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Stories from the Vault
The Exchange - Prologue
See notes below.
Cwmgwyn, March 2, 2097
It seemed fitting that the day of the funeral was cold, windy and raining. Despite the weather, an amazing number of people jammed into the old stone church in the village, and then after the service walked silently to the columbarium wall as the brick that constituted Lily Luna’s remains was placed into its opening in the wall.
A slightly smaller number of people gathered at the old manor house, with the number dwindling as the afternoon waned. As the last red-headed relative bent down to kiss his hand before departing, Luna Scamander poured a cup of coffee from the urn on the side table and plopped into the chair beside Harry.
“Hello, Harry Potter,” she said lightly.
“Hello Luna,” Harry replied.
“Could you please take that ridiculous amulet off? I see enough things that other people can’t see; you don’t need to add to my discombobulation.”
Harry did nothing at first, other than scanning the room to see if there were any others remaining. The old man then dug at his neck, fingers finding a fine chain before pulling it over his head. As he did so the appearance of the wrinkled Patriarch disappeared, leaving a much younger body in his place.
Harry draped the amulet’s chain onto the arm of the chair. He bent over and raked his fingers through his dark, thick hair. Sitting back up again, he looked at Luna.
“How long have you known?”
“Oh, probably since Lily Luna’s tenth birthday,” Luna said. “You were hard to look at that day, and it appeared that you’d gone gray over a weekend.”
Harry thought back to that party.
“I’d asked Hermione if you were doing something to your hair.”
“What did she say?”
“She said it was Sleekeazy #7,” Luna said.
“There is no Sleekeazy #7” Harry replied.
“Why didn’t you say something?” Harry asked.
“Because it was none of my business,” Luna said quietly. “It was obvious, to me at least, that you were doing it for Ginny.”
“Ginny didn’t mind until she started to go gray while I still looked like a teenager,” Harry said.
“I imagine that would make her feel insecure,” Luna replied.
“Something like that,” Harry murmured.
The two friends sat in silence for quite a long time, Luna delicately sipping from her coffee.
“I’m so tired, Luna,” Harry said. “Other than you, my friends have all died, and now their children are dying, and after what feels like two lifetimes working at making a difference in the Ministry, nothing’s changed.”
“You rescued so many, Harry, but no one rescued you,” Luna said sympathetically. “I think it’s time that you gave up the Hallows.”
“I can’t,” Harry objected.
“Fiddlesticks!” Luna replied.
Harry glared at her, eyes showing a glimmer of anger.
“I don’t even know where the stone is,” he objected.
“I picked it up in the forest the day you died,” Luna said, tilting her head back as she pulled the end of a necklace out from inside her blouse. Dangling at the end of the chain was a wire cage pendant containing a familiar dark stone.
“You never told me,” Harry said.
“I didn’t have to; you are Master of the Hallows. It’s like a dog, Harry, the Hallows will come when you call.”
Harry leaned back in his chair, concentrating. With a quiet plop, shimmering cloth appeared in his lap, followed by a rather distinct wand, and then the necklace and pendant.
“Sorry,” Harry said, handing the necklace back to Luna. “I didn’t mean to call that one.”
Harry looked towards the windows, an expression of concentration on his face. Luna sat in silence.
“How do I give them up?” Harry asked.
“You just gave one of them up,” Luna said as if explaining something to a child.
Harry bunched up the cloak and handed it to Luna. She smiled, placing the cloak on her lap.
Harry never saw her wand appear, but he heard a whispered “Expelliarmus.”
Luna nimbly caught the Elder wand, placing her original wand over her ear as she gave Wand of Destiny a flick. A luminous smoky animal figure appeared, looked at Harry, looked at Luna, and then swam out of the room.
“Now what?” Harry asked.
“I can only guess, Harry Potter,” Luna replied. “I think you’ll begin to age now, and eventually you’ll die.”
“What about you?” Harry asked.
“My children are grown, my husband has chosen another woman, and other than you, Harry Potter, I find very little tying me to this time and place,” Luna explained. “I’m assuming that there are things that only the Mistress of Death can accomplish; now I just have to figure out what those things may be.”
“Thank you, Luna,” Harry said earnestly.
“It’s the least I could do, Harry Potter, but in another time if you find yourself to be a student again at Hogwarts and you need a date to the Yule Ball, consider asking me.”
Luna summoned her cloak from the rack by the door, tucking the other wand and cloak into hidden pockets.
“I’ll see myself out, Harry Potter, but we will meet again, soon.”
Kokopelli here, this story fragment is not betaed, so adjust your expectations accordingly. One of the HP fanfic variants which is usually not done well is the "Harry goes back in time to fix everything" as it's usually a bad re-do of the seven books of canon. There are a few notable exceptions to this, but most of these stories are not on my "I must read this" list. Some of the exeptions - Nightmares of Futures Past by our own Veridian JBern, and a delightful work in progress The Last Peverel. In this story fragment, Harry is the Master of Death and is not aging, while everyone around him is aging normally. Luna relieves him of the burden of the Hallows and becomes (drum roll please) The Mistress of Death. You'll see in the next installment what she does with these new powers.
As usual, this is a fair-use exercise under USA Copyright law - Copyright (c) 2020 - all rights reserved - email@example.com
JK Rowling owns Harry Potter and his universe, but against the rest of creation, this story is mine.
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