Length: 752 words
Summary: written for the comment_fic prompt The Time Traveller’s Wife(/any), Alba DeTamble(/any), their relationship wasn’t exactly normal, but nor was her partner to which I added a Doctor Who character...
This time Alba arrives in a bus shelter, a three-sided affair with clear plastic walls. Public places are awkward when she’s always naked on arrival (however hard she works on trying to bring clothes with her), but thankfully there appear to be no witnesses.
She takes stock of her surroundings: dark, with no lights from buildings or vehicles, on some country road in the middle of nowhere. Rain hammers down from above, hitting the roof of the shelter and streaming down the walls. It puddles on the concrete beneath her bare feet and Alba flexes her cold toes as she thinks through her options for finding clothes and warmth, making ripples.
There’s a fizzling noise, like soft static, and the smell of warm electricity as another person arrives in the same shelter.
The newcomer taps her wrist strap twice and beams at Alba in delight, before slipping a rucksack off her shoulders and dumping it on the ground between their feet, heedless of the rainwater that splashes up Alba’s legs.
“Right,” she says, yanking the drawstring open at the top of the bag, “I’ve got underwear, jeans, that pink t-shirt you liked so much last time, a jumper, socks, good running boots, a brush…a towel even!”
Alba accepts the stripped towel, opening it wide and raising an eyebrow at the ‘I LOVE BLACKPOOL’ printed on it in huge letters before slinging it around her shoulders and starting to dry off.
“Didn’t bring a coat though, for you or me, sorry about that.” She sticks a hand out from under the shelter, then draws it back inside and licks her palm. “The weather was much better here the first time.”
“Was it?” asks Alba, drying her knees and trying to work out if anything about being here is familiar.
“Oh yes. We had a picnic.”
“I’ve never had a picnic with you,” says Alba, dropping the towel in favour of rummaging through the rucksack and pulling on clothes. Underwear first, then the jeans, socks, and boots.
“Ah, first time here for you then.” She crouches, bringing her head down to peer into Alba’s face as Alba ties her bootlaces, and the tip of her long, blond ponytail dips into a puddle. “How old are you?”
“Twenty-two,” says Alba.
She allows a small smile to play across her lips that blossoms into a proper one when the woman mirrors her as she stands.
“Just checking,” the woman says. “You know I wouldn’t want to start anything before we actually started anything. Wouldn’t want to mess with time and all that.”
Alba moves away until her back is pressed against the wall of the shelter, cool on her bare-skin. Again the other follows, looming over her a little, fingers reaching out to touch Alba’s bra strap, her cheek, her curls.
“Jenny”, says Alba, letting her head fall back. “Start something.”
The taller woman dips her head enough for their lips to brush, teasing, traces Alba’s bottom lip with tongue. Alba wants her to hurry it up, a fleeting fear always at the back of her mind that time is running out, but this is Jenny who can follow her and find her whenever she is. There’s no need to rush.
She brings her hands to rest on Jenny’s hips and they explore each other’s mouths lazily, the passage of time marked only by the rain dampening the back of Alba’s jeans where the bus shelter wall doesn’t quite meet the floor.
“You’re cold,” says Jenny eventually, murmuring the words against Alba’s collarbone in-between kisses.
The soft sound is echoed by a much louder one, which sounds like a cross between the revving engine of a motorbike and an annoyed bear, both of which are some of the many sounds that Alba has become familiar with since she first met Jenny.
“Did anything significant happen,” she asks carefully, “other than a picnic the first time we – for you – were here?”
Jenny sighs, places one last kiss in the hollow of Alba’s throat, and then steps away, tossing the remaining clothes that she’d brought at her.
“We may have annoyed something,” she says, fastening the rucksack and putting it back on.
Alba tugs the t-shirt and jumper over her head and runs her hands through her curls as she glares at the other woman.
“Alright, alright, by which I mean I may have annoyed something.”
“Maybe.” Jenny holds out a hand and Alba laces their fingers together, getting a good grip. “Ready to run?”
Title: It Never Ends Well
Length: 613 words
Summary: written for the comment_fic prompt Harry Potter, twenty-year-old Harry wakes up in his Hogwarts dorm the day before Sirius dies.
Harry wakes up with a pounding headache and vows that that’s the last time he ever helps anyone from the Department of Mysteries to investigate anything, even if Hermione is involved. Somehow it never ends well for him.
He squeezes his eyes shut against the daylight fighting through the crack in the curtains surrounding his bed, rubs at his temples, and counts up to ten and back down again repeatedly until it feels less like a game of bumper cars is going on inside his skull.
When he opens his eyes and realises that he’s not in his own bed he vows to spread the word throughout the whole Auror department about how these things never end well. That ought to cut down on volunteers for the Department of Mysteries and it’ll serve them right.
He pulls apart the curtains and stares around at the Gryffindor boys’ dormitory.
There’s the initial shock of being in an entirely different place than he was five minutes ago, the shock of somehow managing to appear inside Hogwarts, and then the shock that the dormitory looks exactly as it did when he used to live here, right down to the football poster by Dean’s bed. There’s also the Playwitch calendar that Seamus had put up in January of their fifth year and Harry’s stomach drops as he clambers off the bed to take a closer look at it.
He’d known that the Unspeakables had been messing around with time since the destruction of their Time Turners, but he hadn’t expected his latest bout of volunteering to end with him travelling in time himself.
Still, there’s no escaping the fact and there’s no escaping the date.
Today Sirius is going to die.
Harry forces himself to take a deep breath and analyse the situation as his Auror training and experience have drummed into him. There are a lot of things he could do right now. He could stop himself from leaving Hogwarts, he could go to Grimmauld Place and make sure Sirius is there when his younger self attempts to contact him, he could go to the Ministry and steal the prophecy, he could wait until the last minute and stop Sirius from falling through the veil. There are a lot of things that he could do.
The problem is that there are a lot of what ifs that follow.
What if the Time Turners aren’t destroyed? Harry might not be here now to change anything. What if Umbridge doesn’t have a run in with the centaurs? She might end up teaching here for longer than a year. What if Sirius lives? Would he let Harry, Ron, and Hermione spend a year in constant danger whilst they searched for Horcruxes? Would Remus and Tonks bond without their grief? Would Teddy exist?
The problem is that Harry’s done a fair bit of growing up since fifth year, which isn’t a surprise since he’s five years and a war older, and he’s got a much better idea of the consequences of his actions.
There are too many variables, so what he has to do is focus on the worst-case scenario and decide if he can live with it. He rests his forehead on the wall next to Miss June and imagines the war never being over, the Horcruxes never found, Voldemort alive.
“Neither can live while the other survives,” he tells himself and a broken laugh forces its way out of his throat.
Harry makes his way back to his old four-poster bed, shuts the curtains, and lies down, closing his eyes against the world and hoping that Hermione and her team get him home sooner rather than later.