AN: This is a response to Paladeus' 'Champions of Lilith' story challenge. For more information you can visit his profile and read through his 'Into the Rabbit Hole: Story Ideas,' collection of one-shots where he posts his challenges or check out his forum for a full list.
The ship with be Lunar Harmony or H/HG/LL for the folks who are less familiar with this. It is M rated and will earn the rating before too long. For those who have read my other fic this one is planned to be more light-hearted and easy going. There will be plenty of Weasley/Dumbledore bashing, so if that isn't your cup of tea then this fic isn't for you. The idea for this Fic is to give me an outlet to punish the people I dislike and write a few little Lemons and Limes for all you good folks who have so far enjoyed 'What Should Have Been.'
Consider the chapter mostly a prequel and the outline of the challenge is addressed and explained. Everything after this chapter is more or less my realm to play in, and play I will.
This Fic is meant to be enjoyed and not taken too seriously. Thanks to Paladeus who has helped and guided me getting started.
Story recommendation for this chapter is 'Death's Pride' by Paladeus. Lunar Harmony with a very in-depth and well thought out plot and storyline, and one of the best examples of the ship that I have ever read.
Chapter 1: What goes bump in the night?
"FUCK!" Harry yelled as his portkey trip ended, his arm cradling his stomach protectively. Harry sank to the ground groaning as Hermione and Luna came dashing to his side, having just arrived themselves. Harry accepted their help as he lay back, only grumbling about his luck as they ripped his shirt away.
Really it wasn't a severe wound, and Merlin knows they had all received worse over the last eight years. What started out as a simple plan, you know the usual kind of plan when one was referring to Harry Potter. Let's set out on a grand adventure with no real resources and plot the demise of a Dark Overlord. Well the Overlord bit was a more recent development but the sentiment stands, they'd ended up fucked harder than a virgin on prom night. It was all that fucker Ron's fault too.
Ron Weasley was a lot of things, and none of them very redeeming. Barely a month into the hunt his bellyaching had led to an all-out brawl between him and Harry, and when Hermione took Harry's side the shit really hit the fan. Ron disappeared and never looked back, having made up his wee little mind in his own fucked up reality that a simple "Harry's right" meant Hermione loved Harry and not him. Of course that was true, but regardless at the time it wasn't a relevant point.
Working on one of the few clues left in Dumbledore's wake Harry and Hermione had quickly searched out Xenophelius Lovegood; Harry having gotten an all to close and slightly uncomfortable look at a certain necklace back at Bill and Fleur's wedding. The same symbol had been etched into a faded copy of a children's book that dear old Dumbledork had left Hermione, and honestly? After two months of fumbling around like deaf bats, this was better than nothing.
Fate however seemed to have gotten over her fascination with saving Harry's skinny ass all the time by then, because they'd Apparated right into a pitched battle between Xeno, Luna and some Death Eaters. Well Snatchers actually but that like claiming a difference between a root vegetable and a potato. It didn't take long for the Dark Wankers cronies to scramble, as even the best of them were notoriously cowardly when faced with the unexpected. A pissed off Harry appearing only a dozen yards behind them as Xeno fell to a barrage of multi-hued spells definitely classified as unexpected. It was too late to save Xeno, but Luna quickly applied for the position Ron had oh-so-willingly vacated, and two became three once again.
Luna explained about the Deathly Hallows, but they never really had time to explore anything about them. In truth it seemed to be a far-fetched fairy tale that had little to nothing to do with the Horcrux they needed to find. It was a back burner project, and none of them really spent a lot of time investigating it outside of conjecture that Harry's cloak might be the very one mentioned. In the end it was another dead end and they ignored it.
They did do surprisingly well that first year after Luna joined them. Her unique perspectives had served well balanced along with Harry's connection and understand of all things Moldyfart. Five of the six Horcrux had been dealt with in a single year, and they had a good solid lead on the last one. Really it had been a blur of activity for the first four months, then a long period of absolutely nothing again. Fate however wasn't completely tossed of Harry, and a chance encounter with a Goblin changed the tide at last.
Griphook was everything a Goblin could be expected to be. Crude, rude, and stingy as all hell, but even Goblins acknowledge a debt when it is owed. After yet another battle, where Draco Malfoy had gotten a much deserved and most glorious blasting charm to the face, the sole surviving Goblin had all but sworn his life to Harry. The next month was fraught with distrust of each other, but after so long with no leads the group decided to let the Goblin in on the whole plan. Once Griphook's laughter had abated he confessed to knowing exactly where Hufflepuff's Cup was, having seen it while taking the Sword of Gryffindor into an old family vault.
Griphook went on to tell Harry all about his families vault, which was a complete surprise to everyone involved. Harry had always assumed the trust vault was the only thing his parents had left him. Foolish in hindsight really, because a trust vault is exactly that; a vault set-up for a kid to use as they grew up. Just something to tide a child over; give them a sense of responsibility and all that crap until they came into their own. The Goblin was near slack-jawed at the reactions, having always assumed that Harry knew all about these things.
This led to the re-discovery of Potter Manor, where they were very surprised to find Dobby and Winky waiting for them. Evidently they had hidden away there after Dumbledore's demise, their only tie to Hogwarts being broken. Winky was near death, and it was a teary eyed Dobby who begged Harry to bind her to the Potter property. Hermione exploded of course until Luna explained something that every magical child knew growing up.
House-elves hadn't always been bound to humans, but over a millennia ago the race as a whole were known by another name; Dark-elves. It was a name well-earned as the entire race dabbled in the worst sorts of foul magic. However the number one rule of Dark-Magic is that nothing can be gained without something being given. A ritual to make their magical cores grow to an astounding size had rendered that same core unable to refill itself. Once the magic was used the elves would die, never realizing they depended on the very magic in their bodies to live. Only by bonding themselves to another race could they draw the necessary magic to survive, and thus they became what they are today.
The fact that Ron was sure to know this, Luna insisting it was very common knowledge, did little to soother Harry or Hermione's growing hatred of the youngest Weasley boy.
Hermione spent the better part of that night violently sick, completely unable to cope with the idea that House-elves were once a truly evil race. The fact that she had spent so much effort trying to free them was a shock that led her to a fervent vow to never assume anything ever again. Dobby went on to explain how he had illegally bonded himself to Harry right after Malfoy had set him free, fully expecting Harry to boil him in oil for it, only begging that he save Winky before he did. Naturally Harry never even thought of hurting the crazy little bugger, and after bonding Winky the group settled in to make their plans.
Armed with the knowledge of the final Horcrux resting place they had braved the caverns underneath Gringott's only to find an old friend waiting for them in the vault. Not old friend as in Voldemort, no he couldn't be bothered of course. Ron Weasley sat there with a smug grin on his face, three young slave girls along with him, "To keep me from getting bored" Ron claimed, in the now barren Lestrange vault.
Griphook died in the ensuing battle, two dozen Death Eaters appearing just after Ron got done explaining the depths of his betrayal. The bastard and his sister had sold them out, confessing about the Horcrux-hunt to Voldemort in turn for a promise that Hermione would be his. Ginny's price for betrayal only being that they use a potion after Harry had been killed to impregnate her with his child, so she could lay claim to the Potter fortune.
So they learned that Voldemort had secreted away the Cup to some Fidelius protected location, and now it lay beyond any mortals means to track down. Not that this stopped them from trying, capturing the Dark Wankers little minions whenever possible, hoping to find a single one who knew the secret of the location.
Days turned into weeks, weeks into months, and months into years. The world around them changed day by day as they lay hidden in the manor, only striking out occasionally in the hopes of finding a Death Eater ranked high enough to have been trusted with the secret for the fidelius. The boredom in between hits however served a purpose in itself, as the group read nearly everything in the Potter Library. Harry's shock however was never more complete than while reading the Family history.
The Potter family; long praised as the lightest of the lightest, paling only perhaps to Albus Dumbledore when ranked among the good families, were nothing but thieves. James' private journal alone was a treasure trove of information, explaining how the Potter's had only ever used Hogwarts as a training ground. Pranks and Mischief were only a clever ruse while practicing for the real job of the family. Hundreds of years of tradition had been forged in the Potter line, and the Invisibility cloak slash Hallow took on a whole new meaning to Harry.
Ignotus Peveral, the smartest of the three in 'The Tale of The Three Brother' had been more cunning than anyone ever gave him credit for. He hadn't only used the Hallow to escape his imminent demise, but also to ensure wealth for his family for generations to come. Nobody truly knew how deep the Potter's pockets ran, because the vast majority of that wealth was beneath their very feet now. Locked away in a blood protected vault was a mass of wealth never before seen in the Wizarding world. Relics of ages past, long thought lost, lay about like they were only pretty baubles in a child's playroom.
The tips, tricks, spells and heritage of the Potter library had served the group well over the last six years or so, but even the best laid plans, and best attempts at subterfuge occasionally led to days like today.
"You'll be fine, quit crying you big baby," Hermione said as she dropped a few drops of essence of dittany in the small hole in Harry's stomache.
"I'm not crying!" Harry demanded, even as he hissed while the vile concoction sealed the wound.
Luna smiled a little dreamy smile, "Technically I guess hissing isn't crying Hermione. Unless Harry has suddenly become a Hissing Hunfelder, then I guess it could be crying. One never knows exactly what a Hissing Hunfelder is going on about."
Hermione rolled her eyes, having long gotten used to the smaller girls odd sentiments, "Is that some kind of snake I've never heard of Luna?"
"No, it's more like a Jabberwockey, only without the warbling…"
Harry chuckled, knowing this was Luna's way of trying to cheer him up, "Maybe we'll go look for one someday. Hissing is my specialty after all."
Luna nodded happily, rising to her feet as Harry pulled himself off the floor, "We could always try I suppose, but I don't really suspect that is really a good idea. Even if you could understand it, it would likely eat you anyway."
"Reassuring love, but back on point here. What. The. Fuck. Was. That," Harry groaned inspecting the new scar on his abdomen.
"All I saw was Voldemort appear, a single spell slammed into your shield and you fell. I activated our portkeys as soon as I saw it hit you," Hermione answered with a frown.
"Exactly! I mean I know he's powerful, but he's never busted my shield with a single spell before!" Harry moaned, stripping his shirt off and tossing it to the side, where he knew Dobby would appear and collect it immediately. "It was a simple piercer it should have been harmless enough."
"And since when does he go for a piercer, or even cast out loud for that matter," Hermione added, deepening her frown.
Harry shook his head, annoyed that their raid had failed so spectacularly. They had barely gotten inside the wards this time, and Harry was positive they hadn't tripped anything on the way in, "I don't know, but I sure as hell don't like it."
Luna shrugged, her perpetual grin flashing brilliantly, "Oh well. More time for pudding now."
Hermione simply shook her head as the little blonde made her way towards the kitchens humming happily, "Are you okay Harry?"
Harry nodded, pulling Hermione into his arms, "I'm fine love, barely a fleshwound. If he hadn't caught me off guard it never would have hit. It would have been just as easy to dodge, but the shield really should have stopped it."
Hermione huffed, rolling her eyes as she gave Harry a quick kiss, "Come on, we can't let her spoil her appetite on pudding again. Last time she went for pudding I think Dobby had to sell one of the lost Crown Jewels to pay the tab."
Following Hermione into the kitchen to stop his other lover from an inevitable stomach-ache Harry grinned at the typical comment. His relationship with both girls had been a slow building thing, but when you spend years in hiding certain things just kind of happen. It all started after coming across Ginny at a raid on Malfoy Manor. Which in and of itself might not have been that shocking of a thing, had it not been for her playing the Skin-Flute with old Lucy at the time. Lucius lost more than one head that evening, an unfortunate consequence of a blasting hex while his mini-me was playing tonsil hockey.
Ginny's sob story had been heart wrenching for Harry, who still recalled a few quiet evenings in darkened corridors back before the world had gone mad. Evidently Ron's failure had earned him a spot among the Inferi horde somewhere and Ginny had been given to Lucius to give him a new Death Nugget son. It was Hermione who brought the situation home though, a single slap and a comment about Harry not seeing what he had in front of him all this time quickly woke him to his senses.
The taking of virginities that night had been amazing. Luna simply walking in and taking her turn had never warranted more than a curious smile from Hermione, who was quite willing to share with the lithe blonde. They didn't leave the manor again for almost a week, lost in a three way attempt to see who could provide the most orgasms.
They never did hear about Ginny again. Hermione suspected either love potions or compulsion spells were truthfully responsible for Harry's odd reaction to Ginny. Some potions left permanent and lingering effects on a person if used for long periods of time.
Harry groaned as he saw nearly a dozen bowls already empty of their pudding-y goodness. Luna sat hunched over yet another bowl, eyeing Harry and Hermione warily, not entirely unlike a wolf over a bone.
"Luna honey, you can't eat just pudding, we've talked abou-," Hermione started to explain only to be cut-off by a surprisingly feral growl.
Harry chuckled and slid into the chair next to Luna, ignoring the evil looks as he took a spoon and helped himself to a few bites from her bowl, "So what's next?"
Luna deciding that Harry was pudding-worthy slid the bowl in front of him and climbed into his lap, stealing a kiss as she settled in, "Same as always. We wait until we overhear something and we try to make a move." This had become the only life they really knew now. Hanging out in run-down bars and various other places such as Knockturn Alley hoping to hear some snippet of news. Voldemort's rise to power had been swift and merciless. Not long after the final Horcrux had been hidden away the Ministry had fallen, and the years following had not been pleasant.
Whether it was Hogwarts or Diagon Alley all of magical Britain had come to be under Death Eater control within a single year. They roamed the streets openly, taking what they wanted when they wanted. Hermione and Luna often had to disguise themselves as Hags just to do their recon work, as any pretty face was expected to 'service' the Dark Lords many minions, especially if you couldn't claim the right family name.
Hermione shrugged, not having anything better to add before ordering Winky to fix dinner. Luna sighed as she took the final bite of pudding, knowing very well that it would be the last until after she'd eaten some of the detested 'real food' that Hermione harped on about so much. Dobby and Winky did all their shopping now, hiding under glamours to go to Muggle markets. Even then there had been a few close calls; as Voldemort's power was expanding into the Mundane realm as well.
As far as they knew they were all that was left of any kind of resistance. They never did find out what happened to many of their old friends, but they held hope that they had managed to escape to the States, which as far as they knew was the only place still untouched by the dark.
Hermione's eyes snapped open as she lay on Harry's arm later that night. Hermione wasn't prone to waking in the middle of the night, and all kinds of warning bells were going off in her head. It wasn't that she was a deep sleeper; it was simply that after five years or so of sleeping with both Harry and Luna in the same bed one got accustomed to unusual noises in the middle of the night. Especially since Luna seemed to have an uncanny ability to know when Harry was having a naughty dream, and was always quite eager to help him with any problems that arose.
Come to think of it Luna had also woken her several times after some of her own naughty dreams.
"Harry!" Hermione hissed, shaking Harry awake, "Harry get up!"
"Hmmnph," came the expected response as Harry attempted to turn over, only to be stopped as Luna was firmly lying across both him and Hermione.
"Harry GET UP! I think someone is downstairs!" Hermione pleaded, working to roll Luna off the both of them.
Harry's eyes snapped open, his hands already reaching for his wand and glasses reflexively. In a very unceremonious display of the meaning of the words 'dead asleep' Luna rolled into the floor with a loud thump, her light snoring never even breaking. Harry leapt out of the bed, hitting her with an enervate, which is oddly on of the few ways to wake the sleeping girl, as he crept over to cover the door. Hermione bent down to help Luna off the floor, whispering and explanation as Harry peeked out of the room.
Moments later the group crept silently through the house, their years of espionage and thievery keeping them as silent as a mouse in a room full of cats. Harry peeked around the final corner to the Foyer; leaning back quickly, holding up a single digit to tell the others there was only one intruder. Considering this manor was under a Fidelius however, even a single intruder was no small matter. Hermione crept forward, making her way across the balcony to the opposite corner so they would have flanking positions.
Luna made to follow, but halfway across the hall she froze suddenly, her eyes widening in disbelief. Harry started to reach for the girl, but his hands found only empty air as she launched herself off the balcony with an exalted yell of "SANTA!"
Harry sent a low powered Lumos into the Foyer before launching himself over the banister as well, his wand seeking his target even as he fell, preparing a shield spell with his wandless offhand. Wandless magic was one of the many tricks they'd discovered in the Potter Family history.
Luna fought tooth and nail with the unknown man for only a moment, leaving him pinned to the floor, her head already deep in a sack as she held him down with only a foot on his chest.
Harry flicked his wand at the torches, seeing Luna had everything under control, and his eyes grew wide as he saw Luna's scream wasn't one of her usual awkward battle-cries.
"I don't believe it," Hermione mumbled from her position halfway down the stairs. Lying underneath Luna's foot was a very large, and very dazed, man. Dressed exactly as Luna had exclaimed; A red fuzzy suit with a white fur lining and matching cap.
"Who are you," Harry demanding as he pressed forward, his wand aimed at the man's red-face.
Luna pulled her head out of the bag, "Oh, this really is Santa. Trust me, I would know."
The man finally seemed to regain a bit of his senses as his eyes struggled to focus on the little blonde, "Luna?"
Luna smiled down at him happily, removing her foot but clutching the bag to her chest protectively, "You remember!"
'Santa', burst into a loud chuckle, every bit the expected Ho-Ho-Ho, "It's not everyone who tries to take over my workshop young lady."
Hermione eyes bulged, "You mean…"
Luna rolled her eyes, turning to face her lover, "Yes Hermione, he is real. Santa is a fairy."
Santa finally found his glasses, which had been knocked loose in the struggle and put them on his face. A few huffs and puffs later the short but excessively round man was on his feet once again, "Yes Ms. Granger I really am Santa, and I really am a fairy. Me and Miss Luna here have a long history together. Frankly I know now why the Queen was so reluctant to give me your names. All I wanted to do was check and make sure you had all been on the nice list before I came, but her Majesty absolutely refused!"
Luna smiled happily before laying the bag down and crawling inside of it. Only her feet were visible as she started pitching presents out of the overlarge bag.
"What are you doing here?" Harry demanded, still refusing to lower his wand.
"The Queen asked me to come and make you all an offer…" Santa answered hesitantly, "and I'm afraid it's a matter that simply cannot wait."
"What kind of offer," Hermione asked walking down the last few stairs, her wand already in its holster.
Santa sighed sadly, "The Fae Queen Lilith is fading from this world. Voldemort has spent the last year hunting our kind to extinction, using our magic to fuel his desire for power. Day by day his minions hunt us, striving to earn favor from their lord. With each death her power fades, and I fear that without a change our kind will disappear from this world forever."
"Of course!" Hermione said in a low voice, her eyes narrowing in thought. "That explains why he's gotten so much stronger all of a sudden."
"Indeed," Santa agreed, "I fear he is quickly becoming far too powerful for anyone to contain."
"What does that have to do with us?" Harry asked warily, lowering his wand but keeping it held firm in his hand.
"The Queen knows about your prophecy Mr. Potter, and she knows that you are the only one who stands a chance at stopping the inevitable. She is willing to use the last of her power to aid you, to give you the chance to go back and right all that has been wronged. She will sacrifice herself, and us all, so that we may live again."
"Time-travel?" Hermione asked skeptically, her knowledge of time-turners already going through her head. "But if we go back then what of our younger selves? One chance encounter and we could unravel the universe as we know it!"
Santa laughed, his jolly old belly shaking with his mirth, "Young lady do you think the universe is that naïve? If that was true I would have cause the destruction of the world a thousand times over each year!"
"WHAT!?" Hermione demanded her eyes widening in disbelief.
"How else do you think I deliver all those toys in one night my dear? Why I see myself coming and going all the time, how else would I know what houses I have already been to and where to go next? Regardless I fear the Queen no longer has the power to take you back in such a manner."
"So what exactly are we talking about then?" Harry asked, ignoring a yelp from Luna as she tossed a rather upset kitten from the bag. The tabby cat offered a simple hiss at the bag before turning tail and running from the room.
"Time travel is delicately tricky and devilish you see, especially if you aren't Fae. In fact if you aren't Fae then this would be entirely impossible at all," Santa answered, his eyes twinkling merrily. Harry shivered as they reminded him oddly of a certain conniving old man.
Hermione looked confused before asking the obvious, "Then how?"
"It's quite simple really Hermione," Luna's voice echoed from the bag, sounding very annoyed that Hermione didn't grasp the simple logic. Well simple to Luna anyway. "The Fairy Queen is going to turn us into Fae-folk and send us back to our younger selves."
"Exactly!" Santa said with a broad grin.
"So wait…" Harry pondered, "What you're telling me is we have a chance to go back and fix all of this? A chance to change everything?"
"Yes, but I do not know when or where you will turn up. Fairy magic has so many variables that it's impossible to judge the potential from one moment to the next. Right now a single child losing their belief in us could make the difference of as much as a week. With fewer fairies in the world thanks to Voldemort, there are fewer of us to be seen through the un-judging eyes of a child, and that's got quite a lot to do with why we are fading from the world. For if they don't believe they cannot see, and if they cannot see they don't believe. It's a very tricky balance to maintain you see," Santa explained with a sad smile on his face.
"What does becoming Fae-folk really mean?" Hermione asked, once again dropping into her own logical mind.
"It's quite simple really. You will be able to transform into a Fairy whenever you want, and will be expected to help maintain the balance of course. Your own lives will depend on the very balance, as you will be tied to it that same as the rest of us. Fairies live a rather long time so long as the balance is kept. It's nothing overly complicated, you will simply feel the desire to be seen and cause mischief, almost like a compulsion. Then you simply change into a Fairy and go flit around a children's playground for a while, causing some minor mischief. Couldn't be simpler, at least as long as there are enough of our kind in existence," Santa answered with a sad chuckle.
"What does a Fairy look like?" Harry asked curiously, his mind still fighting to understand. Santa rolled his eyes before simply changing into his own Fairy form for them to see. In a brief flash of pink dust the jolly old man changed to a spry little one inch tall winged creature with white hair, wings flapping wildly to keep afloat.
"You'd think after we've been so well documented in the Magical world that would be a moot point, even for you two," Santa answered, his voice changing to a very high pitched shrill.
Hermione's eyes sparkled in understanding, "That's how you get into all the chimneys!"
"No, well not all at least. I simply fade to where I need to be," Santa explained disappearing and reappearing around the room with each word. Harry's seeker trained eyes darted wildly, trying to keep up with the tiny creature.
"Wait you can't Apparate here!" Hermione demanded as Santa reappeared in his human form.
Santa sighed, beginning to tire of this overlong explanation, "I didn't; I faded. It's an entirely different matter. Not unlike your House-elf companions really. And before you ask yes there are other perks so to speak. When a Fairy stays entirely still it becomes impossible to see at all, except by other Fairies, even by the most trained or en-spelled of eyes. However your normal magic also will not work in your Fairy form. Not to say you don't have any magic at all, just not what you are used to. Fairies are known for our mischief with good reasoning after all, but the hour is late and I fear no more explanation can be given. Each minute that passes our power wanes and it simply would not do for you to arrive too late to be of any help at all."
Luna pulled her head out of the bag with a resigned sigh, "Once again, no pudding."
Harry turned to Hermione, who only offered a small nod of agreement before he looked back at Santa, "Alright what do we need to do?"
"Why nothing at all," Santa answered, laying a finger against the side of his nose, "Good Luck!"
It's an odd sensation to blink once and when your eyes open be somewhere entirely different than where you were. Harry had been expecting a million things really, considering his long sordid affair with all forms of magic transportation. There was now squeezing or navel pulling or rush of a floo. Just Foyer, blink, blue skies as far as the eye can see.
For Hermione and Luna the experience was equally boring, however while Harry saw nothing but clear skies, these two saw a distant figure on a broom and a rather large Dragon not very far behind it.
Harry smiled, feeling the reassuring sensation of a broom between his legs, and his immediate thought was of Quidditch. Quickly dismissing that as there was no cheer of the crowd or other players in sight Harry's mind quickly conjured memories of other times he had flown. It was daylight, so that left out the escape from Privet Drive the summer before fifth year. As his mind drew the only logical conclusion Harry only had one thought left to think.
Harry leaned forward and sped his broom into a dive even as a blast of flame threatened to turn him into a Fairy ke-bob. Turning in a cork-screw Harry struggled to gain some bearings, finally shooting off towards the stadium at break-neck speeds. Last time through the timeline Harry had missed his first pass over the egg, but that was a young and more timid young person who was scared to death. This Harry had seen war, and a Dragon was little compared to facing Voldemort over a dozen times.
The crowd roared as Harry zoomed through the make-shift stadium, his arm hung low snatching up the Golden Egg with ease even as the Dragon soared along behind him. Tucking the Egg into his arms like it was a Quaffle Harry flew straight up and dived down again, relying on the much quicker handling of the broom to get him back on the ground before the Dragon could line up a proper shot. Tucking his body Harry accepted the minor and inevitable crash landing he was orchestrating, pulling his wand and encapsulating his body in transfigured rock even as a dozen or so Stunners flew into the air, forcing the Dragon down.
Harry heard and felt the Dragon's landing and waited for only a short minute before releasing the spell around him, standing and lifting the egg up high for all to see. The crowd that had been silent upon seeing his wreck burst into cheers and Harry grinned before walking over and patting the unconscious Dragon on the snout cheekily.
"Nice try, maybe next time," Harry chuckled before letting one of the Dragon Handlers shuffle him off to the Champion's tent. Harry stepped into the tent, idly tossing his egg on one of the chairs before allowing Poppy to usher him behind a curtain to inspect him. Poppy was in fits of course, threatening Harry with all sorts of vile potions before finally releasing him with a perfectly clean bill of health.
Harry walked out of the tent with a broad grin on his face, holding his egg up high again eliciting more cheers from the crowd. They were sheep, Harry knew they were sheep, but he'd be damned if he wasn't going to milk this for everything it was worth this time around.
Harry gave a small nod to the fellow Champions as he patiently waited for Dumbledore to announce the scores. It was no surprise when Harry ended up tied with Krum for first place once again, not much had really changed since the last timeline after all so far. Turning to leave Harry winced as he saw Hermione staring at him fiercely, arms crossed and foot tapping. This was going to be fun.
"Harry James Potter! What on earth were you thinking crashing like that?!"
"Erm… It was the best I could come up with at the time?" Harry answered taking an unsure step back as Hermione marched towards him. Hermione shook her head in disappointment before launching herself into his arms and wrapping him in a hug.
"Just don't forget why we're here Harry. No more taking foolish risks like that," Hermione said squeezing him a final time before stepping back.
"I'm fine honestly, not even a bruise. It looked worse than it was I'm sure, tuck and roll and all that," Harry promised wrapping an arm around her waist as he started walking towards the crowd of people still loitering around.
"Still, be careful. This is too important to mess up," Hermione pleaded leaning into Harry's side as they walked.
"I know Hermione, but I have a plan. Well sort of. Seen Luna yet?"
"She's waiting in the Room of Requirement for us."
Harry's good mood however quickly took a turn as another voice broke into their quiet conversation, "Can I talk to you for a sec Harry?"
Harry tensed for a brief moment before a dark grin spread over his face. Handing Hermione the egg and giving her a quick kiss on the cheek Harry turned and eyed the red-haired fucker that was daring to speak to him.
"Sure Ron, what's up?"
"I just wanted to say, you know, that I was wrong. You'd have to be insane to wanna get involved in all this," Ron said kicking his feet awkwardly in the dirt, refusing to meet Harry's eyes.
"Ronald, Ronald, Ronald, of course I understand mate. I mean after all I did just tie with the Viktor Krum didn't I?" Harry said tossing an arm around Ron's shoulders with a broad smile on his face. It was sickening to watch really as Ron's eyes practically glossed over at the statement.
"That was bloody brilliant!" Ron agreed, his face breaking into a star-struck grin.
Harry nodded, pulling Ron along with him, "It was wasn't it? But you see there's just this little problem right now. After two years of being my best mate, after everything we've been through. You know, the Troll. That whole mess with the stone. All that stuff about Parseltongue and me being Slytherin's heir. Hell even me saving your sister's life, I've come to realize something old buddy."
Hermione fought to hide her smirk as Ron grinned happily, completely oblivious to the scathing sarcasm and dark edge of Harry's words. "What's that?" Ron asked with a grin, being foolishly happy with all the attention he was getting from the crowd. Well Harry was the one being pointed at and whispered about, but Ron was naturally ignorant of that fact.
Harry stopped and turned Ron to face him, placing a hand on each of his shoulders and giving him a pat, "That you are a complete and utter loser Ron."
Ron's eyes came unfocused at the words and his brow creased heavily in confusion for a moment. Whatever his response was going to be will forever be unknown, because a very quick and efficient fist to his jaw sent him sprawling to the ground in a pile of dust. Harry smiled as Ron lay there groaning and the crowd stared on in disbelief. Giving them an absent wave Harry turned back to Hermione whose eyes were filled with laughter.
"Coming love?" Harry asked offering his arm in a much exaggerated show of airs. Hermione smiled happily and laid her hand on his elbow, following along beside him.
"Why of course my dear. Where you go I will always follow," Hermione answered, flicking her hair back casually.
Harry and Hermione walked to the castle leaving the very confused and bewildered crowd far behind, neither of them noticing the deep frown on the Headmaster's face.
AN: Alrighty then let the games begin. Next chapter we'll address the plans of the group and have a few Ronnie bashing moments where he shows his true colors. Yes Harry and Hermione will be acting a bit OOC, and this is explained by the fact they are mentally 25 and 26 and have been at War for 8 years now. Luna is well… Luna.
They have been betrayed and forced to live in a sheltered life just the three of them. They won't trust outside of their unit much, and won't accept anything at face value anymore. The biggest change will be Hermione probably, as she has all but completely lost faith in the adults of the Wizarding World.