When I woke up the next morning, Leo was still fast asleep. Curled up in the center of his bed with his knees tucked under his chin, he looked like such a child. I stared down at his sleeping form for a moment, marveling at the fact that I was watching my future son – that, one day, I would help create this human being.
What if I decided to never have kids? I wondered. Or what if the only reason I married Rose Weasley was because she slipped me a Love Potion (which was most likely true) and I somehow managed to stop her? Neither Leo nor Lyra would ever exist.
It was terrifying to realize how much their lives depended on me, but what was even more terrifying was how much I suddenly cared – how much I was starting to want this future, almost without realizing it. I had only dreamed of a life and a family like this since I had been born. And I finally had it, except...I didn’t really have it. This was the life of a future Scorpius, not me. I didn’t see how I would ever grow to deserve such a happy life.
With a small shiver, I turned away from Leo. Part of me wanted to wake him up so that I wouldn’t have to be alone with my thoughts anymore, but part of me wasn’t quite ready to handle his incessant chatter. I settled for trying to ascertain clues about my future from his room. I had just started rifling through his desk, when the door creaked open. I swung around, trying not to look as guilty as I felt.
Lyra poked her head in, her bright hair a splash of colour against the pale walls. When she saw me, her face lit up and, after a quick glance at the still-sleeping Leo, she motioned for me to follow her.
We walked down the stairs in silence. I was surprised by how similar the two of us seemed; we were obviously the more reserved members of the family – better at thinking than talking.
Apparently, Lyra’s thoughts were similarly engaged. As soon as we had stepped into the dark kitchen - Weasley was nowhere to be seen - she said, over her shoulder, “I knew you would be awake. We’re always the first ones awake.”
I smiled at that.
I expected her to stop in the kitchen but, instead, she headed straight for the door. Outside, we plodded across the same grass I had landed in just last night. It was hard to believe it had been less than twenty-four hours ago; it seemed like a lifetime had passed since then.
“Where are we going?” I said, finally. I saw so much of myself in Lyra that it was difficult not to instinctively trust her. I had to remind myself that, regardless of the fact that she was my future daughter, I still barely knew her. Maybe she was secretly suicidal and planned to kill me so that she would never be born - anything was possible, right?
Lyra stopped by a thicket of trees, at the base of an ancient oak. With a start, I realized that I recognized the tree from my Malfoy Manor - I had spent many pleasant days under its shade with a book.
As if reading my thoughts, Lyra said, “The forest was the only part of your old house that you wanted to keep.” And then, with the ease of someone who has done something many times, she swung herself up onto the lowest branch of the tree and started climbing. She stopped when she had reached a sturdy branch about mid-way up the tree and glanced down at me, smiling. “It’s my favorite spot.”
I grinned back and, throwing aside any worries about her possible homicidal tendencies, followed her up the tree. My parents had always frowned upon any sort of outdoor exertion that could result in death or injury or even mild sweating, so I had never been allowed to climb trees. Still, it was surprisingly easy to join Lyra on her branch and, as soon as I was comfortably seated next to her, I was happy I had.
The view was absolutely breathtaking. The sun was just peeking out, releasing a thousand different shades of joy that shot across the sky and bathed the world in colour. We were painted with sunshine.
In that moment, I felt more alive than I ever had before.
After a few minutes of observing the sunrise in comfortable silence, Lyra looked over at me.
“I’m sorry if this is weird for you,” she said. “I know it’s weird for me. I have to stop myself from calling you Dad. You’re so much like him but, at the same time, you’re not at all.”
I met her scrutinizing scare, not sure what to say. “It is weird,” I admitted. “It’s sort of like future me is a completely different person, living a completely different life. I don’t see how I will ever become him.”
“You will,” Lyra replied instantly, confidently.
“But what if I don’t?” I said. All of my earlier emotions and fears were rising to the surface, and I couldn’t hide the longing in my voice. I wanted to get married (even if it was to a Weasley) and re-vamp Malfoy Manor and have two slightly obnoxious but entirely lovable children. “What if I do something wrong, so that I never get this? Or what if knowing my future messes everything up? If I make even one mistake, you could never exist.”
Lyra shook her head; at first, I thought she was just in denial, but then her expression turned matter-of-fact. “Everything that happens while you’re here in the future will only help you reach this future someday. It will happen no matter what, even if you do something ‘wrong’ - even if you try to avoid it.”
I furrowed my eyebrows, my mind desperately struggling to understand what she was saying. When I had recklessly decided I was going to re-shape the past, I hadn’t realized time-travel was quite so complicated.
Sensing my confusion, Lyra continued, “It’s like this – my name is Lyra because you named me Lyra. You probably only named me Lyra because you time-traveled to the future and met me. Do you see? It’s a loop. You can’t change it.” She hesitated, then added, “In a way, you’re trapped in your future, whether you like it or not.”
I frowned. “But what if I decide not to name you Lyra?”
“Try it and let me know how it works out,” she replied, playfully.
I sat in silence, chewing on my lip in contemplation. I alternated between gratitude that my future would seemingly be happy and anger at the finality of it all. Her word choice echoed in my head - I was trapped in my future by my own decisions. Granted, so was everyone else, but the difference was that I knew what my future was.
And I honestly couldn’t decide if that knowledge was good or bad.
I was still undecided when the kitchen door swung open and Weasley began trudging across the dew-covered grass to reach us. She had already showered and dressed for the day, and her bright red curls were pinned to her head in a lopsided bun; the sunlight clung to it, almost greedily.
“I thought I might find you two out here,” she said, with an indulgent smile. I could only assume that my future self frequently watched the sunrise with Lyra and, for whatever reason, that made my heart jump. “Would you like to join me for breakfast?”
Lyra started climbing down and I obediently followed. The three of us trekked into the kitchen together, to a table laden with breakfast foods; it was evident that Weasley had something of a knack for cooking. As I shoveled food into my mouth, I decided that being trapped in this future wouldn’t be so awful after all.
“Am I going to meet myself today?” I asked, abruptly interrupting the companionable sounds of our eating.
Weasley rolled her eyes at me, an action that I was all too familiar with; thirteen-year-old Rose Weasley seemed to wander around Hogwarts in a state of perpetual eye-rolling. When she didn’t give me any more of an answer, I made a disgruntled noise. “What’s the harm in telling me, really? Lyra said I can’t mess up my future, anyway.”
“It’s complicated,” Weasley said, as if a two-word answer would appease me. It didn’t.
“Well, then explain it to me,” I bit out. I think I was the most surprised out of all three of us when there was actual anger behind my words. But, even as I told myself to calm down, I could hear my voice escalating in volume. “I can know what I name my future children and how I knock down half of the Manor, but you can’t tell me where the bloody hell I am? What, am I dead? Is that it?!”
Weasley and Lyra looked at me, stunned. At some point during my outburst, I had stood up. I towered over the two of them now, breathing heavily, my hands clenched into fists at my side.
“Scorpius,” Weasley said, and this was not the Rose Weasley that I knew at Hogwarts. The spark in her eyes was gone; she looked almost gentle. Slowly, I sank back down into my chair, my eyes never leaving her face, my heart all but beating out of my chest.
“It’s not good to know too much about what’s going to happen. I’m trying not to talk about future-you because knowing where you are, what you do, anything that directly concerns you – that would drive you crazy. When you go back, I don’t want you to feel like this future controls you; I want you to feel like you control this future.“
I looked away. “So I’m dead then?” I said, bitterly.
Weasley hesitated. She opened her mouth, closed it, opened it again, and was on the verge of responding when Leo stumbled sleepily into the kitchen. I glared at him.
“G’morning,” he mumbled to no one in particular, oblivious to the tension in the air.
Weasley tousled his hair and grinned at him, almost as if she was trying to pretend that our conversation had never happened. I sulked.
“Good morning, sleepy,” she said brightly – too brightly. I was so dead. “You better wake up quickly. Everyone’s going to be here soon.”
My head snapped up. “Everyone?” I repeated, in a strained voice. Lyra patted my arm in sympathy, but Weasley just looked annoyingly amused.
“Yes, Scorpius,” she said. “Today’s Christmas Eve. We always have the family over to celebrate, James included.”
My face darkened. “I don’t care what you say about not being able to change my future,” I grumbled. “I am never going to invite that bastard over for Christmas.”
Leo grinned, all signs of sleepiness gone. “Dad just said bastard,” he stage-whispered to Lyra, as if in awe. If I hadn’t been so annoyed at the prospect of seeing my worst enemy, I would’ve laughed.
As it was, I felt suddenly, horribly sick to my stomach. So far, my future had seemed so good - too good to be true. It would just bloody figure that James Potter was going to waltz right in and ruin everything for me, just like he always did.
“Leo,” Weasley scolded. Then she turned back to me and her eyes softened again. “Believe it or not, James has grown up over the years too; he’s not nearly as insufferable as he once was. I promise everything will be okay.”
But, somehow, I couldn’t quite bring myself to believe her.
Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were the first to arrive. As they stepped out of the fireplace to greet their daughter and grandchildren, I was immediately struck by how old they looked. Somehow, my mind still hadn’t completely registered how much time had passed. Staring at their graying hair and wrinkled skin, I thought – for the first time – of my own parents, who would be approaching their seventies.
Everyone I knew at Hogwarts would be in their forties, probably settled down with children by now. And here I was, still a thirteen-year-old boy; suddenly, I felt horribly out of place.
Then Mr. and Mrs. Weasley turned to me. I wondered if Weasley – ah, hell, this was going to get very confusing, very fast. I wondered if Rose had sent out some sort of family-wide notice explaining my presence, because they didn’t look the least surprised or confused to see me. Instead, Mr. Weasley politely shook my hand and Mrs. Weasley engulfed me in a hug.
“He looks just like Leo,” she observed. “Just as underfed too…are you sure you’ve been feeding them enough, Rose?”
Mr. Weasley made an exasperated noise. “You’re starting to sound like my Mum, Hermione.”
Mrs. Weasley didn’t seem to like hearing that very much, but thankfully bickering with each other drew their attention away from me. As they disappeared into the kitchen, Rose laid her hand on my arm reassuringly.
“Alright?” she said. “I know it’s a bit weird.”
“A bit?” I retorted. She smiled and turned to follow her parents into the kitchen, but I stopped her.
She looked at me quizzically, and I took a deep breath. I didn’t know if she would answer (Merlin knows she wasn’t answering very many of my questions) but I had to ask her – I would never forgive myself if I didn’t at least try. “Are my parents coming today?” I practically whispered.
I was afraid to look at her as I spoke, afraid what her facial expression might reveal. In that moment, I realized how much I loved my parents, despite everything; I realized how much I needed them to know that I loved them, that I didn’t blame them for all their mistakes. If they had died before I could tell them, I wasn’t sure how I could bear it.
Steeling myself for the worst, I lifted my eyes to her face. And very nearly started crying in relief when I saw that Rose’s smile had spread into a full-blown grin. “They’re in Guam,” she said. “We always invite them, of course, but ever since they gave us the Manor as our wedding present, they’ve taken to traveling. I think last year they went to the Maldives…it’s completely underwater now, you know.”
There are some things in life that are inexplicably, utterly hilarious, and picturing my parents scuba-diving in the Maldives was one of those things. Apparently, Rose thought so too; we both started cracking up like a pair of loons.
And, just like that, I was happy – happier than I could ever remember being before. I knew I couldn’t completely forget my worries, but I could push them aside, at least for a little while. Especially when a seemingly endless stream of family members began emerging from the fireplace, and I was caught up in a whirlwind of hugs and smiles and pure, unadulterated joy.
Roxanne Weasley hugged me for longer than was probably appropriate. Fred Weasley sincerely apologized for the time he hid strips of raw bacon in the Slytherin common room (I couldn’t bring myself to tell him he hadn’t done it yet). Molly Weasley smiled at me so brightly I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to take her seriously as Head Girl again.
And then Harry Potter – as in, savior of the bleeding wizarding world, that Harry Potter – shook my hand and told me I had a good heart. Granted, he is getting to be a bit old and it’s very possible that he’s a couple Bludgers short of a full Quidditch set, but I was still flattered.
But, even as I giddily decided that this was exactly what Christmas was supposed to be like, I couldn’t help but feel a little claustrophobic. I was used to having an entire wing of Malfoy Manor to myself; in the new, better-but-inarguably-smaller Malfoy Manor, I barely had enough standing room for myself.
So, once all the hellos had been said, I slipped into the backyard, practically gasping for fresh air. But it turned out someone else had already had the same idea.
Louis Weasley was leaning against the side of the house, a cigarette dangling between his lips and a far-off look in his eyes. When I stepped outside, his gaze flitted over to me.
I stared at him, unsure and awkward and feeling more like a thirteen-year-old than I had all night. Louis was the same age as me but, even in my present, I would’ve had no idea what to say to him; he was a Ravenclaw – too smart, too nice, too popular for me. And, here and now, with the almost painful age gap between us, I was at even more of a loss for words.
Finally, I settled for, “You smoke?” It was a stupid question, and I knew it.
Louis started. “What? Um. No.” He hastily withdrew the cigarette from his mouth and then threw it on the ground, trampling it with his shoe. Then he looked at me, anxiously. “You didn’t see that. Also, smoking is bad and it kills you and don’t do it.”
I continued to stare at him. If Harry Potter was a couple Bludgers short of a full Quidditch set, Louis must be missing the whole set.
“What am I saying?” Louis mumbled, mostly to himself. “I know you never start smoking – you’re the one who made me bleeding quit.” And then his face paled and, shooting me a worried look, he let loose a string of colourful curse words.
At this point, I was more than a little perturbed. “Are you okay?”
“Bugger bugger, shit shit – what? Oh, I’m fine,” he said. “But I probably shouldn’t be talking to you. Apparently, I have ‘no bloody filter’ and Rose thinks I’m going to spill your entire future to you and blah blah blah. All I’ve told you is that you don’t try to give yourself lung cancer and, really, you’re a smart bloke, Scorp, I think you could’ve figured that out on your own, am I right?”
“Er,” I said.
“I mean, honestly. Making me hide from my own best mate while he’s prepubescent?” Louis smirked. “She should’ve known that wouldn’t work – you always did know exactly where to find me.”
“Best mate?” I repeated quizzically. He swore again. “How did that happen?” I couldn’t imagine any universe where Louis Weasley so much as looked at me.
He stuck another cigarette in his mouth, absentmindedly. “You’re thirteen?” I nodded. “You’ll see soon enough, then.”
My heart jumped. Soon enough, I repeated in my head. Soon enough. It was hard to believe that Louis Weasley and I were actually going to be mates. Bonkers or not, he was definitely better than nothing - er, maybe, anyway.
I stepped closer, eyeing Louis tentatively. He was still puffing away on his cigarette, occasionally peering through the window to make sure no one was coming.
I took another step, and extended my hand towards the cigarette. “Can I – ”
“No.” I frowned at him and he rolled his eyes. “Sorry, Scorp. You would kill me.” He grinned.
Before I could retort, the door swung open and Albus stuck his head out. Louis frantically dropped his cigarette on the ground, but Albus didn’t so much as look at him.
“Scorpius,” he said, breathlessly. His hair was sticking up in more directions than usual – an obvious sign of distress for the Potters. “Come quickly.”
Louis and I exchanged a worried look before I hurried inside. Albus pulled Rose away from her cooking and, with both of us in front of him, began running his fingers through his hair agitatedly.
“I tried,” he said. “I really tried. But the Committee – forward time-travel is messy, and they wouldn’t release a time-turner to me unless I agreed to follow protocol. They’re already on their way over.”
It felt like my heart was stuck in my throat. I swallowed nervously. “What does that mean? They’re not going to send me home?”
“No, they’re still going to send you home,” Albus said, looking away as if he couldn’t quite bear to meet my eyes, “but first they’re going to Obliviate you.”
A/N: So, it’s been a while…like, a really long while. I’m not even sure if anyone still cares to read this story but, for those of you who do, I hope you enjoyed this chapter! Please don’t hesitate to let me know your opinion, whether it be good or bad. And, as always, thanks to my beta, Sarah (DemetersChild)!
Also, for anyone who read this story back when it was first posted, way back in 2010: the first three chapters have been very minorly altered (mostly just the end of the first chapter), so you might want to re-read them.
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