1. First Intersection
As always, I own nothing, Harry Potter or Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
And now, without further adieu-
"I've also modified my parents' memories so that they're convinced they're really called Wendell and Monica Wilkins, and that their life's ambition is to move to Australia , which they have now done. That's to make it more difficult for Voldemort to track them down and interrogate them about me – or you, because unfortunately, I've told them quite a bit about you.
"Assuming I survive our hunt for the Horcruxes, I'll find Mum and Dad and lift the enchantment. If I don't – well, I think I've cast a good enough charm to keep them safe and happy. Wendell and Monica Wilkins don't know that they've got a daughter, you see."
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Book 7
A tear trickled down Hermione's cheek. "I'm sorry Mum, Dad." she whispered as she turned away.
Her da lowered the newspaper he'd been reading and cocked his head. "Honey, did our daughter just attempt to modify our memories?"
"What?" Hermione whirled.
Her mother looked up from the magazine she'd been perusing, sprawled on the couch. "Hm. Monica Wil… yes, dear, I believe she did. Do you have any idea why?"
"But that's im- I did the charms right, I know I did!" Hermione cried. "Stupify! Obliviate!"
Her da shook his head. "You all right, love?"
Her mum snorted. "I've had worse from a gröntlakhe and you know it. Hermione, dear, what's wrong?"
"I think it's that Voldemort chap." Her da said, putting down his newspaper.
"The one who's been trying to kill Harry all these years?"
"That's the one. Maybe he's finally got off his ass?"
Her mum snorted again. "Had to have found it first. He's lost, what, six times to an underage kid?"
"Seven, if you count that first night."
"Oh, right! Should it? I mean, his mom kinda kicked ass and took names on that one."
"And nobody gets in the way of an angry mom. Six, then. What's he done this time, my 'mione?"
Hermione stared at them, her tear-stained face gone slack in shock. "You- you're- how?"
Her dad glanced at her mum. "Mitkschlin infection, back in Africa. All your mum's fault."
Her mum sat up. "It was not!"
"You shot me with a gun!"
"It was a tranquilizer dart!"
"It still knocked me over the edge of that cliff!"
"Hey, you survived the fall!"
"By falling into a pit of stoned tigers, thank you very much! Stoned horny tigers. I've never been so traumatized in my entire life, and that's including the she-mantis in high school!"
"Not even the-"
"You swore not to mention that ever again."
"Monica Wilkins didn't."
"You can't use fake identities if you remember your real one!"
Hermione looked from her mum to her da to her mum to her da again. "…what?"
Maybe it was the stunned disbelief in her voice that made her da take pity on her. "I was in Africa looking for… well, kids who needed my help, and your mum decided she needed to get laid."
"It was so totally not- well, maybe that was part of it, but I'd been waiting for you for three years! Three years! You were supposed to be in Africa for six months, and I had this plan when you got back where I'd hide in your room wearing a bow and n-"
"Leeeet's not traumatize our little girl with a boatload more TMI than her brain can handle, Dawn. She's already got enough issues between Ron and Harry and Voldie, and all that UST between her and that blonde."
"US- wait, which blonde? And what's UST stand for?"
"I'll tell you when you're older." Her mum said brightly, patting her head.
"Anyway, what's the old overbum done recently?" said her mum, ignoring her protests. "I mean, you didn't try erasing anyone's memories when all those people disappeared last year."
Hermione opened her mouth, paused for a minute, and then slumped. "We discovered how he survived all these years- he made horcruxes."
"Horcruxes. He split his soul and-"
"Son of a gun." Her dad hissed.
"Dawn- Burundi, about sixteen years back- the Vutu morxan magic, remember?"
Her mum sucked her breath in. "Na'a-korliks. He's made a na'a-korlik!"
"Well, maybe. Hopefully. How many times did he split his soul, honey?"
Her dad sat back in relief. "Well. A Na'ti-korlik, then. He must have missed the prime number theory of threes."
"Idiot." Her mum spat. "Probably doesn't even know what he's dealing with, especially if the magelets are calling them horcruxes. Mione, honey, how many times do they normally split?"
"Er- no-one's even done it more than once. It's forbidden, forgotten. Most people don't even know what they are."
"So he's not trying for thirteen or twenty-three." Her mum let out of breath. "That's good. Still, why are you suddenly wiping memories?"
"We're going to destroy them." Hermione blurted out. "And he's going to come after us- after everyone." Her voice caught. "I just wanted to make sure you were safe. That he couldn't find you."
"Aw, honey, come here." Her mum opened her arms and pulled Hermione into a tight embrace. "Mummy's going to be fine. We're not going anywhere, and the stupid 'ol Moldievort isn't going to get anyone." She glanced over at her husband. "Think it's time?"
Her da sighed. "Yeah. I really wanted to let her handle this dork alone. I mean, nothing keeps you sharp like a dark lord, even if he is a wanker."
"Oh, like you haven't said worse."
"Not in front of our daughter! I've been fucking pristine."
Hermione let out a choked laugh. Her mum hugged her. "Ah, see, that's better, isn't it? Nothing like a good laugh before an apocalypse."
"Or some mockery." Her dad added.
"Wait." Hermione sat up and wiped her face. "An apocalypse? Mum…"
"Figure of speech." Her mum replied quickly. "Besides, the snake-bred doesn't really count. I mean, he's spent, what, twenty years trying to wipe out England? No summonings, no vortexes, weapons of mass destruction- not even a good mind control broadcast. The brat's small-time, like a rich boy trying to take over a dinky one-horse town. I'm honestly surprised someone hasn't just ripped his heart out."
"To be fair, he's got the whole half-immortality thing going." Her dad interjected.
"Yeah, that is pretty annoying. So! What are we going to do about it?"
"You keep saying that word." Her dad replied. "I do not think it means what you think it means."
Her mum leaned over and smacked the back of his head. "Behave!"
"Ow!" Her da rubbed his head. "It's not my fault! Ever since that kid bit me-"
Her mum huffed. "For the last time, there is no such thing as pedathropy!"
Her da grinned. "Were-kidism."
Her mum smacked him again.
"Ow! Enough already, woman! We've got plans to make! Now, what are we doing about this guy, Hermione?"
"We're not going to leave you." Her mum said firmly. "So obviously we've got to work out a plan of action. What do you want to do? You said you were going to destroy the horcruxes, would you us to help you with that?"
"But you're muggles!" Hermione blurted out. She immediately covering her mouth, burning red.
"Yeah, hon." Her da grinned. "Wouldn't want these old fogeys to crimp her style."
"Muggle doesn't mean old, dear,"
"It doesn't? Dang it, I miss all the new slang!"
"I mean, you don't have magic. You'd be defenseless." Hermione said worriedly.
Her father… smiled, for lack of a better word. If what Cheshires did could be called a smile. Her mother just snorted. "You're obviously in too much shock to have noticed anything odd about what we've said. Don't worry about us, dear. Just remember to breathe when it finally hits you, and for goodness' sake, don't remember at a critical moment."
Her da smiled softly and shrugged. "Don't worry, Mione. It'll be fine. So, no hanging out with the cool kids, huh? Whaddya think, dear, the usual snipe hunt?"
Her mother smiled demurely. "I think that would be wonderful, dear. It's been years since I had a good scrap."
"Excellent!" he turned to Hermione. "Okay, so, you go do your thing, Hermione, and- wait, did you pack extra socks?"
"What? It's a perfectly reasonable question! You have no idea how many times I wished for an extra pair of socks down in Mozambique! And underwear- always pack fresh underwear, Mione, you-"
Hermione snorted. "Ya, dad, you never know when you might need emergency pants."
He turned to her mum. "She got that snort from you, you know."
2. Second Intersection
Luna drifted absentmindedly through the garden gnomes, observing their antics. One had to be absentminded to watch, she knew. It was the only way to be ignored. A fact true of both man and beast, she reflected. And, occasionally, if one were absent enough, nature. She wished her father would let her visit the Alps to learn that one. It could be a very useless talent- for instance, one would never need fear losing balance walking on a volcanic edge.
There was a racket as the gnomes gibbered angrily at being scattered. Luna suddenly came to herself and glanced around. Hmmm, that was interesting. Some spacial fabric had just been unraveled. Idly she wondered if there was a chronal kneazle loose about somewhere. She sighed. They weren't very interesting, but they did play havoc with local history. One minute, you were sitting on a chair, and the next, it was still a tree!
Luna pulled out a pair of multidimensional mirrors and looked into them.
"Oh." she said, surprised. "That's very clever. I didn't know you could talk to wrackspurts like that."
The couple she saw in the mirrors froze.
"Er… thanks?" the woman said. She reminded Luna very strongly of everything, forever.
"You're welcome." Luna replied politely. "I don't suppose you've lost a chronal kneazle, have you?"
"No, no weasels." The man said. One of his eyes couldn't seem to decide if it was there or not. The effect was very disconcerting. "We're actually just dropping by to check in on the wedding."
Oh. That made sense. The woman was wearing a very elegant blue dress. A bit too few ruffles for Luna's taste, but who was she to judge? The man wore a fine black suit that Luna vaguely remembered being in with Muggle fashions. What did Hermione call it? Something to do with penguins. Linux? Oh, well. She did have to admit, it was much more dashing than dress robes. Well, perhaps except for Charlie Weasley's leather robes… oh, they were waiting for her to speak.
"Bill and Fleur's wedding?" she asked. "I didn't know they knew any extra-dimensional beings."
The one-eyed man laughed nervously. "Yep, that's us. Mr. and Mrs…"
"Gordo." The brunette blurted. "Dawn Gordo. And this is my husband Alexander."
Luna frowned for a moment. They seemed familiar for some reason… "Oh!" she exclaimed. "Hermione Gordo's parents!"
Mrs. Gordo snorted. "Not if she hears you call her that."
"I've never heard someone snort like Hermione before." Luna ignored the strangely ecstatic motions Mr. Gordo made. "Did you know you glow just like her?"
"Lemme guess- green?"
Luna nodded happily. "It's very becoming." she said, when Mrs. Gordo didn't seem very pleased to hear about it.
"Thank you, Luna." Mr. Gordo said. "I find it very lovely myself. Unfortunately, you can't persuade my wife of that for love nor money. She wanted purple."
Mrs. Gordo sputtered at her husband. "I did not- you never- I- wait a minute, Luna?" She whirled on Luna. "You're Hermione's friend!"
Luna smiled. "I am."
"And you're blonde!"
"Some people seem to be very emphatic about that."
"Okay, then, you listen to me and you listen good! Hermione's a spunky kid, and God knows I love her for it, but spunk doesn't save you when your heart's broken. I don't know if you two ever actually spoke about what's going on, but so help me if you hurt her I will personally rip out your spleen if you have one and then tie your guts to a dragon. You-"
Mr. Gordo coughed. "Not that one, love."
Mrs. Gordo spun. "What?"
Mr. Gordo cleared his throat. "Not that blonde. The other blonde."
"What? Are you sure? I mean, not that I'm not okay with that sort of thing, but- honestly, the other one?"
"I see what I see, love."
"Dammit." Mrs. Gordo covered her face and groaned. "I was hoping to avoid all that drama. Do you know how hard it is to keep track of boys? And now we have to worry about birth control and contraceptives and oh my God, I am not giving the sex talk!"
Mr. Gordo blinked. "You never gave her the-"
"Good God, no!" Mrs. Gordo turned very red. "She found our library when she was eleven. There is no way I am answering any of the questions those books gave her!"
Mr. Gordo blinked again, and then started snickering. Mrs. Gordo hit him. "Stop it!"
"Oh, but it's just too funny! Dawn, she of the thousand positions, apprentice to Faith of a thousand obscene propositions, can't talk to her daughter about how babies are made!"
Luna paused thoughtfully. "You could always take her to the Stork offices in Bangkok."
Mr. Gordo broke down laughing. Mrs. Gordo, who suddenly made the wrackspurts very agitated, began kicking him. "It's! Not! Funny!" She accidently hit a gnome who, upon finding himself in the air, was very grateful to Luna for catching him and bit her.
"Oh! Why thank you!" She glanced at the couple. "I've got to go show my father! Have fun at the wedding! And do look out for that chronal kneazle! I don't fancy having my chair suddenly grow! Although, it would provide lovely shade…"
Later, when Kingsley Shacklebolt's patronus appeared, Luna thought it very odd that nobody noticed Mrs. Gordo blazing wild green before disappearing in an explosion of fire. Mr. Gordo just glanced at Luna and shrugged as if to say, what can you do? He knocked back his wine glass and began pulling things out of a pocket universe hidden in his trouser pockets. Luna wandered over.
"What are you looking for?" she asked curiously, as people ran about frantically, apparating and casting shields.
"A sealed spell." He said, pulling out several metal eggs. "Kinda like your portals. Here, hold these. Man, knew I shoulda kept the hearth stone in my back pocket. It's just about impossible to- aha!"
Mr. Gordo pulled out a white stone wrapped in magic like candy floss. He tapped a sigil on the top and began fading away.
"Oh!" Luna said, "You forgot your eggs!"
Mr. Gordo grinned like a much meaner person. A pirate, perhaps. "Those?" his voice echoed oddly as he turned translucent. "Those are presents. Pull out the pins and give them to the Death Eaters for me!"
3. First Parallel
Man, these things always seem so much longer when I write them, but I barely even glance at thousand-word stories when I'm browsing. Oh, well. As always, I own nothing.
"…wonder just where Ms. Lovegood learned such potent spells! Is this yet another example of Dumbedore's insidious plans for a civil war, or was the dubious Ms. Lovegood simply allowed too much free-reign? More tonight at eleven.
In other news, soon after the administration change that rooted out the corruption in our beloved Ministry, a strange woman appeared in the courtyards and began slaughtering anyone in sight. It is assumed that she was some kind of deranged Muggle-born with a vendetta against Wizard-kind, but officials are uncertain because of the circumstances. She appeared in a blast of green fire, wearing what seems to be Muggle clothing and an axe strapped to her back. Instead of pulling her wand, she immediately jumped one of our newly-appointed officials and… and I'm sorry to say, dear listeners, that what followed is just too brutal and violent for younger ears, completely without mercy or conscience. A great too many of our most promising youth fell before Aurors were able to apparate into position. Unfortunately, just as they attacked a man appeared and knocked her to the ground. He deflected their spells with his axe and proceeded to have what appeared to be an argument with the woman. At some point the woman then threw up her hands, and the couple disappeared in a flash of green fire. Aurors have been attempting to trace their apparent floo through the network, but results so far have been-"
Delores Umbridge scowled as she shut off the radio. Just like a mud-blood, to foul things up and murder so many innocent-
She gasped and whirled. The tip of a very sharp point was suddenly threatening to nudge against her nose. Delores became very still, and very quiet.
Following the tip down to its source, she found a crossbow in the hands of a brown-haired woman. A very deranged looking brown-haired woman, with an axe on her back. Behind her, a black-haired pirate lounged against the wall, with a sword and another axe, and a patch.
She subtly reached for her wand.
"No, no, no, don't do that." The woman crooned. "I'd hate to get blood over all those pretty little kitties."
"Who are you?" Delores asked, trying to sound arrogant. The man snorted.
"You can call me Delta. He's X." The woman grinned mirthlessly. "You could say we're an unknown change."
"Why, yes!" The woman- Delta- smiled brightly. "So many changes going on! Two to one, life to death, bad to good- and yet we couldn't help but notice that you haven't changed! Still here, still playing. Same office, same job, same chair, same kittens! So… why haven't you changed, hmmm?"
"I…" Delores blinked. "What? Why would I? Just because the administration changes, doesn't mean our jobs change."
"Oooooooh, but they do, Mrs. Umbridge. Wait, that's got to be a Miss. You're a Miss, aren't you Delores? A Mrs. would mean some poor soul committed suicide, and you wouldn't want that on your- oh, what am I saying? You don't have a conscience!"
"Getting off track, hon." The pirate X said.
"What? Oh! Right, right, right. Jobs and changes, changes and jobs. And they've both got to happen because, you see," Delta leaned in and whispered, "I know who's in charge." She straightened up. "And he's not very nice. And he's got a lot of not-very-nice people with him. And they really don't like nice people. And, true, you're not very nice. But you've got to be a special kind of not-nice, and you, Ms. Umbridge, you, I suspect, know what kind of not-nice that is. So the question remains, why are you still here? What do you think, X?"
X smiled. "I think she's working with them. Well, for them. She's a tool. A nice, nasty little tool to do their dirty work for them."
Delores bristled. "I don't know what you're talking about! I am simply upholding the laws of this country and fighting to make it a better place."
"A better place. A better place! X, my love, she wants to make the world better! But better for who? For men, for plants, for dogs? For chimichangas!"
"For Wizard-kind." Delores replied archly. She was beginning to get a bit angry about this, being held at bow-point by a mad little chit.
"Wizard-kind! But who's a wizard?" Delta lit her hand on fire. "Oops! Didn't use a wand! Can't use a wand! Am I wizard? Can't be, I'm a woman, I must be a witch! So men, males only. What kind of men? What about half-men? Or men who are only men half the time? Yes? No?"
Delores grit her teeth. "Pure-blooded humans. The rest are scum, they can burn! Filthy creatures, stealing magic!"
"Oh, stealing, very bad. So, so, so, you'll give back your wands?"
Delores blinked. "What?"
"Well, you stole them, didn't you, from all the goblins and elves and dwarves and giants? Took them, you did, rounded them all up and chop, chop, chop, gone! Stealing is wrong, isn't it?"
"Listen up, you repulsive little girl!" Delores snarled, pushing the arrow away, "They're creatures, filthy disgusting things! They don't deserve wands or magic! They shouldn't even be sentient enough to use it, but somehow, some way, some perverted little horn-ball must have mated with them and given it to them, and now they think they're good enough to use it against us! Not on my watch, I can tell you that!"
Delta sobered and became quiet.
Delores huffed. "Right." She whipped out her wand. "I don't know how you got in here, but you're going to stay here until the authorities arrive. I'm sure they'll have some questions for an axe-wielding-"
"I think that's enough." Delta said quietly.
"What?" Delores paused.
"Enough playing." She glanced at X. "Ready?"
"Yeah." The pirate pushed himself off the wall. "She'll do."
"Now," He pulled the axe off his back and began examining the blade. "Our daughter- you remember our daughter? Senior year, brown hair, brown eyes, total nerd? Goes by Hermione 'coz her mother's a cr- creative woman. Anyway, since she's just like her mother, she and her friends are probably gonna drop by to check out the new administration. You remember her friends?" He glanced up. "Ah, I can see by the twitch that you do. Well, Harry, you know, he's not really one for fame and he just gets all embarrassed when people recognize him. So, while I'm sure you've got all these dandy detectors for things like polyjuice and such hanging about the place to fight off the forces of g- I'm sorry, evil, I think it'd be best for everyone all around if they didn't work."
"And what-" Delores said frigidly, "Makes you think any such thing would ever happen?"
"Well, now." The pirate suddenly seemed much larger. And darker. "Quite simply, you're a coward at heart. That's why you scramble so desperately for power, why you torture people who stand up to you. And you don't want to be dead. I was a watcher, not a slayer." His voice grew quiet. "We do what they can't."
It was rather amazing what kind of menace he could draw out with that single sentence. Delores wished, very suddenly, very, very sincerely, that she were somewhere else.
"And if that isn't enough." Delta added, "After that bitch Glory got into people's heads, I made sure I learned my mind magic. Let me show you what's in his…"
4. Second Parallel
The wards to Hogwarts suddenly screamed, and then the doors to the Great Hall boomed open. Snape was halfway to his feet before he realized what was going on.
"Huh, so this is the Great Hall!" A couple walked through the doors, staring at the sky like a pair of tourists. The man looked like a wizard trying on Muggle clothing for the first time, but his wife, at least, wore a reasonably decent dress. As they walked forward, she turned to glance at him, and Snape suddenly realized where he'd seen those eyes before. Granger. But he'd thought they were Muggle dentists? He made his way down to the front of the hall.
"Mr. and Mrs. Granger, what a pleasant surprise. However did you get here?"
Mrs. Granger stared at him like he was stupid. "Well, there was this train-"
Mr. Granger leaned over. "I think he means the wards, hon."
"When we walked in?"
"Those were wards? Oh, how cute!"
Mr. Granger chuckled and turned to Snape. "We kinda just walked through them- they weren't very strong, y'know? I could totally see there was something was hiding there- did you know there's a shimmer? Anyway, then I got this mild urge to go buy an enchilada at the store a couple miles back, which, I've got to say, was great advice, so we had an early lunch and came back here."
Snape raised a single eyebrow. "So I see. If you're looking for Ms. Granger, she never deigned to arrive."
Mr. Granger waved him off. "Oh, don't worry about Hermes. She's taking the year off."
"Is she now?"
"Yeah, said something about offing a dark lord, some evil bastard who killed Harry's parents. You know, um… damn, what was his name again?"
"What? No, I don't. That's why I asked!"
"Yes. You speak of He Who Must Not Be Named," Snape replied coldly.
"Must not? Pshht, dude, that's just silly superstition, don't let it get to you." Mr. Granger patted Snape on the shoulder. "Now, let me think. Something like Mojo Mort. Or Moldieshorts? Moltenwarts, Wodenforts, Foldingwarts, Vodoncourts- that's it, there was a V! Votocoats, Votin' hoits, Voldesnorts, Voremanports, Voldertorts-"
"Oh, for heavens' sake, it's Voldemort!" Snape barked.
CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! CRACK!
A half-dozen Death Eaters apparated into Hogwarts, causing the students to scream.
"All right, hands up!"
"Voldemort!" Mr. Granger snapped his fingers. The fool-! "That's what it was!"
CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! CRACK!
"Hands up, whoever- oh, Avery, you've got this?" The second group of Death Eaters lowered their wands
"So who are all these people?" Mr. Granger asked. "They seem kinda jumpy. Is it because of-"
"Don't-," Snape interrupted desperately.
"I think it is because of Voldemort, dear!" his wife exclaimed.
CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! CRACK!
"Drop to the ground!"
"That is so cool!" Mr. Granger said, lighting up. "So if I say Voldemort-"
CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! CRACK!
"Got you now, you traitorous little- wha…?"
Mrs. Granger grasped her husband's arm. "Maybe we should stop, dear, the place might get a little crowded."
Mr. Granger grinned. "I know, isn't it cool? I wanna see how many we can fit in if we keep saying Volde-."
"Aw, but what's wrong with Voldemort?"
CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! CRACK!
Mrs. Granger turned. "Actually, that's a good question, why are all these people showing up when you say-?"
"Enough, please!" Snape exclaimed.
"I think these are Death Eaters, hon."
"Death Eaters!" Mrs. Granger exclaimed. "Why would Death Eaters be allowed in here? And why isn't anybody doing anything about it? What about the police?"
One of the Death Eater laughed. "Honey, we are the-"
"Mister Rookwood, were you born without any sense at all?" Snape hissed.
"So-" Mr. Granger said loudly. "You guys are like, sanctioned? Any time somebody says Voldemort-"
CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! CRACK!
"You are in violation of Ministry- what the hell?"
"-you're allowed to show up and, what? Kill them? Good grief, what is this country coming to?"
Snape groaned and looked around the Great Hall. The students had gone from terrified to startled, and scandalized whispers were beginning to make their way across the tables.
"You!" One of the Death Eaters- ah, Mr. Macnair- finally decided to take charge. He pointed his wand at Mr. Granger. "Veritas! Who are you?"
"Me? Alexander Harris. Who are you?'
"I'm the one asking questions! Wh-"
"That's a bit rude, don't you think?"
"Shut up! Nott, we got us a Harris on the list?"
"Harcesis, Hardinger, Harmony, Harpoonier- no Harrises, boss."
"What?" Mr. Granger exclaimed. "We gotta be on there! Check-"
"Dear," Mrs. Granger said quietly. "You gave out your birth name."
"Ohhhh, right," Mr. Granger laughed sheepishly. "Sorry. You'd think, seventeen years as a Granger, it'd stick."
She patted his arm comfortingly. "Don't worry, it's that truth spell they cast on you."
"Is that what that was? I was kinda wondering-"
"Granger! Boss, that's the name of that Potter kid!"
Thirty-six wands instantly pointed at the Grangers. Snape covered his face. There was no way to get them out of this one, and it was their own stupid fault. Merlin! How in the world did such a smart girl come from such idiotic parents?
"Potter kid!" Mr. Granger (or should it be Harris?) exclaimed indignantly. "I'll have you know she's a Granger through and through! And she's not gonna be dating until she's twenty-seven, so there'll be no Mrs. Potters running around here for a good long while!"
"There was that one boy, Victor Krum. You know, the Bulgarian?"
"What? Man, I knew she had a crush on him, but he was, y'know, in Bulgaria! They seriously dated?"
Mrs. Granger nodded her head.
"Okay," Mr. Granger cracked his knuckles. "After this, we've got some business in Bulgaria."
"You're not going anywhere!" Macnair sneered. "Holding Potter's little bitch's parents ought to bring her in right quick."
Mr. Granger's face suddenly became very blank. "…did he just say what I think he did?"
"He did." Mrs. Granger looked positively thunderous.
"Right." Mr. Granger pulled an enormous axe out of his back pocket. He paused. "Um, is it okay for the kids to see this?"
Mrs. Granger grimaced. "You're right. Okay fellas-" she smiled ferally at the Death Eaters. "We're taking this elsewhere. Allons-y!"
The Great Hall exploded into green fire. When it finally dissipated, the Grangers were gone, and not a single Death Eater remained.
Snape stared at the spot where they'd been standing. There hadn't been a twinge of magic, and he'd never seen that spell before. The closest he'd even remotely felt something similar was when Fawkes disappeared. Those weren't Muggles! But what are they?
5. Third Parallel
Viktor cursed as he was thrown head over heels by a brilliant and terrible flash in the sky. He'd only just barely gotten his bearings when dozens of screaming men flew past.
He pulled his broom around and stared. Dozens of screaming men in freefall, check. What in the world was going on? As he pulled closer, he noticed a couple in the center weren't screaming. Well, screaming in fear, at least.
"You said you wanted-"
"I didn't mean in the middle of the sky!"
"Well, excuuuuse me, I didn't know he'd be there! This is your fault!"
"My fault? I'm not the one who ported us into the upper atmosphere!"
"Uuuch!" The woman ground, "I told you-"
Viktor hesitated. "Ah, excuse me?"
"What?" Two angry visages glared at him.
"Ah, do you, by any chance, need some help?"
"What? No, we're fine." The woman shrugged.
Viktor looked around at all the others. "Why does no one apparate?"
The one-eyed man grinned. "That would be because they're missing these." He held up a hand full of wands and waved them.
The woman tossed her hair. "Oh, we're just waiting for the ground to catch up."
"Is it so very slow?"
The woman snorted. The man turned to her with a broken look on his face. "…he's the boyfriend, isn't he?"
"Dammit. I like him! Damn it!"
Viktor looked between the two of them in confusion. "Boyfriend…?"
The man stuck out his hand. "Alexander Harris- gack, the spell's still got me all fracked up- Xander Granger, and this is my wife Dawn. We're Hermione's parents."
Viktor paled. "I… thought her parents were dentists?"
"Oh, we are!" Mr. Granger grinned. "See? Pearly white!"
"And the battle-axe on your back is for the cleaning, yes?"
Mr. Granger turned to his wife. "Oh, I definitely like him! Why didn't she keep him? This one's definitely- hey, wait a minute, you never her gave her the sex talk about him?"
Mrs. Granger glared. "No."
"What the hey?" He waved at Viktor. "Look at this guy! Tell me he couldn't dissolve panties at ten paces!"
"Exactly! It's overcompensating!"
Mr. Granger looked as confused as Viktor felt. "Huh?"
"I thought he was her beard, alright?" Mrs. Granger hissed. "Which feels like a horrible, horrible mistake in hindsight because, oh my God, how did she not jump him? That iron control didn't come from my side of the family, let me tell you!"
Mr. Granger smirked. "Oh, you don't have to." His face turned very solemn as he turned back to Viktor. "And I'm not so sure I believe it, either. Tell me, on your word as a man: did anything happen between you and my daughter?"
In another time and another place, Viktor would have thought it a stupid question. Who in God's name would be fool enough answer yes? But here and now, looking straight into Mr. Granger's eye, there really wasn't any recourse but to tell the truth. Fortunately-
Mr. Granger continued to stare.
"I am an honorable man!"
There was a pause, and then Mr. Granger nodded his head. "So you are. Well," he stretched, "That's almost a pity. I wouldn't have minded little Slavic know-it-alls running around the place."
"Xander!" Mrs. Granger hit him.
"Ow! What? I saw the adoption research you were doing, woman! You want grandkids, too!"
"Don't call her a know-it-all and he's not a-" Her eyes narrowed. "He is a Slav! Xander!" she wailed.
"No book smarts, remember? That intelligence worm..."
"Is dead." Mr. Granger said quietly. "I killed him the night Hermione was born."
Her eyes widened. "You- you complete idiot, you could have been zonked!" She walloped him hard on the shoulder.
"Ow! Look, I couldn't take the risk, alright? It ate minds. There was no telling who might've known how to find us in another dimension. And Hermione could've been- is smart, way smarter than the average bear. He could've scented her three timelines away."
"Ohhhh-! Nngh!" She hit him again and then kissed him. "You're the stupidest, smartest, bravest man I know, Xander Lavelle," she said, hugging him. "Just don't go doing things like that again."
"Hey, I'm stupid, smart, and brave," he said gently. "You know I can't promise that."
"Yeah…" she sighed, and then brightened. "Hey! At least all we have to worry about here are silly little dark magelings!"
Mr. Granger chuckled. "Yeah. Speaking of which-" he glanced at the men around them. Viktor realized with a start that they were Death Eaters. "They seem to have passed out. I know you were all set on a little carnage, but you want we should just let them fall? I kinda don't feel like waiting for them to wake up."
Mrs. Granger frowned. "It would get a little tricky, wouldn't it? Foo…" she sighed. "It seems like such a waste."
Mr. Granger was staring at him. "What?" Viktor asked nervously.
"How would you like to be a hero?" Mr. Granger asked thoughtfully.
"'s not that hard, just zap these guys with your little rope spells and keep them from splatting on the ground. 'Viktor Krumm, took thirty-six Death Eaters by surprise, brought them down!' It's even technically true."
"But- no, I could not do that! They would find out!"
"And if they didn't?"
"Worse! They would think I could do it!"
Mr. Granger grinned. "Man, I like you better every time you open your mouth! I think you could."
Viktor goggled. "Thirty-six Death Eaters?"
He shrugged. "I could show you how if you want. Actually, I should even if you don't. This is too good an opportunity to pass up."
"Oh, I see what you mean, babe!" Mrs. Granger said excitedly.
Mr. Granger turned to his wife. "People seem to be saying that around us a lot, lately." He glanced at Viktor. "Voldemort's in charge of the English Ministry of Magic. Technically, these guys are British combatants who invaded foreign air-space. It gives Bulgaria the excuse they need to declare war on- keep this in mind, it's an important distinction- the current British administration. Note, not Britain itself. And, since Bulgaria's part of the Slavo-Baltic Magical Alliance, they can pull in pretty much all of Eastern Europe- including Latvia, which has a Dark Overlord Compact with Germany, thanks to Grindelwald. Again, thanks to that most evil of Dark Lords, Germany would have to notify France in order to arm itself, giving France the excuse to call up an investigation of Britain under the Magical Usurpation Act of 1483, before the ICoW actually came around… give me a moment while I imagine the magi-UN as an electronic cow."
Viktor looked askance at Mrs. Granger. She made a face. "He doesn't like the International Confederation of Wizards. Thinks they're useless. And they haven't proved him otherwise, so I get to hear the rants. Anyway, like he said, France calls up an investigation. Belgium mediates, and Spain gets pissy because they've been waiting for years to nail Britain on dark magic. They call up the Inquisition, who notify their superiors in Rome. Rome sends in covert op priests who automatically sanctify bases in England, creating safe asylum for anyone under attack from dark magic. Meanwhile Eastern Europe, led by Bulgaria, does tactical apparitional strikes against Death Eaters and scrambles their scrying spells. Which, in turn, frees up our little daughter from surveillance, giving her friends pretty much free run of the country. As long as they don't say Voldemort."
Viktor blinked as that last sentence interrupted his attempt to take in everything she'd just dumped on him. "Don't say it? He's using the Taboo curse?"
Mrs. Granger snickered. "Is that what it's called? Kinda useless unless everyone's afraid. I mean, wooo, I can't say the dark lord's made up nickname! Whatever shall I call him? Tom? Riddle? Tiddle?"
That even got Viktor to smile. "A point. However-"
"Ah-" Mrs. Granger held up her hand. "Sorry, we're about fifteen seconds from the ground. You gonna save 'em?"
"I am not a-"
"Shibanyak!" Viktor cursed, and began throwing spells at the Death Eaters. Mrs. Granger scrunched her fist and appeared on the ground below them with her husband in a wreath of green fire.
Viktor landed gently on the ground with the Death Eater.
Thwack! "Ow!" Viktor exclaimed.
"Watch your language, young man!"
"You speak Bulgarian?" Viktor said incredulously.
"Bulgarian, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Slovenian- and that's just the Southern Slavics." Mr. Granger bent down to poke one of the death eaters. "I think this guy's the one who talked about Hermione, love."
"Is he now?"
Viktor quickly backed away from her tone of voice.
"I think you'll have to settle for taking down thirty-five Death Eaters, Viktor." Mrs. Granger said casually.
"That does not make this any more believable! I am only a Quidditch player! I do not know how to-"
"Would you like to know?" Mr. Granger asked seriously.
"I-" Viktor paused. The man before him was offering to teach him how to fight Dark wizards. A man who, it seemed, regarded Voldemort as not much more than a pest. What would he have made of Grindelwald, he wondered darkly. But the man believed he could do such things. And what would he give, he thought, to be able to hold against the dark, to defend the weak, to be like the mage-knights of the realm of old?
Mr. Granger grinned. "Alrighty, then. Let's get these Death Eaters turned in, and we'll start on making the hero they believe in reality."
For all you geeks out there, they would have to finish their conversation in one minute, forty-five seconds if they started under 22,000 feet, so assume that the magical density of the area slowed the wizards down a little.
6. Third Intersection
Months come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legends fade to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the things that gave it birth come again.
Except for bloody Harry Potter, Xenophilius thought bitterly as he lay in the snow. Secondary explosions shook the earth. That'd be the diraniminium hooves he found the year after Luna's mother died. Should have known that they'd-
"Oi! You are trying to kill us, you daft ink-brained coot!"
Ah, the Death Eaters. Were they still here? Too much to hope that they'd been killed in the fire.
"Are you listening to me? I'm going to kill you, you filthy, unwashed son of a-"
"Good God, that wasn't a crumple-horned, was it?"
What? Xenophilius blinked. There were two new pairs of boots in the snow.
An another explosion. "Ouch, I think it was!" A female voice, this time. Xenophilius struggled to sit up.
"Oi, who are you?"
"Good grief, who was stupid enough to buy one of those? Was it you guys? You know why they're crumpled, don't you?"
The Death Eaters drew their wands on a one-eyed man covered in furs. Bulgarian silver dire wolf, he noticed faintly. How did he manage to get one of those?
"Don't know, don't care, freak. Tell us who the bloody hell you are!"
"It's because they're freaking shaped charges. For when the snorkaks butt heads. For dominance. You guys know anyone who use high explosives to get chicks?"
"Well, there was Connor…" Ah, he hadn't noticed the woman beside the man. How... Xenophilius suddenly felt very weak. She was wearing a grue pelt. That wasn't possible!
"Crazy impossible vampire kids don't count," the man said testily. "He also thought the best way to kill Godzilla was jumping down its throat."
The woman giggled. "While you were screaming your head off going 'GO FOR THE EYES, KID, GO FOR THE EYES!'"
"Ey, we're in charge here, shut up!" The Death Eater- Selwyn? Swung his wand between the two of them jerkily.
"My daughter." Xenophilius rasped. "You saw I had Harry Potter here, I called you, please, give me back my daughter!"
The man's eyes hardened. "You have his daughter?"
"Harry was here? Oh, foo, darling, we must have just missed them! And I so wanted to catch Hermione for Christmas."
"Shut up!" Selwyn screamed. "Just shut up! You! You don't get your disgusting twat back, blood-traitor, because you print mud-loving trash and you just tried to kill two authorities of the Ministry! We'd kill you and your filth right now if the Dark Lord didn't forbid it! So just you shut the fhurk."
Xenophilius had barely seen the man move before his hand was around Selwyn's neck. "I repeat," he said softly, "You have his daughter?"
"G-get away from him!" the other Death Eater stammered, pointing a shaking wand at them.
"I think not," the man continued softly. "I'll take from what he said previously that the answer is yes. You will, then, provide her location in exchange for his life. As little as I think it is worth hers."
"A-Avada-" The man screamed as green fire engulfed him.
"Don't even think about touching my husband," the woman said coldly as the flames abated. "Answer the question."
Xenophilius couldn't believe what he was seeing. He had known there were fire elves out there, but he hadn't dared to believe that they would ever come down from their volcanoes, especially disguised as humans! And of course, that would explain the grue pelt. Who else could hunt one in the pitch black except one of their matriarchal talamh witches? That would make the man her gèard, though strangely, it looked like she was guarding him. Ah, probably because they were mates.
"The Dark Lord will kill us if he finds out!" The burnt Death Eater cried.
"I-" The man- elf replied, "Will tie you up, and let this man do anything he wants to make you talk."
Oh please, oh please work! Xenophilius prayed as he tried to look like the kind of crazy that would do anything. Surprisingly, it wasn't hard. Give me back my Luna, I beg you!
The Death Eater's head swerved wildly as he looked from the elf witch, to the Xenophilius, to Selwyn, who was rapidly turning purple.
"I'd say he has about thirty seconds left." The fire elf holding him said pleasantly.
"All right!" The Death Eater said, collapsing. "She's up to the north, in the old inn near Grimsby!"
The elf turned to Xenophilius. "Do you know where that is?"
He shook his head wearily. "I don't-"
"Master Harris!" a strong voice shouted from the air. A mass of twenty or thirty brooms burst through the cloud cover overhead, lead by a scruffled young man who stood on his broom and jumped off. He hit the ground running with a hefty thoomp. "Master Harris, you and the Mistress cannot go running off like that! At least tell us where you are lead!"
The elf witch scowled. "What did I say about that mistress crap?"
The young man bowed. "That with you and your husband, teachers are rarely afforded the title they desire."
"I was talking about our old- argh!"
The young man stood, and smiled. He, too, was dressed in silver dire wolf fur, and his accent was thick with Eastern Europe. He waved at the brooms above. "My men await, Master. Who will we rescue this time?"
The boy's master- he must be an elf-lord! -tried to look innocent. "Who says we're going to rescue anyone?"
"Because, Sir, the man you're choking is still alive."
"Eh? Oh!" The elf-lord started and hastily dropped Selwyn. "Sorry, I forgot! Er- you! Death Eater dude! Go… no, actually, we don't want them hanging around England, do we? Dawnie, could you do your…" he waved his hands.
His wife waved her hand and took the Death Eaters in green fire.
Xenophilius stared. "You killed-"
"Nah, we just dumped 'em over in- which country agreed to hold them again, Dawn?" The elf-lord asked.
"Poland," she replied casually. Xenophilius jerked his gaze to the elf-witch. Apparating people over a thousand miles! Without touching them? The fire elves were far stronger than he had imagined! She must from a particularly potent volcano, perhaps somewhere in the Pacific. They had to be on a world-journey, then, that was the only thing he could think of. And he was so fervently grateful that chance had brought them across his land.
"Viktor," said the elf lord, "Have one of your magelings scry us an old inn in Grimsby. We've got a fair maiden to find!"
Viktor cocked his head. "Grotsky's on it. He says he's found… a disturbance in the Force?" The boy looked as confused as Xenophilious felt.
The elf lord began laughing while his wife hit him. "Xander! When did you corrupt that poor boy?"
Lord Xander grinned. "He wanted to know if a light sword were possible."
The Lady Witch Dawn groaned. Her husband turned to his apprentice. "Give the order. We're hitting that disturbance; tactical extraction in an unknown territory."
His apprentice nodded and turned to leave. "Wait!" Xenophilius cried desperately, "Take me with you!"
The elf lord grinned. "Of course! Somebody get this man a broom!"
His wife began to glow green with eldritch fire as someone flew down and handed Xenophilius a broom. The apprentice Viktor pushed off and swooped into the air.
"MAGE KNIGHTS!" he bellowed. "DUST OFF!"
Edit: Okay, if it's not clear, these clips are somewhat following Book 7 (hence the chapter titles). Despite how slow some parts were, Rowling actually jumped three months twice. Well, kinda, for the first time. A comprehensive timeline can be found at /timelines/calendars/calendar_. This particular chapter continues off from the end of 21
My personal notes:
Dec 24 - H&H arrive in Godric's Hollow, fall for a trap with Nagini, barely escape. Harry's wand is killed.
Dec 25 - Harry gets gimped, hangs out in forest to read. Angst.
Dec 26 - Patronus shows up. Harry follows, finds sword, nearly drowns. Ron saves him. Horcrux taunts Ron, Ron kills horcrux, Hermione kills Ron.
Dec 28 - They find Mr. Lovegood. He pulls a Lando.
7. Fourth Parallel
If only Xander had Old Spice Man to give him advice when he cast that love spell! As always, nothing is owned.
"…bombings at Grimsby by known terrorist Xenophilius Lovegood. Meanwhile, the Ministry has assured us that reports of England being invaded by foreign Aurors are largely myth. New Minister Thomas Riddle personally called up a press conference to address the issue."
A cultured voice came on. "This is yet another attempt by those who hate England, an attempt to stir up fear and doubt in a time of deeply troubling and wanton destruction. Who knows why these depraved people feel the need to attack honest citizens? It is not the first time, nor will it be the last. But to believe these stories that undermine our pride and honor is ridiculous! Almost as ridiculous as some of the rumors that these people invent. Why," he chuckled, "I heard one yesterday that said I was actually You-Know-Who!" There was laughter in the background. "Sometimes I think they're getting desperate."
"Which is good news indeed," the broadcaster announced. "Because after the last spate of attacks by this so-called 'Phoenix Force', an apparent out-branch of the infamous Dumbledore's 'Order of the Phoenix', the public is itching for a payback!"
Molly Weasley snorted at the droning radio as she ironed several more shirts. Out-branch indeed! More likely some idiots getting it into their fool heads to mimic the Order, or steal its name to gain legitimacy, or both.
She didn't like the sound of this new minister, though. He was obviously a puppet for You-Know-Who, but he sounded so right, so sure. And his voice could melt chocolate. If she didn't know better and Arthur wasn't such a-
Knock, knock, knock.
"In a minute!" she called out, giving the iron a final swish with her wand to make sure it would finish the blouse properly. She checked her hair and rolled down her sleeves and went to open the door.
"Uh, hi." The one-eyed man gave her a nervous wave in the rain. "I don't know if you remember us, but-"
"Mr. and Mrs. Granger!" Molly exclaimed in surprise. "What ever are you doing here? Come in, come in!"
Molly closed the door behind the soppy couple. They stood hesitantly by the coat rack. "Come now, let's get you out of those coats! How did you get here? I thought you weren't, er…" Her eyes shifted over toward Mrs. Granger. "Don't worry about muddying up the carpet, dear, it's been replaced more times than I can remember because of my boys! And girl. If you'd told me the kind of damage a nine year old girl can get up to before Ginny, I would have never believed you! Uhm…"
Mr. Granger ruffled his hair out. "We're, ah, not 'er'. Well at least, I'm not. But Dawnie's kinda not, either. That's why we've come to talk."
Molly blinked. "Excuse me?" she asked, taking their coats.
"I'm a witch." Mrs. Granger said bluntly, "But not a wand-witch."
"Impossible in this universe unless you're extremely skilled." Mr. Granger finished smoothly. "Which, she is, but we're not."
"Oh, you poor dears, you're not one of those dimensional refugees, are you?" They showed up from time to time thanks to this world's magical density, usually from some ungodly war-torn hellhole. "Here, come into the kitchen, let me get something warm inside you."
Mrs. Granger protested, "We're not-"
"Hush, dear, you just came out of an earth-bound ocean," Molly said, pulling them toward the kitchen. "You need a little something. Come, sit at the table and warm yourself by the fire while I fix you a meal."
She began bustling around the kitchen without waiting for a reply. Mr. Granger amusedly took a seat, and then his wife followed him after a second's hesitation. "Thank you."
"You're very welcome," Molly said, mixing several things into a saucepan of hot milk. A thought struck her. "Oh!" She turned, tapping the spoon behind her into stirring by itself. "You're not looking for Hermione, are you? I'm so sorry! I didn't even think, you must be out of your minds with worry- she's safe, I know that- I got Arthur to add her to our clock, see? I don't know where she is-"
"Oh." Mrs. Granger said blankly. "She's been wandering around the countryside with Harry and Ron. I think they're lost."
"I blame Harry, myself," Mr. Granger said. "He's never had a good head for direction, but that boy can sniff out trouble from two parsecs away. Only now, the whole damn island's in trouble. Kid's like a compass on a magnetic waffle plate."
Molly made a polite noise of agreement. "I see…" She brought two steaming mugs over to the table. "Drink up. I'll get the roast started, and then we can talk about whatever's brought you over in this terrible weather. Oh, Dawn- may I call you Dawn? Thank you, dear. And your husband is? Oh, right, Xander, I'm sorry, how terribly forgetful of me. At any rate, Dawn, do you prefer whole or white bread?"
Dawn blinked several times, dazed. "I haven't had a rant like that since Willow. Whole bread, please, thank you," she replied, bemused. She took a drink. "Wow, this is good! What's in it?"
Molly smiled. "Family secret. But I'm sure you can taste the spices if you try hard enough. There." She tapped the stove several times and then came to sit down with her own foaming mug. "Now what's this all about?"
"Well…" Dawn glanced at her husband uncertainly.
"We've been taking care of some kids lately," he said, taking up the reins, "And it just got us to remembering how much we missed having one of our own. Hermione hasn't really been around since sixth grade, what with the magic school and her friends and everything. So we'd like to try for another one."
Molly looked at them, mildly puzzled. "What does this have to do with me?"
"You've got seven." Dawn blurted out.
Molly laughed. "And you think I've got some trick for it?"
"No, it's- you've got seven children, you're a witch, your place is practically a hearth, and you've got to have an amazing garden if that produce came from out back. You're one of Gaia's embraced."
Molly blinked, surprised. "Goodness. I hadn't thought anyone knew enough to notice."
Xander smiled briefly. "We had a friend back home. She was like the teacher's pet, made all the other little earth witches jealous."
"I'm still not sure how I can help. If you know anything, you know that Gaia isn't a goddess and nobody can bless for her."
Dawn nodded. "We do. But you can introduce us."
Xander grimaced and took a drink. "We didn't exactly do things in the right order back then. First we got pregnant, then we had sex, and then we got married. It was a whole thing."
Dawn glared at Xander. "Which has nothing to do with anything. What he's getting to is that certain creatures thought it did, and they started sending things after us."
"Which would've been fine for, y'know, us," Xander injected, "But Hermione was coming soon, and we couldn't fight and raise a child and keep her safe until I found a serious vat of chemicals to give her superpowers."
Dawn slapped him over the head. "When they sent an intelligence worm, that was the last straw. I opened a portal the day after Hermione was born, and we stepped through to this world. I would have done it sooner- I wanted to do it sooner, for Hermione, so she could be born here, but the magics wouldn't allow it."
Xander sighed. "The whole up and up is, since Hermione wasn't born here, she doesn't have a connection to the earth, and without her connecting us, we don't have the right spark."
Molly shook her head. "I'm still not sure what you're… oh."
Dawn smiled a little bitterly. "Yeah. Without a connection, Gaia doesn't know us, so she doesn't know when we're trying to make life."
"And so when you try to become pregnant, nothing takes. Well, dears, we can take care of that! But you'll need blood from someone born here. Would it be all right if I became related?"
Dawn beamed. "Oh! We would love that, but- we came with our own." She pulled a vial out of her purse. "Here."
Molly took the blood and muttered a spell. "Hm. It was given willingly, so it should work. Whose blood is this, if I might ask?"
"Viktor Krumm." Dawn said. "We've kinda been taking care of him for the past several months, and I thought it might be a nice continuation of that."
"Plus, y'know," Xander added, "Huge ick factor with Hermione. I'm going to film her reaction."
Dawn hit him again. "Xan-der!"
"Revenge, Dawnie, revenge. My little girl shouldn't be sneaking boys behind my back!"
Molly laughed. "He's an evil boy, that one."
"Not as evil as her," Xander thumbed at Dawn. "Vik doesn't know what the blood's for."
"Xanderrrr! It's not like we're trying to become his parents! Just an aunt!"
Xander rolled his eye. "Like that's not bad enough."
He turned to Molly. "Actually, she hit on something I forgot about. The blood's only good for her side. Could I take you up on that offer, be your brother or something?"
Molly smiled as her eyes teared up. "Ohh! Of course!"
He yelped as she suddenly pounced on him with a great big bear hug. "Hey, whoa, no annoying older sister habits till after the linking thingie!"
Dawn, of course, smacked him for her.
8. Fifth Parallel
Wheeeew-ey. This is a radio broadcast, so things might be a little unclear ( And apparently I'm confusing in my own right) so if there's anything you don't understand, please tell me and I'll try to make the passage clearer!
As always, I own nothing.
"Good evening ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Potterwatch. My name is River and I'll be your host for this evening. Tonight, I'm excited to say we have two very singular guests, ones whose hard work and dedication has led to many a heroic swoop in to save the day! Might I introduce, Delta and X."
"Thank you, River, and might I say, creepy show name."
"It's quite all right, Delta, he's perfectly correct. Knife and Rapier felt the stalkeresque name would help inspire our prophecy boy to even higher heights of 'Oh, God!'"
"Ahhh, keen strategy."
"It's quite simple, love. The more desperate Harry is to avoid all this, the quicker he'll try to kill Vol- excuse me, Tom Riddle."
"The Prime Minister?"
"Why him, if I might ask? Granted, his chocolaty velvet voice does lend credence to the Death Eater cause, but Mr. Potter was prophesied to kill You-Know-Who, remember."
" Prime Minister."
"I do. Tom Riddle."
"He's the Prime Minister."
"And your dark lord."
"We call him 'You-Know-Who.'"
"Dear, stop. Remember who Glory was?"
"Remember having trouble with that concept?"
"Well, yeah, she- oooooooooh. You mean like 'we suspect that there may be some kind of connection between Ben and Glory'?"
"And you're saying Tom and Big V have a... 'connection'."
"Of course they have a connection, X! We all know that Tom Riddle, despite his sexily scintillating voice, is nothing more than You-Know-Who's puppet."
"Yes, of course, River. How silly of me to forget."
"Well, getting back on track, I understand you two are responsible for the formation of the Phoenix Force?"
"Not precisely, River- it was really more of our nephew's doing. We just kind of helped him along and gave them support."
"Yeah, you know, Viktor Krumm. He's been leading the Eastern Europe Alliance forces in Britain?"
"You're related to Viktor Krumm? Could you get me an autograph?"
"It's a blood magic thing, very recent. But sure, I could ask."
"Blood magic? You three must have been very close. What did he say when you asked to be related, X?"
"Oh, he didn't know until just now. Hey, Viktor!" A pause. "…Viktor?" Another pause. "Could someone splash him with a glass of water? He doesn't seem to be all there at the moment."
"Oh, dear, I think Hermione just found out."
"Dammit, I wanted to be there! Which language, Del?"
"Ah, excuse me, if I might ask, what's going on?"
"Oh, ever since we found out about that Taboo spell, we set up a couple on cusswords in various languages that only we and Hermione know. That way we have a pretty good gauge of how much crap she's in."
"And Drikhing is…?
"Yeah, actually- Hermione? If you're still listening, you might want to switch languages- I don't think Ron or Harry would appreciate walking on the corrosive landscape. Oo, especially that last word, Ron, stay away from where she said that last word. Whatever's left'll melt your feet."
"I can't believe you let her learn that one, Xander."
"It's not my fault! You know how she is with books! Need I remind you why she hasn't had the sex-"
"Moving on, the Phoenix Force was really more of a collaborative effort, River. Viktor realized that however much people might like being rescued, they don't appreciate foreign armies tromping all over their land. So we kinda brainstormed to set up an effective resistance backed by the Eastern Europe Alliance. Vik helps out with coordination and extractions from time to time, but it's really the English people who are fighting the good fight."
"And your own part in this? It seems everyone we talk to has some sort of story about you two."
"Honestly, not much, River. Vik's got this thing well in hand. Us, we just kind of go where the wind takes us, and people seem to make a big deal about it."
"Xander's being modest- he follows my crazy lead to God knows where and backs me up when I get in too deep."
"That's just part of being a good husband, dear."
"Aww." A kiss. "Isn't he just the sweetest?"
A chuckle. "Careful, you two, keep that up and Hermione might have another sister."
"Oh! Actually- we were going to wait for this, but-"
"Calm down, Dawnie. What she means to say is- wow, I think Hermione's ahead of us. Whoa, I only put a spell on that word 'cause I thought my wife might-"
"We are so having a talk when this war is over, young lady! I don't care who you heard that from, my daughter will not be using that kind of language!"
"Sorry, there are certain languages my wife won't allow. And she's right; Hermione? Don't think because you're seventeen you're too old to discipline."
"I take it she's not, erm, pleased about- I'm going to guess I should be saying congratulations?"
"Yes! Thank you! I'm pregnant with a little girl!"
"Which is good, because I don't think we could fit a full grown one in there."
"So, where did the name Phoenix Force come from, anyway? I assume it's a reference back to Dumbledore's original order?"
"Dumbledore had an order? Like, a secret society?"
"That's so cool! I seriously underestimated the old guy. Figured he was all twinkie and no jelly beans. Not that twinkies are a bad thing, mind you. I myself have a passionate long-term relationship with them."
"It's true; I've seen him caress a box more gently than he's ever touched me."
"Er… well, if it's not from the Order of the Phoenix, what made you come up with the name? I assume there's some sort of symbolism involved?"
"Well, y'know, the whole idea of being reborn in fire with an explosive shockwave just kind of-"
"He corrupted one of Viktor's boys with Muggle fiction. In one story, the Phoenix Force is the embodiment of life and passion in the universe, and You-Know-Who tries to be the embodiment of death. So, you know, in-your-faceage. But mostly, they just thought the name was cool."
"Hey, so did you!"
"I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about."
"Well, we're just about out of time. Thanks for being on the show with us, and keep doing whatever it is you're doing!"
"Thanks, River. Hey, we wanna try something, could you leave the room and lock the door behind you?"
"Er… I… guess?"
"Dear, you're not-"
"I never got to really test it at Hogwarts! Come on, pleeeease?"
"Woohoo! Okay, ready? On one, two-"
"VOLDEMORT, VOLDEMORT, VOLDEMORT, VOLDEMORT, VOLDEMORT, VOLDEMORT, VOLDEMORT, VOLDEMORT, VOLDEMORT, VOLDEMORT, VOLDEMORT, VOLDEMORT!"
9. Fourth Intersection
"Well, Draco?" his father asked eagerly, "Is it? Is it Harry Potter?"
Draco stared down at Harry Potter. He looked ridiculous with that bee-stung face, all puffed up and bloated. Probably the closest he'd ever looked to his cousin. And wasn't that a joke, that he knew what Potter's cousin looked like?
"Draco, if we are the ones who hand Potter over to the Dark Lord, everything will be forgiv –"
"Now, we won't be forgetting who actually caught him, I hope Mr. Malfoy?" Greyback said menacingly.
Draco growled at that- that thing, actually taunting his father. Not that there was any love lost between them, but Lucius was his father, and nobody looked down on the Malfoys. Nobody. Not even the fucking "I am so evil" Dark Lord himself. Bloody git. If they ever survived this, he swore-Merlin's beard. That man had been right. His mind flew back to the previous week…
His back slammed up against a tree.
"Is this the one?" A crazy woman shrieked. "He's blonde, he's evil, good God, he's handsome, Hermione must have been all over him! Is this the one, Xander?"
What the bloody hell? All he'd been doing was watching some Death Eaters on their patrol when these two nutters showed up, wiped everyone out , and then attacked him!
"Get your hands off me, you madwoman!"
Alright, perhaps anger wasn't the right response to someone who'd just taken out six fully accredited assholes, but dammit, he was tired of being walked all over!
"Dawnie, love, it's not the guy. No UST with Hermione whatsoever."
"Uugh!" the woman threw up her hands and stalked off to yell at the other wizards who'd show up on brooms.
The one-eyed man smiled slightly. "Sorry about my wife," he said, offering Draco a hand up. He took it, warily. "It's the first time she's dealt with hormones in eighteen years, and it's kinda taking its toll on her."
"Er…" It was one thing to insult a woman. It was another to do it in front of her husband. Especially when he seemed to have a very firm grip on your shoulder. "What the hell did she think I was doing with Granger?"
"Oh, nothing. She knows Hermione's got the hots for a blonde and she thought it might be you."
"I know better."
"Oh, thank God."
"I wouldn't be so sure." His grip somehow tightened. "Just because she doesn't have something, doesn't mean you don't have a little attraction going on yourself."
"Kid." The man stared him straight in the eye. Draco deflated.
"Something about a woman who's willing to kick your ass, right? Unfortunately for you, she's interested in someone else. So the way I see it, your best bet here? Evil."
Draco stared at the crazy American. Did he just say what he thought he did?
"I look at you, I see an evil little bastard. Work with that. Make your ties, set your foundations, stab the people you need to stab, but lay low enough that you survive this war. Then conquer a small country. Y'read Doctor Doom?" The man glanced around before lowering his voice. "Look, find a muggle bookstore and read up on Dr. D. Classic model villain. He'll get you started."
"How the hell is all that supposed to help?" Draco asked incredulously.
"Well, if you're going for the dark side, you've got several options, though not all of them good. You enslave her, I kill you. You have her man nicked, she kills you, but you might get some angry sex out of it. You could pull off a Doc Oc and present a romantic and well-mannered front, but like I said, she's got a guy, so that'll just attract all the other chicks. Still, not a bad deal. But me, though, I'd just clone her."
"Well, evil clone her. It's the best of both worlds- you get your girl, but with a dark twist. And, bonus, when Hermes inevitably comes to foil your evil plans, you can set them on each other. Sweet catfight. Maybe arrange for a steam pipe to break or something, add to the scene?"
Draco began to see where this man was coming from…
"Oh, make sure you always have a dramatic escape route, though. Very important, it keeps her coming and builds up your rep. Y'might wanna learn some sword-fighting, too, for when her sweetie comes after you."
"Why the bloody hell would he use a sword?"
The man shrugged. "Laws of drama. Especially over parapets or girders."
The man suddenly gave him a very intense look. "I swear to God, though, you hurt either one of them and I will hunt you down to the ends of the earth. I don't play by the rules, kid, and her clone's my daughter just as much as she is. You will come to an end."
"I-I- yes. Absolutely. I'd never hurt her, anyway."
The man smiled. "Good! Anyway, we've got to get going. Dawnie's got an appointment with the doc and the Mage Knights'll probably freak if we get into a fight when they're around."
The one-eyed man took the broom being offered to him and swung on. "Good luck, then! And hey-" He looked straight at Draco. "You're better than all of them. So be better. And even better, out-better the good guys. It's worth mega taunting rights."
He gave him a final nod, and swung off into the air.
Draco straightened. Soon to be dead Dark Lord, he suddenly decided viciously. But for now-
"What, are you all fools? He's nothing like that poof." Draco sneered down at Potter, daring him to react.
"Don't talk to me that way, boy-" Greyback surged forward.
"Don't." Draco's wand was suddenly sticking in the werewolf's chest. "Dare to presume that you have any authority here. I am a pureblood. You, halfbreed, simply suffer from a bad case of steroids. Back off."
He glanced at his Lucius. "It's not Potter, father. As much as it galls me to say, I doubt even he'd be stupid enough to blow his cover after months of hiding." He stared into Potter's eyes. "Especially if it put his friends in danger. This-" he prodded Potter with his wand. "Is a fool. I suggest we let Pettigrew dispose of him out back. After all," he looked down mockingly at Potter. "Not even Pettigrew could be in danger from a weak little Squib that thinks he's a wizard."
Ahhh, the anger burning in those eyes was exquisite.
10. Sixth Parallel
Ginny jumped and whipped her head around, scanning the library.
She looked up and started. A one-eyed man was lying around on the library stacks like a lazy cat.
"So you're my niece?"
"Who are you? Wait, you're that pirate from the beginning of the school year- wait, niece?"
The man looked up. "Hm? Oh, yeah, your mom adopted me."
"My mum adopted…"
"You can call me Uncle Xander!"
"Dear, quit traumatizing our niece."
Ginny whirled around. The crazy woman from the beginning of the school year was here, too, browsing through the books. Ginny whipped her wand out.
"Who are you people?" she exclaimed, backing slowly away.
The woman sighed and put a book away. She turned to Ginny. "My dear, foolish husband is correct. Your mother adopted him as a favor to us for a blood-magic spell. He is now your Uncle Xander and I am technically your Aunt Dawn."
"What are you doing here?" Ginny demanded. Xan-no, the pirate, she reminded herself, chuckled while Dawn rolled her eyes.
"I was looking for a book specific to aura-shielded detection spells, and Hogwarts just happens to have the best selection. Though, I don't know why- you'd think that Durmstrang would be much more invested in information and detection. My imminently dead husband seems set on stirring up trouble. I told him-" she glared at the pirate. He just grinned. "-to stay hidden. He seems to believe that the library stacks are sufficient."
"Hey, nobody looks up!" the man protested.
Aunt Dawn pinched the bridge of her nose. "Of course not. Unless you talk with them."
"She's our niece!"
"And you're her crazy uncle. People take time to adjust to these concepts."
The pirate man pouted. "Oh, I see how it is- pull out the mature card so she thinks you're sane!" He rolled onto his back and leaned his head over the edge of the stack. "She frightened the wicked cat lady." He whispered to Ginny.
Ginny, having dealt with Luna for a great many years, only took three or four blinks to work it out. "I thought the centaurs took Umbridge!"
Xander rolled back onto his stomach. "Naaah, 'pparently she works in the ministry for Tommy-boy."
Ginny blinked again. "The minister?"
Aunt Dawn covered her face. "We've been over this, Xander," she said through muffled hands. Huh?
"It's such a pity he's working for You-Know-Who," Ginny sighed mournfully. "He's got such a delicious voice."
Xander stared at her and then turned to Aunt Dawn. "Why is it that you all treat men like food?"
She giggled (and wasn't that weird, watching her aunt giggle). "It's a female thing. For instance, your voice is like popcorn."
"Delicious… buttery… popped kernels of flavor." Her voice dropped huskily. "The kind that just melts in your mouth while you savor the taste of-"
"Oh, my God, I'm not hearing this!" Ginny exclaimed, dropping her wand and covering her ears.
"Heh-heh, okay, feeding time for momma," her uncle said, swinging off the stacks. "Lemme guess, love, something salty?"
"Oh, my God!"
Xander scowled. "That wasn't dirty, you little gutter-mind! Let's see, you guys don't have any popcorn so- maybe crackers, hon?"
"Crackers sound good," Dawn replied. "Ooh! Maybe, with curry and sauerkraut and chocolate syrup!"
"And believe it or not, her taste get more normal with cravings." Xander said, picking up Ginny's wand. "Here. Bad idea to leave it lying around. Y'got a cafeteria in this place?"
"In the Great Hall," Ginny said numbly, "But- but- they'll see you."
"Then we'll get food." Xander replied matter-of-factly.
"No, you don't understand, Amycus and Alecto- cravings? Aunt Dawn, you're pregnant?"
"Ha!" Her uncle turned to his wife. "She didn't know! I told you you couldn't possibly look fat yet!"
"Yet?" Her aunt growled.
"Ever!" Xander yelped. "Not possible ever!"
"What are you doing here?" Ginny exclaimed, rushing to her aunt's side. "There're Death Eaters here, they'll kill you!"
Xander snorted. "Those dudes in black that pop up everywhere? They're kinda allergic to axes. And stakes. Iron-tipped crossbows, too. Oh, and maces, pikes, piano wire, pianos, busts of Martin Luther King Jr., and peanuts injected with polycarbophil. Sadly, not guns. I haven't been able to test grenades or rockets, yet. England is so finicky about ordnance!"
Dawn snorted. "I can't understand why, with fine outstanding citizens like yourself around."
"Oh, don't you go casting stones, Dawnie. I've seen you with a 249."
"That was in the line of duty!"
"And quite a disturbing line of fire. They still call you the she-devil down in Angola. Face it, love, you're half-Slayer."
"You take that back!"
Xander laughed and hugged her aunt from behind. "How else could our daughter fall for a-"
Dawn turned in his arms. "What? Who? Tell me!"
"Mm-mm. That would ruin the surprise." Her uncle teased, walking her forward. He glanced at Ginny. "But I understand our niece has something of a crush herself."
"More like a bloody idiot." Ginny muttered, falling in alongside them.
"Oh?" Xander raised an eyebrow. "Did he go for the 'I must stay away to keep you safe!' schtick?"
"How did you know?"
"Standard angsty hero gig. Spiderman, Clark Kent in Smallville- hee, though they did a flip on that in season eight, Rogue, emo anime twerps-"
"Edward Cullen, don't forget." Dawn added.
"Whoa! Let's not be too hasty!"
"Oh, hush, you!"
"Anyway," Xander continued, "It's a fairly common affliction with the capes and shining armor. Your common solution is usually a bitch-slap or riding in to save his ass, or both."
"Slaughtering his enemies usually helps, too." Dawn said as they arrived in the Great Hall. "It makes him think twice about crossing you."
"The problem being…" Ginny flicked her eyes to the Professor's table.
"Well, I'm just saying," Dawn yawned. "It does wonders for a relationship."
"Hon, you can't sleep now, you haven't eaten." Her uncle said, supporting Aunt Dawn.
"But I'm tired," she muttered, leaning back into him. "All those stairs for goodness knows how long. And I'm making a baby right now, mister! That's hard work!"
"Which is why you need food," he replied gently. Her uncle dug into his pockets and cracked two capsules. "Come on, let's get you to a bench."
Ginny blinked as two teenagers that looked like her aunt and uncle made their way over to the Gryffindor tables. She glanced contemplatively at the Carrows for a moment, and then hurried after her new relatives.
Notes for HP7 plot:
- Harry gets obsessed. Ron listens to the radio. Harry uses Voldie's name in vain, gets hit by Death Eaters. God is not impressed.
- They check out the Malfoy Manor. Bella thinks she's an evil overlord, tortures Hermione to find out how they nicked her Sword. Mione's implication that Bella already has one does not go over well. Dobby pulls taxi, saves Mione from Bella with a chandelier (classic). Harry steals Draco's wand. Much snickering is had by the audience.
11. Fifth Intersection
Ron hadn't ever really gotten to know Hermione's parents, but they seemed like fairly normal folk. Well, Mr. Granger was a little odd, but then he really couldn't say much- look at his own dad.
So it was a bit of a surprise to see them fly past the dragon. While it was in the air.
Without any brooms.
"Mum? Dad?" Hermione squeaked.
"Honeyyyyy!" Mrs. Granger exclaimed through her smile. She turned and hit Mr. Granger. "I told you they would hit the bank!"
"Mum…? Dad…?" Hermione asked carefully, "What are you doing up here?"
Mr. Granger winced. "There was maybe just a wee bit too much C4?"
"C4?" Hermione exclaimed. "What were you doing with C4? How did you even get C4?"
"Hermione." Mr. Granger gave his daughter a look. "How do you make C4?"
"Commercial distributors mix RDX with motor oil, polyisobutylene, and a plasticizer, but your average homegrown recipe calls for a- ...oh. Right."
Mrs. Granger glared at her husband. "Your father used to make a hobby of experimenting in his workshop."
Hermione's eyes bugged out. "I don't remember that! I think I would have remembered that!"
Mr. Granger grinned. "I think the neighbors would have, too. I never actually set the stuff off."
"Not for lack of trying!" Mrs. Granger snarled. "Did you really think I was going to risk a shield spell with our baby in the same house?"
"Oh, come on, Hermione would have been fine! You make great shields! I mean, look at the one that got us up here!"
"You think she'd be fine in the exosphere?" Mrs. Granger screeched.
"Er... she... liked being tossed when she was a kid?"
As Mrs. Granger lit into Mr. Granger, Ron noticed Hermione putting several pieces of something together in her mind, and as such, caught the exact moment everything clicked.
"Dad?" she asked quietly. "...did you and mum just blow up Gringotts?"
"Of course not!" Mr. Granger said hastily. "Well, not exactly. At least not intentionally."
"It was an accident! I did mention the accidental excess of C4, right? There were bad guys down there! Evil, manipulative little bastards with sharp teeth and nasty claws!"
"Dad!" Hermione looked scandalized. "That's horribly racist! The goblins aren't evil!"
Mr. Granger blinked. "I wasn't talking about the goblins. Good grief, you thought I was talking about the goblins? Goblins are great! They even helped me out with the placement. Though come to think of it, the C4 was totally Bonegrinder's fault! He told me the freaking vault wouldn't implode without a three to one ratio!"
"What did I tell you about listening to creatures named after acts of violence?" Mrs. Granger said exasperatedly. "This is Zimbabwe all over again!"
"Hey, that particular time resulted in our daughter, thank you very much!"
Hermione glanced between her parents. "Part of me really doesn't want to hear this, but part of me is horribly, horribly fascinated."
"It begins with your mother's extreme sexual frustration."
"Aaaand the first part wins."
"Too late!" her father cackled. Ron cringed- he sounded far too much like Ron's own dentist. "We were deep in the heart of Zimbabwe, which, apparently, grows a lot of slayers. With slayer senses and slayer hearing. So your mother, who'd just tracked me down from Malawi, pretty much lost all seductive initiative."
"Worse, the little hussies kept coming on to him!" Mrs. Granger growled.
Mr. Granger winced. "Abuse talking, love. They thought they had to please me."
"I don't care! If they didn't realize you weren't that kind of man, they should have realized you were mine!"
Mr. Granger pushed the subject aside. "Anyway, we came across a tribe of jungle creebs- what you called house elves- and one of them- what was his name, dear?"
"That's right, Knee Slicer! Anyway, he-"
"Wait, those were the creatures with violent names?" Hermione interrupted incredulously.
"Huh?" Her dad said, "Oh, yeah. Harmless little guys, mostly, but they do love the gore."
"But all the house elves I know have such cute little names, like Dobby and Winky!" she exclaimed.
Her dad shrugged. "Their full ones are probably something more like Adobinal Gutter and Wind Crusher or Wing Cutter. They like shortening things, in case you hadn't noticed. That's actually what screwed us over that time. They told us that they'd seen a strong girl hanging out with the lopes."
"Antelopes?" Hermione guessed.
"Well, that's what we thought."
"How did that, er, screw you over?" Harry asked. Ron was privately trying to figure out what all the other houses elves were really named.
"They meant lupes." Mrs. Granger said flatly. "As in, canis lupus, or in our case, daemonium lupum."
"And your mom being your mom," Mr. Granger said cheerfully, "She got caught."
"You got caught, too!"
"Well, yes, but trying rescue you." Mr. Granger waggled his eyebrows. "There's a difference."
Hermione's mom huffed as her dad continued. "Anyway, after a whole lot of intercultural exchange that involve a lot of precise streaking-"
"You mean speaking?" Hermione asked.
Mrs. Granger interrupted before Hermione's dad could say anything. "That's exactly what he meant." She shot him a dangerous glance.
Mr. Granger chuckled and cleared his throat. "They eventually decided to adopt us. Problem was, they wanted to share Dawn. She politely declined. After the first werewolf recovered, she said she belonged to one man, and that was me. The wolves in turn replied that she didn't have my scent on her anywhere."
Mrs. Granger snickered. "He was trying to push off some sort of ninety days purity bullcrap when they flat out told him he'd have to claim me right there and he panicked."
"I look over and she's purring like a goddamned Persian!"
"The cat or the rug?" Ron asked.
"That, too." Mr. Granger shook his head. "I didn't think it was weird or anything because, y'know, Dawn, but then when I try to get up, I lose my balance."
"And when he fell over, he giggled." Mrs. Granger grinned.
"They drugged you?" Hermione gasped. "I'm the product of a rape?"
Her dad rolled his eyes. "No. Just excessive drinking."
"You got drunk?"
"Hey, that came after!" Mr. Granger protested. "Or before. I'm not really sure how the grammar works there. I was drunk, and then I drank?"
Ron stared. It was the first time he'd seen a blank look on Hermione's face in, well… ever.
"After I jumped him like a coffee addict hits mocha, they celebrated with a lot of Ghlen Livid," her mother explained. Hermione's eyes widened.
"It's made from a reannual grape vine," Mr. Granger told the boys. "The plant grows backwards in time. You get the hangover first, which is why we didn't realize it was morning sickness the day before, then you get drunk, and then you drink."
Hermione's jaw dropped. "The day before?"
"Yeah," her mother said apologetically. "You know how alcohol screws up a kid's brain? The reannual stuff messes with their chronology. We kind of got pregnant, oh, about three or four days before then. As near as we can figure, you grew about three weeks backwards before the effect wore off, since morning sickness comes in around six weeks."
Hermione just stared. And stared. And stared.
"Holy…" Ron breathed.
"I think they broke her, mate." Harry whispered beside him.
Mr. Granger grinned. "No worries! We know exactly how to reboot."
"Have the dragon bring her over a bit closer, will you Harry?" Mrs. Granger asked.
Huh? Ron blinked. Why couldn't she- oh, right! Her parents weren't flying, they'd been thrown by an explosion. Harry flew the dragon in toward Hermione's parents. Mrs. Granger flashed an evil grin before leaning over to her daughter's ear.
"You have no idea how good that night was when he-"
"TMI! T.M.I.!" Hermione exploded, covering her ears. Her father cackled madly while her mother grinned.
"That's what you get for- wait, we already paid you back for dating Krumm, didn't we?" Her mother glowered. "Well, consider it a taste of what you'll get if we ever catch you at any sort of hanky-panky!"
Hermione glared back. "It is none of your business what I choose to do with any boy that I-"
"Did you know how skilled your father is with his tongue? I didn't. I mean, Anya claimed he was a viking in the sack, but I always that she was talking about his-"
"I give!" Hermione squeaked, covering her ears again.
"Now that was downright cruel, love." Mr. Granger said, hugging his wife.
Her mother grinned back. "I know. Most effective birth control I know."
"I may have to obliviate myself when we land." Hermione muttered.
"Speaking of-" her father said, glancing down. "Look, dear, it seems we've hit our apex."
"Oh, good, I was wondering when we'd start falling!" Mrs. Granger snuggled down further in her husband's arms. "Well, dears, it's been lovely chatting. Have a good time where-ever you're going. Oh, Ron, any messages for Ginny? We're delivering a couple things to her whenever we hit dirt."
"Er… stay out of trouble?"
"Now, Ron, you know her better than that!" Mrs. Granger scolded. "How about you, Harry? Anything for your forbidden amor?"
"Tell her…" Harry paused. "I'm coming."
12. Sixth Intersection
"Took you long enough!" Neville grinned at their expressions as he entered Aberforth's pub through the portrait.
"Neville!" Harry exclaimed.
"Harry." Neville nodded. "Ron." He hesitated briefly. "Hermione."
"Neville…" Hermione breathed. "You've grown!"
He shrugged self-consciously. "Had to happen sometime," he mumbled. "Even m'dad wasn't as short as all that."
"Well, you look good," Hermione declared. "And those early morning runs haven't done you any harm either!"
Ron stared. "Early morning- great Merlin, mate, that's where you were all sixth year? That's mental!"
Neville laughed. "Well it was that or keep getting cursed. I was right miserable at dodging."
"Lord knows I could have used that, what with all the running I end up doing." Harry muttered.
Neville laughed again. "No doubt. Well- come two weeks ago, this would've been the only way into Hogwarts, but there's been a few changes about the place. Come along!"
He grinned as Hermione scrambled through the portrait after him, peppering him with questions. Ron and Harry followed at a slower pace, content to let Hermione ask everything for them. He told her about the past year and how Hogwarts was and how his Grandmother had beaten six Death Eaters into St. Mungo's and then left for the Phoenix Force in a mighty explosion. She made a disgusted noise when he mentioned that group, but a few questions got her into telling him about all their adventures.
"Wow," he said, ducking a lantern. "I thought our year was crazy. I mean, we heard about the dragon, but wow. And Draco actually said he didn't know you, Harry?"
Harry growled. "And twisted the knife in as he did. I would have hexed him right then and there if I'd had my wand. I tried killing him with my mind, but that turned out to be a bust."
Neville laughed. "I know, right? It should work on bastards!"
"At least you got to beat him with his own wand, mate!" Ron said, skipping a step.
Harry brightened. "There is that!"
"I wonder, though…" Hermione frowned pensively.
"What's that?" Neville knew she loved being asked. It was like a drug, teasing people with the possibility of information. He should know- he'd grown a bit of a taste for it, himself.
Hermione glanced at Ron and Harry. "He didn't seem all that intent on beating Harry," she told him quietly, "Or disappointed when Harry won. In fact, he almost looked… satisfied."
"Satisfied?" Neville's eyes widened. "You think it was a trap? I mean, that they meant for you to escape?"
"I would, except his father seemed furious." Hermione's brow furled. "It's just odd."
Neville snorted. "Maybe he's thinking about striking out, becoming a Dark Lord on his own."
Hermione laughed. "Maybe."
Neville grinned. "Lord knows, we've got one in the making here."
"What?" Harry caught up with them.
Neville glanced at Harry. "Oh, nothing. Things have just changed a little, that's all. It's why I've been sent to fetch you."
"Fetch us? By whom?" Hermione exclaimed, scrambling after him. "What's changed?"
"What's that phrase your father likes to use, Hermione?" Neville asked. "'The monkeys have taken over the zoo?'" He pushed the portrait open.
The trio gaped.
Neville grinned as he stepped through.
"Bloody hell!" Ron exclaimed, "What is this? It looks like a bloody armory!"
"It's the Room of Requirement." Neville replied, perhaps a touch smugly. "After last week, we knew we'd need a bit more than just our wands to defend the castle, and, well, I remembered this place."
"As for who sent for you…" He bowed. "M'dread lady Ginny."
"Oh, stop that!" The girl in question smacked him over the head and turned to Harry. "He's been doing that ever since I took over Hogwarts and made him second. Thinks it's funny."
Harry chuckled. "How could it not? My dread lady." He bowed as well. Neville smiled. It was good to see those two together again.
Things went quickly from there. Harry revealed he was searching from a diadem, and then they discovered that Voldemort was coming and Neville was busy recalling and arming the Phoenix Force.
And then Lord Voldemort was there.
"Give me Harry Potter." His voice echoed throughout Hogwarts. "And none shall be harmed. Give me Harry Potter, and I shall leave the school untouched. Give me Harry Potter, and you will be rewarded. You have until midnight."
"Well, he's got the repetition part down." Neville jumped. Mr. Granger gave him a small wave.
"Er, hi." Neville glanced down over the ramparts. "…he's brought a lot more than Death Eaters." Below them, a massive mob of werewolves and monsters and vampires surged.
"That's partially our fault," Mr. Granger said sheepishly. "I wanted to see how long they'd keep up the Taboo curse, and then my wife got a little tetchy with the Death Eaters, and, well, between the two of us, we've kind of thinned out his ranks. Not much, but enough that he went shopping."
"Ah…" He remembered the Great Hall incident. He didn't think he'd laughed so hard in his life.
"Hermione!" her mother exclaimed, "You made it!"
"Have you found the diadem yet?" Neville asked as she came up.
She smiled briefly at him. "No, we're about to go search Ravenclaw, but- listen, there's one more horcrux after that, and we may not make it back before Voldemort attacks."
Her father suddenly perked up and glanced around expectantly. Her mother patted Mr. Granger's arm. "I doubt he'll bother with the Taboo right now, dear."
Hermione scowled. "Anyway, listen, the last horcrux is his snake, Voldemort's snake, Nagini, and don't you dare make that joke Daddy!" Her father shut his mouth. She turned back to him intently. "If you see it before we get back, kill it." And with that, Hermione was off.
Chaos reigned when midnight struck, and everything became a blur of spells and blades and blood. Neville fought harder than he'd ever worked in his life, and when he finally came before Voldemort, even his adrenaline was beginning to fail. But it didn't matter, nothing mattered but keeping these creatures busy until Harry and Hermione were back. And then his head was on fire- no, the hat was on fire, and the snake was there, and the hat was screaming in his mind THE SWORD, THE SWORD! and then the sword was in his hand. Time slowed. It was like a dance between heartbeats. One throb. The snake. Two throbs. The fire. Three. The sword. His hands moved. The sword moved. His body, all together in one single beautiful motion. It was perfect. It could be nothing less. There was a high pitched scream beside him, which he belatedly realized shouldn't come from the voice of a Dark Lord, but it really didn't matter much as he watched the snake's head arc through the air. There was a muffled thud to his right. And then-
Sound hit and time sped up. Spells and screams roared and a protego blocked several deadly beams as he ducked.
Adrenaline surged again, and he fought like a madman, bringing death with his new sword- is that Gryffindor's crest? -on monsters human and non alike. He found himself fighting Fenrir with Ron, which mean Hermione had to be somewhere in this mix, and where-
He flew through the air and hit the stone floor hard. Neville blinked. There was- pain.
"NEVILLE!" Why was Hermione screaming? She was suddenly in front of him, casting spells, and the pain went down, but then she wasn't and he struggled upright to see.
"You bastard!" He had never heard such venom in her voice before.
Voldemort laughed. "What, little girl? You think because you're friends with Harry Potter, you can take his place?"
"OI!" Hermione's father bellowed from across the room. "If my daughter can't beat you, I haven't taught her anything!"
His wife paused as she strangled a- something? "You haven't taught her anything, dear. Dentists, remember?"
"Psht, that's what you think! Hermione! First rule of action flicks!"
Hermione growled. "Anything is a weapon!"
"Second rule of action flicks!"
"Always have a hidden weapon!"
"There is no such thing as overkill!"
Her eyes widened at that one. "They aren't dead unless you've seen the body, checked the DNA, and then burned it." she breathed.
"And the fifth?"
"NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!"
Neville winced at what Mrs. Weasley proceeded to do. Voldemort's eyes bugged, and even Hermione was amazed enough to be distracted. "Never piss off someone's mom…"
"Hermione!" Her mother exclaimed. "Language!"
Mr. Granger casually batted a vampire out of the way with his axe. "That's the rule, love. Anyway, Voltron, right? You know what your big fail was? You gloated."
Voldemort snarled and shot a curse off at Mr. Granger before screaming and pointing his wand at Mrs. Weasley. No! Neville thought, when suddenly-
A golden light rippled across the hall like a wave of living honey, and just behind it stood Harry Potter.
Mr. Granger paused. "Well, that, and it looks like you ignored rules two, three, and four. Welcome back, Harry."
Harry nodded. "I don't want anyone else to try to help," he said loudly. "It's got to be like this. It's got to be me."
"Potter doesn't mean that," he said viciously, "That isn't-"
"Oh, of course he does," Mrs. Granger said irritably. "He's just that stupidly noble. Hermione, I thought I taught you to train your friends better?"
"Well at least he took us on his horcrux hunt." Hermione groused. "You'd think after seven years the boy would learn, backup is good. It means less dying."
"Hate to burst your bubble, Hermes, but I think he kind of got the dying part out of the way." Mr. Granger interrupted cheerfully.
"Christ-!" Mrs. Granger exclaimed.
"Exactly," her husband agreed.
"-doesn't anyone stay dead? Anyone? You, Death Eater, if I kill you, will you stay dead, or do I have to beat your face into a fine mist?"
"Dawnie, let the poor Death Eater down," Mr. Granger said gently. "He'll die soon enough."
Mrs. Granger blinked. "Oh. Is it that time already?"
"Almost. In about twenty- nineteen-"
"What in the world are you two talking about?" Hermione exclaimed.
"All of you, shut up!" Lord Voldemort hissed. "I have enough! Potter, once I've strung your body from the rafters, I'm going to kill your so-called friends slowly."
Mr. Granger simply smirked. "Rule two."
There was a series of cracks so sudden that they sounded like the earth was snapping all at once, and suddenly the hall was filled with Wizards in white robes and red robes and in some cases what looked like black armor.
"This is the Eastern/Western European Allied Auror Task Force! You are all to lay down your wands and place your hands over your head! I repeat, lay down your wands and place your hands over your head! You are under arrest under the terms of the Magical Usurpation Act of 1483, under the authority of the Dark Overlord Compact of 1945, and with the auspices of the Holy Roman Catholic Church!"
Pools of light flashed under the white-robed wizards and blazed across the floor. Everywhere they touched, vampires screamed and went up in flames.
Voldemort whirled on Harry. "You think this matters? You think hiding behind your precious little aurors will change anything?"
"I'm not," Harry said simply. "But now it's down to just you and me. There are no more horcruxes. Your thugs are captured. Your monsters, eliminated. Neither of us can live while the other survives, so one of us is about to leave for good."
"One of us?" Voldemort sneered. His whole body was tight, too tight, and it looked like he was about to pounce. "You think it will be you, do you, the boy who has survived the accident, and because Dumbledore was pulling the strings?"
Neville desperately struggled to stay awake, as he was fairly certain Voldemort was about to receive (quite literally) the beating of his life, but the adrenaline was finally gone and his chest ached, and when he blinked, the darkness just seemed to cave in…
Notes for HP7 plot:
Harry has another Vision. It's missing naked women, so he knows it's for real. They immediately go find a pub.
Pub turns out to have a secret passage. Probably for Dumbledore's midnight trysts. They use it to reach the Résistance. Neville's taken levels in Badass. Why Ginny hasn't jumped him instead of Harry, nobody knows.
Avengers assemble. Voldemort realizes his soul is being eaten away, and it's because of his dead-end job. Harry goes after the ring crown in Ravenclaw. Gollum Crabbe dies in the fires of Mount Doom a pile of junk in the Room of Requirement. Everyone else flies to safety.
Voldemort kills Snape. Snape bequeaths his last will and testament to Harry, regretting that he didn't have time to poison the paper. Harry pulls a Jesus Christ Neo and wipes out Agent Smith Voldemort.
Also, Ron's mother goes psycho on Bella, and Neville advances to Level 75, becomes a Death Knight, and swears to end all snake-kind under the auspices of Saint Patrick, who really hated them mother-fucking snakes on his mother-fucking plain.
13. First Divergence
Behold, the Year 2013
Luckily for Neville, Harry Potter was Jesus Christ. After he exorcised Voldemort from this plane and cast him into hell, he resurrected Neville, who immediately ran off to Holland to get married with Draco. The last anyone heard, they had a girl and Draco was happily pregnant with their second.
Hermione, after seeing Harry in action, made a pact with Luna and Ginny and kidnapped Harry to settle on an island in the-
Harry shot straight up in bed with a huge gasp. He took several more breaths before calming down, and glanced at his wife curled on up the other side of the bed. He smiled. Trust her to nab all the covers. Harry leaned back against the backboard, and looked out the window. He wasn't sure if he could call that thing a dream or a nightmare. The first part was- oh, Merlin!
"Honey! Honey, wake up!" Harry shook his wife's shoulder frantically and ducked her right hook.
"M'slppy. J'sa fw mr mn'ts…" She rolled over.
"Hon, it's nearly ten. We have to be at the train station in an hour!"
"WHAT?" Ginny leapt upright. "What the bloody hell are you still in bed for? Get Jamie, wake up the kids, go! We're going to be-"
"Mama, wake up, we're going to be late for my first day of school!"
"MAN THE STOVE!"
"Where are they?" Ulysses demanded. "They're going to be late!"
"I'm sure your grandparents wouldn't miss this for the world." Hermione said soothingly.
"Not them, and they would if they weren't in it! Where's-" he spotted the black coach that appeared in a flash of dark green fire. The door opened, and a blond man dressed in a black cloak stepped out with his son. "There they are! Uncle Draco, Uncle Draco!"
The Dread Lord Dragon had, upon reflection, taken his father-in-law's advice and cloned an evil Hermione. Of course, despite being evil, she shared many of Hermione's traits: ruthless determination, total independence, and a penchant for violence. So, he decided to follow the earlier part Mr. Granger's advice and woo her: moonlit walks across a blood-soaked field, a bouquet made of her enemies' spines, candlelit dinners on a remote island lair in the Pacific...
For their wedding, he gave her Belgium. It had created a bit of an international kerfuffle, but they held the country with an enchanted fist, and once the natives realized they had better medical under a benevolent dictator, Draconia was a done deal.
"Is Aunt Andy here?"
Draco winced. The Dread Lady Andromache was feared across forty-three continents, beloved by nineteen, and worshipped in five. She was brilliant, and fearless, and completely wound around her nephew's finger. Much to the disgust of her daughter.
"No! Do you see her here? Go back to your appallingly overactive parents, you annoying little spawnling!" Ugh! How was she ever going to catch Jamie's eye with that hyperactive little runt bouncing around?
"I wasn't talking to you, vamp-bait." Stupid cousin and her stupid big words. Just because their moms were smart…
"I am not! Dad!" Anastasia turned to her father.
"Children…" Draco rubbed his brow wearily. How could two infants be more work than an entire empire?
"I bet you couldn't even stake a fledgling!"
Pale green fire burst over Anastasia's head. "I bet I could roast you!"
"ULYSSES." Ulysses cringed as his da strode over in full armor. "Apologize."
"Apologize. You do not attack a lady in word or deed." Neville shook his head. "Sorry about that, Draco. Andy doing okay?"
Draco hesitated. "She's… fine."
"Ah." Neville chuckled. "One of those. I expect we'll be getting a call, then?"
"I'll let Hermione find out on her own." Neville grinned surreptitiously. "You know how she lives for the thrill of the hunt."
That was putting it mildly. It turns out? Hermione Granger shared the same H&H effect her mother inherited. Taking down dark lords made her positively licentious. It took them eight years to actually do a contraceptive spell right in the heat of the moment. After that it was only one kid every two years. Torn between family and fiends, Hermione pioneered the first magical artificial womb and did both. They were cooking their tenth child at the moment.
Draco sent him a pained look. "Might want to set out some healing potions once she leaves. Andromache was particularly… enthusiastic about this one."
"Will do." Neville grabbed his son's shoulder. "Did you apologize?"
"…yes," came the sullen answer.
"Did you apologize?" Draco asked his daughter.
"What?" Anastasia whipped around.
"Are you a lady or not?"
"Fine. I'm sorry, Ulysses, for having the gall to stand up to your juvenile taunts. I hope I haven't inconvenienced you in any way."
Ulysses blinked. "Whoa. Someone could get hurt with that many italics."
"But that's what grampa says, dad!"
Neville rolled his eyes and pulled his son away. "Good luck at Hogwarts, kiddo!" he called over his shoulder.
"Oh, believe me, I will." Ulysses could swear he heard her tossing her hair.
"You have to be more careful, Ulysses," his dad scolded him. "She might have your mom's magic, but she hasn't been taught how to fight like you. She could get hurt." Ulysses hadn't just been taught by his dad. He'd had his Uncle Viktor, and Aunt Ginny, and Uncle Harry, and Grampa and Granma Granger, and just about every dirty trick they knew an eleven-year-old boy could do. Plus his mom's magic. Which was cool, until they all told him he couldn't do anything 'cause he might kill someone. Come on! What was the point then?
"We're here! Did we make it? We made it! Kids! Line up!" The Potters arrived in an explosion of frenetic energy.
Neville chuckled. "Calm down, Ginny!"
She shot him a withering glare. "You've already done this twice. You're experienced!"
Hermione wrapped an arm around his waist. "And prepared. I had everything scheduled out the week before."
Harry grinned. "I wouldn't expect anything less. Hey, Neville. On for a game, tonight?"
"Maybe." He glanced at Draco. "Maybe not."
Harry raised his eyebrows. "Ah." He turned to his kids. "Alright, troops, hug it out!"
"Daaaaad!" James wailed as his siblings converged.
Neville laughed and walked over to his hoard of kidlings with an arm around Hermione. It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining, his kids were excited, his wife was about to go on a hunt that would keep him happy for months... nothing could go wrong.
Meanwhile, in another dimension.
"I thought you said you sent her twin somewhere safe!"
A man in a perfect black suit and tie paused in his fight. His victim's head lolled as he adjusted his shades. What was this? It seemed like a couple arguing, but…
"I did! What's safer that a virtual reality? You can't die here!"
These two were aware of their surrounding? He did a scan of their link.
The one-eyed man threw up his hands. "Have you never seen Star Trek?"
Nothing? They were linked to… nothing? But they were human.
"What does that have to do with anything?"
"What have we here…?" The man in black released his victim and stepped toward the couple.
"Does this Elrond virus look safe to you?" The one-eyed man exploded. His wife turned.
"Holy crap, it IS Elrond!"
The man in black cocked his head. "You're not programs, but you don't seem to have registered bodies, either. Curious. Inept hacking?"
The woman narrowed her eyes. "You don't like humans."
"As I told Morpheus some time ago…" he cracked his neck. "Humans… are a disease. And we… are the cure."
"Run…" his victim gasped from the ground.
"Why?" The woman glared coldly at the man in black. "He's just a mouthy bit of electricity."
"Agent…" the girl wheezed. "Will kill…"
The man stepped forward. "Not today." He glanced at his wife. "Hon, I know you wanna take this one, but could you see to the girl? We'll look for Hermione's sister afterward."
"Alright, dear." The agent let her pass.
"Cocky. You actually believe that." The agent fell into a stance.
The man held out his hand and a giant axe formed itself out of nothing. "Belief is for the uncertain."