DISCLAIMER THE FIRST: It is by JKR's writing alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the grace of coffee that thoughts acquire speed, the back acquires strains, the strains become a warning. The warning is that I make no money from this. It is by JKR's writing alone I set my mind in motion.
DISCLAIMER THE SECOND: This is a AU take on JKR's writings that involve adult situations. This includes the neglect/abuse of Harry, swearing and later sexual conduct by the students when they are older. So don't complain to me if your children start to think their normal faire of Binky the Space Cat is tame if you read this to your little darlings.
IMPORTANT STORY NOTES: For the purposes of this fic, every character from Bill Weasley on down will have their birthdays backed up one year. This is because I'm changing it so First Years come in at age twelve instead of eleven. This would allow Muggleborn and others using the Muggle school system to finish Primary school.
PITHY STATEMENT RELATING TO THIS CHAPTER: "By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest." – Confucius – Chinese philosopher - 551–479 BCE
LAST UPDATED: 10-20-2013
CHAPTER ONE – BEGINNINGS
Dr. BELL'S OFFICE, YORK – JUNE 14th 2010 – MORNING
"Doctor. Bell? The Lady Lovegood just checked in for her appointment. She said she went to powder her nose…although I'm not sure what that means."
Katie looked up to see her young intern standing in the doorway with a slightly confused/concerned look on her face. She couldn't help but let a chuckle slip out. "Thank you Dorothea; please send her in when she gets back from the loo. I'll tell you later about the powder thing." As her intern began to shut the door, a thought struck Katie, "Also before I forget, remind me before you leave to give you those charms notes. They aren't doing me any good sitting in my old school trunk."
"I will Doctor. Bell!" the young girl said with the enthusiasm of a teen trying to be perfect for her boss.
"Oh and Dorothea, please remember the intercom works just fine. One of the reasons I took you on as an intern was so you could learn more about Muggle technology. Please use it." Katie said kindly but firmly.
The young girl's face fell, "Yes, Dr. Bell."
Katie chuckled to herself as she got up from her desk and went over to coffee maker to make a fresh pot. Penelope's niece was so desperate to please but she really needed to start using the office machines. Too often she still acted like the printer might bite her or something. As she busied herself with the familiar task of brewing coffee she realized how untidy her office was.
That wouldn't do! Katie turned to a small replica of Rodin's famous Thinker. "Cy, I need the office cleaned up and please use some of the sandalwood to spice up the air."
The 'statue' straightened up and jumped off its pedestal, "By your command!' it said in a deep bass voice with a hint of electronica to it. The voice definitely seemed too large for a one meter tall golem. It quickly turn with small metallic squeaks of its limbs to fetch the needed cleaning supplies.
Katie smiled at the scene. While not as quick as house elves used to be, Katie was impressed with the latest house-golem Su Chang and Anthony Goldstein had been able to produce. While they still were not as capable as the dwarven clockwork automaton servants made available again in England, they had more potential. Of course Katie had to admit the automatons did have the whole cool steampunk look to them. Sadly they also were harder to hide than the house golems when Muggles came calling.
Katie busied herself with setting out the service while her magical servant went about its tasks. Soon the office was in much better condition with the air freshly scented with a mix of sandalwood and brewing coffee.
As the golem was putting away the feather duster, the door opened and a lithe blonde entered with an ethereal grace. She sniffed the air, "Ah sandalwood! You always know how to please me!"
Katie hugged the younger witch tightly in greeting, "Your worth the effort. Besides I know how much you dislike traffic smells."
"It is a small price to pay to be able to lie back and watch the countryside go by. You do not see much of anything if you simply apparate from one place you know to another. Where is the adventure in that?"
Katie shared a quick kiss with the blonde who eagerly returned it with a longer one of her own. "I've missed you." Katie whispered into her ear as she drank in that special scent that was purely Luna.
Luna smiled warmly, "I do not like being away either. I do miss the children so. It is ever so good to see you again. I have missed you all as well."
Katie motioned towards the comfortable couch. Luna took a few steps towards it before stopping to what Cy complete his chores. The golem turned to Katie, "It is done, Imperious Leader! What are my orders?"
"That is all for now Cy. Go back to sleep," Katie ordered.
"By your command!" the golem said with a slight bow before turning and climbing back onto its post and resuming the Thinker position.
Luna giggled, "I never get over the voice."
Katie grinned, "Blame my dad. He loved the show growing up. He's been rather disappointed in the new version but I like it well enough. Still, the original has charm in that campy sort of way. Kind of reminds me of the early Dr. Who shows."
Luna sat down on the couch will Katie quickly drew two cups of coffee. After handing Luna her cup Katie settled down next to her. She was happy to see the appreciative smile after Luna took a sip.
"So how has it been working out for you? I know there had been some earlier problems given how Anthony asked me to coordinate with some of the Intel technomancers while I was in the Union." Luna asked
Katie shrugged, "He's working well enough. The whole point is to humanize them a bit more. Certainly if we just wanted magical robots, we could just go with the what the dwarves make. Su's work on empathy is trying to work on a way to impart a sense in the golem to help it divine our desires better as well as mimic normal human responses."
Luna nodded, "Yes the technomancers I spoke to feel that family magicks will probably be the best help there. Of course they were concerned over the potential for what they called the Three Laws conflict but I never got to find out what that was."
Katie patted her hand, "It comes from an old science fiction story from Isaac Asimov. In it robots were given three laws to protect humans but in the end it lead to a leap of false logic where the robots worked against humanity in order to 'protect' them for their greater good."
Luna's eyebrows shot up, "My word, Dumblebots!"
Both witches dissolved into a fit of laughter. Finally Katie got herself under control, "Actually the main concern right now is less about that and more about how the golems might perceive their orders. For example say I ask Cy to rid my dog Padfoot of fleas. While I mean for him to wash the dog, Cy might decide that since fire effectively kills fleas, then throwing Padfoot onto a bonfire would be the best option deal with the infestation. So in a sense, Su and Anthony are trying to figure out a way to impart a way for the golems to pick up our intent since that would be easier than trying to give them some form of common sense."
Luna pursed her lips, "Yes that does seem the better option. It also side-steps certain moral concerns. The more the golems are made to think like us, how much do they begin to be like us? If we make them self-aware then we will have merely traded one slave race for another."
Katie snorted, "Yes well you can be assured that Hermione is all over that. She has her eye firmly on that possibility. It's funny, really. While Muggle computer scientists work to make AI's more and more human, we're trying to ensure our golems are just Clever Hans."
Luna took another deep sip from her coffee, "I see I am not the only one Neville sends coffee to. I am getting spoiled on the coffee they have in the Pacific North-West. The delicious coffee is one of the perks, if you pardon the pun, which makes up for having to be away. However the Cryptid Project is far too important."
"So has that been going? I've been rather busy lately and I've haven't really kept up on it," Katie asked.
Luna made a sort of 'don't worry about it' hand gesture, "Things have been hopping given how we have been hurrying to track down the surviving Yetis before the Chinese end up killing them unknowingly. It is sad how little the Chinese Magical Court seems to care. It is rather disheartening at times to see such disdain for non-humans. It was just easier to believe it was only us backward Britons who felt like that."
Katie nodded, "Evil is everywhere Luna as you well know. Well I'm sure the ones you save will be much happier in Washington and British Columbia with the Sasquatch population there. How is working with the Americans and Canadians? I'm rather jealous since I haven't been able to see any of my American cousins since 2005 when I was across the pond for a symposium."
Luna smiled her dreamy smile, "They are fine. I do like them and their openness. Yes they can be brash, abrupt and sometimes far too informal but for me it is a pleasant change. It is nice to be around people who tend to act how they are feeling. So different from us Brits."
Katie chuckled, "I know what you mean; say one thing while thinking another. Honestly I can't seem to get it through to my Pureblood patient's that I don't need veritaserum to figure out what they are thinking most of the time. All of them seem to believe they are as skilled as Narcissa at keeping their thoughts of their faces. Hah! I can read most of them like an open book."
Luna reached out and took Katie's hand with a fond smile, "It also helps you are the best. You have always been good at reading and helping people...which is why I am here today."
Katie frowned, "I was really surprised at your request. More so because I always thought if this sort of book was going to be written it would be by Hermione. I mean she's already a published author as it is. That and you have to take the time off from the Project."
Luna made a dismissive gesture, "I was mostly there to use my seer skills to help divine where the Yetis might still be hiding. My fellow pre-cogs and I have not had any sort of decent leads in over a month. I am afraid we have reached the end of what we can do. There is just too much 'interference' if you will from the oncoming Chinese and the oppression they are projecting towards Tibet."
"I know. Harry has commented that the Qing dynasty seems to have the same level of care towards Tibet as the Communist government does. That is to say little at all," Katie said with a frown.
Luna nodded at this, "Personally I think the American's military satellites ability to comb the last few areas we got a 'hit' on will have any chance of finding more lairs. I think it is now in hands of their technomancers and Rolf Scamander and his trackers. He has been brilliant so far in being able to find lairs in places we did not have even a sniff of them. So as it stands now I am not as needed as I once was. "
Luna took another dainty sip of her coffee and looked thoughtful for a moment. "As to wanting to talk to you, I am once again struck how alike you and Harry can be in not realizing how important you truly are."
Katie groaned, "Oh come on Luna, I've told you a hundred times I just did what any friend would do. It was you and Hermione who did most of the work to help Harry."
Luna shook her head and smiled, "Again you refuse to see how critical you were in making everything happen. Yes while it is true Hermione and I did help Harry in many critical ways to help him cast down Voldemort, it is doubtful it would have happened without you. It was you that set things in motion. It was you who opened up Harry's capacity to love and trust. Without you, who knows what dark paths Hermione's lack of self-esteem would have led her? Would Harry, Hermione or even Neville ever have seen past my 'Looney Lovegood' mask if you hadn't been there?"
Katie shook her head, "I think in your case you aren't giving Harry enough credit. I'm confident he would have been able to get past your façade without me. As for the rest…"
Luna raised her hand to interrupt, "Katie stop." Katie blinked at this. Just as a mum used their child's middle name to chastise them, Luna using her nickname like that showed how serious she was given how she almost always used one's real name rather than a diminutive. The only one who escaped this quirk of Luna was Harry.
Luna's eyes reflected the sincerity and seriousness of her words, "I respect you more than you can ever know but I think you need to remember who you are talking to. Seers not only can catch glimpses of the future but can also look back and look at patterns in the past. You were the fulcrum which enabled Harry and the rest of us to do what was done. Without you the results would have been far different." Luna's face took on a haunted look, "Without you there would have been so much death and Harry would have suffered terribly. Even worse is who Hermione would have ended up with..."
Luna shook her head as if to clear it and then turned back to Katie with an apologetic smile, "Sorry. Sometimes looking at the past, at what might have been, is more disconcerting than trying to divine the future. Please, Katherine, take it from one who can often see the different threads of Fate and trust me when I say you were, and are, far more important than you will admit. It is another reason I wanted to be the one to write this book. I think it will be illuminating for all of us and to you most of all."
Katie continued to look defiant for a moment but at the look on Luna's face her own face fell and she sighed, "For a psychologist you would think I'd be the one to see I'm just afraid of talking about it. It is just so personal and quite frankly it was always a part that I shared with just Harry. I don't know if you realize how hard it was to set him free at first. It is easy for people in my position to counsel 'if you love someone; set them free' but is altogether different to do it when you were a confused, love-sick teen."
Luna reached out and took Katie's hand in her own. "I know Katherine. You took a great risk and one which I want to show you was one of the many you took which eventually ended with Harry's victory over Voldemort. For what it is worth, Harry was also wary about giving out his take on the events. You know full well how private he is."
Katie nodded at this. While Harry was a very public figure, the people didn't know how much of his life he still kept to close friends and family.
Luna patted Katie's hand reassuringly, "Yet he wants this to be done because Harry needs to once again try to quash the idea he is some sort of Merlin Reborn who smote the evil Voldemort in some sort of mythical way. He told me he wants the truth to come out of how he had help every step of the way...and he had love. Harry thinks if people focused more on how the love and friendship he had which allowed him to win then maybe people would understand anyone could have defeated Voldemort with a little creativity. Hermione agrees. While she joked it sounded like a Beatle's rip-off, all we needed was love and many problems of the world could use more love as an agent to affect change."
Luna leaned back and watched as Katie mulled over her words. She was struck once again at how brilliantly yellow Katie's hair was. Luna had once joked Katie must be the earthly avatar for the Goddess Sif with hair like that. Funny how her vibrant hair reflected so much of the passion Katie had. How apt her hair seemed to reflect the energy she put into everything. Katie gave away energy so easily and with little expectation of anything in return. It was truly remarkable how selfless she was. Luna twirled a bit of her own hair in her fingers and reflected how her hair was the same way. Its pale blond color was a mere reflection of the Sun off the moon. So perfect for a shy, retrospective woman named Luna!
Katie finally took a long sip of her coffee before sighing. "Okay I guess with you, Hermione and Harry against me I really have no choice in the matter, right? Besides Harry's correct about the myth making. I am already dreading trying to explain why all the stories out there already are just plain wrong to the kids. It was silly of me to think I'd be able to hide from the public. Harry is a very public figure and if he had to get used to it well how can I do any less?"
"Well this will not be some sort of kiss-and-tell book you would expect from the likes of Rita Skeeter or Lavender Chambers. While I have not done much recently, I am well versed in journalism. I assure you I will not be laying out everything as it happened." Luna said mischievously.
Katie giggled, "That's good! I hate to think what the kids would think if they read a really in-depth account of what truly went on down to the very nitty-gritty. I'd rather not have to set them up for therapy!"
Both women shared a chuckle at the thought and briefly sat quietly and just enjoyed the moment. Katie set down her coffee cup and reached out to brush her fingers along Luna's arm. "I have missed you, you know. It is just not the same without you. We all feel it."
Luna nodded, "The bonds we forged back in school were strong. It is why we were victorious. I believe it is another reason for people to know the true story. Without knowing the truth how else could anyone believe Harry did not defeat Voldemort on his own?"
Katie nodded, "You're right of course. Harry was alone on that day so it is easy for people to focus on the show-down and not the months we all had in coming together, learning how to love and finding out how to use it...or at least helping Hermione find the answer. I don't think anyone is going to be surprised about that."
Luna chuckled, "She is a force of nature in that bookish way of hers. Yet without you, all she would have had was her 'books and cleverness' as she once said. It is time that story is told."
Katie made a face, "Okay but how do you want me to do this? Other than for dry, professional journals I've never been interviewed before. You're going to have to help me out here."
Luna laughed, "Do not worry Doctor Bell. Just think of yourself as one of your patients and just tell what you are thinking and feeling. I will be here to prompt you when I think you need some help. I think you will be surprised how easily it will become to tell your tale. To start with I think starting at the beginning is the best place, yes? Start by telling me about your family. Since she was the magical one, tell me about your mother."
Katie couldn't help but glare at the knowing smile on Luna's lips. "You just had to say that didn't you?"
Luna continued to smile, "Of course! It is the required psychologist joke! Besides Fred and George would be very cross with me if I did not use it. It was their suggestion after all."
Katie couldn't keep her glare up in the face of Luna's happy smile. "Okay but I'm going to make you pay for it...somehow. You will come to fear the wrath of Doctor Bell!" Katie struck a dramatic pose before relaxing as she grew thoughtful.
"My mother huh? Okay...actually that is a good place to start. So let me tell you about my mother."
Chapter Two Preview: Learn about Katie Bell's early life and a bit of her first Year at Hogwarts prior to meeting Harry Potter.
A/N: I've always felt that the problem with Harry Potter fanfiction is if it starts too early, then the story totally goes wrong given the amount of plot-holes. It's like playing World War II war games. Start in 1939 and the Axis should always win by not doing the same stupid things the real Axis powers did. Start in December after Pearl Harbor and the Axis should always lose because three countries the size of Oregon, California and New Mexico can't take on a goodly chunk of the rest of the world . Same with Harry Potter; if Harry drops the 'idiot ball' early, JKR's entire story falls apart. This is my take on that where I try to keep things on an even keel for as long as I can.
Themes: If you are new to my fan-fair warning. I tend to have my own 'fanon' if you will and reuse many aspects in all of my stories. I do try to put different spin on them. However if you've read one of my fics, you'll start seeing certain things again and again.
For example, while Rejected Path is designed to be AU (especially the characters) a lot of the background of the culture and history of Magical Britain will generally stay the same in all of my stories unless I state otherwise. An example of this will be in this story. Sally-Anne remains a 'secret' Black in that her great-grandfather was Marius Black but in this fic she has normal parents and not the religious conservatives whose hatred of magic leads to abuse as seen in Rejected Path.
Plus the motivations of many of the characters will change. A Manipulative!Dumbledore in one fic might be more for some hidden political gain while in another fic (like this one) it is more that Dumbledore believes he is the Man with the Plan™ and acts accordingly. So just because a lot of the 'sets' are the same, the characters will act from different motivations from story to story.
PDrB Spreadsheet: A (mostly) up-to-date class sheet of the students is available on my yahoo group under the folder for this story. Actually it helps me with all my stories so be warned there are some spoilers. Plus not every bit is for every story. The 'children' tab is mostly for my story Harry Potter and the Thin Blue Line. However it can give you a heads up by noticing I have Kai Chang, a Slytherin a few years ahead of Harry is probably Su Chang's husband and not Cho Chang as one might first think when reading The Thin Blue Line. It is color coded so you can tell original characters, semi-canonical characters and ones created from movies or other sources like the video games.
Clever Hans: A hoax where a horse was supposedly able to perform arithmetic in 1907. It turned out the horse was just very good at picking up visible clues in body language of the surrounding humans so as to pick the correct answer. This affect can be seen in lots of early computer programming used to simulate human responses like ELIZA which would take cues from you to create a conversation by way of an algorithm.
Cryptid Project: A cryptid is a creature or plant whose existence has been suggested but that is unrecognized by a scientific consensus, and whose existence is moreover often regarded as highly unlikely. I got the idea of Yeti's being the same species as the Sasquatch and having them relocated to Washington/British Columbia from Julian May's novel Jack the Bodiless from her Galactic Milieu series.