A/N: I am sososo sorry! Though that doesn't come anywhere near covering it. I'll be surprised if many are still following this story after the ferociously long update wait (heck, I wouldn't blame you for dropping it). Still, to those who are reading this? I can't begin to tell you how much I appreciate your continued support. As to why I had an accidental hiatus: procrastination, namely. But real life also got in the way, as it turns out that getting a second degree, moving back to the US, moving another time, starting an actual adult job (oh boy…), and working on a novel leaves a criminal lack of time for fanfiction. So, ah, there's my horrid excuse?
Even more unforgivable, I've missed all of your amazing reviews! The majority are now so old that the commentators have surely forgotten writing them and my replies would just sound like nonsense (sorrysorrysorry!). So, though I feel wretched, I'd like to thank the following amazing readers for their wonderful comments here: Sue Clover, DancingKitKat, areyousatisfied, sailormoonserenity99, Natalia, ProditorMagnus, Guest (3), witheringtrees, TKcameron23, evestephie, long live marshmallows, Rooey38, harrynginnyinatree, Iknowalot, Artizay, cargas, mwinter1, plimplanploum, nekochan1994, The Queen of Valencia Torgue, The Other World (!), and MuggleCreator (!). I'M SO SORRY I'M NOT TRYING TO BE RUDE AND LAZY I'M JUST A HORRIBLE PERSON, BUT ALL OF YOU ARE LOVELY AND THANKYOUSOMUCHANDSORRY!
Especially HUGE thank yous to DancingKitKat and Sue Clover for all of their reviews! I'm so sorry I missed them, but can't begin to tell you how much I appreciate you taking the time to not only read my silly story but to write so many comments about it!
I know it's little help, but I also come bearing apology gifts. I've gone back through this story editing, consolidating chapters, deleting sub-plots, adding sub-plots, and basically polishing it up. In short? I'm no longer mortified reading the beginning, the story's 'shrunk' by six chapters (so if you try to review and can't, this means you've reviewed an old chapter which is now counted as a new one, and I'm so sorry for this negative effect but thank you for the reviews!), future readings/rereadings will make y'all less prone to headdesking, and there are BRAND NEW SCENES to enjoy!
But never you fear, you don't have to reread the whole fic to find the new stuff. Here's the handy-dandy chapter guide for new or basically new scenes, as well as big-ish plot changes (READ THIS LIST! TRÉS IMPORTANT! READREADREAD!):
—Older Harry and Older Ginny, instead of being referred to as Harry and Ginny, are now Henry and Jenny. This was done solely because writing it the other way was driving me batty.
—The entire Welcoming Feast time travel fiasco has been rewritten. Now, Dumbledore was more cautious and memory charmed everyone far quicker than in the original, and there's no mad Umbridge stuff. Hopefully it now makes more sense. — Chapter 3
—Neville and Luna are now not part of the initial group who found out about the time travellers. They were only let in on the secret with the rest of the 'DA'.
—A scene of Older Harry comforting his kids has been added. Family fluffiness and dad!Harry ahoy! — Chapter 8
—I changed it so that Ron and Hermione didn't kiss, though it was a close thing. In the same chapter, Jenny now has a harsher reaction to being reunited with Fred. — Chapter 12
—Much of the 'Doctor Who' stuff and irrelevant A/Ns have been deleted.
—There have been hints added throughout the chapters that something not-very-nice involving Al and kidnappers happened years back. Thank you Stanley69 for this brilliant idea!
—The situation involving Jamie's punishment for the time travel has been slightly altered. — Chapter 9
—Completely changed Harry's and Cho's flirting/scene, taking out the kinkiness and adding in Irn-Bru. — Chapter 16
—PLENTY of chapters have either been split into two or consolidated into one. I've lost track of how many that's happened to, but as the scenes stayed fundamentally the same I wouldn't worry about it.
—Bill's now in the Gringotts fiasco. As I can't remember whether he was in the earlier draft, I'm mentioning it here! — Chapter 27
General Disclaimer: I find it hilarious that J.K. Rowling might be lurking somewhere on this site. What if we were unknowingly reading some of her writing under a pseudonym? Imagine that she wrote HP/LV slash, Dumbledore/Weasley bashings, or 'My Immortal'! With that being said, none of Rowling's surely numerous accounts is, in fact, this one. But wouldn't that be awesome?
Jenny desperately needed a hangover potion.
Not that she'd gotten drunk the night before, but from the moment she'd awoken she'd felt like death dried over. She was surprised her pitiful groan hadn't awakened her husband (with his face planted firmly in a pillow, looking about as bad as she felt). Moreover, she was even more shocked she'd managed to wincingly roll out of bed, let alone drag her protesting feet to the bathroom.
"Worse than mallowsweet vodka, I swear." Jenny muttered to herself, thinking of one of George's epically failed concoctions. She blearily rubbed the sleep from her eyes yet, when she properly opened them to glance at the mirror, she wished she hadn't. "Damn it."
She looked a fright. Hair in a mass of knots, bruises spiralling down her body, and patches of burns every which way she turned. Though, she tried not to turn. One speculative twist to glance at her back was enough to stretch her sore muscles.
"Ohhh, ow." Jenny groaned, squinting at her reflection. Her eyes roved down and up, speculating the new scrapes that might scar. More worrying were the burn marks that would surely be slow to heal. She continued muttering under her breath. "Ow ow ow. No more dragons. No more effing dragons. Or horcruxes. Or polyjuice. Or Malfoys. Or bloody Dumbledore. Or my blasted husband who'll never just stay put and be properly rescued! Or stupid aurors who also won't stay still and be obliviated and…ow…"
A mental note was made to stop by the hospital wing (and drag her very stubborn husband with her). Hand sliding through her still unfamiliar hair, she paused as she again met her reflection's gaze. She shuffled closer, wincing less as her muscles loosened. Pressing her nose against the mirror she frowned at the dark shadows rimming her eyes.
Gringotts hadn't killed her, which was fantastic, but her body ached like mad. She dimly wondered if she was getting too old for this sort of thing, then dismissed it with a snort. Age wasn't the problem. She was still young—sprightly, even, and Henry would enthusiastically attest to her flexibility. The issue was all too clear and was glaring at her from the mirror.
Jenny placed her hands on her waist, annoyed that it was so obvious she needed to put on more weight. Who knew skipping a few (or maybe more than a few) meals would be this difficult to recover from? Not that she didn't understand her earlier 'motives'. When her family had disappeared she was in far too much of a fog to think of silly things like getting three meals a day. No matter how much her mum nagged her about it.
Casting out of her mind how easy it was to bruise a slightly too-thin body, she turned on the water and splashed some on her face, drenching the scarring burns. Brushing her teeth she listened for any noise from the bedroom. Henry had been asleep when she'd gotten up and, however restless his dreams might be, she was glad that at least one of them was getting some rest.
The toothpaste was spat out. Jenny rubbed at her dark bags, brightening her expression a touch. Pleased with this she treaded back into the bedroom. Henry was hidden under the covers, the blankets twitched but he didn't make a noise. She covered a yawn and tried to move more quietly. Avoiding the rickety bureau she snatched up her knickers from the floor. Pulling them on, she eyed the clothes she'd discarded when they'd trudged back in at a madly early hour. The couple hadn't been aware of much aside from collapsing in bed, so she found that their possessions made a trail from the door.
She clasped her bra shut and grabbed day-old socks. Looking around for the rest of her clothes, she was only met with Henry's. Thinking back at the morning, it dawned on her that she must have been so tired that she hadn't waited for the privacy of their bedroom to start disrobing.
Beginning to swear, Jenny quickly stopped herself in hearing a low murmur from the bed. He didn't awaken. She bit her lip. Another glance was given to the bureau, but the drawers always squeaked. They'd been meaning to fix that yet, as she also seemed to be missing her wand, that wasn't an option at the moment. Henry had more presence of mind than she and his wand lay on his bedside table. Which was far too close to his slumbering hand for her to risk grabbing.
Blowing out a low breath, she looked around for any laundry she'd left out. There wasn't much, only a piece of lingerie. But it covered the important bits and reminded her of something important: their bedroom door didn't creak.
Pulling the small nightie on, Jenny tip-toed away. Silently opening and shutting the door she made her way down to the common room. In doing so she picked up every discarded clothing she spotted on the steps. She silently thanked the absent Teddy for being a sound sleeper. Not only had he slept through their 'odd' entrance last night (including the sleepy locking and security spells they'd put on the portrait hole's door), but he was sure to stay asleep in his room through her quick and underdressed nip downstairs.
There were explosions coming from her bedroom.
Jenny paused on the steps back up, a pile of clothes in her arms. She gave a frustrated groan and pondered the pros of heading back down the stairs. Surely wandering around Hogwarts underdressed couldn't be too bad? Or she could relax in the common room until the noises died down?
Another series of blasts echoed down the steps. Loud swearing accompanied this. She sighed, reluctantly climbing up. As she did so, she wondered about how relaxing life must be for those who had a normal reaction to the sound of explosions. That had never applied to her, as a childhood spent with not only Charlie but Fred and George as brothers had extinguished any reflexive fright at the noise. Still, it was only in married life that her wary approach to ominous sounds transitioned into an irritated acceptance of them. Most would wonder if she had a death wish, though she didn't. Nor was she disinterested or uncaring for the plight occurring in the room before her. She was just so used to this sort of situation that it'd settled into being merely an annoying part of life.
It was thus that, when Jenny opened the door to reveal the ongoing destruction of her bedroom, she was wholly unsurprised. She closed her eyes, mustered her patience, and reluctantly reopened them. Tired words left her mouth as she dropped the clothes in a heap on the ground. "You need to find another way to vent."
Henry paused at her voice, momentarily halting his hexing of the walls. Turning his head to spot his wife, he shrugged. Switching to non-verbal spells he continued the onslaught. "I'm out! I'm done. I'm through, I quit!"
She surveyed what was left of their bedroom, noting that the bed on which her husband sat was one of the remaining unmarked spots. Almost everything else was scorched, hanging off its edges, or turned to ash. "How about a stress ball? I hear they work wonders." She closed the door, casting a small silencing charm on it.
"I've found my line!" This was emphasised with a loud blast at the closet.
"Of course you have." Jenny said soothingly. She stepped into the room, knowing the spells wouldn't come anywhere near her. "Not that I'm unsympathetic, but you've robbed Gringotts before."
"Not that." He scowled at the air. "It's everything else! The least of which is that poncer trying to jab his tongue down my throat!"
She tried to keep back an uncontrollable giggle. Failing at this, she found that his glare had turned to her. "Okay, I'm sorry. You're right, having Malfoy snog you is traumatising. Much worse than a dragon and rampaging goblins. What was I thinking?"
He peered at her, hexes pausing. "You're making fun of me."
"You are!" Henry rolled over on the duvet to stare at her. "Are you, are you still laughing? This isn't a joking matter. I'm retiring!"
"Sorry, sorry." She wiped away a few tears of mirth, bringing herself together. "I'm sympathetic, really. But usually when you're destroying our bedroom it's for something a bit bigger." This jogged her memory. "My things are okay?"
Henry gestured to a dresser that was closed and unsinged. The disbelieving look he sent her clearly called her judgement into question. She decided not to call him on the insanity that he was doing this to her. "Again, I'm retiring. Officially. I'd say that's pretty big."
"Oh please." Jenny scoffed, not bothering with sympathy at this statement. "This is your, what, tenth retirement? Eleventh, if we count the time Percy 'accidentally' got you nominated for Minister and you renounced your citizenship as protest. Or twelfth, with the flying monkey incident. Face it: every time you retire, it never sticks."
"Means it's overdue!"
"Alright, alright. But not everything's awful." Jenny forced some faux excitement into her voice. "Another horcrux down! We're also happily not dead. That's always good."
"Great!" He imitated her chipper attitude, sarcasm rolling off his words. "But wait, no, almost forgot. We wrecked Gringotts and Diagon. At least the escaped dragon only 'lightly crisped' the place rather than deciding to have lunch, so we aren't indirect mass murderers. Fantastic!"
"It wasn't that bad." Jenny mildly protested.
"I bet you anything, absolutely anything, that we're Undesirables Number One and Two." Henry bluntly replied, false cheer falling away. "Not only does Voldemort know someone's after his horcruxes, but the Ministry and press are also after us. Oh, and you—yes, you—demolished Malfoy Manor! Thank Merlin we changed their memories. Also, on top of all that, we have to do another robbery!"
Jenny sunk down to the bed beside him. "To be fair, we're only doing surveillance."
"It's never just surveillance." He gritted out. "We don't have that kind of luck."
"Okay," she paused, "how about this. Considering the mess we've made, the Order will surely protest us doing another mission."
"Sure. Absolutely." Henry agreed flippantly. "That is, if Dumbledore wasn't in charge. Again, we don't have that sort of luck! So I'm retiring. Actually, you know what, that's not enough. Screw all this. Let's leave the country, yeah? I'd like to see them hunt us down. Heard Bermuda's great this time of year. Heck, even if you want to go to Siberia I'm sold. The Outback. Saudi Arabia. Freaking Glasgow. Anything would be better than this mess."
Jenny tutted at the entire statement. "Of all the ridiculous—"
Jenny's exasperated comment was cut off by the door bursting open. A furious brunette raced in waving a paper, a less fanatic redhead at her heels.
"A DRAGON?" Hermione cried out. Coming to a skidding halt, she alternated her raging glare between the startled Jenny and an incredulous Henry (who was surprised enough to pause in hexing the furniture). "ARE YOU MAD!"
"Because it was obviously you two. Have I gone senile in old age? Oh, and I'd work on your security spells. It was mincemeat by the time Hermione and Bill were done with it." Ginny said more calmly. Following her friend in she closed the door behind them. She then eyed the destroyed bedroom and surveyed the adults. "Cute nightdress, by the way."
"Cheers." Jenny was busy scanning the Prophet Hermione had angrily thrust in her hands. Henry hadn't bothered looking at it, instead resuming tossing hexes at the walls. If this was done with a new passion, no one was mentioning it. "Minimal fatalities so far, thank Merlin. Most of those were at Gringotts and…oh."
"Yes, OH!" Hermione exclaimed, tossing her hands up in sheer exasperation. "As of printing, the dragon hadn't been captured yet AND WAS FLYING OVER MUGGLE LONDON! It was drinking from the Thames!"
"That…can't be healthy." Jenny's futile attempt at humour didn't get very far. Mostly because the door was again shoved open to frantic shouting.
"YOU'RE BOTH INSANE!" A lightly scorched Bill trampled in, glaring at the obvious couple in question. If the door could've whimpered, it would have as it slid back shut. "Do you have a death wish? If not, you're screwed, because guess who the goblins have put a bounty on. They don't even want you 'dead or alive', just dead! Corpses! They want your heads and, let me tell you, I'm bloody well tempted to give it to them. Because if someone doesn't you two are going to get us all killed!"
"A, a bounty?" Hermione was a tinge surprised. Though her indignant anger remained bubbling under the surface. "I thought the goblins only declared wars."
"These idiots are the exceptions!" Bill answered, pointing furiously at a gaping Jenny and a Henry who was clenching his jaw and firing at a lamp. "The goblins have all but declared a personal war on them. So now we have to get them out of the country before they're linked to—"
"Is this a joke?" Kingsley's enraged tone rang out as he swept in. The door, having given up at this point, remained a jar. "This is your idea of a covert mission?" He turned to glare at the other new arrivals. "WEASLEYS! You think it's funny to hex me?"
"Come on, s'not so bad." Tonks swept in behind him, sending a cursory glance around as she shut the door. "There's not too many casualties. Plus, look at the bright side. We're not only one more step to destroying a dark lord, we're keeping the obliviators on their toes! Also, don't be mad at Ginny and Bill. So they raced ahead of you. You should've dodged their spells." She paused, taking a better look around. "Hmm, Henry? I can't say I like your decorating scheme."
Henry sent Tonks the bird and took out the last window panel with a searing fireball.
"Yeah, we screwed up." Jenny tossed the newspaper onto the bed. "It was a disaster. But what do you expect me to—"
"So," Jamie sauntered into the room, his equally irritated siblings at his heels. Though the poor door had already been open, the force of their entrance ricocheted it off the wall and banged shut, "thanks for letting us know you're both alive. No big. This isn't traumatising for us at all."
"Yeah." Al said sarcastically, crossing his arms as he stared at his parents. None of the children seemed at all surprised by Henry's hexes of the already destroyed bedroom. "Panicking at a Wireless news report is a great way to start the morning. But why were we worried? After all, anyone could have set a dragon on Parliament! Happens all the time."
"We're willing to be gracious and forgive you." Lily sniffed, standing primly between her brothers. "So long as, firstly, you stop holding the Buckingham phoenix incident over us. Secondly, we get a free pass for any future arson 'accidents' that might or might not occur."
"No free passes!" Henry exclaimed, at last speaking. As this was accompanied by an exploding hex that rammed out the window frame, it somewhat diluted the effect.
Jenny was held up on something other than her children's attempted blackmail. "Parliament?" She murmured, sinking to the bed. "Hermione, you weren't exaggerating about the Thames?"
"Breathing flames on top of Big Ben." But Jamie wasn't looking at his mum. Instead, he was frowning at his dad. "Come on, this is much worse than anything we've done. If we can't get a free pass, how about pardons for all the past stuff? Y'know, from Potter Manor to the time travelling."
"Not the time travelling." Al hissed at his brother.
"If we're going for a clean slate…"
"Not the time travelling." Lily agreed with Al, then returned to her parents. "How about this. We'll find it in our hearts to forgive you for making us believe we were orphans, so long as you hold none of our joint incidents over us."
"FINE!" Henry growled, furiously rattling the wall with small holes. "WHATEVER!"
"HARRY!" Jenny exclaimed, turning from her kids' cheers to gape indignantly at her husband.
"We have bigger problems." Henry scowled. "Even forgetting about the Malfoys, goblins, and dragon? With this being so huge, Voldemort must've found out about it. What do you think his reaction will be!"
Jenny paused, then turned back to her kids. "No pardons. Ever."
"But muuum!" Lily protested, the little issue of Voldemort finding out they were hunting horcruxes tossed aside. "Orphans!"
"Not actually orphans!" Jenny gritted out.
"A pity." Came a low mutter, interrupting the argument. Though most turned in surprise to the man now in the open doorway, after one look Henry paused his hexing to tightly grip his wand. He wasn't aiming at the newest arrival, but everyone knew it was a close thing. "Though I believe I can remedy that."
"Why is everyone in here?" Jenny darkly murmured, facepalming at Snape's words. The man in question ignored her for a better target.
"Congratulations, Potter." Snape drawled, his glare focused on the obvious person in the room. "You've managed to reach a level of incompetence even I thought you incapable of. Or was setting a dragon on civilians part of your plan? If so, well done. I'm sure the body count will be impressive."
By the way Henry was eyeing Snape, he was considering a new target for his exploding curses. By the furious set of his jawline, adding one more casualty to the list wouldn't break his heart.
"In case you've all forgotten," Jenny growled out, ignoring Snape's and her husband's anger, "this is our bedroom! I'm in a nightie! GET OUT!"
The door meekly slid open, revealing a yawning and confused Teddy. He blinked around at the destroyed room filled with people. His bed head was absently rubbed. "Uh, what's up? Why're you all up and…in here? Shouting? Really, really loudly?"
"Mum and dad tried to make us orphans." Lily said primly, returning her mother's glare. "Again. Per usual."
"Which we're very, very sorry for." Jenny sighed, more than a note of frustration in her voice. Teddy blearily stared at them both, as confused as ever. "But that doesn't mean you can blackmail us! WE'RE YOUR PARENTS!"
"Who didn't bother telling us they were alive." Albus rolled his eyes.
"Which we are incredibly sorry for," Jenny amended with more emphasis, "but which I was going to do once I stopped my bedroom from being destroyed!"
"Not going to happen." Henry said blithely, continuing the onslaught by turning to the headrest with further blasts. "Effing Gringotts, effing Voldemort, effing '90s, effing dragon, effing Malfoy…"
"STOP DESTROYING THE ROOM! KIDS, GET OUT!"
"After setting a dragon on London," Kingsley said at long last, a small smile appearing at the chaos. Tonks just kept snorting, "you don't have much room to complain."
"You see if I don't!" Jenny barked, patience crackling and snapping. She swiftly turned from group to group. "KIDS! I'm sorry for what happened, I really am. But if you want any chance at seeing those pardons, get to class!"
"It's the weekend…"
"CLASS! NOW! Teddy, I'll explain everything later. Get back to bed." The woman swirled to an unimpressed Snape, practically breathing fire. "SNAPE! If you don't leave now, I'm putting a permanent sticking charm on you and Henry!"
"What!" Henry squawked as he spun to her, as revolted as Snape.
"LEAVE!" Jenny shouted. Though, as her snickering children, a bewildered Teddy, and an irritated Snape left the bedroom, she did calm slightly. She turned to the remaining people with a determined scowl. "Bill, in ten seconds I'm going to start passionately kissing my husband. The little clothes I'm wearing will be chucked off."
Bill paled. Though she was clearly bluffing, he hightailed it out of the room anyway. Jenny then turned to the remaining few, pointing at them in turn. "Hermione, younger me—"
"We're going, we're going." Ginny rolled her eyes, grabbing Hermione's more reluctant form as she did so. "Keep your knickers on…ah, if you're wearing any. But I do want to know where you got that outfit. So adorable."
"Cheers." Jenny sighed. As the two girls headed to the door and the woman faced the aurors, another loud sound rang through the bedroom.
"Where are the applications?" Fred was the next to burst in, unrepentantly unannounced. The door theoretically wept, limbing back to being closed.
"Why weren't we told about the PJ and arson party?" George followed him in, smirking at his 'older' and highly irritated sister. "Or nighties. Must be why Bill was running screaming and Snape seemed particularly murderous."
"What kind of party was it that you had Snape?" Fred made a face, one that grew when he spotted the unamused Moody. But then, in seeing Tonks chortling, a small grin unravelled. "But nighties. Really should have called us, we could've pulled it off."
Jenny let out a groan of frustration. Just when she thought it was returning to calmness, the situation got worse. Hermione and Ginny had even stayed, the latter obviously wanting to watch the show. Meanwhile, the woman felt another longing to fetch her robe to cover up more. But at this point that would practically be admitting defeat. So, instead, she clasped her hands on the flimsy fabric at her waist and silently prayed (again) that no part of her outfit was transparent. She then unwound the 'conversation' to the twins' first statement. "Applications?"
"To be your minions." Fred casually explained, easily hopping back to the point at hand.
"Protégés." George piped in.
"Stalkers." Fred paused. "Though we wouldn't need your permission for that one, would we."
George nodded thoughtfully. "Rather beside the point. Minions then?"
"Minions." Fred agreed. The twins then turned to look expectantly at the Parkers. Jenny was too flabbergasted to immediately answer. Her husband, on the other hand…
"No. Hell no." Henry barely paused in his hexes. "I'd sooner cut up an Erumpent Horn than invite in that mess."
"Don't be so harsh." Jenny at last grappled the situation. With the rest of the insanity, this spout of humour (though she prayed they were kidding) made her want to burst into hysteric laughter. She was a touch concerned at her mad swell of emotions this morning. "They can join our legion of stalkers if they really want to."
"Listen to reason." George said with a soothing tone. "Every decent Dark Lord needs minions."
"So unless you've been recruiting," Fred's eagerness shone through, "you're lacking in that area."
"I'M NOT A DARK LORD!" Henry howled, beyond the end of his rope.
The twins exchanged a look, shrugged, and turned their sights to Jenny. "Dark Lady, then?"
Jenny didn't instantly rebuttal this and, rather, seemed to be contemplating the idea. With this, a good portion of the room lost whatever hope remained at making it through the year with a shred of sanity left.
"OI!" A piercing shout echoed up from the staircase. Jenny groaned, Henry twitched, and the rest looked vaguely amused or curious. All easily recognised Harry's dulcet shout. "STOP DRAGGING ME!"
"STOP BEING A PRAT!" Ron's grunting voice was also all too easily heard. "We can't find Dumbledore, yeah? SO THEY'RE THE NEXT BEST THING!"
"HOW THE HELL ARE THEY THE—"
The door burst open, revealing two pyjama-clad boys who were clearly in the midst of a fight.
"WOULD YOU STOP...oh." Harry's sentence trailed off (and his headlock on Ron slackened) as he noticed that the bedroom was crammed with people. But when Ron took advantage of the pause to all-but body-slam the younger teenager, Harry surged back into action.
"LET ME GO!" Harry seethed, pushing Ron away and leaping to his feet. Ignoring the others he glared at his older self. "FINE! Fine, as long as we're here: what're you getting at? ARE YOU MAD?"
"Seems to be the consensus." Henry muttered under his breath. "If you're here to rage about the dragon, get in the bloody queue."
"Dragon?" Ron blinked, both of the newcomers looking thrown. The redhead glanced around as he found his balance, gaping at the people. "Ah…no. Look, y'know where Dumbledore is? Harry woke up shouting from a vision and—
But Harry then cut in angrily, still addressing Henry. "Voldemort's furious, you get that? Whatever you did—oh, I'm sure it was you—he was flinging about Unforgiveables! Killed as many Death Eaters as not, but Merlin." He rubbed his scar tiredly, some of his rage becoming exhausted. "What the hell did you do?"
"Also, again, what dragon?" Ron hedged, sending uncertain glances at his calming friend. He then took another look at how crowded the room was. "Why's everyone in here? Ginny, Hermione? What's going on?"
"I think we're all curious about the last." Jenny deadpanned. "As for Dumbledore? I'd guess he's busy convincing the Ministry that someone's been pretending to be him."
Ron gave the older woman a double-take, jaw-dropping. Any question about the Headmaster disappeared. "What are you wearing!"
Jenny felt her already paper-thin patience crumbling. "A nightgown. Don't see why that matters."
"That's not a nightgown!" Ron's disbelief grew. Realising what he'd been staring at, he jerked his eyes to the wall as his face went as red as his hair. "That's a—a—you know!"
"Excuse me?" Jenny said a touch icily. "You, all of you, burst into my bedroom. You're lucky I wasn't starkers!"
"This isn't much better!" Ron cried out. He then realised another problem and slapped his hands over Harry's eyes, ignoring his friend's yelp.
"Get OFF, you git!" Harry shouted, struggling out of the hold. "You think I care her dress's short? I have other things on my mind!"
"No, wait." Fred frowned at the now very much pissed off witch. "Ronnikins has a point. A nightie is one thing, but is, is that transparent?"
"THAT'S IT!" Henry's exclamation was lighted by a fireball into a long-obliterated mirror. He turned his ignited fury to the crowd before him. "We screwed up. We really screwed up, I know! YOU DON'T HAVE TO TELL US!" His temper rose as his voice dropped in volume. "So go on, shout at us about the escaped dragon. Gringotts. The manhunt. The deaths, or even about breaking the Statute of Secrecy. While you're at it, how about you keep questioning why my wife's wearing lingerie in our bedroom!" He let out a muffled groan, pressing his palms against his eyes. "But I don't care. At all. So if you lot are done ranting, how 'bout you shove off?"
"Parker…" Kingsley growled.
"All of you, shove off!" Henry gritted out, raising his unamused gaze to the auror. "Why don't you people understand? I don't care! Voldemort must know all our plans, nothing else matters. Everything's gone to hell and there's nothing, nothing you can tell me that…" his words dwindled off. He blinked at his younger self in suddenly rapt attention, "me. ME! You had a vision?"
"Think we've covered that." Ron shrugged, one of the few nonchalant about the man's outburst and rapid mood changes. Though he was looking pale at the news concerning Gringotts.
"SHUT UP! Everyone BE QUIET!" Henry exclaimed, returning his attention to the startled Harry. "Everyone except you. Your vision, it was of Voldemort at Gringotts?"
"Yeah?" Harry said, bewildered. This confusion only grew when Henry leapt off the bed, gazing at the boy with desperate hope.
"I need you to think back." Henry ignored everyone except his younger self. "Why was Voldemort furious? Was it because an object had been stolen?"
Harry's expression crumpled in further confusion. "No. No, what're you on about? It was about the Malfoys' money."
"Their money." Henry slowly breathed out. He stumbled back against the remains of the bedpost. Then, just as suddenly, his shock gave way to a relieved cheer. His next words were more mumblings to himself than anything else. "He believed it. He believed the memory charm and—Hah! That's brilliant. So what then, he's enraged about losing the Malfoy finances? Could be. Wait, did Voldemort kill the Malfoys?"
Harry had stopped trying to understand. Both ignored the winces at the Dark Lord's name. "No? They talked their way out. How did you know they—"
"No surprise there." Henry cut in, beginning to pace as he thought this through. "Though they're probably out of favour. The goblins. Did Voldemort question any of them?"
Harry looked faintly sick. "No, he, he heard Malfoy's vault was gone and couldn't check because of the collapsed tunnels. So he just...started killing any goblin who tried to speak. Or got in his way. Or, or anything, really."
"At any time," Henry continued, swallowing harshly when learning of the goblin deaths, "did the name 'Lestrange' come up?"
"I don't think so."
"Bellatrix Lestrange." He pressed. "Her vault or anything in it, like a cup. Was this mentioned?"
"No." Harry said more firmly, though still bewildered.
"Did Volde—stop wincing!—Voldemort go down to any of the vaults?"
"No." Harry blinked. "Not with the tunnels demolished and, hold on. Was that the dragon you mentioned? You let loose a dragon and set it on London? …wait. Gringotts had a dragon?"
"Basically." A hopeful ring had returned to Henry's voice. He turned to his wife in obvious relief. "Gin, Jenny, whatever! We didn't set off the Apocalypse!"
"Apparently." Jenny eyed him. Most of the others were grumbling about not having anything properly explained. "Still retiring?"
Henry's half-smile instantly drooped. "I wish. Maybe. Probably not. Not with my luck."
"Care to explain?" Kingsley piped, though it wasn't really a request. "I don't see how an escaped dragon is a good thing."
"It is in comparison." Jenny rubbed at an swelling headache, wishing to sink into a hot and relaxing bath more than anything else. "If Voldemort realised someone had broken in for his horcrux, he'd have rehidden the rest. Which would be horrifically bad. Hence my husband's melodrama and the destruction of our bedroom."
"Still say we ought to retire." Henry grumbled, tossing a last exploding charm at the mantlepiece.
Daphne Greengrass raised an eyebrow at the headline. A picture of a lightly scorched Diagon Alley blazed the Prophet's front page. Skimming the article, she let out a snort.
"You done?" Tracy Davis asked her friend, an identical paper folded neatly next to her breakfast.
Daphne took another look at the photo. She then glanced at the Staff Table, noting the many absent teachers. A glance at the Gryffindors revealed more missing persons. "There's no way it wasn't them, is there."
"Absolutely them." Tracy didn't bother asking what she meant. "Any thoughts on what they wanted in Gringotts?"
"None." A pause. "Do you think the aurors know it was them?"
An amused grin puckered. "Think Potter could obliviate them like he did the rest?"
"So brash. Effective, though."
There was a comfortable pause.
Daphne folded her paper, pursing her lips in thought. "Are they really so stupid to think nobody's figured them out? I mean, enough to rob Gringotts?"
Tracy tsked. "I think they're Gryffindor enough to believe that anyone suspicious would confront them, student or auror."
"I understand the others, but Ravenclaws are supposed to be smart. I heard that Patil once confronted them ten times in one day!" Daphne sighed. "Some cunning never hurt anyone."
"Cunning? Common sense, more like. At least they took the spell off the more annoying ones."
They both ate breakfast, letting the confused shouts from around the Hall (concerning the events in Diagon Alley) wash over them.
She munched some toast, not looking over until she'd swallowed.
"Think this is enough blackmail?"
"The time travel, combined with knowing they broke into Gringotts and set a dragon on Diagon?" Daphne pretended to think. "Nope. They're too impulsive and trigger-happy."
"What about the kids? They're technically Snakes, after all."
"Too homicidal." Daphne finished off her toast. She made a face. "Too Gryffindor."
"Shame." Tracy swished the pumpkin juice around her cup. "I'd almost want to tell Potter just to see the look on his face."
"It's tempting, isn't it."
Early that afternoon, members of the inner Order (as well as assorted guests) had crammed into the Headmaster's office. No one was happy, but some were being more obvious about their displeasure. Bill and Moody had yet to lighten their glares at the Parkers. Molly was scowling at Dumbledore, while Arthur and Remus were trying to calm everyone down. Sirius and Tonks were both 'quietly' snickering, while Snape was staring heatedly at them all (with particularly deaths glares at Henry and Sirius).
Teddy, though invited to the meeting, had taken one look at Tonks and scampered with a backwards shout (about piles of paperwork and, oh man, he had so many essays to grade, you wouldn't believe). McGonagall had walked in, raised an eyebrow at the screaming adults, and walked right back out (dragging a rather more amused Flitwick and Sprout with her).
Jenny and Henry, lounging against the wall, clearly wanting to be anywhere else. Dumbledore also seemed rather strung out, having just returned after spending hours convincing the Ministry that he hadn't been involved in the Gringotts disaster in the least.
"The most blatant," Moody kept up a growl, leaning towards the Parkers. "idiotically reckless move I've ever seen!"
"Absolutely." Henry immediately agreed, nodding his head. Jenny, seated beside him, gave a small sigh. "Couldn't have said it better myself."
"Kind of stereotypically Gryffindor." Tonks admitted. "Though it's impressive how massively things went sideways."
"Impressive? Impressive?" Bill cried out in disbelief. He still sported a few burns (as did the Parkers, though he had no sympathy for them). "They destroyed Gringotts! Set a dragon on London! Almost shattered the Statute!"
"To be fair," Dumbledore calmly interceded, "the Gringotts' disaster was mainly at the hands of Volde—"
"No need to gloss over it." Henry cut in. "We are terrible, absolutely horrid people. In fact, our horribleness can only be matched by our incompetency. Which is why we should never, ever be allowed on an Order mission again."
"Ever." Molly added for good measure, still glaring at the Headmaster for sending them on such a dangerous mission in the first place.
"Amen." Bill full-heartedly agreed, though his glare was directed at Henry and Jenny. "You're menaces to society, you know that?"
"Cheers, mate." Henry said happily. Sending a smug look at Dumbledore for proving his point, he snuggled up against his groaning wife.
Moody piped in again. "What the hell is wrong with your Ministry that you, of all people, became Head Auror!"
"Terrifying to imagine." Henry agreed without hesitation. "If you ask me, the promotion was to get me out of the field. Must've figured I'd be less likely to mess things up in a desk job. Dreadful decision all around."
"Oh, honestly." Jenny sent her husband an impatient look. "They get it already! No more missions or snogging Malfoys for you. Stop milking it."
"Just a moment." Arthur held up a hand, looking oddly at the Parkers. "What's this about the Malfoys?"
"Apparently the time displaced fool is having an affair with Lucius Malfoy." Snape replied flippantly, a shadow of a sneer crossing his mouth. "Do keep up, Arthur."
"Not having an affair!" Henry immediately addressed his in-laws, though then sent an exasperated look at the unrepentant Potion's Master. "Snape, this whole mess confirms every miserable thing you think of me. Can't you be happy with that?"
"Might we return to the point?" Dumbledore steepled his hands together, gazing at the senior Order members crammed into his office. "We have a…potential problem quite apart from. While one of the objects we were after was recovered, the way it was done might have alerted Voldemort to our 'quest'."
"Might have?" Bill repeated, gritting this out. "These two left more than breadcrumbs at the scene!"
"We destroyed a good chunk of Gringotts. Yeah, we know." Jenny said right back at her brother. "Keep reminding us, Bill. Can't risk us forgetting."
"My pleasure." He replied with a groan. "So, aside from also setting me on fire, you demolished Malfoy Manor."
Henry's scowl hardened at the mention of the Manor. Jenny bit her lip, thinking over her words. "Not my fault you got too near the dragon! But, okay, so maybe the second one was because I got overzealous. Still, in my defence? Exchanging hostages is stressful business."
"I wasn't a hostage." Henry retorted. "I got away before you arrived. I'd already changed the wanker's memories!"
"Which I had no way of knowing. So I naturally had to search the Manor for you." She caught sight of his look and narrowed her eyes. "Come on, like you wouldn't have done the same."
"Really?" Henry sardonically retorted. "You think I'd have attacked both Malfoys, freed their House Elves, vandalised multiple rooms, and gotten interrupted in the memory charms by the aurors arriving from a silent alarm? Then attacked the aurors until the 'very-much-not-a-hostage' arrived back and shoved me in the floo? Yeah love, that's exactly what I'd have done."
"Git." She blew out a frustrated breath. "Let's just forget I saved your life a dozen times over, hmm?"
"I'm not forgetting that!" He protested. "But Voldemort would have to be an idiot not to figure out what happened. At least once he can get into the tunnels."
"Alright, alright!" Remus cut off the quarrel with a sharp wave as Sirius and Tonks sniggered beside him. The Parkers blinked, chagrined in realising the whole room was now staring at them in vague amusement (apart from those still glaring at them). "The point—if I have this right—is that you two decided to break into Gringotts. The robbery went wrong, and while you found a horcrux the goblins and the Malfoys know that somebody got into their vault. Is that correct?"
The Parkers mutely nodded, still embarrassed.
"So what're you worried about?" Sirius muffled his chuckles enough to lean back and cross his legs against Fawkes' pedestal. While the phoenix didn't seem to mind, Dumbledore sent his former student a frown while Snape's scowl deepened. "Voldemort knows that someone's after something belonging to the Malfoys or Lestranges. There's no reason for him to connect it to us or his soul pieces, especially if you changed their memories."
"That's not exactly right." Henry's brow creased in a frown. "My younger self has a connection to him—it's too complicated to explain, but because of the backfired killing curse he has visions and the like. In September he dreamed that Voldemort had felt something odd, which was us coming back in time. Though Voldemort didn't know this, he got suspicious enough that we believe he made an entirely new horcrux."
"What he's trying to say," Jenny took up the explanation, her expression equally worried, "is that Voldemort was already suspicious of someone being after horcruxes before the Gringotts' fiasco. Once the rubble clears from the tunnels he'll naturally check on the cup, and if he finds it missing he could create another horcrux. Which would be bad. Extremely, world-ending bad."
Almost everyone looked horrified at this statement, except for Dumbledore, Snape, and Moody. The Headmaster's expression didn't change from being mildly concerned. The Potion's Master clearly wanted to smack someone's head for stupidity. Yet it was the bark of laughter that came from the ex-auror that made most jump in shock.
Tonks edged away from her guffawing mentor, saying in a stage whisper. "I think we broke him."
"Nah, lass. It'll take more than some soul pieces to do me in." Moody's laughter died off as he wiped tears of mirth from his eyes. He only seemed further amused at everyone's concern for him, turning to the main couple in question. "Either Potter: how much do you know about dark magic and magical numbers?"
"Obviously nothing." Snape dismissively answered for them, then addressed the room at large. "What these idiots have overlooked is that the numbers '3' and '7' are more than folklore, they are magically significant. You said the Dark Lord had already split his soul into seven pieces? Does this include his original body and a possible extra horcrux? The further from seven you get, the more unstable the original becomes. The Dark Lord would not risk 'instantaneously combusting'." He eyed them as though they were misbehaving first years. "So what is it, Potter? Give us the number."
"Ah…" Henry hedged, glancing at his wife as they both asked each other an unknown question. Moody, tired of the dawdling, drew his wand and swished words in the air.
"Right then." The old auror wrote out the first few horcruxes, remembering the information gleamed not only from Dumbledore but from Henry's interrogation. "There's the journal, cup, ring, tiara—"
"Diadem." Jenny half-heartedly corrected, giving her husband another concerned glance.
"—locket, the snake Nagini, and his actual body." Moody finished up the list with a flick of his wand, the words shining inky black in mid-air. "Also the unknown horcrux, likely something of Gryffindor's. That, the snake, and Voldemort himself are the only things we don't have or have already been destroyed. That makes seven pieces, not including the original body. So if he has any smarts he's not making another horcrux."
Yet Dumbledore looked troubled. Snape noticed this, though his suspicion shifted in noting the Parkers' shifty expressions.
"Potter," Snape's hiss made this sound like a swear. The couple looked at him warily, "what are you hiding?"
"Nothing." Henry glanced at the list with faint interest. "Just thinking."
"Potter!" The Potion's Master repeated with a further twinge of anger. "Do you think I'm an imbecile? You know something else."
"No, I don't know anything." Henry noted Sirius had opened his mouth, about to take advantage of this perfect opening. He quickly continued. "I'm just thinking about Bonfire Night. As we've established that the two of us are wholly incompetent, someone else is going to have to get over to Edinburgh Castle. You know, to see if the Stone of Destiny's a horcrux? Kind of crucial."
"Exactly." Jenny let out a low breath, further drawing the conversation away from the secret knowledge of a scar horcrux. "So who's good at surveillance? You aren't stealing the thing, so think of it like a free black tie event."
"Ooo, me! Me!" Tonks waved her hand, beaming. "Always like those things. Where else do you see shrimp cocktails in beds of caviar? Also, yes! I can be a Countess! Sounds lovely, eh?" Her accent shifted to almost a parody of British aristocracy. "Countess Tonksy Tonksington the Third, of the highest order of—"
"Dear lord." Snape intoned, eyeing her with disgust.
"Tonks," Remus hedged, "maybe you going undercover isn't the best idea. You aren't, that is…"
"What?" Tonks blinked at him.
"You can't act." Sirius cut in, waving a hand idly. "If muggle aristocrats are anything like wizards, they'd eat you alive. Especially if you go in talking like that. 'Tonksy Tonksington the Third'?"
"I thought it was nice." Tonks pouted. "Alliterative, even."
"This might be a discussion best left for another time." Dumbledore slid in, glancing around the room. "With the turmoil of recent events, we can afford to think on this decision overnight. I suggest that we hold another meeting at the same time tomorrow?" Without waiting for agreement, he smiled. "Wonderful!"
A/N: Couldn't resist writing about the Parkers royally screwing up and them being called on it. Because so many reckless Gryffindor moves really ought to end in tragedy. I want drama. I want mad situations. I want an escaped dragon. I want Voldemort to be on the rise. I want the heroes to second-guess every move they make.