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Harry Potter and the Distaff Side
A/N: I own none of this. I do not own Harry Potter or any rights to his image or personality. I do not own the moon or the stars. I do not own human genders, other than my own personal original factory equipment. Honest. Nope, not me. I most certainly do not own the rights to a billion dollar literary work. Damn it.
Pain filling his soul, Harry rolled to the left, and then to the right in his attempt to escape the sickly yellow curse.
It did not work, his only escape came with the Dark Lady Riddle stopped casting.
"It doesn't have to be like this little Potter," the Witch laughed. "Just tell me where Harriet is, and I'll end this quickly."
"Fuck you," Harry whispered as his hand found his lost wand. He concentrated all of his will on the one spell he could reliably perform non-verbally, and summoned Riddle's left kneecap.
The spell was not strong enough to pull the bone from the woman's leg, but it was strong enough to pull the joint forward, destroying the Dark Witch's balance. When her leg flew out from under her, Riddle fell to the ground. Harry gathered his strength and threw himself on top of the woman, landing a solid punch to her jaw, and then encircling her throat with his hands as his knees pinned her shoulders to the ground.
"Like it rough, do you?" Riddle rasped as Harry realized his mistake.
Riddle still held her wand.
A spell flared between them and Harry was flying backwards, hitting the trunk of a massive tree with a grunt.
"I like you, boy," Riddle said as she climbed to her feet. "You don't mind getting your hands dirty. You have a lot of your dimensional twin in you. Maybe I'll keep you after I kill her."
Harry responded with one of Moody's favorites, he twirled his wand clockwise and a cloud of ice daggers leaped from his wand and flew toward the dark witch at high speed. Riddle shielded, but not quickly enough. Three of the ice shards made it past her shield and bit into the flesh of her right arm. She screamed in fury as she lost her wand.
Harry shifted his wand to his left hand and swung his right arm at Riddle's head with all his might, casting virga metallo on the limb as he did so. He lost all sensation in the arm as the transmutation took effect, making it too late to react when Riddle moved from the position he had been aiming at. Despite his target moving, there was a satisfying snap as his now metallic arm impacted into the witch's left shoulder, destroying the joint.
He had missed her head, his real target, but removing her arm from the fight was something.
Riddle screamed anew as Harry managed to pull her down to the ground, her wand snapping under his foot. He rolled so as to put his weight into her destroyed shoulder as they both hit the forest floor. Riddle was wandless, down an arm and screaming in pain as the pair rolled on the ground. Harry pressed his advantage as he waited the seven long seconds for the transmutation of his arm to run its course.
The rolling stopped when Harry's head slammed into a stone protruding from the ground, Riddle climbed on top of him, and when his vision cleared, he discovered that the witch had produced a knife and was aiming the blade at his left eye.
"I'm done playing with you boy," she hissed. "You've hurt me more than anyone has in decades, for that; you've earned a quick death."
Perhaps it was a shadow, perhaps it was a reflection in Harry's eyes, perhaps it was a lifetime of fighting, but something had Riddle throw herself from atop of Harry and vanished, a fraction of a second before his dimensional twin fell from the forest canopy. This caused Harriet Potter to miss the Dark Witch with the short sword, and she was helpless to keep from driving the weapon into Harry's chest to the hilt with all of her weight behind it.
Blanch Dumbledore shot to her feet when she saw the Potter girl kill her dimensional twin, only Anastasia Moody's hand on her shoulder prevented her from rushing to the side of her students.
"We need to get the boy to the hospital wing!" she exclaimed.
"Calm down," Moody growled. "Use your eyes. The boy is still moving."
And he was. The male Potter was trying ineffectually to grasp the blade embedded in his chest.
"She stabbed him through the chest!" Blanch gasped. "How can he still be alive?
"Not a clue," Moody said. "Not a single clue."
"Harry?" the girl asked, panic overriding her reactions. "Harry?"
"Out," the male Potter rasped.
"What?" Harriet asked as she ran her hands over his chest, trying to stem the blood seeping around the blade that pinned him to the forest floor.
"Pull…. It… fucking… out!" he screamed.
The girl tried, but did not have the leverage needed until she braced her knee against his chest and pulled on the sword's grip, using the pommel to keep her bloody hands from slipping. With a wet squelch, the sword came free, and Harry rolled onto his side sobbing.
An uninjured Dark Witch shimmered into existence next to the dimensional twins.
"And what did we learn?" she asked with an evil smile.
"Being stabbed through the heart," Harry noted through his tears, "fucking hurts."
"Well," the shade responded, her smile widening, "yes, but that wasn't really the lesson to be learned is it?"
Harry struggled into a sitting position, his right arm clutched to his chest. "It was the only lesson I currently care about."
"Quit your whinging, Potter," the shade of Voldemort said as he shimmered into the existence. "You know that any weapons created in this room can only cause you pain."
"Yeah," Harry groused. 'only pain."
"It's because you coddle him so that he lost," Riddle snarled.
"He lost?" Voldemort asked incredulously. "It looked to me that he was winning, it was your protégé that failed."
Harri settled onto the ground next to her twin. "I’m a protégé now?"
"I'm more bothered that they argue," Harry suggested. "Merlin, that hurt."
"Sorry," she whispered.
"Don't be," Harry replied. "My fault. I was supposed to keep her distracted." He pointed to the two Riddles of the Room. "Should we be concerned that two magical constructs are arguing with each other?"
"Damned if I know," Harriet said. "Are you sure you're ok?"
The wands had come out between the Riddles, Harry pushed Harri out of the way of a spell and dodged another himself. "We don't need you two any longer today!" he called.
The two Riddles turned their glares from each other to him before they faded from view.
"I think we're going to pay for that next time we train with them," He said as he struggled to his feet.
"Probably," Harriet admitted as she assisted him in standing. "I'm sorry."
"Don't be," Harry repeated shaking his head. "The prophecy likely means you're the one who has to kill the real Riddle. If I can distract her so you can, then we both win. Let's go see what the Headmistress wants."
"What's wrong?" Orestes asked later that night as he massaged his girlfriend's shoulders while the pair lounged on a Gryffindor common room sofa.
"Nothing," Harriet mumbled before sighing. "Everything."
"Well, that covers the extremes," the bushy haired wizard laughed as he maneuvered the girl so she was reclining on top of him. "Why don't you start with the specifics?"
"I killed Harry."
"What?" he gasped, his hands freezing in place on her shoulders.
"Not really. We were training, trying to use the suggestions you and Luna came up with. Combining magic and physical weapons, Harry distracting Riddle so that I could take her unaware," Harri explained. "Harry did his part, he put her in a position I could hit her from behind. I came out of the tree branches with a sword. And she moved."
"If Harry was supposed to be distracting Riddle and she still noticed you, then he didn't do 'his part' very well."
"He did fine Orestes… He fought the Riddle of the Room, wand to wand, and hand to hand for almost an hour of real time," Harriet sighed. "Not that it made any difference. We've fought her eleven times now, and today was the closest we've come to winning… and I stuck a sword through his chest."
"Ouch," the Muggleborn wizard said. "Thank Merlin for the Room of Requirements and its weapons that don't kill."
"Yeah," Harri agreed. "The real world won't be as friendly. We've hurt her, we've even maimed her, but we've never won against her. Not once in eleven tries, Orestes."
"You've come close," he noted.
"Close won't end up with us surviving."
"Harri," he whispered, pulling her closer. "Think about what you're doing. The two of you are fighting against a magical creation, not a real person. It doesn't get tired, it doesn't hesitate, it never doubts itself, it never quits." He was grinning when she looked at him. "You're facing a magical Terminator."
"Thank you so much, Orestes," Harry sighed. "Now I won't be able to look at the Riddle of the Room without hearing Arnetta saying 'A'll be bach'."
"Maybe that's the edge you need," he teased. "Either way, Riddle, the real one I mean, won't have those advantages.
"I'll tell you what we need," Harri said as she snuggled deeper into her boyfriend's arms. "We need a way to get Harry's Voldemort out of the room to fight the Dark Lady. He really hates Riddle and she hates him. Whenever they're in the room together, if they're not distracted by torturing us, it doesn't take long for them to start fighting."
"Really?" he asked in surprise. "I wouldn't have expected that, I mean their goals are the same."
"Oh, yeah," Harry confirmed. "Today they pulled their wands on each other. Maybe the problem is that they're too alike."
"You and Harry are alike," Orestes pointed out.
"No, not really," Harri disagreed. "I mean, sure, we share names, sort of, and our magical signatures are the same, and we have similar goals, but really, personality wise, we aren't all that much alike."
Orestes wondered if she really believed that.
"Lucille…" the broken man rasped as he reached for his wife's body. "No… please… no."
"I try to be reasonable," a woman said. "Really I do. I asked so very little of your parents, Thubani. Get me Harriet Potter. That's all. Such a little thing really. With all the money, Lucille spent buying influence; I would have thought the famous Malfoy family would have delivered the girl to me wrapped in a bow for my pleasure. Instead, they arrived at the hearing late and covered in some purple stain. Was that your fault? There were rumors that they were distracted by you disappearing while at school."
Her eyes wide in terror, Thubani did not know what the Dark Lady wanted to hear, so she said nothing.
"It seems the Malfoy family has come to a crossroads in my service," the woman purred dangerously. "Given the repeated… disappointments I have suffered from your line, I'm afraid that I will only be able to tolerate one of you, Thubani. With your mother dead, the choice comes down to either you or your father. One of you needs to live so that I will have access to your fortune, the other will sadly have to die."
Laughter rippled through he assembled Death Eaters. Thubani fought to keep her composure, tried to be ready to face her death as bravely as her Mother had.
"So, since there is a choice to be made," the Dark Lady's silky voice continued, "I thought I'd allow you to be the one to make it. Which of you will it be, Thubani? Which of you will die and which of you will live? Will you allow your father to live Thubani?"
The girl lost control of her bladder in her terror. She could not make that choice; the Dark Lady could not expect her to make that choice. What was she going to do?
"Time is short little Thubani," the woman hissed dangerously. "If you delay too long, I'll simply kill the both of you and find another volunteer to finance my war against the Ministry. Decide. Decide now."
Tears began to flow as the girl whispered. "I want to live."
"I'm pretty sure that I'm the one supposed to be making the romantic gestures," Luna said as she spread the blanket on the ground.
"Says you," Harry snarked. He sank to his knees on the blanket and looked through the basket before continuing, "Dobby put together quite a spread, I hope you're hungry."
Luna sat beside him and wrapped an arm around his waist. "Famished," she laughed. "And I could eat too."
Harry could not help but grin. "Sounds like I'm going to need my energy, we'd best eat first."
"I guess that makes sense," the girl laughed. "What did your little friend pack away?"
Harry returned his attention to the basket. "Sandwiches, a couple salads under what appears to be preservation charms, bottles of butterbeer," he said. He was then both surprised and amused when Luna was suddenly on top of him, pushing him to the ground. "I thought you agreed we should eat first."
Her silence had him twisting to get a better look at his girlfriend. Seeing her eyes closed and her head lolling, he scrambled from under the suddenly unconscious girl.
"Ahem, ahem," the sound of someone clearing their throat caught Harry's attention.
He whirled to face the new person and spotted a short fat man dressed in robes that appeared to be blue crushed velvet. The odd man was flanked by a pair of women in Auror's robes.
"Harry Potter," the man said. "You are under arrest for crimes against the Ministry."
"The Ministry?" Harry asked, his confusion clear on his face. "What did I do? And why did you stun Luna?"
"Any young woman willing to debase her line with a half blood has no reasonable expectation of safety," the man sniffed.
Harry briefly thought about dropping his wand into his hand and teaching this arrogant Ministry idiot a lesson or two, but that would likely actually be a crime, and besides, Luna would be directly in the crossfire.
"Aurors," the man barked, "take him into custody."
The first five minutes after he had been thrown into the Ministry holding cell, he had been worried. Then the weird little Ministry Man started cackling from outside the cell. He actually cackled. Harry had always wondered what cackling sounded like. It was far more disturbing than the books, where he had encountered the term, had led him to believe.
"Let's see how you like the dark, you disgusting halfblood," the man had called through the sealed door, just before the lights went out.
Harry waited for something to happen.
And waited. Nothing happened. Finally, boredom overtook any anxiety he had built up.
Was this was supposed to be some kind of intimidation?
Whoever had come up with the idea that a dark warm place with a comfortable bed could possibly be a form of punishment had never encountered the Dursleys. More than a small part of Harry somehow found being alone in the dark to be somewhat soothing.
It had taken him almost twenty minutes into his 'interrogation' to recognize the man's voice. This 'Umbridge' fellow had been the one trying to give Harri problems when she had testified before the Wiccegamot. Was this some sort of political revenge against his sister?
Of course it was, he concluded with a sigh. She got the glory, he got the pain.
He rolled onto his side and made a mental note to complain about the fairness of life to his sister sometime. She could probably use the laugh.
It did not take long for him to fall asleep.
Harry woke sometime later. The darkness had not changed, and he had never gotten around to replacing the watch that the lake water damaged in the second task, so he had no idea what time it was, but he was rested, so it was likely several hours later.
It did not take much time for boredom to take over. Boredom had been a near constant companion back in his cupboard and to a lesser extent in the smallest bedroom, so that was not much of a hardship, either. Still, a man needs to pass the time, so he decided to partake of a minor pleasure that living with the Dursleys had always denied him.
Vernon Dursley hated music and punished any attempt to make it. However, Vernon was not around any longer, so Harry, fully aware that he could not carry a tune in a bucket, decided to amuse himself with song.
"Nobody knows the trouble I've seen," Harry sang, marveling at how the acoustics of the cell's stonewalls managed to make his singing sound so good. The reverb was just perfect. "Nobody knows my sorrow. Nobody knows the trouble I've seen…"
Singing this particular song seemed somehow fitting for sitting in a prison cell, at least more so than the half dozen songs that had preceded it. Harry was starting in on the second verse when the door opened unexpectedly, interrupting his solo. Light pouring into the cell through the open door and nearly blinded him.
"Lumos," a quiet voice said, filling the small cell with a dimmer light. Squinting, Harry made out Almanzo Bones stepped inside the cell.
"I was making my weekly rounds of the supposedly empty detention area, and I hear someone singing Muggle songs," the man said. "Imagine my surprise to find you here Mr. Potter."
"Not nearly as surprised as I was when I was thrown in here, Director Bones," Harry responded. "Has someone decided that the joke isn't funny any longer and it's ok if I head back to school?"
"And how did you end up in one of my cells, Mr. Potter?" Bones asked.
"Well," Harry said, "I was minding my own business out for a picnic with my girlfriend on a Hogsmeade Weekend yesterday and two Aurors showed up with this weird little man dressed all in powder blue velvet."
"Umbridge," Bones said.
"Yeah, that's what he said his name was," Harry agreed. "Though, mostly he kept telling me that the Minister wanted me arrested for crimes against the Ministry and impersonating a Wizard."
"Impersonating a Wizard?" Bones asked.
"I don't know," Harry said with a shrug, "I'm just a dangerous malcontent. Ask anybody. They stunned my girlfriend and hauled me off to throw me in here, sometime yesterday afternoon I guess. It is Monday, right?"
"I see," Bones said with a frown. "And it is indeed Monday. Come with me Mr. Potter, regulations say that a prisoner must be at least charged with a crime before they are put in my holding cells. We need to go to my office to find out just how you came to be charged without the order coming across my desk."
"Imagine my surprise," the Headmistress said quietly, "when I returned to the castle by way of a walk around the Black Lake and I found one of my students unconscious in the midst of a picnic spread for two."
Receiving no response, she continued. "Upon awakening, Ms. Lovegood told of being stunned from behind, but she could not remember what she had been doing. My surprise only increased when I returned to my office to find that the School Wards had noted the entry of a trio of Ministry personnel onto the school grounds near where this attack took place, and that they left the grounds twelve minutes later with a fourth person. A search of Hogsmeade and the School found that I had two missing students, Thubani Malfoy, who has yet to return from some unspecified 'Family Business', and Harry Potter. One of the castle Elves reported having provided a picnic lunch for Mr. Potter and Ms. Lovegood, so I began to make inquiries."
"It is, of course, well within the purview of the Ministry to arrest wrongdoers at Hogwarts," she admitted. "Of course, every single instance prior to the one this Sunday past, was accompanied by a warrant issued by the Wiccegamot…"
"Such a warrant would have passed through my office," Almanzo Bones noted, "I am aware of no such warrant being issued."
"Nor am I aware of any such warrant, which is odd, because I would have needed to sign it," Cornelia Fudge said from behind her large desk, "yet the two Aurors you had with you claimed that you spoke of my ordering the arrest of the young man, Delos. Why do you suppose they might be doing that?"
"Potter needed to be dealt with," Umbridge said defiantly. "Both of them. They are destabilizing everything the Ministry stands for. None of you know what they are up to."
"All right," Almanzo said patiently. "What are they up to?"
"I don't know," Umbridge spat. "You released the Potter boy before I could break him."
"I see," Fudge said quietly. "You know what this means, Delos."
"Whatever his punishment might be," Dumbledore interrupted, "will need to wait. First I need to know what you have done to Luna Lovegood, Delos."
The ancient witch rose from her chair and towered over the now cowering man. "I know what I think you did to her, you disgusting little toad, and if I am correct, I will be most displeased with you. The Aurors both reported that you did some sort of memory modification to the girl, and that agrees with what I have observed. You will explain to me just what you did, and how you did it. If I cannot repair the damage you've done, you may well have cost us one of our most effective weapons against the Dark Lady."
"There you are," Harry called as he jogged up alongside Luna. "I've been looking all over for you since I got back."
The girl looked at him for a moment before continuing on her way without a word.
"I'm sorry you got caught up in my mess again," Harry continued without noticing her silence. "It was some Ministry clown trying to mess with Harri through me. What to try the picnic again after class this evening?"
"And why," the girl said, finally breaking her silence, "would I do such a thing with the likes of you ?"
"What?" Harry asked.
"Just get away from me, you disgusting halfblood. Go find yourself a stupid Mudblood, or whatever, but leave me alone."
Harry stood, open-mouthed as he watched Luna walk away.
Orestes Granger was suddenly awake, sitting up in his bed, blinking.
Harri's offhand comment from Saturday had crystalized in his sleeping mind as an idea.
Pulling the bed's drapes aside, Orestes swung his feet over the side of the bed, his feet seeking his house shoes in the darkness, and he made his way to the fifth year boy's washroom. Filling his cupped hands under the spigot, he splashed the cold water on his face in an attempt to pull himself completely into wakefulness.
If he had learned nothing else in the almost five years he had been studying magic, it was that if you could conceive of an idea, it was possible. With that thought in mind, he knew that his idea was at least possible . Extremely unlikely, but possible.
Of course, he had also learned from his association with Harriet Potter than the extremely unlikely happened frequently enough that it was almost common. The fact that his adopted brother was also his girlfriend's dimensional twin proved that easily enough.
This could win the war. If he could get the idea from concept to reality anyway.
His hand cupped his jaw, could he go another day without shaving? Yes.
The idea was dangerous of course, and he would have to take steps to protect everyone from unintended consequences, but…
Orestes glanced at his watch. 4:22 am. The library did not open for another thirty-eight minutes.
Not for the first time in his Hogwarts career, Orestes lamented that the library did not keep hours that were more reasonable.
Still, there was nothing else for it, he decided as he returned to his bed to dress for the day. If he got ready now, he could still be the first one through the door when the library opened.
A/N: Wow. Has it really been four days short of 4 years since I posted the last chapter of Distaff? Sorry about that. From my outline, I've got two, maybe three chapters left. I guess that means I'll be finished sometime in the mid 2020s.