This is chapter thirteen of A Trio of Tricksters: Eclipse the Past, Usurp the Future. To learn more about the series click here.
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.
Disclaimer: I could make boring disclaimers and Chris Chibnall could let the Thirteenth Doctor get a hug but WE DON’T ALWAYS GET WHAT WE WANT. *cough* sorry, I know it’s the wrong fandom for this fic but I have feels OK? Anyway, JKR might own Harry Potter but fans make it better 😉
Author’s Note: Short chapter! But you’re getting it on an off week when I wouldn’t usually post, so I hope you rapscallions enjoy it. Thanks to Transreal_Clouden and Cyborg_goddess for being the bestest, as usual.
Chapter Thirteen: The One with the Cat
Hermione Granger was certain that she hadn’t let Crookshanks out of her trunk that morning, but he wasn’t there when she checked, and Crookshanks generally went where he was wont to, and it was always possible that one of her future selves had done so. In truth, living out her life this many times was starting to run her a bit ragged, and she was starting to get a little worried about aging — not that it would be super obvious for a few more months yet, but still. It was possibly time to talk to Harry and Luna about scaling back and only living their days twice, instead of three times. And yet, there was so much to do! She yawned as she pulled on her robes, and made her way down to the common room, still sleepy. It had been a long few weeks, what with the fallout of the dementors, dodging the professors, the press, the other students. Everyone wanted something from them now, expected more of them — or was watching them closely because they had expected less. It was all enough to set Hermione on even more of an edge than she had been, and the result was that even tired as she continued to be, Hermione was on red alert as she piled her morning hash onto her plate, enough so that she was able to move said plate in time for the unfortunate owl delivering the Daily Prophet to land in her arms instead of her potatoes.
The poor thing looked more dazed than Errol on one of his bad days, and Hermione took a deep breath, swallowing her indignation at the animal abuse of forcing owls to work past their prime. Cradling the owl as it gained its bearings, she let it have a generous gulp of her water and a slice of bacon before it made its weary way toward the sky once more. Hermione reluctantly watched it go as Harry settled in beside her.
“You can’t save everyone Hermione,” he rubbed her back sympathetically as she sighed, looking up at where the owl had flown feebly out the rafters. “What’s the news of the day?”
“Hmmm,” Hermione flipped through the paper, skimming headlines. “Well, the Chudley Cannons lost their spot at the bottom of the league — the Appleby Arrows had their entire team resign in protest over the board refusing to fire the coach after he made inappropriate advances on one of the players, and now that they have no players they lose every game. I appreciate a show of solidarity, but that whole situation sucks. Hmm, let’s see, Madame Puddifoot’s Diagon Alley location is closing — apparently business wasn’t going well and the property was bought by a set of investors who are going to be opening a new cafe in time for the winter hols. Oh, there’s something about —” Hermione fell silent. Harry, who was halfway through a pile of eggs, looked at her with a concerned expression, and was about to say something when Ron sat down opposite them with a jovial smile on his face.
“Morning! Today looks like it’s going to be one of the last nice days of the year. Think I might go flying for a bit. My broom is a hand-me-down from Charlie, but it’s a nice enough ride on a good day,” Ron started to pile sausages on his plate, and Harry turned away from Hermione, who had given him a shake of the head and folded up the newspaper.
“You can borrow my broom if you want, mate. We’ve got Quidditch practice this afternoon, but you’re welcome to use it for the morning,” Harry offered.
“Thanks Harry!” Ron replied, or at least that’s what Harry assumed he was saying through his toast. Ron wasn’t an unusually messy eater, he was just a thirteen year old boy with no close adult supervision.
“No problem Ron. Listen, I’ve already finished eating, and I need to get that essay for Snape as perfect as possible so he doesn’t dock points, and that means time in the library before Quidditch practice. I’ll leave my broom on your bed for you, yeah?” Ron nodded enthusiastically to confirm his assent to the plan as Harry stood up from the table. Hermione looked like she was about to make her excuses as well, before Ginny plopped down in Harry’s place and addressed her directly.
“I’ve got a bone to pick with you,” Ginny declared.
“Oh?” Hermione raised an eyebrow.
“Your cat simply won’t leave me alone ,” Ginny groaned, sounding exasperated. “He goes wherever I go! He comes to my bed every night, he leaps on my lap in the common room, he sneaks into the library and every class except potions. McGonagall reprimanded me, thinking he was my cat and I was taking him places, I mean look!”
Sure enough, there was Crookshanks, purring at Ginny’s feet.
“How long has this been going on?” Hermione asked, head tilted to the side. She was certain that Crookshanks had been with her, Harry, and Luna, and especially Sirius often enough that he couldn’t possibly also be spending so much time with Ginny as well.
“Pretty much since the start of term? He disappeared for a few days around the dementor debacle — I was actually a bit worried — but then he was right on back to it. I haven’t brought it up because, well, you’re not at your best right now,” Ginny shifted uncontrollably.
“And what is that supposed to mean?” Hermione asked sharply.
“You’ve been so… tense. Jumpy. It’s OK, I understand more than anyone. It must have been really hard. And I know you have Harry and Luna, but you have me and Ron too, and Neville even though he’s sleeping in today.”
Hermione’s mind whirled before clicking. Ginny — and Ron and Neville too, if they’d been thinking about this together, which they had if the way Ron was nodding along was any indication — thought that Hermione’s changed behavior was because of spending the end of last year petrified. And here Ginny was, opening up in such a brave, vulnerable, Gryffindor way about her own trauma, which was in many ways much, much worse than what she was assuming Hermione was going through, in order to make Hermione feel better, and Hermione did the only thing her overwhelmed teenaged body would let her do in that circumstance, which was burst into tears.
AToT AToT AToT
Remus Lupin was sitting at the Hogwarts staff table, surveying breakfast and reflecting on the fact, that like it or not, he was in a quandary, and it would come to no one who knew him’s surprise that it surrounded one Harry Potter. It wasn’t that Harry wasn’t a good student — he was. Almost too good of a student. Him, Ms. Lovegood, and Ms. Granger were all far too good. But Harry was also the child of three of his best friends. And now that he knew the truth — that Sirius was also Harry’s father — the thought that Sirius could have betrayed James, Lily, and Harry to Voldemort is such pure nonsense that he wants to tear apart the person he was in the past who believed it. Not that said man wasn’t already torn apart. Not that he was even a man. Just a scared 21 year old, with no friends, in one night all of them dead or imprisoned, and a baby that had no one to care for him but his aunt. Remus knew Lily and Petunia weren’t close, but she was certainly a better parent than him, in her later twenties with a child of her own. So Remus went off, trying to find work here and there, sometimes abroad, sometimes in the UK. Until he made his way back to Hogwarts, as a favor to Dumbledore, when the man couldn’t find anyone else. Oh, Dumbledore said he thought Remus to be well-qualified, but Remus knew the man had to be desperate to hire a werewolf, and from the sound of what his predecessor was like, yes, Dumbledore was in fact desperate.
Remus’s quandary wasn’t exactly about his teaching position, however, though that was part of it. The real problem was what he had been ruminating on before: Harry, Lovegood, and Granger were just too skilled. They knew the defense of the dark arts like the backs of their hands — like the backs of each other’s hands. Because these were three friends who had known each other longer than a mere two years, and longer than the single year they claimed to know Lovegood. That, and he could smell them all on each other. They spent a lot of time together; their scents were so mixed, more even than most people who shared a dorm room. And what little mage sight Remus cared to activate showed that their magic knew each other too. Remus wondered whether Dumbledore had cared to look, and he must have after the dementor incident. And it would be only natural that their magics would meld in such a situation, though unusual. But everything about them was unusual, particularly that even when he had observed them in a neutral state, just while exercising his mage sight in class to get a better feel for student performance, he could sense traces of their magic on one another. And there was a hint of something… other, that he just wasn’t advanced enough to tell.
And so Remus didn’t know what to do. Should he go to Dumbledore? Tell the headmaster his concerns? But he had never told the headmaster about Sirius’s dog form, and Sirius had been innocent, that had been the right thing to do. Was it also the right thing to do, here, to keep silent? Harry seemed, by his account, to be a normal, if magically powerful and very intelligent, young man. A young man who craved to know more about his family, if the questions he had been asking the week and day before were any indication. It was two Fridays in a row now, that the two of them had passed the afternoon with tea in the professor’s office. And still Harry asked questions, giving no real indication that he knew much of anything about his parents, though his questions were a bit altered the second time they met, it being after he was allowed his day off campus to meet with Sirius in St. Mungo’s. The questions then turned toward filling in some gaps regarding stories that Sirius had told, including a few that Remus had denied being able to answer, stating impropriety as a teacher. Sirius, it seemed was up to his usual tricks, and Remus meant to go visit the man himself, once he got up the courage. If he was telling Harry friendly stories, it was perhaps not a waste of time. He would perhaps not be as rejected as every previous expectation prepared him for. And yet… there was so much that Remus felt he still didn’t understand, and if there was one thing he didn’t like it was a lack of understanding. He sighed, took a sip of coffee, opened The Daily Prophet , swore, and observed Hermione Granger bursting into hysterical sobs.
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Harry practically ran back to the common room, walking as quickly as he could without arousing suspicion (though he doubted how successful he was at that) and once he finally made it back he quickly got out his broom, placed it on Ron’s bed, and shut himself inside his own bed curtains with the copy of the prophet that Hermione had passed him under the table.
HARRY POTTER? PERHAPS NOT
(As appears on page 3 of The Daily Prophet on Saturday, October 16th 1993)
We all know the story, dear readers (writes Rita Skeeter, Special Correspondent). James and Lily Potter, sweethearts at Hogwarts, tragically killed by He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, their only son, Harry, being the lone survivor on that fateful night. They were betrayed by a close friend — long thought to be Sirius Black, who was cruelly sentenced to life in Azkaban for crimes committed by Peter Pettigrew, as was recently brought to light. But although Black did not betray James and Lily to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, betrayal did play a part in their relationship, in the form of love’s cruel sting.
Yes, it is unfortunate, but true, readers, as I have uncovered the truth that Black had an ongoing affair with Lily Potter, long before she even started using the name, and was only known as Lily Evans. Moreover, the question is here raised whether or not Harry Potter is even Harry Potter as sources have revealed that in his short visit with Black at St. Mungo’s, Mr. Potter referred to Mr. Black using paternal terms of endearment, and thus one has to wonder — just how much does Harry Potter know about his own parentage?
Harry calmly folded up the paper, took a deep breath of thanks that this wasn’t on the front page, and softly swore.
Fic Recommendation: If you want to know the actual story behind Harry’s parentage, read my fic The Original Trio of Tricksters, which documents the relationship between Sirius, James, and Lily.
But, since I already recommended a fic I wrote to you last week, I’ll ALSO recommend that you read Full Circle by tetsurashian on FFN. It is a bit of a crack fic, but a great deal of fun, wherein Harry and Voldemort are constantly reincarnated as different people throughout different universes, until they finally come full circle and are once more Harry Potter and Tom Riddle.