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 nine 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: I’m just a nerd who has a way with words, and prefers playing in other people’s territory to sharing online what I have of my own worldbuilding. Don’t sue me!
A/N: Thanks to Transreal_Clouden and cyborg-goddess for being supportive, encouraging, and good at catching loose plot threads and rogue commas. Y’all are the best rubber ducks an author could ask for.
Chapter Nine: Alternative Perspectives
Susan Bones wasn’t an idiot, and neither was the average Hufflepuff. They could all tell that something had changed this year about Harry Potter, as well as about Hermione Granger, and their new friend Luna Lovegood. For one thing, the three of them moved like a unit, and one would believe that they had known each other all their lives, rather than the two short years that Harry and Hermione had been comrades, and the few months that they had grown close with Luna. Hermione and Harry’s relationship seemed to have changed too. Harry Potter, who used to shy away from all forms of physical contact that didn’t involve Quidditch, was now free with touches when either girl was involved, a physical closeness in addition to the emotional bond that was so clearly there that Susan could observe it from across the great hall.
Not that they were in the great hall at the moment, as that locale had been turned into a refugee camp for the residents of Hogsmeade. Which led right back to another question about the trio, because rumor had it and the Daily Prophet had confirmed that the three were involved in preventing the Dementor attack against the school and the village. How did three third years — one of whom should rightly be a second year — manage to fight off a horde of dementors, albeit with the aid of professors? The very idea sounded preposterous, but the evidence was right in front of her, and Susan was never one to deny the facts.
There was definitely something going on with the three, and she wasn’t the only one who had noticed. She had talked about the situation at length with Hannah, of course, the girls having become fast friends upon being the first two sorted into Hufflepuff first year. She had also discussed it with her childhood friend, Daphne Greengrass, who had made similar observations from the vantage point of Slytherin house. According to Daphne, the Slytherins were taking a “wait and see” approach where it came to Harry Potter. They had most of them made the observation that a very different Harry Potter had come back to Hogwarts that had left at the end of last year. Most of them were assuming it was a consequence of what had happened in the Chamber of Secrets, but Susan, Daphne, and Hannah all agreed that there was something deeper to it than that, and they were fairly certain that they weren’t the only ones.
Daphne didn’t have very many close confidants or friends in Slytherin — she was friendly enough with Tracey and Millcent, her roommates, and got along well enough with Blaise Zabini, who was a bit of an outcast, but for the most part wasn’t particularly close with most of her fellow Slytherins other than as reluctant acquaintances that she tolerated because of future networking potential. Susan snorted, remembering the conversation where Daphne explained the concept of networking potential to Hannah, and Hannah’s subsequent action of scrunching up her face, declaring it nonsense and declaring that she was going to be friends with Daphne because she liked her personality, not because of grown-up stuff that didn’t matter yet.
Aunt Amelia had been telling Susan all her life about the responsibilities that she would have one day, so Hannah was a breath of fresh air, because with Hannah it was like she really could be a kid, instead of the mini-grown ups that she and Daphne always had to be around their families. Now that Susan thought about it, that’s what was different about the trio. In a lot of ways, they were acting like grown-ups. When they explained things, and helped other students in class, like when she was struggling in transfiguration the other week and Luna helped her correct her wand movement, Susan hadn’t even realized it, but something about Luna made Susan feel like she was an authority, despite the girl being a year younger than her.
Though, Susan thought to herself, I’m not actually a kid anymore. I’m thirteen. So I should start thinking about more adult stuff and taking things more seriously. If I don’t, then they won’t take me seriously. And just because I’m a kid doesn’t mean my opinions aren’t important. It’s not like the adults have done anything about those three acting weird. But I will.
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Penelope Clearwater was a little bit sick of Percy Weasley. He managed to be just the wrong combination of clingy and distant, and while she had enjoyed their whirlwind secretive romance for a time, she wanted to date someone that she could tell her parents about, and that would tell his parents about her. She also wanted to date someone that wasn’t carrying around so much self-importance with regard to how he was seen. She hated how so many Gryffindors thought they were better just because they wore red and gold, not realizing that they could be just as stuck up, ignorant, or prejudiced as any Slytherin. Percy wasn’t really as stuck up as he seemed on the outside, she knew. He really was actually quite soft and vulnerable and insecure. It’s why she had stayed with him for so long; she wasn’t sure he could cope without her. But honestly, that was on him. And it wasn’t her responsibility to take care of his baggage.
Unfortunately, the day that Penelope gathered her resolve was the day that the dementors attacked Hogwarts, and everything fell to the back burner as they fought to save the villagers.
Late that night, they patrolled the corridors together as head boy and girl.
Younger prefects who hadn’t been part of the fight offered to take their shift, but the two insisted that they couldn’t sleep. Still, they were weary, at about halfway through their patrol they stopped at a windowsill and sat, looking out at the dark grounds.
They laughed at each other’s expressions, and Percy gestured for her to go first.
“I think we should break up. You’re a nice guy, Percy, and I like spending time with you, but I just don’t think we work well as a couple.” Penelope said in a rush, before letting out a breath. There, she had said it.
Percy was silent for a long moment.
“Well. That makes what I was going to say a bit easier.”
Penelope’s brow furrowed. “Oh?” A small part of her was slightly, irrationally, insulted. “Were you going to break up with me too?”
“Well,” Percy began slowly. “Not exactly. I just, I could tell you weren’t happy. I was going to suggest that we explore seeing other people, as in stay together but have a more open relationship. Become less committed. I don’t want to tie you down, Penelope. Especially not now that I know you’d rather not be together at all.” Percy shrugged, looking a little sad.
Penelope looked at Percy hesitantly, before taking his hand. “Where is all this coming from? I know that we’ve had a lot of emotional conversations, but this one takes the cake.”
Percy sighed, before running his other hand through his curly red hair. “My sister, Ginny, has been going through a really rough time after the Chamber — we all have, as you know. It’s why we went on that vacation. It’s why I’ve thrown myself into my head boy duties. But her friend, Luna Lovegood, she’s in your house, you know her?”
“Yeah, of course, the second year who jumped to third with no warning. All the ’claws were astonished because the younger years used to say how she was insane. There was a bit of a bullying problem. I put a stop to the worst of it whenever I caught on, but she was a slip of a thing and never said much, at least until this year, after she made friends with Potter and Granger and started sticking up for herself. What about her?”
“As you said, she’s friends with Harry and Hermione now, and so she spends a lot of time in the Gryffindor common room, doing homework with them and Ron. There was one night, a couple weeks ago that we got to talking, and she made me realize how much I’ve missed of the lives of my family, how much I’ve missed out on friendships, by closing myself off to people for so long, by guarding myself from everything and only letting a select few people in. She said that only letting a few people bear my burdens was a disservice to the people I loved the most, and that I should let myself form a more dynamic support system. Suffice to say, she did not sound like a twelve year old,” Percy sighed, squeezing Penelope’s hand and running his thumb across her knuckles. “I know that people call me a pompous git, and a fool who only cares about the rules and success. But I do care about my family, and I do care about you. I’m just not good at showing it until it’s too late, like now. I’m not expecting there to be another chance for us as a couple. But is there a chance for us as friends?”
“Of course, Percy. Though really, is this all coming from your conversation with Luna?”
“Not all of it, but a lot, yeah. She’s really easy to talk to, and just has a gift for getting to the heart of things. It’s odd, but even though she’s so young, it’s like talking to a peer, or even someone older. I almost didn’t realize until we had stopped talking how odd it was, the conversation seemed so natural at the time,” Percy frowned. “It’s something to keep an eye on. Kids shouldn’t have to grow up so fast and take care of people older than themselves.”
“People might call us kids too you know,” Penelope nudged Percy with her shoulder, and he gave her a mock pompous look and a performative sniff.
“I’ll have you know that I am of age, and I have an apparition licence.”
“Big talk for someone who still hasn’t taken his NEWTs” Penelope teased. Percy made a face. “Come on Percy. Let’s just try to enjoy our last year at Hogwarts. I know there are dementors and Sirius Black and all sorts of drama in the castle. But this is our last year to just be students and learn and have fun . Why don’t we try and enjoy it? We can look out for the younger years too, but that doesn’t mean that we have to be ‘on’ all the time. Could you at least try to relax?”
“OK, I’ll relax, after the dementors are dealt with, and we know what’s going on with Harry, Hermione, and Luna, agreed?”
It was, of course, just then that they saw the fiery blaze of a hundred dementors in flames over the forbidden forest through the open window. (Not that they knew it was dementors at the time.)
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It wasn’t as though the professors of Hogwarts were unaccustomed to odd things happening at a magical school. But an exploding dementor and the resulting raging dementor horde was something that they were not at all expecting to have to deal with during their tenure. That three third year students were so incredibly effective at pushing back said horde was extraordinary, and they had simply no explanation for how it could be the case that said students were so powerful.
That the students were powerful was something that the professors had acknowledged before, if only in passing and with no real serious call to action. They liked having gifted students, after all, because students who taught themselves were much easier to teach than those who needed constant assistance. The thing about professors, at many schools, is that they are often brought in to the school because of their research capabilities more than their actual teaching abilities, and while that wasn’t true of all of the professors at Hogwarts, it was true of more than a few of them, who had come to teach at Hogwarts more for prestige than for the love of the students.
That wasn’t to say that they all disliked students to the level that Snape did, but the majority of them did have a level of entitlement that made them a little bitter to be teaching school children. The professors weren’t bad people, but they were often bad teachers. All the same, they were powerful mages, and so when it came time to defend Hogwarts and Hogsmeade against the dementors, they were able to do so with stunning efficiency. That efficiency wouldn’t have been nearly as successful, however, were it not for the efforts of Harry, Hermione, and Luna. The three were absolute powerhouses, and they left some professors in awe, others in a kind of apprehension.
Nevertheless, the one thing that the professors hadn’t been quite prepared to do at the end — which they should have expected, but their exhaustion somewhat prevented them — was how they were going to explain the extraordinary powers of these students to the ministry. Because for all that the professors weren’t all the greatest teachers, or the most fond of having to deal with school children, many of them felt a duty of care for the children that were their responsibility, and there were in fact a great many professors who did genuinely care for those students.
And so it was with a united front that the professors did their best to mask the role that the three students had had in preventing the dementor attack, not because they thought that the students didn’t deserve the credit, but because they believed that the students would have an easier time of it were they not under continuous media pressure. And yet, the story still got out, much to their dismay. Part of this had to do with the lack of care in terms of housekeeping regarding secrecy once the second attack on dementors unfolded. Because later that night, after the dementors were contained was when the true force against them started.
The students couldn’t have had anything to do with it, safe in their beds as they were, but someone had exploded an entire horde of dementors, setting them ablaze. The screams were horrific and the smell worse. The whole place reeked of magic. Surprisingly, it wasn’t all dark magic, in its sickly sweet poison scent, but a mixture of that and the clarity that comes with pure magic and fire. A righteous cleansing, or what the casters thought was righteous. Dumbledore in particular was conflicted, because for all that he and many others considered the dementors to be monsters, they were still living creatures, and the way that whoever this force was continued to systematically wipe them out was genocide, even if the specices they were erradicating was one that was universally considered to be a hated one.
The thing of it was though, that the ministry still wanted to bring in more dementors, even thought there was very clearly something or someone in the area hunting them. There were no more dementors that could be spared from Azkaban, and besides that, the dementors that were left refused to go anywhere near Hogwarts, calling it a cursed land, or at least that was the closest translation that could be achieved based on what what had been said by the dementors that had communicated with ministry personnel on the island.
Due to the fact that the dementors refused to come, Dumbledore at least didn’t need to fight the ministry on that, but he did still have the troubling question of what was killing the dementors and why . No doubt that the people doing this thought that what they were doing was just, and a part of Dumbledore agreed with them, but he was troubled at the motivation behind such a violent course of action. Knowing himself what a slippery slope vigilante action and force with the vigor of youth could be, Dumbledore felt an acute need for caution in all things that were done in the name of so-called justice.
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Dobby was very pleased with his status as a free elf. His previous masters had been not at all kind to him, and he didn’t appreciate being bound and forced to work for them. The only issue was, housework was all he knew how to do. It was what he had been raised for, though he hated working for the Malfoys, his masters ever since the agency had placed him there, taking him away from his friends and family. Dobby searched for work throughout the summer and into the fall after being freed, and found nothing. He didn’t have anywhere to eat or sleep, and no one would take him in without trying to insist on a bond, laughing when he said he wanted payment for his work. “Why should we pay a house elf? You’re made to work!” Dobby fumed at this. Dobby loved his work, it was what he was good at, but he also knew that it was wrong to not receive payment for it.
He had learned a small amount about the importance of liberty and freedom from an old free elf named Perry, who had snuck onto the premises on the pretense of being owned by a family and taught the younger elves how to read and write before she was caught by the owners of the agency giving them seditious reading material and obliviated, and sold to a family in France. The young elves were also obliviated, all but Dobby, who slid through the cracks of the system by using a small bit of magic to convince the two wizards each that the other had obliviated him.
Dobby spent the summer visiting the other House Elves that he knew at their manors, elves that he had grown up with at the agency who had also been sold, and tried to convince them to seek freedom, even going so far as to remove the obliviation charms that had been put on them by wizards. His friends would let him hide where their masters couldn’t see, and give him food and shelter so that he would not go hungry, but he could never stay in one place for long. There were some that wanted complete freedom, while others would be happy to stay as long as they had paying, but all agreed that the life Dobby was currently living was one they didn’t want, because hiding in other people’s cupboards wasn’t really freedom, was it?
As more and more elves told him the same, Dobby grew more and more disheartened, and yet more and more resolved that he was going to make freedom work, to show that one could be a free elf, and be successful. Not for the first time he thought of Perry, and wished that she was still around, and that he could ask the old elf for guidance, and how she managed to be a free elf in the world of wizards.
It was while taking a trip through Diagon Alley, looking again for work, that Dobby saw the sign he had been looking for — quite literally, in fact. It was a small sign, just at his height, which said HELP WANTED — ALL BEINGS AND CREATURES PLEASE APPLY.
Nodding to himself, Dobby decided that he was going to try his luck at applying to work at… he craned his neck up to look at the sign above the door… Ivory Innovations.
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Percy Weasley was… conflicted. As he made his way back to the Gryffindor common room late that night, after confirming that, yes, a horde of dementors had exploded over the forbidden forest, he reflected on the personal problems that were overwhelming that tiny detail which was how that was not at all how he had expected that conversation to go. And he felt guilty too, because he had not gone through with his confession as planned. But Penelope breaking up with him had thrown him for an absolute loop. Perhaps that really would have been the perfect time to bring up the fact that he had kissed someone else that morning, but in the end he had chickened out. That really seemed to be his M.O.
Returning to the common room he saw that it was mostly deserted, as would be expected for this late hour, except for the Quidditch team, minus Harry Potter, which seemed to have fallen asleep in a collective cuddle pile in front of the fire, the flames of which were now burning quite low. Percy could see the flames dancing across Oliver’s face and had to force his gaze away. He froze as he then realized he was making eye contact with Angelina Johnson, who was apparently awake and giving him a critical stare, one eyebrow raised. He swallowed at her knowing gaze, fairly certain that she probably knew all the sordid details, and made a hasty retreat up to his dorm room.
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Amelia Bones was having quite the day. The morning had started out with a headache of two aurors in a dispute over collateral damage to a broomstick during an air raid, followed by her having to sit through a two hour meeting with the Minister and his nightmare of an Undersecretary. Following this had been the actual nightmare of the dementor fiasco, and in the middle of all that, a junior auror who had just passed the test to level up from trainee had waltzed into the office of one of her senior aurors with the biggest lead yet in the Sirius Black case yet, but she didn’t have time to deal with that because someone had blown up half the dementor population of Britain. Amelia was generally not fond of the creatures, but the idea that there was a person or group capable of such destruction scared her, much as she would never admit it out loud. And that’s not even mentioning the fact that the reports were coming back to her that, previous to their destruction, the horde had been in large part held back because of the incredibly strong patroni of three third year students, one of whom was young enough that she should be a second year, but apparently was such a prodigy that she was the first to skip a year in over a century.
Amelia wasn’t sure whether she needed a headache relief, a pepperup, or a firewhiskey, but she knew that she wanted all three, despite knowing it was a bad idea. This was going to be a long night. A long week, more like.
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When the trio woke up the next morning, it was with refreshed yawns. The previous day had been chaotic, but their sleep had been good, and things were settled enough now that all they had to do was ride out the aftermath.
“Good! You’re awake!” Madame Pomfrey greeted them when she saw that they were all conscious around the same time. “Here, the house elves brought you some breakfast.” She floated them all trays of oatmeal. “Just something light to get your energy back up.”
As they ate quietly and focused on waking up she went about casting spells to check their vitals.
“I’ll say, you missed quite the fireworks last night,” she continued in a conversational tone.
“Oh?” Harry asked.
“Oh yes.” Madame Pomfrey confirmed. “Someone used a massive bit of spellwork last night to destroy the entire dementor cohort you all managed to contain.”
There was a clatter as Hermione’s spoon fell into her empty bowl, she having been quite hungry and already finished her food.
Well, there went their plans to relax that morning.
A/N: If you would like to know the “sordid details” that Angelina found out re: Percy and Oliver it’s in my fic Angelina’s Unusual Day, which I posted last week. If you haven’t already read The Original Trio of Tricksters this is a good time to pause in your reading of this story and double back to read that one! It’s not necessary but will shade in some of the unsaid elements of next chapter.
Fic Recommendation: Seventh Horcrux by Emerald Ashes on FFN. “The presence of a foreign soul may have unexpected side effects on a growing child. I am Lord Volde…Harry Potter. I’m Harry Potter. In which Harry is insane, Hermione is a Dark Lady-in-training, Ginny is a minion, and Ron is confused.” I think this might be the best Harry Potter crack fic of all time, but also you’ll see what I recommend next chapter.