Upon Arrival, Remove Your Shoes
Clara wen't down hard, and so did Sirius. The Dementors had been too much for them to bear.
Please Doctor please Doctor Please.
The Doctor was nearly overcome when the dementors had attacked, but he pressed on toward the school. Somewhere in his terror-addled mind he thought that if he could get to the castle in time, he could get someone to call off the dementors. He'd have to tell them the whole fantastic story of how they got there in the first place with a wanted fugitive and a blue box so they would believe him and actually do the calling-off, but that was to worry about when he got there. Hypothetically.
The Twins remained largely unaffected, having been used to their presence all year, and cast Expecto in unison. Suddenly, twin foxes came rushing out of their wands, and into the swarm.
Hermione Granger was sneaking back up the staircase to the seventh floor, long past curfew, when she saw something glimmer outside the castle window. When she looked, she saw that two silver foxes, two very familiar foxes, were rushing through a swarm of Dementors on the outer grounds. Her heart pounding, she turned right around, all pretense of sneaking lost, and made a mad dash for the third floor.
Hermione ran down the stairs to the third floor and positively bolted down the corridor, nearly crashing into a suit of armor as she went. As she slowed to a stop in front of the Gargoyle, she realized that she didn't know the password to the Headmaster's office and began to yell. "Professor! Headmaster! Professor Dumbledore I know you can hear me and I've just seen the Twin's patronuses clearing out a swarm on the grounds! You MUST come down, you absolutely must!"
At a throat-clearing from behind her, Hermione jumped and turned around. Standing straight in front of her was Professor Mcgonagall.
"Miss Granger, what earthly cause do you have to be yelling at the Headmaster at such a late hour?"
Completely out of breath and in a rush, Hermione said "The twins are outside on the grou—" and that was all she could get out before Mcgonagall had turned swiftly around and headed for the first floor.
On the grounds, Hermione and Mcgonagall, who appeared to be suspiciously not-out-of-breath, stopped twenty paces from the intruders with wands drawn.
What they saw, however, did not look like intruders, but rather a motley crue of strangers dying on the ground. The twin's patronuses were still struggling to rid the place of dementors, so Mcgonagall cast Expecto Patronum, and her slinking felines shooed away the descending cloud of dementors.
Coughing and returning to life, the Doctor jumped up, glanced over at Clara, and looked at Mgconagall and Hermione, inspecting them.
One might have expected that he would have introduced himself to Mcgonagall, but instead, turned to the little girl with wild hair and wonder and excitement shining in her eyes and said "Hello, I'm the Doctor." As though nothing had happened, nothing at all.
She shook his extended hand and said "I'm Hermione, Hermione Granger."
Mcgonagall looked as though she were about to say something, but then Sirius Black had just stood up in front of her, clutching a small, wide-eyed brunette, effectively making her lose her train of thought.
Having seen the severe witch's face, Clara quickly introduced herself as "Hi, Clara Oswald. Most definitely not breaking and entering into your- ah- castle." She finished lamely.
Lovely girl, he always has got such an eye for the clever ones. She looks as though she's got the whole world behind those eyes.
Mcgonagall looked straight past her to Sirius and said "Sirius Orion Black you had better have a very good reason for showing your face on Hogwarts grounds when it is plastered all over every wanted poster in the village next door!"
"I can explain, Mcgonagall we were escaping—"
"Oh yes, that much was very clear."
"—and I met Clara the Doctor but that's not important." Said Sirius, still holding his arm where Clara'd had a death grip on it. "We think that the castle's in danger, that Voldemort will return."
The Twins nodded along, looking only slightly downcast about their failed patronuses.
Mcgonagall paused a moment, pursing her lips, and then said "first things first, Black. Inside."
"So you believe us, then?"
"What I believe, Mr. Black, is not the issue. That issue is that we are standing in the middle of the Hogwarts grounds with fugitives, Doctors, and strangers and Albus Dumbledore is not particularly known for letting his students come across danger at this school."
Mcgonagall then turned to Hermione and said "The password's Fizzing Whizzbee." And Hermione took off like a speeding bullet.
Mcgonagall quickly took in the sight of the five of them and turned to Sirius again, "Get them under a cloaking spell, now."
Sirius figured that the one they had been under had disappeared when the Dementors had come, and threw another one over them all. If he added something else as well, nobody would have to know it.
Walking briskly toward the castle, Mcgonagall spoke quietly, indicating Clara and the Doctor. "Can any of the rest of you do magic?" When she asked it, she ignored the twins quite pointedly.
Clara said "Yes, I can. Not much, though. I'm not from around here."
From another bloody dimension, I am. I'll be lucky if I can manage to make a feather float.
"Good. And you, Doctor?"
"No, but I've got this!" He said, brandishing the sonic.
"Brilliant." Said Mcgonagall with a long-suffering sigh, the type one might hear only from the mouths of mothers and teachers.
Just as they got to the front doors, Sirius heard a familiar howl, and turned his head in surprise. He looked to Mcgonagall, searching her face. It was a full moon tonight.
Pausing, Mcgonagall answered the question on his mind. "He's here. As a teacher. Defense."
Though her response was stilted, Sirius was flooded with joy and only just barely overcame the urge to shift and run into the forest to find his best a glance backward, he followed the others through the doors.
The five rushed through the corridors, twisting, turning, and taking the stairs as quietly as one could on moving staircases. Clara looked overhead as they went, at the pantings and flying buttresses, and the twins began to quietly explain who the subjects were. Eventually, they got carried away and began to tell her stories like "There's where we got Filch with a dungbomb our second year!" A a stern look from Mcgonagall, however, and they became very quiet. They knew she'd be having words with them later, and not just for being unnecessarily loud in the corridors.
Marveling at the silence and cloaking charms Sirius had placed over them, Clara was intensely relieved when they made it to the seventh floor unheard. When they stopped at the junction between one corridor and the next, Hermione and an old man in a blue robe stood waiting for them.
"Hello Sirius." Said Dumbledore quietly.
"Albus. This is Clara, and The Doctor."
"Not to be rude, Headmaster, but why are we standing in the middle of a hallway?" asked Hermione, in a hushed voice.
"Ah! yes, my dear, one moment, and I shall tell you." said Dumbledore. "Professor Mcgonagall, you have not been followed?"
"We have not. The walls might have ears, Albus, but they speak only to you."
"Excellent. Now-" He said, moving to stand in front of the great tapestry on the wall behind them, he gestured to it and said "Miss Granger, we are not standing in the middle of a hallway, but rather in front of this tapestry of Barnabas the Barmy." With that, he began to pace one, two, three times in front of the tapestry, and the wall began to change.
"Wicked." Said the twins, as the wall became a door.
It was a high, arched thing, with double doors and intricate carvings along the face and edges. The outside of it was pristine, looking for all the world as though it had been carved and stained yesterday. The inside, however, was not. From the inside of the room, the wood was old and appeared to be scarred in places where people had burned it or perhaps thrown a hex the wrong way. Incidentally, the doors seemed not to match the rest of the room, which was very cushy-looking, filled with sofas and high-hung paintings with gold frames. Clara filed that tidbit away to examine later. As the doors shut behind them, Dumbledore led them inside.
They each took a seat on one of the cushy, overstuffed sofas that filled the room, and Dumbledore began.
"First things first. Who are you, and why have you come?"
The Doctor decided to take point on that one, and said "We're time-travelers from another dimension, and we have come to set right what is wrong."
Oh, he's brilliant, isn't he. Just put it all out there, Doctor, I'm sure they won't be inclined to lock us up in the bloody dungeon.
"That would make you space-travelers as well, wouldn't it?" Asked Dumbledore, unfazed.
Well then. I suppose that things are different here.
Taken only slightly aback by the fact that Dumbledore hadn't spluttered or gasped, the Doctor said "Yes, It would."
"We've heard a whispering." Said Clara, from beside Sirius. "We heard something from the other side, from our dimension." How strange that feels to say. "Voices coming through, begging for help, screaming. Ordinarily, that's when we pull up our bootstraps and head out the door, so we came to see from whence the whispers came. That's why we're here."
"So you've come to help?" asked Mcgonagall. "You've come to help with what? You've arrived with a notorious fugitive, two of our own students, and a man with no magic who can see the castle. Forgive me if I've made assumptions, but that's not exactly the sort of thing that explains itself!"
"I'd like to remind you that I happen to be innocent, Minerva."
Sirius and Clara looked at each other, and then at the Doctor, at a loss for words. How does one explain, exactly, what they meant when they said they'd come to save the world? 'Oh, there's this tear in the fabric of reality that we sometimes camp out next to, listening for end times, no big deal.'
"They're here to help Harry." said George.
"They heard that he's in danger, through this crack in time. They heard that our world was in danger and that it had something to do with Harry Potter and the Dark Lord returning." Said Fred.
Well then, that does that.
"That must have been why I landed in Azkaban with Sirius." Said Clara, in a moment of sudden realization.
"Excuse me?" Said Dumbledore.
"I landed in the cell next to his. That's how I met him. I crash landed first, months ahead of the Doctor, and the cell next to Sirius' was empty, so thats where the TARDIS spit me out. She must have known where I'd need to be, who I'd need to meet."
"Oh, clever girl!" Said the Doctor.
"What exactly is a TARDIS?" Asked Hermione, speaking up for the first time.
"Time and Relative Dimension in Space." Said the Doctor, to his new, favorite child. She truly was full of wonder and the Doctor never left that behind.
"Oh, of course. You travel in time and space, but you do it in a machine." She reasoned. "But why is it relative dimension? Surely it should just be 'dimension,' shouldn't it?
While the Doctor went on to explain relative dimension to Hermione, Dumbledore asked Clara what had been weighing on his mind since Hermione had come bursting into his office and told him that Sirius Black was on the grounds outside with a man called 'the Doctor.'
"Can you help us, Clara? Can you truly help us?"
"I don't know." She said, with wide eyes. She was searching for the truth. "I don't know what this world is like, but the Doctor and I- we've saved so many. It's our job, it's what we do. The Doctor and his companion, we travel the universe together, saving worlds. I have to believe we can do for you what we have always done."
"The Doctor and his companion?" Asked Fred.
"You make it sound as though there were others." Said George.
From the other side of the room, the Doctor said "There were."
Looking at Dumbledore, he said "I am old, Professor. Very old. Older even than you, and I have watched the stars burn and new worlds come into life, and I will see your world saved."
A sort of quiet had come over the room, the one Clara knew to be the calm before the battle. There was always a moment of realization for the people they fought with, the ones who were not used to this kind of life.
With this, Dumbledore nodded, and said "Of course. How silly of me it was not to believe, when I have heard such things about you."
"So they know me in this world?"
"They do." Said Dumbledore, much to the general confusion of the others in the room.
"You've been here before?" Asked Clara.
"Not before, after. Or rather, not yet. Perhaps it was another me." Said the Doctor.
"It may have been by another face, but this world knew you once, when it was young. Tales of 'the Doctor,' were told a long time ago; it is only by my inquisitive nature that I know of them. They are lost, forgotten things." Said Dumbledore.
"I suppose they would be." Said the Doctor, contemplatively. He looked tired suddenly, and worn.
"Albus." Said Mcgonagall. "They must stay here if they are to join us." The twins nodded their assent, and Sirius just looked confused.
"Ah yes, they shall. It is no longer the beginning of the year, so we can't introduce them as teachers, but they could be de-aged, I suppose. We could sort them late, say they are from Beaubaxtons Academy?" Said Dumbledore, to the room at large.
"De-aging?" Sirius asked, warily.
"No." Said Hermione.
"No?" Asked Dumbledore.
"We'll introduce them as teachers, and they'll teach Astronomy to seventh years and Muggle Studies to fifth years, respectively." Said Hermione.
"The time-turner." Said Mcgonagall, understanding.
They'll take us back to the year's start, take us back to before we ever came here.
"I know it isn't strictly allowed, per-se, but these are extraordinary times and they do seem to be calling for extraordinary measures. It's the only way to keep them here in the castle without arousing suspicion." Said Hermione, turning to the Headmaster. "Nobody transfers to Hogwarts mid-year. The beginning of the year, maybe, but it would be too strange, somebody would pick up on it, and I would hate for that somebody to be Malfoy."
"Miss Granger, I know you and your friends don't see eye to eye with Mr. Malfoy, but that is no reason to believe that he has mal intent toward this school." Said Dumbledore.
"I know, sir, but he's sharp, and he would know something was off. He or one of his cronies would tell his father, and then where would we be?" She pointed out, staring him down.
"Excuse me, but what exactly is a time-turner, and if you are all planning what I think you're planning, why couldn't we use the literal time machine parked on your south lawn?" Asked Clara.
"Because," said Hermione, sounding only slightly like it should be obvious, "we can't use your time-travel here. All magic leaves a signature, and my bet is that your machine leaves one too."
The Doctor seemed pleased with Hermione's cleverness, and said "It does. Tachyons. Void stuffs. It's crawling with invisible things. We'll leave her in the forest, I'll go re-park." He said, making to leave, when Dumbledore stopped him.
"You mustn't leave this room, Doctor. You could be seen."
"Oh yes, I suppose that would interrupt out plan for secrecy, wouldn't it." Said the Doctor, sitting back down.
"Then it's settled. We turn back time." Said Mcgonagall.
"Yes," said Sirius. "We turn back time."