HP/Farscape crossover: John Crichton and his family return to Earth in the year 2021, to find Great Britain and Europe decimated. In his search for answers, John finds a woman who has been huntin...
Harry stepped through the hatch of the transport pod and paused, breathing in the fresh, earthy smell of the Welsh summer. He blinked at the brightness of the sun, the dazzling blue of the sky and myriad greens of the hollow and surrounding woods. The cottage sat quietly, its stone walls and brightly painted gables cementing the feeling of home.
Feeling a presence behind him, Harry turned to see Ron and Hermione wearing much the same expressions of dazzled bliss as he was. He moved down the steps towards the ground to let them emerge and smell the air as well. The Crichtons, following behind, were far more nonchalant, though John did have a small, nostalgic smile tugging at his lips.
"Dobby!" Harry called.
The house elf appeared with a loud pop and immediately bounced forward to hug Harry's legs. "Master Harry is home at last! Dobby has missed cooking and cleaning for Master Harry and his Wheezy and Miss Grangey! Order peoples never make messes, hardly ever stay for meals--"
"Dobby," Harry interrupted gently. "It's good to see you, too. I'm sorry you've been bored. Maybe you should take up a hobby."
"Oh, Dobby should not have complained, Dobby is a bad house elf...Dobby wishes Master Harry would give Dobby permission to punish himself."
"Sorry, old friend." Harry smiled. "I'm not going to have you ironing your hands for telling me the truth." Dobby looked like he still wanted to argue, so Harry quickly distracted him. "Dobby, can you please go inform the Order that we're back for a visit? Then come back and start cooking; I think we'll have a few people for you to feed tonight."
The house elf brightened up immediately, overjoyed to be given work at last. "Of course, Master Harry Potter sir!" He popped out again.
Harry turned to the rest of the visiting group: the Crichton family, Remus, Tonks, and the Weasley twins, in addition to himself, Ron, and Hermione. And standing apart, looking around her with wide-eyed wonder, Muoma. "I'd guess we'll have guests arriving soon. Shall we head inside and get comfortable?"
In addition to those who had been taken into Harry's confidence prior to his departure, there were a few other familiar faces among those who gathered in Godric's Hollow that evening. The entire Weasley clan was there, minus Percy but including Ginny, who had just graduated from Hogwarts after completing her NEWTs. Since the school term was over, Headmistress McGonnagal and her deputy headmaster Professor Flitwick had been invited by Bill Weasley, as had Mad-eye Moody and Kingsley Shacklebolt. Moody spent his time glaring suspiciously at the Crichtons and Muoma, who were seated in a corner and not interacting with the rest.
The portrait of Hermione Weasley still hung on the wall where Harry had placed it before they left; she had volunteered to stay behind and assist those who would be hunting the Horcruxes as much as she could. The portrait had taken one look at her younger self, as well as Harry and Ron, and whistled appreciatively. She had never, in her entire life, been in that kind of shape, and neither had Ron or Harry. All three of them had developed the physique and presence of professional soldiers: lean, graceful, and alert. Ron, especially, was looking mighty tasty....
Once everyone had arrived and the initial excited chatter had died down somewhat, Harry stood and asked everyone to find a seat. Once everyone was quiet, Harry told the story of his sixth year at Hogwarts and the mission Dumbledore had left him with, for the benefit of those who had not attended the last meeting.
"Last March," he continued, "we received information, brought to us by the people you see here to my left: John Crichton, his wife Aeryn Sun-Crichton, their two children Zhaan and D'Argo, and Muoma of the Eidolons. And before you say anything, Mad-Eye, I trust them." Moody grumbled and shifted, his magical eye never leaving the group of strangers, but he said nothing. A few others chuckled at Harry's pre-emptive warning.
"With the information they brought us, I was able to hand over my mission to others much better qualified than I to fulfill it, and begin my true task of readying myself to defeat Voldemort. Bill," he turned to the oldest Weasley son, "you said you had good news?"
Bill Weasley stood up and pulled a small object from his pocket. With a tap of his wand, it expanded into a mid-sized wooden trunk. "The objects you asked us to find are in here. There is the ring and diary that were already in your possession, to which we've added a gold cup, a silver locket, and a jeweled broach. The only thing we haven't managed to acquire is the snake."
Harry smiled broadly. Turning to the portrait on the wall, he asked, "They're all correct?"
The elder Hermione nodded. "The broach is the one we never found; in the last timeline, Voldemort replaced it with a tiara from the Malfoy vault, and we never verified its provenance. We had caught Nagini by chance away from her master a year or two earlier; you'll have to think of something to lure her out this time."
"Leave that to me, Harry," Bill offered brightly. "The Hindu mages have some wonderful snake charms; a friend of mine at Gringotts, Ravil Khan, taught me a few some years back. The Egyptians were fond of using poisonous snakes as part of their tomb protections, so the charms have come in handy."
McGonnagal spoke up at that point, having listened in silence to the entire story. "Mr. Potter, am I correct in understanding that the destruction of these objects, including the snake, will make You-Know-Who vulnerable again?"
"In the sense that, if killed, he will stay dead this time, yes. He's still a very powerful dark wizard with several dozen lackeys and a skill with magic that only Dumbledore could rival. The task is just as difficult as it has always been, but if we succeed, the victory will be permanent."
"You said something about readying yourself," Kinglsey asked with professional interest.
Harry shrugged. "We've been training since March. Tonks and Remus have been handling the magic stuff; I'm starting to be able to hold my own against them--"
Tonks broke in. "What he fails to mention is that 'holding his own' means he can take on the two of us together and beat us eight times out of ten." She stood and walked over to join Harry at the front of the room. "Ron and Hermione aren't quite there yet, but they're doing amazingly well. They can each take either of us one on one and win about half the time. I was hoping to recruit a bit of extra help while we're here."
Moody scowled at her, his magic eye still not leaving the corner where the Crichtons were seated. "Didja have someone in mind, girl?"
Tonks nodded. "For dueling skills, either Kingsley or Professor Flitwick. Kingsley is far more skilled at Auror techniques than I am; I was still very new in the ranks, after all. Professor Flitwick was a dueling master, so I imagine he can provide instruction in that, as well."
The dark-skinned Auror looked gratified at Tonks' praise, but shook his head. "I can't be leaving my job and my family for that long, I'm afraid. I'd be glad to help while you're here, though."
Flitwick, on the other hand, was practically bouncing in his seat. "I would be delighted to assist in your training, Mr. Potter. Imagine, traveling in space, seeing Jupiter at close range...oh, yes, I would love to come with you!"
Moody grunted derisively. "All well and good, but your bloody proper dueling spells aren't gonna take down Voldemort. The boy needs to fight fire with fire!"
"Are you volunteering, Professor Moody?" Harry asked, giving an ironic tone to the title the man had never actually carried.
"Hrmph. Damn right I am. I always said, age and treachery trumps youth and enthusiasm. Voldemort's got Potter on both counts, but let's see what happens when I teach the enthusiastic youth a bit of treachery and show him the tricks it's taken most of a century for me to learn."
Tonks looked at Harry and smiled. They'd talked for hours about how to convince the cranky retired Auror to help, and here he'd gone and volunteered without them having to say a word.
After some discussion of logistics, Bill Weasley brought the subject back to the Horcruxes in the trunk. "Harry, how do you plan to destroy these? I can tell you, except for the two you already had, these objects are protected by layers upon layers of dark protection spells, tampering curses, and Merlin knows what else. I'm amazed you kids managed to get them the first time without getting killed; even knowing where the traps were, we still had a few hairy moments. Hermione's portrait told me not to mess with them, and having seen those spells, I have no urge to try anything."
Harry blinked. All of their efforts up until March had been put into simply finding the Horcruxes. He'd given almost no thought to what happened next. He turned to the portrait, eyes pleading. "What did we do with them last time?"
The woman in the portrait bit her lip, looking uncomfortable. "Destroying those objects was one of the most difficult and painful parts of our quest, Harry, and we only dealt with one at a time. You'll recall what happened to Professor Dumbledore when he destroyed Slytherin's ring?"
Harry winced, recalling the old man's withered, blackened arm, and nodded.
"We tried everything we could think of when we finally found the locket. Acids, potions, explosives, and a blast furnace. Nothing touched it. After a few months, Harry, you got sick of waiting, put the locket on and opened it."
There were gasps from many around the room. "What happened?" Harry asked, not sure if he really wanted to know.
"It was a battle of wills. The soul fragment in the Horcrux tried to possess you, just as the diary did to Ginny back in her first year. You fought it. It took hours, hours you spent in agony, your scar bleeding, screaming until your voice was gone. Ron and I couldn't do anything but watch." The older echo of Hermione seemed nearly overcome with emotion.
"I won, I presume?"
"Yes," the portrait agreed. "It left you unconscious for several days, and it was weeks before you were fully recovered. And then when we found the cup, you did it again. And it was worse. Nagini was easy by comparison; all we had to do was kill her. But the tiara, despite the fact that it was a decoy, was nearly as difficult to destroy as the cup and the locket. You almost died."
"Well, that settles it, then," Remus declared. "We'll have to find another way."
Harry nodded, relieved. If taking on just one at a time took so much out of him, he'd never manage to defeat all three together, or even in sequence. Not without the months of rest between them that he'd apparently had in the last timeline, and he'd lose the benefit of most of their training if they did it that way. Not to mention wasting all those months while Voldemort kept killing innocents and gaining power.
The Order members argued over the options for nearly half an hour, but no one came up with anything that hadn't been tried the last time around, in some variation.
Finally, one figure rose from the group in the corner and raised his hand. The Crichtons had stayed quiet up until now, but D'Argo cleared his throat and brought the room to a sudden silence.
"Um, sorry if this is a stupid question," the young man said quietly, "but why don't you just shoot the frelling things into the sun and be done with them?"
In the end, it had been just that simple. The wizards had been dumbstruck at the suggestion; even the ones who had spent the last few months on Moya had not thought of such a simple solution. Arthur Weasley, who later admitted that Astronomy hadn't been his best subject, questioned whether the heat of the sun would be any more effective than the blast furnace tried in the last timeline.
"Well," D'Argo replied, rubbing his thumb across his bottom lip thoughtfully, "I don't know how hot your 'blast furnaces' get--"
"About 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit," Hermione piped up, then blushed as everyone looked at her.
D'Argo paused, then smiled at the young witch. "Right. Well, your Sun's surface is about 10,000 degrees on that scale, over three times as hot. And the deeper you go, the hotter it gets."
"But would that really be enough?"
Before the free-for-all discussion could get going, Harry chuckled darkly. The others paused, curious. "Harry? Do you think it will work?" Arthur asked.
"I'm actually almost hoping it doesn't."
"What?" Several voices exclaimed in unison.
Harry didn't flinch, and his eyes glinted with a cold light. "If the Horcruxes survive, then when I kill Voldemort, his spirit will be drawn to them. I can't think of a more perfect fate for the monster who wants immortality, than to achieve it and be forced to burn for eternity in the heart of a sun."
That had ended the discussion handily; within four hours, the shrunken trunk with the Horcruxes had been brought up to Moya, loaded into a disarmed torpedo, and fired into the sun from the closest range the Leviathan could manage without hurting herself. There would be no way to know when (or if) the objects were destroyed, but Harry was satisfied that either way they were permanently out of the reach of any who might seek to restore Voldemort to life yet again.
With that task out of the way, Harry and his friends spent the next week at Godric's Hollow, gathering supplies, testing some of the twins' more dangerous toys, and training with Kingsley and Mad-Eye.
Ginny Weasley dropped by for the first day of training, and despite the fact that she was the only one in the group with a NEWT in Defense Against the Dark Arts (the others had never gone back for their last year at Hogwarts), she found herself quickly outclassed. Ron and Hermione were throwing spells faster than she could even think of them, rolling and dodging like acrobats. Ginny never lasted longer than thirty seconds against either of them.
At lunchtime, she sat alone in the shade of a large oak tree, near the stone wall that surrounded the property. After a few minutes, she heard footsteps and looked up in time to see Hermione drop gracefully into a seated position beside her.
"How are you doing, Ginny? I didn't get a chance to talk to you last night at the meeting. How did your NEWTs go?"
"They were horrid. I did practically nothing but sleep for a week afterwards. I got O's in DADA and Charms, E's in Potions, Transfiguration, and Runes, and scraped by with A's in everything else. I was so proud of my DADA score, which was mostly thanks to you and Harry and in spite of years of horrid teachers. But now...."
"You're feeling inadequate?"
Ginny glared at her friend. "That was blunt, thank you Hermione."
Hermione just gave the younger woman a quiet smile. "Ginny, we've spent four hours a day, every day for the last three months doing nothing but learning and practicing defensive and offensive spells, with an Auror and the best DADA teacher we ever had at Hogwarts as instructors. Another four hours on those days were spent in physical training. We've all been through the rough equivalent of Auror School, two or three years of specific training squeezed into those few months. You're very good, Ginny, but you haven't been through what we have."
"I wish I'd been able to come with you, back in the spring. I would have, if Mum hadn't waited to tell me until you'd already left."
Hermione sighed. "And I wish I'd been able to finish my seventh year, take my NEWTs, and have a normal life. Are you still planning to be a Healer? I know you were getting some training from Madame Pomfrey last year."
Ginny didn't answer for a moment. She was watching Harry, Ron, and the two younger Crichtons sitting about ten yards away. All four were laughing at some joke at that moment, but what Ginny was noticing was how close Harry was sitting to Zhaan Crichton, and how often he looked at the dark-haired girl with that shy smile Ginny knew so well.
"Ginny?" Hermione prompted.
"Yes, I'm going for training at Saint Mungo's in a month." It wasn't the answer she'd have given that morning. She'd come to Godric's Hollow fully intending to join her friends in their training on Moya...and win back Harry Potter. But she could see now that neither goal was realistic. She was so far behind the others that she'd only slow them down. And Harry... Harry had moved on and found someone new, even if he didn't realize it himself yet.
Ginny found herself wondering why she wasn't more upset. A week ago, had she been asked, she was sure she'd have declared her continuing love for Harry Potter and her desire to rekindle the relationship he'd put on hold over two years previously. Could it be that she'd gotten over him and not realized?
Looking at the young woman Harry was sitting with, Ginny found herself actually pleased for him. Zhaan Crichton had a grace and confidence Ginny rarely saw in girls her own age. She wasn't silly, giggly, vain or superficial. She seemed to be what Harry needed: a partner, an equal, someone to stand by his side in the trials that awaited him, not a frail china doll needing rescue and protection, nor a clinging vine to drag him down.
It was a role that Ginny had once imagined herself filling. Why wasn't she angry? Jealous? Ready to tear the interloper's hair out by the roots?
Damn it, why did I have to go and grow up?
"My brain hurts," Hermione groaned, lying on her back on the mat. Harry and Ron, in matching repose around the training area, turned to stare at her in disbelief.
"'Mione?" Ron asked, as if doubting her very identity.
The exhausted young woman glared back, daring her friends to make a joke. "What? Even Professor McGonnagal never made us learn this many difficult spells so quickly."
"Those are just never words I expected to hear from your mouth," Harry explained. "You're the brains of this team; if you're starting to crack under the pressure, what hope of survival do Ron and I have?" He grinned tiredly, taking the sting out of his joke.
"I know what you mean, though," Ron consoled her. "We finished six of our seven years at Hogwarts; I didn't realize there were so many spells left that we didn't know."
Hermione gave a wry smile at her boyfriend. "I mentioned something like that to Professor Flitwick the other day. He told me we finished learning the seventh year NEWT-level spells in the first couple of weeks he was here, since Remus and Tonks had already taught us most of them. What he's been showing us since are more advanced magic, professional dueling spells and a few things he's developed himself over the years. In muggle terms, we've already finished university and are working towards our doctorates in magical combat."
"Wicked," was Ron's exhausted response.
After a few more minutes of silent prostration, Zhaan and D'Argo Crichton walked into the dueling chamber. "You guys done shooting little bolts of light at each other?" D'Argo asked.
Harry growled in mock indignation. "'Little bolts of light'? I'll show you little bolts of light!" He then flung a mild stinging hex at his half-Sebacean friend, who dodged easily, laughing.
"Now, now, boys, play nice," Zhaan drawled, mimicking the Southern accent her father occasionally affected. She came over and sat down next to Harry, leaning back against his bent legs. "Hey," she said.
"Hey, yourself. All finished with your afternoon Leviathan-maintenance?"
"Yeah, it was a light day. Moya hasn't taken any damage or even strained her resources for over four monens now, so her systems aren't needing as much work as usual."
Harry paused for a moment at the thought that, to Moya's crew, taking damage and straining resources was considered the norm.
D'Argo, the only one still standing, coughed slightly after a few minutes to interrupt the two couples' conversations. "Remember my 'secret project'? It's done if you'd like to come see."
The three formerly-exhausted teens scrambled to their feet eagerly; D'Argo's project had been a source of much speculation amongst them, and D'Argo himself had been having a lot of fun teasing them with the secret.
"Bring your brooms and meet me in the hangar bay," he instructed.
Within less than five hundred microts, they arrived, all three magical teens carrying brooms. During their last trip down to Earth, after dealing with the Horcruxes, Harry and Ron had gotten together and decided to buy Hermione a broom of her own. They chose a model from the Comet line, one marketed--though they never told Hermione this--to the older generations of wizards. It was built for stability, not speed, but it was safe and reliable: exactly what Hermione needed to overcome her dislike of flying.
As they walked into the hangar bay, they all looked up and gaped in astonishment at the spectacle before them.
Up near the ceiling, curving and diving, flew D'Argo. He was riding a long, sleek device that resembled a speeder bike from Return of the Jedi--they'd all seen the movie now, thanks to John Crichton's much-used television and movie collection--more than a broom, but given the maneuvers he was performing, it had far more maneuverability than those fictional contraptions.
After a few minutes of showboating, D'Argo dove down and brought his...whatever it was...to a hovering stop right in front of them.
"What the frell is that?" Zhaan asked. Harry and Ron were still speechless.
"Well," D'Argo shrugged, "it's part Leviathan, part Peacekeeper Prowler, and part Hynerian hover-throne. What it means, though, is I can now play quidditch!"
Ron and Harry cheered at the news, and started slapping D'Argo on the back and planning their first game. Zhaan, on the other hand, was looking decidedly put out, though she didn't say anything.
"Hey sis," her brother finally called, noting her expression. "What's wrong?"
"C'mon, I know that face, something's bugging you."
"Well, it's just...I'd have liked to play, too."
D'Argo smiled. "Turn around."
It took a moment for his meaning to sink in. Spinning around, Zhaan saw an identical device parked against the wall near the hangar bay doors, waiting for her. She leaped at her brother, gave him a quick hug and then a sharp punch to the shoulder, then raced for her 'broom'. "Get ready to eat my exhaust, Potter!" she called out.
In the weeks that followed, Quidditch became the official sport of Moya's crew, as all the Crichtons learned to ride D'Argo's invention, dubbed the 'broom-sled'. The twins, upon seeing the contraption, immediately saw the market potential for it and started negotiations with D'Argo for the design. In magical families, even those who were the most accepting, children born as squibs often felt left out of group activities like Quidditch and other broomstick games. The same was true in families where one parent was magical and the other was Muggle. The broom-sled would allow everyone to enjoy something they had previously been denied.
John Crichton stood on the Command deck, thinking back on the last game. He'd played one-on-one football with both D'Argo and Zhaan during their childhoods, but there had never been enough people aboard who understood the game to put together anything like teams. But now they had seven wizards with brooms, and five non-magical broom-sleds (D'Argo had made more for his parents and Chiana once they expressed interest). They could now put together Quidditch teams that were only short a single chaser or beater, or forgo the seeker position and just play a timed game.
Hearing footsteps approach, John turned and saw a weary Aeryn walk in. "Tough day?" he asked comfortingly as she moved into his embrace.
"Pilot has decided that since Moya's starburst engines have completely cooled and we're not likely to need them for a while, she wants them to get a full overhaul."
"Needs her hundred-thousand-light-year check up, eh?"
Aeryn ignored that; even after twenty-five cycles with him, she still didn't always understand the human. "I've been crawling through passages all afternoon. Zhaan's handling the work in the Starburst chamber right now."
"She got a DRD with her?" About fifteen cycles ago, John had been doing some work down there and had fallen and gotten a concussion. Moya didn't have sensors in that area, so he hadn't been found for nearly twelve arns. Since then, one of the unwritten rules of living on Moya was that no one went into unmonitored areas alone.
"Harry's down there keeping her company. I think he enjoys learning about Moya's systems. I'll go back after my shift and double-check the work."
"Don't bother, babe. I'll head down there now and give Zhaanie a hand."
"She hates that nickname."
John grinned. "I know, but I'm her father. It's my job to give her a hard time."
A quick kiss and John left, wandering through the corridors and sliding down ladders into the deeper tiers with a light step. As he passed by the large chamber the wizards had converted into their training area, he glanced in to see Remus and Tonks along with two of their students, Ron and Hermione. They were deep in discussion of something, waving their wands in intricate patterns, so John chose not to disturb them.
Deeper still into the bowels of Moya, the corridors grew dimmer and the arcing support buttresses thicker and heavier. This was an area rarely visited, and the place where the stresses of starburst travel were the most severe.
/Well, let's see how my baby girl is doing today/, he thought as he ducked through the last doorway and into the starburst chamber itself.
Just one look, and the mild-mannered, worldly wise astronaut was instantly transformed, as if by magic, into the quintessential embodiment of his redneck roots.
"What the frell is going on in here?!"