"I really do feel sorry you have to die like this. Far from home and all alone." I tell the young man lying on the bed and watching dusk settling on the horizon. Even though our relationship had been, quite frankly, untrusting, rocky and almost confrontational, I meant it. I could tell he was still pretty young. Twenty five or so. Like so many other men and women these last few years, he did not deserve to die like this. Maybe things would be better if Lainey was still here. She told me they were close. Like brother and sister, though in reality he is simply a very close friend she loved like her own family. He had no family here now. Unless...
"Remus," Tim Gray whispers, not turning to me or raising his voice. I take a few steps forward to hear him more easily. "I am very proud to be your son."
I knew. From the moment he suffocated himself in the pillow to stop talking and forced his nails into his arms until the bled, I knew. A Metamorphmagus, born in the year my child would be, who recognized Tonk's name when I told it to him (though I don't think he knows I noticed). Who else could he be?
Unsure exactly what to do when your grown son from the future is dying, I place my hand on his shoulder, but then quickly pull it away. Maybe that's weird. I don't know. I don't know anyone who's met their child from the future to compare notes with.
I leave the spare bedroom and slowly make my way down the stairs. Tonks is sitting on the couch, flipping through one of Tim's books.
"He has good tastes," She says. "This book is one of my favorites."
I silently sit next to her and do not respond. She slips the book back into his bag and turns to me.
"You were gone for almost two months."
"More like a month and a half."
She does not find this amusing. "Where were you?"
"Well, first I looked for Harry, Ron and Hermione. Then I found them, and almost immediately got re-found by some Death Eaters,"
"For a month and a half?"
"Well, not quite. It took me three days to shake the Death Eaters and get to Grimauld Place," I tell her.
"The point is, you were gone for long time. Do you know how worried I was about you? That you were captured by Death Eaters or...or...worse?"
She can barely finish her sentence. I pull her into my arms as she cries into my shoulder for a long time.
"I don't think I can live without you," She finally tells me quietly.
"You don't have to, Dora," I respond.
Seconds later, the moment was quickly destroyed by Andromeda's thundering footsteps.
"Are you two done searching his bag yet?" She asks.
"No," Tonks tells her. "Speaking of bags, have you seen my suitcase?"
"Why do you need that?" Andromeda asks sharply.
"So I can take my stuff back to my house?"
"Dora, your house has been discovered by Death Eaters. You can't go back there."
"Mum, that's nothing a little Fedelius Charm won't fix." Tonks says with an eye roll.
"It's too dangerous. You two are staying right here! And that's final!" Andromeda yells angrily.
"Mum, you're going to wake up our guest. Shut up. We're not going anywhere."
Andromeda leaves in a huff. After a few moments, Tonks and I erupt in quiet giggles.
"Ahhh...We're being held hostage!" Tonks says. I smile and reach back into the backpack, pulling out some of the contents. A box of cereal bars, cans of mixed nuts, some sugar free gum, some kind of muggle listening device, a box of ink replenishing quills, and a thin manila folder.
"What's this?" I ask. I grab the tab and pull it up, but the tab seems to slip through my fingers. I try again, but the same thing happens. I run my hand over the folder, but it seems to slide right off. Finally, I simply turn the folder upside down, expecting the papers to simply fall out. They do not. Tonks looks at me with pity and eventually tears the folder from my hand.
"Give me that," she says, opening the folder with ease. "It's classified. Not top secret though. Any Aurror can open a folder with this level of security clearance." She glances into the folder and hand it to me. "Looks like some kind of protective custody mission. Is that girl Lainey?"
I look and the picture in the front of the folder. She looks a few years younger in the picture, a close up of her in Gryffindor robes standing in front of the Hogwarts Express. The girl I met might have been sixteen or seventeen, eighteen at the most. The girl in the picture looked around thirteen or fourteen. Although she had brown eyes instead of blue and red hair instead of blond, the picture was unmistakably of Lainey Grey.
Except it was not labeled as such. Below her name, in a familiar script, some had written "Lily L. Potter" I tried to remember where I remembered seeing the handwriting from. Of course. Uncountable reports on redcaps, grindylows and boggarts. Looks like Harry still has his over protective instinct in tact after all these years.
I flip to the next page and read the write up on the mission. Lainey (or Lily) was put in protective custody to avoid the mostly extinct terrorism group "Grindlewald's Heirs". The mission obviously went very wrong, since there were no mentions of time travel in the file.
At the bottom of page, there were two blanks. One Harry had signed, as the Aurror in charge of the mission. The other read "T. R. Lupin" in the same sloppy script I had seen him write his journal in. I guess Tim had chosen a name similar to his own like Laniey, Lily, had.
I placed the folder on the floor and pick up the journal. Inside, he wrote pages and pages of notes on various dark wizards and strategies. Nothing important to me until I filliped to the end, to the log entry he wrote earlier.
Log Entry One
"Lainey" and I were fortunate to come across Remus Lupin, a member of the Order of the Phoenix. He may prove to be a valuable ally, as he seems intelligent and competent enough to deal with for a prolonged period of time. Unfortunately, these same traits may lead to him asking a few too many questions. I know I can trust him though. Her father would want me to trust him. He always did.
I closed the notebook, feeling a little bit guilty for how I treated Harry a month ago again. I wonder how Tim is. If he's still...If he's still alright. I glance over at Tonks to ask her if maybe someone should check on him, but she fell asleep and I did not want to wake her. Instead, I reach back into the pack and happen to pull out a stack of rubber banded pictures. I carefully slip the band off and spread the pictures across the coffee table.
The first one that catches my eye looks to be a very old one. A blue-haired child, maybe five or so, plays with a light haired girl in what I think was the Burrow under a Christmas tree. I flip it over to see it dated for Christmas Eve in 2002. I wonder who why kept this particular picture. The next one I see is a more recent one. A man who looked vaguely like the Tim I knew sat at a picnic table with Lily and two teenagers I assumed to be her brothers. The oldest brother looked to be only a year or two older than Harry was now. I hope Lily's brother survives and gets better. Harry should not have to lose anyone else. Not after Dumbledore, Sirius and Lily and James.
He pretty much told me a month and a half ago he did not want my son to grow up without a father like he did. Little did Harry know this would happen.
Harry was right. I should have trusted him, like Dumbledore told Kingsley and I to. Sometimes I think that man was a seer, the way he seemed to just know everything. Maybe my son would die alone, but he would not live his life like that. I would make sure of that.
I re-stack the pictures and slip them back into the pack before opening the small notebook and pulling out one of Tim's quills. I begin to write in one of the blank pages in his notebook.
The letter is short, but it takes a while to write. I glance at my watch and see that by the time I've chosen the right words to say it's been nearly a half an hour. I slip the notebook back into the bag when two men appear in front of me out of nowhere. Tonks wakes up with a jolt and draws her wand almost simultaneously.
"Who are you?" I ask, pointing my own wand at them. I notice the time turner around their necks but do not lower my wand. One of the men, a plain, middle aged man who seemed to be in charge, stepped forward.
"We're here for Tim Grey," The man says. He turns to Tonks. "You're name is Nymphadora, correct?"
She gives him a cold stare and tightens the grip on her wand. "Just making sure I got to the right place," The man continues. "I have information that Tim Grey would be here. Was this information correct?"
"How did you get in my house?" A loud, angry voice yells from behind me. It's Andromeda.
"You told me where it is," The second man says. He looks a bit more distinctive. His eyes are bright blue, his hair is light brown and his chin comes to a sharp point. "In the future."
Andromeda rolls her eyes. "More time travelers. Great." She still does not lower her wand.
"I was just asking your daughter and son-in-law if our information regarding Tim Grey was correct," The first man says slowly.
"Where did you get that information?" Tonks asks sharply. The second man smiles.
"Once again, Andromeda told me. She remembered a young man visiting during the war. Said he went by Tim Grey. We needed to find him. Luckily, we were able to find someone who had information on him."
"Did Lainey get back alright?" I ask the first man. "Tim must be worried about her. They seemed to be very close."
"Lainey got back to London just fine. When we left, she was spending time with her older brothers."
"Brothers? Her eldest brother is alright then?" I ask. The man looks surprised that I knew about this.
"Yes. He's fine."
"Good. Tim and her were so worried about him," I tell the man.
"Speaking of Tim, where is he?" The first man asks again.
"Upstairs, guest bedroom. You known I'm a little surprised the man who sent Tim on this mission did not come to get him."
"Who says he didn't?" The first man asks. I pick the folder off the floor and hand it to him. He looks between the folder and Tonks for a moment before a mischievous smile creeps across his lips.
"You should have mentioned it before," I say to the man I presume is Harry Potter. "Tim is right up here."
I quickly lead the three men up to the guest room and pull the door open. Tim groggily turns around to face us."Got yourself into quite a predicament, Tim," Harry begins "Almost like the time you ended up in compromising position at that muggle amusement park."
"I thought we agreed never to talk of that again," Tim whispers weakly. He asks Harry how Lainey is doing and how safe the antidote really is as he sits up, glancing between the three of us. Already he looks more awake, more alive, more like he will come out of this whole experienced unscathed. I feel like I should probably say something to him, but again I do not know what would be the right thing to say.
"...Let me just thank Andromeda and Tonks for keeping me here," Tim says as he pulls himself out of bed and promptly face plants. I grab his arm moments before he breaks his nose.
"I'll help you down," I tell him, leading him to the staircase and letting Harry and his companion get ahead, something that I am sure does not escape Harry's attention. He knows to turn let us linger behind. I would not be surprised if he suspected that I had found out Tim's true identity. I know I can trust him though. Her father would want me to trust him. He always did.
Her father would want me to trust him. He always did.
He always did.
"Are you going to be okay?" I ask my son eventually.
"Yeah. I'll be fine," He tells me.
He always did.
He always did.
I stop dead in my tracks and remember the wording in his journal. He always did. Past tense. If my son knows Harry, trusts me because Harry always did...
No. No way. Can't think like that, especially after you just decided not to die, Remus. Snap out of it.
"If I'm still around,Tim," I start, wincing internally. "can you have someone come get me? Tell me that you got back safely?"
Tim looks surprised that I asked that. His surprise did not seem to say "Why won't I," like I hoped though. Instead, his face says "I didn't think of that," Maybe I'm thinking too much into the face of a young man who is pumped full of lethal poisons though.
"Yeah. Of course." He says. I wonder if I should say anything else, in light of everything. We do not have much time though, and all I needed to write I put in the letter. I look to the floor and lead him down the stairs.
"Thanks for keeping me here. Hope I wasn't too much trouble." Tim says to Tonks and Andromeda.
"None at all," Tonk replies. Andromeda looks as though she thinks differently, but does not say anything. If only she knew…"Hope you get better. And remember what I told you about that jumper."
"Burn it." Tim says as he smiles at Tonks. Harry slips the time turner around their necks and with the press of a button they disappear into thin air.
"What business is that with the jumper?" Andromeda asks.
"Nothing you need to worry about," Tonks says, her cheeks growing red. "I'm going back to sleep. See you tomorrow," she adds, quickly leaving the room and pulling me with her.