Title: Darkened Paths
Chapter8 – It Begins
Ship: H/Hr/L, Nev/Susan
Warnings: Oral Sex, Nudity, Graphic Adult Situations, Adult Language, Masturbation, Torture, Rape
Key: "Speech", 'Thoughts', "Speech laden with magic", §Parsletongue§
[Author's Note:] - I'm amazed at how so many think my first portrayal of everyone is how they will stay after so much work and so many comments to show how much I try to focus on character development. I recently got an Anon review saying Harry was too loyal to Sirius, was too harsh on James for how he acted and insinuated that James would be replacing the Weasleys as antagonists. Give me time and realize that I have been working a lot on character development, if you haven't already. Would I really show you exactly what all of the new characters are right away without letting you enjoy the ride? What's the fun in reading everything going smoothly?
Timeline: All of these scenes happen the same day the Time Bubble went up. While we get to the end of the day on the outside of the bubble, the scenes with those within it happen within the first few minutes of the day. I'm merely breaking up those scenes so you can go back and forth to stay interested.
'Flagellum': Latin: "whip". 'Flagellation', act of methodically beating the human body. Occasionally interchanged with "flogging" or "whipping" (both of which were abolished in Britain in 1948.)
Strappado: is a form of torture in which the victim's hands are first tied behind their back, and then he or she is suspended in the air by means of a rope attached to wrists, which most likely dislocates both arms. Weights may be added to the body to intensify the effect and increase the pain.
Warning: A lemon in this chapter used along with relationship advancement. As per usual, it will start and end, respectively with "Lemon Start" and "Lemon End". For those pleased with the H/L scene, you can thank Aealket for the particular idea and GPhoenix51 for thinking it worked. It was originally going to be where he practiced what Hermione taught him, but I didn't want things to be the same or it would make for a dull read.
I'm out of H/Hr/L fics to recommend! If anyone can recommend any, I'd like to be able to read and recommend them here.
Recommended Story of the Chapter: "Fate's Gambit" by Robst (H/Hr/L – A second installment up.)
xXx Previously xXx
Harry frowned and walked over to Luna, getting on his knees so he could look the girl more fully in the eyes. "Luna, what do you have to do for this?" He was beginning to get very nervous as she refused to meet his gaze. "Luna?"
Luna finally looked at him and he saw her eyes watering, but not shedding her tears. It worried him. "Please don't ask me," she asked quietly.
Harry looked at her for a moment and nodded, leaning forward and kissing her forehead, making her smile. That was good, as it was his intention to make her feel better, even to the point of not acknowledging that he just kissed the girl in front of everyone. "No worries, Luna. I trust you. But let me know what I can do to help if you need me to. I don't want you to carry any burdens alone. You aren't letting me, after all."
xXx Story xXx
Hermione woke up slowly and took a long period of reflection to evaluate her feelings right at that moment. She felt an incredible sense of contentment, peace and warmth as she felt her naked body snuggled firmly up against her warm boyfriend, a term she had recently come to know and love more than she had in the past. She had been using his chest as a pillow with an arm and leg draped over him as his arm held her to his torso tightly as he slept.
It was a great way to wake up.
And emotionally, things felt absolutely wonderful! It felt right! There was no sense of regret or disappointment or worry that he wasn't happy with her, only the soothing thought that she was happy. Though, she had to admit that she felt an odd sense of disappointment to not have Harry sandwiched between her and Luna as had been the case the last several mornings. Odd as it seemed, she had been thinking of this entire situation as the two of them as a team to make sure he stayed on the right path to keep him focused and didn't do something stupid or risky, but also had been thinking about trying to completely envelop him in love through the two of them. She had felt an odd equilibrium with the three of them together that had begun to feel ... proper. By Luna being at her side through the whole thing, she found it easier to accept that there were two girls sharing Harry and less like an outsider, which she thought would have been the opposite way, with her feeling like a third wheel. Still, it was a good way to wake up, regardless of the missing element. She was sure she would enjoy her times alone with him once their relationship was firmly in place and comfortably established.
Harry took a deep breath and sighed happily as he woke up to Hermione's movements, having always been a light sleeper thanks to living with the Dursleys and needing to be up and ready at a moment's notice. A habit he kept at Hogwarts as often as he was often in danger there. "G'morning, Hermione," he murmured, learning forward and kissing the smiling brunette on the lips gently. 'I love waking up with someone in the morning,' he thought contentedly. It was such a peaceful way to enjoy the mornings and it filled up a void of loneliness he had not even been aware of until it simply wasn't there any longer.
"Good morning, Harry," Hermione said happily. "How'd you sleep?"
Harry blinked as he stared up at the ceiling and absently noted, as absently as his body allowed him, Hermione's naked body was pressed against his side before answering. "Oddly," he said simply. "I had a weird dream."
"Voldemort?" Hermione asked worriedly.
"No," Harry said with a smile, "nothing like that. It was like I was talking to the Veil again and it was explaining more about how I brought back the others besides Sirius. I've been learning to understand it more each night. Well, it's been getting clearer, anyway. It still kind of sounds like a huge crowd, but not as garbled."
Hermione frowned as she considered what he had just told her. She was a little worried that she didn't really know what was happening and he had seemed to become nearly possessed twice since gaining all three Hallows. "I was curious about that," she admitted. "You said last night that you had to know the person well when you tried to bring back Cedric. How did you bring them back?" She asked, curious.
"I'll tell you when I tell everyone else," Harry said. "No point in saying things multiple times and I'm sure they're going to want to know." He leaned forward and kissed his bushy-haired friend soundly, getting a wonderful moan of pleasure in return before he slipped out of bed, fully aware of Hermione watching his naked backside and angling to see his morning visitor while he tried to keep it hidden from observation, and went to take a shower in the joined bathroom. A very cold shower.
Harry and Hermione walked into the dining room and were immediately assaulted by a huggy Luna. "Good morning to you, too, Luna. How -OOMPH!" He was cut off by a fierce kiss from his blonde girlfriend.
Hermione laughed loudly before she, too, was silenced by the blonde's lips and a hug that squeezed the air out of her, making for a very interesting kiss. "I have my mum back!" Luna cried out gleefully as she pulled away from the dazed Hermione who hadn't expected the light touch of tongue from the enthusiastic, open-mouthed kiss from her co-girlfriend. "Come on," Luna said, dragging the two over to her parents who were watching with amusement at the newcomers, "let me introduce everyone properly."
Harry and Hermione walked on either side of Luna with hands clasped tightly together as Luna led Harry to the head of the table and Hermione to his right and took her place at his left on the table's sides. "Mum, dad, this is Harry Potter and Hermione Granger. Harry, Hermione, this is my mum, Celeste and you already know my dad, Xenophilius. I know we already introduced everyone, but now we don't have the rush of surprise and I got to do it," she said impishly.
"Hello," Harry and Hermione said together as Dobby and Winky popped in with their breakfasts while the Lovegoods already had partially eaten plates in front of them.
"I would like to thank you," Celeste began, looking at the two newcomers in a way that only a thankful mother could. The love and gratitude in her eyes was nearly palpable to the two teens. "Luna told me of her life from the day I died and it was one horror story after another until you came into it and accepted her where no one else was willing to," she said as she looked over to the blushing Luna and pulled her daughter in to kiss her forehead, making the youngest smile brightly. She would never get tired of kisses. Luna knew that now.
"She's a wonderful friend and incredible girl regardless," Hermione said, smiling warmly at Luna whose blush intensified.
"We were happy to have her in our lives," Harry continued, making Luna smile even more brightly. He loved it when the girls smiled. There had been a depressingly little amount of that as of late, he had noticed.
"Yes," Celeste said with a nod. "She said you were in a relationship with one another."
Hermione blushed, still feeling somewhat out of her comfort bubble regarding the odd relationship. "Yea, we are," she said hesitantly, trying to think of how to explain the situation clearly.
"You needn't worry, Hermione," Celeste said with a warm smile and saying her name slowly to ensure she said it properly. "Luna has told us of the both of you and we've spoken in length about this. While it isn't common for such a situation, it isn't unheard of even in recent history in the wizarding world. She's said you may still be a little while before you're fully comfortable with the relationship, but that you will work as strongly as she will to try and make it work."
Harry blushed as Celeste and Xenophilius both looked at him, feeling somewhat more out of place than even Hermione. He had always had girls who wanted to date him, and no small few had offered themselves in various package deals in various acts of ... naughties, but this was the first time he had ever accepted. It wasn't because of the ... naughties, of course, but he would have to admit that it definitely drove their point home to him.
He kind of hoped Luna hadn't told her parents about that.
"Out of curiousity, what is that on her pajamas?" Xenophilius asked, causing Harry and Hermione to look at their other third and saw her in silk pajamas that were such a pale pink they were almost white and had a large, orange, cartoon tabby-cat smiling from across her ample chest and with a matching tail hanging from her backside that she had charmed to wag lazily in the air behind her.
"Erm, it's 'Garfield'; a cartoon cat from the muggle world," Hermione explained. "We went to buy a lot of clothes for our time here and did most of the shopping in the muggle world and she found the children's section to have clothes that she would rather wear than the adult stuff and made it work with resizing charms. I thought it was cotton, though, and am pretty sure it didn't have a tail..."
"This is more fun than those plain things and I transfigured it to this," Luna admitted. She hoped it would make Harry enjoy it more. Especially since she refused to wear her bra underneath. They were uncomfortable to sleep in regardless. "There was very little in that linger-ay place that seemed to cover nearly enough, though some of it definitely looked fun. Certainly not anything that kept any secrets, regardless of what that Victoria woman said."
"Lingerie," Hermione corrected automatically, getting an unnoticed quirk of Harry's lips as he recognized a male-friendly term. "And it is meant to be a ... er ... different kind of fun," she finished with a blush as Celeste's own smile grew.
"Nonetheless," Xenophilius said, deciding to get off of a topic that made him once again begin to regret trying to think of Harry as Luna's pet and all the unsupervised time he let them have in her bedroom, "we know where this may go and are fully willing to support it and even thank you for it and everything you've done for Luna thus far. I didn't know about a large amount of it," he finished, looking at Luna who looked properly contrite.
"I didn't want you to worry," she admitted.
"We're family, and that's what we do for each other," Xenophilius said, while Celeste wrapped her into another hug.
"It's in the past, and it won't continue. Personally, I still can't get beyond just how big you've gotten!" Celeste exclaimed, shaking her head.
"You've said that six times already," Luna replied, still enjoying hearing her mother speak, regardless of what she actually said.
"That's because it still amazes me how beautiful you've become," Celeste said, simply astounded by what, to her, seemed to be a sudden growth of womanly beauty that was apparently already claimed by love. And from what she heard, that love was, while not guaranteed, still true to her. Harry wasn't simply after her daughter for sex and that endeared Celeste to the boy. Luna took after her and already had large breasts and a pretty face with doe-like eyes and was still getting prettier. And this Harry was not just taking advantage of what was being offered. She knew how easy it would be for him to do that if he wanted and he had apparently been a shy and bumbling fool around the opposite gender whenever he did try to pursue a female.
Hopefully, she would still get to enjoy watching that and hadn't missed out on all of the growth her daughter could do in her rise to adult.
Luna blushed and hid her face in her mother's shoulder as she had once done as a child and the others chuckled as the elder Potters, Remus and Sirius entered the room, the males of the group sporting various colors of hair and glowing noses, overly large ears and dresses that were simply atrocious.
"Well," Harry said, smirking. "It looks like somebody got their wands and put them to good use."
"He did it!" Three voices cried out, pointing at each other to lay blame elsewhere before they laughed at themselves, feeling like the past fourteen years apart hadn't happened. The group, plus Dan and Emma who came in after the other adults, went to sit at the table before James noticed where Harry and the girls were sitting, causing him to frown before he took the seat next to Lily who was already asking the others how they slept.
"We talked about our family history and didn't get to sleep until pretty late, but slept peacefully and well until Luna woke and squeezed us," Celeste said as Luna blushed once again and the older Lovegood noticed the pained glance at Harry by his biological mother.
"Good here," Dan said with a goofy grin. Emma was in a playful mood the night before after seeing the loving family reunions. He was almost sure she wanted to share in that type of joy herself with a new member of the family but felt her happiness with Hermione bringing them in on all of this time control thing and ensuring that they remained a part of her life was what it had really been about. At least he hoped so. Diapers would be a difficult acquisition during this time bubble thing.
It didn't mean he wasn't just as enthusiastic, of course. He would later both love and detest the runes that silenced the rooms. Love, because Emma was quite loud in the big moment, and detest, because Hermione took after her mother for the same thing, not that he was aware of it yet. But as both he and Emma were unaware of her screaming out her release the night before, it would be some time before learning of it.
"Good," Harry said after finishing his egg and taking the last sausage on the plate next to him that the elder Lovegoods had been taking from. "But I think I should apologize for how strongly I reacted to you last night." He felt a moment of doubt as everyone looked at him, particularly the adult Potters and Sirius who still hadn't really forgiven him.
"I'll stand by what I said about getting rid of you myself if you ever appear to be a threat to them," he warned, his eyes daring them to oppose him. "But I should have just stopped you and not taken it so far."
"You're damn right you shouldn't have," Sirius nearly growled out. He loved Harry, but James was just given back to him and Harry had almost killed him all over again.
"Sirius!" Lily scolded, making Sirius flinch like a puppy that was yelled at. She then looked meaningfully at James who looked defiant before the redheaded woman smacked his arm.
"I shouldn't have gotten so angry at her," James said, still hinting at defiance before he sighed heavily. "Look. To us, we feel like we're still in the first war and are some of the major players. It was a very common and standard practice for the Death Eaters to kill off families, marry into them or just trick lust-filled males into sharing or taking their family magics, finances and all sorts of other things. By taking control over those families' money or magics, they advanced their own causes. And it wasn't just Death Eaters. It was a very common thing for people to attempt to get their hooks into a family for the wealth or political power or whatever they had when they just weren't happy where they were at."
"He's telling the truth," Xenophilius said, followed immediately by Sirius, though Xenophilius continued. "That was how the Malfoys got one of the largest magical libraries of unknown magics in Britain. They married into older families to get their magics and wealth, though only the Black marriage truly did enough to make them the topmost dark family in Britain's domain."
"How do you know that?" Hermione asked, rather curious about what their library may contain. Or used to contain seeing as how Commander Dobby had raided his old masters' homes.
"Because I used to be one," he said simply, causing shock to reign throughout the room.
"That's why you said your mother wouldn't have anything to do with him in the beginning," Hermione said in understanding, looking at Luna in surprise.
"Correct," Celeste said with a nod, answering for her daughter. "He left his family to be with me, meaning they would never allow him to return and he took my name. I refused to give him the chance to get my family's magic. By their family laws, once they removed him from the family, they couldn't bring him back without the death of the whole family, which meant that he couldn't claim anything of theirs as his and they couldn't claim anything of his as theirs."
Xenophilius grasped Celeste's hand and squeezed it gently. "What they didn't know was that I had stashed about half a million galleons in various emergency caches with a few other things in case my family was in trouble, or I was, and I couldn't bring them into my problems. It was blind luck I had copies of some of their magics, money and some things aside for my needs at the time I met Celeste here."
"You're a Malfoy?" James asked. The tone of his voice sounded both dangerous and shocked.
"Was," Xenophilius corrected. "I never subscribed to their beliefs or plots of intrigue, so I was usually disliked but left alone. The fact that I was intelligent enough to provide assistance with archaic spells and control of ... unique creatures and appeared harmless kept them from killing me. They left me alone and I wasn't known as a Malfoy by many because I was almost always out of the country and using an alias since a good many knew our name and despised us, so they left me mostly alone until I married Celeste."
"I would not have married someone like the other Malfoys," Celeste pressed, ending that path in the conversation for the time being. It really wasn't so hard to see that Xenophilius was unlike the others in his family. Sirius, after all, came from a family just as dark and the only difference was that Xenophilius chose to leave most often while Sirius stayed with James and the other Potters.
"Could we go over the spell used to put us in a time bubble?" Lily asked, having been thinking about it for a while.
"The original came from our family grimiore," Luna stated. "Its original purpose was designed to allow those of us with the Sight to use the temporal dampening effect to best use. Hermione and I altered it to encompass a larger area and the natural life around us. Basically, nothing but light can get through the bubble itself; air, rain, living and non-living things and the like are all barred from passing through it, so we had our house elves gather enough supplies to handle about double what we were expecting to be in here for."
"If water or air can't pass, then what happens when we run out of oxygen?" Lily asked, thinking of the basic knowledge about being confined in a small space like the boot of a car or a sealed room like on a submarine. "And, with time slowed so drastically outside, we'll have sunlight for ages before it gets dark, then nothing for the same time until we're out of here. What about the plant life?"
"We've already thought of that," Hermione admitted. "We chose this location because of how large the grounds were and because almost all of the land that isn't just around the house is heavily wooded. Those trees will support our oxygen consumption more quickly than we can use it up unless we have any large fires. Magical fires don't require oxygen to burn as long as the flame itself is magical and not just started by magic like the bluebell flames. Those don't use any kind of fuel source and are purely magical and can be stored in a jar where a normal fire would burn itself out."
"I can see that," Lily admitted, giving a grudging respect to the forethought. "But when the plants die, since they won't get water or scorch from too much sunlight or just simply die without the sun at night, then our oxygen use is doomed. I can see watering them with the aguamenti spell, since that converts pure magic into water and is permanent rather than conjured, but the sunlight?"
"That's already been considered as well," Harry added, having found the solution there. "The property has a Solarus Sanctum ward which generates imitation sunlight to defend against light-sensitive enemies, be they dementor, vampire or a group of humans attacking at night that we just want to blind and then take out of action. It can be strengthened or weakened to give almost no light or full-sun intensive strength. That will give light during the nights when our nights are a month and a half long."
"And protecting them from getting scorched?" Lily asked.
Luna smiled as she answered, finding it rather amusing to see the line of heads turn to look at the various speakers. "We'll use the same spells used in greenhouses that have light-sensitive plants and create an obscuring cloud or mist. We learned the spell when we were working with Elder Breath in Herbology."
"Elder Breath?" Sirius asked, not remembering the plant.
"It's an undead shrubbery with fluff instead of leaves discovered about seven years ago by Daddy," Luna advised. "It's all gray and feeds on rotting flesh rather than normal fertilizer. It's like catnip to vampires and other undead critters."
"The power needed for that would be tremendous," Lily disagreed with a frown, ignoring the information on the plant for now and getting them back on track. "We're talking about an area hundreds or thousands of times larger here."
"Not so," Hermione corrected. "By and large, most magicals don't think to alter something's applications in a new way without inventing a new spell. Instead of making a mist that fills all of the land and covers the plants like the normal spell, just cast it higher as a dark cloud that doesn't let the light through. We've done that at school just from playing around with the spell and the Weasley twins altered it to make it rain various staining agents on people over the entire courtyard by raising it up."
"That could work," Lily muttered, running through arithmantic equations in her head as the Marauders perked up at the pranking benefits. To make it thick enough to keep all the light out, it could possibly require more than one of them casting, but it could work. "What about the power requirements? You cast this bubble and now have four more people. Is that going to effect its duration?"
Hermione and Luna's eyes widened as the blonde nodded in thought. "I think it will," Luna confessed. "The requirements are based on how much energy is actually used during the time within the bubble by all the people and plants. Adding more people will use more energy, thereby causing the field to collapse sooner."
"It cannot be helped," Celeste said with a smile. "We're here now, so we should just continue as best we can."
"Having family back is worth more than however much time will be lost in this bubble anyway," Emma said. "It's a small price to pay, when you think about it." The majority of those there nodded, though Celeste and Emma noticed Lily once again look painstakingly at Harry.
"And you're sure you have enough food to handle us all?" Sirius asked, wanting to get away from the depressing talks. "I dunno if it's coming back to life or what, but I'm hungry."
"Dobby said he got enough to handle our needs for several times what we were expecting for almost double our people," Remus admitted, having helped the little elf plan in that regard.
"That reminds me," Hermione said, looking to Harry. "You were going to explain how you could bring everyone back even when you had to know them?"
Harry nodded as everyone looked to him, wondering what she meant. "This ability to bring people back to life has limits as well, apparently. It has to be someone I knew personally, they can't have been brought back by magical means before and couldn't have died of old age or self sacrifice. I tried bringing back Cedric, but couldn't, and I dreamed about talking to the Veil of Death again and it tried explaining some things more clearly than the voices said right after bringing you back."
"Voices?" Lily and James asked incredulously.
"But didn't Lily sacrifice herself for you?" Hermione asked.
"And you hadn't ever met Celeste," Remus pointed out.
Lily shook her head, speaking to Hermione. "I died first, but Voldemort was trying to kill me before Harry because Harry was just a baby and couldn't really defend himself. I was the only threat to him once he made it up the stairs. What made you think I sacrificed myself?"
"That's what Dumbledore told everyone," Remus answered for Hermione with a frown. "But after last night's discussions, I shouldn't be surprised he either got that wrong or lied. Since Harry was the only one who made it out of that whole thing alive, it suddenly occurs to me that he shouldn't know what happened unless he looked into Harry's mind, but that's dangerous as hell on an infant and a guaranteed way to damage his brain."
"I always wondered how he knew what happened that night when Hagrid supposedly showed up after it was all said and done and then left after Sirius showed up and left," Harry mused in agreement.
"It's also curious that our entire world knew about your scar and had a rough idea of what you looked like," Xenophilius pondered aloud. "And that you had glasses, were skinny and lanky..."
"What's this thing about voices?" James asked, wondering if his son was more bonkers than he thought already.
Harry shrugged. "The week before becoming the Master of Death, I was hearing the voices I heard through the Veil of Death in the Ministry. They just kept getting louder, though Hermione and Luna figured out a way to make them go away for a little while," he said, just to see the girls blush, which they did beautifully, though Hermione looked frightened that he was going to admit to what they did.
"But, once I got the wand from Dumbledore, I had the full set and now they don't bother me so much, but they keep trying to talk to me and tell me things. It's weird. I can't understand them fully yet, but I dreamt about the Veil last night and it basically said that ... well, you know how I've been lucky as hell throughout a lot of our endeavors?"
"Yes, but what's that got to with it?" Hermione asked, the only one who had actually been with him through it all.
"Well, there's apparently some kind of balance," Harry explained. "I've had a lot of bad in my life and a lot of self-sacrifice, and something intervened and this makes the cosmic scales balanced, so to speak. Basically, I won't be any more lucky than the average person and have to rely on my own abilities from now on."
"So ... what, Fawkes in the Chamber, escaping the graveyard and all that was because you were extra lucky?" James asked, referencing some of the more memorable memories he had seen the night before.
"The graveyard, maybe, Fawkes, I dunno. But, essentially, you're right."
"And bringing us back using means you had fudged the rules a touch so bringing us back was possible and allowed the balance to equalize?" Lily asked.
"Right," Harry said with a nod. "And Celeste, I guess, was a part of that. Aside from knowing Luna, I saw her picture and that's it. I was thinking about various things which included her, so I guess that helped. Basically, I can bring a person back only once, and I have to know them well enough to be able to call them, just like using the Stone normally. There's some kind of a trust element to it for the soul to come to me."
"Which means we can't call up Merlin, the Founders and others to help us," Luna said with a sigh. "That is a shame. I'd have rather enjoyed seeing their reactions to what the school has become."
"Well, aside from that, you're also not able to have children," Harry said, shrinking in on himself a touch as everyone looked at him in complete silence.
"What?" Lily asked.
"Bringing you back is giving you another chance at life," Harry began, "but you can't extend changes beyond your own lifetime. That means, you can't have any more children if I have to bring you back. It's like you're on permanent protective charms or something."
"So, James and Lily can't have another kid, or Celeste and Xenophilius?" Sirius asked.
"Xenophilius could, since I didn't bring him back, but not with Celeste," Harry said uncomfortably. He hadn't realized how awkward explaining this would be. "But those two, no," he said, pointing at his parents. "Same with Sirius."
"But our equipment still works, right!" Sirius squawked rather indignantly. "I don't want to be a eunuch for the rest of my life!"
"Er," James' face reddened. "It'll work just fine, Sirius."
"How do you-" Sirius began before he looked between James and Lily. "Oh. Right. Well. That's good, then."
As if not able to register the sudden awkwardness at the table, Luna turned to her right to her new boyfriend. "Harry, can I have your sausage?" She asked innocently. Really, it wasn't kind of him to take the last one.
Bellatrix LeStrange squealed in sadistic glee as she laid her hands onto the scroll one of their supporters from high up in the Ministry had sent to them.
Our records currently show Harry Potter lives at #4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey. Known wards are Owl Redirection, Anti-Divining and other search nullifications, anti-portkey and anti-apparition. No known magical users living near excepting one squib who cannot see the house from her own home.
Your faithful servant,
"Gear up, boys!" Bella yelled happily. "Our master wants us to destroy the wizarding world's hope and now we know where it is!" The psychotic woman watched as all of the pathetic men followed her orders with extreme haste, none of them wanting to be called out by her for not moving quickly enough. She had a penchant for tossing cruciatus curses as motivational tools.
The woman sighed happily as she stared at the paper dreamily, anticipating the bloodletting that would soon come. This Umbridge woman was ugly as sin and Bella would destroy her just for the sake of keeping the bitch from her master's presence, but the woman was useful. She had the address for a year now, but didn't know if the Dark Lord was truly back or not and couldn't risk the missive being received by anyone else until the truth came out. Apparently, she had tried to send some dementors to kill Mister Potter and had very nearly succeeded, nearly getting him expelled and his magic bound instead.
Bella was disgusted by the hands-off approach, but could appreciate the artistic beauty of the situation. The Potter brat would be physically alive, but not truly there. His soul gone.
Which could have been the perfect container for the Dark Lord.
Bella ran her fingers from her lips down and over her breasts as she shuddered in delight. Potter was only a boy, but with her master in control over the body, she would have been happy to make a man out of him. She would admit that he was worth the enjoyment even if he was a halfblood mongrel.
Perhaps there was some merit to the plan? It would bear considering.
"We're ready, Bella," one of the returning Death Eaters said.
"Then let's go muggle hunting!" All of the Death Eaters flinched as she held up a sack she always took with her on hunts. It was filled with the dirtied paraphernalia of all of her raids: bloodied blades and scalpels, fishing hooks, twine, jars of acids and salts and other various implements of torture.
"Albus, it would appear the Dark Lord is gearing up for something extreme," Snape said with an actual hint of worry in his voice.
"How do you mean, Severus?"
"I am not fully sure. He questioned me regarding my actions these past few years to determine where my loyalties lay and has been seeing Bellatrix in his bedchambers more as of late. He's also stockpiling our potions stores and gathering several items to use on assaults."
"Why is gathering potions bothering you so much? And do you know who the targets will be?" Dumbledore asked gravely.
"He has me creating the potions, but is having them tested by another potions master within his ranks that I do not know the identity of. I don't think he truly believes me to be loyal to his cause. And he has made no hints towards any targets, so I would assume those that are in a position of power," Snape sneered. Planning and making strategies was the old man's job, not his. If he had his way, he would be out of this entire mess to watch those on both sides to die and then torment those who remained from the shadows.
"Mayhap I should see about providing additional wards to some of the high profile families," Albus pondered aloud.
"Do as you please. Just remember that I am not aware of who the targets are to be or if they even exist. It could be to kill families, steal something or even the possibility that he is going mad. Regardless, it bothers me to see him determined like this."
"Valid observations," Albus acknowledged. "I will keep quiet and not alert anyone so as not to tip our hand of our knowledge. It would be safest to not risk your position within Tom's ranks right now."
"What of Potter? Have you come up with any plans to ... reacquire him?"
"Unfortunately no," Albus said with a sigh. "The goblins are proving to be particularly hostile under questioning and would not allow me to speak with him during the will reading."
"I noticed you haven't been using the Elder wand any longer. Has something happened to it?" Snape asked, curious despite himself. For as long as he had known the old man, he had always had that wand.
"Alas, the wand seemed to have preferred a new master."
"Yes. Harry has apparently found himself in possession of two of the three Deathly Hallows and challenged me for right to the wand with his held in escrow. When we dueled, the wand refused to obey me."
Even with his many years of practice, Snape couldn't keep the shock off of his face. "You mean the brat is the Master of Death?"
"Yes, Severus," Dumbledore sighed once again. "I believe I have been wrong these many years. 'The power he knows not' does not appear to be 'love', as I had originally believed, but 'death'. The display of power as he laid claim to them was ... awesome," the old man breathed out almost reverently.
To the children of Hogwarts, such a description of the events regarding Harry's transformation would have been silly and made them think he was trying to 'get into the times'. But to men of a world centuries behind the muggle and who were more used to the flowery language of the upper class, the word held its full power once again. Snape could recognize that whatever Albus had seen had filled him with awe and made him tremble in its presence.
It also made him weep in horror at his own failings and what kind of promises of the future it whispered into his ear, but Dumbledore had no plans on telling him that.
And for all that Dumbledore's explanation could mean, Snape quickly found his center. "So the brat has yet another title to add to his list. Bah!"
Dumbledore ignored the man's spite and asked, "are you aware of any plans coming up in the near future?"
"Unfortunately no. I believe I will be out of the loop, as it were, until after the Dark Lord can come up with a suitable test of my loyalties."
"I am sorry for the hardships working for the light is causing you, Severus. Thank you for your sacrifices."
"I do as I must," Snape said. 'It isn't as if I am not fond of the ... bonuses, the Dark Lord offers, after all. And it is quite refreshing to do most of what I please, you old fool. If I had my way, I would be rid of the lot of you.'
With the aid of Peter Pettigrew's memories, thoughtfully ripped from the little bastard's mind from her master, Bellatrix LeStrange and her six cohorts, Crabbe, Goyle and Malfoy Juniors, along with their three minders, Julian Calwen, Robertus Magell and Bob, a mindless brute who took up the name as the only thing he knew how to write but had an artistic flair for torture that Bella truly respected, portkeyed into the back hard of Number Four Privet Drive.
"Ittle wittle Death Nibblets," Bella cooed to the three children who had yet to earn the true title of 'Death Eater'. "Do you wemember what we're here to do? Hm? Do ya?"
"Kill Potter and his muggle family after a nice long session of torture," Draco repeated. As the leader of his group, it was left for him to speak. It wasn't as if his two lackeys had a brain cell between them, after all.
"Good!" Bella squealed in delight. "Let's go. You three," she pointed at the older three who were meant to mind the younger ones and became all business, "will go through the front under disillusionment charms. Herd them to the main living area and we'll do our work there."
Without a backward glance or a spoken word, the adults moved like wraiths to the front and did as ordered while she shepherded the youngsters like a mother hen to the back door. "Wemember my 'ittle Nibblers, we don't want to kill wight away. Stunners only."
With that, she blasted the door open and rushed in, letting Malfoy who had followed her right in stun the horse-like woman, though it took his third shot to actually hit her. They saw red lights flash through the doorway and went in quickly to see two very fat males laying prostrate on the floor.
"Find Potty!" Bella hissed, causing the others to move through the house. While the adults moved silently, the children stomped around without apparent care and didn't bother trying to walk on their toes, the little bastards! She would have to speak to her master about this travesty. Too many recruits were like re'em running through a finery shop.
Minutes later, all of her group were back downstairs and giving rather negative reports. "I'm sorry, Auntie Bella, but Potter isn't here. We didn't even find anything magical," Draco whined.
Calwen had silenced the room already, so Bella had no problems screaming in rage and firing a short cruciatus at the largest male. "Where is Potter!"
"AH!" Vernon Dursley screamed as his entire body felt like it were on fire and being pierced by his fishing lures and then pulled. "We don't know! We left the freak at the train station as soon as we saw him!"
"Magell! Read this muggle's mind!" The crazed woman screeched.
Magell stepped forward and pointed his wand at the horrified muggle in front of him. He lived for moment's like this. He was a mind healer at St Mungo's for the past twenty-three years and playing with the memories of his patients was always something he quite enjoyed. Especially the very young and elderly. Always so much easier and there was something twisted about being able to force them to do what he willed. Even better, any mind magic residue was easily explained as his job, thus keeping him out of suspicion regardless of murders, thefts, lost money or even running amok to do various actions that they would normally never do.
Was it any wonder there were so many older women turning tricks in Knockturn Alley?
He entered into the fat man's mind and checked the memory of the train station to see if the muggle had told the truth, only to find the lingering sentinel that was still active.
He was wholly unprepared to meet any form of resistance within Vernon's mind and was therefore not fast enough to protect himself and Magell simply dropped to the ground to those who were on the outside while, within his mind, all of Vernon's memories of beating Harry were put into his mind and he was forced to live through them as Harry Potter.
"What!" Bella screamed in anger. "Enough of this! You! Fat boy! Where is Potter!"
"I ... I don't know!" Dudley cried out through snot-filled sniffles. The freaks were revolting and turning on their betters!
"It's true!" Petunia cried out. "We left the fr- er, the boy at the station and haven't seen him since!"
"Then what happened to Magell? Hm?"
"I don't know!" Petunia screeched. "Please! We don't know where the freak is! Just leave us alone!"
Bellatrix knew she wasn't capable of performing any of the mind arts that would allow her the chance to enter these muggles' memories and see if they were telling the truth, and thankfully her ... unique mindset kept her safe as a natural form of occlumency like a werewolf's. However, they had all night and no one was able to withstand her ministrations for long.
"Drakey Wakey," the psychotic woman cooed.
"Yes, Aunt Bella?"
"You're about the same age as your father was with his first conquest," she explained, running a blackened fingernail down his chin as Petunia's face paled. "You and your friends shall prove yourselves men tonight."
She giggled as she magicked the two male Dursleys into petrified states and used sticking charms on their eyelids to the top of their eye sockets to force them to watch before vanishing Petunia's clothing away.
"Er, do we really have to, Aunt Bella?" Draco asked, frowning at the parchment-like body in front of him.
"Yes!" Bellatrix screeched, hitting all three with spells to increase their blood flow. Regardless of their views of Petunia's beauty, or lack thereof, they were adolescent boys who just got to see their first naked woman. While not a pleasant sight, they found themselves anticipating this new chance. "Now take her!"
"No!" Petunia screeched as the boys began to disrobe. "Please no!"
"Flagellum!" Bella chirruped in glee, letting out a purple string of light lash out and leave an angry red whipping mark on the woman's back, causing her to scream in pain.
"Petunia! You freak bastards! Don't you dare touch my wife!"
Bellatrix cackled as she stuck a pulley to the ceiling above both of the fat males while Calwen took the cue to tie their hands behind their backs. He was a long time raider with Bellatrix and knew the woman's habits. This had been one of her favorite games with muggles when she had time to play. He wasn't too fond of their screams and yells, but he would never again suggest silencing them. That was her favorite part.
With a sticking charm to some rope, they pulled Vernon and Dudley into the air, forcing their arms to straighten and then lift backwards, supporting all of their weight on their shoulders and the socket joints therein.
It came as no surprise that sickening pops could be heard as they failed to support their heavy frames. It was pure skill that had the Death Eaters raise them just right so that the tendons didn't snap, ripping their arms off. Of course, Bella wasn't known for leaving a painful technique with room to improve, so she giggled like a school girl as she pulled out two iron balls attached to thin chains, vanished their clothing, and then attached them with permanent sticking charms to their scrotums, ensuring the chains were tied tightly around each testicle, and then let them dangle even as Petunia's screams filled the air as Malfoy took her without giving her time to become aroused, forcing the tender flesh to begin tearing.
"Now! We're going to ask some questions and you're going to answer promptly and nicely or I'll begin to flay your skin from your bodies! Allow me to show you!" With a high-pitched squee, Bella flicked her wand and a little round smiley face peeled away from Vernon's chest, making his nipples the eyes, bellybutton the nose and the now crescent-shaped wound to smile widely at her.
Vernon yelled in pain as Bob raised his hand, gaining Bella's attention. "'Escuse me, Bella. Kin I be usin' the little whale of a boy? I ain' had any this young'in a long time, er as supple."
Bellatrix frowned and waved the man off with her hand. She was busy playing with the walrus man and didn't have time for both. And she was used to several of the male Death Eaters using boys for their pursuits. Several were kept around between each raid until a new group could be obtained to replace the old and used ones who stopped fighting. He also always took the youngest boy he could find when they raided a muggle home. He had no tastes for women or age. "Whatever. Just leave enough to question later."
Bob smiled a wicked grin and grabbed Dudley's face with a filth-encrusted hand, making him look into his eyes. "I'ma gonna make you squeal like a piggy," Bob said with a smile.
Dudley had just a moment to ponder what the smelly man said before he felt something hot and hard pressing between his arse cheeks and he then did exactly that. He squealed like a piggy.
"Now, now, Mister Muggle," Bella asked as she marched in front of the walrus man with her hands and wand behind her back, even as Malfoy let go and allowed Goyle to replace him and gagged the bitch's screaming for another new experience, "tell ittle widdle ol' me what Dumbledore had planned for Potty's twaining this summer!"
"You bitch! Let my family go or I'll- AH! Fucking freak! AH!" Vernon was cut off as one eyebrow was added to the face on his chest.
"Oooh!" Bella cackled. "You're going to take a long time to learn!"
Throughout the night for the next five hours, Bella and the Death Eaters learned of Harry's pre-Hogwarts life and the hatred the Dursleys held for all magic users, though not before Vernon had been peeled of all flesh and his several layers of fat slid from his body to pool at his dangling feet. He was also missing several teeth, all of his fingernails, the weights tied to his scrotum were summoned (thereby castrating him) and several handfuls of salt had been tossed onto his body after Bella decided she was in a Christmas mood and wanted it to look like bloodied snow.
Dudley had finally gotten to experience sex, but found he had no taste for it as he thought he would from the skin magazines his father had given him. He had never, once in his life, thought he would experience something like that. Especially with a man who didn't own a bathtub. He was screaming everything he knew about the freak as rapidly as possible, even in between finding the other uses a man could use for a mouth.
Bella had been horribly saddened that he was being so forthcoming.
But it had been Petunia that had been the most depressing. Oh, it wasn't that she had no information. No, it was the information she provided that made it so horrible. There was a blood protection ward on the house that, while it kept people from finding the home and kept those of ill intent away, it was powered by an emotion that wasn't shared amongst the primary components. Harry and his blood relatives did not love each other.
Grudging acceptance had been enough to keep Harry Potter in obscurity for the first decade of his life, but that was all. It also kept those who were their enemies from approaching.
That was when Bellatrix had her genius plan!
While Petunia took her punishment from the three youths, and acting far too enthusiastic for Bella's tastes, were she focused more on that, Bella pondered about how they could get through those protections now when they couldn't in the past.
Then she stumbled upon the answer. Her master had created a portkey that went right through. As smart and powerful as the man was, she knew he couldn't do that if what she was told was to be believed. Until she realized Petunia had called it a blood ward.
Which was based on heredity and the life fluid of Harry's mother, meaning her sister and Harry. Lord Voldemort had taken Potter's blood during the ritual that resurrected him, giving him that same degree of protection!
Bella glared at the horse-like woman as she lay slumped on the floor, covered in sweat. None of the boys were selfless enough to pull out of her and had filled her with their seed, but she served a portion of her purpose in making them men now. Bellatrix LeStrange knew that nothing more would be forthcoming from that mind for now. She knew nothing of Potter or his current whereabouts.
But perhaps she could be of use to her master? If that blood protection worked for him, why not now for the Dark Lord?
The psychotic woman looked to Vernon who hung limply from the ceiling, having long since succumbed to bloodletting and was now dead. He had been entertaining, but didn't last nearly as long as others.
The boy, while having his entire bottom half covered in blood and feces, was basically unharmed as well. Bob was a very large man with great strength, and it hadn't taken long to break the boy, much to her ire. He answered everything they asked in between begging for it all to end. She was quite glad Bob would be chaining the little beast in his basement for later so she wouldn't have to deal with it. She would have just killed him, but if things worked out with her plans, but something happened to the bitch, then the little brat would be a good secondary as sharing the same blood.
"Alright!" She barked out suddenly, making Bob shove Dudley's face from his lap and stand from the couch. That tone meant it was time to go. "We'll take the two alive! Bob, you can keep your pet-" she ignored the boy's pig-like squeal or that it caused Bob to react again, "-but I want him kept alive. The bitch is going to meet the Dark Lord. We may have a use of her! First, I want to kill at a neighbor's house and then we leave! Calwen, destroy that," she ordered, pointing at the remains of Vernon Dursley.
As they left, Calwen used a bludgeoning hex to destroy the body so bits of body were flung everywhere before walking across the street to kill the family and cast the dark mark in the air.
Sensors within Arabella Figg's house, designed to look like standard alarms began going off and the woman rushed as quickly as she could to the window to see the smoky green skull and snake in the air.
"Oh no!" She cried out, running to the fireplace to floo call Dumbledore.
"James! Sirius! Cool it!" Hermione scolded as the two tried starting a food fight with the mashed potatoes and an errant carrot had found its path whizzing by her head. The day had progressed with the occupants of the home getting to know one another more than had been the case in the day before.
"Daniel!" Emma also scolded her own husband as the man snorted in an attempt to maintain his laughter. He couldn't help it! Hermione had been commanding Harry and the pranksters just like Lily and they all reacted frighteningly similar to one another. The only difference was that Harry only listened to Hermione and not Lily while they all listened to his daughter. At least until she turned away and wasn't looking any longer.
Luna had already learned 'The Look" in use with Harry. Apparently, she had learned to use it in the beginning stages of the summer or some time during their school year, though Dan was quite sure it was a biological trait.
"What I want to know is how the twins cracked our password," James said, making Remus and Sirius look at him curiously.
"What do you mean?" They asked as one.
"Well, we've specifically designed that map to insult anyone who used any revealing spells on it that could be learned in the Hogwarts library. We scoured that place and even designed it to block two from the restricted section. How did they figure it out? That wasn't exactly a phrase that someone could just think up and we cleared it before Filch nabbed it. He just took everything in our pockets. He didn't know what it was," James clarified, munching on his roast beast. He wasn't sure what it was, but decided he was okay with not knowing.
"You're right," Harry commented. "Snape caught me with it in third year and it insulted his nose," he ended with a snicker.
"Yea, it was keyed to his magical signature, along with all of the faculty of the school," James said proudly. This had been his handiwork. "If anyone, even Dumbledore, tried to use it, then it would insult them with some preset things."
"Perhaps it was Dumbledore," Luna suggested in between making a mashed potato volcano with her fork and gravy lava to trail down to the carrot villagers. She looked up in time to see everyone looking at her. "What? It makes sense. If we take what we know and that he seems to know everything going on within the school, then he may have given it to them, along with the activation phrase. I mean, the Weasleys are ardent supporters of his and they were right in place for it to end up with Harry later on."
"Then why wouldn't he have known what was happening with you?" Hermione asked, hoping to put a hole in Luna's theory. She was almost fully of the mind that Dumbledore was evil, but felt someone had to play Devil's Advocate.
"Who says he didn't?" Dan suggested, causing his daughter to frown, but not speak again. As much as she hated to admit it, she had a feeling he was spot on. Dumbledore always seemed to have a habit of not being around for things that could be handled by other people.
"Where'd Harry go, anyway?" Sirius asked. He hadn't seen Harry since he finished his dinner almost two hours ago. Everyone had been at the table finishing and talking since then.
"Yea, he left right after he ate," James added.
"Even though Shadow Walker is going to be resting a few days to recover his lost rest while protecting us," Luna began, "Harry doesn't want to hold off on training. That's where he was before dinner. He got help from Dobby to locate a room where he could practice various spells for now until he chose to stop."
"He also wanted to explore the house," Hermione admitted. "He wasn't sure which he would be doing for right now."
Indeed. At that very moment, Harry was lost somewhere on what he thought was the third floor and passing a large ballroom for the third time. "Damn it! I'm just going in a bloody straight line!"
An hour later found everyone going to their rooms for a good night's rest. James, Remus and Sirius decided to go to Sirius' room to discuss changes they felt were more personal that hadn't been addressed while Celeste and Xenophilius were given the night free from Luna, at her own discretion, so they could pursue more ... personal acquaintances with one another and rediscover themselves.
Meanwhile, Hermione stopped Luna outside of their bedrooms. "Luna," she said suddenly.
Hermione nibbled on her lower lip and hugged the quirky blonde before pulling back. "By design or just because of the situation, I was with Harry last night and we had a chance to .. er ... bond," she said with a massive blush, causing Luna to smirk knowingly. "Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that I'm going to sleep in my own bed tonight so you can spend time with him."
Luna blinked slowly at the bushy-haired brunette. "Alone?" She asked simply.
"Yes. Is there something wrong with that?"
"No. I just didn't expect that, is all." Luna had been latched to her mother's side all of the previous night and that whole day. The initial elation she had felt for having her mother once again still hadn't left her, and she had been wholly unable to think of much else for more than a few moments at a time. And she now realized that she hadn't really taken the time out to really thank Harry aside from a quick 'thanks' that morning.
Luna leaned forward and kissed Hermione on the cheek. "Thank you," she whispered before going into her room to leave a blushing Hermione in the hall for the few seconds it took her to come out of her shock and chuckle while going to take a long bath.
Harry climbed out of his bath, thankful to have finally found his way back to his room. He had every intention of requesting Dobby make him a map in the next few days and hope the remaining Marauders could enchant it like the Hogwarts one. Maybe give one to everybody in the house. Being lost for two hours within your own home was just sad and wrong.
He changed into his boxers and sleeping shorts and stepped into his bedroom to find Luna laying atop his bed and playing with a glass ball that glowed with a pale blue light he had found in a room that he thought he kept visiting and pilfered that to see if the following rooms were missing it. They were, meaning he went in circles. The girl was dressed in a simple bathrobe and chose to set the ball down as he entered.
"Er, Luna? What are you doing?" Harry asked.
"Hermione said that because she had you alone last night, that I should have you alone tonight. We are hoping to keep everything as balanced between us as possible so that neither of us gain an unfair lead on the other in hopes of making this relationship work out," she responded, slipping under the covers.
"O-oh," Harry stuttered as her robe opened enough in the front as she bent down to show she wore nothing underneath. His adolescent body screamed at how this night was turning similar to the one before it. However, he didn't want to risk thinking this was more than an attempt to share the night together, so he simply climbed into the bed and dimmed the window to ensure the sunlight from what was still the middle of the day outside of the bubble didn't wake them up early.
Once Harry was in bed, Luna turned to him and rested her weight on one arm. "Harry, I know I said it this morning and was in too much shock last night, but thank you for bringing back my mum,' she said, beginning to tear up and leaned down to kiss him gently on the mouth.
After she pulled away, Harry used his thumb to wipe away the tears from her cheeks. "It's okay, Luna. I didn't actually mean to bring anyone back. It was all an accident. And I'm glad I could do it."
"It's more than that, Harry," Luna plead. "Last year, you were the only one who was nice to me without reservation. You gave me a friend when no one else could stand to be around me. Even Neville didn't want to be around me and he wanted a friend just as badly as I did. And then you introduced me to Hermione and, even though we had our differences and were oftentimes at odds on facts, she was always kind to me as well. You've given me a life to live in."
Harry sat up in the bed and leaned against the headboard and pulled the silently crying girl into his arms as she had done for him over the first week at her house and during the majority of the school year during some of their more emotional conversations in the Room of Requirement. "I'm proud to be your friend, Luna, and your boyfriend. Even though I don't know how I did it at the time and that it was an accident, I'd have been willing to try for you regardless. And I will always be your friend. You don't ever have to doubt that."
Luna sat curled into his side and looked up to him and saw the same sincerity he always spoke with. She couldn't help but be thankful he was a part of her life, as a friend or more, it didn't matter. "When my mother died, it was because I released accidental magic that caused an explosion in our oven," she began to explain, glad he was listening and not talking. She had never been able to talk about this before and only with her mother back was she now capable of doing so. "The door of the oven flew off its hinges and hit her, knocking her out. Then the fire spread and the house came down on top of her and I could still hear her screams for a long time ... until they stopped." Luna shivered in his arms.
"Since that day, I've refused to get angry at anyone, no matter what happened. I got angry because she wanted me to do my studies," she laughed sardonically and shook her head, "and I'm a Ravenclaw. But, each and every day since then, I've begged and pleaded with the Goddess to give me my mother back. I swore I would do anything she asked of me if it meant righting my wrong."
"Luna-" Harry began, but was shushed by a dainty finger.
"Let me finish," she asked before taking a steadying breath. "For five years, I lived mostly alone. Daddy was away on a hunt or writing for the paper when not at home, and when he was home, he grew progressively worse to the point where people didn't consider him quite sane any longer. When something came up that he was unsure of how to explain, like love, confusion, pain and misery and the like, he would say some creature caused it."
"Then in school, I was ignored by everyone who wasn't bullying me and no one stepped up to help, even when they knew what was happening." She looked at him, her eyes shining with unshed tears. "For four years, the only people who noticed me wanted to hurt me. And then you came into my life and actually spoke with me, talked and listened and confided with me. I was terrified at first, trying to figure out what you were planning to do to me. The nicer a person was, the worse they hurt me and you were being a true friend. I was sure that whatever was going to happen, I wasn't likely to recover from it."
Harry opened his mouth to deny ever planning anything of the sort, but she continued on, heedless of his intentions. "But you didn't do anything like that, and I came to depend on you. Our talks after you started the DA had become something to look forward to. I had been thinking that if ever the Goddess chose to grant me my mother back, then I had to take and accept whatever punishments she delivered to me through my peers at Hogwarts. And with my oath to my mother to never again get angry, I accepted them all without retaliation."
Luna looked into Harry's eyes and he found himself unable to look away. For the first time since he had ever met the girl, her silvery blue-gray eyes were rock steady and the spark of magic within her did its best to shine through. "I swore to the Goddess to do anything and everything to get my mother back. And you've given her to me. Whether it was by some grand design or sheer happenstance, I now have my mother back. And I'm here tonight as much out of my desire to be with you as it is my oath I promised to the Goddess."
Luna laid back and opened her robe, showing her naked glory to Harry whose mouth had suddenly turned dry. "Harry, for whatever reason, you were the one to give me my grandest wish and desire. And I'm offering myself for whatever payment you would have of me."
Harry choked back a cough in the back of his throat as his blonde girlfriend just offered him quite literally anything his mind could consider. And he knew immediately what he wanted.
He leaned forward, stroking the side of Luna's face with featherlight touches of his fingers, causing her to sigh and close her eyes before he leaned down and kissed her gently for a brief moment before raising back up. "Any debts you feel you owe me, Luna, are now paid in full."
Luna's eyes shot open. "What?"
Harry smirked. "Luna, there are two things you should understand. First, your kisses are worth braving any odds and any sum of gold," he said, partly because he felt kissing was a very enjoyable pastime and partly to watch the beautiful blush that erupted on her face. "Second, you are more to me than a beautiful body. Even if I somehow brought you mother back, any debts from your oath would belong to the Goddess, not me. I didn't, and even according to the rules I got, couldn't have brought her back on my own. So anything you felt you owed me is paid."
Luna swallowed and another tear trickled down her cheek. She had been slightly disappointed that he was taking her offer and was going to take whatever payment he felt he deserved, but only because she had literally offered him anything he wanted! Any boy she knew, except apparently Harry, would have leapt at that chance. But she was so fixated on the oath she had sworn to the Goddess that she hadn't really thought through who really held that debt.
She was also disappointed because it didn't happen.
"I'm sorry," she said quietly. "I shouldn't have suggested that. I just thought ... well, with what you and Hermione did last night, that you would want ... I don't know ... I wasn't really thinking, I suppose," she said, watching Harry blush. "I just knew you were responsible, no matter how much so, and wanted to thank you."
"Sh-she told you?" He stuttered out.
"Of course," Luna sounded truly confused. "We don't want to go too much further than the other and want to be as open about everything as we can so there are no secrets that could cause us trouble and make this not work."
"Oh, that makes sense," he considered.
"Would," Luna hesitated a moment before grabbing Harry's hand an placing it over her heart. "Would you like to explore each other? Get to know the differences in our bodies? We didn't really have much time in the shower and Hermione said you didn't do much of this last night."
Harry swallowed thickly and nodded, causing Luna to smile serenely. "What, er, do I do?"
Luna pondered on that for a moment before shrugging. "Let's say that you can touch anywhere and learn what my different bits are and how they feel. Just don't stick anything into anywhere without permission first."
"Of course not," Harry said immediately, not really feeling like she was accusing him, just stating a boundary. "But ... how do you want me to ...?"
Luna pulled Harry's hand up to her lips and kissed his knuckles before extending his fingers and tracing them down her neck slowly, leading to her breasts and sighing at the tingly sensation his touch left. "My breasts are a C-cup, in case you're curious," she said, watching his eyes follow his hand. "And most often, men will focus on our nipples, but it's really the underside that is where many should pay attention to. The nipples feel wonderful, and we enjoy them being played with, but focusing only on them leaves the rest feeling left out. Touch them. Feel them. Taste them, if you would like. Describe it to me," she demanded softly, taking Hermione's not-so-subtle advice that, while his ministrations were pleasant the night before, he was a standard clueless male who needed to learn about foreplay.
Harry blushed, but nodded, taking control to gently cup his hand around the soft, fleshy orb and squeeze and caress it, gently rolling a nipple through his thumb and forefinger. "They're very soft and incredibly smooth, kind of like silk," began to tell her, getting lost in her body as it writhed beneath him. "They're actually kind of firm though, like there's something inside that keeps them round and in the air."
"And my nipples?" She asked, finding herself enjoying this very much.
"Are bright pink," he said as he traced his fingertip around the puckered nubs on both breasts. "The nipple is big and round, but the area around it that is the same color is only a little bigger, maybe an inch."
"That's very good, Harry. Now taste them," she demanded, watching him with darkened eyes as he blushed, but leaned down to do as he was told.
Harry immediately sucked on the little pink nub and flicked it with his tongue, causing the blonde to squirm pleasantly underneath him and mewl happily in response. He took her earlier advice and gently rubbed the underside of her breast before switching to the other nipple while his hand pinched and rolled the first. "A little like soap," he said with a smirk, "but definitely something that can be addicting." Almost as if to prove his point, he leaned down for another war between them and his tongue.
"I took a bath to be clean before coming here," she said distractedly. "Now continue and describe what you see."
In mild disappointment, Harry left his new toys and kissed his way down her stomach before stopping at her bellybutton to rub it with his hand. "Your tummy is smooth and just as soft. How do you do that?" He asked in sudden awe.
"Do what?" Luna asked, holding her hand over top of his and following the patterns he traced around her bellybutton while holding back a giggle. It tickled wonderfully.
"How do girls feel so different than boys?"
"We're known as the fairer sex for a reason, Harry," she said.
Harry smiled in agreement before running his fingers further down. "This is where we are most different," he said, very lightly running his fingers along the outside edge of Luna's swollen and slick folds, proof positive that she was enjoying this as much as he was. Not to mention a wonderful squeak once his hand made contact.
"The 'vagina', yes," Luna breathed out. "But I think for our bedtime fun, we should call it a 'pussy'. Less clinical and I enjoy dirty talk."
Harry choked in the back of his throat and his hand accidentally twitched, pressing into her hard and making her moan. "A-alright."
Luna let out a long, shuttering breath and then looked at him. "My turn. I'd like to explore you."
Harry nodded and pulled his shorts and boxers off of himself in one movement before laying on his back while Luna straddled one leg and cocked her head to the side as she trailed her fingers along his chest.
"Your pectorals are quite firm," she mused. "From riding a broom so much, no doubt. While it does nothing for stamina, it seems to have given you strong hands and abdominals." She ran her fingernails over his stomach to watch the white trails fade slowly. "A bit hairier than a woman, as well, but thankfully very little."
She slid herself down his leg, purposefully running her wet lips over his leg for both friction and to tease him as she scratched lightly down to his pelvis. "Thick and curly pubic hair surrounding what, according to Teen Witch Weekly is an above-average penis."
"I n-noticed you shaved since the shower," Harry said, feeling a small bit of pride at the fact that he was bigger than average. He was also quite happy she didn't say it was first hand experience that she knew that.
"Hermione said it made your nose tickle," she said, examining his phallus. "Now be a good boy. I want to examine." She firmly wrapped her hand around his shaft, marveling at how hot it was. It was like a rod of iron wrapped in velvet and she could almost swear she felt it pulsing. "Hermione was right. It does get hot. I just thought it was because the water was cooler in the shower." She gave him a few soft strokes and watched his face as closed his eyes and let out a breathy sigh.
Harry couldn't help it. This was more than he could safely take so quickly and with what he would later learn to be called foreplay having been going on for several minutes now, he was almost at his limit just on pure excitement and knew he was almost done. He didn't want that yet, so he raised his leg that Luna was sitting on, getting a surprised squawk as Luna fell on top of him where he crushed his lips to her own and firmly grabbed one of her arse cheeks in each hand and squeezed, getting a delighted moan from his blonde girlfriend.
Luna had been enjoying giving Harry orders, but having him take such sudden charge and with such ferocity sent a thrill down her spine that ended with his strong hands kneading her arse. And the best part was the feeling of that rock hard shaft rubbing against her clit with every move she made. "What – pant – brought that on?" She asked once his lips chose to attack her collarbone. 'Oh sweet Goddess! Thank you! Thank you!'
"If you kept up on that, I would have erupted all over you," he panted, holding her tightly to him and loving the feel of her soft, heated skin on his own. He had had some of that with Hermione the night before, but not like this. This was full body contact with her weight over him and he realized he absolutely loved it.
"But, I still want to thank you for my mum," Luna said with a frown before her eyes alighted and she pulled back to look at him with a mischievous twinkle. "Would you like a repeat performance of our shower together?" She asked, causing him to blush fiercely. She was quite ... blunt in her query.
"Actually, I was, er, hoping to see if you would like what I learned with Hermione and 'return the favor' from that day," he admitted sheepishly. "I didn't expect to do it this soon, but ...," he shrugged, the end obvious.
"But I'd like to thank you and I rather enjoyed that," she pondered, looking away from him and settling into thinking mode. It was made a little difficult with him already naked underneath of her.
Harry, however, considered the problem in a different way. "Why not both?" He suggested. "You can lay on top of me like this, but turned about, and we can try it at the same time."
"Sounds kinky," she responded happily while getting onto her knees and throwing one leg over him to give him a bird's eye view of her round bottom and completely shaved, glistening pussy, making Harry's eyes bulge. It was always the quiet ones!
"Er ... are you sure you're okay with me doing this?" Harry asked, feeling less sure of himself after actually making the suggestion.
"Weren't you the one to offer it?" Luna asked while looking over her shoulder before shaking her head. "No matter, no matter. Hermione said this was rather enjoyable and I'd like to see what her expression meant." Granted, that expression had been shuddering and squeezing her thighs together, but that spoke volumes to a hormonal teenager.
"I just wanted to be sure you were okay with this and actually wanted to do it," he said, remembering her earlier statements.
As if to answer for him, she simply leaned forward and took him as fully into her mouth as she could, only getting about half of it before he hit the back of her throat, and then began to bob forward and back. She had truly enjoyed doing this for him. It made her incredibly happy to know that she could cause him so much pleasure.
Harry moaned out loud and his eyes rolled into the back of his head as he experienced this for the first time while not standing up and the change was vastly different! Not only did he get to use more of his focus on what he was feeling and not on remaining standing, but he could feel her breasts sliding over his skin and felt the heat of her body over his and could smell a wonderful musky aroma from her and decided she had the right of it earlier.
He grasped her firmly by her round bottom and pulled her into his face, attacking her fiercely with his tongue, tasting her and made Luna squeal in delight onto his cock. Once Harry had assaulted her clit as Hermione had explained to him the night before, he spent some time memorizing the feel of her folds around his tongue and exploring the little nooks and crannies he could find, all the while memorizing what Luna's reactions were.
He also pondered on her taste. Hermione had been somewhat sweet and a taste unique to the whole experience that decided was more because it was sex, in a fashion. Luna, however, while having that same unique taste he could recognize from the night before, wasn't so much sweet as she was ... he didn't know how to explain it. He would say 'sweet', but it wasn't like honey, as Hermione had been, but more like the sweet from fruit. It was there, but was a taste unique to the fruit.
Somehow, that made sense to Harry. If fruits were unique, why not girls?
Harry then decided to try something he hadn't with Hermione, who had been his coach in the previous night's explorations. He dropped his tongue lower on her body and began to snake his way in and out of the deepest parts of her he could find and failed to repress a groan of pleasure as Luna moaned into him again as she felt the slight sensation of his tongue emulating what it would feel like when she had all of him within her.
Suddenly, it was too much and he pulled back just long enough to warn Luna. "Luna! I'm about to cum!" He went back to work as she lowered her hips into his face and began to bob her head faster, using her hands to pump his shaft as quickly as she dared.
And then she just suddenly stopped and rolled off of him to lay down beside him on her back. "Straddle my chest, Harry. I want you to titty-fuck me," she said quickly, breathing heavily and using the wand that was barely within reach to cast a charm over her breasts that covered them in a slick fluid.
Harry was too far gone and knew precisely what she meant, so he did as he was told. He put a leg over her and positioned his erection between her breasts and allowed her a moment to squash them together before he began to thrust his hips forward and he discovered a new form of happiness. Luna's mouth had been hot, wet and wonderful. Her breasts, however, were warm, soft and practically heaven as Luna opened her mouth and began to suck on the head of his cock each time he shoved himself between her wonderful, fleshy globes.
Having Harry lick her pussy had been as maddening as it was incredible for Luna, but she had been sincere when she said she would do anything earlier. While Harry had claimed his reward with a kiss, she decided she would still thank him by giving him a new experience. One in which she had dreamt about quite often, in fact, and was hoping to try anyway. Her breasts were more sensitive than normal and she actually spent almost equal amounts of time playing with them as she did diddling herself. For her, it simply worked.
And when Harry had said he was about to cum, she had been right there on the edge with him. She had never before been in such a situation as any of the lusty moments as she had the last week. While it was just an enjoyable blowjob in the shower a week ago, and then various forms of touching when they woke up in a pile, she had been anticipating going further almost every minute of every day.
"Ng! Luna!" Harry begged, almost finished.
The past few nights had her dreaming of Harry encased in her titties and that fantasy for her was now coming to fruition.
"LUNA!" Harry erupted over Luna's face as he thrust himself forward one last time after Luna grabbed his arse and held him in place to suck him dry of his cum even as an orgasm raced throughout her own body. While nowhere near as powerful as what she would have received under the direct assault of Harry's tongue, she had wanted him to cum tonight for bringing back her mother. And performing this act had seen to that, while seeing to a fantasy she had held as well.
Harry, however, was not quite as pleased. He wasn't aware Luna came, so he immediately knelt between her legs once again as she lay panting on her back after her most recent orgasm and then began to pick up where he left off, much to Luna's wide-eyed shock as she arched her pussy into his face.
"I'm returning the favor," Harry said quickly before putting her legs over his shoulders and holding her in place over his mouth and working as fast as he could just above that little nub Hermione had said was so key.
"Harry!" Luna shrieked, torn between loving the building second orgasm and hating it for being so sensitive. "I- I- I-" She began to be unable to even say that single word as Harry's strokes began to get harder and longer, forcing her entire body to rock back and forth. He had begun to attack her clit directly and stroked the spot just above it with his finger, taking her once again over the edge.
She clamped her legs to the side of his head so hard that he could barely hear her scream, but he refused to stop licking as he watched her throw her head back and abuse her own nipples painfully in the throws of her orgasm.
To Harry, seeing her like that, with her face, neck and chest covered in his cum, it showed promise that he could make his girls happy and that he wouldn't fail at this. He had succeeded in 'returning the favor' appropriately.
Three days later found Harry, Hermione and Luna meeting up with the goblin duo once more to find out how the next three months in Bubble-Time were going to play out. Aureus was quite chipper, but Shadow Walker was a little more grumpy than usual since he wasn't quite fully awake and rested, but he wouldn't be using much energy in supervising Harry's initial workouts.
"Girls," Aureus said as she gave Hermione and Luna large belt buckles like her own. They were large, flat discs of metal made from platinum about as wide as their fists with an interesting spiral design. "Within these buckles are razor wire which will become a hidden weapon for you and will be utilized thusly."
She took several steps away from the others where numerous wooden posts were stuck into the ground and the spool came undone in a strangely complex pattern before lashing out like a large number of tendrils of black string, cutting the wooden posts to nothing but mulch within two seconds, much to everyone's shock.
"This wire is controlled by channeling your magic into it and then controlling it like a puppeteer controls a marionette. Good if you are caught by an opponent and need to dispatch them. It can take out the people around you if you are surrounded as well or even block physical-impact spells like bludgeoners and cutting spells. Even the killing curse if you can move the wire fast enough, which you will be able to do."
"The downside, however, is that it is very messy," Aureus continued. "This was wood and look at my clothing." Each did so and only now noticed that she was covered in a very thin coat of sawdust. "Were they human or animal, I would be drenched in blood right now."
Aureus willed her wire back into her belt buckle and folded her hands behind her back. "I will also begin teaching all of you the mental arts from dinner to two hours afterwards each night, no exceptions. The girls will get medical training each weekend that Mister Potter is allowed to attend if he is able, but that and mental arts will be all we do on the weekends."
"I will also be teaching you to use daggers and throwing weapons along with current wizard etiquette and wandless magic." Finished, she looked to Shadow Walker who sneered. It was too damned early for this shit!
"We will all be doing physical training in the mornings from five to seven when you will then eat breakfast. However, Mister Potter is my sole responsibility." He looked to Harry. "Your mates will work under Aureus. She specializes in speed, flexibility and finesse where I will teach you speed and stealth so your enemies won't even know they have died. I will also make you gain enough muscle to make you a respectable warrior."
Grunting, Shadow Walker continued while ignoring both girls' thoughts on Harry bulking up. That wasn't the case, as he was just going to make the puny human stronger, but he didn't care about correcting them right now. "After breakfast, we will work on your weapons and magical casting until lunch. After lunch, we will work on your course-like studies: arithmancy, Runes, warding, ward breaking and the like until one hour before your dinner where you will then be forced to duel until the hour is up. You will have the weekends free save for what Aureus would have you do or your human minders."
"You will either succeed in our goals for you," Aureus began, hoping to explain how serious this was going to be before Shadow Walker finished for her, tired of talking.
"Or you will break. We will find our jobs done with whatever happens first," he said, making the three humans gulp.
"Now, let's do some running."
[Author's Note] – The training was explained because there shall be a time-skip in the next chapter.
I appreciate those of you who are making me defend points in my story. As an example, "Nosferatum" asked me how they would not run out of air if nothing could bypass the time bubble (spells, rain, air, etc.) I will explain that in this chapter for the sake of clearing up all remaining loose ends. Some will be reiterated that I've already said, but because it's being explained to different people (and because I'm now going to explain the air situation and let the readers know how I'm handling certain things.) Please give me a LITTLE leeway, however, regarding some of this. While some things may not seem viable in our universe or with our own physics, anything that needs a little boost or just simply defies everything we know, assume it was the physics run with magic, not our own concepts of space, time and reality.
Again, I don't mind criticism, but try to give me a way to respond, otherwise, I have to pad my word count to tell you to be patient and see how things get resolved. Three years is a lot of time for things to go smoothly, after all. Something needs to be done to make it more interesting to the readers and to allow the characters opportunities to grow and develop.