Training and Confrontations


Story Summary:
A sprawling tale set in many places and dimensions, as Harry finds himself, finds his abilities grow, and trains for that final confrontation with Voldemort. A H/L/Hr tale, with N/G, R/T, and a paternal Ron.

Chapter 13

Chapter Summary:
A sprawling tale set in many places and dimensions, as Harry finds himself, finds his abilities grow, and trains for that final confrontation with Voldemort. A H/L/Hr tale, with N/G, Remus/T, and a paternal Ron. Part II continues on a different world.
Author's Note:
Ron and Ginny's appetites; Hermione ponders possibilities; light sexual innuendo at the end of the chapter.

Chapter XIII
May 3, Day 3

Hermione woke up feeling warm and secure. When she realized that the feelings were because she and Luna were snuggled very intimately together, Hermione's eyes went wide and she started to maneuver her way out of the entanglement.

"You don't have to be quite so gentle," Harry said softly, coming out of the small bathroom, dressed to run. "She's usually a pretty deep sleeper."

Hermione blushed and moved her hand off of Luna's arse.

"If you're shy, you might want to pull your nightgown, too," Harry teased.

Hermione blushed more, and pulled it down over her bare hips.

"Hermione, you don't have to be shy," Harry said, "and neither Luna nor I are jealous people. As long as you don't try to split us apart, we can all be as close as you want."

Hermione made some inarticulate noises. Harry leaned over and kissed her cheek. "Sorry, didn't mean to embarrass you, or necessarily mean THAT close. See you at breakfast."

Hermione watched Harry leave.

"You look confused," Luna said, making Hermione jump.

"You're awake!"


"What just happened?"

"None of you realize how important you are to Harry," Luna said.

"What does that mean?"

"Do you know what the power is that Harry will use to destroy Voldemort, in some form or other?"

"No, not really," Hermione admitted.

"It's love, at least in part. Harry has the ability to use love to power his magic. He's a powerful wizard without that, of course. He destroyed two powerful wizards which a curse that should have just severely injured them, and that wasn't done by love. Yet when he realized he really loved me in mid-July, his power jumped, and because there was little else to channel it into, he became more adept at wandless magic than anyone I have ever heard of."

"Yet who has loved Harry before I did this summer? Not in the abstract, and not from afar. Dumbledore might think he would qualify, but he would not as his love is marred from his using Harry. Remus should qualify, but holds back, because that is how he deals with his curse." Luna paused a moment. "He might get better, now that he and Tonks are moving towards each other. Mrs. Weasley just overwhelms him. Ginny scared him a little two years ago, because he wasn't ready for romantic love any more than she really was back then. So, who hugged him and fussed at him and who looked out for him? Who cared for him before I did? Who believed in him, before I did?"

"I did," Hermione said softly. "I . . . I do."

Luna nodded. "He loves you. He loves me. Right now, he loves us differently. It's up to you, if you want that to change that at all."

"Luna, I try very hard to be tolerant of your ideas. . . ."

"Hermione, tell me. While true polyamory is almost unknown outside of literature, is polygamy?"

"No. . . ."

"In fact, would you say that, at one time, it was even common?"

"Perhaps. . . ."

"It is unknown, even today?"

"Well, it is in Britain," Hermione pointed out.

"Well, it's not legal in your old world, but it is probably unofficially practiced even in Muggle Britain. It is far from common in wizarding culture, and many even look down on it, but it is not unknown." Luna shrugged. "At least it's legal in magical Britain, under certain circumstances, if that makes any difference to you."

"But how could any woman with any self-respect. . . ."

"Look into your heart, Hermione. We have lots of time here to decide our paths when we go home; nothing has to be decided this month, let alone today." Luna smiled. "And tell me, are two women in love uncommon in the Muggle world?"

"No, of course not. There's nothing wrong with being gay, but. . . ."

"Why would anyone not a dark wizard think there was anything wrong with someone being happy and care free?" Luna asked with a frown.

"Sorry. That's a Muggle euphemism for homosexuality."

"Oh. So it is accepted in the Muggle world, then?"

"That depends on whom you're talking to. I'd say it's more grudgingly tolerated overall, but there are many people who have very strong feelings against it. Is it different in the magical world?" Hermione had never really inquired into the sexual mores of the magical world.

"Well, some people do joke that that's where hag's come from," Luna admitted, "but aside from that, it's very tolerated, especially amongst witches. There are several powerful sisterhoods where all the members are at least bisexual. Purely homosexual wizards are frowned upon, since they do not perpetuate families, but bisexual ones are moderately tolerated." Luna looked at Hermione. "I know you're attracted to Harry. I think you're also attracted to me."

"I . . . I don't know right now. And you're not suggesting a relationship between the two of us, you're suggesting a three-way relationship between us and Harry."

"True," Luna admitted, "or at least our having a relationship at the same time Harry and I are in a relationship, with you and Harry being very close, if not, as he said, that close. Just think about the possibilities, possibilities that you might enjoy, without fear of censure. Now come on. Let's get dressed and do our hair, so that we may tease Ronald."

"He's going to be touchy about the money," Hermione warned. "He'll know that we know."

Luna smiled. "Yes he will, won't he? We won't have to say a word."

"No Tonks this morning?" Ginny asked Remus. She knew Ron was likely asleep, but Luna and Hermione had just come in.

"She's off running with Har . . . Harold, Astor, and some others," Remus said, eyeing some of the maids serving breakfast. He wanted to keep formal in front of them.

When the last maid left, Hermione asked, "I'm curious, aren't there any house elves here? I mean, I don't like to see anyone in this position, but why would they use people if there are magical elves?"

"There aren't many house elves in this world, not nearly enough to go around. I would expect in a villa like this, and this would be low-average in size, that there might be as few as two or as many as six. They aren't quite enslaved here. They have some rights, and work more on a Hogwarts schedule than, say, a Lucius Malfoy-ordained schedule. Muggles, or as they would say, mundanes, are much more common." Remus shrugged. "In many ways, this is almost a perfect Pure-Blood world. There are very strong taboos against mixed-marriages. They aren't quite illegal for marriages with Squibs or free individuals, but it's close. Half-bloods and Muggle-born are accepted, but unless there is a father who can pay or a sponsor, they don't have an easy time financially."

"How about socially?" Hermione asked.

"That depends in large part of the father or sponsor, and even more on their power," Remus said.

"Why do you keep saying 'the father'?" Ginny asked.

"Because if a witch slept with a mundane, or even a Squib, she had better be powerful enough to protect him," Remus said. "He'd likely be killed."

Remus turned on the grumbling Hermione. "Think back on medieval history. If a lady and a peasant had had sex, what would her ladyship's family have had done to him?"

"Nothing good," Hermione admitted, "and she'd probably be married off in a minute, if they could find anyone, or sent off to a convent."

"No world, no society, is perfect," Remus reminded them. "We're here to study. If you think you're morally superior, then act that way and lead by example."

"Ah. . . ." Luna said, pouring a glass of peach juice, "the most difficult way to influence people."

"Exactly," Remus agreed.

Ron came stumbling in a few minutes later, and looked at them blurrily. "No Harry?" he managed to say.

"He's out running," Hermione said.

Ron walked over to the buffet-style breakfast. "I like breakfasts here," he managed to say. He spooned a large spoonful of oatmeal and another of porridge into a large bowl, adding cream and honey, and then he peeled and diced a dried apple into the resulting mix. He also took four fried eggs, two slices of ham, and a small loaf of bread, which he cut, making two thick sandwiches. With that and a tall glass of milk, Ron sat. "They never invented sandwiches here?"

"Peasants rarely tend towards finger foods in any culture," Remus said drily. "Sandwiches are rather declasse for the wizards, and so the merchant classes aren't likely to make them, either."

"Oh," Ron said. He thought for a moment, shrugged, sloshed some mustard on his bread and then bit into a sandwich.

"That's what I admire about you, Ronald," Luna said approvingly.

"What's that?" they suspected Ron asked, since his mouth was full.

"You do what you think is right."

Ron swallowed. "It's just a sandwich."

"Is that all it is? You refuse to change just to please social norms, because you feel you're doing what you think you should do. It can be a dangerous principle, but in this case, I admire it. Everyone should follow that example."

Ron stared at Luna, and at the blushing Hermione, and decided not to pursue things any further.

A few minutes later, Harry and Tonks came in, still rather sweaty from their run, but cooled down enough to eat. Harry jerked his thumb towards Ron and said to Remus. "I thought you told us Mon, err, two days ago that eating sandwiches were bad manners."

"Wha?" Ron mumbled through the first bit of his second sandwich.

"You remember, in the sauna, err, hot room, when he was giving us the lecture on all the cultural dos and don'ts."


"That was before Ron decided to make sandwiches a statement of personal liberty," Remus teased. When Ron tried to protest, Remus added, "Seriously Ron, if you want to eat a sandwich for breakfast with us, go right ahead. Just not at meals with other people. Alright?"

"Alright," Ron agreed.

"In that case. . . ." Harry said, and proceeded to make himself a sandwich as well, "we'll have to get some sharp cheeses for breakfast tomorrow."

A Brief Interlude Back in London

"Mummy," seven-year-old Joyce Thomas said, "there's a man at the door asking for you or Dean."

"Is it that same man that came by last month?"

"No, Mummy."

"Well, go get Dean, and I'll see who it is."

"Yes, Mummy."

Dean was just coming into the front parlor as his mother opened the door. He heard her say, "Raphael?" and then he saw her fall to the floor.


"And how did our young warriors do today?" Alexander asked.

"As you would expect them to perform, my lord," Alton answered. "There was no real change from yesterday. After all, they were really trying then. Today merely enforced that."

"I see. So, yesterday really was an accurate assessment for all of them?"

"Yes, my lord."

"How did they do with their first practical attempts at apparation, then?"

"Well, none of them splinched," Alton allowed.

"That's encouraging, I suppose," Alexander acknowledged.

"Hermione of course had the theory completely down before we even started today," Alton went on. "Luna wasn't far behind. All of them understood the principles by the time we started the practical lesson today."

"An intelligent group," Marcia suggested.

"True," Alton agreed. "I think the problem Hermione and Harold have is that the idea is still somewhat new to them. They've seen it done, they know it can be done, but can't quite accept it."

"I beg your pardon?" Marcia questioned.

"Remember, the magical world is hidden in their realm," Alton said. "Neither Harold nor Hermione knew of magic until they were nearly eleven. Whereas any peasant child would see us apparating around, the idea is alien to these two."

"The poor things," Marcia said, shaking her head.

"Anyway, remember that except for Hermione, they also weren't expecting to learn this for another year or so. Ginny and Luna are just barely old enough to be taught even here."

"But are they teachable?" Alexander asked.

"Yes, but it might take the full two weeks to get them truly proficient."

"Well, that was why Albus suggested we work them every day," Alexander said with a shrug. In his experience, his distant uncle was rarely more than marginally off in his assessments.

"I had hoped for better," Alton merely said.

"No matter." Alexander turned to Astor. "I take it the peasant exchange went off with no problems?"

"Yes, my lord. Dalton made the exchange, and said that Julius and Lucius were behind the attempt. Both have left the area, although young Telia was left under Dalton's care."

"It's good that the darker Markons have left. Did Dalton mention when they might be expected back?"

"After the Equinox, but before the Winter Solstice. Lucius is expected to lead the Outer Celebration, after all. The younger ones will likely be here for the summer."

"True," Alexander agreed. "Very well, you may inform Dalton that the potions matched, and that we may arrange -- note, may arrange -- for a meeting between young Telia and Luna, along with the Sibyl sometime before the Summer Solstice."

"Yes, my lord."

Alexander frowned. "The travelers leave on December Fifth, correct?"

"Yes, my lord."

"Suggest to Dalton that I would not care to run into his cousins before December . . . Eleventh."

"Yes, my lord."

"Did Dalton mention where Lord Markon is?" Alton asked.

"He is on their estates in Gusar," Astor replied.

"Most of those are on the coast, not just near it, aren't they?" Alexander mused. "I wonder if he's there looking into that outbreak of piracy . . . or if he's behind it."

"You can never tell with the Markons," Alton agreed. "Young Dalton is about the only decent one high in the family these days." He turned to his son. "I know you two have been friends since you started school together, but just remember, he might disagree with much that his family does, but he will never betray them."

"I know, but his family, well, except for Lucius, and Julius whenever he's with Lucius, aren't evil."

"True, but the old lord is nearly a hundred and eighty," Alexander pointed out. "It is up in the air if Dalton's grandfather Gerard will be the heir, or if Lucius or Julius will be named. If it is either of those two, Dalton will be a very compromised situation."

"I understand, my lord."

That night, Neville poked his head out his door into the veranda. He looked up and down, and seeing no one, quietly shut his door and tapped very lightly on Ginny's door.

Ginny opened the door quickly, pulled Neville in, and shut the door.

"Ginny, are you sure. . . ."

"Yes," Ginny stated with total conviction, "I am very certain I know what I want, where I want it, and who I want it with. Are you?"

Neville replied, in a quavering voice, "Yes. . . ."

"My, that sounds loving and romantic," Ginny sniped.

Neville winced. "Sorry. I just wanted to make certain. . . ."

"I said I was certain," Ginny hissed.

Neville looked terrified for a moment, and then said, "Are you nervous, Ginny?"

Ginny scowled, but then admitted, "Alright, yes, I'm nervous."

"So am I," Neville admitted in a soft, gentle voice, "but I don't have any doubts." He held out his hands, and Ginny took them. The moved into a tight hug. "So, if you're really sure, let's go to bed."

Ginny moved back and punched Neville in the shoulder.


"I said I'm sure enough! Now, get in that bed!"

"Yes, dear," Neville said, rubbing his shoulder. Ginny hit hard.

Hermione came out of the shower in her bedroom, drying her face on one of the large towels and just wearing her dressing gown. She liked the sauna, but felt cleaner after a quick shower with soap and lots of hot water than after the slow ritual of the modified Roman bath.

Moving towards the bed, Hermione draped the towel on the door handle to the bathroom, and jumped slightly when she saw Luna sitting on her bed.

"Hi!" Luna said.

"What . . . what are you doing here?" Hermione asked, noticing that Luna was only wearing her light dressing gown and slippers.

"Waiting for you."

Hermione closed her eyes and counted to ten. "Why were you waiting for me?"

"To see if you wanted to join us again tonight."

"I don't think that would be a good idea."

"Why not?"

"I don't want to come between you and Harry. . . ."

"Well, if you mean that literally, we can sleep with whomever you would prefer in the middle."

"You know that's not what I mean!" Luna started to speak, but Hermione interrupted her. "Have you already taken your potion?"

Luna pouted. "This is why I don't want people knowing about the damn potion. No, I haven't. I will take it in about fifteen minutes, when it's time to. I am perfectly sober."

"I'm sorry."

"Hermione, we often disagree about how to look at the world. We can let that come between us, let it drive us apart, or we can try to be friends, even you intimate friend."

"I do want to be your friend," Hermione said. Luna looked at her, and Hermione admitted, "Your intimate friend."

"Good. Now, you are still hurting from the loss of your parents. You want to bury yourself in research and study, because that's how you deal with emotional pain."

"I'm. . . ."

"You're still hurting," Luna said firmly. "It's easy to see; the pain is written across your every expression. Your parents were brutally murdered because of what you are, because of your friendship and support of Harry, and because you prove that a Muggle-born can be better at magic than every Pure Blood in your year, and just about any other year, for that matter."

"I know, but I don't want to talk about it."

"Then just listen for once. You're suffering, and neither Harry nor I want you to suffer alone. We care for you, and want to be with you. This isn't about sex. . . ."

"It's not?"

"Certainly not. Well, not yet, if ever. Hermione, Harry and I have done many sexual things, but I'm still a virgin, and will likely remain so, at least for now."


"Really. You don't have to worry about Harry, first of all because we both know it would be totally out of character for him to try and seduce anyone, let alone force himself on anyone, and second, because we just finished half an hour of passionate oral sex before I came over here."

"I don't want to know that!"

"Sorry. Anyway, we want to hold you. We want to comfort you. And we want to be held and comforted by you."

Hermione said nothing, she just stood, chewing her lower lip.

"We love you." Luna stood and held out her hand.

Hermione sighed, reached out, and took it. Together, they left the room.

Twenty minutes later, Luna snuggled warmly in the middle, the three friends were all asleep.

After tossing and turning for a few hours, mostly thinking of buxom Rora, Ron got out of bed and took a very cold shower.

Back in London, earlier that day

Since the end of the Tri-Wizard Tournament, Dean never went anywhere without his wand. He whipped the wand out of his forearm holster and leapt to his mother's aid as he heard his sister scream.

He found a tall, muscular, well-dressed black man with a shaven head staring at his mother. He didn't seem threatening, but his eyes took in Dean's stance and his wand.

The man raised his hands. "Dean Thomas?"


"I'm Kingsley Shacklebolt. I'm an auror. May I come in?"

Author notes: Comments to reviews and Owls: No, no contraceptive charms for Ron -- Rora is so willing and eager to bed Ron in large part because she wants a magical child and Ron is willing to go along. A contraceptive charm would be deceptive on his part. A Sibyl is more of the head Seer for the region, who's working with the sextet as a favor to her sister. The Dumbledores are only training the sextet as a favor to Albus Dumbledore, but become more involved as they get to know the teens. I was informed that the Latin spelling of stirgil is strigil. Sorry, my Latin diction was at work, and various on-line sites confirmed my spelling when I finished the chapter (not that on-line information is terribly trust worthy -- I'm not the only person who misspells things!)