Faery Heroes

Response to Paladeus's challenge "Champions of Lilith". Harry, Hermione, and Luna get a chance to travel back in time and prevent the hell that England became under Voldemort's rule, and maybe line their pockets while they're at it. Lunar Harmony; plenty of innuendo, dark humor, some bashing included; manipulative!Dumbles; jerk!Snape; bad!Molly, Ron, Ginny



4. Audience with the Queen

"Luna, it looks like you will have to do it. Voldie used my blood already, so I have a pseudo-Horcrux. Make sure you aim at the scar, though, just in case."

She came up to kiss him passionately, followed by Hermione. Then she stood back, her face scrunched up as she gathered the necessary emotion. When her eyes opened, he flinched at the intensity of the hate she displayed in his direction, even as he knew none of it was for him. She raised her wand and took careful aim.

"Avada Kedavra."

Harry had died twice, and each time was a different experience. The first time he died at the end of Voldemort's wand, and the lying old goat had met him in Limbo, which looked remarkably like King's Cross Station. The second time he had technically died was when they were transferred to this new time stream, and he hadn't waited anywhere, but simply woke up. Now, he was in a forest glade.

He looked around, seeing nothing past the trees that marked the boundaries of the circular clearing. Once again he was nude, so he imagined a soft robe and put on the one that appeared. After he had dressed, he noticed something very wrong with his location: there were no sounds. No birds, no insects, not even any wind rustling the leaves. His wand was gone, but that was expected, so he instead primed a wandless Protego shield in his left hand. Wandless magic was difficult, and he could only use a half-dozen or so spells in that manner, but the Shield Charm was thankfully one of them.

A snapping branch broke the silence directly ahead of him. Out stepped a woman, but one unlike any other he had ever seen. She possessed a slight figure, covered with a slip dress of innumerable shades of green. Her eyes and hair were as blue as the sky, set in a tanned face, and her ears—

Harry stared, for no human had ears that long, thin, or pointed.

"I certainly didn't expect you to visit me so soon, my champion," the woman said, and Harry was distracted by the undertone of her voice, like hundreds of silver bells, before he comprehended the words she spoke and identified her.

He clumsily bowed. "Y-your Majesty, I had no idea I would come to your realm. We were just destroying a Horcrux, the one in my scar, and the only safe way to do that was the Killing Curse, so I was actually expecting to go to Limbo or somewhere—"

Her laugh interrupted his babbling. "I did not mean to sound displeased, Harry James Potter, I was simply making an observation. Come, sit with me." A pair of mushrooms sprouted and grew to be large enough to sit upon comfortably, and Harry took the one closest to him. "Now that we are situated, please continue."

"Er, that was everything. I'm not sure how I got here, exactly."

"You came because I wanted to speak with you. I know what happened in your original timeline, and I apologize for the stress I have caused you moving you to the one you are in now."

"There wasn't much stress; we were more or less spinning our wheels where, when we were. We should actually be thanking you, your Majesty. Um," Harry paused, not at all sure how his question would be received, "what should I call you?"

"I have gone by many names: Astarte, Hecate, Morrighan, Titania." She laughed again. "At the moment, I prefer Lilith. Your thanks are accepted. Now, let us 'get down to business', I believe is the human expression.

"I have few expectations for you. Kill the man once known as Tom Marvolo Riddle; prevent the various magical species from being discovered, or at least killed, by nonmagical humans; keep the fae involvement in your actions a secret. Meet those three goals, and I will release you from your debt to me."

"Debt?" This threw Harry for a loop; they had been pulled from their time in payment for offing Voldemort, not as a favor. When had he become personally indebted to the Faery Queen?

"Yes, silly. Never ever thank a faery. It shows they have done more for you than you have for them; as such, you will still owe them something."

"I see," he said, "though I am a bit confused. You're the queen of the fae; why are you telling me how to stay out of a debt to your people?"

"You are no mere human, Harry James Potter, not to us. You are my champion, my sword in the fight against Tom Marvolo Riddle. Left unchecked, he could drive my children to extinction here like he did in your timeline."

He listened intently, trying to puzzle out what it was about her words that niggled something in his brain. "So you want us to stop him before he gets to that point here, I understand that, but why move us around the timesteams? Santa made it clear that we were moving sideways, but only our minds, so… what was the point? Why couldn't we stay in our world and move backwards?"

Lilith sighed and settled into a different position on her mushroom. "I hoped I could avoid this, but you should know. Each timestream is different. Generally these differences are minor and contribute little to the actions of individuals, but sometimes they are more significant. In both this timeline and your own, Tom Marvolo Riddle paid attention to 'fairy tales' once the world of magic had been revealed to him. Even now, the incarnation of this world has plans to eventually take fae magic. As Santa told you, that would normally be impossible, yet in your timeline, his war weakened us enough that he could integrate our power into his own. He was rapidly increasing in strength; we called on you because he had recently stolen the magic of the Winter Lady, one of my most trusted and powerful children. In a short time, it would be possible for him to kill me and take my own power."

"So you sacrificed your subjects, your children, just to protect yourself?!" Harry shouted.

"Do you think I enjoyed killing my own children?" Lilith asked, her voice simmering in anger, and Harry knew he had pushed too far. "It was an incredibly difficult choice, one I wish I had never had to make, but the fae in your time were going to die, and there was nothing I could do to prevent it. All I could do was protect those of my children that had a chance.

"Tell me, do you understand what it is like to slowly starve?" He nodded. "And when you were starving, would you have accepted a quick death to end the pain?" Ashamed, he nodded again. "Then you understand why I permitted them to die as they did. It was impossible for me to pull them away from that time, and my death would have caused their deaths if the lack of happiness had not done so already. They saved your life, your lovers' lives, and the lives of all their brothers and sisters. For that, they will be mourned and praised in equal measure.

"My children have incarnations of themselves in each timeline, but I exist in this, dimension you could call it, outside of time's flow, where I direct all the fae in all times. If Tom Marvolo Riddle conquered me in your timeline, he would have therefore conquered me in all timelines. Instead of all the fae in one world dying, we would be completely extinct. I could not allow that.

"Even now, your Tom Marvolo Riddle's war rages in your old world. I cannot allow the version in this world to do the same."

"But he hasn't weakened you here, so now that you know that he's a threat, you can stop him yourself. Couldn't you have just used some power from other worlds to do so and defend the fae in ours, as well?"

She shook her head. "The amount of power I can wield in each timeline is determined by the belief in us, the happiness, and the number of faeries present in them. In yours, I was so weak that I was in danger from Tom Marvolo Riddle. Santa's actions not only rescued you from a doomed situation, they also allowed me to save myself by removing my presence from that timeline, isolating your version of the enemy from all others.

"I understand your confusion about our lack of action. I have already said that Tom Marvolo Riddle learned from the tales he heard, and he surrounds himself constantly with iron. That metal is lethal to us; in large quantities, its very presence is toxic. I need a human to kill him, someone who does not share our weakness. I need you, Harry James Potter."

"I understand, and I accept your charge. I am also sorry for insulting you with my words."

Lilith looked him over a moment, seemingly judging his sincerity. "I will accept your apologies in this instance, as you were speaking out of ignorance and in defense of my children. I will not allow a second occurrence to stand without consequence." She looked into the sky and frowned, displeased with whatever she saw. "It appears our time is up. We have more to discuss, but it will have to wait until the next time we may speak. I will have one of my children contact you on the Autumnal Equinox; in the meantime, continue with any plans you have as long as you do not forget the reason you are here in this time to begin with."

A fierce wind began to blow, and it swept him away from the glade before he could say another word.

"I think he's coming back."

Hermione's voice, he thought. She sounded like she had been crying recently, but considering what they had to do, no one would fault her for it.

"He's not coming back, Mione, he's already here. Who did you meet in Limbo this time, sweetie?"

Harry opened his eyes to find Hermione's cinnamon and Luna's silver above him, both glistening with tears. "I didn't get to Limbo. Instead, I had a very interesting conversation with Lilith, the queen of the Fae."

The girls reached out and pulled him to his feet, then brushed down his back as if they were trying to remove any dirt. Harry knew the truth; they were touching him to make sure that he really was back amongst the living. "We talked a bit about what she expects from us and why she brought us here in the first place." He rapidly summarized their discussion and watched his lovers frown as he finished.

Hermione was the first to speak. "I knew it was too good to be true. There was no way they would help us for nothing."

"She is demanding no more than we had already planned to do, or not do as the case may be," Luna said, "but I'm more concerned with whether or not she's going to place additional conditions on us."

"Either way, there's nothing we can do about it now. We have, what, three months until we get a chance to question her again? Let's just worry about what we can do right now."

"Like handle this?" Hermione asked, holding aloft Ravenclaw's diadem. "It turns out we didn't have to leave here to access the Room of Hidden Things, we just concentrated on needing it."

"Good, that'll be two out of the way. Have you already destroyed it?"

Luna whimpered and wrapped herself around him. "You know Hermione can't summon the necessary hate for the Killing Curse, and I was a bit preoccupied." She burrowed her head into his chest, then shot back. "Also, you need a shower; dying makes you smell like wet Snorkack, and that is just not appealing."

"Fine," he sighed, "Hermione, you created the room, so you get to make the shower. Plain shampoo, please; I think we proved that the mango-pomegranate-cucumber-berry-whatever the hell it was you bought was a worse stink than wet Snorkack."

"It smelled just fine," she muttered, before having the Room produce a shower stall. He walked in, leaving the girls alone again.

Hermione waited until the shower had been running for a few seconds, then cast a charm toward the stall. Harry's manly cry of "Ayyyyyiiiiieeee!" let her know she had succeeded in hitting the shower head with a freezing charm.

"That's what you get for insulting the pomegranate!"

After Harry's, by necessity, cold shower, he exited with dried clothes and a glare and rejoined the girls at the couch. "I will get you back for that, Mione, you know I will. Now, where is the Horcrux?"

Luna set it in the middle of the couch's center clearing, then scooted out of the line of fire on one side while Hermione did the same on the other. He focused on his hatred of Voldemort for destroying his life – twice, in fact – of Bellatrix for killing Sirius, of Vernon and Petunia for stuffing him in a cupboard and treating him like rubbish for ten long and horrible years, of Dumbledore for leaving him at the Dursleys', of Ron for betraying them, not once, but several times, each worse than the one before. Feeling he did not yet have enough intent, he augmented the spell with his anger at Molly for potioning them, at the DA for rolling over when Voldemort returned, at Dudley for starting several of his 'witchhunts', at Ginny for being such a delusional, jealous, self-serving little bint… He wished the soul fragment a horrible, painful death and said the words. "Avada Kedavra."

A tight beam of pale green lanced into the diadem, leaving no visible damage but causing it to give out a high-pitched scream. He waited a few moments before reaching out and picking it up. "Looks good to me. Did one of you dispel the Madness Curse on it?"

Hermione raised her hand. He nodded and put the crown back on the couch before glaring at his wand. "That was more difficult than I expected; it was as bad as after I became the master of the Elder Wand."

After defeating Voldemort, he had found that his first wand was difficult to control, much like some of the wands they had picked off of Snatchers that had attacked them when they were looking for the Horcruces. Originally, he had assumed it was because the Elder Wand was just that much more powerful than ordinary wands, but now it was looking like there was something else at fault. "What do you think happened?" he asked.

They both pondered this for a moment, and finally Hermione thought out loud, "Well, we know a wand 'chooses' a witch or wizard and works best for that individual. If anyone else uses it without having 'won' its loyalty, or the first wielder 'loses' it, they can get a weak response. So, did you do something to lose you its loyalty, Harry?"

"Harry hasn't used it for anything since we came back, and I doubt using the Killing Curse did it; he cast it several times on the Hunt and never had any issues," Luna said. "No, what I think happened is that that wand never chose Harry at all. Its brother chose Voldemort, so I think when you were in Ollivander's, it actually chose the Horcrux as its wielder!"

"And since the Horcrux is gone, my wand doesn't recognize me as the same person. I guess I'll have to get to Ollivander for a new one as soon as I can escape 'Durzkaban'…" He trailed off before apprehension moved onto his face, "The Trace! We need to find some way to get rid of it before we leave, or else our summer plans are already dead in the water!"

Before he could work himself up too much, a small scrap of parchment appeared in front of them. Hermione picked it up and read it, then pointed her wand at Luna's and softly spoke an incantation in a language that clearly wasn't Latin. "That should do it for you, Luna. Harry, give me yours, then I'll perform the spell on mine." She repeated the process on the holly wand, then used that to break the spell on her own vine one. "All Right, that's all of them clean. Who knew that Hogwarts had the way to get rid of the Trace?"

"None know all the secrets of Hogwarts," Luna said mysteriously while climbing to her feet. "It's almost lunch time, and since someone didn't make me pancakes last night, I'm hungry." With that, the trio left the Room of Requirement.

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