The knock on his office door was just about the very last thing Harry was in the mood to hear. His stack of paperwork seemed to be breeding more—he swore when he left the parchment alone it got up to dirty business in his absence and bred faster than rabbits—and he had his boss breathing down his neck. The whole, I killed a dark lord excuse was wearing thin these days, and it had only been a bloody year and a half since he’d accomplished the task.
No more special favours. No more letting him skate by.
He ought to have been grateful for it, really. He’d spent the last eight years of his life trying not to be noticed for the scar on his forehead and the fact that as a baby he managed to survive the curse that left him orphaned and neglected. Now he would kill for just a little bit of leeway.
He glanced over at the wood as another knock came, more persistent this time, and he wondered if maybe he could just duck behind his desk and pretend like he wasn’t in. All he wanted was a quiet weekend in—no friends, no Ginny, no Weasleys who were, “Just worried about you, dear. You don’t look like you’ve been eating very well.”
It was probably a second assignment he’d end up taking as much as he wanted to turn it down, because it would at least give him an excuse to avoid another family dinner.
What he was really craving was his flat, his godson’s toothy, baby smile, and some muggle telly.
The Wizarding World offered a shockingly low view on mental health, and he was starting to feel the pressure of everything he’d gone through. Every time he looked at Ginny he would flash back to some of the worst moments. Of her nearly dying at the hands of a Horcrux. Her dead brother, her maimed one. Of Remus and Tonks and their infant son now as orphaned as he’d ever been. Sirius falling through the veil. The ghosts of them as Voldemort levelled his wand and cast the curse.
He was supposed to marry her, and he wondered how he’d manage to live an entire life whilst still seeing all of that.
But he was brave, if nothing else, and he was determined to get through it. He just needed some blasted time to…
“Harry James Potter, I know you’re in there.”
He knew that voice too well. Hermione. With a sigh, rubbing his eyes under his glasses, he reached for his wand and flicked it at the door. The unlocking charms shifted and it creaked open, and she walked in.
She was wearing work robes, letting most witches and wizards know it was best not to speak to her. An Unspeakable, and most were surprised she’d gone in that direction. She turned down Ron’s proposal of marriage, “Just for now. I want to focus on my career,” which he took to mean it was over forever and there was no hope for anyone ever, and she’d thrown herself into work.
Harry didn’t see her often, in spite of them both working at the Ministry. He saw Ron more than that, who was still helping George at the joke shop, and Ron had been considering the offer to join with the Aurors. Harry partly hoped he would, because having a partner who understood what he was going through was a welcome thought.
Pushing his annoyance aside, Harry flicked his wand at the kettle, and motioned for Hermione to sit. “Well well, I didn’t expect to see you today.”
“Please don’t take the piss,” she said, sounding like she hadn’t slept in weeks. She looked it as well, dark circles under her eyes, her mouth turned down into a frown. He hadn’t seen her look so knackered since OWLs. “I’m here on business.”
Harry raised a brow. “Business? You’re allowed to speak to me about Business?”
Hermione sighed, then accepted the cup of tea with a small upturn of her lips. “You know I’m not. Not specifically. But I’ve come because my team knows you trust me, and I know you trust me.”
Harry stared at her for a long time, then pulled his glasses from his face and cleaned them on his sleeve. After he replaced them, he folded his hand on the form he’d been signing. “That doesn’t sound good, ‘Mione. I do trust you, but…”
“We’re working on a project, and you know I can’t say. And honestly if I could, I might not anyway. But I…there’s something that involves you, and I need your signature.” She reached into her robes and produced a blank parchment.
Harry stared down at it, then laughed. “You want me to sign a blank parchment.”
“It isn’t blank. It’s charmed so you can’t read it.” She pushed it across his desk, her gaze meeting his imploringly. “Harry, I would never, ever ask you to do something that put you or anyone you love in danger. But this could…right a lot of wrongs. Fix a lot of things to ensure…” She stopped herself. “It could stop the hurting. For all of us.”
Harry felt his throat go tight, and his gaze flickered down at the blank sheet. “Hermione, I don’t…”
“Please,” she begged. “I’m so tired of feeling like this. I don’t…I’m not doing well, and I know you aren’t. Ron’s a mess. Molly cries every time she looks at George. I can’t imagine how it is for Andromeda, and well… If I can do something, if my department can do something about all this…”
Harry bit down on his lip, reaching over for his quill, but he didn’t dip it in the ink. He twirled it, and stared at the blank line across the bottom. “No one gets hurt.”
“No one,” she vowed. “It might not even work, you know. It’s…well our job deals with too much theory but it’s worth a shot, don’t you think?”
Harry knew he’d give literally anything to stop feeling this pain all the time. To make the nightmares go away, to stop the panic attacks every time he got even the slightest tingle of a headache. To stop seeing people he loved, people he knew who were never coming back, on the faces of strangers.
“Fine,” he said. “Because I trust you, and I know you wouldn’t do anything stupid. Hell, you spent the last eight years trying to keep me and Ron from being complete twats.”
Hermione rolled her eyes, but there was a flicker of a smile which looked like her old self, and it warmed him. Her hands were tight round her teacup though, as her brown eyes watched him dip the quill, then scratch his signature across the page.
When it was done, she sighed and rose. Reaching into her pocket, she pulled out a gold chain, a locket dangling from the bottom. It shone bright against her dark skin as she wrapped it round her wrist, then moved to where Harry was sat.
“I need you to wear this. Until tomorrow at least.” When Harry gave her a dubious look, she sighed. “It’s a perseveration charm, only. Check for yourself if you don’t believe me.”
Harry did just that, and when he was satisfied, he put his wand down and let her fix it round his neck. “And this is for…?”
“I also can’t say directly. But it’s important. Swear to me it won’t come off until tomorrow.”
“I swear,” he said, a little annoyed, but he tucked it inside the front of his robes. “I take it you’re back downstairs, then?”
Hermione nodded, then leant down and pressed her lips to his cheek. “I love you, Harry. And I just want to make things better. I promise, I’m trying.”
He gave her hand a pat, then sighed. “We all are, you know.”
“I do. Which is why I’m doing this.”
He didn’t like how cryptic she was. He didn’t like that her job had turned her into someone who couldn’t share the subtle nuances of her life the way she used to. He had a relationship with her just as close as Ron, only different, and it hurt he’d lost that after the war.
After losing so much.
But he did trust her.
“Come round soon, alright? For things other than work,” he prodded as she headed for the door.
“I will,” she said. She gave him one last, careful look before she went out, shutting the door behind her.
Ignoring how strange that all was, Harry went back to work, and when he clocked out without any new assignments, or owls from Gin, he made his way to his flat to enjoy his quiet Friday evening. It was filled with not much more than several beers, an owl to Andromeda asking after Teddy, and far too much bad telly, but it was enough.
And he hoped, whatever Hermione had in store, really did ease the pain.
Harry woke feeling oddly hung-over, though couldn’t remember drinking much. But it wasn’t the hangover that drew him to consciousness. No. It was a warm mouth, and pressing hands on his thighs. A hot tongue laved over his aching cock, letting him know he was naked, and rock hard, and the bed beneath him felt oddly soft.
He also couldn’t open his eyes. His hands were stretched above his head, gripping what felt like wooden slats, and something was blocking half his face—like a sleeping mask. He couldn’t worry too much about it, as a warm mouth slid over his cock, taking him deep into their throat.
He had to assume it was her. She was the only one with unfiltered access to his wards. Though she’d never woken him up this way before—not that he was complaining. Not when she was doing that with her tongue. He didn’t even know she could. She’d done this…
Well hell, his brain was too fuzzy with pleasure to properly recall anything in that moment, but damn he wasn’t sure they’d ever done this before.
His hips rocked involuntarily, and he groaned. “Fuck. God, fuck yes.” The words tumbled from his mouth, insistent and needy, and the mouth on him sucked harder, faster, deeper until he felt his orgasm bubbling in his gut. “Oh fuck I’m gonna…I’m gonna…”
Instead of pulling off, he was sucked harder and he fucked the hot mouth as he twitched and spilt his seed all over the hot tongue. When it was over, he felt his fingers uncurl from the wooden slats. His knuckles ached, and he flexed his hands to get the feeling back as he reached for the mask.
Then froze, because there was a chuckle from between his thighs, and it was most certainly not Ginny. Even with the worst of colds she’d never sounded like that.
His face went hot, tingly, and his fingers shook as he pulled up the sleeping mask.
There were about a million people Harry Potter might have assumed would be between his legs, flushed in the face from having just deep-throated his cock. But Draco Malfoy was not one of them.
There he was.
Harry wasn’t convinced that this wasn’t some sort of left-over, sixteen year old fantasy fever dream or something. Maybe he’d accidentally gotten into some potion or something the night before after drinking too much, and had slipped into one of George’s little daydream potions.
Because there was no bloody, shitting, sodding way Draco Malfoy had just sucked him off.
He stared, blinking, his myopic vision blurry without his glasses, but there was no mistaking that smirk, that shock of blonde hair. Draco was still stroking Harry’s thigh, and he thought for a second he might be sick. Not because he was disgusted—Harry couldn’t deny the several times he’d envisioned something far too similar to this whilst he made good use of his left hand—but to actually see it.
And how the fuck?
How the bloody fuck had this happened?
His throat was dry as he attempted to clear it, and Malfoy rolled his eyes. “Did I suck your brain out through your cock or something?”
Harry darted a tongue out to wet his lips. “Um. What are you doing here?”
“Is that an existential question, Potter? Or did you forget I lost the bet last night?”
Harry blinked, then reached down and pinched himself on the thigh. Malfoy lifted a brow at the gesture, but eventually pushed himself up onto his knees, then slid off the bed. He was very, very naked. Very fit—as Harry had always imagined he’d be, if not a little on the thin side. But his thatch of hair surrounding his rather impressive cock was just as pale as the hair on his head, and Harry found a sudden, mad desire to reach out and touch it.
But what the hell was he thinking like that for?!
He scrubbed his face and wondered if this was some prank. Then, as he glanced round, he realised he was not in his own flat at all. No. This was far too posh and far too bloody Malfoy to be his. The bed was four-poster with a squashy mattress and silk sheets. Actual silk. In a sort of silvery grey.
Harry felt a sudden wave of panic overtake his post-orgasm euphoria, but before he could properly react, Malfoy was coming at him with an armload of clothes. “Get out.”
Harry blinked at the blonde. “Er…”
“You know the drill. My mother’s on her way over here right now and I have to take her to the Prophet before I head in to work. I’m not dealing with another close call. Use the bedroom floo.” Malfoy nodded at a small fireplace as he manhandled Harry toward the flames. “Cover your bits,” he warned, as he grabbed Harry’s hand and shoved a handful of floo powder into it.
Completely in shock, unable to properly speak, Harry stepped into the flames—still starkers—and threw the floo powder down. Panicked, unsure what to say, he merely muttered, “Harry Potter’s,” and then in a rush, he was gone.
He stumbled out moments later, into a flat which was most certainly not his. Half his brain was still screaming that he’d got a morning blowie from Draco fucking Malfoy, and the other half was terrified that he’d just stepped into some other stranger’s flat who was about to come into the lounge and see a very naked man stood there with clothes in hand and probably the most fuck-stupid look on his face ever.
Instead he was met with silence, and in the corner of the room, a wedding picture of his parents that he recognised perfectly. Because he had that picture in his own flat.
Which had to mean…
His hand flew up suddenly, to the chain still hung round his neck, and he closed his fingers round the locket. “Hermione, what the fuck did you do?”
With shaking hands, he managed to shake out his clothes, brush the soot from his backside, and slip into robes. He needed to know what was going on immediately, and Hermione would have answers. He didn’t care if he had to burn the Ministry building to the ground to find her, by mid-morning he would bloody-well know why he’d just got off with Malfoy.
Toeing on his shoes, Harry started for his door, when there was a sudden knock. He stared at the wood suspiciously, as though it might suddenly transform and bite him, or maybe even turn into Goyle and offer him a quick shag. But none of that happened.
Instead he reached for the door handle, wand in his other hand, and pulled it open.
It was yet another moment Harry could have envisioned about a million other people on the planet that might be on the other side. But a very dead, very annoyed-looking Cedric Diggory was not one of them. For very obvious reasons.
Harry blinked, and Cedric sighed.
“Please tell me you’re not skiving off again, Potter. I can’t keep having your back. Coach is going to bench me if I lie about you being too pissed to show up.”
Harry swallowed, his throat now aching with confusion because…because what? “I er…I’m not drunk.” It was such a bloody stupid thing to say, but what else could he say. He wasn’t drunk, was he? Was he? “I erm. I. Cedric?”
The taller, older Cedric he’d known too well from having fallen over his dead body, blinked. Then rolled his eyes. “What do you want me to tell him?”
“I…” Harry swallowed. “What are you doing here?”
“Christ, how fucking pissed are you?” Cedric reached out, but Harry snapped his gaze up, and backed away too fast, nearly tripping over himself. “Potter, get a grip.”
“Get a grip?” Harry nearly bellowed. “Get a grip? You’re fucking dead!”
“Your threats are so old,” Cedric replied tiredly. “Look, I’m going to tell him I came here looking for you, and I couldn’t find you. Create your own alibi this time.” Then Cedric turned, and before Harry could call after him, he Disapparated.
Harry stood there, eyes blinking back tears. Had that really happened? Had Cedric Diggory, the teen murdered by Voldemort, really been there?
His hand flew to the locket again, and clutched it. “What did you do?” he whispered again. Feeling almost desperate, he wrenched the locket open, hoping to have some answers, some explanation. But there was nothing. No picture, no secret note, no nothing. Just…metal. Just gold.
He felt the inexplicable urge to bend over and vomit all over his shoes.
Before he could, however, an owl swooped in through the window and perched on the armchair near his right hand. It ruffled it’s feathers until he reached out and plucked the note it was carrying, then flapped off without water or treats.
Harry clenched his jaw, feeling overwhelmed and terrified as he pried the top open, and glanced down at unfamiliar writing.
I don’t even know why I’m bothering. Probably because I’m tired of seeing that look on our parents’ faces. There’s likely no hope you’re going to show up this afternoon, but I know Sundays are a light practise for you and it wouldn’t kill you to come and say hi at least once this year. So if you do have a soul—which I doubt—you’ll show up.
The letter was clearly addressed to him. And…about his…parents? His parents.
Harry felt his tongue go numb, and Hermione’s words came rushing back to him. She had planned to make it all stop. To make the hurting stop. So how did she…
Harry glanced over at his fireplace, and made a snap decision. He stormed over, grabbed the floo powder, and stepped in. “James Potter’s!”
He began to spin and spin, passing grate after grate, until he tumbled out into an unfamiliar lounge. It was empty, but there were voices which sounded like they were coming from outside, and he stood up straight, brushing the soot from his robes. He glanced round, what looked like dozens of photos on the mantle of himself, and another girl who looked quite a lot like him. They shared the same dark skin, dark hair, and she even had glasses.
Licking his lips, Harry chased away the feeling of fear—that this might be real, that it might not be real at all—and took a step toward the voices. Before he could step into the kitchen, a figure moved through and stopped, staring at him.
It was the girl from the photos, and she froze, looking startled.
“Oh my god, you actually showed. Oh my god, dad is totally going to shit!”
Harry swallowed. “Erm. I was. Am I. Am I late?”
She rolled her eyes. “Are you drunk?”
“Why does everyone keep asking me that?” Harry demanded, a shrill, hysterical laugh bubbling in his throat. He swallowed it down and rubbed at his hair absently.
“Dunno, seems to be your natural state these days. Are you?”
“No!” he barked, then quieted down. “Sorry I..it’s. It’s been a really fucking weird morning. Where’s erm…”
“The parentals have gone to the shop,” she said, shrugging. “Dad was going on about my broom being shite, so he wanted to see when the next Firebolt was out before they’re all gone. Did you know I made captain this year?”
Harry shook his head. “Er that’s…that’s great. Good on you.”
She frowned at him, then rolled her eyes. “Whatever, I’m going to my room. Everyone’s outside though if you actually want to bother saying hi.” With that, she shouldered him hard as she brushed past to head for the stairs.
Harry stood, still confused, clutching Hermione’s locket, praying to whatever deity that might be listening for some answers because he was scared now. And lost.
In moments he might come face to face with his parents. Who apparently knew him. Parents he’d never met.
Parents who were dead.
Hermione had changed the past. She and her team had some how managed to…do something? Was it an alternate Universe or…
Before Harry could continue his train of thought, the back garden door banged open, and Harry froze. His throat seized again, and this time his eyes did well with tears. Stood there looking a bit put out and quite a lot surprised, was Sirius Black.
Harry abandoned all sense and all pretences and crossed the room, throwing his arms round the Godfather he’d been mourning for years. The Godfather who had been cruelly given to him for such a short time. The promises which had been made, then broken by Death Eaters.
He felt the sob in his throat, and tried to stop it, but he clung hard and couldn’t help it. Sirius, completely startled, grabbed Harry by the shoulders and pushed him back.
“Isn’t it a bit early for a bender?”
Harry swiped at his eyes angrily, hating whomever they knew as himself. “I’m not drunk! I’m…you’re…” Harry took a shaking breath and was too afraid to glance outside for fear of who else he might set eyes on and not be able to handle it. “I’m sorry. It’s been a really rough morning.”
Sirius stared at him, head cocked to the side, and Harry revelled in the fact that Sirius looked nothing like the suffering man he’d last seen. Sirius was healthy, older but there were no marks of time spent in Azkaban. He looked full of life and even smiled a little when he realised Harry wasn’t drunk.
“You want to talk about it?”
Harry let out a watery laugh, and cleared his cheeks. “Erm. Let’s just say it was a dream, it felt like a four year old dream and you erm. Were dead. You and my parents and…everyone.”
Sirius lifted a brow, but there was a flash of pity in his eyes. “Must have been some dream for a reaction like that. I don’t think you’ve hugged me since you were five.”
Harry felt something in his gut twist. Surely that couldn’t have been true. Surely if things had changed and his parents had lived, there was no way he hadn’t been close to this man. “I…I’m sorry.”
Sirius looked vaguely startled by the apology. “It is what it is. Are you here for lunch?”
“Til,” Harry said, not entirely sure what his sister’s proper name was, “sent me an owl. Asking me to come.”
Sirius barked a laugh, shaking his head as he led Harry to a chair, and they both sat. “Tilly sends a letter every week. I’ve seen her. Must have been some dream,” he repeated.
Harry let out a shaking sigh. “Yeah, it was. The life-changing sort, I think.” He realised his fingers were trembling, and he tried to hide them in his lap, but Sirius’ expression proved he’d already seen them. “Er. You think my parents will be back soon or…?”
“They swore they wouldn’t be long. You know how your dad gets when it comes to brooms.” Sirius shrugged, then got up and went to the fridge. He pulled out juice, then poured two glasses and handed one over to Harry. “You look like you need this. Have you even eaten this morning?”
At the mention of the morning, Harry’s mind involuntarily flooded back to Malfoy, and his mouth and…everything. Then Cedric. “Ah. No. I woke up erm. Elsewhere, and when I got back, Cedric Diggory was at my door.” He said the last bit carefully, to see if it caused any reaction from his godfather, but Sirius merely sat back down.
“Are you skiving off practise to be here?”
“I think so,” Harry said, sounding more like a question. “I’m having a really fucking confusing morning, Padfoot.”
Sirius almost startled. “Did you just call me Padfoot?”
Harry flushed, then looked down. “Sorry. Should I not…do that?”
“No it’s just…” Sirius trailed off, then stopped. “Never mind. Come on, Remus and Teddy are outside and maybe if you’re feeling this amiable, it would be a good time to visit.”
Harry felt the sting of the words. Who was he in this world? Was he such a bastard, really? That Sirius would be hesitant for him to be around Remus’ son. But the idea of seeing his godson again held some appeal. Teddy, who might be his one link to the old world.
“Is Tonks here as well?”
Sirius stopped, then shook his head. “No. But I suppose you wouldn’t know being we haven’t seen you in ten months. She and Fleur are on holiday.”
Harry paused in the doorway to the garden. Tonks. And Fleur? On holiday. Together. “Er.” He didn’t know what else to say, and until he figured out exactly what happened, he had to be careful. Very careful. “Right.”
Sirius chuckled, almost in a patronising way, and he pushed the door open all the way. Leading Harry out, Harry’s breath caught in his throat as he saw Remus sat at a large, round table in the centre of the yard. There was a small sandbox not far off, and Teddy was busy dumping buckets of it onto his lap.
Remus looked himself, except far less world-weary and starved. His curls were neat, his clothes new and clean, and he bore far less of the violence the wolf had done to himself as evidence on his skin. His gaze darted up when Sirius came out, and he looked just as startled to see Harry.
Harry, for his part, fought off the urge to rush at him and hug him. Because Harry hadn’t got a goodbye with Remus. Not really. Just his spirit telling Harry it was alright. And then Harry had come back to a corpse of Remus and his wife, and an orphaned baby who was only eleven days old.
He swallowed thickly and offered a slightly shy wave. “Hallo, Remus.”
Remus, ever pragmatic and polite as he was, rose and approached the pair. “Harry. Good to see you. I didn’t think you were coming.”
Harry’s lips thinned into a line as he took a breath. “Sorry I…I think I’ve been a bit of a bastard for some time.”
“Harry’s had a life-changing nightmare about us all dying,” Sirius said with a snort, clapping Harry on the shoulder. “He’s come to make amends.”
Remus rolled his eyes. “Please don’t be a prat. Make yourself useful and go clean all the sand out of your son’s nappy.”
Harry’s eyes bugged out a bit at the words. His son? Sirius’ son? The words almost tumbled from his lips, but he stopped himself, instead watching as Sirius bound over and picked up the giggling boy from the sandbox and began to clean him off.
“You look like you could use a cup of tea, Harry,” Remus said very quietly.
Harry let out a high, tight laugh. “You could say that. I’d ask for whiskey, but apparently I do that too much as well so if you’ve got some Yorkshire.”
Remus walked over to a large, silver teapot and poured them two cups. Bringing it over, Harry grabbed it and gulped down a large mouthful. It was oddly soothing, though his brain was still trying to process that he was currently sat with a man he thought long dead, and his godfather not five feet away playing with the young toddler he was helping raise.
“Do you want to talk about it?” Remus asked.
Harry had always found Remus easy to open up to. Remus, who had given him the first touchstone to his family. Who had believed in him and taught him and cared for him. He took a breath. “Look, if I told you, you wouldn’t believe me. I’ve had…a rough twenty-four hours and I feel a bit lost and…I don’t know what to do.”
“Was it the dream?” Remus asked.
Harry laughed quietly. “Something like that.” His hand flew up to his locket and clutched it, like it might offer some answers. “Do you hate me?”
Remus blinked, then he sat back. “No, Harry. I don’t.”
“Do my parents?”
At that, he laughed. “Harry, you could probably murder puppies and your parents would still love you.”
Harry bit down on his lip. “But do they like me?”
At that, Remus was quiet, and Harry knew right then. “Harry, I don’t mean…”
“It’s alright,” Harry said. “I’m not going to pretend like I understand because it’s all a bit…there’s this thing that…” He stopped. If he said what he wanted to say, he wasn’t sure what it would mean. And it’s not like they would believe him. “I don’t want to be a bastard.”
“I think I am,” Harry said in a rush. “I think I am and I don’t want to be and um. I’d like to be better?”
Just then, Harry felt a lump against his leg and he looked down to see Teddy clinging. On instinct, he set his tea down and picked up the toddler just as Sirius cried out, “No, mini! Harry doesn’t want you drooling all over him.”
Harry rolled his eyes, the familiarity of the small weight in his arms almost too much, and he bounced Teddy on his knee just as he knew the boy liked best. “Oh he knows I don’t care about drool. Right Teddy?”
The toddler smiled so wide, the dummy fell out of his mouth, and Harry snatched it before it hit the ground. He banged it on the table, just as Teddy reached out for his glasses. Remus sucked in his breath, almost afraid of Harry’s reaction, but he ignored them. He twisted the glasses and pushed them on Teddy’s nose.
“See, now you look like me.”
Teddy grinned toothily and turned toward his parents. “Dada!” He mashed his hand over the glasses, shoving them up his nose a little, then stood up on Harry’s thighs and began to bounce.
Harry held him by the fists and let him, glancing over at the parents who were watching with a look almost like Harry was holding an explosive in his hands.
“I don’t spend enough time with him, do I?” he muttered.
“Er. No. You’ve only met him the once,” Sirius muttered.
Just then, Teddy made it quite obvious he needed a nappy change, and when Sirius tried to lunge for the boy, Harry stood up and hiked Teddy on his hip. “Nappy bag inside? I’ll get it.” He ignored their shared look of shock as Harry hurried back into the house and found the supplies in the lounge.
He spread out the nappy mat, and laid Teddy flat on his back. “You know kid, I don’t know what I’m going to do.”
Teddy reached up and poked his nose as Harry fetched everything to clean him up with. “Bada.”
“Right,” Harry said from behind a sigh. “I think I’m the bad guy here.” He cleaned him up, then banished the dirty nappy as he began to fasten the clean one. “Apparently this me is horrid who doesn’t like baby drool and drinks too much. And I can’t tell them the truth, can I?”
“No!” Teddy cried. “No mababa.”
Harry laughed quietly, then lifted Teddy’s shirt, leant down, and blew a huge raspberry on his belly. The boy squirmed and giggled and it carried on until there was the sound of something hitting the floor, and Harry sat up.
There, in the doorway, was James Potter.
The James Potter he’d stared at in photos and in memories. The James Potter Harry had seen in memories and heard talk about. The James Potter he looked too much like, and had been robbed of the chance of ever knowing.
Harry had once been Teddy’s age, chasing after puffs of smoke from his dad’s wand when he was murdered. That very night.
Harry felt his eyes prickle with tears, but the confused look on James’ face kept him rooted in the present. “Er. Hi. Um. Dad.” The word was so foreign on his tongue, it almost made him want to gag. Like he ought to have earnt the right to use it, and never had.
James glanced between Teddy, who was still kicking at Harry’s stomach with his small feet, and his son. Then he cleared his throat. “Hi Harry. We weren’t…”
“Expecting me?” Harry offered at James’ hesitance. “Tilly owled, and I decided to take her up on it. Thought it was about time I visited with this one.” He turned back and tickled Teddy on his sides just the way the boy liked.
James looked completely confused, but Teddy scrambled up and padded in only his shirt and nappy. “Popan up!” He bounced on his feet until James lifted him, then kissed the boy whilst still staring at his son.
Harry sighed, packing everything up into the nappy bag, then climbed to his feet and walked over. He knew it would be unprecedented, but this was the first time in his known memory he would be able to put his arms round his father and hug him. And Harry didn’t care if it meant they were all suspicious of him. He was going to do it.
So he did.
He wrapped his arms round James tight, and James let out a noise of surprise. “Alright there, Haz?”
“No,” Harry said, his voice muffled by James’ shoulder. “No, I’m not alright.”
James pulled back sharply, giving his son a look. “What do you mean no? What is it? Are you in trouble, is it your health or…?”
“No,” Harry said with a sigh. “I’ll…explain when I can. For now I’m just…I’m sorry, alright? For being a shit. For not being the kid you should’ve had.”
James blinked at him, still looking vaguely frightened. He looked even more concerned when Teddy tried to squirm back into Harry’s arms, and Harry took him, bouncing him a bit.
“Look where’s erm…”
“Kitchen,” James said, and took Teddy back. “I’m going to take this one outside to his parents.”
“Yeah,” Harry said, feeling his heart flutter. “Let them know he’s all sorted.”
James hummed, frowning, but wandered out and Harry tried not to let his heart beat out of his chest. His mum was next. Lily. The one who had birthed him and died for him.
Harry swallowed thickly, then made his way after James to the kitchen, and as he passed the doorway, he froze.
Lily Potter was not in the kitchen.
Lily Potter was nowhere to be found.
Instead a man who looked frighteningly like Sirius—a man Harry had only seen in a couple of photos—was stood at the table unloading a cloth sack. A man Harry knew had sacrificed his life at the tender age of eighteen, to help bring down the dark lord.
Regulus Arcturus Black.
He looked up at Harry, his face looking startled. Harry’s eyes drifted down to his left hand to see a small, platinum band resting on his ring finger, and Harry felt his ears ringing. He…Regulus. Regulus and…
Harry’s memory flickered back to James’ hand. There was a band there as well. Matching.
It couldn’t be.
Harry was shoved roughly to the side as his sister made an appearance. She rushed into the kitchen, throwing her arms round Regulus and kissing his cheek. “You’re back. Did dad drive you mad? Did you get the broom?”
Regulus glanced at Harry once more, then turned to kiss Tilly on the cheek. “We got the broom ordered. It’ll be here round the fifteenth of August. You’ll like it.”
“Hm. Well now that Harry’s not being a twat and actually showing up to lunches and even playing with the baby,” she looked at him pointedly and Regulus’ eyebrows rose at that, “maybe he can even help me out.”
Harry cleared his throat, not sure what the hell to do.
Then Regulus walked over and grabbed Harry by the shoulders.
And pulled him in for a hug.
A familiar hug.
A fatherly hug.
Oh dear sweet Merlin what was happening?
Harry found himself hugging back in spite of his absolute and utter confusion, and when he pulled back, Regulus’ face was softer. “I’m glad you’re here,” he said in a voice quite a lot like Sirius, but softer, with a lot less inflection in the tone.
“I. Er. Yeah, me too. I’m sorry.” He’d been doing so much blasted apologising and he wasn’t even sure what for. Glancing out the window, he caught a glimpse of James talking quietly with Remus and Sirius, all three of them glancing toward the house, and it wasn’t hard to know what they were going on about.
He wondered how much damage he might have done already.
His hand wandered to the locket and he squeezed it again. He had to figure this out. He needed to find Hermione. And soon.
Lunch was interesting, and Harry hung round as long as he could stand it. Watching Remus and Sirius, and James and Regulus—together. Couple-y. It was strange and confusing. It was domestic and it had been clear they had been together for a long, long time, though Harry couldn’t ask.
It was probably a story he’d grown up with. A story that would arouse their already high suspicions about him, and he didn’t need that kind of attention.
He managed to excuse himself back home, with a promise to visit more, just around sunset. He went back into the lounge after hugging everyone goodbye, then used the floo to get back to his. He made straight for his bookshelves, nearly tearing his flat apart until he managed to uncover some old, very dusty photo albums.
Walking to his sofa, he spread them all out, and tried his best to piece his life together.
Some of the photos he’d seen before. Photos of his parents, of Remus, Sirius, James, and Peter…
Peter. Harry’s eyes went wide when he realised Peter was still very much a big part of these photos. Peter, the man who didn’t betray James and Lily because there was now no James and Lily. And apparently, there was no Voldemort. Or if there had been, he hadn’t touched their family.
Lily disappeared from the photos sometime when it looked like Harry was about two, and Tilly—or Matilda as Harry caught from one of the backs of the photos—was a newborn. Sometime round then is when Regulus came into the picture.
There were wedding photos of them as well.
Harry was halfway through one of the books, making notes on a piece of parchment about what he could figure out from the timeline, when suddenly his floo roared. He half-expected it to be one of his parents, or maybe even his sister.
Instead Malfoy stepped through, wearing a swaggering grin, trousers, and a white shirt halfway unbuttoned.
“Potter. You bastard, You left me hanging.”
Harry’s throat went dry as he found himself aroused by the slight flush on Malfoy’s upper chest. “Er…”
Malfoy crossed the room, moving round the table, and crowding Harry back against the bookshelf. “You know I hate shagging in your flat. You never clean it. And you won’t get an elf.”
Harry swallowed thickly. “I erm…I had a long day.”
“I heard. Not showing up to practise.” Malfoy dragged a hand down Harry’s chest, then shoved it up under his shirt and went right for his nipple. Harry felt his head drop back, and an involuntary moan rip from his throat. “Bad boy, Potter.”
“Wh—what um. Are you doing?”
“Well I’m horny,” Malfoy said, pushing his hips up to Harry as though to prove his point. Hard. “I’ve had two whiskeys—which is just the right amount for me to be able to shag in this shithole—and I’ve got about nine hours to kill.”
Harry felt his face go hot and he knew he ought to turn Malfoy down. This was the old Harry’s shag buddy. Or boyfriend. Whatever, he wasn’t sure. But Malfoy wasn’t his.
Malfoy was his enemy.
“What are you waiting for?” Malfoy demanded.
Harry put his hands up with the intent of pushing Malfoy away. Instead his fingers curled in Malfoy’s shirt and tugged him in for a kiss. As their tongues warred for dominance, Malfoy chuckled, and used his grip on Harry to shove him through the lounge, down the small corridor, and into Harry’s bedroom.
It didn’t smell great, a bit stale, a bit like a filthy Quidditch kit, but neither of them seemed to mind with Malfoy running his hands all over Harry’s body, removing clothes quickly, heating them up. Harry was achingly hard now, and found himself rubbing off on Malfoy’s hip as Malfoy fumbled into Harry’s bedside drawer.
“Fuck, you have lube, right?”
“I…” Harry gasped as Draco pushed the pad of one finger against his arse. “Fuck.”
“That’s what I’m trying to do, you bastard.” After a moment, Draco came away triumphant, and soon had two fingers spreading him wide. Harry seemed to take him well, and soon enough he was on his hands and knees, hips snapping back as Draco thrust in and out.
“Yeah, fuck. Fuck, Potter,” Draco ground out, a bruising grip on his hips.
Harry felt his orgasm building, and he turned his head back, almost desperate to see the flush in Draco’s cheeks. “Touch me,” he begged.
“You’re joking,” Draco said with a gasping, tight laugh.
“I’m not joking, you fuck. Stroke my cock!” Harry was surprised at himself, surprised where the words were coming from, and the want. But at that present time, alternate time-lines and parents and sisters, and all these things mattered far less than feeling Draco’s thin fingers around him.
After what felt like eternity, Draco complied and began to stroke Harry in time with his thrusts. It took just a few pulls for Harry to come. Almost violently, a cry easing itself from his throat as he shuddered and spilt.
Draco let out a sound of annoyance at the come on his knuckles, but he was coming soon after, collapsing on Harry’s sweaty back. After a moment, he gave Harry a push. “Shove over. I’m tired and not flooing covered in your spunk.”
The very last thing Harry wanted to do was fall asleep next to Malfoy, but that was also the only thing he wanted to do. He felt Draco’s hand reach out, and the lights went down, and then it settled on his hip. Harry took a breath, then turned on his back and looked over.
“Are we…are you. My boyfriend?”
Draco’s grey eyes opened, and they narrowed on Harry. “Merlin, you’re not getting all clingy, are you? Did you take a potion or something? You were weird as hell this morning.”
Harry huffed. “I was just…what are we?”
“Potter, we’ve been fucking for the last two years. Do we have to make something out of it now?” Draco’s fingers tightened on him in irritation, but he didn’t pull away.
Eventually Harry’s eyes got heavy, and as much as he wanted to continue his research, sleep sounded better. In a way, he hoped he’d wake up to everything back to the way it was.
And in a way, he hoped he’d wake up to it all exactly the same.
In the end, he woke up in the other Harry’s flat, still sticky from his shag, but alone. He heard noises from the lounge, so he grabbed a dressing gown which sat near the wardrobe, and slung it round his waist.
He assumed Malfoy was either trying to sneak out, or help himself to Harry’s kitchen, but when he stepped into the lounge, it wasn’t Malfoy at all.
It was James and Sirius. They were looking at Harry’s photos, and at his notes, and when they turned they had wands pointed at him.
Before Harry could speak, a curse was cast and he was frozen to the spot. James took three strides toward him, and shoved him against the wall, the tip of his wand pointed just under Harry’s chin.
“I don’t know who the bloody hell you are, or how you got to look like my son, but you’re going to tell me right now what you’ve done with him, or I kill you where you stand.”