Colored smoke rings.....a baby’s laugh......a scream.....a high, cruel voice......a flash of green light........
James jolted awake, a cold sweat breaking out on his skin. A quick look around told him he was safe inside of Hogwarts, on the floor of the potions classroom. He breathed a sigh of relief before remembering why he was now on the floor. To the left, he saw Sirius blinking up at the ceiling, his eyebrows slightly singed, and to his right, Lily was sprawled out on the floor. “Lily?” He leaned over and poked her shoulder lightly, praying she wouldn’t be angry. She didn’t move.
Sirius sat up and shook his head, trying to clear the massive headache he had. “Oi, what the hell did you do, mate?” he groaned as he went to massaging his temples. There was no reply. “James?” He turned to see him gently shaking Lily’s shoulders. “She’s gonna slap you in a second.”
“Something’s wrong, Padfoot,” said James as he pressed his fingers against the side of her neck. He could feel a pulse but when he pulled his hand back, his fingertips were stained red. “We need to get her to the hospital wing. Now.” He carefully lifted Lily into his arms, being careful not to jostle her too much, while Sirius went to unlock the door. Strangely, it was already open but it made no difference as the pair rushed to the hospital wing.
Sirius charged into the doors of the hospital wing and swung them wide before hollering, “Poppy!” He glanced behind a few curtains as James lay Lily down on one of the empty beds. “Stop hiding, you minx. We are in need of your immediate medical attention.” He couldn’t help but grin before adding, “...again.”
A door swung open at the end of the ward and out stepped Madam Pomfrey. She shuffled down towards the figures at the front, cursing their loudness and rude way of summoning. They were going to wake the other patients. She took a deep breath, ready to scold the intruders when she finally was able to see them. Her eyes widened in shock before she screamed, whipping out her wand. “GET OUT!”
Sirius had barely managed to duck a curse she sent out at him. “Have you gone mad!?” he yelled back and pulled out his own wand. “I know I didn’t owl when I said a I would but this is a little extreme...” He jumped almost a foot in the air to a avoid a hex she sent at his feet. “Would you stop that!?”
The doors to the hospital wing slammed open and in stepped Minerva McGonagall, her lips narrowed in a fine line. “What in Merlin’s name is all this ruckus about?” she hissed.
James jumped in front of Professor McGonagall, hoping to calm her down so she wouldn’t kill Sirius, which she had almost done more than once. “Professor, we were in detention with Slughorn and there was a bit of an accident...” which was a gross understatement, “...and Lily got hurt so we brought her up here to get help but Pop....I mean, Madam Pomfrey came out and attacked us,” he explained in what he hoped was a clear and understandable way. However, she wore a look of shock on her face that said otherwise. There was something different about her though, something peculiar..... “You look old,” he blurted suddenly before slapping his hand on his mouth.
Sirius burst out laughing at his friend’s lack of tact, forgetting all about the angry medical matron standing behind him. “Prongs,” he laughed, “that is not how you talk to a woman as exquisite as Minerva McGonagall.” He walked over and took her hand, frowning as he felt several wrinkles under his fingers. “Wow, you were right, James.”
McGonagall snatched her hand back, glaring at the two boys in front of her. “If you’re quite through, I believe Madam Pomfrey would be glad to help Miss Evans here,” she said, gesturing to her unconscious form, “so you two shall accompany me into her office for a little chat.”
Under her stern gaze, the two boys were marched into Madam Pomfrey’s office. They locked eyes when McGonagall also stepped inside, locking the door behind her. Couldn’t she have just yelled at them out in the hall and sent them on their way? James opened his mouth to speak but she held out a hand to silence him. “I need you to tell me exactly what happened in this detention,” she told them.
“Well, we got to detention to scrub some cauldrons for Slughorn and he had left Evans in charge of us,” started Sirius.
James picked up next, saying, “We were diligently scrubbing the cauldrons spotless and needed her cleanliness approval.”
“Someone,” Sirius looked pointedly at James, “tripped on a cauldron and managed to chuck another at Evans and her potion.” He waited for James to continue but he was busy examining his shoes. “It knocked over some things and then the potion exploded. We woke up on the floor and then brought Evans here.”
McGonagall nodded, deep in thought. “Do you know what potion Miss Evans was brewing?” she questioned. They shook their heads and she couldn’t help but frown. “We’ll have to ask her when she awakes. Do either of you have any idea where you are?”
James and Sirius looked at each other in confusion. “In the hospital wing?” guessed James. He was itching to ask about why she looked so different from when they’d had her class this morning but didn’t want to risk another detention. He was hoping that this one would be the last one he’d have for a while.
Ignoring his answer, McGonagall sighed deeply. She removed her glasses and rubbed the bridge of her nose, deep in thought. “We will find a way to remedy the situation as soon as possible so you need not fret,” she began, causing the boys to shift uncomfortably. “Now, if you’ll just wait here, I’ll go see how Miss Evans is doing.”
Sirius watched McGonagall with a careful eye as she left them in the office. “Why do I feel like it would have been better if she had screamed at us?”
“Because that would be normal.” James throughly agreed that her parting words were troubling. Most of the time, if someone tells you not to worry, that’s probably what you should be doing. It was being in a ‘situation’ that bothered him the most though. From what he could tell, it was just any other day. They had been messing around, an accident happened, and they ended up in the Hospital Wing. It really wasn’t all that unusual in the life of a Marauder.
Glancing about, Sirius found himself looking out a window onto the grounds. He was startled to find that the sun was rising over the lake. “Merlin, we’ve been out all night!” he exclaimed in horror. They had missed dinner!
On cue, James’s stomach began to growl. “That’s it, Padfoot. Last detention we ever get.” Missing quidditch and dinner was not okay.
Except for the occasional stomach rumble, a silence had settled over the boys. It had been about ten minutes and McGonagall had not yet returned. James was worrying that meant Lily had been worse off than she appeared and Sirius was pondering what their ‘situation’ could possibly be. However, both were experiencing a growing feeling of dread. Something is off about this whole thing. With Madam Pomfrey’s assault upon their arrival, the suddenly aged McGonagall, and the very serious and calm manner in which she was acting.
Finally, Professor McGonagall reentered the office with Lily trailing behind her. James scanned her carefully, looking for any lasting damage from their mishap earlier. Their eyes met for a brief moment. At first, he saw anger but her gaze softened to one of a worrisome nature. Apparently, she had received the same mysterious response from McGonagall as they had. Closing the door behind her, Lily went to stand beside the others.
McGonagall eyed her former students with a heavy heart. They looked to be no older than seventeen, from a period just before the war. She could still remember that time perfectly, even after all these years. The month long detention she’d given Sirius for a lewd comment he’d given during her class. She’d released him early because it was more punishment for her than him, though she still held him as one of her favorite students. The first time James and Lily walked into the Great Hall for breakfast, hand in hand. She had nearly choked on her eggs. Shortly after, the threats posed by He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named became real and they all had to grow up. Then..... McGonagall quickly dapped at her cheeks. There was no time for that now. “Now then, there’s no easy way to say this...”
All three students shared similar looks of alarm. Nothing good has ever followed those words.
“...but you three have somehow managed to travel into the future.” McGonagall noted the shocked looks on their faces and sighed once more. “There’s no need to worry. Everything will...” She didn’t get to finish.
“Brilliant!” exclaimed Sirius, beginning to bounce up and down a little. “Did Gryffindor win the House Cup at the end of the year?”
“Has that Nimbus broom come out yet?” James questioned quickly, feeling giddy.
“Did the Cannons actually make it to the Cup?”
“Did I make it into Auror training?”
“Am I still seriously sexy?”
“Is that joke still not seriously old yet?”
“No, it’s a classic, git. Where’s Remus and Peter?”
“Can we go see them?”
“Ooh! Can we go see us?”
“Can we go see...?”
“Would you two just shut up already?” Lily glared at both boys, who in turn decided the floor needed a good inspection. “Time travel is serious business.” Her eyes narrowed at Sirius, who had opened his mouth to reply. Luckily, he decided to hold his tongue.
“Miss Evans is quite right. The consequences of you being here could be disastrous,” McGonagall told them carefully. “This is why I cannot answer any of of your queries, though you might want to get some better jokes, Mr. Black.”
“Told you so.” James winced upon receiving a swift punch in the arm.
“I shall do everything in my power to see you back safely but, until that time comes, you must work with me.” McGonagall briefly glanced out the door, scanning the Hospital Wing for any students. “Now, we need to get you three into a secure location. Luckily, you’ve arrived within the first week of classes and the Heads have not yet decided whether they’d like to move into their dormitory. It should suit our purposes fine.”
“What are we going to do while we wait, Professor?” Lily did not fancy the idea of being trapped in the Heads’ dorm with these two, especially with nothing to distract them. They would all go crazy within a fortnight.
McGonagall took one more look for any wandering students before turning back to the ones in front of her. “We shall have to continue this discussion later, Miss Evans. I’m afraid I am overdue for my first lesson of the day. With your consent, I shall place a Disillusion Charm over the three of you so we may make our way to your quarters.” With nods all around, she quickly tapped her wand over their heads and watched with satisfaction as they disappeared from sight. “Now, follow me and do try to keep quiet.”
McGonagall left the room and, after having some issue with all three attempting to pass through the door at once, James, Sirius, and Lily followed after her.
“James, where are you?” Sirius whispered, squinting as though it would make his best mate suddenly appear in front of him.
“I’m right here, Padfoot,” said James, who was practically on top of him. They really should have come up with a way to track each other, as to avoid accidents. “What’s up?”
Sirius took a step to the left, hoping it put a bit of distance between them. Opportunity presents itself, Prongs. As Marauders, we need to take full advantage of it!” He was grateful McGonagall could only glare briefly in his general direction. Being invisible has some advantages.
“Aye, and we shall.” James did agree that there was something to be taken advantage of here, though it definitely wasn’t what Sirius was thinking. For Merlin knows how long, he had the chance to really spend time with Lily. They were stuck together, with no classes and no meddling friends, except for Sirius of course. There is nothing but time ahead for them. Here, he may stand a chance with her yet.
*Author's Note: I do apologize for anyone who was feverishly awaiting this chapter. The queue closed, I went on winter break, Christmas, birthday, New Years, general vacation fun, and then back to school. Just didn't have the focus to finish the chapter until now. On a brighter note, I took the time to write out some brief chapter outlines for the next four or five during my statistics class. I'm pumped from starting to play Quidditch (which is a lot more work than I thought) for school and hopefully that'll inspire me to drop some more chapters soon. Until then, thanks for reading!
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