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

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8233288/1/Faery-Heroes

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31. Autumnal Equinox

Harry looked askance at their guide. "This isn't some trick, is it?"

"Peevesey doesn't joke about Her Highness," the supposed poltergeist snapped back. "This will lead you to Her." Glowering, the fae zipped away through the portrait of Barnabas the Barmy.

"Can't blame me for being suspicious," Harry muttered. With a sigh, he began pacing. I need a place to meet with the Faery Queen. I need a place to meet with the Faery Queen. I need a place to meet with the Faery Queen. On his third pass, the door to the Room of Requirement melted into existence.

"We really need to do some research on this place."

He nodded at Luna's declaration before reaching for the knob. The door opened at the merest brush of his fingertips, and what was waiting for them was not what he expected. The room created was dark, the only light coming from a few floating tapers crowned with blue flame, and the floors slanted downwards to a large dais in the middle. Upon that platform was a stone arch, unsupported by any walls, from which hung a tattered black curtain.

It was a perfect recreation of the Death Chamber in the Department of Mysteries.

"All right, now I'm getting a little scared," Hermione remarked.

"You and me both." He descended the steep steps to the Arch, his whole body tense. "Why would the Room make this?"

As if waiting for his question, a hand and arm, both more golden than any simple tan could possibly explain, slipped through one of the multitude of holes in the Veil. It turned palm up before closing into a fist; the single finger still extended crooked in a clear invitation, and the arm retreated.

Luna gaped for a moment. "You have got to be kidding me."

"It… makes sense? Maybe? When you destroyed the Horcrux in my scar, I did meet her, so maybe the Veil is another way to her realm?" Though that brought up many questions about the Queen and the Deathly Hallows that he would much rather not think about too deeply. The only question that matters right now is do we trust her enough not to kill us when we haven't finished the very task she assigned? Especially since she hasn't done a thing to warrant us viewing her with suspicion, and even assisted us without our knowledge?

Steeling his shoulders, Harry stepped purposely through the ripped fabric.

There was an instant of complete sensory deprivation, and then the young man was once again greeted with a silent forest. Unlike last time, however, there was already before him a circular table made from leafy branches, looking as if it had once been a bush before being painstakingly twisted into that shape, and four giant mushrooms around it. He was also still wearing the clothes he had put on that morning, and a quick check found his wand in his pocket right where he had left it.

Maybe it's because everything crossed over with me when I went through the Veil? Shrugging those thoughts away, he settled himself on one of the mushroom seats and waited for his lovers to join him. Only a few seconds passed before they stepped through a tiny ripple in the air that he had not previously noticed, though they took a bit longer simply gawking at their surroundings before they, too, sat at the table.

"Harry James Potter. Hermione Jane Granger-Potter. Luna Lachesis Lovegood-Potter. You are most welcome here." From between the trees stepped a slender, blue-haired figure wearing the same green dress she had donned when Harry met her last. "My fellow ladies, I know not if your husband has informed you, but I am Lilith, Queen of all Fae."

"He did tell us, Your Majesty," Luna said, standing and dropping a quick curtsy that was quickly emulated by Hermione. "I fear I must correct you, though. While Harry is our lover, he is not our husband, much to our displeasure."

Lilith waved away the blonde's denial as they settled themselves on the mushrooms. "The laws of Man mean nothing to me. The laws of the Heart, however, I find most important. Yet that is neither here nor there.

"Do you know why I requested you join me here, my champions?" The trio shook their heads. "I have kept watch over you these past few months, and while I was most pleased by your actions over the summer, I begin to grow concerned. Why is it that you no longer strike against the enemy I brought you here specifically to fight?"

Hermione cleared her throat. "We have been, Your Highness; we simply aren't fighting him directly at this exact moment. Voldemort alone is powerful but not unbeatable. Unfortunately, he is not alone; he still has his followers, and many of them are rich. At least in the human world, campaigns are not fought on idealism alone. Gold is essential to wage a war. Potions to heal wounds, bases to retreat to or to contain prisoners, intelligence purchased from greedy informants, stockpiles of rations for if the government grows a backbone when the Death Eaters eventually come out in the open; all of this takes money, vast quantities of the stuff.

"By stealing from his supporters, we sap not only his will to attack, but also his ability to defend. Once we have completely cut off his supplies, split his supporters' attention as they struggle to regain what they have lost, and eliminated all the other properties to which he could flee, only then can we move against him without undue risk to ourselves and hope to succeed."

"You seek to preoccupy him until such time that you can slip inside his chambers and stab him in his sleep rather than meet him squarely on the field of battle?" Lilith clarified, earning a hesitant nod from the brunette. When she put it like that… "A cunning stratagem, Hermione Jane Granger-Potter. I approve. As you are working from a plan, not simply acting without regards to your task, I shall allow you to continue as you have been. Do you have any questions for me before I return you to your world?"

"I do," Harry said, thoughts of the first incarnation of his godfather rocketing to the forefront of his mind. "If the Veil of Death actually leads here, to your realm… does that mean what I think it does?"

The Queen smiled sadly. "I am afraid not, Harry James Potter. This place, pleasant as I have made it, is not the afterlife; you will not find your parents here. This 'Veil', as you call it, is one of a pair of 'gates' created to facilitate communication between our races long, long ago. Its opposite, if you are curious, is the rift from which you three exited. I rarely open my side of the path, and so those who cross through it generally find themselves whisked to their ultimate destination."

"But when Luna hit me with the Killing Curse, I came here!"

"That is because I, for lack of a better term, 'caught' you before you could reach Death's realm, an act I could only make due to your new connection to me. Had those not existed, you likely would have found yourself in your mother's embrace until the anchor Tom Marvolo Riddle forged for you dragged you back to the land of the living." The elfin woman smirked. "That you 'died' and did not greet Death left him much perturbed. Long has it been since he threw a tantrum as he did following your 'escape'."

Harry's face fell. "Oh. So when Sirius fell through the Veil…"

"Your godfather was one of the few I was willing to greet, knowing of his mischievousness and the value he held in the eyes of a Child of Prophecy, but he chose not to enter here. He was far too eager for his reunion with your parents."

"How would you even know that?" Luna demanded sharply. The blonde reached over and tangled her fingers with his own in a much-appreciated if unnecessary offer of comfort. The Queen was referring to Sirius looking on the bright side of his new circumstances, not implying that he possessed suicidal tendencies when he joined the Order in their flight to the Ministry.

At least, that was how Harry was choosing to interpret it, whether or not it was her actual intent.

Lilith looked Luna over with faint disapproval. "For all your wisdom, Luna Lachesis Lovegood-Potter, I advise you to watch your tone. I shall only tolerate so much disrespect, no matter that it is love and empathy rather than arrogance stirring your tongue. As for how I know, it is because I invited the Sirius Orion Black of your former timeline to come in and speak with me. He asked very nearly the same thing Harry James Potter did, and when I answered no, he thanked me for the offer before stating that he must move on."

"Wait, so you still remember what happened… will happen? will have happened?… in the future? If that's the case, why did you need to ask us about our plan when you already know what it was and how it turned out?" Hermione frowned in confusion. "Unless the timelines move at different rates and so you don't know what will happen? But then why do the stories say that fae can see the future?"

"You truly are a pack of questions!" laughed the Queen, her lingering displeasure apparently wiped away by Hermione's curiosity. "No, the timelines are equal in their paces; Santa Claus simply carried you to the point in time I had previously chosen based on the power available to me when he approached you that day. No, the reason I asked was that the effort of bringing you here and replacing the memories in those bodies with your older selves shattered the future of this timeline. Even now it reassembles itself, but it will take years for the numerous contradictions of possibility to be resolved. I know what you will do no more than you yourselves, perhaps even less." She smiled brightly and chirped, "I have not had this much fun in centuries!"

The time-traveling trio was, understandably, dumbfounded.

"Alas, my strength wanes; not even one such as I can bridge the gates between the worlds for long. Unless you wish to risk being swept to the afterlife, you must return now." The distortion in the otherwise empty air warped further at Lilith's words in clear invitation.

Harry gestured for his lovers to precede him back to Earth; before he stepped through the portal himself, though, he turned to the Fae Queen. "We only recently discovered that Peeves and others of his kind have been watching out for us. They are wonderful allies, without whom we would surely have failed in our goals." And that's about as close as I can get to thanking her for ordering them to help us without actually thanking her.

She seemed to understand his meaning, though, for she nodded gracefully. "I am glad you appreciate my children's aid. Regardless of Peeves's less than courteous language, do not think that he does not enjoy his new duties. Now, go with my blessings."

Bowing, Harry passed back into the timestream.

"I am surprised you allow those humans such leniency, Mother." Lilith turned to the nude, golden woman who chose that moment to exit the trees. "Even that warrior you offered yourself to so long ago suffered for spurning you, and compared to the discourtesy they showed you just now, knowing full well who you are, his folly was minor indeed."

"That it was, my child of the summer sun, but Sétanta was not my champion. Those three are, and as such I am willing to grant them some mercy for small mistakes made in ignorance. Do not take this to mean I shall show them unlimited patience; even the Hound, brute that he was, understood not to make the same mistake twice."

It was the 'whisper' that tipped Harry off. On the stairwell, the noise of moving stone could get loud enough that words spoken in a low tone were easily lost in the background, but a high-pitched voice half-screeching, "Go and get them, you morons!" was a bit more difficult to hide.

So, when Crabbe and Goyle stepped onto the stairs, Beater bats in hand, two stunners from Harry's lovers were already flashing towards them.

Malfoy Senior would be so disappointed if he found out about this, he noted to himself as Draco Malfoy swaggered out of a shadowed alcove only to stop in surprise at his downed bookends. Lucius, at least, is a real challenge.

"That was pitiful, even for you," Harry remarked, pulling Malfoy's attention to him. "Did you honestly expect those two to be able to reach us before we drew our wands and hexed them? Especially with you practically screaming your plan for the whole school to hear?"

Malfoy swelled with embarrassment and rage. "It doesn't matter. I'll get you for what you did to Severus!" A third stunner, this time from the raven-haired boy himself, hit the Pureblood.

Why in Merlin's name did I waste so much time fighting with him when we were in school together?

"Well, so much for a revenge attempt," Luna said finally. There really was little else that could be said; the whole confrontation was anticlimactic at best. "So, should we just leave them there?"

Hermione huffed. "And let him get away from us when we have the perfect opportunity to cause him all sorts of problems? Not a chance. Ron may not be an enemy at this exact point in time, but Malfoy was endorsing outright genocide when he was all of twelve years old. There's just no hope for people like that to change for the better, no matter what nonsense Dumbledore spouts off."

"So what do you want us to do with him?"

"I don't know; I thought you might have a suggestion or two."

"I have an idea," Harry interrupted, causing both girls to look at him. While the Dire Misfortune Curse would probably find its way onto Malfoy sooner or later, he wanted to learn just how much the blond bullied students who weren't named Potter first. A cruel smile grew as he remembered all the poetic justice Dudley had suffered from the jinx he had laid on the baby whale, a spell that caused Dudley to endure all the pain and bruises he inflicted on his victims. Half on his wand, half on the entrance to the Slytherin dorms. With strange hexes and curses now part of the equation, I wonder how this is going to work?

Oh well, only one way to find out. "Libera pena ad eorum…"

FUDGE RESIGNS IN DISGRACE!
CHIEF WARLOCK ACTING MINISTER!

"It is with great sorrow that I formally resign my position," announced former Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge yesterday afternoon. "Britain needs a steady hand at the tiller in these stormy times, and I must now yield the wheel to someone who will be more capable than I feel I can be. I want to thank every British wizard and witch for their all the support they gave my office over the past six years."

What remained unsaid was that the reason for former Minister Fudge's resignation was his refusal to send Aurors to arrest the person or persons responsible for casting the Dark Mark above Diagon Alley last week, a decision that sparked massive outrage all throughout the country. Many of our readers will recall that this spell was the calling card of You-Know-Who and his Death Eaters during the last war, marking the locations of their violent raids.

The hole in our government will not remain empty for long. Even as this article is being written, candidates are putting their names forward to be elected the new Minister of Magic. As the voting is currently being organized with an election tentatively scheduled in the early spring, the position will be held in the interim by the current Chief Warlock, Alexander Callahan.

"I look forward to the changes Chief Warlock Callahan's administration will assuredly make," said Mr. Lucius Malfoy of Wiltshire. "I have known him for many years now, and he is a courageous man with a strong love for our society. There are no doubts in my mind that under his leadership, the fear-mongers who incited such panic using the Dark Mark will soon be brought to justice."

Editor's Note: We at the Sunday Prophet wish to thank our sister publication, Teen Witch Weekly, for graciously allowing us to use their printing presses until such time as we can replace those destroyed in the Diagon Alley attack.

In London, several government officials clinked glasses together with members of high society, happy that the public outcry had been silenced, allowing them to resume business as usual.

In Wiltshire, a wizard who resembled a snake more than a man folded his paper with satisfaction, a potential threat to his plans neutralized. For all his other faults, Lucius had a talent for placing patsies where they would do the most good.

In a castle in the Scottish Highlands, an old man prepared for his meeting with the wizard who replaced him as Chief Warlock, confident that he could convince even an ally of Lucius Malfoy to see sense and fight against the Dark. After all, surely the successor to one such as he could understand the importance of the Greater Good.

And in Nottinghamshire, three individuals who resembled nothing more than ordinary teenagers threw their own copy of the article away, disgusted that their attempt to stir the British magicals to action had been so blatantly ignored. They would have to try harder next time.

A flat ringing drew Luna away from her enjoyment of the warmth suffusing her. Lifting her wand, she aimed in the general direction of the alarm and Finite'ed it. She muttered, "We need to get going."

"Is it… huff… that… huff… huff… time… alreadyyyYYYYYYYY!" The tail end of Hermione's question was lost in a squeal of ecstasy as her legs squeezed Harry's head harder.

The blonde rolled her eyes as she staggered out of the large bed, pausing a moment to lightly swat her boyfriend's bare buttocks. There are days I wonder if the real reason Parselmouths are reviled in Britain is because they are such better lovers than normal wizards. "Come on, you two. We have things to do and people to see."

Harry lifted his head and licked his lips. "Are you sure we can't just stay here and switch the two around?"

"You promised, love," she replied, looking pitifully at him. He cringed at her puppy-dog-eyes. "When I explained how I wanted to help Astoria, you said you'd do it so long as we kept the numbers small and didn't invite any traitors. We did, they weren't, so unless you want to teach them here again with us still being naked, you need to get dressed so we can join them."

He sighed before crawling off the bed and looking about the Room for the rest of his clothes.

Astoria,

Do you remember when I mentioned talking with a few people about how you could defend yourself from the other Slytherins? If you're still willing to trust me on this, come to the third floor corridor, right-hand side, on the thirtieth at 10 o'clock. I promise it will be worth your while.

Luna

The aforementioned Snake glanced up from the stiff square of parchment to double-check her surroundings for what seemed like the twentieth time in the past five minutes alone. She was still confused as to how the invitation had made its way onto her dorm mirror a few days previously, as well as being somewhat wary that the whole thing was a joke at her expense.

Even so, she desperately wanted this to be real. She could not remember anyone, not even her half-blood housemate Tracey Davis, behaving as genuinely friendly towards her as Lovegood had. If only she was not just standing there, feeling like an idiot and hearing echoes of her parents' condemnation for her 'pointless optimism'.

No, no, it's only five till. There's plenty of time for her to show up.

Loud footsteps sounded through the corridor, and Astoria looked up in hope that it was her blonde acquaintance finally appearing. No such luck, unfortunately; the person who came down the hallway was a smallish boy — likely a fellow third-year or maybe a fourth — with mousy brown hair and scarlet trimmings on his robes. He stopped and flushed when he spotted her. "Er, hi. I didn't realize anyone else was supposed to be here. I… guess I'll just be going, then…"

She moved to wave him away when she noticed the corner of a piece of parchment sticking out from one pocket. "You received an invitation from Lovegood, too?" she asked nonchalantly, leaning against the nearest wall. The best way to deter Lions from attacking was to not look like prey, and aloof confidence was crucial to that defense.

The boy squirmed at her stare. And there's prey if I ever saw it. "No, mine's from Harry. Harry Potter."

She did her best not to blush at the meaning of that little tidbit; it likely wouldn't just be Lovegood here, but Granger and Potter as well. The conversation she had had with the Ravenclaw made the so-called 'Golden Gryffindor' seem downright approachable, and the minor crush she had for the messy-haired Seeker had only increased since then.

"I'm Colin." She looked up at him, and his own cheeks reddened further. "Colin Creevey."

"Astoria Greengrass," she replied softly. Telling Creevey to call her by her given name crossed her mind, but she quickly banished the thought. No matter how lonely she was, she refused to be one of those people who 'made friends' at the first meeting.

Dull laughter came from the stairs now, and yet another Lion entered, this one older with blond hair and the last traces of baby fat on his face, followed by a pair of Badgers. He glanced at the younger students, a hesitant smile appearing when he realized the two were not in the middle of some house-based spat. "Oh, sorry for intruding. We were supposed to meet some people here."

"Potter, Granger, or Lovegood." It wasn't a question, though Astoria was wondering what was going on. So much for her expectation of meeting Lovegood and maybe the Ravenclaw's friends, but on the brighter side, at least she knew this was not just a cruel prank, not when Granger and Potter had involved two others of their own house.

She heard a door creaking behind her, and calmly turning to look she immediately found a head of disheveled dark hair poking out. "You're all early. Excellent," Potter said as he drew the door completely open. "Come on in; I'm sure you're curious about why you were invited here today."

Finally, some answers, the lone Slytherin thought as she walked into the space where Potter had been hiding. She quirked one brow in confusion. Since when has Hogwarts had a dueling room?

This was obviously not an active classroom and had not been for many decades; there were no desks, and the wheeled blackboard was dusty from neglect. Also unusual for normal classes were the dueling mannequins stationed along the walls. A table, bare but for a sheet of parchment and a quill, stood over what could only be a trapdoor. Rather than chairs, five cushions were laid out on the floor in an arc while another three, two of which were in use, were a few feet away towards the middle of the partial circle.

"Sign your names and have a seat. It's just to make sure you are who you look like, nothing major," Potter said simply with a wave at the table beside him. Once they were all situated on the unoccupied cushions, he continued, "All of you are probably wondering why we called you here today, yes? There are a couple of reasons, but the most important and most relevant is that Umbridge has not been teaching us anything related to Defense, nor does she ever intend to do so. She and the former Minister earnestly believe that Dumbledore is building some sort of ragtag army of students with which to overthrow the Ministry, and so think that the best way to counter that plan is to leave us ignorant and defenseless. While that mindset is a problem in and of itself, when combined with… let us say the current circumstances, being unable to defend ourselves becomes downright dangerous."

"You're talking about You-Know-Who coming back at the end of last year," commented the vaguely familiar male Hufflepuff in a low voice. Astoria squinted and finally placed the resemblance. He looks like one of my father's old business associates, Michael MacMillan. A son, probably. "But I thought the Prophet said that the Dark Mark was just a cruel prank?"

"Or looking at it another way, the Ministry has invested far too much time and effort into convincing the public that Harry and Dumbledore are lying or insane to change their stance now, regardless of our new, temporary Minister," Lovegood suggested. "Ousting Fudge also allows them to forget or ignore the criticism that has been voiced since the Prophet office was demolished without having to make any real changes in their position.

"Still, that is neither here nor there. Regardless of whether or not you believe us on that count, the fact remains that we need to learn Defense effectively, and we clearly cannot depend on the Toad to do her job. So, we will simply have to teach ourselves."

"And you have a plan for that?" the older Lion asked. Longbottom, Astoria realized. She had certainly seen Malfoy bully him often enough in her three years in Hogwarts to recognize him, but the lack of overwhelming panic had thrown her off.

Granger nodded. "Indeed we do. Luna and I helped Harry prepare for the Third Task of the Triwizard Tournament last year, and in doing so we learned a large variety of hexes, offensive charms, and counter-curses. We also," here the brunette pulled a roll of parchment from a pocket, "submitted a request to the Wizarding Examination Authority for the spells we are expected to know for our OWL exams. The good news is that the three of us know everything on this list, and we are willing to teach you five all of it by year's end at the very latest."

"What about Greengrass and me?"

"While you two, like Luna, don't have to worry about your OWLs just yet, it doesn't hurt to learn this now, especially with the track record for the DADA position. You might not have another chance," Potter answered Creevey. "However, if at any point you decide your time is better spent studying something else, you won't hurt our feelings by leaving." Despite the relaxed tone, Creevey visibly cringed.

The lone redhead in the room — the head of the DMLE's niece, something Bones — timidly raised her hand. "Um, why did you only bring us in? I know several people in my house who will also want to learn this when I tell them about it."

"I'm afraid you can't do that," Lovegood admitted. "We don't have the time, space, or desire to teach a large group. If you want to show them what you've learned here on your own time, kudos to you, but our names and this location have to stay out of the conversation.

"As for why it's you five in here, it's because we chose you specifically. Some of you have been or are currently being bullied." Astoria was glad when the Ravenclaw's eyes did not stray towards her. "Some of you have had your lives put in immediate danger during your time in this school. Some of you have little to no confidence in yourselves. No matter the exact reason, we feel that you five will not disappoint us by wasting our time."

Potter clapped his hands. "Unless there are any other questions, we'll go ahead and get started. Everyone stand in front of the dummies we set up along the walls and cast the spell we read off the list. If you don't know it yet, don't worry; you'll learn it soon enough…"

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