Story Summary: The war ended, and then it didn’t. Voldemort is gone but somehow Harry, Hermione and Luna ended up as Undesirables 1, 2 & 3. Controlling the future is going to take some controlling of the past, and they say those who control the present control the past, so why not make the past the present? A time-travel fix-it where a trio of tricksters set up shop and revolutionize the wizarding world, for all that it takes a great deal of time to do so.
This is chapter five of a fanfiction that is part of a series. To start from the beginning of this fic click here. To start from the beginning of the series click here. And to learn more about the series as a whole click here.
Disclaimer: Minor snippets from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince below.
A/N: I hope that you enjoy this chapter because it took 10 days to write the first sentence of the third paragraph, and even more time to finish the rest of this chapter besides. More notes below.
Thanks to ALL of my lovely readers, and especially to reviewers/commenters on all platforms, whose feedback and encouragement I greatly appreciate! Thanks also to cyborg-goddess, for beta reading this story!
Hermione slipped into the great hall, just as the last student, Joel Wexler, was sorted into Hufflepuff. She tuned out Dumbledore’s announcement about the dementors – if there were any serious changes Harry or Luna would tell her, but there shouldn’t be any this early in the timeline – and focused on calming her racing heart. They had it. Hermione had objectively known that things weren’t that different yet, and she also knew that it was almost a guarantee that they would acquire the time-turner once more, but the small device was what so many of their plans hinged on, an essential piece of equipment that was very necessary if they wanted to continue living their double lives that they had built for themselves.
Having a time-turner was a complete game changer, and one that they desperately needed. It was one thing to tell Hermione’s parents that they were at Luna’s and not having to tell Xeno much of anything because he trusted them to not get into anything too dangerous but at Hogwarts the walls literally had eyes and ears in the form of portraits. Not to mention that with Sirius’ escape the whole castle would be watching Harry like a hawk.
Hermione feigned nonchalance as she sat next to Harry, helping herself to a slice of turkey from the pile that had just appeared in front of her. He raised an eyebrow and her and she gave him a cheeky grin. Ron was too busy shoving potatoes in his mouth to notice, but Ginny’s brow furrowed in confusion before she shrugged it off and dug into the food herself.
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Later that night, Hermione closed her bed hangings tightly, spelling them closed, and snuck into her trunk, which she had enlarged on her four-poster bed. A dummy trunk sat at the foot of her bed, filled with typical odds and ends, mostly extra parchment and books that didn’t fit on the shelves near her bed, and innocuous enough that she could leave them stumble-uponable. All the important books were kept locked up in one of the four special trunks she had enchanted at the beginning of the summer, the majority of them in her own, but some had been borrowed by Harry or Luna, and so had found temporary homes there.
Descending into her office, Hermione was pleased to see that her wife was already there, but frowned when she realized that there was someone missing. “Where’s Harry?”
Luna opened her mouth to reply, but abruptly closed it when the wayward wizard fell out of the fireplace.
“Hullo loves!” he greeted them cheerfully. His face was a bright red, and there was a sparkle in his eye. Luna let out a small giggle, and Hermione sighed.
“Harry James Potter, you lightweight.”
Harry snorted at her. “Hey pot, I’m kettle. Guess what? We’re both black.”
Luna’s giggles descended into full laughter, and Hermione’s tan face was tinged with pink.
“My sobriety is not the problem here. Desintoxica!”
“Oi! Warn a bloke would ya?” Harry rubbed his head.
“How did you get your hands on booze anyway?” Luna asked, still giggling.
“Seamus finally figured out how to turn water into rum. Certain 3rd year Gryffindors are going to be nursing some serious hangovers tomorrow.” Harry stretched. “How are we doing this? Turning back here, or flooing to the shop first?”
“Shop first.” Hermione replied firmly. “If we’re going back the full 24 hours, I do not want to be in an expanded space that was in a different place 24 hours ago. We could easily end up stuck in limbo, or inside of my bed frame, neither of which sounds appealing.” Harry looked slightly ill at that prospect, and nodded fervently in agreement.
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Mary hummed as she swished her wand and commanded shades to come down over the large windows that usually let passersby look into the shop. Settling down on an armchair, she closed her eyes and let out a long sigh.
“You doin’ all right there Mary?” David, perhaps Mary’s favorite among her coworkers, set down the towel he had been using to wipe down the counter and looked at her with concern.
“It’s nothing Dave. I’m fine.”
“You don’t look fine,” he replied doubtfully. “But I won’t push. Just know that I’m here if you need anything.”
“Thanks Dave.” Mary pinched the bridge between her eyes. “Would you be okay closing up the rest of the shop yourself? I have to pick up Maise and Ellie from their primary school program.”
“You have your kids in primary? Aren’t they going to Hogwarts?”
“Maybe. Reg is a pureblood, so they were accepted, but I’m thinking of sending them to one of the day schools anyway, that way they can better keep up with their muggle studies. They’re halfbloods, so they’d have it better than we did.” Mary ran a hand through her hair and frowned when it got stuck on her curls again.
“I know what you mean,” David nodded. “I was Head Boy, you know? But that barely got me an entry position at the ministry. If this job hadn’t come around, I’m not sure what I would’ve done.”
“There’s a reason I became a housewitch,” Mary shrugged, before standing up and going to grab her bag from behind the counter. “See you tomorrow Dave, and thanks again for closing up.”
“No problem Mary, have a good one.”
Mary smiled before heading out the back and using the designated employee apparition point to head home.
Upon arriving on her back porch, she walked in and made her way to the garage, and settled into her car. With her children attending a muggle primary, it was deemed prudent that they obtain one, and while Reg had been hesitant at first, he eventually discovered that he greatly enjoyed driving – so much so that he no longer considered it a chore to bring them to school in the morning or pick them up in the afternoon.
Unfortunately, he could not do so today, as he was at a meeting with other members of the magical maintenance office as they bargained with the ministry for a pay raise. While it was true that she had been bored staying at home, they also needed the money, and even though the pay for Tenth Muse employees was quite generous, the girls were being bullied at the local school, and the fees for some of the better schools in the area were not insignificant. Reg was all for pulling them out completely, not as convinced as Mary that they needed a solid muggle education, but she was not a Gryffindor for nothing, and Mary eventually got her way about keeping the kids in school. For now.
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Luna Lovegood saw the world in a way that mystified her colleagues. There is a saying that everyone thinks differently, and in Luna’s case, the saying could not possibly be any truer. Her fellow Ravenclaws were in many ways just as curious about the world, enjoyed learning for the sake of knowledge, and many sought out esoteric subjects in much the same way. The difference, in Luna’s case, was her isolation. After her mother died, Luna spent most of her time alone, away from other children, with only her father to keep her company. Oh, she had plenty of books, and back issues of the Quibbler, but for the most part Luna was alone.
Upon arriving at Hogwarts as a shy first year, she didn’t know how to make friends, and inadvertently offended many of her housemates. When she did speak, it was through the language of the creatures her father had taught her about, and since she had yet to understand how other people thought and acted, she made several social gaffes that saw to her becoming an outcast. Children can indeed be quite cruel, especially against things that they don’t understand. As Luna grew up and into herself, she began to realize what had happened, but at that point things were too late. Cliques had formed, and social groups often have a hard time accepting outsiders.
So, Luna spent her first three years at Hogwarts years alone, with Ginny Weasley being the only person almost close enough to call a friend, though not quite. She was friendly with the younger Ravenclaws, those who started not knowing her reputation, but they often spent time with their own age groups, and by the time December rolled around, they had been warned away from her. That all ended in her fourth year, when Harry Potter and Hermione Granger came blazing into her life, inviting her to become a member of the DA. ‘I liked the DA! I learned loads with you!’ ‘I enjoyed the meetings, too. It was like having friends.’ Over the years, she became accustomed to that friendship, to being a part of something. When it eventually boiled down to only the three of them, everyone else dead or imprisoned, it was that friendship that kept her going, and she had forgotten about the isolation she had faced as a preteen.
All this is to say, as much as she tried to prepare herself to reunite with her housemates, she was dismayed to wake up the morning of September 2nd to find that someone had attempted to break in to her stand-in trunk. They hadn’t gotten in of course; she knew better than to not secure her things, and this time around she had the spell knowledge to protect them completely. No second-year student would be able to break past her protections, and a seventh year would have just as much trouble.
Still, it was disheartening to realize. The girls had also made an attempt to enchant her bed hangings, and if she hadn’t checked before leaving them she would have had honey and feathers in her hair for her trouble. As it was, the other girls did a double take when she easily dismantled the charms.
“Oh, would you look at that, Looney learned some magic!” Jessica Chambers taunted from two beds away, already prim and pressed in her Ravenclaw robes. Both Adrianne Brooks and Clarissa Crenshaw laughed, though Jamie Newton looked uncomfortable.
Despite herself, Luna felt a stab of self-consciousness and hurt. One day she would again be a confident woman in her late twenties with a wife and hopefully a much larger family than the one that she left, but today she was twelve and just wanted to cry. Nevertheless, she did her best to compose herself, and cleared her throat before peaking again.
“It is quite unfortunate.” At their confused looks, she elaborated. “That is to say, the fact that the only joy you get is in making my life harder. It’s a little pathetic to be honest, but what can one do? If you get all your entertainment by insulting me then who am I to deny you, but really you should get a more interesting hobby. Maybe take up knitting?” Luna mused, doing her best not to laugh at their flabbergasted expressions. “It might help keep away some of those wrackspurts clouding your head.” Luna winked at Jamie, who also looked like she wanted to laugh, and, feeling much better, exited and started down the stairs to the common room with a bit more of a spring in her step.
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“Professor, may I speak to you for a moment?” Harry had lingered after their Transfiguration lesson was over, and the only other students left were a confused Ron and a Hermione with a twinkle in her eye. After the disaster that was their first Divination lesson, Harry was more than sure that he had no desire to listen to hear his death predicted multiple times a week for three years. Luckily, his head of house was no fan of Divination either.
“Did you need something Potter?” McGonagall peered at him over her glasses. “Still worried about your impending doom?”
“Not exactly,” Harry paused, wanting to come across as the right mixture of hesitant and determined. “It’s only that Professor Trelawney’s interest in me made the class really uncomfortable, and I was wondering if I could maybe switch to another elective? This early in the term, surely it wouldn’t be too hard to get caught up?”
McGonagall gave him an appraising look. “Given what I know of your personality and that of the Divination Professor, I have to say that I am … unsurprised at your desire to switch. That said, I have to ask, what is to stop you from saying the same about the next elective you choose, Potter? If I were to say that you could switch, I would not let you do so a second time.”
Harry bit his lip, making sure to look as though he was deep in thought, before taking a deep breath. “Well, I was looking through some of Hermione’s books after she got them this summer – we went shopping together, see – and I think that of the other electives available I’d like arithmancy. I was always good at maths in primary, so it shouldn’t be too much of a struggle.”
McGonagall considered him for a moment before turning her attention to Ron. “What say you, Weasley? Would you also like to switch from Divination?”
Harry and Hermione, who had not been paying particular attention to Ron in favor of their Professor, turned to see the redhead being surprisingly contemplative.
“Well, I don’t know. I didn’t much like how Trelawney was talking about Harry, and Bill used to say how much he liked arithmancy when he came home for the summers, so could I maybe give it a try taking both, before I decide?”
McGonagall pursed her lips. “Very well, I will discuss with Professor Vector whether or not she will provisionally let the two of you in to her class for now. Mr. Potter, you are taking three electives already so you can drop Divination now. Mr. Weasley, since only chose two initial electives you will stay in both Divination and Arithmancy for the time being, and make your decision as to which one you drop by the end of the second week of term, if that is acceptable?”
The two boys nodded, and McGonagall gave them a small smile before turning to Hermione. “May I trust that you will lend them the necessary materials for now, Ms. Granger? Good, now run along, I do not think that any of you would wish to be late for lunch. I will send you a note at dinner with Professor Vector’s decision so that you will know whether to attend her class tomorrow.”
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“Are you going to stay in Divination?” Ron asked Hermione as they started the walk to the Great Hall.
“I’m not sure. I do think that the subject still has merit, for all that Professor Trelawney is a bit dramatic. Are the two of you serious about dropping it?” Hermione looked at the two boys curiously.
“I know that I certainly am.” Harry huffed. “If the first lesson was any indication, I do not want to sit through that through our OWL year. Besides, I wasn’t lying when I said I was good at maths. It was my favorite class in primary. I probably could’ve skipped a grade if it weren’t for Vernon and Petunia not wanting me to do better than their precious Dudders.” Harry scowled at the memory before turning to the boy who had been his first friend. “What about you, Ron?”
“Eh, I’ll try arithmancy. I wanted Divination because I heard it was an easy O, but I also never want to drink that swill that Trelawney calls tea again, let alone twice a week for the next three years,” Ron shuddered, and the other two made a face.
“Yes, it does leave something to be desired. I think that next class I’ll try and sneak a sweetening spell onto my cup, just to make it a bit more palatable.” Hermione agreed.
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Luna was bored. Granted, she knew that second year classes were going to be dull, but for them to be this dull boarded on the painful. It was bad enough that everything here would be review for her, but the first lesson was review, and something that was review for a second-year charms student was like crawling for someone who had almost finished her charms mastery before they went in to hiding. She amused herself by forgoing proper notetaking in order that she could instead philosophize on advanced uses for the charm that they were reviewing today, the levitation charm. She remembered from having taken this class before that their homework was going to be on advanced uses of the charm, and decided to skip ahead.
The issue with not paying attention, however, was that Professors tended to notice, and thus Luna was asked to stay after by a slightly disapproving Flitwick.
“Is there a problem, Professor?” Luna asked politely upon being held back.
“That was going to be my question for you actually,” Flitwick looked at her not unkindly. “You weren’t exactly paying attention during my class. I know that reviewing previous material isn’t the most exciting of lessons, but it is important because everything that we will be doing this year is built on what you learned in the last.”
Luna kept her signature dreamy look on her face even as she deliberated on the best way to play this interaction before coming to a decision. “I understand, Professor; that’s why I did so much review over the summer. I wanted to talk to you about that, actually.”
“Yes. You see, I don’t have very many friends in Ravenclaw, or at all really. Everyone thinks me quite strange, and my only two friends are in a different house, and a different year. I know that I can’t switch houses – honestly, I wouldn’t want to – but I am hoping that if I study hard enough, I can be moved into their year. Hermione already gave me all of her notes – not completed assignments, just notes – from last year, and she’s promised to do the same for this one and –”
Flitwick raised a hand to halt Luna’s rambling. “Ms. Lovegood, are you meaning to tell me that you intend to learn the third-year curriculum, as you take second year courses?” he asked, with no small amount of disbelief.
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In a move that would have baffled her classmates if any of them had been awake, Hermione Granger was not taking notes in class. As a matter of fact, she was not paying attention to the lecture at all. It may have appeared as though she was notetaking, given how fast her quill was moving across the parchment, but her current project had nothing to do with witch burnings in the seventeenth century. If anyone but Harry Potter or Luna Lovegood happened to look over her shoulder they would not even been able to discern what she was writing at all, since her parchment was covered in a scramble ward that hid the fact that the parchment was not parchment, but a ledger book. Upon close examination they may have noticed that her quill was a facsimile of a quill, and was not made out of a feather, but was in fact a ball-point pen in a feathered shell.
To her left Ron was using his worn copy of A History of Magic as a pillow – a surprisingly good one given how softened the leather cover had gotten over the years – while Harry, on her right, was occupied with his sketch book. Hermione made a small sound of frustration that caused Harry to look up from the design he was working on while Ron continued snoring.
“What’s up?” Harry asked in a low voice, discreetly flicking his wand to silently raise a muffling ward.
“We’re still using too much of the Potter vault money. The Tenth Muse is doing well enough for now, but we’ll need another source of income if we want to have the funding that we need to back Padfoot’s trial,” Hermione sighed.
“Why can’t we use more of the vault money?”
“You’re not of age yet in this reality, so we don’t have access to everything. Besides, we accrue more interest if we leave a large sum in there. How are the designs coming?” Harry turned the sketchbook over to her and she hummed. “Not bad, do you think you’ll have a full collection by mid to late October?”
Harry nodded “I think so, if Luna is able to pitch in as well. We’ll need to find people who can actually make them though. I know that all of us can do the basics, but we’ll need a professional.”
Hermione bit her lip. “I know Molly is our best bet, but I’m worried that she will sniff us out. She knows us too well.”
“So why don’t we just be ourselves?” Harry suggested.
Hermione cocked her head to the side. “Elaborate?”
“Well, we could reach out as us, sending a letter with something about having this idea and asking for an adult’s help making it a reality. Then we have her as a figurehead with us acting behind the scenes.”
“And what if she protests about our connection with ‘Elena’ and ‘Sebastian’?”
“If we spin it the right way, that won’t matter,” Harry argued.
“Fine, I’ll think about it, but we’ll have to talk to Luna about this. I’m sure she has her own ideas too.”
“Of course. We do this as a team, after all,” Harry agreed. Noticing that the period was almost over Harry flicked his wand and disabled the muffling ward just before the bell rang. After he finished packing up and Binns had drifted through the chalkboard again Harry shook Ron awake and the three headed back to the Gryffindor common room.
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Contrary to what might be expected, the number one rule that the trio had was not keeping the fact that they had time-travelled from absolutely everyone. The secret of their time travel was a secret, and definitely not something that they would shout from the rooftops, but the three had admitted to one another that keeping it from everyone would at some point become close to impossible, and so they had long ago come up with a myriad of contingency plans. No, the biggest and most important rule that the they had decided on was that, with the exception of harmless surprises, there would be no secrets from one another. In a world where the only people they knew they could absolutely trust were each other, there could be no secrets between them, and while they each could and would undoubtedly take care of themself, at the end of the day, each of them would then bring their findings to one another.
It was for this reason that, despite her reservations, Luna cut straight to the chase about her conversation with Flitwick after her charms course. That Hermione’s lips were pressed together was unsurprising, Harry’s grin, on the other hand, was not expected. With a sigh, Hermione rummaged through her coin purse and withdrew three sickles which she begrudgingly gave to Harry.
“Couldn’t you have made it through the first week?”
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Although not unprecedented, skipping a year at Hogwarts was something that had not been done in a quarter of a century, and so the story of how Luna “Looney” Lovegood was the first in their generation to skip a year at Hogwarts spread like wildfire. Not particularly interested in the alternatively angry and envious glares of her housemates, Luna took to sitting at the Gryffindor table. Her closeness with Hermione did not go unnoticed, and led many to assume that the bookworm had taken Luna under her wing.
“Well I’m not particularly surprised,” Professor Sprout commented to a nearby Professor Vector. “I know that you’ve only had her in a couple classes so far, but if there is anyone who could tutor someone in a year’s worth of Hogwarts material in one summer it’s Miss Granger.”
“I have noticed that she and Mr. Potter are particularly sharp students. If I’m being honest, those students who have gone to muggle primary are always more equipped to study arithmancy. It’s the standardized nature of it you see. The structure prepares students better than anything else.”
“I’ve noticed that too,” Professor Flitwick added cheerfully. “The essays I receive from students who attended a primary school are much more consistent. The magically raised students have a cultural advantage, true, and those who could afford advanced tutoring do well, but a bit of standardized tutelage would not be remiss.”
This was met with nods by all of the professors within hearing range, who then proceeded to resume their meals and not dwell on it any further, as they had every other time a similar conversation had arisen.
A/N: Desintoxica is the second person singular informal command conjugation of the Spanish desintoxicar which, as you might have guessed means ‘detoxify’ or the informal ‘detox’. It’s basically a sobriety spell. The only language I speak with any sort of consistency outside of English is Spanish, so there will be a lot of it in this fic, if my choosing Spanish aliases wasn’t a clue enough of that.
In dealing with time-turners in this fic, I have decided to go with the movie idea that you end up in the same place you were in turning it, rather than near where you were at that previous time, because it simply makes more sense to me that it would work that way.
Fic Recommendation: Lily and the Art of Being Sisyphus by The Carnivorous Muffin (FFN & AO3) This story is an absurdist gem, already over 310k but it feels like it’s just getting started. Not in a dragging on way, more in a “so much is happening it takes a long time to get through something so engaging” way. Premise is that every time Lily dies she ends up at the train station called purgatory where she meets up with death, aka canon Harry + some millions of years. She names the horcrux in her head Wizard Lenin and chaos reigns supreme. Some call it a crack fic, but the author insists that it is absurdist, and I agree.
FFN Summary: As the unwitting personification of Death, reality exists to Lily through the veil of a backstage curtain, a transient stage show performed by actors who take their roles only too seriously. But as the Girl-Who-Lived, Lily’s role to play is the most important of all, and come hell or high water play it she will, regardless of how awful Wizard Lenin seems to think she is at her job.