Disclaimer: I wrote this as an excuse not to clean my house.
Harry's eyes cracked open. He gave a mental sigh, another dream where he was back in his cupboard. It'd been months since he had that one. He transformed his finger into a tool to pop the lock on the door with a grin. Best thing about realizing that one was dreaming, at least when one was an occlumens as skilled as he was, was the fact that it gave you a chance to take control of the dream.
Harry ambled into the kitchen, lengthened his legs to make things easer, and started on breakfast. It'd been years since he'd had a full English and he saw no reason not to indulge since there were no healers in his dream telling him to watch his health.
"What do you think you're doing, boy!" Vernon bellowed.
Harry silenced the man with a flick of his finger and stuck him to the floor with another. Now, what else should he do while he had a chance to enjoy it? Brutally torturing his relatives had been fun the first dozen or so times he'd dreamed of doing it and the next few hundred but it had gotten a bit passe by the time he'd made his second century and down right boring about the time he'd achieved his seventh.
"What'd you do to my dad, freak?" Dudley squealed.
Harry ignored the boy as he contemplated his next move.
Dudley, showing an uncharacteristic amount of intelligence, seized the opportunity presented by his cousin's inattention and dashed across the room to deliver a powerful punch to Harry's jaw.
Though taken by surprise, reflexes honed by countless battles took over and Harry was soon the only ambulatory individual in the house. His relatives relatively unharmed but rendered unable to do anything.
"That hurt," Harry muttered to himself. "Which means that this isn't a dream and that I'm young again." He grinned widely. "Not just young, but young and old enough to enjoy it this time." He glanced down at his still elongated legs. And, apparently, a metamorph. "Have to remember to test the limits of my new ability," he muttered to himself. He remembered Tonks mostly confining herself to human shapes, was that a hard limitation or a personal choice?
Vernon left the house two hours later than usual that morning, shat on his boss' desk, drained his bank accounts, urinated on an angry crowd of people from great height, and generally made a nuisance of himself for the rest of the day. Harry appeared briefly in the wizarding world the next day, closed his accounts, and publicly revealed that the Weasley's pet rat was Peter Pettigrew who was both an anamagus and a traitor to a crowd of starstruck onlookers and reporters before disappearing into muggle London.
Dobby stormed into the writing room at Hogwarts castle and threw his hands up in horror. Winky and Kreacher were not far behind.
"Dobby has lost his scenes!" the elf cried. "Dobby was supposed to be freed only to die dramatically saving Harry Potter in the wizard war. Dobby has waited years for his big scene!"
"Winky feels the same!" the other elf shook a balled fist. "Winky demands to know what yous be doing about it!"
"As do I," Kreacher stated, breaking character. "I was to have been revealed to have been a loyal elf driven mad by my inability to fulfill Regulus' dying orders. I simply cannot work under these conditions! What are you going to do about it?"
One secret about house elves that most serious students of elvish culture, of which there were almost none, suspected was that the creatures lived more on drama than magic. It explained why they chose to spend most of their time around dark families and schools filled with teenagers. What no one suspected was the fact that to the elves, all the world was a stage or the fact that they used their mastery of divination to place themselves in a lot of the best and most dramatic rolls.
"We can fix this," the lead writer stated. "How bout this. Dobby, you learn of the soul fragment possessed by your evil masters and you're conflicted. Do you stay loyal to a family unworthy of it, or do you decide you have a higher loyalty to society as a whole? You decide that your duty to protect society takes precedence and so you bring the soul fragment in and die horribly in public in front of many witnesses as your house elf bond destroys you for betraying your unworthy master."
"Dobby likes it," the house elf agreed. "Have the new script delivered to my dressing room, that's a good man." The house elf disappeared with a pop.
"Winky," the lead writer continued. "I'm thinking we go the opposite way with you. The Ministry learns that Barty senior is hiding Barty junior and arrests him. A raid is planned and Aurors are dispatched to capture the helpless escaped prisoner before the imperious wears off. They think it will be easy, they didn't count on the fact that the Crouch house elf was so loyal that she would fight to the death to protect her master. Tragic that such loyalty was wasted on an unworthy family, but admirable that such loyalty was unshakable."
"Winky also wants the new script delivered to Winky's dressing room," the house elf ordered before disappearing.
"Kreacher," the lead writer said with a smile. "I'm thinking of something special for you. Sirius, fresh from prison, gets the idea that his dark family might also be hiding an item. He goes to you, you tearfully tell him that you have been trying and failing for years to carry out the last orders of your beloved master. You bond, the item is destroyed and you die triumphant with a smile on your face."
"The boy's a dullard," Kreacher sniffed. "Do you know how unlikely it is for him to get an original idea? I doubt that even I would be able to lead him to make the deduction." It was a shame he couldn't have been the one to be falsely accused and sent to prison without a trial, it was the roll of a lifetime and his former charge was blowing it. It was enough to make an elf weep.
"Have the prop department throw together a couple portraits," one of the writers suggested. "Lily Potter, his brother, and might as well throw in James as well. We'll have them feed some answers to your idiot."
"That could work," Kreacher allowed. "We will try it. They put the thought in the idiot's head, he comes to me, I tearfully confess my inability to destroy the foul object." Kreacher disappeared.
The writers looked at each other. "Think we should rewrite things so that Sirius has to break into Azkaban and murder the Lestranges in order to inherit the vault containing the cup?"
"We've wasted too many good scenes on that dolt," the lead writer sniffed. "Have the cup removed. We'll find a use for it somewhere else."
"The goblins aren't going to like us messing with their inventories."
"Remind them how they faired the last time they tried to start things with us," the lead writer waved off the complaint. "Now, I'm wondering if we should even bother hiding the Philosopher's stone in Hogwarts if Potter isn't even going to bother showing up. Thoughts?"
"Send the stone to Potter and leak that he has it," one of the writers said sadistically. "That should be good for a couple laughs."
Kreacher examined his reflection in the mirror. The makeup artists had done an acceptable job of making him look the part of a senile and half crazed house elf. Right, he had only a bit of time to prepare before the dullard made his entrance.
"Tiger face, roar!" His face contorted. "Lion face, growl!" His expression changed again. "Red leather, yellow leather, red leather, yellow leather."
Dumbledore leaned back in his chair, what a perfect day it was. The sky was blue, his flask was half empty, and the school hadn't faced a major crisis in nearly thirty seven hours. It was rare moments like this that made the hard times more bearable.
"Albus!" Minerva burst into the Headmaster's office. "We've just received reports that a tentacle monster is attacking Hogsmeade!"
Dumbledore snorted. "I presume that you have already informed young Nymphadora that she earned herself another week of detention for sneaking out of the castle and two more for causing another public disturbance."
"It's not her! I checked, she's still in detention from the last time."
Albus sprang to his feet. "To arms! Professors to arms!" The old man raised the siege wards to the highest level they'd been in generations. The wards began draining magic out of every source that hadn't been explicitly exempted. The school brooms lost their ability to fly, several students were suddenly sprouting the noses nature had gifted them with rather than the ones acquired from specialized healers along with a long litany of other blemishes, and several bits of dark magic and cursed items were rendered inert.
The Headmaster lifted one of his predecessor's portraits to reveal a large red button which he smashed without hesitation. Help had been summoned, they just had to hope that the school and its inhabitants could hold out until it arrived.
The Dursley house shook after Harry's sticking charms wore off all at once causing the Dursley family to fall to the ground. The front door flew off its hinges a few moments later to admit several heavily armed and armored police officers.
"There's the bastard! Cuff him and stuff him."
"What about the others, sir?"
None of the Dursleys had a chance to speak before being cuffed, shackled, and gagged and thrown into the back of an armored prisoner transport.
Luna watched with baited breath as her mother prepared to revolutionize the field of toe fungus treatment and usher in a new era of enlightenment.
"This is it, darling," the woman stated. "In a few moments, you'll either be witness to my greatest moment of triumph or my untimely death. Ready?"
"Ready!" Luna cheered.
"Drop everything! No time for dangerous experiments," Luna't father burst into the room.
"It's not dangerous if there's more than a fifty percent chance that it won't cause a fatal injury," her mother retorted. "What's going on?"
"Tentacle monster sighting at Hogsmeade!" Luna's father announced cheerfully. "You know what that means."
"Yes. Yes, I suppose this experiment will have to wait," her mother sighed. The woman walked over to the umbrella stand, pulled out three pointy sticks, handed one to her husband, one to her daughter, and kept the last for herself. "Well? Shall we be about it then?"
The three Lovegoods grinned as they left to perform the ancient responsibility of their family; to find eldritch horrors and to repeatedly poke them with sticks and otherwise harass them until they got the message and left to find a more accommodating reality.
Harry mentally crossed another item off his 'to do if I ever become a metamorph' list as he shambled through the empty street of Hogsmeade. The only question that remained was if he wanted to do anything else before leaving the rain soaked island of his birth to go to his sun drenched retirement paradise.
As he passed by one of the stores, he was forced to hurriedly sway aside to avoid his kidney being perforated by a pointed stick. Drawing to his full height, he waved all sixteen of his tentacles menacingly at his attacker and was severely disappointed when his display had to effect. He was forced to dodge again when a blonde female dove off the roof of another shop, falling towards him with an outstretched pointed stick.
"Have at thee!" things became much clearer when a familiar looking third figure rushed towards him and attempted to impale him with a third stick. The Lovegoods had arrived.
"Shouldn't you have to make a sanity roll for being in the presence of an eldritch horror?" Harry asked, dodging Luna's thrust.
"Fuck your sanity roll!" Luna's father laughed as he did his best to insert his stick into a very uncomfortable place.
"Sanity's for the weak," Luna's mother agreed cheerfully. "Have at thee!"
"There's been a misunderstanding." Harry ducked to avoid loosing one of his thirty two eyes. "If you'd all stop for a moment, I'm sure we can clear everything up."
None of his three attackers seemed interested in talking things out.
"I'll spring for schwarma," he offered. "And yamitsuki cabbage," he added when he saw the elder two figures pause to consider his offer. "Would it help to add that I'm not really a tentacle monster?" he shifted back to human form.
"You're not an eldritch horror?" Luna exclaimed in disappointment.
"I am not."
"What are you?"
"A metamorphmagus," Harry replied.
"That doesn't explain the timey wimey stuff around you," Luna's mother pointed out. "That's the sort of thing I'd assume would be more associated with an eldritch horror than a metamorph."
"A time traveling metamorphmagus," Harry explained. Young Luna took the opportunity presented by his explanation to jab him with her stick. "Damn it! What did I just say?"
"That you were a time traveler," the tiny Lovegood replied dutifully. She put an innocent wide eyed expression on her face in hopes of luring him into poking range. Said smile transformed into a frown when he showed the good sense to keep his distance.
"Then why are you still poking me?"
"You know that you're not an eldritch being and we know you're not an eldritch being but no one else does," Luna explained, showing an unexpected level of verbosity considering her age.
"So that means we can poke you to our hearts content without getting in trouble for it!" Luna squealed. The young girl took advantage of his moment of distraction, staring at her in dumbfounded shock, to try another attack.
"Damn it, Luna!"
"Guess that proves that the old saying is true," Luna's father laughed. "Give a girl a pointy stick and she'll use it to poke people."
It took nearly twenty minutes and the promise to stuff the littlest Lovegood with ice cream for Harry to convince her to stop attempting to air out his insides.
"I have a question!" Luna announced after she'd finished her fifteenth cone. "Did you know me before you came back in time?"
"I did," Harry agreed. "You were one of my best friends."
"Just friends?" the girl asked intently.
"No," Harry sighed. "Not just friends. You were one of my wives."
"You were a polygamist?" Luna's father exclaimed in interest. "How'd that work out?"
"What?! No. I was a serial widower . . . I think. To be honest, I was so senile at the end before I came back that a lot of my memories are a bit jumbled. I think you were wife number three, but you might have been two."
"You were murdered by dark wizards just like the first two which prompted me to go on an another murderous rampage just like I did after the first two. Three, you were three," Harry said confidently. "I wasn't really interested in getting remarried after my first two marriages ended in murder and vengeance rampage, but you convinced me to give it another shot. The two of us made it almost a hundred years before some up and coming dark lord decided to make their reputation by ending me."
"And they got me instead when I sacrificed myself for you," Luna sighed. "That's so romantic."
"No. It's not. What it is, is rage inducing. Only reasons I don't murder the lot of them now is because most of their grand parents haven't been born yet and because I'm pretty sick of the whole cycle of murder and vengeance that I was caught up in. None of my surviving decedents wanted much to do with me. They either blamed me for the death of their mother/grandmother/great grandmother/whatever or they were angry at me for getting remarried or they had the good sense to know that spending time around me was a good way to get murdered by idiots or they'd been murdered by idiots prompting me to go on yet another vengeance rampage." He wasn't sure where they got the last. Certainly not from his side of the family. "My life sucked a lot, it consisted of short moments of happiness followed by long and horrendously bloody rampages. I don't intend on repeating any of it."
"Were you even planning on meeting me again?" Luna asked, willing tears to form.
"What would have been the point? You didn't know me after all."
"Then why'd you set up a situation which would cause us to meet?"
"I didn't," Harry said bluntly. "I was crossing a few things off my to do list before leaving the country."
Luna's mother snorted. "Carrying out a tentacle monster attack on Hogsmeade was on your to do list?"
"I had just discovered that I was a metamorphmagus and had gone back in time. If that had happened to you, what would you do?"
"Get revenge on a few people," the woman answered instantly.
"Which is what I did," Harry agreed. "What's the fifteenth thing you'd do?"
Luna's mother considered the matter for a few seconds. "Pretend to be a tentacle monster and terrorize Hogsmeade?"
"Why'd you come back in time?" Luna raised her hand. "Was it to reunite with me and your other lost loves?"
"No. I absolutely did not come back in time to restart my relationship with you or any of the other women I married," Harry said firmly. He noted the way Luna's parents relaxed a touch at his statement and the sense of impending doom lessened considerably. "For one, that would be extremely creepy. I disprove of creepy old men, which I am, sniffing around innocent young girls, that's you, on principle."
The girl pouted cutely. "I thought it would be romantic."
"A several hundred year old man attempting to romance an underaged girl is not romantic," Harry stated dryly. "It's creepy. Don't think of me as having been married to an older version of you. Think of me as having been married to your several greats aunt that resembled you in looks and personality when she was your age which she was decidedly not when I married her."
"So we're never going to be married?"
"So it's extremely unlikely," he deflected knowing that she'd take a more absolute statement as a challenge if she was anything like his Luna. "Okay?"
"For now," Luna agreed.
"Good enough?" he glanced up at her parents.
"Good enough," Luna's mother agreed.
"Good," Harry sighed. "It wouldn't have worked by the way."
"What wouldn't have worked?" Luna asked.
"Your parents had charms on their clothing which, when activated, would cause their clothes to explode off their bodies providing the distraction of smoke, flying bits of cloth, and nudity. It's a good tactic," Harry complimented the couple. "Most people don't think to use distraction in a fight."
"So why wouldn't it have worked?" Luna persisted.
"I've only really been good at two things; Surviving murder attempts and retaliating violently. I'd have had both of them in the ground in under ten seconds and then I'd have to contend with you swearing vengeance and making your own attempt in a decade or so and then after we fought to the death I'd have to deal with people wanting to avenge you.
"Is that how that thing works?"
"It is," Harry confirmed. "Trust me, I went through several hundred years of that idiocy."
"So how many times were you married?"
Luna frowned. "That seems rather odd after hearing that you didn't want to marry the other me."
"Luna, my Luna made me promise to remarry after she was dead," Harry said wistfully. "She even put it in our wedding vows." Harry smiled. "I married a succession of murderous gold diggers after her death. The sorts of women who thought their looks would get them everything and the type that didn't want to be burdened by a geriatric husband any longer than strictly necessary. It was her idea, she said that I'd either get the chance to enjoy a young floozy or I'd get the chance to rejoin her sooner than otherwise."
"That's so romantic," Luna's father cooed. "I'm convinced, you are a Lovegood. Just like my father before me and his father before him."
"How do you figure?" Harry asked, uncertain that he wanted to know.
"Being a Lovegood is sexually transmitted," Luna's mother declared. "Once a Lovegood, always a Lovegood!"
"One of us, one of us!" Luna and her father chanted.
"I'm actually sort of touched by that," Harry admitted. "Not enough to cancel my plans to retire some place warm, but enough that I won't reflexively wipe your memories of our conversation."
"That's the nicest thing any of my time displaced future sons in law have ever said to me," Luna's father said, wiping a tear off his cheek.
"Is this is where I'm supposed to ask how many future sons in law you've got and you reply that I'm the only one so far?"
"It is," Luna's father agreed cheerfully.
Harry nodded. "How many future sons in law have you got?"
"You're the first one so far,"
"Before I forget." Harry turned to Luna's Mother. "Your experiment can only be performed on a waxing moon or it will kill you. It did in the old timeline and Luna spent several decades figuring out what went wrong."
"But it'll be forever before that happens," Luna's mother groaned.
"Would you rather wait or have your untimely death devastate your daughter?" Harry asked. The woman considered the question. "Oh, and if you die you'll never finish your experiment."
Sneezy took a deep breath. Seventy five years as an extra at Hogwarts and it was finally her turn to have a speaking part. She mentally went over her lines again as she waited for her cue to go on.
The stage elf held up three fingers . . . two . . . one . . . show time.
She popped into the Headmaster's office. "Is terrible Headbossschoolwizard, is terrible," she wailed. "There was being a cursed item in the come and go room with the dark know who's soul fragment. Wards have destroyed it but elves can sense others out there."
"I see." The old man considered the elf's words. "Do you know how many fragments are left?"
"No, Headbossschoolwizard," the little elf sobbed. "Sneezy just knows that they are magic most foul. Sneezy doesn't like them, Sneezy is afraid, Sneezy doesn't want Dark-Bad-Who to return using soul fragments."
"Nor do I," Dumbledore agreed. "I would assure you that I will do my utmost to prevent it, but there would be no point in doing so since you would not remember. Obliviate."
Sneezy let her eyes go glassy, steadfastly ignoring the odd looking beetle that had witnessed the whole scene. Hopefully the director would deem her performance worthy enough to get another speaking part in the next decade or two. If so, at the rate she was going, she'd get a supporting in a few decades and she dared hope that she'd get a main in a century or two. Lost in thought, she nearly missed her cue to pop out. An error that would have ended her dreams before they began.
Vernon tried to bluster as they threw him into the back of a secure prisoner transport van.
"What's going on?" he tried to bluster.
"Think flashing yer twig and berries at the queen mum is funny, do yeh?" the lead bobby snarled. "You're gonna love the pit we find for yeh, regular laugh riot it is."
Any more questions were cut off when they forced a gag into his mouth and put a hood over his head. They drove for what seemed like hours before the van came to a stop and he was bodily lifted out of the van and carried though what felt like dozens of corridors before he was thrown into what he assumed was his cell.
"Stand up, turn around, and stick your hands through the opening in the door so I can take the irons off," a strange voice ordered.
Vernon did his best to comply but it still took several attempts before he was successful. The first thing he did when he regained use of his hands was to remove the hood and gag. The cell was dark, cramped, and windowless. A single bucket served as the cell's toilet and a thin looking mattress resting on a concrete slab was what he supposed was supposed to be his bed.
"This is it?" Vernon growled. "I thought I was supposed to have rights?"
"I wouldn't worry about the lack of amenities if I were you, Mr. Dursley, I don't think you'll be with us too long."
"Damn right I won't be," Vernon snarled. He was silent for several seconds until his curiosity got the better of him. "What makes you say that?"
"Oh, several reasons. Not the least of which is the fact that the French are demanding we extradite you, even pulled an old guillotine out of storage in anticipation of the government bringing the death penalty back," the gaoler reported. "Wouldn't worry about that either were I you," he continued cheerfully. "No, I'd be much more worried about the fact that Parliament is debating weather drawing and quartering or breaking on the wheel is a more appropriate punishment for you. Got a fiver on the wheel meself."
Kreacher sniffed in derision as he inspected the two paintings the props department had produced for his big scene. Adequate, he supposed, but nothing compared to the painting of his late mistress. Now that was a literal work of art. These? Well, they'd serve their purpose but he doubted they'd do much more than that.
The old elf's eyes flicked to the clock. Plenty of time to check to make sure the scene builders had placed the cobwebs in the correct places and had applied just the right amount of dust to everything. He was a professional, he would tolerate no less than perfection.
AN: Skeeter's article hits the press, the portraits lead Sirius to the locket, Kreecher has his big death scene, etc.
Idea came from What If #34.
Poorly written line pointed out by ubereng
Typo by Regulus
Plot Bunny: The Biggest Reason Horcruxes are Hidden by Musings of Apathy
Omake: The Ending
The little elf appeared. "What in the deuce?" His eyes met Harry's. "Uh, Dobby is alive? What an amazing wizard Harry Potter is for bringing Dobby back from the dead."
"The living have no secrets from the dead and the dead have no secrets from me," Harry said dryly.
"Damn it. Well, what do you want you script ruining bastard? Why'd you do it? Why'd you have to force us to make major rewrites?"
"Dobby," Harry sighed. "I was a headliner for almost a thousand years. You know how hard it is to deal with scene stealing hacks, imagine a thousand years of stupidity and then tell me again that you don't understand my decision to retire the second I came back."
"I withdraw the question," Dobby laughed. "How'd you find this place? I thought humans didn't know about it?"
"Once one becomes the Master of Death, one is evermore so."
"What hack wrote that line?" Dobby laughed. "That was terrible."
Omake by 8ullfrog
I've heard the old chestnut of Lovegoods being descended from succubi, but I find poking the eldritch with sticks far more amusing.
"Sanity roll? Fuck you!" Bellowed Odd/Xenophilius/Steve.
"Ow, quit poking me!" burbled the abomination. "Ow! I am eternal! I am cosmic! OW! Fine, fuggit, I hope you mess around with a time turner and get the hounds of tindalos set on you!"
A bark is heard from an angle. "Now you've done it" scowled Luna, "You've angered Porthos!"
Half way through the portal, the eldritch abomination began to scream. Because Porthos hates Spaghetti.
Not the AN: I took a certain amount of inspiration from this.