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



19. Trouble Afoot

The time Harry chose to come down the stairs was just right to overhear the tail end of Hermione's and Molly's argument. "Now you look here, young lady, I will not let you go around dressed like some hussy! Go and change into something respectable, or you won't be welcome in this house!"

"You look here, Molly Weasley," Hermione said, her voice loud enough to be heard even over Walburga's vitriol. "I already have a mother, and I am certainly not searching for a replacement. Never presume to act like I am your child; you have enough trouble with your own brood without begging for more! I will wear what I want with or without your approval, so do all of us a favor and keep your unsolicited opinions to yourself. And don't think you can threaten to throw me out. This is Sirius's house, not yours. If this is how you've been acting the entire time you've been his guest, I'm not certain how he's kept from tossing you right out the door!"

"My personal theory is that Azkaban somehow gave him the patience of a saint," he said as he stepped into the hall. "Not sure it makes up for twelve years of illegal incarceration, but it's a start."

He took a look at what had set Molly off only to sigh in disappointment. The short blouse and tight jeans were nothing that would get a second glance in the Muggle world, but for the old-fashioned magicals, the thin strip of bronzed belly on display was the height of indecency. "Bloody Victorians."

Hermione smirked at his comment. Turning to the stairwell, she called, "Will someone shut that racket off?!"

"Very polite. First time she comes into my house, and she's already making demands. I'm telling you, Moony, kids these days have no respect!" A moment later the screeching stopped, and Sirius became visible. "Hey there, Hermione. Now I see how he fell for your wicked charms." A lecherous grin accompanied his wolf-whistle.

"Oi, hairball, enough of that. She's way too young for you." Shaking his head at his godfather's antics — he had seen Sirius 'flirting' with Tonks enough to figure out that the dog only acted like a dirty old man for personal amusement — he motioned towards the unruly painting. "Why don't you just silence her?"

"We've already tried that, trust me. She made sure her portrait was protected from any spells we might want to put on her. If she hadn't, I'd have gotten rid of her long ago."

Hermione nibbled on her lip as she thought. "Assuming you don't want to risk triggering any defenses she may have placed before she died by removing it, have you tried silencing the area around her? That wouldn't be casting magic on it directly, after all."

Sirius stared at her in awe. Not saying a word, he walked back to his mother's painting and followed Hermione's suggestion, then tested it by kicking a portion of the frame that was peeking from behind the drapes. The raggedy curtains flared open once more, but while they could all see Walburga's mouth moving and spittle flying around, there was no sound. "Not bad."

"Sirius!" Molly screamed. From the volume, she either hadn't noticed that the portrait was quiet or didn't care. Harry personally suspected it was the latter. "Since everyone insists you take charge of what goes on in this house, tell her to put on some proper clothes."

The Animagus looked Hermione over once again, then shrugged. "I know nothing about modern Muggle fashion. Is this considered decent?"

"It wouldn't be out of place, I don't think," Harry said.

"In some places, it would even be overly modest," added the brunette. "I normally wear clothes like this during the summers."

The Weasley matriarch purpled in rage, eerily reminiscent of the late Vernon Dursley. "You have never worn anything so… so… unseemly any time I saw you!"

"Well, of course you haven't," Hermione replied airily. "When I visited the Burrow, I dressed like an old maid so as to not offend your delicate sensibilities."

"Sirius, I'll just show Mione to her room." Harry didn't know how much more Molly could take before she burst an aneurism, and it simply wouldn't do for the harpy to miss what he had planned for her.

They slipped up the stairs and past Walburga at the same time that Molly resumed her screeching. After they entered Hermione's and Ginny's room from the previous timeline, she flicked her wand, locking the door and preventing any eavesdropping. "Harry, you know that I normally abhor killing, right?"

He nodded, so she continued, "In fact, except when it came to masked Death Eaters, I fought to debilitate, remember?"

"I do. Luna and I were relieved when we saw you weren't going to put yourself at risk by treating them with kid gloves."

"So, while it is massively out of character for me to ask this, can we please, please, please rip out that harridan's entrails and strangle her with them?"

He blinked once, twice, as he tried to process what he had just heard. Finally deciding this conversation was going to be as strange as the time she and Luna informed him they had accidentally turned the trees of Sherwood Forest carnivorous, he muttered, "That must have been one hell of an argument."

"No, it wasn't the argument we had just a minute ago. Well, not entirely." She sat heavily on one of the beds, the one Ginny hadn't slept in the night before to judge by the disheveled sheets of the other. "It's just… Ron's a blithering idiot, and while Ginny at least has an average intelligence, she's no potions prodigy. During my apprenticeship, one of the attending Healers mentioned that all love potions are extremely finicky to produce. Even a minor philter, if home-brewed, is far more likely to kill the person you're interested in than ensnare them. Yet we were potioned all throughout our sixth year with no adverse side effects. The only person I can think of who could do that is Molly 'I-Was-In-A-Potions-Apprenticeship-Until-Bill-Came -Along' Weasley.

"She knew that Ron was too offensive to the female gender for anyone with a lick of common sense to want him. She knew that Ginny was so obsessed with you that she would never consider looking for someone else. So what did it matter that we are far more compatible with each other than with her spawn? What did it matter that they would be raping us every time we had sex under the potion's influence? Nooooo, a few hours in the kitchen and she has a cauldron full of 'One Big Weasley Family'."

By now he had joined her on the bed and held her as she ranted. "Thank Merlin for Luna. If it weren't for her dragging us to St. Mungo's, we'd have broken up to be with the wastes of space."

She laughed mirthlessly. Luna was as sweet as her Patronus most of the time, but when she realized Molly had dosed them, she instantly changed from a gentle bunny to a vicious tigress. Four summoning charms, a bone-shattering curse, and an Apparation later, he and Hermione were on purging and neutralizing potions while the Hit Wizards the Healers called in were all that prevented Luna from returning to the Burrow and razing it — and everyone inside — to the ground.

Line theft was a serious crime in the magical world, but as they found out, that was only if the victim was of pure blood. Not even his new status as the Man-Who-Won made a hint of difference to the hide-bound old farts on the Wizengamot. He was half-blood, Hermione was a Muggleborn, the Weasleys were Purebloods. Case closed.

"My point, though, is that it wasn't a desperate attempt by a couple of mentally abnormal juveniles to get the objects of their desires; that would have been bad enough. No, it was a meticulously planned attack by a woman who revealed herself to be as much a pureblood bigot as Malfoy, just following Dumbledore instead of Voldemort. It's okay to force us into loveless relationships; we aren't pure, so obviously we're there entirely for the Weasleys' advancement. Hell, she stole from you for that same reason. She believes she deserves your money more than you do because your family tree doesn't look like an overgrown bramble where people searched for their future spouses at the family reunion. I didn't think I still hated her this much, but seeing her when I came in… I want that bitch dead."

"Well, that's a more direct idea than mine," he said. When she looked up at him from where her head was resting against his chest, he continued, "I had thought we could target Ron — and Ginny, should she cross the line — turn them into broken shells of who they once were. I don't want to destroy the whole family, though that would be simpler."

"Arthur, Bill, and Charlie," she said, to which he nodded. The first's only crime was being a weak man and allowing his wife to run roughshod all over him, and the third was completely unaware of the plot against them. The second, though, had lambasted his mother and siblings before walking out on them, vowing that he and Fleur would not set foot in the Burrow again. He told Harry several months later that he had never been more ashamed than he was when he found out about their actions, and it was only his position as the heir of the House of Weasley that kept him from abandoning his name. Had the trio not jumped back in time, Bill would have cast everyone involved out of the family before Arthur's body had time to cool.

"The twins, too. They're just immature jokers who haven't been properly taught morals, and Triple-W will make us a lot of money should we leave them alone."

Hermione nibbled her lip for a moment. "Maybe… maybe that will be enough. Those two are her favorite children; leaving them dead, or worse, might do more lasting harm than killing her outright. And we can always finish her off later if it doesn't."

"True." He snorted as a thought struck him. "Just before you arrived, Dumbledore asked if I was going Dark because I called him out on trusting Snape more than anyone else in the Order. I told him no, and here we are, calmly weighing the pros and cons of murder. Oh, the irony."

"Nothing she doesn't deserve! Even if we choose to ignore the crimes that haven't been committed yet, she's still guilty as sin."

He raised the hand not holding his lover to him in mock surrender. "No arguments from me on that score. I just thought it was funny. Come on, we should join the others before they track us down and decide we can't be trusted alone with each other." Standing, he pulled her to her feet and unlocked the door. There was no need to borrow problems, after all.

"I know what you're doing."

Hermione lifted her eyes from the book in her hands to stare questioningly at Ginny. "I'm reading, as is my habit. I don't know what is so earth-shattering about that."

"It's not going to work." Ginny continued to glare, a mixture of outrage and superiority on her face. It wasn't a good look for her.

"Seriously, Ginny. What are you nattering on about?"

"You're trying to take my Harry away from me. Maybe if you dress like a slag, maybe if you smile sweetly at him during dinner, maybe if you don't act like a bookworm all the time, he'll think you're worth his attention? He's the Boy-Who-Lived, and much too good for you."

Hermione rolled her eyes. Right, sharing a room with a deluded fangirl is not going to work. Will Sirius let me move to the third floor with him and Harry? She couldn't help but smile at that thought. He said the second floor was for guests and the third floor was for family, didn't he? Godfather, godson, and goddaughter-in-law, in spirit if not in fact, would continue that tradition.

Unfortunately, Ginny misinterpreted the meaning of her smile. "You think stealing him from me is funny?"

"Ginny," the older girl sighed, "Harry isn't yours. He doesn't even know you exist beyond being Ron's little sister." Which was why the Weasleys had to resort to potions in the original timeline. Much like Ron, Ginny had lofty goals but neither the ability nor work ethic to achieve them.

"And just whose fault is that?!"

"Yours, I do believe. Perhaps if you could do more than make cow eyes at him from across the room, stick your elbow in the butter dish, and squeak like a trodden mouse every time he so much as spoke to you, that wouldn't be the case, but it is. Harry is my boyfriend," and best friend, and one of the loves of my life, "and we are both quite happy with that."

"He's not yours yet," Ginny responded with a scowl. Hermione mentally shook her head; there was no way to break the girl's obsession. If being forcefully interrogated via Veritaserum like a criminal and then told right to her face that Harry wanted nothing to do with her couldn't set her straight, nothing would. "I can offer him more than you ever could!"

"Personality disorders, boyish figure, full-blown Oedipus complex? I don't think he'll be all that appreciative. I, on the other hand, can give him a loving partner who knows him well enough for us to converse with a look and can keep him both mentally and physically engaged. Just accept it and move on, Ginerva; in any fight for Harry's heart, I've already won."

The red-head moved to draw her wand, only to see Hermione's own already pointing at her. "What are you going to do? Not only am I armed while you're not, I'm superior to you in both magical power and spell knowledge. You have nothing that can hurt me, but I trained with Harry for the Triwizard Tournament. We weren't looking for tickling hexes, I can assure you of that."

"I know the Bat-Bogey Hex!"

"So Gin-Gin's got herself a prank spell," Hermione mocked, anger rising at the brat's overconfidence. Did Ginny really think that was enough? If there was one thing she couldn't stand, it was being underestimated; she may not be able to kill in cold blood like Harry and Luna, but she was no whimpering coward! "I get a bunch of mucus slapping at my face, big deal. Meanwhile, I've turned you into a smear on the wall. A simple Finite will solve my problem; nothing will do that for you. Let me give you a little advice: if you're going to try stealing Harry from me, you damn well better have a strong bite to back up your bark. Otherwise, you're going to find yourself in a world of hurt."

She threw her book and the pajamas she had pulled out back into her trunk before slamming it shut. Shouldering the girl out of the way, she carried her belongings out of the room. Ginny apparently couldn't resist one last taunt. "Going to go back home now? Good, Harry will be happier without you keeping us apart."

"No, I'm going to ask Sirius for another room. Maybe he'll put me in one on the third floor, next to Harry's." The screech was all the warning she needed, and she kicked the door closed. Unfortunately, Ginny hadn't cast a spell; instead, she chose a physical assault and, from the bang and thud, ran head-first into the door. The thick and garbled moan indicated a broken nose.

Hermione smirked as she walked up the stairs. No matter the fallout from her actions, that had been fun.

The next morning, Harry woke early and indulged in one of his favorite activities to delay getting up to face the day. With each stroke of his hand down Hermione's spine, her sleeping form twitched and moaned as she snuggled deeper into his side. Despite the trouble they would face downstairs — And there will be trouble, he thought in exasperation — there was one very nice benefit from Hermione's and Ginny's fight. Sirius had negligently told her she could move into whatever room she wanted, and it hadn't taken her two seconds before she was pushing his clothes in the wardrobe to the side to make room for her own.

After one final shiver, the brunette stretched herself out alongside him. "Goo' mor'in'," she slurred.

"Good morning to you, too, sleepyhead. Time to wake up and face the music."

"Do we have to?" she whined with a yawn. "Can't we just tell them to bugger off and leave us alone for a while? I'm too warm and comfy to deal with Molly's wailing."

He rolled his eyes; Hermione was many things, but a morning person she was not. "Yes, we have to. If we don't, she'll make even more noise about us sharing a bed."

"You mean she'll make noise about us sharing a bed with each other, rather than Ron and Ginny," she retorted as she reluctantly stood up and rifled through drawers. "Where did I put my bras?"

"Next one to the left." Accepting her mumbled thanks, he stretched out on the bed. "How do we want to handle this? Molly's not going to take our relationship well."

Hermione pulled on a blouse before she responded. "Does it really matter how she takes it? The woman can throw herself in the Thames for all I care. We just need to come up with a convincing cover story about how we managed to get together so we can avoid too much questioning from your wardens."

"Already ahead of you on that one. I told Sirius that I couldn't share a room with Ron because I was taking the coach to your house and we rather inevitably started dating. Considering most of the guarding was done by Dung…"

"Good point. Did you also tell him why you were visiting me? We need to make sure our stories match completely."

"I had to talk to someone and was effectively banished from the Wizarding World."

She grimaced. "Ouch, that must have hurt for him to hear."

"It did, but I had just been attacked by Dawlish and questioned by Madam Bones. I was a little on edge." He caught the trousers and shirt she tossed to him and tugged them on. "Shall we?"

The pair entered the kitchen and were immediately set upon by Molly. "Hermione Granger! How could you do something like that?!"

"Intelligence, beauty, and natural talent," Hermione replied. Sitting, she glanced at the steaming older woman. "Was that not the answer you were looking for?"

"You attacked my daughter!"

Seeing that everyone's eyes were on her, she sighed and said, "I didn't attack Ginny; she ran into the door on her own. She wouldn't have been injured had she not charged at me."

"Charged at you?" Harry asked, feigning ignorance. "Whatever for?"

"She was unhappy that we're dating. Apparently, she wanted you for herself, and didn't care if she hurt me to make it so."

Now it was Ginny their audience was staring at. The girl was reddening in embarrassment and fury, but before she could explode, Ron finally raised his head from his plate and turned towards them. "'Oo are 'oo 'a'ing, 'Arr?"

"Chew, swallow, then speak," Hermione snapped with a scowl. "Honestly, after four years, I would have thought you learned that."

Ron returned her look and forcefully swallowed. "Lay off, Hermione. No one cares. Whoever you're dating, Harry, I feel sorry for her. Ginny's got a wicked hex."

"I'm dating Hermione, Ron. We just said that."

"You? Hermione? What?" The spells Harry and Luna had laid on Ron on the train activated again, and he whipped his hands down to cover the stain at his groin.

Unfortunately, he forgot that he was still holding his fork.

Doing his best to ignore Ron's high-pitched yell, as were all the males, Harry turned to the instigator of this debacle. "Ginny, I hardly know you, and even if I did, I wouldn't consider dating someone who attacked my girlfriend. I'm with Hermione; if you were our friend, you would just step away and be happy for us." Perhaps a public rejection would work where a private confrontation had not, but he doubted it. The way she was going, she would put herself on their list of enemies before too much longer.

"No, I won't allow it." Molly had apparently cleared her mind from the image of her plans crashing to the ground and was now glaring at them. "You two are far too young to be dating. You will call it off, and maybe we'll discuss it next summer."

"I told you yesterday that you aren't my mother. Do not act like it."

"I believe I said something similar a few days ago, Mrs. Weasley," Harry added. "You have no control over our decisions, and we have not asked for your advice. Kindly stay out of this."

The matriarch was not to be denied. "Obviously, you both need a proper mother figure —"

"No, we don't, and even if we did, we wouldn't want you for it. If all of you will excuse me, I seem to have lost my appetite." Hermione stood and stomped out the door.

Harry rose as well. Like Hermione, he hated the woman for what she had done and was planning to do again; he just hid it better. "Mrs. Weasley, your insistence on treating us like two of your children is rapidly burning through any respect we have for you. I recommend you stop before you lose it completely." His warning given, he left in search of his lover. That won't stop Molly, but perhaps it will buy us some time. Dealing with her, Ron, and Ginny all day, every day is wearing on our patience. September better hurry up; I don't think we'll be able to hold ourselves back much longer.

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