This story is a response to Paladeus challenge #11, "The Fairy Queen's Personal Army". This is also my first real attempt at writing, so I hope to get better as I go along. There also may be a small crossover with the Dresden Files, mostly concepts. I hope you enjoy.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, nor am I gaining any monetary gain from this story.
On with the show
Chapter 1: Several Steps Back, To Move Onwards
As Harry Potter walked into the study in the Potter Manor, perhaps the safest place in the world, he had expected to see his two wives arguing about something, if the noises he heard were any indication. What he hadn't expected was to see Hermione bound to a chair in what he could only guess was a Crumple-Horned Snorkack onesie, if the horn was any indication. Then again, with Luna, he really should expect something like that.
Speaking of Luna, she was seated in a rather comfy looking red armchair across from Hermione with a large, leather-bound tome in her hands, smiling gleefully at her bushy haired sister-wife.
Sighing, more for dramatic effect than anything else, Harry asked, "Ok, what happened now?"
"I wanted to take a look at this book, but Hermione wouldn't let me, so I decided to punish her", Luna said as she began to flip through the pages of the book.
Deciding to not waste time, Harry began to undo the spells laid on Hermione, "Luna you know it's polite to wait your turn, right?" he asked, grunting a bit as her spell was giving him a harder time undoing it than he thought.
"I waited my turn last night," Luna said, the book now upside down and her head tilted to one side.
Hermione, freed from the binding part of the spell, retorted, "No, you didn't. Once I got him on his back, you were all over us." Her scolding had little to no heat in it thought.
Luna shrugged, the book now held side ways, " I waited 30 seconds, you were taking to long. Two witches work better than one, Mother always said."
"Somehow I don't think she meant in those cases," Hermione retorted, standing up as Harry finished breaking the binding and banishing the onesie. "At least it's good practice for Harry when you bind me like that."
"Since you're so great at breaking spells, Hermione, why don't you ever break out of Luna's traps on your own?" Harry asked, a knowing smirk on his lips.
Hermione huffed, Luna's uncanny ability to make spells she couldn't break was sore spot. She had trained hard to be what would have been an expert curse-breaker a few years back.
"So what kind of book warranted such a spirited response," Harry inquired, for only something truly interesting would grab Luna's attention to the point of invoking a Snorkack in her binding.
Hermione took the book from Luna, who had it held at the 45 degree angle now, "It's a collection of rituals and rites. I was hoping that maybe we overlooked something." She trailed off at the end, hope evident in her tone.
Harry smiled at that. Even after three years virtually trapped at the Manor and everything that had happened before then, the fact that they still had hope, were still trying to fight only deepened the love he felt for his girls.
Voldemort's rise to power had been a brutal ,but efficient one. His time spent in the shadows after his resurrection, aided by the Ministry's refusal to believe Harry's testimony on the subject, let him gather his forces, his most faithful from Azkaban along with the Dementors, werewolves, giants and other dark creatures.
When his major offensive came, the Ministry folded like a house of cards.
"So anything worth looking into?" Harry asked his two lovely wives as he retreated to the well worn couch. The girls joining him, one on each side a moment latter, the book now on his lap.
" Nothing we can use now," Hermione said sadly, " most of these rituals are meant to increase ones magic power. Best used while ones magic is still growing, around age 14 or so."
"Also the best ones are the ones requiring a deflowering," Luna said cheerfully.
Harry chocked at a "What?" and was glad he wasn't drinking, though one now may have been a good idea.
"Oh yes, the sacrifice of virginity at a time of great magic upheaval, Halloween, for example, allows for ones core to grow extremely powerful," Luna explained, slipping into her 'lecture mode'. She only entered that mode for something serious, which apparently ranged from sex rituals to pudding flavors.
"Pity all our first time did was cement our love for each other," Hermione retorted, sarcasm dripping from every word.
Luna shrugged as she cuddled into Harry, " It would have been a nice bonus."
Hermione nodded, mirroring Luna's action. Harry smiled as he wrapped his arms around them.
The threesome spent some time in comfortable silence, until Harry glanced at the clock on the mantle. 'Almost five,' Harry thought, 'Better get started on dinner.'
Just as Harry began to rise, a plum of soot shot out of the fireplace. The trio wasted not time, rising and launching stunners at the black cloud.
"Hold, Wizards," a voice came out of the soot cloud, a deep, weary filled bass, " I mean you no harm."
"Give us an Oath that you mean that," Harry spat out, whoever this was had found them and got through their wards, he was taking no chances.
" I give you my Word, sworn on my Power, that I mean you, Harry James Potter, Hermione Jean Granger, Luna Selena Lovegood, no harm. So mote it be," the voice intoned. A flash of power flowed from the fireplace, giving the trio of wizards a moment of pause. It felt like a magic oath, but the wording was different than how they knew. The intruder didn't even use his name.
'Formation B', Harry projected to Hermione and Luna. The girls made no outward indication of hearing him, but they moved, Hermione now in the center, with Harry and Luna slightly behind on each side.
"Who are you?" Hermione asked.
The voice gave a small chuckle. "Normally I prefer the phrase 'Believing is Seeing', but Time presses." And with that the soot cloud vanished. In front of the fireplace stood their visitor. He was tall, a bear of a man, with broad shoulders stooped over with what looked like a great weight. A worn coat of what was once bright red fastened with a black leather belt hung loosely over what was once a large belly. His face looked gaunt, his blue eyes dim and a bit sunken. His white hair was falling out in places and his beard was a mess. To Harry and Hermione, he looked like Sirius did after he escaped Azkaban.
Luna dropped her wand as she ran towards the man, tears welling up. "No," she whimpered, " no, no, no." She hugged him with all her might, tears falling in his coat.
Santa, for there was no mistaking who the man was, bent a bit, one arm embracing Luna in a hug. "I'm afraid so, little one. Time is short. But," a twinkle came to his eyes, like a fire now blazed in the dimmed orbs, full of determination, " that is why I am here." His gaze fell to Harry and Hermione, "May I take a seat? My strength is not what it used to be."
Harry nodded, his heart torn by Luna's reaction to the man and his broken appearance. He didn't need his neuromancy to know Hermione was in a similar state. They retreated to the couch, Luna rushing to cuddle up between them, her eyes still wet. Her uncanny ability to know the truth of something had rarely hurt her like this so whatever was going on with Santa was bad.
Santa practically collapsed into the large armchair, his strength leaving him. He took a moment to gather himself before speaking. " I am Santa as you have guesses and I am here on behalf of my Queen, Titania. She wishes to extend an offer to the three of you. A change to fix the world before everything fell apart."
"Your Queen," Hermione asked?
"Yes, Titania is the Queen of the Fairies, Queen and Mother to us all. Her strength is ours and ours is hers. And our strength is all but gone. Voldemort seeks to take our power, our longevity for himself. We live because of the believes of you humans, Muggle and wizard alike. From the good will of man. The horrors of his war and all the loss have left us weak and vulnerable. We were unable to stop him from summoning us," Santa said, his voice failing him.
"How can we help," Harry choked out, even with all this war had shown them, and all they had done to survive, thinking about what Voldemort was doing sickened him.
Santa gave a small smile. " My areas of expertise is not limited to toy making. How do you think I managed to get around the world in one night?"
"Time Travel," Hermione exclaimed, "but a time tuner could only take us back twelve hours at most."
"My method is a bit different than a time tuner, Miss Granger. You three will not be going back as you are. Instead, your minds will travel back into your younger selves. This will in turn effectively erase this world and the horrors that have consumed it. No paradoxes to worry about."
"Tell them how you're going to do it," Luna sniffled out, her eyes red. Sometimes she hated her gift.
Santa sighed. " Titania will gather all the power the Fae have left and give it to me to do this. We will all die."
"No, you can't do that," Harry shouted, he hated the idea of someone dieing for him, too many had done it before.
Santa held up a pacifying hand. "Remember, doing this will undo this time line. We Faeries are not bound solely by linear time. Even now I can feel other versions of my self in other time-lines, some worse, some better. Our dying here allows us to live in other worlds."
Hermione chewed her lip. She didn't like the cost of this any more than her lovers did, but the opportunity to fix everything was too great to miss. "Harry, Luna, I think we can't pass this up. We've been fighting a losing battle for ten years. We can stop the war before it begins. Save so many."
"I agree," Luna said, her voice a mere whisper, " I don't like it, but I know we have to do it."
Harry nodded; before fixing his gaze on Santa. " We'll do it. Like 'Mione said, it's too big an opportunity to pass up." Being able to stop Voldemort before he become to much to stop, or even before his resurrection, was a dream come true.
Santa returned Harry's gaze, a weary smile on his face, " Well then, there is only one last detail to iron out; your Boons."
"Boons," Hermione asked, "what kind of boons?"
"Our Queen is asking you to undertake a dangerous, perilous task. She, and the rest of the Fae, would be remiss if we did not, properly, compensate you."
"But we're doing this to save you," Luna said, her voice back to its normal, airy quality. "We don't need anything else, especially with what you have to do to give us this chance."
Santa smiled as he shook his head. "We are already going to die. That is something nothing but what we do here can stop. If you want, you can use these gifts as us investing in your success. And besides, are you three going to deny Santa one last gift run?"
"Of course not, Santa," Harry quickly said, not wanting to further offend their benefactor, before he was the Fae's mirthful expression and twinkling eye. " You're taking the mickey out of us."
"I believe I'm entailed to one last laugh, aren't I," Santa asked, a smile tugging on his lips. He chuckled a big before sighing, "Now then, your Boons. I first must apologize for my vagueness, but that is what tradition dictates, so no complaining. Please, rise."
The trio did, Harry in the middle, Hermione to his left and Luna his right.
"Hermione Jean Granger, your gift is of the Past, may it be the foundation for the Future." He pasted a gloved hand over Hermione's head as he spoke, a faint silver glow enveloping her.
"Harry James Potter, your gift is of the Present, may it guide your steps." Harry too was enveloped in silver as Santa's hand passed overhead.
"Luna Selena Lovegood, your gift is of the Future, stronger than before. May it see all the wondrous possibilities." Luna joined her loves in silver light, her hand reaching out for Harry's, as his went for Hermione's.
Santa's right hand returned to in front of Hermione and his left hand mirrored it's brother in front of Luna. "Your gifts will be apparent when you return, to a time of rebirth. We, the Fae, implore you to correct the path the world has taken, to end the nightmare of Tom Marvolo Riddle, and after victory is assured, live, and be happy." Santa took in a breath, magic power gathering around him in a golden nimbus.
With a thunderous roar, he cried out, "In the name of Titania, Queen of the Faeries, I cast you back!"
The silver light encasing the trio grew to a blinding radiance, and the three lovers felt a great tug, as if they where being Portkeyed. As the pulling became stronger, one last thought pasted through the three's minds.
I love you.
And the present fell away.
And we're off. Hope you all are ready for a ride, and hope I don't run out of gas. Review if you feel so inclined.
Signing off and flying away.