(A/N: This story is in response to Paladeus Challenge 11: "The Fairy Queen's Personal Army". I've had the idea for a while and decided to work on it when I take a break from The Twisted Wand. Because I have received many reviews and PM's about it, the way Luna acts in the first few chapters will not be how she acts throughout the story. If you do not like the way she acts early on keep reading and see if the way she is acting by chapter 10 isn't better.)
Disclaimer: My house belongs to the bank, my work belongs to my boss, Harry Potter belongs to JK Rowling and this disclaimer belongs to DerLaCroix.
Tempest of the Fae
Chapter One: Santa's last gifts
Hermione walked into the kitchen to find Harry Potter, her best friend and just about anything else you cared to name, tied to a chair and stripped to his boxers. He was glaring at the blonde who stood by the counter, a large bowl in her hands and a look of concentration on her face. Hermione sighed; it looked like it would be one of those days for her. "Luna dear, why did you tie up Harry?"
"Do I really need a reason?" Luna asked with a quick glance up from her bowl.
"I suppose not but I figure you have one anyways." Hermione grabbed a banana and began to peel it; she smirked at Harry as she did so. Luna must have silenced him as well because he only gave her a mock glare back.
"Well, he didn't want to let me make pudding for breakfast. Clearly, he's gone insane and is only useful to us now for the sex." Luna said as she set the bowl down and began to search for another ingredient.
"You mean he can't cook anymore either?" Hermione asked, trying to sound put out. They had found it was best to just play along with Luna when she became like this. Hopefully, in a few hours, she would be closer to normal.
Luna paused. "No, he can still cook. Cooking and sex."
Hermione ignored Harry as he made a noise of protest. "Sounds like one of your bad novels. You know he'll get you back when you release him."
"Oh, I hope so." Luna shot Harry a seductive grin before she returned to the bowl. When the pudding was finished Luna released Harry.
He summoned his clothes and quickly dressed. Then as Luna was about to take the first bite of her breakfast he waved his wand and the ropes that had bound him jumped up to wrap around her. Luna was pulled back against the chair, her bowl taunting her from the edge of the table. "Harry!"
"Just a little revenge," Harry said as he turned to dig through the cold cupboard for the bacon.
Luna began to rock back and forth, leaning forward on each attempt as far as she could. The bowl was just out of reach. Harry shot a sticking charm at the chair legs, Luna jerked as the chair's motion was suddenly stopped. Despite her best efforts it refused to budge. "Hermione!"
"You brought it on yourself. Must you two play in the kitchen?" Hermione asked though she did enjoy their light-hearted games. They were a good distraction. Well, when Luna was just playing. The loss of her father had hit her hard and the blonde had never fully recovered.
"Must we? Probably not, but why risk it." Harry began to make himself and Hermione a real breakfast. While Luna could survive on nothing but sweets the other two preferred a bit of real food now and then; and he defiantly wanted a full breakfast for what he had planned for the day. Hunting Death Eaters should never be undertaken on an empty stomach.
That evening Harry stepped into Potter Manor and collapsed onto a couch. He'd barely set down before Luna was on his lap curled against him. He and Hermione had agreed some time ago that Luna had to be part cat. Of course, that conversation had arisen from the fact that if they didn't find other things for her to do she'd spend time most nights running around, thankfully between the two of them they were able to distract her. Not that either of them really considered distracting her a burden, they enjoyed it too.
Luna leaned up and kissed him. "How did it go?"
"Not good, there were only new recruits out; no one worth going after," Harry said as he reached down and stroked Luna's hair. Normally she and Hermione would have gone with him to scout out Serpents Alley, England's new, and only, magical shopping district. However, both were still recovering from injuries received the previous month.
"Maybe next time then," Luna mumbled into his chest. What neither would say was that it had been over a year since they had managed to take anyone important to Voldemort's operation.
Hermione walked into the room, drying her hands on a towel. "Alright you two, up. Dinners ready."
Harry's head jerked up and he looked questioningly at Luna. He loved them, he truly did but neither could cook. Luna's definition of edible, at least beyond sweets, was questionable. And Hermione just could not cook; make a complex potion with her eyes closed? Sure, she'd won a few bets doing that. Boil noodles? No sir.
Luna smiled. "Take out."
"Thank Merlin," Harry whispered.
"Actually thank Dr. Lingling's Chinese takeout," Hermione said as she pulled Luna off of Harry, and then helped him up.
After dinner, Luna begged until they agreed to play Quibbler with her. It was based on a muggle trading card game she had found when they still lived in London. She painted magical images of creatures from her late father's magazine and assigned them health and attacks. Over the years she had expanded the game to several hundred cards in all. Of course, since she made the cards, in nearly every game they played she had some surprise for them.
Luna had once tried to craft figurines for the game when that failed she had settled for small illusions tied to each card. Quibbler had proved a welcome distraction for them from the war and the winner's prize was nothing to sneeze at either. Actually, even the loser never complained about giving the winner their reward. Though Luna had been known to play dirty, such as removing her clothes in strictly non-strip games. After that time Luna had begun to make her cards impervious to liquids.
As they sat at the table Luna pulled out her newest deck. "Normal strip rules? An article of clothing for every hundred points lost then favors?"
"That depends," Hermione said as she gave Luna a critical eye. "How many clothes are you wearing?"
The first time Luna had suggested strip Quibbler Hermione was convinced it was because she was wearing a different amount of clothes than them, well she was, it had just turned out to be less. To this day they had never finished a game of strip Quibbler.
"I'm wearing the necessities," Luna said when Hermione raised a questioning eyebrow she elaborated. "Necessities for other people; I know how much you two like to drag it out."
"All right," Hermione said.
Luck was with Harry and he drew his Snorkark early into the game. Within three rounds Hermione had lost her socks, Luna had lost her socks and earrings. Harry had almost gotten Hermione's shirt off as well but she'd been saved by one of 'Fudge's old time Goblin Pies'. Then on Luna's next turn she drew her card and began her evil laugh. It would have put any muggle super villain to shame and fit right in on a Saturday morning cartoon. "The game is mine, I play, Santa!"
She threw the card onto the table, and a cloud of soot rolled out of the chimney. Instantly Harry, Hermione, and Luna had their wands out. The three wands were trained on the opening of the fireplace as something moved within the chimney. The fireplace wasn't connected to the floo; in fact, it was warded against such travel. It wouldn't even expand enough to let someone through, instead, it was supposed to contract. Still, as they watched the opening seemed to grow and a pair of black boots appeared. They kicked as whoever they were attached to struggled to free themselves.
Suddenly the fireplace yawned open as a short round thing rolled out. Honestly, its appearance reminded Harry of a young Dudley, at least in weight. The white bread ruined that image though. The red suit was a bit confusing as well, not good for sneaking around in.
Hermione let out an exasperated sigh. "Luna I know you want to make your cards more realistic but honestly, give us a warning or something?"
"That one isn't mine. This one is mine." Luna said as she gestured down to the three inch tall Santa on the table next to her card that appeared to be flexing.
"But that means..." Hermione started, she never got to finish as Luna pounced on the intruder.
"Hey now, ow, I'm still attached to that, no, ow." The figure said as Luna finally claimed the bag that had rolled out after him and jumped back.
Hermione looked between Luna and the intruder. "Luna?"
"It's all right, it's just Santa," Luna said as she began to struggle with the thick knot holding the bag closed.
"But you said…" Hermione started again.
"I said he wasn't mine. He's the real Santa." Luna explained absently, most of her attention of the bag as her tongue stuck out in concentration.
"And you're the real Luna, no one else is ever rude enough to tackle me and steal my bag like that. Really I thought you would have learned after last time." Santa said as he stood and dusted himself off.
"Last time?" Harry questioned. He kept his wand raised but relaxed his aim.
Luna pouted. "Santa was mean to me."
"Was not! At twelve she somehow managed to get the drop on me, literally. She was crouching on the mantel when I arrived; only a few children in the world can even see me so I was understandably surprised. Then she tried to crawl into my bag!" Santa said.
"I was trying to get my presents and a ride to the North Pole. I had it all planned out too, Butterbeer for the reindeer so they'd take me to your secret workshop. I'd charm Mrs. Claus, bribe the elves with cookies and promise vacations to the yetis." Luna explained.
"Have you ever sent a yeti on vacation? It's not easy. Last time they went to Florida and now they have a whole legend around them, call 'em Sunk Apes or something. A few of them partied too hard and passed out in the swamp." Santa retorted.
"Well, there was no need for you to curse me afterward," Luna said with all the dignity of a five-year-old.
"It wasn't that bad." Santa waved off her complaint.
"Not that bad! I couldn't play in the snow for the rest of winter! It all melted as soon as I touched it! Daddy thought I had caught Jamaican fever." Luna said.
Harry and Hermione traded glances, each wondering if they'd been potioned. This couldn't be real, even with Luna. Finally, Luna succeeded in opening the bag but pouted when she realized the only thing inside was a rolled up parchment. "Where are the gifts?"
"What powers my bag?" Santa asked patiently.
"Fairy magic of course," Luna replied.
"Exactly, so if it is empty that means?" Santa prompted.
Luna took a step back and began to shake, immediately Harry pulled her to him. "But, but then that means…"
"Sadly yes. Fairy magic is all but gone." Santa's solemn voice rang hollow with regret.
"Will someone explain what's going on?" Hermione demanded.
"Yes, yes I suppose I should." Santa walked over to the table and took Luna's seat. He reached out and played with the illusion of himself on the table. "You see Hermione the reason Luna is so upset is because my bag is powered by fairy magic, for it to be out means there's no more fairy magic, and for that to happen we would all have to be dead."
"You don't look dead," Hermione said, still she watched him with a critical eye. If Santa was real than a ghost Santa might not be too far off.
"I'm not, yet, though it will be soon. You see fairies are physical, we eat just like everyone else but our magic, our magic is separate from our physical bodies. It comes from good dreams, hopes of the future, a child's wonder, joy. One reason fairies were so attracted to Luna was that her carefree spirit was a feast for our magic. But now, now this war has consumed the world; there just isn't enough left to feed our magic. And without our magic, we die." Santa leaned back and sighed. "Not to mention Voldemort has been capturing us and trying to find the source of our magic. Oh, he never will. It's too far beyond his understanding to believe it comes from positive things like hope. Hasn't stopped him from killing us in an attempt to discover our secrets though." Santa said. With a wave of his hand, the small illusion of him disappeared, along with the rest of the cards.
Luna was sitting on Harry's lap and was almost in tears. "So you will all die?"
"Yes, one way or another. However, you can give our death a meaning. And we can give all of you a chance." Santa said.
"What do you mean?" Hermione asked.
"Our queen, Lilith, has devised a plan. You see she, unlike the rest of us, receives her power from her children. The more of us there are the more magic we have and the stronger she is. As it stands she will soon starve to death. So instead she wants to gather all of our remaining magic and have me make one last gift. Quantum Quartz. It is the same substance used in time turners." Santa explained.
"Time travel? But the paradoxes-." Hermione began before Santa held up a hand to silence her.
"Our method of time travel is a bit different than yours. Instead of there being two of you, the you that you are now will join with the you that you were. There will only be one, a combination of both. Hence no paradoxes." Santa said.
"So why us?" Harry said.
"Because we know of the prophecy, in fact, I have already traveled back in time once. Trust me the future I came from was even worse than this one. Imagine a magical, nuclear holocaust; where nightmares themselves have been given life to torment the world; everything hidden under a poisons gloom the rotted the soul itself. Hardly anyone lasted even a year. Thankfully I was able to avoid that this time with a well-timed snowstorm and a roller skate. But I was unable to stop Voldemort, and we have discovered why. That prophecy has made you Harry, and Voldemort, linchpins in time. Only you can stop him, hence why we are offering you this chance." Santa said as he spoke they could almost see the horrors he spoke of. Harry reached out and put an arm around Hermione as Luna hid against his chest.
"How far back would we go?" Hermione said.
"I do not know. We can provide the Quantum Quartz and ritual to send you back but the power will decide how far and the size of the quartz will determine how many may go. I can make enough for the three of you only." Santa said. Really he could only make enough for two, but he'd stolen a bit of magic from some others. That and his life would provide the rest.
Hermione tried to work out the calculations in her head. "The further back the more power it takes, to get to a time when we can actually make changes and prevent the war would require. I can't even imagine how much magic."
"Well, there is only one place in the country that has enough magic," Santa said. "Hogwarts."
"But Voldemort has controlled it for almost a decade," Harry said.
"Yes, but I can get you in, to the Room of Requirements. Oh, don't look like that, I do know a few secrets still." Santa said to their astonished faces. "Once inside, the room will protect you while you prepare for the ritual."
"Then we go back and stop this," Hermione said.
"Yes." Santa waved his hand and summoned his bag, it flew to him and he removed the rolled up parchment from inside passing it to Hermione. "The instructions are in there, take good care of it. It is one of my last gifts to give. Harry, once we reach Hogwarts I will use our last magic to make the quartz you three will need. And little Luna, you will receive something you have long wanted. A ride in my sleigh."
Luna leaped out of Harry's lap and tackled Santa to the floor, his arms shot out as he tried to stop himself. "Ouch, do you have any idea just how old I am?"
"Sorry." Luna jumped up before pulling Santa off the ground.
"You realize we haven't agreed to anything yet right?" Harry said.
"But you will. You are all good and will take any chance to fix things. Besides I do have a secret weapon." Santa jerked his thumb towards Luna who was pouting at the thought of not getting her sleigh ride.
"Hermione?" Harry sighed.
"If we can save everyone, stop the war, go back." Hermione trailed off. She didn't need to continue, Harry knew she was thinking about her parents. And aside from themselves there really wasn't much left in their world. At least for them.
"Fine," Harry said.
"Excellent! Then we must hurry. Gather what you will need, you will not be returning." Santa said. Quickly the three humans left to get their bags, they were always prepared to make a run for it if need be.
Five minutes later they were back in the living room with their bags. Luna was bouncing in place, Harry smirked at her antics. "I haven't seen you this excited since you convinced Mr. Fortescue to try his hand at pudding when he took over the shop for his father."
"Mmm, that was good." Luna pouted as she remembered how that particular idea ended. "Still can't believe he banned me for life."
"Well, you did try to break in and steal the recipe." Hermione pointed out.
"But he wouldn't give me any more." Luna complained.
"It was ten at night and you'd already eaten all his stock," Hermione said.
"That's no excuse," Luna said. "Can we go for our ride now?"
Harry just shook his head. "Hold onto your reindeer."
Lune mock glared at him. "Maybe I will."
Santa looked them over. "Ready? Good."
He snapped his fingers. The sensation was confusing; there was the familiar pull of a portkey along with the disoriented spinning of the floo, and the sooty smell. The next moment the three of them were sitting in Santa's sleigh, Hermione and Luna on the bench, Harry upside down with his feet in the air. Santa appeared a moment later and frowned. "Hmm, fireplaces really do hate you, never seen that happen before."
Harry struggled to sit up and finally managed it. Luna bounced in her seat between them. The reindeer stamped the roof impatiently. Santa flicked the reins and with a jerk, they took to the air. Hermione kept a tight grip on the sleigh. Harry and Luna had helped her deal with heights, she could stand them but she still wasn't particularly thrilled by them.
Luna, on the other hand, was even more excited now that they were in the air. She threw her hands up and yelled with joy. Harry turned to look at Potter Manor as they passed over Loch Troll. It appeared to be a five-story log cabin, not even a summer home by pureblood standards because it simply wasn't grand enough; to them though it had been their home. There was the garden Hermione started as a distraction for them, and the Snorkark house Luna had built in case one ever wandered around while they were gone.
As they flew over southern Scotland Harry enjoyed the rush of the air, it hadn't been safe to fly a broom over long distances in years. In the distance came to the soft glow of a fire. Another town destroyed by Death Eaters. As he watched the scenery Luna bolted past Santa and jumped onto the nearest reindeer. Before they could call out to her she had unhooked it and moved alongside the sleigh. Her evil laugh sounded even more intimidating when she was on a flying creature. She wrapped her arms around its neck and urged it on. The reindeer disappeared under the sleigh, when it came up on the other side it was upside down. Luna held on with her legs and grabbed Harry's head, planting a searing kiss on him before she moved to Hermione and squeezed her breast.
"She stole my reindeer!" Santa shouted.
"She stole a kiss," Harry said.
"She grabbed my breast!" Hermione said.
Together they sighed. "Luna."
Santa glared at Harry. "You know this is your fault right?"
"How's it my fault?"
"You just had to give her ideas. 'Hold your reindeer' indeed." Santa grumbled.
As they drew near Hogwarts Luna pulled her reindeer alongside the sleigh and jumped. Harry barely managed to catch her. The reindeer fell back in line, though it was no longer connected to them. "That was amazing! Harry, can we get reindeer?"
"If you want," Harry said as he moved her over to the free seat. He had figured out long ago he couldn't say no to Luna or Hermione when they truly wanted something. It was easier to just agree and save time. They tensed as they reached Hogwarts ward line but they passed through without incident. Quietly they moved until they were hovering outside a window on the seventh floor. They all climbed inside, Santa waved his hand and the sleigh disappeared, the reindeer remained a moment before, with a sad look towards Santa, his loyal companions flew away.
They were only one hall away from the Room of Requirements. When they reached the proper spot Santa walked in front of the wall until the door appeared. "Alright, Hermione you still have the parchment? Good. Stand back and I will present my final gift."
"Santa?" Luna said.
"Yes, my dear?" He said.
"Could you bag have ever, you know?" Luna asked.
"No, I am sorry but it could never have given you that," Santa said.
With tears in her eyes, Luna nodded. Harry and Hermione each put an arm around her.
"One last thing, time does not like to be changed; so long as Voldemort is alive it will resist your changes, sometimes in improbable ways. But by the same method, smaller things will constantly be different. Just because it happened one way the first time doesn't mean it will again even if you do everything the same. So, don't be afraid to make changes, but don't worry if not everything follows those changes right away. Oh, and in case I forgot to mention it each person can only use this ritual once. You won't get a third chance." Santa closed his eyes and began to grow, magic swirled around him, and the entire castle seemed to vibrate with it. Then he reached into his bag and pulled out a fist-sized lump of green quartz. He handed it to Harry before he began to fade. They watched until he was completely gone before they entered the room.
Santa was not completely gone yet though, he still had enough magic for a little fairy mischief. When Headmaster Snape woke in the morning and put on his shoes he found them filled with chunks of coal. The students suffered for that.
(A/N: This chapter was originally twice as long so I broke it up. Comments and critiques are welcome; flames will be force feed to a random minion.)