Six-guns and Sorcery: Wolfe and Hawke.
Disclaimer: As the author, I do not own any part of Harry Potter, the world he was written in or the characters therein. All these belong to J. , and I'm just using them to tell a story. The challenge that inspired this story belongs to Whitetigerwolf. Thanks, my friend.
BOUNTY HUNTER CHALLENGE
I've finally figured out a western Harry Potter Challenge. So here it is.
- Harry and Hermione must both be expelled from Hogwarts before Voldemorts defeat.
- Knowing that they're both in danger (Harry because obviously Voldemort won't leave him alone, Hermione by association), They either figure out how to go back in time themselves, or get help from someone else, to travel back in time for a set period of time.
- Harry and Hermione must go to the Old American West and spend at least five years of thier life as bounty hunters before returning to the present.
- Harry and Hermione must favor different weapons.
- Harry and Hermione cannot (legally at least) perform wanded magic immediately when they return, and not at all in the past. Occlumency, Legillimancy, animagus, and any other magic that does not require a wand is okay though.
- Wolf and Hawk animagus for Harry and Hermione (Wolf can track by scent and Hawk can fly ahead and see enemies positions from above before reporting back).
- Decade in past.
There is a legend from the American West, of two strangers who came from nowhere and started setting the world to rights. In a time when Justice all too frequently favored the quickest draw, the most ruthless aim, they brought true meaning to the word again. Then one day, they were gone, after so many years, leaving behind an old book and a safer town, vanished like dust on the wind...
The Hogwarts Express rattled through the valley, barreling northwards at quite a respectable pace. It was watched by two riders on a hill overlooking the tracks, tracks that most people couldn't see. The man reached into his pocket, lifting out an old pocket watch from his battered leather duster. "Right on time," he said to his companion. "Are you sure this is how you want to do it?" As he returned the watch to its pocket inside the duster, a stray sunbeam glinted off his glasses, beneath the brim of his wide hat.
From her place, seated firmly in the saddle of a horse much like his own, a horse made of silver fire , happy memories and hard earned hope, she nodded. "It's time we showed them just who we are, love. Let's ride."
The students on the train certainly weren't expecting the spectacle that awaited them, as the two strangers dressed in the style of the Wild West tv shows and movies that some of the muggleborns were familiar with charged towards the train on horses of silver flame. As they matched the Express' speed and rhythm, they galloped faster, racing along the side of the train as it rumbled towards Hogwarts. All up and down the train, the young witches and wizards pressed themselves against the windows, or leaned out of them, striving for a better view as the strangers pounded past them. As they pulled even with the locomotive, the man sprang from his saddle with a well-practiced leap, catching the struts on the outside for extra support he didn't need. The woman drew up her legs and leaped from her saddle to land beside him. Where his jump had possessed a predatory feel, hers was more of someone allowing gravity to suggest she might like to land here, if it wasn't too much trouble. From there they moved into the first carriage.
Even here, in the prefects' car, people waited. The Heads, both boy and girl, stood waiting for the strangers as they entered. For the first time in the entire history of Hogwarts, they were sixth year students. It wasn't too surprising, considering the current Headmistress. Professor Umbridge herself was here also, propping up the little respect anybody gave Draco Malfoy and Pansy Parkinson. The only other people present were the Slytherin prefects. There were no other prefects. They'd all either handed in or been stripped of their positions last year. Fortunately, that was as far as reprisals went, and that only due to all the teachers except Severus Snape threatening to walk out if the students were further victimized. And Umbridge still couldn't get into the Headmaster's suite.
The door at the head of the train opened, and the people inside raised their wands, pointing them at the door, when a small red stick with a hissing spark dancing at one end sailed into the compartment. It rolled to a stop in the middle of the room, and everyone's eyes were drawn to it. The spark disappeared inside the stick, and with a loud pop and a puff of smoke, it vanished, leaving behind a scrap of parchment on which was printed "I am a Distraction".
The lone student in the car who was not a prefect, and was in fact being questioned with Veritaserum over her father's whereabouts, although they were unsure of the potion's efficacy on her, pointed. "Ooh, look," Luna Lovegood said, "a distraction."
She giggled as, having had every Slytherin, and the 'Headmonstress' as most of the students called Umbridge behind her back, or Luna herself did to her face, first looked at her when she spoke, then back at the 'distraction' when she announced what it was. Except for her, no-one noticed the entrance of the strangers for a few moments.
Both strangers had weapons out as they moved smoothly into the room, and the crack of gunfire barked out, a rapid beat that filled the room as the two of them shot at everyone in green and silver trim. The woman's duster flared out behind her as she swirled through the confusion, firing her rifle from the hip. The man, on the other hand, moved with speed and precision, staying low and letting his two six-guns, cowboy style revolvers, hammer out his response. His companion stayed high, spring across the backs of the seats that were bolted to the floor. Their guns spat shot after shot of crimson light, which their targets didn't realize were Stunners until too late, as they fired too quickly for their targets to say more than "Pro-" before joining the growing ranks of the unconscious. That quickly there was only one left, Umbridge herself, her wand pointed not at the intruders, but held under Luna's chin. She drew herself straight as the two holstered their weapons, mentally running over their blatant disregard for the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Act.
It surprised her when the two ignored her, and she found it hard to measure their mood and Attitude behind the darkened glasses they wore beneath their wide brimmed, battered felt hats. Their entire wardrobe looked as though they'd walked out of a western, and a good western at that. The man took a rolled-up parchment from his pocket and scrutinized it as the toad-like woman spoke.
Or started to, as the woman of the two overran her. "So, Wolfe, that's the one we're after?"
"Ayup," her male companion answered. "For Kidnapping, Torture, Criminal Negligence, Illegal Use of Controlled Substances, and Abuse of Power, Dolores Jane Umbridge, wanted. Reward from Concerned citizen, Xenophilius Keeping Lovegood to be 100 Galleons." Wolfe grinned. "At least this one didn't try to throw in his daughter's hand in marriage, Hawke."
Umbridge spoke firmly, and with authority. Or at least, she believed she did. Her voice actually sounded like a really annoyed chipmunk. "You two, you will surrender your wands at once, and tell the Aurors there was no-one else here!"
'Wolfe' looked at the woman as he drew one of his sixguns. Now that it was moving slower, it was obviously custom made, from some kind of golden metal with the same sheen as high quality steel... Orichalcum! But only dwarves knew how to work that, and there weren't any dwarves in Europe who could. Not to mention that the magically-conductive metal itself was worth a literal fortune: a teaspoon crafted from truegold would fetch at least ten thousand Galleons... and these two had weapons made from the only metal that could be used in a wand!
"Nope," he said, as the other hand removed his hat, revealing the lightning bolt scar on his right brow. "I must not tell lies, Madam Umbridge."
"No," she hissed in a low, unbelieving voice, "You're dead..." Realizing exactly who the man and his companion must be was not pleasant. "Potter... Granger... I put you through the veil myself..." The pink-clad toad-woman passed out.
Chapter 1: Doorway to Judgement.
After he'd lifted the prophecy orb from its resting place, it all went wrong. Lucius Malfoy and the other Death Eaters showed up and things got very bad. While they attempted to escape, Harry, Hemione and Neville tried to hide, to buy time to plan, and two Death Eaters barged through the door before the bushy-haired witch could seal it. She quickly silenced the one nearest Harry after Neville was thrown over a desk by their spells, and Harry petrified the other. As Hermione turned to praise him, the silenced wizard slashed his wand diagonally, trailing a purple streak of fire that lashed out across Hermione's chest.
Harry's scream was painful to hear, it was a wordless cry of despair, the kind of despair a man will give as his heart, his soul, his very reason to exist is torn from him. As his mouth modulated the scream, his mind flashed back over every single second he'd spent with her, from the moment they'd met on the train, all the way to the moment she'd followed him through the door of this very room, always there, always for him. The instance after the Yule Ball during the Triwizard Tournament was particularly vivid, as he realized that despite yelling at Ron, she'd been talking to him. His hesitation in the second task, torn between rescuing her or Ron, before Krum came and took the choice from his hands. "HERMIONE!"
He wasn't hearing anything but the blood hammering in his ears as he turned. Vaguely, he was aware of the Death Eater, now revealed to be Dolohov, demanding the prophecy, of someone replying defiantly. Was that his own voice? He was aware of Neville's exhortation, telling him to keep the prophecy away from Dolohov, but nothing mattered anymore...
Fate looked across the gameboard of mortal existence at Destiny, smirking. There were two ways this could go, he knew. In one direction, the Dark Lord triumphed, dominating the mortal realms for an age, while in the other, the champion that Destiny had set forth sacrificed everything, including his own life and happiness with the woman he was meant for, to defeat the vile creature that the mortal Riddle had made himself. Either way, he won. Dark Fate or Bright Destiny, in neither case would the hero truly win. Then she showed up, clad in red, with emerald eyes. No-one named her, no-one needed to. She was unpredictable at the best of times. She was the essence of Luck itself, of Fortune, fair or foul, and she glanced at the game between them, and smiled. "Deal me in."
Harry threw the orb, with all the force he could muster, past Dolohov, whose eyes turned to follow its flight. As Harry raise his wand behind the Death Eater, Lucius Malfoy appeared in the doorway just in time to receive the ballistic prophecy directly to his face. As it shattered, he was the only one close enough to hear it, but having been knocked out cold by the impact to his forehead, there was no way he'd ever know that. Dolohov, seeing the fate of the precious prophecy, and recalling exactly how his Lord rewarded failure, turned to the Potter brat, raising his wand, and realized that Harry Potter was ahead of him, with his wand unwaveringly aimed at the older wizard's chest. His eyes widened as Harry finished his incantation: "Reducto."
Neville's face paled as the Death Eater's heart exploded, and Harry turned back to Hermione, falling to his knees beside her, tears falling freely as he did. His best friend, the girl who'd been beside him in his happiest moments, who'd actually been the cause of them if he was honest with himself, was dying, he knew it, although he vaguely heard Neville's voice mentioning a pulse. Not knowing what to do, not caring what was happening, he only knew he wanted her to live, to be whole and well, and beside him for the rest of his life. Wanting it with everything there was of him, he screamed again, this time as his magic surged from him into the brunette lying before him, an explosion of magical energy that tore through the ministry, setting off every magical alarm and destroying every ward it hit. Blackness claimed him, and the last thing he knew for a time was of taking Hermione's body in his arms, and feeling her arms close around him.
He awoke, still in Hermione's arms, but someone had placed magic-dampening restraints on them. They were seated in front of a stone archway from which hung a tattered grey cloth, a veil. Around them were adults, wizards and witches from the ministry, they guessed, but several of the people there were Death Eaters that they recognized. As Harry tried to yell, he became aware that he'd been silenced, and the look on Hermione's face showed that she'd realized the same thing about herself. Among the faces surrounding the two teenagers were those of Lucius Malfoy, an evil smirk upon his countenance, and Dolores Umbridge, apparently escaped from the centaurs and returned to power. Then Minister Fudge stepped forwards and spoke.
"Of their crimes, including the murder of a concerned pure-blood citizen, breaking and entering, destruction of Ministry property, attempted murder, both of concerned citizens and Ministry personnel, and for the charge of High Treason, we are forced to find Harry James Potter and Hermione Jane Granger guilty as charged. As minors, they will not be forced to suffer the Dementors' Kiss, but shall instead receive the mercy of the Veil. Before they receive aforesaid sentence, their wands are to be snapped."
Umbridge took great delight in both destroying their wands, and in the banishing spell that forced the two teenage magicals, who she'd felt to be the bane of her existence, into the veil.
Harry sat up. His restraints had vanished, but so too had his clothes. A soft groan from beside him drew his attention to Hermione, who was in a similar state. This somehow didn't seem to be a bother to him, and as she opened her eyes and looked into his own, it seemed she felt the same. They were unsure how long they sat there, looking into each other's eyes, their very souls, but an eternity would not have been long enough.
Eventually, they became aware of a whimpering sound. They were not as alone as they first thought, and that suddenly, they wore their Hogwarts robes, although the crest, rather than the gold lion on a red field of Gryffindor, was a black wolf couched on a white field below a white hawk, wings spread, on a black field. They stood carefully, and, holding each other as though they were the most precious thing in all of creation, moved forward trying to locate the source of the noise.
It was a tiny thing, vaguely human-like in shape, but smaller, barely the size of a pixie. The disturbing thing about it wasn't the size, though, but the almost flayed look to its raw skin, which oozed something black and viscous. As it lay there and whimpered, they took a step back, disgusted, but wondering if they could help it, end its suffering somehow.
YOU CAN'T HELP IT, I'M SORRY. Both Harry and Hermione sprang backwards, looking in the direction that the 'voice' had come from. They were confronted by a tall black-robed figure with a scythe. HELLO, it said. I'M DEATH. PLEASURE TO MEET YOU.
Death had a raven sitting on his shoulder, and a pale horse stood behind him. In the distance, the teenagers could see a number of horsemen waiting patiently, although the one on the red horse kept looking at his pocket watch. The Grim Reaper crouched, and looked at the flayed thing.
I DON'T KNOW WHY ANYONE THINKS THIS IS A GOOD IDEA, it said, for given values of said, as the words just seemed to appear in their minds. I MEAN, LOOK AT WHAT IT DOES TO YOU. MAYBE IT DOES SHIELD YOU FROM, WELL, ME, BUT IT KIND OF RUINS YOUR NEXT ADVENTURE, DOESN'T IT? CAN'T HAVE PEOPLE SHOWING UP PIECEMEAL, IT'S DREADFULLY UNTIDY. Death, it seemed, was definitely British. He (they had a hard time picturing the anthropomorphic personification of life's ending as anything else) then turned to the pair of teenagers. ANOTHER TWO OF YOU, EH? he said. WHAT DID YOUNGSTERS LIKE YOU DO TO DESERVE BEING PUSHED INTO A JUDGEMENT GATE? TAKE YOUR TIME, WE QUITE LIKE A GOOD STORY, AND WAR OVER THERE HAS SEVERAL MONTHS BEFORE HE RIDES.
That was all it took for them to pour out their story. Once done, the Reaper grinned. Then again, he was always grinning, but that wasn't exactly his fault. OKAY, I SEE HOW IT'S GOING. NOW, I CAN'T INTERFERE OVERLY IN YOUR WORLD, BUT SINCE THEY PUSHED YOU THROUGH A JUDGEMENT GATE, I CAN DO A FEW THINGS FOR YOU. FIRST, I CAN SEND YOU BACK, BUT THEN IT GETS TRICKY. I CAN'T SEND YOU BACK TO ANY POINT THAT YOU WERE ALIVE. THIS MEANS ANY TIME FROM ABOUT SIX MINUTES AFTER YOU DIED, TO NINE MONTHS OR SO BEFORE YOU WERE BORN. As he said that, Hermione spoke.
"Why such a difference," she asked. "I can understand the whole six minutes after thing but why..." She trailed off as the Reaper gave her a... significant look, and blushed. "Never mind."
Death chuckled, a chilling sound at any time. IF I DO SEND YOU BACK, AND YOU WANT TO SAVE YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY FROM THE REST OF THIS ONE, here he gestured to the flayed pixie-thing, YOU NEED TIME TO TRAIN YOURSELVES. MY ADVICE IS THAT I GIVE YOU PLENTY OF, LET'S CALL IT LEAD TIME. I'LL SEND YOU BACK TO... SAY THE 1890s OR THEREABOUTS. BUT ONCE YOU'RE THERE, I CAN'T BRING YOU 'HOME' AGAIN. YOU'LL HAVE TO GET BACK THE HARD WAY.
"Wait," Harry replied, "even I can see the flaw in that. By the time we get back, we'll be uselessly old, over a hundred." Hermione nodded.
"I don't think that's a good plan, unless we can counteract the aging problem," she agreed. "I suppose there are other methods, like a Philosopher's Stone, but it takes decades of focused effort to make one, and we wouldn't even know where to start."
The Reaper hummed in thought. I CAN'T TELL YOU WHAT HELP AWAITS YOU IN THAT TIME, NOR WHAT OTHERS HAVE CHOSEN OR THE DEALS THEY'VE MADE. I CAN OFFER THIS. IF YOU CAN FETCH ME THE REST OF THIS THING, I WON'T LET AGE TOUCH YOU UNTIL YOU CATCH UP TO YOUR ADULT AGES CHRONOLOGICALLY, ALRIGHT? YOU'LL MATURE TO ABOUT TWENTY-ONE YEARS OF AGE, THEN FREEZE THAT WAY UNTIL ABOUT 2001. DOES THAT SOUND GOOD?
The teenagers, left little choice, agreed. There was a white light, and they were gone.