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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10. Home Sweet Home

The drive back to Number 4 Privet Drive was tense, just like it always was. There was a routine here, a ritual of sorts, that the four relatives in the car followed every time Harry returned from Hogwarts to Surrey. Vernon, the small-minded bigot, would drive, snarling whenever he saw something or someone that did not fit in his perfectly normal world; needless to say, he did so the entire way back. Petunia, the gossiping harpy, would make snide comments about all their neighbors, even though it was clear that none of the three males in the car were listening. Dudley, who while a month older than the boy wizard already weighed as much as three Harrys, would constantly stuff candy and sweets down his throat, his piggy eyes seeing nothing but the route between hand and mouth. In the past, Harry would have been silent while he relived whatever traumatic event signaled the closing of the school year, but now he did so because he had nothing to say to the three people he was riding with. Not yet, at least.

Ah, we're getting close, he thought as he recognized several landmarks of Little Whinging. Subtly sliding his wand into his hand, he tapped the rim of his glasses and whispered, "Oculos magicae." The outer edges of the lenses shimmered, almost like they were reflecting the surface of a lake, and a paper-thin, brownish-red dome flashed into existence a few blocks away. The magesight charm was more effective when used on the eyes rather than glasses, but he did not need to see the runes and formulae for the much-vaunted blood ward. No, he was interested in spotting a more relevant ward. There, at the corner of Magnolia Crescent and Ivy Drive, he saw the first of several pale pink orbs. These were the sensors for the open ward that the Ministry, in its infinite intellect, had decided to set up around the Dursleys' home.

Wards came in two distinct types, and Privet Drive had one of each. Closed wards, like the blood ward or anti-Apparation wards, served as barriers and prevented wizards from performing a certain action. They could be as specific or general as needed; transport wards, for example, only interrupted a certain form of magical travel, but the war wards he could raise around Potter Manor would the house and its inhabitants from a variety of threats.

Open wards, on the other hand, were set to detect whatever their casters wanted to know about. The Taboo that Voldemort had used during the Second War was a country-wide open ward, while the one Harry was currently looking at would record any magic that was used in the vicinity of Number 4. This was why he had been registered as the source of Dobby's hovering charm in 1992, and like the Trace, this magical detector would need to be subdued if he was to get any work done this summer.

Thankfully, Hermione had been onto something at the end of their first year when she stated that wizards had no logic. Each recording sphere had its own range, and none of those ranges overlapped. This created 'dead zones' where magic could be used without anyone at the ministry being the wiser. When he had first lived through this upcoming August, his Lumos charm had fortuitously be performed in one of these safe areas, hence the Ministry not tacking that charge onto his casting of Prongs.

The average witch or wizard was not meant to know anything about open wards, because it was actually fairly simple to neutralize them. Harry did, and it gave him a tactical advantage over the zoo rejects that he had the misfortune of sharing blood with; when the confrontation occurred, and he knew it would, he could safely make use of their greatest terror to force them to leave him be for the rest of the summer.

Vernon's company car finally pulled into the driveway, and the Dursleys left him to gather all his belongings and carry them inside himself. Not that it was a task, really, considering that he had put a feather-light charm on his trunk before the Hogwarts Express had arrived at the station, but it was the principle of the matter.

I shouldn't be all that surprised, Harry groused to himself, because when have they ever done something for me out of kindness? Even taking me in was because they were worried that other wizards were watching their every move. He carried his trunk across the kitchen and had begun to ascend the staircase when he heard Vernon's bellow.

"Boy, you put all your… things in the cupboard. You have so many chores to do that you won't have time for your freakishness."

He hummed to himself as he set his trunk down on the bottom stair and walked back into the kitchen where his uncle was standing. Ah, that's where the pesky bugger is! The orb of the Ministry's ward was hovering in one of the room's corners, incidentally behind Vernon's considerable girth. This setup was just too perfect for Harry to resist having a bit of fun.

"No, Vernon, I don't think I will be able to do those chores. I have far too many projects to do already this summer. Magical projects," he said, enjoying watching the humanoid walrus turn purple. Just like Luna no longer feared what her housemates would do to her, he didn't care if Vernon had an issue with what he was or did.

Vernon pointed a shaking finger at him. "Now you listen here, boy. Your aunt and I put up with your… abnormality, so you will do what we tell you to do to make up for being a drain on us. We put food in your ungrateful mouth—"

"Food that I cook, and get to eat only what the three of you can't put away."

"—and a roof over your head—"

"I'm not sure that a cupboard under the stairs really counts."

"—so you put your damn tricks in that cupboard, or so help me—"

"Or so help you what!" Harry shouted. This was a surprise to the obese man, and Harry let go of his temper; he had wanted to say this for years. "You can't do a bloody thing to me! You know why, you freak?" He knew he shouldn't, but he couldn't help the delight he felt in throwing the Dursleys' favorite epithet back at one of them. Sixteen years of verbal abuse left just as many scars as physical abuse, even if they were invisible to the naked eye.

He slowly drew his wand, brandishing it at Vernon, who actually took a step back. "I can do what I want, when I want, and you're just going to have to get used to it. I have the power now, Vernon."

"But you can't," the walrus gasped, "they'll expel you from that school of yours."

"Oh no, they won't. You see, the rules change when you finish the fourth year; I can use magic whenever I want, and they won't do a thing to stop me. Finite!" The blue bolt of light flew from the wand, skimmed across Vernon's temple, and hit the exact center of the Ministry's node. It turned a violent shade of red and shrunk from the size of a beach ball to that of an apple, indicating that it was temporarily disabled.

"See, no owls." Harry tapped the wand's tip against his palm to draw Vernon's attention; fear was the only language the man understood, so he needed to play this just so. "You know, they taught us an interesting little spell in Defense this year called the Cruciatus Curse. It causes pain, so much pain that people kept under it have actually lost their minds. It's illegal to use on another wizard or witch, but our laws consider Muggles – that's you, uncle, in case you forgot – to be nothing more than animals. I'm sure that the Ministry wouldn't mind me using you to practice it on."

By now Vernon's face had turned the white of old porridge, and he stumbled backwards only to trip and fall onto the floor. "You can't do that," he whispered, "you aren't tough enough."

"Vernon, Vernon, Vernon. You gave me fourteen years of hatred for you, your wife, and your son. Did you never think that it was going to come back to haunt you?" He walked to where his uncle's body was spread out and pointed the wand straight at the man's forehead. "Give me a reason why I shouldn't kill you now."

That was enough for Vernon, and with a whimper, he soiled himself. The stench was overpowering, but Harry kept his green eyes staring into murky blue.

"Since you can't think of one, I'll tell you. Just killing you wouldn't be enough. No, I want you to suffer, and anxiety is one of the greatest forms of suffering. You won't know when I'll draw my wand, what I'll curse you with. Am I the reason your back gives out, keeping you in bed for weeks? If you lose your job, is it due to your own incompetence or my magic? Have I wilted Petunia's prize begonias, or is it the weather? And do you know what the best part is, Vernon? Whether I'm the cause or not, I know and you know that there isn't one bloody thing you can do to me in return, not without making me very, very angry."

He moved his wand away from his uncle and conjured three small clay figures in his left hand, one for each of the Dursleys, that he held in front of Vernon's face. "I hold your family's lives in the palm of my hand. Leave me alone, and you might just make it through this summer intact. Cause problems," he clenched his fist around the models, squeezing clay between his fingers, "and I'll make your remaining time on this earth hell.

"Do you understand?" Vernon stared at him, so he shot a pinching hex at the man's shoulder. "Do you understand?" This time the walrus nodded, so Harry returned his wand to his pocket. He left the kitchen, then poked his head back in. "And clean yourself up. This isn't a barn, after all."

Grabbing his trunk, he staggered upstairs and tried to keep the shaking of his limbs to a minimum. Only after he had closed the door to his bedroom did he allow himself to collapse.

Merlin's beard, that was harder than I expected. I don't want them to fear me, but it isn't like anything else will make them back off. He wiped off his brow, surprised to find himself in a cold sweat. I need to get Potter Manor back into shape, just so I don't have to live here anymore. My threats will probably be enough, but I'll have to watch my back around here, just in case. There's no telling if they'll try to get rid of me if I don't keep an eye on them.

Hermione's ride back home was no less uncomfortable than Harry's. This was why she planned everything out: what had seemed like a good idea at the time was certainly not in hindsight. Her mother had been increasingly withdrawn as the night progressed; her father, on the other hand, started grumbling about her having a boyfriend once they left King's Cross, continued while they were eating dinner, and was still going strong as they walked through the front door of their home in Chelsea. Her face burning in embarrassment from his threats of grievous bodily harm and a free dental exam, she rushed to her bedroom.

Oooookay, I'm going to need to redecorate this place. Her walls were a dark pink, completely at odds with the blue and gray her lovers had painted the master bedroom in the Manor. Her carpet was a thick shag rug, and while she would love to make it worthy of the name, it was just too different from what she had become accustomed to. To put the proverbial cherry on top, the bed sitting in the middle of the room was, much to her shame, absolutely buried in throw pillows. When she moved in with Harry, she had brought a portion of them with her to add a little flair, but he and Luna had given her an ultimatum once they saw how many she had: she could either sleep with her pillows or with her lovers. Obviously, she had returned them to storage at once.

Her bookcases, however, were the greatest eyesore. She had filled them to overflowing, making it difficult to pull any of her books free without causing an avalanche of paper. Her mother had ruled that she could only have three bookcases in her room, which meant she needed to push down her heartbreak and box some of the books up; taking note of the available spaces, she realized that she couldn't even fit all of the past school year's textbooks on the shelves. With a sigh, she transferred her shrunken trunk from her pocket to the nearby nightstand and started the laborious process of sorting her books.

An hour and a half after she had begun, there was a knock on her door. "It's open!" she called, her mind still on whether she should place the romance novel in her hand in the 'put on shelves if there's space' or 'deserves a second look' pile. With a mental coin flip, she dropped it on the former, which was several times larger than latter but still smaller than the 'keep in room' pile. The 'discard' pile contained only one book.

"Is it all right if I come in?" her mother asked. "I wanted to talk to you about Harry."

Hermione sighed. "Is this the 'I want you to stay away from him' talk or the 'I'm going to get as much information as I can in order to scare you out of dating him' talk?"

"Neither, it's the 'you're gone for ten months out of the year, and even though I know you don't need or want me around anymore, I still hope to be at least a small part of your life' talk."

She winced guiltily. In the future, she had drifted farther and farther away from her parents and the Muggle world as the years went by. It said something about their relationship when memory charming them was easier than explaining why they needed to leave the country. "I didn't mean to imply that I didn't want to be with you or Dad. Between the Quidditch World Cup last summer and the Yule Ball, I hadn't realized how little time we've spent together."

"I know you didn't, honey. I knew when you wanted to attend a boarding school that your father and I would miss seeing you grow up; I just didn't expect it to hurt this much." Her mother settled herself on the bed's comforter. "Now, about Harry?"

"What about him?"

"That kiss wasn't something two people who have just started dating do. It was far too intimate for that."

"Could you just ask the question you want to ask?" she asked, her cheeks stained by her flush.

"Fine, have you two been having sex?"

How do I answer this? Yes, we've had sex plenty of times, but we hadn't at this point in time. She already knows there's something more going on between us, so I can't say no, but considering I told them I wasn't in a relationship in the letter I sent that Christmas, a few months is incredibly quick for me to jump into his bed. Perhaps a middle road would be best?

"We have not had sex beyond oral, no."

Her mother blushed as well. "That was far more specific than I was expecting to hear."

"Mum, I understand your concerns, and I'm willing to answer your questions frankly and honestly. If you aren't willing to hear it, though, we could always postpone this…"

"No, no, we need to get this out of the way." Her mother took a deep breath in an attempt to relax. "Are you two planning on doing so this summer, then?"

"No, Mum, Harry and I aren't going to have sex until at least the end of October." A cocked head prompted her to explain. "That's when Luna will turn fifteen."

"Why are you waiting until she turns fifteen?"

Here comes the moment of truth, Hermione thought. She hadn't accepted her attraction to other women until after she had already destroyed her parents' memories, so she was unsure how they would react to her leaving the closet, as it were. "I'm waiting because Magical Britain's age of consent is fifteen, and I want my first time to be with my girlfriend as well as my boyfriend."

"Oh." Her mother was shocked, but at least she wasn't visibly disgusted. "So you're… you're…"

"I'm bisexual, Mum." She reached out to take her mother's hand, but sighed and drew back when the older woman pulled away. She said sadly, "I thought you'd be happy that I found people who love me."

"I'm not unhappy, Hermione. But why? Wouldn't dating Harry be enough without also dating Luna? And how is he dealing with his girlfriend having someone on the side?"

"Um, Mum? Harry's dating Luna, too." She took in her mother's bewildered expression and said hurriedly, "She and I were both attracted to Harry, and when we realized that we also had feelings for each other, we felt that we could make the relationship work. Harry certainly doesn't mind having two girlfriends. Mum? Miranda?"

Her mother started at her name "I see. Er, that's fine." She stood from the bed and robotically walked over to the door. "I'll see you in the morning for breakfast."

"Mum, please don't go. I don't want you angry with me just for being who I am."

"I'm not angry, Hermione. I… need some time to process this, that's all. We'll talk more tomorrow." With that, she departed.

Hermione fell face-first into her bed, tears streaming down her cheeks. That hadn't gone as well as she had hoped. It's a good thing that Harry will have the Manor mostly repaired this month. I may need a place to stay earlier than I planned.

Luna's ride home was short and uneventful. She and her father used the Floo to travel to the Rook, and then they prepared a simple dinner. As she brushed her hair before bed, she couldn't help but rejoice in having the Rook back at last. It's wonderful to be home again.

 
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