Disclaimer: I do not own anything related to Harry Potter. If I did I would be a far richer man. And I'd be a woman. I also don't own Star Trek.
Reviews are appreciated but certainly not required.
AN: I realize I was quite a bit more subtle than intended with the main relationship progress. I went back and edited Chapter 9 to include a bit more on that front to help improve things. If you wanted to go back it's towards the middle of the chapter while Harry and Dora are on the Astronomy Tower.
And so we draw this story to a close. Some previous continuity errors have been addressed and edited (the Patronus issue in particular in addition to the relationship fumble), but if anyone notices more please send me a message or a review so that I can see about fixing it. Thank you so much for sticking with me on this! It's been fun to write from a different, limited perspective and the challenges have definitely helped me to improve my craft. I hope everybody enjoyed this part of the 'Hourglass' story as much as I loved writing it!
Chapter 12: End of a Dream, Beginning of an Adventure
Dora woke up to warm arms encircling her. Smiling into the chest she was cuddled up to, Dora kept her eyes closed and sighed happily. The previous evening's escapades hadn't ended as well as she had hoped – which was a given considering she'd lost a friend in Remus. But…the others had been right. That entire battle had gone remarkably well all things considered. When Voldemort and Bellatrix personally took to the field, people tended to die in droves. Only one casualty was actually almost entirely unprecedented all things considered.
As she shifted to get a bit more comfortable Dora frowned in confusion. The arm wrapped around her right shoulder was muscled and firm yet the arm around her waist felt quite a bit more delicate. Dora cracked an eyebrow and ended up having to hold in her snort of laughter. Hermione had apparently shifted enough during the night that she was practically lying on top of Harry with one arm wedged under his back and the other clinging tightly to Dora's waist and pulling the metamorph in as close as possible. I really need to talk to Harry about her. This attraction isn't going to go away…And honestly I don't think I want it to go away…
Harry shifted and mumbled something that sounded somewhere between "pumpkin juice" and "pancakes" before his stomach rumbled loudly. Dora's muffled laughter bubbled forth fully as Hermione's eyes flew open. The brunette's face momentarily clouded with panic and her arm pulled tighter against Dora's waist before she sighed and all the tension fled leaving her to collapse back into her former position.
"You know I used to find myself facing the wrong end of my bed in the morning sometimes?" Hermione murmured. "I suppose there are worse positions I could have woken up in."
"Yeah," Dora replied lifting her head and leering at Hermione. "Imagine if you wound up with your head down there now." The bright scarlet flush on Hermione's face was far too easy to bring out though the slight twitch of her lips was a bit unexpected.
"Yes, had that happened, you just might have had some competition in the romance department."
"Hermione Granger, you are not nearly as innocent as you would have us believe," Dora teased.
A small cough and grunt from just above them had both girls turning to look at Harry as his eyes opened and a small half grin, half grimace spread on his face. "Um, morning, Hermione, Dora. Could you both stop with the innuendo please? Those images they leave me with…It's um…it is morning after all and err…it's not helping."
Dora blinked in confusion. She shifted to sit up and her leg ran down the length of her boyfriend's frame as she moved sliding briefly over his groin. Suddenly understanding exactly what Harry was attempting to not complain about, Dora burst out laughing and fell back down to curl up against her two friends. "Poor, Harry. Boy problems eh, Hermione?"
"I have no idea what you…" Hermione started before she shifted slightly and her face lit up even redder than previously. "Ah. Yes, well, that is one thing that girls do have a bit easier I suppose."
"Yeah sure, rub it in," Harry grumbled.
"Well, we could if you really want us too…" Dora teased. The other two went beyond the impossible and flushed redder than the Weasleys' hair leaving Dora cackled in triumph. "You guys are both too easy. Come on, we should all…get up."
Hermione groaned and carefully started to extract herself from her lounging. "Please, stop. Now it's just forced. The joking is hard to endure this early in the morning." Her small smirk and raised eyebrows evidenced the intentional double-speak and Dora grinned back, saluting the other girl.
"You two are evil. Pure evil," Harry griped as he wiped a hand through his hair and stretched. The girls admired his physique for a moment before Dora sat up fully and started to reverse her previous enchantments on the couch. Hermione just sighed happily again and slowly stood up. "Excuse me, girls. I'm going to go wash up. Meet you down here in fifteen minutes so we can head to breakfast?"
"Sounds good, Harry," Hermione replied. She reached down and helped pull him to his feet.
The boy had just started to walk over towards the stairs to his dorm when the snorkack ran over from its position in front of the fireplace and scrambled up his side, settling quickly on his shoulder. "Hey, little guy. You want to come see my dorm? Just don't go wandering off yeah?"
Dora chuckled again at Harry's disappearing back and walked up to her own room next to Hermione. "Luna is going to freak out when show her that critter."
"Yes, yes she will," Hermione replied. She fell into silence and both girls stayed quiet until they were in the bathroom brushing their hair. Finally Hermione, grimaced while staring at her reflection. "Dora, we can do this right? We can help Harry bring this fight to an end? We can get through everything and still remain…whole?"
"War is bad, Hermione. There's no sugarcoating that," Dora replied sighing. She switched her hair from red to a dark, dark blue. Remus would have liked it and it seemed fitting. "The three of us just need to stick together. Us and our friends and the Order…we'll get through it. One way or the other."
"Oh will you two just up and snog already!" Lavender's annoyed voice cut through the atmosphere as she walked in from the shower stalls with just a towel wrapped around her hair. Dora rolled her eyes; Lavender was not one for modesty. The other Gryffindor setup her makeup bag on the third sink and glared at them. "Honestly! You dance around each other for ages, the boy you both like likes you both, you all sleep in the common room together last night, and now you're here having a heart-to-heart…How am I supposed to actively gossip about this without spreading malicious rumors unless you start snogging so it's no longer rumor and actually true!?"
Dora's hair flipped through a few colors and she had to wrestle it back under control while Hermione just gaped at Lavender. Dora hadn't missed the thoughtful glance flicked in her direction from the brunette witch first though. Shaking her head to clear it, Dora shrugged and grabbed her bag. "Hey, until we make anything official you might as well talk about Daphne and Tracey. Did you miss they stayed behind in the Room after the final DA practice over the weekend?"
"No! They didn't!"
"Yup," Dora said popping the word. She smirked at Lavender. "Tracey's shirt was already on the floor before I could close the door."
"How did Parv and I miss that?!" Lavender groaned. Dora just laughed and waved to the girl before heading off.
Hermione caught up as they reached their beds and glared at Dora. "It's not nice to spread rumors."
"It's not a rumor. It's true," Dora said still grinning. She discarded one shirt and pulled out another, one that would hopefully go better with her hair today. "Besides, Parvati saw them yesterday after the Care of Magical Creatures exam so it's not exactly a secret. If they wanted to keep things quiet they should have found someplace more private than behind the greenhouses."
"Ah…" Hermione fell silent before sighing and slipping on her robes. "Poor Ron, he seemed interested in Tracey."
"Yeah, well, Luna's interested in him, so wish him luck because when she makes her move he isn't going to know what hit him."
Hermione laughed. "That is not a relationship I see lasting long at all."
"Well, you can talk to her about it yourself once we get downstairs. Come on! I'm hungry!"
The trio had only just stepped off the staircase into the Entrance Hall when Luna bounced up to them from the nearby corridor. "Good morning, Harry, Hermione, Dora. Ronald is sleeping in then after the exams? Poo. Oh well, you three seem quite improved over recent – " Luna drifted off mid-sentence and ground to a complete halt. She blinked several times with her mouth working silently. The snorkack sitting on Harry's shoulder bobbed its head up and down at her and panted happily. Luna finally managed to utter a quiet word as she raised a hand and pointed. "Snorkack."
"Yup. Caught a hitchhiker last night. Long story," Dora said wiggling her eyebrows at her blonde friend. "Sirius has kinda claimed him already, but we figured you'd like to see him and all."
"SNORKACK! IT'S A CRUMPLE-HORNED SNORKACK!" Luna's squeal of glee nearly shattered Dora's eardrums and everyone nearby winced and stumbled a step. Luna herself sprang forward and lifted the critter from Harry's shoulder with both hands then pranced around in a circle while several students wandered past shooting strange looks at the small group. "Oh Merlin you are simply beautiful! And your fur is so soft! And look at those little teeth, just perfect for eating vegetation! Oh and you're an adolescent judging from those horns! How are you little man, how are – wait you are a boy right? Yup, wow, you're definitely a boy! Oh you are simply the cutest, most adorable, most wonderful little man!" The snorkack bobbed its head again, almost as though to agree with her praise, and leaned forward to lick Luna's hand as she squealed again.
Hermione rolled her eyes fondly and crossed her arms. "Luna, you should really stop turning in a circle before you make him sick." Luna just smiled and stopped spinning, choosing instead to cuddle the snorkack to her chest which caused the little creature to huff appreciatively and lick her hand again. "See, he looks happier already."
"Wherever did you find him?!" Luna asked gently swinging the snorkack from side to side as she swayed.
"He sprung a prison break while Harry, Hermione and I were running from Death Eaters in the Department of Mysteries," Dora said gesturing for the others to follow her into the Great Hall.
Luna nodded. "I thought that you might not have fully averted that seeing as you all disappeared after exams. I was considering stealing a thestral to follow along, but I couldn't be certain it was the correct night. There was always the possibility that you had seduced Hermione into a threesome after all."
"Luna knew about the DoM battle?" Hermione grumbled. "Wait…what?"
Luna nodded, ignoring Hermione's shocked exclamation. "To be fair, Hermione, Dora has only actually told me two things. Everything else I've worked out for myself. For instance, how you and Harry are now fully informed as to our friend's origins."
"How do you do that?" Dora asked glaring at the blonde. "Nothing we've said in the past five minutes should've given you the impression that I told them everything!"
The trio sat down and Luna smiled. "Well, beyond the disappearance from last night, there is the fact that you no longer seem to have the weight of the world holding your shoulders to the ground." Luna paused and shrugged. "The complete lack of wrackspurts around you is also a key giveaway. To more fully answer your question about how I 'do that' – I see how things work."
Hermione growled and stabbed her pancakes with her fork. "Luna Lovegood, I swear to magic itself if you don't explain that statement I am going to hound you until the day I die until I figure it out myself."
Harry chuckled and patted Hermione's arm in an effort to ease the girl's frustration. "Perhaps try telling us in a normal fashion, Luna?"
"But I am," Luna commented shrugging. "I see how things work. Magic, connections, physics, relationships, interactions, shatterpoints…I see the underlying levels of reality. It is quite fascinating really."
Three sets of eyes blinked at Luna for several long quiet seconds. It was only broken by the snorkack leaning down and slurping up one of Luna's carrots. Hermione eventually frowned and shook her head. "That's not possible. That doesn't make any sense. One can't see concepts."
"Mother was working on an altered Mage Sight spell. It worked quite well, but she didn't seem to realize that the original casting was area of effect instead of targeted – or that I was in the room at the time. I was busy exploring my new senses near a pair of blibbering humdingers while was drawn to particular cluster of creatures near the edge of her workstation. I don't know exactly what the Exploding Blimpets represent or why they gather in certain areas, but they are quite volatile." Luna sighed and clutched the snorkack to her chest tighter. "Mother taught me that. I have since been very careful not to touch the Exploding Blimpets when I have seen them. I still have the sight because Mother never wrote down the counterspell to turn it off. I have grown used to it and I greatly enjoy determining the names for the conceptualizations that I see."
Hermione and Dora both turned their gazes to the table and blinked away the water gathering in their eyes. That had…not been remotely what Dora had thought when she originally asked Luna where her information was coming from.
As Hermione blindly pushed one of her pancakes to the other side of the plate Harry reached out and briefly clasped Luna's shoulder, smiling wearily at her. "Your mother left you with a gift, Luna; just like mine did with me. We not be able to be with them anymore, but at least we have something to remember them by all the same."
"I fully agree, Harry. That is why their names are so unusual! When next I see Mother I intend to send her to the clouds laughing uproariously. If she wanted concepts to have more appropriate names then she should have been around to do the naming herself," Luna finished with a bright smile and a wink.
"Sending her laughing…to the clouds?" Dora asked.
Hermione groaned and rubbed her forehead. "Because she's in Heaven so she can't roll around on the ground laughing. She has to roll around on the clouds. I am doomed to be surrounded by puns today it seems."
Harry snorted and rolled his eyes. "Don't forget, Hermione, you made some yourself this morning."
"Yes, a rather hard one at that," Dora stated earning a glare from the brunette.
Luna grinned and looked between all three of her friends. "Oh? Did Hermione decide to join you two in celebratory sex after the battle after all? I know that you and Harry chose the night after Umbridge but – "
"Luna, please stop!" Harry groaned banging his head onto the desk. "I already have enough of the girls in the castle coming after me. The last thing I need is details of my love life paraded around the school. And for the record, no, nothing happened last night. We all just collapsed after a very long, very stressful night!"
"Oh, poo," Luna said shaking her head. "Apparently I will have to go back to the drawing board."
Hermione shifted her death glare from Luna to Dora. "Luna…I believe you and I need to have a long talk about appropriate discussion topics."
"Manipulation topics, Hermione. Manipulation topics. One must be precise when conversing on matters of the heart," Luna said grinning innocently. She turned back to her plate and fed the snorkack another stick of carrot. Everyone around her was left impotently glaring before dissolving into fits of chuckling.
Ron chose just that moment to come running into the Great Hall. He barely paused to look where he was going before he jumped into the open seat next to Dora and started to madly grab for the biscuits nearby. "Thank, Merlin! Breakfast is still going; I didn't miss it! Wait…why are you all laughing?"
Dora patted her fellow Gryffindor on the back and shook her head with a grin still on her face. "Ron, we really have to catch you up on recent events after breakfast."
"Miss Kirk, a word if you'd please," Dumbledore's strained voice caught Dora's attention as she was about to walk back up to the Common Room several days later. She stopped and turned cocking an eyebrow at the Headmaster.
"We still have our ceasefire in effect right, Sir?" At Dumbledore's nod Dora shrugged. "In that case, sure."
Dumbledore smiled softly at her and started to walk down the hall with Dora following. In no time at all, both were sitting at his desk in his office. Dora couldn't help but notice that several of the Headmaster's trinkets were damaged or destroyed. Apparently Harry had not taken quite as calmly to Dumbledore's revelations as he'd implied.
"Lemon drop? No? No one ever wants a lemon drop, I simply don't understand it…they are so good, it's practically addicting…Alas, my thoughts wander. Where was I? Miss Kirk, I believe I owe you an apology. Several in fact," Dumbledore started off with a heavy sigh. He dropped his gaze to the desk and shook his head while Dora reared back in confusion. "I have witnessed too many wars, magical and mundane, in my time and spent far too long preparing for the current one – with only myself as counsel. Perhaps this old man has been too set in his ways for too long. You were – and in many ways still are – an unknown and expected piece on the board. In prior cases I waited far too long to react to unexpected movements and it had led to disaster."
Dora fidgeted. "I heard rumors that you and Grindelwald knew each other before the World War, Sir. I take it you didn't act because you thought he'd turn out alright in the end?"
"No. No, I didn't act because I did not want to confront the man I loved and in turn cast aside his beliefs. Beliefs that – for a time – I shared," Dumbledore stated simply. Dora could only gape at him in reply with her hair flashing to brown in shock. "I cared somewhat for young Tom Riddle as well. I did not trust him and worried he was walking a dangerous path, but I acknowledged that he could be a great wizard under the right circumstances who could lead our society to extraordinary feats. Unfortunately I was still consumed with the previous war and was unwilling to assist with his situation in the Muggle world. My lack of action again led to the rise of another Dark Lord."
"Look, Headmaster, Voldemort was a bad egg to begin with. He was evil long before you ever arrived. The guy killed a classmate at 16. I don't think offers of lemon drops and tea would've done much."
Dumbledore shook his head. "Nevertheless, I share some responsibility for Voldemort's inception. In Harry's case I tried to keep him safe. I tried to keep him away from the influences of fame and arrogance in an effort to imbue him with values and decency before corruption could take hold. I never once thought of the damage that his guardians could do in their hatred of his parents."
"You can protest you've done everything for Harry's own good until you're blue in the face, Dumbledore, but actions speak louder than words. And you never once even went to check on him," Dora stated. Her features hardened and her mouth set into a thin line. Memories that were not her own flashed through her head and it was all she could do to avoid cursing out the man in front of her for tossing her boyfriend to the wolves.
He nodded sadly. "You are once again correct. Again, my lack of action has brought nothing, but pain. That is why I have asked you here, Miss Kirk." Dumbledore paused as Fawkes flew over and landed on his shoulder trilling softly. A small half grin lit up his face as he petted the bird before he turned back to her. "You have done more in less than a year to assist Harry with facing his destiny. Between yourself, Miss Granger, Miss Lovegood, Mr. Weasley and his other friends his burdens have lessened greatly. One would have to be blind not to see that. I apologize for my previous efforts against you and acknowledge that you are on Harry Potter's side in this war if nothing else. I also request that you carry a message to him from me."
"Why not do it yourself?" Dora asked frowning.
"Harry is…still quite put out with me I fear," Dumbledore said with a grimace. "Rightfully so, I freely admit. Had I explained things more fully this year perhaps Remus Lupin would still be with us…?" Dora felt a pang of guilt lance her chest at that. Dumbledore wasn't the only one to shoulder that burden. "As it stands he has requested that I leave him be for the remainder of the semester and I will honor that request. You two are close and I still owed you an apology as well. This is, 'killing two birds with one stone,' as the saying goes; though I prefer 'eating two sweets on one piece of candy'." He laughed softly and Dora had to suppress her groan.
"Okay, what do you want me to tell him?"
"Please relay that I am stepping down as the commander of the Order. Alastor, Shacklebolt or Minerva will be replacing me; it has not yet been decided. I will instead focus my efforts on something that I should have taken care of long ago." Dumbledore paused and sighed heavily. "I am aware there is little likelihood that Harry will be staying with his relatives long enough to recharge the protections he – and they – gain from his presence. Sirius is correct; it is not my place to force the issue any longer. Instead, I will simply ask that you assist in making certain he uses his time at Grimmauld Place wisely. I will tell Sirius this myself, but I feel you and Miss Granger should know as well. Begin looking into Dark Rituals through the Black library over the summer while residing at the manor. Specifically Horcruxes. I will explain further when all parties are present. The time for secrets is swiftly coming to a close. It brings only pain."
Dora recognized a dismissal when she heard one. Frowning she stood and started to head out of the office with a nod to the Headmaster. Her hand was on the door before she stopped and turned for one final question. "Sir, why tell me all this? Why me?"
"Because, Miss Kirk," Dumbledore replied with a small twinkle returning to his eye, "I may not know your full story, but I feel we can both acknowledge that you are no more from a Coven than I am. As I stated before, you fight for Harry Potter and his friends. That is…enough for me. It is time I start to trust the next generation with deciding their own futures. You have proven capable and loyal. Thank you."
Dora smiled back at him. She'd probably always have some issues with the old man, but…it was nice to see that the person she idolized for so long was still there inside him all the same.
The Hogwarts Express chugged along on its merry route back through the countryside, short jolts and jittering, rocked the passengers along as the train neared London. Dora curled up on the seat of their cabin, her head cradled in Harry's lap and her legs draped over Hermione's. Luna was sitting across from them, her back against the window with her own legs across the lap of a thoroughly confused looking Ron. All of the teens were more relaxed than anyone would have guessed with the way that the year had begun.
"Hermione, are you really sure that your parents are going to be okay with you coming to Grimmauld for most of the summer?" Harry asked. "You barely get to see them as it is."
Hermione shrugged. "Oh, they'll be coming with me actually so they are very accepting of it. Honestly I believe they're looking forward to it more than I am! Mum and Dad are ever so excited to regularly see magic being used around them! Sirius has already spoken with them about setting up a spare bedroom on the second floor. I believe Moody has offered to enchant a portkey for them that will take them back and forth from their practice each day."
Ron snorted and rolled his eyes. "Trust that crazy old codger to cough up something highly illegal without batting an eye."
"Ron, we do highly illegal things every year," Harry replied lifting an eyebrow.
Ron just shrugged. "I'm not complaining, Harry. Heck this is just like the Lightning Reversal. Though granted they did end up making that a foul afterwards so…maybe that's not the best example."
"It works well enough, Ronald," Luna commented from behind her upside-down Quibbler.
"Err, thanks…? Luna, why is your magazine upside down?"
"Because I can read it better this way," the blonde replied easily. Dora was positioned well enough that she could see the grin on Luna's face.
"Oh." Ron peered at the magazine critically before shrugging again. "I thought it was because the rune puzzle needed to be turned a few times, but okay."
"Well…that too." Luna's grin spread wider and she not-so-subtly pulled her legs up, dragging Ron closer to her. Dora snorted in amusement at her friend and quietly resolved yet again to never piss off the sneaky blonde.
"Harry," Dora said twisting slightly to gaze up at the young man above her. "Are you really sure you want to go back to them for the day? We could just…blow them off completely."
Harry shrugged and smiled, ignoring the dark expressions that flitted briefly over Dora and Hermione's features. "True we could and that would be fun too, but…well I like the initial plan a bit better. Angry magic using women confronting my relatives is going to be far more satisfying than just leaving them waiting forever on a train platform."
Hermione's smile at that was predatory enough that any self-respecting Black would congratulate the girl whole-heartedly. "Yes, this should be well-worth the hour or so of waiting. Having an Auror on our side is quite useful indeed for bypassing silly little things like the Trace not breaking for another three months."
"Oi! Some of us have to wait until next year before we're 17, Hermione," Ron said shooting the brunette a mock glare. "There's no need to rub it in that you and Dora are old."
"Careful, Ronald," Luna replied in a lilting voice, her laughter barely hidden under the dreamy tone. "You don't want me calling you old."
"Yes, Luna. Sorry, Hermione, Dora, bad joke…" Ron replied with a sigh. "Bloody crazy birds," he continued in a mutter, earning a chuckle from all others present in the cabin.
The whistle sounded and Dora craned her neck to see the platform approaching just beyond the front engine. "Darn, time to get up I suppose." She slowly pulled herself up and sighed as she leant against Harry's side. She wasn't able to relax there long though as the whistle sounded again and the Express pulled to a stop at the station. All of the teens stood up and started to lever their trunks down into the compartment.
"I will see you all shortly I hope," Luna commented slinging her bag behind her and smiling at the rest of the group. "Once I speak with Daddy he should be fine with me doing a bit of extra studying over the summer. I certainly don't want to miss all of the action this year! Have a pleasant few weeks! Let me know if anything interested occurs before I arrive!" With a jolly wave, Luna disappeared into the mass of students.
Ron rolled his eyes and grabbed his own trunk. "I'll see you three in a few days. Mum, wants to take Ginny for some clothes. Once we get the shopping done we should be back over to Headquarters. I think. Sirius is letting Mum stay in the house again right? Eh, it's not like Dad will keep me away even if Mum is banned." He waved as well and vanished while still mumbling to himself.
Dora rolled her eyes and grabbed Hermione's hand as she made to walk out of the cabin. A quick exchange of glances saw Hermione nodding and staying put. Dora took a deep breath and smiled at both of her friends. "Thank you, both of you. I…when this year started I expected to end it being dead, vanished into nonexistence or completely alone and abandoned. Between you two, Sirius, Tonks, Luna, Moody, heck even Dumbledore, I…never thought I'd have people sticking by me after the truth was out. So thanks. I just…wanted that put out there. You guys are the best I could ever ask for."
Hermione responded in typical Hermione fashion: with a bone-crushing hug. "You're one of us now, Dora. Don't ever forget that."
As Hermione released her, Harry quickly took her place though his hug was from behind with his arms snaking around her middle and his lips resting near her ear. "I'm not letting you go, Dora. None of us are," he whispered, his breath sending shivers down her spine and her arms wrapping around his own. "You're a little weird, a bit reckless and a lot crazy. You fit in perfect. We're not letting you disappear, Dora Kirk. You're ours."
"Yeah. I am. And you're mine." Dora twisted enough to capture Harry's lips in her own. The kiss was brief, but the passion was bright and the continued shivers running down her spine were strong enough to rock her onto her heels. As soon as they broke apart Dora winked at Hermione who responded with a sly grin of her own. "We fight together, we live together. Voldemort and his goons don't stand a chance."
"None at all," Hermione replied. Harry let Dora go and he and Hermione grabbed their trunks to walk out into the throng with Dora only a few seconds behind them.
As she watched her friends' backs, Dora could only grin wider and reflect back on the past year of her extremely unusual life. "This is good. It's not perfect, but it's good. Rule Number 42: Sometimes, things actually do mostly work out right. Thanks for the lessons, Mad-Eye. I owe you."
AN: Much thanks to RhysThornbery for his beta assistance on this.
I hope that the Dumbledore segment came off well. I wanted him to be flawed but redeemable in this fic instead of my more natural inclination concerning his character. Same with Ron. I think I did end up flanderizing Ron a tad anyway, but Quidditch obsession is better than ignorant jerk right…right? The Luna explanation is a bit off the wall, but she was never going to be a Seer in this fic and I feel this adds a bit to her odd nature without coming across as anything that can become a Deus ex Machina. It was actually planned since the inception so it's not something I just cast a net for and there are some hints previously.
There will be a sequel to 'Hourglass' though I can't promise a timetable. I need to work out more details of what I want to accomplish in Year 6 before committing pen to paper – or chapter to site as it may be. Fair warning to those waiting with baited breath on said sequel, it will end up being Harry/Dora/Hermione. I tried to end this one on a (mostly) monogamous relationship, but it's too hard fighting to keep Hermione out of it permanently so in the sequel that's at least one plot point that will occur for certain.
My next project is going to be finishing up 'Potters Against the World' so keep a lookout for that story to pick back up soon. Thanks for all the support throughout!
Mad-Eye's Rules For Successfully Reaching Retirement:
Rule Number 0: In some battles – and most wars – you have to accept sometimes that the best possible outcome is simply not losing.
Rule Number 1: Always make certain that personnel involved in an active investigation and/or protection detail have all relevant details. Lack of detail leads to injury and death.
Rule Number 2: A victim is always more likely to comply with Auror recommendations if they are aware of the scale of danger inherent in their situation.
Rule Number 3: It's always better to be safe than sorry. Never forget Rule 3 because it'll kill you.
Rule Number 4: Common Sense. Muggles have it. So should we. We don't. Strive to get some.
Rule Number 5: The best actor is the one who never stops. A man alone at home who uses a wheelchair even while he can secretly walk is FAR more deadly than a man lying about having a second wand.
Rule Number 6: Maintain focus or die.
Rule Number 8: Never leave loose ends loose. Tie off anything that compromises an identity or be prepared to fight to the death.
Rule Number 10: Always stay calm. Even with Killing Curses flying, staying calm will probably save your life.
Rule Number 11: Know what to do when it all goes to shite.
Rule Number 13: When lying always include enough truth with fact that, should they investigate, you appear legitimate.
Rule Number 14: When breaking the law, don't get caught and have a scapegoat ready.
Rule Number 17: Always assume someone's listening. Always.
Rule Number 20: A confident Auror intimidates worried criminals.
Rule Number 21: If someone is acting shifty nine times out of ten it's because they have something to hide.
Rule Number 25: If you can't get it right, fake it til you make it.
Rule Number 32: Go into shock when you can afford to. Get all teary and grief-stricken on the battlefield and at best your aim is off due to the blurry eyes. At worst someone else you care about dies because you missed something important while you were collapsed.
Rule Number 40: Never discount a potential ally. If you don't act like a villain turncoats will be more loyal than your own men.
Rule Number 42: Sometimes, things actually do mostly work out right.
Rule Number 44: Never leave someone to wallow alone in grief. It almost never ends well. Worst comes to worst, send them to a Muggle therapist. Folks work wonders.
Rule Number 50: Ignore everyone, but your own inner voice. If he can live with your actions so can you. Damn the rest.
Rule Number 80: If your enemy is trying to kill you, the smart thing is to abandon your bloody mission and try to kill them right back.
Rule Number 95: When following someone it doesn't matter if you're obvious. It only matters if you're close enough for them to care that you're going in the same direction.
Rule Number 122: You can look a gift horse in the mouth, but be prepared to be flattened by the fist flying out of its gullet.
Fic Recommendation: "Harry Potter and the Horcrux Hunt" by F.D. Wurth (remove the space between the 'D.' and 'Wurth'; considering this is an author on THIS website you would think it would let me put it in intact but nope can't have logic come into play when dealing with Harry Potter stuff!). This is a Harry/Fleur/Tonks story set at the beginning of Seventh Year and mostly canon up to shortly prior to the wedding. At that point Bill and Remus run off (with each other!) and leave a pissed off Fleur and Tonks to be comforted by Harry. Harry does what Harry does best and after a drunken night of partying and comfort, all three are married. Both end up joining in on the Horcrux hunt leading to far better success. Overall, a fun story with a bit of lemon, a bit of hilarity, more plot than expected at the get-go and decent writing. Updates are infrequent, but occurring.
Final Rec: "Honoured Ancestor" by Shahismael. This is a Harry/Hermione story set after the war. Harry was worried about going crazy and evil just like all other parselmouths he's heard of. So he and Hermione find Herpo the Foul's tomb. The answers are…intriguing. A very good oneshot!
AN: This is just a short, quick note to let everyone know that I have started to post the sequel. It's titled: 'Time Takes All'. It picks up only a few days following the end of this story. If you want to see more of Dora and company please feel free to head on over and take a look.