Disclaimer: All of this is based upon the lovely J.K. Rowling's work.
Warnings: Ignores the last two books but possibly incorporates elements if one squints
AN: Another attempt at tackling the time travel cliché, and yes, it's majorly AU. Inspired in part by The Right Hand Path by Sophiax. Title is a reference to the apostle Thomas.
In the end, it isn't Harry Potter who needs to be saved. But another little boy with dark eyes and hair and a soul aching for something he sees all around him but can never have. And just like with Harry, a thousand people see and know but do nothing. Absolutely nothing.
The world crashes down around them piece by piece. Hundreds dying here. A thousand dying in a fire there. Dozens more in little skirmishes all over the globe. Until magic has overrun Muggle, and blood runs through the streets. They always thought themselves so superior. So much better than the magicless animals that dare to call themselves human. Yet, the purebloods are among the first to fall, slaughtered by Muggle mothers and fathers still weeping over the deaths of their own children. Hermione's parents kill dozens of blood purists before they're finally taken down by Arthur Weasley. Who subsequently ends his own life rather than live with the shame.
And the entire universe boils over. More dead now than there are alive. Even as the fighting continues. Even as the Muggles only continue on in self-defense, the very reason they started in the first place. Protecting their families. Protecting themselves.
Harry and she are the last. The only ones to make it out of Hogwarts. Harry has his own brand of luck, which carries over long after the Dark Lord is dead. And Luna… she is saved by a mixture of her family's magic and her own intellect and cunning. None of the others are willing to believe that the castle will fall, but they both know better. Slipping away when their pleas fall on deaf ears.
Harry himself dies protecting children over a year later. Muggle and magical both. All of them crying as wizards tear through them without care. Even the little would-be wand-wavers don't count for much. It's all dirty blood, after all. Tainted by Muggles and poisoned by hypocrisy. Her magical brethren have succeeded where all the ages of civilization and horrible Muggle inventions never could.
It's the end of everything.
Luna may well be the only witch left in Western Europe. And certainly the only sane one. One of the few – magical or Muggle – left under the age of twenty. Holed up on a Black family property that Harry showed her just before his death. Watching the countryside burn from her bedroom window and listening to Dobby weep in the background. He hasn't stopped crying since his friend's death, and Luna thinks that she is the only reason he has yet to follow. Harry wouldn't want her to be left alone like that.
However, even that doesn't last forever. She is caught out on a chilly autumn morning, having gone to help the Muggles from a nearby village. For her effort, she receives a Cutting curse to the chest and two Bludgeoning hexes to the back, and not even the old man trying desperately to save her can do much.
But magic has a power of its own. And it succeeds when everything else fails.
She opens her eyes to blue and cloudless skies. Whole and utterly healthy. Clothes neat and unbloodied if wrinkled. A strange trunk by her feet, the initials "HJP" clearly engraved even from where she's lying.
Harry's last gift to her. To everyone.
The house she's just spent the last six months living in is exactly where she left it, though in far better repair. The door opens before she can even touch the knob, and there is a letter for her on the kitchen table. It only makes her suspicions a reality, makes her mind buzz at the sheer level of magic this had to have required. Astronomical.
What the letter doesn't tell her is when she is. For she knows in her very bones that this is a time outside her experiences. That this is before she should even exist.
Luna goes to the village – the very same one she just died in. Receiving a few stray glances but nothing more than that when a kind-faced man comes up to speak to her. She nearly starts when she realizes this is the same man who'd tried so hard to save her. A younger version to be sure, but he is the same. Smile easy as he asks if she needs help. But she only wants the news, the date if she can swing it.
It's not much. Just the usual woes of life. These are troubled times. The economy is bad. The American stock market has just crashed, doesn't she know?
And with that knowledge, a plan already begins to form. Harry has given her just the right amount of time. Has delivered a miracle.
She renames the baby Thomas. Not Tom. But Thomas. She'd once heard that Muggles have a saying about that name, and truly, a person needs doubt as much as they need faith. Both are equally important, but too often, people are focused on one over the other. Having no balance between.
And Luna promises herself, promises as she stares into those dark but innocent eyes, that she will love him. That she will be everything he'll ever need. That he will never want for affection or laughter or hugs. That no matter what he was or what he did, it isn't as important as who he is now or who he will become.
After all, every child deserves a mother who loves them. Even those who grow up to be monsters.
She can't be herself any longer. Lovegood is a very old family name for all their unique traits. Older even than Malfoy or Potter. She can hardly use it anymore, not that she has for some time anyway. She's just been Luna for so long. Only Luna with no last name needed or given. But Tom – it's Thomas, she must remember – will need a second name. And he's conveniently got one already. It is such a little thing to take it as hers as well. To reclaim it from something of shame and make it a banner for all the ways things will be different.
And yes, it does have the added benefit of distancing her from everything she's ever known. Of acting as a touchstone for her new identity. She isn't just Luna anymore. Not just Harry's friend or a survivor of the apocalypse. She is Luna Riddle, an odd but friendly widow with a young son. A Muggleborn witch to all those magical people who know her. She was trained at a little country school, and no, she's never even seen Hogwarts. But it sounds amazing. Perhaps her son can go there.
That last one always earns her a few chuckles. Some amused. Others not in the way that isn't at all pleasing. Derisive sounds that are always followed by comments. Why would Hogwarts take such a tainted piece of filth anyway? An education would be wasted on him, don't they know? Those damn Mudbloods should know their place, shouldn't they?
Luna just lets their words slide off her back like water. She's heard worse things. She's seen worse things. These people wouldn't know hardship and pain if it bit them on the ass. And besides, Tom's name has been down since the day he was born. Hogwarts is his right not as a wizard of the Slytherin line but as a boy with extraordinary gifts who will change the world.
For the better this time.
He receives his letter the first day of July the year he turns eleven. His eyes are alit with excitement as he calmly presents it to her, and she makes him his favorite cocoa in celebration, even if it's really too hot outside for it. His face is seemingly stoic, but she sees the corners of his mouth quirking upwards. Feels the buzz and tingle of his astounding magic as it tickles her skin. So powerful and similar to Harry's. Different than she recalled it being at the final battle. Cleaner. Crisp. Reflecting his enjoyment of life.
Tom is such a quietly happy child. Not overtly but flowing just beneath the tranquil surface. Content to both bury himself in the books of their substantial library or to help her with the chores. Surrounded by a mother who loves him more than anything and head filled with stories of his father – she's sorry, Harry, but every boy needs a role model. And this is the closest thing she's got.
Tom's first and so far only friends are the Muggle children who live in the nearby village. They think him peculiar like his mother, but at this age, it is endearing more than anything, and his magic is under enough control that he doesn't do something too bizarre in their view. It should be because Luna has been training him with a gentle hand since he was old enough to talk. Instilling both discipline and moral grounding in their games, the latter of which he most definitely lacked the last time around.
Everything is going exactly to plan. Tom is every parent's dream child. Polite. Friendly. Intelligent. Truly Harry's son were it not for the timing of his birth. Luna is his best friend, knows all his secrets. And he absolutely adores her. Is reluctant to even go to Hogwarts if it means leaving her behind. But he still agrees in the end if only to make her happy.
He doesn't even care that other people are watching when he hugs her goodbye on the platform. Even insists on pressing a kiss to her cheek in full view of everyone. A few of the adults around seem scandalized, muttering about commoners and Mudbloods and their incessant need to be emotional, but most of the other mothers and fathers just smile. Enjoying the bittersweet moment as their own children board the train.
Luna waves when she sees him in one of the windows, the brave smile plastered on his face mirroring her own. And she keeps waving long after he is out of sight.
His first owl home carries a tear-stained letter. So does the next a few days later. And the one after that. And after that. And after that.
Surprisingly, it is not because of the other Slytherins. Tom's mother is obviously magical, and from what they know, his father was as well. That is – mostly – good enough for them. Tom is generally ignored by those who would've once sought to humiliate him. And there are other half-bloods in the House, enough for him to be left alone, enough for them to band together. Solidarity in the face of adversity. Friendships forged in the fire of necessity and like-mindedness.
But even that is not enough to spare him. To save him, any of them, entirely.
It isn't Slytherin. No, it is the other students. The other Houses. The Gryffindors are a given. Even now, even in her past, their rivalry with Slytherin is the stuff of legends. And Tom, young and not going in with preformed connections, makes an all too tempting target. But even that is mostly kept in hand by the prefects or his own Housemates.
It is the Ravenclaws who make his life there truly hell. It shouldn't surprise her, and honestly, it doesn't. She remembers her own time at Hogwarts all too well. She was – is – a pureblood, outside of the blood status wars. But that didn't save her from other things, other taunts. Didn't protect her from shoves in the hallways
In making Tom different than he was, in making him better, Luna has inadvertently done something else. She has made him like her. Made him a little odd. A little too far outside of the norm. A little too comfortable with the fantastical. And most definitely a little too smart. Smart enough that he is easily the top of his class, just as he was the last time. And no self-respecting Ravenclaw would stand to be outsmarted or beaten in academics. Much less by someone in another House. And a jumped up half-blood at that.
And if there is anything Luna regrets, it is that. It is the fact that she can't protect him from everything. That anything she does or says to the faculty will only make it that much worse. The fact that children are cruel and cold no matter what decade she lives in.
The most she can do is reply to each letter. To let him know that she will love him no matter what and that one day, someday, he will escape this.
Only he doesn't escape. His second and third years if anything are worse. Not necessarily for Tom, protected by Slytherin solidarity as he is, but the Muggleborns and half-bloods of the other Houses do not have that luxury. Do not have the protection of Housemates who care more about group loyalty than prejudice.
The stories he tells are like something out of a horror movie at times. Jinxes and hexes and curses lobbed at other pupils. Prefects who are overwhelmed by the sheer number of altercations. Professors who look the other way, who don't even care enough to screen the letters home for this sort of damning information. After all, what can a bunch of Muggle and Mudblood parents do about it? It's not like their opinions matter anyway.
Only Dumbledore seems concerned with what's happening, but his mind is elsewhere, on other things. And he is even on sabbatical, gone to fight on the continent with the other magical volunteers.
Luna honestly begins to worry for Tom's safety. Honestly considers withdrawing him as a student and teaching him herself. She could probably do a better job of it to be perfectly truthful. But it is Tom's words that stop her, that make her think twice. Few if any of his friends and associates have that choice. Have a magical parent or guardian who has the time and money for it.
If Tom leaves, what help and tutoring he brings the others will leave with him. If he leaves, their ever-shrinking pool of assistance might just dry up. And he is too much her son to standby and do nothing as the world burns.
Fourth year. He hasn't escaped yet. And neither has she. Even now. Even years before Voldemort's rise and the upswing of violence and hatred. She hadn't realized just how bad it was at this time. How much anti-Muggle sentiment was already coloring her countrymen. How if she was odd in the future, she is downright deranged now.
Her own words of comfort to Tom echo in her head as she walks through Diagon and hears the whispers follow. As several of the shopkeepers refuse to even serve her. As a few try to hex her out of their stores. As she is tripped by strangers when she is all but thrown back outside.
"Mudblood trash," one matronly witch sneers as Luna struggles to rise.
"Go back to where you came from, freak!" an older man spits in her face.
"We don't want your kind here, Muggle whore," another woman adds before wiping her feet on Luna's cloak and ripping it in the process.
"I think you should leave," an Auror finishes before he turns and goes on his merry way.
Luna just stares after them. And wonders if the world she and Harry used to inhabit followed her here.
Time passes. Things only become worse.
There is a war going on outside Hogwarts' hallowed halls. A war of ideas and bigotry. It is a perfect counterpoint to the one raging on the continent. On the news of the dead and dying and atrocities beyond imaging. Of wizards who read the paper and sneer at the viciousness of Muggles. Who don't care that Grindelwald was the instigator. That he even now leads his minions to murder thousands without thought or regret.
Luna avoids Diagon; she doesn't dare go back. Obtains everything through Muggle markets or owl order.
And within Hogwarts, things have become dangerous. Tom is older now, a fifth-year. A prefect if she can actually believe it; Dumbledore recommended him for the post! And he is privy to much that the staff would rather have forgotten. His letters tell her about the increasing persecution of Muggleborns. Of harassment and outright assaults. Of the faculty's ignorance or simple indifference to the problem. To the fact that the blood of children flows in the hallways and no one seems concerned.
Where once Tom wouldn't have cared, would've have scoffed and turned away, he is now her son. He is now burning with the anger of the righteous and unjustly humiliated.
Perhaps it is truer that he is Harry's son. That he is not a reflection of the heroic boy she once called friend, more like the heir to his valiant tradition. Tom grew up with stories of the person Harry had been, the man determined to do the right thing no matter the consequences. She sees the same fire smoldering in her son now. And feels nothing but a glowing burst of pride.
If nothing else has changed, at least this has.
She receives the suspension notice a cold Tuesday morning the winter of his sixth year. To be honest, Luna has been expecting this. Has known that it would come sooner or later. His messages have been increasing in their anger, in their defiance. Brimming with the need to do something. To do anything. To make a difference.
Headmaster Dippet doesn't even rise from his desk when she enters his office. Does little more than nod at her and resume the near-glare directed at her son. The portraits on the walls are looking on in severe disapproval. But somehow, most of that is directed at Dippet himself as he tells her in clipped tones that her son has been suspended for a week for attacking another student. His prefect status has also been revoked, and she squeezes his hand at that, knowing how much it meant to him. That he took it as a badge of honor and tried to live up to what he thought it should represent.
Tom says nothing throughout Dippet's monologue and merely inclines his head in farewell as they prepare to leave. He is silent the entire journey home and nearly stiffens when they enter their kitchen and the first thing she does is slip her arms around his middle. He is taller than her now by a full head, but he is still her little boy when he bends down and returns the hug fiercely. She makes him hot chocolate just the way he likes it – the same way Harry always took it – and sits down at the table with him. Not speaking. Just waiting for him to tell her the truth. It doesn't take him long to break, to reveal the real story.
Her son the prefect. A third-year girl, Muggleborn naturally. And her assailant, a fifth-year pureblood. Finding them on his rounds when he followed the sounds of struggle. Her shoved against the wall with both hands jinxed to the stone and tears streaking her face. Silenced and unable to do more than mouth her pleas for help. And him, her attacker, with his hand up her skirt.
Tom didn't so much assault the younger boy as pull him off of his victim. As take his wand and prevent him from leaving the scene.
But of course, no one is willing to listen to him, to either of them. To a Slytherin prefect or a hysterical girl against the son of a department head in the Ministry. To a half-blood and a Muggleborn versus a pureblood. Even if it is two against one. Even if their stories coincide. She probably deserved it anyway, Mudblood tart. Obviously she led the poor innocent boy on and then incited an older student to assault him.
Luna can barely swallow the bile in her throat. Only glad that she hadn't made a drink for herself since it would surely be coming back up at this point. She is equal parts horrified, furious, and so very proud of her son. Proud that he wouldn't retract his story even if it meant that he would be punished more severely. Even if it meant losing his prefect status and the chance at Head Boy next year.
And she tells him as much. Tells him that she is glad he is her son and means every word.
They spend every day of his suspension together. It is more a holiday than a punishment, and when he returns to Hogwarts, it is with squared shoulders and a head held high.
He isn't Head Boy this time; she knew he wouldn't be. Dippet isn't in his pocket anymore, and he's amassed a different sort of following. Friends instead of minions. The loyal boys and girls he has tutored and helped for seven years. The downtrodden Muggleborns and half-bloods have come to see him as their leader. As the only one in the school looking out for their best interests. Dumbledore is too busy setting the continent to rights to do more than teach even half of his classes before he is off again
Tom isn't Head Boy, but he might as well be. And the pièce de résistance is little map given to him by an anonymous benefactor. That along with the knowledge of a secret room in the castle that can be anything the user desires and an even more hidden place that can be accessed through the girl's toilet. Salazar Slytherin may not have been much of a decorator, but he did know how to hide things in plain view. And his descendants have been using his chamber as a dumping ground and storage facility for centuries it seems. Which goes nicely with the books and notes Luna gave him – things from Harry's trunk of goodies that are so dangerous and illegal that she'd be given the Kiss if anyone else even had an inkling of what it contains.
They aren't an army though. They aren't the DA. They're better. There isn't dissent in their ranks. No reluctant members or traitors hidden among them. They all believe. All know that if they don't stand up for themselves, for each other, that no one else will.
Tom is so much like Harry in that moment that she forgets to breathe. Forgets that he isn't really Harry's son and successor.
Luna doesn't even feel a twinge of regret or sorrow as she helps them. As she teaches Tom things that no parent should ever tell their child. Magics that made even Harry initially take pause. And she is under no delusions here. She knows even if she can't yet admit to herself where this is heading. But all she can think about is the letter of thanks from a little girl's parents to her son, the gladness in their words to him for saving their daughter last year. For sparring not only her virtue but more importantly her life.
That is the only thing in her mind as she opens Harry's trunk once more and digs out books and notes not meant for protection or defense. But for war.
He comes to her the night of his graduation. There is no party for Tom. He has never really been the type, and a quiet dinner at their house with his school friends is much more his style. He finds his mother in the kitchen, looking out the back window and into the garden where the others are still gathered. All smiles and laughter. All knowing that there is a storm on the horizon.
Luna has been both anticipating and dreading this conversation for nearly a year, and she makes them cocoa like she always does in times of stress or celebration. They sit at the table, just mother and child, and silently drink it down. He doesn't speak until both mugs are empty and reaches for her hand.
"I'm so proud of you. I love you," she tells him then, speaking before he can. "No matter what happens that will never change. I will always be your mother. Your friend."
She smiles at him, and he returns it.
"You know what we're planning."
It isn't a question; they know each other too well.
Luna nods. "I do, Tom. It's your choice to make." She takes a deep breath. "And I won't stop you."
There is something like triumph to the gleam in his eyes. It is followed by hope. And in that moment, she knows that he wants more than her silent support.
"We could make it all better," he murmurs with conviction in his gaze. "We could change things. Make the world a better place. For everyone. For me. For you. For all of us." Tom squeezes her hand and looks directly into her face. "Will you help me?"
Luna just closes her eyes. Simply feels her son's hand in hers; he is her child but also her best and dearest friend. And she recalls happy times and a house full of laughter and love.
But she also remembers insults and shoves from strangers as she walks down the street. Being spit on and hassled for her supposed blood status. And before that, before this life, having only one true friend, Harry, during her schooldays and how much he had also suffered. How much he will undoubtedly suffer again. How much this world – their world – will hurt him. How it hunted him. Knifed him in the back for daring to have a Muggleborn mother, for the audacity of being better at magic than the purebloods.
How much her own son will suffer. How much he already has.
But there is a chance. A small and minuscule chance. One that could make all the difference. And either way, the world is damned.
So she looks at her son and does the only thing she can.