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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16. Reunion

Sirius Black was done arguing with these people. "ENOUGH!"

"But Sirius, you know what Dumbledore said —"

His voice was uncharacteristically harsh as he interrupted Molly. "Yes, I know what Dumbledore said. I also don't care; if he has a problem with it, he can take his lemon drops and sanctimonious attitude somewhere else to host the Order." He turned to Remus, who was standing between him and the door. "Moony, you heard what Arthur said. Harry, my godson, could be in that house, his soul ripped out by Dementors, and you want me to sit here and do nothing? I'm going to make sure he's okay, and no one — not Dumbledore, not the Aurors, not even you — is going to stop me. You have until the count of three before I curse you out of my way. One —"

"Wait, just wait," Remus said with his hands up. "If you go charging in, the Aurors will catch you, and you'll be the one getting a closer look at a Dementor. How about, instead of a notorious mass-murderer, the visitor is an old family friend who just happened to bring along his pet?" Sirius glared for a moment but sheathed his wand; five minutes later, a man in shabby robes and a dog arrived on the streets of Little Whinging.

He immediately leapt from Remus's arms and sniffed along the ground, searching for any sign of the boy he cared for as his own flesh and blood. Catching a scent, he raced ahead, his best living friend on his heels.

Fine, maybe Moony was right, after all. The house was absolutely crawling with wizards and witches draped in red cloaks; literally, in fact, as he could spot one walking straight up the wall. The stench from the gliding nightmares was stronger here, a clue they had become excited as they closed in on their prey. He laid his head on his paws with a whimper, for once in his life praying to any being he could think of for his godson's safety. He had already plead to Merlin, Morgana, the Old Gods of the Isle, the Fae Queen, and was about to start on the Greek Pantheon when he heard a surprising but welcome voice.

"Snuffles? What are you doing here, boy?"

His head popped up to stare at Harry — who looked tired but thankfully not de-souled — and he pounced on the boy, licking every square inch of his face in lieu of hugging the stuffing out of him. Harry protested feebly, but only at the beginning; by the end, he was laughing at the mutt like he used to do as an infant. "Okay, okay, let me up; you're too heavy to be sitting on me. Lupin's been feeding you too many sweets again, hasn't he?"

Padfoot ignored the internal sigh at how Harry addressed Remus; he had never called the older man anything else in his letters, so it was foolish to expect a change now. What was more important was how healthy the boy looked. No longer was he short and scrawny; it looked like he had gained a stone or more in weight, and he had definitely shot up a few inches. Add the new glasses and fitting clothes, and he was barely recognizable.

Before he could shower his godson with more doggy affection, a stern, gray-haired woman wearing a monocle approached the trio. "Mr. Potter, I am pleased to see you unharmed. I am Amelia Bones, head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement."

Harry stiffened, worrying the old dog. "And why would the head of the DMLE be in Little Whinging?"

"The investigators from the Misuse of Magic office called the Aurors when they arrived here, and they then requested I come personally due to the circumstances. If you will accompany me inside the house, I can explain in more detail."

"I'm not sure I will," he said, pulling a short wand from his pocket and summoning a large lump towards them. "It depends on if any more of your men plan to curse me in the back."

The woman stared at the unconscious Auror. "Dawlish? He's supposed to be guarding the Minister."

"Well, unless Fudge is here, I'd say he's neglecting his duties. He started casting at me when I left the park that's a bit aways from here, and he kept at it even after he saw that I didn't have my wand in hand."

"And how is it that you are standing while he is out cold?" she asked as she gazed at the boy shrewdly. Her eyes narrowed at his nervous chuckle.

"I may have thrown a rock at his head. Oh, and this is his, too." He tossed the wand onto the man.

Bones sighed. "I suppose it's for the best if he was assaulting a teenager." She pulled her own wand out and charmed his cloak yellow, then dropped a wooden ring on the insensate form. The illustrious John Dawlish vanished. "I will question him later. Now, shall we?"

The inside of the Dursley house was just as hectic as the outside, but the den she lead them to was empty. Harry dropped onto the sagging couch, and Padfoot joined him, laying his head on his godson's legs and heaving a gracious sigh when his ears were scratched. Remus and Bones both conjured chairs for themselves, though his friend's chaise lounge looked far more comfortable than her uncushioned wingback. The woman pulled a quill and pad of parchment out of her pocket and addressed Harry gently. "Just for the record, could you please give me your account of recent events, starting last night at approximately nine-thirty in the evening?"

"I guess; I don't really know what happened, you see. I was upstairs in my room, packing my trunk when —"

"I'm sorry, but why were you packing?" Bones asked, looking up from her pad. "Were you planning to stay with friends for the next few weeks until Hogwarts resumed?"

"No, Vernon kicked me out, said I had an hour to gather my 'freaky things' before he burned whatever I left behind." At her nod, he continued, "Well, I was in the middle of packing when someone blasted the door open. When Vernon and Petunia started screaming, I figured being in trouble with the Ministry was better than dying, so I used magic to pack and shrink my trunk, then flew away from here as fast as my broom could carry me. I spent the night in an old treehouse in the park, came back this morning to find out what happened, that Auror attacked, and you know the rest."

She finished writing his statement and returned her gaze to Harry. "Thank you for the explanation. You may have received some letters from the Improper Use of Magic Office," he pulled a pack of envelopes from his pocket, "yes, those. Don't worry about a hearing or being expelled; you may not have confronted the threat directly, but a minor using magic to flee a dangerous situation is still considered self-defense, which is permitted by the Reasonable Restriction on Underage Sorcery."

"So I can go back to Hogwarts on September first? Brilliant," Harry said with a smile. Padfoot would have smiled if he could, but he settled for bumping his head against his godson's hip. Doing so got him more scratches, too; not his original plan, but nothing he was going to turn down. "Er, Madam Bones? Out of curiosity, what did happen to the Dursleys? I'm guessing from your earlier words that it was nothing good."

"It wasn't, I'm afraid. I'm sorry to tell you this, but all three of your relatives received the Dementor's Kiss last night. You have my condolences."

"Don't bother," he said shortly. "This wasn't how I expected us to be rid of each other, but at least I'm not stuck here anymore."

The woman's expression shifted into one of wary confusion. "You don't seem very upset that your family is dead. Why is that?"

Now it was Harry's turn to harden. "Let's get something straight. They weren't my family; they were just three people I had the very serious misfortune of being related to. They hated me my entire life, punished me for accidental magic, insulted me and my parents. Merlin, I just told you that Vernon kicked me out. I didn't want them dead necessarily, but I'm not going to waste any tears or pretty words on them now that they are. All I have to say is good riddance to bad rubbish."

"I mean no offense, Mr. Potter, but you are far different than what I have been led to believe."

"And I mean no offense, Madam Bones, but whatever you have heard about me is likely either a half-truth or a flat-out lie," he returned. "I can count the number of people who actually know me on one hand, and none of them had any reason to speak with you. Now, is there anything else?"

The rest of the interview was short — basically Harry telling Bones that he didn't care what damage was done to the house during the investigation and that he could arrange the sale of the property without assistance from the Ministry, while she promised to find the rogue Dementors that had attacked — and soon the man, the boy, and the dog Disapparated away.

Harry stumbled as he let go of Lupin. He hated being Side-Alonged; it always made him extremely queasy. Grumbling, he read the scrap of parchment with the Secret and was escorted inside, where Sirius pounced on him again, this time in human form.

"Oh Merlin, Harry, I was so worried! A pair of rogue Dementors, and in the current atmosphere, even using the Patronus could have gotten you in deep trouble!"

"Sirius, need to breathe…" he gasped, gulping down air when he was let go. After his face was no longer blue, he surprised both of them by wrapping his godfather in a tight embrace. They stood there for several minutes before separating.

Sirius awkwardly cleared his throat. "Well, you're safe and here now, and that's what matters most. It's a little late for breakfast, and early for lunch, but I'm sure we can scrounge something up if you're hungry, or we can move your things to your room…"

"The second one," he said, not wanting to reveal that Dobby had provided a filling breakfast at the Manor. If he could occupy Sirius until lunch, he would be able to keep that secret and avoid any awkward questions.

"Alright. You're staying on the second floor, and make sure you're quiet going up these stairs," Sirius whispered as they passed his mother's portrait, "it's best to let sleeping harpies lie. The Weasleys are here, too, so you'll be sharing with Ron —"

"Er, Sirius, that may not be such a good idea. He and I are going to be having… issues fairly soon, I think."

The man turned to look at him. "Oh? What's wrong?"

"Nothing's wrong, it's just… He fancies Hermione, and since I'm effectively banished from the Wizarding World during the summer," he raised his hand to ward off his godfather's denial. "That may not be how it's meant, but that's what it feels like. Anyway, I was stuck in the Muggle World, so I hopped on a bus to Chelsea a couple of times a week to spend the day with her. Things went about how you'd expect with people our age, and now we're going to try out dating."

"Good for you, Harry! If it makes any difference, your parents would have loved her. Still, I see how this would make being around Ron difficult." Sirius thought for a second, then his eyes lit up. Crooking his finger, he led Harry up another flight of stairs and unlocked a door just off the landing.

Before Harry could ask anything, he saw the sign on the door. Regulus's room, he thought as he entered. Sirius was hurriedly summoning the yellow Prophet articles detailing Voldemort's philosophies and first rise to power, so he took in the Slytherin-themed decor and massive Black family crest painted on the wall over the bed's headboard. "Whose room was this originally?" he asked, hoping to draw out more information on the young man who had ultimately given his life to destroy the monster he served.

"My little brother, Regulus. He was the apple of my mother's eye, the perfect Pureblood prince," Sirius said with a mirthless laugh. "He became a Death Eater right after Hogwarts and was killed a short time later, didn't even live to reach his nineteenth birthday. The worst part is that I can't really be mad at him for it; he was soft-hearted when we were younger, wouldn't hurt a fly, but he wasn't brave enough to risk our parents' disapproval. That's why he was in Slytherin rather than Hufflepuff, I think, and I'm pretty sure that's the reason he joined Voldemort.

"I'm somewhat to blame for his death, too," he sighed. "When I ran away from this house at sixteen, my parents forced all their expectations onto him. He was different the next year at school, and I never thought to find out why. I was too busy enjoying our monthly trips into the Forbidden Forest and playing pranks. Poor, foolish Reggie."

Someday, Sirius, I'll figure out how to show you just how brave Regulus turned out to be. You say he'd have been a better Hufflepuff, but I think he would have made a decent Gryffindor, too.

The rest of the day was dedicated to catching up with Sirius, and Harry couldn't have wished for anything more. In the previous timeline, he had only been able to spend a month in total with his godfather, and yet the man's death had torn a hole in him that only now felt like it was starting to heal. I'm not going to let you die again, Sirius, not for a long, long time.

At last, however, it was time for dinner. Molly Weasley had again tried to beat the world record for largest meal, and there was plenty for everyone to have thirds or fourths before the deserts paraded out. Knowing what he did about the overbearing harridan, he wouldn't have even looked at the food were it not for the neutralizing potions Hermione had whipped up before her vacation. He had a Notice-Me-Not-charmed case in Regulus's bedroom that held sixty vials; as each dose was good for twenty-four hours, he and Hermione would be quite safe from any potions the dumpy woman tried to slip them.

Ginny yawned, which set off a chain reaction with the others. "Time for bed, I think," Molly said, covering her own.

"Not just yet, Molly," Sirius said as he gently banished his plate to the sink and turned to Harry. "I know that you've had quite a day, but I must say I expected you to start asking about Voldemort by now."

Last time, he had puffed up in righteous indignation. Last time, he had been soothed by a few vague comments and sent to his room with a pat on the head. Last time, his lack of knowledge had gotten Sirius killed, him tortured, and five of his friends injured.

Last time, he hadn't been twenty-five years old.

So, instead of shouting like he had last time, he leaned back in his chair and lightly glared at the man. "I was waiting to see how long you would be foolish enough to try to keep me in the dark."

"Oh," Sirius said, startled. "I suppose that's one way of looking at it."

"It is. However, since you've brought it up, I do have questions I would like answers to."

"Hang on now!" George cried.

Fred was quick to join his twin. "How come Harry gets his questions answered?"

"We've been trying to get stuff out of you for months, but you haven't said a stinking thing!"

"That's your parents' decision," Sirius replied calmly. "Harry, on the other hand, is my responsibility, so —"

Molly's face took on an angry cast, either the look of a lioness defending a cub or a hyena growling at the creature that stole her prey. "It's not up to you to decide what's good for him!"

"As his godfather, I believe it is, in fact, up to me to decide that," Sirius rejoined.

The Weasley children's heads were switching back and forth between the two adults, knowing that their mother did not like anyone challenging her authority. Lupin, though, was fixated entirely on Sirius, and remembering what the werewolf was like, Harry prepared himself to defend his godfather. Merlin knows no one else will.

"Dumbledore said not to tell him anything more than he needs to know!"

"I don't intend to, but as he saw Voldemort come back, he has a right to know what's going on. In fact, he has more right than most —"

"Except he's not a member of the Order! He's just a child!" she screeched. "He's not James, Sirius!"

Harry's cold voice was an arctic wind sweeping through the kitchen. "Nor are you my mother, Molly Weasley, so stop acting like it. Every time you do, you insult Sirius, my parents, and me, and I will not stand for it a moment longer. Sirius is the only person on this Earth who has the right to act like my parent, and that he realizes I should hear this shows a better understanding of my needs and desires than you claim to have."

Silence followed his statement as everyone looked at him like they had never seen him before. Her face reddened, so he fired his second salvo before she could open her mouth. "In addition, not only are you haranguing him over something that is, quite frankly, none of your business, you are doing so while a guest in his house. I find this arrogant and deplorable, an action I would expect from a Malfoy rather than a Weasley."

"Harry, I would appreciate it if you would not speak so disrespectfully to my wife," Arthur said, trying and failing to be stern.

"And I would appreciate it if she would not speak so disrespectfully to my godfather," he returned dismissively. "As my tone is predicated on hers, she is the one you should seek to discipline."

Lupin's quiet cough broke the tense stalemate. "Getting back to our original topic, it is probably better that Harry gets some of the facts — only some, Sirius, enough to understand the general picture — from us, rather than third-hand from… others." Harry cut his eyes to the twins, who looked back at him with faces of dubious innocence. They had not told him about the Extendable Ears yet, so he knew they were wondering how he knew they knew. And now I sound like Luna.

Sirius and Harry ignored the woman's protests. "You know I'm going to find out one way or another," he said, and his godfather nodded.

"Fine," Molly snapped. "I can see when people are going to do what they want, regardless of what's good for them. Ginny, Ron, Fred, George, I want you out of this kitchen, now."

"We're of age!" the twins shouted.

Molly turned to them, and it didn't take much effort for Harry to imagine smoke streaming from her nostrils. "I said NOW!" Knowing when they were out of their league, the two previously proud seventeen year olds scurried away.

"Er, Harry'll tell me everything you say, mum," Ron said weakly, not wanting to face his mother's fury, then he turned to Harry. "Won't you?"

Recalling the rare letters Ron had sent him, written to tantalize rather than share anything, he carefully kept his face blank. "I'll give you the same amount of information you gave me this summer; namely, none." He lost the battle to his emotions and grinned wickedly at his former friend's dumbfounded expression. "Payback's a bitch, isn't it?" And just think, this is only a minuscule bit of interest on what I owe you.

The red head glared but immediately winced as his hands dived to his crotch. Apparently knowing that arguing while his clothes soaked in his own urine wouldn't get him anywhere, he quickly retreated.

Ginny saw that she couldn't succeed where her brothers had failed and also chose a tactical withdrawal.

Lupin shut and locked the kitchen door, and once the room was relatively secure, Sirius spoke. "Okay, Harry, what do you want to know?"

"All sorts of things," he commented wryly, "but let's start with what the noseless one's been doing after he failed to kill me, again."

"He's laying low at the moment," Sirius said with a grin at his irreverent attitude. "His comeback didn't go quite how he wanted it to. With you escaping to warn Dumbledore, it's too dangerous for him to move openly."

"So he's hiding like the snakes he so admires? Can't say that isn't his style."

Lupin was the next to speak. "Don't be too overconfident. He isn't just hiding; he's also planning and marshaling his forces. Death Eaters are just the beginning. Vampires, werewolves, giants, Dementors; Dark creatures of all forms marched under his banner in the last war. He certainly didn't come close to toppling the Ministry with only a dozen wizards."

Actually, he didn't even need that many Death Eaters in the second and third wars; he killed Scrimgeour in '97 and immediately took over, and just showing up was enough in '02. It's not like it's hard to conquer a country full of sheep. Harry glanced at their somber faces and mentally sighed; he wasn't getting any new information compared to the last time he had questioned them, but revealing knowledge he had no way to learn wouldn't help him any. He had a role to play tonight if he wished to keep their suspicion off him tomorrow. "And is this 'Order of the Phoenix' forming its own army to meet them?"

"Not… exactly," Tonks said hesitantly. He smiled gently at her, and she relaxed; his uncharacteristic behavior must have unnerved her after Sirius told her all he knew about his godson. "You saw Cornelius Fudge after You-Know-Who came back, Harry. Well, he's sticking to that position, absolutely refuses to believe it's happened."

He shook his head sadly. "Let me guess, the gleam of Malfoy gold is blinding him to anything else?"

"Probably," Arthur replied, anger clear in his voice, "though we haven't seen it ourselves. Of course, his fear of Dumbledore hasn't helped any. He thinks Dumbledore wants to take his place as Minister."

"The same Dumbledore who turned down the position before? The same Dumbledore that he constantly pestered for advice? If Dumbledore wanted the job, he could just ask for it and be sworn in the same day."

The other adults nodded their heads in response, so he sighed and moved on while moving Fudge up his list of princes he and the girls would make paupers. He had forgotten just how small-minded the Minister was. "What is Voldemort doing besides gathering a menagerie? Surely he wouldn't lower himself to cajoling the Dark creatures himself."

"Well…" Sirius and Lupin looked at each other, then his godfather continued, "he's after something, something he can only get by stealth."

Knowing they were hinting at the Prophecy, he continued to look at them expectantly. "You don't think you can say something that vague without explaining more fully, do you?"

Sirius opened his mouth to say more when Molly cut him off. "That's enough. He has plenty of information; any more and you might as well induct him into the Order straightaway." Harry ignored her in favor of staring at Sirius, who had started to squirm nervously.

"She has a point, Sirius." Lupin turned to him. "It's not that we think you're not capable, you understand; it's that there are dangers you don't understand, can't understand. There's a reason the Order is comprised solely of overage wizards." Still he stared at Sirius.

Sirius half-shrugged. "They're probably right, Harry. You're starting your OWL year; you'll have enough to worry on without adding something you can do nothing about."

"If you insist," he said as he stood, though his godfather grimaced at the disapproval in his voice. "However, I will leave you with something to mull over." He looked over each of them, curiosity obvious on their faces. "I may be underage, but I have had to fight Voldemort directly three times, just as many as my parents did when they were members in this organization. Thinking that still being in school will deter him from trying again is foolish, a naive and misguided belief that would have seen me dead before I finished my first year." Everyone flinched, and he smiled thinly, mirth absent from his face. "Consider that the next time you start to tell me I'm 'too young' to know something."

He unlocked and walked through the kitchen door, leaving nothing but silence in his wake.

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