Harry makes a new 'Friend'. Bones investigates, Moody threatens, Riddle plans a party, Harry breaks some eggs and Luna thinks about it.
A/N: I own none of this. I do not own Harry Potter or any rights to his image or personality. I do not own the moon or the stars. I do not own human genders, other than my own personal original factory equipment. Honest. Nope, not me. I most certainly do not own the rights to a billion dollar literary work.
Harry Potter and the Distaff Side
The Dark Mark of Dark Lady Riddle hung in the sky over the Wizarding Day school just outside Basingstoke. Fifty-six children between the ages of 5 and 10 along with all nine of the adult staff were dead. Almanzo Bones shook his head as he watched yet another of his Aurors made a hurried exit. He wasn't sure what was worse, that the sight was turning the stomachs of so many of his Aurors, or the fact that the scene was having no affect on him what so ever. This was to Bones proof positive that the Potter girl was right. Riddle was back. Horrors of this level hadn't happened since October 1981. None of the Death Eaters had the gall to do these things on their own; it was only with that horrible woman's direct guidance that these things happened.
Once again the sight of the pile of tiny heads assaulted his sense of justice. Bones had lived through the first rise of the Dark Lady partnered with Anastasia Moody. Moody always got the worst jobs, and as her partner Bones was along for the ride. All too many times Bones had been the one outside reviewing what his last meal had consisted of.
Bones regarded the Auror. No Auror Cadet. "Don't apologize for being human cadet. If you ever get the point that this doesn't bother you, I wouldn't want to know you. You're doing as well as most of the Veterans. When do you graduate?"
"In May." The Cadet shuddered. "Is there always this much blood?"
"No. Only on the Dark Lady raids."
"Then she really is back?"
"Look around you cadet. Who else had done things like this?"
Bones and the Cadet jumped at the voice.
"Damn it Anastasia! Do I have to explain to you what retirement means again?" How does someone with a wooden leg sneak up on you like that?
"I unretired as soon as that mark was cast into the sky. Did I see your hair change color cadet?"
The man blushed a bit. "I'm a Metamorphmagus. It's made some things easier, like concealment and evasion, but my sense of balance leaves a lot to be desired. "
"Ah, yes. Cadet Tonks. I've heard good things about you, and yes your instructors agree, your balance is crap." Bones smiled at the cadet. "Are you feeling alright now?"
"Back to your supervisor then."
"They make book on the number of times the boy falls in a day don't they Almanzo?"
"Yes they do Anastasia. I won 5 galleons on him in the pool last month. And I thought 53 would be unreasonably high..." Almanzo Bones squared his shoulders. Back to business. "Why are you really here Anastasia?"
"The Dark Lady's minions humiliated me last year. I can't let that go."
"So what are your plans?" He knew Moody all too well. The elder Auror held a grudge like no one else. If she was humiliated then revenge would be delivered.
"My first thought is to contact Dumbledore for access to Potter."
"Well, she stopped him once I guess. I'm not sure what she can do for you though."
"No, not the Potter girl. The Potter boy. He arrived and attacked Riddle almost blind, and still got away with it. He's the key. There's a prophesy about the Potter Girl and Riddle, but Dumbledore won't tell anyone what it is. The boy didn't just show up here by chance. He has to be part of that prophesy."
"I'm not sure I agree with your logic there Anastasia, but Blanch shouldn't have that many problems with you talking to him. She still owes you quite a few favors as I recall."
"Even if she doesn't allow it, there are still ways."
Harry collapsed amidst the shattered targets in the Room of Requirements, sweat pouring from his body. He had lasted almost an hour this time. It still wasn't enough, but it was an improvement. Wormtail had taken him down entirely too easily. Because he wasn't ready Cedric had died. Because he was stupid and impulsive he had left his friends defenseless against Voldemort. He needed to be able to prevent the Dark Lady from doing the same thing to his twin.
Harry had been through all the defense books in t he Library, he wasn't making any progress in that respect. None of the curses and hexes he had found were going to impress the Dark Lady. He needed to be trained. He had reached the limits of what he could do on his own. He needed a teacher. Dumbledore wouldn't do it, she was as annoyingly passive as his own had been. There had to be someone who could teach him enough to be a real threat to a Dark Lady... or a Dark Lord.
Harry's universe dissolved into pain. The curse was held for less than a quarter of a second, but it seemed to be an eternity. When the pain was gone, his vision cleared and he found himself staring into the blood red eyes of... Voldemort?
"Get up Potter. It's time to train, not to lie on the ground whining."
Harry rose slowly facing the Dark Wizard. "What are you doing here? I thought with me out of the way you were going to rule the world."
The humanoid snake looked amused. "Idiot, don't you pay attention to what you are doing, to where you are?" He shook his head disgustedly. "You are in the room of requirements; you were focused on needing someone to train you to fight me. Who better to do that than me?"
"You're a construct of the room? The room can make people?"
"Of course it can, as long as you require them sufficiently." The snake man construct saw the panic in the boy's eyes. "Quit worrying fool. I cannot leave this room, nor will I try to kill you. When you don't require me, I disappear." An evil caricature of a grin caused the snake man's lips to twist horribly. "Of course failing to meet my training objectives will be somewhat painful..."
For once in his existence Riddle wasn't lying. Any imperfection of technique was immediately punished by a crucio. The pain curses were not physically damaging like the real thing, but the pain itself was something to be avoided. Having had enough Harry dodged the next one to come his way.
"It's about time Potter. I was wondering how long you were going to let me keep using you as a punching bag."
"You wanted me to dodge them?"
"Not at all. I am who I am, hurting you is quite entertaining, but if I am to fulfill my purpose you need to learn."
Harry closed his eyes and concentrated on the room giving him a place to relax. Voldemort was gone when he reopened his eyes, as was the battlefield they had been using. In its place he found a massage table and hot tub, full of bubbling water.
Harry regarded the massage table. In order for that to be of use to him, he would need to have the room create a masseuse. He was hesitant about having the room create people. The concept disturbed him, the thought of creating thinking beings to serve him in the short term, which would have no other purpose or ambition in life seemed to just be wrong. He bowed to the logic of the room, he needed Riddle. He had advanced further in the three hours with the shade of that lunatic than he had in the entire rest of his life. He disrobed and climbed into the bubbling water of the hot tub, allowing the heat to leech the pain from his muscles.
Balance. His life needed balance. If he put everything into this training, they would be locking him into a rubber room. He smiled. Did the Wizarding world have psychiatric hospitals? Luna's birthday was coming up. Maybe he could ask her to the upcoming Hogsmeade weekend to discover what she might want. Would she be interested in going with him? Would she be open to his asking? There were so many aspects of this reality that he instinctively got wrong. Luna had asked him to go for that walk around the lake, and had kissed him. Would his approaching her be offensive?
It was so hard to know what to do. His cultural instincts told him to do things that this culture said were completely utterly wrong. Still, if he wanted to spend time with the girl, maybe it was time to swallow his fear and step up.
Blanch Dumbledore was concerned about the male Potter. He was doing well in his classes, even Silvia never had anything bad to say about him (though how much of that was owed to the threats of the other teachers remained to be seen. The boy seemed to be relatively popular with his classmates. But there was something wrong. She couldn't quite put her finger on what was wrong, but she knew from Phaleon that he didn't spend much time in the Hufflepuff common room. He was quiet, respectful, and studious, but he was so very different when compared to his 'twin'. So very different than the impression he presented when he first arrived in this reality.
The Grangers had written asking about Harry's condition, saying that his letters to them seemed to be out of character from the young man they had come to know over the summer. Dumbledore had approached Harri Potter about her 'twin'. She admitted that she hadn't seen all that much of the young man since school started. Orestes Granger said the same, shame facedly admitting that he had been so involved in his new romance with Miss Potter that his friendship with Mr. Potter had suffered.
None of the Weasleys had much contact with the male Potter, though both of the twins and Veronica said that they were willing to date the boy if it would help (and even if it wouldn't.) Potter's dorm mates were loyal to a fault, as is proper for Hufflepuffs, saying that he was respectful of them in the dorms, never late coming in, never messy, always helping with the cleaning the dorm, and picked up after himself. The women of Hufflepuff house complained that he was never in the common room and didn't seem interested in any of them, but beyond that thought he was a perfect member of the house
Perhaps that is what disturbed Dumbledore the most. The boy was seemingly perfect.
Yet he disappeared for hours on end, especially on the weekends. It was theoretically impossible for someone to be in the castle without her knowing, but the tracking charms regularly blanked for the boy. It was if the castle himself was hiding the boy from Dumbledore's observations. The female Potter was too involved in her budding romance with the Granger boy to be paying all that much attention to the male Potter. It had been noted by a few of the professors that Mr. Potter was infatuated with the Lovegood girl.
Could that be the problem? Was he worried about nothing more than teenaged hormones?
Riddle sat before here kneeling Death Eaters. "Report."
Lucile Malfoy rose from the floor. "My daughter reports that the boy has returned to the school My Lady. He does not associate with the Potter girl routinely, though he has formed a friendship with the Mudblood Granger, who the Potter girl is using to further pollute her bloodline. He has also been seen with the Lovegood girl. My daughter also reports that he disappears for hours on end, and that no one can find him during those times."
"And he is actually a version of Harriet Potter from another reality?"
"So Dumbledore believes, and has reported to the Board of Governors. He is from a reality where all the genders are flipped." Malfoy reported, confirming earlier reports Riddle had received from his contacts inside the school.
"Lucile! I understand that this will be a Hogmeade Weekend for Dumbledore's students. Take five of the new recruits and kill as many of the children as you can find. If you come across either of the Potters, cripple them and bring them to me."
"Of course My Lady." Malfoy smiled. A little mayhem was always so cathartic.
Outside the Shrieking Shack, Harry and Luna strolled hand in hand. They had spent the day in Hogsmeade, shopping, a meal, just hanging out. Harry was pleased. He had found the balance he had been seeking
"I'm glad you asked me out today Harry. Though if you continue to be so forward, you're sure to get a reputation as a fast boy..."
"I really don't care about my reputation Luna. You and I know that it would be total nonsense. Besides, if I want to spend time with a pretty girl, why shouldn't I ask her out?"
"I think you should Mr. Potter. I enjoy being told that I'm pretty, but society says I should be the one to do the asking, not you."
"Then why didn't you?"
"Mostly because Looney doesn't do that Harry."
"Looney isn't real Luna. I'm not interested in Looney, I want to know Luna."
"Harry, you don't have to do this. I have no idea why of all the people you've met here I'm the only one not to have switched genders. Is there a reason for it? Who knows? You don't need to be nice to me to learn my secrets. I have absolutely no idea. If you take into account the population of the planet is over six billion people, there are bound to be exceptions to any rule."
"Is that why you think I've asked you out?"
She looked up at him with wide eyes. "I think that's obviously why you asked me out. Why else would you be with the weirdling?"
Harry laughed. "Luna, I admit that you caught my attention by being a woman who I knew as a woman. That isn't the reason I'm here now. I was hurting and lonely and a pretty girl asked me to for a walk with her around the lake." He looked into her eyes. "She didn't need to do that, but she was nice enough to care about a lonely stranger. Some people tell me she's a little odd, but from what I can tell, she's just someone who won't be told what she does is wrong."
"What about my animal friends?"
"Well, I hear you have interests in animals that most people say don't exist. At first that struck me as odd, but then I remember that I was raised Muggle. The world I was raised in told me Unicorns didn't exist, that Hippogriffs didn't exist, that Dragons didn't exist. What do they know? If the Muggle world is so utterly wrong, why couldn't the Wizarding world be just as wrong?"
"My mum tells me all about the animals. She writes about them in the Quibbler."
"What about your Dad?"
"He died when I was nine. He was a researcher; he died when a spell he was working on went wrong. I was there, but I didn't know what to do, how to help. But I stayed with him until Mum got home." She suddenly became very interested in her shoes. "That was the day Loony was born. Loony knows how to keep people at arms length. Loony knows the best way to get along."
Harry opened his mouth to comment that perhaps Loony was doomed to be very lonely, when something in the back of the head screamed MOVE! Instincts learned in the Room or Requirements at the hand of Tom Riddle immediately kicked in and he gathered Luna in his arms and dove to the left as a sickly yellow light of a Cruciatus Curse passed through the space that he and Luna had occupied only a fraction of a second before.
Rolling on the ground into a stand of tall grass Harry pulled his wand from the sleeve of his robe and sent a bone breaking curse back in the direction the Cruciatus came from, and was rewarded with the sound of a man screaming. He pressed a finger to his lips to warn Luna to remain silent. An unnecessary gesture on his part, she had already drawn her wand and was waiting for a target to present its self.
"Come out to play Potter. Come out and we'll let your little friend live."
"They're lying." Luna hissed. "Do you know how to fight?"
Harry nodded. Through the grass he could just make out three forms searching for them. A fourth figure in black robes and a bone white mask that Harry had not seen was suddenly towering over Luna with her wand drawn.
"REDUCTO!" The blasting curse leapt from Harry's wand and punched a hole through the Death Eater's chest, throwing her backwards and away from the students. Harry tightened his grip on his wand. Again he grabbed Luna and rolled away as curses hammered the ground where they had been.
"There's at least three left"Harry whispered.
"Four" Luna replied. "Their leader is standing off by the path. I can do an incarcerus on the nearest one."
"I've got the other two. On Three"
"What have we got here Auror?"
"Good Afternoon Director Bones. Five people in Death Eater robes and masks. Two dead, one badly burned, One with her ribcage shattered, and one gift wrapped for us" she pointed to the woman trussed up in conjured ropes.
"Who did the killing?"
"According to the Lovegood girl, the supposed hero is the boy puking his guts up over there. He's supposedly named Harry Potter."
"Ever kill anyone Auror?"
"He just ended two lives to protect his friend and himself and he's 15 years old. What makes you think you'd do any better? I did the same thing the first time I killed and I was ten years older than he is."
Bones looked around the crime scene. "Walk me through what happened."
"Yes sir. Lovegood and the Potter Boy were standing here. 'Talking' they claim. The perps portkeyed in here." The Auror showed Bones a marked position 30 meters from where the couple had been. "Either Lovegood and Potter were the targets or they just happened to be the closest to where the perps landed."
"So two students took out five Adult Death Eaters?"
"Lovegood says that there was a sixth Eater standing off like a leader."
Bones nodded. "I want to talk to the witnesses."
Luna Lovegood was fussing over the kneeling boy, who was wiping his mouth with the sleeve of his robe. Bones conjured a glass of water. "Harry Potter right?"
Accepting the water gratefully, the boy took a mouthful, swished it in his mouth and spat it out. He then drained the rest of the water and swallowed it. "Yes sir."
"I'm Almanzo Bones. Director of Magical Law Enforcement. I would like to speak with you about what happened today." The boy nodded. "Could you step me though what happened?"
"We were talking over in front of the Shrieking Shack and suddenly Harry grabbed me and he dove into the high grass, taking me with him."
"Why did you do that Harry?"
"I don't know, it felt like I needed to move. Sometimes when I'm in danger I get a split second warning."
Bone's brow furrowed. Moody had something like that, but to hear her tell it, it only came after years of being on the front lines. "Then what happened?"
"Harry got off a curse that caused one of the bastards to start screaming."
"Bone breaker curse" the boy muttered.
"Then while we were hiding, one of them found me, and started to cast the killing curse, Harry got her in the chest with a Reducto."
"I killed her. I've gone dark. I killed her."
"You haven't gone dark Harry, you saved my life." She hugged him. "Three of them were still looking for us. I got the closest with an incarcerus. Harry cast incendio on the other two."
"I killed again. Twice in two minutes."
Bones knelt next to the couple. "Harry you protected your friend and defended yourself. You did what you had to do. You didn't do anything wrong Harry."
"Thank you Harry."
She had walked him back to the Hufflepuff dorms. "Luna, I didn't do anything all that special."
"You saved my life three times in thirty seconds Harry." She took his face in her hands and kissed him. "Any time you want to talk to Luna, just ask. Looney will let you right through."
He watched as she walked away. When she turned the corner he found himself whispering "But I killed people."
"You survived did you?"
"How did you know they were going to attack?" Harry looked up in surprise.
"Because that is what I would do Potter. Don't be an idiot."
"Well your training worked. You taught me to kill."
"Of course I did, you want to defeat me, in order to do so you'll need to kill."
The Riddle construct took up a dueling stance. "Level 2."
This time Harry lasted almost 6minutes before the first crucio hit him.