He wakes up, and that's how he knows it worked.
He'd been half expecting to never wake up again. Nothing in his old life would have made that matter, but here he was, awake and apparently alive. It takes him a moment to catch his breath. His whole body tingles with the pins and needles, as if he's just woken it up after depriving it of blood and oxygen.
When he can finally move his arms, he lifts one long fingered hand into his hair, the short length surprising him. The prickling feeling leaves him slowly, and as he tries to stand, he can feel an unfamiliar weakness in his thighs, his knees feeling like they'd buckle with the slightest breath of wind. His stomach pinches and roils, but holds as he twists himself to sitting, then kneeling, and finally standing.
He's in his old room, in his father's old house. The room itself is lightly messy, the room of a young person not yet used to his compulsive organizational skills. There are posters on the walls that Stiles doesn't recognize, or doesn't remember. He stands, unsteadily, and stares around at the room he used to inhabit, breathing in the familiar scents of home.
He glances around to the mirror, hanging on the back of his door and sees, as well as feels, all the blood draining from his face.
He knows the shape of his face, knows the mole just under his cheekbone, the shade of stubble that appears after a day or so of not shaving. He sees none of those things.
His face is baby round, and hairless. The mole, which Stiles had learned to appreciate as it became darker and more noticeable in his teens, is a speck of dust on his freckled complexion. It is not an image he ever thought he'd see again. He steps up to the mirror and can feel the wrongness in his body, both its shape and strength. Also, the multitudes of energy that are a burden without his medicine. He blinks into his reflection with the same brown eyes, and knows that even as his spell worked, it's all gone horribly wrong.
* * *
The point of the spell had been simple. He'd been expecting a younger body. And yet, he hadn't been expecting to go back this far. If he was correct in his assumption, he was younger than 10. Too young to change anything he'd meant to in his life, too young and he'd have to wait years to catch up.
He steps cautiously into the kitchen, then through to his father's study. The door is closed, but the glass doors reveal his father, looking younger and less healthy than he's seen him in a long time. More alive, than he's seen him in a long time.
His father spots him through the window and waves, even as he holds onto the phone in his other hand. Stiles can't make out the words, but if his dawning theory is correct, he knows who it might be. He waves back at his father and runs back up the stairs.
He bursts into his father's room and is assaulted by the scent of familiar perfume.
"Stiles?" Her voice is soft, just as he remembers it. "Stiles, what's wrong?"
"Mom?" he says, his voice higher and more scared than it's been in nearly twenty years.
She moves around the bed to him, pulling him into a hug. "What's wrong, Mischief?" She coos in that maternal voice that soothes all Stiles' woes. He clings to her, spilling tears into her fuzzy sweater.
"Nothing." He says, pulling back and just looking at her face. "Nothing's wrong, mom. I just missed you." She smiles at him and it brings a wave of new tears.
"Oh, honey." She says pressing her hands to the side of his face. "Did you have a bad dream?" She leans down to press a kiss on his forehead, and the summer sun shines off the white bracelet around her wrist.
The bracelet says 'Stilinski, Claudia A. Sex: F DOB: 11/12/1972'. It makes Stiles freeze again.
"You went to the hospital." He says dully. Even his new/old voice can't hide the bitterness in his child like tones.
"I fell down yesterday, you remember?" She smiles at him, though he sees with knowledge of what the future holds, she must be scared herself. "Just a little dizzy, but Dad wanted to check it out." He nods at her and her smile becomes more genuine.
"You're going to be ok." He tells her. She laughs at him, as though he's asked a question, not stated a fact he can feel in the pit of his stomach.
"Of course, love. I'm going to be just fine." She rests her hands on top of his head and kisses his forehead again. "Come on. Lets go make some breakfast."
Stiles wants to hug her again. Wants to hug her until she can't forget him. Until he can feel her ingrained in his skin. Until the end comes or he can trade his life for hers. Instead, he follows her back down the stairs.
* * *
Stiles waits until he knows his Dad goes to work a later shift that night, then sneaks into his study. The phone beside his father's personal computer was the same landline his father had used for Stiles' whole childhood, and would continue to use for many years into his teenage years, a moss green hunk of plastic that Stiles regarded with fond remembrance. So many calls to Scott on this phone.
He picked it up and dialed the Vet's office out of memory.
"Deaton's Veterinary, Alan speaking." The vet's voice was just as he remembered.
"I'm in need of some help." Stiles said. His voice didn't hold quite as much authority as it would in years to come, but the vet seemed to understand the intent.
"Is something wrong? I'm just a vet, so if you need a doctor..." he said in a placating voice. Like he was speaking to a child.
"I need your druid help, not vet help." The silence on the other end held for a few breaths.
"Alright. I can schedule you in tomorrow at 5. Or if you need more immediate help, might I suggest you try the animal hospital in Fresno? They're open 24 hours." The polite tone of the vet's held a mere hint of the man's steel spine.
"Tomorrow at 5 is fine. I'll see you then." Stiles hung up and sighed looking around. The desk is covered in inconsequential things, a few case files which he glances over, though Dad is just a deputy at this point. A few pages of notes on... frontotemporal dementia, which Stiles does not look at. Those symptoms he knows too well.
The file with information about a dead body out in the woods is also an eerily familiar sight, and he pulls it closer to him. The file, about a man found in the woods with an arrow through his throat. The man was taken to Beacon Hills hospital and was seen to by attendants of the morgue. Something about it pulls at his memories, but he can hear the padding of his mother's footsteps down the stairs to start dinner and he closes the file, pushing it back into the organized scatter across the table. He closes the door to the study softly and goes to meet her in the kitchen.
* * *
His meeting with Deaton is... tense. He'd had to sneak out of the house. He's in an 8 year old's body. His body, but not, at the same time, and regardless, his mother is already experiencing symptoms of her curse, and this is going to make her blame herself but Stiles can't think about that right now.
His bike is almost brand new, young Stiles being more interested in the X-box than in the outside world. It's not a short ride to the vet's office, but its also not too much for his young body. He passes by a woman with her ancient cat as she leaves. He holds the door open for her which earns him a smile and no further notice.
Deaton's smells the same as he remembers. Like cats, and that puppy scent that's a little bit pee and mostly excited energy. And also faintly like herbs. Deaton sells organic all natural remedies for the animals he watches, but that's not all the herbs are used for.
Deaton himself is sitting behind the counter writing notes on a clip board. He looks up as Stiles approaches him and smiles vaguely.
"I'm sorry, young man, I'm just about to close up for the night." The vague smile, sitting naturally on his face, almost makes Stiles turn back. Surely doing his own research would be better than talking to this infuriating druid.
He straightens his shoulders and looks up directly into Deaton's eyes. "I'm your 5 o'clock." he says. He's getting really tired of the child's voice. Deaton's eyes widen slightly, before nodding and gesturing into the first exam room.
"Well, either you've gotten a de-aging potion very wrong, or you're not what you seem." Deaton says, closing the door.
"I'm from 2023." Stiles says. Deaton falls silent, taking that in. "I don't know why I came here. I was only supposed to go back a few years. A few like five, not twenty." Stiles waves his hands at his current age. "Can you fix this? Or can you tell me how I got here?"
Deaton stared at him for several more moments, which Stiles gives him grudgingly. It wasn't' often your theories of time travel were confirmed. "What is your name?" Deaton asks finally. "Twenty years is more than even I hypothesized."
"Stiles. Stilinski." Stiles said, "And Yeah, I know. I read your research." Deaton nods. He pulls a notebook from the cabinet Stiles knows is for magical emergencies. He writes for a few moments before turning back to Stiles.
"You performed a spell to bring you back to a chance you could change your future." He says. It's not a question. "I assume, due to the immense risk a spell like that would theoretically carry, that you felt it was your only option?" It's Stiles' turn to nod. He crosses his baby stick arms across his chest and scowls.
"If we could do this with the least amount of enigmatic wise man sass you have, that'd be great." Deaton smiles with half his mouth.
"I will certainly try my best." He says flipping back through his notebook. Stiles snorts. He doubts it.
Several minutes pass, then half an hour. It's approaching the hour mark when Stiles begins to fidget. "Look. I've got to get back home. I'm supposed to be 8 and I have actual parents who will worry about me."
Deaton hums into his book. "I have no idea why or how you got so far back. I can do what research is available to me, but it's likely something wrong with the original spell. I don't want to give you hope that there is a fix to this, Mr. Stilinski." Stiles can feel his whole body droop. Deaton turns to his magic cabinet and studies the things inside it for a moment. "I'll do what I can." He repeats, but the look he gives Stiles is troubling. "In the mean time, I'd imagine you live your life as close to the same as you can remember."
Stiles returns home, no answers, no hope. It's nearly 7 and his father is home, early from his shift, which makes the pit of Stiles' stomach churn.
Dad charges out the front door, calling into his radio. "He's been missing for less than six hours. Claudia says she saw him for sure just after lunch." He trips to a stop at the drivers side door of his car as his eyes land on Stiles. "He's home." He pulls his hand from the button and reaches for Stiles. "Where have you been?" He growls. Stiles, used to standing up to the growls of supernatural creatures, finds himself crumpling. The tears run hot over his cheeks, everything he's been holding in for days, for years if he's being honest, comes out at once.
"Dad." He says, beginning to sob. "I'm ok, I'm here." He looks into his dad's face as it softens from it's scared anger.
"Where were you bud? You scared us to death." Stiles only answered in sobs. Mom ran out of the house too, coming to grab Stiles under his arms and pulling him into her chest.
"Mieczysław, what happened. Where did you go?" She said into his hair. He wraps his arms around her neck and cries softly into her shoulder. Dad is somewhere behind them now, talking softly into his radio again. He follows Mom into the house with Stiles clinging.
After a short while, he takes a breath and tries to control his tears. Dad and Mom are sitting on either side of him on the couch.
"Work?" Stiles asks Dad, his voice cracking and rough.
"I think we need to talk about you disappearing on your mother, son." Dad says gruffly. "What were you thinking? You scared her when she couldn't find you. You know she hasn't been feeling very well lately." Mom makes a sound and Dad huffs at her. "He's smart, Claud, He's noticed more than you or I could ever hide from him." Stiles rubs his eyes, cried out and exhausted.
"I went for a bike ride." He says. He can't tell them the truth. They're not ready, and he can't go back to Eichen house. Ever again, but especially at this age. "I went to the vets." He can't trust Deaton to keep that a secret, should anyone ask. "I thought he might help mom." It sounded suitably like childish logic. Something Stiles had never remembered doing, but 8 year old Stiles might pull off.
"Oh, Mischief." Mom says petting his hair. "The vet can't help me. He helps animals."
"But the doctors aren't helping you!" Stiles says. He can't tell anymore, if this is an act of innocence, or his own adult like anger coming through. "They aren't finding anything to help."
"Stiles," Dad sighs. "It's not up to you to worry about that. Mom and I are doing what we can. We'll get through this, Bud. As a family." He sets his huge hand on Stiles' back and Stiles hopes he gets as much comfort from the gesture in return as Stiles does.
"I'm tired." Stiles says, rubbing at his eyes in hint again. Dad and Mom look at each other over his head and Stiles can see Dad nod.
"Alright. We can talk about this again tomorrow. You know better than to run off by yourself." He pressed a kiss to the top of Stiles' head and stands. "I have to go back in, but I'll be back for Breakfast tomorrow. We'll have that talk then." He busses a kiss on Mom's forehead also and adjusts his belt. "I love you, both." he says and Stiles' eyes well up again.
Mom sits in bed with him for a while, lights off, though the sun isn't quite gone from the sky. "Stiles, I know it seems like we kept you out of this, this sickness. It was for you. So you could have a full happy summer." She presses her forehead to her hand. "I love you, kochanie. I don't want to be away from you, ever, but this sickness-" She swallows. "I don't know how much you know already."
Stiles shuffles. How much should he tell her. How much could he have worked out, without the twenty years of knowledge about her predicament. "I know you're sick, and it's pretty serious. I know the doctors can't do anything about it, or they don't know about it." He stares out the window, a view he'd left many years before. He holds in 'I know you're going to die'. She wouldn't have wanted him to know that until near the end when she didn't know or care about him at all. A few months, nothing more.
"And that's enough." she says. She stands pressing one last kiss to his face, then closes the door behind her.
* * *
Breakfast is an odd affair. Mom must have told Dad what he knew, or what she suspected he knew, and it made Dad go easier on him than Stiles thinks is strictly necessary for what was essentially running away. He's grounded and has several chores to do, but finishes them quickly
It leaves him unsettled for the day. Deaton and his supremely unhelpful self didn't know enough to get him back to where he was needed.
He's pretty sure the family computer was, is, only used in dire emergencies. It's a relatively new PC pulling Windows XP, older feeling now that Stiles knows where computers go from here. He tries to remember basic computer skills. The laptop he used to have or will have was intuitive. It knew what he wanted before he did, and this dinosaur can barely connect to the internet. It's one perk is that it's broadband, thankfully, not Dial-up.
Mom had asked him, after breakfast, if he'd wanted to go out, though he could see the wear in her eyes and see the stifled yawns. Summer was exploration time, but he required exploration of a less physical type.
He didn't remember much about the 2003 era, other than Finding Nemo being the last movie he saw in theaters with her, and something about Itunes. He logs onto Google, looking more ancient than he'd ever have thought possible, and doesn't know where to go from there.
The people he'd consulted, before his journey, would have no reason to trust him. No background tales from which to identify him, no basic understanding of his place in the world. No one would be willing to help him in this body. Stiles sighs and thunks his head against the sturdy wooden desk just off the kitchen. It comes to him, apparently shaken out by his forehead on wood.
Alan Deaton is alive and well, and also living in Beacon Hills. Along with...
His whole brain freezes in understanding. Beacon Hills, 2003. Two years before the Hale pack is burned alive in their house. The Hale Werewolf pack is alive and well, and probably has more information on supernatural events than any other person in Stiles' travel radius at his current age.
He stands up quickly, sending his chair crashing to the ground. He wonders, suddenly, if they'd help him, a human with no ties to pack that they can sense. A human barely 8 years old, in this form, who cannot possibly know about the supernatural.
His mother. His mother, alive and well, and living in a world with the supernatural. His mother, who until this very moment, would have had no cure for her disease. The disease she was newly aware of, that her husband was calling all the doctors he could find about at the moment. His Mom. Who might... survive?
"Stiles? Are you ok?" Mom asks as she peers around the doorway. She'd gone to lay down, but seemed to have been woken by his sounds.
"Mom." He says seriously. "What do you know about the Hales?"
His mom, it seemed, knew very little. They lived outside of town, had several children, and helped organize the local volunteer fire fighters. Talia Hale had run for Mayor several years ago, before dropping out to give birth to her youngest daughter.
"Must have been about 10 years ago now," Mom says thinking hard. Nine years, if Stiles' calculation is correct. Cora Hale was a few months older than him, how you'd measure, and if she was actually the youngest child. "But Stiles, what do you know about them? Why are you asking?" She'd set the chair back up while she'd answered his questions, and sat in it, tired and confused.
"I'm just..." He says rubbing his face in a movement that was all adult. "I'm looking into some things." he says.
"What things?" She says surprised. "Does this have to do with you going to the vet yesterday? Is there something you want to tell me?" She says, grabbing his hands. "You've been acting odd." She rubs her thumbs over the back of his hands. "You've never been so..." She trails off looking at their hands. "Hmm." She says shaking her head. "Word on the tip of my tongue." She smiles ruefully at him, joking though Stiles knows she's really just forgetting. "Let's go have some ice cream, huh? We can go to the Dreyers shop? Make a day trip of it?" The Dreyer's Ice cream parlor, near Oakland, was nearly a 3 hour drive.
"No, thanks Mom." He says, squeezing her hands back. He lets go, this new plan forming in his mind, and retreats back to his bedroom.
* * *
The case file comes to him that night in a dream. The information settling into some part of his unconscious mind until it wakes him from a dead slumber. He slithers his way down the stairs, to avoid the wolf-like ears he knows his mother has, even in sleep. He shuts the door to his father's office behind him, before shuffling through the files once again.
The name Ennis stands out sharply among the other information in the report.
'Ennis Smith, demanded the body, both halves, to be returned to him. Said the body belonged to him but wasn't related.' A chill runs through him, the information familiar.
Peter had told them about this. Cora, sitting and reminiscing about how Derek had changed, while trying to find the Alpha in question. Ennis had lost a beta, then Derek, so said Peter, had offered the girl he loved as a replacement.
He'd thought he'd had all this information and no useful way to use it. Now it felt that anything -everything- Stiles could remember from the coming years, might be used to change his future. He must have been sent here, now, for a reason. Keeping Derek alive, keeping Peter as sane as possible, keeping Kate Argent from getting a foot hold into the Hale family. Saving his mother.
There's a notebook in the downstairs coat closet, tucked unused in the backpack and passed over from the previous year at school. Stiles grabs it, and a pencil and starts sketching in a timeline, glad for his overactive mind for once in his life.
Dad finds him nearly asleep at the base of the stairs and grumbles, before carrying him like the 8 year old he was impersonating, up to bed.
Stiles starts phase 1 of his plan.
Just a tiny update/ drabble thing. Written in an hour while I was supposed to be doing other things... Please let me know if there are any mistakes, I only briefly re-read my writing before submitting it for public consumption. Forgive me.
He nearly loses it, when he sees the house.
Scott's been excused from their playdate, a trip to the hospital as he struggles for breath the best defense. Stiles doesn't tell his mother. He doesn't turn his bike around and head back towards his own house, partially hidden by trees and scant miles from the McCall's more suburban yard-deficient house. Instead, he turns his bike, and how proud had his mom been, when he'd told her he could do it himself, towards the preserve.
He'd tried to think of an easier way to approach the Hale house. The thought of seeing Derek, young and as yet unbroken hurts too much to think about, but Cora was only a year ahead of him in school. He could probably rig something up. Except there wasn't time. If the Hale's could turn his mother, heal her completely, then time wouldn't matter, but if injuries of the brain were different, less heal-able, then he'd need it sooner than his plot would succeed.
The bike ride, his quickest way into Hale Territory, was nearly three times as long as the trip to Deaton's. It involved two hills, which he conquered very well, thanks, and a bridge before a long and somewhat creepy trip down a long twisty forested driveway, which Stiles had never really noticed before and supposed had been trimmed, or changed when the county took over.
At the end of the driveway sits the house in his dreams, in his nightmares. The plot where he'd lost nearly his entire pack, the place they'd made their final stand before... He chokes back his emotions, rubbing his eyes on his sleeve and pushes towards the front door. It opens as he gets near the steps and a girl with hints of strong features and cherubic cheeks peeks out at him. Her brown eyes are solomn as she watches him wave awkwardly. How Cora had managed to go from this darling child to the angry almost adult he'd first met, Stiles knew first hand.
"Hi," he says and winces as Cora slams the front door on his face.
* * *
It takes several minutes and Cora's yelling voice saying, "There's a boy on the front porch!" for someone to come see what he wants. The woman, girl, who opens the door next is beautiful. She can't be more than 20, and she looks so much like Derek, or Derek like her, that Stiles feels the tears threaten him again.
"Aren't you a little young to be out here by yourself?" Laura asks. It's not unkind, but it is a little abrupt. As though she'd been listening to his lone heartbeat from behind the door and was startled at his apparent age.
Stiles guesses she probably had been. The whole house had probably been listening to him cycle up, his heartbeat erratic and his breaths labored.
"I got lost?" he tries. The beating of his heart is different enough, from exertion and from his own shattering, that it probably won't show up as a lie. While he'd love to talk to Laura, find out how she thinks, how she'd raise the to-be-Alpha after the traumatising death of her entire family, he knows he needs the alpha of the Hale Pack. He needs to talk to Talia.
"Right. You got lost and can't read? You got lost so far out here you can't see the road? Did you pick the first driveway looking road and just hope for a good outcome?" Stiles stares at her. He'd been irritated at his body, his appearance. But he'd also been milking his youthful outlook for the naivety and innocence it brought him. He'd been expecting them to take him in, make sure he was ok, and help him get back home, in more ways than one. Laura stared back, her eyebrow raising.
"I can read." Stiles says, still a little thrown.
"Then you just ignored the millions of No Tresspassing signs all over the preserve." She scoffs. "Or you were expecting Deaton to not tell us about the strange boy who might come visit us. The boy who looks like he's 5, but is actually ancient?"
Stiles sighs. Of all the times for Deaton to actually share information. "I'm actually 8 in this body." He says. "And 28 isn't ancient. I'm not even considered a full on adult in my time. Millenials have our mile posts later in life, we seem to age slower, which you should understand, being a werewolf and all."
Laura looks unphased.
"Look," Stiles says, giving up all pretense of childhood that hadn't been shattered when he'd first opened his mouth. Or apparently when Deaton had actually opened his mouth. "This isn't the best situation, especially for an introduction, but I'm nearly twenty years out of my time, I'm tired, and tiny, and I really just want to speak to your Alpha if she can help me. If not then I'll find one who will." From somewhere behind Laura, Cora's tiny voice breaks over the house noises.
"I've been going to school with a 28 year old?" She says, and Stiles would smile, if he weren't sharing a searching glance with Laura. The wolf in front of him tilts her head, listening to something more quiet from inside the house and Stiles nearly smiles at the familiar gesture.
"Alright, Stilinski. She says she'll listen to you. Just remember that you are currently in a fragile and tiny human body and any threats on the Alpha will not go well for you." She flashes her eyes at him, before scowling. "Mom, He's like four feet and maybe 80 pounds." Stiles does smile at this.
"Nearly 85." He corrects, just to see her eyes flash again, before he steps onto the porch. "Please excuse me." He says stepping past her over the threshold.
She follows him inside, He walks quietly, but confidently towards where the Study would be. Derek, in his time, had once walked through the house, with Stiles trailing behind, telling him where each room was, Where each of his sibling's bedrooms were. Where his Parents had slept. Where Kate had first started the fire. Stiles was sure Derek's goal was to warn Stiles, and thus Scott, of the duplicity of the Argent clan. It had just served to make Stiles ache for his own history he'd never know.
He stops in front of the study door and Laura glares behind him. "Was that to show how well you know us?" She asks with a slight growl. She's not scared, exactly. Her appearance shows tightly controlled anger, with just a hint of curiosity. Stiles can tell from the way her brow are furrowed, that she's unsettled. Derek's had done the exact same thing.
He smiles at her before knocking gently on the door. He hears the amused "Come in," from inside and lets the door click shut behind him when he enters.
Talia is beautiful. As beautiful as he'd imagined, from both Derek and Cora's features. But the first thing he notices, or more correctly, feels when he enters the room, is the quality of power she's carrying. She's eyeing him speculatively. Not nervous, or upset, the way Laura was, because she was still just a beta, and didn't hold the assurances of leading a pack. Talia has that ability. She looks at Stiles, knowing that if necessary, she could eliminate any threat he is to her pack, which allows for a lot less anger, and curiosity to fill the space between.
"You must be Mr. Stilinski." She says. She doesn't stand from her comfy chair, much more homey than Stiles would have reckoned, given the elegance of the front rooms.
"Mr. Stilinski is literally my father, at this point." He says.
Laura, lurking outside the door Stiles is still standing next to huffs under her breath. "28 and doesn't know the word literally." She complains. With a murmur from Talia, she huffs again and heads off toward where Stiles knows the Kitchen is.
"Quite so." Talia says. She gestures towards another arm chair which Stiles walks towards but doesn't sit in. He's short enough standing, without his feet dangling over the floor. "What should I call you then."
"My name is nearly impossible to say with baby teeth." He says, then smiles at her, friendly and charming. "My friends call me Stiles."
Talia tilts an amused expression at him. "Is that what you aim to be? Friends?"
Stiles nods. "I'm hoping you can help me with a few things."
Talia nods once, regal even in her rather mom-like chair. "Deaton was saying you, traveled, to this body on accident?" She looks at him and Stiles knows she's listening for lies.
"I used a spell from the year 2023, or well, the spell itself is much older, but in the year 2023. My pack was destroyed and I wanted to fix it. I wanted to change what had been done to us." He stares at the floor, a lovely polished hardwood. Clean and cared for. Nothing like the hovel of cracked dry kindling left to the Hales in the future. "I wanted us to survive, and I was willing to lose myself to do it." He finally sat, leaning on the edge of the chair seat. He was tired, from the trek to the house, or from the overwhelming exhaustion of the last few years of his memory, he couldn't tell.
"I've seen the spell." The alpha says softly. "I know the risks of such an undertaking." She unfolds her hands and rubs them on her thighs. She's wearing dress pants, and he feels like that's wrong for the image she presents. She'd be more comfortable in a pair of jeans, nice, but not new. Maybe a flannel, or a button down shirt, well made and well worn. He gets this image of her, suddenly, gardening. Dirt on her face, hair pulled into a messy bun and laughing at her children rolling in the dirt not far away. He begins to worry about hallucinations.
"I was willing to risk it." He says. "For my family, for my life." he swallows, before clearing his throat. "Anyway. I did the spell, ended up here." He looks at her seriously. "I know why I'm here, or why the spell decided I needed to be here. I've made peace with the idea of never going back, but I just need to know if you'll help me change the future."