Title: Darkened Paths
Chapter1 – Your Last Mistake, Dumbledore!
Ship: H/Hr/L, Nev/Susan/Hannah
Key: "Speech", 'Thoughts', "Speech laden with magic", §Parseltongue§
[Full Summary and Details:] - Set just as fifth year ends, Harry watches Sirius die by falling through the veil. After an enlightening discussion with Dumbledore, Harry's mindset hardens. He will no longer take the good guy approach. He, Hermione and Luna decide to they will fight for the light, but will use any means necessary to get their goals met, even using the dark arts after examining the power of spells used during fights. Their combined goals are to kill Voldemort, kill or imprison Dumbledore, reform the wizarding government for equal rights for all magical beings and muggles/purebloods and to prove that the crumple-horned snorkacks really do exist.
At Sirius' will reading, one week after school lets out, Harry finds Sirius has one last, god-like prank left to play on the people who outlived him.
Harry, Hermione and Luna will be light-oriented, but gray over all in their methods, light in their goals, wanting a balance in life.
This chapter is mostly a lot of dialog to get the story in motion, but is also necessary information as well, and lays the foundation. More detailed notes at bottom of chapter.
I would like to see how this story is accepted, so this story is only being posted more out of curiousity than a current plan to keep posting it (most of the plot IS planned out, though). Expect random updates if the story gets a decent following. This is a challenge I created and can be found on my forum for Harry Potter challenges, as well. This one is number six.
WARNING: Slight changes to Canon before the story starts. Particularly, Hermione's getting hurt there. Also, I will be holding to the guidelines of my own challenge on this, meaning there WILL be lemons. Not a whole lot, but they will be around. Warnings will come in each chapter with one. But each character WILL think about it on occasion. The H/Hr/L relationship will start very quickly. I apologize in advance for this. I normally prefer more build-up. I think my reasons (in-chapter) work, however.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any other crossover I may intentionally or unintentionally create. By reading this story, you understand this disclaimer and understand that it holds true for this story in whole, and in part, throughout the entirety of the story from this location or any other in which the story itself is placed, regardless of a disclaimer being on future chapters.
Recommended Story of the Chapter: "Thoughts of Pudding" by Brian64 (H/Hr/L)
xXx STORY xXx
Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley were sitting in the Gryffindor common room, staring into the fire after the events at the Department of Mysteries in the Ministry of Magic. Lord Voldemort had broken into Harry's mind and implanted a vision of himself torturing Harry's godfather, Sirius Black, to lure him there and he fell for it. Several of his friends followed against Harry's orders not to and also got hurt, which Harry felt himself responsible for.
Ginny Weasley, Ron's younger sister, had broken her ankle but was mended almost as soon as she got back to Hogwarts. Neville Longbottom was tortured under the Cruciatus from Bellatrix LeStrange after jumping in front of the curse when it was meant for Harry, though it was canceled in surprise almost as quickly as it hit, and got a broken wrist that Madam Pomfrey had healed up as quickly as Ginny's ankle. Ron had been attacked by a bunch of brains that had been suspended in tanks of ... something. No one was really quite sure what the liquid was or where the brains came from.
Hermione herself had been attacked with a dark spell after she had silenced her Death Eater, but he had been more talented than Hermione expected. He had cast silently and Luna Lovegood had just barely managed to tackle her out of the way before the spell struck her. Hermione had stunned the Death Eater and looked at the wall where his spell had hit and saw a jagged and steaming gash in the wall about two feet long and a foot wide, shocking the girl momentarily before getting back to taking out Death Eaters.
Luna herself had managed to come out of the conflict with not much more than some scratches, scrapes and bruises aside from a single small cut on her left cheek from shrapnel after a dark spell blew up a desk. The residual magic on the piece of wood kept Pomfrey from bring able to get rid of the scar, but it was only visible when you were close since it was so thin and only an inch long depression in the skin.
But Harry had it worse than any of them. Physically, the worse he had was a cut on his forearm and some Cruciatus exposure after chasing down Bellatrix LeStrange, but he also watched his godfather get hit with a curse from his own cousin and fall through the Veil of Death. Then, to top it all off, he dueled Voldemort himself and then was possessed by him!
Hermione sniffled quietly as she thought about Harry's life. The boy just never seemed to catch a break. His parents murdered at fifteen months old, forced to live with horrible, abusive relatives, enslaved and treated as bad as a Malfoy's house elf, malnourished and multiple attempts on his life by his cousin, Dudley, and the same crazed wizard who tried to kill him as a baby. Not to mention all of the dark and deadly creatures he had faced each year; trolls, acromantula, basilisks, dementors and werewolves were amongst the first three years alone. Fourth year, he had grindylows, dragons, a sphinx, blast-ended skrewts and dementors several times, ending with a gaggle of Death Eaters surrounding him and one dark lord in the middle.
Hermione realized in her third year that Harry was the most important person in her world aside from her parents, and always would be. He was the first person to truly befriend her, and all of her friends came about because of him.
It was also because of him that she was still alive. Two months after arriving, she was almost killed by a mountain troll and Harry came to rescue her. Sure, Ron had come as well, but it had not taken her long to realize that he had only come because Harry made him. Hermione knew she owed Harry a life debt because of that. If Ron had not caused her to be in the situation in the first place, she would owe him one, too, but she was honestly relieved she did not, as she truly did not believe him to have a strong moral fiber.
Hermione had made the decision in third year to always be there for Harry, and the following two years, she had made sure to abide by that decision any time she could, helping him learn spells in the Tri-Wizard Tournament before the first task and with the following tasks afterwards and in the DA, when he was teaching several students how to really defend themselves. Even after the horrid events they just went through, she knew she would continue to always be there for him.
Her musings were cut off when the portrait of the Fat Lady crashed open and a furious Harry stepped through. 'No,' she amended, watching how he was moving, 'stalking through the portrait hole. He's absolutely furious! I can feel the magic coming off of him!'
"Mate? Are you okay?" Ron asked as Harry fell heavily into the couch next to him. He had been thinking about trying to find a way to tell Harry that he should not blame himself for what happened to everyone, even if Ron felt it was sort of Harry's fault for it. How difficult was it to know the thoughts you were having were not yours, after all? But he did not want to say anything that may upset the boy at the moment. He was a little scary.
"I'm fine." Harry answered calmly, but his voice was lower than he normally spoke with an undercurrent of anger and a warning to back off that both Ron and Hermione were able to catch. They sat for several moments in an uncomfortable silence while Harry stared at the fire, clenching and unclenching his fists. The common room had long-since emptied of everyone aside from Hermione and Ron and neither could mistake the magic coming from Harry in waves as his hands kept balling into fists, pulsing each time they squeezed tightly shut. Eventually, Ron was too uncomfortable to stay near the enraged wizard with the fire being the only sound they heard.
"Er, I'm knackered. I'm going to go ahead and go to bed. Wake me up if you need anything, alright mate?" Harry said nothing and continued to stare into the the fire, his eyes unblinking. As soon as Hermione saw Ron leave the room, she left her chair and sat next to Harry and embraced him in a firm hug and just sat that way for several long minutes. She felt his whole body remain as stiff as a board, his muscles flexing tightly as he continued to flex his hands in anger until he eventually sighed and relaxed into her hold, wrapping an arm around her and squeezing tightly and burying his face into the crook of her neck. She could feel him shudder slightly, holding back tears.
"Will you tell me about it?" Hermione asked carefully. She did not want to upset him again, but knew talking about it would help him and was pleased when she felt him nod and pull back.
"Not here," he said. "I don't want anyone to be able to listen to us or walk in." He helped Hermione up and pulled out the Marauder's Map from his pockets, still in his possession from their escape of the school earlier that night. He scanned the path and led her to the Room of Requirement. The room that became whatever it was needed to be for the user. Hermione followed silently, knowing she would get her answers soon enough.
A few minutes later after the silent trip, Harry stopped pacing back and forth as the entrance to the Room of Requirement appeared and opened the door to find Luna Lovegood sitting serenely on a C-shaped couch that would not have been big enough around to sit as many as it could with their legs all in the middle. Luna could have easily leaned forward and touched the back of the couch in front of her. When Harry and Hermione stopped just inside the room after noticing her, she turned her head and smiled gently at them both.
"Hullo Harry, Hermione. I was expecting you a few minutes ago." She gestured to the couch with a sweep of her arm. "Do sit down. I believe we have much to discuss." Quietly, and with no small amount of shock, they closed the door to the room, ignoring the door disappearing as they took places across from Luna, their knees touching each others'.
"Er, Luna. How did you know we were coming?" Harry asked. He trusted Luna, even after only a year of really getting to know her. She had commented not long after the DA was formed that she loved it because it was what having friends had to be like. That had hit very close to home for Harry, making him force himself to make time for the lonely Ravenclaw.
Sadly, aside from Ginny, who only spoke with Luna when needing help for school, Luna had not had a single friend in her time at Hogwarts or before. Her life was an odd parallel to his own aside from her home life with her father. Just like him, she had watched her mother's death happen right before her eyes as he had. Only she remembered it vividly and her mother took far longer to die according to the brief bits he had been able to glean from the girl.
"Oh, a blue-horned whimdinger told me I had to be here, so I rushed right over," she answered. Her blue-grey eyes remained in their ever-present surprised expression; round, soft and blinking slowly. "You need help, do you not?"
Harry cocked his head to the side with a ghost of a smirk on his face. He was furious, and he was drowning in grief, but he was able to get a small smile out. The quirky, blonde Ravenclaw had that affect on him. Hermione was always able to calm him down, and Luna was always able to make him smile. They were an odd duo to be surrounded by when he was perfectly happy being angry. Internally, Harry realized there was something wrong with that previous thought.
"Yes, Luna," Harry whispered with the barest hint of humor in his voice. "I am going to need help." Luna literally hopped up and plopped down next to Harry and wrapped him in a hug, looking at Hermione carefully, hinting to do the same. As random as the blonde had a tendency to be, Hermione found herself understanding and attached herself firmly to his right arm and leaned him back to make themselves more comfortable, Luna going backwards with them. It was an attempt to forestall any potential outbursts he may have and try to keep his anger leveled off.
"Okay Harry," Hermione spoke gently and soothingly, "tell us what you can and we'll try our best to help you." Hermione was really unsure about Luna hearing what Harry had to say, but he would have said something if he did not actually want her to know. Over the year, she had noticed that he would take the time out of his day to speak with her and she respected him for that, considering she never saw anyone really spend time with Luna at all.
That, and the girl had an uncanny knack for being around when she was needed throughout the year and had been able to calm Harry after spending time with that bitch Umbridge when even she, herself, had failed to calm him down. Still, whatever Harry had to say, it was his to tell, so she went along with it. It did raise the question of why he had decided not to stop Ron from going to bed, though.
Harry sighed and leaned his head back with his eyes closed. This was going to be a painful discussion, but he just could not hold it in any longer. He learned too much and was in this too deep to stay quiet. Then he began talking, recounting the conversation in the Headmaster's office with Dumbledore.
"Sir, why were they after that ball? Why did it have mine and Voldemort's name on it?" Harry asked after falling heavily into the chair Dumbledore had indicated. He swallowed thickly as his eyes darted about the room, looking seemingly everywhere as if waiting for something to jump out of even the smallest shadows. Or anything that looked like that damned veil he just watched his godfather fall through.
"I suppose it's time I explained that to you," Albus said with a sigh. "I had hoped to allow you live and have a healthy childhood before burdening you with such things, but all things must come in time." He got up slowly and brought his pensieve from its resting place and set it down on the desk. Harry watched as Dumbledore placed his wand tip to his temple and withdrew a silvery-blue strand of light and then put it into the stone bowl, stirring it lightly and then tap a small symbol on its side, causing a ghost-like image of his Divination teacher and Dumbledore, sitting alone in a small sitting room to rise and Trelawney began speaking in a deep and gravelly voice:
"The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches, born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies… and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not… either must die at the hand of the other, for neither can live while the other survives… the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies…"
Dumbledore quickly tapped the stone bowl again as his younger form spun quickly and ran towards the door, causing the image to fade and disappear almost instantly. He looked up and saw Harry's brow furrowed in confusion and thought before he opened his mouth to speak.
"I don't understand," he spoke slowly, thinking over what he had just heard and how best to phrase the question he was wanting to ask. Dumbledore, however, saw this as Harry stating that the prophecy was beyond him and that he was confused, further cementing that he was not yet ready, even if circumstance necessitated that he be told. He smiled benignly, and a bit sadly at the boy in front of him.
"That was a prophecy, Harry, made a few months before you were born. It says that you will be the only one who is able to finally defeat Voldemort because he marked you with that scar, though it could have meant Neville Longbottom until that fateful night. Your parents fought him three times and got away, along with his." Dumbledore was about to continue until he saw Harry was shaking his head.
"No. I mean I don't understand why you hid this from me," he said lowly, with his voice rising as he spoke. "I asked you in first year why he was after me and you refused to tell me!" By this point, Harry was unable to realize he was out of his chair and yelling loudly, but continued venting long pent-up emotions, waving his arms in harsh slashing motions with each point for emphasis. He was so furious, he was fully unaware of the multitude of loose items that were about the room beginning to float and spin around the room, moving faster and faster, or the back of Dumbledore's desk, closest to Harry, was warping and charring as it moved away from him as if the wood was twisting and moving in pain, were it able to feel such a thing. All he could tell was Dumbledore, the man that was responsible for not telling him the information that could have kept his godfather alive, was scooting away from him.
"You could have told me about this before now and I would have known better about this being a trap and possibly avoided it! You could have let me in on what has been going on this year instead of ignoring me constantly! If you had told me about this damned prophecy before, I would have known what the bastard was doing sending me those bloody visions!" As Harry finished his last statement, his right hand slashed from left to right and he unwittingly lost control of his magic in his fury and a large gash cut across the floor and wall nearly a foot wide at its thickest point and probably thirty feet long, almost hitting Fawkes. The only thing saving the scared bird was that he was smaller than usual after taking a killing curse to protect Dumbledore and he had not grown quite yet. Dumbledore lost a good number of books and shiny silver baubles from his book shelf as well. A pity, really. They looked quite old and valuable.
"Harry, please calm down. I-" Dumbledore began before he was cut off as Harry lifted both hands up and threw them down with a yell.
"I will NOT calm down!" The stone floor Harry was standing on cracked and shattered in a circle, radiating out from Harry to depress three quarters of the room, with the loose chips and pieces from the broken floor rising up and floating around the furious youth as the swirling debris circling the room flew outwards and hit the walls, embedding themselves in whatever they hit. Dumbledore decided it would be in his best interest to remain quiet.
"It's because of you that I fell for that bloody vision! If you hadn't been ignoring me all year long, I could have told you about the visions and you would have known what he was after! When I tried, you kept sending me away! You could have been training me from day one so I could fight him, but you've done absolutely nothing! Why? Why did you keep this from me?" Harry calmed slightly as he waited for Dumbledore's answer, waiting with heaving breaths to hear his excuse. The man seemed to wilt in his seat, further lessening Harry's rage.
"I had hoped to give you some semblance of a childhood while you were here. I wanted you to enjoy yourself while you could, Harry," Dumbledore said quietly, his voice filled with grief. In retrospect, it did seem like a bad idea, letting one boy's happiness rule out over the fate of the world. But as they say, hindsight is twenty-twenty, and he had no way of knowing what would happen in the future. The guilt he had felt for leaving Harry with the Dursleys had made him make some bad decisions, hoping to atone for that before training Harry up. Now it seemed like such a bad idea.
Harry just snorted at the man's meaningless sentiments.
"Some childhood. I'll admit that I've been happy while I was in Hogwarts, but I never had a childhood," he said coldly. "The Dursleys made sure of that." Harry watched as Albus flinched and sigh, seeming older and smaller than he had before.
"Yes. Arabella mentioned something to that effect." Albus knew he was in trouble when Harry's eyes narrowed.
"You mean Arabella Figg? She's one of your people!" Harry got furious all over again, but not as out of control as he had been. Now he was more calculating and putting the pieces all together. "You mean you already knew how bad things were at the Dursleys!" Albus was almost too scared to say anything else lest he say more that he did not want to say, but knew he could not not answer that. He obviously already knew. One careless slip of the tongue and he lost a good amount of the trust he had built up with the boy.
"Please let me explain," Dumbledore pleaded. Seeing Harry glare at him without moving, he took it as his assent to continue. "The protections I told you about during first year, when you asked if you could stay at the castle for the summer; do you remember those? The blood wards?" Harry nodded that he did.
"Good. Those protections are available only while you live at the Dursley residence, Harry. There are wards there that protect you from Voldemort, his followers and anyone who would wish you harm. That is why I sent you there. There was nowhere safer, even Hogwarts." Dumbledore said grandly, expecting the argument to be won. Harry, however, snorted and rolled his eyes.
"No, I get starved and locked in a tiny room when I'm there instead. I get beaten, carefully done so that nothing is lasting and am forced to work like a Malfoy house elf," Harry snorted derisively again. "That is so much better than Hogwarts. At least here, I had a fighting chance against the bad guys," he finished sarcastically.
"Let me ask you something. What good are these protections when Voldemort was able to use my own blood, the same blood that is supposed to protect me, during fourth year? That his death eaters were able to get a hold of me that year? Or from being possessed this year? From the dementors in third year? Or from Voldemort's implanted visions?" Harry bit out harshly, each question causing Dumbledore to flinch again. When finished, Harry watched the old man take a deep, shuddering breath and pause before speaking. He had to salvage this!
"I am sorry, Harry. The wards are set up around Number Four, Privet Drive. The protections I put in place were simply based off of your mother's sacrifice and protect you while you are there. They do not follow you around. I've made many mistakes, Harry. And I want to try making amends for them." Harry glared at the headmaster, the desk beginning to smolder again before he shook his head and sighed. He could not deal with this right now. He got up and walked towards the door, stopping just before stepping through and turning around to face Dumbledore.
"You've made the last of your mistakes, Dumbledore," he said, finally noting the destruction he had caused. He glanced it over quickly as he turned and left the room.
Beside Harry, both girls were holding onto his arms in almost painful grips. The moment he told them both the prophecy, the circulation in both seemed to get cut off. He was more than willing to allow them to keep their death grips, however. It was oddly comforting to know that they cared, so Harry just continued to sit back quietly while allowing them to ponder on his words. He made sure to tell them as much as he could in as much detail as he could remember. If he was going to speak with them and get their help, he may as well get it done right. Letting it all out was comforting and actually made him feel better.
"Well, this is a problem," Luna said after several long moments. Harry snorted in amusement and pulled his arm to him, hugging Luna's arms between them in gratitude. He needed that. Hermione decided to voice her own concerns.
"So, what you're saying is that he makes you go to the Dursleys because of a protection that doesn't really do its job? And he's known about this whole prophecy thing since day one?" She asked, sounding almost scandalized. "Why hasn't he been training you for this? You can still train and have fun at the same time!" She shook lightly as tears trailed down her cheeks. She had not missed his retelling of the prophecy. It was either kill or be killed if taken at face value.
"Yea, he just sends me there because I'm safer there than anywhere else because of the blood wards, but that's only from the people who don't live there. And you know why he said he didn't want to train me. He wanted me to 'enjoy my childhood', as if he expected me to ignore he said Miss Figg had told him everything," he said with a snort. The old man was really pissing Harry off.
"I think the first thing I'd like to ask you," Luna began, looking up at Harry from her place on his arm, "is what you would like to do. Do you have any plans or thoughts of what you would like to change or get done? There are a good many plovers surrounding you that would like to help and each can do a very good job," Luna said, blinking owlishly at him. Harry smiled slightly. It had been a very, very long time since anyone had asked him what he would like to do. Regardless of the odd manner of doing so.
"I've decided that I can't follow Dumbledore blindly anymore. He has to let me in on everything that happens regarding Voldemort, the war, the Order off the Phoenix and, most importantly, my life. I need to learn who I can trust and who is loyal to Dumbledore and would report to him," he said and raised his hands, currently filled with those of the girls, up in a helpless gesture. "Aside from that, I really just need to figure out what my options are. I can't figure out what his agenda is, but so far, it hasn't been to help me." Next to him, Luna frowned thoughtfully.
"I wish that whimdinger had given me more information." Harry and Hermione both chuckled lightly before Harry remembered why he was there. The thoughts of Sirius came flooding back and his shoulders shook as tears trailed down his cheeks. He had always held a strong belief that he could not let anyone see him cry, starting with the Dursleys. But, he was in too much pain, and trusted both girls to the point where he was perfectly okay with it as long as he was not bawling like a baby.
The girls' hold on him was a pleasant contrast to the cold in the pit of his stomach, but he really just wanted to go to bed. To be alone and away from everything. Maybe they could hug him some more on the train the next day...
"I'm sorry you two, but I'm totally knackered. I'm going to beg off to bed." Both girls let go of him as he stood up and stretched.
"Good night, Harry. We'll see you tomorrow for breakfast," Luna said as she flicked a loose thread she found hanging from his robe back and forth. "Hermione and I still have to have some girl talk." Harry flinched at 'girl talk'. Ron had told him about that once.
"Sleep well, Harry. We'll see you in the morning." Hermione watched him give a half-hearted smile, obviously feeling upset again. His eyes were painful to look at when he was like this.
"Thanks for the talk, you two. I really needed to get that off of my chest." He walked towards the door and threw a good night to the both of them over his shoulder. As soon as the door clicked shut and disappeared, Hermione turned to Luna, her face showing her confusion and not a mild amount of annoyance. Hermione did not want to leave Harry alone for any longer than necessary and, while Ron was something of an adequate friend, he had absolutely no emotional depth whatsoever.
"Okay, so what are we actually talking about? We didn't really manage to talk with him about anything there. All we did was sit here while he talked and I really don't want to leave him alone right now." Hermione watched Luna sigh with a pitying look on her face.
"We listened. That was really all we could do right now for him. Things are far too raw for him right now to discuss anything with any kind of real depth," Luna said. "Harry is swarming with spindly-legged cassherns, after all, and it is unbearably difficult to think while infested with them." Hermione frowned, but agreed with a sniffle as another tear trailed down her cheek. She did not know what the hell a 'spindly-legged casshern' was, but it sounded bad enough.
"I don't know how to help him," she whispered. "Why does everything bad have to happen to Harry?" She began crying, prompting Luna to scoot over and envelop Hermione into a tight hug.
The only reason she was not crying alongside Hermione was because she had learned a long time ago how to hold her tears in. It only made tormentors come back with a stronger attack the next time. She could hold out a little longer until she got to her bed and could ward the curtains for silence. It always worked in the past.
Hugging Hermione tightly, and slightly surprised that the older girl leaned into her for the added comfort, Luna said, "it's quite simple, really. We take care of him." Hermione leaned away from Luna and looked at the blonde girl with a questioning expression.
"What do you mean?" Hermione watched as the girl pulled out her wand and held it aloft.
"I, Luna Celeste Lovegood, swear on my magic that everything I say to Hermione Jane Granger for the remainder of our time within the Room of Requirement until we next leave is the truth to the best of my knowledge, so mote it be." An intense white light filled the room in a quick burst before fading away, leaving angry splotches of light in Hermione's vision.
"Wh-what did you do that for! You could become a squib!" Hermione almost yelled. Luna calmly placed her wand back in its place behind her ear and smiled sadly while looking down at the ground.
"I want you to know you can take what I say as truth," Luna said quietly. "I want to be sure you know that I am not wanting to hurt Harry. While being direct is difficult for me, you have to understand what I am saying tonight."
Hermione could not get the shocked and fearful expression off of her face as she watched the younger girl look up at her slowly. One misspoken comment or anything that her magic could construe as a lie and she would lose everything she knew! Her entire way of life was centered around being a witch! She did not know any other way to live...
"Luna ..." Hermione trailed off, trying to think of what to say. After a few seconds, Luna looked down at her knees.
"I love Harry," Luna said quietly. That simple statement crushed Hermione. It felt as though the blonde Ravenclaw had just made that mountain troll from her first year punch her in the stomach. Hermione had been looking for any hint, any sure sign that Harry may have fancied her since their third year. He had shown an interest in Cho Chang of all girls the year they had just finished, even having a failed go at the relationship, and the year before during the Tri-Wizard championship he had had his eyes on her as well, almost since the beginning of the year, from what she could tell.
Luna, Hermione would freely admit, was much prettier than she was. Even as a fourth-year student, her breasts were easily a B-cup, nearly C-cup while Hermione's own only became a B-cup within the last three months. Luna had long, flowing hair and pale, velvety skin where her own hair was bushy and common brown, though her skin was just as nice and tan, if not the exotic pale of Luna's. Hermione knew that teenaged boys fancied girls on appearance first and personality second, if not third. She just lost Harry Potter. "Y-you love ..."
Luna nodded slowly. "I do. But," she looked up at Hermione quickly and Hermione almost gasped at the earnestness Luna showed on her face and in her grey eyes. "But, I know that he loves you. And I wouldn't force myself between the two of you unless I thought you were bad for him or were going to try and hurt him." Hermione wanted to laugh at the ridiculousness of that statement. Her, Hermione Granger, hurt Harry? It was almost funny to think she could do so.
"Luna, Harry doesn't ... He doesn't love me. He fancied Cho Chang for the past two years. I could never take her pla-"
"He chose you over Cho, didn't he?" Luna asked in a teasing tone. Hermione stopped short and thought back to the day Luna was talking about. Harry was on his date with Cho and Hermione came up and said she needed him. She did not say what she needed, and she did not even make it sound urgent and had actually sounded almost casual, but he just looked straight at Cho, apologized and left with Hermione for the bushy-haired girl to introduce him to her practical defense idea.
Later that night, Cho had come to the Gryffindor common room and made him choose between her and Hermione and Harry had apparently chosen Hermione since both Cho and her long-time friend, Marietta, had been rather vicious towards him since. Also, word around the common room of a bright red hand print on his face was spread about, but kept to the Gryffindors by some weird sense of loyalty to their own. Even Lavender did not spread it around that Harry Potter had been slapped. The only thing the school learned was they broke up.
Hermione nodded slowly and whispered, "yes. He did." Luna smiled sadly. She knew that her own happiness hinged on what she could get Hermione to understand tonight and agree to. And while she wanted desperately to be with Harry, the only person in the school to not treat her as 'Loony Lovegood', but a real person, she was sincere in her promise to not interfere with him and Hermione. Her vow could offer no less.
"Think about Harry's life, Hermione," she looked into Hermione's misty brown eyes, trying desperately to get the older girl to see her point. Harry's own future depended on it, and she had to try and be as blunt and direct as possible if he, and by extension, they, were going to survive.
"Think of all of the social circumstances he has ever been in. When has he ever learned how to understand the different forms of love and friendship there are? And you know Ronald fancies you. If you think about Harry's very nature, and that he may very well know Ronald fancies you, do you think that he would follow any romantic interest in you? Or would he be the self-sacrificing man he is and ignore anything he may feel for you for his first friend's sake?" Hermione's eyes widened almost comically. Ron was not exactly subtle in his infatuation with her, though he was just as obvious that he was more interested in her body than in her if his none-so-subtle staring meant anything. Either that, or he just wanted a close pair of bits to look at.
"Perhaps going for the closest thing he sees in you in another girl; intelligence, beauty, even if you don't see it, Harry does, character and other such things is how he was trying to be close to you without losing you. I'll admit Cho is a poor imitation, but publicly, you are similar until you get to know her."
"Hermione, you saw me take that oath for true statements. That means that I'm either right, or that I believe myself to be right, at the very least. Harry does love you," she said gently, placing her hand on the shoulder of the brunette ahead of her comfortingly. It was obvious she had never thought these things through herself. 'Such an intelligent girl, but she is certainly too close to the problem to help herself.'
"Why are you telling me these things?" Hermione asked curiously. Luna said she loved Harry, and if this was all some weird thing to get him for herself, then she was certainly not going about it the right way. This was hurting her case rather than helping it for getting him all to herself if she honestly believed Harry loved her.
"As I said. I love Harry. I believe for much the same reasons as you, yourself, do. I have several reasons particularly my own, just as you have some that will be particular to only you."
"Yes, but telling me he loves me, when you obviously know how I feel hurts your chances for getting him if I were to try and pursue him," Hermione said exasperatedly. She felt like she was missing something serious when Luna sighed and shook her head as if talking to a child who was not understanding something as simple as sharing half a cookie.
"Harry has been without love for much of his life, Hermione. I do not believe he knows how to honestly express himself and would not be familiar with honest love as opposed to what some girls may offer for the sake of bedding the Boy-Who-Lived unless they came right out and said it." Luna looked about the room as she spoke before turning back to Hermione. "How many girls do you honestly know that care for him for the man who he is and not his legacy?" Hermione pondered Luna's question for a moment with a heavy frown.
"Susan Bones and Hannah Abbot like him for who he is, but not romantically for sure. For those who honestly like him romantically? Myself, you obviously and perhaps Ginny is about it," she said, looking at Luna shake her head negatively.
"Ginny has told me repeatedly how wonderful it would be to be the girlfriend and wife of the Boy-Who-Lived and the money and fame that would come from such a relationship. Each of the boys she has dated this year has been for the sake of giving Harry the idea of her as a girl he can date and so that she would be ... talented," she said the word like a curse, "for when she finally 'caught' Harry. She does not care for him purely for who he is. Don't get me wrong, she is a good person, but interested in Harry for all of the wrong reasons." Hermione shook her head this time.
"Ginny wouldn't do something like that! We've spoken all year and-"
"Remember my oath, Hermione." Luna actually gave Hermione a whithering glare as she reminded Hermione of her word, bound by her own magic. It was frighteningly efficient on the normally aloof girl. "She has stated these things. While she may care for him as Harry the man, I do not believe that to be the case. Otherwise, I wouldn't have been able to say as much a moment ago."
Hermione swallowed thickly and Luna decided the circumstances were dire enough to validate full disclosure. "Hermione, she has even made mention of using love potions next year like her mother if he, and I quote, 'doesn't figure out I'm interested by then'." Hermione looked absolutely scandalized. She sighed heavily and slumped into the couch. As Harry said, they would have to learn who could be trusted and who they could not trust. Hermione could not see any good coming from discussing Ginny, she would end up trying to kill the redhead in her bed, so she tried to get things back on track. There would be plenty of time to take care of the female Weasley later.
"You still haven't said why you were telling me all of this." Hermione watched Luna intently as the girl nodded and sighed.
"I love him. And I want what is best for him. To be perfectly honest with you, as I cannot be anything else, I would like to share him with you." Whatever Hermione was expecting, that was most certainly not it!
"Sh-sh-share him!" She asked incredulously. "Why would I ... How could ..." Hermione floundered several moments as she tried to figure out exactly what she was trying to ask before she paused and pinched the bridge of her nose. "Let me start over. What?" Hermione looked helplessly at Luna who stared back at her.
"Hermione," she paused as she seemed to collect her thoughts, "I had originally considered chasing after Harry on my own. But, I knew in my heart that you would always be in his," she leaned back into the couch and Hermione noticed unshed tears in the girl's eyes for the first time.
"Luna..." Hermione reached over and grabbed her shoulder. She knew Luna was right. She could have easily gone after Harry and probably have caught him had she wanted to. So, why honestly give Hermione the chance to ruin any of her hopes if she loved him? Was not all fair in love and war? Luna seemed to ignore her and continued speaking.
"Hermione, I am a Ravenclaw. I knew that the only way Harry could love me back as fully as I loved him would be if you were with us and he had nothing to hold him back. I believe he has loved you for some time and will only be happy if you are in his life at the very least, but I also believe he could be happiest with both of us rather than either one of us. We are both very different girls, yet still very similar, and we both love him thoroughly. We both offer him many things from different worlds."
"You are already important to him in a very extreme way, Hermione. He needs you in his life simply because he cannot function without you anymore. You are simply that important to him," Luna said, stressing her argument.
"I'm not going to try and say I would be the better girl of the two of us because I know I cannot be. At least not in all ways. In some, I'm sure I could, just as I know you could in others. But I do know I would much rather share him, and be fully happy, than to not and feel like I have kept him from his true happiness, or the best I can help to offer him."
"And to be honest, if anyone deserves the uncontested love of more than one girl, Harry is the only man I know who does. And he is the only man I know that I would be willing to consider such an offer for of my own volition. You may have found me a bit odd this year after getting to know me, but you truly care for my well-being and I want to share that with Harry. I know you want to always protect him and make him happy, and I feel we could both truly make him happiest by working together instead of alone. I already like to think of you as a friend and sister, and this would only be like putting a permanent sticking charm to that because, as the last of a Most Noble and Ancient House, he is allowed multiple wives to bring the family back, which would make us sisters, in a fashion." Hermione was absolutely floored. She recognized her breathing was coming in short gasps and began the Lamaze breathing exercises she saw on television once to calm herself down.
Did she feel comfortable even considering this? Did she want this? Hermione thought about Harry for a moment, trying to decide what she should do. Yes. She did love Harry, and she would do everything in her power to make sure he was happy. Coming to that realization, she sat up a little straighter. Would she really do anything? Honestly, what was she actually losing in this deal?
Luna was sitting quietly beside her, waiting for Hermione to come to her own conclusions and not pressure her into it. She had not tried to guilt her into choosing her own path, and has already sworn on her magic that she loved Harry. Could she do the same, just as confidently?
In the end, Hermione realized that it really was something that Harry deserved. Not having two women, as she firmly believed looking at it that way would simply objectify the two of them as possessions and trophies, but she believed he deserved the love of a girl who just proved in a magically binding way that she loved him, along with her own. She realized she could not be the cause of denying him any form of love and happiness that was so freely offered, and obviously sincere.
She was scared that he may end up choosing Luna over her, especially with the focus boys their age seemed to have for physical bits, but in all honesty, Harry always seemed like he had a lot of love to give and was far too noble to base anything on simple lust. When he understood what was going on he ... Hermione sighed as she realized she just confirmed Luna's own statements. Harry would not choose one over the other. Harry did deserve this kind of happiness. And she knew Luna loved him, which was all she could really promise him herself. In the end, she was not losing anything, but gaining a guaranteed friend and sister. She had always wanted a sister...
"You're right, Luna. If anyone deserves this kind of opportunity, it's Harry. He is a good man and will treat us well and properly. He won't consider us objects for twisted pleasures or anything of the like and he would never leave one for the other if he agreed to stay with the both of us. But it should still be his choice," Hermione said firmly. "We're assuming he will actually want to have the both of us at all," she finished, still somewhat unsure of his feelings. Luna nodded, realizing she had been given the perfect opening for another serious matter.
"Well, while we're on the subject, I feel that we should come to an agreement of our duties should he accept both of us. And to be honest, if we tell him we are agreeable to this, and that it is only the two of us, I have little doubt he will not agree and abide by our request." Hermione looked at Luna confusedly.
"Our duties? What are you on about?" Hermione asked.
"Well, anything that would normally be done by a girlfriend or wife, should it come down to it, is to be handled by the both of us. This would also be a way to make sure we cover the widest ranges of possible issues to arise. The only thing I would request is that, if it matters to you, you are the first to actually have sex with him. I would like to be the first to pleasure him orally." Hermione squawked and jerked backwards, absolutely astonished that the girl was so blunt in her explanation and ... well, blunt!
"Luna! Why on earth are you talking about those things now!" Hermione asked almost desperately. While she would have liked to have talked about it, as details as important as that would certainly avoid confusion and possible frustrations later, she really did not want to do so while in the middle of already being unsure of the harem concept. Luna blinked her eyes at Hermione as if she was surprised Hermione did not already know the answer.
"Well, I'm sure it will come up eventually, and it is good to know these things and have them out of the way now. Not to mention, you are closer to him, which is why I have no problems with you taking his virginity. But there are excellent power-boosting rituals that are sex-based magic if we find the need for them, and he is a hormonal teenaged male. If you plan to lose your virginity before actually starting the act, you should let me know so I can find those rituals," Luna said, looking off into the distance as if trying to remember where she had put the morning's post. Hermione was holding herself as still as a stone gargoyle while Luna's words processed until she sighed and shook her head. The girl thought of the oddest things!
"Fine, fine. If you change your mind, just let me know," Hermione said absently. Luna nodded happily. She had been having some interesting dreams the last few months that she would like to play out when the time came, so she was quite happy to get her preferred choice. "But do you think he would actually be willing to have two girlfriends? Even if he hasn't had much experience with relationships, he knows two is usually frowned upon."
"He may balk at first. But I think Harry will be okay with it as long as we address it in the proper manner when we tell him," Luna said with an airy wave of her hand, dismissing Hermione's concern. "Now, the last thing I think we should talk about are Harry's summer arrangements." Hermione flinched as she realized she had forgotten about that.
"You're right. We can't allow him to go to those bloody Dursleys. They'll use this as an excuse to torment him all the more!" Hermione had a fire in her that she usually got when Harry's safety came into question. Luna, however, smiled serenely and squeezed Hermione's shoulder after grabbing it again.
"This was another reason I wanted to bring up sharing Harry." At Luna's apparently random comment, Hermione decided to give up trying to understand the girl's thought processes. But all of the information clicked in her head, none the less.
"You mean you want him to stay at your home this summer," Hermione stated more than asked, causing Luna to nod.
"Yes. I wanted us to come to an understanding before offering this to him in case you had any issues with it. My intention is not to seduce him, at least not until you've had an opportunity to show up so we can work on that together," Luna said almost off-handedly making Hermione blush furiously. "I feel that having you come over would be a very good idea, so that we may tell him our decision together. I believe he would be quite receptive, and much more likely to agree, if we do so." Luna began to bat a piece of Hermione's hair back and forth as Hermione spluttered a half-hearted denial of her hopes to seduce the sexy, green-eyed wizard.
"But also, I think we should have him somewhere with a friend when the request for him to attend Sirius' will reading is sent out. It will most likely be very soon." Hermione paled as the implications set in. Harry was already swarming in grief and being alone when that came in would be disastrous to his mental healing. Reading a deceased person's will did not tend to happen this fast in the muggle world, but Luna was a pureblood, so she was willing to follow Luna's lead.
"Alright, Luna. I'll trust in you to take care of Harry." Hermione's tone suggested a silent 'or else' within it that Luna waved off with unconcern. She had no intentions of hurting their Harry.
"When he arrives, I am going to have him speak with that hyper house elf that wishes to bond with Harry."
"You mean Dobby?" Hermione asked.
"Yes, him too. Harry will need them soon." Confused, Hermione asked how she knew. "Oh, that silly blue-horned whimdinger told me. He's a chatty little thing." Luna got up and hugged Hermione before leaving the shocked girl to make her own way to the Gryffindor tower. The shock was not so much that she used one of those made up creatures to explain her knowledge of Harry's future needs, but that she used it and did not just lose her magic.
"No," Hermione said, shaking her head several moments after Luna had left. "I am going to ignore she said anything about imaginary creatures. I've got enough to try and process in agreeing to share Harry with another girl!" With as much dignity as the mentally-exhausted girl could muster until she could come to terms with the fact that she was willingly and, dare she admit it, happily offering to share the boy she loved with her younger friend. She attributed the happiness to knowing she could trust Luna and that she knew she would not have to fight the pretty Ravenclaw.
"I've heard that people do crazy things when they're in love, but this is ridiculous."
Within the records vaults at Gringotts, an alert went out to alert the nighttime employees that one of their larger account holder's life sign monitoring systems showed that the Lord Black had died. The alert was received by one of the secretarial goblins who immediately sent a missive to call for the account manager, Throatslasher, while a second, identical one was being sent to Ragnok, King of the Goblin Nation in Europe and nearly a quarter of Asia.
The stipulations set within the late Mr Black's will were abnormal to say the least, and Ragnok himself wanted to be alerted to when this particular will was set into motion. It had been mandatory since it was created nearly a year and a half ago.
Unknown to the majority of the goblins working at Gringotts, two other missives were sent out that night. One to Albus Dumbledore by a goblin loyal to his cause and the other to the senior Malfoy, loyal to the gold obtained in thanks to his cause.
Harry awoke the next morning several hours before the sun rose, still groggy and tired due to nightmares where he saw Sirius falling through the veil over and over again, occasionally blaming him or Dumbledore. It was always the worst when he simply moved in slow motion as he seemed to that night, the look of shock and surprise on his face. Not wanting to go back to sleep, where he would only be forced to watch it again, he sat and stared out of the window until he saw the sky turning pink before he decided to get started with his day.
If he was not ready when Hermione woke up, it would only worry her and, as little as he felt for much of anything, hurting her over worrying over him would just end up making him feel even worse.
As he walked to the bathroom, slightly envious of each of his roommates snoring away, he could not help but think of the one thought that he felt he was going to think for a very long time, 'This day is going to suck hairy bum.'
By the time Harry finished his morning ablutions and had taken his shower, he was feeling more awake, somewhat pleased that his nightmares had awakened him early enough that he was finished with all of his packing by the time Neville stirred from his sleeping.
"Morning, Neville," Harry said as he closed his trunk for the final time that day. "How are you feeling, mate?" Neville seemed to look around in confusion as he blinked rapidly.
"Erm, alright." He rolled his right hand experimentally, testing the mended wrist. "I'm not feeling bad, though Ron's snoring seems to be worse." He smiled weakly before falling back on his pillow and stretched. Harry got up and began walking out the door.
"Well, don't fall asleep again. You need to get your things packed up and get down to the Great Hall for breakfast. You don't want Ron to beat you there." Harry was almost able to smirk as he watched Neville almost hop out of his bed and head for the shower. The moment of amusement left almost as soon as it came, however, and he took a deep breath before exiting the dorm room and heading into the common room, where he saw Hermione was already up and getting in some last minute reading before she was forced to return Madam Pince's library books.
'I wonder how she always manages to beat me down here,' he thought idly, pausing at the foot of the stairs to look at her for a moment before mentally shrugging. It was something to look at in the future. Instead, he walked over to her. 'Maybe she's got me on some kind of an alarm or something.' He paused half way to her and seriously pondered that before shaking his head and dismissing the thought entirely and closing the distance to the girl on the couch. He was spending too much time around Mad-Eye Moody.
"Good morning Hermione. How'd you sleep?" Hermione looked up and smiled at Harry, happy to note that he was not swimming in guilt. He had a bad habit of holding his feelings in, though the night before was a wonderful start, even if it did seem a little out of character for him.
"Well enough," she said, eying him carefully. "What about you?"
"Not bad." Had he been able to look at her while saying it, she may have been willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
"Harry, you said last night that talking helped, didn't you? This is the same thing." She watched him sigh heavily and slump his shoulders.
"I got about three hours of sleep, had nightmares where I watched it all over again and I really don't want to talk about it right now," he said in a defeated tone. Hermione got up and hugged him, letting go quickly.
"But you've spoken about it to me once, now. And if you need to, it will be that much easier to do again," she said, grabbing his upper arm and leading him towards the portrait hole gently. "Come on, let's get some breakfast." Harry allowed himself to be led, thankful she was not going to press the issue.
"So, how was your girl talk with Luna?" He quirked an eyebrow as he saw Hermione trip over nothing and pale. For a moment, she thought he had figured out what they had actually spoken about.
"G-good," she stuttered. "And enlightening." She watched him out of the corner of her eye as he morphed his face into a mask of confusion, trying to figure out what she was talking about before he balked slightly. Internally, she let out a sigh of relief. 'He must think it was girl issues,' she thought.
When Harry and Hermione entered the Great Hall, there were only a few students already up who decided that eating was more important than packing, or had already done so. Luna was one of them, sitting alone at the Ravenclaw table and eating a piece of toast. When she saw them, she waved merrily, causing them to continue past their own table and go over to her.
"Good morning you two. Would you like to eat breakfast with me?" Luna asked, blinking up at them as if she expected nothing less. Quietly, the two nodded and took their seats across from her.
"Good morning Luna. How are you doing?" Hermione asked, making sure Harry put plenty onto his plate to eat. Luna arranged two sunny-side up eggs, some bacon and sausage tips onto her place to make a rather festive happy face as she spoke.
"Very well, actually. I had a rather naughty dream and woke up in good spirits." As she finished, her words registered with Harry and his head shot up and he stared in silent shock at the blonde who was now attacking the right eye with blissful detachment and the pumpkin juice he was pouring began to overflow from the full glass.
"Harry, you should stop pouring that. I don't think Hermione will appreciate any moistness in her lap." Whether it was the double entendre or the threat of Hermione's wrath, Harry stopped pouring quickly and scourgified the table just before the liquid began to fall over the table edge.
"Sorry," he mumbled, trying his best not to look at Luna or Hermione. His face was flushed and he could not get the ideas of what she may have been dreaming out of his head now.
While Harry was busy examining the potatoes a few feet away from him, Luna looked to Hermione, was was looking at her with wide eyes and winked. Suddenly, Hermione realized it was not necessarily that she actually had those dreams, even if Hermione was not sure if she had or not, but that Harry was now thinking about something other than Sirius.
Quite ingenious, really. Very wrong, but ingenious.
"Don't worry about it, Harry. We all have naughty dreams, don't we Hermione?" Luna's smile held an element of something beyond her usual dreamy and distracted one. Hermione glanced at Harry, who she noticed looked at her in shock as well and knew her face easily matched his own. Not trusting her voice, but wanting to keep Harry's mind off of Sirius, even at the cost of her own embarrassment, she simply nodded and decided not to look at Harry until they were finished with their breakfasts.
Harry slowly looked back at his own plate and began eating, deciding it would be in his best, and safest, interest to not look anywhere else. If he looked at either of the girls, he had no doubt to what kind of images his mind would supply him with.
'Sometimes, I wonder if it wouldn't be easier to be gay,' Harry thought. Almost immediately, a flash of light came from behind him and to his left. Senses still high-strung because of the night he had, his wand was drawn and pointing at the scared offender almost as soon as the light was gone and pointing at a terrified Colin Creevey.
"Er," the scared boy forced out. "Just one before the end of the year?" He turned tail and ran while Harry, and he noticed Hermione as well, put their wands away.
"That boy is going to get himself killed if he keeps this up," Hermione mumbled to herself just loud enough to be heard by him and Luna, the latter of which giggled.
'Well, maybe it wouldn't be,' Harry amended his thoughts as he watched the boy run towards the Gryffindor table.
Harry and the other five who all joined him in the Ministry the night before were sitting in a compartment on the Hogwarts Express on their way home. He watched as Ginny, sitting between Ron and Neville, took a sneaky glance at their cards as they played some kind of card game that was not Exploding Snap. The two boys both seemed oblivious to her covert glances, even though she was leaning over to get the look.
Beside him on either side were Luna and Hermione, both of which were reading; Hermione a book and Luna an upside down Quibbler paper. 'I'm really going to have to get a subscription to that some time.' Deciding the easiest way to avoid uncomfortable conversation, Harry leaned his head back and began to doze, hoping he would not be forced into the nightmares he had that morning.
Shadow Walker was the leading tracker and assassination specialist in Gringotts. All of King Ragnok's military, to be honest. He was trained to be a specialist in all forms of combat that goblins practiced; magic, blades, poisons, hand-to-hand, mental, politics and torture. There was nothing that his training had been lacking. When humans failed to pay off their debts to Gringotts, or if someone managed to take off with something somehow, he was the one called in. Or if someone just needed some killing, of course.
He always had an uncanny ability for stealth, but when a goblin could stand right in front of you and position himself in such a way that you would not even notice him, and this was without using magic, he became a legend to be spoken of only when that kind of talent was needed. Apparently, his King felt this was one of those times.
Shadow Walker watched as the train the humans used to return from Hogwarts entered the platform and stopped. Immediately, he found the window to Mr Potter's compartment and saw him being held by two females who were looking at him concernedly.
'Now, why would they be looking at Mr Potter like that when he's only resting?' He questioned in his mind when his charge seemed to jump in his seat and look about wildly. 'Ah. That's right. Reports say he was there and witnessed the death.'
Mentally, Shadow Walker scoffed. This was why goblins were warriors first and all other things second. Warriors knew how to deal with loss. Everything was battle to them, even their banking business, just usually less bloody. Still, this proved the boy truly cared for his godfather. Undeterred, Shadow Walker watched his charge as commanded by his King as the boy got off of the train and the two girls stood talking with him for a moment and the brunette kissed him on the cheek.
The Gringotts personal files he read had the brunette in them. His charge's most trusted advisor, Hermione Granger. The only information on the blonde was her involvement the night before that their sources in the Ministry gave them. Without spies in Hogwarts, they had no way of knowing Harry had grown closer to her as a friend over the year.
Shadow Walker followed through the barrier as Mr Potter and the two girls that had yet to leave his side went into the muggle world. Just before entering that world, where he knew security cameras could potentially see him, he carefully cast a disillusionment and notice-me-not charm over himself.
"Boy! Get your arse over here! We're going!" Shadow Walker narrowed his eyes at the large man who would threaten his charge. To the warrior's trained eye, he could tell the man was a highly abusive sort, prone to violence and rage. And he seemed to already be very angry.
Turning his attention to the blonde female next to Mr Potter, he watched her tell the brunette some information. He frowned at the noise in the station. Even with the trained ears he had, he could only catch 'Ottery St. Catchpole'.
'Ah. That is where she lives if the files are correct.' He knew it could also have been the Weasleys' address, but the Granger girl had been there enough times to know that. He also noticed several well-known magic users intercept the obese human and got a little closer to hear them threatening the man in how he was to treat his charge. 'If they have to tell him these things, then he shouldn't be the one taking care of Potter in the first place!' Children were honored in goblin society. That it would even be suspected that one was being mistreated could lead to painful questioning to confirm or deny those allegations.
As he saw the Granger girl head towards her parents, he focused his attention on the Potter boy and stayed directly above him, scaling the ceiling magically so he could listen to anything said instead of the argument he had just been listening to.
The large group of redheads caught up to Mr Potter as he tried to go to the ones making demands of his uncle, but kept him from going near them. He frowned as the older female, the mother if he remembered correctly, kept Mr Potter with them as they spoke of inconsequential things until they were done with his Uncle. Then, the group of redheads seemed to leave with the pink-haired female auror and Alastor Moody, who Shadow Walker was pleased to note had yet to ever see him. He looked about quickly and noticed that no one was keeping an eye on his charge anymore.
The blonde girl walked with his charge to the violet-colored man with a firm grip on Potter's arm, looking calm and serene. "What's this then, boy? We aren't taking in any more of your kind into our home!" Shadow Walker barely kept himself from killing the man. He was a magic hater! They were who were taking care of Harry Potter!
As Harry as about to respond, not totally sure why Luna had not unlatched herself from his arm, Luna spoke up and beat him to it. "I am not going with you, Mr Dursley. I was simply coming over to tell you that Harry isn't returning to you this summer." Shadow Walker smiled toothily as simultaneous cries of surprise came from Mr Potter and his uncle.
"What! What are you on about?" Luna smiled at the man who began to get angrier.
"My family has invited him over for the summer," she said turning to Harry who was looking shocked. "You have no real reason to stay with them, after all." Her grin widened as Harry's eyes filled with understanding.
"If you have no objections, Uncle Vernon, I'll be gone the whole summer." Harry said. Shadow Walker was using subtle legilimency to determine if the man's increasing anger would make things turn bad and saw that, while he hated the boy, he got a sick sense of satisfaction out of making him do chores around his home and had plans of hiring Mr Potter out to some of his co-workers for similar work while he pocketed the money. Deciding that would just not do, he cast a quick compulsion charm to agree.
"Fine boy, but I don't want to see your freak arse for the whole summer, do you understand me?" Vernon growled out. Harry nodded happily.
"Yes, sir. You won't see me again." Harry said as Luna dragged Mr Potter out to the road and called the Knight Bus. Deciding safe was best, Shadow Walker altered the man's memories of his time here. He remembered coming here for Mr Potter, but telling his charge that he decided he wanted nothing to do with him and cast him out. He also remembered absolutely nothing of anyone in particular aside from the witches and wizards who had come up to speak with him specifically.
Then he went to Ottery St. Catchpole to keep an eye on his charge.
[Author's Notes: Final:] - For details, check out my profile and look at my forums. Challenge six in my Harry Potter challenges will explain the goal of this story to a degree. Next chapter is when things really pick up. Also, I'm aware the ending of this was a little weak. To be honest, I think the best way to handle the scene at the train station was best handled by Brian64 in his fic (recommended above.) I didn't want to copy that, and thought this was the best way to suit my needs.
Rating: M – Mature themes, Violence, Nudity, Sex, Torture (see section on lemons and limes for more detail.)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Erotic comedy, Fantasy, Mythology, Parody and Romance
Harry watched Sirius fall through the veil, learns of Dumbledore's manipulations and decides he's had enough. At Sirius' will reading, he finds his godfather has one last master prank to play. Light goals, time training!Gray!Powerful!H/Hr/L, Nev/S J/L
Basic Info on Plot:
Harry and his girls will fight for the light, but will use any means necessary to get their goals realized. Harry wants Voldemort dead and Dumbledore to pay for what he's done to him, Hermione wants equality with the races and to bring the wizarding world into the twentieth century while Luna wants Voldemort dead and to help her friends with their missions. And to possibly prove Snorkacks exist on the side.
Lemons: This story will have several lemons within it. Hermione and Luna plan to make sure Harry is well aware that they love him and plan to show him; often. They will not just be thrown in for the sake of writing smut, however. They will, for the most part, have purpose.
Limes: Expect lots of limes... (assuming they are what I believe them to be.) My plans are to describe plenty of flirting and innuendo and sexual acts up to 'heavy petting', kissing, etc to the extent of anything found in a rated 'R' movie. Basically, anything but out-and-out sex or any penetration. The whole dark side will be balanced with love, some humor and naughty lovin'.
Primary: Harry/Hermione/Luna (H/Hr/L)
Secondary: Neville/Susan (Nev/Sus)
1 Knut (Bronze) - 50 pence/cents
1 Sickle (Silver) - 40 knuts - 20 pounds
1 Galleon (Gold) - 25 sickles - 1000 knuts - 500 pounds
My calculations are based off of the worth of precious metals at 1 Troy ounce in weight of each type (which each coin is going to weigh in at.) However, as there is not much call for bronze, I used copper prices for knuts, which was 17 cents, 17 dollars and change for silver and a 1003 dollars and change for gold. I am basing the amounts off of American or United States currency and rounding to whatever is closest so that I may do the math easier when necessary. I know that the price of gold has changed a few times and went well over a thousand dollars a few times during my time with this story, so I'll leave it there for ease. However, a thousand pounds is quite a bit, so I'm going to say that the gold is mixed to an alloy for half its true worth so it endures handling and being dropped better.
I do not see this as ignoring Canon pricing, really. If you think about a wand costing 7 galleons, and that it is supposed to stay with a witch or wizard their entire life, then you see that it is more like the purchase of a car, which my pricing more closely reflects (7 galleons by 500 pounds gives us 3500) (you can thank Seel'vor and his story "Harry Potter and the Quantum Leap" for his own rant that got me thinking about that – I also highly recommend the fic.) It really makes sense if you think about it. Why use the standard 1 galleon equals five pounds/dollars, meaning a wand (also Ollivander's profession where he makes huge headway once a year and then probably rarely after that,) would only cost thirty five to forty dollars? The ingredients probably cost more than that alone, really (how rare would a phoenix feather be? Or a dragon's heart string or Unicorn hair?)
POTENTIAL CROSSOVER POINTS:
Kage Bunshin: Clones created of magic that can perform their own spells and whatever they learn, the original learns when they are dispelled.
The Wheel of Time-
Gateways (or Portals): These are basically rips in space that a person can walk through to appear wherever they wish, so long as the person is capable of picturing the place they wish to go in incredible detail (This can also be used to arrive to a person, but is FAR more difficult as people are constantly moving about.)
The depth of the portal is thin enough that it would be measured to a millionth of an inch and is therefore thin enough to cut anything that applies pressure to it, including flesh. This means the portal should not be opened randomly at the other end due to the fact that it could open where a person is standing and kill them. Usually, that isn't likely to happen, however, as the gateways open with a default safety mechanism where they are surrounded by a wide band of magic that pushes anything around the opening portal out of the way.
Effect: Clones that are sentient and have the same abilities as the original witch or wizard (but the raw power is split equally among each unless specified otherwise by the caster) and can think independently of each other.
Anything one clone learns, the original will learn automatically once the clone is dispelled, either from attack or the clone dispelling itself or the original dispelling it. Whatever is learned by the clone remains in the original's mind as if the original learned it as well.
This skill does not use a wand in it's creation.
Technology is going to be up-to-date. Therefore, I will not go back to check release dates on movies, music (artists or songs) and the like.