Moon: Welcome back everyone! This idea wouldn't give me peace until I put it up here, so here you go! Here's to the first in what will be an unconnected group of stories involving dimension jumping. Time travel is easy and overdone, and I prefer to try ideas that aren't seen as often. This story will take a rather negative viewpoint on how wizarding society – at least British society – is run, in the Ministry, the Prophet and pureblood society. I do not own Harry Potter.
Chapter 1: New World, New Start
Dry lightning cracked across the sky as a young woman walked along a long deserted railway track. A long time ago it used to guide a train full of eager students to a school where they would learn magic. That was all before the wars.
She meant to walk past the extended ward lines to join her companions in the Ministry. No one remained in the old castle alone anymore.
The sun was low in the sky, and obscured by thick black storm clouds. Rain poured down on the ruined buildings and track, adding an air of depression to an already sombre scene. Years of war had ravaged the landscape almost beyond recognition, even to those who had made the place a second home back in a more innocent time.
The surroundings grounds were bare and cracked like the desert, only a few hardy weeds growing where there had once been flowers and green grass. The vast forest, once a haven to creatures of all kinds was a still-smoking wreck with only a few young trees growing in its wake. Anything that had lived there had either taken part in battle or fled for dear life a long time ago.
There was a hole in the ground where a lake had once been, where not a drop of water remained for long. Under a thin layer of mud there was a mountain of bones, belonging to the tribe of merpeople that had once lived under the surface.
And after all of these things were the dim walls of an old school, refitted back into its original purpose of a fortress. The new brick made it clear that it had been rebuilt more then once in recent times. Once it had been a school full of curious, eager young children. Now it was the retreat of a group of soldiers who were not prepared to rejoin the world they had saved.
It had been a long time since the sun had shone on this place.
The war that had done all of those things had been ended four brutal years ago. In the time of a man called Lord Voldemort, who had sought to take control of the world in the name of his image and ideas of who should and shouldn't be a wizard. He had stalked Britain for twenty years before his followers managed to infiltrate the Ministry of Magic. Once he had done that, he sent his men into the streets and then marched on Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry to destroy his last opponents.
The battle had begun there. It had been fast and violent, over in less then a month. There are those who fled, but many chose to stand and fight.
The defenders of the castle had fought a bitter battle, and eventually the lines of the enemy had broken.
And then the unthinkable had happened.
Those who had been the defenders pushed forward and gave chase, following their opponents with the vigor and violence that they had once been shown. They slaughtered even the hardened fighters, along with their leader, and sent the others scurrying for shelter.
For a few days, the country sat in shocked silence. Then, their wounded treated, the defenders left the castle once more and marched on the Ministry, still occupied by the remains of the tyrant's enforcers.
They were few in number, but they were battle hardened in a way that few Aurors lived to become, and driving their forces was the undeniable fact that they had nothing left to loose.
With this, the Hogwarts students struck a stunning victory over the remaining torturers and took charge of the Ministry. Those who had survived the initial battle were shown no quarter, and the bodies were displayed on the walls of the building. The people were shocked, but still reeling from months of tragedy, they merely watched the young warriors reforms in bewildered silence.
Harry Potter had no lived to see the collapse of Riddle's attempted takeover. He was one of many who had died in the battle at Hogwarts – the only person who had reportedly died twice. But his memories and the knowledge he had built up played a vital part in the fallout days. There was going to be a statue in commemoration of him raised inside the Ministry when there was time.
From Harry's memories came the knowledge that Tom Riddle was half blood. The purebloods that had been raving in the wake of the retaking of the Ministry building fell silent in shock. Those that still continued to attack or preside over their muggleborn and half blood counterparts were met with decisive response from the warriors of Hogwarts. Many were tossed in the refitted Azkaban.
With Tom Riddle's forces destroyed to a man, his public image decimated with reveals of his past and of his true intentions, and young warriors scouring the streets daring anyone to follow in the man's footsteps, Britain's second wizarding war was over.
Unfortunately, this did not see to the end of the violence. The cornerstones of society had been eroding slowly but surely for years, injustice often prevailing over the law and common decency. New enemies emerged from the ashes of the war, thinking it weak and ripe for the taking.
The Huntresses, as they began to call themselves for so many of their men were dead, were few in number in comparison to what they were going to face. But they had become old soldiers under the hardships they had faced, and they were not to be challenged lightly.
The first resurfaced violence came from the Goblins of Gringotts. They were also the first ones to realize how dearly they had underestimated their opponents.
The goblins had been opportunists in the battle, for they had no love of wizards. They had supported both sides in the battle, claiming that they never failed to serve old customers. Thinking they could get a few boons for themselves and establish superiority in the wake of the tragedies, the Goblins rallied their fighting forces and began to march through the streets. For surely, after the wizards had suffered such losses merely spreading some chaos and fear would be all they had to do to finally win the rebellion they had been trying for in many, many years.
The Huntresses were just upstart children. They would be easily stomped out. And once that had been done they would hold peace talks with the wizards, where they would finally be the ones receiving concessions as opposed to the other way around.
But the Huntresses never forgave, and they never forgot. They had long memories of the wars they had survived, and the knowledge of how close the goblins had brought Voldemort to victory gave them strength to fight in the aftermath.
They saw the Goblin's actions for what they were, and they wouldn't give in. As the goblin warriors began marching through the streets with their enslaved monsters, meaning to secure the Ministry, they were struck from both side in a surprise counterattack.
Unlike the earlier rebellions, the Huntresses didn't face the Goblins head on in suicidal charges, but struck in unexpected places with lightning speed before reappearing somewhere else. They were so fast and fierce lights from their wands and weapons flashed like bolts of lightning, cutting through the sky and decimating the enemy ranks. There was no reserve, just a burning anger and deadly skill.
The Goblins shares one aspect with the Death Eaters. They only went on the offensive when they were sure of victory, when they believed they were facing people who couldn't hope to defeat them. So when the Huntresses fell upon them with their vigour, they broke apart easily and retreated to the halls of Gringotts, sealing the doors behind them. Inside, they fooled themselves into thinking that they could starve the young army out.
But the Huntresses wouldn't wait, and they hadn't shown all their cards in the opening battle. The very next day, the scream of two jets cut through the air above the Ministry. The F-22s reworked by one of the muggleborn geniuses fired their entire payloads into the building's doors, obliterating them in one deadly moment. And in that moment, the Huntresses did what no other wizard before them had done and stormed the bank that others had called impenetrable.
The goblins had not expected the assault to bear fruit, and retreated into the twisting tunnels that lead to the network of vaults. The Huntresses followed with a vengeance, and in an epic siege like something out of a legend, they fought their way through the dungeons and drove the goblins deeper and deeper into the earth until they had fled entirely in fear.
Turning to the vaults filled with gold and jewels, the young women took what they needed as measures to rebuild the shattered world. They also freed the many slaves the goblins had been keeping – humans chained together, digging out vaults and building rails day and night. Some had been taken so young they didn't remember what sunlight was like. Dragons and Manticores, taken from their families and homes, tortured and chained to the larger vaults were also set loose, along with the blinded trolls who were kept as guards. They were released, but some remained behind out of loyalty to the first to have shown them such kindness.
The Huntresses were initially all Hogwarts students who had no wish to draw blood, but were driven to it by the attacks of Death Eaters. Some were muggleborns, who had lost family members to raids or had been tortured themselves for the crime of who their parents were. Others were purebloods, disowned and disgraced by their families for daring to side with their tormented friends.
And a few of them were originally followers of Dumbledore, who after loosing their families and friends had taken measures the old, foolish chessmaster never would have allowed – responding to lethal force with lethal force.
Many had no family to return to when the dust finally settled. So they began living together, trying to rebuild their world.
But even the Goblins weren't the end of it. Voldemort had unleashed a swarm of dark creatures, including trolls, werewolves, inferni, dementors and other foul beasts that were still rampaging across the countryside. Some towns had been overrun entirely, sending still more refugees running for the Ministry.
Trolls were coming down in force from the mountains. Evidently Voldemort had promised them something if they had fought on his side, and they were coming to collect their dues. Trolls were among some of the more dangerous creatures; they weren't the brightest, but their skins were resistant to most spells and they were strong enough to lift muggle tanks overhead.
The Aurors, helpless to detain the many monsters for they had lost most of their men in earlier battles, turned to the Huntresses and begged them to stop the ravaging of the land.
The young warriors were reluctant, after two years of violence, but they conceded with the knowledge that if the creatures weren't stopped, Britain would never recover.
They split into teams – into old friendships that they had kept during wartime, relationships that had been kept secret. Then they prowled the countryside.
Trolls were slaughtered or sent back to the mountains. Instead of using spells that they knew the trolls could resist, the Huntresses used the environment to their advantage, creating fire and ice storms that felled so many that the countryside was littered with the huge dead carcasses. The trolls were more stubborn then some of their earlier enemies, but they were driven back in time, retreating to the mountains they had come from.
The Huntresses grew more and more popular, as they had done what had been considered impossible and defending the struggling people not once but three times from seemingly insurmountable foes. People began to rally around them when they saw them approaching.
The Huntresses split up again and turned their attention to the other dark creatures that had been given free reign by the last dark lord. Dementors were driven away from settlements they had been praying out without restraint ever since Voldemort had broken down the gates of Azkaban. The soul-sucking monsters fled to the sea, from which few had ventured back from.
Next came the packs of feral werewolves, some of the most dangerous of creatures. One warrior in particular had a personal score to settle with Fenrir Greyback and his pack, and when she met him for the third time the werewolf did not survive.
Good werewolves assisted in breaking up the violent packs, and sniffed out those who had become infected. For this, they were welcomed back into the community. One Huntress – a talented potions master – busied herself brewing wolfsbane potions for the next few months.
Slowly the creatures were driven back, and the residents of Britain cheered. Some of them, emboldened by what finally looked like there was a future to be had, joined the Huntresses in battle. The people offered support and whatever money they had left to the young women in exchange for their help rebuilding their shattered country.
Neville Longbottom had been chosen as a temporary Minister of Magic, by his ageing grandmother. Immediately he went about taking down the restrictive and barbaric laws that had been set up by greedy purebloods and corrupt bureaucrats. He set out recruitment notices to rebuilt the Auror forces and put out international help boards to refill the positions of the Unspeakables. Neville had a bright mind despite his age, though his wife often stepped in to help him when the stress became too much.
After a week Neville had another problem to deal with. The British Prime Minister had eventually appeared in the Ministry office, pale and demanding an explanation.
The violence had become so prevalent that the shockwaves were being felt in the muggle world. Muggleborn parents who had been killed by Death Eaters had the police in a panic looking for the killers, and the goblins had trashed a good number of muggle train stations on their way to the Ministry. Bridges had been destroyed by spells, homes ransacked and set on fire. The Prime Minister suspected that the crimes were magical in nature when nothing seemed to make sense and was insisting he be informed.
Eventually, two of the Huntresses leaders met with him and explained the situation. The Prime Minister was shocked at their age and the story they had to tell him, and they earned his sympathy.
He proclaimed that he would help them to the best of his ability. He gave them advice on how to rebuild the Ministry, which had been decimated after Voldemort's sympathizers and other nutcases who had gained power were removed from their positions and dealt with accordingly. For the first time, a wizard in power had actually accepted the advice of his muggle counterpart.
Britain finally thought it might see another day, but the final blow was yet to be dealt.
The International Confederation of Wizards, lead by one Albus Dumbledore, demanded a worldwide review of the 'vigilantes' 'barbaric' justice and the way they had handled the situation.
The man had retreated from Britain after Voldemort came out in full, ostensibly to gain some international help due to insufficient number of resisters, but he had been completely absent from the country during its darkest hours.
This sparked massive resentment within Britian, and with some surrounding countries that had any details of what had been going on within its borders. Civilians were threatening to riot in the streets and newspapers would print nothing else but the injustice of it.
The ICW scaled back a bit upon this response and settled for insisting that the Huntresses come to a board review.
The Huntresses agreed to send their leading members to the meeting at the ICW headquarters in the United States of America. People cheered as they walked to the portkey point, throwing flowers and promising to back them up.
Britain Review, International Confederation of Wizards, December 2000
It looked more like a tribunal then a meeting room, with Dumbledore sitting in the judge-like chair of the Supreme Mugwump. It seemed that the old defeater of Grindelwald had already made up his mind about the actions of the young women in question. The others weren't quite so certain, many of them having heard the stories that had come out of Britain over the past few years.
The leaders of other magical countries were sitting in their designated seats, which swung out like a semicircle around a group of chairs in the middle of the room. It had a high ceiling and bright white lights from muggle floodlights that the American Ministry had insisted on. The walls were painted white, giving it the look of a muggle hospital. The room itself didn't look very friendly, even without the people currently sitting in it. There were Aurors at every entrance, and the building itself was under so many wards that its security system was believed unbreakable.
"This court is now in session," Dumbledore intoned. Everyone stood up as ten Aurors led a group of young women into the room.
It started a row of whispering, as the other leaders sized up the children in front of them.
One girl had sleek, curly bronze hair that had lost its old bushy look. She was missing an ear, having lost it to a curse in the battle at Hogwarts. The other one had a single sapphire earring hanging from it. She was wearing a black leather jacket and combat pants, with a belt clearly meant not just to hold her wand but other weapons. Heavy boots of a muggle make were on her feet. There was a scar inflicted by curse over one brown eye, both of which became flinty and cold when they settled on Dumbledore. There was an air of authority and command to her, for this was not the place for the vulnerability she showed in private. Her hands clenched at empty air, as though she missed the presence of her wand. Her name was Hermione Granger, and you wouldn't have recognized her if you had only known her as a young girl. She was now known not as the insufferably smart girl who got the highest number of Outstandings in Hogwarts, but as a frighteningly brilliant strategist who had crushed three uprisings that men twice her age had floundered for decades trying to defuse. She was a committed protector of the people under her care, which had extended past the walls of her school to the entirety of Magical Britain.
The next was a girl with hair like wildfire, which had been awkwardly cut to a boyish appearance after a goblin had nearly gotten the upper hand over her by grabbing a fistful. Her skin had taken a darker tone to it, both from having sustained burns from a dragon's fire and many brutal hours of fighting in the sun during the summertime. Her brown eyes were like daggers as they surveyed the room, as if she was picking out who might be an imposter. She was wearing the same leather outfit as Hermione, except the earring she was wearing was a dragon's tooth, and a keepsake from a fallen brother. Ginny Weasley had lost her family – her entire family, save for Muriel Prewett who abandoned her to her fate – to the Death Eaters, and she had been the most outraged by the ICW's call for an investigation into 'war crimes'. She was one of the lead fighters, the moment she got onto a broomstick she became unstoppable on the battlefield.
The girl on Hermione's left had a dark hood over her head of silver hair, that she had tied up in a low ponytail. Blue eyes like plates of ice scanned the room with barely restrained contempt. Her entire outfit was black and silver, with long sleeves and pants. Two small earrings hung from her ears, sparkling like fallen stars. There were three tight golden bracelets on both of her wrists and ankles, looking almost like painted shackles. A gold chain with a small blue gem hung around her neck. She had never worn the school uniform at any point during her schooling at Hogwarts. Her skin was pale like fallen snow, and cold to the touch. Lilith Moon was rarely heard speaking, but the rumours of her family had been confirmed as a terrifying fact. She was right beside Ginny and Hermione whenever they lead and attack, and her curse had become her power.
Behind Lilith was a girl with blonde hair, falling around her face wild in loose curls. Slash marks marred her once beautiful face, scars that marked her as a part werewolf. Gone were her fashionable clothes and bubbly skip, she now wore camouflaged shirt and pants, and she was built like a hulking amazon. Her green eyes had lost their spark, and now had the same shape as a wolf's, giving her a feral appearance that made people scramble out of the way when they saw her walking down the streets. Lavander Brown was all but unrecognizable to anyone who had known her. She had taken to the quirks of the condition Fenrir had left her with and used them to her advantage. She was the most brutal of the front six fighters.
Next to Lavander was a dark-skinned girl who's hand discreetly touched the part-werewolf's. Her dark eyes had a very haunted cast to them, for her twin sister had been taken from her by Bellatrix Lestrange. She had taken the maniac by surprise and paid her back in kind, but the damage had been done. She wasn't much of a front-line fighter, but she had some skills in healing – they weren't her greatest talent though. The gift of Sight was strong in her, stronger then had been seen in years though it had lain dormant for a long time. The trauma of Padma's death had awakened it in her, and now Pavarti Patil provided invaluable intelligence to her friends and fellow warriors whenever they were planning an assault.
The last leader was a girl with short red hair, darker then Ginny's. She was dressed plainly, but she was fiddling with and twisting a chess piece in between her fingers as she followed her friends into the room and towards the chairs. Her blue eyes were hard and thoughtful. They hid a mind that calculated all the variables and turned bad situations around into good ones. A mind that could understand everything about a person from a five minute conversation. Hermione had the knowledge, she was the one who applied it. Susan Bones had lost her aunt and last remaining parental unit Amelia Bones to the Death Eater purges, and she had been fighting on her own terms ever since.
They were young, barely into adulthood, and yet in the floodlights they seemed almost as old as Dumbledore. Silently they took their seats as the rest of the court came to order.
"My fellow witches and wizards, today we stand to answer the question of the violence in Britain," Dumbledore intoned, his voice ringing through the silent chamber. "Before us stand six young women who have taken the law into their own hands during a time of war. There have been questions coming from all over about the methods the children have been using, involving Summery Execution, Unlawful Imprisonment, brutal treatment of prisoners and instigating further conflict within a war-torn country. Should their group be declared unlawful, they will have three days to disband and surrender themselves for further judicial evaluation within Britain itself once it has been appropriately restructured."
Dumbledore stood up. "I, for once, do deeply understand the strife and hatred that must have festered within Britain." He said benevolently, "These have been dark times – some of the darkest the country had ever faced. I had personally lead the resistance to Tom Riddle's terrorism within Britain for many years. But when this seemed to be failing, I reluctantly withdrew to seek support. With the number of supporters Voldemort had, there could be no resolution without bloody, long lasting conflict that could possibly destroy every living thing within Britain's borders. I hoped that with a taskforce from the ICW, we could defeat Voldemort with a show of strength and restore order mostly peacefully. I grieve for every death he caused while I was gathering support, and it pleases me that there were some willing to stand up to Tom and defend Hogwarts in my absence. However, I cannot in good conscience abide by this group causing further violence, and executing Voldemort's followers in mass numbers. The end of a war is a time for forgiveness and rebuilding, not Marshall Law or fear of arrest. This will only bring about more violence, and surely much of the deaths could have been avoided had mortal blows been thrown around with such abandon."
Ginny and Lavander looked like they'd love no better then to lunge out of their chairs and tear into Dumbledore when he said this, and Hermione gave both of them a warning look. Her eyes had narrowed dangerously, and she was staring up at Dumbledore with foreboding eyes.
"I only hope that you will be willing to solve this last conflict peacefully, and allow the world to rebuild itself. Justice will be served and wounds will heal." Dumbledore finished, before sitting down again.
There was a moment of silence. Then the Bulgarian Minister cleared his throat. "Shall we hear the defence of the accused? These are serious crimes."
The six girls shared a meaningful look. Hermione turned her head towards Dumbledore and said, "You're wrong," She said flatly. "You've never been more wrong then you are now, Sir. I can't believe you'd actually do something like this." She stood up.
"You want to talk about War Crimes? Where were you when muggleborn's parents were rounded up and butchered indiscriminately to draw out their children? Where were you when young muggleborn girls were being given to purebloods as slaves or concubines for their amusement? Where was this 'investigation of war crimes' when the corrupted Ministry issued decrees stripping halfbloods of everything but their breathing rights, where people were murdered in the streets daily? No one was looking out for us. No one was protecting us! We Stunned them and sent them to jail, and their master just broke them out. They never stayed there for more then a month, because the guards were on the monster's side as well."
She paused and then said, "It was war. It was within our rights to fight back with deadly force. Wars are not fought with stunners and disarming spells, and every single person in this room knows this! The alternative is to let them get away, again and again, and let the bodycount rise higher and higher."
There was silence in the room for a moment. Many Ministers looked at each other in horror, while others lowered their heads slightly.
Ginny spoke up. "You abandoned Harry Potter to his death. What exactly did you expect to happen after he killed Voldemort? That this would be a magical cure-all that would cause all his deranged followers to see the light again?" There were scatterings of flinching in the crowd, causing her to snort in disgust.
"That's a personal question, Ms. Weasley, we should refrain from these," The German minister said.
"This isn't personal. Everyone knows that he was preparing Harry to kill Voldemrot from the very beginning." Ginny responded savagely. "Want to know what happened while you were 'chatting' in the safety of this building? They killed each other. And that did nothing to stop the violence. If anything, without their boss to keep them in line the Death Eaters became even more dangerous. The streets were in anarchy and attacking everyone they saw."
"I saw first years tortured and murdered." Lilith said. Her voice was like an icy breeze. "And the men responsible laughing afterwards. Not all Voldemort's followers were coerced. Many of them joined him because they liked killing. Because they enjoyed having absolute power over people."
More muttering. Some people were nodding in agreement while others cast looks Dumbledore's way that weren't entirely friendly. Others were looking at the girls in sympathy, while a few looked torn and indecisive. The general mood of the room was hard to discern.
"Perhaps, but that doesn't mean that you should stoop to their level." Dumbledore said.
"Have you gone senile old man?" Lavander snarled. Her voice came out like a grow, and several of the Aurors tensed. "Have you seen what was going on down there, or have you forgotten about what happened the first time you faced that bastard? Fighting back to save the lives off innocent people isn't morally equivalent to torturing, murdering bastard!"
"I'm sure the Germans in this room remember Grindelwald?" Susan asked, appealing to the crowd. There were a few shivers and a number of nods. "Picture that, except worse. Add in many monstrous dark creatures with a taste for human flesh and souls. Imagine one of the darkest wizards to walk your shores with an army of werewolves along with his psychotic supporters."
"I fail to see how that is relevant to the case," Dumbledore began, wanting to deflect attention away from the first real war he had been involved in.
"It's every bit relevant, sir, since Grindelwald is the precursor to Voldemort," Susan retorted. "You fought Grindelwald yourself. You fought his men. And everyone in this room knows that those battles were not fought with stunners. And you yourself have also stated that Voldemort has committed even more evils then Grindelwald."
There was an uneasy pause, and an uptake in grumbling, before one Minister shouted, "What gives you the right to question the ICW's judgement? You're just a bunch of violent upstarts."
"We were the country's only line of defence!" Ginny shouted over the ensuing noise. "I defy any of you to say, who else was protecting Britain? The Death Eaters were walking around in broad daylight and no one was challenging them. People were dying left and right. Our families were killed! These monsters spent years knowing that the best response that anyone would give them for torture and murder is to send them to a place they could easily break out of. The only way they would ever stop is if we showed them that there were real consequences for killing innocent people!"
This quieted the crowd. "And it worked, as you may have noticed." Susan said calmly in the silence that followed this. "After a few months we rounded up everyone involved with Voldemort's crimes and dealt with them as dictated in military justice. The streets became calm and the Ministry has been cleaned of its corruption."
"This is true," The Japanese Minister remarked, causing more murmurs. People outside the European sector rarely commented on what went on inside their borders. "We've looked at the aftermath. The fatality rate was worse then the original war against Tom Riddle before these young ladies took up arms. After that more people started surviving Riddle's assaults. In fact in the end the number of Death Eater deaths edges out the number of innocents murdered."
"That doesn't include your vigilantly handling of the goblins and the country bank! Or seizing everything inside it," Dumbledore said, hunting for another avenue.
"Stop using the word vigilantly," Hermione said. "It's the wrong term. The Auror force came to us when the Goblins began to very clearly march on the Ministry building. That is an act of war. We were volunteer recruits, and we fought as part of the Auror corps."
"You allowed underage wizards to fight in a potentially deadly battle?" Dumbledore lunged at this piece of information like a cat to a mouse.
"The Aurors had been decimated, like everything else in Britain, in case you haven't noticed," Pavarti said darkly. "Everyone who fought with us had already been in vicious battles and had come out alive. There weren't enough adults who were battle-ready or willing to fight. Our only other option was to sit there and get slaughtered."
"Why did you leave?" Lilith addressed Dumbledore directly. "You were the only wizard Voldemort ever feared. If you had worked with Harry, you could have saved many lives. Why did you leave?"
This brought an eruption of noise and clamour that had Dumbledore banging for order, with a few cries of 'who do yo think you are' that could be picked out among the noise.
However, it seemed to be drowned out by genuine cries of outrage, and sympathy towards the group of girls.
Hermione gestured for silence, and it came like a wing. Dumbledore looked taken aback by this, and stared down at the young woman.
"But surely the human cost-" Dumbledore started.
"The human cost, Dumbledore, is measured by the students of the school who died you left at the hands of the Death Eaters," Hermione responded coolly. "To the centaurs in the forest, who stepped in to help us and died for it nearly to a man. To the mermen, who's lake was boiled in oil and then drained out when they dared help Neville deal with Samson Yaxley. To the muggleborns and half bloods who were fed to Dementors under false accusations of stealing magic and wands. To Harry Potter, who died in agony after destroying Tom Riddle because of the Horcrux in his head. To the muggles who died in the crossfire of a world they couldn't see. Because you weren't there – because no one was there – we had to face this threat on our own."
Hermione turned on one heel and began to walk across the floor. "I didn't want to be a warrior, in the beginning," She said. "I don't like killing. I'm not like the trolls or the violent werewolves or Death Eaters that I have fought."
She paused significantly. "I lost my aunt and uncle to Death Eaters. I came home one day to find their home burning. I couldn't even bury them. And I knew, I knew in that moment that they would go through each and every one, not just of the people I hold dear but everyone like me, until they were satisfied."
She turned again and looked back at her friends. "We didn't ask for this," She said loudly. "This is a war we inherited. One we never should have had to fight! But we wouldn't let out friends and families sacrifices go in vain as some sadistic pureblood stepped up to finish what Voldemort started."
Susan nodded and jumped to her feet as well. "If there had been other options – real, result-getting other options – we would have gone for them. But that kind of justice had failed to contain Voldemort before and it would fail to do so again. Ask yourselves, all of you, is this not how you would treat a Dark Lord who threatened your children!"
"Ladies! Please! This is not a propaganda theatre!" Dumbledore exclaimed, trying to regain control of the situation again.
"This isn't propaganda!" Ginny shouted. "This is a stone cold truth!"
"This is vengeance!" Dumbledore responded.
"This is justice!" Lavander snapped back. There was cheering in the stands in response to this. A few Ministers got out of their seats and clapped.
Dumbledore looked very ruffled. This wasn't going the way he had imagined it! He was supposed to punish someone for the loss in pure magical blood, and in the further violence that had occurred after Voldemort's death. And now it looked like these girls had people sympathizing with their methods!
He had had such high hopes for Hermione when she had first entered Hogwarts, as a model muggleborn who he could use to convince purebloods that muggleborns were undeserving of the contempt they gave their muggle parents. But now she had been assimilated into the line of thought that was worthy of dark wizards!
"I, for one," The American Minister said with a hint of dark amusement, "am of the line of thought that we should address the very clear war crimes committed by Riddle and his followers before we go accusing the ones who defeated him of the same things."
"Yes!" One woman yelled. "Investigate the murdering scum first!"
"Hear! Hear!" Another yelled. There were mutters and calls of agreement following this. The court was being won over.
This earned some laughter and a smirk from Lavander and Ginny.
Dumbledore reddened. "I also think that these young ladies have a valid point," The American continued, "In that you were conspicuously absent from Britain in a time when Voldemort was making it clear that he was going on an offensive in the very near future. What, exactly, were you expecting to happen?"
"I was expecting that we would be the better men," Dumbledore said, "I think we can all agree that that is the best way we could avoid creating a new Dark Lord." Or Dark Lady, were the words that went unspoken.
There was a silence in the air as everyone processed this. Pavarti and Lavander's eyes widened as they processed the slur, and Hermione gestured quickly to keep them from saying anything that could damage the position they were building. Lilith's eyes had taken a frigid look that everyone had come to associate with danger. Ginny's jaw was locked with anger and Susan rocked back in her seat. She knew she had to speak before they did.
Hermione smiled coldly at Dumbledore. "You need to do your history, Dumbledore. The Allied forces used lethal force to overcome Nazi Germany. That didn't turn America or Britain into the new Nazi homeland, did it?"
Anyone who knew anything about muggle history all nodded in agreement to this. It even earned some more clapping.
"We fought our own war," Hermione said, "And we've won it. We committed no actions that were outside of the War Measures Act that existed since the war on Gellert Grindelwald. This is clearly just an attempt of an old man who has forgotten how wars are fought to forgive the guilty at the expense of the innocent. The war is over and we are now rebuilding our world. We merely wish to be able to do so in peace."
With those words, the six Huntresses were released and allowed to return home. Dumbledore tried to catch one of the girls on the way out to have a more forceful word with them, but Lilith's touch sent him scrambling backwards before they activated their portkeys.
The Ministry Building, the Room with the Veil
Su Li was waiting for her leaders with some of the other Huntresses, a long table and several glasses of scotch. She was always the first one to organize dinner or drinks after branches of the Huntresses came back from missions or civic duties, and those who visited always complemented her cooking and the drinks she mixed.
She wasn't the only one there; Daphne Thomas nee Greengrass, Hannah Longbottom nee Abbott, Tracy Davis, Hestia and Flora Carrow, Cho Chang, Sally-Anne Perks and Morag MacDougal were all waiting for them. They were the closest and the oldest ranks of the Huntresses, and they had waited in this room for hours for their friends return. Having death so close by in the form of the Veil had given them a strange sort of peace, and they had taken to haunting the room in after hours.
Upon seeing their fellow warrior's expressions, Su and Tracy poured a generous amount of scotch and held out the glasses to the returning girls. Ginny and Susan accepted them without a word. Hermione just tiredly sat down and pulled the closest glass to her across the table. Lavander flopped into her chair and glared at her tankard as though it had personally offended her, a low, threatening growl rumbling in her throat.
"How'd it go?" Tracey Davis asked. She had been the first pureblood child of one of Voldemort's inner circle who dared to refuse the Mark and live to tell the tale. It was thanks to Ginny that she managed to escape her house alive – Bellatrix had tried to kill her, but Ginny had given her a hidden portkey that allowed her to escape.
"Albus Percival Wulfric Brain Dumbledore has some fucking nerve!" Lavander spat out after taking a generous swing of alcohol. "That old yellow-bellied bastard!"
Pavarti sat down next to Lavander and put her hand on the girl's arm. Lavander growled again, causing Pavarti's grip to tighten. Lavander's temper had become a dangerous thing after becoming part werewolf, and Pavarti seemed to be the only one who could truly mediate it. They had been best friends for years and she had been the first person to approach Lavander without fear or disgust after she had been scarred.
Lilith slid onto the table next to Cho Chang and shifted her bracelets, her breath coming out raggedly. The Ravenclaw girl wrapped her arms around her shoulders and murmured comforting words. A cold wind blew through the room, and ice formed on the table under Lilith's fingers.
Cho had been the first person to react to Harry's death when the boy-who-lived fell on the battlefield. Loosing Cedric had been a painful blow, but before Hogwarts itself was attacked, she had mostly coped by weeping often. In the moment when the Death Eaters had begun to hoot and mock Harry's death, she had taken her wand and blown Lucius's Malfoy's head clean off his shoulders. She had been right behind Susan and Lavander in every fight afterwards.
"Badly, then," Daphne deadpanned, cutting up some corn with a knife. She had been betrayed by her pureblood fanatic parents when she fell in love with Dean Thomas, a muggleborn. Her younger sister Astoria had joined her when Draco Malfoy murdered Dean, sending both girls on a rampage through the upper floors of Hogwarts, leaving a trail of dead bodies behind them. Astoria was currently working with the other Huntresses back at the fortress that used to be their school.
"Somehow, I knew it wasn't going to go easily." Su Li said ruefully. "Things never go smoothly for us. The battle for Gringotts is probably the most conclusive victory we ever one. The others were too heavily laden with problems to count, I think."
"We felt the other ones," Tracy agreed. "But this one will cause more problems then all the monsters we've been hunting put together, if the worst has happened." She looked apprehensively at Susan.
"They're going to press the charges?" Hestia Carrow ventured. One of her eyes was blue and the other green, and an ugly cursed scar ran from the side of her head down to her jawline – just the tip of the iceberg and one of many marks that being Aletco Carrow's daughter had left on her. It had taken Hermione's compassion and support that gave Hestia the courage to finally stand up to her torturing, murdering mother. And eventually kill her.
There were various noises of anger around the table, many of the girls putting their hands on their wands or their respective weapons.
Flora Carrow, perpetually messy dirty blonde hair looking more ragged then usual, made a grab for another glass, but Hestia pinned her hand to the table, "No, Flora, you've had plenty already."
Flora glared daggers at her younger sister. She depended quite heavily on drinking to keep away the memories of being tortured horribly by her own uncle because she had stayed and fought on the side of the Hogwarts students during the battle. She had sustained some of the worst injuries in the battle, and had clung to life out of sheer tenacity and rage, cursing every hooded individual unfortunate enough to cross her line of vision with a few things she picked up from her mother. Then she learned to fight with knives and making sure she didn't drink too much became Hestia's priority.
Hestia raised an eyebrow, and Flora sat back sulkily in her chair. Su Li patted Flora on the arm, earning herself a dirty look as well, one that went ignored out of long practice.
Hermione gave a long sigh. "No. They aren't." A ripple of relief went through the table. "We managed to make it clear that these charges were ludicrous and trumped up. We're safe for now. I imagine that a few dissatisfied members – and they were there – are going to try again. They're outnumbered, through, and I think they know it. But I can't believe Dumbledore..." She raised one hand in the air in a defeated gesture.
Lilith gave a barely noticeable shake of her head. She had known that the old Hermione had worshipped authority figures, but she had thought she had gotten over that when she finally found out the extension of Dumbledore's manipulation and twisted sense of morality.
"I could," Sally Anne Perks, who had spent every year since her third year at Hogwarts trying to escape from the torture cell of the Malfoy's, said with a spite-filled tone. Dumbledore hadn't been very attentive to the roster of students at his school, it had taken up to Hermione's sixth year for anyone to notice that she was gone – and that's when she stumbled onto platform nine and three quarters, more dead then alive. "He abandoned us to fight the battle without him, remember?"
"Of course," Hermione murmured, taking another slow drink. There was a soft whisper from the Veil. "I just...he really was the leader of the Light around here. He left, saying that he needed to get support...but why couldn't he get it in time to save Harry? Or Padma? Or Ron? O-Or," Her voice choked a bit and she took another hard drink.
Ginny shook her head, having taken a good drink. "That's true, but not what Hermione's getting at." She said heavily. "When we were all in school, we all looked up to him. He seemed to have all the answers, and he actually wanted to protect us, unlike the Ministry."
Flora snorted darkly. "He was never going to complete this war alive," She said, her voice slurred. "He was always a peacemaker. He'd rather wave a white flag and let Riddle get away with everything he'd done if it meant that he could kill as few of Riddle's followers as possible."
Morag gave Flora a look that plainly said, that's really not helpful before turning back to Hermione, Susan and Ginny. She had been a beater on the Ravenclaw Quidditch team and now she wielded a siege hammer with deadly precision. "You think they won't leave us alone?"
Susan was staring down at a plate full of corn. She looked like she wanted to eat, but didn't think she would be able to swallow over the emotions swirling around inside her. "No. I don't. Dumbledore still thinks he's going to save Britain even though it's four damned years to late for that. He doesn't believe we did the right thing."
"We did the only thing we could," Sally responded viciously.
"How did he think war worked? By moving tiny chess pieces on a board in his office and having everything just fall into line?" Su asked sarcastically.
"I think that's his way of tolerating how wrong everything's gone. Go into denial. Pass the blame off to someone else's handling of the situation." Daphne said coolly. "Accepting that we were forced to fight like that means accepting that his entire approach to this war cost more lives then it saved. And the greatest wizard since Merlin can't have that, can he?"
"At least Neville's going to talk to the ICW tomorrow," Hannah sighed. She was the most proficient Healer in the Huntresses. "He can make them see that this is domestic business now. If they were going to intervene on war crimes, they should have started on that four years ago."
"That's what really gets me," Lilith said coldly. "They watch us fight for our lives for four years, and only when we have even the slightest chance of rebuilding...that's when they come in, looking to hand out punishments for 'war crimes'. If we hadn't already dealt with Draco, I would have pointed them to him first."
Tracy nodded in agreement. There was a sombre silence.
"It brings back memories, huh?" Lavander said softly. "Seeing that old guy again. It made me think of the days when half the people we knew weren't dead."
Ginny and Hermione nodded slightly, staring fixedly on the table. They were thinking about Harry and Ron, back when they were young and whole, back before everything went so wrong...
Su Li gave a slight sob, and leaned against Tracy. Tracy squeezed the younger girl's hand in a gesture of silent support.
"If only we had known this would happen." Pavarti said sadly. "I-I miss Padma so much..." She gave a hard sob, and Lavander put an arm around her shoulder. Twins tended to be even closer then most, and Padma's death had rattled Pavarti more then anything else. "If my Sight had woken up earlier..."
"Hey," Susan said firmly. "Even with your Sight, I don't think you could have seen just how badly everything would get eff-ed up now, Pavarti. Don't you dare put all the blame on yourself."
Hestia stared down at Flora's empty tankards, her sister having zoned out from the alcohol and depression. "I should have done something about Alecto and Amycus sooner," She whispered. "They were in my hands all those times..."
Flora made a noise. "They were still our family. What the hell could we have done? They were always so strong, and insane, and we were so terrified..." She growled and sat up straight. "Damn it Hestia, give me another drink."
This time, Hestia didn't object.
Cho Chang sighed. "If we could go back and tell ourselves what we know now, of course things would be different," She said. "We can't help wishing. Time has passed, and we're stuck here. The best we can do is try to change our future."
Morag nodded in agreement, but her eyes were downcast. "Huh. It would have been dad's birthday tomorrow. Funny. I think he would have talked to Dumbledore on our behalf if he was still with us..."
Ginny didn't say anything. She put her head down in her arms. Her shoulders shook with the force of her restrained sobs. She was thinking about her dead siblings and parents. The once-large Weasley family had been reduced to its last member, and the scars of that weighed heavily on her during the darker days.
Hermione looked at the bottom of her glass, having drained it dry. Her parents weren't dead. But they were dead to her. With all the muggleborns being targeted, she had gone to them and wiped their memories of her clean, changed their names and sent them to Australia. It was the only thing that saved their lives. When they had finally defeated the Goblins, Hermione had gone to see them, only to discover that in her absence, they had another child. A girl. One that they had also named Hermione.
She knew it was too late to change them back. She had chosen her life path and couldn't go back. But sometimes, sometimes she would portkey to Sydney and just watch them, unseen, playing with their younger daughter on the front lawn. Susan had gone with her the third time, because she was convinced that Hermione was going to hurt herself.
Tracy blinked. "Can you girls hear that?"
There was a pause and complete silence. And then -
then a pulse, sweeping through the room. There was a long, soft note of sadness, that seemed to come from everywhere at once. Sally jumped, and looked around. Su Li looked around warily and cast a few detection charms.
"There's no one in here but us," She said. "It's probably just the Veil. It gets this way sometimes."
There was another pause.
"I wish we could go back," Hermione muttered, more to herself then anyone else in the room.
Then something happened.
There was another pulse, this one so powerful that everyone felt it. The Huntresses jumped to their feet just as the Veil pulsed blue, and filled the chamber with light.
In that same Chamber, in another world
Harry's heart was pounding as he stared up at the sneering face of Lucius Malfoy and his outstretched hand, demanding the prophecy. Around him, Death Eaters were holding their wands to the necks of his friends, those who had volunteered to go with him on this mad quest that had turned out to be a trap. One he had walked right into.
Now what? He didn't want to give him the prophecy, but if he didn't they would certainly kill all his friends to make a point. No matter what he did, the result would be painful and dangerous for Britain. Oh, why had he come here tonight?
Suddenly, the Veil flashed, causing many to scream and cover their eyes to the best of their abilities. The flash was followed by a pulse, so violent Harry was thrown off his feet. The prophecy fell out of his fingers and smashed against the floor.
He didn't know what happened next, but the room exploded. Lucius Malfoy screamed, first with rage, then shock and then agony. Similar cries rang out around the room, too old to be his friend – and suddenly the air was freezing cold.
Harry, stumbling to his feet, blinked his eyes a few times and stared in disbelief at the scene in front of him.
A young woman with silver hair was holding her hands up, golden bracelets lying at the floor at her feet. The air had indeed gone as cold as winter wind, because that was now what was whipping through the chamber, throwing death eaters around like rag dolls and freezing some of their limbs.
A woman with blonde hair let out a savage roar more appropriate for a wolf and threw herself at the man who'd been threatening Luna. The man was smashed against the floor and suddenly there was blood all over his neck.
Bellatrix had been frozen to a wall, before she disaparated only to be smashed out of the air by a beam of golden light. A young woman with dark hair and dark skin descended on her, eyes alive with a fury and hatred that would make McGonagall shiver, and a vicious duel began, one where the stranger was actually holding her own.
Then she was joined by a ratty looking woman with dirty blonde hair, and after a second the impossible happened, and Bellatrix was sent sprinting down the hall. The other fighters shared one look and gave chase, one shouting angry challenges in a language Harry didn't know.
The silver haired girl directed a blast of freezing at at Harry – no, it was something behind his head. Harry spun around and saw that Lucius had gotten up, and now his face was a medley of terror, pain and shock. Ice had struck his wand arm and his leg, freezing him to the ground.
Something hard grabbed his wrist, he turned again and saw a warrior with the same ratty hair as the one who'd chased Bellatrix snap, "Keep your guard up, kid! This isn't a Quidditch match!" With that, he was yanked to her side as she threw something. There was a whistle before the knife was embedded in Lucius's chest. The man disaparated.
The woman cursed. "My aim was off. If I hadn't been drinking earlier, he'd be dead!" She growled. "This is too damned weird – I could have sworn that was Lucius Malfoy -"
"Hestia! Heads up!" Harry turned and saw a man drop dead behind Hestia, an axe buried in his back. Yet another young was standing not far from him, reddish blonde hair and brown eyes, looking inexplicably familiar to Harry despite her alien appearance. A shaken Ginny was being hold protectively under one arm.
"Thanks Morag!" Hestia yelled back. "The other kids?"
"Daphne's got the redhaired boy, Lavander and Su have got two others and Tracy's following the other leaders! We're getting there!"
"Is this all of them?" Hestia demanded, hurrying to Morag's side.
Morag vehemently shook her head and pointed. "There are more of these bastards coming up the stairs! Goddamned Death Eater impersonators."
"They aren't impersonators," Harry said desperately, finally finding his voice "They're the real deal! I swear! I came here because I thought Voldemort was here!"
"That's impossible," The woman holding him – Hestia, Harry thought to himself – exclaimed, pulling him along the hall as spells whirled around him. "Tom Riddle's been dead for four years! We wiped him and his worthless followers out!"
"They came back!" Harry said, before something occurred to him. Something this person shouldn't know. "Wait – you know Voldemort's muggle name?"
"How could you not know? It was publicized like nothing else for the past four-" Hestia started angrily, turning to look at Harry. Abruptly, she stopped mid sentence, looking at him as though just processing his appearance. Before Harry could blink twice, she grabbed his chin and held it up, staring at his forehead.
"This is impossible," She whispered. "Harry."
There was something familiar about the way she said his name that did not make sense to Harry at all. He didn't know these people, and he was getting more confused by the second. "Of course I'm Harry. Who else would I be?"
"You're dead." Hestia said.
There was an enormous crash outside, followed by more screaming. Harry desperately scanned the room; these new attackers were filing out, Harry's friends being pushed behind random warriors as they gave chase.
"Hestia, looks like Hermione's decided to follow those monsters," Morag commented. "We can figure out who the hell can create an illusion of Harry Potter when we've hunted down these copycat killers."
Hestia cursed, "Missing the action – figure out this later – come on, kid!"
With that, both girls disapparated. Harry felt a horrible twisting sensation as he was pulled along with them. It didn't last long, but it sent him stumbling against the nearest wall when it ended. Someone else touched his hand, and Harry recognized Ron's fingers. He blinked the stars out from his eyes and stared at the scene.
There were more female warriors – he could just barely count fifteen in total – whirling around the room. The Death Eaters were fighting them, but to Harry's shock after a few seconds it was clear that they were wickedly outmatched.
Frost was filling the room, freezing the Ministry fountain. The walls of the Atrium room were getting bloodstains all over them. There were already over a dozen bodies on the floor, clearly either dead or in no condition to get up and move around.
"Bloody hell," Ron said weakly as he watched the blonde and frankly wolf-like woman slam a death eater into the ground with nothing but her brute strength and hear a wince-inducing crack. A woman with hair as red as his and Ginny's was throwing around fire curses with such precision that Hermione let out a noise of awe. The two women with ratty hair – sisters, they must be, Harry realized – were fighting back to back, laying waste to anyone who approached them. The group was working together like a well-oiled war machine.
"They have no chance," Neville whispered, blinking as though he couldn't believe what he was seeing. "I can't...who are these people?"
"I don't know," Luna murmured. "But they feel kind of familiar, don't they? Look at that one, Ginny. That one looks just like you."
Ginny squeaked when she picked out one of the three redheads. Luna was right – the young woman looked almost identical to Ginny! Though the youngest Weasley had a temper, they had never seen her fight like this. There was a blazing rage to her eyes that Ginny had only showed a shadow of.
Hermione made a noise and whispered, "that brown haired girl – the, the one at the front. Look at her. That -"
Harry followed her eyes. The woman that Hermione was staring at had more then a passing resemblance to her. It was like he was looking at Hermione's mother. But that couldn't be right. Hermione's mother was a muggle, she couldn't use magic. Not like this.
"They saved us," Harry whispered as the last masked murderer fell.
The group of young women looked around further, and then broke their ranks, checking each other for injuries. They talked, quietly enough that Harry and his friends couldn't hear him although they were straining to.
The brown haired leader looked around. She looked as though she thought she was in a dream, her eyes flicking all around the atrium. "This is...this is fifth year." She stammered out. "This is a perfect replication of fifth year."
Harry and Ron exchanged bewildered looks. Fifth year? Had this girl been a Hogwarts student? What else could that mean?
The bushy haired woman took a shaky step towards the fountain, and stared up at the posters of Cornelius Fudge. "Look, that's Cornelius Fudge."
"I saw Lucius Malfoy." Hestia volunteered. "But he's dead!"
"So's Bellatrix Lestrange," The dark girl said hatefully, "But I definitely saw her too...I'd recognize that bitch anywhere."
"But we know these people are dead," Hestia's ratty looking sister growled. "We dealt with them as thoroughly as possible. And how could this possibly be fifth year? Time Travel magic doesn't work as far back as this, at least not anything we use today!"
"Time Travel?" Neville hissed, watching their rescuers with equal parts of bewilderment and apprehension. Harry could understand that. These women had decimated some of the most dangerous wizards known to Britain as though they did such things every day; Harry couldn't see how they were supposed to escape if the warriors decided to keep them around.
"True," The warrior who had saved Ron said uneasily, running one hand through long, brilliant blonde hair. "But something's happened, there's no doubt about that. Unless Astoria did some weird redecorating while we were at the ICW meeting."
"Somehow I don't think Cornelius Fudge and Death Eater wannabes factor into your sister's ideas of interior decorating. I mean, we know she has better taste." the wolf-like woman said.
"They certainly weren't in the room before that weird pulse," Morag agreed. "Susan, Sally, didn't you hear something whispering before that flash?"
"Astoria? Morag? Susan?" Hermione murmured. "I've heard those names before. But I can't..." Her brow furrowed like it often did when she was thinking hard.
"I did, but I couldn't make anything out," The woman named Susan said, with Sally nodding next to her. "Lilith, you're the expert in ancient magics, does this make any sense to you?"
"There was a tug, as if we were being moved from one pane to the next," The silver-haired ice girl, Lilith, said. "I'm not sure if I can explain it, or if I fully understand it. It went by too fast." She looked around. "But it does look like the old ministry. Not ours. Did you recognize anyone else?"
"I hit the guy holding a blonde girl hostage," The wolf-like girl threw her story in. "I didn't have time to recognize him she...she looked so much like L-L-Luna, I – I completely lost my head when I saw his wand at her throat." She stumbled over Luna's name as though it were painful to say. Nearby, Luna's eyebrows raised slightly.
"I helped a boy who looked like a younger version of Neville," Morag said, biting her lip. "But that can't be right, unless Neville was doing something during his summers before he married Hannah that we don't want to know about."
Neville's face went bright red.
"I thought I saw Ron." A woman with Chinese ancestry said softly. "I dragged him out of the room, but I didn't have a chance to ask him anything before the reinforcements showed up."
The redhead who resembled Ginny went rigid, like someone had hit her with a binding spell. The entire group turned around, until they were looking at Harry and his friends.
Harry realized that none of the women had looked at their faces for very long – they had simply seen children in danger and tossed them out of the way as quickly as possible.
But now they were looking, and their faces turned from confusion to shock to disbelieving incomprehension.
Ron, surprisingly, was the first person to regain his courage. He took a few steps off the wall and asked, "Erm, thanks for saving us and everything, but what exactly are you talking about?"
The redhead disappeared with a crack and reappeared right in front of Ron. Everyone gasped.
She looked almost identical to Ginny, but extremely battered; there were scars on her face and her body was built much differently. But her cheekbones and her bright brown eyes and her fiery read hair were all the same. Those brown eyes that were wide, staring down in a wild hope, hardly daring to believe. "...Ron?"
"How do you-" Ron started to ask, but he never got to finish. The redhead snatched him up in her arms and hugged him for dear life, her shoulders shaking and her head buried in his shoulder. Ron yelped in surprise.
There were a series of cracks as the other woman warriors came over to join her. The wolf like girl made a strangled noise when she got a good look at Luna again. The dark girl blinked and looked down at Hermione and Ginny, dark eyes wide.
The brown haired leader, however, was looking at Harry. Now Harry could see her face, a painful familiarity was welling up in his stomach. She had the same nose, eyes, hair and face as his bookish best friend.
The redhead put Ron down again and staggered backwards a bit. "This isn't possible," She said numbly.
"And yet apparently it is," The woman called Susan murmured, her eyes sweeping across the students there. "You have no idea how good it is to see all of you..."
"I don't understand! Who are you people?" Hermione asked, her voice shaking.
There was a series of cracks. In one fluid movement, the women warriors surrounded Harry and his friends in a defensive ring as one by one, members of the Order of the Phoenix appeared in the Ministry Atrium, wands out. Harry's heart squeezed when he saw Sirius bound into the room, clearly meaning to go to him but deterred by the armed women who had put themselves between him and the students.
"It's alright," Luna said, her voice soft but carrying in the silence. "These people saved us. Friendly strangers, this is the Order of the Phoenix. They're supposed to fight Death Eaters, but you did their job for them this time."
The woman who looked like Ginny swallowed hard, staring at Bill Weasley. The Order looked around the room, flabbergasted, taking in the bodies of death eaters lying around everywhere. Disbelief took many of them and they gaped, both at the room and then at the strangers.
"You did all this?" Kingsley was the first one to recover his wits and address the female warriors.
The wolf-like woman nodded curtly. The apparent leaders of the group seemed to be in shock, so she decided to speak for them. "You bet. They won't be murdering and torturing anyone else again. Malfoy and the Lestrange bitch got away by the skin of their teeth, though."
"I wouldn't expect any less from them," Sirius said darkly. He pointed at Harry and his friends. "You saved them?"
"Of course we did," Lilith said, her voice having the frigid air reminiscent of the ice she had wielded so deftly in the room with the Veil. "They're children. We never would have left them."
"Where do you come from?" Bill asked. "You aren't dressed like Aurors."
Morag frowned and said, "That's a bit more complicated to explain."
"Who are you?" Remus asked eventually, after a moment of silence.
The brown haired leader simply looked at him and Sirius for a long moment. "We're the Huntresses of Magical Britain. I am Hermione Granger. And these are my sisters in battle. Ginny Weasley. Lavander Brown. Pavarti Patil. Su Li. Daphne Thomas nee Greengrass. Hannah Longbottom, nee Abbott. Su Li. Tracy Davis. Susan Bones. Morag MacDougal. Lilith Moon. Hestia and Flora Carrow. Cho Chang. And Sally-Anne Perks."
Each woman nodded in their turn. The older Hermione Granger smiled ever so slightly at the stunned crowd and said, "It's been a long time since we've seen any of you." Her smile vanished at this. "Alive, that is."
This idea jumped into my head after reading Order of the Phoenix again. This story will be updated more slowly then my high priority ones, but I do promise updates.
Read and Review please!