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Thread: [FF] Trinity IV: The Tournament (Type-Moon/Harry Potter X-over)

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    [FF] Trinity IV: The Tournament (Type-Moon/Harry Potter X-over)

    DISCLAIMER: Lunar Legend Tsukihime, Fate/Stay Night, and all related characters and concepts are the creation and property of Kinoko Nasu and Type-Moon, along with anyone who's happened to license them, like Geneon or Funimation. Harry Potter and all related characters and concepts are the creation and property of J.K. Rowling, along with her publishers and Warner Bros., as regards the movie material.

    This is a not-for-profit, just-for-fun project.

    Writer's Note: Certain dialogue sequences in this story are lifted from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but I trust in the intelligence of my readers (and the availability of the books) to recognise them when they see them.

    Chapter 1 - A Black Day

    August 23, 1994

    The bright purple triple-decker bus would’ve drawn eyes in any neighbourhood it appeared in, even without the shotgun-like blast that heralded its arrival. Nonetheless, no one seemed to notice its existence, nor that of the youth who stepped off of it, and after the bus disappeared, walked around the corner into the shadow of a nearby alley. Even had anyone been inclined to watch him, it would have been a fool’s errand, because after a moment’s action, there was literally nothing to see. Nonetheless, a few sensitive souls might have felt a faint chill wash through them, and those with a knack for observing patterns might have been able to trace the reactions to that chill as passing in a straight line, up and over several blocks, until it subsided near a block of townhouses.

    After several moments, after which he was satisfied that he had not been followed, and was not being observed, Galen Salvatore removed the Cloak of True Invisibility, the third of the Deathly Hallows, and tucked it safely into the inner pocket of his dragonhide duster. Then he paused a moment, to consider the place - and the task - before him.

    Truth be told, I’d rather keep the Deathcloak on, he thought. But while it might conceal me from the wards, that same concealment would also prevent me from entering, as they wouldn’t know I’m there to grant access to. And I really don’t want to surprise them, either - by suddenly “appearing.” So I’ll have to walk through them as plain as day.

    Steeling himself, Galen walked from the sidewalk up to the front door. As soon as he passed the rusted fence, he felt the hum of the myriad layered protections on this place (Every protection known to wizardkind, he reminded himself. Save one, for the moment), though mundane folk would never notice, as the outer layers were specifically designed to prevent it. He had little doubt that more lethal measures would’ve been preferred - but constant deaths would’ve brought too much attention. So, avoidance and concealment, first, and save the lethal stuff for those souls who won past it.

    As he stepped up to the worn stone steps to the battered, black door, Galen gazed for a moment at the serpentine door knocker, and said, quite distinctly, “I, Galen Richmond Salvatore, scion of Orion Black, do seek entrance to the home of my forefathers, by the blood of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black.”

    If Sirius is wrong, and something’s changed, I am about to be killed . . .

    A gesture brought his lignum vitae wand to his hand, and he tapped it against the door. To his eternal relief, the serpent did not sink its fangs into his throat, but instead, there was the sound of a great many locks and chains coming undone. The house and wards had acknowledged his blood and password, and thus, his right of entry to Number Twelve Grimmauld Place.

    And that, he thought as he entered the house, was the easy part.

    Shutting the door behind him, Galen drew his wand and whispered, “Lumos.

    The tip of his lignum vitae wand shone with a pale light, like a tiny star. It did little to illuminate his surroundings - but then, there was little to illuminate about them. The house was covered in dust and grime, and he knew that underneath that, dark colours like black and emerald abounded. No, there was little of light in this house, even at its best. A dozen or more years of neglect and rot had simply deepened the gloom. Still, Galen wasn’t planning to move in - yet, at least. He was here for a specific purpose, and standing in the doorway wasn’t going to get it done.

    Galen concentrated, frowning. While he was not the master of the house, he was of Black blood, and per Sirius’ plans, his heir-apparent. That meant that he could make at least some of the house’s enchantments respond to him, if he worked at it . . . A faint hissing filled the air, as the gas lamps lit themselves, casting an eerie light and equally unsettling shadows about the house. Something skittered off in the distance that Galen really didn’t want to think about, but as expected, the sudden light also awakened one of the house’s long-term residents.

    Who did that?” came a shrill, horrible cry. “Filth! Scum! Who dares invade the house of my fathers - ?”

    do,” Galen said calmly. “I am the grandson of Orion Black, and the last descendant to bear the blood of the Noble and Most Ancient House’s main line.”

    This was a slight untruth - his mother and sister were still alive, as was Sirius, but with wizarding society being inherently patriarchal, especially among the ancient pure-bloods, he was technically the last generation that counted, given Sirius’ acknowledgement despite his mother’s bastard status. Even without that fact, though, Draco Malfoy, the other male heir, was a generation younger than he was, and his mother’s descent was through Orion’s younger brother, to boot.

    “I have come because I require the services of your house-elf, Lady Black,” Galen continued smoothly, bowing in supplication. “Will you release him to me, for an hour’s span?”

    “My elf?” said the portrait of Walburga Black blankly, speaking at an oddly normal volume - Galen supposed it was the shock of the request. “Why would you need . . .?”

    “I am here on behalf of Regulus Arcturus Black,” Galen said, taking care to enunciate the last three words carefully, and to speak them loudly. “I have come to fulfill the last command your house elf was given by him.”

    There was a sudden sound like a thunderclap, and the aged, wrinkled form of Kreacher the house-elf was suddenly crouched before him, trembling and growling as though he would explode into violence, bloodshot eyes maddened. His long, gnarled fingers twitched as though the house-elf would like nothing better than to seize Galen by the throat and splatter his brain matter across the wall.

    “It dares to speak Master Regulus’ name!” he snarled. “It speaks as if it was worthy of speaking it!”

    Galen did not back down, and his posture was as rigid as stone, a fitting counterpoint to his voice. “It is here to destroy the locket.

    Kreacher sprang back with a cry, and began hugging his knees, rocking back and forth. “It knows! It knows about the hateful locket - hateful thing, terrible thing - and it says it can destroy it! Does Kreacher dare trust it? Kreacher tried to destroy the locket, oh, how Kreacher tried, but Kreacher could not do it - can it succeed where Kreacher failed . . .?”

    “It is wizard-wrought, Kreacher,” Galen said quietly, but he sounded no less firm. He couldn’t afford to - Kreacher was trained to respond best to certain behaviours, and his best hope of cooperation was to emulate them. “Its destruction is rooted in its creation - in wizard’s magic. That you failed is not your fault - you did not know what it was.” Galen’s eyes narrowed. “But I do.

    Kreacher stared at him with his overly large eyes, made larger still by his wide-eyed expression.

    “. . . Can it really destroy the locket?” Kreacher asked in a feathery, fragile voice - as though he didn’t dare to hope it was true, but desperately wanted to.

    “I swear on my honour, and in the name of my uncle, Regulus Arcturus Black, that I will destroy the locket within the hour, or perish in the attempt,” Galen said, in an iron voice.

    Kreacher’s eyes, impossibly, seemed to grow wider.

    “I’ll need the locket, Kreacher - and a very sturdy room. Terrible violence went into its making, and equally terrible violence must be used in its unmaking.”

    Galen felt his eyes empty of all human characteristics, and he could see the acknowledgement of that fact in the house-elf’s face.

    “The dungeons, yes,” Kreacher said eagerly. “Very strong, the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black made them - very strong. Come, Kreacher will show you.”

    The books had never detailed the lower levels of the house, nor implied that anything below the ground floor existed, but common sense indicated that something must have. This was a household of Dark wizards - they must had places to mix dangerous and volatile potions, cast forbidden spells of terrible power. The existence of a dungeon beneath Grimmauld Place wasn’t terribly surprising, in retrospect. And the place to which Kreacher led him was definitely a dungeon - dark stone walls which looked, felt and sounded impressively solid. A low ceiling, but it would have to serve. Manacles and iron doors stood at intervals, but Galen had little interest in them at the moment, he simply measured the length of the corridor they filled.

    “This will do,” Galen decided. “Kreacher, place the locket at the other end of the hall, then come back and stand behind me - this will be dangerous, and difficult to control, and I do not wish you harmed.”

    The old house-elf started, and Galen looked at him imperiously.

    “Kreacher, do you serve the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black?”

    “Yes, Kreacher does!” the old house-elf said firmly.

    “Then you serve my house, my family - and thus, you are mine. So long as you serve me, you are under my protection. I will allow no one to punish or harm you without my express permission.” He felt his face empty again as he added, “And those that try will regret the deed.” He blinked, and said softly, “Thus, I will protect you from even myself, if I can, and if I must. And in this case, Kreacher, I can and must. This working is dangerous, and controlling it may be beyond my abilities. If I succeed, the locket will be destroyed - but if I fail, you are to flee, do you understand me? If I fall, you are to go to Sirius Black, and tell him what has happened.”

    “Blood traitor,” Kreacher muttered. “Broke the mistress’ heart, yes, he did . . .”

    “If Sirius Black is a traitor, then so too was Regulus,” Galen said quietly.

    “WHAT?” Kreacher roared.

    “Sirius fought the Dark Lord, and what he stood for. As did Regulus, at the end. He died to destroy this locket, that the Dark Lord would be mortal again, and vulnerable. The Dark Lord espoused all that the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black believed in, and yet, both the one you call blood traitor and its most loyal son defied him. If one is a traitor, then so is the other. But if Regulus is a loyal son, then so too is Sirius. And if you tell Sirius how his brother died - and why - you will see something in him that I wager you will have never seen before: pride in his brother, and in being a member of this house, for what Regulus did.”

    Galen shook himself. “But enough - place the locket and return, Kreacher. Its time is at an end.”

    The old elf moved in something like shock, as though stunned by the effort of trying to reconcile what he’d been told. Still, Kreacher was not slow, despite his size, age, and mental condition, and was soon standing beside Galen again. Galen took aim at the locket with his wand, closed his eyes, and chanted, “Incendio malignum!

    Ilyasviel von Einzbern had named the length of lignum vitae in his hand the Wand of Passion, for passion was the key to its power. The stronger the desire, the stronger the spell - but by itself, the wand had no care for the morality of its usage. Certain of his friends might believe the wand a powerful protective, and ultimately benevolent tool, but that would be a criminal mistake. The wand simply wanted, and would serve an evil purpose as easily as a good one. And so, when Galen called forth the Fiendfyre, the wand didn’t hesitate, and his view of the corridor ahead was almost immediately blocked by sulphurous orange flames.

    Fire poured from his wand, for fire, especially, it loved - a trait garnered from the Veela hair at its core. And, unfocussed as it was, the rapidly-growing blob of flame sought to devour everything it could reach. Manacles melted to pools of red-hot metal, cell doors twisted and warped, and the stone began to crack - and then the Fiendfyre began spreading back, towards him. Galen concentrated all his willpower, all his focus. Fiendfyre was, as he’d once noted, something of an Anti-Patronus Charm - called and fed by negative emotions rather than positive. That said, unlike the Patronus Charm, it was easy to call forth - its true danger lay in the difficulty of controlling the stuff. It sought to devour everything it could, caster and all, but Galen’s will was not something that surrendered lightly. Gradually, the blazing glob halted, and began to twist and wriggle, moulding itself into a shape . . .

    Galen stared into the eyes of the beast, the physical form of his curse. The werewolf glared back, fangs bared. The crackle of its fiery form served well as an animalistic snarl. The two adversaries locked eyes in a battle of wills - even contained as it was, the Fiendfyre refused to surrender easily, but Galen had never surrendered in such a contest, and fought enemies far superior to the magical manifestation of his own emotions. Gradually, the werewolf turned, to face the locket, tensing itself to spring. And the locket, seemingly finally sensing the danger it was in, sprang open.

    The distant corner of Galen’s mind that liked to make caustic but usually accurate comments said, Of course it wouldn’t be that easy. The locket’s aware, after all - it would have to try and defend itself, especially if it looks like it’s about to be destroyed! Did you really think it would stay passive?

    A howling wind sprang forth from the open locket, as well as a dark and terrible voice. Abruptly, Galen thought to bring his Occlumency barriers up - as he’d had no direct contact with the locket, perhaps it wouldn’t be able to get into his head.

    I can see your heart,” intoned the cold, sibilant voice. “I can see your dreams, Galen Salvatore, and I can see your fears. All you desire is possible, but all that you dread is also possible . . .”

    If you can’t even see my true name, I doubt it,
    Galen thought.

    Always accursed and alone,” the locket continued. “Always abandoned and unwanted, even by yourself. Doomed to pain and hopelessness, and eternally powerless to change your fate, or that of those you claim to love . . .

    Spectres materialised, the first of Hermione, nude and slightly fuzzy, tinted an odd mixture of silver and gold and blue, her eyes so dark as to be black.

    Cue the Evil Naked Hermione . . . And God, I don’t know which makes her hotter - the naked part, or the evil part.

    “Foolish beast,
    ” the Horcrux version of Hermione said icily. “Did you really think I could ever love you? A sad, pathetic excuse for a man who refuses to grow up, or make anything of his life? And that is the best part of you - the other half is a monster!” Horcrux-Hermione shook her head, causing certain parts of her anatomy to jiggle in an enticing manner. “No, no matter what you try, eventually I’ll find my way to my true love, the only one who really deserves me - the man I was meant to be with . . .

    Ronald Weasley materialised beside her, and Galen felt absolutely no desire to glance down and confirm that he was as naked as the image of Hermione, blurred-out gentalia or not. The smug smirk on his face was nauseating enough.

    Come on, mate, you knew it was going to happen,” Horcrux-Ron taunted. “The books, movies, author, and millions of fans all said so! Did you really think what you wanted was going to matter? She’s supposed to be mine, no matter what happens - which means I can do anything I want to her, and she’ll forgive me every time, because everything says that’s the way it is. Isn’t that right, bitch?

    Horcrux-Hermione’s response was to begin a passionate snog, and Galen heard the Fiendfyre werewolf’s snarl increase in volume, as its shape began to deform. He hastily clamped down on it - he would not lose control of it.

    Of course, there’s always me,” said Takara’s voice, as the couple faded out slightly, retreating to a background position in the corner of Galen’s vision - still present, and visible, but no longer the main event. That was reserved for what his inner voice dubbed “Evil Naked Takara,” who was just as hot as Evil Naked Hermione had been.

    Your dream come true,” she taunted. “Exotically pretty, intelligent, caring - and in desperate need of a hero. We both know that if I hadn’t needed you, I’d never have looked at you. Even if you weren’t a gaijin, what could you offer me as a man? Physical competition? Intellectual stimulation? Financial stability? Sexual prowess?” She laughed at the last, a piercing sound. “Hardly. But my honour code says I have to keep hanging around you because I owe you, and you never seem to die long enough for it to stick. You can’t even get that right.

    Horcrux-Takara shook her head. “I wish you’d just hurry up and finish it, but you’ve always been too much of a coward for that, and lazy enough to just loll around, hoping that something else would do the work for you.”

    “You really should die, you know,
    ” Horcrux-Ilya advised as she appeared to stand beside the Japanese girl. “You’re a monster after all, and monsters are supposed to die when their usefulness is over. Why do you think I let you go? I got what I needed, so I didn’t need you any longer.”

    “He never knows when to take a hint,
    ” Horcrux-Takara complained. “That one friend had to avoid spending any time with him for over a year before he figured out that he wasn’t wanted - and they’d been friends for almost a decade. You have to pound things into his head with a sledgehammer.” The Japanese girl giggled. “Hey, I know - let’s find Shirou! We’re both H-game heroines, after all - maybe if we prove it, he’ll catch on!

    Horcrux-Takara and Horcrux-Ilya withdrew, as the first pair had, and for similar reasons, as they were joined by an indistinct figure of Shirou.

    There you go again,” Horcrux-Luna said sadly. “Corrupting and defiling everything. All those dark desires, pent up for so long, festering inside you - when they come out, it’s like poison to everything around you. Even me, the most innocent person you know - and look at what I look like, because deep down, you really want to see me like this.

    The Evil Naked version of Luna gave him a sad smile that nevertheless held traces of a smirk. “You really are a monster, you know. But you’re more afraid of your fists than you are of your fangs. And that doesn’t even count your wand. All that power, just itching to be used - how long before it is? How long before you lash out, like you did before? How long before one of us is beaten, or strangled, or hexed - or will you use your fangs, after all? Will you wake up one full moon morning, to find us lying beside you?

    Horcrux-Luna’s body suddenly sprouted horrific wounds - gouges and tears that exposed organs and bone. The other figures, minus Weasley, appeared, seeming to have suffered the same treatment - but some had been strangled, others battered - and all of the girls had been visibly, savagely raped.

    You’re a bigger monster than the wolf could ever be,” Horcrux-Luna said sibilantly, almost gently. “It will only kill us, but you . . . You’ll defile us. You’ll ruin everything you love about us. And if you want to stop that from happening, if you care about us at all, you need to die, before it’s too late. Or else you’ll destroy us.

    “I know I will,” Galen whispered sadly. Then, flatly, “Sic ‘em.

    The werewolf sprang forward with a roar of flame, the hatred and rage the locket had unwisely stoked finally given a target on which to let loose - the locket itself. The phantom forms evaporated like so much smoke as the blazing beast surged through them, and with a snarling whoosh, jagged fangs “bit” into the golden trinket, instantly turning it red, then white-hot. With a tortured scream, the soul fragment of Tom Marvolo Riddle expired as its container bubbled into a molten, twisted lump - and the dark curses which had bound it there shattered explosively.

    Protego!” Galen cried, directing his wand in a motion so well-practised it was almost reflexive. The silver light of a Shield Charm sprang into being between himself and the magical backlash - and shattered, hurling those who had sheltered behind it flying towards the dungeon’s back wall. Galen was reminded of Kreacher’s presence when he caught a glimpse of him out of the corner of his eye, and the wizard seized the house-elf in mid-flight and drew him in close, curling protectively over the smaller body before the pair struck the stone wall with a resounding thud, and fell to the floor.

    Pain shot through Galen’s legs - the landing had not been easy. Still, the duster had done its job once again, and absorbed the bulk of the impact. If it hadn’t, he’d be nursing a broken spine, now. Exhaling slowly, he uncoiled himself from over the smaller being, and released him.

    “Are you all right, Kreacher?” Galen rasped.

    “Kreacher is saved,” the elf said wonderingly, eyes wide. “Young master destroys the locket, as he said he would, and protects Kreacher from nasty fall - young master is hurt protecting Kreacher!”

    Mine, Kreacher,” Galen snapped. “My vassal, my responsibility, mine to protect. Besides, the danger was my fault - I underestimated the amount of effort it took to control the Fiendfyre, and couldn’t manage a sufficiently strong Shield Charm because of it. You should not suffer for my failure.”

    “No!” Kreacher bellowed. “Young master did not fail! He has done all that he said he would, has done what Kreacher failed to do! Truly, the young master is a mighty wizard, and Kreacher is honoured that the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black has him to call its own, that Kreacher might serve him!” The house-elf fell to his knees in supplication, forehead touching the floor.

    Galen was momentarily bewildered - he hadn’t expected a reaction like this! But a moment’s thought made it understandable. The mere promise of destroying the locket had won Kreacher to Harry’s side, and now the elf had witnessed it firsthand. He had seen with his own eyes the last command of his beloved Master Regulus fulfilled - by a wizard who had acted to shield him from harm, as Regulus might have. Perhaps Kreacher’s sudden zealotry was not so difficult to understand.

    “Rise, Kreacher,” Galen said. “You needn’t kowtow to me. You are my vassal, not my chattel - my servant, but never my slave. And I will be relying on you greatly, in times to come.”

    Kreacher sprang to his feet, almost Dobby-like in his eagerness. “Young master has orders?”

    “I do,” Galen said. “Firstly, know that while I am the heir-apparent of this Noble and Most Ancient House, Sirius Black is still its Head - and as such, his orders are that you never discuss or mention anything you see or hear regarding we two, or those with us, with anyone else unless given his permission to do so. A great many lives depend upon secrecy, Kreacher - including our own. Like Regulus, we seek the fall of He Who Must Not Be Named, and those who would serve him - as certain other members of the family would.”

    Kreacher paused, before nodding. “Kreacher understands. Mistress Cissy and Mistress Bella are not to be told anything.”

    Galen nodded. “Or their husbands, or their children, Kreacher. Black blood they might bear, but they would place themselves in the service of a half-blood who seeks to rule them - and do so willingly.”

    The elf trembled with sudden rage. “What? The purest of houses in service to a half-blood? What would my poor mistress say?”

    “Nothing good, I’m sure,” Galen said with a grim smirk. “Your second task, Kreacher, is to prepare this house for habitation again - while neither I nor Sirius intend to live here any time soon, it is among the most well-protected places in Britain, and will serve as our refuge of last resort, should it be needed. To that end, it must be well-stocked, sanitary, and as secure as it can possibly be made. Secrecy is paramount - what our enemies do not know about, they cannot find - but should the worst befall, I want this place to be able to withstand a siege not seen since the days of Salazar Slytherin himself.”

    Kreacher straightened to a parade-ground posture that any military in the world would have found acceptable. “It will be done, young master. Home and sanctuary this has been to the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black for generations - and it will be ready to be so again.”

    “Excellent - let me know if you require anything from me to accomplish it.” Galen paused. “Be aware, Kreacher, that some of those I might bring to this place will be half-bloods, halfbreeds, mudbloods, blood traitors, or other things your mistress would deem unsuitable. Whatever their nature, they are my allies, and their allegiance is valuable to me - in some cases, I may even owe them my life. You do not have to approve of them - I will not ask, or order that of you - but do not insult them. If your behaviour costs me their alliance, I will be extremely angry.”

    The house-elf’s eyes flicked to the left, where the remains of the locket lay, still glowing faintly red, and he nodded quickly.

    Galen nodded back, and pulled out his money pouch. He counted out a stack of ten Galleons.

    “Your next task is to buy yourself garments suitable for a vassal of the House of Black,” Galen said firmly. “Your own choice as to what they are, Kreacher - but you represent the House poorly, garbed as you are. What respect should we command, when we appear unable to properly care for our own servants?”

    Kreacher’s eyes were wide again, before they narrowed, and something like a smirk crossed his face. “The young master is crafty - Kreacher will have clothes, but the young master did not give them to him, no - Kreacher was given only money, and the clothes came from the money, but it is Kreacher who will present the clothes to the young master. Clever young master . . . Kreacher will enjoy serving you.”

    “Serve Sirius as well,” Galen said quietly. “His is the more dangerous part. Where Regulus sought to bring about the Dark Lord’s fall, Sirius seeks to prevent him from rising again. He may need your aid, Kreacher, but approach him in private - the wrong word in the wrong ears could mean his death. And do tell him about his brother - it will do him good, and perhaps yourself as well.”

    Kreacher nodded. “Kreacher will.”

    Galen sighed, and felt the pain of what was liable to be a lovely set of bruises along his back as he did. Nevertheless, he got up, dusted himself off, and replaced his wand.

    “And with that, I believe the hour I asked of your mistress is nearly up,” he said. “I will come to check in on you from time to time, to make sure your needs are being met, Kreacher. And I would ask, when you begin your cleaning, that you start with the library - I suspect the knowledge it contains will be of great help.”

    “Yes, young master,” Kreacher said.

    Galen nodded, and smiled. “Then until next time, my faithful friend. Good fortune to you.”

    Galen bowed in farewell to the portrait of Walburga Black as he left, then walked several blocks away from Grimmauld Place under the Deathcloak before discreetly summoning the Knight Bus again. He paid the fare and gave the driver a new destination, in a certain mundane neighbourhood. Taking a seat, Galen gripped the back of the seat in front of him tightly, and despite the wildness of the ride, fought to stay awake.

    The Fiendfyre had been more draining than the Horcrux’s taunts - really, why did everyone and everything he encountered that tried to use his deepest, darkest fears and impulses against him expect him to be shocked and horrified by their existence? He knew who and what he was, he’d spent years coming to terms with it. And knowing that made the loneliness that occasionally came upon him easier to bear - that it was better that he was alone, because he was unworthy of love and romance . . . Galen shook his head. He had more important things to worry about at the moment than that well-worn path.

    So far, things were going well for the day - he’d survived Grimmauld Place and destroyed the locket, consigning another of Voldemort’s Horcruxes to oblivion. That made it three down, and left the ring, the cup, and possibly the snake. Just as important, the task his uncle Regulus had died trying to accomplish was now complete, restoring the family honour. And he seemed to have made a willing ally in Kreacher, which he’d hoped for but hadn’t truly expected. No, all was good, for the moment - even if he felt like he wanted a stiff drink and a week’s bed rest after casting those spells.

    Still, he reminded himself as the bus came to a halt, the task was far from over yet. The Horcruxes they’d destroyed were the three most easily accessible ones, terrible as their protections were. The other three would be far more difficult and dangerous. The cup was in Bellatrix Lestrange’s Gringotts vault, and guarded by goblin warriors and magic. Nagini the serpent was a massive and deadly creature in her own right, in addition to being in the constant company of Voldemort himself. And the Gaunt family ring, in addition to being warded by Voldemort’s spells, contained the Resurrection Stone, another Deathly Hallow - and who knew what use the soul fragment might be able to make of it? Or, given the cloak’s additional attributes beyond the power to confer mere invisibility, what unknown abilities the Deathstone might hold?

    No, the remaining Horcruxes might be even more dangerous than Voldemort. Saying the job was even half-finished was optimistic, at best. Still, they’d accomplished more in three years than Dumbledore had in seven - and with the death of Pettigrew, the desperate need for haste that had characterised the original Horcrux hunt might not be present here - there was a more than likely chance that they’d managed to forestall Voldemort’s resurrection.

    This year will be the proof of it, Galen reminded himself. If there are four competitors in the Triwizard Tournament again, then we have more work to do . . . I wonder who it will be? Shirou, as the basilisk slayer and wielder of the brother wand of Voldemort’s? Takara, the youngest Seeker in a century, and “born as the seventh month dies?” Or will the universe pick me, just because I’m making too much progress and it’s getting pissed off? It’s going to pick one of us, that’s for sure - it’s gone to too much trouble marking us as Harry’s replacements not to.

    But that, Galen reminded himself, was a problem for another day. And until then, he still had promises to keep - like this one.

    The wizard paused in front of the door of the well-maintained home, a stark contrast to Grimmauld Place. His advanced hearing could make out an argument on the other side of the door.

    “Mum, I’m ten - and highly mature for my age, you keep saying. I do not need a babysitter!

    “Maybe not, but we’ll feel safer knowing you have one,” her mother said. “Besides, he should be here any minute.”

    He? Terrific - it’s some strange boy that’s liable to treat me like a dumb little kid!”

    Galen quietly tilted the mail slot in the door open and grinned as he called through, “Shall I just go home then, Mira?”

    There was a moment of silence in which he could imagine Miranda Granger’s face turning a lovely shade of crimson, followed by a quickly hissed “Why didn’t you say it was Galen?” before the door was opened with sudden violence.

    Galen had dealt with the Granger girls for a number of years now, and he knew that Miranda idolised and emulated her older sister. Therefore, he was prepared for the sudden impact of the youngest Granger’s enthusiastic embrace.

    “Nice to see you too, poppet,” he murmured. “May I come in?”

    His only excuse for not witnessing being dragged inside was that he blinked.

    “Missus Granger,” Galen greeted. “All set for your awards dinner?”

    “Yes, and thanks again for agreeing to this on such short notice - are you sure you won’t accept money?”

    “Positive,” Galen said. “Hermione does enough for me over the school year that it’s nice to be able to work off some of the karmic debt.”

    The eldest Granger female shook her head. “You may have added to it - Hermione was most put out when she realised you weren’t going to this Quidditch match. I was half-certain she was going to stay home after that, but she decided to go after all. Surprising - she was never much of a sports fan.”

    “She still isn’t, as far as I know, but it’s too good an opportunity to pass up,” Galen remarked. “Spending time with everyone outside of school, plus the chance to meet witches and wizards from all around the world? I was half-tempted to go myself, but I had some family matters to take care of.”

    For which they will no doubt flay me alive, later.

    “Nothing serious, I hope?”

    “Nothing serious at all.” More “Regulus,” actually. “And all brought to a satisfying conclusion, so you really do have nothing to worry about. Enjoy your dinner, gloat over your awards - Miranda will be safe and sound, and sleeping, when you come home.”

    “Whereas Hermione will be either bone-weary tomorrow, or bouncing off the walls in excitement,” Mr. Granger added as he came down the stairs. “All set, dear?” At his wife’s nod, he said, “Right, then. Off we go. Good night, poppet . . . Galen.”

    “Sir,” Galen acknowledged. He closed and locked the door behind the Grangers, and watched them drive off, sparing a moment to think of his friends at the Quidditch World Cup.

    It should be OK. Without Lucius Malfoy to spur them, the Death Eaters probably won’t attack - and if they do, I doubt they’ll be as well-organised. It should be relatively easy to evade them - or take them out.

    Galen grimaced at a sudden memory of being disarmed by Sirius Black last year. He hadn’t quite been going all-out, wanting the scene to look authentic, but the use of silent spells, however much weaker they were, had proven to be a big advantage in their mock fight. And he knew for a fact that several Death Eaters were capable of them.

    Stay safe, guys. I’d have gone with you, but I needed to destroy the locket, as a matter of family honour - and I didn’t want to go through the arguments with you over it. Still, what’s done is done.

    With a sigh, Galen turned his attention to Miranda, smiling as he said, “All right, Mira, what would you like first?”

    “Would you answer a question for me?” the girl asked.

    “If I can, of course.”

    She looked at him with the earnest guilelessness that only children can muster, took a deep breath, and said, “Why haven’t you and Hermione kissed yet?”
    Last edited by Kieran; July 31st, 2011 at 11:11 PM.

  2. #2
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    According to most, my own little world
    Blog Entries
    DISCLAIMER: Lunar Legend Tsukihime, Fate/Stay Night, and all related characters and concepts are the creation and property of Kinoko Nasu and Type-Moon, along with anyone who's happened to license them, like Geneon or Funimation. Harry Potter and all related characters and concepts are the creation and property of J.K. Rowling, along with her publishers and Warner Bros., as regards the movie material.

    This is a not-for-profit, just-for-fun project.

    Writer's Note: Certain dialogue sequences in this story are lifted from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but I trust in the intelligence of my readers (and the availability of the books) to recognise them when they see them.

    Chapter 2 - A Different Trinity

    August 23, 1994

    As the limousine rounded the corner on its way to the Apparation point, Hermione Jean Granger bit her lower lip - a childhood habit that had since become second nature when she was worried. Unlike many of the people around her, however, she wasn’t worried about who would win the Quidditch World Cup, or getting good seats for it - she was a guest of the Baroness Irisviel von Einzbern and her family, and would be viewing it from a private box, along with her friends. She wasn’t worried about getting lost in the crowds of people who had come to see it - around a hundred thousand witches and wizards, she’d been told, from all around the world. Her group was organised, she was never entirely alone, and their campsite was reasonably isolated and well-secured. On the rare chance that she did get lost, finding her way back would not be difficult or time-consuming.

    No, her worry was about what would come after the game, when they were all bedded down for the night before returning home the next morning. She had never slept in a wizard’s tent before, but she was aware that they were designed very like a TARDIS - bigger on the inside, possibly with individual bedrooms, depending on the model. And if that was the case, a mortally embarrassing scene was just waiting to be played out. Since bonding with the lioness that was her Animagus form, Hermione had difficulty sleeping alone - the instincts she’d inherited insisted that she needed her pride around her in order to truly rest. And more than once, Hermione had been known to sleepwalk into someone else’s bed to obtain that comfort.

    At Hogwarts, it hadn’t been so bad - the Gryffindor girls shared a communal dorm, so Hermione hadn’t initially noticed the problem. It wasn’t until she went home for Christmas, and was confined to her own singular room that this particular quirk had clearly manifested. Then, the problem had been solved by having her cat sleep with her - but while Hermione wasn’t afraid of the crowds for herself, she had been worried about losing Crookshanks in the shuffle, and so she’d left him at home.

    I should’ve brought him, Hermione thought. But I was so worried for his safety, I didn’t think about this problem until it was too late - and now what do I do?

    Her one hope was Takara Aozaki. Of all her friends, Takara was the only one aware of her problem, and she might be willing to share a room - but that idea was a problem in itself, because it meant she would be sharing a room - presumably alone - with Takara.

    Hermione did not fancy other girls. As much as the lioness in her enjoyed closeness, cuddling and physical contact - and she was a lot more “touchy-feelie,” as her friends put it, than she used to be - that did not extend to sexual aspects. She would hug her friends because they were her friends, and occasionally stroke Luna’s hair if she was feeling down, much as she might do for Miranda - a big sister thing. That did not translate to wanting to strip them down to their knickers and kiss every inch of exposed skin. And where Takara was concerned, she didn’t feel that want, either.

    But she’d always thought Takara was pretty - envied her the smoothness of her skin, the straightness of her hair - and the best sleep she’d had in the last year had been lying in bed next to her friend. In some ways, not even sleeping with Galen had been as good, because the Deathcloak had been between them, hiding her presence from him. Not so with Takara. They’d been physically closer, and for far longer, than Hermione had been to anyone since she’d started puberty, owing to the need to hide together under Galen’s invisibility cloak. And the closeness had triggered certain reactions, just from the proximity of a warm - and, it had to be admitted, a comfortable body.

    I couldn’t look her in the eye for almost a week after that, Hermione thought ruefully. And now, depending on the setup, I might have to ask her to do it again. Even if we don’t have to share a bed, we’ll both be thinking about it . . . Oh, why didn’t I bring Crookshanks?

    “Deep thoughts?” interrupted a light, silvery voice - almost childlike, and laced with a mild Germanic accent. Hermione started, and found the large, ice blue eyes of Ilyasviel von Einzbern peering at her in a combination of concern and amusement.

    “Troubled ones,” Hermione admitted to the girl sitting across from her. She really didn’t know Ilyasviel - or Ilya, as most seemed to call her - that well. Although she was Shirou’s sister, she attended Durmstrang, a magical school on the continent with a dark reputation, and so was only in Britain over the holidays. In addition to that, she was two years older, and thus, not usually interested in hanging out with Hermione when she was at home. That wasn’t to say they were complete strangers - they did see each other socially at the Aerie, Ilyasviel’s family home, and the older girl had often played games or watched movies with Hermione’s friends (mostly Shirou and Galen, she reminded herself). But they weren’t friends, really, so much as acquaintances.

    Hermione had always found Ilyasviel a touch unnerving, to tell the truth. She was even more beautiful than Takara, blessed with the power of a Veela’s supernatural allure, and like Takara, closer to one Galen Salvatore than she was comfortable with. In addition, Ilyasviel had always had a knowing look in her eyes - though what precisely she might “know,” Hermione couldn’t say.

    Still, that look was in her eyes now as the elder girl asked, “About what?” As though she already knew the answer, and was simply waiting to be amused by her response.

    “The sleeping arrangements,” Hermione said honestly, before quickly seizing on a reasonable excuse. “I hope you haven’t gone to too much trouble and expense. I’ve heard of magical tents that are constructed like a five-star hotel - individual suites. It seems a ridiculous waste to me.”

    Ilyasviel laughed. “Well. Hermione, I can assure that while we are wealthy, my parents don’t believe in spending ludicrous amounts of money on trivialities. We’ll be comfortable, but I’m afraid you’ll have to put up with a communal dormitory, as at Hogwarts - only my parents have their own suite. Otherwise, it’s you, Takara and I, with Shirou, Galen and Neville getting their own room.”

    Even as part of her relaxed - with Takara in the room, she wouldn’t go sleepwalking - Hermione shot her a puzzled look. “Did Galen change his mind?”

    Now it was Ilyasviel’s turn to look puzzled. “What do you mean?”

    “Galen said he wasn’t coming - that he had things to do with his family.”

    “What?” The older witch was clearly startled, and her eyes narrowed in suspicion, “His parents’ anniversary is the ninth, and that was weeks ago. It would have to be something he absolutely couldn’t beg, plead, or lie his way out of . . .”

    “Why?” Hermione asked. “It’s not as though he likes Quidditch - as long as it isn’t Takara or Shirou playing, he ignores it entirely.”

    Ilyasviel smirked. “You would know. But he’d come for the company - do you really think he’d pass up a chance to spend time with his three favourite witches?”

    Hermione blushed at the compliment, and reluctantly shook her head. Even if Galen weren’t interested in spending time with her (although to be fair, he’d never been less than eager to), she couldn’t see him ignoring beautiful girls like Takara and Ilyasviel.

    “So,” the half-Veela witch continued, “Something family-related, and important enough to beg off spending time with all his friends . . .”

    Hermione wasn’t called the brightest witch of her age as a joke, and she’d spent almost three solid years observing one Galen Salvatore. And Ilyasviel von Einzbern, according to her brother, knew Galen better than anyone else alive. The two witches came to exactly the same conclusion at exactly the same time, and said it aloud in unison.

    “Or something so dangerous that he waited until we were all safely out of the way before tackling it alone.”

    Ilyasviel closed her eyes, and suddenly let out a groan. “‘Things to do with his family’ - he didn’t even have to lie, did he?”

    “You know what he’s up to?” Hermione demanded.

    “I’d bet Galleons on it - and from here, there’s nothing we can do.” Ilyasviel sighed. “The worst part is, it needs to be done, and he’s got the best chance of getting in and out alive - but I wish he’d taken some backup.”

    Hermione bit her lip again, now worried for an all-new reason - whether or not she’d ever see her best friend again.

    He moved through the crowds like he had every right to expect them to part before him, in a swift, ground-eating march seeming less like a man than a force of nature. His dragonhide duster swept behind him like a war banner, its familiar weight not quite concealing the broadness of his shoulders, or the muscular build of his legs as his feet seemed to strike the ground with each step, rather than merely walk upon it. His wand was a reassuring weight on his arm, its holster concealed by the duster’s long, broad-brimmed sleeves - and despite the oversized buckets in his hands, hours of practice ensured that he could draw it in the space of seconds, if need be. Eyes narrowed in suspicion as much as the brightness of the day, he scanned constantly for potential threats, a habit honed by countless battles.

    “Hey, Nev! Come on - Dad’s waiting on the water!”

    Feeling a heat on the tips of his ears that had nothing to do with the summer sun, Neville Longbottom picked up his pace, embarrassed at having been caught out imitating his hero - and by the very same person, no less!

    Having been raised by his grandmother, Neville had never had much in the way of male role models. There was his father, of course - Frank Longbottom, Auror and hero. His Gran had told him so many stories since he was old enough to understand English, but the man he knew as his father was a near-mindless idiot, and if he knew in his heart they were the same man, his head knew that the man he’d been was gone, and might never return. Alternatively, there was Albus Dumbledore - the most powerful of Light wizards, defeater of the Dark Lords Grindelwald and Voldemort (he could think it, even if saying it wasn’t always easy), and his parents’ avenger. On the other hand, Dumbledore wasn’t the most approachable figure, and very old - and since Neville had started Hogwarts, his reputation wasn’t all it had been. No, until Hogwarts, Neville hadn’t had anyone to look up to, any person that he really wanted to be like - and then, suddenly, he’d had two.

    Firstly, there was Galen Salvatore, who seemed fairly average while being anything but. Raised mostly in the mundane (not Muggle) world, he seemed to have little tolerance, let alone respect, for a great many wizarding traditions - the use of the term “Muggle” among them. A werewolf, Neville’s upbringing insisted that Galen should be shunned, as werewolves were savage, merciless creatures, constantly on the verge of brutal violence, and so Galen was, but that was the nature of his human side, not his bestial one. He could also be manipulative in the extreme (Neville had seen ample evidence of this last year), and did not seem entirely sane.

    Still, he wasn’t all bad. He could be quite kind and generous, when he chose to be, and he would keep his word, when he gave it. And those who he chose to protect gained an ally of fearsome power and a loyalty that Neville thought Helga Hufflepuff would be proud to see. As much as Galen frightened Neville - and Neville having seen the older wizard’s displays of power, Galen most assuredly did - he found it a great comfort to know that Galen had always, and would always, stand between Neville and harm. Having seen him beat back mountain trolls, Neville privately thought it would take a full-grown dragon to take Galen out - and he’d still put ten Galleons on Galen, just in case. The guy had a proven knack for surviving certain death. Still, while Neville could admire Galen, just as one could admire a tiger, he was quite sure he couldn’t be Galen, and nor did he want to be.

    Shirou Einzbern, gesturing to him from up ahead, was a different case. The scion of a prominent family, like Neville, Shirou was many things Galen was not. He was openly friendly to everyone, if often impatient with “trivial things,” handsome, popular, and laidback. That said, he possessed many of Galen’s qualities as well: a frightening level of power, a certain casualness regarding the use of force, and a level of dedication to his friends and family that was inspiring. In many ways, the two boys were like dark reflections - change a few details, and one would be the other - but Shirou didn’t make an effort to frighten people. He had a better handle on whatever demons lay inside him, that Galen did not. That wasn’t to say Shirou couldn’t be frightening, anyone who could kill a basilisk at twelve was frightening, but Shirou seemed more approachable, more . . . More human.

    And so, Neville had gradually been making an effort to emulate the most admirable male he knew. Like all of his friends, he’d exercised, studied martial arts, become an Animagus - and the work was paying off. Much of his body fat had transformed into much solider muscle. He still looked a little pudgy - he would always have a stocky build - but anybody who thought he was simply “fat” was in for a big surprise. Or slow, for that matter. Of course, he wasn’t a carbon copy of the boy - he’d never have Shirou’s skill at Transfiguration - not even his new cherry and unicorn hair wand could grant him that - but he excelled at Herbology, as Shirou did not. Likewise, his granted Animagus traits included a sharper sense of smell, as opposed to Shirou’s aquiline vision, and greater strength and endurance over quicker reflexes and improved agility. And his duster, while dragonhide, was a striking black as opposed to the brilliant red of Shirou’s.

    All in all, Neville was fairly pleased with himself at fourteen - and so was his Gran. She saw him as finally growing into his potential, and the fact that he’d made friends with such an influential family as the Einzberns warmed her heart, as well. A society dame at heart, she thrilled to the games of power and politics as much as any Slytherin, though she was willing to champion better causes, and for no more gain than that they were better.

    For example, Neville thought, three years ago, the idea of Gran crusading for werewolf rights would’ve been silly. Mention that our best Defence teacher ever is a werewolf, however - to say nothing of a wizard who’s saved my life - and she’s willing to become the public figurehead of LAPIS in Britain. Between Gran and Baroness Einzbern, Hermione’s little protest group has some real teeth - and they seem to have managed some good.

    Neville shook his head as he handed Shirou the water buckets to be filled, causing the redhead to look at him oddly.

    “What’s up?” Shirou inquired.

    “Just thinking about Gran’s activities with LAPIS,” Neville said. “Considering what she taught me about werewolves growing up, it’s a real turnaround.”

    “And she’s made some headway,” Shirou admitted. “Thanks to Hermione’s publishing that cheap formula for Wolfsbane Potion, a lot of the - let’s call them ‘less public’ - governmental agencies are hiring werewolves now. Did you know that lycanthropy gives someone a resistance to Dark magic? Not immunity, but you’re more likely to recover than a normal witch or wizard. That has real potential in the security field, to say nothing of medical research.”

    “Not to mention,” Neville mused, “that werewolves still have a nasty reputation. Would you want to pick a fight with a security guard or bouncer you knew was a werewolf?”

    “Want to? No, but I would if I had to. The average guy, on the other hand . . .” Shirou trailed off, and Neville shook his head.

    “I wouldn’t, either,” Neville admitted. Then what Shirou had said earlier penetrated. “Wait - you mean that, if they could figure out why werewolves heal as well as they do, cursed people could - ”

    “Could recover from something that should otherwise cripple or kill them,” Shirou finished, before adding “maybe. Even a werewolf isn’t invulnerable, Neville - you of all people know that. They can be hurt, and they can certainly be killed. But maybe they can find something that will help long-term victims, even if it’s just to make them not suffer as long.”

    “Like my parents,” Neville rasped. Driven insane by the Torture Curse, locked inside their own minds - or erased from them.

    “Like your parents,” Shirou agreed. His voice softened. “I don’t think it could ever bring them back, Neville - it’s been an awfully long time. But maybe, they’ll uncover something so that no one will have to go through that again. Maybe we can manage that much.”

    “I hope so,” Neville said. “I wouldn’t wish their fate on anyone - except Bellatrix Lestrange,” he spat venomously.

    “To cast a Dark curse, especially that one, you have to mean it, Neville,” Shirou warned. “You have to want the pain - the suffering - more than anything in the world. Bellatrix can do it. So could Galen . . . And so could I.”

    Neville looked at him in surprise, and Shirou smirked.

    “Galen’s nasty, but most of that’s all in his own head. Given the chance, he’d commit the sins without a qualm. Me, I’ve done most of those things - I just feel worse about it than he would. So yeah, I could easily go as Dark as anyone - but I choose not to. Because I like where and what I am, right now. And I’ll protect that as best I can. But think about it, Neville - it’s a long and bloody road, and getting off of it isn’t easy. Think long and hard before you decide to step on it.”

    Neville looked at him, and nodded slowly. “Thanks for the warning.”

    Shirou shrugged, and suddenly grinned. “What’s the benefit of all my experience if I don’t share it? Now, come on - we should get these buckets back to camp.”

    Ginevra Molly Weasley - as her mother called her, when she was really in for it - did a double-take when she glimpsed the trailing scarlet shape in the distance, and confirmed that the darker one following it was garbed in midnight black, not thundercloud gray. Either Galen Salvatore had gotten a new duster, or that wasn’t her friends.

    Well, there’s one way to find out, she thought to herself.

    “Dad,” Ginny called. “I think I saw Shirou pass through - can I go see for sure?”

    Her father, deep in conversation with her three oldest brothers and Ludo Bagman, glanced up and said blankly, “I’m sorry, Ginny, what?”

    The redhead repeated patiently. “I think I saw Shirou Einzbern pass by. I’d like to go say hello, if it is.”

    “You can go if you can get Ron or the twins to go with you,” her father said. “I don’t want you getting lost in the crowds - ”

    A sudden pop heralded the Apparation of Barty Crouch, identified by Percy’s startled “Mr Crouch!” at the appearance of his boss.

    Ginny frowned. Ron was off with Dean Thomas, souvenir-hunting, and the twins had disappeared - likely to pass out more of their mail-order catalogues for Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. They’d been experimenting with things for the last two years, ever since Shirou had given them part of the bounty he’d received for killing the basilisk he’d saved her from - and having received a fair number of O.W.L.s, the pair had decided to start drumming up business in earnest. While Ginny was pleased for them, honestly, it meant she was fresh out of brothers to chaperone her - as irritating as the thought that she needed one was.

    “I’ll take her, Dad,” Bill offered. “All this Ministry stuff’s mostly over my head, anyway.” He grinned wickedly at Ginny. “Besides, I’ve got to see this beau of hers for myself.”

    “Bill!” Ginny snapped, just knowing she was flushing as red as her hair.

    To Ginny’s regret, Shirou Einzbern was not her beau - at least, not yet. She wanted him to be, and with his breakup with Takara Aozaki last year, she might have a chance for him to be, but right now, she was no better off than Hermione Granger was with Galen Salvatore. She was worse off, actually - at least Galen made sweet gestures towards Hermione. Shirou was just sort of indifferently nice to her.

    “Well,” Bill said with mock sternness, grinning all the while, “I’ve got to make sure this bloke is topnotch before I hand over my only little sister, don’t I?”

    Percy gave him a solemn look, but his voice was very dry. “A year and a half ago, he killed a sixty-foot-long basilisk with a sword, Bill - and he was twelve. Unless you can top that, I strongly recommend you not try intimidating him. He’s more likely to laugh himself sick.”

    Their oldest brother was a Gringotts curse-breaker, and wore dragonhide boots and a fang earring. He was, by nature, not easily impressed. The sudden widening of his eyes told Ginny that this had probably done it, though he quickly banished it from his face.

    “Doesn’t matter,” Bill said firmly. “The honour of the Weasleys, and big brothers everywhere, demands that I uphold the tradition!” He smirked.

    Percy’s voice was dry enough to use as sandpaper. “What flowers shall I arrange for the funeral?”

    Ginny’s second-oldest brother, Charlie, stared at Percy in shock. “When did you grow a sense of humour, baby brother?”

    Percy’s expression became solemn again. “Since Shirou Einzbern saved my and Ginny’s lives.” He shook his head. “Just be careful, Bill - Einzbern’s fairly easygoing, but he’ll only put up with so much. Make sure he knows you’re joking, and don’t push it too far.”

    “I won’t,” Bill assured him, shaking his head. “But honestly, even if it did get rough, I think I can handle one kid - ”

    “It won’t be one,” Ginny said flatly. “It will be at least one, almost certainly three, and depending on who’s around, probably seven.” Ginny gave her brother a hard look. “And one of them will be me.

    Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Percy’s lips twitch in a brief smirk as he drawled in imitation of Fred and George, “So swears the Scarlet Seven.”

    Bill stared at her for quite a while, as they walked in the direction she’d seen the one who was possibly Shirou go. Finally, Ginny couldn’t take the eyes burning a hole in her any longer and demanded irritably, “What?

    Bill shook his head. “I’ve just never seen you like this, Gin-Gin.”

    “Like what?”

    “You threatened to help your friends hex me,” he answered. “And it didn’t sound like you were going to use Tripping Jinxes. I thought Ron was exaggerating when he said these new friends of yours were turning you against your family - ”

    “He is,” Ginny said. “They get along with the twins just fine” - she snorted mentally at the understatement - “and aside from a couple of rows when Percy was a prefect, they never had a problem with him, either. Ron’s just jealous.”

    “Why would he be?”

    “Because I’m friends with the one of the most popular boys and one of the most popular girls in our house, in his own year, and he isn’t.”

    “This Einzbern kid, yeah?”

    “And Takara Aozaki, Gryffindor’s Seeker - the youngest in a century,” Ginny added.

    “Aozaki? Any relation to Aoko Aozaki?”

    Ginny rummaged through her memories. “I think Takara mentioned her - her aunt, but Takara calls her ‘Big Sister,’ because it’s bad to make her feel old.”

    Bill whistled. “I met her once at a pyramid in Egypt. She took one look at the ward scheme and identified half a dozen death curses right off - took them out and at least four more in less than five minutes. I’d have needed at least two hours. I can see why your friend doesn’t want to upset her - her aunt’s one bloody scary lady.”

    Ginny grinned. “Maybe that explains why she hangs around Galen - she’s used to scary people.”


    “Galen Salvatore,” the youngest Weasley clarified. “Takara and Shirou’s friend. He’s the only one who really doesn’t like Ron - I never have figured out why, and if they know, they aren’t telling.”

    “Have you tried asking him?” Bill said drily.

    Ginny snorted. “I’ve seen him duel - I’m not asking him anything that might piss him off, even though I’m pretty sure he’d never hurt me.”

    Bill raised an eyebrow. “Only ‘pretty sure?’”

    “Galen has a temper, and full-grown mountain trolls tend to get put through walls when he loses it,” Ginny said in a matter-of-fact voice. “On the other hand, I’m family to him - which means anything that even remotely threatens me gets - what was the phrase he used - ‘terminated with extreme prejudice.’”

    Both eyebrows were up now. “And Mum lets you hang around with these people?”

    Ginny smirked. “She’s never met Galen, and she likes Shirou, so, yeah.” She shook her head. “But that’s the deal, Bill. Once you’re their friend, you’re safe, against anything, because they’ll do everything they can to protect you - it’s a promise. All they ask is the same loyalty. Shirou and Takara are two of my best friends, Neville and Hermione are nice, Luna’s been my friend for years, and Galen can be utterly terrifying - but he’d die to protect me, if he had to. Wouldn’t even blink.”

    “They mean a lot to you,” Bill noted quietly.

    “They do,” Ginny agreed. “They’re my friends, and I want you to like them as much as I do.”

    Her eldest brother suddenly went pale as he looked over Ginny’s shoulder, and when he spoke, his throat was audibly dry.

    “If that’s one of them,” he croaked, “then I think that won’t be a problem, Gin.”

    Ginny glanced over her shoulder, and called with a smile, “Afternoon! Mind if we pop in?”

    The enthusiastic wave was all the answer they needed, and Ginny’s smile remained fixed in place as she drew near, and said pleasantly, “May I introduce my eldest brother, Bill Weasley. Bill, this is Miss Ilyasviel von Einzbern.”

    “A pleasure,” Ilya said, curtseying slightly.

    “It is indeed, Miss Ilyasviel,” her brother said breathlessly. “It is, indeed.”

    Ginny grinned. Somehow, she suspected Bill wasn’t going to have any complaints about her friends.
    Last edited by Kieran; March 29th, 2011 at 11:17 PM.

  3. #3
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    According to most, my own little world
    Blog Entries
    DISCLAIMER: Lunar Legend Tsukihime, Fate/Stay Night, and all related characters and concepts are the creation and property of Kinoko Nasu and Type-Moon, along with anyone who's happened to license them, like Geneon or Funimation. Harry Potter and all related characters and concepts are the creation and property of J.K. Rowling, along with her publishers and Warner Bros., as regards the movie material.

    This is a not-for-profit, just-for-fun project.

    Writer's Note: Certain dialogue sequences in this story are lifted from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but I trust in the intelligence of my readers (and the availability of the books) to recognise them when they see them.

    Chapter 3 - Problems Foreign and Domestic

    August 23, 1994

    Shirou watched the oldest Weasley boy’s “cool” attempts to flirt with Ilya with a sardonic amusement. Knowing Ginny as he did, he had three guesses as to why Big Brother was accompanying her, instead of a solo trip or her father - and all three involved threatening the would-be boyfriend. Instead, however, Shirou had a golden opportunity to turn the tables on him. He wondered idly, for a moment, if he ought to bother.

    After further consideration, though, Shirou decided against it. Firstly, because he knew damned well that Ilya could hold her own, even without her Veela powers. And she was playing with the man now, like a cat that didn’t really care to eat the mouse in front of her, but couldn’t resist the opportunity to torment it a little. Secondly, because if he was going to blast anybody for flirting with Ilya, it would probably be Viktor Krum - according to Ilya, the guy had been almost stalking her for the last year. Given his reputation as a bit of a playboy, Shirou imagined that it irked him not to be able to get the hottest girl at Durmstrang to go out with him. Frankly, Bill Weasley was small potatoes by comparison. And finally, it was going to fun to point out how the “kid” had been the mature one and held off when the older redhead did get around to playing the “overprotective brother” card.

    In the meantime, Shirou mused over the events that were to come. Unlike Takara, he wasn’t all that fond of Quidditch - he played because it was pretty much the only sport available, something he could do to exercise and socialise. Given the choice, he’d prefer to duel - or compete in archery. Unfortunately, the history of Hogwarts’ Duelling Club was an erratic one - its first faculty sponsor had been Gilderoy Lockhart, who’d left after half a year, as had its next one, Remus Lupin, and the latter hadn’t managed to get it restarted before retiring from his post. His replacements had been too absorbed in actually teaching to take on extracurricular activities. And archery was a “Muggle” sport, which meant Hogwarts would never touch it. So he played Quidditch by default, and just watching it didn’t thrill him at all.

    Shirou was here because Ilya and most of his friends were - and because this would be something of a test to see how well their attempts at altering the timeline of this reality were working. If they’d been as successful as they’d hoped, the Death Eater attack following the game would not occur, which would probably mean that the guy under the invisibility cloak in the Ministry’s box wouldn’t fire off a Dark Mark, or get recruited by Voldemort again. If so, then the whole mess of the Triwizard Tournament wouldn’t occur, and the year would be nice and normal.

    “Have you forgotten what I told you already?” Ilya’s voice asked him suddenly, and Shirou realised that his sister was peering at him with a slight smirk on her lips. “Every year, things are bad - every other year, things are so much worse.

    “Am I that easy to read?” Shirou said ruefully, setting down the copy of the Daily Prophet he’d been “absorbed in” while watching Ilya and the Weasley.

    “Just to me,” Ilya assured him. “And that’s the way it should be - what kind of big sister would I be, if I didn’t know my little brother that well?”

    “You’re back to being the big sister, huh?” Shirou drawled. “Does that mean I’m not ‘Onii-chan’ any more?”

    Ilya’s blue eyes, still a wonder after so many years, softened. “You’ll always be my Onii-chan, Shirou.”

    “Even after you marry the redhead?” he teased.

    “Even after you do,” she fired back, smirking as Shirou winced, before shaking her head. “No, he might be an interesting date, but I’ve already got a man in mind.”

    His eyebrows rose. “Oh? What name should I put on the grave marker?”

    Shirou was surprised to see a look of hurt cross Ilya’s face, and she frowned, all playfulness suddenly gone. “If you don’t already know, Shirou, then I’m not sure there’s any point in telling you.”

    She walked off in a huff, leaving Shirou to re-analyse the last couple of minutes of conversation. He’d had women use that phrase on him before, usually about something they considered blindingly obvious, and . . .

    Shirou blinked, as three years’ worth of playful flirting and “allure accidents” suddenly made a different kind of sense. He’d always assumed Ilya was just teasing, having fun with the fact that she was finally a living, breathing, physical adult, and one with supernatural powers over men, to boot. But if she’d meant it seriously . . .

    If nothing else, it explains why she was so annoyed with Takara last year.

    Shirou considered the facts. His sister was an amazingly attractive young woman, even without Veela allure. She loved him, and he loved her - but whether or not he was in love with her, could see her as more than a sister, was the big question.

    It’s not too much different from trying to date Takara, he decided finally. Ilya just comes with more memories of her in a platonic sense. But if it’s not impossible to think that best friends can’t become lovers, then is it impossible to think that Ilya and I can’t?

    He’d seen her as his little sister for a long time, but they weren’t blood-related - in that sense, it wasn’t really violating any taboo, save in their own minds. And if he’d met Ilya without knowing her as his sister, he probably could fall in love with her easily - she was strong, intelligent, confident, beautiful, sometimes playful, sometimes given to fits of cruelty . . .

    Like Rin - which is probably why they fought so much . . . Shirou shook his head. It wasn’t fair to compare Ilya to a woman who wasn’t here, and that he’d never see again. And to be fair, Ilya had changed in more ways than the physical since they’d been here. If she’d had Veela powers when they first met, she’d have cranked up her allure, and had him chained to a bed before he knew what was happening. Even here, she’d never gone all out - just little bursts, enough to tease, to probe . . .

    She’s playing fair, he realised. I live with her over the summer - it wouldn’t be hard for her to catch me at a weak moment and dazzle me until I don’t know up from down. Hell, Durmstrang’s into Dark Arts, so she probably knows at least a handful of curses and rituals to do the job, too - and she admitted last year that she’d learned to brew Amortentia. Getting me to marry her would be easy then, because she knows I’d stay, even if I resented it. And not too long ago, she’d have done it without batting an eyelash. But she hasn’t. She let Takara date me, when she knew she might lose me - and without knowing if I was even really hers to lose . . .

    Shirou didn’t need long to find the willowy blonde again. Ilya was drinking tea with her mother.

    Kaa-san, could I speak to Ilya-chan privately, please?” he requested quietly, and with an equally quiet smile, the elder Einzbern woman vacated her chair.

    “Something you wanted, Shirou?” Ilya inquired frostily. Her blue eyes were unnaturally bright, gleaming with a touch of Veela fire - she was angry.

    “To apologise,” Shirou said honestly.

    “For what?” Ilya pressed.

    “For not realising how much you’ve changed for me,” Shirou said. He was rewarded by a rare shocked look appearing on his sister’s face.

    “You’ve been trying to get my attention since we got here, haven’t you?” Shirou said quietly. “Even if you set us up as brother and sister, that’s not what you really want, is it?”

    “I could live with it,” Ilya sighed, “if I had to . . . I think. I’d still have part of you, then - and it would be mine alone. Even if I wasn’t your lover, no one else would be your sister.”

    “But it’s not what you really want,” Shirou repeated. “Why play softball, then? You’ve never been afraid to go after your goals before.”

    “Like my grandfather taught me to be?” Ilya said sardonically. “Yes, and that worked out so well the last time. I was so happy growing up under his way of thinking.” She shook her head. “Mama might understand - Veela are faeriekind, and have different standards - but Papa would be upset with me . . . And so would you. I could have your body, Shirou, and probably even your mind, but I want your heart. And I don’t want to take it from you, I want you to give it to me.”

    “You want to earn it,” Shirou said.

    “To be worthy of it,” she agreed. “And I won’t do that by playing with mind control - even if it is tempting.”

    Shirou absorbed that. “. . . Then you’ve at least earned the right to try.”

    Ilya’s eyes were wide, and her voice was very careful as she asked, “And that means?”

    “It means,” Shirou said, equally carefully, “that I’m not sure if I can love you the way you want me to. But I’m willing to see if it’s possible.”

    Impossibly, her eyes seemed to get bigger, even as her voice got very small. “ . . . Really?”

    “I was willing to give Takara the chance - why not you?” Shirou asked reasonably. Then he smirked, adding, “Besides, I keep telling Galen he’s an idiot to ignore a chance at romance, because I did it the first time around - how much more idiotic would it be to not follow my own advice?”

    Ilya sobered. “Speaking of Galen, Hermione and I think he’s done something stupid - I mean, noble - again.”

    Shirou listened to what they’d concluded about his absence from the World Cup, and asked, “Could he have taken us in with him?”

    “Probably not,” Ilya admitted. “If that place is as heavily protected as it’s implied to be, only Black family blood could pass through the wards unscathed - and even they’d have to tread carefully. And since they wouldn’t recognise him yet as authorised to be there, bringing others wouldn’t be possible. Not unless he or Sirius reset them.”

    “Then there’s nothing else he - or we - could’ve done. Is Takara worried about it?”

    Ilya frowned. “I doubt she knows. She hasn’t even arrived yet - why?”

    “Because she says that mark on her hand tends to burn when Galen’s in real trouble. If she isn’t freaking out, he’s probably fine. So we can ream him out later, but it was basically the only thing he could do - and it did need doing.” Shirou frowned. “I only wonder how he was planning to destroy the thing if he managed to get it - unless there’s basilisk venom in the house somewhere . . .”

    Ilya snorted. “He might be that lucky - but I suspect he’ll go for Dark magic. Easier to do - maybe a little too easy.”

    “He really needs to lighten up,” Shirou agreed, smirking. “Or get laid. I can even think of two or three witches who would help him with that, if we could get him to really pay attention to them.”

    “Even as the Grail, I don’t think I could’ve managed that,” Ilya said, chuckling. “I think you’d need to be some sort of god before you could get him to talk openly and honestly about his feelings.”

    Galen looked into big, liquid brown eyes, and cursed the fact that every female he knew seemed to have instinctive access to the Mystic Eyes of the Sad Puppy.

    Aloud, however, he said, “Hermione and I have kissed. I have very distinct memories of a sprig of mistletoe hanging right there eight months ago.” He pointed to a spot above the girl’s head.

    Miranda pouted. “That’s like giri-choco. I mean honmei-choco.

    His eyebrows rose. Her pronunciation was careful, like she’d gone to great trouble to memorise the words, but he was amazed that she’d even have learned the names for the different types of Japanese Valentine chocolates.

    Where did you hear about that?

    “Mrs. Aozaki had her teeth cleaned last Valentine’s Day, and she asked me how mine was at school,” Miranda explained. “Then she told me what it was like at school when Takara was my age.” She cocked her head and repeated, “So why haven’t you and Hermione kissed yet?”

    “What makes you think we haven’t?” Galen countered.

    “Because when I asked her what she wanted for her birthday, she said she didn’t want to be ‘sweet sixteen and never been kissed’ next year,” Miranda said reasonably. “I don’t think I was supposed to have heard her - but it means you can’t have kissed her. Why not?”

    Galen’s aching back was demanding that he sit, so he removed his shoes, and his duster, put both items away, and walked into the Grangers’ parlour to sit down on the chesterfield. Soft cushions weren’t a hot bath, but they felt infinitely nicer than nothing. Miranda, for her part, took the cushion immediately adjacent to him, close as only a young child with little understanding of “personal space” could get. Of course, Miranda was old enough, and smart enough, to understand the concept very well, but as she was interrogating him, she was seizing every advantage she could to keep him off-balance and uncomfortable. She might not be quite as brilliant as Hermione, but she was far from stupid.

    “Well?” the little brunette demanded. He had the sudden image of a little terrier, worrying at a rawhide bone.

    “Miranda,” Galen said reasonably, “why exactly do you think Hermione and I should kiss?”

    “Isn’t that what boyfriends and girlfriends do?” she asked innocently, giving him a puzzled look.

    “Among other things, sometimes - but I’m not Hermione’s boyfriend.”

    The little girl blinked. “You’re not? Why not?” Her eyes narrowed. “Are you Takara’s boyfriend?”


    “That other witch you and Hermione study with - the one with the pretty voice and the weird jewellery?”

    “You mean Luna?” Miranda nodded, and Galen shook his head. “No.”

    Miranda blinked again. “Not the redhead?

    “No, I’m not Ginny’s boyfriend,” Galen said, exasperated. “I’m not anyone’s boyfriend, Miranda.”

    “Oh.” Miranda’s voice was very small. “I thought for sure you were Hermione’s boyfriend . . . And I was wrong.

    She sounded as though she was about to cry, and her eyes began to glisten. Galen took her by the shoulders and pulled her into his lap.

    “What’s this really all about, Mira?” he asked quietly, rocking her slowly. “Why the tears?”

    “I was sure you were Hermione’s boyfriend, and I was wrong,” Miranda repeated. “What if I’m wrong about other things? My birthday’s next April - what if my letter doesn’t come?

    “You mean your Hogwarts letter?” She nodded into his chest with a sniffle.

    Galen asked carefully, “Would it be so bad, Miranda, if it didn’t come?”

    She glared at him. “Everybody goes to Hogwarts! Hermione, you, Maeve - even Crookshanks goes! I want to go, too! I want to be with you all!”

    “Even if you went, that wouldn’t be guaranteed, Miranda,” Galen said. “You’d be four years younger than us, and sleep in a different level of the dorm - and that’s assuming you’re even assigned to our house. Maeve’s in Hufflepuff - I almost never see her at school. And there are other drawbacks - you’d be known as Hermione Granger’s sister, first. Everyone would expect you to either be as brilliant as she is, or to be nowhere near it, and that’s not fair to you.”

    Galen and his sister had put up with their fair share of that, in his first life - because she’d been a model student, and he’d been an attitude problem. Now, not so much, but back then, it’d had been annoying for both of them.

    “And think about what I said when I came after Christmas,” Galen continued, "Hermione learns all these things at school, and she’d be expelled if she tried to show you almost any of it. There’s nothing your parents can tell their friends about how brilliant she is, because until she’s seventeen, they’re not really allowed to know. But with a non-magical education, they can brag about how you’re the top student, won awards, all that kind of stuff. And it would mean something to most people. You could be famous for being just you, without magic.”

    “I still want to be with Hermione,” Miranda mumbled into him.

    Galen fought off a wince. He had a Petunia Dursley in the making, here. Sorrow which could turn to jealousy, then hatred - and none of it deserved or fair, to either girl. This was the reason he tried so hard to keep Hermione involved with her family, to keep her grounded in the real world - because in all honesty, it was. The magical world was a closed environment that pretended it was wholly isolated, a communal delusion that, barring major changes, would one day be its undoing. It was corruptive by nature - it had managed to turn Hermione Granger, a girl who had been devoted to the idea of fair and equal treatment for all beings, into someone who could rewrite her parents’ minds without their knowledge or permission, and seem untroubled by it in the slightest.

    It was all for the greater good, of course - and she knew best what that was, because she was a witch, and they were only Muggles. Had Lord Voldemort known of it, no doubt he would have been ecstatic to learn that the brightest witch of her generation had finally come around to the proper way of thinking. But sooner or later, that inherent arrogance would be their end, because they were thousands against billions. And splitting apart sisters like Lily and Petunia Evans - and now, potentially, the Grangers - was going to bring the end sooner rather than later.

    “Even if you can’t go with her when she leaves, she’ll always come back, Miranda,” Galen said. “She’ll come back because this is her home, and more importantly, because you’re her sister, and she loves you as much as she loves anything else in this world. She never forgets that - and I won’t let her forget it, I promise you.”

    Miranda tangibly relaxed, and looked up at him. “Hermione says you always keep your promises.”

    “I do, if I can,” he affirmed.

    “Then promise me something else?” The Mystic Eyes of the Sad Puppy made a reappearance.

    One of these incarnations, I’m going to find a defence against that look, I swear.

    “What is it, Mira?”

    “Promise me that you’ll kiss Hermione - boyfriend kiss her - this year.”

    “. . . Why?” he asked, bewildered.

    Miranda’s eyes twinkled impishly. “So that when she gets home tomorrow, I can say I got her birthday present, of course!” Her eyes went to pleading again. “Please?

    Galen sighed. “I’m going to regret this . . .”


    “. . . All right, Miranda, you win - I promise.”

    A sudden chill ran down Takara’s spine, and she shivered. If she was superstitious, she’d think some violation of the natural order, some harbinger of terrible doom, had just been unleashed . . .

    It’s just nerves, she told herself. Between the Quidditch World Cup and what was supposed to happen after, it wasn’t really a surprise that she was keyed up. She wasn’t sure which part she was looking forward to more - the Quidditch, or the attack.

    The Quidditch, she admitted. Though the attack will have its points, provided that it doesn’t actually happen, of course. And without Lucius Malfoy to help plan it - maybe he even suggested it in the first place? - even if it does happen, things should be a lot different. Father and Kiritsugu-san will be there, for starters.

    Her day had been a bit of a whirlwind of activity. As they weren’t due to Apparate to the stadium until late in the day, Takara had been training in Occlumency and close-quarters combat with her father, and after lunch, spent her time playing with games with Alex. The ten-month-old couldn’t walk yet, but had mastered crawling and peekaboo, and how to giggle in a way that melted hearts. Her next Patronus would have all the happy memories it needed.

    When they did head over, they were met by Arcueid, who introduced Takara to a number of the Bulgarian National Team’s cheerleaders - some, old friends and a few of them distant cousins of hers, as Irisviel was. Takara idly wondered how well Shirou or Galen might handle them. The boys were old hands at dealing with the allure of a single Veela (or half-Veela, in Ilya’s case), but could they handle a hundred?

    I wonder if I ought to track down the Weasley twins, and see if they’re interested in betting on the possibilities . . .

    Still, the Veela were nice enough, though more than a few cast predatory gazes at her father. Her godmother fended off the few that weren’t discouraged by her father’s non-reactions, though. Seeing their deference to her, Takara wondered for the first time what Arcueid’s status in Veela society might be - they seemed almost afraid of her . . . In any case, she got a good look at the inside of a professional Quidditch team’s facilities, and to meet a few of the Bulgarian players. Not Viktor Krum, but she didn’t really care about that. She knew very well that she’d see him at Hogwarts in a few months, and it would be easier to talk about the details of being a Seeker there, where there was more time and less pressure.

    She did a little souvenir shopping, and spotted Dean Thomas and Ronald Weasley while doing so. She said her hellos, and moved on, and once again, her godmother was invaluable - a flash of Veela aura and they disappeared before either regained their senses. It probably wasn’t necessary, but after hearing Weasley whine over his rat and his grades from Valentine’s Day until the end of term, Takara was in no mood to give him opportunities to resume. Especially since Ginny said he hadn’t really stopped - she’d been grateful to spend a lot of the summer out of the Burrow, with her.

    It surprised Takara that Weasley was as bad off as he apparently was academically, but when she’d mentioned it to Galen, he’d said it fit the pattern of the books Whether or not Weasley was particularly bright, he was chronically unmotivated - without the constant death threats that came from associating with Harry, or Hermione to help him, he had no real impetus to learn. He chose his elective courses because they were easy grades, not requiring too much effort - and then put in the absolute minimum required. Half the reason he’d wanted to compete in the Triwizard tournament was because the champions were allowed to skip exams.

    Shaking her thoughts away from the only Weasley she didn’t really like, Takara rejoined her father and godmother, and they finally arrived at the Einzberns’ private box about ten minutes before the match was due to start - and was immediately accosted by a half-panicked Hermione.

    “Do you know what Galen’s doing?” she demanded. “Did he tell you?”

    “No,” Takara said, bewildered. “. . . Why?”

    Ilyasviel drew her aside, along with Shirou, Hermione, Neville and, oddly enough, Ginny.

    “We think Galen’s gone after the locket,” Ilya said softly.

    “The locket?” Details from the second-last movie clicked into place. Tongue firmly in cheek, she asked, “You suppose it’ll try to distract him by showing him Hermione, acting evil and basically naked?”

    “By WHAT?” Hermione shrieked.

    All the adults turned to stare at her.

    “ . . . Sorry,” she apologised, gazing at the ground, before turning a stare on Takara. “Explain that remark.”

    Takara explained the locket’s defence mechanisms, and what it had done according to the “official record.”

    Hermione’s eyes were so wide they should’ve fallen out of their sockets, and her face was nearly the colour of Ginny’s hair.

    “It would distract him,” Ginny agreed with a smirk.

    Hermione let out a small, strangled sound of mortification.

    Ilya obviously felt the joke had been carried far enough, because she said softly, “And then there are the insults - the little whispers about his worst fears, his biggest insecurities, delivered in your voice, Hermione. Chosen specifically by the locket to make him doubt his purpose, to hurt him, and protect itself. If the locket went that route, it could do him a lot of damage, so be gentle when you see him next. I think he’ll need the kindness.”

    The British witch stared at her, and the half-Veela offered her a smile.

    Takara bit her lip, in unconscious imitation of Hermione. It would do that, wouldn’t it?

    He seems to have finally gotten over the annual suicide attempts - please don’t let them start up again!

    Still, she was reassured somewhat by the mark on the back of her right hand. Whenever he’d been in mortal danger - truly mortal danger, as in “immediately about to die” - it had burned, as a warning that the connection between them was about to be severed. That trait had carried over from her original world to this one, and the scar which had once been a Command Mantra still lay quiescent. Whatever the locket had or might have done, Galen was still all right for the moment, and she said so to the others.

    Shirou shrugged. “Nothing we can do but wait until we get back, then - and try to enjoy the game.”

    They followed this advice with varying degrees of enthusiasm.

    The game was even better than the movie had portrayed - mainly because she could see all of it. Takara wondered, idly, how many people besides herself, her father, and Shirou could follow all the byplay without the use of Omnioculars. Her eyesight, always good, had an extra edge from bonding with her owl Animagus form - as did Shirou, from bonding with his eagle. Her father, on the other hand, was simply that good. As for the rest of their party, all of them were equipped with the devices to assist them in following the match - which included Bill and Ginny Weasley, now. The latter was very pleased, although she noted darkly that it would be “one more thing for Ron to complain about.”

    It was a dazzling display of aerobatics, and Takara was deeply impressed by the skill shown at this level of Quidditch. Much to her private amusement, Shirou was not long affected by the Bulgarian cheerleaders, nor were his father or hers - though she had to have him help her restrain Neville. His Occlumency was good, and he’d been around Godmother and the Baroness before, but a hundred Veela were a hundred Veela.

    The game’s end was as she remembered it, and Takara went to bed with the adrenalin incited by it, and the potential confrontation to come, still singing through her system . . . And she dreamed - of blood and fire, of steel and stone, and of a warning, a terrible warning.

    Danger was coming, just at the edge of her senses. Just beyond her ability to see it clearly. Danger was coming, danger was here - terrible, terrible danger!

    Takara woke with a cry of “NO!” on her lips, and found herself alone - just before Hermione burst into the tent.

    “Takara!” The bushy-haired witch stopped, and stared at her. “Your eyes . . .

    “What?” Takara demanded.

    “For a second, they were glowing,” Hermione said shakily. “Glowing silver, like little moons . . .” She shook herself. “I came to get you - we’re under attack! There are Death Eaters - here, now!”

    Takara shook herself. She’d expected that, wasn’t really surprised, but couldn’t shake the electric tension running through her, the warning - dangerdangerdanger . . . And then it struck her, like a brick to the heart.

    Her hand was burning.
    Last edited by Kieran; April 9th, 2011 at 09:48 PM.

  4. #4
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors FlameStrike's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
    Woot, the Trinity: Tournament is back! After the great unmaking of the Beast's Lair lots of data was lost to the time. But it's great to see this epic story being recovered. I'll be eagerly awaiting the next installment of Trinity. Last time it left off at a bit of a cliff hanger too.

  5. #5
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
    According to most, my own little world
    Blog Entries
    DISCLAIMER: Lunar Legend Tsukihime, Fate/Stay Night, and all related characters and concepts are the creation and property of Kinoko Nasu and Type-Moon, along with anyone who's happened to license them, like Geneon or Funimation. Harry Potter and all related characters and concepts are the creation and property of J.K. Rowling, along with her publishers and Warner Bros., as regards the movie material.

    This is a not-for-profit, just-for-fun project.

    Writer's Note: Certain dialogue sequences in this story are lifted from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but I trust in the intelligence of my readers (and the availability of the books) to recognise them when they see them.

    Chapter 4 - Some Things Change, and Others Don’t

    August 23 - September 1, 1994

    Ginny awoke with a start, as her father yelled at her to wake.

    “Get up! Ron - Ginny - come on now, get up, this is urgent!”

    “Dad?” Ginny said confusedly, still half-asleep.

    “No time, Ginny,” he said hurriedly. “Just grab a jacket and get outside - quickly!”

    Ginny hastily obeyed - two years of early-morning calisthenics had conditioned her to rouse to consciousness fast, if it had done nothing else. Ron, her unwilling bunkmate, was a little slower on the draw, but she managed to get him outside quickly enough, and she emerged from the tent in a running dueller’s stance, wand ready.

    Like all of her friends, she’d bonded to her Animagus form last year - a fox. While she hadn’t used it as much as Hermione, or even as much as Neville, a residue of its nature was still visible in her - a coppery gleam in her brown eyes, a certain sheen to her red hair. Nothing as tangible as the sudden athleticism Hermione had gained, or the feline behavioural quirks that drove her to touch her friends affectionately as a way of saying hello - but enough that her senses, too, had a certain feral sharpness. In her case, it was her ears and nose, specifically, and a whiff of the night breeze told her all she needed to know, because it carried the sounds and scents of terror.

    A flash of green light illuminated a group of wizards in hooded robes and masks, levitating something across the field. Those that weren’t fleeing in fear were joining the group, laughing as they blasted and burned tents out of their path. Ginny traced the higher screams to the air, and realised that there were children up there.

    “Dad?” she repeated, sounding much clearer - and angrier.

    He stood with Bill, Charlie and Percy, who had their wands out, as well, rolling up his sleeves.

    “We’re going to help the Ministry!” he shouted over the noise of the approaching crowd. “You lot - get into the woods and stick together. I’ll come and fetch you when we’ve sorted this out!”

    Ginny wanted to protest - she’d been training for just this kind of reason: to fight when she had to, and win. She’d gotten up at the crack of dawn every morning for almost two solid years, and learned to trade punches and hexes with people older, stronger, faster, better-trained and more experienced - and it was a point of pride that she kept up with them.

    “C’mon,” Fred said, grabbing for Ginny’s hand, making as if to drag her into the woods.

    She moved to avoid him, but before he could try again, or Ginny reply, their brother George said solemnly, “Gin, we need your help.”

    She and Fred both turned to stare at him, and he continued, “We know more than you do, but you’re better at this. I’d feel a lot safer if you were watching our backs.”

    Ginny felt her face flush, and it spread into the core of her chest. George was a clown, but he was no fool. The compliment meant a lot, coming from him, especially since she’d been the family’s precious princess for years. Not that the position didn’t have its perks, she’d admit . . . Her training took over, as she took in her brothers - all three of them. She blessed Kiritsugu silently - he’d insisted they start learning group movements and tactics this summer, and it looked like she’d need them now.

    “Ron, clear the path ahead of us,” she ordered. “Fred, George - to the sides. I’ll cover our retreat.”

    That snapped Ron out of his daze. “What? What’re you going on about? You’re just -“

    ”The smallest and hardest to see, the fastest runner, and the one who packs the most power and range into her spells,” Ginny retorted. With all the mock duels and war games she’d done, by now Ginny knew her strengths, and how best to apply them. “A defensive type would be better, but we don’t have one, so the best defence is a good offence, in this case. We’re fleeing with the wind, so with luck I can hear them coming before they spot me, if they come - and I can make them sorry they did. Now move!

    She barked the last part in imitation of Ciel-sensei, when she made them run her “confidence course” - and she channelled her own mother fairly well in the process, because the twins snatched Ron’s arms and hauled him off into the woods. Ginny let them get a few paces ahead, and then followed, glancing behind her as she moved. She wished Shirou was there - while her natural fighting style mimicked his, he was better at it.

    Actually, any of her friends would’ve been useful. Takara’s reflexes were loads faster than Ginny’s own, and Galen and Neville were the ones with a knack for Shield Charms. Hermione was a bit more balanced in her physical attributes, with no single one dominating, but she had the best spell repertoire, and was pretty good at strategy, which would be useful here. On the other hand, the older witch wasn’t all that flexible in her thinking - she didn’t adapt quickly to changing situations. Ginny would even settle for just having Luna with her - the blonde was light on her feet like Takara, with spells that rivalled Hermione’s for variety, but she was quick-minded, too, always attacking from the oddest angles, or with the most unpredictable tactics. More importantly, they knew how to work as a pair, as they were often teamed together.

    Instead, she had her twin brothers - the weekend warriors, who only showed up for calisthenics when they felt like it - and Ron, whose primary talent in combat, from what she could tell . . .

    “But I don’t have my wand!” came the faint protest to her ears.

    . . . Was getting into trouble.

    With a sigh, Ginny picked up her pace. If Ron was unarmed, she’d need to be closer, in order to handle trouble.

    I really wish you were here, guys. I hope you’re all right . . .

    suddenly bellowed a voice up ahead in the distance, followed by a boiling mass of green being shot into the air. Ginny’s reaction to the unexpected display was reflexive, honed by hours of drills. She laid down a barrage of Stunners, widespread and low-angled, just as she’d been taught to. It didn’t matter where a Stunner hit, because it worked so long as it did, and no matter how tall someone was, everybody’s legs reached the ground.

    There was a series of soft thumps up ahead, and Ginny moved cautiously, wand raised for a Shield Charm, if she should suddenly have need of one . . .

    Which, as it turned out, was a good idea - because barely seconds later, the woods were full of crisscrossing Stunners. They were chest-level on an adult male, which meant a good number of them missed her - Amateurs, a corner of her mind remarked - but she managed to hold against the ones that didn’t.

    “Stop!” she heard her father cry. “That’s my daughter!

    Inwardly, Ginny breathed a sigh of relief. Dad will sort all this out . . .

    “. . . And he did,” Ginny concluded a few days later, “but it took some doing. Turns out Ron’s wand had been used to conjure the Mark, and keeping him out of trouble for being stupid enough to lose it was a bit of a job.” She pulled a face. “If Ron was hacked off before about my watching the game with you all instead of in the Top Box with the family, he was downright insufferable after that.”

    Takara nodded, and let out a sudden gasp as a pin pricked her leg.

    “Sorry, dear,” Madam Malkin apologised. “Put that one a bit too close, did I?”

    “A bit,” Takara agreed, trying desperately to hold still as she muttered, “I hate being fitted - bloody growth spurt. Stupid dress robes.”

    “Well, just hold on,” the seamstress said soothingly, “and I’ll be done in just a tick.”

    “Well, I’m looking forward to wearing them,” Ginny countered from the stool beside hers, where a measuring tape was hovering along her arms. “I haven’t had anything this nice in . . . Well, ever! And I love to dance.”

    She glanced over at the bolts of emerald and white fabric, being cut magically to the style she’d requested as her measurements were taken. Hermione, meanwhile, was sitting on a stool, trying to match the right colour for a pair of shoes to the periwinkle robes she wore.

    “Try silver,” Takara suggested. “It completes the ‘fairy princess’ look.”

    “But then I might vanish if I click my heels and say, ‘There’s no place like home,’” Hermione retorted, grinning. At her friends’ blank looks, she explained, “From The Wizard of Oz?

    “I thought those were ruby slippers,” Takara said.

    Hermione shook her head. “Only in the movie - the designers wanted to show off the new Technicolor process with something flashy. The shoes in the book were silver.” She sighed. “So few people read the classics any longer.”

    “Galen does,” Takara retorted, smirking. “You can talk about them all night, if you get him to take you to whatever these are for.”

    Of course, she knew perfectly well what the robes were intended for - as did the other girls, but they weren’t going to talk about things they weren’t supposed to know in front of Madam Malkin. Likewise, Takara was not going to mention the pain in the scar on her hand, or her surprise when she realised that it was Shirou’s mark, not Galen’s, that was burning. Or the further surprise of seeing him utterly unharmed, given what pain through those scars had usually meant. She didn’t understand it - even Ilya, who was nominally responsible for the creation of those scars, didn’t understand it. She only said that she felt nervous about it, because whatever the cause was, it couldn’t be anything good.

    The silver glow in her eyes that Hermione had described was unnerving, too - but at the Death Eater attack, her father’s eyes had a faint blue shine to them, and she later understood that to be a manifestation of the Nanaya’s bloodline gift of Sight, akin to the Mystic Eyes of her original world. While still not totally clear on how it manifested in this world, Takara had a hunch that like her original powers, only stress - or more accurately, danger - would bring it out. Still, if what Hermione had seen was accurate, it indicated that she did have some form of the power.

    Terrific, Takara thought sourly. Now I have to keep taking Divination.

    Hermione, meanwhile, had gone suddenly pink, but her eyes were steady as she asked, “Are you sure?”

    Takara held off a wince at the question. Ever since she’d conjured that werewolf Patronus, Hermione had been a little less certain of her disinterest in Galen as a romantic partner. She believed the explanation Takara had finally given her - that given their history, she automatically thought of Galen when envisioning a protector - but it didn’t stop her from wondering, just the same.

    The nagging little voice in Takara’s own head didn’t help, either, when it asked, Why not your parents, or Shirou, or even your Nanaya self? Why reach immediately - instinctively - for Galen, with all the other choices? Why does he appear in response to a memory of your family, those closest and most important to you?

    It was a persistent little voice, and if Hermione knew of its existence, it would’ve no doubt confirmed her worst fears. Takara found it annoying, because the voice only reminded her of her own flaw - that she was avoiding even thinking of Galen as a romantic interest because, whether as gaijin or werewolf, Galen’s nature would place him as a pariah in society, and that stigma would cling to his wife and children, as well. And having lived it herself, she would not - could not - force the same fate on her own sons and daughters. The thought of being shunned for associating with him, of her children being shunned growing up, as she had been for her foreign blood, terrified her. And she felt utterly miserable for it, because she’d been raised to be a better person than that - as the voice continued to remind her.

    Aloud, however, she said, “Yes, Hermione, I’m sure. If you want to go with him, ask him.”

    She nodded hesitantly.

    Takara smiled back. Hopefully, this would break those two out of the “I’m not good enough for him/her” pattern they’d been dancing for years. If Hermione was doing the asking, Galen would be unable to refuse - he never wanted to hurt her feelings. And that meant his plan of letting Krum ask her to the Yule Ball, so that Hermione could supposedly discover the range of “more suitable men” she was capable of attracting, was toast. But by the same token, he’d be obliged to make sure she had a good time - and maybe loosen up enough to have one himself, and accept the fact that he made her happy, because she loved him.

    Who says Galen’s the only one in our group allowed to scheme?

    Just because she couldn’t bring herself - couldn’t allow herself - to fall in love with Galen, it didn’t mean that she didn’t love him, and want to see him happy. Or Hermione, for that matter.

    And I am going to make the pair of them figure out that they can be happy together, one way or another!

    “Done!” Madam Malkin announced. Sighing in relief (for more than one reason), Takara hopped off the stool and marched towards the changing room. It didn’t take long for her to reemerge, garbed in black jeans and a sky-blue t-shirt, feet garbed in sandals against the summer heat.

    Much better,” she declared, ignoring the seamstress’ sniff of disapproval at her mundane attire. She handed the shopkeeper the dress robes, and counted out Galleons while they were boxed up. Then she followed the other girls into Flourish and Blott’s to pick up the few school books she’d need - most of them, like Intermediate Transfiguration, would still be used this year, but Ginny needed a full set, herself. And Hermione would take nearly any excuse to browse through a bookstore. Afterwards, they found a private booth at Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour, and a discreetly-cast Muffliato (her father had confirmed that the Ministry’s methods for detecting underage magic use were suspended around Diagon Alley) ensured them a private conversation.

    “So,” Hermione asked seriously, “how badly off-kilter are your expectations, with what happened at the World Cup?”

    “Not very,” Takara admitted. “We were hoping that killing off Pettigrew and running off Lucius Malfoy would prevent it, but I guess drunks are drunks, regardless. At least this time around, the Death Eaters lost a few people - while Father and Shirou were helping us get clear of the scene, Kiritsugu-san got on a broom, Disillusioned himself, and started sniping them from the air. Even if the Ministry security people never got close because of the crowds, that broke up the attack fairly quickly - and the appearance of the Dark Mark had them running almost as soon as it showed up.”

    Takara smiled as she continued, “Shirou didn’t like not helping with the counterattack, but Father pointed out that there were more of us to safeguard than he could handle himself - and who knew who we might encounter while evacuating? So in the end, we came out ahead: we didn’t take any casualties, and there are six fewer Death Eaters walking around now. Add that to what Galen did, and - ”

    “And what exactly did Galen do?” Hermione demanded. “You were very tense about it at the campsite, but never actually explained why. And all I could get out of him when I got home in the morning was that I urgently needed to talk to Miranda.”

    Takara shook her head. “Not here - too little security. Wait until we’re in our hideaway at Hogwarts.” She meant the Room of Requirement, and the other two girls nodded. Then the last sentence penetrated. “Wait, what about Miranda?”

    “She’s worried she won’t get to go to Hogwarts,” Hermione explained. She sighed. “‘Worried’ is an understatement, actually. Now I understand why you all insist on including my family in all the parties, and as much of the magical side of things as they can be. I never realised how utterly terrified she was that she might not be magical - and that I wouldn’t love her anymore if she wasn’t.”

    “That’s ridiculous!” Ginny sputtered. “Why would she think that? She’s your sister, isn’t she?”

    An example Galen had mentioned of the isolationist policies of the wizarding world sprang to Takara’s mind, and she said, “Talk much to your mum’s cousin lately, Ginny? You know, the accountant?”

    “No,” Ginny said automatically, “but what does that have to do with - ?” Her mouth clamped shut as she made the connection.

    Hermione nodded. “A perfectly normal man, doing an admirable and difficult job - in fact, he’s an ideal resource for your father, isn’t he? He lives and works in the mundane world, and he’d be able to recognise an illegally-charmed mundane item, but you never talk about him, do you? Much less to him.”

    “No,” Ginny agreed. “Nobody in the family likes mentioning him, now that I think about it. I never thought about it before, but I guess you’ve got a point.”

    “So why shouldn’t Miranda expect the same from me?” Hermione said with a sigh. “I mean, I spend most of the year away from her at school, and then a lot of the summer, as well. I’m even doing it now - I’m in Diagon Alley with you, and she’s at home . . .” Hermione shook her head. “Right, then - I need to schedule some family time, before things go completely to pot. So, is there anything else? Do we need to worry about things at Hogwarts this year, too?”

    Takara considered the question. Everything she’d seen indicated that Barty Crouch Junior was still active, and Voldemort might pick him up, if he was capable of it. But without Pettigrew to care for him, or capture that one Ministry worker (what was her name? Bertha something? Another detail she’d had to get from Galen - how much had the movies left out?) . . . And without Harry Potter’s presence, there was no real reason for Crouch to interfere in the Triwizard Tournament, and they knew what to expect even if he did, for whatever reason.

    Besides, she reasoned, there was always Agent Grim playing “watchdog” (she giggled inwardly) on the situation. If anything crucial came up, her father or Kiritsugu-san would know about it, and inform them, if not take action themselves. Voldemort’s resurrection, as far she could tell, was well and truly blocked. They could enjoy the Tournament for its own sake.

    “No,” Takara said slowly. “I think things are pretty well-handled, at the moment. There shouldn’t be any major problems this year.”

    The whisper in the back of her mind, however, chose that moment to speak up.

    Famous last words . . .

    Neville was exceedingly grateful for his duster the day they boarded the Hogwarts Express, for two reasons. The first was that it was raining heavily, and the Hebridean Black hide was the duster was made of was extremely water-resistant. And secondly, as it looked mundane in origin, more or less, he could join the Express with his friends, rather than travelling to Platform 9 and 3/4 with his Gran. It was actually quite interesting to see how it was set up on the mundane side of things - Gran usually chose to Side-Along him directly to the platform.

    “Sure you’ve got everything, Nev?” Shirou asked.

    “Yep,” Neville said cheerfully. “I packed last night - all I had to do was pick up my bags this morning and collect Trevor from his terrarium. Thanks for that idea, by the way - he runs away a lot less often now that he’s got a proper home.”

    Shirou shrugged. “No big deal.”

    It was to Neville, who had spent years chasing after that toad - once almost into the jaws of a three-headed dog - but he understood what Shirou meant. A terrarium was a common piece of equipment for keeping toads in the mundane world, so he considered it not worth mentioning, much as Neville would regard, say, an animated portrait - a minor curiosity, but hardly something rare or exceptional. On the other hand, few wizards would have kept such a specialised piece of equipment on hand, unless they taught a subject that required their use, like Professor Lupin had for his lesson on Grindylows last year. But even then, the Grindylow had arrived in its container when it was delivered to him - he had not had one ahead of time. The mundane pet shops, on the other hand, stocked them in numbers, and given the worth of a Galleon, they were relatively inexpensive, too.

    They filed onto the train, and began searching out an empty compartment. By virtue of being the last to arrive, Ginny would either have to sit with her family, or one of the girls would have to assume her Animagus form - the rest of them were too large to clear a seat that way.

    Me, especially, he thought with a grin. His bear form had hit forty-two stone this summer, and it showed signs that it, like him, was still growing. He’d take up an entire compartment and part of the aisle by himself, and the thought was comforting - that and the knowledge that he could tear small trees out of the ground with a single swipe of his paws.

    As they passed one compartment, the familiar (and disliked) voice of Draco Malfoy caught their ears.

    “. . . Father actually considered sending me to Durmstrang rather than Hogwarts, you know. He knows the Headmaster, you see. Well, you know his opinion of Dumbledore - the man’s such a Mudblood-lover - and Durmstrang doesn’t admit that sort of riff-raff. But Mother didn’t like the idea of me going to school so far away. Father says Durmstrang takes a far more sensible line than Hogwarts does about the Dark Arts. Durmstrang students actually learn them, not just the defence rubbish we do . . .”

    Neville shook his head and moved on, claiming an empty compartment. It wasn’t until they’d all sat down that he noticed the pensive look on Galen’s face - and it wasn’t a good look. It was the kind of look that meant he’d just found trouble he hadn’t expected, and a frisson of fear ran down Neville’s spine.

    “What is it?” he asked finally.

    Muffliato,” Galen said first, before explaining, “Draco Malfoy’s talking about Durmstrang - which means he has to know that the school’s coming to Hogwarts for the Triwizard Tournament.”

    “OK,” Neville agreed. “And?”

    “It’s classified by the Ministry,” Galen said. “Draco only found out last time because Fudge blabbed to his father, and Lucius told him. But given that Lucius Malfoy is a wanted fugitive, how would Draco have found out now?”

    “Do you think he’s still in contact with his father?” Hermione suggested.

    “Oh, I don’t doubt that for a second,” Galen said. “But how would Lucius have found out? It’s not like he’s bribing the Minister regularly now - and he’s supposed to still be in hiding.” His eyes raked over Shirou and Takara. “That is right, isn’t it? The DMLE hasn’t picked him up anywhere?”

    Shirou shook his head. “Not that Dad’s mentioned, and he’d know - he’s been watching the progress of the manhunt, in case it gets bumped up to their level.”

    “Mine, too,” Takara said. “If they’re engaged to look for Malfoy, they have every intention of catching him - and not necessarily alive.”

    “And they’re still sure he hasn’t left the country? It occurs to me that Durmstrang would make an ideal hiding place - it’s Unplottable, outside British jurisdiction, and not exactly an unwelcome place for a Death Eater to be.”

    Another headshake, this time from Takara, as she said, “They don’t think so, but if Sirius Black could manage to take himself and a hippogriff from here to somewhere like South America - or wherever that tropical messenger bird came from - without being spotted by anyone, then how good are they, really?”

    Damn,” Galen growled fiercely.

    Language,” Hermione scolded, just as fiercely.

    “Sorry,” he sighed, before shaking his own head. “I just . . . I put him out of my head, figuring we wouldn’t have to worry about him - and now it looks like that’s coming back to bite us.”

    Neville shrugged. “I really don’t see what you could’ve done about it. It’s not like you had the man under surveillance yourself, or know where he’s hiding. And if you’d killed him before he went on the run, you’d be in Azkaban now, at the least.”

    “Point,” the older wizard admitted, sighing again. “Anyways, nothing to be done about it now but to keep an eye and ear on Draco, see if we can shake his source loose - assuming it is Lucius. Depending on who he was talking to, it could be another Slytherin whose father works at the Ministry, and that speech was just his reaction to being told about the Tournament.

    “Speaking of,” Galen said suddenly. “About the Yule Ball attached to the Tournament . . .” He glanced at Takara, Hermione and Luna in turn. “I’ll tell Ginny later, and the rest of you now - I hate formal events, so I have absolutely no plans to attend. However, should any of you ladies find yourselves wanting to go, and somehow been unable to find dates, I will be pleased to escort you, and do my best to see that you enjoy yourselves.” He smiled. “I find it highly unlikely that you’ll need me - but just so you’re aware, you’ll have an option.”

    Neville noted extremely different reactions among the three girls. Luna simply shrugged and gave him a gracious smile - he suspected she didn’t really want to go, either. Hermione looked hurt, for some reason. And Takara’s eyes were narrowed - and only because she was sitting next to him could he hear her whispering, “I’m going to kill him . . . It will be very painful, and very slow, because only after he realises how badly he wants to survive will I end his life . . . It was perfect! I didn’t think there was any way out, and then he goes and pulls this - !”

    Neville wasn’t entirely sure what was going on, but was suddenly very glad he’d decided he didn’t want to be Galen - he suspected that very soon, Galen wasn’t going to want to be himself, either.
    Last edited by Kieran; April 15th, 2011 at 09:24 PM.

  6. #6
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
    According to most, my own little world
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    DISCLAIMER: Lunar Legend Tsukihime, Fate/Stay Night, and all related characters and concepts are the creation and property of Kinoko Nasu and Type-Moon, along with anyone who's happened to license them, like Geneon or Funimation. Harry Potter and all related characters and concepts are the creation and property of J.K. Rowling, along with her publishers and Warner Bros., as regards the movie material.

    This is a not-for-profit, just-for-fun project.

    Writer's Note: Certain dialogue sequences in this story are lifted from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but I trust in the intelligence of my readers (and the availability of the books) to recognise them when they see them.

    Chapter 5 - Arriving at Hogwarts

    September 1 - 2, 1994

    If Hermione had been in her lioness form following Galen’s announcement about the Yule Ball, her tail would’ve been lashing back and forth to put a bullwhip to shame. Her first reaction was hurt, plain and simple - she’d been looking forward to the idea of dancing at a ball with Galen since Takara had done the same on New Year’s Eve. Her second reaction was anger at his spoiling her plans, and the urge to yell or hex him had her fingers twitching near the grip of her wand. Her third reaction was to find somewhere quiet and curl up for a good cry, and had she been the Hermione Granger that Galen still often thought she should be - studious to a fault, socially awkward, and heaven knew what else - she might still have done those things.

    However, she’d gained more from her lioness integration than the urge to constantly touch her friends, or a sudden surge in athleticism that put her nearer to Takara and the boys in ability. Lionesses were the hunters of the pride, and didn’t give up simply because the prey was difficult to bring down. They were patient, too - and she had always been “brilliant, but scary.” There was a weakness in him she could exploit, it was simply a matter of time and thought until she found it . . . And she would find it.

    The rain continued unabated as the train continued on to Hogwarts, the wind picking up to the point where the cars themselves began to rock. Had it been a little lighter in intensity, Hermione might’ve tempted been to curl up and let the patter of the rainfall lull her to sleep - but this was not at all gentle, and it did little to soothe her already-frustrated nerves. In the meantime, she restudied the Summoning Charm detailed in The Standard Book of Spells, Grade 4. She’d managed to cast the spell with help from Galen’s wand last year, but she’d prefer to know how to do so without exhausting herself so badly.

    By the time the Express pulled into Hogsmeade station, the rain was virtually a solid sheet of water, and even her sharp eyes had difficulty picking out the blur that was Hagrid - a telling statement, given the sheer size of the man, of just how bad the weather really was. The addition of lightning didn’t help. Out of the corner of her eye, she caught Galen’s scowl as he looked at the groundskeeper, and the small black bundles of first-year students, harkening to his call. Hermione turned to observe him more closely, as his eyes moved carefully over the group, and she realised that she could hear him doing a whispered head count.

    What’s he up to?

    Hermione received her answer as the compartment door opened, and Ginny Weasley appeared.

    “Ginny, can the twins cast Shield Charms?” Galen asked abruptly, causing everyone to look at him, and the redhead in question to blink in astonishment.

    “. . . Should be able to,” Ginny answered, when her brain finally caught up with the sudden interrogation. “They’re sixth-years.”

    “Fetch them, please.” The phrasing was polite, but the tone was crisp enough to imply that Galen would not accept “no” for an answer, either from her or her brothers. Ginny simply nodded, and moved out in search of them.

    “What’s on your mind?” Shirou asked.

    “There are four people to a boat,” Galen said. “I count thirty new students - that’s ten boats. Counting Hagrid and the twins, that’s ten of us.”

    “You want us to cross the lake?” Neville piped up. “In this weather?”

    Ginny returned with the twins, but any questions they may have had were silenced by Galen’s answer to Neville’s.

    “Those kids are eleven, maybe twelve, and probably away from home and family for the first time in their lives,” Galen said quietly. “They likely don’t know anyone at all, and any mundane-borns are probably still not sure that this magic stuff isn’t some huge joke at their expense. Regardless of their backgrounds, their first memorable experience of Hogwarts is going to be riding across a lake in a storm, being alone, soaked, frozen, and scared to death.” His voice turned sour. “Some welcome they’re getting, isn’t it?

    “One of us to a boat,” Galen said firmly, “and everyone casts a Shield Charm. They don’t have to be strong, just enough to deflect the rain and take the chill out of the wind - but they do have to be big enough to cover all the kids. Hagrid’s got his coat and umbrella for his bunch.”

    Hermione felt some of her anger dissipate as she was reminded that, as prickly as Galen could sometimes be, he could also be very kind.

    “A little kindness,” she said softly, repeating what he often said when people teased him about the way he dealt with the castle ghosts - Moaning Myrtle in particular.

    “Seems little enough to ask for,” Galen grunted.

    “Blimey, are we sure you weren’t supposed to be a Hufflepuff?” Fred asked. At the glare he received, the redhead held up his hands. “Oi! I’m not saying I won’t do it! I’m not saying it isn’t a good idea, either - just a little unusual, considering how often you like to threaten a bloke!”

    “Like now,” George chimed in.

    Galen acquired the smirk the Weasley twins loved to see - because it meant trouble for whoever he was thinking of.

    “Consider this an excuse to show off,” he told them. “The school troublemakers doing what the prefects ought to - how embarrassing is that?”

    Trading a look with his twin, Fred mused, “It’s not our usual style -”

    “ - but it has a certain appeal to it,” George finished. “Just a different way of making them look like fools, I suppose.”

    “Shame we never thought of this while Percy was still here,” Fred added, grinning.

    Galen’s smirk lightened into a smile. “Good. Now, let’s get down to Hagrid before he sets off, shall we?”

    Hermione followed them out, and listened as Hagrid and Galen conversed. Having spent time with him in Care of Magical Creatures, she had a fairly good handle on Hagrid’s body language, and it quickly ran the gamut from startled to pleased. His response to Galen’s suggestion was audible even over the rain and wind.

    “Right shame that I can’t give yeh points fer this,” the big man said, “but term hasn’t started yet. Right nice of yeh to offer, though. All righ’, first-years! These here students are goin’ ter ride with yeh in the boats, and try to keep yeh from gettin’ too much wetter! Three of yeh to a boat, and they’ll join in. The last three are wi’ me.”

    Galen moved to pick three of the students - they did look so tiny and pitiful, huddled against the storm - and murmured something to them she couldn’t hear. His voice had dropped into a tone he’d used when dealing with Miranda when she was younger - warm and soft, reassuring. Once the first-years had settled in the boat, he drew his wand, pointed upward, and cast his signature spell. The Shield Charm that resulted was less opaque than usual, and dimmer, but it expanded over the boat like a soap bubble, clear enough to see through, so that they wouldn’t lose their first sight of the castle.

    Hermione smiled at the awed expressions on the kids’ faces, and moved to take three of her own.

    “Hello, I’m Hermione Granger,” she said, before adding with an impish smile, “and I’ll be your walking umbrella this evening.”

    “My brother told me about you!” piped the smallest boy of the whole first-year group. It was hard to say whether he was shivering from cold, or excitement. “You’re the smartest girl in the school, aren’t you?”

    Hermione felt her cheeks flush at the compliment. She liked the praise - on some levels, lived for it - but had never really learned how to deal with it.

    “Your brother’s very kind,” Hermione said graciously, “but I don’t know about ‘smartest.’ I do well in my grades, however.” She scrutinised him. The exuberant expression seemed familiar . . . And then she had it. “He wouldn’t be Colin Creevey, would he?”

    He was practically vibrating in place, now. “You remember him! I’m Dennis Creevey, by the way.”

    She smiled warmly. “Pleased to meet you, Dennis. And the rest of you?”

    “Natalie McDonald,” said a shy brunette.

    “Stewart Ackerley,” said the other, also shivering.

    “Glad to meet you.” She gestured to the boat. “If you’ll hop in?”

    Once they were settled, Hermione drew her wand and murmured, “Protego.” She focussed on what she needed - a large shield, but none too strong. Just firm enough to deflect rain - and warm enough to heat the wind. It took some concentrating to form, and some to maintain it, but she managed it.

    “There,” the witch said in satisfaction, with a pleased smile at the results of her efforts. “I can’t do anything about the choppy lake - sorry about that - but this should make the ride in a little easier, shouldn’t it?”

    Wow,” Stewart said in awe, watching as the raindrops ran down the sides of the silvery bubble. He sighed in relief a moment later, as the wind proved to be warmed enough as it passed through to begin drying them off.

    “Will we learn to do this?” Dennis asked excitedly.

    Hermione smile widened. “Not right away, I’m afraid. But I’m sure you will, eventually. I’m in fourth year this year - Gryffindor house.”

    “Are all Gryffindors as nice as you?” Natalie asked quietly.

    “Most of them,” Hermione said thoughtfully. “There are good points and bad points to every house - but I’ll let the Headmistress explain when we get there. It’s her prerogative, after all.”

    Dennis stood up, apparently trying to get the best possible view, and Hermione said sharply, “Sit down! You could capsize us, and then we’d all be in trouble!”

    He did so immediately, a sheepish grin on his face. She looked sternly at him for another moment, then shook her head. “You are Colin’s brother, aren’t you? Be grateful you’re riding with me, and not Takara or Ginny - they might’ve hexed you for that.”

    “Takara Aozaki?” Dennis said. “Colin’s told me about her! Is she as pretty as her pictures?”

    “Even prettier,” Hermione admitted honestly, and not without a hint of envy. “Ah! Look up ahead - there’s the castle!”

    Through the gleaming raindrops created by the Shield Charm, Hogwarts seemed to be limned by silver light, a shining fortress in the storm. It looked even more impressive this way than her first sight of the school had been, and judging by the gasps of wonder, it was one these three would never forget.

    Which is exactly as Galen wanted it. It was terribly sweet of him to want them to be able to enjoy . . . She broke off as inspiration hit. That’s it!

    Hermione felt a wicked smile tug at the corners of her mouth, as the solution to her dating dilemma presented itself - a fait accompli that Galen would be utterly unable to worm his way out of.

    Brilliant but scary, she thought to herself, pleased.

    As the first-years disembarked in the cavern entrance, and Hagrid gathered them for the walk up the worn steps to the castle proper, Hermione cornered her most-favourite, most-irritating wizard against the wall.

    “Speaking of the Yule Ball,” she said to him coolly. “I have every intention of attending. I also have every intention of turning down anyone who asks me to it, which means I will require your services as an escort.” She fixed him with a glare and added, “And I will be utterly unable to enjoy myself unless you do.”

    She could see him processing that, looking for any sort of loophole - and failing to find any. He’d said he would escort any of them who wished to go and didn’t have a date, for whatever reason. He’d also said he’d do his best to let them enjoy the night. Therefore, by her terms, he’d have to enjoy it, too. She had him, and they both knew it.

    “. . . Well-played, Hermione,” he muttered, sagging where he stood, even as there was a hint of amusement in his voice. “I yield.”

    Hermione smiled, even as it took every ounce of her Occlumency training to not squeal in joy, even as she saw Takara shoot her an approving grin. She had a date - better yet, her preferred date! Life was wonderful!

    . . . At least until they got upstairs, and she saw the stern look on Headmistress’ McGonagall’s face.

    “The firs’-years, Headmistress McGonagall,” Hagrid said respectfully.

    “Thank you, Hagrid,” she answered solemnly. “I shall take charge of them from here.” She then fixed the older students with a gimlet eye and said tartly, “I had wondered at the sudden disappearances of half of Gryffindor’s fourth-year students, particularly when I realised that most of the Weasleys were missing as well. And Miss Lovegood, of course.”

    “Begging yer pardon, Headmistress,” Hagrid said nervously, “but they were nice enough ter offer some help with the firs’-years. Wasn’t a fit night ter ride in off the lake, and they did what they could ter keep the little ones warm and dry.”

    To Hermione’s surprise, little Natalie piped up boldly, “It was very nice of them, Headmistress.”

    There’s a Gryffindor if I ever saw one, Hermione mused.

    “Indeed,” the elder witch agreed gravely. “A commendable show of school spirit - particular from you, Messrs Weasley. I now begin to wonder if you wouldn’t make suitable prefects.”

    Prefects?” Fred asked in astonishment.

    Us?” George repeated, bewildered.

    The twins shuddered in unison. “No thanks!”

    The corners of the Headmistress’ mouth quirked as she said drily, “Perhaps not. Nonetheless, even if it is unfortunately too early to grant points for your efforts, know that you’ve done Gryffindor proud tonight.”

    The undercurrent of warmth in her voice made it clear to Hermione - though her station as Headmistress might require her to be impartial in the matter of houses, McGonagall nevertheless still regarded them as her lions - and she was proud of them. Hermione couldn’t help blushing under the praise, but she resisted the urge to preen.

    “Now, please go in and be seated, so we can get on with the Sorting,” the elder witch instructed. “And the feast, of course.”

    And so they did.

    “Blimey, I’m knackered,” Fred sighed from the “visitor’s chair” of their usual corner of the Gryffindor table. “Awfully delicate work, that charm - takes it out of you to hold it like that.”

    “But you lot look pretty fresh,” George noted from beside his twin. “What’s your secret?”

    “Practice,” Galen said. “And the wide eyes when they saw real magic, right in front of them. Even the pure-blood students were a little bit impressed.”

    We’re impressed,” Fred admitted. “I mean, you and Shield Charms, not really a surprise. Anybody who can blast trolls with one can pull off something like this. And we know Shirou and Takara are good . . .”

    “But Luna?” George continued. “Tiny little Luna Lovegood? Held her spell all the way across the lake, and she isn’t even breathing hard.”

    Luna fixed the redhead with her dreamy gaze, and a matching smile. “It was fun - and only fair, after all. Some older students were very nice to me on my first trip to Hogwarts. Why shouldn’t I return the favour?”

    The twins shrugged. What could you say to that?

    Galen ignored the conversation in favour of watching Hermione. She’d caught him neatly, he had to admit. He’d never considered that she’d ignore anyone who asked her out. The only way out of it would’ve been to break her heart outright - and he’d been under that hammer himself too many times to do it to her. And if she wanted him to enjoy himself in order to be happy, who was he to ruin her night?

    Maybe the shock of Krum’s asking her out will change her mind. And if not, well - we already know she looks bloody stunning in that dress . . .

    The witch in question whipped around as Sir Nicholas explained to Ron Weasley what Peeves had been doing to stir up the house-elves. Galen had been half-expecting this when Ginny had told them that poor Winky’s fate was the same as it had been before.

    “Hermione,” he said softly, and she focussed on him. “One crusade at a time. You’re already working with LAPIS - and if you can prove it’s a success over the long term, people will be more willing to listen to your opinions on house-elves - and the werewolf percentage of the population will be likely to support your initiatives, since they’d owe you. In the meantime, research the best ways to help house-elves - but don’t try starting up another group so soon. If all you have to work with is outrage, they’ll dismiss you as just another crackpot. Get the facts, first.”

    Hermione scowled - she didn’t like the idea of leaving them to suffer in bondage - but his logic was as inescapable as hers had been earlier. An impetuous reaction wouldn’t serve house-elves as well as a calmly reasoned, intricately researched plan, and if she spread herself too thin, trying to help the werewolves and the elves, she might fail them both. Hermione nodded reluctantly, and he smiled - crisis averted, or at least delayed.

    Galen paid little attention to McGonagall’s remarks following the feast about banned items, or the Forbidden Forest being (surprise!) forbidden. He was aware of her announcement about Quidditch being cancelled for the year, by the groans from the Weasley contingent - except for Ginny, who’d already known. No, his attention was fixed on one Alastor “Mad-Eye” Moody, who was sitting at the staff table - and who hadn’t been supposed to arrive until just after the Quidditch announcement.

    Then again, that was with Barty Crouch impersonating him. Ginny didn’t mention her dad being called to a disturbance, either. Maybe that won’t be a problem this year - maybe we changed enough. Certainly, if I was a Death Eater, I’d be reconsidering my lifestyle choice after having a bunch of my buddies gunned down at the World Cup.

    It had amused Galen that one of Kiritsugu’s victims had been Augustus Rookwood, the former Unspeakable who’d advised Voldemort about the Department of Mysteries’ layout, and the operating procedures surrounding the Hall of Prophecies. If nothing else, that would make next year a lot harder for the Dark Lord, if next year needed to be worried about at all.

    Sirius hasn’t passed on any messages - and with luck, now he’s got Kreacher to do it, if he had to. Worst case scenario, he’s been found out by Voldemort - or some well-meaning citizen - and killed. Second worst case, he hasn’t had the chance to report in yet. But best case, there’s no plan in motion. As with the basilisk, hard to tell until Hallowe’en, I suppose. Since none of us has a security clearance, technically Kiritsugu and Shiki could get in trouble for leaking information to us about a classified op. As per usual, we’re back to “wait and see.”

    “I will now turn the floor over to our Transfiguration Professor, Albus Dumbledore,” McGonagall was saying, “as he needs to speak in his capacity as Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards, as a representative of the Department of International Magical Cooperation.”

    “Thank you, Minerva,” Dumbledore proclaimed as he rose. “We are to have the honour of hosting a very exciting event over the coming months, an event which has not been held for over a century. It is my very great pleasure to inform you that the Triwizard Tournament will be taking place at Hogwarts this year.”

    “You’re JOKING!” Fred exploded, which provoked laughter throughout the Great Hall.

    Dumbledore chuckled. “I am not joking, Mister Weasley - though now you mention it, I did hear an excellent one over the summer about a troll, a hag and a leprechaun who all go into a bar - ”

    McGonagall coughed pointedly.

    “Er - but maybe this is not the time . . .” Dumbledore murmured. “No . . . Where was I? Ah yes, the Triwizard Tournament . . . Well, some of you will not know what this Tournament involves so I hope those who do know will forgive me for giving a short explanation, and allow their attention to wander freely.

    “The Triwizard Tournament was first established some seven hundred years ago, as a friendly competition between the three largest schools of European wizardry - ”

    Interesting, Galen thought. Not the three best schools, or even the three oldest, but the three largest. I wonder if there’s a place other than Hogwarts that offers a better magical education in Britain? He snorted. Then again, there would almost have to be, wouldn’t there?

    The thought allowed him to tune out Dumbledore’s droning on about the Tournament’s being hosted in rotation between the schools every five years, until the death toll became unacceptable. Hermione would’ve normally chimed in about that, but she’d been warned in advance.

    “I’m going for it!” Fred whispered, and Galen wished him luck - especially knowing that he likely wouldn’t even succeed at entering. Galen did note one interesting detail - Dumbledore said that the other schools’ “short-list” of candidates would arrive at Hogwarts - presumably, their seventeen-year-olds, or at least those interesting in entering.

    Which makes Gabrielle Delacour’s “participation” even more suspect. How the hell did Beauxbatons just happen to have Fleur’s eight-year-old sister on hand as a hostage for the second task? If they could use her, why use Krum’s date to the Yule Ball, as opposed to, say, his parents, or some other relative? Cedric’s dad would’ve certainly volunteered to support his son. And if Gabrielle was used with her parents’ permission, what the hell kind of parents would permit their eight-year-old daughter to be submerged in a lake as a prize?

    Oh, well. Illogical as it was, it didn’t seem likely to be a problem - Hermione had indicated that she wouldn’t end up a hostage, and without Harry Potter (and especially Barty Crouch), there was no need for a fourth Champion. Ergo, he could just shrug and move on.

    Instead, he contemplated the new Gryffindors. Natalie McDonald had been Sorted in - unsurprising, given her willingness to stand up to McGonagall. So had Dennis Creevey, which augured well for Miranda, until one considered Lily and Petunia Evans. As far as Galen could tell, there was literally a fifty-fifty chance for his favourite poppet to end up in Hogwarts, and he hoped she - and Hermione - could live with whichever way the coin landed.

    Thoughts of Miranda reminded him of his promise, and Galen mused whimsically, If nothing else, escorting Hermione to the Yule Ball will make giving her a “boyfriend kiss” that much easier.

    The next day, Shirou gazed at the timetable that was handed out. Fridays had History of Magic first (thank God Galen and Hermione loved the subject - Binns bored him to tears), followed by a short break, then Charms until lunch. Shirou could live with that - Charms was the subject that led to enchanting objects with magical properties, a key component of reviving Unlimited Blade Works. He expected to excel at Charms this year, thanks to his summer studies - Remus Lupin had been especially helpful, in teaching him some of the tricks that had gone into the creation of the Marauders’ Map. After lunch, however, came a double Potions class - with the Slytherins.

    That was going to be hard, he admitted. Malfoy had left them more or less alone after Galen had forced him to swear an Unbreakable Vow about his lycanthropy - he was too terrified of Galen biting him to risk giving him an excuse, Shirou supposed - but Snape . . . Snape had been in St. Mungo’s Hospital for months, healing the damage that Takara’s Occlumency defences had done to his hand.

    Or, more accurately, his mind, Shirou corrected himself. It just manifested in that hand.

    From everything he’d been told of Severus Snape - hell, from everything he’d observed - the man was petty, vindictive, and spiteful in the extreme. In this timeline, he even lacked the mitigating excuse of acting to protect Harry Potter to redeem his behaviour, and even that excuse was arguable.

    He allowed an Order member to be captured and murdered - in fact, I think he led her into the trap that killed her. As a spy, he never seems to have passed on useful intelligence - like Voldemort’s location. He allowed the use of Unforgivable Curses on students as punishments while Headmaster here. Even if one argues it was to maintain his cover, he only turned spy when Lily Evans died, despite having obtained Voldemort’s promise of mercy, and going to Dumbledore when he decided not to trust the promise. At no point did he choose to make a stand on principle, he just obeyed whoever held the most power and influence at the time. Severus Snape is on Severus Snape’s side, period - he’ll go to whomever - and do whatever - will best serve his interests.

    And as a result, he was infinitely more dangerous to them than almost any other wizard. And after last year, he had more reason to hate them than ever.

    That’s going to make today very interesting, in the ancient Chinese sense.

    Still, Shirou was prepared. As much as his idealism had been revived over the years, and he wanted to save everyone, the decision was easy. If it ever really came down to protecting his friends, or allowing Severus Snape to survive - there wasn’t one.

    We’ve always figured we’d need to kill him, eventually - well, Galen just wanted to, but he had good reason to assume there would be an actual need. It was always a matter of when. Maybe this will be the year . . . Maybe this will be the day.

    After being so long in suspense, he almost looked forward to finding out.

  7. #7
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
    According to most, my own little world
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    DISCLAIMER: Lunar Legend Tsukihime, Fate/Stay Night, and all related characters and concepts are the creation and property of Kinoko Nasu and Type-Moon, along with anyone who's happened to license them, like Geneon or Funimation. Harry Potter and all related characters and concepts are the creation and property of J.K. Rowling, along with her publishers and Warner Bros., as regards the movie material.

    This is a not-for-profit, just-for-fun project.

    Writer's Note: Certain dialogue sequences in this story are lifted from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but I trust in the intelligence of my readers (and the availability of the books) to recognise them when they see them.

    Chapter 6 - Lesson Plans

    September 2 - 5, 1994

    Takara breezed through most of the first day. History of Magic would never be her favourite course, but she made more effort to stay awake than most students - the benefit of ingrained discipline. And she had no real worry that her marks would suffer, given Hermione’s obsessive study habits and Galen’s genuine love of history. Charms was a favourite class - one of her better subjects, too - so she held no fear of its workload. However, she would admit, to her friends at least, that Potions class now made her a little nervous. Not because of the subject matter - barring Defence Against the Dark Arts, it was her best class - but because of the instructor.

    Whatever his skills as a potions brewer (and Takara would admit they were remarkable, even if his teaching ability was inversely so), Severus Snape was a thoroughly unpleasant human being. He made no effort to appear otherwise, and took visible pleasure in tormenting students outside of Slytherin house, such as Neville - often simply because he could. The once-bullied student (deservedly or not was up for debate, though Galen’s opinion was a solid “Yes”) had become the biggest bully on the block, and he exercised both his authority and his powers with relative impunity. Or at least, he had - until they’d come along.

    One of Snape’s favourite activities was using Legilimency to probe students’ minds. Knowing better, they’d never made eye contact with the man, until they’d learned Occlumency sufficiently to defend themselves against it. Still, last year he’d attempted to probe Shirou’s mind - and run smack into an aggressive defence technique that caused him considerable pain. Then, not having learned his lesson the first time, he’d tried again on Takara - and this time the defence had been even more aggressive, potentially crippling the man. He’d been out for the rest of the year, undergoing treatments and therapy to restore the use of his hand. But he was back, and she had to wonder just how Snape was going to react to their presence now.

    We’ve proven that he can eventually learn, Takara thought. He stopped trying direct methods after running into my Occlumency defences, and instead outed Remus Lupin as a werewolf, and very nearly got him removed from Hogwarts - and Galen along with him. The question is, has he learned to leave well enough alone?

    If not, there was no question that Takara would be his new Target No. 1, having successfully defended herself from his mental invasion - and hurt him, to boot.

    If he tries . . . She shrugged mentally. It’s not as though he’s actually useful. He doesn’t actually teach - he just writes instructions on the blackboard and berate students for making mistakes. As a spy for the Order of the Phoenix, well, we’ve got our own - and he’s more trustworthy, to boot. So there really isn’t much point to Severus Snape walking around any longer, is there?

    Five years ago, such thoughts would have horrified her - but five years ago, she hadn’t lived through a Grail War, hadn’t fought trolls or Dementors, or lived with the knowledge that a war with a Dark wizard was on the horizon. And five years ago, she hadn’t known her true heritage. Though she bore the Aozaki name with love and pride - and considered all those who held it her family, be it by blood or law - she was, and always had been, Takara Nanaya. And the Nanaya name was synonymous with death - a fact Severus Snape would learn, if he chose to test her again.

    The Potions classroom in the dungeons was quiet, dark and cheerless, as usual. Given what she’d heard of magic in her original world, Takara thought them a fitting form of Reality Marble for the master who resided there.

    “Antidotes,” intoned the man in question, his black eyes glittering, “are a common use of potions, and range from the simplistic to the extraordinarily complex. Their importance, however, cannot be overstated - knowing how to prepare the proper antidote can, of course, save your life. From now until the latter part of November, we will be focussing on them - first in the study and brewing of them, and then, finally, you will create your own. You will compile a recipe and brew it, and its quality will be tested.”

    He made an expression which might have been called a smile, but held a little too much malicious glee to qualify, and added, “Needless to say, your grades - and quite possibly your lives - will depend upon its efficaciousness.”

    Takara felt a sudden ball of ice form in her chest.

    That sounds like a marvellous opportunity to murder me - or any of us - and be found completely blameless. Yes, I’d definitely say he’s learned.

    But if Potions class brought heightened tensions regarding poisoning (as well as an intensive study of antidotes) over the weekend, the weekend itself brought good news.

    “Mad-Eye Moody is, for better or worse, Mad-Eye Moody,” Galen announced, flourishing the Marauders’ Map.

    Indeed, everyone could see the dot on it labelled “Alastor Moody.”

    “So that means . . .?” Takara prompted.

    “Any number of things,” Galen answered. “Barty Crouch could be in another disguise, but he doesn’t seem to be on the Map. Hell, maybe Voldemort never got his hands on him - from what I remember, it was pure luck that Wormtail got his hands on the Ministry employee that knew he was alive in the first place. “ He turned to Ginny. “Your dad ever mention a lady named Bertha Jorkins?”

    “Only that she’s been missing a while,” Ginny prompted. “Dad was discussing it with Ludo Bagman at the campsite, not long after we arrived.”

    “All right, so that tracks with what we know . . .” Galen shrugged. “But she was wandering when Pettigrew found her, so maybe she is, still. Maybe it relied on Pettigrew instead of Sirius doing the job. Heck, maybe Voldemort was never found, and is still wandering - not like we can read the reports. It could be any number of things, really - the sequence of events for the Tournament, not to mention everything that follows, is so bloody Dickensian - ”

    “Language,” Hermione reminded him sharply.

    “Sorry - I mean that it relies on such a ridiculously long chain of improbable coincidences . . .” Galen shook his head. “The timeline as I know it is a house of cards, fragilely structured and easily collapsed if you hit it hard enough - and we’ve made some fairly big impacts already. It’s entirely possible that we have nothing to worry about, this year.” He smiled sardonically, adding, “Of course, since we’re not stupid enough to believe that, we’ll keep an eye out. But so far, all’s quiet on the western front - so to speak.”

    And with that in mind, the Gryffindors went about their schedule. Herbology the next Monday morning was tricky - working with Bubotubers was naturally hazardous, given their caustic pus - but they managed. Care of Magical Creatures was even more dangerous, because Hagrid had somehow gotten his hands on Blast-Ended Skrewts - but he’d put in adequate safety precautions, having learned his lesson last year. Even Malfoy left them alone - uncharacteristic for him, and somewhat suspicious, but nothing they could point to as threatening . . . Yet, at least. Still, with the sensation of waiting for the other shoe to drop hanging over her head, it was with no small amount of dread that Takara walked with Neville to Divination after lunch - for a double period, no less.

    Oh joy, Takara thought to herself as she settled onto a chair. My absolute dream come true.

    It might’ve been a different matter if Divination had promised to help her harness her Sight - but while Western methodology and beliefs weren’t wholly different from their Eastern counterparts, neither were they fully compatible. Takara would have had grave doubts about being able to awaken a Japanese form of sight using European methods even under a competent teacher - and she had Trelawney, instead.

    “Good day,” said the teacher in question, her voice akin to Luna’s in its dreaminess, but lacking the musical lilt the blonde had. “You are preoccupied, my dear - my Inner Eye sees past your brave face to the troubled soul within. And I regret to say that your worries are not baseless. I see difficult times ahead for you, alas - most difficult. I fear the thing you dread will indeed come to pass . . . And perhaps sooner than you think . . .”

    It’s a carnival trick, as Galen put it, she told herself fiercely. Dim lighting, burning incense, dire predications meant to prey upon the mind - but sufficiently vague that she can’t be called to task for anything.

    She knew that, but given her state of mind, it was hard to fully believe it. For whether Trelawney knew it or not, “difficult times” were indeed, ahead - and Takara couldn’t shake the feeling that, despite everything they knew, or thought they did, the times ahead were more difficult than they believed.

    As if in answer to her worry, Shirou’s mark began to burn on her hand.

    On the whole, Neville Longbottom would not describe himself as particularly special. Not in comparison to some of his friends - the girl who was the youngest Seeker in a century, or the other girl who was the brightest witch of her age, or the boy who killed a millennium-old basilisk with a sword at twelve - or the boy whose Shield Charms blunted that same basilisk’s killing glare. While those same friends consistently assured him that they valued him and his friendship - and indeed, Neville felt fairly confident about himself, knowing he could turn into a huge bear, and with the skill his new wand allowed him - he knew he was strictly “second-string,” as he’d heard Galen use the term. He was good, but no one particularly special. Except . . .

    Except that once, people had thought he was. People like Lord Voldemort, who had massed his followers and led an attack on his home, to kill him and his family. And people who had fought to protect him, like Albus Dumbledore . . . And like Alastor “Mad-Eye” Moody. Dumbledore might have defeated Voldemort, but his hadn’t been the only fight that day, and while Neville may have lost his parents to Bellatrix Lestrange and her family, but his parents hadn’t been the only one to suffer. Moody had been one of the Aurors to respond to the Death Eaters’ assault, and had fought - and lost an eye - repelling them.

    His Gran had raised him to revere his parents - there was no other word for it - for their sacrifices, and their suffering, but had also made certain that he never forgot what others had given or lost that day as well. It had made his childhood hard, knowing everything that had been done to save his life, and being thought a Squib for so long, as though he’d betrayed that effort. Hogwarts hadn’t been much better - with Dumbledore himself in the castle, and all his accidents. But Dumbledore’s actions over Neville’s first two years had proven that time had caught up with the old wizard, and he wasn’t all that he once was.

    So as much as his Gryffindor year-mates were excited over their first DADA class, having heard the older students rave about it earlier, it was with more than a hint of trepidation that Neville stood outside the classroom, worried that another of his childhood heroes would prove to have feet of clay. And that worry increased when he saw Galen silently draw his wand.

    “What is it?” Neville whispered in Japanese.

    Galen responded in the same language. “Moody’s got a reputation for . . . “ He hesitated, before settling on, “unconventional teaching methods. I want to be ready for anything.”

    Neville nodded, and drew his own wand. The other three Gryffindors of their group already had, and they settled into a loose guard formation in their seats, as they’d learned to over the summer. It wasn’t ideal - standing would have been better - but it was the best they could manage. They all tensed slightly when the distinctive clunk of Moody’s wooden leg became audible as he entered the classroom. Takara had the best peripheral vision and reflexes, so she watched him, and they watched her for reaction cues. Standard procedure was for he and Galen to cover the others with Shield Charms while they went on the offensive - usually Takara laying down rapid cover fire while Shirou went for more devastating hits and Hermione alternated as necessary . . .

    Moody worked his way down to the room, turned, and scanned them all. His scars were terrible to behold, and his mechanical eye spun and whizzed as it took them all in.

    “You can put those away,” he said gruffly. “Those books. You won’t be needing those . . . The wands, either.”

    After you’ve sat down,” Galen said under his breath, but apparently Moody heard him, because he grimaced - at least, Neville thought it was. He might have been smiling.

    “I know you, Aozaki - you’ve got your mother’s hair and your father’s eyes,” Moody growled. “I know Longbottom, too - very much your dad’s son. So if what Professor Lupin told me is correct, that makes the other girl with the wand Granger, and it makes you either Salvatore or Einzbern.”

    “Salvatore,” Galen said coolly, making no effort to hide his constant appraisal of Moody’s stature and movements, as though he expected the man to try and draw a wand at any second. Neville did the same.

    Moody’s smile increased as he took in the combat-aware stares. “Professor Lupin’s letter said this class had a very thorough grounding in tackling Dark creatures - Boggarts, Red Caps, Hinkypunks, Grindylows, kappa and werewolves. He also said I’d enjoy teaching it . . . And I’m beginning to think he was right.”

    Moody sat down, and began calling roll. His attention seemingly absorbed, Galen holstered his wand, and the rest did likewise. Once rollcall was done, Moody continued his lecture

    “But you’re behind - very behind - on dealing with curses. So I’m here to bring you up to scratch on what wizards can do to each other. So - straight into it. Curses. They come in many strengths and forms. Now, according to the Ministry of Magic, I’m supposed to teach you counter-curses and leave it at that. I’m not supposed to show you what illegal Dark curses look like until you’re in the sixth year. You’re not supposed to be old enough to deal with it. I say, the sooner you know what you’re up against, the better. How are supposed to defend yourself against something you’ve never seen? A wizard who’s about to put an illegal curse on you isn’t going to tell you what he’s about to do. He’s not going to do it nice and polite to your face. You need to be prepared. You need to be alert and watchful. You need to put that away, Miss Brown, when I’m talking.”

    Neville’s lips quirked as the named witch blushed. He did note, however, that Moody had just given away that his magical eye could see through wood - good to know, if it ever came down to a fight. Not that he thought it would, but after Quirrell’s incompetence, Lockhart’s buffoonery, and the inherent danger of Lupin’s lycanthropy, Neville wasn’t willing to put anything past a DADA teacher - and Moody was said to be fairly paranoid . . .

    Certainly, the rest of the lesson proved that he was more than a little mad - demonstrating the Unforgivable Curses in a classroom? Neville shuddered when the Cruciatus was performed, never having imagined before that a spider could scream, and knowing that his father and mother had suffered the same, twisting and screaming . . .

    Incendio,” came the snarl from beside him, and Neville had the sense that there was a hesitation to it, as though Galen wanted to add something, but stopped himself. Not that it mattered - all that remained of the spider was a scorch mark on Moody’s desk.

    Moody scowled, but his magical eye tracked their group, noting that more than one of them once again had their wand in hand. Neville’s trembled slightly - the burst of flames had shocked him into being angry at seeing that curse in use, and he ached to make someone pay for it.

    “Five points from Gryffindor,” Moody said gruffly. “You’re lucky I like you lot, or it’d have been a week’s detention, too.”

    They put their wands away one at a time - Moody’s casual use of Unforgivable Curses, meant educationally or not, marked him as dangerous, and by now they were too well-trained (and experienced) to blithely ignore that. The man noted their hesitation, and gave them another wintry smile - he was too experienced not to recognise what they were doing, and why.

    He went on to demonstrate the Killing Curse on a second spider, and explaining his reasoning for using the curses - that they had to know the worst they could face, to know what they needed to avoid. Neville thought the explanation would’ve served better at the beginning of the lesson, but he was still a bit shaky. The Cruciatus curse had damaged his life too badly to just blithely shrug off, and his mental state was not improved when Moody called them all to stay at the end of the class, before they headed off to dinner. There was a tense moment when the Defence professor pulled out his wand, but he merely applied a series of privacy and security charms - some of which Neville actually recognised, having seen his friends study and practice them, and their counters.

    “As I told you, Professor Lupin wrote me a letter,” Moody announced. “Mentioned all of you lot by name, and a few more. Said you were all too clever by half, powerful as blazes, and bloody dangerous when you were of a mind to be.” He stared at them all intently, magical eye visibly focussing on each of them before it moved onto the next. “After today, I agree with him.

    “Aozaki,” he snapped suddenly, staring at Takara. “I worked with your parents once, and I wouldn’t want to take them on unless I had a dragon to soften them up with, first.” He whirled on Shirou. “Einzbern. Never met your dad, but the fact that he’s Aozaki’s partner, when they bother to assign one to either of them, is all I really need to know, isn’t it? Fact is, I don’t think there’s an Auror force in the world that wouldn’t snap you two up on the chance that you’re half as good as your parents - and with what I’ve been told you’ve done here, you’ll be a damned sight better than ‘half as good.’”

    “Salvatore,” Moody continued, “the wild card. No combat background - unless you count being a bloody werewolf - but with Shield Charms that can stop trolls and basilisks, and the fact that you can keep up with these two . . . That tells me you could have your pick of offers, too. Granger’s got the sharpest mind going, Lupin says, and Longbottom’s only problem was with his wand and his confidence - how good you are now, we’ll see. But talent’s only one part of anything. It’s what you can do. As for what you did . . .” Moody’s expression was grim. “You worked together, covered each other. You were prepared. You were alert and watchful. You didn’t hesitate to slap me down when you thought I was out of line, and you weren’t going to hesitate if you had to do it permanently.”

    “Lupin was right - you lot are bloody dangerous, in the right frame of mind.” He smiled that wintry smile again. “And I am going to enjoy teaching you.”

    It was then, with those words, that Neville’s worst fears about his professor were confirmed. Like Albus Dumbledore, time had taken its toll on Alastor Moody. But where Dumbledore was showing signs of senility, Moody appeared to have gone completely around the twist.

    The summons to the Headmistress’ office came at dinner the next day. Hermione thought she understood why, when she considered who had received it - herself, and Takara. There were a number of common elements linking the two of them, but only one that Hermione was aware of which would concern Professor McGonagall in her capacity as Headmistress, a fact which the older witch confirmed with the first words out of her mouth after they’d sat down.

    “The Wolfsbane Potion,” McGonagall began, “has been the responsibility of Professor Snape since Mister Salvatore’s arrival at Hogwarts. However, given the events of last year, it has been proven that you two ladies are more than capable of producing it in sufficient quality and quantity for his needs.”

    Hermione felt the blush rising to her cheeks, and it only intensified at Takara’s emphatic nod.

    “That being the case,” the Headmistress continued, “I think it wise to assign you two the permanent duty - with an eye to teaching Mister Salvatore the manner of brewing it for his own benefit, of course - rather than absorb Professor Snape’s valuable teaching time with the task. Provided you are willing, ladies?”

    Hermione traded glances with Takara. “I don’t have a problem with it, Headmistress.”

    Indeed, she didn’t. Successfully managing to repeatedly brew the cheaper version Professor Snape had devised had restored her confidence in her ability to manage difficult potions - which had been suffering after the side-effects of her last two attempts in that area.

    Takara, for her part, shrugged. “It’ll look good on the ‘practical experience’ part of my application for Healer training.”

    Hermione was relatively certain that Takara was deliberately making light of things - she knew that the Japanese witch took Galen’s well-being fairly seriously. After all, why would she be so irritated at his being hurt all the time if she didn’t? Fortunately, the Headmistress seemed to take Takara’s comment in the humourous spirit it was intended.

    “Excellent,” McGonagall said. “I was concerned that with your O.W.L.s coming up next year, you might not want to spare the time - but you’re quite right, Miss Aozaki, in that practical experience brewing complex medicinal potions can only help your application.” Her eyes twinkled in the manner of Albus Dumbledore as she added, “I can only suppose that the ability to brew Master-level potions might aid your O.W.L. scores, as well.”

    “Really?” Hermione couldn’t resist asking the question, or doing so with excitement in her voice. It was just in her nature to seek out that extra credit option.

    “The examiners would certainly take it into account,” McGonagall replied with a smile.

    Had Hermione been a few years younger, she would have been bouncing in place from excitement at the knowledge - it had happened before. Time had tempered some of her more exuberant reactions, however, and she managed to keep from doing anything more than smiling widely.

    “I will admit I have little personal knowledge of the Wolfsbane Potion’s requirements,” the Headmistress continued, “but when you are ready to begin, please report to Madam Pomfrey.”

    Hermione blinked in confusion. “Madam Pomfrey, Headmistress?”

    The elder witch nodded. “As the Wolfsbane Potion is medicinal, she has requested instruction on how to brew it properly, using your simplified recipe - the skill may become necessary in the future.”

    Now Hermione was really confused. “I don’t understand. We’ll take care of Galen, or if we teach him, he’ll do it himself - ”

    “For such a critical potion, the more people capable of brewing it, the better,” McGonagall said firmly. “And while you may handle Mister Salvatore’s needs, what of all the other students, or when you’ve graduated?”

    Takara interrupted her. “Other students?”

    Headmistress McGonagall lips pressed into a thin line for a moment, before she drew her wand and used many of the same privacy spells Professor Moody had earlier in the week.

    “You are well aware, I’m sure, of the prejudices our society holds towards werewolves,” she began. “To some extent, the reaction is rightly ingrained - werewolves are, by themselves, dangerous creatures. When Professor Dumbledore undertook to bring Remus Lupin to the school as a student, the faculty was not at all pleased by his decision - and I admit, I was one of those who disapproved. Still, he was the Headmaster, and a great man, and so I chose to support his decision, however much I disagreed with the danger of allowing a werewolf in close proximity to the students.”

    A corner of Hermione’s mind considered that this might explain why the then-Deputy Headmistress had allowed the presence of Fluffy in her first year, with so little security to prevent students from encountering him - the pattern of acceptance had been set years before. The rest of her was absorbed in McGonagall’s story.

    “Remus Lupin proved to be one of the most remarkable pupils I have ever taught - and engaging on a personal level. I felt somewhat ashamed for my earlier beliefs, and thus, when Professor Dumbledore proposed to allow Mister Salvatore entry to the school, I supported his decision wholeheartedly. And while Galen Salvatore is not the mild-mannered boy that Remus Lupin was” - she paused as the two girls giggled at the very idea -“I believe that his academic scores prove that to not offer him the benefit of a Hogwarts education would be a tragic waste of potential. And that does not even take into account the events of the last three years - at the very least, I am quite certain that you, Miss Granger, would not be alive today save for his presence here.”

    Hermione nodded solemnly. That thought, that memory, was never far from her mind. Any time she was physically close to Galen, impressions of it surfaced - the brush of his black robe against her cheek as he stood between her and the troll, his voice ringing with desperation and defiance as he yelled an incantation, the tip of his wand blazing like a tiny silver star . . . And most of all, the all-encompassing warmth of his Shield Charm as it surrounded her, standing brilliant and impenetrable against the terrifying monster.

    She abruptly became aware that she was blushing, and glanced downward. It was silly, still, to cling to that. She was fifteen, not twelve. That kind of hero worship was silly, and Galen was far from perfect. He was cynical, stubborn, argumentative, very quick to anger- and downright terrifying when he was angry . . .

    Intelligent, though often thick - but what boys aren’t? Hemione’s mind responded. Brave - oh yes, brave, though reckless, too - he lets himself get hurt far too often. He’ll never grace a magazine cover, but he looks nice enough in the right set of robes. And occasionally, when he looks at me . . .

    Hermione shook her head, as though trying to hurl the thoughts out - now was not the time. She forced herself to concentrate on what the Headmistress was saying.

    “Remus Lupin was forced to attend Hogwarts in complete secrecy regarding his condition, and extraordinary measures were needed to ensure both that secrecy, and the safety of the school,” McGonagall said. “With the discovery of the Wolfsbane Potion, the dangers were lessened, but the student body is still unaware of Mister Salvatore’s condition. However, with the events of the last year - the refinement of the potion and the rise of certain social pressures - it is my hope that one day werewolves might attend Hogwarts openly, that they and our society might benefit from their inclusion and participation. In that regard, Mister Salvatore is something of a test case - and one of the reasons I watch you as closely as I do.” She smiled thinly. “Convincing the Board of Governors of the plan’s viability will be far easier with a successful example to point to.”

    Hermione blinked. She’d never realised her favourite teacher had such ambitions. She wondered if McGonagall would be interested in joining LAPIS, and opened her mouth.

    McGonagall glanced at Hermione, eyes twinkling once more, and said, “I’ve seen that look on many a student’s face before over the years, Miss Granger - you want to ask me for something. If it’s what I expect you do, I think you will find your answer over my left shoulder.”

    Puzzled, Hermione glanced in the direction indicated - and stilled. In a glass case on the wall, resting tip down on a cushion of scarlet velvet, was the Sword of Gryffindor, the rubies in its hilt gleaming as brightly as the day Shirou had slain the basilisk. On reflection, its presence really shouldn’t have been a surprise. What was a surprise was the second, smaller case next to it. On its own cushion of black velvet was one of her LAPIS badges.

    “I have designated that wall for trophies surrounding significant student achievements,” the Headmistress said quietly. “And that badge was sold to me by Augusta Longbottom, who has been an anti-werewolf bigot for as many years as I’ve known her.” The elder witch smiled. “Certainly, Miss Granger, achieving her change of heart seems significant to me - and it gives me hope that the goals you’ve set for your group, and I for Hogwarts, may yet become a reality.”

  8. #8
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  9. #9
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    DISCLAIMER: Lunar Legend Tsukihime, Fate/Stay Night, and all related characters and concepts are the creation and property of Kinoko Nasu and Type-Moon, along with anyone who's happened to license them, like Geneon or Funimation. Harry Potter and all related characters and concepts are the creation and property of J.K. Rowling, along with her publishers and Warner Bros., as regards the movie material.

    This is a not-for-profit, just-for-fun project.

    Writer's Note: Certain dialogue sequences in this story are lifted from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but I trust in the intelligence of my readers (and the availability of the books) to recognise them when they see them.

    Chapter 7 - Hermione’s Gifts

    September 18 - 19, 1994

    The ground was muddy, and therefore slick, uneven, and often unexpectedly adhesive, but Ginny nimbly kept her balance as she circled her opponent, warily watching for any sign of an opening in her defences or a preparation to attack. Unfortunately, Luna was the most unpredictable of them - reading her was almost impossible, and half the time she managed it, Ginny was almost convinced that Luna let her do it.

    Sparring against any of her friends was fun - as the youngest Weasley and the only girl, she’d been virtually forbidden to roughhouse with her brothers as a young child. But more than that, each of her friends had their own distinct fighting preferences in physical and magical combat - and they often differed between the two. Fighting Takara, for example, was simple: she relied on speed and evasion in both areas, above any other trait. That said, she was so fast, and so agile, that even knowing what she was liable to do didn’t help much. Neville, on the other hand, was a defensive spellcaster, using shields and counterspells to great effect - but in a hand-to-hand fight, he relied on his powerful build for heavy hits and grappling techniques.

    Shirou was also a power fighter, at least when it came to magic - high-impact spells at long ranges. But he was more agile in close quarters, though his build still favoured the heavy stuff. Galen was all about defence, both ways - what he didn’t block, he countered, and he wasn’t above taking a minor hit to land a solid blow, or if it tired his opponent out quicker. And his endurance was unreal - only Shirou or Neville came close. Hermione was tricky, literally. She used some of Galen’s magical fighting style - a wide variety of counters - mixed with her seemingly-limitless repertoire, and balanced her physical one between Shirou’s and Takara’s, hitting hard where she could, and otherwise dancing around her opponents. Luna, too, favoured agility in her fights, but was more like Hermione, otherwise - complex or obscure spells, hard to predict or counter.

    Ginny herself used a magical style like Shirou’s, and Takara’s on the physical level. Partly, it was to emulate the two people she most admired, but her choice for hand-to-hand had a lot to do with the fact that she was still petite in build, without much muscle mass. She didn’t have the ability to dish out - or take - a lot of hits, especially hard ones. Neither did Luna, at the moment. So they mimicked Takara more than either of “her boys,” but knew that a future growth spurt might see them change strategies.

    For now, though, Ginny decided to pull a feint, just to see if she could get Luna to react, and launched a punch at the other girl’s head. To the redhead’s surprise, Luna’s hand snapped out quickly in a stabbing motion, and Ginny retracted her arm with a gasp. Luna had somehow managed to hit a nerve cluster that had her entire forearm tingling - and in that moment of hesitation, the blonde dropped down and scythed Ginny’s legs out from under her in a sweep. Ginny, however, had already brought her hands back, and rolled away and back up, assuming a defensive posture as Luna charged forward. This allowed her to catch her friend’s kicking leg within her hands, and with a twist, send Luna sprawling into the mud.

    “You know, if one of you wasn’t our sister . . .” came a merry voice.

    “. . . We could make a lot of money selling tickets to this,” completed the same voice, from a slightly different direction.

    “We still might,” Fred admitted.

    “But then we’d either have to share with you,” George continued.

    “Or face Mum when she finds out,” Fred finished.

    “Pass,” they both said.

    Ginny opened her mouth to reply - and shrieked as Luna took her down with another leg sweep.

    “Luna!” she exclaimed as she struggled to her feet, her hair coated in mud. “We were on a break!”

    “Oh, I’m sorry,” her friend said dreamily. “I didn’t hear you call for a time out.”

    She could feel her face redden as she realised that she hadn’t, and Ginny admitted grudgingly. “Fair point. Shall we head back, since we both really need showers now?”

    “Unless you’d like to do some target practice,” Luna offered. She gazed at the twins with a dreamy - and oddly disturbing - smile. “Hermione’s found a very interesting hex involving boils . . .”

    The twins shuddered. “We give!”

    Ginny grinned. “Well, well . . . Don’t tell me you’re afraid of Luna?”

    “No,” Fred said. “But if she hexes us, we’d have to prank her - ”

    “- To uphold our reputation. But if we prank Luna - ”

    “You’ll get us,” Fred finished. “And there are seven of you, and two of us.”

    “And while it is us two, it’s you seven,” George said with a shudder. “Not good odds at all.”

    “Besides, we’d like to discuss what brought us out here.”

    “And that would be . . .?” Ginny prodded.

    “Hermione,” George answered.

    “More specifically, her birthday.”

    Ginny blinked. “It’s tomorrow.”

    “We know,” Fred said. “And she was really brilliant to us this summer, helping us refine some of the products for our joke shop.”

    “We’d have had to pay people to test them, otherwise - but she was all the quality control we needed. We’re ages ahead of where we thought we’d be in the planning, now.”

    “So we wanted to thank her, and figured we’d ask if you lot were going to throw her a party this year. We’d offer to do fireworks, decorations, and such.”

    Ginny blinked. While they’d celebrated each others’ birthdays before, they’d never done an actual party at Hogwarts. Still, with access to the Room of Requirement, a private space for one wouldn’t be hard to come by . . .

    “Not a bad idea, since tomorrow is a Sunday,” Ginny muttered to herself. And a full moon, but the rest of the day would be free for Galen. “But what kind of party?”

    Luna piped up. “Galen once said that he thought her birthday falls on a mundane holiday with a funny name . . .” She narrowed her eyes in concentration. “I’ve got it - he called it ‘International Talk Like a Pirate Day.’”

    Fred and George traded looks, suddenly acquiring eager grins as they chorused, “Pirates, you say . . .?”

    Ginny felt a smile stretch across her face, too. “That would be fun.”

    “Consider it done,” Fred assured her. “The special room . . .”

    “ . . .Tomorrow at noon!” George cried.

    “Arrr,” Luna mock-growled.

    Getting word to Takara and the boys wasn’t hard, since it was a weekend - finding them outside Hermione’s presence during class times was much trickier, since Ginny and Luna were in a younger year. But when there was no homework to be done, Neville was usually in the greenhouse, when he could convince Professor Sprout to let him help, and Galen the library, for the same reason, though avoiding Hermione got trickier, since she was usually there as well. But with Luna’s help, Ginny was able to have her distracted long enough to explain the plan. Takara and Shirou were a little trickier - normally, she could find them on the Quidditch pitch during a practice, but with no Quidditch this year, she had to track them down separately. She found Takara first, mixing Wolfsbane Potion in the infirmary. And as for Shirou . . .

    The Room of Requirement, when she entered it, was stifling. As soon as she opened the door, she was assaulted by a wash of heat and the acrid smell of smoke The air was far from silent, either, ringing with the sound of metal clashing with metal. Bewildered, Ginny stepped into the Room - and abruptly stopped dead.

    Shirou’s back was to her, and he worked on pounding something with a hammer - but she could see his back, bare save for the leather straps that held whatever covered his front in place. Cords of muscle bunched and rippled in shoulders that had never looked quite so broad in Hogwarts robes, as glistening droplets of sweat ran down bare skin which looked smoother than she’d ever imagined . . .

    Ginny’s mouth was abruptly dry, and the heat of the room had nothing to do with it. It took her three tries to croak Shirou’s name - and a further three tries before he heard her.

    “Oh - hi, Ginny,” Shirou said casually, turning to reveal a leathery apron that failed to hide his bulging forearms, or completely conceal the muscles of his chest. “What brings you here?”

    “. . . What?” Ginny asked dazedly, before remembering where she was. “Oh! Um . . . Hermione!”

    A scarlet eyebrow arched. “Hermione?”

    “Yeah - the twins want to throw her a birthday party, and the theme is pirates.”


    “Yeah,” Ginny agreed. “Because it’s ‘International Talk Like a Pirate Day?’”

    This time both eyebrows arched, and a sardonic grin appeared. “Let me guess - Galen’s idea.”

    “Luna’s, actually - but she got it from something he said once.”

    Shirou shook his head. “Figures.”

    “Why?” Ginny asked, puzzled.

    “Long story,” he supplied.

    “Like what you’re doing here?” she inquired.

    “No, that’s pretty simple - I’m practising forging weapons,” Shirou replied.


    “Because when I can make some good ones, I’m going to enchant them,” Shirou answered.

    “Really?” Ginny asked. “Plan on competing with the goblins, then?”

    “Maybe - but it’s just something I want to do.”

    There was more to it than that, Ginny was sure - with Shirou, Takara or Galen, there almost always was. But the explanation was enough for now.

    “All right then - I’ll leave you to it.”

    Nodding, she left the Room of Requirement. Once the door shut behind her, Ginny shuddered.

    Blimey, I never knew a boy could look that good! . . . But how do I get him to notice me?

    “Hey Rin, you mind if I kill this guy . . .?”

    “That would’ve killed a normal Servant . . . You really are the strongest hero of legend.”

    “Looks like even the goddess of the moon isn’t on your side . . .”

    “Behold, the pinnacle of weaponry - Unlimited Blade Works!"

    Shirou bolted upright in his bed, panting heavily.

    Another nightmare. Another flashback to another War. They’d been happening more and more frequently, ever since the Quidditch World Cup - and he still had no idea why.

    Shirou wondered if it was related to his attempts to recreate his Reality Marble. He’d been working hard at it lately - one benefit of no Quidditch games, or practices, was a sudden abundance of free time to fill - and it was possible his psyche was reacting to his efforts.

    Except that I’d already consulted Lupin about the Map by the Quidditch World Cup, Shirou reminded himself. I’d even started my own forge in the tool shed. Since then, I’ve worked mainly on refining my technique - I haven’t actually tried to make anything since I left home. So why bring it up so long after the fact, and why continue it now?

    Maybe I’m getting close to unlocking it, or adapting it? It might explain why Takara’s Command Mantra’s hurting, too - it could be reacting to how near I am to reaching the thing that helped make me the Servant, Archer.

    It was probably a case of being overly optimistic to think so, and Shirou smiled, as “overly optimistic” wasn’t a term he’d have used to describe himself in decades, nor would he have wanted to. It was a measure of how far he’d come, in terms of reclaiming his old idealism, that he thought that way now. And he had a feeling that reclaiming Unlimited Blade Works, in one form or another, would be the pinnacle of that.

    “Behold - the pinnacle of weaponry - Unlimited Blade Works!

    He shook his head. It was an odd thing to remember now, so many years (and in a very real sense, lifetimes) later, but he’d choose to see it as a sign of hope, that the magic which represented the core of himself was closer to his grasp than ever.

    A shame I can’t get my hands on some of the goblins’ forging techniques - they’re the acknowledged master artificers of this world. But they’d never trust a wizard with their secrets, even if they could be shared, and they might not be able to be shared. It might be something inherent in goblin natures, like the attractiveness of Veela. Still, I know something of Japanese sword-smithing techniques, regarded as some of the finest in the world, and that’s a start.

    Shirou paused, as that suddenly gave him an idea for Hermione’s birthday party . . .

    “You’re not a eunuch, are you?” Galen drawled at Shirou, who’d managed to make himself up in the style of William Turner. Shirou’s resulting scowl indicated that he’d forgotten that particular line, but otherwise he held up manfully. The ruffled shirt and leather pants combo looked good on him, otherwise - speaking as a guy who was evaluating the competition, anyway.

    Galen grinned, and sipped at the glass of Firewhiskey the twins had smuggled in from somewhere. Theme parties were kind of new to him, but this was fun. The Room of Requirement had given them a boat, and Fred and George had adapted one of their portable swamp prototypes to become a portable ocean. It was even easier, really, since all it had to do was conjure several dozen (or maybe hundred) litres of saltwater, as opposed to the thicker consistency of swamp murk.

    “Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me,” he murmured.

    “That make you Jack Sparrow, then?” Shirou quipped.

    Captain Jack Sparrow,” Galen corrected sharply, even as he grinned. He waved his wand, and Hans Zimmer’s theme filled the air.

    Shirou shook his head. “We probably should’ve switched.”

    Galen blinked, startled and more than a little confused. “Ohhh - kay, I’ll bite. Why?”

    Shirou smirked as he gazed over Galen’s shoulder. “Because today, Hermione is the Pirate Queen - and it’s Will Turner who gets the girl.”

    Galen glanced over his shoulder - just in time to meet the pointy end of a cutlass.

    “Yarrr,” Takara said, grinning. “Looks like we have a couple of volunteers to walk the plank, Hermione - a mutineer who calls himself the Captain of this ship, and his cabin boy.”

    Cabin boy?” Shirou sputtered.

    Takara said in a low voice, “Considering the looks Ginny’s been firing at you, I’d say that’s where she wants you.”

    Shirou’s face was quickly as red as his hair.

    “A mutineer, aye?” Hermione said, raising an eyebrow at Shirou’s blush before turning to Galen. “He’s looking to plunder me - my ship, I mean?” she added hastily. She was soon sporting a blush of her own, nervously playing with the silver hairclip he’d gotten her - something to complement her dress for the Yule Ball.

    Takara smirked, and pointed out, “You’ve a fine booty to plunder, Captain.”

    “Yours is better,” Hermione muttered under her breath, apparently forgetting how many of them had sharp hearing. It was only then that Galen realised how flushed everyone looked, and exactly how many empty bottles littered the deck of the “ship.”

    Galen cleared his throat. “All right, from the sounds of things, that’s enough ‘grog’ for this crew.” He called up to the crow’s nest. “Fred? George? The crew’s a bit too tipsy to sail - time to break out the regular drinks!”

    His heart sank when he heard them call back, “Regular drinks? What regular drinks?”

    Right. The Weasley twins and pranks - how could I forget? He concentrated on where he was, and what he knew it was capable of. I need some sobering potions, please.

    The Room obliged quickly, and he turned to hand them out, but quickly found a pistol at his chest.

    “Surrender your treasure, or walk the plank!” Hermione cried enthusiastically.

    He handed over the bottles easily enough.

    “Now the rest of it,” she demanded.

    Galen blinked. “Rest of it?”

    “Miranda sent me a letter - she gave you my birthday present to give to me,” Hermione explained. “I want it, now - or else it’s down to Davy Jones’ locker with you!”

    Galen winced. Not exactly the time or place he’d had in mind . . .

    “It goes with that,” he said at last. “Take the potion, and then you get the present - they’re a package deal.”

    It was a measure of just how badly Hermione needed sobering up that she apparently forgot she was supposed to be the one giving orders - or maybe just a measure of how much she trusted him. Regardless, the potion’s effects were immediate, and she only looked a little paler than normal as the alcohol was flushed out of her system. She blushed almost immediately, though, as her clearer mind went back over everything she’d said while intoxicated.

    “Shall we hand them over to the rest of the crew?” Galen asked.

    Hermione blinked, then looked around. “Yes, I think we’d better.” She paused, and glared upwards at Fred and George. “And then we make them walk the plank.”

    Galen smirked, and said with genuine enthusiasm, “Aye-aye, Captain.”

    Locked into his usual empty classroom later that night, Galen grinned at the memory. Fred and George were really great conjurers, but they’d learned an important safety lesson about modifying their existing products. The impromptu ocean was great, but however realistic it made things seem, adding sharks had been a really bad idea. Still, Hermione had seemed pleased with the party, however perilously close they’d come to hangovers, even if she didn’t quite get the reason for the pirate theme, or the movie references.

    Small wonder, since I don’t know when the holiday was declared, and “The Curse of the Black Pearl” won’t hit theatres until the summer of 2003 . . . But the only other real movie option, I suppose, was “The Lion King,” seeing as it is 1994 - and I figure she got enough of that from her sister this summer.

    His grin widened slightly. The girl had taken to calling Hermione “Nala” when they were in private, apparently. He wasn’t sure how much Hermione enjoyed the joke, but Miranda certainly did . . .

    Galen’s smile faltered. He’d have to remember to “thank” his parents for letting Miranda borrow Hermes to deliver her letter. Talk about putting him on the spot! Fortunately, once she was sober, Hermione hadn’t mentioned her sister’s “birthday present” again -

    The door slid open behind him, then shut, and a familiar voice replaced the charms that had been laid on it. Then a rustle of fabric revealed Hermione as she tossed the Deathcloak onto a chair.

    “You didn’t have to come,” Galen noted.

    “I wanted to,” Hermione said. Her tone turned dry as she pointed out, “It is my birthday, still - shouldn’t I be allowed to do what I want to?”

    “I’ve always thought so.” Moonrise was only about five minutes away . . .

    Hermione suddenly looked nervous. “So - what did Miranda give you to give to me?”

    Galen’s eyebrows rose. “From your tone, it sounds like you already know.”

    Hermione shook her head. “She just wrote that I should ask for it when we were alone - and I do know her sense of humour.”

    “Ah.” Now it was Galen’s turn to look nervous. “Well . . . Apparently, when she asked you what you wanted, you replied, ‘Not to be sweet sixteen and never been kissed,’ or words to that effect . . .”

    Hermione’s eyes were wide, and her face scarlet. “She heard that? She told you?”

    “Mm.” Galen nodded. “Apparently, I’m to give you what she calls a ‘boyfriend kiss’ at some point this year.”

    From the expression on her face, Galen was momentarily afraid that Hermione had somehow swallowed her tongue.

    “. . . Hermione?”

    “. . . Oh! Sorry . . . “ She looked at the floor. “Did she explain exactly what a ‘boyfriend kiss’ is?”

    “No - which was odd, for her. I’ve been assuming that she wants me to kiss you as though I’m your boyfriend.”

    “Um . . “ Hermione mumbled something not even his hearing could catch.

    “Sorry, Hermione? I didn’t catch that.”

    “I said, ‘It’s what my mother called a French kiss while we were on vacation last year,’” Hermione said, still not looking at him.

    “Ah,” Galen said.

    She reverted to an old habit - babbling when she was embarrassed or afraid.

    “We were walking through the Paris streets one night - it is called the City of Lights, after all - and we saw this couple leaning against a lamppost. Well, you know Miranda, she just stares at anything new, memorises details, and when we passed by, out of earshot, she asked what - ”

    “I get the picture, Hermione,” Galen said gently.

    “Sorry,” Hermione blurted. “Sorry . . . I . . . You don’t have to do that, Galen. I won’t hold you to it, and I’ll make sure that Miranda doesn’t, either.” She was still looking at the floor.

    “That’s sweet of you,” Galen admitted. “And I appreciate it, Hermione. . . But, she made me promise.”

    “She WHAT?” Now Hermione’s head snapped out in shock, to give him a disbelieving stare - but it was too late for answers, because the moon was up, and the curse was given its head. By the time Galen regained his senses, he was on all fours, and so was Hermione.

    As a lioness, she’d always been bigger than he was as a wolf (or a human, for that matter), but it was evident that Hermione was entering the final stages of her growth to maturity now, because she was much larger than she’d been, even three months ago. At a guess, she was nearer the three hundred pound mark than two-fifty, maybe even a little over it - but she was well over six feet long, even without her tail. Her teeth were longer, too, as he saw when she yawned - white and sharp, and even.

    Hermione’s eyes were the same, though. Large, deep, and the colour of dark amber, with hints of gold and brown, but still sparkling with intelligence and kindness. Still Hermione’s eyes. Huffing in annoyance at the abrupt end to their conversation, Hermione padded over and nudged him onto the floor.

    Sighing, Galen lay down and prepared to try and sleep - not easy when even with the potion’s influence, the beast was charging through his veins, revelling in freedom, eager to move and act. But, he had to admit, with a lioness body pillow curled around him, and especially one that was so content with it, sleep came far easier.

    It would be a pity to have to wake up tomorrow.

  10. #10
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
    According to most, my own little world
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    DISCLAIMER: Lunar Legend Tsukihime, Fate/Stay Night, and all related characters and concepts are the creation and property of Kinoko Nasu and Type-Moon, along with anyone who's happened to license them, like Geneon or Funimation. Harry Potter and all related characters and concepts are the creation and property of J.K. Rowling, along with her publishers and Warner Bros., as regards the movie material.

    This is a not-for-profit, just-for-fun project.

    Writer's Note: Certain dialogue sequences in this story are lifted from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but I trust in the intelligence of my readers (and the availability of the books) to recognise them when they see them.

    Chapter 8 - Beauxbatons Arrives

    October 21 - 28 , 1994

    Time seemed to pass quickly as they approached the arrival day for Beauxbatons and Durmstrang, and the choosing of the Triwizard Champions. By the time the notice went up, stating that they’d arrive a week from its posting (Friday the twenty-eighth), the teachers had already shifted into overdrive on homework. This, Takara had to admit, was the advantage of having a regular study group, since those in it who favoured certain subjects were generally ahead in reading and assignments, and able to help the rest. It was a good thing, too - without Galen and Hermione’s help, she wasn’t sure she could’ve handled writing weekly essays on the goblin rebellions of the eighteenth century!

    Takara had noted that Hermione had seemed a little more shy around Galen lately, but attributed it to her acting like a girl with a crush (which, to be honest, she was, and had been for several years), or embarrassment over something she’d said or done on her birthday. If it was the second one, though, Takara had no idea what Hermione thought she’d done. None of them had been that tipsy, and it wasn’t as though she’d been hanging off him, or anything. The Japanese witch would’ve liked to ask, but all her free time was absorbed in her homework at the moment - particularly Potions. Their antidote research had kicked into high gear, and Snape had hinted at a Christmas deadline for their “test.”

    Nor was that the only class which had a certain urgency to it. Transfiguration was covering Switching Spells, which were an odd branch, almost closer to Apparition than Transfiguration. Charms involved preliminary work in learning Summoning Charms, which all of them paid close attention to, even if none of them were likely to need them for the Tournament, as Harry had. The spell was simply too useful not to know - in point of fact, it had saved Galen’s life last year - and while they could perform it using the tendency of Galen’s wand to simply “brute force” its way through complex spells, all of them wanted to get the actual technique down. And then, there was Defence Against the Dark Arts . . .

    “In a perfect world,” Professor Moody said in the class before the other schools were meant to arrive, “You’d never have to know about the Imperius Curse, because either no one would use it, or it wouldn’t exist. In a near-perfect world, I’d be allowed to place you under it to help you learn what it feels like, and how to fight it. In this world, however, your Headmistress would have my old hide nailed to her office door if I tried - there wouldn’t be enough left of me to send to Azkaban. But you still need to know how to fight mind-controlling spells, so your Charms professor suggested Compulsion Charms.

    “A Compulsion Charm is not like the Imperius Curse,” Moody snarled. “The curse is subtle, makes you want to obey, without really thinking about it. It’s insidious that way, and much harder to break because of it. The charm is quick and dirty by comparison. You just do something and you can’t help yourself, because there’s never time to realise you’re doing anything before it’s done its work. It’s the basic foundation for love potions, Notice-Me-Not charms, and other similar types of spells. Still, if you can bring yourself to fight it, you’ve got a good basis for the Imperius Curse.”

    After that speech, he started putting compulsions on the Gryffindors, like juggling pencils, or hopping on one foot - nothing too dangerous, just embarrassing, and he held them under the compulsion long enough for them to at least try and break free. Moody ran into problems, however, when it came to the five of them. None of them were particularly weak-willed, and Occlumency training gave them enough time to realise what was happening, and rally their will to fight. Against the actual Imperius curse, it might’ve been a different story, as Moody was quick to remind them, but for a basic compulsion? Hardly a problem.

    Still, that class, plus the research on Summoning Charms, gave Takara the impetus to actually ask the question, “So, what are we going to do about the Tournament?”

    As usual, everyone looked at Galen. Like it or not, he was the one with all the information, the one who could tell them everything they needed to know to make the best possible decision. He wasn’t always right - far from it - but their first response had become “See what he knows and thinks about it, first.”

    From the scowl on his face, what he thought was nothing pleasant.

    “This is the downside of trying to change the future,” Galen sighed. “When you manage it, it makes everything you knew suspect.” He shook his head. “I can’t be sure that we need to do anything. There’s no sign of Crouch Jr., no indication that Voldemort’s even planning anything . . . But if we’re wrong, we won’t know until it’s too late - and the universe has already shown a perverse willingness to keep things ‘on course’ in spite of us.”

    “So,” Shirou said. “We plan like things are going to go wrong, so that if they do, we’re prepared. And if they don’t - awesome?”

    “That would be best,” Hermione agreed. “So, what are we up against?”

    “Polyjuiced Death Eater, Ministry official under Imperius Curse, Confunded Goblet of Fire that selects four champions instead of three,” Galen recited. “End result is the death of the official, Dementor’s Kiss for the Death Eater, the murder of Cedric Diggory and the resurrection of Voldemort.”

    “The Hufflepuff prefect?” Neville said in surprise. “He’s a nice guy - he thanked me for bringing in the new first-years that first night, and said a Hufflepuff should’ve thought of it.”

    “Plays fair at Quidditch, too,” Shirou noted, before adding with a smirk, “Not that he needs to cheat, anyhow.”

    “So how do we avoid him getting killed?” Ginny queried.

    “I could break his legs,” Shirou offered. “He can’t get killed if he can’t compete in the Tournament.”

    “Magical healing,” Takara pointed out. “He’d be up again in a day, tops - and anything you could do to him that leaves him badly injured enough is liable to get you expelled.”

    Hermione mused aloud, “I wonder if we could influence the judge - the ‘Goblet of Fire,’ you said? If we manage things so that he’s not selected . . .”

    Galen shook his head. “If the Confundus Charm is cast, maybe - that’s why there are four champions, the bewitchment makes it seem like there are four schools - but we can’t count on it, and I’d rather we not do it ourselves, in case we somehow get four champions because of what we did.”

    Takara nodded. “That would be the kind of thing Fate would use against us, isn’t it?”

    “Exactly - and I don’t want a repeat of the diary hunt.” Galen frowned, considering options.

    Takara frowned. “Could we bait it with a more appealing champion? Someone better suited than Cedric?”

    “Such as?” Galen prompted.

    “Well, there’s always us,” she offered.

    Galen shook his head. “Champions fight alone, and we do our best work together. Besides, it would kill me to have to just sit and watch as any of you go up against a dragon, or into the lake, or . . .” He shuddered.

    “Besides,” Shirou pointed out. “We’re underage. We’d have to hex the Goblet to get our names in, and that leads back to other people taking advantage of that.”

    “Really?” Luna piped up in surprise. “I always understood that you three were older than you seemed.”

    Takara blinked. It was true. She’d had her fourteenth birthday this year, but it had been for the second time. Technically, she was twenty, and the boys were even older - much older.

    Actually, if you add up all the years of memories I’ve got, I suppose I’d really be twenty-eight, but I think I’ll stick to the lower numbers, she thought drily.

    Shirou frowned. “Would that work, do you think?”

    Hermione bit her lower lip, thinking. “Maybe - a lot of magic is intent-based, and you are, to all intents and purposes, older. But it depends on the exact methods used by the Goblet to screen applicants.”

    Takara frowned as something else occurred to her. “But even if we can, how would we get away with it? There are going to be piles of questions when a seeming fourteen- or fifteen-year-old manages to put their name in, never mind when or if they get chosen!”

    Galen grinned abruptly, and there was a manic sparkle in his eyes. Takara knew that expression - he’d just thought of something that, if anyone else knew about it, would probably get him committed.

    “Leave that to me, milady.”

    The week seemed to fly by to Hermione, as the Hogwarts staff and students prepared for the arrival of the Beauxbatons and Durmstrang delegations. She wondered what they were like - she knew Ilyasviel attended Durmstrang, of course, but the older witch never said a great deal about it, other than that it was “the magical equivalent of military school.” As a result, there apparently weren’t many girls at all, by choice - but Ilyasviel’s attendance was part of a family tradition, and her parents were politically and financially powerful. Whatever the faculty’s opinion of her, they hadn’t been stupid enough to refuse her enrollment. Still, according to Ilyasviel, the school was a competent one. It excelled especially in the subjects of Potions and the Dark Arts.

    And sometimes, if she was in the right mood, Mrs. Aozaki would share stories of Beauxbatons. Given her history, her attendance at the school had ended abruptly and badly, of course, so she rarely spoke of her school days - too painful. But every now and then, Hermione could coax something out of the woman. From her descriptions, Beauxbatons sounded more flamboyant - lots of gilding and marble work. It also sounded like a magical finishing school for young ladies, though like with Durmstrang, there was the odd member of the opposite sex. Still, if Mrs. Aozaki’s recollections were accurate, Hermione was quite glad she’d made it into Hogwarts. Still, it too was a formidable school, whose specialties were Charms and Herbology, due to a great variety of magical plants available through proximity to the warm Mediterranean waters, and the deep forests.

    Whereas Hogwarts can be said to excel in the areas of Transfiguration, given Professors Dumbledore and McGonagall, and perhaps Charms, given Professor Flitwick, Hermione thought. Professor Snape is a Potions Master himself, but isn’t really a very good teacher. And our Defence teachers are too erratic to quantify properly. So really, Transfiguration is the sole art of magic that Hogwarts can hold itself superior in . . . Still, imagine what I could learn from them!

    The possibilities threatened to overwhelm her, but she was delighted by the prospect. Imagining what differences there might be in the curriculums between the three schools had her threatening to giggle. And best of all, she could ask her questions easily!

    No, she corrected herself, not quite. I got a good start on German from Ilyasviel over the summer, but it’s not really up to where I can easily hold a long and detailed conversation. Between my family’s summer holidays, Takara and her mother, however, I can very nearly pass for a native in French . . .

    Thinking the word “French” reminded her of the reason she hadn’t been able to look Galen in the eye since her birthday.

    I could cheerfully strangle Miranda for this - and Galen, for blindly agreeing and never asking what, exactly, a “boyfriend kiss” was supposed to be!

    Hermione sighed into her copy of Hogwarts: A History as she reviewed it for details about the Triwizard Tournament. It wasn’t that she didn’t appreciate Miranda’s motives, or that she was displeased by the thought of kissing Galen - she’d wanted to for years, now, and while ]French kissing wasn’t something she felt entirely comfortable with, he’d be her choice of partner over anyone else.

    But I want him to kiss me because he wants to kiss me, not because he feels he has to.

    Hermione was fifteen now, and with her hormones in play, boys were definitely an enticement. Even more so, since bonding with the lioness - her primal instincts were very clear about what they wanted. But she was human, first and foremost, and therefore capable of monogamy, as a lioness was not. Where the great cat might be satisfied with any boy, she wanted one in specific. The problem was, said boy had never seemed to want her. Frankly, she blamed her situation on Ronald Weasley. If he hadn’t sent her crying into the bathroom with his insinuations, the troll wouldn’t have found her - and Galen wouldn’t have had to put himself between it and her. They would’ve continued being friends, as they’d been from the beginning, and she wouldn’t have started feeling more for Galen than that.

    But he did, and Galen did . . . And I do.

    Hermione couldn’t blame him for not being interested in her, really. She knew she wasn’t pretty like Takara - or Ilyasviel. But he’d always paid the same amount of attention to her as he did to them, so she’d hoped that maybe that meant that looks weren’t important to him. And it certainly seemed that way - even Mrs. Einzbern in full Veela allure didn’t shake him for more than a few seconds! But she couldn’t get him to admit to anything about what he was feeling . . .

    No, that’s not true, either. I had a chance, two years ago, when he told me he wasn’t in love with Ilyasviel, or Takara - but I didn’t take it. I didn’t ask him what he felt for me, because I was too afraid of the answer. And now, when I want to know, I can’t get him to tell me. I’d give up on the whole thing as a bad job, except . . . Except there are times he looks at me, smiles at me, like I’m the most beautiful thing in the whole world. And then there are times when he shies away, or looks at me as though I’m dying before his eyes, he’s so sad . . .

    Given her little sister’s fondness for The Lion King, Hermione had seen it a number of times over the summer. And it was with a sardonic appreciation of the line’s appropriateness that she sang under her breath, “‘He’s holding back, he’s hiding - but what, I can’t decide . . .’”

    Still, Hermione wasn’t one to give up on puzzles. There had to be other avenues of information . . .

    Ilyasviel. He’s awfully attached to her, especially since they said she was Shirou’s master in that ritual - that would’ve made her an opponent, if not an outright enemy. But all of them took his serving her as a “knight” as natural and expected, so there has to be more to their relationship than they’ve said. She’s a girl, and she’s made a point of showing that she’s never been competition for him - so he might have told her something, or she might have noticed something, that can help me understand why Galen is the way he is.

    And if she does, and if she’ll talk to me about it . . . Then I’ll decide what to do, afterwards.

    All of a sudden, the day until the Durmstrang students arrived seemed very far away to Hermione . . . And it couldn’t possibly arrive fast enough.

    No matter what he’d looked like as the Servant Archer, Shirou was and always had been Japanese. So the concept of interschool rivalry wasn’t exactly new to him, and he fully understood why every teacher in Hogwarts was suddenly trying to cram lessons down their throats as fast as humanly possible, and why the house-elves were working overtime to polish and brighten up the castle. And after three-plus years here as a student, he’d be lying if he said he felt absolutely no school spirit.

    Under Dumbledore, probably not, the redhead admitted. I still wish McGonagall hadn’t made him Head of Gryffindor - but given how fast we go through Defence teachers, she needed someone liable to stick around. But despite that, McGonagall’s a hands-on Headmistress, and she seems to really care about the state of the school - and the well-being of its pupils. I can support a leader like that, and I’ve got friends here, too.

    As such, he accomplished his workload without complaint, and helped the others where needed. Neville did quite well in his spellwork now, with his new, better-matched wand. His only real problem was Potions, and only in the practical area - with Snape hovering over him. Given a textbook and the proper supplies, he did all right by himself.

    Another good reason to have the man killed, Shirou thought wryly, but it would be a bit excessive to off him just for being a lousy teacher. And since Voldemort isn’t a clear threat at the moment . . .

    If the so-called “Dark Lord” was an active menace, killing Snape would make sense, since it’d be denying a resource to the enemy. Killing him because he attacked one of us would make sense, because it would be self-defence. Killing him just because he’s an annoying turd of a human being, on the other hand . . . That’s tempting, but not something we should really consider. Not if we want to keep the moral high ground here.

    . . . On the other hand, my life - not to mention Ilya’s, Rin’s and Sakura’s - would’ve been so much easier if I’d offed Kotomine just because he gave me the creeps . . .

    Chuckling to himself (and pleased that he could, considering the subject matter), Shirou took McGonagall’s last-minute instructions regarding posture and decorum easily enough. Frankly, with all the formal dinners and such that his mother had to host as part of her ambassadorial position, he probably could’ve sleepwalked through this and come out all right.

    “Weasley, straighten your hat,” McGonagall barked. “Patil, take that ridiculous thing out of your hair . . .”

    Scowling, Parvati removed an ornamental butterfly clip from the end of the plait she’d braided her hair into. Privately, Shirou thought it was a shame - it looked good on her.

    “Minerva, I am perfectly capable of organising my Gryffindors,” Dumbledore pointed out patiently. His eyes twinkled as he adding teasingly, “Even to your exacting satisfaction, I am sure.”

    “Yes, well,” McGonagall muttered, obviously embarrassed. “You have your duties as the ICW representative, Albus - I had thought I could at least lighten your responsibilities. But you’re right, of course - I should see to the other Houses as thoroughly as I am Gryffindor.”

    She stalked off towards the Slytherins, and Shirou followed her for as long as he could. This was one time when he really would’ve appreciated having his old eyesight as Archer back - he’d learned to read lips long ago, and it would’ve made for entertaining viewing.

    “You seem pleased,” Luna noted quietly, startling him.

    It was a mild annoyance to Shirou that Luna seemed able to sneak up on him whenever and wherever she wanted to - but it seemed to be part of who she was, and the rest of her was so sweet he found it hard to begrudge her a talent that made her who she was. Hermione had her brains, Neville his knack for Herbology, and Ginny was fearless. Luna was often odd, eerily observant, but didn’t have a harmful bone in her body. Like Neville and Hermione, she seemed grateful just to have friends, which, when Shirou dwelled on it, infuriated him. But that would spoil things for his friends, so he let it pass. Hermione and Neville seemed to have adjusted, though they still had obvious moments of hero worship (Neville for him, and Hermione for Galen). It was his hope that eventually Ginny and Luna would feel fully comfortable, as well.

    In answer to her question, however, Shirou replied, “I’ll be seeing Ilya soon.”

    “I like Ilya,” Luna said with a smile. “She’s always been very nice to me.”

    Because she knows what Galen knows about you, and she knows herself what it’s like to be alone as a child, Shirou thought. Not that Luna wasn’t pleasant company in and of herself - but she couldn’t help but push some of Ilya’s buttons.

    “And she loves you, and you love her,” Luna continued, before her face and tone turned solemn. “But it’s not as much as you love someone else, is it?”

    Shirou was startled - because Luna’s insights usually were startling. Not for the first time, he wondered how she seemed to know the things she did. Was it a case of precognition, or was she simply highly observant, in the manner of Sherlock Holmes? Or some other explanation altogether? Annoyingly, Galen, who could normally be counted on to obsessively hunt the truth, simply shrugged where Luna was concerned, and said, “If she wasn’t mysterious, she wouldn’t be Luna.”

    Privately, it amazed Shirou that someone with such a romanticised view of things considered himself an automatic failure with women. He’d known women who’d line up for that kind of thing - and men who’d pay small fortunes for a little advice. In the here and now, however, he simply looked at Luna.

    “Maybe so, but that someone else isn’t here - and it doesn’t mean I’d love Ilya any less.”

    Luna shook her head, and agreed. “No, it doesn’t.” She smiled, and added, “I hope it works out.”

    Shirou smiled. “Thanks.”

    Conversation ceased for a while, as the rows of Hogwarts students awaited the arrival of the other schools’ delegations on the outer grounds. Some arguments as to their method of arrival ensued, but Shirou paid them little mind - Galen was watching the sky, which was all the proof he needed.

    Since he’d bonded with his eagle form, Shirou’s already keen eyesight had sharpened. He wasn’t at Archer-level in his human form - no counting rivets in a girder from miles away - but it was such that it would seem supernatural to those who didn’t possess it. Galen had a similar level of range with his hearing - the consequence of having an acute sense before supernatural levels of ability were added to it. And while Takara had the better night vision, that sharpness of eyesight meant that Shirou was the first to spot the Beauxbatons delegation, even before Dumbledore announced their presence.

    “It’s a dragon!” cried Eleanor Branstone, a student he’d ferried across the lake who ended up in Hufflepuff.

    “Don’t be stupid,” Dennis Creevey retorted. “It’s a flying house!”

    Close enough, Shirou admitted. The carriage was of a similar size, and with magic, could’ve been enhanced to be even larger on the inside. It was pulled by a number of horses which had to be absolutely enormous at close range - though he had no doubt that Hagrid and Galen would adore them. Galen might be more realistic than Hagrid in understanding the inherent threat of a dangerous magical creature, but he was still a born animal lover. Galen had actually made a point of helping Hagrid in his raising of the Blast-Ended Skrewts, and currently was looking at the Care of Magical Creatures professor with an “I averted disaster - or at least, changed history” grin.

    Shirou chuckled to see it change, once Galen did get a look at the elephant-sized palominos drawing the Beauxbatons carriage. He’d admitted that he’d always liked horses - even learned to ride them as part of his physiotherapy for his cerebral palsy, years ago - and these beasts, massive as they were, clearly brought back pleasant memories. Shirou’s attention, however, was rivetted on the woman who emerged from the carriages. She was Hagrid-sized, and would be called “handsome” rather than “beautiful,” but she was far from unattractive, and had the manners of a true lady, in the European style. He applauded at McGonagall’s cue, as most of the student body did - as much as he was looking forward to Durmstrang’s arrival, Beauxbatons deserved their accolades, as well.

    “Madame Maxime,” McGonagall said formally, though not without pleasure. “Welcome to Hogwarts.”

    “My dear Madame Maxime,” Dumbledore added, obviously acting in his capacity for the ICW at this point.

    “Dumbly-dorr,” said the gigantic woman, in a deep, whiskey-soaked voice that put Shirou in mind of Urara Takano. “Madame McGonagall. I ‘ope I find you both well?”

    “Indeed, Madame Maxime,” McGonagall affirmed.

    “On excellent form, I thank you,” Dumbledore concurred.

    “My pupils,” the woman said, indicating the dozen or so students with a nonchalant wave of her hand.

    Shirou would’ve scanned them first, but he caught Galen stiffening out of the corner of his eye, and turned his attention to his partner in crime, instead. Eagle-augmented hearing turned his subtle hissing into actual words, but Shirou lagged a few seconds behind as he parsed them out.

    “Takara, your night sight is better than mine - the rear row, first from the left. Tell me that isn’t who I think it is.”

    Curious, Shirou turned his eyes to the position Galen indicated, and knew Takara would be doing the same . . .

    He froze, taking in the details of the person standing there. His mind went blank, utterly refusing to respond, even as it heard, as though from a great distance, Takara’s gasping response.

    “That’s . . . ! But it can’t be . . . But, that’s - !”

    Shirou answered for her, his voice a hoarse, barely-audible croak, forced through a throat that suddenly felt as though it was stuffed with cotton.

    . . . Rin.
    Last edited by Kieran; March 29th, 2011 at 11:14 PM.

  11. #11
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    According to most, my own little world
    Blog Entries
    DISCLAIMER: Lunar Legend Tsukihime, Fate/Stay Night, and all related characters and concepts are the creation and property of Kinoko Nasu and Type-Moon, along with anyone who's happened to license them, like Geneon or Funimation. Harry Potter and all related characters and concepts are the creation and property of J.K. Rowling, along with her publishers and Warner Bros., as regards the movie material.

    This is a not-for-profit, just-for-fun project.

    Writer's Note: Certain dialogue sequences in this story are lifted from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but I trust in the intelligence of my readers (and the availability of the books) to recognise them when they see them.

    Chapter 9 - Rin

    October 28 - 29, 1994


    Of all possible developments - and with both his imagination and paranoia to work with, that was quite a list - her appearance had never been considered. Ilya had never mentioned her, either as someone she’d brought across, or a native counterpart. But of all the others in the world they’d left behind, her appearance made the most sense. She was, after all, a Jewel Mage - apprentice to the master of Kaleidoscope, and thus well-versed in cross-dimensional magic. If any of them would have the power to walk between worlds without the use of the Grail, and a reason to do so, it would be Rin Tohsaka.

    Still, there were enough anomalies in her appearance to make Galen’s paranoia sound loud, ringing alarms. When arriving in this world, Ilya had integrated them, so they appeared fourteen or fifteen at this point in time, save for Ilya herself. What’s more, the Rin he’d known was a grown woman in her early thirties - his and Shirou’s own age, in other words. Why, then, was this Rin identical to her in-game counterpart, and therefore appeared to be a young woman of seventeen? Was she Rin’s native analogue, then? But if so, why Beauxbatons? Durmstrang would make more sense, with its Germanic connections - and the roots of Rin’s own magic being based in that culture. Or Hogwarts, given her association with the Clock Tower.But if Rin had attended Durmstrang, Ilya couldn’t have failed to mention it . . .

    So, back to the idea of her being another dimensional traveller, then? . . . Damn it, it’s not adding up. I’m missing something - or several things - and I don’t know enough yet to even guess what that might be. Galen smirked. Although there’s another argument for her being native, I suppose. The Rin I knew wouldn’t be dumb enough to wear just a summer-weight silk robe to travel into an English autumn in the dead of night. She’d have at least brought a heavy travel cloak.

    He only half-heard the exchanges between the Heads of the two schools, and Dumbledore - his attention was focussed on Rin. She was shivering, as were the rest of the Beauxbatons students, and standing very near to another girl, one of the ones with a shawl wrapped around her head, and a scarf over her face . . .

    That’s probably Fleur, Galen realised. I’d almost forgotten that she arrived all covered up - I watched the movie too many times. Just like I’d almost forgotten that Beauxbatons had male students, as well. Still . . . Fleur seems very solicitous of Rin. I wonder why?

    Madame Maxime led her coterie up the steps and into the castle, and the Hogwarts crowd parted to let them pass. Shirou made as if to follow them, but Galen stopped him with a hand on the shoulder, and weathered the furious glare the redhead gave him.

    “Wait until Ilya gets here,” Galen said softly. “She’s most likely to have answers - and she’ll be upset if she doesn’t see you.”

    After a moment, Shirou nodded grudgingly, acknowledging the point. Galen released the other boy, and turned towards the lake, waiting for the Durmstrang ship. He caught sight of Takara rubbing the back of her left hand as he did so.

    Her mark’s hurting again . . . Is it because of Rin? Galen wondered suddenly. Ilya said Takara’s scars aren’t Command Mantras, but still symbolise a connection between her and us - though even she couldn’t fully predict what effects they might have. If Rin is also connected to Shirou, then . . . Some kind of feedback, maybe? A reaction to being unnaturally bound to Rin, through Shirou, however tenuously?

    Galen shook his head. The closest approximation he could come up with for the behaviour of Takara’s scar was Harry’s, and he was reasonably sure that Takara wasn’t literally walking around with a pair of Horcruxes on her hands. He just didn’t know enough about the mechanics of mental or soul-based magic to even guess - but he had a hard time believing that Takara’s sudden problems with Shirou’s mark and Rin’s equally sudden appearance were wholly coincidental.

    He abruptly became aware that Hermione was staring at him. “Sorry?”

    “What’s going on?” she murmured quietly. “Who’s ‘Rin?’”

    “Old friend, maybe. It’s a long story, and this isn’t the time or place.”

    Hermione nodded grudgingly. She clearly disliked not knowing, but wasn’t about to press for answers in so public a setting.

    The lake began bubbling, drawing everyone’s attention, and as the ghostly galley emerged from its depths, Galen wondered anew at how Durmstrang managed to travel underwater, in a sailing ship, to wind up in a lake that had no visible sources. It had always bothered him - if there was a suitable river leading to the lake, he could sort of understand it, but any waterways feeding into it had to be below ground level. So how, exactly, did the bloody boat work?

    The students that emerged were more like the movie version than the books - including the Headmaster, Karkaroff. According to the Goblet of Fire novel, he had short, white hair and a curly goatee, along with a “fruity, unctuous voice.” The man’s manner of speech was also more British than anything else. This man was dark of hair and manner, slightly greasy-looking, and had a Russian-like accent thick enough to walk on. He basically resembled a cross between Count Dracula and Severus Snape.

    Death Eater, Galen reminded himself. I wonder if Voldemort has tried to reach you? You’d be even more ideally placed than Mad-Eye Moody, and presumably easier to get to, if Albania is closer to Durmstrang than Britain - since that’s where Pettigrew found Voldemort to begin with. Hm - we never did get an explanation as to why Voldie kept returning to Albania, either. I wonder if it’s important . . .

    Then Ilya stepped into view, leading her fellow students just behind Viktor Krum, and everything else flew out of Galen’s mind.

    “Ilya . . . Her hair . . .” he said in horror.

    Ilya’s long, trailing veil of beautiful silvery-blonde locks had vanished, replaced by a style similar to what he usually wore - a close-cropped, almost military cut that barely extended past her skull. Others might call it a pixie cut, but he immediately termed it an abomination.

    “Durmstrang is pretty strict, and pragmatic,” Shirou informed him. “Ilya hates it, too, but it’s not like she’s given a choice.”

    “But I loved her hair,” Galen wailed mournfully, sounding as though he was about to burst into tears.

    He was vaguely aware of getting strange looks from everyone within earshot - even his friends seemed more than a little perturbed. He supposed it would look odd, since they’d never really seen him get emotional like this before - more often, he went to the opposite extreme. But this was terrible! Ilya’s literal crowning glory had been destroyed! Her hair could’ve been short without going that far!

    “There, there,” Takara soothed. “Ilya has to wear it like that while she’s in school, but she says it’s one saving grace of her Veela blood - when she gets out for the summer, she can grow it back out on the ride home. She can grow it back for Christmas, and once this year’s over, she’ll never have to cut it again.”

    The feline smirk on her face told him she was half-teasing, but it did make him feel better. He sighed, and replied, “I suppose. Come on, we’d better get moving to the Great Hall, or we’ll be left behind.”

    As they passed a number of students suddenly fumbling for quills and parchment, or something else Viktor Krum could use for autographs, he heard Hermione whisper, “He got that upset over a haircut?

    Takara replied, “All these years together, and you haven’t noticed that he likes long hair on a girl? And that however flexible he is in combat, he doesn’t adapt to change well in everyday life?”

    “. . . True, but really . . .

    “Just break it to him gently if you ever decide to change hairstyles,” Takara advised, with a grin he could hear as she added, “If you or I suddenly had a cut like that, he’d likely die of shock.”

    “. . . Is that why you wear your hair like that?” Hermione asked after a moment. “For him?”

    “My hair was like this when I met him, and I’ve never felt the need to change it,” Takara replied.

    The sight of Ilya sitting in their “guest spot,” alone out of all the Durmstrang students, drove the thought that Takara hadn’t actually answered the question out of Galen’s mind. Instead, he was fully absorbed in Shirou’s immediate demand to his sister, “What is Rin doing here?”

    Ilya’s response was equally immediate - she turned dead white.


    As she stared at their newest guest during the feast, Ginny would be the first person to admit that she’d never liked Ilyasviel von Einzbern much. Some of that was down to her mother’s opinions on Veela, which she’d picked up as a child, much as she had her mum’s opinions on werewolves. Gradually, however, Ginny was coming to realise that those opinions were so much codswallop. Galen was bloody scary because he was just bloody scary, and the fact that he grew fur and fangs once a month had nothing to do with it. Ginny’s other reason for disliking Shirou’s big sister was that she was that she flirted with all the boys (even and especially her “little brother”), flashing that “allure” that turned them into gibbering morons. All right, not Galen or Shirou so much, and Neville usually shook it off after a while, but just about everyone else.

    She made Ginny, who had always been the little princess of her family, feel like a house-elf by comparison. Even Takara, who was everything Ginny wanted to be as a woman, suffered in comparison. Ilyasviel was just so bloody perfect - the face of an angel, a body that could stop a rampaging dragon in its tracks, and a naturally elegant poise that befitted a daughter of nobility. She was almost impossible to ruffle . . . Which made her current panic attack all the more startling.

    Where?” the half-Veela witch hissed.

    “Ravenclaw table, with the Beauxbatons group,” Galen said. His voice was edged, like he expected an explosion of curses to start flying any second, and from the way his eyes kept moving around, he wasn’t sure which angle to guard from. It made Ginny nervous - who was this “Rin,” and how bad was she, to shake everybody up like this?

    “Blimey,” said Fred in wonder next to her other elbow. “How did we ever miss a chance to ask her out?”

    “Yeah,” George breathed.

    Ginny glanced at her brothers, and noted their eyes were glassy - Ilyasviel was putting out Veela allure in her agitated state, and she suddenly realised that neither of the twins had ever really met her before, which meant they hadn’t had a chance to develop a tolerance for it. Smirking at the opportunity to prank the prank masters, after a fashion, Ginny said succinctly, “Because Galen is her protector, Shirou is her brother, and her father is the man who took over teaching Defence when Professor Lupin left.”

    She flashed her brothers a wicked smile as they reacted. With the first name, the twins went pale - and with the second, green. The mention of her father, however, had Fred and George instinctively hunching over in a defensive posture.

    “Right then,” Fred muttered. “Good reasons, all.”

    “Yeah,” George repeated, with a different but no less fervent emphasis.

    Then Ilyasviel removed the sable cape she wore, revealing blood-red robes, and George cursed.

    “They’ve gone and done it now!” he said to Fred. “There’s another one - and she’s even wearing the proper colour for it!”

    “Bloody hell,” Fred sighed. “Well, we’d better get to work - ‘Scarlet Seven plus one’ just doesn’t sound right.”

    They both grinned as they griped, however, and Ginny sighed - which caused the grins to widen, of course.

    Putting her older brothers out of her mind for the moment, Ginny returned her attention to the urgent discussion among the older students. Professor Dumbledore was speaking about the Tournament, as the head of its organisers, but Ginny knew she could always use an Occlumency exercise to recall the speech later - it was a handy study trick, too.

    “. . . With Fleur Delacour?” Ilyasviel was asking. “You’re right, she’s almost hovering over Rin - which doesn’t make sense for her personality at this age. Fleur was a thorough snob when it came to all things British - the food, the decor, the educational system . . . Some of that may be a defence mechanism, or because she’s nervous about being in a strange place . . .” She muttered something at a lower volume Ginny couldn’t quite catch, but she still heard parts. “Lazy . . . playing to negative stereotypes.” It didn’t make any sense to the redhead.

    Ilya shook her head, a gesture that looked odd to Ginny without enough hair to cascade with the motion. “Either way, it was still an attitude very much in force when she was engaged. Her prospective in-laws didn’t exactly welcome her with open arms - the females, anyway - but a few of her comments were awfully personal. It wouldn’t have made it easy to get along with her, and it’s still an improvement over what she’d be now.”

    “And is it something Rin’s done?” Galen asked thoughtfully. “Or is this part of the universe’s attempt to screw us over this year, since we seem to have the Tournament situation well in hand?” He nodded to the front. “Speaking of . . .”

    Dumbledore tapped the bejewelled box in front of the Head table, and removed a large wooden goblet, filled with brilliant white fire that darkened to azure at the tips. He placed it on top of the box, and turned to one again address the students.

    “Anybody wishing to submit themselves as a champion must clearly write their name and school upon a slip of parchment, and drop it into the Goblet. Aspiring champions have seventy-two hours in which to decide whether or not to put their name forward. On Hallowe’en, the Goblet will return the names of the three it has judged most worthy to represent their schools.”

    “Hm,” Galen muttered. “If the name and school are both on the parchment, why didn’t they twig to how Harry was entered right away? The mythical fourth school should’ve been on the parchment with his name on it . . .” He shook his head.

    Ginny puzzled over why Galen was so openly speaking about this, in English no less, when she realised she could hear a low-level buzz - one of them must’ve cast Muffliato while she was distracted with the twins, and she was just on the edges of it.

    “Any word from your dad about my favourite mutt?” Galen asked.

    Another headshake. “We know he made contact, but he’s on a tight leash - pun intended.”

    “Makes sense,” Galen muttered. “If Voldie’s in his expected form by now, he’ll have the mutt, the snake, and maybe old Lucy and baby Crouch to look after him - and he needs a lot of looking after. Hard to sneak away and send messages in such a small and paranoid group . . . Unless he’s been found out and killed, of course.”

    Ilya sighed, but it had a theatrical quality to it, as she asked, in a put-upon tone, “Must you always be so negative?”

    Galen retorted with a smirk, “If I’m ever not, check my breath for Polyjuice Potion.”

    Takara scowled. “This year, that joke is especially not funny.”

    “So I’ll wait ‘til next year before I put it on a t-shirt,” Galen said with a shrug. Then his expression flattened. “So, what do we do about yonder magus?”

    It was a curious sight for Ginny, because it was the first time she could ever remember seeing Galen defer to anyone else for a decision. He didn’t force people to make the decisions he wanted, but he tended to make up his own mind and just go with it, rather than waiting for someone else to tell him what to do. For whatever reason, though, he seemed to really want Shirou or Ilyasviel to decide this time. Making the sight even more curious was the fact that two wildly different expressions were visible on the Einzberns’ faces. Shirou was hesitant, something she’d never seen before, as though he couldn’t quite make up his mind. Ilyasviel, on the other hand, looked as though she very much wanted to answer, “Drop her in a volcano,” but didn’t quite dare.

    Before a consensus could be reached, however, they began exiting the Great Hall heading for Gryffindor Tower and bed - or in Ilyasviel’s case, wherever the Durmstrang students were bunked. The mysterious Beauxbatons girl would be off wherever her group was sleeping, as well. Whatever questions needed answering, whatever decisions needed to be made, they would have to wait until the morning.

    Rin. Damn.

    Shirou hadn’t slept much the previous night - as in, “not at all.” That mantra had been running through his head, keeping him awake as he considered all the implications.

    It’s not fair, he thought as he jogged mindlessly along their usual route, hoping to achieve with adrenaline what sleep had failed to do, and sweep away his fatigue. I spent three years coming to terms with the idea that no matter how perfect this new life was, Rin wasn’t, and would never, be a part of it. And suddenly, without any explanation or warning, there she is. And I can’t even be sure that she is Rin. If she’s a dimensional analogue . . .

    We’re not so different from our original selves, but that’s because Ilya took care to make us this way, so we’d be comfortable. I’m not sure that even after fifteen years of study, Rin’s
    that capable as a Jewel Mage. So if we’re dealing with a fully native copy, she could be a complete stranger who just happens to look like Rin, and answer to her name. Heck, she might be a complete stranger, anyway - we never did get her name last night. This could all be a remarkable coincidence . . .

    . . . Yeah,
    right. Sure it is.

    It’s not fair. I promised Ilya a chance, damn it. She certainly deserves one. Now she’s going to freak out over Rin’s presence, see her as a threat to any relationship we try to build - and if it
    is Rin, I honestly can’t say she’d be wrong. Saber inspired me, Sakura supported me, and Ilya desired me, but Rin challenged me. Not just to keep up with her, but to change her, for the better. Left to herself, Rin could have followed Caster’s path, and become as cold and cruel as the Witch of Betrayal - but I knew that she had the potential to be more, and I fought to make her see it, and embrace it.

    He chuckled mentally. Even as Archer, when I argued for the quickest and often bloodiest path - I wonder now if I wasn’t subconsciously playing devil’s advocate, to make Rin the magus into the woman I knew she could be.

    Shirou paused, seeing the Beauxbatons carriages parked outside the grounds near Hagrid’s hut. If their sleeping arrangements held true, as Ilya’s did, Rin’s doppelganger would be inside, no doubt catching up on the hours she’d missed travelling from wherever in France Beauxbatons was located to the current time zone here.

    I should go. I should leave it alone - leave her alone. Whether or not she’s Rin, much less my Rin, I’ve built my life around her absence, and I enjoy it. Dwelling on her existence is only going to cause problems, for me and everyone around me - especially Ilya.

    And that’s not really fair to her, is it?
    Shirou’s conscience nagged. After all, at the very least, I’m no less obligated to Ilya than Takara is to Galen. She’s died, lived, and rewritten history for me. And unlike those two, I have the advantage of loving her already, and knowing that I do. Maybe not romantically, not yet, but I’d be a poor excuse for a man indeed to offer her the hope I have, and then turn around and immediately pursue Rin without even letting her try to grasp it.

    Shirou shook his head ruefully. One thing’s for sure - whether she’s a native copy, a dimensional traveller, or a bloody optical illusion, she can certainly tie me up in knots - just as much as the real Rin Tohsaka ever did.

    . . . Rin. Damn.

    Shirou’s thought processes had only marginally improved as the day went on. Thank heavens, it was a Saturday, which meant that he didn’t have to sleepwalk through any classes - and thanks to Hermione’s deep-rooted obsession with homework scheduling, his was mostly up to date. What was left, they all did together, so that they could proofread his work and catch any errors his inattention was causing.

    Ilya’s presence was not a help, either. Apparently, the Durmstrang students were still in the midst of settling, as well, leaving her at loose ends for most of the day - she had no classes to attend, either. As such, she’d taken to hovering around him (the group, technically, but it was stupid to pretend that it wasn’t him she was fixated on), as though worried about what he might do out of her sight.

    We’ve been aware of Rin’s presence for less than a day, and she’s already nearly panicking. She wasn’t this bad even when we were kids . . But back then, she was effectively terminally ill, and trapped in the body of a child, besides. Now she’s an adult - legally and physically - and finally has me willing to try and move into a deeper relationship, after almost twenty years of dreaming. And right when it happens, her biggest rival and worst nightmare appears. It’d be like having Rin dump me to take up with Lancer - I’d go spare.

    . . . And damn it, she’s on my mind again. Hell, she’s never left! And if everything does go bad for this tournament, odds are it’ll be me competing. I’ve got to get my head in the game, and that means getting Rin
    out of it!

    Shirou stood abruptly, startling Ginny and Hermione, who sat next to him.

    “I’ve got to sort this out,” he muttered in Japanese. “I’m heading for Rin, to see if she is Rin.”

    Ilya’s face would’ve done credit to any Japanese noble who wore it - it was utterly impassive, even to him. Her voice, however, was a little too soft - too fragile - to say the same.

    “She’ll haunt you either way - but at least you’ll know the truth. Go on, Onii-chan.

    Shirou got up and did not run through the library doors - but he did move quickly enough that it took him a while to realise that he’d seen Ilya nod when he left, out of the corner of his eye. And by then, he was too close to the carriage to wonder why. Instead, he moved out of the castle and onto the grounds, breaking into a full sprint once free of the confining stone corridors. He only slowed on approaching Hagrid’s hut, eyes scanning the terrain cautiously.

    If she’s an analogue, there’s no guarantee she even speaks Japanese, despite her looks - thank God “Auntie” Ciel drilled us in French over the summer, and thank God Galen insisted on it. It does pay to have someone who knows when you’ll need a particular skill.

    Evidently, the Beauxbatons crew were late risers - despite the fact that Shirou had exercised, eaten breakfast, and managed to study for the better part of two hours, they were only emerging now, in crisp uniforms that had obviously not been worn for any length of time. By the light of day, there weren’t any more than there had seemed to be before - about a dozen students. Fleur Delacour had obviously dispensed with hiding her Veela looks, as she’d foregone her scarf and shawl. The morning sun, though not bright (it was October in England), gave her hair a particular shine to it - but Shirou had lived with people who had more Veela blood than her for years, and so it was simply an appreciative observation, rather than a dazed paean of praise. Besides, once Rin stepped into place beside her, Shirou could care less about Fleur.

    She looked good, and exactly as Shirou remembered her from the Fifth War - seventeen if a day. There were no physical changes, unlike Ilya’s eyes - her hair was still a glossy raven black, her eyes turquoise pools. She was definitely Japanese, however, her eyes aside - though he noted an odd look of trepidation in them, as though she wasn’t quite certain what to make of what she saw around her. Shirou added a point to the “dimensional traveller” argument for that, and another to the “native” when he saw her smile as Fleur murmured something too soft to be heard - it was too natural to be Rin putting on an act, and a Rin from another world shouldn’t know the Veela-blooded witch - or the French that Fleur was liable to be using.

    As Madame Maxime began marching them up to the castle, Shirou mentally decided to throw caution to the winds and stepped into place beside them, just close enough to be seen and heard, but out of the range of the Headmistress’ peripheral vision, which meant sticking to the corner of Rin’s eye, as well. He decided to try French, first, because it would seem natural to Fleur to do so - and Rin’s response would tell him a lot.

    “Excuse me, miss? You look terribly familiar . . .” It was corny, but what else could he say?

    Rin tilted her head subtly, and her eyes widened.

    Shirou?” she gasped, in disbelieving Japanese. “I don’t understand - what are you . . .?”

    She trailed off, taking in his face and going deathly pale, before flushing a red that would do any Weasley proud as she locked eyes with him and fired a snap-kick directly into his groin.

    Last edited by Kieran; April 15th, 2011 at 09:25 PM.

  12. #12
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    According to most, my own little world
    Blog Entries
    DISCLAIMER: Lunar Legend Tsukihime, Fate/Stay Night, and all related characters and concepts are the creation and property of Kinoko Nasu and Type-Moon, along with anyone who's happened to license them, like Geneon or Funimation. Harry Potter and all related characters and concepts are the creation and property of J.K. Rowling, along with her publishers and Warner Bros., as regards the movie material.

    This is a not-for-profit, just-for-fun project.

    Writer's Note: Certain dialogue sequences in this story are lifted from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but I trust in the intelligence of my readers (and the availability of the books) to recognise them when they see them.

    Chapter 10 - The Triwizard Champions

    October 29 - 31, 1994

    As they were left alone in the library, Neville glanced at his friends. Hermione immediately gestured with her wand and cast “Muffliato.” She stared at Takara and Ilyasviel, taking a deep breath, and demanding, “All right - who is Rin?

    It was Ilyasviel who answered. “In our original timeline, Rin Tohsaka was Shirou’s classmate, ally, and friend. She was also his first master in the ritual in which we participated, before I claimed him.” Her voice grew quiet near the end. “And she was his lover.”

    Most of the others reddened to one degree or another - only Luna appeared to accept that with no reaction. Ginny on the other hand, looked dismayed, and Takara tense. Neville was simply embarrassed at the thought - but if this girl’s presence would make him happy, then who was he to complain? Besides, he hadn’t even met her yet, though she was surely someone special, to catch Shirou’s attention.

    “But you’re not sure it’s her?” Ginny said hopefully.

    “No,” Ilya admitted. “If she’d used exactly the same methods we did, she’d be Shirou’s age, not mine. That means that this Rin might be one that was born here, not one whose life was waiting when she got here, like us.” Her lips thinned. “On the other hand, our method of arrival is based on her family’s style of magic - so if anyone could have followed us, it’s Rin Tohsaka.”

    “You don’t sound happy about the possibility,” Hermione noted.

    “I’m not. I’ve no idea what a native version of Rin might be like, but our Rin is a genuine prodigy at magic, and more powerful than most adult magi. She’s not unlike you, Hermione” - this caused the witch in question to blush - “but she can also be cold, ruthless, and has one nasty temper. And given that she’s arrived four years behind us, she’s not very likely to be in a good mood.”

    Ilyasviel looked grim, and Takara glanced at her.

    “So that’s why you sent Galen after Shirou?” the Japanese witch asked.

    Ilyasviel nodded. “Shirou tends to lose perspective when Rin’s involved. If this is a Rin from this world, Galen should keep him from doing anything stupid. If it’s the Rin we know, and she’s in a snit, he’ll make sure Shirou isn’t seriously hurt.” She smiled, but there was nothing nice about the expression. “In fact, given how often Rin’s nearly killed him, he’ll enjoy it.”

    Neville winced, first at the thought of Galen’s reaction to someone trying to kill him, and then at the thought of someone powerful enough to pull it off. Having sparred and duelled with them for years, he knew that all three of his friends would be hard to kill - Takara because she was almost impossible to hit, and Shirou because he tended to just power through opposition before they had the chance, but Galen . . . Galen took it all, and just kept coming. The amount of damage it took to take him out bordered on the unreal. If this “Rin” had actually managed to push him to edge of death . . . Neville tentatively stuck her just below Bellatrix Lestrange on his mental “Scariest Witches I Know” list, about equal with his Gran, though if she was as bad as Ilyasviel described, she just might edge Gran out of position - and that was a scary thought in and of itself!

    He cleared his throat. “So . . . Shall we go back to homework, or discuss the plans for the Tournament while we’re still warded for privacy?”

    Ilyasviel shrugged. “Karkaroff had us all enter first thing this morning.” She shivered at the recollection.

    “Was it that scary?” Ginny asked.

    “Let’s just say I don’t have the best track record where magical cups are concerned,” Ilyasviel said drily. She traded a look with Takara that Neville couldn’t read - some private joke, he assumed, which was confirmed when Takara said, “Me, either.”

    Neville pressed on. “Any idea what Galen’s going to do?” He looked at the three witches first, knowing he was most likely to confide in them, if he told anyone at all what he was planning. To his disappointment, they all had puzzled expressions.

    “Your guess is as good as ours, Nev,” Takara said. “Why the concern?”

    Neville grinned ruefully. “Because he looked so pleased with himself when he mentioned it. I want to make sure I’ve either got a good seat, a solid alibi - or a whole lot of sturdy walls between myself and Galen when he makes the attempt to enter.”

    That generated a few knowing chuckles, especially from those who remembered his glee at making the Weasley twins walk the plank at Hermione’s birthday party. Fred and George were master pranksters, sixth-year students, and built like professional Beaters - and they hadn’t stood a chance.

    “Good point,” Takara admitted. She shook her head. “No, he hasn’t mentioned anything - but there are still almost three full days before he needs to worry, right? And this is just a safety measure, anyway - we’ve no reason to think the Tournament will be especially dangerous - “

    ”Aside from the actual tasks themselves,” Ilyasviel pointed out.

    “Aside from that,” Takara agreed. “But Galen’s checked the Map periodically since the first of the year, and he can’t find any Polyjuiced Death Eaters lurking on the grounds, so we’ve no real reason to suspect that anything which isn’t supposed to happen will. This should just be the Triwizard Tournament, with no evil plots or anything, as far as we can tell right now.”

    “Then why do this?” Ginny asked, puzzled.

    “In case we’re wrong,” Hermione answered. “We thought we had everything figured out in your first year, too, Ginny - and we got outmanoeuvred almost every time. People nearly died because we didn’t think far enough ahead, or of what to do if things didn’t turn out the way we thought they would.” Her eyes were grim. “This time, we’re not taking chances, and doing everything we can to improve the odds of things going the way we want them to.”

    The redhead nodded, slightly pale, but her eyes were bright.

    “It’s a good idea,” Ilyasviel agreed. “It’s one thing I’ve noticed about the pattern that recurs in this time period: every year, things are bad - but every other year, they’re so much worse.” She paused, then added. “Of course, if things go well this year, that could break it altogether.”

    Neville wasn’t sure what to say to that. He didn’t know as much as Hermione, Takara or Ilyasviel about what might happen in the future - he didn’t really want to, having enough pressure from expectations in his life already. As a result, he knew only what he was told, and only when it was relevant. He wouldn’t learn about the next school years until something came up that required him to. So instead of commenting on the topic at hand, he changed the subject again.

    “So . . . How long, exactly, do you think Shirou and Galen will be? And will they have Rin with them when they come back?”

    Galen had actually managed to beat Shirou to the Beauxbatons carriage and settle in undetected to watch, a feat he attributed to two advantages: the fact that he knew exactly where to go, and the fact that he had both the Deathcloak and the Marauders’ Map on his person at the time. Without those things to locate a secret passage and allow him clandestine use of it, he’d never have made it ahead of his friend, much less remained undetected by him.

    Wrapped securely in his Deathly Hallow, Galen shook his head. Even after I resign as her knight, Ilya can still manage to order me around - but who else could she send? Takara doesn’t know enough of the backstory to adequately judge, and given that she’s interested in Shirou, too, she might be tempted to hex Rin and ask questions never . . .

    His hearing was sharp enough to pick up the murmuring between students, but his conversational French wasn’t quite good enough to follow along - between the rapidity of the dialogue, and the differing regional accents, he might pick up one word in three. Still, he got enough from Fleur and Rin to know that the former was treating her like an invalid, and Rin wasn’t all that happy about it.

    Why? Why the treatment at all, and from Fleur, no less? She’s still a bloody snob at this stage - the only people she cares about are . . .

    Galen’s train of thought broke off as Shirou approached, and he concentrated all his attention on the meeting - which proved decidedly painful to both his ears and his masculine sensibilities. He was still wincing when Madame Maxime boomed angrily, “MADEMOISELLE DELACOUR!” And given her lung power, that was quite literal - her voice sounded like a thunderclap.

    . . . Family, the thought finished, making connections as he reeled from the noise. Shirou has a life as an adoptee here - why not the just-as-orphaned Rin? Fleur’s protecting her like a sister, or trying to. The real question is why she thinks she has to . . . Well, that, and “Can I get to Shirou before Madame Maxime, Fleur or Rin finishes him off?”

    Ducking behind a tree, Galen whipped off the Deathcloak and stuffed it quickly into its hidden pouch in his robes - a movement it taken him all summer to manage at high speed. Then he took a deep breath, and strode into the Beauxbatons group as though he had every right to do so.

    “Is there a problem, Madame Maxime?” he asked imperiously in French, hoping he was understandable. Unlike the others, who’d learned the European dialect, his French instruction had left him with a distinctly Quebeçois accent.

    “Zis . . . zis . . cochon is bothairing one of my students!” the oversized Headmistress sputtered.

    Galen frowned, trying to channel Percy Weasley as best he could. “I’ll escort him to Headmistress McGonagall immediately, Madame. My apologies for the disruption - he will be dealt with.” He looked at Shirou through narrowed eyes and said coolly, “And I imagine your mother will be none too pleased either, Einzbern.”

    Einzbern?” repeated Rin, Madame Maxime, and Fleur in unison.

    “Quite,” Galen agreed. “And the Baroness, I suspect, will be taking issue over her’s son’s disrespect towards women.”

    Rin’s eyes were wide, and a touch frantic as she said hastily, “That’s all right - I may have overreacted.”

    Everyone turned to look at her, but to her credit, the Japanese witch didn’t quail. Instead, she continued, “I’m just used to people trying to - the phrase is “chat me up,” isn’t it? - because of my family. I heard him say what sounded to me like a standard pickup line, and reacted.”

    Madame Maxime was glaring disapprovingly at the dark-haired girl, while Fleur was looking torn as she glanced between Rin and Shirou. Galen wondered why, before a likely explanation asserted itself.

    One, she’s a bit snobbish, so old family names and titles might mean something to her. More to the point though, even if Irisviel von Einzbern isn’t a relative (which we won’t rule out - you never asked her), she’s a powerful and influential Veela - what better role model could Fleur want? He grinned inwardly. This could be fun.

    Madame Maxime finally inclined her head. “Very well - we shall let zis incident go no furzair. Come mademoiselles - we ‘ave lost too much time already.”

    Once the delegation was out of sight, he helped Shirou off the ground.

    “What the hell are you doing here?” the redhead demanded.

    “Ilya thought you might need backup.”

    Shirou stared at him, several caustic comments obviously on the tip of his tongue, before shaking his head. “There’s so many things I could say to that, but I can’t make up my mind which one to use.” He glanced at the other wizard. “So what was with the hoity-toity act?”

    Galen shrugged. “It got them talking, and you aren’t in trouble. And besides, now Rin will corner me if she wants answers.”

    “Much as the thought of her kicking you in the balls cheers me up,” Shirou growled, “I’m the one who wants answers - and from your tone, you’ve got them.”

    “Well, from what I eavesdropped on, and what happened, I can guess,” Galen drawled. “She knew you, but was surprised to see you - which means she didn’t come here looking for you. That almost certainly puts paid to the idea of her being a native Rin, or the Rin we know. She flipped out once she actually saw you, however, which means . . .?”

    Shirou’s brow furrowed. “She wasn’t expecting me to be so young?”

    Galen sighed. “Maybe - but I’m talking about the one obvious feature you have that doesn’t belong to Emiya Shirou.” At the continued blank look, he added, “And that recognisably belongs to Archer.

    Shirou blanched, and he muttered, “I didn’t even think . . . I’m so used to these eyes, it never occurred to me . . .”

    “Or her, either,” Galen returned. “I’m guessing we’re looking at a Rin Tohsaka who’s exactly as old as she appears. A post-Grail War Rin who’s learned enough Jewel Magic to come looking for her lost Servant - and it’s clear she’s not too happy with who she’s found. Do you suppose she figures that an Emiya Shirou that knew all her preferences probably wasn’t all that ‘amnesiac,’ after all?”

    He smirked at Shirou’s grimacing expression, and considered exactly which version of Rin Tohsaka they were likely dealing with - the variations were subtle, but crucial.

    Probably the Fate route - or maybe even the anime. Hard to know without questioning her, but it makes sense. Especially since she never actually gave up her Command Mantras, just lost them. A door, once opened, can be opened again - it’s probably part of how she found him. And this could be interesting - I’ve never dealt with a canon Rin before.

    He tilted his head and said aloud, “I’m still not sure how the Delacours fit in, though - or why Fleur is so anxious over her. I suppose I’ll have to wait until she calms down to find out.”

    Shirou snorted in derision. “Check back when your first kid graduates from Hogwarts - if there’s one thing Rin knows, it’s how to hold grudges.”

    Hermione got tenser as Hallowe’en drew nearer - it hadn’t been a good holiday since she was twelve - especially since Galen seemed inclined to do nothing. She and the others had asked repeatedly when he planned to try and meddle with the Goblet, and received only a smirk in return. She knew Beauxbatons and Durmstrang had entered - as had Cedric Diggory, the boy they were trying to protect, if necessary - but Galen still hadn’t done anything, as far as she knew. Nobody’s mood helped, either. Shirou had been sour since his encounter with his friend, Ilyasviel had been gloomy, and even Takara was out of sorts. Combined with Galen’s seeming schadenfreude over the whole affair, it made her more than a little uncomfortable.

    Thus, she was almost pleased to see Fred and George, with Lee Jordan, attempt to circumvent the Age Line at lunch on the thirty-first - it promised to be entertaining, at least.

    “Done it,” Fred announced. “Just taken it.”

    “Ageing Potion, I assume?” Hermione asked with a raised eyebrow.

    “One drop each,” George confirmed. “We only need to be a few months older.”

    Lee added. “We’re going to split the thousand Galleons between the three of us if one of us wins.”

    “It’s not going to work,” Hermione told them in a singsong voice, since she figured she might as well enjoy the game. “I’m sure Dumbledore will have thought of this.”

    The three boys scoffed, and she shrugged mentally. She hadn’t really expected them to listen.

    “This will be fun,” Galen said. “Go on, boys - then I’ll show you how it’s really done.”

    Hermione joined the trio in staring at him, both her eyebrows raised now. When the twins moved on to approach the Goblet, she hissed, “What are you doing?

    “All part of the plan,” he murmured back. “I want as much attention as I can possibly get.”

    The twins breached the Age Line easily enough, before suddenly being blasted back by a wave of golden force. When it cleared upon their land, both boys were visibly sporting long white beards. They began arguing over whose fault it was, slapping at each other.

    Galen put his wand to his throat and whispered, “Sonorus.” His normally soft voice thus amplified, he announced, “Thank you, Fred and George, for the lovely entertainment. I am now pleased to demonstrate to all of you the truth of the old saying, ‘Age is simply a state of mind.’ Quietus.

    He strode forth unhurriedly, a ball of crumpled parchment in his hand. After the announcement, there was no doubt that every eye in the Great Hall was upon him, if only to laugh at the sight of a fourth-year trying where so many older students had failed. After Fred and George’s recent antics, though, no one was initially surprised when the Age Line allowed him through. It was when the Goblet’s blue-white flames flashed red in acceptance of his entry that the Great Hall thundered with disbelief. For his part, Galen simply walked out of the Great Hall as though nothing unusual had happened.

    Hermione, needless to say, was immediately on his heels, along with their friends. They quickly cornered him in the Room of Requirement.

    That was your big plan?” Takara exploded. “Just blithely announce to the whole school what you were about to do, walk up, and do it?”

    Galen drawled, “Let me guess - you were expecting some elaborate, intricate scheme?”

    “YES!” came from multiple throats.

    Luna smiled. “Actually, I thought it was quite clever. Well done, Galen.”

    Hermione stared at the girl. Luna was odd, there was no denying it - but she would be the first to admit that the younger girl had a first-rate mind. Her thought processes were less logical and more intuitive than Hermione’s, which meant that sometimes Luna misinterpreted things . . . And sometimes she saw things with a fraction of the data Hermione needed to reach the same conclusion.

    The blonde Gryffindor’s silvery eyes shifted to her suddenly, and her smile widened, as though she was reading Hermione’s mind.

    “Professor Moody was in the Great Hall,” Luna supplied.

    “Professor Moody?” Takara repeated in confusion. “What does that paranoid old - ?”

    Paranoid!” Hermione gasped, making the connection. “He’s going to drive himself spare trying to figure out how Galen got past the Age Line - he’ll check the spell, the Goblet, every possible weakness in the security. If the Goblet’s been Confunded, he’ll discover it. And if it isn’t, Professor Moody is still liable to add to the security surrounding the Goblet, to try and close the ‘hole’ that Galen used. Anybody who wants to tamper with the Goblet will suddenly have a much harder job doing so.” Hermione smiled in understanding. “And by waiting so long before doing this, you’ve minimised the amount of time our hypothetical enemy will have to try anything before the selections are made. Luna was quite right - well done, Galen.”

    As plans went, it really was quite brilliant, she reflected. Especially in its simplicity. It required no special materials, no hours of planning, just sufficient knowledge of the people around him and a certain sense of showmanship, to properly manipulate appearances.

    And no one can deny that he’s got a flair for the dramatic, Hermione thought wryly. Especially the melodramatic.

    Shirou grinned. “I like it - it’s everything we wanted to accomplish, at minimal risk to us. The so-called ‘responsible adults’ will finally do the heavy lifting.”

    Takara frowned. “I thought our fathers did fairly well, last year.”

    “OK, you’ve got me there,” Shirou allowed. “And McGonagall’s done a decent job of actually doing her job, so far - but you know what I mean. For once, we can sit back and let the system sort out the problems without needing to interfere.” He tilted his head to glance at Galen. “Of course, that depends on whose name was on that parchment.”

    “All three of ours,” Galen replied. “So you can both answer honestly that you didn’t put your name in, you didn’t ask someone else to do it for you, and that isn’t even your handwriting.” He scowled. “I don’t really want to compete, but I can take a fair bit of punishment, and if it means that no one else gets hurt . . .”

    Hermione sighed, and brushed her fingers across the hair at the back of his neck. “We know, and we love you for it - but it doesn’t make it any easier for the rest of us to watch.”

    It certainly doesn’t for me.

    Galen smiled at her, and her heart rate sped up a bit - he had a nice smile, when he let it reach his eyes. His skin was hot where she’d touched it, too, and Hermione wished they were alone in the Room - she had a sudden desire to indulge in some “fur therapy,” as Galen called it. The feel of his warm hands rubbing into her shoulders, or across her spine - he even managed to make teasing her tail feel good!

    If anyone was privy to her thoughts, they refrained from knowing looks, and Hermione hastily changed the subject before anyone thought to ask about the blush she could feel rising in her cheeks.

    “So, what do we do now?” Then she shook her head, and answered loftily, “What a ridiculous question - we go to class, of course! Goblet of Fire or not, Hallowe’en or not, it’s still Monday - and the lunch period is nearly over!”

    Despite being her favourite class, the day’s Arithmancy lesson was a little harder to concentrate on than normal. Still, Hermione persevered, as did Shirou, and eventually they found themselves back in the Great Hall, enjoying a Hallowe’en feast, along with all their friends, for a change. The still-burning Goblet of Fire stood in its place, surrounded by the Age Line - as well as blazing runes of orange flame that hung ominously in the air.

    Professor Moody’s work, Hermione concluded. And since he’s no fool, there’s probably at least one other invisible defence, as well.

    She spared an idle moment trying to translate the runes used. While generally accepted as the written language of magic, runes had historically been used before wands as a way of casting and storing spells. A single rune could sum up a very complicated charm, and invoked when needed. However, used that way, their magic was partially reliant on the materials used - the stone which held the rune, and the item which had carved it. The more powerful spells had been nearly impossible to fashion, and runestones were almost always single-use only.

    Runes could sometimes be more powerful when utilised properly, but compared to the practicality of using wands - it’s no wonder people switched. Still, it’s a fascinating subject . . .

    Her train of thought was interrupted by the appearance of Angelina Johnson, one of the Chasers on Gryffindor’s Quidditch team, and therefore a teammate of Takara and Shirou’s. She immediately claimed the “guest seat.”

    “Well, I’ve done it!” the dark-skinned girl announced. “Just put my name in!”

    Hermione smiled. “Well, I’m glad someone from Gryffindor’s entering - I really hope you get it, Angelina!”

    Angelina looked surprised for a moment, then smiled. “Thanks, Hermione - but I thought you’d be rooting for Galen.”

    Hermione shuddered. “Absolutely not! I’d wear my nerves to a frazzle, watching him compete against seventh-years!”

    Angelina joked, “I’d be more worried about the seventh-years, myself - but I see your point.” She gave Hermione a sidelong look. “Don’t suppose you know how he got past Dumbledore’s Age Line, do you?”

    Hermione smiled. “He says it’s a case of mind over matter.”

    Angelina blinked, then shrugged. “If you say so.”

    Lightning flashed suddenly from the Great Hall’s ceiling, and the roll of thunder caused the noise level to plummet. Dumbledore took the opportunity to rise to his feet, quieting things still further, until only the hiss of the pouring rain on the roof was audible.

    “Well, the Goblet is almost ready to make its decision,” the old wizard announced. “I estimate that it requires one more minute. Now, when the champions’ names are called, I would ask them please to come up to the top of the Hall, walk along the staff table, and go through to the next chamber, where they will be receiving their first instructions.” He gestured to a side door, and extinguished the candles and torches in the Great Hall with a wave of his wand, leaving only the jack-o’-lanterns, Goblet, and the occasional bolt of lightning as illumination.

    In the darkness, the Goblet’s fiery light was nearly blinding - Hermione couldn’t look directly at it, and she didn’t need to look at Takara to know that she would be squinting, as well. The pair of them had the sharpest night sight, so the light was truly overpowering to them. Thus, it was almost a relief when the blue-white flames turned a comparatively milder (to her senses, anyway) red, and the Goblet began emitting sparks, before launching a charred piece of parchment into the air.

    Dumbledore snatched it up, and read it by the once again blue-white light of the Goblet.

    “The champion for Durmstrang,” he declared, “will be Ilyasviel von Einzbern.”

    A storm of applause broke out, mostly among Durmstrang, but also including their little corner of the Gryffindor table. Hermione noted, however, that the Headmaster of Durmstrang looked a little sour at the announcement.

    Probably one of the chauvinists who didn’t want Ilyasviel at the school to begin with, she thought with a sniff. Well, she’ll show them, no doubt!

    As if she’d heard Hermione’s thoughts, Ilyasviel gave her a pixie grin and a wink. After she left, the Goblet of Fire turned red once more, and the noise cut off abruptly. A second piece of parchment was belched forth, and the crowd waited with bated breath.

    “The champion for Beauxbatons is . . . Rin Delacour!”

    Once again, cheers - mostly from Beauxbatons, but also them as well. Hermione’s glance at the girl, as she walked by, was that she looked none too happy about their applauding, giving Shirou especially a disdainful glare before vanishing into the side room.

    Shirou must be hurt, if Rin was as important to him as Ilyasviel said, Hermione thought sadly. I hope they can patch things up -

    But the Goblet was turning red once more, and the Hogwarts spirit in her compelled her full attention on it. She held her breath, waiting to see just who the Goblet of Fire had decided most qualified to represent her school and its ideals . . .

    “The Hogwarts champion is - Takara Aozaki?” Dumbledore said in puzzlement.

    Scattered applause and bewildered murmuring swept the room - Takara was relatively well-known, with her position on Gryffindor’s Quidditch team, but so too was the fact that she was underage for the Tournament. Despite this, however, she could feel Galen relax slightly beside her, even as Takara walked up to the staff table and off into the side room. Hermione doubted anyone who didn’t know the Japanese girl’s movements as well as she did could read the tension in her muscles.

    “We can deal with this,” he muttered under his breath, too low for anyone without really sharp hearing, and who wasn’t right next to him, to catch. “I don’t like it, but we can deal with it. She’s skilled, we can prepare her - we can deal with this.”

    Despite his apparent confidence (and the rapidity of his speech made Hermione doubt that Galen fully meant it), confusion was the order of the day, and it grew worse when the Goblet’s flame turned red a fourth time.

    Galen was instantly as rigid as a steel needle. “No. Nonononono - this wasn’t supposed to happen! We did everything to make sure it wouldn’t happen! This can’t happen!

    He hissed the words, as though trying to make the universe obey by sheer force of will - but apparently not even Galen Salvatore was that stubborn, because the Goblet spat a fourth piece of parchment into the air, which Dumbledore took with trembling fingers.

    Not Galen too, Hermione prayed. Takara in danger will be bad enough - don’t let it be Galen, too, please!

    After a moment of silence, he cleared his throat, and said in a feathery voice, “Neville Longbottom.


    It took Hermione a moment to realise that the cry had come from her own throat - and not just hers, but everyone else at the table, and that like them, her wand was in her hand. A glance at her friends made their intentions clear.

    War had just been declared.
    Last edited by Kieran; April 15th, 2011 at 09:25 PM.

  13. #13
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
    According to most, my own little world
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    DISCLAIMER: Lunar Legend Tsukihime, Fate/Stay Night, and all related characters and concepts are the creation and property of Kinoko Nasu and Type-Moon, along with anyone who's happened to license them, like Geneon or Funimation. Harry Potter and all related characters and concepts are the creation and property of J.K. Rowling, along with her publishers and Warner Bros., as regards the movie material.

    This is a not-for-profit, just-for-fun project.

    Writer's Note: Certain dialogue sequences in this story are lifted from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but I trust in the intelligence of my readers (and the availability of the books) to recognise them when they see them.

    Chapter 11 - Rage of the Trinity

    October 31, 1994

    Takara walked into the room off the Great Hall, and found it eerily silent. Aside from the crackling of the fireplace, not a sound was to be heard. Instead, she was greeted by the sight of two witches warily staring at each other.

    Observing them together, and getting her first good look at this incarnation of Rin Tohsaka, Takara was struck by the similarities between them. Both girls were relatively short, about her height at this point in time - evidently she’d eventually be taller than either of them. Both had a fine bone structure that lent their faces a certain elegance, like a porcelain mask. Ilya’s hair, eyes and skin were all paler, of course, and Rin’s hair was longer right now - but there was fire in both their eyes. Neither witch was inclined to back down of their own accord.

    Of course, there were differences, as well. Rin was fully Japanese, save for her eyes and a slight fairness to her skin tone. Ilya, on the other hand, partook of both her Japanese father and her Veela mother’s heritage, making her closer to Takara in appearance - the two girls might have been sisters, but for their colouring. Rin’s legs were better, longer and more muscular, like a dancer’s, but Ilya had the more impressive bust, and lusher curves overall. She also had fewer scruples about flaunting that fact, and judging by the narrowness of Rin’s eyes, the latter had just about had enough . . .

    Takara cleared her throat.

    Ilya flashed her a smile, and said in Japanese, “Takara-chan - do come in. I suppose everything worked out as expected, then?”

    “It sure seems like it,” Takara admitted. “Although I’m going to get some odd questions as to how I got in, I’m sure.”

    Ilya shrugged. “We can handle it.” She gestured. “You know Rin, of course.”

    Takara nodded. “Tohsaka-san.

    The named witch’s eyes went wide, and she exploded. “That’s it - WHAT’S GOING ON? How can you be Ilyasviel - and who the hell are you?!” she demanded, whirling on Takara.

    “I’m Ilyasviel, as I should have been,” Ilya said hotly. “If I hadn’t been trapped in that child’s body for over a decade.” She smirked. “Shirou would’ve been mine from the beginning, if I’d looked like this.

    “Don’t count on it,” Rin hissed. “Saber had him wrapped around her little finger . . . And Archer was mine.” She assumed an expression as smug as Ilya’s. “If I wanted the lying bastard now, I’m sure I could have him easily. Even Veela blood can’t help you that much, little girl.

    Ilya’s hair began whipping about, caught in a wind that didn’t blow anywhere else in the room. When it settled, her locks had become a crest of pale, silvery feathers, sweeping stiffly down her back.

    “Try me, Rin,” Ilya growled, her eyes glowing like tiny blue stars as she lifted a cupped hand that was suddenly full of flames. “Oh, please - try me.

    Rin shifted grimly into a martial arts stance that had very few weaknesses that Takara could spot, when she suddenly clutched at her left hand. Takara winced as she felt a sudden shock of something go through her own hands, as though someone had driven nails through them.

    “Ah!” Rin cried. “What the - ?”

    “It’s Shirou,” Takara said tightly. “And Galen.” She paused, trying to understand the source of the pain, before deciding aloud, “They’re either hurt, dying, or really pissed off.”

    “How do you know that?” Rin demanded. She stared at Takara, her eyes moving to the glyphs on Takara’s hands. “Why do you have Archer’s Command Mantra? Who are you?”

    Aozaki Takara desu, Tohsaka-san,” she introduced herself, bowing.

    “AOZAKI?” Rin shrieked in disbelief - but the door opened before she could say another word.

    Into the room trooped the three school heads, Dumbledore, Professor Sprout (who’d served as Deputy Headmistress since McGonagall’s advancement), Professor Moody, the two men from the Ministry, and Neville, surrounded by their other five friends in guard position they’d termed “Phalanx” in practice. Their wands were down, for the moment, but they had yet to break ranks - and the look in more than one pair of eyes said that they weren’t about to, either.

    Oh no, Takara realised.

    Once the door shut, the Durmstrang Headmaster exploded. “This is intolerable! First, for Hogwarts to have two champions, and then to be bullied by these mere schoolchildren - !”

    “I would think very carefully before I spoke, if I were you, Karkaroff,” Moody snarled. “The only reason you’re still breathing is because they’re letting you.”

    “Alastor!” McGonagall snapped. “I hardly think - !”

    “LOOK AT THEM, MINERVA!” the elderly Auror roared. “Look at the way they’re holding themselves, the way they move! They might be children, but they’re not idiots, and they’re not amateurs - and they’d have mowed down every living soul in that Hall if you’d tried to force Longbottom out of there - starting with the biggest threats, us!

    Karkaroff sneered. “Your paranoia is showing, Moody - “

    Reducto,” came Galen’s sudden, flat response.

    A jet of pale light blew the mantel of the fireplace to stone splinters. Takara’s wand had been out on the first syllable, and her Shield Charm deflected the debris - she even managed to extend the effect to cover Ilya and Rin. The effect on the rest of the room was immediate - most of the room froze, but Dumbledore reached into his robes and Moody stamped his walking stick on the ground, casting a Disarming Charm. Galen’s Shield Charm, cast immediately on the heels of the Reductor Curse, stopped Moody’s spell cold, and Shirou’s own Disarming Charm sent Dumbledore’s wand to the floor before he reached it, the old man staggering under the impact. Hermione’s own “Expelliarmus” was just as swift, and removed Moody from play.

    Galen held his wand ready, glaring at none of the adults in particular - but all of them could feel his gaze, nonetheless.

    “Let me be perfectly clear, Karkaroff,” he said quietly, and Takara knew him well enough to shiver. “Not one, but two of my underage friends have somehow been subjected to a binding magical contract. That strikes me as a deliberate attack on Hogwarts, and more importantly, my friends. I want them out of this tournament, and I want whoever’s responsible - and if you say one word, or make one move that keeps that from happening as quickly as possible . . .”

    Takara saw him focus that empty-eyed gaze on Karkaroff directly, and saw the older man pale despite himself.

    “I will make you wish for your master’s mercies, Death Eater,” Galen hissed.

    Takara shuddered. She’d seen him this angry before, but not for years, and she’d honestly forgotten that he could be - yes, he was irritable and grumpy, usually, but not like this. The underlying fury in his voice, low and deadly, the bright gleam of eyes that held nothing but the promise of utter annihilation to anything that stood against him, and the boiling aura of magical power that seethed within the confines of the room . . . This was the Servant she’d called, in the end. The Avenger, driven by pain and an anger so powerful it could destroy a world. And as much as Takara wanted to pretend her convulsions were out of fear, or horror, she knew that it wasn’t entirely the case. Her hormones were more active now, quicker to respond to what pleased them - and the dark, twisted part of her that had once formed her Nanaya side wished that Galen was in his duster, and nothing else . . .

    “Boy’s got a point, Karkaroff,” Moody growled. “Your old buddies got up to some fun at the World Cup, and someone cast the Dark Mark that spooked ‘em. Maybe you’re a little nervous about that? Thought it might be a good idea to put Longbottom in the Tournament - kill him off, like You-Know-Who wanted? The girl’s collateral damage, then - but if it gets you off the hook for grassing on them . . .”

    A charitable person might have termed Moody’s expression a smile. Takara wasn’t that generous - or that blind.

    Karkaroff turned a shade of red that rapidly approached puce. “You dare accuse me of - ?”

    “ENOUGH!” Dumbledore thundered, and the aura of his power filled the room much as Galen’s had earlier.

    Takara noted that it was much the same as Galen’s in certainty and intensity, though it lacked the wild anger that characterised her ex-Servant’s. If Galen’s was the electric, blazing fury of a thunderbolt, Dumbledore’s was an avalanche - slower, perhaps, but implacable.

    And about the same intensity, she noted absently. Is Dumbledore holding back, or is Galen really that strong - and if so, will he get stronger as he gets older? . . . And where does that put me?

    “The method of how this was accomplished, and by whom, is at the moment, immaterial,” Dumbledore said firmly. “At the very least, less important than the question of whether or not it is possible to remove Miss Aozaki and Mister Longbottom from the Tournament, as they are both far too young to effectively compete.”

    Crouch looked up from his position by the fire. His voice was flat, and his eyes clouded. “We must follow the rules, and the rules clearly state that those people whose names come out of the Goblet of Fire are bound to compete in the Tournament.”

    Or?” Galen snapped.

    “The contract entered into by the use of the Goblet clearly states that the champion is agreeing to risk their life to compete,” Crouch said emptily. “Should they choose to forfeit, that forfeit is exacted from them.”

    “That word exactly - ‘forfeit?’” Galen demanded.


    Damn it, Takara thought, even as Galen hissed the same words. That means Neville can’t just give up, either. The contract will hold him to making a real attempt to win, or else. Of course, this is the man under the Imperius curse saying this, and our most likely suspect for putting Neville’s name in - but we can’t afford to take the risk!

    “Can we declare the Tournament a draw, here and now?” Galen tried. “Or play it out in rounds of Exploding Snap, gobstones and chess?”

    “The trials of the Tournament were set months in advance, and bound into the contract,” Crouch answered. “How else could the Goblet choose an appropriate champion for each school? It had to have criteria to select them with.”

    Galen’s mouth moved, and only the fact that she’d moved closer to him to prevent another explosion allowed her to hear him mutter, “God damn it, you people had to pick now to grow brains?”

    “There has to be a loophole,” Shirou said. “Who adjudicates the Tournament? Can’t they declare it a draw, or demand a re-choosing?”

    “The Goblet works only once every five years,” Crouch said. “And declaring the contest void without an attempt at holding the trials will exact the forfeit from all the champions.”

    McGonagall looked haggard. “So, we must hold the Tournament, now that the magic of the Goblet has been invoked, and all the champions - legal or not, willing or not - must compete?”

    “Yes,” Crouch said flatly.

    Ludo clapped his hands, and gave everyone a wan smile. “Well, it will certainly make for an interesting Tournament, I must say.”

    Neville was numb, physically and mentally, as he and his friends made their way back to Gryffindor Tower. He kept hoping that he’d wake up from the nightmare, but it didn’t seem to be happening.

    Bound by a magical contract to compete in a tournament I didn’t enter, despite every precaution possible being taken to prevent something like this from happening - and if I don’t compete, I’ll die . . . Of course, that’s always assuming that Gran doesn’t kill me first.

    Worse, for the first time in his memory, Galen, Shirou and Takara had failed him. Despite all their efforts - and a bloody scary show - they’d been unable to get him out of competing. He didn't have a choice but to do it.

    I can’t do this! he wailed to himself. Yes, I’ve improved - I’m a lot better than I thought I’d be four years ago. Yes, my new wand helps with that - but that doesn’t mean I’m ready for this! This is supposed to challenge seventh-years, people who are of age, and have learned loads more than I have! Even if the others can tell me what I’m going to be up against, that’s no guarantee at all that I’ll be able to do anything about it! But if I don’t . . .

    If he didn’t, he was dead. Period. He really did have no choice at all - and he hated it. It was some small comfort to him - and admittedly, not much at the moment - that everyone else did, too. Galen had been fined seventy-five points for his actions, and the others fifteen apiece, putting Gryffindor firmly in the red for the House Cup - and that was in addition to three months of detention. The fact that they would be served with Professor Moody didn’t make anybody happy except him - the smile on his face when he’d insisted on overseeing the detentions had made even McGonagall, who was as forbiddingly angry as Neville had ever seen her, pale.

    So when the seven of them trudged back to the Gryffindor dorms, the last thing they were possibly in the mood for was applause.

    Neville stared at the crowd of people screaming, clapping and whistling. Were they mental? Did the reactions of his friends in the Great Hall not convince them that hadn’t been planned, and in fact a complete (and completely unwelcome) surprise?

    I guess not, Neville thought grimly, though he saw the Weasley twins give him apologetic looks from a corner of the room - proving that they, at least, paid attention to what went on around them.

    Alicia stepped up to congratulate he and Takara. “Oh, if it couldn’t be me, at least it’s a Gryffindor - ” she began.

    “We didn’t put our names in,” Takara said flatly, and the dark-skinned Chaser actually took a step back on seeing her teammate’s face. Neville was standing at just the wrong angle to see what was in her expression, slightly behind Takara, but he could guess.

    Galen’s the one who went off, but none of the others stopped him, Neville considered. Luna or Ginny might not have felt up to it, but not even Hermione tried, much less the two people most likely to be able to keep him from doing anything terrible. Which means none of them are at all pleased with this, and Takara’s been roped into the Tournament, too . . .

    Neville had a sudden vision of what was liable to happen if they stayed in the common room, and suggested quickly, “Let’s head up to the dorms.” Before somebody says or does something that sets someone else off.

    But even getting to the stairs was easier said than done, as every few steps seemed to bring forth more well-wishers, more people enticing him or Takara to eat, relax, celebrate . . .

    Protego,” Galen finally snapped, and if he wasn’t yelling, it didn’t make his anger any less evident. The silver barrier seemingly erupted in place, shoving people back in force. More than a few screamed and swore, but the blazing silver construct held against anything the irritated Gryffindors could do.

    “Go on up,” Galen instructed. “I’ll be right behind you - TRY IT!” he suddenly roared at a Gryffindor prefect who was trying to sneak his way around the edge of the Shield Charm. “Give me a reason - I’ll tear you APART!

    Next to him, Takara shivered with sudden violence, and Neville could sympathise with her fear - he had no doubts that Galen would carry out his threat, either.

    By mutual unspoken consent, they moved to the fourth-year boys’ dorm - none of them were ready to separate just yet. Neville sat on his bed despondently, and found himself sandwiched between Luna and, surprisingly, Hermione - her hand rested atop one of her own, squeezing it gently.

    “It will be all right,” she assured him. “We might not be able to get you out of this, but we’ll get you through it, Neville.”

    “And then we’ll get whoever did this,” Ginny said fiercely. “The hard part will be deciding who gets to make him pay for it.”

    “Still on about that, are you?” came Ron Weasley’s voice. “Still going to pretend you had nothing to do with it, with all your rich and clever friends around you, Longbottom?”

    Neville stared at him, not quite sure the boy was entirely sane. “I didn’t.”

    “Sure,” the redhead said sourly. “Of course, you might have let the rest of us in on how you managed it, eh? It wouldn’t have mattered, once you got your name in.”

    “I didn’t,” Neville repeated.

    Weasley continued as if he hadn’t spoken. “But that’s just the way it is with you lot - too good for the rest of us . . .”

    Ginny glared at her brother, and the heater in the centre of the dorm roared suddenly, as the fire crackling within it abruptly flared. Neville automatically scanned the room for Galen, and didn’t see him - but Shirou, pacing by a window with Takara, was clenching his fists so tightly his knuckles were white.

    “. . . Dunno know why you even entered - sure, the prize is a thousand Galleons, but you’re a Longbottom - you’ve already got more money than you know what to do with . . .”

    A crackling sound came from the window, and Neville saw ice forming from the rainwater that streaked down its surface - but the ice was forming upward, with Takara as its root.

    Two flares of uncontrollable magic - and neither of them is from Galen. They’re closer to the edge than I thought -

    He abruptly became aware that Luna’s hair was stirring without the benefit of a breeze to blow it, and mentally adjusted his count to three.

    “. . . Of course, you’ll probably need your friends to help you cheat into a win, anyway - just like you did with the Gobl - ”

    The brilliance of the flash of lightning - and the following crash of thunder that sent tremors through the floor of Gryffindor Tower - might have been due to its being extremely close . . . But given Galen’s appearance on the stairwell entrance between the lightning’s departure and the thunder’s arrival, Neville doubted it - and he abruptly realised that the last snarls of “thunder” were coming from Hermione.

    As Galen strode into the room, Neville suddenly found it hard to breathe. He’d experienced the sheer, terrifying presence his friend could emit less than half an hour ago - but this was worse. As he watched Shirou and Takara step into place beside him, Neville realised that it wasn’t just him, it was all three of them - the trinity, as the rest of their circle sometimes called them, the three core members of their group.

    We always meant it as a sort-of joke, but it isn’t - something very real binds those three, and when they work together . . .

    He’d seen the others angry before, and Galen’s rages had always been frightening, but even Neville’s wildest nightmares had never contemplated all three of them in the same furious state at the same time, their minds and magic in unspoken accord, focussed on a single purpose. The air felt thick and suffocating, sending flashes of heat and cold, along with electric prickles of terror, across his skin. The furniture seemed to tremble, and Neville would swear that he could feel the stone of Gryffindor Tower vibrate underneath his feet.

    Even Dumbledore never felt like this - I think they could blast the tower to its foundations, maybe even the whole castle . . . And I’m too terrified to stop them - I’m too terrified to move!

    If Neville was that frightened, Weasley was worse - because he was the target. Pale and jerking spasmodically, he kept trying to reach for his wand as the trinity stepped slowly, almost rhythmically nearer, each heartbeat that much closer to being his last. His breath devolved into a panting, desperate whine, and sweat rolled off him in buckets (along with, Neville’s nose told him, other fluids and semi-fluid materials). Finally, Galen stepped within arm’s reach, and -

    Weasley fainted dead away.

    For a long moment, the three of them stared at the fallen wizard, wrestling with the temptation of a target to take out their frustrations on . . .
    “Shirou,” Luna said, even more softly than usual, and far more seriously. “This isn’t who you are - and it isn’t who you want to be. Please, stop . . .

    Ginny spoke up. “Takara, he’s the world’s biggest and foulest git - but he’s my brother, too. You understand, right? He’s my brother . . .

    Hermione got up and wrapped her arms around Galen from behind. “Galen, please. For me - don’t do this for me. Please . . .

    The others snapped out of it fairly quickly, responding to these pleas to the best of them - but Galen shuddered at Hermione’s voice. For just a moment, Neville caught a glimpse of some raw, terrible pain that he didn’t understand - and then the blank mask was back in place.

    “For you,” he said quietly. “This once, for you.”

    She sighed, and sagged against him, and Neville felt a pang of envy - Hermione had always been pretty, but she was becoming very beautiful, and showed signs that she was still improving. He felt more than a little pleased when she released Galen to come sit by him again.

    “We really should make plans about what to do now that this has happened,” Shirou said, “but I’m knackered. Mind if we pick it up in the morning?”

    “Sure,” Takara said. “I think we can manage to keep the annoyances off our back for the night.”

    “No joke,” Ginny snorted. “I nearly pissed myself - I had no idea you could do that, I thought we were going to die!

    Luna sounded thoughtful as she said, “The marks on Takara’s hands aren’t just decorations - they’re a promise, of what the three of you are capable of when you work together.” She looked at Neville, her eyes warm and oddly luminous as she said with certainty, “You’ll be all right.”

    Neville felt a blush rising - between Hermione’s nearness and Luna’s sudden intensity, he was a little embarrassed to be the centre of attention for so many pretty girls. He looked away . . .

    And realised that Galen was gone.

  14. #14
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
    According to most, my own little world
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    DISCLAIMER: Lunar Legend Tsukihime, Fate/Stay Night, and all related characters and concepts are the creation and property of Kinoko Nasu and Type-Moon, along with anyone who's happened to license them, like Geneon or Funimation. Harry Potter and all related characters and concepts are the creation and property of J.K. Rowling, along with her publishers and Warner Bros., as regards the movie material.

    This is a not-for-profit, just-for-fun project.

    Writer's Note: Certain dialogue sequences in this story are lifted from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but I trust in the intelligence of my readers (and the availability of the books) to recognise them when they see them.

    Chapter 12 - To Talk of Many Things

    October 31, 1994

    Once again, you think it’s all about you.

    Sir Ian McKellen’s voice was dry, and ever so slightly amused - and it was damnably truthful. He’d been so smug in his certainty that even should his precautions somehow fail, one of the three of them would be the champion selected by the Goblet. In his arrogance, he’d forgotten that it was Neville who marked as the prophecy child in Harry’s absence, it was Neville that Voldemort would target - and it was Neville who would now stand alone, because he was bound to compete, and there was no way they would be allowed to interfere.

    And he’s not ready, damn it! He’s better than almost any fourth-year around, but that doesn’t put him on the same level as a seventh-year! Martial arts aren’t going to do a damned bit of good against a dragon, and Neville can’t fly like Harry can. Takara, yes - but not Neville!

    How did it happen? Moody should’ve done everything shy of disassembling the damned Goblet after I got through! Even if Voldemort had done the smart thing, and had the Imperiused Crouch Sr. Confund the Goblet and enter Neville’s name before it even arrived at Hogwarts, that should’ve put paid to his little scheme. Paranoid Moody may be, but he’s no fool - he’d have sussed it out, if it was there to be found. And those bloody extra wards should’ve kept anyone from tampering afterwards - I recognised a couple of those runes, and
    I wouldn’t have wanted to cross them!

    Normally, Galen found wrapping himself in the Deathcloak somewhat soothing - it put a barrier between himself and the world that allowed him to keep calm. But the usual thrill of donning his favourite toy wasn’t enough to keep him from seething over the events of the night . . . And the trap sprung on Neville was only half the problem, and nausea roiled in his stomach as he contemplated the other half.

    And so it begins . . . How could it not, given that it’s a much more promising start than a screaming match over the Yule Ball? But that Hermione would beg me for his life, for herself . . .Tom Riddle is an evil, self-serving bastard who wouldn’t know a human emotion if it walked up to him and introduced itself, and couldn’t be trusted to tell the truth if he was so full of Veritaserum that it was coming out his ears - but that doesn’t make him wrong.

    Both events were symptomatic of the same problem: that this universe, despite all its deviations, seemed bound and determined to follow Rowling’s canon as closely as possible. Which meant that so long as Hermione and Ron were both alive, they would end up together - and he didn’t think he could handle that.

    Well, be fair - it’s not like you’re a better match. Even laying aside the fact that you’re old enough to be her father (which is no small detail), you’re lazy, selfish, arrogant, hot-tempered, violent - you were damned well ready to kill Karkaroff and everyone else in that room stupid enough to try and stop you, and you’d have lost no sleep over it at all. Hermione’s too good a person to ever love a monster like you, and if she could . . . Would she even be Hermione?

    He shuddered at even contemplating the kind of changes she would have to undergo for that to be true - and the fact that he would be responsible for them. Galen continued along the corridors in this vein of thought, seeking the Room of Requirement. He wanted a place where he wouldn’t, and couldn’t be found, much less disturbed, to be alone with his thoughts until this current surge of fury burned itself out. And if it happened to be equipped with several bottles of high-grade alcohol, or a vast plethora of red-haired simulacra capable of screaming and bleeding when injured (and perhaps even begging for mercy they weren’t going to get) well . . . All to the good.

    The door emerged from the wall, as expected (there was no way in hell it couldn’t respond, the mood he was in) and he stepped through, sliding it silently closed behind him even as he whipped the Deathcloak off with a flourish - and stopped. And stared. The Room’s decor was brighter than he’d expected, deep greens and warm browns, rather than the gray or black he’d thought would suit his mood. A fireplace crackled merrily at the far end. Standing before that fireplace was a pair of tall red armchairs, with end tables that held steaming cups of tea. All in all, it resembled a cross between an area in the Gryffindor common room, and his parents’ library.

    Not at all what he’d expected, but it wasn’t the truly surprising part. The second chair was occupied. Given his mood, it would have made sense to see her equipped for battle, prepared to give and take punishment - mostly give, honestly. But her blue skirt and white shirt were devoid of any armour, and she delicately held a cup of tea in her hand, instead of a weapon. Clearly, battle was not on the agenda.

    “This is . . . This is unexpected,” Galen said lamely.

    The look he received bordered on condescending. “It is called the Room of Requirement - it therefore provides what you need, not what you want.”

    “So it’s not really you, then - just a simulation.”

    Her face was unreadable. “I could be. Perhaps I was created by the magic of the castle, or by materialising the best part of yourself as myself, a form you respect and would obey, given the choice. Then again, I do go where I’m needed, both in legend and in fact, so perhaps it really is me, summoned here by the Room, and given all the pertinent information required to fulfill my task - because what you need is someone you will listen to, an authority figure you can trust with your secrets and ask for advice.” She sipped her tea. “Now - will you sit, and we can discuss this like civilised people?”

    Galen did, but couldn’t resist a dig. “Somehow, you never really struck me as the diplomatic type.”

    Her return look was withering. “You don’t suppose I might have learned something of the skill in my time? Consider the legends of my home. Besides, you have done enough violence to yourself with little result. Driving home a lesson at the point of a sword is not the solution to this problem.”

    He allowed the point with a nod.

    Her eyes narrowed as she admitted, “Not that it doesn’t have a certain visceral appeal at the moment . . . But let us begin - I suspect this tale will be long in the telling.”

    So Galen told her everything, the whole sordid saga from beginning to end, and when he was finished, those jewel-like eyes closed in contemplation, and she asked, “Am I happy?”

    “. . . Huh?” Galen answered intelligently.

    Her eyes opened again, and focussed on him. “The question is a simple one. You are aware of my life and its history, after all - so I ask of you, am I happy?”

    “No - you’re too driven to be happy.”

    “And you know why that is.”


    Suddenly blazing eyes glared at him. “Then why, by all that is sacred, do you seem so intent on repeating my mistakes?”

    “. . . Huh?”

    “You close yourself off from humanity - from any possibility of hope or happiness - and not out of a sense of duty, as I did, but from a sense of unworthiness! Why?

    “Because I don’t! I am broken - I learned my lessons late, but well. I am unimportant at best, and an outright monster at worst.”

    “There are those who would argue otherwise.”

    “They’re ridiculously optimistic, then.”

    Am I?” came the dangerous response. “Were you either of those things, do you truly believe I would have hesitated to cut you down where you stood?”

    “. . . No.”

    “Were you either of those things, would the girls you so fear be alive now to worry about?”

    “. . . Girls, plural?” Hermione, he understood, but who else - ?

    “Your mistress - would she have survived? Would her family?” Her voice turned scornful. “Strange how someone ‘unimportant’ could accomplish what was done to save them - and stranger still that an ‘outright monster’ would care enough to try. Much less in the case of the children here.”

    “I’m complicated,” he drawled.

    “And capable of change,” she pressed. “If not then, perhaps now - this is not the life you lived, the body you had. Why not accept the possibility that this means things need not be as they were, that you need not be as you think you are?”

    “To what end?”

    Her hand twitched, as though she was reconsidering beating the lesson into him.

    “To what end, now? Why do you fight against this Voldemort - if this society is as corrupted as you say, perhaps it is time that it fell, as empires do.”

    “Shirou and Takara are fighting him.”

    “And they are capable - more so than yourself. They do not truly need you - so why do you fight?”

    “Hermione and the others will fight - they could die. They will die, if Voldemort wins.”

    “And?” she pressed. “Again, Takara and Shirou could surely handle it. Many of the others are no doubt capable, as well - so why do you fight?”

    “Because I might be able to help - and if I didn’t, I’d never forgive myself if anything happened to them.”

    She nodded approvingly. “Better - the man I deemed worthy is lost, perhaps, but not gone.” Her eyes flashed as she spoke, daring him to dispute her judgment, as he might have so many others’. When he didn’t take the bait - he didn’t dare, really - she continued, “Now, as to your problems with maidens . . .”

    Galen blinked at the abrupt (to him) change in topic, and asked sceptically, “Should you really be giving me advice on this?”

    “You know someone else you could ask?” she said, raising an eyebrow.

    Galen considered. “Irisviel, maybe?”

    Her response was blunt. “Given Arcueid’s attempts to meddle over the years, could you trust that her cousin would not do the same?”

    “Point,” he admitted.

    She nodded in satisfaction, and then asked, “Have you considered what you will do if proven wrong?”

    He opened his mouth to answer, but she cut him off. "You do not believe they will choose you, but what if they do - and assume, however unlikely you find it, that no potions or other mind-altering conditions exist?”

    “Then I have trouble buying it,” Galen answered. “They could all do so much better - they’re capable of so much more - ”

    “Then allow them to do so,” she said sharply. “If you truly believe that you will hold them back, then help them to succeed in spite of you - allow them what they want, while at the same time giving them the means to achieve what they deserve.”

    Her eyes were measuring as she asked quietly, “Can you truly tell me that even if you were to spend your entire life working towards such a goal as that, it would be a wasted life?”

    “. . . No.” He snorted. “I still think it won’t happen.”

    “And I will not waste time nor breath attempting to convince you otherwise - others have tried, with little success, to force the belief into your mind. Therefore, I am resorting to logic instead of persuasion, and merely attempting to prepare you for the possibility, should it occur. And if it does occur, to give you some means of finding happiness in the event.

    She tilted her head, and asked archly, “Besides, is not one of your greatest complaints against this ‘Ronald Weasley’ that he does not apply himself, nor strive to improve himself, despite numerous chances? If nothing else, this will raise you above him, will it not?”

    He snorted. “You’ve got me there.”

    “Indeed.” She set down her teacup. “Now, as to your current struggles, and future battle plans . . .”

    “I’m still trying to figure out what went wrong,” Galen sighed. “Moody should’ve caught anything that was there before he adjusted the security, not even mentioning that those rune wards he put up were freaking scary - and untouched. There shouldn’t have been any way to get Neville’s name into that Goblet.”

    “And yet it occurred,” she pointed out reasonably. “So obviously, a way existed. Perhaps determining the how will be easier if you determine who might be responsible.”

    “Voldemort or his followers,” Galen said immediately. “Except Voldie’s in no condition to do it, and I can’t see any of them getting from Little Hangleton to Hogwarts fast enough to get Neville’s name in and get out - not without tripping a ward or being spotted by someone. Lucius Malfoy and Sirius Black are two of the most wanted fugitives in the country right now. So if they couldn’t travel, that means a supporter on the grounds . . . Crouch might be under the Imperius Curse, and he might’ve Confunded the Goblet initially, but I don’t know if he could’ve gotten past the extra security. I don’t even know if he’d have thought to try and Confund the Goblet a second time without specific instructions to do so, and the Map tells me that nobody under Polyjuice is here to give them to him. Karkaroff or Snape, then?”

    Galen shook his head. “Karkaroff’s too much of a coward - he’ll flee rather than answer his master’s call, after turning stoolie. And Snape . . . He might have the guts to try, and maybe even the skills - but under Moody and Dumbledore’s noses? Especially when there’s no real indication that Voldemort’s around to deal with Dumbledore if he got caught? No, Snape might hate Neville enough to do it, but he always backs the strongest horse, and right now that’s Dumbledore. Without the old man’s protection, he’d be in a cell next to Bellatrix - or the grave next to Pettigrew’s - and he knows it. He doesn’t have Malfoy’s money and influence, to buy his way out of trouble - and he can’t call on it with Lucius a fugitive. Snape wouldn’t dare either, as much as he might like to.”

    He stood and began to pace. “Then who, and how? Moody’s runes enhanced Dumbledore’s Age Line to a very restricted range - I got that much out of them. Dumbledore’s protections threw you out if you were under seventeen - Moody’s did the same if you were over eighteen. Only people who should’ve been competing could’ve got past that line.”

    “You did, did you not?” his companion noted.

    Before Moody went into paranoid mode,” he returned, “which was the whole point, really. His wards would’ve tossed me out then, too. Oh, I suppose I could’ve tried using the Deathcloak - I’ve yet to find a magical detection method that’ll penetrate its power - but I wouldn’t have wanted . . .” He trailed off, adding, “to . . .” almost as an afterthought. His eyes widened in realisation.

    “Son. Of. A. BITCH!” Galen roared.

    Power. The key to the puzzle was power, ultimate power. The power of a wand which, according to legend, must always win duels for its owner - and by extension, always defeat spells which stand against it, no matter how powerful or complex.

    Dumbledore - it had to be Dumbledore. That meddling old - ARRRGH!

    The Elder Wand could’ve stripped away Moody’s spells and recreated them afterward - hell, it could’ve punched right through them like they didn’t exist! A simple Confundus at ridiculous power levels, and maybe a Banishing Charm to get Neville’s name into the Goblet itself. Fifth-year stuff, hardly a challenge for a wizard of Dumbledore’s calibre, much less a wand as powerful as the Deathstick.

    “Why would he do such a thing?”

    “His bloody prophecy,” Galen snarled. “Shirou’s the one he thinks was marked as an equal, and he wields the brother wand to Voldemort’s - but his parents never defied Voldemort, since they weren’t here. And Shirou was born in August, not ‘as the seventh month dies.’ Whereas Neville, as per his original belief, fulfills the first two criteria but not the third. It’s got to be confusing the hell out of the old man - and this is a way to determine the truth. If Neville is the Chosen One, then whatever happens, he’ll ultimately be fine - after all, he must die at Voldemort’s hand, and no other. Whereas his death, though regrettable, will prove once and for all that Shirou is the one intended as Voldemort’s destroyer, and allow Dumbledore to focus all his resources on Shirou.”

    He snorted. “As strategies go, it’s cold, and more than a little cruel - but it is For the Greater Good of the wizarding world, after all. Dumbledore’s never given up on that philosophy, just changed the means he uses to achieve it - and he’s no less skilled at justifying those means than he was at seventeen, when he advocated wizards’ rule over mundanes. Dumbledore’s never shied away from making the hard choices, or from believing in his own authority - this is the man who singlehandedly decided to gamble the fate of his society on a series of guesses he made sixteen years beforehand, without fully discussing it with anyone, before or after.”

    “So, what do you intend to do about it?”

    Galen sighed. “There isn’t much we can do. There’s no evidence to prove a thing, and even if we could, we’d probably end up revealing more than we wanted to Dumbledore, or someone. The theory really doesn’t hold up unless you know about - and believe in - the Deathstick, and revealing that thing’s existence will cause more problems than it solves. Plus, despite all we’ve learned about protecting our minds, our defences might as well not exist where it’s concerned. So far, Dumbledore hasn’t had much contact with us, or reason to probe too deeply.” He paused, remembering the events of the night, and added, “Though that may have changed, now . . . Either way, we don’t have a prayer against that wand, and we can’t afford to give him a reason to use it on us.”

    A sudden thought struck him. “Though Shirou may be immune - the wand has a demonstrated history of refusing to be used against its master.”

    “You are not certain?”

    “No. If things hold true, Dumbledore’s stuck - he can’t use the Elder Wand to disarm Shirou and reclaim mastery of it, and even if he gets another for the purpose, it’s going to be tricky setting up a situation where he can disarm Shirou without answering any number of awkward questions.” He smiled at the thought, but turned serious. “But there are certain things about that wand’s history that have always bothered me - Shirou might not actually be its master. In fact, given our luck, I’d almost put money on it, because things are rarely that simple for us.”

    Galen shook his head. “It wouldn’t matter right now if he was - Shirou can hardly take the thing from him any more than Dumbledore could disarm him. The issue will just have to sit in limbo until there’s a better time - and place - to address it.”

    “And what will you do about events here and now?”

    “Prepare Neville and Takara for the Tournament - it’s all I can do for them, right now. That, and watch Dumbledore. I’ve never trusted him on principle, and now I know he can’t be - not if he’s willing to dangle Neville like bait, just to see what happens.”

    Galen’s voice darkened as he added, “And if my friends die because of his meddling, the old fool will follow them, or I will.” Then he shook himself - the rage wasn’t nearly as bad as it had been when he’d first entered, though obviously flare-ups were going to continue for a while.

    Galen looked at his companion and sighed. “Have I mentioned yet how much I hate being a teenager again? I did eventually grow out of these angst-fests, and I was bloody glad to see the end of them. Having them back again is not fun.” He shrugged. “Oh well, at least my Occlumency training helps me keep it down to once a year, instead of every three or four months, like last time. I just wish I didn’t have another five years of them to put up with.”

    “You seem much improved, just the same.”

    “Yeah - I did need the talk, I guess. And however you got here, the Room was right - you, I would listen to.” He smiled. “My thanks for putting up with me, Milady.”

    A slight smile crossed her face. “You know, if I am merely a figment of the Room, or your imagination, I suppose it wouldn’t be amiss for you to use my given name - and if I happen to be the genuine article, the chances of my returning to chastise you for it are nearly nonexistent.”

    “You’re right.” Moving to the door, Galen made a sweeping bow towards his impromptu counsellor, and said, “Thanks, Arturia.”

    He left the Room, and did not look back until the door was closed. He didn’t want to know if she vanished before it did, or with it - and nor would he go looking for her again. Sometimes, the mystery meant more than the truth.

    Donning the Deathcloak, he quoted to himself softly, “‘Because sometimes, the truth isn’t good enough. Sometimes people deserve more. Sometimes, people deserve to have their faith rewarded.’”

    He shook his head. I haven’t done random movie quotes since I died. If this keeps up, it won’t be long before I start singing to myself again. She really did a number on me, if she can call that much of myself back to me . . . But then, she always could. Inspiring people is what she does, and this is her land, where her legend is strongest, and still endures.

    She believed in me enough, believed I was worthy enough, to fight on equal terms, when she categorically knew that she could strike me down with no real effort. Delaying her victory to save Shiki, I could understand - she wouldn’t want an innocent to die for her wish - but that battle could’ve been over the instant her feet touched the arena floor, if she’d wanted it to be. But she gave me a chance. She thought I deserved it.

    However much I hate the British magical world - and certain people in it - it’s still British, still her home. And I’d hate to repay her generosity by telling her that I allowed her subjects to suffer, and die, when I could have stopped it.

    So he’d soldier on, for the sake of his debt to the last of the Pendragons. Even through Hermione pursuing Ron, if he had to, until he was sure that Voldemort was gone for good. He owed Saber nothing less for completing his mission, and for giving him the respect that she had.

    So everybody gets to live, for now. But I’m not Arturia Pendragon - I don’t have her nobility, or her patience. Given sufficient evidence or provocation, I’ll kill anyone I have to, and make my excuses to her afterward.

    In the meantime, he mused as he headed to the Gryffindor common room, he ought to get some sleep. Judging by the reactions around the school, tomorrow would be a very long day.
    Last edited by Kieran; April 20th, 2011 at 11:31 PM.

  15. #15
    死徒 Dead Apostle RanmaBushiko's Avatar
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    Nice to see this updated again. Hopefully I'll get to see more eventually. Your work is rather enjoyable to read.

  16. #16
    吸血鬼 Vampire
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    War had just been declared.

    Anyways. Been loving the story so far. Can't wait for the next chapter

  17. #17
    吸血鬼 Vampire B.B. Rain's Avatar
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    Outer Delirium, Imagination Planes
    Two points regarging the Ron-Hermione-Galen mess, both recently in-verse and in general...

    First, was she saying 'for me,' as in don't kill him with protecting her from Ron's 'romance' as the reason, or sparing his life as a favor to her, as it seems Galen thinks?

    Second, while I don't personally agree with the following arguement, it might have an effect on Galen's twisted up head. 'If Hermione hooked up with someone so very worng for her with so little going for him in canon, maybe Galen, thanks to his (from his point of view, accurate) low opinion of himself, maybe the original plotline force has lined him up as this Hermione's Ron Weasley.' In other words, without trying to fight through his angsty-I-suck-spiel, maybe he isn't going to get shafted by canon in the romance department...The way he currently thinks, since apparently he's such a horrible, horrible catch (/sarcasm).

    Oh yeah: Is this Rin aware of the Harry Potter verse and/or fiction to any degree from her own preceeding reality?

  18. #18
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    According to most, my own little world
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    Quote Originally Posted by RanmaBushiko View Post
    Nice to see this updated again. Hopefully I'll get to see more eventually. Your work is rather enjoyable to read.

    Quote Originally Posted by Deathtenks View Post
    Anyways. Been loving the story so far. Can't wait for the next chapter
    Thank you both - and hopefully, I'll have the next chapter ready tomorrow.

    Quote Originally Posted by B.B. Rain View Post
    Two points regarging the Ron-Hermione-Galen mess, both recently in-verse and in general...

    First, was she saying 'for me,' as in don't kill him with protecting her from Ron's 'romance' as the reason, or sparing his life as a favor to her, as it seems Galen thinks?
    She has absolutely no idea that Ron's supposed to be anything to her - in all honesty, she finds him annoying, if she thinks about him at all. I forget who brought it up initially, but to paraphrase, it's more a case of, "I don't want to see his blood on your hands."

    Second, while I don't personally agree with the following arguement, it might have an effect on Galen's twisted up head. 'If Hermione hooked up with someone so very worng for her with so little going for him in canon, maybe Galen, thanks to his (from his point of view, accurate) low opinion of himself, maybe the original plotline force has lined him up as this Hermione's Ron Weasley.' In other words, without trying to fight through his angsty-I-suck-spiel, maybe he isn't going to get shafted by canon in the romance department...The way he currently thinks, since apparently he's such a horrible, horrible catch (/sarcasm).
    That will never occur to him - and if it did, he'd be back to outright suicide again. So we'll be glad that it won't, because I really don't want to go through this again after I Obliviated him to prevent it.

    Oh yeah: Is this Rin aware of the Harry Potter verse and/or fiction to any degree from her own preceeding reality?
    I'm honestly not sure. Rin doesn't strike me as the type to read pop fiction - particularly a fantasy work that makes such light of magi. If she has, however, she'd likely only be aware up to Book 5 (released before the Grail War), as studying under Zelretch would've absorbed her available time.
    Last edited by Kieran; May 27th, 2011 at 11:35 PM.

  19. #19
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six lethum's Avatar
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    About 75º west of Greenwich.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kieran in Chapter 1
    (Every protection known to wizardkind, he reminded himself. Save one, for the moment[/i])
    Quote Originally Posted by Kieran in Chapter 1
    [i]You really are a monster, you know. But you’re more afraid of your fists than you are of your fangs. And that doesn’t even count your wand.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kieran in Chapter 2
    Neville thought, three years ago, the idea of Gran crusading for werewolf rights would’ve been silly. Mention that our best Defence teacher ever is a werewolf, however

    Quote Originally Posted by Kieran in Chapter 8
    and perhaps Charms, given Professor Flitwick, Hermione thought. Professor Snape is a Potions Master himself, but isn’t really a very good
    Quote Originally Posted by Kieran in Chapter 8
    Missed some.

  20. #20
    Preformance Pertension SeiKeo's Avatar
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    YES! It has been revived!

    Oh geez, they're all scary.

    Whoa, Dumbledore. Manipulative old bastard.

    Seiba's back!
    Quote Originally Posted by asterism42 View Post
    That time they checked out that hot guy they were just admiring his watch, yeah?

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