[identity profile] jammasterjayne.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] remix_redux
Title: Who So Loves Believes the Impossible (The Metaphysical Gravity Remix)
Author: [livejournal.com profile] krabapple
Summary: The more things change, the more they change. Sirius Black and Rose Tyler face brave new worlds.
Fandom: Harry Potter/Doctor Who (2005)
Pairing: Rose Tyler/Doctor (Ten); Sirius Black/Remus Lupin. Characters: Rose Tyler, Sirius Black
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: All belongs to J.K. Rowling, the BBC, and other credited parties.
Original story: On the Other Side by [livejournal.com profile] thistlerose
Notes: Thank you to [livejournal.com profile] such_heights for being a patient and awesome beta. Thanks also to [livejournal.com profile] thistlerose for allowing me to work with her fiction. Spoilers for HP through Half-Blood Prince and for Doctor Who through Season 3's Smith and Jones. This fic is divided into two posts due to length.

This post is part one. Part One

Here is the link to part two: Part Two

At first, Sirius dreams.

There's whirling starlight, tiny pinpricks of light behind his eyes that begin to swirl. Sometimes they dance, constellations moving and shifting into incandescence. Sometimes they turn into lines, long lines of light that go on for miles and miles and miles. Sometimes there are few stars, only one or two, so far away from each other and so tiny to Sirius' eyes.

Suns and novas begin to open up, to prick behind Sirius' eyelids, bright and colorful and terrible. Then there are no stars at all; black holes open and close, mouths gaping, swallowing. Entire planets, solar systems, existences disappear in one final riot of color, blues, yellows, greens, reds, all of them sucked into nothingness.

Finally, Sirius gets swallowed, too, opening his eyes to the stark whiteness of oblivion.


He's been here for days, strapped down to a gurney, poked, prodded and examined, and it's breaking Rose's heart, just a little. She's almost positive he's human, skin and flesh and blood just like her, and though he doesn't show any outward signs of pain at the doctor's tests, his eyes flicker behind his eyelids, so Rose knows he's feeling something. What it is, she doesn't know.

He just appeared, this man who is too skinny for his own good, his face hollowed out underneath his cheekbones. He showed up in the middle of an old department store down in the middle of London, prone and unconscious on the floor of the women's department, a long stick made of oak in his hand. Store security had alerted Torchwood itself, the chief guard one of Rose's own contacts. That's probably the only reason Rose is aware of the situation at all; Rose is quite high in the ranks of Torchwood, but this still isn't exactly her area, and she knows no one else in her department is aware of the stranger down on level twelve.

Rose has been hovering, she knows, and Mickey's been teasing her, calling her a mother chicken, though it's Mickey who has been more like the mother chicken, clucking at Rose and following her every move. She knows he's just worried about her, so she tolerates his behavior, even as his face is dark and distrustful of this new stranger. Mickey knows what Rose is thinking, what she's hoping, more like it, and she thinks he's more distrustful of that than the man hooked up to machines and restrained on the bed.

Rose and Mickey are still there when the man wakes up. They've been casually bickering back and forth. She's been teasing him about Jake, and he's been suitably indignant, though even Rose isn't certain how much of the mild outrage is for show and how much of it is real.

The man's eyes open. Rose notices right away, and comes to hover above his face. His eyes are grey, misty from the tears that are rising due to the bright lights in the room. He seems to be taking Rose and Mickey in, though he hasn't said anything – or can't, Rose isn't sure which. His right hand jerks against the restraint at his wrist, but he doesn't struggle or try to pull free.

"Oh, hello," Rose says, and smiles.

Mickey objects, of course. "Don't get too close, Rose. Blood tests aren't finished yet. We aren't sure what he is."

The man tries to speak now, though mostly what Rose hears is a whispered "w" sound.

"That some sort of alien?" Mickey asks.

A bit exasperated, Rose stops studying the stranger and turns to Mickey. "None that I ever heard of. Mickey, I really think he's human."

The stranger's chest rises and falls with a large breath. "Fell. Fell through an archway . . . a veil." He stops, breath shuddering. Rose reaches over, touches his cheek. "I have to get back. To Harry." He stops again.

"Mickey, he's from London!" Rose says, the excitement evident in her voice.

The man wheezes out another breath, and closes his eyes.


When Sirius opens his eyes again, the Rose girl is sitting on his bed. It's a real bed this time, and there are no bright lights or small beeping noises in the background. He takes a moment to look around, though the room is spare – just the bed, a small dresser, and one chair that the Mickey bloke is sitting in.

When she sees his eyes open, Rose smiles again, all warmth. Sirius has always preferred blokes, to be sure, and he doesn't find Rose particularly attractive, even for a woman – her hair is bottle blonde, roots showing on the top of her head, and her hips are too large and round for his taste (probably the bloke preference rearing up again, though). But Sirius has gotten to know how to read people, and he can tell Rose is, if nothing else, genuine. His head relaxes into the pillow just a little more because of this, in spite of himself.

She's excited, too, Sirius can tell, blood thrumming and singing through her veins like, well, like magic. "'Lo," Sirius manages.

"Hello." Rose smiles even wider, and it's infectious – Sirius almost smiles back. "I'm Rose Tyler."

"Black," Sirius answers.

Rose's eyebrows furrow together, just for a moment. "Is that your first or last name?"

"Sirius," he tries again, too confused and tired to try to parcel out what difference it might make to Rose.

"So, you're from London, then?"

Sirius, who knows the Blacks have been from London since before the Romans even found the damp little island, nods. He doesn't see what the fuss is about.

"The other London, I mean. The one I'm really from."

Rose's attempts at clarification have only left Sirius more confused. He scrubs at his face, bony knuckles catching on his eyelids. "I don't know what you mean."

"No, I suppose you don't," Rose acknowledges. "Well. I've got some food if you're hungry. Not much, just toast and tea – you've been hooked up to those IVs for days. If you feel like you can eat, that is."

Sirius nods. He's not really hungry, but he is dry, as if his whole body is a desert.

Rose rises off the bed, though Mickey stays seated. Suddenly, she clasps Sirius' hand in hers, sending little running rivulets of warmth down into Sirius' fingers. "All right," she says. "I'll bring you a tray, and we can talk. I have this idea. I think. Well, I think we're from the same place. And I don't know if it's possible, but. I don't know if it's possible to get back, but, well. There's something I never got to do."

At that, Sirius looks up, into her eyes, and finally sees that her smile doesn't quite reach them.


Rose brings back a tray of tea and toast, just as advertised. Mercifully, she and Mickey are quiet while Sirius eats cautiously and slurps his tea.

"Good for the synapses, tea," Rose finally ventures, and though Mickey rolls his eyes, Sirius notes amusement in his face all the same.

Rose takes the tray when he's done and sets it on top of the dresser, filling the teacup one last time and handing it to Sirius. She sits back on his bed, the mattress dipping underneath her weight. To Sirius' surprise and confusion, she pulls something out of the back pocket of her trousers. They're glasses. Well, not proper spectacles, but more like the paper and plastic ones that they used to use sometimes when Lily took them to the Muggle cinema. Sirius has to think for a moment before he can remember what Evans used to call them – 3D glasses, he thinks.

To Sirius' mild surprise, Rose puts the glasses on and peers at him closely. Suddenly she laughs and claps her hands, almost like a little girl, and it startles Sirius, causing him to lean back.

"Sorry. Sorry," Rose says, though by her tone, Sirius can tell she really isn't sorry at all. "See, Mickey," she says, calling her companion over. "Come look. He has the residue, see."

Mickey does come over, taking the glasses Rose offers to him. He puts them on, too, and moves his face right near Sirius, looking him over from tip to toe. "Huh," he grunts, before handing the glasses back over to Rose. "Well. Isn't that interesting?" Somehow Mickey manages to look skeptical and convinced at the same time.

Sirius remains silent.

"We were just looking. Well. We were looking for this – residue," Rose says to Sirius, as if that explains anything to him. "Like dust, sort of. Here," she says abruptly, putting the paper glasses on Sirius' face before he can stop her.

Everything looks green in them, or yellow, but once he focuses, Sirius can see what Rose means. There are particles dancing around both Mickey and Rose, and when Rose gently sways from side to side, the particles follow her. Sirius would almost think that these glasses detect magic, but he is certain these people are not wizards.

Sirius takes the glasses off and says, "So?"

"So," Rose takes a deep breath. "So – only people who have traveled trans-dimensionally, that is, from one universe or dimension to another, carry that residue. Which means – you had to have come from another world."

Sirius blinks.

Mickey turns to look at Rose, grinning lopsidedly. "Maybe you should start over, Rose," he says.

And so, she does.


For people who have no concept or inkling of the magical world, Sirius thinks later, they certainly believe in almost everything else. Aliens, Doctors and the TARDIS, travel through time and space, different dimensions and alternate realities, alien cultures and weapons and technology.

Sirius tries very hard not to gape. He's tempted not to believe them, but then thinks of his own existence, of werewolves and spells, transfigurations and conjuring, and he mentally shrugs, thinking that it's amazing how much Muggles can know or do. If the wizarding world had any idea, any inklings of these things, it might really fold in on itself, he thinks, lock itself away from the rest of the world, as it already tends to do when threatened or frightened, and he silently muses that it's probably better they don't know. Then he thinks of this power in Voldemort's hands, and he struggles not to lose his toast.

Rose is looking at him nervously, Mickey doing the same, though with a little more menace, as if he expects Sirius to lash out or bolt for the door any second. Instead, Sirius mulls things over for a moment, and then sighs.

"How much do you know about magic?" he asks.

"Like card tricks or water escapes?" Mickey says.

Sirius squints at him. "Not exactly," he says. "Actually, not at all."

Mickey and Rose exchange a glance. This time it's Rose who says, "Maybe you should start over."

So Sirius, his fingers itching for his wand, does.


Mickey is pacing the small room, and Sirius, already tired, is leaning back against the pillows, eyes closed. He can feel Rose's weight still on the bed, the sheets now warm from where she's been sitting. Mickey unconsciously sighs every twenty paces or so, which is starting to drive Sirius slightly mad.

Abruptly Mickey stops. "Prove it."

Sirius opens his eyes. Rose is glaring at Mickey reprovingly. "I. Well, I really need my wand for that."

"Your wand? That stick of oak they found on you?" Rose asks.

Sirius winces to hear his wand called a mere stick of oak, but he nods. "Yes."

"Can't you do something without a wand? What kind of wizard can't do something without a wand?" Mickey asks.

"I can do wandless magic. It's just more complicated and I. Well, I'm exhausted." He doesn't add his next thought: And James was always much better at it than I was.

Rose's face softens with something akin to pity, though Sirius, when in a more charitable mood, might be likely to call it compassion. Mickey, however, remains resolute.

"Do either of you have a pencil?" Sirius asks.

Mickey produces a ballpoint pen from his pocket and hands it to Sirius.

"That'll do," Sirius says, placing the pen next to him on the bed instead of in his hand. He starts to mutter the incantation, belatedly hoping that magic exists in this world as it does in his own. Suddenly the pen turns into a gum drop, and Sirius breathes out with relief and, to a certain measure, joy.

Rose suddenly laughs.

"It's not a party trick," Sirius snaps. He can see he's stung Rose by the way she leans back, and he's sorry, but it's true – magic is much more important than parlor games. Mickey's face darkens, and Sirius makes an effort not to care.

"We'll get your wand back," Rose says quietly, stepping off the bed.

Sirius merely closes his eyes again. Eventually he hears Rose leaving the room, Mickey following some time later. When they're both gone Sirius sleeps again, this time without dreaming.


It's morning when Rose appears again. Sirius assumes it's the next morning, though there's no real reason it hasn't been five or six days since he's last seen her, from what Sirius can tell. Rose is wearing different clothes; she's dressed much more casually, jeans, a shirt and a hooded sweatshirt covering her body. She's carrying a small package, which she drops onto Sirius' bed.

"There's clothes in there. Not much, just pants, jeans and a t-shirt. But it's necessary if you're going to be able to get around."

"Where are we going?" Sirius asks, not questioning the clothing, pulling off the dotted medical scrub-shirt he has been wearing and ducking his head into the black cotton t-shirt Rose brought for him.

"I've been able to get you released," Rose says.

Sirius looks up.

"It was a fine bit of work, too; the higher-ups didn't want to let you go even if you are human. Just appearing out of nowhere isn't normal in their rulebook." At this, Rose quirks a smile. "Mine, either, really, but I wasn't about to tell them what you told me. Too much trouble already."

Sirius nods, translating "too much trouble already" as "I still need you so maybe someday you'll return the favor." He's not sure if that's entirely fair to Rose or not, but it's true, so he lets the comment pass by without remarking on it.

"I was able to convince them that you hadn't just appeared – that your story was that you'd passed out on the floor, and no one had noticed you yet," Rose adds.

"So I'm a drunk," Sirius says. It's a truer statement than it used to be, and Sirius ducks his head.

Rose shrugs. "Better than being a wizard they'll want to drug and test for a few more weeks."

Sirius looks up again, measuring. Rose, though young, is shrewder than he had thought, and he files that away for future reference. The kid might not be in over her head after all.

Rose raises an eyebrow, as if she can read his thoughts. Then she smiles again, and reminds Sirius just how young she is. "I'll wait outside until you're ready," she says.

Three minutes and two wobbly legs later, Sirius is ready. He opens the door to his small room to find Rose waiting for him as promised. She hands him a wallet which he opens to examine. Inside there's Muggle money, a few hundred pounds from the looks of it – Sirius was never that good with Muggle money – a pass for the London underground, and a dummy driver's license with Sirius' name and picture, but with a fake birthday and address. Sirius palms the wallet into his pocket.

"Standard Torchwood issue," Rose says, beginning to lead Sirius down a well-lit though institutional hallway. "You'll need it."

Sirius acknowledges the truth of this; he literally has nothing. He's been in that position before, and he knows how to take care of himself, but he won't let Rose know that, not yet. This is a different world, after all. This way is easier.

But it does remind Sirius of one vital fact. "Where's my wand?"

Rose makes a face. "That's where we're going, actually. The brains up in the Tech department don't want to let it go yet."

"I can't leave without it," Sirius says as he and Rose approach the entrance to a lift. Rose presses the up button.

"I guessed as much," Rose replies. "I know someone in Tech; she might help us. Mickey's up there now."

At the mention of Mickey, Sirius must have made a face without knowing it, because Rose laughs. Sirius looks at her. "You just remind me of someone, that's all," she says.

The doors to the lift open, and Sirius and Rose step inside. "Your Doctor?" Sirius asks.

"Yes," Rose says simply, and the lift doors shut.


After a long ride up the lift – they had to have gone up almost a hundred floors, easy, Sirius thinks – Sirius and Rose step out of the lift onto a bright, sterile floor filled with cubicles.

"Welcome to the low-level grunt section of Torchwood's Alien and Unknown Origin Technology floor," Rose says, sweeping her arm to encompass the view in front of her. Rose starts to walk, Sirius following, many of the people sitting in cubicles waving or shouting greetings to Rose. Seeing the advantage of being with a friendly and popular person, Sirius does his best to relax and fit in, nodding when appropriate. It's an effort.

Finally Rose takes a right turn and stops at the second cubicle on the left. Mickey's there, all right, chatting with a girl that looks to be about their own age, maybe a bit older, with long blonde hair. Mickey waves to Rose, and the other girl turns around to acknowledge her new visitors.

When she does, Sirius gasps. He's only seen the girl a couple of times, usually in pictures or through Harry's descriptions, but he did see her for an extended time, just once – in the Department of Mysteries. "Luna Lovegood," he says before he can stop himself.

Luna's wearing cabbage earrings, not radishes, but they dangle all the same as she shakes her head and smiles. "That's right," she says brightly. "At your service."

Both Rose and Mickey are staring at Sirius. "I -- I know her. Knew her." Sirius shakes his head.

Luna smiles benignly. "Have we met?" she asks.

"Not here," Sirius answers.

At that, Rose steps in. "Luna, we were hoping you can do us a favor."

Luna stops looking at Sirius, though reluctantly, turning her gaze to Rose. "Whatever I can do Rose," she says.

"Sirius here, well, he has some personal property that Tech is insisting on keeping, even though he's been discharged. We were wondering if you could get it freed for us," Rose explains.

Luna looks back at Sirius, and then at Rose and Mickey in turn. "I can try," she says brightly. "It's not a nestral catcher, is it? Because those are strictly under quarantine right now. Not that that's not absurd, but there's only so much I can do."

Mickey shakes his head. "No, it's not that. It's." He pauses. "It's, well, it's a stick. A long piece of wood."

"Oh!" Luna's whole face lights up. "You mean this!" Luna spins around in her chair and opens the top right hand drawer of her desk, taking out Sirius' wand.

"Yes, that's it," Rose smiles widely. "Do you think you can get it released to us?"

"Well, sure," Luna says slowly, twirling the wand in her fingers. "Is it yours?" she asks Sirius.

"Yes," Sirius answers.

"Are you – " Luna stops, looks around, and then lowers her voice. "A wizard?"

"Yes," Sirius says again, whispering, too.

"Oh. Well. Okay. If it's your wand, I can certainly release it to you. 11", oak, unicorn tail, am I right?" Luna is still whispering.

"That's right," Sirius says. He doesn't know, actually, but if Luna says so; Remus had picked it up for him on the black market, and at the time Sirius didn't ask too many questions. He hadn't had a wand in 14 years, and it had worked, so he hadn't cared.

"Well, I can give it to you, but I will have to file a report for my boss," Luna says.

"That could be a problem," Rose says in a regular voice, startling both Luna and Sirius, who were still conversing in a whisper. "I don't think Davis is going to be happy about us taking tech he still wants cataloged."

Luna laughs, her voice a melody, and shakes her head. "Not Davis." She waves her hand dismissively. "I can deal with him, no problem." Luna lowers her voice again. "I mean my real boss."

Mickey and Rose look puzzled, but Sirius finally catches on. "You're a plant for the Ministry."

Luna nods, cabbages dancing.

Sirius shakes his head. "I should have known they'd have someone here."

"What's the Ministry?" Rose asks.

"It's like, well, it's like our government," Luna says. "Like the Prime Minister's office."

"So you're – one of them, too," Mickey waves a hand to encompass Luna and Sirius.

"Oh, I'm a witch, yes," Luna admits cheerfully.

"Unbelievable," Mickey says ruefully, shaking his head.

"Why?" Luna asks, genuinely puzzled.

"Nothin'," Mickey answers, still shaking his head.

"So you have to report to your boss?" Rose steers the conversation back to the matter at hand.

"Yes, but that shouldn't take long," Luna assures, handing Sirius his wand for good measure. Sirius' fingers tingle underneath the wood. "Oh, wait. Are you that bloke they found in the store?" Luna asks.

Rose immediately looks suspicious, but Sirius nods.

"Right. Well, that mess makes a lot more sense now," Luna says. "Sort of. Anyway, I'll write this right up and email it over, and then you'll be set."

Mickey and Rose both nod, but Sirius frowns. "E-mail?"

"Oh, yes. Our new Minister is quite modern. Computers, wireless, mobiles. It's very efficient," Luna smiles.

"Can't be Fudge, then," Sirius mutters, twirling his wand between his fingers.

"Fudge?" Luna spins around in her chair, pulls up an email interface, and starts typing. "Oh, him. He tried running for Minister in 1990, got defeated. Haven't heard from him since."

"So what crooked wizard did they get for the job on this side, then?" Sirius asks. He doesn't really care, per se, except that it might turn out useful when he and Rose start to make plans in earnest regarding the Veil.

Luna keeps on typing. "Oh, Mr. Potter is quite lovely, really. Not crooked at all. He's very honest."

Sirius doesn't even feel his knees buckle, doesn't know he's headed toward the floor until Mickey moves suddenly to prop him up and Rose catches his arm.

"Who?" Sirius manages to get out, leaning on Roses' arm to stay upright.

Luna spins back around in her chair, a look of concern on her face. "James Potter. He's been Minister now for eight months. Wonderful influence."

Luna's computer monitor reflects Sirius' ashen face. "But James." Sirius can barely say the name. "James is dead."

Mickey and Rose exchange a serious look.

"Gingerbread house," Mickey says.

Rose squeezes Sirius' arm until he looks at her. "Not everything is going to be what you hope for," she says gently, looking into his eyes. "Maybe nothing will be."


Luna is their guide to the Ministry. Having heard the story from Sirius and Rose, she seems amazingly unaffected, breezing through the situation as if men from other dimensions fell through the sky every day.

The four of them take the tube, getting off after only two or three stops. Sirius is too distracted to count, scenarios running non-stop through his mind. Rose looks calm, but underneath the surface he can feel her vibrating, and it's not from excitement. She seems nervous for him, even sad. Mickey is uncharacteristically quiet, letting Luna chatter to him about the nestral lock-down and how unfair it is.

To Sirius' surprise, they are still in downtown London, standing outside a modern high rise, all reflective glass and sun beaming off the mirrors. He turns to Luna.

"How do we get in?" he asks.

Luna looks at him and takes her own wand out of her skirt pocket. "Through the front door, of course."

That is exactly what they do. They walk up the steps, open the doors, and walk right in, getting a nod from a security guard who looks suspiciously like the younger Crabbe to Sirius.

After a brief stop at the front desk, where Luna flashes her badge and gets visitor passes out of the good-natured elf at the desk, the party of four heads past the ornate sculpture of the magical races (Sirius reflecting that at least some things don't change) and onto the lift, where memo notes flutter around their heads as they make their way to the 36th floor.

The group is silent, Rose looking in wonder at the flying memos, Mickey batting at a couple of memos to the Aurors that keep getting too close to his ears. Luna is perfectly serene, looking as if she makes this trip every day, and she probably does.

Sirius, meanwhile, is waging war with himself. He is dangerously aware of how shattering this could be for him, how hard it might be for him to put back jagged pieces that no longer fit together, but he can't stop himself. It's James. The last time he saw James was dead in his own house, spectacles twisted around a cut on his forehead, still bleeding even though his heart had stopped pumping, eyes brown and clear and open, blank and unfeeling. Sirius shudders at the memory, squeezing his eyes shut not only to rid himself of the image, but to stop the tears that are suddenly forming. He opens his eyes only as the lift pings their arrival at floor 36. Rose is watching him closely, and he scowls, as if her perception is too acute. She can't know all of his secrets.

Luna steps out first, gliding up to an ornate cedar desk that is the only furniture on the floor besides five plush chairs set up for waiting guests. There's a young woman behind the desk, probably just out of Hogwarts from the look of her, and Luna smiles. "We're here to see Minister Potter on urgent business," Luna says loudly. Then, lowering her voice, "It's about that Torchwood project, you know."

"Yes, right away Miss Lovegood," the girl says, rising from the desk. "The Minister is waiting for you." She walks to a large oak door in the center of the wall and pushes it open, stepping inside. There's muffled conversation before she steps out again.

"Of course. The Minister will see you now," the secretary says, opening the door wider in order to allow Luna's party entrance.

"On second thought, I think my friend here would like to go first," Luna says, gesturing Sirius forward. Rose looks about to object, and Mickey radiates disapproval like a supernova, but Luna looks unfazed.

"If that's what he wishes," James' secretary says, keeping the door open.

Honestly, Sirius isn't sure that's what he wishes at all, but he goes, his feet propelling him forward of their own accord. He enters the inner office, and is just barely aware of the door closing behind him.

It takes James – this James – a moment to look up from his work. He's writing by hand, scribbling furiously on a piece of paper before he folds it carefully; he picks up his wand and says the incantation and the memo flies off, dodging Sirius and going out via the fireplace.

Finally James looks at him, a polite if slightly uninterested look his face, and asks, "May I help you?"

It takes Sirius a moment to realize that James does not recognize him, and he flushes with shame. He's known that Azkaban took its toll on him; shaped his body as well as his mind, but he's never known like this before. In his world, Harry hadn't remembered what he'd looked like before, and of those who did, only Remus had been in a position to care, and he hadn't. Suddenly Sirius is now acutely and painfully aware of how wrinkled he is around his eyes, how pocked and craggy the surface of his face is. His whole body is hollow, a shell of its former self, cheeks sunken in his face like a skull, ribcage bony and sticking out, his hair longer and more unkempt than it had ever been when he was younger. His clothes, casual items handed over by Rose, only accentuate the lines and sharp angles of his body, and Sirius almost turns to go when James' voice stops him.

"May I help you?" James asks again, this time a look of slight worry overtaking the polite interest on his face.

"I. I'm not sure. No. Yes," Sirius manages.

James looks vaguely amused now in addition to polite, and it sparks some nebulous anger inside of Sirius' chest. James motions to the chairs opposite his desk. "You're welcome to sit if you'd like."

"I'd rather stand," Sirius says. He knows it's a pointless show of stubbornness, but he's clinging to the anger inside of him like a lifeline.

"If you'd like," James says easily, taking his own seat behind the desk. James, Sirius notes, looks almost exactly the same as he did when he was twenty-one. He looks a bit older, more filled out, more mature, but other than that he's still tall, and lanky. His eyes are the same rich brown, and his smile still holds just a touch of mischief. Merlin bless him, Sirius notes that he even has the same style spectacles. They are clearly a different pair, but there they are, round and wire-rimmed, giving James a young and open look.

Sirius wishes that the floor would open up and swallow him whole.

"So you're the bloke Torchwood found at the Muggle store," James starts.

Sirius nods, fresh grief constricting his throat.

"Luna filed a very efficient report. It didn't say much about you, actually, but you did come to claim a wand, and it is a wand and you are a wizard, though, to be frank, my office has yet to be able to find a registration for that wand, and an unregistered wand is against our laws, as I'm sure you know." James voice is so smooth, so friendly, that it takes Sirius a moment to realize that James is threatening him. Before Sirius can answer, James continues. "I'd love to know where you came from, if you don't mind sharing."

A storm of choices choke Sirius. He wants to say Bellatrix stunned me, sent me falling through the Veil in the Department of Mysteries. I don't know how I got here, in a different universe, fifteen years into the future. I was trying to protect Harry, Voldemort was after him again, and he was in mortal danger, him and all of his friends, and I was just --. It was selfish, I hated being in that house and I was stupid enough to think a battle would be exciting.

"Prongs –" is all he manages.

Unexpectedly, James' face goes white, then flushes. "No one calls me that. No one has called me that." James stops. "Who are you?"

"I'm Padfoot," Sirius says.

James' face goes dark, and for the first time in ages, Sirius remembers what a powerful wizard James really was. "Sirius Black is dead."

At that, Sirius laughs, and even to his ears the series of short barks sounds hysterical.

"Not where I come from," Sirius says.

"And where is that, exactly?" James asks.

"The other side."


By the time Sirius finishes telling his story, Rose has stuck her head in, helping James' secretary bring in a pot of tea and several cups on a tray. Mickey and Luna remain in the waiting room, thumbing through old copies of The Daily Prophet and The Quibbler.

Sirius is sitting now, his shaking legs no longer able to support him, the trembling in his hands making it impossible to hold a cup of tea.

James looks white himself, and Rose sits in the office, remembering what it was like to see her own father, who wasn't her father, alive.

Finally Sirius asks, "How did I die?"

"During the war. In the very last stages. Snape and Regulus were about to bring us the final horcrux, and we diverted the Death Eaters into an ambush on The Leaky Cauldron so they could escape. You were there. Malfoy – " James trails off, rubbing a hand over his face. "I wasn't there; I've always hated myself for that. If I had been there – "

"He'd probably still be dead," Rose says softly, a truth neither man can say aloud.

Sirius softens. "You had Lily, Harry – I would never have begrudged you that. I never did."

James nods, but doesn't say anything.

"Lily," Sirius ventures.

James looks up, and both Rose and Sirius watch his face brighten instantly. "Charms Professor at Hogwarts. We keep a house here in London; she apparates back and forth every day."

Sirius can't bring himself to ask about Harry.

"She's been supportive of my political career, but she's still independent. Besides, Harry owns a house in Hogsmeade, so that way we can both be close to him. He's been playing professional Quidditch, but I think this will be his last season. Not that he's too old for it, really, he's just ready to move on. Settle down. Runes will be open at Hogwarts next year, and McGonagall will probably appoint him if he shows an interest. Olivia's been teaching elementary skills and magic around England for years, and I think she'd like to start a family."

Sirius blinks. "Olivia?"

"Olivia Longbottom, Neville's younger sister. They've been married, well, going on five years now. Nice girl." James smiles indulgently, paternally, and for the first time since his arrival Sirius feels like he's a million miles from home.

"Oh," Sirius manages. He thinks of the Harry in his world, the thin boy who grew up with the Dursleys hidden in a cupboard, the one who never knew James and Lily, the one who has been battling Voldemort since infancy. He wants to kill Peter Pettigrew all over again, thinking Azkaban a small price to pay.

"Your . . . Harry . . ." James trails off, but Sirius knows what he's asking.

Sirius can't bring himself to give an honest answer. "Well. He's well – the last time I saw him." When he thinks that it might now be fifteen years in the parallel future, too, all he can do is wish that Harry is even alive.

James nods, not pushing the issue. And why should he, Sirius thinks. His Harry is happy and safe and all of the things a parent could hope for.

Rose looks like she's about to say something, but the clock on James' desk suddenly chimes three high notes. James glances at the clock, smiles. "Lily's home," he says, turning the clock around so that Rose and Sirius can see the different arrows pointing to different people and places. Both "Lily" and "Home" are lit up by a bright green hand of the clock.

When Sirius doesn't speak, Rose places a hand over his. Normally Sirius would balk at the touch, afraid and resentful, but instead he lets Rose's hand rest there.

"Maybe we should go meet her," Rose suggests, and James smiles.


Rose and Lily are in the kitchen as Rose hangs up her mobile and goes to wash her hands so she can help Lily with the salad.

"Your mum okay?" Lily asks. Rose flushes slightly, realizing she must have been louder and more open on the phone than she had anticipated. Lily takes a fresh cucumber and begins to slice it.

Rose nods. "Yeah. She knows I'll be home later. I just have to call in time to wish Rachel goodnight." Rose starts slicing cherry tomatoes carefully. She's not much of a cook, honestly, but she can at least do this. The men are setting the table in the dining room; Luna's gone home to meet Ginny Weasley for supper.


"My little sister." Rose smiles.

"Much littler, I take it," Lily says.

Rose nods. "She's four. My parents didn't." Rose pauses. "Well, until the worlds started to collide, my parents were separated."

Lily doesn't say anything, just listens, giving Rose the opportunity to either continue or keep her story to herself.

"In my world, my dad. Well, my dad was dead. Died when I was a baby." Rose throws the sliced tomatoes into the wooden bowl. "In this world, at first both my parents were alive, and then. Well, my mum died."

"The Cybermen took a lot of good people," Lily says, softly.

"Your people knew about that?"

Lily nods. "Scared the hell out of us, it did. It's how we got involved in knowing about Torchwood and those parts of Muggle life. Many wizards joined the resistance, fought the Cybermen. I even think one of us helped develop the device that let the resistance jump between dimensions."

"Those huge buttons?"

"Those," Lily agrees. "Ugly as sin, but got the job done. Bill Weasley designed those things, and I always thought he had a wicked sense of humor."

"Then, when the gap between worlds shut, my mum came here to be with my dad, and I . . . I got stuck."

Lily looks sideways at Rose. "You still want to go back."

Rose nods.

"Even with your family here."

Rose ducks her head, determined not to show tears.

"And you think Sirius might be able to help you." Lily pauses. "That Doctor must be pretty special."

Rose looks up. "Very special."

"Well," Lily says, wiping her hands on a tea towel, "I know what it's like to be caught, have to choose between two worlds. I chose the magic, too."

Lily takes the bowl gently from Rose's hands. "Let's go eat."


It's not until dessert that Lily finally brings it up, and Sirius isn't surprised. Of all the things that are different in this world, it's Lily who is among the most unchanged. She's still as smart, perceptive and sharp as ever, and Sirius finds that comforting.

"You haven't asked about Remus," Lily mentions, stirring more sugar into her tea.

"Lily," James starts, but stops when Lily looks at him.

Sirius uses his fork to fiddle with the cake on his plate. "I thought. I'm not. I'm not sure I want to know."

"I'm not sure he needs to know," James says sharply, more steel in his voice than Sirius has heard yet.

Lily just looks at James until his face loses its sharpness.

Sirius drops his head. "In this world . . ."

"You loved each other," Lily answers. Sirius sighs. "I take it you do in your world, too." Sirius has told them as much of his story as he can manage; it's no surprise to him that Lily can fill in the details he glossed over.

Sirius shakes his head, though, surprising Rose, who is sitting across from him. "We. Well, as boys we loved each other. As men." He stops. "Well, I'm not sure what we were as men."

Rose, even now, can fill in the rest. She's not quite sure what wizarding prison is like, but from the things discussed this day, she's quite sure she doesn't want to know.

Sirius looks up. "Is he dead?"

Lily bites her lip, and James' voice quivers when he says, "No."

"Then – " Sirius asks, and everyone present can see the hope, and the excitement, there. Rose feels it flutter in her own chest for just a second before she sees the look on Lily's face.

"That last year, we decided to use the Fidelius," Lily starts, slowly. Sirius nods. "We were going to use you as Secret Keeper, or Dumbledore, but you had a plan at the last second."

Sirius' face goes grey, and even Mickey looks uncomfortable, knowing what comes next in Sirius' world.

"But. We didn't use Peter. Not here," Lily continues. "You thought, suspected Remus of being the spy. If we used him as the Secret Keeper, he'd almost certainly tell Voldemort right away. But then we'd know for sure who was betraying us."

"He wasn't?" Sirius asks, those two words sounding like they've been dragged from his throat.

It is James who answers. "No. That particular honor still goes to Peter Pettigrew."

"But we did make Remus the Secret Keeper, as a trap. That Halloween, almost the entire Order was set up near Godric's Hollow, waiting for Voldemort's attack. We'd destroyed five of the six horcruxes by that time, and were certain we'd find the last one soon."

"What happened?" It's Rose, this time, who asks.

"Nothing," Lily answers. "Absolutely nothing. Remus didn't sell us out, of course, because he wasn't the spy. Peter didn't know yet where we were, exactly. It turned out to be. Well, it saved our lives, mine, James' and Harry's. We got the sixth horcrux and destroyed it, and then Dumbledore was able to defeat Voldemort for good, even though his own injuries ended up killing him a few years later."

"So then, Remus . . ." Sirius trails off as he slowly loses all color in his face.

"The Death Eaters found Remus, figured out he was the Secret Keeper. We think Peter did manage to figure that out and tell them. They." Lily stops.

"He never betrayed us, Sirius. He wouldn't," James adds.

Rose and Mickey look at each other, confused, though it's clear that the others at the table, even Sirius, know what's going on.

"Crucio," Sirius says, one word, just one.

Lily nods slowly, reaching next to her to take Sirius' hand. He lets her. "They tortured him into madness, but he never told them where we were."

"He's in St. Mungo's," James adds, his voice breaking with what Rose can recognize as grief. "We visit, three, four times a week, but. He doesn't know who we are. Who Harry is."

"He still transforms?" Sirius asks, and Rose is surprised he can find his voice to ask a question. Even Mickey is staring at his plate, his mouth set.

"In a cage," Lily says, and Sirius winces. "The Wolfsbane allows him to keep his mind, but. Well, he's actually very docile."

"When you. When you went to the Leaky Cauldron. Well. We always thought a part of you didn't care if you lived or died," James adds.

"I wouldn't have abandoned you on purpose. Or Harry!" Sirius nearly shouts, but Rose can hear the denial in his voice.

"Not on purpose, maybe," Lily says gently, leaning over to rest her head on one of Sirius' shoulders while James clasps the other with his hand.

At the end of the night, Rose goes home to her family as Sirius stays with the Potters; Mickey goes back to his flat.

Part One

Part Two

(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-22 10:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thistlerose.livejournal.com
Oh my god! This is - to borrow the Doctor's word - fantastic! You took my little ficlet and just...flew with it. Oh my god. This is epic. This is wonderful! Luna, a Ministry plant in Torchwood! James, the Minister! This is so cool.

And this:


"My little sister." Rose smiles.


I'm going to read part two tonight. I'm so excited. Thank you!!

(no subject)

Date: 2010-06-22 07:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rhea-silverkeys.livejournal.com
Wonderful! I enjoyed reading this. But so tragic =(


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We Invented the Remix...Redux V

May 2007

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