An Incomplete Potter Collection ch Collection 10

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A Weird Family: Ryoga's Cure
Imprisoned
Objects In the Rear-View Mirror
Loopholes and Weaponry

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Disclaimer: I don't own anything.

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Story: [A Weird Family: Ryoga's Cure]

Summary: Omake to "A Weird Family", Ryoga meets the resident wizard of Nerima.

Genre: Friendship, Family

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Daniel sighed. "Come here." He waved Ranma's newest friend to a chair.

Ryoga Hibiki warily took the offered seat, apparently still not sure about why exactly the eternally annoying Ranma had dragged him off to meet this strange foreign man when he'd revealed to him the reason for why he kept getting lost.

"A curse on a bloodline that deals with navigation." Daniel shook his head. "I'm probably not the best with dealing with curses, but I know a bit at least. Please don't move." And with those words, he withdrew a stick from one of his sleeves and began to wave it in front of him.

Ryoga was confused, and he didn't think this foreign guy would be able to cure him – because surely one of his ancestors would've stumbled upon someone who knew how to cure it long ago if it could actually be cured – but he wanted this man to be able to cure him, and so he remained silently seated as he tried not to move.

The man muttered things under his breath, there were some strange flickering lights from the end of the stick, and Ryoga remained unmoving for what felt like an eternity, before the man finally backed away and slumped into a chair of his own.

Ryoga stared at the man, slightly worried that whatever he'd done would've made everything worse – though exactly how anything would be able to manage that, he couldn't say.

"Look left." The man told him with a slightly hoarse tone that made him sound a lot older than he had looked when Ryoga entered. In fact, he seemed slightly exhausted, and his tiredness made him look a lot older too.

Still, Ryoga obeyed, and looked left.

"Look right." The man told him again.

A little bit annoyed, Ryoga looked right.

The man smirked, obviously picking up on his annoyance. "The door is behind you, Ryoga-kun."

Ryoga bristled, not at all liking being dismissed so blatantly after having been so obedient whilst the foreign man did god knows what with his sparkly stick, and turned to march out of said door with an annoyed huff.

He found Ranma in the kitchen, where he'd said he would be waiting – third door to the left – and grumpily took the seat Ranma had set up.

It wasn't because he wanted to spend time with Ranma, as much as it was because there were freshly baked cookies present, and it'd be rude to reject such hospitality. Even if the foreign man was an uncivilized weirdo.

Kappei – a man who looked a little bit like Ranma – appeared after a while, grabbed an obscene amount of the cookies and disappeared with two glasses. Saying that he'd be sharing with Daniel and that they were adults and as such ate much more than scrawny little brats.

Ranma stuck out his tongue after him, and they both laughed about it. So Ryoga concluded that it was a friendly type of casualness, rather than the blatant rudeness of the foreign man.

It wasn't until he was ready to head home, that Ryoga finally realized it.

He could point out his house on a map. He knew which direction to go to get there. He knew which landmarks to look for. He could tell left from right. He'd been cured.

Which was about the time that Daniel appeared by the door, cookie-crumbs in his hair, to tell him to take care on his way home, since it was dangerous for kids to be out too late in the day.

And was promptly knocked off his feet by a young boy who'd just realized that he would never have to worry about getting lost again, and was trying to hide that he was crying by burying his face into the shirt of the man he was hugging. The man who had cured him.

"Oh, the heartache, my lover is being seduced by a younger man." Kappei commented theatrically from somewhere to his left.

Ranma snorted a laugh, and started coughing, having apparently been trying to drink at the time.

"Says the guy with a dozen former fiancees." Daniel muttered under his breath, sounding fondly annoyed at the other man.

"Ouch, low blow." Kappei winced.

"Just be glad that I'm not mentioning you flirting with anything with legs if it can get you ice-cream." Daniel pointed out, actually looking a little bit peeved at the subject.

Kappei blushed. "That doesn't count." He argued feebly, pouting slightly.

Ryoga ignored them both, and tried to get his composure back, because he was cured now, and he needed to thank the foreign man, and Ranma was quite possibly the greatest friend ever to bring him to the man who could cure him, and even if they were a bit weird their cookies were top-natch.

So he continued to hug Daniel, as the two lovers bantered back and forth, and Ranma focused on devouring what little leftovers still remained.

Because if he didn't want to be seen crying, then they wouldn't see him crying.

They were good people.

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Story: [Imprisoned]

Summary: In the move of a corrupt government, Harry is tried and sent to Azkaban for his crimes. The catch? He's not innocent.

Genre: Horror

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In the beginning, nobody believed it to be true.

Harry might have a bit of a problem with anger, and some issues with authority figures, but he was a good guy with a moral compass that always remained unshakable.

In the beginning, that's what they told themselves.

Draco was dead. Umbridge was dead. And the house containing his relatives to which he'd been sent for his own safety impending the trial, had been burnt to the ground.

It was too obvious that it was a sham, too obvious for everyone who knew him that someone must've slipped past the wards and attacked the Dursleys, it was too obvious that someone had tried to frame him for a murder-spree that he'd taken no part of.

In the beginning, that's what they all agreed on.

Still, they needed him to stand trial anyway, in order to properly silence the accusations leveled against his person. So they tracked him down from where he'd disappeared after the fire at Privet Drive.

He fought back when they tried to bring him to safety, but that was expected because he had no reason to trust that they were who they said they were, and he'd never particularly enjoyed being locked away for his own safety anyway. So the reaction was easily overlooked.

In the beginning, that's how they saw it.

If he spoke sharply to his friends when they reassured him that they'd have the charges dropped in a jiffy, then maybe he was still a bit bitter over the Daily Prophet's smear-campaign and the effect it'd had on Hogwarts's populace.

In the beginning, they thought no deeper on it.

And so he stood in front of the Wizengamot again, the Light solidly supporting him, and even the Dark silently admitting to themselves the obviousness of the boy's innocence and shaking their heads at the conspirators' lack of finesse.

Witnesses were called in, stating their side of the story, most hesitant to point fingers, a few outright balking at the accusations leveled against the young man.

Until finally they called the accused to the front so that he may defend himself and either let the ridiculous charade end, or prove himself guilty, seeing how nobody else seemed willing to make up their minds.

It wasn't like a hero would truly turn Dark, no matter what the Daily Prophet and Cornelius Fudge tried to convince people of.

In the beginning, that was their opinion.

And then Harry raised his head, and smiled at those who would judge him.

"They deserved it."

In the beginning, they winced at the crude and tasteless joke.

But the questioning began, and Harry continued to smile, answering each and every one of their questions. Freely admitting that the Dursleys had pleaded and begged from where he'd carefully locked them inside of their own rooms as they slept. Honestly explaining which spell he'd used to cripple Umbridge as she tried to flee from the horde of acromantulas. Easily remembering the words he'd spoken when he'd looked Draco in the eye and watched them go dim.

In the beginning, they bellowed that he would never do that, that his confession was false.

And every single argument was shot down by a bitterly amused boy, standing in front of the Wizengamot, readily admitting to the willful murders of five human beings.

In the beginning, they thought it was just a nightmare.

By the time the shell-shocked judges finally demanded if he regretted his actions, Harry let his gaze sweep across those gathered, before reluctantly admitting that he unfortunately missed out on killing quite a few of his targets.

In the beginning, they hoped that they'd misheard him.

So he repeated himself. And then he laughed.

By the time the aurors finally dragged him out of the courtroom in chains, the Light were left sitting bonelessly as their world caved in around them, and the Dark were left gaping at the impossibility of it all.

In the beginning, everyone expected to hear that it'd all been lies.

Even Fudge shivered and shook as he tried and failed to unravel the plot that had sent their only weapon against Voldemort into Azkaban.

They would find none.

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Story: [Objects In the Rear-View Mirror]

Summary: Xenophilius Lovegood; a different and rather bleak look into the mind of an eccentric man, and the scars that his life has left him with.

Genre: Drama, Family

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No human lives through life without gaining scars. Sometimes, they're obvious, other times they will go unnoticed, perhaps even from the one who'd obtained the wound.

Xenophilius Lovegood had lived a long life, and though he always had a bright smile to show to the world, those who actually knew him could so easily find the scars that it had left on him.

Once, he was young, filled with the same foolish recklessness that any youngster convinced of their own immortality would be, and so perhaps it wasn't surprising to find him joining the struggle against Voldemort during the First War. No, more surprising to those who knew him later on in life, was the young man who'd stood next to him, a brother in all but blood, two friends who were thick as thieves, inseparable.

Until men in white masks left his friend as a bleeding corpse on his doorstep.

Everyone receives scars from life. Xenophilius' first one was the paranoia. The need to make sure that nobody was bleeding on his doorstep, the need to hurry to the door when the wind moaned painfully through the outside trees, the flinching at familiar reflections of people that were never there.

His second scar came with a blonde beauty who laughed like sparkling water, and who always hummed silently under her breath as she wandered through the house in order to keep her rather fragilely nervous husband from startling. Selene Lovegood left him with an eccentric girl who was too smart for her age, a traumatized nine-year-old who refused to believe that it wasn't her fault that her mother had died.

He loved his daughter with the desperate fire of a man terrified of losing anyone. But how was he supposed to explain to her that he could still hear her mother's voice coming from his bed, telling him that he ought to sleep more? How was he supposed to tell her that he only startled at the mirror because he thought he saw a man fourteen-years-dead standing behind him?

Love or not, he couldn't allow her to risk following him into the madness that had been left from his scars, and so he began to smile. Smile even when he wanted to grab her and flee as far away as he could, smile even as she told him of hearing her mother's voice calling from the kitchen. And he had to explain to the nine-year old girl that she was seeing things that weren't there, because her mother was dead, and she would never come back to them.

And instead he hid himself behind a thousand make-believe creatures, because how could he even imagine doing that to his own daughter?

The third of Xenophilius' scars was that Luna believed him, and he would never forgive himself for that.

The fourth scar came when she reached eleven, and the letters she sent home told him of her classmates 'borrowing' things, that she was then forced to find hidden around Hogwarts.

Because how could anyone not love his daughter? How could anyone attack such a lonely but wonderful girl in such a way? Didn't they understand that she needed friends? Needed someone that could sit with her and listen, and then explain the world to her when her father could not?

His first breath of relief since her mother's death came when she turned fourteen. When she wrote home about Harry Potter, who was always willing to listen to her speaking about imaginary creatures, and whose friends were happy to invite her to eat with them.

And of course he was going to help the boy that was his daughter's first friend. Damn the Prophet and the Ministry to hell for making it necessary, but he was.

Xenophilius' fifth scar came when men in masks left him a simple message in a place where he was supposed to find his daughter.

The terror of waiting, the curses of how he should've stolen her away so long ago, when the first hint of Voldemort's return appeared. And he began to look around every opening of his house, searching hopelessly for the moaning sound of the wind through the trees, waiting to find traces of the blood of someone he loved on the doorstep.

His sixth scar came not long after, when he met two young wizards and a young witch, and invited them in. Because the masked men had told him that they would come, and they held his daughter in their hands, and without her, there was nothing that was worth the effort of clinging to what little sanity he still had left.

So he betrayed them. In his daughter's name, he sold her first and only friends. And he sometimes wondered if he would ever allow her to forgive him for violating her name in such a way.

No, Xenophilius Lovegood had many scars.

And he was deliriously happy on the day when his daughter dragged home a young man and told her father that nargles didn't exist.

Through his tears, he laughed.

Because maybe, just maybe, his daughter would be alright.

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Story: [Loopholes and Weaponry]

Summary: There is usually a reason for people's actions, an explanation for why they don't attempt those seemingly simple solutions. But that doesn't mean that those reasons can't be bypassed.

Genre: General

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A lot of muggleborns might assume that the reason why guns weren't used against Death Eaters were because the auror-force consisted to a high degree of purebloods – not to mention the blood-status of those writing the rules for how an auror was allowed to partake in battle.

This wasn't exactly wrong, in that this was indeed a reason for it. However, it was not a complete explanation.

A better place to start explaining the lack of guns and other muggle-weaponry in battles between magicals were the general lack of easy access to such weaponry. Because, despite what movies and media might make you believe, guns are quite difficult to get to in an environment such as Britain. Especially if you're trying to acquire them through legal channels.

Still, this is not the whole truth, and more akin to an excuse for their inefficiency than an actual explanation as to the 'why'.

That final explanation stems from the simple but unavoidable fact that guns were... quite frankly, a lot easier to counter with magic than the laws of physics gave them any right to be.

Ignoring the inherent hardiness in the biology of a wizard or witch, that would allow them to shrug off a lot more physical trauma than you'd originally assume – such as having a sledge hammer hit them full-force in the chest, which hurt quite a bit and typically left a bruise – there were quite a few different ways of completely negating the power of high-speed non-magical projectiles.

One was to simply wear an amulet that had been enchanted with a kind of anti-splinter shield, which – although originally developed because a certain wizard got annoyed at having to remove splinters every time he exploded a tree right in front of him – was fully capable of stopping a cannonball dead in its tracks.

It wasn't even a very expensive amulet, and there were several who'd simply re-enchant something else with the same capabilities, such as masks, shoes, or even – in some especially paranoid cases – tattoos. Basically, trying to shoot a wizard who had any concept of personal safety with a muggle firearm was a doomed enterprise before you even started.

Beyond the amulet-type of defense, there were also the more active type of various children-level shield-spells that were fully capable of fulfilling the same task.

It all watered down into most people giving up on the idea of using muggle-weaponry in a fight between magicals, or – for an unlucky few – to have the floor wiped with their faces as they were horribly outclassed due to their chosen weapon's lack of effectiveness.

Now, Harry might never have been the most magical-culture-savvy kind of person. But he was friends with Ron, and – from the boy's exposure to the gap between the muggles and the magicals by his father's work – there were few things that the redhead couldn't explain to him if he was actually asked to look into them.

It wasn't like Ron could remember all the crap that his parents talked about over the years, especially considering how half of it was old-people-flirting in some manner. He'd suppressed and forgotten a lot of the stuff that happened when he grew up, much like any child.

Still, this meant that Harry quickly came to the conclusion that muggle-weaponry wasn't 'the power he knows not', which was a bit of a pain, since that would've let him shoot the damnable snake-man with a sniper rifle from a safe distance.

However, his other friend complained enough about how physics had to be shattered into an unrecognizable mess for that kind of magic to work, that Ron and him had finally agreed to help her out with the research of how it actually worked – if only to get her to shut up about it.

This was how the three friends – and they were the best of friends, no matter how much they fought and grumbled and sometimes wanted to throw each other off the Astronomy Tower just so that they could hear the others scream in terror as they fell – stumbled upon an interesting footnote about the many particular defenses against fast-moving projectiles.

Namely, the defenses only worked for non-magical projectiles.

Of course, when they first read it, they'd disregarded its importance, but as they'd continued studying the phenomena, it'd seem to become increasingly more important.

The defenses didn't work on Bludgers after all, and they – whilst not exactly lethal, unless extremely unlucky – should've probably been included in the defense-scheme if it'd included actually stopping magical objects, except that they weren't.

This had led them into experimenting with exactly what it might be that classified an object as being magical enough to bypass these defenses. Experiments for which they'd originally tried commandeering the Room of Requirement, before giving it up as a bad job once they realized that too many people knew about it nowadays, meaning that it was generally occupied by other students who wanted something.

It'd been a frustrated trio who'd finally remembered a certain Secret Chamber that only Harry could enter, and spent the next few weeks trying to clean the rubble away from the entrance and make sure that there wouldn't be a second cave-in.

After all of that was settled, their experiments began.

They started by tossing various kinds of enchanted and transfigured balls at whatever object that the amulet was occupying, or against whichever spell-shield any of them used to defend the object.

Then, after some interesting experiments with runes, they'd started to get a bit more serious about it, and moved on to things that would actually hurt someone if it made it past the magical protection.

They were all horribly thankful for Hermione's forethought when she'd demanded earplugs for their experiment, as the sound of the blast echoed and was amplified something awful by the surrounding acoustics. They'd nearly gone deaf even with the earplugs, they would've ended up in the Hospital Wing, or possibly even St Mungos, if they'd gone without any.

Still, they were all happy that their rudimentary cannon actually worked. It'd after all been quite the challenge to transfigure it, even from the blueprints that Hermione had managed to acquire by writing to her parents about explaining how ancient muggle-weapons worked to her two best friends. The requests had been written with enough academic curiosity that there hadn't been any hesitation of what they were planning on doing with the information in her parents' response.

The reason that they'd chosen a cannon was simply that there was a very logical argument for why cannons had come before muskets. Gunpowder wasn't the safest of things to willingly place right next to your face, when you weren't entirely sure if the metal in the musket would be holding up to the strain.

Obviously, they hadn't had the necessary materials for building a cannon – it wasn't like either of them had any connection on the metallurgy market.

So, they'd transfigured it piece by piece, always careful to make sure that everything was permanent and perfectly capable of working. Then they'd assembled it, doubly careful to make sure that nothing ended up in the wrong place, as a misfire was quite likely to ruin all their hard work

They would've most likely been quite a bit more nervous about firing a cannon in an enclosed space – no matter how ridiculously immense the Chamber was – if they hadn't been thoroughly convinced by now that the amulets would protect them from any shrapnel that wasn't magical in nature.

The first shot having been a great success – that also proved just how effective the defense was, as the cannonball had dropped harmlessly to the ground right where it ought to – the trio began to scale up their earlier experiments on a more lethal level.

They were met with emboldening successes, and happily dove deeper into the experiments.

It'd quickly become apparent to them that there was no way that any magical person – or beast – would be stupid enough to stick around for a second shot of the cannon to be fired, as it simply took too much time to load.

When Ron angrily demanded how the muggles had fixed this issue in later models, Hermione had explained – with textbook-accuracy – that they'd developed cartridges that contained the necessary amount of gunpowder, along with the bullet, and then loaded them into the back of the cannon rather than letting it roll down the muzzle.

Ron's question of "Then why don't we do that?" had been followed by Hermione blinking stupidly at him for a long moment before she finally decided to do some research into exactly how cartridges and loading mechanism worked for the three of them to transfigure.

A goal of turning their experiments from 'academic with a potential for usefulness' into 'an ace up their sleeves against Death Eaters' having now been set, the trio hurried to implement their experiments on a more modern design.

Only to realize that cartridges needed to be most disturbingly exact in their make and size and thickness of material and amount of gunpowder and size of bullets. Which meant that they had to spend hours trying to transfigure every single cartridge to perfection.

That was until Hermione's suggestion of measuring everything perfectly, was amplified by Harry's desire to not measure everything exactly – it simply took too much time for it to be even remotely feasible to make new ammunition in a combat situation.

Ron was the one who'd asked if they couldn't do the cartridges like the muggles did them with all of the automated stuff.

Which had set off Hermione on a demented search for a way to create exact replicas of something through the use of magic.

And suddenly they had a masterpiece of runes that conjured everything exactly as they'd been inscribed to conjure it. Whereupon Ron wondered out loud if there was a way that they could get out of doing the loading-sequence too, because that'd be brilliant.

So they'd disassembled their cannon and through some very inventive use of transfiguration – such as turning the metal into something as easily bendable as fabric so that they could open the barrel up and spread it flat in order to copy the runes onto the inside of it – made it so that the cannon conjured the cartridges directly into the barrel – as long as someone told it to do so, as they didn't want it to go off accidentally.

They were now the proud owners of a magically reloading cannon, that shot cannonballs that couldn't be stopped with shield-spells – not even the most advanced of those that were actually supposed to deal with magical objects, since they couldn't handle the physical forces that were inherent in stopping a cannonball.

Unfortunately, they quickly realized that a cannon – despite its fantastic usefulness should Hogwarts ever get attacked by a charging army or the like – wasn't exactly designed to be carried around and used in a quick-and-dirty firefight. It was simply too unwieldy to run around with.

Therefore, they turned towards other – more mobile – muggle-weaponry, as they now had proof that overcoming the shield-spells could be accomplished with a bit of ingenuity.

Getting their hands on actual hand-guns – or the proper schematics needed for transfiguring such things into creation themselves – though proved a tiny bit more complicated.

It was one thing to leave behind the blueprints of an archaic weapon that couldn't really do much in the grand scheme of things for whichever eccentric wanted to find them, but actually leaving behind schematics for how to build workable guns that could be used to kill people in a modern society? There were a lot of irresponsible people in the world, but few of the weapon-manufacturers were such – it had to do with how irresponsible people ended up exploding themselves fairly quickly when in their business.

Basically, they found pretty much nothing. The closest thing that they could get their hands on were a few cleaning manuals, but they didn't include any of the measurements that they needed to build it.

In the end however, Harry decided that they were bright people and could probably figure out a way to make a smaller version of a cannon, and then add a handle to it. Ron – having spotted the many finicky things that needed to be cleaned in modern guns – remained somewhat skeptic to the enterprise.

Hermione would admit to Ron being right two weeks later, when Harry had nearly blown off his own hand due to a misfire. Ron would've probably felt prouder about that fact if he hadn't been busy with trying to figure out why the gun had blown up – it'd worked just fine earlier, after all.

It soon became apparent that the reason for the misfire wasn't anything in the ammunition but was instead due to the lack of cleaning that the barrel and adjoining mechanisms had been subjected to.

In an attempt to correct this oversight, Hermione developed and carefully combined their existing rune-scheme with another one that would make the weapon clean itself after every shot fired – something that took it about half a second at worst, because magic was amazing.

Their earlier mistake rectified, Harry once again took up testing their experiments with various bullets and the sizes of whatever gun that they were working on at the time.

Of course, with the progress they'd made in developing something like a rifle – it being smaller than a cannon and bigger than a pistol, it'd been an obvious intermediate step for the gun that had misfired – they'd considered also developing something more towards long-range so that they wouldn't have to worry about facing the Death Eaters face-to-face.

So, they'd combined one of their rifles with a magical telescope, and then spent some time figuring out how to fasten everything so that you could aim it properly. Which had been the moment when Harry remembered the Weasley Car, and how it'd come alive in a magical environment.

After a few glances in between themselves, all three of them hoped most dearly that none of their weaponry would suddenly decide to come alive and go feral. A car that could run people over was one thing – there were a lot of big creatures out there with a lot more teeth and that were far more capable of navigating bumpy ground at high speed – but something that could kill people at a distance where they'd be hard-pressed to even spot the one trying to kill them should it miss?

That sounded an awful lot like something they'd get sent to Azkaban for letting loose on the world.

So they spent a bit of time researching sentience and how much magic was generally considered necessary for such a thing to happen. The result of which calmed them somewhat, since it basically said that unless they planned on making something as large and self-mobile as a tank – or give the weapon the ability to aim itself – there was no need to worry about it.

Making a solemn vow to never become lazy about aiming at things, the three friends returned to their research in making the weapon as efficient and as accurate as absolutely possible – without accidentally giving the weapon sentience.

Hogwarts as a whole was very confused about where the trio ran off to as of late, but they were teenagers, and everyone knew about Ron and Hermione's sexual tension – the silent awkwardness of it could be felt all the way to Ravenclaw Tower on some days – and the three of them had always been quite close indeed, and-... well, needless to say, there were some rumors that maybe the three friends had come to a decision to be... 'more' than merely friends.

Upon hearing of the rumor, all three members denied it with a kind of shocked and scandalized outrage that actually made people think that they weren't being truthful, and since they weren't capable of telling their classmates what they were actually doing with their spare time, the rumors flourished.

Back with their research, the trio found themselves quickly realizing that they couldn't actually make a mechanical army to march on Voldemort's location – as it might create sentient life and get them into deep trouble – they decided instead to take some pointers from guerrilla warfare, using traps, sneak attacks, and ambushes in order to whittle down the ranks.

It being Harry who was the Prophesied Savior, he continued training to aim a rifle so that he could put a bullet in Voldemort's head from as far away as remotely plausible.

That, however meant that none of the others would be allowed to make use of such a tactic, as it would clue the madman in on the possibility of snipers being able to kill him if they started dropping his minions with such.

A better option would then be to lay a trap akin to a minefield that could be activated remotely, blow up lots of Death Eaters before they realized what was happening, and then put a bullet in Voldemort's head before he had a chance to run away.

Which was why the trio began to research explosives, bombs, and mines in particular.

This proved slightly more complicated than previously, as the shields blocking non-magical material, didn't particularly care if they were propelled magically or not, as long as they weren't in some way magical themselves then they would be stopped.

Basically, they had to in some way enchant every single piece of shrapnel that the explosion decided to launch, in order for them to pierce their enemies defenses. And that took quite a bit of time to do, because those were a lot of fragments.

So, they'd ended up working around the problem again, and found themselves a rune-scheme designed to conjure enchanted fragments. Then they placed that so that it would conjure them around a fixed spot, put an explosive charge in that spot, and enchanted the surface they'd drawn the runes on so that it wouldn't be harmed by the shrapnel or the heat of the explosions – because that would mean being forced to redraw them.

Admittedly, the first thing they'd done was figure out a way to aim the shrapnel towards a specific spot – and most importantly, away from another spot, which they themselves could safely occupy. They weren't stupid after all.

By now they'd assorted a small armory for themselves, consisting of mines, cannons, rifles, and pistols. It was thus decided that there was no need to experiment with further branching out towards new weaponry, and that they ought to instead perfect their already existing models until they could be used to take down a group of Death Eaters with ease.

At this stage, a lot of target practice was concocted as well.

Harry turned out to be the quickest on the draw, and had decent accuracy at mid- to short-range. Ron proved himself capable of making shots that were frighteningly accurate at long-range – they'd been forced to practice shooting from the Astronomy Tower towards targets placed within the Forbidden Forest in order to get used to the wind. And Hermione was fairly decent at everything but handling a pistol – as she found herself mightily uncomfortable with the recoil.

The Trio having thus outfitted themselves for their separate roles – Harry, gunslinger; Ron, sniper; and Hermione rifleman – it was time to explain to those they believed trustworthy just how to handle aiming a cannon.

They couldn't be in more than three places at once after all, and they were going to need every bit of manpower they could get in the upcoming war. Regardless of how short they aimed to make it.

After some discussion, the ones left to handle the remaining weapons was Neville and Luna, mostly because Ginny was a bit trigger-happy at times, and that kind of thing would end badly if put in the presence of the lethally inclined guns.

Annoying and possibly-Death Eater though the young Malfoy may be, he didn't deserve to get his brain splattered across the wall for calling the redheaded girl names.

Unfortunately, despite Neville and Luna reacting fairly well to the announcement that magical warfare was about to be changed forever, the three friends found themselves with a bit of a complication in that they had no sure way of forcing Voldemort out of hiding.

Their newly designed weapons might've been able to wipe out the Dark Lord's army, but they couldn't wipe out what they couldn't find. And Voldemort had turned hiding from the authorities into an art-form over the years.

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