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



25. Mistaken Memory

Harry had already entered the Room of Requirement when he took notice of its appearance. He backed out slowly, shutting the door with care.

"Harry?" Hermione asked, her face a study in consternation.

He raised a finger to ward off her questions. Closing his eyes, he paced in front of the door three times; he was unhappy but not at all shocked when he looked again to discover that it had not changed from the wide wooden circle they had first spotted. He squared his shoulders and walked in once more. "Luna, love, you are never getting to configure the Room again."

"Aww," the blonde groaned from her bubble bath in the middle of the forest clearing. "Why not?"

He slapped away a fist-sized winged acorn that flew in front of his face and pointed at the pink and gold mushroom that had been hollowed out to form the tub. "Because I feel like I'm in bloody Wonderland."

"And that's a bad thing… why?"

"This is what I like to call the 'rejection stage'," Hermione piped in as she began stripping off her uniform. "I'm surprised you're only just now experiencing it, but this is the first time she's ever had control of a room that can make whatever she imagines real. That is more than just about anyone can handle on short notice."

"So why are you so relaxed?" he retorted.

She shrugged placidly. "You have a greater tolerance for the Lovegood brand of insanity than I do. I went past rejection and straight into denial. As far as I'm concerned, either the hallucinations will end on their own like they normally do, or I'll finally find myself safe in a straightjacket and surrounded by padded walls." Now nude, she walked past him and climbed into the mushroom.

He sighed before shucking off his clothes and joining the girls as well. The water was just short of scalding, guaranteeing that they would look like steamed lobsters when they climbed out. In short, the perfect temperature for a magical hot tub. Though not generally a fan of bubbles, Harry was quite glad they were there; he had no desire to see what water sitting inside an overgrown fungus looked like.

His second sigh was much more content.

Luna giggled on his right and reached over the brunette at her other side to grab a wooden goblet from the lurid orange caterpillar… hand… thing holding it. "Thank you, Constance." The major domo inclined its six-and-one-third heads before melting away in a river of loud sourness. "So, did Snape have a stroke when you declared blood feud?"

"No, unfortunately," Hermione responded, relaxing into her girlfriend's shoulder. "Though he did get so mad that he tried to cut off Harry's head."

"The big one or the important one?"

He snorted. "You would say that. Luna, maybe you can clear something up for us. When Snape was casting, he screamed and grabbed his chest —" The girl's sharp nod cut him off.

"Like he was about to have a heart attack? I sometimes forget that there are still things about the Wizarding world you two don't know. What you saw was his magic reacting to him working against his life debt. Since he owed your father, and now owes you, his life, he can't actively try to kill you. I'm guessing whatever spell he used missed you?" At his affirmation, she continued, "Had it connected, even if you only got a scratch from it, his heart would have literally exploded in his chest. As it is, he got a stern warning not to do that again."

"So I can off him in a spectacularly messy fashion, but to do so I have to let him hit me with the intent to kill? Fantastic."

"Nope," the blonde replied with a shake of her head. "When you go against a life debt like that, you only get two warnings. The third time you try it, your spell doesn't work and you're dead before you hit the floor. Of course, Snape's many things, but an idiot is not one of them; we shouldn't expect him to come after you like that again."

"Well, so much for the easy route." He averted his eyes and waved off the ten-foot-long multicolored tuna offer him a platter full of pasties. Since when do fish grow a dozen arms? "And as appreciative as I am for the information, that's not why we need to talk."

Hermione looked over at him. "You decided to not to do the ritual on Luna's birthday after all and want to take our virginities again now?"

"Neville's emulating you and gathering a harem of disenchanted Boy-Who-Lived fangirls?"

"Dumbledore was right and you can kill Voldemort with a hug?"

"The tricentennial migration of the Alluvial Sleschenritters made you develop an undeniable lust for Malfoy?"

"You're giving up Quidditch to study with us more?"

Luna turned to Hermione in disbelief. "And you call me crazy?"

Rolling his eyes, Harry walked them through the thoughts about Trelawney and the Dumbledores that had struck him after Divination earlier that day, including his desire for them to watch his discussion with the professor first-hand with more experienced and jaded eyes. When he finished, both of them pondered for a few minutes. "Well, that explains why you wanted a Pensieve," Luna finally said.

"Which I don't see anywhere."

She smiled innocently. "We're sitting in it."

He shoved the layer of bubbles away to find that, no, the fluid filling the mushroom was not water. His mouth hanging open, he turned to Luna. "What are you waiting for," she asked before he could get a word out, "an engraved invitation? Drop the memory in so we can get the boring stuff over with and get back to lounging."

It turned out that being dragged into a memory while already inside a Pensieve was much different from falling into it from outside. For starters, Harry landed on his face.

"Well, that was pleasant," he grumbled into the masonry. Lifting himself onto his elbows, he spotted the Divination professor also laying on the floor, though she had bottles of cheap spirits encircling her. He glanced about. "Where are the girls?"

"Wheeeee!" A cheering mass of wet flesh dropped onto his shoulders, smashing his face down again. "Oh, there you are. You okay?"

"I'm fine," he tried to mutter, though what came out was an unintelligible grumble. Once she slid over to his lower back and he was no longer kissing stone, he hesitantly prodded his nose. "Okay, apparently we can't get injured in Pensieves. That makes me feel better. Did you see Hermione on your way down?"

"No. You sank first, and I came right after, which means…"

"Aaaahhh!" The weight on him doubled, and his face had its third introduction to the ground. It took them a minute, but the trio sorted themselves out in the end, and just in time to hear Trelawney's remembered remembrance to his younger self.

"I well remember my first interview with Dumbledore," the lush began. "He was deeply impressed, of course, deeply impressed… I was staying at the Hog's Head, which I do not advise, incidentally — bedbugs, dear boy — but funds were low. Dumbledore did me the courtesy of calling upon me in my room."

"You're right, Harry, that is odd," Hermione murmured. "It's not like she would have to pay an entrance fee to see any of the faculty. If she had an appointment, she could have just walked right in."

Oblivious to the visitors out of time, Trelawney continued, "He questioned me… I must confess that, at first, I thought he seemed ill-disposed toward Divination… and I remember I was starting to feel a little odd, I had not eaten much that day… but then… but then we were interrupted by Severus Snape!"

"What?" the memory Harry asked in shock. The current model shook his head out how naive he had once been.

"Yes, there was a commotion outside the door and it flew open and there was that rather uncouth barman standing with Snape, who was waffling on about having come the wrong way up the stairs, although I'm afraid that I myself rather thought —"

"Stop, stop, stop! None of this makes any sense whatsoever." Luna paced back and forth for a few moments, then turned to Harry. "I know he's anything but trustworthy, but Dumbledore did say that Snape only overheard the first half of the prophecy, right?"

"That's what he said, and considering what the other half was, Voldemort's actions make it likely he was telling the truth that time," he confirmed.

"That's just not possible. Seers can't notice anything about the outside world while they give their predictions, yet Trelawney described in detail what happened? For her to do that, Snape would have had to hear it in its entirety before he was noticed."

Hermione chewed on her lower lip as she thought. "Could he have been privy to the whole thing but only told Voldemort the first part?"

"Why, though?" he returned. "He regretted sharing the prophecy only when he found out that my mother was in danger; that's why he went crawling to Dumbledore in the first place. The bastard's memories were clear on that point. He had no reason to hold anything back. Knowing the whole thing, Voldemort wouldn't have attacked us at all for fear of creating an equal with an unknown power. Mum was in more danger with him only knowing the beginning. If Snape knew that revealing the rest would keep the object of his obsession safe, why wouldn't he do it?"

The brunette sighed. "So not only did Aberforth temporarily forgive his brother enough to let him into the bar, Trelawney broke a fundamental law of magic? Yeah, someone messed with her memories."

"The old man," he said with conviction.

"That's who my money would be on, too."

"So what really went on that night?" Luna asked quietly. Neither of the others had an answer for her.

The following evening, said old man was attempting fruitlessly to force down his headache as his Potion Master continued ranting.

"…And that damn Lovegood twit he's been spending time with didn't come to class today, either! Why won't you let me give those bloody slags a bloody detention?!"

"I've already told you that, my boy," Albus sighed for what felt like the hundredth time that night. "Harry sent a note this morning naming Hermione and Lovegood as his allies as per the Code of Conduct. They have not yet given a public declaration of allegiance —"

"There you go, then! If it isn't public, then they aren't protected by Potter's little ploy —"

"— but they will if I decide such a statement is necessary. If I make that decision, I am obligated to inform him, and I am certain that Hermione, at least, will be willing to go along with it."

Severus scoffed. "Because you never ignore rules you are supposed to follow —"

"Your stupidity got us into this situation!" He took a deep breath and settled back into his chair from the standing position he had leapt to. Snatching a lemon drop from the bowl on his desk, he popped it in his mouth and instantly felt the calming draught they were laced with take effect. His voice somewhat softer, but still far from the grandfatherly tone he normally used, he continued, "I do apologize for my outburst, Severus, but my hands are tied. I took a risk just keeping the DMLE out of the castle; my star may not have waned so far in the Ministry that I have lost all my influence, but neither has his, even if he doesn't know he has it. A man named as a Death Eater attacking the Boy-Who-Lived? Add onto that that Amelia still suspects you had a hand in her brother's and sister-in-law's deaths, and a single whisper of your attempted murder would be enough to have you interrogated at the very least. If excusing Harry and a couple of his friends from your class is the price of his silence, we will pay it and be happy it is so cheap.

"I know telling you to do this is the same as asking a unicorn to be petted by a Knockturn Alley whore, but move on and let it go. Harry was undoubtedly planning this over the summer, and you played right into his hands. Take extra points from the Gryffindors and Ravenclaws if it will make you feel better, but I dare not assist you more than I already have."

"And if you indulging the brat causes him to fail his Potions OWL?"

Why must he whine so?, he wondered, adding a mental groan for good measure. "Then he fails. You and I both know you torment more than you teach; I doubt he would have passed had he stayed in your class, anyway. In the end, his scores don't matter; it isn't as if he will live long enough to need them. Harry's luck has to run out some day, and then Tom can finally be defeated.

"Besides, it is only the first week. Come Christmas, he will certainly be crawling back and begging for your forgiveness as the exams approach."


"No, Severus. Now, if you will excuse me, I have parchmentwork to finish. The school doesn't run itself." The dour younger man stomped out the door, and Albus slumped over his desk. "There are days I don't know if giving him a chance to come back to the Light is worth the headaches he seemingly lives to bring me. What do you think, Fawkes?"

The bird looked over from his golden perch. Cocking his head, he chirped gaily, the sound raising Albus's spirits. "Yes, you are right, as usual. Everyone who walks down the path of Darkness deserves the opportunity to rise above their failings." Reclaiming his quill, he returned to his official duties, the previous day's hiccup dismissed and forgotten.

The Eternal named Ix, known to his current companion as Fawkes, settled back down on his throne. Motivating the human was a tiring and thankless job, but he had grown strangely fond of the young creature considering the short century he had spent in its presence. He would be hard-pressed to find another entity with such forgiveness and good intentions as the white-downed one possessed, and the steadfastness with which it withstood the unintended consequences of its actions warmed the blazing cockles of Ix's heart. He just hoped it would live to see its plans bear fruit, even if those fruits were never as sweet as one imagined they would be. Humans were such frail things.

Now, if only he could figure out what had those nasty faeries in such high spirits…

The sky had become steadily more overcast as the week progressed, and Harry shivered slightly in the cool air. He had only been to one Quidditch tryout in his six years at Hogwarts, and he was so preoccupied with running it at the time that he hadn't realized how boring it was. Of course, part of his restlessness was that he was the only player on the Gryffindor team other than Angelina herself who was not defending his position. A delusional glory-hound they may think him, but no one could deny that he was a damn fine Seeker.

"Alright, that's good!" Angelina called to the prospective Chasers. "You can get back to the stands. Beaters, you're up!"

He sidled over to the captain. "Alicia and Katie were the best here, hands down."

"Oh, no question about that. Still, as sure as I was that they would keep their spots, it's never good to choose the people you know when there might be others who are even better. We especially need to identify new talent considering Fred, George, Alicia, and I are all leaving this year."

Her words of wisdom bequeathed, she shouted to the kids in the air, "Okay, everyone separate into sets of four. We're going to play a little game of catch." She descended to the ground and put one hand on a trunk. "When I release these Bludgers, I want each 'team' to trap as many as you can. If one gets away from you, tough luck; another group will probably grab it. We'll move on to the next test once all of them have been contained and counted. Ready? Go!" With that, she lifted the lid, and at least twenty of the large iron orbs flew out of the box.

A flash of red catching his attention, he turned his gaze to the ground. Sure enough, Ron was running onto the field. The ginger shouted to him, "Harry! I didn't miss it, did I?"

There was a series of cracks behind him, and Harry spun around to see a good dozen cannonballs flying at him from where they had escaped the prospective beaters' attempts to corral them. He jerked the shaft of his Firebolt to swerve out of the way, but the Bludgers weren't gunning for him. Instead, they all slammed into the hapless Weasley, throwing him into the framework of the stands.

"Ouch," he murmured with a wince. He might not mind Ron getting his just desserts for selling out on him, but even he felt a bit of sympathy for the boy. Getting smacked around by speeding Bludgers was no one's idea of a fun time. He flew over to where the redhead lay unmoving. "You all right there?"

"…Yeah, I'm good." Ron sat up, and Harry spotted the dents and cracks on the Keeper armor the boy was wearing. The Dire Misfortune Curse arranged circumstances so the victim suffered maximum pain and humiliation, but it was designed to avoid causing fatal injuries. Without that caveat, Ron would be being rushed to the Hospital Wing and ultimately St. Mungo's for the broken ribcage, back, neck, and skull he would have otherwise obtained.

"Well, to answer your question, you didn't miss the Keeper tryouts. That's next, once Angelina has chosen this year's Beaters."

"Good, I was worried I had."

He nodded and asked casually, "Why were you late to begin with?"

"Oh, I couldn't find my gear until I was already late, and when I was hurrying down the staircases, someone sent a tripping jinx at my back."

Frowning slightly, Harry considered that. It was certainly possible that someone had tried to injure Ron; now that he and Hermione were spending time away from the ginger, they had found that the youngest Weasley boy was held in rather low regards by most of their housemates. Could Luna have been responsible?, he wondered, but immediately he cast the idea away. While the blonde had mentioned many times how much she would love to toss Ron down the stairs, preferably while they were in motion and not connected to a landing, she wasn't responsible this time. She and Hermione had mentioned they were going to have a little 'girl's night' since he had to be on the pitch. Thoughts of exactly what happened when his lovers were having their 'nights in' flashed through his mind, and he discreetly adjusted his position on his broom.

No, I'm over-analyzing this. It was likely just the Curse again. "At least you're here. Take a seat in the stands until it's time for you to come on the field."

"Sure thing, Harry. Up." In a scene straight from first year, the broom's bristles acted as a pivot, swinging the wooden shaft into Ron's face. The ginger jerked back, crimson pouring from his nose. "Ow, bloody hell!"

"Emphasis on 'bloody'. You need to see Madam Pomfrey?" Ron shook his head, so Harry continued, "If you're sure. Maybe you should use the stairs?"

"Maybe I should use the stairs."

The rest of the Beater trials was uneventful, and just like everyone expected, Fred and George were able to keep their uniforms for one more year. "Okay, Keepers in the air!" Angelina shouted. Upon seeing how many people were competing for the spot — understandable since it was the only one where there was no seasoned veteran defending his place — she instructed, "Half of you go to one set of hoops, the rest of you go to the other! Team, huddle up!"

The five Lions flew over to join their captain. "Alicia, Katie, each of you grab two wannabe Chasers and fly against the Keepers. Test one at a time, five runs a piece. Fred and George, I want you keeping track of who blocks better than half the shots. Harry, you take half the trials and watch for form. I'd rather have an okay Keeper than a sloppy flier who managed to get lucky tonight. Let's get started."

Night was falling as Angelina blew her whistle yet again. Her voice hoarse, she called out, "All right, last ones to your places!" Harry smiled slightly when he spotted Ron fly into position at the goal posts he was watching. Looks like I get a front row seat. This should be interesting.

'Interesting' was one way to describe it. On the first throw, Katie, possibly forewarned by the twins that Ron had some experience Keeping, put a bit of spin on the Quaffle. That move was a specialty of hers, meant to hook the ball into the hoop. Ron didn't notice; he smirked at what he must have thought was an easy catch and jerked his broom to intercept, bringing his still-fragile nose directly into the scarlet ball's curved path.

His other chances at proving his Quidditch skills proved no more successful. He moved in the wrong direction entirely on the second and third attempts, flew backwards into the pole of the center goal on the fourth, and finally managed to get a hand on the Quaffle on the fifth. Unfortunately, doing so redirected fourth-year Demelza Robin's shot into the hoop, turning what would have been a miss into a scoring throw.

"Dis is bullshid!" he screamed, wincing when the motion further stressed his flattened snout. "I should hab had dose!"

Fred shrugged his shoulders. "Guess you were off your game tonight, little brother; it happens to all of us. Hopefully you'll have better luck next year."

"Nex' year?! Dell Angelina do gib me anodder chance; I know I'll catch all —"

At that moment, Ron's brand-new broom, possibly damaged by the multiple Bludger impacts and the collision with the boy's hard head it had suffered earlier in the evening, chose to enter extremely early retirement. It weaved drunkenly for a few seconds before plummeting to the ground. Thankfully for the younger Weasley, it still provided a little lift, slowing him down so he didn't crash into the field with quite the force he otherwise would have.

His scream of fear, then pain, was temporarily overshadowed by two near-simultaneous snaps.

"Oh, boy," Fred said once they had landed next to the agonized Weasley. "Yeah, it looks like both your legs are busted up. Harry, did you learn any first aid during your stays in the Hospital Wing?"

"No, I didn't," he replied, keeping to himself that Hermione had taught him some during the Hunt and after they left Hogwarts. "What about you? Surely with your mum being how she is…"

"Nope. Stupefy. Mobilicorpus." Fred began trudging towards the castle, his unconscious brother floating a few feet behind him and looking like a marionette hanging from invisible strings.

Watching the two redheads leave, Harry couldn't help but feel a twinge of pity for his former friend. I think that might be enough for now. The Curse should fade away by Tuesday, and I'm not going to renew it. Though he sold me out to Dumbledore and is a jealous idiot in general, the Ron in this timeline has yet to do anything truly unforgivable. The girls might be a little disappointed, but we've given him quite a lot to think over. Between all his unfortunate accidents, wetting himself, being booted off my coattails, and now losing his opportunity for Quidditch glory, his social standing is about as destroyed as it will get without us actively focusing our efforts against him. Either he'll grow from these experiences and become a better person — which is a possibility, no matter how small of one — or he'll step out of line again and I'll put the Curse back on him and keep it there.

You've been given your one and only second chance, Ron. If you know what's good for you, don't squander it.

"It would suck to be him right about now," Katie remarked, unaware of the role he had played in the boy's injuries. "Do you know if he was really as good as he was saying?"

Harry shrugged. "He was okay in pickup games in the Weasley's backyard, but was he talented enough for competitive play? Not really."

The other members of the team drifted over, and Angelina said, "Please tell me you found someone we can use. All the people on that side were absolutely hopeless."

"Of the people who could decently protect the hoops, the two I would recommend based on sheer flying ability are Cormac McLaggen —"

Angelina cut him off there. "Not a chance."

"— and a third year, Jimmy Peakes." He knew Peakes from the previous timeline; the younger boy had been a Beater the one year Harry was the captain. While not terrific in that position, he had been tolerable. What shocked Harry was how good Peakes was as Keeper, making him wonder why the boy hadn't tried out for that role in 1996. Oh, right. He probably thought it was a bad idea to go up against the captain's best friend. That, or it's just another difference in the timelines. Merlin, keeping all this straight is going to be a pain and a half.

"Third year, huh? And he's good enough?"

Katie threw in her two knuts. "I could tell he was nervous, and while a couple of them were close, he did save four out of five goals. He's no Ollie, but who is? I agree with Harry; Peakes has my vote."

"If you two vouch for him, that's good enough for me. I'll give the kid the good news. The rest of you, hit the showers and get out of here. First practice is bright and early Monday morning."

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