Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, Hogwarts, Gringotts, the Leaky Cauldron or anything else in JKR's wonderful world. Except for the little pebble just to left of the front doors of Hogwarts. I put that there. I might own that. Maybe. But probably not.


Lemon Drops Are Bad for Your Health

The still quiet of the night was suddenly disturbed as a small ball of light appeared in the middle of the meadow. Accompanied by a low hum that quickly ascended into a high pitch squeal, the moonless night was soon lit with a bright flash and a loud CRACK that echoed across the fields.

Where there had been nothing but the stubble of harvested wheat, now stood two people. The taller one held a staff upright in their left hand and both were covered with hooded cloaks. After a quick look around the shorter one raised a hand in a precise motion and used the wand they held. Blue glowing numbers floating in the air lit the ground before them.

"1987!" A female voice said excitedly. "We did it!"

The taller person put their arm around her and pulled her close for a hug. "I never doubted we would, Love." A husky male voice said. "Now let's get started."

A quick turn and pop and the two vanished.

((((((OOOOO))))))

They stood in another open field, the woman in front of the man. She was waving her wand in a series of complicated motions, had been for almost an hour. He stood behind her with his free hand pressed into the middle of her back.

They glowed. A pale blue nimbus of sparking magic flowed over their bodies, pulsing up the length of the staff onto the man. It moved over his body and along his other arm and onto the woman. As it moved down the length of her arm and onto her wand it etched blue flames into the air in front of her, slowly fading.

Abruptly she stopped casting as the view in front of them changed. Wide lawns appeared, trees and bushes, here and there a piece of statuary, until finally a manor house appeared. Three stories tall it stood, the center portion of a style from four hundred years in the past. Though the wings to either side were obviously of a different time, they blended with and complemented each other and the central structure.

"And that is why I let you do the warding." The man said to his smaller companion.

"It took longer than I expected to convince them to let us in." she replied with a sigh. "They're very good wards; very old; very strong."

It was a long walk to the house, but the doors opened easily when they arrived. They stepped into a wide vestibule area floored in marble. To the left side was a wide fireplace, obviously the Floo considering its location and the small floo powder pot on its mantle. To the right, a door, behind which should be a coat closet. They stepped over to the fireplace and looked at the words carved into the stone of the front of the mantle: POTTER: HONOR-INTEGRITY-FIDELITY.

Once again, the man pulled his companion into his side, kissed her on the top of her head. "Welcome home, Love."

((((((OOOOO))))))

Nobody paid any attention to the two cloaked figures as they walked up the steps of Gringotts. They were just two more people wearing cloaks in the cool fall weather. Nor did anyone give them more than a cursory glance as they approached the last teller or when they were escorted into the bowels of the bank a few minutes later.

By the time they reemerged and departed over two hours later there was no one there who had seen them earlier, and no one who would have cared. It was, after all, something that happened dozens of times a day. Business as usual.

((((((OOOOO))))))

She healed the palm of his hand as the blood smeared, seemingly solid, rock wall slid aside to reveal a dark tunnel. Picking up two lanterns they entered.

Upon viewing the lake revealed inside she spoke. "That's a bit more than I expected. Can you change it?"

He did some mental calculations. "I should be able to. Just take a bit more oomph."

She chuckled. "Is that even a technical term, oomph?"

"Certainly." He replied. "Right up there with dab, smidgeon, pinch…"

She laughed at him. "Alright. Go do your thing." She gave him a little push.

Knowing full well what awaited in its black depths, and what would happen should he touch it, he stepped to the edge of the lake and concentrated. Holding his staff out in front of him he called up his magic, felt it build, held it, shaped it and then released it as he touched the surface of the water with the tip of his staff.

He hurriedly backed up as the liquid changed to a yellowish hue, spreading rapidly outward from the point of contact. Even in the dim torchlight they could see ripples as something in the liquid agitated it.

"Time to go." The man stated. "We'll come back tomorrow and clean up."

They turned and left the way they had come.

((((((OOOOO))))))

The woman's wand moved smoothly through spell after spell as she found and disarmed trap after trap. It had taken half an hour just to get to the door of the shack with the snake nailed to it. Inside was just as bad. Hmph! She mentally snorted between casts. What idiot goes to so much trouble to hide something then shouts There's something here! Come and find it! by using so much magic to protect it that it fairly leaps out at any person with the least bit of magic!

One last cast and she stepped back. "If you would please." She said as she reached into the beaded bag at her side.

With a wave of his hand the center of the floor exploded upwards with a sound of shattered, splintered wood. All of the pieces were levitated to the side and dropped, revealing a hole in the dirt beneath. In it rested a plain wooden box. Another wave and it floated upwards…even as four conjured snakes lunged at him from the now empty hole.

"Missed one." He said cheerfully as, with another wave of his hand, he decapitated all four of the serpents.

She wobbled her head from side to side. "Yada, yada, yada." She snarked as she pulled a bag from her bag. "You try getting through oh yuck!" she cried as she felt the effects of the contents of the box. "He could feel that, and he still put it on? The old fart deserved what he got." She said as she held the bag open without letting the box touch her as it was lowered into it.

"That's what you get when you let your supposed infallibility get the best of you." He watched as she closed the bag tightly and put that back into her beaded one. "Ready to go?" he asked.

"Yes. Do we still have time to drop in on dear little Draco and his family?"

"I don't see why not." He replied as he took her hand. A quick turn and the old shack was empty.

((((((OOOOO))))))

There was no finesse this time, no gentle unraveling of the wards. With his power and her skill, she went through them like an axe through a windowpane.

Three house elves met them at the door…and collapsed instantly as she uttered an obscure spell.

Lucius Malfoy found them only moments later and immediately cast the Killing Curse…which was batted away with a nonchalant wave of the staff. His eyes widened in shock and fear as he was yanked off his feet and flew forward into the outstretched hand where he was certain his throat had collapsed from the sheer impact. He choked as he struggled to free himself and met his attacker's eyes.

"Legilimens!"

He screamed as the probe tore through his defenses like the self-same axe had his wards. Powerful invisible claws ripped and slashed at memory after memory looking for the sought after one, then once it was found, ripped and tore at more as what he had done came to light.

Lucius fell limply to the floor when he was released, slack faced, empty eyes staring ahead, drool leaking from the side of his mouth. His home for the rest of his life would be the Janus Thickey ward at St. Mungo's. Many people would think his fate was justly deserved when the news got around.

"Merlin!" the tall man murmured. "Talk about swimming in a sewer. I'm going to need a bucket of brain bleach." He shook his head, trying to clear it of the images he had seen. "Study by the library, corner of the floor by the desk. Heavily protected and keyed to his magical signature."

She nodded and spun, vanishing with a pop.

"Diffindo!"

The hex splashed off the shield from the casually raised hand even as a spell chain worth of deadly hexes followed it. None penetrated it.

"Do you think you can attack us in our home and get away with it?" An enraged Narcissa Malfoy snarled out, even as she prepared to attack again.

"Mother!"

At the terrified boy's cry, she spun wildly, to see her crazed sister holding her son's head up by his hair, her wand at his throat. "No! Draco!"

"Throw it away, Cissy, or you'll watch him bleed out all over the floor!"

She did as she was told, the wooden stick clattering down the hallway floor, her only thoughts of the safety of her son.

Bellatrix pushed the boy into his mother's arms and the four of them went to the study. Ten minutes on the wards and he ripped the hidden vault door out of the floor. A simple summoning spell later and the book was theirs.

Just before they left, Bellatrix looked at her sister. "Change his attitude, Cissy. Change it for the better because if he's still like his father when he gets to Hogwarts, he dies."

Narcissa Malfoy, Lady Malfoy, mother of Draco, watched with terrified eyes from where she crouched holding her son to her as her sister and Antonin Dolohov vanished.

((((((OOOOO))))))

They reentered the cave again in conjured muggle hazmat suits even as the two of them cast repeated air cleaning charms before them for the fumes they could see floating there.

Once at the lake shore he again summoned his magic and vanished a full fifth of the volume of the liquid of the lake, having to hurriedly step back as that liquid to either side of the vanished area rushed in to fill the empty space with a splash. After repeated vanishings he reversed the transfiguration, turning the remaining liquid back into the water it had once been.

They looked down into the lakebed at the result of that transfiguration. To the side, the remains of a little boat, mere small pieces of wood left, the chain securing it dissolved at half a link where it had entered the water level.

The stone of the lakebed was rounded and pitted; all sharp edges eaten away. Lying scattered about here and there were pieces of bone, all of them once large, and the occasional bit of skull.

"See? I told you concentrated sulphuric acid would take care of the inferi."

She huffed at him. "When did you get so good at potions?"

He laughed as they began the trek to the small island in the middle of what had been the lake.

Splashing the liquid out of the basin they found there didn't work, but they thought they'd give it a try. A very strong impervious charm meant they couldn't break the pedestal so that left plan B. Transfiguring a rock into a pig, they immobilized it, propped it into an upright position with its mouth open and simply poured the potion down its throat. When they could reach the locket at the bottom of the basin, they transfigured it back into a rock.

Having left the cave and apparating home they opened the locket, knowing by that simple action what they would find. "Damn, I was hoping we wouldn't have to have anything to do with that little shite elf."

A chuckle was her only reply.

((((((OOOOO))))))

The building shouldn't be standing. Crooked and leaning in ways that not only violated the laws of engineering but physics as well, only magic held it up.

But they weren't here for the building.

"Accio Peter Pettigrew!"

At first, nothing seemed to happen. Then, out of the darkness, a high-pitched squeal signaled the arrival of their target of the evening. A rat, one missing a toe, slapped into his gloved hand. Just in case something went wrong he hadn't wanted to clean rat guts off his hand.

He immediately shoved the stunned rodent into a box held by the woman. She slammed the lid and threw the bolt.

"Listen up, Pettigrew." She said with a noticeable malice. "That box is charmed unbreakable. If you try to change to your human form, you'll ooze through those bars like pudding through my fingers." She shook the box to the squeals of the rat. "If it wasn't for the fact we need you alive, I'd be tempted to force the change just to watch. So, behave."

The rodent cowered in the end of the box as far as he could get from her.

((((((OOOOO))))))

They walked through the dense forest of Albania, a simple point me charm their only guide. It was the ninth day of their search and while they weren't discouraged at their lack of progress, they knew if they didn't find their quarry today they'd probably have to move on to the next village and continue the search there.

A sudden quietness of their surroundings caused them to pause their movements. The feeling of a presence made them smile. They both went to one knee and bowed their heads. "My Lord, we beg you grace us with your presence." They each intoned solemnly. They waited.

It was several minutes before they heard a whispery voice. "Who are you?"

"Egan Rowle, My Lord, son of Thorfin and Marissa." He replied reverently. "My companion is Clarissa Jugson, daughter of…"

"I know who your parents are." The voice interrupted. "Why are you here? Where are your fathers? Have they lost their loyalty, fear for their own safety that they send their children but not come themselves?"

"Forgive me, Lord, but they have searched for you for years and only recently have had any hint where you might be. But things have happened in your absence, and only recently, that they sent us to seek you so they might stay and seek the source of the problem."

"What things? What problem did they deem danger enough to send you?"

"My Lord, a month ago someone attacked Malfoy Manor, ripped down its wards, mind raped Lord Malfoy and left him as what is said a mindless vegetable. Upon questioning the Lady Malfoy reported it was her sister Bellatrix and Antonin Dolohov…"

"They are in Azkaban!"

He swallowed nervously at the angry tone. "Yes, Lord, they are. The Aurors say the attackers were glamoured. But Lady Malfoy did not report a robbery to them, only the attack. To those of your inner circle she has said the attack was only to find out information on what they really sought; what they found."

"What was it?"

"A book, Lord. She didn't know what it was. Her husband only told her he had the great honor to safeguard it for you."

"WHAT?!"

They both jerked at the whispered roar, the anger in it evident of its owner's displeasure.

Seemingly out of nowhere a wraith appeared in front of them, startling them and causing them to jerk upright.

"You, boy, you will have the honor of being my vessel for our return. Prepare yourself."

He smiled. "Thank you, My Lord!" he said as the dark shade with a human face approached him.

"Spiritus captionem!"

So intent on possessing the boy, Voldemort had neglected the girl and with her spell an ethereal sphere formed around him.

"What are you doing? No! You cannot do this! I am Lord Voldemort! You cannot do this to me!" The shade screamed and shouted, re-expanding the sphere that had begun to shrink around him. "I will destroy you for this!"

"Oh, put a sock in it, Moldy-shorts." Expanding his wand back into his staff, he cast the spell as well and as the sphere appeared it began shrinking, blending with the first, pulling the shade of the Dark Lord into a smaller and smaller ball. The pitch of his screams climbed higher as the ball shrank until in mid shriek the noise stopped, the sphere turned to crystal and it fell to the ground.

"Well, that was fun."

"Speak for yourself. I'm going to have to wash my mouth out with soap to get the taste of all those 'My Lord's' out of it." With a dragon skin glove, he picked up the ball and dropped it into her prepared bag.

"You'd better, because I'm not kissing you until you do. They might be contagious."

"Oh, the things I have to do." He lamented while placing his hand over his heart, then gave her a quick peck on the lips. She laughed as they put their arms around each other and apparated away.

((((((OOOOO))))))

Petunia Dursley wiped her hands with the dish cloth as she walked to the front door, wondering who could be ringing the bell at dinner time. "Yes?" she said as she opened the door…and froze, eyes wide in disbelief.

"Hello, Tuney. I'm here for my son."

Blazing green eyes under a flaming crown of hair, she stared at the woman before her, jaw working soundlessly in mounting terror as her heart threatened to beat its way out of her chest. "NO!" she finally cried, shaking her head and backing away from the door. "You're dead!"

The specter in front of her followed her into the house, a sneer on her face. "Oh no, Tuney, you only wish I were. You prayed I was when you did what you did, what you allowed to be done, to my Harry. Well, surprise! I'm not."

Just then Vernon appeared from the kitchen. "YOU!" he exclaimed with unfeigned surprise before his face twisted into one of rage. "Get out of my house you freak! Get out!"

A man behind her sister, a man she hadn't noticed at the surprise of seeing Lily, stepped forward and slashed his hand in a downward gesture. Vernon crashed to his knees, his weight surely increasing the force of the impact, his face twisting in pain.

"Find Harry." Lily said to the man, her husband Petunia realized, without taking her eyes off her sister. He nodded and moved around them as the red head continued her slow advance and Petunia her retreat.

"Where's Dudley, Petunia, hmm?" she inquired quietly, still with that sneer. "Where's my little nephew?"

Petunia's panic increased. "No! Please! Not my baby, please don't hurt my baby!"

"Hurt him?" Lily taunted. "Why would I want to hurt him? I only want to do to him what you've done to my son." She smirked. "After all, if it's good enough for Harry it should be good enough for Dudley, right?"

She shook her head, tears running down her cheeks as she pressed back against the wall behind her. A sudden crash made her look down the hall, to the cupboard under the stairs where the messy haired man had ripped the door off the frame, hinges, padlocks, and all. She saw him lean in and then come back out, two thin arms around his neck as he cradled a small body in his arms.

A snarl drew her terrified attention back to the woman in front of her. "Where's Dudley, Petunia?" she growled.

"Mummy! Daddy!"

She whipped her head to the side in horror to see a wide eyed Dudley, chocolate frosting from a cake messed over his cheeks and hands, standing in the kitchen doorway behind his father who didn't seem to be able get up.

"No! Not Dudley, Lily, please, for the love of God please don't hurt my baby!" she wailed, trying to move to her son but her sister placed her hand on her chest and slammed her back against the wall.

Then she did the last thing Petunia expected: she laughed. A carefree, happy laugh that scared her almost more than her snarls and growls from earlier.

"That's Dudley?" she asked. "That fat, little grubby faced lard ball is Dudley?" She laughed again as she backed away, back by her husband and son. "Merlin, Tuney, I don't have to do anything to him, you're doing it for me!" she chuckled as she looked at her nephew. "Probably spoiled rotten, and a bully. I bet he's dead by twenty, twenty-five tops. Heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and that's only if he doesn't pick on the wrong person and they kill him. Probably too stupid to tell who that might be, as well."

She chuckled once more before her face hardened, turned serious. "Get out of England, Petunia. Go somewhere and never come back, because if I see you again, for what you've done to Harry, I'll see you spend the rest of your lives in a zoo, a fat hippo, wart hog and giraffe. I'll leave you with your human minds as well, so you know what you've lost, what you'll never be again."

Petunia felt Lily's blazing eyes burning into her as she contemplated the horror of that life.

"Get out soon, Petunia." With a pop the three of them vanished and Petunia Dursley slid to the floor in tears.

((((((OOOOO))))))

Albus Dumbledore entered his office at Hogwarts wondering what was going on in his world. All his plans were falling apart, and he didn't know why. He picked a lemon drop out of the bowl on his desk and popped it into his mouth as he leaned back in his chair to arrange his thoughts.

First had been Lucius Malfoy. He didn't particularly care for the man, but his manipulations of Cornelius Fudge had worked in Albus' favor when it came to getting laws passed favoring purebloods over muggleborns and even half-bloods. They had to be countered, held back or they would destroy the magical world. Their ideas were often to radical, to outlandish. Trying to change their world to be more like the muggles was a sure way to dissolution of everything it meant to being magical.

It had also allowed him to keep his persona as a caring person looking for equality of all classes untarnished even as he (silently) applauded Malfoy's accomplishments.

Now the man was nothing more than a slab of meat laying in a bed in St. Mungo's. Somebody, somebody powerful in a way only he or Tom Riddle could be, had smashed Malfoy Manor's wards like tearing parchment and then done the same to the head of the Malfoy family. A surreptitious look into his unseeing eyes had shown him the horror of what had happened. He'd seen people who'd been Kissed with more personality!

It had been a deliberate, determined attack. They'd been looking for something and a few leading questions and a surface probe of the grieving Lady Malfoy had given him the answer: a book. A book of all things! What kind of book? She didn't know, she'd never seen it, didn't know her husband had even had it.

He didn't know if the book played against any of his plans, but the loss of Lucius had definitely gone against those of limiting the muggleborns and their ideas.

Next had been Peter Pettigrew and Sirius Black. Peter had been safely dead and Black safely locked away in Azkaban and now neither were either!

It had started a month ago when he'd received an official summons to the DMLE for an investigation in a criminal case. Not realizing what was to come he'd been sitting in Amelia Bones office when she'd dropped a folder in front of him. He knew he had problems when he'd seen Black's name on it. It contained only the booking slip into the MLE's holding cells and the transfer slip to Azkaban. She wanted to know where the investigative reports were, the investigator notes, the interrogation transcripts, the trial transcripts and witness lists because she'd had the DMLE records department torn apart and nobody could find any of them. Since his name was on the transfer sheet she wanted to know if there'd even been a trial.

He had tried to placate her, saying they probably been lost or even accidentally destroyed. She hadn't accepted any of it.

Then she'd laid the Bombarda on him and demanded to know why, if he had cast the Fidelious on the Godric's Hollow house, he hadn't stood in Black's defense and stated he wasn't the secret keeper and couldn't have led Voldemort to the Potter's.

He knew then that for some reason she'd reopened the investigation of that night and she had already talked to Black. Only two people now living knew that Pettigrew was the secret keeper, and he'd never told anybody. That left Black.

He'd needed the man out of the way. He'd needed the guardianship and control of young Harry and Black was his Godfather, another fact Bones had thrown in his face since in that position he'd have been dead by his own magic if he endangered the boy.

Which brought up the little matter of the Potter's wills. Why had he sealed them? What was so dangerous in them they couldn't be executed?

By the time he'd been able to get out of there hours later he'd been exhausted. The woman just would not let up!

It hadn't surprised him at all when two days later he'd received official notice of the trial of Sirius Black two days hence.

What had surprised him when he'd sat down in the Wizengamot chambers on the morning of the trial and looked over the official agenda for the day and found another trial had been slipped in ahead of Black's: Peter Pettigrew's! He had no idea where they'd found the man or how long they'd had him, but it answered the question of why Bones had reopened the investigation of Black.

Peter had told everything under the influence of veritaserum, including the fact that Albus himself had cast the Fidelius and therefore knew who the real secret keeper was and had kept that fact to himself.

Peter had been given life in Azkaban, in the maximum-security wing, a new playmate for the dementors.

After that, Black's trial had been a foregone conclusion. He had immediately demanded to know where Harry Potter was as he was the official and rightfully designated guardian for the boy.

His own reputation had taken a hard blow as well. It had been pointed out that if he could do what he'd done, lie by omission in not stating Black's true status and throwing the heir, now Lord, of one of the magical world's oldest, most respected and honored pureblood families into the hell that was Azkaban without a trial, who then was safe if he decided they were in his way and needed to be gotten rid of?

He was still working to keep his seats as Chief Warlock and Supreme Mugwump.

He reached up and took another lemon drop and put it in his mouth, letting the soothing flavor help relax him.

Black was still calling for the return of Harry Potter, something he couldn't allow. He needed the boy and not just for his plans. He couldn't get much at a time but as the boy's magical guardian his access to the Potter vaults allowed him a small but not insignificant income.

Now, however, he couldn't turn the boy over even if he'd wanted to. Five days ago, he'd vanished from his aunt's house, kidnapped by imposters. All his devices, everything he used to keep tabs on the boy, had stopped working. He could only draw two conclusions from that: he'd either been taken somewhere where he was behind wards that prevented that sort of observation, and how anybody would know they would need them he didn't know, or he was dead.

He was fairly certain the two people impersonating the Potters were the same ones who'd turned Lucius Malfoy's brain into ground beef, but he couldn't decide if they were a danger to the boy or not. They'd callously destroyed a man's mind and threatened a boy Harry's age with death but shown considerable kindness to him when they'd taken him.

They couldn't be the Potters, he knew that for a fact, no matter what Petunia may have thought, so what was their motive? What did they want him for?

More importantly, how was he going to get him back? He was the prophesized child, the one who had to meet Voldemort. He had to be prepared, to be gotten ready to meet Tom in a way beneficial to his own plans.

Taking his glasses off he rubbed his eyes before placing them back on his nose. He reached for one of the little silver devices. If he could just get this one working, it would at least tell him if the boy was alive or not. Taking out his wand he made a minute adjustment, then another. Fifteen minutes later he lay his wand on his desk and took another lemon drop as he contemplated what else he might try.

Out of the corner of his eye he saw his wand shoot across the room and into a hand not attached to a body.

"Oooh! I think it likes me!"

He failed to control his expression as the realization slammed into him: he had lost the Elder Wand! It didn't matter that it sounded like a young woman had taken it from him, he had to get it back!

As he watched a crown of dirty blonde hair appeared. As the invisibility cloak slid down it revealed a pair of mischievous silver-gray eyes, a pert little nose and a mouth twisted upwards at the ends in amusement.

"Do you like my new wand, Headmaster?" she asked whimsically with a tilt of her head, waggling the wand.

Putting on his grandfatherly face he smiled. "Yes, it's a very nice wand, young lady. Now, if you'll just return it to me please."

She drew herself up and just like that he knew he was not facing the young woman he thought he was. She draped her maturity around her as easily as she had the cloak. "Now, Headmaster, we both know this wand doesn't work that way."

She knew what it was! This was not good, but he had been in more perilous situations before and prevailed. "Might I assume you are one of those who attacked Lord Malfoy and kidnapped young Harry Potter?"

"I prefer the term 'rescued' if you don't mind." She replied, her eyes narrowed slightly, and the corners of her mouth turned up slightly in a small smirk.

"Rescued from what?" he inquired. "He was safe there. They are his relatives and there are protections there, protections against people who would do him harm."

She just rolled her eyes at him. "And as soon as he stepped off the property your little blood wards gave him absolutely no protection all."

How did she know these things? First the Elder Wand, now the blood wards. Nobody but himself knew about either.

"They were also useless inside them as well." She went on. "Whippings, beatings, starvation, abuse, mental and verbal as well as the physical. If that's your definition of safe, then I want a new dictionary."

He knew about all of that, that was what his devices were for after all, but he couldn't let her know. "Surely you exaggerate. Young boys lead rough and tumble childhoods, accidents happen. I'm certain his relatives are a loving family."

He needed to get off this subject. It was obvious she wasn't buying what he was selling, and he needed to get her mind off onto some kind of distraction. "If you don't mind, might I ask your name and how you managed to get in here without me feeling you in the wards?"

She laughed, a sound he had to admit was rather pleasant to listen to. "How I got in here was the easy part: I walked. Once I talked to Hogwarts and explained what we wanted to do and why, she was so very cooperative."

He raised an eyebrow at her. "You talked to Hogwarts?" he asked in surprise. "The school. And it talked back."

"Not an 'it', Headmaster, she. Isn't that right Hat?"

His brow rose in surprise and consternation as the Sorting Hat, sitting up on its shelf, answered her. "Oh, don't try to bring me in on this, Miss. He never listens to anything I try to tell him. Never has and I doubt he ever will."

"I'm sorry to hear that. Perhaps we can have a good long chat after he's gone."

"I look forward to it."

She had never taken her eyes off him and her presence was so serene, it made him wonder why she seemed to have no worries at all.

"As for my name, it's Luna Longbottom nee Lovegood."

He had to think for a moment. "I am aware of the Lovegood family, and their daughter. There are no others of your apparent age by that name. You are not her."

Her smirk turned into a smile of genuine amusement. "Well, of course not now silly."

He heard the word 'now' and it explained so much. "You are a time traveler."

She'd returned to her young girl persona, her eyes virtually dancing with merriment. "It took you long enough to figure that out." She chuckled. "And here you're supposed to be so smart."

"You say you are a Longbottom. That would be young Neville, yes?"

She grinned. "See? It's not so hard when I give you enough clues."

Where was he? He almost certainly had to be in the room, but she had the cloak and there was no place in his immediate area for him to hide. If he could get to her fast enough, he could use her to hold him off. "Might I ask why you came back in time?"

Her eyes narrowed and her smile became twisted, predatory. "Why, Headmaster, it was to watch you die."

He stared at her in shock for a moment. Her answer had been so flippant, so carefree he could scarce believe she meant it. Yet, it was obvious she did. "So, you intend to kill me." He stated flatly.

Her expression changed again, this time to something dark and sinister. "Headmaster, you're already dead. You just haven't stopped talking or moving yet."

His mouth dropped open at the shock of the statement. She had already…? Sickly, his eyes dropped to the bowl of lemon drops on his desk.

She giggled in a manner that sent chills up and down his spine. "Hasn't Madame Pomfrey ever told you too much sugar is bad for your health?"

Her snide comment set him into motion. She'd been stalling him! Giving whatever poison she had used time to work. He had to get to the dungeons, the potion lab, get to work as quickly as possible!

He was halfway out of his seat, his second wand free of his robes and she hadn't begun to move yet, still sitting and smirking at him. A quick stunner before Longbottom could emerge from hiding and he could win, even regain the wand…

A stabbing pain at the base of his skull stopped him, chilled him as he realized it was a wand and Longbottom was standing right behind him.

"I wouldn't." Came a low-pitched voice from right beside his ear. A hand on his shoulder pushed him back into his seat. "That's my wife you were about to hex. Not a good idea." He was quickly divested of his wand and anything else on him that wasn't cloth even as he realized he had a second cloak. The answer quickly came to him: they'd brought the true cloak of invisibility back in time with them.

As Longbottom walked over to stand next to his wife, his wand quickly expanded into a full-sized staff. "A staff, Mister Longbottom?" he asked. "I was led to believe you were barely above the level of a squib."

The man's magic suddenly flared, explosively, shaking everything in the room. His aura distorted the space around him in a manner that impressed even Dumbledore. "You should know better than to believe everything you hear, Headmaster." He replied calmly. "I was what my grandmother called a late bloomer, then was matched with a wand that didn't fit me. Once I had one suited to me, I burned out three of them by the time I was twenty-five. Hence the staff."

As the magical flare died away, he leaned back in his chair. He was loath to admit it, but the younger man was much more powerful than himself. Oh, he could flare his magic, but he had never burned out a wand, let alone three, through sheer overabundance of magical power. But, back to the important matter at hand.

"So, may I inquire as to why I am being murdered in cold blood?"

She looked up at him while he only smiled a cold, cruel smile. "Let us just say, Headmaster, 'It's for the Greater Good!"

He scowled, irked at the words as well as their tone. As if they even know what the Greater Good is! "I asked a serious question, Mr. Longbottom, I expect a serious answer, not some flippant reply such as that."

The woman actually giggled. "What's wrong, Headmaster? Do you think you can be the only one who can have knowledge necessary for people to know and not tell them? That you can use that phrase and people are supposed to nod their heads and say 'Of course, I understand. You know without a doubt what will happen, and we will bow to your almighty wisdom without further explanation even though many of us might die because of lack of vital information.'" Her voice hardened and her expression was one of deadly seriousness. "You forget, though, Headmaster, where we came from. We really do know what is going to happen."

His gaze went back and forth between the two of them, gobsmacked that he hadn't considered that. Longbottom nodded. "That's right, Headmaster. Unlike your statement, which essentially boils down to 'the greater good for Albus Dumbledore', when we say it, we actually mean it. With your death, we will be saving countless lives, starting with Harry Potter."

"No!" They couldn't! They had to understand! "As much as it pains me to say it, young Harry must…"

"He's not a Horcrux Dumbledore so don't try to tell us he has to die in order to defeat Voldemort."

He sat dumbfounded at what he'd just heard before realizing of course they could know about it! "I'm sorry, but there is no way remove the soul fragment from…"

"Oh, Merlin!" Neville said with a face palm. "No wonder he was always so frustrated with him!" he said, turning to Luna, then back to the old man. "You just don't listen to anybody who disagrees with you, do you? We just told you, Harry…is not…a Horcrux!"

"Headmaster," Luna said kindly, in a tone suggesting she was talking to a young child. "the first thing we did after rescuing Harry was take him to the goblins. They purged the fragment from him, along with the others. There are no more soul fragments."

Again, he just stared. Others? Tom had made more than one? "Others?" He hated the way his voice quavered, but the idea Tom had made more than one of those abominations had shaken him.

She smiled brightly. "Oh yes!" She got up and walked over to the desk while reaching into a beaded bag hanging at her hip. "We have this one." she set a small gold cup on the desk. "And this one." An old leather-bound book this time. "Then there's this one." An old locket with a snake in the shape of an S on the front. "This one is my favorite!" A beautiful diadem with a large blue stone set in it was laid beside the other things already on the desk. Looking up at him she smiled. "And Neville is wearing the last one."

He shifted his gaze to Longbottom who held up his hand to show a large gold signet style ring with a black stone set in it. "So, you see, Dummy, there are no more Horcrux items, we threw Riddle's sorry arse through the Veil of Death and Harry does not have to die."

He collapsed back in his seat, staring at the items on his desk: three of the four fabled Founders Items and an old book. "The book?" he asked querulously.

"Riddle's diary." Luna told him. "His first, made when he had the Basilisk from the Chamber of Secrets kill Myrtle Warren back when he was in school."

It was beginning to be information overload. Slytherin's monster was a Basilisk? In the Chamber?

Something else he'd just heard but had passed his attention was suddenly remembered. "Wait! You said you threw Tom through the Veil?"

"We found him in Albania." Neville replied. "Merlin was he an arrogant bastard. Caught him with a Spirit Trap hex. When we got back Luna took him to the Department of Mysteries and threw him in."

He looked at the woman in amazement. "How did she get in?" he asked.

She grinned as Neville explained. "'She was…is…will be an Unspeakable. She knows all the protocols and procedures, so it was no trouble for her to just walk right in and chuck him through the arch. That's how she can get through wards so easily. She's a prodigy at runes and really good at arithmancy. She can actually change the wards from the outside to let her in, ignore her, whatever she wants. She says they talk to her and she can understand them."

"They're even more clear than Blibbering Humdingers." She said with a grin.

"We stopped by a week ago to pick up the diadem, which was right here in the school by the way, and you never even knew it. So, with Riddle and his horcruxes gone, there's no reason for you to interfere in Harry's life anymore. He's not coming back."

Dumbledore rubbed at a spot on his chest where there was twinge of pain before taking his gaze off the items on his desk to look at the other man. "So why kill me?" he asked in genuine confusion.

"Because you're a greedy, narcissistic, manipulative old bastard who let to many people die because you hoard vital information that could have saved their lives?" Neville replied.

"Who left a one-year old baby on a doorstep for the night in November." Luna added.

"With an abusive family who you knew he was never to go to."

"Then totally ignored him for ten years."

"Let's not even mention Sirius Black who you knew was innocent of the charges against him but left him to rot in Azkaban anyway so he couldn't interfere with your plans for Harry."

"While you stole from Harry's vaults and used his name to sell all those books."

"All the shite you put him through while he was in school, all the times you arranged for him to be in danger of his life…"

"…forced him to compete in a life-threatening tournament…"

"…get tortured with blood quills by a ministry official masquerading as a teacher…"

"…while being mind raped by Snape in a sickening display of the man's hatred for him while supposedly trying to teach him occlumency…"

"…while the whole time you never gave him one bit of help or training against any of the kids picking on him or against Voldemort when the time came!"

His neck beginning to hurt from the whiplash bouncing back and forth between the two of them, Albus rubbed a little harder at the spot on his chest.

"But do you want to know why I really want you dead?" Luna snarled at him as she leaned over his desk to get as close to him as she could. "It was because you let two of your little toadies give him and the girl he loved love potions so they would break the two of them up, not because they loved them, but because she just wanted Harry's money and he wanted her simply so Harry couldn't have her. You not only let them use those potions, you encouraged them, just to remove her influence from Harry! So you could manipulate him easier!"

She stood back up and gave herself a little shake before smiling. "I think that's more than enough reason to kill you, don't you Neville?"

Before Longbottom could answer he spoke up. "How can anyone be so dark as to murder someone for things that haven't even happened yet?"

She looked at him stonily for a few seconds before she laughed. "Oh, that's right! You're not dark because you never killed anybody…except maybe your sister." He gasped that she could even know about that before she continued. "You may arrange the circumstances so they get killed, you may arrive just a little too late to prevent them from dying, you may even make subtle suggestions to someone slavishly devoted to you so they go and kill them, but you never do it yourself, do you Mister Dumbledore?"

No! No, I've never done anything like that! He wanted to scream at her, denying the lie he knew was in him.

"Headmaster?" Neville interrupted before he could say anything. "About that not killing anybody? It might interest you to know that while we were on the continent, we left a little note on a time delay post for the ICW about that friend of yours you've been letting live in Nurmengard for the last forty-five years." He smiled a very wide smile that didn't reach his eyes, then smiled even wider at Dumbledore's horrified expression. "Since everyone thought he was dead, the kill-on-sight order for him was never rescinded. If their ward breakers are as good as I've heard, they should just about be to the top floor of the prison by now."

"No!" he cried out, tears starting to roll down his cheeks. "Gellert! How could you do that? He was helpless, he couldn't hurt anyone!"

Neville raised his hands. "Hey! It's not my fault if he's dead, we didn't kill him! Our hands are clean." He suddenly leaned forward. "It was for the Greater Good!"

Dumbledore surged to his feet. "HOW?" he roared. "How could killing a defenseless man, how could killing me be for your so called greater good?" He clutched at his chest, at the pain that was becoming harder, more pointed.

Luna rolled her eyes. "Oooh, somebody is awfully full of themselves." She said as she turned and walked back over to her chair.

Neville didn't answer him, instead pointing at his hand. "Chest pains? That's the poison. Neat stuff. Made with the Amazonian blood orchid. Knowing that, and even having the ingredients on hand, it takes three days to brew the antidote so you never would have been able to save yourself. It's undetectable and once it's in the blood stream, if it's agitated, like flowing through a beating heart, it causes the cholesterol in the blood to clump much more quickly than normal."

He leaned on his staff. "Funny thing, cholesterol. Medi-witches and Healers don't even know what it is. I checked before we came back. They can see the blockages in the blood vessels with their scans, but they can vanish them, so they don't worry about them. They've never even investigated where they come from or what causes them. The muggles, however, know a lot about it. It's a waxy substance in the blood that can stick to the walls of the vessel. It builds up over time until it chokes off the vessel and then you've got trouble. It's not too bad in an extremity but get one in the heart and you have the makings of a heart attack. With my poison, several decades of clumping occur in just a few hours. Depending on the condition of your heart at the time you can go from hale and hearty to a lump of meat on the floor in a remarkably short time. Natural causes is what it will say on the death certificate and nobody would even know what to look for if they thought otherwise."

"Break time!" Luna suddenly interrupted, smiling widely. She had the elder wand in one hand and the cloak in the other. "Tell me, Headmaster." She said, waving the items. "What do these have to do with the ring on Neville's finger?"

He wanted to hex her, make her shut up, hurt her. He was dying, they were killing him for no good reason, and she wanted to play stupid games, to mock him. He turned away from her to demand from Longbottom to tell him why they were murdering him and his eyes involuntarily fell on the other man's hand where he gripped his staff; on the ring on his finger; on the faint marks he could barely see.

A line.

Bisecting a circle.

Inside a triangle.

His mouth dropped open in shock. "The stone!" he breathed out. They had the Resurrection Stone! What he had been searching for, for years! He looked back to the woman, to what she held. They had all three Hallows!

Forgotten was the pain in his chest; his anger at being condemned to die. They had the Resurrection Stone; they had Ariana in their hands, on their finger. His absolution was only feet away! After so many years, to be able to receive forgiveness from the one he was so eager to see!

He reached out. "Please. May I…?"

But Longbottom stepped away, to put the desk between them. "Nope!" he quipped with a grin. "You've been a very naughty little boy Albus, and naughty little boys do not get rewards."

He stared in shock, unbelieving of what he'd heard. "No! You don't understand! Please!" he cried. "Do you want me to beg? I'll beg! I'll say anything you want me to! I'll grovel, do anything you want. But please, please, please let me use the stone!"

They both stood there sneering at him, spite and hate evident in their eyes. "How does it feel, Albus?" he snarled. "How does it feel to finally achieve your greatest dream, to have it almost in your grasp, only to have it snatched away, never to see it, feel it, be it, but knowing it was there, it was right there?" He suddenly leaned forward. "It was for the Greater Good, Albus Dumbledore!" he snarled and Albus could see the righteous satisfaction in his eyes as he spoke the words; the pleasure he took in shattering the other man's dream.

He snapped. "WHAT DID I DO?" he screamed, despair choking his voice. "What did I do that I deserves this? Everything I've ever done was for the Greater Good of our world! Why must you torment me like this? What…did…I…do?" he collapsed into his chair, broken and sobbing, the pain in his chest spreading, growing.

"You almost single handedly caused the destruction of our world."

The words were calmly spoken, quiet and clear, and so much more devastating for that.

He stared up at Luna in disbelief, head shaking slowly. "No! No, that can't be! I would never…"

"It didn't start with your betrayal of Harry," she went on in that same calm manner, "but that was the catalyst for everything that happened later."

"We know what your…Greater Good was." Neville stated. "It was to keep our world just the way it was, stuck in the mid nineteenth century, the time when you grew up, the time when muggleborns and half-bloods knew their place, mainly because that was basically the way it was in the muggle world. It was a time they wanted to fit in to our world because they could do so much more with magic.

But things began to change. In the muggle world it was a time of change. The Industrial Revolution was well underway, scientific discoveries, world exploration, new inventions that made things better, faster, more efficient. The muggles began to learn, to question, to seek answers to everything. When muggles asked 'why' or 'how' the answer was 'I don't know. Let's find out.' But when magicals asked themselves those questions the answer was always the same: Magic!"

"Slowly, as time passed by, our world began to separate, to diverge. We continued on our same old stagnant path. We were superior to the muggles, we had magic to do everything for us, we thought we didn't need to change. The muggleborn didn't think so. With all the new innovations in their world the muggle standard of living is higher, easier, cleaner, more comfortable. When they come to our world, they're told they have to step down, step back in time, become second class citizens. Of course, they want to change things, to make it more like their world.

But you didn't want that. You're happy with things just the way they are. You don't understand their world; you want no part of it, and you don't want it to change our world.

Defeating Grindelwald and receiving all the adulation for it opened the path to do something about it. Becoming Headmaster gives you the children to teach, to indoctrinate, to fashion into your image of what you feel a good magical should be. Chief Warlock does the same in the political arena where you can guide or kill those laws advantageous to you, to subtly steer the factions in the way you want them to go. Supreme Mugwump allowed you to keep the rest of the world out of what you considered strictly British business."

Albus Dumbledore listened to him speak. He couldn't fault him, couldn't call him a liar because he was saying mostly what he himself believed. Why would he want to destroy all of that?

Neville continued. "So, you had your little magical utopia, but you had a problem: as the population of the muggles increased, so too did the number of Muggleborn, with their new ideas and their desire to change our world. But you were determined to maintain the status quo."

"Only, there had to be changes. You had to make sure the purebloods were on top of the social structure. They had the most to lose if the Muggleborn, with their ideas of equality and social fairness, gained any power. You taught them at Hogwarts they were better, that they could do no wrong, and they learned their lessons well. At the same time, you were teaching the Muggleborn their place was beneath the feet of the purebloods."

He was shaking his head. No! That wasn't true. He had never condoned that.

"I'm afraid he's right, Headmaster." Luna spoke up. "You believe everyone is inherently good, that forgiveness will sway them to the correct path. But you ignore the evil in everyone for without one you cannot have the other. To forgive when there is no repentance, no remorse is to feed the evil and strangle the good. It tells the wrongdoers 'you got caught. Next time don't'. Without punishment, without consequences for the evil wrought, those you forgive will be empowered to commit more evil. That was one of your big mistakes."

"Another of those big mistakes were those potions we mentioned earlier." Neville said. "Because of them, after Harry killed Voldemort," Dumbledore's eyebrows rose in surprise, and the younger man noticed, "yes, he beat him though you were stupid enough to put this on," he held up his hand to show the ring "and the curse on it killed you, but Harry and the woman he loved both ended up marrying the two little shites. It all went downhill from there when they stopped dosing them. Her husband destroyed every single dream she had, abused her physically and mentally and let Harry know there was nothing he could do to stop it, while enjoying every minute of it. He turned her into his mother and a broodmare, giving him nine children; made her care for them but not raise them, they were all a bunch of little terrors doing whatever the hell they wanted. He didn't stop them and wouldn't let her. She never said it, but I think she hated them all."

"Harry's wife made his life a living hell." The woman stated in an anger tinged voice. "She wanted to be seen on his arm, go to parties, spend money. Harry didn't want any of that. He wanted a family, she didn't. She'd scream at him in a jealous rage if he even looked at another woman, especially the one he really loved. It didn't matter where they were or who would see. She did give him three children though, none of them his."

"Then there was 'The Accident'." Neville said, putting quote marks in the air. "Harry fell off his broom." He snorted derisively. "The only time Harry ever fell off his broom was when you allowed the Ministry to surround the school with Dementors, but he had always been a daredevil in the air, so people believed her. It helped that the head investigator turned out later to be having an affair with her at the time. She was parading her latest lover around Diagon three days after his will was read."

Luna drew herself up in her chair, the maturity he'd seen on her earlier draping her like a cloak. "That was where the end began, Mister Dumbledore!" she intoned, sarcasm dripping off the word. "Harry's Love…snapped would be the best word I suppose. Before she'd been trapped in a loveless marriage, behind pureblood rules, laws and traditions, she'd been a brilliant young woman, outstanding in almost every field. She left a note – 'For what they have done to Harry and I, let them reap the whirlwind.'"

Despite the pain, almost agony, in his chest and arm, as well as his labored breathing, Albus Dumbledore listened closely. What had happened? What had this unknown woman done to bring about the destruction of the wizarding world?

The woman continued her tale. "The first part of the story we had to piece together as there were no witnesses other than those affected. She started off with her husband." She said. "She was really quite creative. He must have been in agony as his brain squirted out his ears and nostrils and his eyeballs popped from the pressure of their sockets as his skull, just his skull, shrank. Very messy."

"Her two oldest were next. She must have taken pity on them because she only used the killing curse. They were found at the table with their faces in their breakfast."

"She then flooed to her in-laws house where she stunned her father-in-law and transfigured her mother-in-law into a half woman/half pig monstrosity. Neville and I came back ten years later, and we in the Unspeakables still hadn't figured out how to undo it."

Longbottom chuckled from where he stood. "Served the bitch right." He murmured, before turning back to Albus. "Her next stop was Harry's home. She had no trouble getting in as he had let her through the wards years before, which was a bad thing for Harry's wife, who'd decided to have not one, but three men in her bed that morning. No one knew how she did it but somehow, she melded the four of them together as she found them. Where their bodies were touching, they had melted together, into one living unit."

"Can you imagine what it was like to have that in your mouth for the rest of your life?" the blonde mused. "Or not be able to go to the bathroom normally ever again?" she cocked her head a little. "Whatever she did, it opened up three new avenues of study into magic for us, but that was only the beginning and not even the most terrible of what she did that day."

Not the most terrible? By Merlin! What could be worse? Dumbledore asked himself. He was about to find out.

"We know what happened next from literally dozens of witnesses." She went on. "From there she went to the ministry, to where the Wizengamot was about to meet."

"Fortunately, I was in St. Mungoes being treated for a life-threatening allergic reaction to an imported cousin of the Venomous Tentacula." Neville told him. "Otherwise, I wouldn't be here today."

Luna resumed the narrative. "Three witnesses in the hallway saw her approach the meeting room, fire a spell through the open door, then close and seal it. It took an expert team of ward breakers three days to get that door open again. If they'd known what was behind it, they would have evacuated the entire floor and filled every single bit of space on it with stone and sealed every possible entrance to that room, no matter how small."

"When they opened the door," Longbottom said, "some kind of goo, six inches deep behind the door, oozed out and started filling the hallway. Some of the ward breakers got some on them. Within minutes it had eaten through their boots, their clothes…their flesh. They literally melted into more of that goo in a matter of minutes and it was a painful death. Anything animal or plant based was food for the stuff. It wasn't alive, but whatever it touched became it. The fumes it gave off were just as deadly. Fortunately, they're heavy. They stay a foot or two off the floor and the ventilation system for the level was near the ceiling. Walk through it though and it can get higher until it sinks back down. The entire ward breaking team was dead in twenty minutes. Fourteen more were as well before the level could be evacuated. To the day we came back they still didn't know what the curse was or how she did it. The entire level is restricted and only those with special equipment go there to study it."

Albus felt sick at the thought of what had happened: all those Wizengamot members, the leaders of their world, dead! Murdered.

Luna took up the story again. "After sealing the room, she turned and walked away…and killed every pureblood she met. Nobody was quite sure how she knew her victims were pureblood or not, but she only killed them. Children were safe, but adults were fair game. She killed seventy-six people on her way out of the Ministry, including nine aurors, in a great variety of ways. It didn't matter who they were, Light, Dark, Neutral, if they were pureblood, she killed them. She knew some of them. Some were people she'd known in school. Didn't matter, she left the Ministry into Diagon and the destruction began in earnest. By the time she got to Gringotts half the Alley was destroyed, blown up or burned down, and her kill count was approaching two hundred. They could never quite get an exact count because nobody knew for certain how many people had been in the Wizengamot chamber. Quite a few. They couldn't stop her. Most of the people she killed never even got their wands out, and those that did…well, she'd trained with Harry and she'd never believed in your methods of 'stun them so they can get back in the fight later'. She wanted them dead, they died." She shrugged.

"They got to her on the steps of Gringotts. She stood there and waited for them. People who were brave enough, or stupid enough to risk watching her said she didn't look angry or enraged, she looked calm and peaceful, that she'd looked like that the entire way down the Alley."

"Fourteen aurors and seven hit wizards were about to attack her when she reminded them if they attacked while she was on the steps, they would be attacking someone on goblin ground, a clear violation of the treaties between the goblins and magical Britain and a cause for war between the two. While they thought about that she turned, saluted the goblin guards and told them not all witches and wizards were afraid to do battle. She then turned back, walked down the steps and started hexing the moment her foot stepped off the steps."

At this, Luna laughed. "Do you know, she actually lectured them as they fought, telling them she was killing them and all they were doing was throwing stunners at her? She told them what they should be doing, how to do it and why, even as they fell. She always did like teaching."

She turned serious again. "Somebody tagged her with a cutter as she fought two others. By that time six of them were down. Three more were down by the time a bone breaker got her shoulder but by then she had flanked them and had them all in front of her and they continued to fall. There were only five left when someone hexed her in the back with a piercing hex. Everything stopped for a moment as she looked at the hole in her chest before turning around to see who had done it. She smiled then, for the first time, and said, 'Tell them, George, win the war any way you can.' And then she died."

Despite the agony in his chest, the pounding pulse in his ears, his hard to catch breath, Albus asked, "But…how was I…responsible for…"

"For destroying the wizarding world?" Neville asked. "Because you old fart, a year later, when the Wizengamot was reconstituted, with all purebloods by the way, the very first bill they approved was a direct response to what she had done. She was a muggleborn and she had killed hundreds of purebloods, including the heads of dozens of families, wiped out almost half the auror force and wrecked the economy of Diagon Alley and she did it all by herself. Such a thing could never be allowed to happen again so what did those bastards do? They made a bill that required binding the magic of all muggleborns to that of squibs, then obliviating them and kicking them back into the non-magical world. All new muggleborns would be taken from their parents, who would be obliviated, bound to a low magical level and adopted by pureblood families who would control them and raise them in pureblood ways, but not as purebloods. The same with their children and their children. Not until the fourth generation would their descendants be considered worthy of living their own lives as purebloods."

Albus sat, dumbfounded and aghast at what he was hearing. "No…no…I never meant for anything like that!"

"It doesn't matter what you meant to do, old man." Luna sniped from her seat. "It happened. All because you wanted to keep things as they were, kept the purebloods in power, taught them they could get away with anything. Well, they learned their lessons well."

Albus sat and shook his head, tears rolling down his cheeks, silently mouthing "No, no, no" as he finally realized what he had done.

The two younger people watched for a few seconds before Neville spoke again. "Don't worry, old man, it never happened." At the old man's look of momentary relief, he went on. "Half an hour after they passed that bill, the muggle military, lead and aided by muggleborn and half-blood wizards and witches, moved into the Ministry, Diagon Alley, Hogsmeade and Hogwarts."

Albus' eyes widened in disbelief, even as his sight began to fade.

"They came in announcing by order of the Queen the Ministry was dissolved and the entire magical world was under martial law. Anyone who raised a wand against any of the occupation force would be considered an enemy of the crown and would be dealt with, with deadly force. Of course, there were some idiots, all of them purebloods, who still thought muggles couldn't stand up against magic. Imagine their surprise when they found out a bullet proof vest could also stop a killing curse. They weren't surprised long though because shields can't stand up to automatic rifle fire at all." He scowled at the dying old man. "They knew about us, Dumbledore! There's too much contact, at too many levels, for the muggle government not to know about us, not to mention the spies they had. After two magical wars where possibly hundreds of their people died, do you think they wouldn't be ready in case a third threatened to break out? It would have, too. The muggleborn would have fought, and quite likely the Statute would have been broken at the very least. That was five years ago. I won't tell what was done, but your magical utopia was well and truly gone when we left."

"So, we decided to come back, never mind how, rid this world of Riddle, rescue Harry and prevent you from ever having any kind of place in his life." Luna stated. "We'll raise him, and he'll grow up happy and loved. Sirius knows about us and agrees with everything we've done. I'll have the wand; Neville has the stone and the cape is Harry's. There will not be a Master of Death and all that's left is to watch you die. So, get on with it."

Her voice came from very far away, taunting him, but at least the pain was easing and then he saw her: standing behind and between his tormentors, his murderers, she gazed at him even as he moved towards her, then frowned, turned and walked away, vanishing from sight. He sobbed at his loss.

((((((OOOOO))))))

"Well," Luna stated as they looked at the old man, slumped in his chair, jaw hanging down and eyes glazing over, "it certainly took him long enough."

"Now Dear, be kind." Neville chuckled. "He was an old man. Old people don't do things as fast as young people."

"Excuse me!"

They looked up at the shelf, to the ratty old hat resting there. "Yes, Hat?" she asked.

"In the time you came from, did the muggles really take over?"

"Why don't I show you?" Neville asked as he stepped over to the shelves, reached up and took the hat. "That is, if you don't mind?"

"That would be so kind of you." The piece of fabric replied.

He lifted it and placed it upon his head. There was silence for a few seconds, then, "Oh! Oh my! Such a beauty and intelligent you say? Yes, yes, smartest witch of her age. She was quite good, wasn't she? Oh my. I recognize the family resemblance. The boy's an idiot? Yes, absolutely right. I see, I see. No, most definitely deserve what they got, either of them. Did he really…? That old fool! Meddler! To full of himself. Fools and idiots. Don't they know anything about it? Of course not! Fools and idiots the lot of them! Good for you and your friends. At least you tried."

Neville took the hat from his head and turned it to face him. "In four years." He said.

"Yes, yes. Quite right, quite right." The headpiece replied. "Perfectly understandable. Now, I suggest the two of you make use of those cloaks and remove yourselves from this place. Minerva will have felt the wards shift to her and Hogwarts says she's already on her way here to see what happened to the whiskered wanker."

Luna reached out and laid a hand on the stone wall behind her. "Thank you." She intoned, before looking back at the hat. "You won't tell anybody we've been here?"

It barked a laugh back at her. "A pair of seven and eight-year-old children foil the wards, get through the school without being seen, get past the gargoyle, break into the headmaster's office and poison him; whoever would believe that, even if I did tell them? Now off with you."

They donned their cloaks, vanished the remainder of the poisoned candy and left, passing the transfiguration teacher on the stairs. Once in the secret passage through which they'd entered, Neville said, "I'm going to need to meet your mum and talk to her about her safety precautions when she's working on new spells."

"Thank you, and I'll talk to your Uncle Algie before he drops you out of a window."

"Too late. He did that when I was four."

"Really? Was he mental? Something like that can mentally scar a young child. He definitely should have waited until at least ten."

He chuckled. "Thank you, Dear." He pulled her close and kissed the top of her head.

"I'll speak to your Grandmum about your own wand."

"Please do."

((((((OOOOO))))))

Hermione Granger slid the compartment door open to find only a single boy in it. He turned two brilliant green eyes under a head of messy hair to her from the book he was reading at her intrusion. "Excuse me, but have you seen a toad? Someone has lost theirs and I'm helping him look for it."

Unexpectedly, he laughed, then stood and walked to the door. Sticking his head past her into the corridor he yelled, "Neville, have you lost Trevor again? Already?"

The chubby boy who had asked for her help came up the corridor towards them. "Yeah." He answered disgruntledly. "I don't know how he gets away all the time."

"He's a familiar, Nev!" the black-haired bay stated with a laugh. "He's magical. That's how." He raised his wand. "Accio Trevor!" He held up his hand and turned his head and grinned at her. "He does this on purpose all the time and then gets a pretty girl to help him find him."

She felt herself reddening at the compliment as the missing toad smacked gently into his hand in an impressive display of magic as Neville turned red himself and exclaimed indignantly, "Harry! I do not!"

"Daphne, Susan, Tracey, Hannah, Lavender…" the boy, Harry, sang out in a sing-song cadence while grinning broadly at her. She grinned back at him at Neville's protestations.

"At least I don't show off how good I am with my magic." Neville stated firmly.

Handing the animal to its owner, Harry said sagely, "It's not showing off, it's providing a necessary service to a needy friend."

She giggled at his antics. It was obvious the argument was an old one between the two, making her wonder if Harry wasn't being truthful.

"Tell that to Milly after you accidentally smacked her in the face with him that one time." Neville smirked. "She only knew the stinging hex at the time." He explained. "Chased him around the house for half an hour using it on him."

She giggled again at the image.

"So, pretty lady." Harry said. "Would you care to be friends with us and let us tell you all about the magical world you're about to become a part of?"

She felt her face heating up again, though secretly hoping he wasn't pranking her about being friends. "I'm not pretty." She claimed. "And you don't even know me. And how did you know I was muggleborn?"

He smiled. "Didn't know any of the others till I asked, either, and now they're all friends with us, and yes you are and if you become our friend, I'll tell you. But first, belated introductions. I…" he struck a pose and bowed, "…am Harry Potter and this sneaky lady-killer," Neville rolled his eyes, "is Neville Longbottom, proud toad owner and fancy botanist. If you ever need flowers, ask him. No, I'm serious." Now Neville face palmed as he shook his head. "He has his own greenhouse and lots of beautiful flowers, magical and non, and though he is far too modest to brag about his horticultural talents, he has some big ones."

She looked over at the other boy. "Is he always like this?"

He met her grin. "Only when he's trying to impress someone…or dazzle them…or baffle them." He held out his hand. "It's a pleasure to meet you."

Suddenly realizing her social faux pas, she took it and shook it. "Hermione Granger and I would very much like to be your friend." She said, smiling at them both.

Little did she know the adventures that would ensue from that statement.


A/N: It seems that all the great writers on this site have a time travel fic (I'm not one but I thought I might try to sneak one in and hope no one noticed). Here's mine and I say screw the timeline. If you're going back with no thought of returning and will basically tear up the history books anyway, why worry about it? And yes, I know I'm supposed to be working on House but I'd rather work on two Luna/Stargate crossovers right at the moment, a story and its sequel. I'm just not sure which will get published first. Hope you like them.