This is chapter twenty-three 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.
Author’s Note: JKR’s bullshit is taking a serious toll on my mental health and making it hard to write in the Harry Potter universe, hence the lack of regular updates, but I am trying my best here… Also, periodic reminder that I am from the U.S. and I write in American English and am writing in the year 2022… the amount of rabbit hole research I did about what kinds of minivans they had available in the U.K. in 1994 was kind of ridiculous.
Anyway, thanks to all of my readers who have stuck with me and this story for so long. You’re who makes writing worth it on my darkest days. These fics no longer have a beta reader, so if anyone is interested in the job shoot me an email at [email protected]
Chapter 23: Kinship
The strangest thing for all of them was how quickly the end of term approached. Suddenly they were in the spring holidays, and Harry had parents to go home to. Jamie, Liliana, and Sirius were still acclimating to one another, and Liliana and Sirius were still establishing themselves as people who existed. The absence of Crookshanks and Hedwig was waved away with the fact that Liliana and Jamie still came by to visit often enough, with the permission of Albus and Minerva, that it was easy to pretend as though they were still living in the castle as long as the two of them made public appearances at least once every day or two. Neither of them wanted to be far from their son, so it was not the largest hardship.
Still, it would be different for Harry, going back to Grimmauld Place for an entire two weeks to spend with all three of his parents. Mentally he had a few years on all of them, what with his advantaged age due to time travel and their growth having been stunted, which put them all on the level playing field as twenty-somethings in disproportionately aged bodies. The structure of their family was anything but conventional. He saw Jamie and Liliana almost every day, but it was usually in their animal forms, with the two of them checking up on him, only brief moments spent in vocal conversations where they were all in human form.
So it was with trepidation that he stepped off the Hogwarts express. He found to his slight relief and slight disappointment that only Sirius was there to greet him when he got off the train.
“Your mum and dad wanted to be here, but thought it was too suspicious since they don’t really exist yet, and our relationship is likely going to be frowned upon when it becomes public,” Sirius whispered in Harry’s ear as he pulled him into a hug.
“I understand, Dad,” Harry said warmly. He supposed that it also would have been strange for him to treat two people who should be strangers with such familiarity, especially strangers who were so close to him in age and had names so similar to those of his deceased parents.
There had been some argument about changing their names to be even more distinct from James and Lily, but Jamie and Liliana had refused, and Harry suspected that Liliana would start using her old nicknames soon anyway. Neither of them liked the idea of using new names, even for the sake of their protection, as they claimed that they simply did not feel comfortable as anyone but themselves, especially since they already had to get used to new bodies.
“Where are Luna and Hermione?” Sirius asked, surveying the crowd for the couple, who he had expected to see get off the train with Harry.
“Oh, they stayed back on the train for a bit. There was a bit of a hold up with trying to find Trevor as Neville has lost him again and none of the other third years know the summoning charm. They sent me ahead to let you know that we would be here in a tick,” Harry smiled. “And here they are. Find Trevor okay?” Harry called over to Hermione and Luna, who were walking over toward them with Ron, Ginny, Neville and Trevor in tow.
“Yeah, he was hiding in with some first years. Have you considered putting a tracking charm on him?” Hermione suggested.
Neville looked contemplative. “I’m not sure how I would maintain it when I’m outside Hogwarts and not allowed to do magic, but it could work for when we are in the castle.”
“Just something to think about,” Hermione shrugged. “Are you taking all of us, Sirius? Six is a bit much for side-along.”
“Nah, we’re not apparating,” Sirius made a dismissive gesture with his hand. “We’re taking the car and it seemed smarter to not have more than one adult if all of you were going to be packed in the back, though I suppose one of you could ride up front if you like, you’re all growing like weeds now so I think you meet the requirements, or at least Ron, Neville, and Hermione do.”
“Are we headed to Grimmauld Place?” Ginny asked as Sirius tapped each of their trunks in turn, shrinking them to a size that would fit in a canvas bag he brought that could be put in the boot of his car.
“Nope!” He told them cheerfully. “I’ve got someplace better now, away from the legacy of the Blacks, a place for a fresh start for my family. You’ll love it. Shall we?”
They exited through the platform and navigated the busy station to where he had parked his car. Harry both was and wasn’t surprised to find that in the intervening months since he had seen him Sirius had bought a Chrysler Voyager. Part of him was surprised to see Sirius driving anything but a motorbike, but the larger part of him knew that at heart Sirius was someone who cared about family and community, and so it made sense that he would also have a car that could seat a large amount of people even if it did not fit his usual aesthetic. Besides, with how wealthy both the Potters and the Blacks were he was sure that their new house had a garage and there was no reason to not have both.
“All buckled in?” Sirius turned back and asked them after they were all in the car. At their assent he nodded to himself and flexed his fingers. “Right, let’s do this then.”
“Um, Sirius, you do know how to drive, right?” Neville asked uncertainly from the passenger’s seat.
“Of course I do Nev,” Sirius winked. “Do you really think I would have six minors and a toad with me if I didn’t?” Sirius frowned at the steering wheel for a moment and Luna coughed delicately.
“You have to turn the key to start the ignition, Siri,” she said lightly.
“I knew that, I was just pacing myself,” Sirius said airly before taking a sharp turn out of his parking spot.
Neville kept a tight grip on Trevor.
AToT AToT AToT
It was an odd experience, having everyone together for the holiday. The trio had not been sure about bringing Neville, Ron, and Ginny in on their secrets, but the fact of the matter was that the three of them were close enough to the trio that there was no way that they had not suspected something by now, and to be honest the three had formed a closeness that the trio was curious about as well, since they could not recall Neville and Luna being as tight knit with Ginny before fifth year at the earliest. While they knew that their own changes to the timeline had affected things, it seemed odd enough that they thought it warranted bringing them in.
Harry, Hermione, and Luna thought it was going surprisingly well, a little bit too well as their three friends sat quietly through the entire explanation, nodding along.
“So, you believe us then?” Harry asked.
“Well, it explains a lot,” Neville hmmmd.
“Yes,” Ginny agreed. “Fills in a lot of gaps. Helps to have the full picture, given that the dreams didn’t give a whole lot of context.”
“The dreams?” Hermione probed, confused.
“Oh yes,” Ron nodded. “Ever since the dementor incident the three of us have been having vivid dreams of the future universe you’ve been trying to prevent. It’s actually slightly worrying.”
“Exactly,” Ginny added. “Because if we’ve been having these dreams, you have to wonder, who else might be experiencing the same?”
AToT AToT AToT
Draco Malfoy was obsessed with Harry Potter. To a certain extent he always had been. It was not exactly a secret to the school that the two had a rivalry, that they circled around each other and fought like cats. But something changed this year, when Potter stopped engaging with him, and it was driving Draco up the wall.
And then there were the dreams. They were faint in Draco’s memory, just out of reach. There was a man in his dreams, who looked like Draco, only older, and who could not possibly be Draco, because he wore muggle clothes, and he was friends with a man who looked like an older version of Potter. In his dreams Draco would follow them, and watch them. They were happy. Draco wanted to be happy.
The dreams were odd. The older man who resembled Potter wasn’t always there. Sometimes it was just the blond man, Not-Draco, who worked in a muggle coffee shop, and went to classes at a muggle university. Draco learned more about muggles from his dreams than he had ever known before. It bewildered him, because he had no idea where it was coming from. He did not know who to talk to about it, because who would believe him? “Someone cast a curse on me to cause visions of my older self going to muggle university and becoming best friends with Harry Potter.” They’d send him straight to the mental ward of St. Mungo’s. Especially because the more he learned from his dreams, the more he began to think that maybe his father was wrong about muggles, and maybe Potter wasn’t so bad. And that scared him more than anything.
So instead, Draco focused on the Potter of today. He watched. He obsessed. And he wondered… if his future self could befriend Potter, could his present self do the same?
AToT AToT AToT
The end of term flew by. After they got back from spring break, Neville, Ginny, and Ron became even closer to the trio, and became a shield that protected them from the rest of the school, deflecting curious eyes and providing a cover for their operations. It was helpful to have people who were in the know and yet not directly involved, such that they were able to provide cover when one of them needed to slip away or turn back time.
Third year coursework continued to be a joke, and they ended up sitting fourth year exams at the discretion of McGonagall, who prepared for them a summer study schedule so that they would be able to sit their OWLs in December. The study schedule was a farce, as all three had sat their OWLs before, but the documentation was helpful for those who would be incredulous at their success. Luna had, begrudgingly, thrown her scores on some of the fourth year exam questions — she was supposedly a second year after all and couldn’t show herself to be too advanced.
Once they got free of Hogwarts though, there was a whole different can of worms to work with, in that they were confronted with the curiosity of Kate and Keith.
It was only natural that they would be confused by many of the changes in their daughter. They had noticed them last summer and over the break of course, but at this point there was no way that they could not say something. It was at a breaking point. There were too many changes, and the fact of the matter was that Hermione did not act like a fourteen-year-old should. There was a maturity about her that could not be explained by being a witch or being away for ten months out of the year. It was not normal, and they needed an explanation.
They took it surprisingly well…
After Kate and Keith finished squishing Hermione in the group hug to end all group hugs and peppering her in kisses, Keith paused to ask a question that had been weighing on his mind.
“Can you run it by us again why you removed our memories?”
“You asked me to,” Hermione replied in a small voice. “When I told you I was going to be fighting in the war we had a long discussion about how to make sure that we all stayed safe. We decided together for you to go into it, like a witness protection program. As a failsafe, we thought you would be best protected if even you didn’t have memories of me, because that way you couldn’t accidentally trigger contact with the magical world. Also… ignorance is bliss. We knew that there was a high chance of me dying in the war, and we all thought it would be best if you didn’t have to live with mourning your lost daughter.”
There were fresh tears all around, and Kate replied in a croaking voice. “You’ve been through so much. And you’re only fourteen.”
“Mum, I’m actually twenty-nine. More like thirty-two if you include time-turner travel. We’re almost the same age.” Hermione replied. Kate Granger looked startled as she realized it was true. Her daughter was only eight years younger than her now. But she would always be her baby.