Venus in Retrograde
"Amy, are you sure?"
"Yes, Rory, of course I am. It's over and done with, the universe collapses no more, and I can see time shifting here, on this plane. Look." She said, pointing at the screen.
Amy and Rory were sat down in a little tea shop in a sedate part of Morocco drinking peppermint tea from small, ceramic cups. The walls were draped in tapestries and lengths of beautiful, glittery fabrics, and candles as well as wall sconces cast bright, yellow light over the tea room. The two of the were looking quite intently at a thin, tablet computer screen while a thick, leather adornment on Amy's left wrist buzzed faintly.
"Okay. Alright, i guess we have to have a go at this. Really have a go, I mean." Said Rory, looking at the tablet with an expression of disbelief, like he wasn't quite sure he believed what he said. "We can absolutely do this."
"That's the spirit." Said Amy, with a cheeky sort of smile in his direction. "Now, from what I can see, Jack's vortex manipulator is picking up a disturbance around the fifty-seventh parallel, see?" She said, gesturing to the display on the tablet again. "But, there's something strange here," she said, pointing to the fuzziness on the display, and then to a blue light flashing on her vortex manipulator. "It's in another dimension. A parallel one."
"So its Scotland, then, but it isn't our Scotland." Said Rory, understanding.
"Right in one, my dear." Said Amy, prodding Rory on the nose for emphasis. "And, if you look at this, you can sort of tell where to go."
"Sort of?" Asked Rory skeptically.
Amy only grinned.
Clara Oswald woke up to bright, yellow light filtering through her high-tower window on the morning of September the first, nineteen-ninety three. She remembered the events of the night before, or after, or what have you, slowly, but clearly.
Across the way, and seven floors down, Sirius Black did the same.
"So we're obviously going to have to change your face, Mister Black." Said Hermione from her position beside the headmaster's desk. They had all gathered in Dumbledore's office to carry out their plan to send Clara, the Doctor, and Sirius back to September first.
"My face?" Said Sirius, indignantly.
"Come now, dear, you'd be recognized instantly." Said Clara, reasonably, with a gentle grasp on Sirius' arm.
"Yes, I suppose, but what is to be done with the rest of you?" He asked, gesturing to Dumbledore, McGonagall, the twins and Hermione. "You'll need to come back too, so you remember us."
"I'm afraid, mister Black, that we cannot come with you." Said Dumbledore calmly, as was ever his way.
"If we were to go back, there would be doubles of Miss Granger, the Headmaster, Messrs Weasley and myself." Explained McGonagall.
"Precisely." Said Dumbledore, nodding his head in her direction. Then, addressing the room, he said, "There is a way, however, to keep the memories alive, so to speak." Calling over the pensieve, Dumbledore explained its function. "Tonight, we will all extract our memories of the past few hours, and place them into phials. Clara will keep them with her when you all go back, and upon arrival in the past, she will present them to my past self, and all will be set right. For the time being, anyhow."
"But how will you know they are real?" Asked the Doctor. "How do we get you to trust us?"
"With words, dear Doctor. 'Ariana says hello.' That should do the trick," He said, with his finger alongside his nose.
"Ariana says hello?" Asked Fred.
"A story for another time, dear Mister Weasley."
"Alright," said McGonagall, to Sirius. "Let's change your face, shall we?"
Turning on Sirius now, she raised her wand, and cast a glamour that rippled over his face in shiny waves before it settled and faded.
"Did it work?" Asked Sirius.
"Why does he look the same?" Asked Clara.
"He won't look any different to any of us, but to others who look upon him, he will appear to be slightly different, just shifted enough to be unrecognizable as Sirius Black."
"Seamless work, Minerva, as always." Said Dumbledore, with a twinkle in his eye.
"Why, thank you." She said, with a small smile.
Dumbledore drew a set of phials from within his robe and set them on a small rounded table he had conjured to hold them.
"You will place your memories in these, Miss Granger, Messrs Weasley. Please do the same, Minerva."
The five of them drew breaths, and raised their wands to their temples and drew them forward, looking for the world like a confederation of specters when from their minds came glowing strands of silver light, reflecting moonbeams across their eyes. They repeated the motion a few times until they had dropped all their memories into their respective crystal phials, and once they were stoppered, Dumbledore set them back into the velvet bag from which they had been extracted.
The man in question handed the bag to Clara, and she took it with shaking hands.
I'm holding bits and pieces of people's minds in my hands.
Handing the time-turner to Clara now, Hermione said, "Don't worry that it squeezes a little. It's quite normal, I assure you. But do make sure that you mean what you think. It can be dangerous, otherwise."
Then, To Clara, Sirius, and The Doctor, McGonagall advised, "Do be careful that you turn it three times, and with intention. Thank quite hard on the place you want to go, and go there you shall."
Taking it from her, Clara looped its long, golden chain around her neck, and then the boys' necks. With a last look at the room around her, she turned the dial, once, twice, and then three times. The room began to fuzz in and out around her, as she and the boys watched the last few months go by in a blur, all around them as though they weren't really there. People came and went, light glowed and faded, everything was moving so fast, and then, all of a sudden, it stopped.
The room was dark, and Clara blinked as her eyes adjusted to the blue glow of the moonlight suffused through the room. The spindly, silver instruments that decorated the Headmaster's surface were in their places, and were whirring comfortingly in the silence.
"Clara?" Asked the Doctor.
"Are we clear?"
"Yes, I think so." She said.
Unlooping himself from the time-turner's chain, Sirius drew his wand and looked around Dumbledore's study.
"Yes, we're clear. He must be out. What time do you think it is? Do you think we've got here on the right day, lass?"
"Yes, I can feel it, I think. And quite late, too."
The Doctor unlooped himself as well, leaving Clara with the time turner, and went to the window to inspect the grounds below.
"I think we had better have a look around the castle, don't you?" Asked the Doctor, with a slight grin.
The trio made it all the way down the staircase and out into the corridor before they heard footsteps.
"Quick, quickly, around the corner if you please!" hissed Clara, hastening to hide from the people approaching.
Crouched up behind a suit of armor that most certainly did not cover the three of them, Sirius, the Doctor, and Clara waited until the voices passed them.
"No, Severus, we can't be sure of that. We were there that day, and we know what happened. If Sirius Black is truly after Harry Potter, we can't know for certain that he means him harm."
"You may operate under any misconceptions you like, Minerva, but I will not delude myself into thinking that we ought not worry."
"Don't let your past cloud your judgements, Severus. It can make you ever so blind."
Hearing Mcgonagall's voice was reassuring, but they couldn't breach their hiding place just yet. Not with other people hanging about.
Sirius looked at Clara, and she shook her head.
No. Not yet. We wait for Dumbledore.
Seeming to understand, he kept his seat.
When the voices passed, they continued along the hall, and crept all the way down the (moving!) staircases to the first floor and into the Great Hall.
I forgot that they moved and shifted, how strange.
"Wow." Said Clara, looking up at the enchanted ceiling. "This place is even more beautiful than I had imagined it to be." Looking over at Sirius, she said, "When I was younger, I never thought that the ceiling of the Great Hall would actually be so high. It's like we're actually standing in a cave that opens up to the night sky."
"I thought so too, the first time I saw it at night."
"What do we do?" Asked Clara, after a moment.
"We wait." Said the Doctor.
"Wait?" Asked Sirius.
"Yes, I have a feeling that we won't remain here long without our beloved headmaster noticing. I did read the books you know," he said, gesturing to the room at large. "The walls have ears around here. Nothing goes on without him knowing. Supposedly, anyways."
"Right then, shall we sit?" Asked Clara.
"Ahem." Said a voice from the doorway.
"Ah!" Said Clara, who jumped only a little. After settling a bit, "Headmaster, you startled us." She said with a grin.
"You know me, then?"
"Ariana says hello."
"I see. Come with me."
Once they were back in Dumbledore's study, he offered the three of them tea and biscuits, conjured three slightly overstuffed armchairs, and sat down behind his desk before he said anything more at all.
"I take it that you're here with some purpose?"
The Doctor was the first to respond. Standing up, he said, "You sent us back in time, we've come only from a few months from now, and you sent us back in this very room. We've come by way of time turner, as much as it pains me to say so, and we're here to save the world, in short."
Bouncing on the balls of his feet, the Doctor turned to Clara, as though asking her to explain the finer details.
Ever so impatient, you are.
Pulling the time-turner from around her neck, Clara offered it up as proof, but Dumbledore declined to hold it. Tucking it back down her shirt, Clara said, "This Time-turner belongs to Hermione Granger." At that, Dumbledore let some surprise show on his face.
"Go on." He said.
"We landed here a few months in the future with a mission in mind, so you and Minerva McGonagall sent us back with your memories of the night you found us, and instructions to be put on staff as Hogwarts teachers. You gave me a passcode and instructions. And I've already given you the passcode." Clara then pulled out the velvet bag that contained the phials of memory within it, and set it on the table. Pulling one out, she said "You're going to need to wake Hermione Granger, Professor McGonagall, and Messrs Fred and George Weasley."