Luna gets a special present, Lucy has discovered the price of failure, Harri is hurt, and Harry does some hurting.
Harry Potter and the Distaff Side
The Birthday Girl
Time seemingly stood still in the Room of Requirements whenever Riddle's shade was training Harry. The bastard was the master of inflicting pain, worse while doing so he made observations of Harry's relative lack of skill. Still, spending a minimum of an hour a day fighting this mad man had boosted his skills to levels he had only dreamed of previously. He was still no where near good enough, but he was so much better than he had been in early September than he was barely recognizable. So of course he was currently under a crucio. The room generated pain curses were as painful as the real thing, though they didn't do the physical damage the real things did.
The curse suddenly cut off for no discernible reason.
"Your lucky day Potter. The time limit you set today has been reached. You have half an hour to prepare for your evening meal, and to ready yourself for seducing your plaything."
"Watch your self Tom, or the next time the room will make you with out a mouth. If you had found someone to care about beyond your pathetic self, you would have been a happier psychotic ass than you turned out to be."
"You weaken yourself with your concern for others Potter. It is that concern for others that allowed me to capture you and send you here. If you are to win, you will need to shed these attachments you are so fond of."
"Just go away Tom." He closed his eyes and concentrated. When he reopened his eyes the training room and Riddle were no longer there, a shower had appeared. Harry disrobed and allowed the heat of the water to work its magic on his body.
After his shower, Harry cleaned his robes and dressed. Was Riddle right? Did his attachment to others doom his efforts? Harry pondered this as he left the Room of Requirements and made his way to the Great Hall for the Halloween feast. Hagrid's giant pumpkins decorated the Hall, as usual. Bats fluttered about the room
Harry hadn't yet reached out to this realities Hagrid. It was far too disconcerting to see his oldest friend in the Wizarding... Witching world as a woman, and Harry had found himself (not for the first time) questioning the sanity of Hagrid's human parent. In this reality not only had the woman actually, willingly bedded a male giant, but she had named her daughter 'Reubella'. Naming a child after a disease?
Harry found as seat at the Hufflepuff table, returning the greetings of his house mates, as he reviewed his situation in his head. Given time, he would eventually match and perhaps even surpass the Riddle shade provided by the Room of Requirements. Whether or not he would have the needed amount of time was an open question. The Riddle of the Room had told him during the occasional instructional periods they had spent together (as opposed to the far more frequent combat periods) that the Room's magic had told him that he (the Riddle of the Room) was roughly equivalent in power compared to the Dark Lady Riddle.
He would need help. After all this was Harriet's fight. She would never forgive him if he went off without her. The question was would Orestes forgive him for leading (or following) Harri into danger?
Approaching Harriet wouldn't be easy. The few times he had attempted to discuss the fight with her she had brushed him off, giving him the distinct feeling that she wasn't willing to risk a 'mere boy' to the dangers involved in facing Riddle. Harry found himself wondering how he would have reacted if Harriet had somehow translated to his world. Would he be as active protecting here as Harri seemed to be attempting to protect him?
Harry's musings were interrupted when Dumbledore welcomed everyone to the feast, and took the opportunity to introduce the new Ministry appointed Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. Auror Stebens had recovered from her injuries sufficiently enough to return to her duties. Her replacement was a tall grey haired Witch named Amanda Strews, a senior Auror who was apparently not terribly happy to be at Hogwarts if her facial expression was anything to go on. This was too bad. Professor Stebens had been an effective instructor, though Harry's time with the Riddle shade had far surpassed what the injured Auror had to teach.
That bit of excitement past them, the feast began. Harry returned to his musings. His house mates attempted to bring him out of his shell, and he joined in the various conversations around him for a few moments before sinking back into himself until he was again directly addressed. On the other side of the table, Jessica Finch-Fletchly made a mental note of Harry's apparent disassociation with the house. Professor Sprout had asked that she keep an eye on the Potter boy to gauge his mental state. She had approached Harry twice suggesting a casual sexual encounter, (a common relationship starting tactic in Hufflepuff house)each time she had been politely rebuffed with an absurd story of a male version of herself named 'Justin' who, while only a casual acquaintance would always stand between them.
Misunderstanding what the Dimensional Traveler was telling her, Jessica mentioned that there were a few male Hufflepuffs opened to such a relationship, and that she would not mind being allowed to watch. The male Potter paled before her eyes, and backed away stuttering excuses. Stu Bones had later laughed at the suggestion that Potter might indeed prefer the company of other men, and suggest that Jessica pay attention to Harry's reaction to the Ravenclaw 4th year Lovegood. Indeed it was apparent that Harry was interested in the younger girl, though why this was true escaped Finch-Fletchly's understanding. She added another note for the report she was to turn in that night.
As the feast was breaking up, Harry rushed to intercept Luna before she could leave for the Ravenclaw tower.
"Evening Luna." He said, desperately attempting to pull off being casual.
"Hello Harry." Her 'Looney' personae looked up to him vacantly.
"I was wondering if you would like to take a walk with me this evening. So much to see and do in this old castle."
"I don't know Harry, I've a few things I need to prepare for tomorrow..."
"Honestly Luna, I think you'll like what I've found." Harry focused on appearing as sincere as he knew how. "Something for your birthday."
Okay, said Harry to himself, try not to screw this up. He paused for a moment while Luna watched Barnabas the Barmy being clubbed to death once again by the members of his All Troll Ballet troop. He walked past the invisible door way, concentrating on what he wanted the room to do for him.
A familiar highly polished door had appeared in the wall. Harry reached out, taking hold of the brass handle, and pulled the door open, leading Luna into a spacious sitting room furnished with leather chairs and sofas. A tea service sat on the coffee table in from of the largest sofa.
"What is this place Harry? It's lovely."
Harry turned to face the blonde, but before he could answer someone interrupted.
The Ravenclaw turned to face the new speaker. Her eyes went even wider than usual. "Daddy?"
Harry quietly left the room. Luna and the room generated shade of her father deserved their privacy.
Harry had been sitting outside the Room of Requirements for an hour when the door opened. "Harry, could you come in?"
He entered the room and Luna pulled him into her arms with all the strength of her small body. "Thank you Harry. Thank you so much."
"My daughter tells me you're responsible for all this Mr. Potter." The shade said. "I know I'm not truly Hyperion Lovegood, but I feel like I am. Thank you for the chance to give my lovely daughter a proper goodbye."
"Yes Luna. I am not your father, I'm a simulation. Spending too much time with me wouldn't be healthy for you. Hyperion Lovegood has passed from this world, and I sure he misses his brilliant Xena and the lovely and brilliant daughter they made together, I know I do and I'm just a shade. Luna, please do not come to see me again. Nothing that happened that day was your fault. Returning to this room to speak to a dead man can only harm you." The tall man smiled. "Thank you Mr. Potter. Please take care of my daughter. She is a treasure."
"I'll try sir."
Luna and Harry remained in the room for an hour following the 'departure' of the room created Hyperion Lovegood. At first Luna was sobbing and clinging to him, gradually that gave way to them kissing which gave way to Luna's roaming hands. Her sorrow built into a passion, her hands were everywhere. At some point she had unbuttoned his trousers and reached in to stroke him. Harry gasped at her touch.
"Did I Hurt you?" she asked, not stopping her ministrations.
"No, but we better stop. Luna, you were upset by seeing your father or at least a shade of him again. I don't know how I expected this to affect you, but this isn't it."
"I don't want to stop."
"I do Luna. Come to me when you aren't freshly mourning your father and we'll wake up the house elves. Not tonight. This isn't what I intended to happen. I don't want you looking back on this and see me taking advantage of you."
She leaned back from him. "You, taking advantage of me? But I'm..." she removed her hand from his trousers and rebuttoned them. "I forgot the cultural differences we're dealing with here for a moment." She leaned forward and kissed him again. "That appeared to be a nice one," Luna gestured toward his pelvis. "The first I've ever touched. I knew they got stiff, but it seemed quite large, at least when compared to stories my dorm mates have told. Are you unusual?"
"I have absolutely no idea Luna, that's not the sort of thing mates go about comparing, you know?"
"I look forward to taking you up on that offer." She stood and offered Harry her hand. "Thank you for letting me say good bye to my father. I should get you back to your dorm before curfew."
Lucile Malfoy hung from the torture frame. It had been three weeks since her disastrous mission to Hogsmeade. Tasked to kill children and if possible capture either or both of the Potter children she had led her team to the outskirts of town.
Only to discover that they had appeared practically on top of the Male Potter and a young girl. It should have been so simple, stun the boy, kill the girl, kill a few other children and then return to the Mistress with the boy trussed up as a gift. But the boy had the instincts of a duelist and the reflexes of mongoose, by himself he had killed two of Lucile's Death Eaters and badly wounded three more. The girl had managed to use incarcerus on the remaining member of the team, all in less than half a minute.
Lucile had barely managed to portkey away before the first of the Aurors appeared, and had delivered herself back into the hands of the Dark Lady, who was furious to have lost half a dozen recruits to a pair of children. Her fury was expressed as pain. Pain had become the total focus of Lucile's life for the last three weeks.
"Good morning Lucy" the Dark Lady said, lifting the platinum blonde's head with a single finger under her chin. "I find I have need of your services at the Ministry, so I suppose that means the punishment for your failure is ended. Your next failure will mean the slow death of your entire family."
Her throat ravaged by near constant screaming, Malfoy could only nod her understanding.
"What the hell happened?"
Harry had arrived at the Hospital wing at a dead run. He had been in the Great Hall eating lunch when Malfoy strolled by chortling about 'Professor Strews teaching 'scar head' a lesson' Harry had immediately gone to the Gryffindor table to find out what had happened. Arthur Weasley tearfully told him that Harri was in the Hospital Wing.
Orestes looked up from Harri's hospital bed. "Professor Strews did this Harry. She started in on some pure blood nonsense, and then started practice duels in the class. Harri beat Malfoy without half trying. Strews called her up to the front of the class for a demonstration, before Harri was anywhere near ready, Strews started cursing her and cursing her, so many times. Things we've never seen in class, or in any of the books." There were tears in Orestes eyes. "Shes so hurt." He whispered. "Healer Pomfrey was completely shocked. He said he'd never seen anything like this."
Harry looked down at his twin's face. Blotchy and bruised, she was restless in her potion induced sleep. "Orestes, mate, get word to me when she wakes up, ok."
"Harry, don't do anything stupid."
"Stupid is what I do best Orestes, ask anyone who knows me."
"Would you care to explain yourself Amanda?"
"I was assigned here to teach Blanch, I taught an arrogant half blood to respect her betters."
"Last I checked, an unprovoked attack on a minor child by an Auror was a crime." Almanzo Bones said angrily. "What do you suppose gave you your edge in this encounter Senior Auror? The sixty years of experience you have, the sneak attack on your unprepared opponents back, or perhaps your 'pure blood'?"
"We all know that a pureblood's magic is superior to a halfbloods."
"As superior as yours was to Tommi Riddle Amanda? I seem to recall you pledging yourself to her 'for all time' back in 6th year. Personally I have a problem with anyone who attacks from the back in a supposed duel." Anastasia Moody said, her magical eye spinning to take in her total surroundings. "As I recall, you tried that on me once Amanda. Did the lesson I taught you that day not take?"
"Certainly it took. Now she only does it against those who couldn't possibly stand against her in a fair fight." Almanzo suggested. "A common trait of cowards."
Amanda Strews bristled at that comment. "Are you challenging me Almanzo?"
"No one is challenging anyone Amanda. At least not at this school."
"You're fooling yourself Blanch. Amanda here is going to end up having to deal with the other Potter. The boy is harder than the girl. He'll do what he needs to do and feel bad about it later."
"Anastasia, this is a school, not a dueling academy." Dumbledore stood and straightened her robes. "Amanda, do anything like that again and you will answer to me, Madam Fudge will not be able to protect you."
Amanda Strews returned to her classroom, more than a little pleased with herself. She had taught that presumptuous half blood a lesson, and gotten completely away with it. Moody and her absurd claim that the male Potter, this so called 'dimensional traveler' might attempt to avenge his 'sister'. What mere boy, a Hufflepuff at that, would have the rocks to stand up to the woman who so completely bested his stronger half?
"You seem pleased with yourself Professor."
She whirled to face the speaker, her wand out and ready. She found herself staring into a pair of burning green eyes.
"Very pleased indeed. Did you rough up a first year for his pocket money?"
"You must be Potter. They say you claim to be a Dimensional Traveler."
"They also say you claim to be a Senior Auror. Tell me professor, how does a coward rise to such a rank?"
"The first three curses you threw hit my twin in the back. That's pretty much the definition of being a coward isn't it? That and hiding behind your inbred agenda. Yes, I'd say coward describes you quite well."
"And what is to prevent me from doing the same to you boy?"
"I'm facing you? Looking me in the eye is almost enough to make you wet yourself isn't it coward? A better question is what is going to keep me from killing you. The answer to that is that I trust Moody back there to step in if I lose control. Can I rely on you for that Mad-Eye?"
Did the boy actually think she would fall for that old chestnut?
"Aye lad." Came Anastasia's distinctive voice from the back of the classroom, shocking Strews. "And then we'll be discussing how you spotted me beneath my cloak."
Harry stood, with his wand in his hand at his side. "It's really simple Professor. I came to you for extra instruction in defense. If you get lucky, I came into this with my eyes open, isn't that right Mad-Eye?"
"That's the way I heard it lad." This kid had rocks, plain and simple. Amanda Strews was good, Moody had trained her. There was no reasonable way for a kid Potter's age to be good enough with his wand to inspire the level of confidence the boy exhibited... but something about the way he held himself...
"Any time you're ready Professor... Would it help if I turned my back?"
Amanda Strews started to cast, Harry watched as her something odd happened. It was as if the tall woman was moving in slow motion. Her first hex slowly oozed toward him and Harry easily side stepped it. Harry casually flicked a bone breaker at her left arm. From his perspective that curse moved at a normal speed, but his opponent attempted to dodge, again in slow motion. Harry watched as the curse impacted on her arm and Strews was spun around. What the hell is happening?
From Moody's point of view, the male Potter was moving at an insane speed. He would go from standing still to an inhuman acceleration almost instantaneously. She had seen this only twice before. During the first rise of the Dark Lady, in the battle that had cost Moody her eye, when Dumbledore and Riddle had faced each other, both of them moved with this same insane inhuman speed, and their magic reacted in the same time scale as their bodies. The boy was fifteen years old, how was he doing this?
Harry's confusion at just why Strews and her magic were moving so slowly cut into the anger he felt toward the woman. Two more bone breakers from his wand had hit the woman, the first destroying her right shoulder, the second shattering her left femur. He watched as the woman collapsed to the floor, still in slow motion. He forced himself to calm and levitated the woman so that he could look her in the eye.
"How did you do that?" she choked out her teeth clenched in pain.
"Aren't bone breaking curses covered in your Pure Blood Supremacy playbook? Let us be clear Professor. You are done here. I'll be taking you to the Hospital Wing so that Healer Pomfrey can care for you. When she's done with you, you are going to find you have responsibilities you need to take care of, far away from Hogwarts. I've waited my entire life to have a family, I finally got one and you hurt her. You even look at my sister again and I will kill you."
"I'll have you expelled."
"Really? What for? You cast the first hex. I've got a retired Master Auror as a witness. Even if you succeed, do you think that will keep me from finding you?"
"I'll take her Lad, you look a little tired." Moody stumped up. "I wanted a few words with Amanda anyway. You should head to your dormitory."
"As you say Madam Moody." Harry passed control of the levitation charm over to Moody and left the classroom.
"I have to say Amanda, when you find someone to annoy, you outdo yourself." She started walking toward the Hospital Wing.
"I'll destroy him."
"You didn't lay a hand on him. He cast three curses, and each one hit you. Think about it Amanda, you were present when we fought against your former girlfriend, when have you ever seen anyone move like that?"
That thought shocked Strews. Then came the realization that Moody was right, but... "He's no where near her level."
"Of course not. He's 15 years old, and she's our age. She couldn't do that at 15. By the time he's twenty, he will bury her. You had best consider what side you want to be on. Should I tell Blanch you'll be leaving, or do you want to do it yourself?"
Harry made back to his dorm room before his rising gorge forced him to run to the bath and empty his stomach. After vomiting everything he had eaten that day (and possibly the previous two), he pulled off his clothing and turned on the shower, scrubbing his body raw with shaking hands. He just couldn't get clean.
"I'm telling you Blanch, he was moving like you do."
"I'm certain it looked that way Anastasia, but that just isn't possible. There are absolutely no records of any Wizard ever learning to accelerate himself."
"HERE Blanch. Remember where he comes from. You and I both know powerful Wizards. Can any of them learn to do your accelerate move? I have no idea. All I know is that this 15 year old boy can do it at will, but from the expression on his face he is confused by it. From all evidence he isn't aware he's doing it."
"I was almost forty before I learned to do it. I suspect that Thomasina learned before she was thirty. If this boy can do it now..."
"More importantly, you're going to need a DADA Professor. Merlin knows what the Ministry will saddle you with this time. You had approached me to teach last year before I was otherwise occupied. What if I was to take over the classes for the rest of the year?"
"That would be greatly appreciated Anastasia."
"And I can keep an eye on the boy. I want to know just what he can do. If he's going to take the fight to the Riddle, I want to be there. She and I have unfinished business."
Harry returned to the Hospital Wing, to find Harri was awake, still badly bruised, but looking much better.
"Hey yourself you prat. Did you do that?" she gestured toward the bed on the far side of the room holding Professor Strews wimpering under the affects of Skel-grow.
"Idiot, you will probably end up expelled."
Harry shrugged. "Worth it."
Harry sat down in the chair next to the bed. "That's Orestes chair, I made him go to dinner. If you're still sitting in it when he gets back he'll look all serious and roll his eyes until you give it up."
"You two seem to be good together."
Harriet lost her smile and took on a serious look. "I need you to help train me." She saw the surprised look on his face. "I know, I've been ignoring you when you have suggested that we train together in the past. I was stupid. I was thinking of you as just a 'boy'. Thinking of you as if you were one of the giggly boys in the dorms who lack the drive to wade into an actual fight. I know you're not." She gestured toward the only other person in the ward. "She took me apart without any effort at all. Professor Moody told me you returned the favor, in spades."
"I don't know Harri... Orestes would kill me if I introduce you to my trainer. He's a right evil bastard, and Orestes is awfully protective of you."
"Let me deal with Orestes. He knows I need to get better."
"Alright. As soon as Healer Pomfrey gives you a clean bill of health."