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 seven 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: It’s not mine! I’ve never even been to Scotland. I had to ask Google for help with the Latin even though I minored in Classics for the gods’ sake.
A/N: Well, this is the one you’ve been waiting for folks. I hope it lives up to expectations and if it doesn’t then at least I’m reasonably sure that most of you don’t know where I live. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Thanks to cyborg-goddess for betaing!
Chapter Seven: It’s About Time
At this point in their lives, the trio had become intimately familiar with two types of time travel. The first that might immediately come to mind is the ritual for irreversible long distance travel which creates a split universe and which enabled their transition from 2007 to 1993. However, the trio had been back in their youthful bodies for several months at this point, and so the most salient for their purposes was the internally consistent closed loop of the standard 24 hour time-turner. So when they looked down at the map that they had stolen from some unsuspecting and rather put out red-heads a month previously and saw more instances of themselves than they had any right to, they were understandably confused, but quickly realized that events would be happening, and quite soon, so they had best be prepared.
Before they could do much more than come to that conclusion, however, there was an explosion in the distance, incidentally quite near where one set of Hermione and Luna was located, and behind them they heard another Harry quickly cast a stunning spell at an unsuspecting Malfoy. This Harry neatly stepped over the unconscious Slytherin, his disillusionment failing without him being awake to sustain it, and approached his younger self and his companions, staying invisible and addressing them as a disembodied voice.
“Hello! I’m going to make this short, because I did. A lot of things are going to happen very quickly and all at once, and take a while for us to put in place, so we should take our time and do this in unique stages. You three need to go fetch Hagrid to investigate the explosion. Luna, take these instructions,” a hand reached out from under the invisibility cloak to give Luna a slip of paper, which she tucked into her pocket. “None of you read this until after you’ve been questioned. Good luck.”
The only further indication that the three got of the other Harry’s presence, or rather absence, was the vanishing of Draco’s body under another disillusionment spell, and a faint whistling. With shrugs at each other, and rationalizing that there must be a reason why they were doing things the way they had, the trio rushed to Hagrid’s to make sure he had seen the explosion.
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The trio got to Hagrid’s door just as he was opening it to come out and investigate. In the distance they could all four see the blaze, and the three of course ignored Hagrid when he instructed them to stay back as he went to check out the scene. Resigned to them following him, he instructed them to stick close to him and Fang as they set off.
As they approached the blaze they began to hear what sounded like inhuman screaming, and ran faster. Soon they were caught up to by Professors Dumbledore, McGonagall, Snape, and Flitwick, and with horrified fascination realized that at the center of the fire was what looked like a dementor, or what was left of it. Seemingly to confirm this theory, there was a creeping and unnatural dread that started to approach them, as the dementors that surrounded the school heard what was happening to their fallen companion. Given that this situation was entirely unprecedented, the trio didn’t feel the need to hide their baffled and horrified expressions, but while the professors assumed it was due to the dementor that finally crumbled into death (when a dementor had never in recorded history ever died ) and the other dementors circling them, it was in fact because they were confused as all get out about why their future selves were enacting such a bizarre plan.
It took hours for the professors to beat back the raging dementors, and professors Vector and Babbling we called for emergency consultation to reconfigure the wards to include a patronus barrier, to keep out the dementors, and the other teachers organized an evacuation of Hogsmeade residents into the Hogwarts wards, as the creatures were so properly furious that they had nearly sucked out the souls of unsuspecting villagers in retribution.
Hermione was utterly appalled. She had done this? Why? Because she had already done it? That was the only explanation she could think of and it horrified her. That their actions could be beholden to time in such a way was terrifying.
None of the three of them had any idea of what was going on, and were planning on letting the professors handle the dementor problem as much as possible, but once they realized that the creatures were attacking villagers they had to act, and started using their own patroni, desperately trying not to think about how in the hell they were going to explain that ability at ages 12, 13, and 14.
When it was all over (read: Hogsmeade abandoned, its residents taking refuge in the great hall, and Hogwarts wards the strongest they had been since their strengthening when Voldemort had been at the height of his power fifteen years previous and they suspected he might target the students) the exhausted senior staff congregated in Dumbledore’s office, along with a trio of students who had acted far beyond what could have been expected of them.
So much for going under the radar.
“Well I won’t lie and say I’m not impressed.” Professor Vector said with what would have been a smirk if she weren’t utterly exhausted. “Where did the three of you learn to cast patroni like that ?”
It was true that, of all the patroni that had battled the dementors that night, those that came from the trio were second only to McGonagall, Flitwick, Snape, and, of course, Dumbledore. They had outperformed almost every other professor, even Lupin.
“It was the first spell my mother ever taught me,” Luna said quietly. The trio weren’t nearly as exhausted and sedate as they were acting, but sympathy was the distraction they were going for, and Luna, as the youngest and the one most prone to being interpreted as ephemeral, was uniquely suited. “She made magic… magical for lack of a better word. She always said that most spells weren’t as hard as everyone thought they were, especially the ones that just needed a little bit of love. She told me that, as long as I believe in the protection of love, that spell will never fail me, and it hasn’t. When Harry and Hermione became my friends, it was the first spell we cast together, and we realized that casting the spells near each other creates what Hermione calls a feedback loop that makes all of our patroni stronger just by being near each other. Or at least that’s what we feel,” Luna paused to let out a long yawn “when we cast spells together in general they’re stronger. Like we make each other’s magic better,” Luna blinked sleepily. “Is that common?”
Dumbledore looked as though he was about to speak, but Professor Sprout frowned as she took in their tired faces. “I really think we should get you three to the hospital wing. We should have taken you straight there rather than letting you follow us up to this office. You’re just children, strong patroni or not, and you all look dead on your feet.”
“You’re absolutely right, Pomona. I’m not quite sure what we were thinking, taking you three up here,” Flitwick agreed. “Come along, students, Professor Sprout and I will escort you to the hospital wing. Professors, we’ll be back shortly to discuss matters further.”
None of the trio genuinely wanted to protest — it would be much easier to sneak out of the hospital wing — but they put up a token effort until McGonagall also put her foot down and ordered them out.
Madam Pomfrey was a bit busy with all of the refugees from Hogsmeade, but she was still apoplectic that the three weren’t also taken to her immediately, and forced them into individual beds so that she could evaluate their health and progress. After Sprout and Flitwick left she continued to fuss over them for a good half hour before declaring that they were in good enough condition to leave alone and resting, but that they had to stay in the ward overnight.
The Hogsmeade residents were all being kept in beds in the great hall so that they wouldn’t be separated from their families in addition to being forced out of their homes by monsters seeking to consume their souls, so the three had the ward to themselves. This was convenient, because about 30 seconds after Pomfrey left, a much more genuinely exhausted Harry, Hermione, and Luna revealed themselves from under the invisibility cloak.
“Get up,” Older Hermione told herself shortly.
“Okay…” Younger Hermione said as she got out of the hospital bed.
“I’m tired and annoyed. You’ll be me eventually and you’ll understand,” she grumbled as she crawled into the bed. “Ah, never thought I’d enjoy hospital sheets. Come to me, sleep.”
“Excuse her,” Older Harry apologized. “We’ve had a long day.”
“I’m not looking forward to it,” Younger Harry grimaced.
“I am,” Younger Luna’s eyes twinkled as she read the piece of paper that she had finally pulled out of her robes. “I really am.”
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Sirius Black was used to feeling alone. That was how he liked it these days. People meant danger. Danger of being caught, of being discovered, of returning to the hell that was Azkaban. No, never. He would rather die. He was going to die. But first, first the rat had to go. Wormtail. His friend. The traitor. Even twelve years later he struggled to comprehend how the boy he had considered a brother had betrayed them all. What had they done to turn Peter away from them. It was the not knowing why that tore Sirius apart. That made him feel so alone. The four of them had been so close. And now James was dead. Peter was a traitor. And Remus, Remus was a different kind of traitor, because he believed the worst of Sirius. And that betrayal was quite nearly just as bad. So Sirius was alone, and that was how he liked it.
Until, quite suddenly, he wasn’t alone anymore. The cave that he had been using as a solitary refuge, away from the chill of the dementors, was now being entered by three people, young people, young enough to be students. Sirius, in dog form, eyed them warily as they appeared to chat nonchalantly about their classes. Hogwarts students, on an exploratory hike, outside the castle, on a school day? Did they really expect him to fall for that? But why would they be here? And why such an act?
It was too late that he realized they had found and entered the cave. The youngest, a blonde approached him, cooing over an apparently “adorable doggie” and Sirius, despite his better judgment, leaned into the touch. Over a decade without positive physical contact made this head scratch feel like the best one in the world. The three sat down on the floor of the cave, one of them casting a spell at the surprisingly high ceiling to give them a decent amount of light, and they each took turns petting him, the boy producing a small amount of roast chicken, which Sirius took hungrily. Perhaps he sound have been more cautious, but this was the most affection and good will he had felt in a long time, and the lack of despair he felt in their presence gave buoyancy to his mood.
After a good half hour at this, once his belly was full and he’d had a great many pets, the older of the two girls spoke softly.
“Please don’t run away when I say this, but we know who you are, Padfoot.”
Sirius froze, and he was about to bolt, when the boy took a firm hold of his front left paw.
“My name is Harry Potter, and you are my godfather, and you did not betray my parents. That was the traitor, Peter Pettigrew, who is currently masquerading as the pet of my good friend Ron. Today is the day that we are going to capture him, and set in motion the events that will see you a free man. But only if you don’t run away from us. So what do you say, Dogfather?” Harry gave Sirius a playful grin and the three kids jumped out of the way in surprise when the dog jumped up and turned into a man to speak.
“Where do I sign?”
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Hermione was having a slight existential crisis about the meaning of time and the implications of the fact that she was doing things on the instruction of her future self and under the knowledge that she had already done them. All the same, she forced herself to concentrate on the objective. She had travelled back in time by over a decade, effectively erasing the very existence of an entire generation of people who might never be born for the changes that she would inadvertently make in the timeline. The gratuitous time travel she was doing now, while also bizzare and possibly unethical, couldn’t really hold a candle. All the same, she was glad they were telling Sirius an abridged version of the truth, because she didn’t think she could bear anyone else knowing the depth of what they had done. The harm they had potentially caused in doing the right thing. If it even was the right thing. But it had to be, didn’t it? She was shaken from the spiral into which her mind had devolved by an exclamation on Sirius’ part.
“But how can you know all this? You’re thirteen!”
“Hermione’s fourteen actually, and I’m twelve,” Luna said, in such a matter-of-fact tone that he was stuck looking at her petite form with his mouth gaping like a fish.
“Look, we’re wasting time,” Harry sighed. “Hermione, you tell him.”
Hermione fortified herself and did what she did best: she compartmentalized. “Mr. Black, we know it’s hard to believe, but we do know these things, and we can’t tell you how or why, not yet. You’re not well. And you haven’t been for a long time. Those years in Azkaban hurt you badly, especially after suffering the loss and trauma of the war and losing your family—”
“Listen, little girl, I hated my family—”
Hermione, for all her skill at compartmentalization, was having a very hard day, and for all her youthful appearance was in fact a woman in her late twenties and did not appreciate being talked down to, especially not in a gendered context, and for all that she loved Sirius that did not stop her from slapping him in the face before pulling him into a hug.
“Family is not those who raise you, it’s those who love you, and those don’t always overlap, not forever. You lost that love, and you lost the family that loved you when the Potters died. But Harry is here. Luna and I are here. And we can be your family, if you clear your head just a bit enough to let us in,” her words were muffled, but Sirius seemed to hear them because he hesitantly returned her hug.
“This is all so much, too much,” Sirius broke away again and anxiously gripped his hair. He was… however old he was, he had lost track, but it was too old to be being comforted by a fourteen year old girl.
“Sirius, let us help you. At the very least, let us help you get to Peter and get him to the ministry so that we can get your name cleared, and we can help you get to a location safer than a cave on the outskirts of Hogsmeade. The dementors will find you sooner or later, they’ve been very thorough and you can only spend so much time as a dog,” Harry argued, and Sirius reluctantly began to see his point.
“We’ll sneak you onto the grounds under my invisibility cloak while the three of us use disillusionment charms, and the other versions of ourselves will stage the explosion and destruction of the dementor that will distract the professors and draw the dementors to their location and away from here. Then we can get you safely into the castle, and take care of Peter. With a little bit of luck, this should be a smooth operation,” Harry explained reasonably.
The problem was that Harry was not particularly lucky, and the world was not particularly reasonable. They were able to make it out of the cave and skirted around Hogsmeade, slightly through the forest and onto the grounds fine, past their past selves and future Harry fine, but they had not accounted for — or rather, their future selves had left out — how difficult it is for four invisible people to navigate a throng of curious students, and the four got separated. As one might presume, it is rather difficult to find someone invisible, and it wasn’t until the students had all been ushered into the great hall for an impromptu assembly, where a frazzled Madame Sinestra was explaining the situation with the Dementors and that the Professors were looking for volunteers among those of age to help evacuate Hogsmeade, that the trio regrouped in the entrance hall and realized with dismay that they had lost track of Sirius.
“How are we going to find someone invisible?” Harry groaned.
“Of all the — ugh, Harry, I love your godfather, but he’s obnoxious.” Hermione sighed. “As for finding him, let’s check the map,” she suggested.
Harry, annoyed that he had forgotten about the obvious solution, looked to see where his roving godfather had gone, and groaned again when he discovered that the man was in the great hall, with unfortunate proximity to one Ronald Weasley and Peter Pettigrew. Rather thankfully, it appeared that there was also a Harry Potter next to the rather unlikely trio, and he watched as Sirius, Wormtail, and the other Harry made their way to the antechamber. The younger Harry, Hermione, and Luna maneuvered their way as well, and came across the interesting sight of a sheepish looking Sirius, a disapproving Harry, and an unconscious, vividly blue, rat covered in purple and green boils, which they suspected to be Wormtail.
“You didn’t do any permanent damage, I trust?” Luna asked, her lip twitching as she tried not to smile.
Sirius scowled. “I only wish . The bastard will be fine. You should probably get him out of my sight though, before I give him what he really deserves.”
Older Harry looked on with amusement as his younger self mitigated an argument between Luna and Hermione over which one of them got to be the Elena to Harry’s Sebastian when they brought Peter to the ministry, each of them thinking herself more suited to the task (because I have more experience in the ministry/because I have better reflexes/because I’m a better actress/because I was the original Elena/because my Spanish is better than yours.) The elder of the two chosen ones burst into laughter when the younger whistled (and he really should be glad the elder went through the trouble of putting up silencing and notice-me-not spells) and proclaimed that both girls were going, he was bowing out, and one of them would just have to be Sebastian.
Hermione groaned as Luna held out a hand, into which her wife reluctantly placed five knuts. Older Harry laughed again, now appreciating the situation as his younger self gaped and Sirius also started to laugh.
“Were you two betting on that?” The marauder guffawed.
“Of course we were,” Luna winked, before taking on a more serious, yet still devious expression. “Now if you’ll excuse us, we have a rat who has escaped from the cats of justice for far too long.”
“…that piece of wordplay didn’t work did it?”
Hermione and Younger Harry gave her sympathetic pats on the shoulder.
“No it didn’t.”
“Good try though.”
“Solid effort.” Sirius nodded, and Older Harry fought to not devolve into giggles again.What kind of day was this?
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“Listen, Lady, I’m sure that this situation with your… rat is very important, but haven’t you heard that there have been reports about exploding dementors at Hogwarts? Think about your priorities!”
Hermione was so sick of being talked down to, and the hair trigger she was on was not helped by the constant digs she felt were aimed not just at her, but at her gender when being referred to by feminine terms in such a condescending tone. In light of such events, it was probably for the best that Chauvinist Auror Number 2 or CAN2 as Hermione was mentally calling him was distracted away from them by the sound of shouting. Hermione and Luna (as Elena and Sebastian) took that as an opportunity to duck out of CAN2’s cubicle and sidle into the cramped but cosy abode of one N——— Tonks, who was scowling while hunched over parchmentwork. Their hair was short, scrappy, and jet black, and the skin was pale enough to see veins. A steaming cup of tea and a small succulent were the only things on the desk other than parchment, which took up most of the desk. The cube was decorated with various tacked up articles that were cases Tonks had worked on, as well as a few pictures of their family.
Pausing in their work, Tonks looked at them suspiciously. “Who are you? This is a restricted area.”
“Yeah, but don’t you want to get one over on Jack Bastard over there? He’s a sexist pissbucket, bad at his job, and quite frankly an insult to men, so really, by helping us and fucking up his day, we’re all winners here,” Luna (as Sebastian) quirked a smile, and Tonks raised an eyebrow.
“Martins can be distasteful, but he’s still a colleague, and it’s my duty to never backtalk them in front of strangers, no matter how much of an asswipe they may be. So what can I do for you?”
“How would you like to be the one to take in a mass-murdering criminal responsible for the deaths of Lily and James Potter?”
Tonks raised both eyebrows, and their hair flashed an inquisitive shade of purple.
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After Sebastian and Elena “left” Wormtail in the safe hands of Tonks, they regrouped with Harry, who had been invisibly tailing them and easing their path, to monitor and make sure that the rat was actually on the path to justice and not straight into the mouth of a dementor.
“Oh.” Hermione said softly.
“Oh?” Harry asked.
“That’s why we did it. Will do it. Have done it. Whatever. If the ministry doesn’t have dementors, the dementors can’t kiss Sirius or Peter. We know we did it safely with no serious harm. So we’ll do it. Did it. Have done it. Gods time travel is hard.”
“Try not to think about it too much,” Luna patted her on the head. “Instead of thinking about the travel, think about the fire . How are we going to kill a dementor?”
“Um, can we plot that when we’re not in the heart of the ministry?” Harry asked. “I think we’re pretty much done here anyway. Tonks has got Kingsley and that Grimm guy on her side, and he seems pretty upstanding, and got Bones to hear them out, so I think they’ll make a solid case for keeping Wormtail locked up and Sirius will hopefully get the trial he deserves soon. Meanwhile I am both hungry, and I have to pee.”
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After rewinding as far back as they were capable and taking a three hour power-nap (with cuddles) the trio tackled the problem of killing the dementor. Based on the close up they had gotten via their first round of the day, Hermione concluded that some combination of fiendfyre and the patronus charm was involved, but for the life of her, she couldn’t figure out how, and neither could the others. They had been racking their brains for hours, and time was running short, when Harry ran a frustrated hand through his hair and said, not for the first time:
“I wish our Draco was here.”
The sentiment was heartily shared between the three of them, and often expressed in quiet and private moments. There were many things that they missed about their old life, most of them they were able to move past, having already long ago lost and mourned them. But the one person that they still had to hold on to and had left behind in their old world was the Draco Malfoy who was disillusioned with pureblood supremacy, was obsessed with muggle video games, and scoffed at the idea of anyone being better than Hermione when it comes to charms. The Draco who wore reading glasses while annotating his personal copy of Pride and Prejudice (which he had hoped to stage for a wizarding audience someday) and swore Harry to secrecy over the fact that he cried (twice) while watching Titanic .
The thing that they missed most about their Draco in this moment, however, wasn’t his love for muggle culture, or even precisely his changed ways, but rather his knowledge of dark magic, and how something like fiendfyre could be combined with the patronus charm.
“Perhaps…” Luna began, paused, and then began again. “Perhaps we are looking at this the wrong way. I know we thought it was fiendfyre, but what if it was just a patronus, but one that contained a conflagration?” Luna sighed at the blank looks she was getting.
“Look, what I mean is this: instead of trying to smush two spells together, we should build on the spell that we know works. The patronus, but with a little kick.”
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Just a few short hours later, Luna and Hermione were crouched just inside the forest. They had done the rather less difficult than they expected work of luring a dementor there via mimicking Sirius’s magical signature with a simple spell taught to most trainee aurors (and order members) as a way to avoid traps. Now they were using it to set a trap, and would have felt bad for the creature they were about to burn alive if it weren’t a literal soul-sucking monster. On the signal from Harry’s specialized normal-strength but miniature-sized patronus Hermione and Luna shouted in chorus: “EXPECTO INCENDIUM PATRONUM!” and all hell broke loose, as they knew it would.
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Harry had his task — dealing with Draco, informing their past selves of what was to come, capturing Wormtail, etc — but Hermione and Luna had an increasingly difficult task: damage control. Because the dementors were pissed and there was a completely defenseless village to protect. Already having taken aging potions, the two young women tweaked the glamors and transfigurations that were designed to make them look nondescript (in Hermione’s case this meant changing her skin color, a necessary evil she despised) and dashed far enough into the forest that they were outside the wards of the castle and could apparate into the village.
There they split up, Hermione going to the most central of locations — popular shops, the three broomsticks, the town office — to make sure the word was out to flee to the castle, while Luna saddled up the thestrals to the carriages. Having spoken with them softly earlier in the day, they were ready for her to send up all the small children and elderly of the village to the castle post-haste. Soon a congregation from the school arrived, and she integrated seamlessly, casting a low-powered notice-me-not on herself and shifting her clothes to Ravenclaw robes, hoping to pass for a sixth or seventh year.
When it was all said and done, the dementors were furious but had no victims, the village of Hogsmeade was reformatted in the Hogwarts Great Hall, Sirius was safe and hiding out in Harry’s trunk, Wormtail was in a jail cell, and Hermione, Luna, and Harry were taking a well-deserved rest in the hospital wing.
All was well, or at least it was going to be.
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Draco Malfoy woke up groggily and groaned in pain as he sat up. What was he doing on the floor of an abandoned classroom? Was that dust? Was that a spider?!?
Malfoys do not scream.
The last thing he remembered he had been following —
A/N: There you have it *hides shyly under a blanket* I hope you like?
Fic recommendation: Three Little Birds by kinky_kneazle on AO3. It’s a Harry/Luna/Neville fic where Neville inadvertently starts a hippie commune and grows marijuana to pay off unfair debt and despite that description I swear to you it really is one of the most pure examples of fiction I have read in a long time, albeit with some adult topics up for discussion.