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



6. The Plot Sickens

Hermione and Luna eventually managed to convince Harry to see the Beauxbatons and Durmstrang students off, and they walked through the main doors in time to spot the dark ship in the Black Lake slip beneath the surface. They hustled over to the crowd, hoping to at least wave goodbye to Fleur. She may have only interacted with them a few times now, but they had become close to her after she and Bill splintered off from the Weasley family following the Great Potion Disaster. As both of his lovers were somewhat affected by her Allure, he had spent the most time with her when the two 'couples' had visited. Their friendly conversations started to include him looking to her for advice, and soon she became the older sister that he had always wanted growing up; if he could have turned to her when he was still a student, he wouldn't have ever wasted his time with Ginny.

The powder-blue carriages appeared ready to depart, winged horses in their harnesses and luggage stored inside, but there were still students flitting across the grounds, spending a few moments talking to one group of students before hurrying to another. He didn't remember any of this happening last time, and a look to the girls confirmed his fears. Something was very wrong.

"'Arry Potter!" shouted a high-pitched voice. He turned around in time to see a small, silvery-blonde ball of energy before it flew into his chest, knocking him to the ground.

What is it today with being pounced on?, he thought as he looked up at the eight-year-old Veela. Gabrielle Delacour, Fleur's little sister, darling of her family, and from the panicked voices of the other French students, pint-sized trouble-maker. She showed no hurry to get off of him, instead babbling away in French and making wide sweeping gestures, occasionally taking a short break to poke him. "Er, Mione, can you tell me what she's saying?"

When there was no response, he glanced her way and scowled. She was right there, trying – and utterly failing – to hide her laughter behind her hand. She caught ahold of herself and said, "Well, Harry, she seems to think that only an absolutely horrible person wouldn't be here to tell her goodbye, so she had to run around and look for you because only something dreadful could have kept her hero from—" She snorted again, then made a quick comment to Gabrielle before she continued, "—from coming over so you could meet your future in-laws."

"My future what?!"

Luna by now had cracked up as well and stood bent over at the waist, her head somewhere below her knees and her rear bobbing around as she nearly convulsed in giggles.

"Your future in-laws, Harry, weren't you listening? You saved her from the lake, and since she is her daddy's little princess and you're her knight in shining armor, you have to—" Another snort or two came from Hermione, even as she hid her face in her hair to withstand the temptation of further laughter, "—have to follow the fairy tales and take her home to your French castle and live happily ever after!" The battle lost, she fell to the ground, face flushed and gasping for air.

Harry stared at his loves in shock, dismay, and not a little betrayal. They were supposed to stand by him through thick and thin, and the first disaster they encounter in this timeline, the two of them were laughing at his misfortune. Laughing! He looked at Gabrielle from the corner of his eye and frowned even more; she had joined the two fair-weather friends in their mirth, not knowing enough English to realize she was the source of it.

"Oh, she is just too adorable," squealed Luna. "Can we keep her?"

"She's not a pet, little moon. We need to get her back to her family," he said.

"Then can I have a Snorkack?"

Harry did, in fact, withhold his sigh, though it was a close thing. "Yes, Luna, if you and Xeno find a Snorkack, you can keep it."

"And can I have a pony?" Hermione asked with wide eyes. She only held the expression for a moment before she collapsed back into laughter, which caused Luna to lose her tenuous grip on seriousness.

He nudged Gabrielle from his chest and stood, then he reached out and grasped her hand. "Come on, we'll leave the giggle monsters on their own. We need to get you back to Fleur."

The little girl showed no comprehension until her sister's name was mentioned. Tightening her grip on him, she yanked him through the crowd to the other side of the carriage where Fleur was standing alongside her mother. Even able to withstand the draw of their sensuous aura, Harry felt the powerful subconscious compulsion sliding along the barriers of his hard-earned Occlumency.

He cleared his throat to gain the two women's attention. "Fleur, Madame Delacour, I believe I have something that belongs to you."

"Gabrielle!" her mother called, before she pulled the child from his grip and began scolding her.

"Eet seems I now owe you twice, Monsieur Potter," Fleur said, "for zis ees ze second time you 'ave found my seester and brought 'er back to me."

He blushed. "It wasn't a big deal. She wanted to say goodbye, that's all."

"Non, eet ees not all. We were searching for 'er seence zis morning, and 'ad not found 'er. Eef you 'ad not brought 'er 'ere, I don't know what we would 'ave done."

"I'm sure you would have found her," he replied, desperately thinking for another subject. Profuse thanks always made him feel awkward. "What do you plan to do now that you've graduated?"

"I 'ave been offered a poseetion wiz ze goblins of Gringotts. 'Opefully, eet will geeve me time to eemprove my Engleesh."

"Your accent's better now than it was at the beginning of the year," he said, "so I'm sure it won't take much for you to speak like a native.

"You said you're going to work for Gringotts, is that as a ward-master or a curse-breaker?" For all the expense of Gringotts' warding services, few wizards realized that goblins were incapable of creating them. Their magic made them natural weapon and armor smiths, and they had adapted numerous dwarven techniques for enchanting, but wards were a human invention. Every time Gringotts wards were commissioned, the individuals doing the actual casting were humans employed by the bank. The same tactic was used with their curse-breakers, who were trained to tear down wards and curses from ruins and tombs to get to the treasure hidden within.

"I will be training as a ward-master, zough I would like to become a curse-breaker. I theenk I do not 'ave ze skill to do so. I was een last place een ze Tournament."

Harry shook his head. "Fleur, the Tournament was rigged from the beginning. In a straight duel, Krum could wipe all of us out with raw power, and you and Cedric had the most talent."

"And still, you won."

"I had a lot of people making it easy for me," he countered with a grimace, "so many that a first year could probably have been the Champion if they wanted it. I'm nowhere near as good as the three of you are, not yet."

Fleur smiled at him, "Not yet, but soon. I was not as powerful or as skilled as you when I was fourteen. I believe ze ozzers were not eizzer. Non, a year or two from now, and no one will 'ave any doubts zat you deserved to win." A series of chimes kept her from saying more. "Eet ees time for me to leave you, but I will soon be een England again. Until zen, 'Arry Potter, au revoir." She took his head in her hands and kissed first one cheek, then the other before she swiftly walked into the carriage.

Harry struggled to dispel his blush when the two glares slamming into his back instantly removed it. So this is what people mean by 'the kiss of death'.

It took some fast talking – and a promise of ice cream for Luna – for Harry to be removed from his girlfriends' shit lists. He trudged his way back to the Hospital Wing after they were satisfied, intent on speaking to Pomfrey. He had promised to return if he was in pain or fatigued, and being up these past few hours had worn his energy back down to nothing. More than that, though, was a line of questioning Hermione had pushed him onto with a simple comment.

"Surely Madam Pomfrey could find some Pepper-Up to help you stay awake. Actually, while you're there, ask for some nutritional potions; I'm worried that the Dursleys will try to starve you again this summer."

Yes, he was sure that the nurse could get him some potions to help him put on weight, but why had she never given him one before? He hadn't been there all that often, but she performed numerous scans on him every time he had to stay overnight; there was no way that she had missed the obvious signs of malnutrition. Yet somehow, in the six years he had been in her care, she had never once mentioned anything she could do to help him. All told, this gave him serious doubts on her trustworthiness.

Stopping outside the Hospital Wing, he tried to prepare himself mentally for the meeting ahead. In the previous timeline, almost everyone involved in the disaster that was his 'childhood' had already died by the time he figured everything out, Pomfrey included. Now that he was about to confront one of them, he realized how much easier he had it before.

He straightened his shoulders and walked through the doorway. "Madam Pomfrey, are you in here?"

"In here, Mr. Potter," came the mediwitch's voice. He followed it into her office and took a moment to examine the decor.

Least surprisingly were the books, filling a bookshelf on the left side of the room. The right side had a shelf covered with vials, and Harry could see that each one was labeled in a small, careful script. She had no true desk, just a short table that was flush with the far wall of the small room. In front of the table was a wheeled stool, and perched on top was Pomfrey, diligently writing on several pages of parchment. Paperwork, the unstoppable nightmare.

"I must say, I wasn't expecting you to come back so soon. I thought you would push yourself until you collapsed and would have to be carried here."

He flushed, that was exactly what he would have done, and did do, in the old timeline more times than he could count. "When Hermione saw how tired I was, she insisted that I come to you. I was wondering if I could get a dose of Pepper-Up to last me until tonight."

"I can't do that, Mr. Potter," she said. She swiveled her stool around to fully face him. "If you were only fatigued, I would not have a problem giving you something to keep you awake, but your magic is already fully occupied countering the Cruciatus. The best thing you could do for yourself if you're feeling tired is to take a short rest."

"You really care for your patients, don't you?" He struck when she smiled in response, "But I must say, if you care so much, how is it that you haven't done anything to fix what my so-called 'family' has done to me over the years?"

Pomfrey bent her head down, looking at the hands she was twisting in her lap. "I wish I could have helped you somehow. Every time you came in here, I couldn't help thinking that it was partly my fault you were there. Maybe if I had treated you, you wouldn't have nearly died so many times…"

"If you wanted to help me so much, why didn't you?"

"Because Dumbledore," she spat, "used the Hippocratic Oaths and the vows I made to become Hogwarts's Healer against me. He arranged it so that I could never help you as much as I wanted."

Harry blinked in confusion. "What do you mean, Hippocratic Oaths? And what other vows?" He had heard of the Hippocratic Oath from the Muggle world, but he didn't know that Wizarding Britain had a similar practice. Hermione had never told him about them, either, but she had only completed three of the five years of training needed to become a Healer.

"The Hippocratic Oaths are five magical oaths that Healers swear to follow before they graduate from their training and take on their own patients. Breaking a single one would have taken my magic from me, and I fear what would happen to you, to all of the students, if I was forced to leave."

"But how could Dumbledore trap you in your Oaths?" he asked.

"The Hippocratic Oaths are highly specific. This is meant to prevent Healers from being trapped in a situation where any option will force them to violate one, but Dumbledore twisted them so that my job did that itself.

"The first Oath is 'I will perform all treatments within my power as needed, and will never cause my patients harm, through action or inaction, unnecessarily or disproportionate to the benefits they will receive from my treatments. On my magic, I so swear.' Its purpose is obvious, preventing any Healer from causing harm to a patient due to personal feelings.

"The second is 'I will inform my patients of their infirmities and the proper treatment for them before administering any remedy. If my patients are minors, I will inform their guardians, unless the guardian in question is the cause of the patient's condition. On my magic, I so swear.' Many people are more comfortable if they know what their Healer is going to do and why. Since we must look at patients as people, not just problems to be solved, causing emotional distress can be considered harming them, violating the first Oath.

"The third is 'I will not treat any condition for which I have not been trained, except as a last resort for a patient lying at the foot of the Veil. I will seek out fellow Healers who are knowledgable and experienced in the specific condition my patient suffers from. On my magic, I so swear.' Long ago, when Healing was taught through apprenticeships, most deaths were due to young Healers who had no idea how to treat an infirmity they had never encountered. There are a number of diseases or injuries that require attention from specialists.

"The fourth is 'I will respect my patients' privacy and will not release information on them without just cause. On my magic, I so swear.' We learn things about patients through the exams we perform that they would never tell another person. Our duty is to bring our patients back to full health, not spread rumors about them. On the other hand, in some cases, such as abuse, we need to be able to involve the DMLE, hence the phrase 'just cause'.

"Finally, the fifth is 'I will not make any vows that violate these Oaths I swear as a Healer. On my magic, I so swear.' This Oath has a simple purpose; it keeps Healers from being caught between conflicting vows."

"Okay," Harry said after thinking over each Oath, "all of them make sense on the surface, but you haven't treated me for the starvation I suffered, nor did you call in anyone to take me from my relatives, so how did you avoid violating the Oaths?"

Pomfrey sighed. "I didn't violate them because I had to swear two other vows before I could work here. First, I swore on my magic to inform the Headmaster, as the guardian in loco parentis for all the children attending Hogwarts, whenever a student's course of treatment required long-term action, or when it would interfere with their ability to participate in class. Furthermore, unless the student is at least seventeen years of age, I have to wait for his permission to proceed with the recommended treatment or to release the student's medical information to any individual other than the Headmaster and the student's guardians.

"I tell Dumbledore every year that you need more help than I can give overnight, but while he says he will have words with your guardians, he never authorizes treatment, nor does he allow me to consult with experts from St. Mungo's."

"So you couldn't treat me yourself, but nothing was stopping you from telling me—"

"There was. The Headmaster also made me swear not to approach any underage student, you in this case, about your conditions or treatment options before I had consulted your guardians and gained consent for the treatment. The second Hippocratic Oath kept me from treating you without telling you what I was doing, and my oath to the Headmaster prevented me from telling you, so I couldn't treat you."

Harry could understand the distress and anger the older woman was feeling. He had been manipulated since his parents' deaths to be Dumbledore's tool, but he had been blind to what was happening behind the scenes until everything was already over. How much worse was it for Poppy Pomfrey, who saw the snare only after she had already been caught?

"But you're talking to me about it now, so how are you avoiding breaking your vows?"

Pomfrey's eyes were an unsettling imitation of Dumbledore's, and her malicious grin would have made Voldemort proud. "I couldn't tell you before, but you approached me this time; it's a loophole in Dumbledore's restrictions. Since you already know, there are now many more options available to us…"

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