Amelia has a discussion with Augusta, Harry has one with Susan, Ron tests out, but fails where it counts, Harry begins Helen's training, He and Lavender contact Alice's mind and lear4n Dumbledore d...
In the minister’s office, Amelia offered her old friend a seat, poured her some tea and sighed.
“Augusta, I truly hate to cut any traditional privileges, but having anyone able to penetrate the ministry’s wards is unacceptable.”
“Amelia, I understand better than anyone.” The dowager replied. “The ability to create a portkey through these wards was originally intended to prevent attack on the head of the council by disgruntled petitioners or those who didn’t like the results of the meetings. Back then, simply being on the council was rather hazardous, and being head of the council was even more so. The privilege grew from that, and like most, that privilege has became entrenched in tradition. Albus is the only one who’s used it on a regular basis and he only does it to be flashy. He just loves to appear in the middle of the council chambers before the session is about to begin. Personally, I think it’s one of the perquisites that should be eliminated entirely.”
“Not entirely. It does have its uses, but for now, I can’t have the ministry’s wards being compromised in such a fashion. If Harry hadn’t been warned, most or all of us would have died and Albus would be running things again. No. His access must be limited and as he was removed by tradition when the audit was begun, rather than by vote, he still has the authority. If we’re to keep him out, we have to repeal that authority for all chiefs.
“I agree. I have called a special meeting for today to do just that. Once we revoke the permission…lat us say for the next three months, not even he will be able to sneak past the wards.”
That afternoon, with a unanimous vote of the councilors present, the motion was carried. Knowing she might face some severe opposition by Dumbledore’s supporters or Voldemort’s, Augusta had invoked the ‘emergency doctrine’, which was used for wartime decisions. That doctrine required a simple majority vote, rather than the ‘two thirds plus ten’ a normal vote would have demanded. She had also stacked the council with those councilors, who supported both her and Amelia, to ensure there would be no dissent.
The charms were cast to prevent the chief of the Wizengamot from creating portkeys through the ministry wards.
Should it become necessary, the portkey she had already made would see her to and from the council chambers.
Harry called Susan aside after supper that evening. Not unexpectedly, Neville and Hannah came along.
In his office, he seated his guests, and handed them each a short glass of his Glenlivet. He preferred this whisky for this kind of thing, to the magical variety, as magicals had a greater resistance to it’s effects.
Seating himself across the coffee table, he asked: “How are you doing, Susan?”
She blushed and sipped the amber liquid, grimacing at the taste. “I can’t say I’m OK. I’d like to, but I can’t. I wrote Auntie and she wrote back and told me what I was feeling was perfectly understandable. She also told me she was proud to have seen me there. She knows I was one of the people who saved her life. Still, it doesn’t feel good. What if that man had a family? What will happen to them?”
“I can’t say for sure. If they were supporting Voldemort, then they’ll be prosecuted for doing so. If he has children, then they will be provided for. I’ve already arranged for that. If his wife is a Death Eater she will be arrested, questioned and then imprisoned on the continent. Understand this, Susan. Those men aren’t soldiers. They are terrorists, pure and simple. They are murderers, each and every one of them. They do not have a loyalty to any political system, but to the idea that they are somehow better than everyone else on Earth. Each and every one of them has murdered, tortured and raped. That’s how they earn their mark, actually. Even if that was his very first mission, he still tortured, raped and murdered at least one person, and he was at the ministry that day, to murder even more. That may sound harsh, but if a society is to flourish, then people must be accountable for their actions. That you hurt is actually a good thing.”
“Susan, if you didn’t feel horrible, it would mean you were as evil as Voldemort. He feels no remorse, no pity. He doesn’t care who he hurts. He only wants power. Voldemort wants to rule the world, but he really couldn’t care less about the people he rules. He sees people as playthings…toys for his amusement. His death eaters are no better, really, except they don’t seem to realize that he holds them in the same contempt as the rest of the world. He justifies his aims as being his ‘manifest destiny’ or something of the sort. He’s powerful so he should rule. In fact, he once told me: “There is no good or evil. There is only power and those too weak to seek it.” He was wrong, Susan. Power…of whatever sort, should always be accompanied by responsibility.
His attitude is why so many governments are mired in corruption. Too many people with the power are unwilling to accept the responsibility of their posts, so they only use their power to stay in power.
They want the privileges and the perks of their offices, but don’t want to have to work for them, so they pay people who make sure they stay in their comfortable positions without actually earning the post. That’s why we have MP’s who’ve been in Parliament since the Great War. That’s why the Americans have so many congressmen and senators who die in office. Unfortunately, we of the wizarding world, are no different.
That’s one of the reasons I began this little revolution. The ministry had grown so corrupt it wasn’t able to support itself anymore, and it certainly didn’t support the people it was supposed to. The Death Eaters were filling Cornelius Fudge’s pockets with gold and his mind with the blood-purist propaganda. That’s how so many of them got off by claiming ‘Imperius’, the first time. They had so much influence over him; he wouldn’t visit the loo without Malfoy’s say so. Thank God for your aunt! Amelia was exactly the person we needed, but I had to get Fudge sacked first. I was lucky. He made it easy.”
“Harry, you’re getting off topic.” Hermione cautioned. “Who would have thought it? My husband is a social reformer!”
“Very funny, Hermione.” Harry growled. “But you’re right. I have gotten off track. Susan, you feel terrible because you’ve taken a life. That’s understandable…laudable even. The only good thing about that man’s death is the fact that he’ll never harm another living soul. He’ll never kill, maim, torture, rape or cause someone to be killed, maimed, tortured or raped ever again.”
He sighed. “I wish I could take the pain away, Susan. Really I do, but I can’t. All I can tell you is that because of our actions that morning, our world is safer, more secure now that those Death Eaters are no longer part of it.”
They sat in silence sipping their whisky until Winky appeared and told them to go to bed.
In bed, he sighed again. “I might have to keep Susan back.”
“Hmmm?” Hermione had just entered the room wearing a robe.
“I’m not going to risk her dying. If she cannot bring herself to take a life, I’ll have to leave her behind.”
Hermione’s response was purely non-verbal. She shed her robe and climbed into the bed with him. Once there, she climbed on top of him and whispered: “You’re a good man, Harry.”
Then she showed him just how good.
In little Hangleton, Voldemort grimaced in pain. His headache had been hanging on for weeks but every night or so it seemed, it got worse. He tipped the little brown bottle to his lips, only to find it empty. His other bottles were also empty. Summoning the first two Death Eaters to hand, he ordered him to locate more of the elixir quickly or suffer his wrath.
They returned in less than ten minutes, for they knew exactly where to buy the stuff, but for him it had been an eternity. Maddened by pain he cast the Cruciatus at all and sundry. One Death Eater died. Another would be of no further use, as his mind was gone.
On the seventeenth, as the students were dispersing from breakfast, Harry called out to Ron: “It’s time to test out, mate.”
Ron looked shocked for a moment but then his face was made entirely of grin. Several of the other nearby also grinned. Luna smiled softly and headed to the small room they’d been using. She knew Harry would test Ron here, and understood she’d have to be present for the difficulties she had foreseen.
Harry beckoned. “Come with me.” and led his friend to the room that was all too familiar to the redhead.
“This is going to be a long test, Ron. This test out is both to advance you to Ataru, and to revise your knowledge of Shii-Cho, Makashi and Soresu.”
As was his habit, Harry began to call out stances and styles. Ron, once he forced himself to focus, assumed the required positions and began to move in accordance with Harry’s orders.
Fifty minutes later, Harry nodded in satisfaction. Luna had taught him well. He still made some errors but overall, he was doing well enough to advance.
“OK, Now we duel.”
They exchanged their lightsabers and checked and double-checked the power settings, before assuming a dueling stance. Unlike the last time, it didn’t go well. Harry pushed as hard as he thought safe, but Ron wasn’t performing to combat requirements.
Ron had gotten better, there was no doubt about that, but Harry took the three bouts with little effort. For all his improvement, Ron still wasn’t taking this seriously enough! He performed the necessary movements but lacked the intent behind the strikes.
Harry gave him one more chance.
“Ron, fight like I’d just called Ginny a slag.”
“Ron instantly turned red and attacked with an uncontained rage. He was ferocious, but still, Harry knocked his blade from his hand. Instead of ‘calling’ the weapon back to him, Ron dove after it. Harry summoned the weapon and ended the bout by yelling: “That’s enough!” and pushing the force into his command.
Ron rolled to his feet, glaring death at his friend.
In a stiff voice, Harry said: “When you can tell me what you did wrong, you can have this back.” He took the lightsaber and left the room, leaving an angry Ron pacing he room.
Luna watched sadly from the mezzanine, as her friend and lover sulked.
“Ronald” She said. “This is serious business. You have to take it seriously. Harry is trying to ensure none of the people he loves, dies. You’ve performed well enough to advance, but you still neglect a most vital part of your training. I’ve told you a hundred times, you must learn to control your temper!”
“I know. I’m sorry. But when he called Ginny that…well, I just…”
“You just leapt to a conclusion. He never called Ginny a slag. He wanted to see how aggressively you would fight if he had. Instead, you assumed he did, and you lost your temper and with it, your control. I was watching you Ronald. Your attack was uncoordinated and clumsy, and had it been a real battle, you would have died. That’s what he was trying to show you. As a result, he has your lightsaber.”
Ron was waiting outside the office when Harry arrived.
“Come in, Ron.” Harry palmed the security pad and opened the door.
Inside he gestured to the settee.
“I’m advancing you to Ataru. You’ve earned that.” Harry announced. He wasn’t happy, but Ron had become sufficiently proficient in the first three forms, and it wouldn’t be fair of him not to allow Ron to wear the blue tabs of the fourth form.
Ron’s face split again, but Harry ignored his elation. He tapped Ron’s shoulder tabs and changed them from emerald to sapphire.
“However”, he added in an implacable tone. “You still have a problem with your temper. Have you been meditating?”
Now, Ron was nervous. “Ummm…yeah.”
Harry could tell he was…if not lying, at least not telling the entire truth. He’d have to discuss this with Luna.
“Alright. I believe this is yours. He handed the lightsaber over. “But I want you to schedule more meditation time. You need the control.”
Harry took Luna aside. “He’s doing better, but I can’t have him on this mission if he's unable to focus. What can we do?”
“Since he’s up to date in his forms, I will help him work on his focus and concentration. Perhaps he’s ready to build his own lightsaber?” She phrased it as question, but Harry knew it was really a request. He sighed. He really didn’t think Ron was ready to build such a dangerous weapon, but Luna was right. He had progressed to the level where he’d had the others build their weapons. It wouldn’t be right to deny him this. Sighing once again, he nodded his head.
Luna flung herself at him in a rib-cracking hug, before dancing off to tell Ron.
Hermione walked into the office. “Are you sure about that, Harry?”
After lunch on the eighteenth, Harry spoke to Lorelei.
“How is she doing?”
“Considering the trauma she was subject to, I’d say she was doing remarkably well. You were there when she needed you. You helped her, comforted her and brought her to a safe place, and you brought her parents to her. I think those actions were what kept her from breaking entirely. She’s still damaged. There’s no doubt about that, but with time, and patience, I believe she will recover.”
“Can I start her training?”
As long as there is no violence attached to that training, I believe you can. Just no weapons. Not yet.
“OK.” Harry replied. Relieved that the girl was in no immediate danger of becoming a Sith. “I know Judith has been talking to her and they do Tai-Chi and meditate together, but I want her to begin to use the force to calm her mind, unfortunately in doing that, I’m going to have to make her face and accept her memories.”
“You must tread carefully, there. It's easy to make a mistake.”
“I intend to. I’ll ask Hermione to help. Helen likes her.”
“That should suffice. Just don’t push too hard. Listen to your feelings. They’ll not lead you astray.”
Bidding Lorelei good-bye, Harry decided to visit the kids. Arriving in the family wing, he found Kyle and Sarah waving foam bats like lightsabers. Each was dodging and striking at the other and both had chalk marks on their bodes. To one side, Doreen was laughing herself silly.
“Where did you get those?” Harry chuckled, pointing at the thick foam shafts. They’d been set into lightsaber hilts, most likely by Stokes.
“They’re a tool for anger management therapy. I spoke to Judith and she arranged for us to get them. That house-elf Stokes set them into the handles so the kids can get used to them. They can bat away at each other all they want and never hurt themselves.”
“I like it. And the chalk?”
“Well at four years old, they’re always claiming they did or didn’t hit and so, I asked for a way to mark them when they had. This way I don’t get the constant: “Did not, did so, did not, did so!” She singsonged the last.
“I like it!” Harry laughed.
That afternoon’s lesson was in levitation. When Kyle complained that the subject was boring, Harry bopped him on the nose with the ball.
Suddenly it wasn’t so boring at that. Kyle went after Sarah who returned the favor. Shrieks and peals of laughter filled the room, as each of them tried to bop the other and at the same time keep from being bopped.
They bopped and dodged until they were worn out.
Harry gave some instructions for further practice, and then left for his most important appointment.
Calling for Winky he asked where he could find Helen.
She directed him to the pool.
Harry found Helen in the pool with Judith. He changed his clothing and dove in with them. Judith greeted him with a smile and Helen swam over and gave him a heartfelt hug.
Returning the hug, he said: “Your Jedi training will begin in July.”
“Really?” Helen’s eyes went wide. The smile on her face was even wider.
“Really, really. I’ve been speaking to your therapists and they’ve told me you’re ready.”
“So I get to start using a lightsaber?”
“Not for a while.” At her pout, he added: “The first thing we have to do is teach you to calm your mind, and then we have to get you into physical condition. Before you object, I started the rest of them out like that too. Just ask Judith. For the first month, I had them going through a training course that only Mackenzie liked…but he was SAS! It was only after they’d gotten to the point where I knew they weren’t gonna die on me, that I introduced them to the lightsabers. Even then, they did five years training in less than ten months, but they know we’re at war. Your training will begin after the war is over, and so, we won’t have to take it nearly as fast.”
“What if I…”
“You can progress as fast as you feel capable, but you still have to focus on your magical training. Without that training, you won’t be able to control your magic and that could lead to a disaster. Do you understand me?”
“From here on in, you will be combining both magical and Jedi techniques, and the first of them is to help you to calm your mind.”
Helen smiled and nodded.
“All right.” He turned to Judith. “When you’ve finished here, send Winky and I’ll come to your flat. I can start to teach Helen the meditations there.”
“Good enough, Harry.” Judith smiled at him.
Harry hoisted himself from the pool and went to take a shower.
The last thing he heard from the pool was Helen asking why his back was covered in scars, and Judith telling her that his guardians had been horrible to him.
An hour later Winky popped into the office to find Harry and Hermione cuddled up on the settee, snogging. She politely cleared her throat…twice, and when that didn’t work, she threw some beanbags at them.
Harry caught one and deflected the other, and rolled from his position to find Winky standing there, glaring, with her tiny hands resting on her hips.
“You has asked Missus Judith Granger to have Winky come get you when Miss Helen Dawson was back in their chambers.” She chided. Both Harry and Hermione flushed at being caught out, but Harry more so, because he’d forgotten his instruction.
Sighing at the intrusion she said: “Thank you, Winky. I’ll be there shortly.”
“After Winky popped away, Hermione pulled him back down and whispered: “We’ll be there shortly!” Another few deep kisses, and they stood, arranged their clothing, and left for the family wing. Along the way, Harry explained what he wanted to do. Hermione immediately volunteered to help.
They found Helen in the Granger’s flat. Since Harry had wanted to keep her in the castle, but he didn’t want her to be alone, he’d asked Judith to take her in. Her room was accessed through an arch that hadn’t been there before. Dobby’s doing, Harry thought.
As they entered they found themselves under attack by a blond haired missile. Helen latched onto both Harry and Hermione trying to break them in half with her embrace.
For the first time, Hermione discovered what her ‘who needs a chiropractor’ hugs, felt like on the receiving end.
Judith just stood there laughing.
When they had finally prized the excited girl off, they settled to the mats Judith had laid down, and crossed their legs. Judith joined them and Helen sat at the forth corner.
Harry began: “Today, we’ll begin the first of many sessions in meditation and emotional control. To be a Jedi is to make a commitment to peace and tranquility. You cannot mediate a conflict if you are conflicted yourself, and right now, Helen, you are conflicted.
Hermione and I are going to join our minds to yours and together, we’re going to delve into your fears, and see if we cannot overcome them. This is going to be painful, Helen. It’s going to hurt a lot. You are going to have to revisit the day that bastard tried to rape you.” Harry saw Helen’s eyes fill with tears, and he hated himself. Still, he had to do this. Everything hinged on her accepting the events of the month before, and putting them behind her. If she carried that pain with her, even the slightest, it would fester and finally, erupt. If she was armed with a lightsaber when it did, the results would be disastrous.
“I’m sorry, but because of your unique abilities, it’s absolutely critical that we do this. You must face, understand and accept your memories. As hard as that is, as horrible as those memories are, you must make peace with them. Once you’ve done that, you can put them into the past where they belong.”
Harry and Hermione gently joined their mind to Helen’s and together they delved into her memories of that horrible day, that day when a bunch of supremacist bigots tried to take away her humanity.
The session was filled with pain and terror, and lasted through the night and well into the next morning. Harry and Hermione sat with Helen, and directed her carefully to isolate the memories and then begin to take them out and examine them one by one. Judith’s patient training in meditation over the past month, had established the basic foundation for Helen’s mental organization. Hermione provided the mother figure Helen wanted, when the memories got to be too much, and Harry was the firm but caring instructor.
Each memory seen was a memory dealt with. Helen wanted to blame herself for not heeding her peer’s advice, for going to the library alone, for not fleeing when Malfoy first appeared. Between them, Harry and Hermione gently corrected those ideas. There was nothing wrong with wanting to explore the castle, and while it was preferable to have someone close by, Hogwarts was supposed to be safe. Finally, Malfoy wouldn’t have allowed her to escape. She learned that Draco had been that way for at last six years and probably longer, and wasn’t about to change his ways.
Then they went into the actual abduction and attempted rape. Here it got harder. A lot harder! Helen wanted to shy way, and it was only the presence of both Hermione and Harry in her thoughts that prevented her from doing just that. They didn’t force, but wrapped her in mental comfort and urged her to watch the memories and deal with them. Together, they showed her how to call upon the force to help her calm herself, when the memories became too painful.
By the end of the session, they were exhausted, and Helen was totally wrung out. Hermione taught her how to isolate those memories and lock them away until the next session, and then they retreated from her mind. Judith found them all cuddled into a ball on the floor, sleeping soundly.
Chuckling, she took a picture before asking Winky to help put them to bed. When the elf looked puzzled as to which bed, Judith told her to just take them into her bedroom and plop them onto the large bed there. If they slept past that evening, she and Mackenzie could find another bed for the night.
They woke several hours later, with Helen snuggled between them. Harry discovered he was in pyjamas rather than the uniform he’d worn the previous evening. Looking up he found Hermione grinning at him. She understood what had happened and suspected her mother of complicity.
On the afternoon of the twentieth of May, as Harry passed the infirmary, Lavender called out: "Harry?"
“What’s up, Lavender?”
“Harry, I want to try to contact Alice. We’ve been able to get through Frank’s shield on a regular basis, and I think it’s time to see if she’s in as good shape as he is.”
By ‘shape’ she meant ‘sane’.
“Well, I was hoping to wait until this was over but…”
“Harry, waiting isn’t going to do anything. If she’s whole, we need know, and we need to let her know we’re out here.”
Lavender led him to the small room where Frank and Alice lay sleeping. There were comfortable chairs by the sides of the beds and a rack of calming draughts in sealed containers waiting for them. They picked up one each and sat, placing a hand on Alice’s forehead.
As one, they downed the calming potions and sank into their meditations.
It wasn’t by any means ‘easy’, but given their long practice with Frank’s shield and her dedication to breaking through, Lavender was able to force her way through the Cruciatus barrier around Alice’s mind.
The reception they got was considerably different from the en Frank had given them.
“Well, it’s about bloody time!”
A blond woman with a round face stormed up to them.
“Have you any idea how long I’ve been trying to get someone out there to try to penetrate that damned shield!?”
Alice stopped where she was. “Wh…what?”
“It’s been fifteen years, Alice. It’s the twentieth May, nineteen ninety-seven. I’m Harry Potter. This is Lavender Brown, she’s an apprentice healer assigned to your care.
“Fifteen years?” Alice turned white. In a tiny voice she asked: “Neville?”
“He’s fine. His gran took care of him.”
“Then I’d say he was anything but fine!” She shot back with a bit of heat. “Augusta never liked me. It seems my family’s blood wasn’t ‘pure’ enough. She wanted Frank to marry that slag, Artemissa Carian!”
“Alice, that was the past. Things have changed for the better. Augusta loves Neville with all her heart. More importantly, Neville loves her as well.”
“Really?” Alice was shocked. The old dowager she’d known had never shown her the slightest affection. She’d accepted that Frank had chosen her, but always seem to treat it as some kind of horrible mistake.
Harry interrupted her musings. “We have a limited time here before the potions we took have worn off. We have to be on the other side of that shield before then. We’ve been through the shield without the potions, but it takes too long to recover from the effort, so we try to avoid it.”
Harry could almost see the wheels in Alice’s head turning. “Alright. I understand. What do you need to know?”
“What was the last thing you recall before you ended up in here?”
“The Deez who’d attacked us Bellatrix, her husband and his brother, and one more I don’t know, had just been hauled away. Frank was still unconscious and Albus Dumbledore was holding a wand on Neville. He was doing a binding! Where is Neville? Has the binding been removed?”
“Neville was sent to Augusta, and not until recently. I discovered the binding because Ol’ Mister Twinkles placed one like it on me. Through a series of events that is rather hard to believe, the binding on me was broken, and last July, I was able to recognize the one on Neville. We’ve been friends for the past six years.”
“Six years? You were supposed to have grown up together. What happened to Sirius?”
“Dumbledore had him sent to Azkaban…ostensibly for betraying my parents to Voldemort.
“That’s ridiculous! Peter was the Secret keeper…Dumbledore knew that! I was there. I watched him perform the Fidelus.”
“Dumbledore needed an expendable weapon to use against Voldemort.” Harry ignored Alice’s involuntary shudder at the dark bastards name. “Since he’d been unable to swat that particular pest, he decided to ‘nudge things along.’ He made up that stupid prophesy, ensured Snivelly heard and reported it to his master, and then when it was time to select the secret keeper, he made damn sure Sirius got it into his mind to ‘prank’ the dark lord. My thought is either behavioral compulsions or perhaps the Imperius. As a result, Sirius convinced dad that it was better to run a double blind. He’d play decoy while Wormtail was safely tucked away.”
“So Peter was the traitor?”
“Worse. Wormy was a Death Eater.”
“No!” Alice’s face grew pale in horror. So many people dead…how many had died because the rat had sold them out?
“Mmmhmm. Sirius went to Wormy’s place that night to check up on him. He found the place empty. Since there was no sign of a struggle, he could only assume the rat had gone willingly. He flew his motorbike to Godric’s Hollow to warn my parents, only to the place already destroyed and Hagrid there with orders from Dumbledore to take me to Surrey to…”
“NO!” Alice was horrified. “Not them! Lily told him about them!”
“Mmmhmm. He wanted me to be as beaten down as possible, and what better way, than to be raised by child abusers? Anyway, Sirius tracked the rat down to the middle of Manchester, but before he could snatch the rotten bastard, Pettigrew set him up. He shouted out that Sirius had betrayed my folks and then blew up the street. The explosion killed a dozen mundanes and the Aurors arrived just seconds later to find a huge hole in the street, a hysterical Sirius Black and no Pettigrew. Crouch Sr. didn’t bother to ask questions, and Sirius spent the next twelve years in Azkaban.”
Alice looked like she wanted to cry. As much as Harry wanted to let her alone, he needed information and Alice was apparently the one who could give it. Mentally he kicked himself for delving into Frank’s mind first.
“Well here’s what we’ve discovered. You were attacked by the Lestranges and Barty junior…”
“Crouch?” Alice asked in horrified realization. “Bartemius Crouch Junior?”
“That’s the one.”
“Oh, I’ll bet that didn’t go over well!”
“Nope, but that’s another story. According to Dumbledore you were tortured to insanity. He had you sent to St. Mungo’s. The diagnosis was ‘overexposure to Cruciatus’.
“Tripe. He knows Cruciatus doesn’t work like that.”
“So we suspect. But who are people going to believe? The wizarding world doesn’t have the greatest record where independent thought is concerned, and he is, after all, the great and powerful Wizard of Oz.”
Both Lavender and Alice snickered at the name.
“I suspected you might be in danger of further…‘Dumbleference’, so I spoke to Augusta and she had you transferred from St. Mungo’s to my training facility here at Potter Castle.
A few weeks ago, Lavender came to me with an idea she had. She told me you were far too aware of your surroundings to be as bad off as you were thought to be, and suggested I use the force to try to contact one of your minds. I chose Frank, because he seemed stronger. Now I know I should have chosen you. I found a way through the barrier and discovered Frank, you and baby Neville all living in a rather pastoral mindscape. We had this same discussion there, and not surprisingly…now, anyway…the you there, asked many of the same questions. If he can hold your memory in such detail, I’d have to say that man really loves you.”
“So what happened after you saw Dumbledore binding Neville’s magic?” Lavender asked. She was taking notes on a piece of parchment. Harry wondered how much of that she could access when she returned to the outside world.
“Albus had finished binding Neville, and was casting a spell I’m not familiar with on Frank, when he noticed I was aware of him. He looked at me and said it was for the greater good. Then he sent something at me and I blacked out. I woke up here.”
“Can you tell me anything he said? Any incantations, wand movements…anything at all?”
“No.” She sighed. “I’m afraid not. He hit me too quickly…but, if my condition is as you’ve said, he must have been rushed. Maybe he knew somebody was coming. For whatever reason, he must have missed something. I think that’s what allowed me to observe at least some of the world around me.”
“It’s my opinion he cast the shields around your minds…yours and Frank’s.” Harry spoke now. “It strongly resembles the Cruciatus curse. It’s painful as all hell, and damn hard to get through…” Lavender nodded fervently at this. “…but it can be got through. My solicitor Carolyn also discovered that it was his orders that you weren’t to be investigated. No treatment whatsoever. You were simply fed, cleaned, exercised, and that’s it.
“Why would he do that?
“Long story. The short of it is that Albus Toodamnmanynames Dumbledore is not as bright and shiny as he wants people to think. He needed a sacrifice to destroy Riddle…”
“You know him better as Voldemort.” Alice gave the obligatory shudder. Harry sighed. “It’s just a name. A made up name.”
“What do you mean?”
“Do you honestly think any parent would name their child Voldemort? “ Harry adopted a ‘proud daddy’ look and spoke in a announcer’s voice: “Hey Jim, how’re you doing? This is my son, Flight from Death! He’s gonna be a dark lord!”
Despite themselves, both Lavender and Alice giggled. Grinning, Harry continued.
“His name is an anagram of Tom Marvolo Riddle. His father was a muggle named Tom Riddle Junior.”
“Oh.” Alice murmured. “I never knew that.”
“Not many people do. He’s gone out of his way to prevent that little bit of news from getting to the pureblood idiots who follow him. Anyway, Albie needed a way to destroy Riddle, whom he’d developed into a weapon to destroy his best mate Grindelwald. I reckon Riddle found out, and said: “Thanks but no thanks.” and dropped off the face of the Earth, just before Ol’ Twinkles would have shoved him onto the front lines. Albie had to deal with his old pal on his own. He lucked out.
Twenty years later the sociopath had graduated into being a full-blown psychotic and viola! The dark lord cometh! The problem is, Voldemort…” Again the shudder came. Harry sighed, rolled his eyes, and continued. “Voldemort turned out to be both more powerful than Dumbledore, and a whole lot darker than Grindelwald, and Dumbley knew he wasn’t good enough to take him out by his ownself, and so, the story starts anew.”
“That makes a frightening kind of sense.”
“God knows, I wish it didn’t. My parent’s didn’t need to die, and you sure as hell didn’t deserve…this!” Harry spread his hands expansively, as if to encompass everything around them.
“Alright.” Alice spoke in a soft whisper. “So what now?”
“Well, Lavender is your healer and so she’ll be trying to come through every day or two. Either I, or my wife Hermione, may accompany her, but we do have a couple of dark lords to destroy.”
“OK, I can see Dumbledore, but who’s the other one?”
“WHAT??” Surprisingly enough, there was no shudder. Harry smirked.
“Yeah. It turns out that when I killed him before, he wasn’t quite as dead as everyone would have liked. Dumbledore knew this and arranged circumstances over the past six years so I would have to face him again…and again…and again!”
“Mmmmhmmm. Harry swept aside his fringe and showed her his famous scar. “He came after me first. It could have been Neville, but he decided to take out the half-blood first. What luck.”
“Maybe he thought you, as someone with a foot in both worlds was the greater threat.”
“I was a baby. What could I do to him, spit up on him? Shit in my nappy?”
“I don’t know, Harry. We did know he came after you first. We just don’t know why.”
“Actually, I have an idea. You see, the Potters are the most direct cadet branch of the Gryffindor line. Longbottoms are the second most direct line. There are also the Prewetts, Bones’, Meadowes, Dearbornes, Jones’, and a bunch of others. All of which are either gone or only have female heirs. More than that, somewhere along the line…is Dumbledore.”
Alice gasped. “You think he arranged for Vol…Vol…de…mort…” Alice really struggled to get the psychotic terrorist’s name out. Harry was proud of her. “…to kill off the other cadet lines so the Dumbledore line would be the senior one?”
“I can only suspect, but it does stand to reason. He’s avaricious as all hell. As Lord Gryffindor, I know that Godric’s vault contains some nice manuscripts. Imagine how that could boost his reputation.”
“Given what you’ve told me, I’m afraid to.” She paused. “So now what?”
“We have to figure out what this shield is and how to break it.
“Though I hate to be so brutal, if this is a spell he cast, and I believe it is, when he dies, the spell will break.”
“What if he only loses his magic?”
“Well…” Alice mused. “That should work too, but unfortunately, that’s impossible.”
What do you mean?”
“I’ve devised a means of draining away Dumbledore’s magic. In about three months, or so, he’ll be a squib.”
“How’s that possible?”
“Let’s just say a friend from a galaxy far, far away gave me some information. I’ve made good use of it.”
“Huh?” Alice was suddenly not so certain about her visitor’s sanity.
Harry paused, then said: “It’s time for us to go. Listen, Alice. I’m not going to tell Neville about this, until this mission is over.”
He held up his palm at her incipient objection. “As I told Frank, I can’t. Neville has volunteered to go on the mission with me…he insisted, actually. He told me a Longbottom has stood by a Potter since the time of the founders. I’m proud to have him by my side, but if I tell him, he’ll be too worried…”
“About us. Alice finished the thought. “He’ll be focusing on me and Frank instead of on the mission.”
“Ep!” Harry touched his nose. “In this kind of mission that lack of focus could well kill him. I won’t let that happen.”
“I take it the mission is to kill Voldemort?”
“And all his Deez.”
“And you’re going to use those?” She pointed to the lightsabers she’d just noticed, hanging from both Harry’s and Lavender’s belts.
Harry pulled his weapon from his belt and thumbed it to life. Its emerald blade erupted from the emitter and settled into its usual hum. Now Alice was concerned for her own sanity!
“Mmmhmm. Ol’ Snake lips doesn’t know about them. He’s heard rumours that I have a magical sword, but he knows nothing at all about it.” Harry shut the lightsaber down and re-belted it.
“The power the dark lord knows not, huh?”
“Unless he’s a fan of Star Wars.”
“Not bloody likely.”
Harry and Lavender walked slowly from the infirmary heads bowed over her clipboard, when Hermione bumped into them.
“Heya, Harry!” She chirped. “I have an announcement for you.”
“An statement of importance that was hitherto unknown to the recipient.” She quoted.
Lavender giggled and Harry just stared.
“Oooh Kaaay. No more ‘Airplane!’ for you! So, what’s the news.”
“We don’t have to practice making a baby anymore.”
Harry instantly got the idea, and Lavender ‘squee’ed’ long and loud.
With a grin, wide enough to show his back teeth, Harry gasped: “Really?”
Harry grabbed his wife and pulled her into a soul-searing kiss. Lavender fanned herself as the two lovers shared their love.
From the look of it, they weren’t about to stop anytime soon and she did have things to do.
“Erm if you two want some privacy…” She hinted. Harry’s hand just flapped at her.
“Or…Maybe I could sell tickets. After all, we haven’t had much excitement in a while. Maybe a nice pornographic exhibition will make people concentrate on their business.”
This time Hermione’s hand flapped.
“OK, but don’t say I didn’t warn you!”
The next thing they knew, someone had doused them with icy water. Whirling in outrage, they found themselves face to face with Judith, Mackenzie Ginny and Lavender. All were grinning madly.
Harry looked about as irate as Ron had been three days before.
“Before you get too upset…” Judith laughed. “I’m pretty certain you two were just about to drop your clothing. I really, really, really didn’t think you wanted to become the stars in most of your students erotic fantasies!”
Both Harry and Hermione nearly burnt out their blush bulbs.
Judith took Hermione by the hand and led her away for a…chat. Mack just looked at Harry with an odd expression. Harry was about to ask what it was about, when the man smiled. “Let’s go have a drink, Harry.”
Harry suddenly wished he had some paperwork to door a schedule to revise…or even performance reports to look over, but alas, he was current on all the administrative tasks that come with running a school.
He trailed along behind Mack, like a prisoner facing his execution.
With Dobby’s help, they found themselves in a small pub in Edinburgh. From the plaques, banners, faded photographs, and other paraphernalia Harry decided this must be a ‘soldier’s bar’.
He was right. Mack was greeted by many of the patrons, with smiles and casual salutes. At the bar, the publican looked askance at both him and Harry, their uniforms and most especially their lightsabers.
“Mack” He began. “Ain’t this’un a bit young to join up?”
“Not at all, Sarge. This is Harry, my son in law.”
“Little Hermione got married?” The large man gaped. A second later, he had Harry by the collar, and hauled him over the bar. “You knock her up, boy?”
Overcoming his surprise, Harry leaned into the force gripped the large man’s wrist and bent it backwards. “If I break this, it’ll take you four months in a cast and another three learning how to use it again. Let me go.”
Grunting in pain, ‘Sarge’ released him. When he’d reseated himself, he answered: “As a matter of fact, yes. She told me just today. We’ve loved each other for the past six years, been with each other for nearly a year and we got married on the first.”
“OI!” Yelled one bruiser who’d had a bit much to drink. “You’ve no call treating Sarge like that!” He swung. Harry caught his hand mid stroke, and flipped him to the ground. A deft tap with a foot and he was out cold. The force warned Harry of several impending attacks. He handed his lightsaber to Mackenzie, who smirked and ordered two pints.
From then on it was a melee. Attacks came from left, right and center. Harry became a whirl of arms and legs, depositing disabling blows to anyone in range. Mack just sipped his beer.
“Mack?” He called out. Mack simply handed him a pint. Grinning, Harry took a drink, shuddered and handed the beer back before returning to the fight. Sarge picked up his truncheon to put an end to this upstart, but Mack gripped his hand.
“Leave him be.”
“Mack, he’s wrecking my pub!”
“We’ll fix it. For now, they have to know he’s the alpha.”
“He’s a waver?”
“Mmmhmm. Just like Hermione, but he’s not using magic.”
A couple minutes later, Mack stood and shouted: “Well, I think that’s enough for today, yes?”
“Who is this guy?”
“Oh, I can tell who he is.” Came from the back. “Isn’t that right, Lord Potter?”
Harry was instantly on guard. Without his knowing it, his lightsaber was in hand and lit. The patrons all shied away from the glowing beam.
“Who are you?” Harry demanded.
“Alexi Smirnov. Viktor Krum is my cousin’s husband’s nephew. He told me all about you.”
“Why are you here?”
“Oh that. I’ve been in Her Majesty’s SAS for many years. In fact, I trained Mack there.”
Harry turned accusing eyes on Mack. “You set me up?” He shut down the lightsaber.
“Sort of and not really. I knew Sarge would react that way. He’s always doted on Hermione, but I really didn’t expect the rest of them to get in on the act.”
“Awright Mack…” Sarge Interjected. “You said this would get cleaned up…?”
Harry shouted out: “Everybody close your eyes!” Surprisingly the people in the bar did as he ordered. A few quick repair charms and the place was as neat as ever.
Smirnov ambled over and made himself comfortable. Mack provided him a fresh drink.
They were chatting when a wizard walked in, dressed as a muggle…from the sixties. Harry started to laugh and choked on his beer. Mack pounded his back as the wizard approached.
Heading to Smirnov, he announced himself quietly. “Alexi Smirnov, I’m Auror Morris Willings. You’ve used magic in the view of the mugg…mundanes…again! Come with me quietly or it’ll go worse on you!”
“Actually Willings, I’m the one who used magic, but I told them all to close their eyes, so none of them saw a thing.”
“And who the ruddy hell are you?”
“Harry Potter, but you can call me Lord Gryffindor. Have a chat with Madam Bones if you’d like, though I’d advise against that. She doesn’t like being bothered by meaningless rubbish.”
“Harry Potter!” The man’s tone was disturbing. It wasn’t the usual sycophancy, but it also wasn’t anywhere close to friendly. Maybe he was just trying to be intimidating, but Harry was suddenly worried. Even Mack was troubled.
Harry instantly lit his lightsaber. “Show me your arms!” He demanded. Smirnov’s wand was also resting on the Auror’s nose.
Willings, angrily pulled up his sleeves. Harry called out: “Dobby?” Instantly the elf was under the table. “Check this man for the dark mark!”
“They is no nasty magicks there, Harry Potter!”
“Thanks, Dobby.” Harry felt the elf depart.
“Sorry about that, but there are a lot of people who’re trying to kill me.”
Willings was remarkably understanding. Harry handed him a card with Amelia’s age exemption on it. He grumbled and groused, but accepted the warrant. Seeing as how some of the people in the bar were at least aware of the magical world and all had closed their eyes, nothing Harry did was actually ‘in view’ of the mundanes.
“Fudge was right, Potter, you are an attention seeking arse!” He turned toward the door.
“Maybe so, but I’m getting things done. That’s more than Fudge ever did. Oh, by the way…” Harry added. “You need to observe the mundanes a bit closer. The clothing you’re wearing went out of style more than thirty years ago. I’d suggest you disillusion yourself and watch people, in say…Leicester Square. That’ll give you a better idea of how to dress around the mundanes.”
Willings ignored his advice and stomped out the door.
“Well, shit!” Harry growled. “Mack, we’d better get the hell out of here. Sarge…?”
The large man behind the bar looked up. “If you see a bunch of men wearing black dresses and white masks, shoot them! If you don’t, they will kill you, and likely everyone in here!”
Dobby popped them back to the castle.
Harry stomped into his office to find Hermione there. He kissed her hello.
“Harry, have you been drinking?”
“Erm…yeah. Your dad took me to a pub in Edinburgh, and there was a bar-fight.”
“Daddy took you to Sarge’s place?”
“Mmmmhmmm. It was going petty well until the Auror turned up. I hope he wasn’t on the wrong side. Gimmee a sec, OK?”
Hermione nodded and Harry knelt before the fireplace and tossed a pinch of floo powder in. “Ministry of Magic, Minister’s office. Voldemort sucks!”
“Hello, Harry!” Amelia Bones greeted him. “What can I do for you?”
“Amelia, I was in a pub in Edinburgh today when I used some magic to clean up after a bar-fight. An Auror named Willings came in, and read us the riot act for using magic in front of the mundanes. I told him they all had their eyes closed, but he didn’t seem to want to accept that. I gave him the card you gave me and he seemed to accept it, but there was something off about him.”
“Harry, are you drunk?”
“Maybe a little, but not enough to make a false report.”
“Harry, we don’t have an Auror named Willings.”
“Alexi Smirnov knew him.”
Amelia smiled. “Harry, you’ve been pranked. Alexi Smirnov is the biggest practical joker since your dad.”
Harry sat back on his haunches. ~Pranked?~ “Oh, OK. Thanks.” He absently cut the connection.
“MACK!” He bellowed.
Mack stumbled into the room howling. Behind him were three other people. Alexi Smirnov, ‘Sarge’ and…Tonks. Harry just hung his head in embarrassment, at being caught out so easily.
Tonks decided there wasn’t enough entertainment value so took it up a notch. “Oh don’t be like that, Harry, you’ve been too serious lately. We needed a break!”
“I’m gonna get you!” He muttered.
Hermione stepped through the doorway, and when she saw ‘Sarge’, squealed and flung herself into his arms. He picked her up and spun her around like a child before setting her down. “I suppose I shouldn’t do that any more, not with you bein’ in a family way.”
Hermione blushed. “Oh, Sarge, I’ve only just got pregnant. I won’t be in any difficulty for a couple months at least!”
“Aah too much information! You’re my sweet little girl, you are!” Tonks and Mack just stood there, snickering.
Hermione turned to Harry and announced: “Before you get all macho and overprotective on me, I am most definitely going on this mission with you!”
“Hermione, after what you told me in February, even I’m not daft enough to try that. Besides, you’ll only be in your first month. Your actions won’t be inhibited. As much as I would prefer you volunteered to stay behind…”
He held up his hand to stay her rather vehement objection. “I know nothing short of your death or incapacitation would make you do that, so I won’t even try. I know you’ll take care, so all I can ask, is that you come home with me.”
Hermione began to weep what she called ‘happy tears’. Harry just held her warmly. Mack, Tonks, Alexi and Sarge just smiled.
That night, as they were lying in bed, Harry spoke up. “Erm, Hermione, I suppose you don’t want to practice anymore?”
“Silly boy, I said we don’t have to, not that I don’t want to!”
“OK, let’s try for twins!”
In his throne room at Riddle Manor, Voldemort sucked a bottle of potion dry. He smiled sleepily and stumbled to his bed.
Hermione, I need something.”
“Haven’t you had enough of that ‘something? I’m sore and achy!”
“Naughty minded little wench! And I’ll never have enough of that particular ‘something’, but believe it or not, that’s not what I was thinking of.”
At Hermione’s dubious smirk, Harry went on.
“I need a set of magical inhibiters for Dumbledore. They have to be something he can’t break through or overpower. The nanites will take some time to work and I want to eliminate his ability to use magic until they’ve done their job. You’re the one person I know who’s skilled enough, both in research and development and in actual design, to create these things.”
“Can you get me someone from the Department of Mysteries to help?”
“I’ll have to ask Croaker, but I don’t think it’ll be a problem.”
“Padma is as far along as I am in both runes and arithmancy.”
“I’ll call her and ask her to help you.”
“I’ll also need Stokes. If anyone can build the things, he can.”
“All right.” Harry called Stokes and told him of the impending project. Stokes immediately began to prepare the raw materials he’d need. Elves were more aware of the nature of magic than humans, and so, he had a good idea of how to proceed.
“All right, listen up!” Harry called out.
“It’s May the twenty fifth. Every one of you has performed well beyond expectations.
I am happy to say you are all now qualified in Shii-Cho, Makashi and Soresu with most of you well into Ataru and you’ve each made your own lightsabers. You can all congratulate yourselves for those accomplishments, because that was no mean feat. In a proper training environment, it would have taken five or more years. You lot, have done it in nine and a half months. I’ve asked you for the nearly impossible, and you’ve delivered. You are in the best physical condition anyone could possibly expect. Even Mack here, is impressed!”
That garnered more than a few chuckles from the crowd, as Mackenzie was by all means, a perfectionist.
“Those lucky folks who’ve had the privilege of shooting at you, are all afraid they’ll have to retire!”
More chuckles followed. The Aurors, Hit-wizards, professional duelists and members of the Department of Mysteries, had all given glowing reports of Harry’s Jedi students. While at first, some got through, nearly all were deflected or sent back to their casters, now, two months later, the shimmering blades reflected everything sent at them. In fact, more than a few of them had spent time in the infirmary because of reflected spells.
Until the mission, Harry would have to keep the selected Jedi, under the same ‘instructors’…just to keep them sharp.
“I’m proud of you. Each and every one of you.” Harry looked each of his students in the eyes to convey his appreciation for their hard work and dedication. When he reached Ron, he grinned as well. Of all the students he had, Ron had improved the most. Even the twins had finally acknowledged that he really was their brother.
Luna smiled as Harry’s eyes crossed hers. Harry grinned back. It was her intervention that had resulted in this much-improved Weasley. Gone was the lazy, unmotivated berk and while he still had some issues, in his place was a warrior to be proud of.
However, Harry still had a hard decision to make where this particular Weasley was concerned.
The problem wasn’t with Ron’s training or his accomplishments. The problem was his attitude. While Luna had knocked the rough edges off, he was still arrogant and prideful. He still took unnecessary chances and was less than totally serious about the deadly fight ahead, and unfortunately Harry couldn’t have that in combat. Too many things could go wrong.
“This mission will be volunteer only. I’ve placed a roster in the dining hall.” Immediately, the students made to leave the training room. Harry called a halt to their exodus with a shrill whistle.
“Before you all rush out to sign that page, I want you all to think long and hard about this. You all know what we face. But be advised, this mission will involve killing. More importantly, it’ll involve killing, face to face. You’ve been sparring for months, you know how close you’ll be, but let me reiterate. This will not be a clean, fast, anonymous spell fight. You will be close enough to touch. You’ll see the shock on your opponent’s face as you kill him. You will likely see the life fade from his eyes and you will know you are responsible for that.
The people we’ll be facing will have no way to defend against us, so there is a very good argument that what we are doing, could be considered murder. Our only defense is the Queen’s authority. Still, if any of feel you cannot kill except in self-defense, don’t put your names down. There is no shame in not wanting to kill.”
He sighed, quietly: “God knows I don’t.” then returned to his people.
“For those of you who do sign the list, I will be choosing the twenty five that I feel are best qualified to come along. The rest of you, will continue your training like normal.
For those of you not selected, please don’t take it personally. I am asking you to go into battle with me against a group of terrorists, with the express purpose of killing them. This will not an easy decision for me, and I hope none of you see it as such, but I will not allow Voldemort or his people to continue to torture and kill, simply because they can.
I want the most qualified people I have with me, and that means that your performance, aptitude and motivation will be as carefully examined as your skills.
I will consult your instructors, but the final the decision as to who is to go, will be mine.”
Into the silence, Harry added: “I have one other thing. We have a visitor. Please stand to attention for Her Majesty the Queen.”
The silence was deafening. Harry turned to the doors and using the force, opened them. There, wearing her usual pink dress and blue sash, stood Queen Elizabeth. Surrounding her, were members of the First Scots, with Colonel Bowman in command, and the new prime Minister, Tony Blair. Minister of Magic Amelia Bones and Augusta Longbottom the chief of the Wizengamot, were also present.
Harry bowed deeply as the monarch approached. A copy of the throne at Buckingham appeared, but she ignored it. Turning to face the stunned Jedi, she began to speak.
“We are most pleased by the dedication you have all shown on our behalf. You, who have sworn yourselves to the safety and well-being of Magical Britain…and non, are heroes in the truest fashion.
Each of you has set aside your own lives in order to defend the realm against this madman, and his minions. Such a sacrifice should and will be acknowledged. We understand you are not doing this for reward, but because you know it to be the right thing to do. Nevertheless you have our gratitude.
Were it not for the statute of secrecy, Lord Voldemort would not have risen and so, steps have been made to relax that statute. Our governments must acknowledge the magical people of this world, for by ignoring them, we allow…even invite another dark lord to rise.
According to Lord Gryffindor, in less than a month, you will be facing Voldemort and his Death Eaters…hopefully for the last time. He has also told us that he will be dealing with Dumbledore before then.
All I can say is bonne chance, good fortune, and may God smile down upon you in your hour of strife.”
That said she turned to Harry with a smile.
“When this is done, both William and Henry would like to see you. Please don’t disappoint them.”
“I’ll do my very best, Your Majesty.” Harry bowed in respect.
The queen departed to the applause of every Jedi present. Minister Blair followed along with the military contingent. With identical smiles, Amelia and Augusta also departed.
“Our servants!” Voldemort called out. “We, in our greatest of genius, have decided upon the perfect show of force. On the solstice, we shall break the spine of all Britain, magical and muggle! On the solstice, we shall kill the queen! We shall kill her heirs and the entire royal family to the least child!” His captive audience burst into a thunderous ovation of cheers and applause. Instead of torturing and killing for being interrupted, the psychotic dark lord smiled his horrific smile.
“Once they are dead, the world will tremble once again, at the very mention of our name. Lord Voldemort shall again, rain fear upon the world. The sheep will tremble at the very thought of our glory and you, our loyal Death Eaters, will be the instrument of their terror. You, our loyal Death Eaters, will go forth and carry out such a campaign of terror that none will ever again forget our noble name! The light will fall! The muggles and the mudbloods will prostrate themselves before us!” He’d forgotten he’d already set into motion his simultaneous attacks on Hogsmeade and Diagon alley
Unfortunately for the idiot who brought it up, nobody had ever told him the secret of staying alive around Voldemort was to never draw attention to himself.
“Master!” He called out. “You have already planned an attack on Diag…”
He fell. Voldemort walked to his lifeless body and sneered: “You were saying?”
Receiving no reply from the corpse, he shrugged and snarked: “It must not have been very important.”
To the rest he continued: “As we were saying, we shall begin a reign of terror to eclipse all others. Grindelwald…Feh! Rasputin…Feh! Morons! Imbeciles! Worthless pretenders! They had no idea what a dark lord really is!”
Glaring at the body still lying on the tiles, he continued his rant.
“When the muggle queen is dead, we shall conquer the magical world. We shall strike the heart of our enemy’s camp. We shall take his stronghold, Hogwarts Castle. We shall kill any there who resist…no…Kill them all! If they’re in the castle, then clearly they support Dumbledore, and since they support him, they will all die. Let there be no survivors! Dumbledore’s decaying body shall hang from the highest flagstaff on the highest tower at Hogwarts!”
Lucius and Draco decided it would be a colossally bad idea to remind the fearsome lunatic that Dumbledore had fled the castle. They would prefer to avoid his particular ‘punishments’. Narcissa was still recovering from the last time.
The mutated abomination was still raving.
“Never again, will he defy the rightful reign of Lord Voldemort! Never again, will he dare to suggest there is another way. Their lives shall be forfeit!
Lord Voldemort shall rule supreme over the entire world!”
He thought a second more, and brought his little brown bottle to his lips. A maniacal light came to his eyes.
“No! Lord Voldemort shall be worshipped as a GOD!
Two men watched as their last friend died. They had been together from the beginning. Now, they two, were all that were left of the group of nearly twenty friends who’d joined the dark lord. Three had been killed at the ministry, whilst attempting to assassinate that bitch, Bones. Seven more had died in the botched raid on Hallowe’en, with six more of them hideously wounded by the muggles. That’s the day they discovered the unique pleasures of the little brown bottles found in Knockturn Alley. That pleasure was seemingly all that drove them now. Another three had died on the solstice, killed by that deranged muggle who didn’t have the courtesy to die when cursed, the rest had died during the dark lord’s ‘initiation’ in March. Now, only the two of them were left. Their last comrade dead, not at the hands of the ministry, or the Order of the Phoenix, not even at the hands of the muggle filth, but at that of the dark lord himself.
Even besotted as they were, they knew that to stay was to die.
It served them naught. Severus had been seeking a way to further ingratiate himself with the dark lord, and noticed them easing their way to the door. He simply called the mutation’s attention to their defection and Voldemort did the rest. In a potions-induced fury he threw killing curses like party favors. They fell, and a few around them, fell as well. Voldemort justified his servants’ deaths as being due to their proximity, they had to have been helping the defectors escape.
Unbeknownst to the two, with their deaths, their family legacies became the property of the head of the closest line. In one case it was Harry Potter, and in the other, through the now deceased Sirius Black, it fell to…Harry Potter.
On May twenty-ninth, Harry set his plan in effect. The first part was easy enough. He sent a letter to Hagrid, and asked him how to get to Godric’s Hollow. In the missive, he informed the gentle giant of his intention to visit his parent’s graves on the solstice, having never been permitted to do so in the past.
Needless to say, the word was out within hours. A weepy Hagrid ambled down to The Three Broomsticks and ordered his usual tankard of mulled mead. And then another, and another, and another. Soon enough he was in his cups and bemoaning the fate of that ‘poor li’l tyke’, who’d seen too much of death and sufferin’.
By midnight, Voldemort was cackling with unreserved joy. The Boy Who Lived, was going to deliver himself into their hands!
On May the thirtieth, Luna decided it was time. She joined Ron in bed, having taken the carefully brewed fertility potion that morning.
Is Harry using Hagrid…yes. He knows Hagrid can’t keep a secret to save his life. What better way to ensure Voldemort takes the necessary actions, than to set him up?
For anybody who objects to my words about the corruption in the American congress, I have two more words. Alcohol and Tobacco. (Actually, that’s three words.) Think about it.