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



18. Family Momentos

Harry had just sat down to breakfast the next morning when he, along with the rest of the Weasleys, heard a series of loud thuds coming down the stairwell and ending with a soft, "Bloody hell. What else can go wrong today?"

"Ronald Weasley!" Molly yelled as she stormed towards the kitchen door. "What have I told you about using that sort of language?! I'll wash your mouth out with soap if you — Oh, Ronnie! What happened?!"

Ron staggered into the kitchen in obvious pain. His right hand was hanging limply from his arm, his shirt was covered in blood from his flattened nose, and he didn't appear to be able to put his full weight on his left leg. "Tonks, this is your fault. Your klutz curse got me!"

"Don't blame me for this! Metamorphs are always clumsy; our bodies are constantly shifting and throwing off our balance. Besides, last I checked, it wasn't contagious. You have my sympathies, though." The smile Tonks couldn't quite hide leeched all sincerity from her words.

While her son and the Auror were talking, Molly had cleaned Ron up and fixed his nose, and was now focused on his broken wrist. A few muttered words caused it to straighten with a sharp crack. "How did this happen, dearie?"

"I don't know. I fell flat on my face when I got out of bed, then the dresser slammed itself shut when I was getting my clothes out, and then something tripped me at the top of the stairs." He blindly reached for his utensils to eat breakfast, only to cry out as he squeezed the blade of his knife, cutting his hand. Apparently, Molly had laid a razor-sharp filet knife at his place by accident.

It was only thanks to his Occlumency that Harry didn't snort out loud, even if he was positively cackling on the inside. Much like malaclaw venom or Felix Felicis, the Dire Misfortune Curse somehow manipulated chance; in this case, the chance of almost anything bad happening was made a near certainty. As he had told Hermione the night before, a few days under the curse was enough that some people seriously prayed for death.

After Ron's remaining injuries were healed and the rest of the room had the opportunity to see him stab himself multiple times in the cheeks and lips with his fork as he ate, the dumpy matriarch shooed them into the drawing room. The velvet curtains that had been so quiet in the night now buzzed ominously, and it was to these that Molly directed their attention. "We're going to start cleaning this room today, starting with getting rid of the doxy infestation here. I expect us to be done in a few days if we don't slack off —"

"I'm sorry, what?" Harry asked, looking about the room. In the light of day, the filth really wasn't that bad, certainly less than what had been covering the Manor when he first saw it. "A few days? Most of what this room needs is some Scourgify spells, maybe a Reparo or two on the furniture. It shouldn't take five minutes."

"Harry, you, Ron, and Ginny aren't allowed to use magic during the summers, and I think Fred and George are too young to be doing so, too. Besides, a little honest work never hurt anybody."

"So instead of saving everyone a lot of time and effort, you're drafting us to do everything by hand. How… inefficient." That was not what he wanted to say, but telling Molly he shouldn't have expected anything more thought out from a gormless, prejudiced, inbred harpy probably wasn't the best option at the moment.

She ignored him and pointed to a collection of spray bottles. "Now, everyone take a cloth and bottle of Doxycide and — ah, Sirius, you can join us."

"What?" Sirius asked, stopped mid-stride in the hallway.

She exited the room only to physically drag the still-skeletal man inside. "As I was saying, all of you grab a spray. It says here that doxies are poisonous, but I've brewed the recommended antidote in case anyone is bitten. Lockhart says —"

Harry's voice was incredulous as he interrupted again. "Could you repeat that? I could swear I heard you referencing Lockhart, of all people."

"Yes, I was," she said, showing him the copy of Gilderoy Lockhart's Guide to Household Pests she had been flipping through. "I don't see why that would be a problem."

"Let's see, maybe because it's Lockhart? The same Lockhart who couldn't corral a bunch of pixies, even though Hermione, Ron, and I could as second years? The same Lockhart who Ron and I proved to be nothing more than a fraud with a penchant for memory charms? That Lockhart?"

Molly huffed and glared at him. "Well, if you think you can do better…"

"I don't think I can do better, I'm sure I can. Sirius, could you conjure, oh, half a dozen snakes? Venomous, preferably, so they have some resistance to the doxies' bites."

"Are you sure that's a good idea?" Sirius asked, looking at him worriedly. "We don't have anything for snakebites."

"It'll be fine."

"If you're sure." He extended his arm, his hand gripping his wand by the shaft. "Conjuring was never my strong suit."

Harry took the wand gingerly, shocked at Sirius's offer. As Luna had explained to them on the Hunt, permitting another to use one's wand was an act of extreme trust. In the Pureblood world, such a thing wasn't often seen outside the Aurors, where trust between partners had to be absolute, or extremely close couples. It was actually Hermione loaning him her wand after his had been broken in Godric's Hollow that had first given Luna the idea for them to form a ménage à trois; she told them later that if she hadn't offered the suggestion and kept him to herself when the war was finished, she would have felt like a homewrecker.

He jabbed the wand at the floor and whispered, "Serpensortia." He ignored the gasps from his audience as the snakes raised their heads above his own and stared at him coldly, their hoods flared. "Behind you are tasssty little flying creaturesss," he said, Parseltongue slipping easily from his lips. "Eat them. Eat them all." The cobras turned in unison to the velvet curtains.

A weak gust of wind brought the pests swarming from their nest. The snakes were having the time of their lives snagging the doxies from the air and swallowing them whole, still kicking and chittering. Noticing that his creations were beginning to be overwhelmed, he doubled their number and repeated his instructions. The crunch of the doxies' exoskeletons and the serpents' hisses of delight made for a morbid background noise, one that was turning all of the Weasleys a mite green.

He turned his attention to the rest of the room and fired spells at everything in sight. Before two minutes had passed since he conjured his little helpers, he scoured the walls free of dirt and wallpaper, cleaned and repaired the chairs, polished the glass of the cabinets, darned the curtains, and vanished the snakes with the doxies still inside. Smirking a bit, he returned Sirius's wand and asked, "Anything else?"

Molly scowled at him for stealing her thunder. "Well, now we can get started throwing out all the evil things in here." Her brood followed her as she crossed the room.

Sirius, however, patted his shoulder fondly. "Not bad, pup. Where'd you get so much practice with household charms?"

"Living with four other boys is far too much for my sense of acceptable cleanliness. I had to learn them just to keep from being driven barmy." His godfather shrugged and nodded at that, then joined the gingers, who had conjured sacks and were poised to wage war against the enemy bric-a-brac.

Idly curious if any of the trinkets could be useful for his ventures, he sidled over as well. One of the twins was the first to open the doors and reach in, but he immediately pulled his arm back and began flailing it about. It didn't take much to see why; a multi-legged silver instrument, something reminiscent of a spider if they ignored the sharp edges on the limbs, was perched on the boy's wrist and doggedly trying to climb up his arm. Not knowing what it was, Harry slapped the device off, right onto Sirius's face.

"Huh, I had forgotten all about this thing," the man said as he pulled it off. Unlike with the boy, it curled its legs under it and settled calmly on his palm.

"What is it?"

"This, Harry, is the Family Compass. It can point to anyone that it's been introduced to before, ignoring any wards or charms they're under, even the Fidelius."

He came closer, peering down at the contraption. "Any ward? How would it do that? And what do you mean, 'introduced to'?"

"Let me show you. Obliviate." Harry's eyebrows rose at Sirius's choice of spell; memory charms were only supposed to work on living things. This Compass, however, proved to be an exception as it scuttled up Sirius's bare forearm. It jabbed a pointy leg into the crook of his elbow and absorbed a few drops of the blood that welled up before returning to quiescence.

"It's blood magic, very Dark stuff. The little bit of blood it 'drank' ties it to me, preventing anything short of death from hiding me. My parents used it on my brother and I, as well as my cousins, when we were little in case we snuck out of the house or were kidnapped from Diagon Alley, which was actually less paranoid at the time than you'd think."

Harry glanced at all the other objects in the cabinets; if this device, which appeared so sinister at first, was truly benign, how many others were as well? He pointed to a enamel-plated music box in the corner. "Do you remember what that was for?"

"Oh, Merlin," Sirius whispered, dropping the Compass onto the shelf and pulling it out. "This is Reggie's music box. He had terrible insomnia, even as a kid, and the charm on this was just about the only way he could get to sleep. My father commissioned it when he was four, after Kreacher mentioned that he was only getting a couple of hours a night, and that was on the good days. He even took it with him to Hogwarts. My mother must have put it here after his death, which explains why it's right next to Aunt Elladora's favorite daggers."

"Are all of the things in here heirlooms?" he asked softly. Sirius nodded slowly, and he motioned for the Weasleys to leave the room; they didn't, of course, but he wasn't terribly surprised by that. "Maybe, instead of tossing everything into the rubbish out of hand, you should go through them and keep the pieces you consider most significant. Clearly you don't associate all of them with bad memories."

Sirius gazed at him, a slight shine in his eyes and a fond smile playing on his lips. "You may look like James, but you're definitely Lily's son. You're right, I should sort through these. I'll probably still get rid of most of them, but…" He returned his attention to the music box, the rest of his sentence obvious. Harry shooed the Weasleys out, leaving him to reconcile with his past in peace.

"Harry, my boy, how are you today?"

Harry refrained from sighing out loud. I was wondering how long it would take for him to seek me out. He had been in Grimmauld Place for three days now, and in that time he had turned Molly's plans completely on their heads. A wonderful example was the library he was in at the moment; the harpy had been shocked when he convinced Sirius to leave most of the books where they were. Knowledge, he had insisted, was far too important to throw away unless a book could be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to contain nothing useful, interesting, or beneficial. After Sirius and Bill, the only 'adult' who was the least bit impartial, spent several hours skimming the collection, only eight books were consigned to the bin for being unrepentantly Dark; Harry had managed to replace them with surreptitiously conjured duplicates and sneak them to Winky for shelving in Potter Manor. As a side-benefit, doing that had earned him serious points with Kreacher.

Though he wasn't sure the title 'sneaky half-blood brat' was much of an improvement, to be honest.

He closed the book on warding he had been perusing before double-checking his Occlumency shields, not that he planned to need them. Last time, Dumbledore had been so wary of his connection to Voldemort that the old man went out of his way to avoid eye-contact. That was advantageous now; Harry's natural talent for Legilimency made his shields weaker than average, and even were they not, Dumbledore's vastly greater experience meant going head-to-head in the Mind Arts was a sure way to have his secrets exposed, something he was anxious to avoid. He would not put his girls in danger if he could help it.

Turning in the old man's general direction, he kept his eyes from focusing on anything in particular. "Quite well, Professor. And you?"

"As well as can be expected. Remus told me about the Dursleys; you have my condolences."

"Thank you, I suppose."

"However," Dumbledore continued as if he hadn't spoken, "he also mentioned that you did not seem to care about their fate, that you were rather happy about it, in fact. I must confess that I am disappointed."

"Disappointed? Vernon and Petunia should never have been allowed within ten kilometers of a child, and Dudley has been a burgeoning thug from practically the day he was born. They got what they deserved in the end."

"You should always be able to forgive people, my boy. I have told you before, but we must strive to do what is right, not what is easy."

"Except ignoring everyone's crimes out of hand isn't right; it's the epitome of easy. Forgiving those who honestly regret their actions and punishing those who see no reason to change, that is right." Dumbledore reared back as if struck; had no one ever turned his own words against him before? If not, Harry really needed to find something he could justify for 'the Greater Good'. Maybe it would be enough to give the old goat a heart attack.

"By that logic, what of your own actions? You are capable of casting a Patronus, one strong enough to frighten away dozens of Dementors, yet you let your family die. Does this not mean you should be punished?"

He took a deep breath to center himself. No matter how much he wanted to, starting a magical fight with Dumbledore was not in his best interests, especially not when everyone else in the house thought the manipulative bastard had hatched from a phoenix egg and shat rainbows and lemon drops. But oh, did he want to curse him. "First, as I have told you before, the Dursleys were never my family. Second, it was the summer, when we're not allowed to use magic. I wasn't going to paint an even larger target on my back when the Ministry is already doing everything they can to depict me as a dangerous lunatic. Third, and most important, my relatives having their souls ripped out and eaten was punishment for how they treated me all my life. Holding them in Azkaban for fourteen years before being Kissed would have been better, but I'll take what I can get.

"Though I must say I'm surprised by the fact the Dementors were able to enter the house at all," he mused. "It's rather sad that you constantly shoved the blood wards in my face as a reason to go back to Surrey, only for them to fail when they were actually needed."

"The blood wards couldn't protect you from everything. They were meant to keep you safe from Voldemort."

Harry stared incredulously at him. "You're telling me that you kept me in that hellhole for protection against a disembodied spirit? Surely there is some other ward that could have done the same thing, one that could have been placed over a magical home."

"While you were protected from a direct attack from him, it also kept Death Eaters away from you. No one with the Dark Mark could cross the threshold of the property."

"That's it?" he asked. "That's the limit of your protection? What was stopping someone from cursing me while I was at school? Or from a distance when I spent all summer working in the garden? Or sending someone under the Imperius to enter the house and kidnap me or kill me? They wouldn't have the Dark Mark yet would be just as dangerous to my health. There was nothing else? Un-bloody-believable. And that's just threats from outside the house; there are many days I wonder if I wouldn't have been safer with the Death Eaters than in the hands of Vernon and Petunia."

Dumbledore frowned at him. "Surely they weren't that bad."

"They locked me in a cupboard for days on end without food if I did something as simple as show up Dudley in school or have an episode of accidental magic. They worked me like a slave. They beat me, belittled me, tried their best to utterly break me. Actual prison inmates are treated better than I was. Yes, they were 'that bad'." Harry's voice was cold and hard, a sign of how far beyond mere anger he was. "And for the record, I do not appreciate being called a liar by someone who has no knowledge or understanding of the subjects being discussed. I am the one who had to live with the Dursleys, not you; I don't know that you ever even met them.

"Now, is there something else, or were you here solely to chastise me for celebrating my freedom from the worst sort of Muggles imaginable?"

"Yes, actually. Professor Snape has mentioned that you were incredibly rude to him yesterday. He was upset, understandably, but he said if you would apologize —"


"I'm sorry?"

"You should be." Harry glared at one of the golden stars on Dumbledore's garishly red robes. "My 'rudeness' was simply ignoring his habitual insults towards my father. Snape —"

"Professor Snape, Harry."

"Snape is simply a bully who's angry that his favorite target isn't fun anymore. He can either get over it or not; I don't particularly care." Because when he inevitably crosses the line, I'll take care of him personally. That bastard owes my father and now me his life, and before I'm done with Hogwarts, I'm going to call his debt in.

Dumbledore shook his head sadly. "You really must let this grudge go; it is very immature. And you should at least be respectful to your teachers."

"And you'll notice I'm not mimicking Sirius and calling Snape 'Snivellus'. That's the most respect he's going to get from me." He let out a short, bitter laugh as realization struck him. "Snape really can do no wrong in your eyes, can he? Just because he's a 'reformed' Death Eater, you'll pander to his every whim like a father indulging his spoiled brat. Is becoming a murderer and then crawling to you for absolution the only way to gain your trust? Must I start lashing out at all the students who irritate me for you to listen to a word I say? If so, tell me; I already have a list of who I would hurt first, and the 'strutting, arrogant bully' Draco Malfoy is right at the top. That would just increase the similarities between Snape and myself, right?"

Dumbledore had paled as he spoke, and now the old man whispered, "Harry, have you truly become so Dark?"

"No," he replied, though this was a matter of opinion. He, Hermione, and Luna were not murdering children, torturing innocents, or trying to rule the world; all they sought was justice and a little profit. He knew the headmaster would disagree. According to the old man, taking vengeance of any kind was 'Dark', as was wielding lethal magic, stealing from the rich, and generally not obeying the infallible Albus Too Many Bloody Names Dumbledore. "I'm making a point. For the 'Leader of the Light' to trust a self-professed Dark wizard over those who never joined a terrorist group is… strange, to put it lightly. Of course, I don't trust spies in general. You can never know where their allegiance truly lies." Like Ron, for instance.

He picked his book back up. Though he had made valid points, he knew Dumbledore wouldn't listen; the manipulative man was too caught up in his grand scheme. According to the journals found after the war was over, Dumbledore saw only two possible resolutions should his plans bear fruit: the most likely was that he would defeat Voldemort after destroying his Horcruces and lock him up in Nurmengard next to Grindelwald while the Death Eaters miraculously saw the error of their ways and became productive members of society, but he still held hope that the psychopath himself could be convinced to give up his quest for destruction, retake the name Tom Riddle, and become the next Leader of the Light. Either way, Harry was of no importance, just a lamb to be slaughtered on the altar of prophecy.

This was why Dumbledore had never helped him whenever he was in danger in Hogwarts. Every time he faced Voldemort and came back alive, the old man hoped it would be the last so that Voldemort could be truly 'vanquished'. Even worse, somehow, was that it wasn't personal; his demise was just another box to be checked off a to-do list. Dumbledore's morals were all that kept him from doing the deed himself.

Harry thought his rage at the delusional bastard was entirely justified.

Oblivious to his thoughts, Dumbledore came closer and peered at the text. "Warding? I did not realize you were interested in this branch of magic."

"Sirius told me about the wards on the house, so I got curious and decided to do a little digging. It's an intriguing and lucrative field from what I can find. The only thing I need to learn for it is runes, and I'll have a chance to do that once Voldemort's six feet under."

"I was under the impression you wished to be an Auror," Dumbledore suggested gently. Harry suspected it was due to the old man not wanting him to have any plans for after the war. Merlin forbid he survive and live a full and happy life; why, he might decide not to throw himself at Voldemort's feet and politely ask to be killed!

"It was just an idea I was tossing about last year, when I thought it was actually Moody teaching us. Besides, my life's bad enough with one Dark wizard after me. I really don't want to have to deal with that for the rest of my life." The ding of the doorbell and Walburga Black's screech signified a new arrival. Harry returned the book to its shelf before heading to the door. "If that's all, Professor?"

Dumbledore reluctantly waved him on, and he left the room with a smile. Hermione was here.

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