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



48. The Enemy of My Enemy

Glancing again at the note that had been waiting on her bedside table when she woke that morning, Luna turned to the portrait of four haughty witches playing bridge that hung just down the corridor from the Ravenclaw common room. "Could one of you please tell Professor Flitwick that Luna Lovegood is here? He's expecting me."

One of the women huffed silently and disappeared beyond the frame, and a moment later the portrait swung open to allow her entry. "Miss Lovegood, come in, come in," the quarter-goblin said, waving to the chair in front of his desk, coincidentally the only item in the room that was sized for a normal human rather than his significantly shorter frame. "I'm sure you're confused about why I asked to see you this morning."

"It was something I wondered about, yes."

"Well, quite simply it relates to a surprise I received a last evening. The proctors from the Wizarding Examination Authority are scheduled to arrive here in a couple of days, but before they did, they wanted my opinion on something." He pulled a sheet of parchment out from the middle of a small stack and slid it across the desktop to her. "Do you recognize this, perchance?"

A quick glance was all she needed to know what it said. "I do indeed, Professor. It's the letter I wrote them requesting to be allowed to take the OWLs next week with the fifth-years. I'm actually rather curious about why they decided to forward it to you," she continued with a raised eyebrow.

"Miss Lovegood, it is not a common occurrence that a student from a lower class asks to take the OWL exams a year early, and even rarer is it that said student is truly ready," Flitwick answered shortly. He shook his head. "When they sent it to me, I thought it was one of your housemates playing an ill-planned joke on you. Now, I'm not unaware that you are currently at the top of your year, and in every subject to boot," he added with a bright grin, "but that does not mean that you are necessarily prepared for this. You can only take the OWLs once, and scoring poorly on them because you overreached would drastically reduce the opportunities a smart girl like yourself can expect once she graduates."

The blonde could not withhold her smile upon hearing that. Her experience with her head of house had been practically nonexistent in the first timestream; in fact, she could not recall him even being in the Tower more than a handful of times each year, leaving the house in the hands of the prefects. She had started this year expecting it to be the same, even after making sure her housemates knew she was no longer someone to be trifled with, but her putting Chang, Edgecombe, and Desford in their places had instead caused him to sit up and take notice of exactly what was going on in his house. Ever since then, he had been much more… attentive? approachable? …to her and the other Ravens.

This meeting was just one example of how he had changed over the preceding nine months. Had she not shaken things up, he probably would not have asked her what she was thinking, merely thrown her request in the rubbish bin and gone on his merry way. Or at least the old Flitwick would have, she reminded herself. It was hard, sometimes, to remember that she could not definitively conclude whether people's reactions to her this year was due to her and her lovers changing things right and left or them being slightly different from the people she had known in the former timeline.

Redirecting her mind from its meandering musings, she nodded at the little man. "I am fully aware of what should happen should I fail these exams, Professor. However, I have spent the past year practicing extensively with Harry and Hermione"—even if what were practicing isn't just OWL-level magic—"and they both assure me that I am more than ready to take them." She cocked her head. "If I am capable of excelling, should I not do so? Or would I be better served pretending to be ashamed of my hard-earned skills?"

"Miss Lovegood, I would never tell one of my students not to hold themselves to their highest standards," he replied in a sharp tone, though his voice softened as he continued, "but the fact remains that looking after your best interests sometimes means keeping you from flying too high lest you lose your wings."

"So your response to my request is a 'no', then?"

"I'm afraid so," the professor answered with a nod.

You know, I can't exactly fault him for taking this position, Luna thought to herself. After all, he was completely unaware that she was actually twenty-five and not the fifteen-year-old that she appeared to be; if that were the case, he would have a valid point that she would almost certainly not be ready to take the exams. That he was taking the time to explain his reasoning – and even more that said reasoning was, at least on the surface, built upon his concern for her future prospects – was an encouraging thought. If only he could have been like this when I actually was a student; a caring Flitwick would have made my time here far more enjoyable.

"That's too bad." After a moment, she shrugged her shoulders. "Oh, well. I suppose I'll just have to take them this summer, instead. Sorry about wasting your time, Professor."

She moved to stand from the chair, but Flitwick's spluttering caused her to stop. "What are you talking about, Miss Lovegood?"

"Oh, I thought it was fairly obvious," the blonde answered airily. "If I can't take the exams here, that just means I will need to reschedule them after school's dismissed. All it will take at that point is permission from my father, which he's already assured me he would give. I wanted to sit the OWLs here with the fifth-years purely because it would be less of a hassle for everyone involved."

"You are truly this determined to take these exams a year early?" asked the wizard, and then he sighed at her nod. "And nothing I say will convince you otherwise?"

"I'm afraid not, Professor." I am not being separated from my lovers because the three months between my birthday and Harry's means I was placed in the class below theirs. Once someone has her OWL scores, she is no longer required to attend school, and while the three of us have not read through the entire library, I'll be damned if I'm going to be forced to stay here for another year without them, or worse, force them to stick around and be bored for the same period.

Besides, I've already taken these tests once before. If I can't breeze through them now, I have a major problem on my hands.

Flitwick dropped his head for a few moments before sighing again. "If you are dead set on doing this, I suppose I may as well help. I certainly can't think of a way to stop you." Pulling another form from the same stack as her letter and dipping his quill in an inkwell, he raised his eyes to meet hers. "That said, I truly hope you're as prepared as you think you are. I don't know how I could possibly help should you not be."

"I thank you for your concern, Professor, but there's nothing to worry about," Luna said with a sweet smile. "I promise you that I am more than ready."

Amelia hummed a faint tune as she stepped into her office. Being the head of the DMLE was often a stressful and thankless job, but that did not mean that there could be no good days. Considering that just the previous night had seen the MLEP boys bringing in the wizard who had been burgling young witches' houses and the Hit Wizards arresting a contract killer suspected of the murder of a family of four in Ramsgate, she had a good reason to be happy this morning.

Her jovial mood died as she stepped around her desk to set her purse down and her eyes fell on a book sitting on her desk.

That's strange. I know I didn't put that there when I left last night. She was extremely cautious about her office security; whenever she finished for the day, she laid a Stonetouch Charm on her desk and filing cabinet to temporarily paralyze anyone or anything that came in contact with the furniture. It had only taken two days for the elves kept by the Ministry to learn to clean the room when she stepped out for lunch rather than wait until after the workday. She was therefore understandably curious and suspicious about who had managed to sneak this book in.

"Fetare periculum," she intoned, aiming the jet of blue-white light at the black cover. The strange book glowed a healthy green, signifying that there were no dangerous spells or potions present, but she still flicked her wand to open it rather than reach out with her hand. In a past or present Auror's life, there was no such thing as being too careful.

Disabling the charms and then leaning over to look at the text within, she quickly forgot her caution. The book was organized like an accountant's ledger, each page broken up into sections that detailed names, amounts, and reasons for what she could only guess was every bribe Fudge had accepted throughout his entire career in the Ministry. Flipping further in, she was shocked at the sheer amount of information, as well as the prices the former Minister had charged for his services.

The more recent entries had another surprise, however. Scattered throughout were records that had been charmed a bright sunshine yellow, as well as a few where the name alone had been blackened to illegibility with a thick line. Did the person who left this try to edit out his own name so I couldn't catch him?, she wondered.

She picked the book up to show to Scrimgeour – many of the names listed were people influential enough or violent enough she would only feel confident arresting if she sent a full team of Aurors to their locations – when a sealed red envelope slipped out and fell back onto the desk. Before she could draw her wand to silence it, the Howler opened itself, and a familiar metallic voice echoed in her office.

"Good morning, Madam Bones," Mr. Fox said, thankfully quiet enough that it did not risk bursting her eardrums, and she took the opportunity to shoot a spell at the door to close and lock it. "When last we spoke, you asked me to get in touch with my sources and see if they would allow me to share the information I had about how I was able to prove that all my targets were Death Eaters or supporters of the same. Unfortunately, that request was denied, but as someone reminded me recently, there is more than one way to skin a kneazle.

"On your desk, you have found a book filled with names and bribes. I… borrowed this from our illustrious ex-Minister; say what you will about his fortitude and drive, but he truly is a meticulous note-taker. To make things easier for you, all the entries that have been highlighted belong to Death Eaters whose properties I have yet to rob."

Amelia's smile returned at those words, and it shone even brighter than it had before. It was not proof that they were terrorists, but it would allow her to legally bring them in for questioning. If they happened to be handcuffed to a chair that was charmed to compel anyone sitting in it to tell the truth, they could certainly get some useful information out of the interrogations. It might even, if she were very very lucky, get her approval to use Veritaserum on a few of them, whereupon carefully planned questions could give her enough information to implicate others who were otherwise politically untouchable.

"However, things are not quite as simple as they once were," the master thief continued. "Possibly due in part to my recent activities, the Death Eaters whose houses are no longer secure have moved into the homes that I have not entered. Stuck to the back cover you will find a list"—Amelia turned to the last page and found a folded sheet of parchment exactly where he had described—"that describes who has taken refuge with whom. I felt it would greatly sour our working relationship if my information led your men to try barging into a house only to find eleven genocidal bigots rather than the two they expected.

"Now, there is one individual whose name I have redacted; I am sure that you will only need a minute or two to figure out who this person is. My reasons for removing this information were twofold: first, I bear this wizard a personal grudge and so do not want to pass up an opportunity to strip his house down to the bedrock." She rolled her eyes at that, though she supposed she should be glad that Mr. Fox was at least being honest about his intentions. "Second, this person is hosting someone far more important than a few of his old war buddies. Do you recall that I mentioned believing the Death Eaters' master had indeed returned? I now have incontrovertible proof that You-Know-Who does walk the earth once more."

Her mouth thinned to a grim line. Of all the worst-case scenarios…

"This is not meant as a slight to your Aurors – I was rather impressed with most of those you brought with you to our last meeting – but my information indicates that they are not really trained to sneak in and assassinate a Dark Lord in his own throne room. My own particular skills, however, are far more suited to this task. I can handle You-Know-Who; you just need to keep him from calling in additional minions to back him up. I will be attacking his stronghold at 8 in the morning on June twelfth, which leaves you with more than two weeks to prepare your men for their part of the job.

"Though our prior discussion was brief, you struck me as a fair and honorable witch, Madam Bones. Do not make me regret trusting you."

The Howler burst into sudden flame and reduced itself to ash, leaving Amelia standing there in shock. A thief, even a powerful thief, going after Voldemort on his own? That wasn't courage; that was suicide. She almost tore the book in two as she opened it and flipped through the pages, searching for hints toward the identity of the unnamed Death Eater described within. Her movements slowed, however, as his voice played again in her mind. 'Do not make me regret trusting you… they are not really trained to sneak in and assassinate a Dark Lord.'

He had said he trusted her, but could she afford to trust him? No one had managed to do more than scratch Voldemort during the War, and Mr. Fox was claiming that he could slip inside and kill him? It was preposterous on many levels, and yet…

He's not just an idiot with more power than is good for him. All of his robberies were not done by overwhelming everyone and everything that got in his way; with how he was able to break in while the owners were gone, he had to have spent a great deal of time surveilling them and planning the perfect time to strike, not to mention how he took out the portraits. Not just strength, but intelligence and skill as well. If he's not going to fight Voldemort head-to-head, he might actually be able to pull his part of the plan off.

And even if he fails, at least he'll be drawing the heat away from my men, the cynical part of her could not help but throw in.

Harry only flicked his eyes to the side when Luna, clad in her black bodysuit and blue mask, Apparated beside him. "Everything's set up."

"That's good," he replied, returning his gaze to the house and bringing the Omnioculars back to his face. "Now let's just hope it works."

"Oh, I have no doubt that it will work. The issue is will it work too well?"

"What are the criteria for 'working too well' in this situation, anyway?" Hermione asked from behind the pair. Though he did not look back, he knew she was sorting through the wardpicks they had brought, some of them made specifically for today's mission. They now had a pick for each ward defending Malfoy Manor, which would not only dramatically reduce the amount of time needed to overload the wardstone but also do so without the flashes of light that were part and parcel of shattering the ward scheme. The less forewarning the Death Eaters inside had, the better.

Luna shrugged. "I'd say as long as we don't get killed, it's not too much."

"If that's our working definition, I'm not sure we're as prepared for this as we should be."

"Well, it isn't like we can back out now and try again," Harry reminded them. "Dobby said Madam Bones was mobilizing the Aurors and Hit Wizards, and since that was fifteen minutes ago and they still haven't shown up here, we can safely assume that she's onboard with our plan. We are not going to fall through on our side. Yellow?"

"Yes, Red?"

He pocketed the Omnioculars as well as the watch placed on the grass in front of him and stood. "It's eight on the dot; time to get this show on the road. Bring down the wards."

"On it." Hermione stepped up to the line he had carved in the ground to delineate where the wards extended. Taking each pick in turn, she swiped in front of her a few times before moving on to the next. It was only thanks to the magesight charm he had applied to his mask that Harry could see the wards, depicted as thin sheets of color, disappear one by one until there was nothing between them and the mansion but empty air.

"Your turn, Blue. Send in the surprise to soften them up a bit."

"One surprise, coming right up." She pulled a palm-sized mirror from one of her pouches and chanted, "Iä, iä, Cthulhu fhtagn!"

A second later, the screaming started.

"Um, Luna, what the hell was that?" Hermione asked nervously, her fear causing her to forget to use their code names.

The blonde shrugged and winced when a particularly loud shriek came from inside the house. "I just wanted to make sure it wasn't something I'd say by accident."

"I believe you succeeded in that goal admirably," Harry said with a small nod. "Just never do it again."

They waited for a full two minutes, wincing with each fresh wail and scream. Their vigil was interrupted when the mirror in Luna's hand relayed a loud crunch and was silent. The girl shook it a couple of times before looking to him and Hermione. "Well, that's probably not good."

"What now?"

"You remember how you said you wanted to make sure we could get it back out when we were ready to storm the gates?" the youngest of the trio asked her girlfriend. "I thought the best way to do that was to make sure the other mirror was placed right next to the the portkey. Apparently, though, it's… not anymore."

Harry sighed. "So, long story short, we just portkeyed in a human-eating eldritch abomination and can't send it back to your house unless we go in and yell the return phrase in person."


Wonderful. And the worst part? I can't even blame her for this. It was all my idea. Not for the first time since he had come up with this plan, he regretted bringing it up with his lovers. Yes, sending the cuddlepus in ahead of them to 'soften' the Death Eaters up – that was, rend them limb from limb so that all the time-travelers had to do afterwards was put the terrorists out of their misery – was certainly an effective plan, but that apparently did not mean that it was necessarily a good one. "I guess I'm the one who has to go in and send it back to the Rook, then, aren't I?"

Hermione gulped loudly. "Well, we could always let it finish them all off for us and just not rob the house?"

"But then how are we going to get it back out? Or do you really want it sitting around, breeding and—" A loud explosion erupted from the manor, destroying large chunks of the walls and scattering brick over a fifty yard span. Almost echoing the blast, a thousand inhuman voices shrieking in anger and pain rent the sky for a long moment before blessed silence returned. Harry drew his wand and spun on one heel, shouting the instant before he Disapparated, "Go, go!"

He reappeared in the midst of the devastation, smoke cutting his visibility down to only a few feet, and he did not wait a moment before aiming his acacia focus at one staggering Death Eater. "Compulso!" he screamed, diving to the floor and rolling away from a Cruciatus Curse thrown at him seemingly reflexively. The compulsion charm he had cast on the other man immediately set to work, and the terrorist turned on his fellows and quickly unleashed three jets of pale green light.

In most combat situations, Harry did not have time to think of an elaborate compulsion like those he had been able to inflict on Umbridge, but 'Kill the other Death Eaters' was simple enough. His patsies generally did not last long – his current puppet was just that moment falling to the ground, several curses ending the wizard's life – but when all he needed were disposable soldiers, this strategy worked perfectly.

Two more cracks signified the girls appearing, and they sprinted to cover, flinging spells of their own as they slid through the wide pools of blood and slime on the floor. Hermione's Reductor Curse hit someone from the splattering sound that followed, and a number of multicolored spells shot from Luna's wand into the lingering dust, though whether they were effective he was unsure. A volley of Killing Curses flying at them in response proved that there were at least a few enemies still standing.

Using his ritual-enhanced power to his advantage, Harry rose from behind the chunk of wall he was using as cover and flung his arm in a wide arc at what should have been waist-height. "Diffindo!" His spell lashed out in a pale red crescent, slicing through the smoke and the Death Eaters hidden inside it. A few more Unforgiveables flew his way, but after a silent repetition of the spell, there was nothing.

"Ventas," Hermione muttered from the other side of the hallway, and a brisk wind sprung up from nowhere to blow away the smoke. Their vision now unimpeded, the trio could see the fallen before them, what few were not already dead well on their way. Standing from their crouched positions, they walked through the killing ground, unmasking the dead as they went. One Death Eater, body sliced in half at the waist, was revealed to be Narcissa Malfoy, and a quick search of the rest of the remains eventually had the oldest of the thieves hesitantly levitating over to them the half of a face and some blond locks that were all that was left of Lucius. She dropped it with a shudder and said, "Let's deal with Voldemort and get out of here."

Harry nodded. "Yes, let's finish this. And this time, there will be no coming back for him."

Their path through the rest of the manor was almost too quiet; clearly their use of the cuddlepus to attract all the Death Eaters to one spot had been successful. Walking down the stairs to the manor's basement, the same place Voldemort had been holed up in the previous timestream, he held up a fist to tell the girls to stop. "Are you two ready?"

They looked to each other for a moment before turning back to him. "We're ready," Luna answered.

"Blasting curses on three," he said, aiming his wand at the door. In his peripheral vision, he could see the girls' wands over either shoulder. "One. Two. Three! Confringo!"

The yellow spells crashed into the door, shredding it and hurling the fragments into the room. At the other end, several chunks of debris bounced off a shield, and the incantation for the bone-breaking hex was already on the tip of his tongue when Harry noticed just who it was who had cast the shield charm. It was not Voldemort, as he expected. It was not a Death Eater, either.

Instead, a man in a black leather bodysuit and a red fox mask lowered his wand.

"Oh, you have got to be kidding me," Hermione muttered from his right as she took in the wizard's two companions, each dressed the same as the man except for their yellow and blue masks. Those attires were extremely familiar; after all, the trio were just that moment wearing the exact same thing.

The Luna at the other side of the room waved them closer from where she was sitting on the floor. "Thank goodness you're here. We were getting tired of waiting."

"Sorry we took so long," present-Luna replied in an all too chipper voice. She nodded at the table their future selves sat around, the cards and chips indicating that they had interrupted their other versions' blackjack game. "At least you weren't too bored. Who's winning?"

"Hermione, of course. She's cheating, like she always does," answered future-Harry.

"I do not! Just because Vegas casinos don't allow card counting does not mean that it's cheating, just that it loses them money."

"And that's also why we don't play this game with you too often," present-Harry retorted, getting nods from the future him and both Lunas. "I have to ask, though, where'd you stash Voldemort?"

Future-Luna snickered and waved her wand at the wooden table, and it transformed back into the unconscious Dark Lord. "We figured we could at least get some use out of him. Anyway, we better head out; we need clean this place out and turn back time again if we want to be at Hogwarts for breakfast and an alibi. Toodles."

With a series of loud cracks, the three thieves and their prisoner vanished, the cards and chips falling to the ground. Hermione sighed and vanished the detritus. "Harry, why do we always have to clean up after you?"

"Hardy har har." He shook his head. "Dobby, we need a Time Turner, please."

The little golden hourglass appeared in front of them, and he wasted no time in picking it up and stretching the chain until it went around the three of them. He flipped the glass once, colors swirling around them in an unruly storm before solidifying again. Five feet away, Voldemort looked up from his seat on his throne and barely had the time to widen his eyes in surprise before their simultaneous stunners smashed into him.

Hermione stepped closer and looked down at the slumped wizard. "This really should not have been this easy."

"Shhh! Don't jinx us now!" Luna hissed.

"No, seriously. This should have been a lot harder. I mean, coming back in time to take him out I can understand, but the only reason that plan actually worked was because we had already done it. We're talking about a self-sustained causality loop, which is supposed to be impossible. It opens the door for all kinds of paradoxes—"

"Both of you, please be quiet," Harry begged as he rubbed his temples in a futile attempt to stave off the headache building behind his eyes. "I bloody hate time travel."

They were silent for a long moment before the blonde asked, "So… What are we going to do with him now?"

"I have no clue. Harry?"

"Beats me…" He paused as a wonderful, terrible idea unfolded in his mind. "Oh. Oh. That could work."


Smiling viciously behind his mask, he explained the plan to them, and Luna shook her head once he was finished. "Oh, Harry. That… that's just cruel." She laughed. "I like it."

Tonks took her position beside Shacklebolt as the large wizard stopped and aimed his wand. "Salutor," he intoned, a spark of bright white leaping from the tip of his wand and making the large dome of the Bulstrodes' wards flash. The squad of Aurors, half a dozen strong even if four of them were disillusioned, waited impatiently until the head of the household exited his front door and trudged over to them.

Marcus Bulstrode was a large man, both tall and broad, and as he approached, Tonks could not help but wonder if he perhaps had troll or giant blood in him. It would certainly explain why the top of even Shack's head did not reach the level of the man's shoulders. Looking down at them with disdain, Bulstrode grunted, "What does the DMLE want with me now?"

"We actually came to ask for your help," the Senior Auror replied calmly. "You've heard about this 'fox thief' who's been going around and robbing large manors, I take it?" Bulstrode nodded, an angry sneer growing on his face. "Well, we've been tracking him down for a few months now, and we wondered if you'd heard anything that could possibly be of use to our investigation."

"Maybe I have," the large wizard answered slowly. "Just the other day, in fa—"

Tonks huffed loudly, interrupting Bulstrode. "Do you think we could maybe take this inside? It's rude to talk to your guests on the lawn, you know."

"Auror Tonks!" Shacklebolt barked.

"What? It's hot out here."

"Fine, fine, you can come in," the other wizard growled, turning away to return to the house. "Give me a second to let you through."

Once Bulstrode was out of earshot, the African wizard gave her an amused glance from the corner of his eye. "Not bad."

"Heh, when I was a kid my mum forced me to learn all the Purebloods' rules of hospitality. Said I'd never know when I'd need them. If she hears about this, she's never gonna let me live it down."

The grass rustled as the other four Aurors stepped to their sides, and a few moments later, the air wavered with a multitude of colors before returning to normal. She and Shack hesitated a second longer to let the rest of the team through before stepping over the boundary; immediately after they did, the wards slammed back down.

Now comes the hard part, she thought, tightening the grip on her wand in her pocket. Bulstrode opened the door for them, scowling that he had to accept them in at all, and that expression was frozen on his face when a scarlet stunner shot out of thin air and threw him to the ground.

"Eight more to go," Shacklebolt reminded them. "Move out and bring down the rest of the Bulstrodes and the Notts."

She jogged down the hallway, the thudding of her squad echoing behind them. Taking a left while the rest continued straight, she just barely caught a glance of a shocked face before the other witch spun around to run away. "Stupefy, Incarcerous, Petrificus totalus," Tonks yelled, the lights and net hurtling into the suspect. Her eyes flicked over the room the woman was trying to escape into when the screams of hexes and curses came from behind her. Slipping inside the room to make sure it was empty, she levitated the woman she had brought down and held the witch in front of her just in case one of their targets slipped past the rest.

"Sound off!" her partner called half a minute later. "Shacklebolt, two!"

Grinning, she replied, "Tonks, one!"

"Daniels, one!"

"Jacobson, two!"

"O'Brien, two!"

"Rupert, one!"

"That's all of them!" Shack said, leading the rest of the team from deeper in the house. "Now let's knock out the wardstone and get these bastards back to the Ministry."

Nine Death Eaters taken down, the rest of the Aurors are already attacking their targets, and Madam Bones said she had someone especially skilled hitting You-Know-Who's hiding spot itself, she thought with a fierce smile. Now that's what I call a good day on the job.

A snickering, dark-clad figure slipped silently out of Amelia Bones's office, a file folder clasped tightly in hand. Left behind by this individual was a sheet of parchment on the witch's desk where she could easily find it the next morning.

Madam Bones,

I was quite pleased when I saw in the Daily Prophet that you had arrested the remaining Death Eaters; I do not trust easily, and you cannot imagine how happy I am that you proved yourself deserving of that trust. As for my own end of our deal, You-Know-Who is not a threat to anyone any longer. Britain can at long last heal from the scars his reign of terror left behind.

Speaking of threats, now that my task is done, I have no reason to stay in this country. You have no need to fear any further crimes from me, at least not in the foreseeable future, and much as I have enjoyed our little game of cat and mouse, all good things must come to an end. I have to admit to being disappointed that we did not have the chance to interact more; of all the law enforcement officers and directors I have dealt with, you are by far the most honest and honorable. But who knows? Perhaps we will have a chance to see each other again, and in more friendly circumstances.

Your neighborhood burglar,

The Hooded Fox, AKA 'Mr. Fox'

PS: I hope you don't mind, but I'm taking your file about me with me. Partly it's because you don't need it anymore; mostly it's because I'm curious who you think I am.

PPS: I just read the file. You were nowhere close.

"And time. Please give your exams to me and exit the room in an orderly fashion."

Harry stood from the desk and made his way to the front of the Great Hall, handing the parchment to the elderly examiner. With History of Magic over – and possibly with a passing grade this time – he and his girlfriends were now officially done with their OWLs and only had a few days to kill before they could leave the castle and return to their respective homes.

He rejoined his girls where they waited for him just outside the Hall, and together they found, entered, and barricaded an empty classroom. Turning back to them, he said, "So, decision time. Now that we no longer have to attend Hogwarts, are we going to return for a repeat of our sixth year?"

"Merlin, no. This year was bad enough; I'd go insane if I had to do that all over again," Hermione snarled in distaste.

Luna shrugged. "Since I learned all the sixth-year material from you two, it would be a new experience for me, but I very much doubt that I'd actually learn anything."

"You wouldn't, trust me. Honestly, I just want to take my NEWTs and restart my Healing training." The bushy brunette hummed for a moment. "In fact, if we take them the summer after next year, which would give us time to 'study', it would probably make getting into our apprenticeships easier. They'd love us for acing the exams a year early."

And I might actually take them this time around. In the previous timeline, he had only sat for the Defense Against the Dark Arts NEWT, but it would not hurt him to take a few more. After all, he still was undecided about what he wanted to do to occupy his time while his girlfriends were busy studying for their careers.

He exchanged a weighty look with both girls. "If we aren't staying for classes, and I doubt we'll have much to do with anyone at this school ever again, then I guess it's time we got rid of the dead weight, isn't it?"

Their sharp grins were answer enough.

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