ceiling.
We were going to make it back home, I would make sure of that. I promised myself that I would do whatever it took.
Anything at all.
A/N: First of all, I’m so sorry this chapter took forever! In fact, I haven’t updated any of my stories in ages! RL is becoming very difficult for me at the moment, unfortunately. But I promise you I will complete this story! Anyway, please review!
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by Frumpy Carter