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



14. The Good, the Bad, and the Stupid

The sound of steps pulled Harry's attention from the Charms journal he had been reading. As soon as he saw that the arrival was Miranda Granger, he knew things were about to become very awkward very quickly. He closed the magazine and tapped the convenient 'table' it had rested on. "Luna, it's about time we left."

She raised her eyes from her own material, a sultry romance novel she spotted in Hermione's room. With a nod of agreement she was off her lovers' laps, leaving him to catch the brunette's attention. "Mione," he said while he nudged her. There was no response, not an unusual occurrence, so he covered the pages of her book with one hand.

"I was reading that, Harry!" she snapped before she noticed her mother. "Oh."

"Yes, oh. Mrs. Granger, it was very nice of you to let us come over today, but Luna and I should go and leave you three to your dinner."

The older woman hesitated before shaking her head. "Are you sure you don't want to eat with us? It's no trouble."

"Thank you, but no," Luna said as she smoothed out her sundress, which had risen during her time on the couch. He blamed Hermione and her wandering hands. "Daddy is having some friends over, and he always wants me to meet them. Harry, though, would certainly be more than willing to join you."

"Wonderful, one more won't be a problem."

"Aren't I supposed to get a choice in the matter?" Harry wondered aloud.

The two women spoke simultaneously. "No." Luna leaned over and kissed him, then turned and did the same to Hermione. With her lovers happy and Miranda bemused, she bounded over to the bags of school supplies they had picked up in Diagon after their jaunt to Little Hangleton and Disapparated with a loud crack.

"Well," Miranda said after a few moments, "Hermione, your father's going to be a little late, but could you go ahead and set the table, please? If it's not too much trouble, Harry, would you help me make a quick salad? Hermione told me that you know your way around a kitchen."

"Of course, Mrs. Granger." They walked into the kitchen, and he set out a pair of knives while she pulled several vegetables out of the refrigerator. They worked in silence for a minute or two, the only noise coming from the chopping blades.

"Do you mind my asking a personal question?"

He glanced at the elder Granger. "I don't, so long as you understand I may choose not to answer."

"Hermione told me about the relationship between the three of you, and I was wondering what your views were about it."

So she's going to take an oblique approach. He had expected something like this to happen after the three of them decided to spend the rest of the day here. "It's not easy, not for any of us. Our relationship isn't any more normal to the magicals than it is to Muggles, so we have that to contend with, but we each have personal hurdles as well. Luna's been getting a crash course in Muggle life since both Mione and I grew up in this world, but I don't think she believed us until today when she could actually see what we were talking about. Though I adore both of them, I have two girlfriends who are extremely strong-willed and far more intelligent than I am, which can make it difficult for me to keep up with them when we disagree. Hermione… well, she still has issues occasionally with being in a trio rather than a couple, and it took her a while to accept her orientation.

"It's not all negatives, though. Your daughter is tied to what she reads in books, and sometimes it takes two people to remind her the most important parts of life can't be found in the library. Luna is a free spirit, but she needs us to keep her grounded; if we didn't, she'd disappear on a flight of fancy, with no one knowing where or how she was."

Miranda turned to face him fully. "And what about you? What do you get out of this?"

"Several things, big and little, but the most important is I'm not forced to choose between them. Luna is like the sun, shining brightly on anyone who takes a moment to pay attention to her. I was in a dark place when we first met, and after only a short talk with her, it was as if color had returned to the world." He smiled, remembering how a few minutes here and there in her company had raised his spirits and strengthened him during his atrocious fifth year. And to think he had almost given that up… "Hermione is my rock. She has saved me so many times, both from others and myself. When we first became friends, I knew deep inside that she would always be standing next to me, and though we've had a few snags, the Firebolt debacle in particular, I never doubted that she acted with the best of intentions.

"One leads me onwards, the other ensures I keep my footing. If I had to pick who was more important to me, I'd find it an impossible choice."

"Listening to you, I find it hard to believe you're just a boy of fourteen," she said with a soft smile. "You sound like a grown man, one deeply in love."

"I am. In love, I mean. Luna's a whirlwind; she dropped into my life, and shortly afterward I couldn't remember how I had gone on without her. Hermione, though, I have had feelings for since the end of our second year, when she was petrified. After she was cured, I pushed them down out of fear for our friendship, but that didn't stop them from growing."

"Even during the fight about the broomstick?"

He grimaced. "Neither of us handled that well. She was so certain that she was right — and she was, since Sirius had sent it — that she acted before she considered how to deal with the situation, like telling me that she was acting at all. I, on the other hand, was too busy being an angry prat to even listen to her reasons. In the end, I think we learned from it, and it was better we received that lesson early on with something that didn't really matter."

"A very mature way of looking at it."

They were quiet for a bit longer before Miranda spoke again. "I just don't understand. Hermione was never 'girly', I'll admit, but there weren't any indications that she was gay. Her crush on that Lockhart bloke was so obvious that not even a blind man could miss it, yet she didn't act like that about anyone else until her letters over Christmas about that older boy; Krum, wasn't it?

"So when she told me about Luna and how serious it was, I didn't immediately leap to support her like I should have. The only thing I could think was, 'Who are you, and what have you done with my little girl?'" She sniffed sadly. "I have never been more ashamed of myself, but by then the damage was done."

"Hermione said you've been distant lately, treating her like she's a stranger," he said, keeping his voice gentle.

"I didn't mean for that to happen. I was just preoccupied watching her; if I didn't even know that she might fall in love with another girl, what else did I miss? So I watched, and she is so different from how I thought that it breaks my heart. You don't understand, Harry, but trust me when I say it is a terrible feeling to look at your child, one who is almost a grown woman, and realize that you can't even recognize her. I want to get to know her, but I don't know how, or if she will even let me."

Harry sighed. For the Grangers it had been ten months, but for them it had been ten years. He knew the Dursleys wouldn't care how, or even if, he acted differently, so it hadn't crossed his mind how attentive parents like Jake and Miranda would react to their now 25 year old daughter. Nor did he think about Xeno, but that man was impossible to predict.

"Mrs. Granger, it isn't that you don't know Hermione; it's that a great deal happened this past year, both good and bad. She was in a position where she could either grow or break, and she chose to grow."

"What do you mean?"

"Did she tell you about my name coming out of the Goblet of Fire, even though I never put it in?" At her nod, he spun his tale. He didn't want to deceive her, but there was no other option available. "Only a few people believed me, and Hermione was the only one who defended me from the very start. Unfortunately, when the school treated me terribly, she saw that the professors weren't doing anything to stop it; some even encouraged the students. She lost just about all of her respect for authority and looked at the staff with a critical eye. In doing so, I'm afraid she lost respect for several of them as people as well. She kept analyzing: what she was told, how people acted, why she should follow this rule or that. It was hard enough to keep up with her changes when I was with her every step of the way, so I can't imagine how you must feel looking at her now."

She chewed her lip much like her daughter, pondering everything he had said. "And that's how she found out she's bisexual? By questioning everything?"

"Actually, that's Fleur's fault, though Luna had a hand in it."

"Who is Fleur?"

"Fleur Delacour was the Triwizard competitor for Beauxbatons and a Veela." He grinned at the look of confusion she displayed; if she was anything like her daughter, that expression would soon morph into one of unbridled curiosity. "Veela are an entirely female race that interbreed with human males. They produce an invisible aura that is meant to lure men into their beds, but it has the side-effect of making women incredibly jealous of them. Some people, like myself, are capable of ignoring it; Hermione wasn't so lucky. Care to guess what happened when she found herself in that aura?"

Miranda began to chuckle. "Oh, my. You poor thing."

"Yes, for the first few months her mood swings terrified me. Eventually Luna realized why she was behaving that way and pulled Hermione aside. That was in February, and she and I were tentatively dating." He paused for a moment, continuing to mix his fourth year with the time they spent on the Horcrux Hunt. "I never did get the full story of what happened. The next I knew about it, Luna led us into an empty classroom, kissed me, kissed her, and then said that she would be joining our relationship. It took about a week for that to sink in, and we haven't looked back since."

"And Hermione… she's really happy?"

"Why don't you ask her yourself? She's been listening to us the entire time." He pointed over his shoulder at the hallway, and Hermione stepped out, tears streaming down her face.

"Oh, Hermione, I'm so, so sorry for how I was acting." Miranda choked out, starting cry as well.

"Mum…" In a flash the two Grangers were hugging each other, and Harry walked out to the living room to continue his reading. He had a feeling they would be busy for a while.

Harry flapped his wings to slow down as he entered his room at the Dursleys' and returned to human form. He would prefer to spend his nights at the Manor, but there was so much damage that the bedrooms were a low priority. If repairs continued at their current pace, it would be livable some time in late August or early September, though the Treasure Chest would be accessible shortly.

He walked down the stairs as quietly as he could. It was just about time for the zoo animals' punishments to start, and he was still undecided what he should start off with for each of them. Make the kitchen look dirtier and dirtier the more Petunia cleaned it? Maybe a spell on Vernon's car to make him forget where he was driving, that certainly had potential. Dudley was the most difficult, strangely enough. His first thoughts consisted of simultaneous diarrhea and projectile vomiting, but that was just too pedestrian. No, for all those witch-burnings he had organized and the children he had murdered, ickle Duddikens needed something special.

A bulky blob stood in the hallway between the kitchen and the front door, a golf club hoisted above it. Harry shook his head in disappointment; it appeared Vernon hadn't yet accepted his new place at the bottom of the food chain. He transfigured the bludgeon into a bouquet of wildflowers and stuck the walrus's shoes to the tile floor. After examining his work for a moment, he added a curly pig's tail for a laugh. Like father, like son.

"Who are you waiting for?"

"That no-good, unnatural freak. He wasn't in his room, but he has to come back sometime, and I'll be ready."

He rolled his eyes; he had been dodging frying pans for most of his life in this bloody house, yet Vernon really thought he would miss a fat man swinging that at him? Then again, he didn't realize who he was talking to, either. "What if he uses the back door?"

Vernon shook his head rapidly, which caused his entire mass to quiver like a bowl of pudding. "I locked it. No, this is the only way he can get in."

Not a bad plan, Harry thought, assuming I didn't fly through my window like I did, or use Alohamora to unlock the door, or transfigure it into something else, or simply blow a hole in the wall to make myself a new entrance. Still, I'll give credit where credit is due; he at least put some planing about what he was doing.

Dismissing Vernon from his mind, he disabled the Ministry monitor and began silently casting spells around the small room. An illusion went on the windows to show people looking through their curtains at the house, which would surely drive Petunia around the bend. Since he couldn't get past his uncle, he charmed the car keys to redirect the man's anger towards the higher-ups of Grunning's Drills and constables. A moment later he added a compulsion that would cause Vernon to constantly speed.

All that's left is Dudley's. He needs something serious, not just embarrassing. Too bad I can't make him feel the pain he inflicts on the kids he bullies… He sighed. Never mind. Luna created a spell for that very purpose.

"Libera pena ad eorum qui illud causant," he intoned as he waved his wand at the staircase. I'll cast the other half on his lighter; he always had it on him last time.

Vernon turned his head when he heard the incantation, rapidly purpling when he saw Harry. He spun to swing his weapon, but the immobile shoes refused to comply. Instead, he let out a loud yelp and fell to the ground holding his twisted ankles, his shoes having split open and freeing his feet.

Harry caught the flowers Vernon was still brandishing. "These better be for Petunia and not me. Even then, you couldn't pony up enough money to buy roses? I hope you don't mind sleeping on the couch." He laughed as he left the bewildered man and finished his retributive tasks. Who knew messing with the Dursleys would be so much fun?

"You sure there isn't an easier way to do this?" Harry panted out as he kept a thin beam of magic aimed at the wardtap.

Hermione turned to him, her eyes twinkling from the still-active magesight charm. "Well, I suppose you could trigger the ward if you want, but considering it would melt you from the inside out…"

"Yeah, yeah, I get it. Less complaining, more breaking down Dolohov's wards." The Death Eater's home was first on their list of places to break into and strip down to the bedrock, a list that had increased as they recalled more families who had offered at least tacit support to Voldemort's ideology. Dolohov may not have been as wealthy as, say, the Malfoys, but he was single and in Azkaban, which meant the only defenses would be the wards he had set on the house before his incarceration. Also, he wasn't lending a spare bedroom to the Dark Lord.

"Here, Hermione," Luna said as she passed over what looked like a silver tuning fork holding a quartz lens. "It's a static amplifier. Stick it in the ground with the crystal focusing the beam, and it'll take the brunt off Harry to power the tap."

Hermione did as the blonde ordered, and he immediately felt the drain on his magic drop to a manageable level. The tap was a stone sphere that leached magic from wards and funneled it through a copper spike into the earth, but the runic scripts engraved on it were so delicate they could burn out if two conflicting magical signatures were casting at the same time, hence why he, with his larger core, was the only one charging it. The amplifier, which used wild magic, had no signature and was an absolute godsend for any thieves without the benefit of a power-boosting ritual. Note to self, find that book as soon as we get into the Treasure Chest.

"Thanks, Luna. Where'd you get that?"

"It was one of the things I took from Filch. I haven't finished sorting everything out, but I did find some stored anti-Apparation jinxes, vials of what I think is an untraceable poison, Peruvian Darkness Powder, and a rubber chicken that's cursed to bludgeon people over the head with it's metal beak."

"Dear Merlin, I never believed I would agree with that miserable curmudgeon, but he might have had the right idea after all." After several minutes of silence, Hermione spoke again. "I think that's it. Shut down the tap and Luna will blast the ward."

The Reductor produced a brilliant corona as the third ward fell. "Take a load off, love. We'll handle the rest." He gratefully complied and watched the two girls skillfully deconstruct the remaining two wards. The first couple were standard Apparation and Muggle Repelling and therefore easy to disable using brute force, but the others were rather unusual. Thankfully, a suggestibility ward keyed to the Dark Mark and Occlumency suppression were less likely to rebound on them than the blood to acid ward he had wrestled with.

By the time they were done, he had downed a Pepper Up and recovered enough to no longer be dead on his feet. "Shall we go inside?" he said as he offered them his arms. Luna set the pace with her carefree skipping, not stopping even when Hermione transfigured the door into a pile of leaves and conjuring a wind to blow them into the house. As with the Gaunt shack, they briefly inspected the ground floor before they scattered on a mad dash to test the limits of their space-expanded bags.

They had spent the week after retrieving the Horcrux researching, and it had been he who had the idea to use a little transfiguration to disguise themselves and find second-hand furniture stores and pawnbrokers in a number of cities across the country. Most of what they would be taking they could fence there, and what little was charmed or enchanted could have the magic stripped or be stored in Potter Manor's vault once it was finally accessible. If the Wizarding World was larger, they could sell the items to stores in Diagon, but since store owners would likely ask questions of origin they really didn't have time for, Muggle Britain would have to do.

Harry's first stop was the formal dining room, where he summoned every piece of china and silver, along with the silk place settings and the crystal chandelier. He then miniaturized the table and chairs and waved them into the sack as well. Upon seeing the various portraits frozen in their frames from shock, he extended a whip of fire, the same spell Dumbledore had used in the Ministry at the end of his fifth year, and whirled it around his head a time or two before he spun and set each stretch of canvas alight. The potential witnesses silenced, he rushed to the parlor next door.

Summon, shrink, summon, burn, and repeat. It became a relaxing pattern, and soon he was on the first floor walking into the study. The carpets with the Dolohov crest he left alone, but all the books and their shelves found themselves in his bag. He noticed the desk in one corner, and with a mental shrug unlocked the drawers and peered inside.

"Paperwork, paperwork, invitation to a ball, bill from St. Mungo's… what do we have here?" A jab of his wand vanished the sheets of parchment from the desk's surface where he had tossed them to make room for the small iron box that was hidden in the bottom drawer. The wand's tip glowed white hot as he ran it over hingeless metal and levitated the side he had cut off. His eyes widened.

Inside were a number of rings, each encrusted with precious gems. He dumped the box onto the desk and spread them out, astounded as the variety before he noticed two objects mixed in. The first was a small key, the same size as the one that opened his Gringotts vault. Didn't Goldfinger say that Molly could take whatever she wanted from my trust vault simply because she had my key? He made a mental note to investigate that later.

"Little Tony must have been working overtime," he remarked facetiously as he picked up the second, a tiny hourglass hanging from a golden chain. "As Luna would say in this situation, we will have so much fun together."

"Hey, no stealing my lines!"

"Speak of the devil." He turned to see both Luna and Hermione. "What is it?"

Hermione smiled nervously. "I think I might be hallucinating. Can you come down to the the basement?" They backtracked to the room in question, actually a wine cellar which had been repurposed for the care, feeding, and torture of Muggles, complete with iron maiden and rusted hanging shackles. There was even a cage for Dolohov's 'toys' close by…

"Mione, were you hallucinating that the cell bars are made of solid gold?"

"You see them, too?"

"Yep. Luna, you're the Pureblood; explain this to us."

She chuckled weakly. "We're not exactly known for our common sense?"

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