Luna's Road Trip – A tale of conventionality
a/n – In case anyone missed the memo, Harry Potter and the entire Potterverse is owned lock, stock, and barrel by JK Rowling and her various and sundry corporate partners and kudos and thanks to her for allowing all of us in the halls of fanon to play with her creations. There will be some additional disclaimers at the end of the story, if I listed them now it would give away bits of the plot, such as it is. However, I'll do a preemptive proclamation that none of the properties alluded to in the story are the property of anyone other than their appropriate owners.
Chapter One – She's What?
1400 bst 2 June, 2012 - Atrium, Ministry of Magic, London UK
"Arthur, not to complain, but there'd better be a good reason for dragging me away from my folks," Hermione Potter groused as she walked over to her old friend. Nodding in acknowledgement to the pair of witches sitting at the security desk, Hermione waited patiently for Senior Undersecretary Arthur Weasley to finish giving instructions to the young staffer who was accompanying him.
The young wizard, a former 'Claw if the color of trim he was wearing was any indication, did a double take when he realized that the witch approaching his boss wearing jeans, a tee-shirt emblazoned with the rampant Scottish lion, which bore more than a passing resemblance to Gryffindor's lion, over the blue and white saltire of St. Andrew and what, at first, appeared to be ''Hello Kitty' trainers until you noticed that the iconic cat had been replaced with a ginger kneazel, was none other than the Ministerial Advocate Hermione Potter. Nodding nervously to the newcomer, he took the parchments that Arthur handed him and left as quickly as possible.
"I didn't think I was that foreboding," Hermione joked as she watched the young wizard scurry towards the lifts. Shaking her head, she turned back to Arthur and noticed that he wasn't his usual self. "Don't worry, it's only the Derby on the BBC, I'd just thought I'd get a quiet day with the folks since Harry volunteered to be the duty commander today."
"I wouldn't call you in, but Kingsley just got a very thorough dressing down from the Prime Minister. Apparently he got called out of his box at Epsom by the American Secretary of State."
"There's a problem?" Mentally reviewing all of the joint investigations her office was engaged in with both the Americans and the Canadians, she couldn't think of anything that could have gone wrong since she was briefed on her way out of the office last evening.
"Remember the little 'incident' you had to go to the States and take care of last summer," Arthur began, trying to keep things a bit vague as they were standing in a public area. Seeing both of Hermione's eyebrows head towards the ceiling, he smiled and chuckled.
"Apparently she's at it again."
"How? What?" Mind racing, Hermione shook her head and growled. "That convention's not until the end of the month, and I had things all planned out to keep her occupied at the house in Wales."
"They changed the dates; apparently she's been in the States since Wednesday."
"Merlin's garters," Hermione swore. "I didn't even think anything about it when Minerva mentioned that Luna had taken three personal days earlier in the week. I just thought she was taking a breather before everything starts up."
"Apparently, she's been behaving relatively well, but the locals got a bit concerned last evening when she got into a verbal altercation with one of the other attendees," Arthur offered, trying to keep a straight face. Seeing the worried look on Hermione's face, he chuckled and said,
"I think she just scared the young man. Apparently she took offense to …" Pausing a moment, he got out the piece of parchment that Kingsley had taken notes on, adjusted his glasses and began to read.
"Subject began wildly waving around a wooden sword and berating a fellow attendee, who was a mundane, about why Imperial Storm Troopers never went out in public wearing 'chucks' and if he didn't want to be reported to the local Imperial Garrison commander, he needed to go back to the Death Star and get into proper uniform."
Looking up at Hermione, whose eyes had a slightly glassy look as she tried to imagine the scene, Arthur waited until she shook herself before continuing. "Hermione?"
"Luna's always been a stickler for historical accuracy, even if the history hasn't happened yet," Hermione replied, still trying to wrap her head around the 'wooden sword' until it suddenly clicked.
"Circe's garters, she's gone as Saeko," Hermione blurted out.
Seeing the puzzled look on Arthur's face, Hermione sighed.
"Arthur, Luna's at a muggle gaming convention. A good number of the participants dress up as characters from various movies, comics, televisions shows, and historical periods. You'll find futuristic space aliens standing in line at the commissary with super heroes, Roman legionnaires, and others." Taking a deep breath, Hermione continued.
"Luna's been enamored of a Japanese anime series called 'Highschool of the Dead', which is based during a zombie outbreak and chronicles how the students who survive the outbreak deal with surviving. The character Luna is dressed up as is a high school girl who's also a martial arts expert and her favorite weapon is a wooden sword called a bokken."
Trying to imagine Luna, who was a very sweet person normally but she had some very peculiar views about things, pretending to be a sword wielding fighter against the undead, Arthur just shook his head. "She shouldn't be a danger, should she?"
"Luna's problem is that when she gets wrapped up in something, she tends to blur the line between the magical and the mundane worlds," Hermione explained. "Last year she 'dressed' as an elf and her costume consisted of glamours and some things from her mother's wardrobe. She caused a bit of a problem for the locals because her disguise was too good."
Seeing the blank look on Arthur's face, Hermione chuckled. "Normally, the 'elves' at the conventions use stage makeup and fake ears and the like to portray what they think elves look like. Luna magically adjusted her features so she really had the pointy ears and sapphire eyes."
"And this character, this Saeko?"
"It's not the violet hair or the bright blue eyes I'm worried about," Hermione snarked as they headed across the atrium towards the lifts.
"Really?" Thinking for a second, Arthur shrugged. "Is it the wooden sword?"
"Arthur, obviously you've never seen how anime schoolgirls usually dress," Hermione replied as they got into the lift. "Add that to her being a stickler for costume authenticity and her other little quirk and, if nothing else, she'll cause a minor sensation just walking through the exhibit hall."
As the lift doors closed, seeing that Arthur was still confused, she rolled her eyes and said, "Arthur, anime schoolgirl uniforms feature very short skirts and tight tops. Combine that with Luna's penchant for going regimental …"
"Ah, I see," was all the further the older wizard got before he began to blush.
Security Mage's Office, Columbus Convention Center, Columbus Ohio, US / North American Confederation of States and Tribal Councils
The bright blue light of the incoming International Portkey flared up, temporarily blinding the office's only occupant and further increasing his annoyance. While Ignotus Petikus was very content being the only permanently assigned representative of the Ohio Bureau of Magic for the local mundane convention site since for fifty weeks every year he had not much to do other than clean up after the occasional magical who got out of hand attending a convention.
However, every year the local gaming convention that used the convention center tried his patience. He never quite figured out that the reason he ended up in a quiet backwater like Columbus was due to his disposition, which was generally considered 'surly' by his coworkers if they were inclined to be charitable, and his total lack of people skills that made him the perfect candidate for being the magical equivalent of a 'mall cop'.
Especially since the advent of LARPing, or Live Action Role-Playing, back in the nineties and every third convention attendee trying to dress as they thought an elf, witch, or wizard would, had the Origins Convention becoming a major pain for him.
And of course, since the local magical communities, and the occasional actual elf, were involved with mundane comics, games, and popular culture, it was sometimes very difficult to decide if the person who yelled out in the hallway, "I'm going to fire a lightning bolt at you if you don't stop!" is playing in character, or is actually capable of lighting up the person they're yelling at.
However, the return of the permanent bane of his existence, especially since there had been an understanding after last year's incident with the visiting teenage daughter of a very influential wizarding family from Boston, that she wouldn't be attending this year's convention had forced him to call for help.
And that didn't even cover the fact that since his family had fled England and their meddling and repressive Ministry back in the early eighteenth century, anything remotely British set his teeth on edge. And Lady Luna Lovegood, the Countess Dumnonia, was British enough to give him a migraine that would last until Labor Day.
As he blinked to reacquaint his eyes to the normal lighting level of his office; the translation of the cryptic "Two Ministry representatives inbound to assess the situation" message from the Federal Bureau in DC became clear.
Who the Hell in DC did he annoy enough to warrant not warning him that "Two Ministry representatives" translated to Hermione and Harry effing Potter.
Scowling, Ignotus stepped forward, raising his wand to perform the standard checks required by protocol for incoming portkeys from outside North America. While their diplomatic statuses and positions within the British Ministry and society would normally exempt them, he was in no mood to cater to pretentious Brits with an overblown sense of entitlement.
His mood wasn't improved when he found himself bound in high grade security restraints and hanging upside-down from the wall of his own office less than a second later.
"I thought we had this conversation last year, Mr. Petikus," Hermione began in a pleasant conversational tone, as she stepped over to the doorway to make certain no one was outside preparing to enter the office.
"I distinctly remember telling you that if you ever pointed your wand in my direction again I would be forced to take official notice of it and mention it to London."
Turning her head to look at her husband who was dressed in a very smart three-piece suit in stark contrast to her own more causal dress. "Nice touch, dear. Those are the new reinforced restraints George and Daddy came up with?"
Shaking his head, Harry turned his attention to the restrained official who was hanging upside down, turning red in the face as he struggled to free himself.
"I wouldn't try that, if I were you. Those things were field tested on mountain trolls without even fraying and the webbing in their core siphons off your magic at such a rate that you'll find yourself suffering from core exhaustion in about six or seven minutes unless you relax."
As the furious American continued to struggle, Harry chuckled and stepped closer to him, sticking out his hand as if he were offering to shake hands.
"Sorry for the lack of manners. I'm Auror Commander Harry Potter, and my companion over there is Hermione Potter, Ministerial Advocate. We were invited in by your Central Bureau of Magic in Washington and your State Department to try to keep a lid on things here since things seemed to have gotten out of control a bit last time."
Kneeling down so his face was on the same level as the still struggling Petikus, Harry lowered his voice and stared intently at the individual.
"One of the advantages of someone in my position is that people in the state bureau here were more than happy to send me the raw, unaltered, security footage from last summer. While I'll admit that Luna should have simply ignored that young lady and gone back to her hotel room once it became evident that she wasn't going to quit accusing her of cheating. However, once the stupid bint called her out in the middle of the concourse, she really didn't have any choice but to slap her down like she did."
Pausing for a moment and looking over his shoulder to see that Hermione was pointedly staring at the security scrying screens to give them the illusion she wasn't paying attention to him going 'all macho and over protective' again, Harry turned back to the wizard and glared.
"And while I'm very certain that either of them could wipe the floor with you without breaking a sweat or going for their wand, if I ever hear about you pointing a wand at either of them …"
Trailing off, Harry waited until the struggling wizard stopped his efforts to free himself and his complexion had gone from purple to greenish before moving. Simply waving his hand, the restraints vanished and the sticking charm was canceled so that by the time Harry was standing, the offensive local had fallen head first to the floor.
"Now that we've cleared that up, exactly what has Luna done, this time, to warrant you filing yet another 'Official Incident Report' with your Bureau and the ICW?" Hermione asked sweetly as she ignored his efforts to extract himself from the heap he found himself in on the floor. As he struggled with the security restraints, which while loosened seemed to be infused with a magical version of static electricity, she adopted an air of patience as he finally struggled to his feet, one of the bright orange straps still sticking to the side of his face.
"She shouldn't be here, there was an 'agreement' last year to keep from her from prosecution under the Statutes, and she's violated it simply by being here," the annoyed functionary huffed in a petulant tone.
"What there was was an 'agreement' on your part, Luna simply decided that she didn't particularly want to go through the trouble of getting you sacked so she agreed to go home on the last day of the convention," Harry replied in a tone of voice that was bordered on the drawl that Draco Malfoy used to use. Seeing that the American wizard was about to explode, he added, "And that was only because everyone knows that most of the good booths are gone by Sunday morning from the Exhibitor's Hall and she wasn't in any of the final rounds of the tournaments so leaving didn't cost her anything."
Hearing an 'eep' from Hermione, Harry turned and stepped over to where she was observing the security monitors. Quickly turning his attention to the screen which showed Luna, he shook his head in disbelief.
Luna had, apparently, taken over one of the exhibition areas that had been set aside for LARPers to practice their melee skills with foam weapons, but she had raided one of the booths with wooden replica weapons and she was coaching a convention attendee dressed in the standard adventuring gear of a Victorian era adventurer on the best way to avoid being disarmed by someone wielding a long sword. His lack of success, however, was painfully obvious as the wooden claymore went sailing out of the young man's hands and she applied the flat of her blade to his arse in a hit that looked painful.
"See, she just assaulted that attendee," Petikus began as he stepped up behind them.
Chuckling as she watched the young man ruefully rub his arse as he walked over and picked up the wooden two-handed sword and turn to face Luna again, Hermione turned to Harry and smirked.
"Looks as if she's gotten herself a live one."
"I bet she talked him up to a claymore from a traditional saber or infantry long sword because he's a Scot and he's sincerely regretting it since she's got him outclassed," Harry replied before turning to face the officious security wizard.
"You mean to tell us that you got your Secretary of State to annoy my Prime Minister over an impromptu fencing lesson?"
"She's risking exposing the magical world and violating the Statutes of Secrecy," he began before Hermione cut him off with a snort.
"Please, the only thing she'd be risking exposing would be her knickers, and since she never wears them unless someone makes her …" Hermione shrugged eloquently as she watched Luna pirouette to avoid one thrust of the young man's sword before vaulting over him and slapping the flat of her blade on his arse again.
"And apparently a judicial application of a 'notice me not' charm has that problem solved since she just did a complete flip over her opponent and no one is commenting on the show."
"Unless, of course, regimental acrobatic anime schoolgirl swordsmistresses are normal here in Columbus," Harry added in an innocent tone of voice.
Seeing the redness in the man's face, and thinking, "Sweet Merlin, Percy's got a twin," Hermione turned her attention to her husband and smiled. "Want to head down and save the wizarding world from collapse if someone notices Luna's not wearing knickers or stay up here and see if we can push Mr. Petikus into a stroke?" Ignoring the strangled sounds coming from the American wizard, she could see that Harry was taking the second option seriously and shook her head.
"That wasn't a valid choice dear," she said in an over the top sweet tone of voice as Harry started to pout. "The only question is do we go down dressed this way or do we change into something convention apropos?"
Chuckling at the thought of Luna's reaction if they showed up dressed as they were, though Hermione's attire did fall within the boundaries of 'convention casual', he smirked. "You're the anime fan after Luna, you can do the honors."
Thinking for a moment, Hermione lazily waved her hand over Harry and then herself. Adding a bit of theatrics to the rather basic transfiguration, a cloud of silver motes surrounded Harry and herself and then dissipated to reveal the changes she had wrought.
Harry's changes were the least drastic, since he shared the uncontrollable dark hair with the anime protagonist Takashi Komuro. Dark trousers with a dark jacket over a maroon muscle shirt were complimented by the fairly well worn bat over his shoulder. However, as a jab to the officious security wizard, it was a cricket bat rather the baseball bat wielded very effectively by the character in the graphic novels.
Hermione, however, went a very marked transformation. Rei Miyamoto was a very different woman than Hermione Potter nee Granger and Hermione dove into character with both feet. Her hair was now orange-brown and the long straight tresses reached well past the middle of her back. While she was still wearing her 'Hello Crookshanks' trainers, the dark thigh high stockings, short green skirt with the obligatory white and green schoolgirl top with the black tie completed her ensemble. Along with the broken broomstick that had been sharpened into a spear, which caused Harry to grimace when he saw "Nimbus 2000" in gold script on the handle.
"Luna will just have to get over the eyes," Hermione quipped as she looked over at the gobsmacked security wizard. "Do you have extra credentials for the con or do I have to do everything?"
Seeing that he was seemingly incapable of speech, she rolled her eyes and looked over at the monitor. Concentrating for a moment, she snapped her fingers and smiled as a pair of credentials, complete with lanyards, appeared. Looking down, she smiled at their usual pseudonyms, Jane and James Evans, appeared on the convention access passes.
As she handed one to Harry, he chuckled as he draped the lanyard around his neck. "Don't worry, we won't defraud the convention. These are just so we can get into the exhibit hall to talk to her."
Turning to Hermione, Harry made a deep bow and swept out his arm. "Shall we, milady?"
"Yes we shall, milord," she responded while curtseying deeply, which caused Harry to give her a look. Laughing, Hermione shook her head, sending her hair flying. "Saeko's the daring one, Takashi," she smirked as she reached out her hand to take his. As he reached out, she hooked her pinky through his and said, "Pinky swear!" before heading out the door of the office to go down to the lower level.
As they headed down the stairs to the main level of the convention center, they could hear the confederation security agent sputtering along behind them. Merging into the crowds in the lower concourse, and getting a couple of congratulations on their costumes, with Hermione getting more than a few appreciative looks from the overwhelmingly male population of the convention, they made their way into the main exhibit hall, past the numerous booths hawking everything from dice to chainmail bustieres, into the back where the demonstration area for the foam weapons booth was setup.
Luna had expanded her 'lesson' while they were enroute and outfitted a Roman legionnaire with a wooden gladius and an eighteenth century swashbuckler with a wooden cutlass and was proceeding to school all three of her opponents in the hazards of allowing your attention to be captured by a short skirt and long legs while you were fighting.
A large group of female convention goers were gathered nearby watching with amusement as Luna's running commentary about their lack of concentration was taking almost as much a toll on their male egos as her sword was. While only using the flat of the blade, it was apparent that all three of her opponents would not be sitting down anytime in the near future.
As she vaulted over the head of her opponent with the claymore, she noticed Harry and Hermione's arrival, which caused her to land with a flourish and laugh maniacally. Going into overdrive, which astounded everyone since she had been running rings around the three and not even breathing hard heretofore, she quickly disarmed all three of her opponents in less than ten seconds.
As she took a bow when applause broke out, Hermione took Harry's hand again and walked over to where she was standing.
As she stood up, beaming from ear to ear, she held up a hand while she handed the weapons back to her opponents.
Thanking all three of them sincerely, and recommending a martial arts instructor resident down in the Short North district that was close to the convention center, Luna started bouncing up and down as she turned back to the pair.
"I thought I was going to have to send a message to get you two out of London," she said as she hugged both of them. Looking up at the Bureau security represent vie, who was turning a bright shade of red, she smiled.
"Steve?" Hermione asked in an amused voice.
Turning to look at her, Luna smirked. "Steve's a pretty name."
Sighing, Harry put his hand on Luna's arm and leaned forward to kiss her on her cheek. AS he did so, he whispered, "You really shouldn't antagonize him like that."
Chuckling, Luna linked her arm through Harry's and started to lead him over to one of the vacant booths that was nearby. "Really?" She asked in an innocent voice, loud enough for Hermione and 'Steve' to hear. "Exactly how should I annoy him, then?"
Before Harry could answer, or 'Steve' could explode, the phone on Steve's belt started beeping and flashing. As he checked it, his face went pale and his eyes went very wide.
"Inferni infestation in the parking lot of the North Market," he whispered, looking around.
"Oh goody," Luna exclaimed. "And since we're dressed for it, we'll take it from here, Steve."
Turning to look at her companions, who were staring at her in disbelief, Luna shook her head. "Those will never do."
Waving her hand, a couple of distinct pops were heard. Harry's cricket bat was replaced by the Sword of Gryffindor, which was unsheathed and gleaming in the lights of the exhibit hall. Hermione's spear had disappeared, and Rei's trademark Springfield M1A1 Supermatch rifle with a gleaming bayonet attached appeared in her hands.
Seeing that, Ignotus Petikus exploded, "You can't carry that, there are laws here."
"Piffle," Luna scoffed as she pulled a length of rope from … somewhere. "The bloody thing's three feet long with a bayonet. They can't say it's concealed."
Turning to Harry and Hermione, she winked. "Good thing I ate lunch at the North Market yesterday and crafted a portkey in case I wanted ice cream," she said as she grabbed both of their hands, wrapping the rope around them as it activated.
One fish hook through the navel later and the trio found themselves standing in the middle of a parking lot that was in chaos. Screams were erupting around them, and about a dozen shambling undead figures were lurching towards a group of convention goers who were paralyzed with fright.
"Saddle up," Luna bellowed as she charged towards the zombies / inferni, sword in one hand and wand in the other. Looking at each other for a moment, Harry shrugged as he cast a flame spell on the ancient sword and followed after the quirky blonde while Hermione began sighting in on the shambling undead and dropping them with the .308 Winchester rounds that had been enchanted to explode with a burst of positive energy as soon as it struck undead flesh.
By the time that the trio had dispatch the thirteen undead creations, and Luna had spotted and subdued the witch who had called them forth, both the local police and Ignotus arrived on the scene. Apparently, since the parking lot of the popular market had been built on the grounds of an old cemetery and, apparently, someone had missed a few graves when they built it, the young witch thought it would be her introduction as the next Dark Lady by calling forth zombies.
While Petikus was ranting at Luna, Hermione was quietly talking with the witnesses and making certain no one was hurt and Harry was 'explaining' to the police how it was just a movie stunt / test filming and apparently someone from the production company had forgotten to file the proper permits with the local authorities.
By this time, the two on call members of the Ohio Bureau of Magic had arrived, one joining Harry while the other assisted Hermione with dealing with the witnesses. Seeing the arrival of officials, Petikus stormed over, with Luna right behind him.
Before he could say anything, Luna smiled at the official, called him 'Dave' and began explaining to the officer in charge that this was a test screening for the latest movie in a series. 'Zombieapocalypse IV – Rise of the Warlord' was going to start production in September and they were trying to create buzz with the convention goers.
When asked about the zombies by a skeptical officer, Luna chuckled and assured him that they weren't real zombies, they were extras hired for the shoot. Things were going smoothly until she added that it would be too expensive to have real zombies because the price of brains had skyrocketed over that past few years, so they hired out of work Classical Studies majors to stand in for the zombies.
When one rookie cop joked that they should just feed the Classical Studies majors to the zombies, Luna blinked owlishly at him before declaring that "That would never work. Zombies eat brains. The poor things would starve to death before the movie finished the location shots."
The deafening silence that ensued convinced Harry it was time to leave this to the professionals. Grabbing Luna's arm, he bade the officers a farewell, promised them that the Sword of Gryffindor was indeed a prop, and hurried over to where Hermione was finishing modifying the last of the innocent bystanders who were injured when the zombies appeared.
As the trio walked back towards the convention center, with Luna firmly ensconced between them so she couldn't escape, Luna looked up at Hermione and asked "Do I have to go home, Mum?"
Trying not to laugh, Hermione started muttering about having this delusion she'd be able to watch the Jubilee with her folks in Oxford as they crossed the road and headed down the steps into the building.
As they entered in, Hermione sighed. "What have you got planned?"
"Well," Luna began, "they're demoing miniatures combat later, and I always try to help by animating the miniatures. It speeds things up." Seeing the disbelieving looks on their faces, she grimaced. "Do you know how long it takes to reenact 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' if you have to move all those teeny horses by hand?"
a/n2 – All right. While I definitely don't own the rights to the Harry Potter universe, I also don't own the rights to the ORIGINS gaming convention, which is held in Columbus, Ohio every year. I also don't own the rights to 'Highschool of the Dead' which was authored by Daisuke Sato and drawn by Shoji Sato. I also don't own any rights to the movie "Over the Hedge" where the bit about Steve comes from. And I don't own any of the rights to the Columbus Convention Center, even if it was nominated for 'Ugliest Public Building' a few years back.
And for any of you who think you recognize the evil warlord / security person, you don't. Honestly. He isn't who you think he is, whomever you think he is. I don't need a raft of reviews asking me how I met your old boss, high school gym teacher, or girlfriend's older cousin and worked him into the story. You've all met someone very annoying, but this isn't that person.
And he certainly isn't the supply sergeant from when I went through basic training.
And while I don't, technically, own the rights to the hypothetical movie series 'Zombieapocolypse Whatever', if there ever is one, and it's successful, I'll expect a royalty check. Don't make me call my agent, Daphne Greengrass. She was sorted into Slytherin for a reason.