The Last Battle has been fought, and Harry Potter has won. The price, however, has been high. Nearly every person Harry cared for is dead, maimed, or otherwise injured. The magical culture of Bri...
Saturday, June 26, 1993
It had not been easy collecting twelve wizards to go on the attack this night. Voldemort could only use five of his old group: Bellatrix Lestrange; Fenrir Grayback; Antonin Dolohov; John Nott; and St. John Mulciber. The other seven were on loan to him. He needed to prove to people that he was still a force to be reckoned with, and that meant destroying Dumbledore or Harry Potter.
Voldemort had decided to attack Harry Potter.
Dumbledore had put many a spoke in the wheels of his plans over the decades, but while the Old Man was still cunning and powerful, he was also hesitant about direct confrontation. It was the Boy who had to be destroyed. Voldemort did not for a moment believe that the Boy could possibly be the cause of his difficulties, but Harry Potter was certainly the symbol of opposition, much more so even than Dumbledore. Therefore, the Boy had to go.
The Boy would certainly be well-hidden, but the tracking charm Nott's son had managed to place on Potter's glasses would allow for a surprise attack. It would attract the little device that was paired with the charm, turning it into a portkey. Voldemort was timing the attack to just before 12:00 that evening. Potter should be in bed and an easy target, for this was the day the students left Hogwarts.
The 13 attackers would be portkeyed to the nearest open space which could easily accommodate them. If Potter was in a toilet, for example, they would either appear in the corridor outside the room or in a room next to it. Voldemort could have risked having them appear in a smaller space if he used a smaller group, but had decided to go with the largest force he could muster.
Harry and Hermione were sitting next to each other in the compartment on the train. Ron, Neville, Susan, and Tracey were sitting with them.
"I don't understand why you can't tell us where you're going," Ron complained.
"I would, if your Occlumency was up to it," Harry answered. "I trust you lot, but there are all sorts out there, looking to get a line on me. I won't be at Sirius' or the cottage, and that's all I can say."
"We don't even know where the cottage is," Neville pointed out.
"True," Harry said. "I just need more training, more specialized training that is, and that's really all I can say."
"How about you, Hermione?" Tracey asked.
"I'll be with my parents," she answered simply. "We'll be going out of the country a lot."
Tonks escorted the pair from the platform to the underground station, having pre-shrunk their trunks ahead of time. Hedwig had already been sent on ahead a few days before.
As they approached the end of their tube ride, Hermione asked, "Are you nervous, Dora?"
"Nervous?" Tonks asked in a higher voice than usual. "Why ask that?"
"The ends of your hair seems to be turning brown," Harry pointed out. Tonks frowned and it went all pink again.
"Fine," Tonks muttered. "I don't like crowds; I don't like crowded spaces. That pretty much defines airports and airplanes from what I hear."
"True," Hermione agreed, "but it does mean you get to snuggle with Remus for twenty-two hours."
"There is that," Tonks admitted.
"Have all the arrangements been made for his furry little problem?" Harry asked.
"The time of the next full moon is just before midnight, UTC," Hermione said. "It will be daylight in Perth."
"There's a small specialty quarter in Perth," Tonks added, meaning a magical area. "He has to check in."
"It's a shame that it will be winter there," Harry said.
"I know," Hermione agreed. "No frolicking on the beaches, at least not dressed like we were last year." She sighed. "I hope we can get to the Darwin beaches for a week."
"They haven't mentioned it," Tonks said. She frowned, and then rolled her eyes. "Stupid me. I was wondering for a moment what you were exactly talking about. I keep forgetting exactly where it is we're going. Anyway, why wouldn't we go?"
"Mum and Dad are the new people," Hermione pointed out. "I'm sure they won't have any problems getting a day or two off in any week, but they probably can't take an entire week off. Certainly not any more than that."
"The important things are, we'll be together and we can be with your folks," Harry said soothingly.
"That's true," Hermione agreed.
Tonks was glad to see that Remus was already waiting for them. Their flight wasn't until 9:50 that evening, so they actually had over three hours before they had to board. From there, it would be just under a 13 hour flight to Singapore. With the time changes, they should land at 5:35 pm Sunday. They would have a two hour lay-over and then make the five hour flight south.
Remus shepherded the other three through the airport terminal, with a little from Hermione. They ate a quick meal picked up at one of the stands and then made they way to check in. All their luggage had been magically miniaturized and tucked away in their carry-ons, transfigured to look like small wooden boxes.
As the quartet were sitting in the lounge as the first board call went out, Remus suddenly realized something. "Wait a moment, our seats are only one row apart, but we aren't sitting together!"
"Nope," Harry said. "I paid for the tickets."
"And I booked the flight," Hermione said. "Harry and I are in the last row of business class. You and Dora are in the first row of the regular passengers. There should be the toilets and a galley between us. My husband and I deserve a little privacy, don't we?" With that, Harry stood and picked up their carry-ons. Hermione linked her arm in Harry's, and they went to join the other first class passengers boarding.
"James would be proud," Remus admitted.
Two hours after the plane carrying Harry, Hermione, and their escorts took off, Voldemort gathered his twelve attackers. "You must be prepared for anything. We have no idea where we will end up or what we might face. Are you all ready?"
All twelve nodded, and held on tightly to their wands, facing outward. "in five . . . four . . . three . . . two . . . one. . . ." The thirteen disappeared.
Voldemort had built all the safeties he could think of into his portkey device. Of course, he had not envisioned all the places Harry might be. Unfortunately for Voldemort and his followers, the only open space where 13 people could materialize was the left wing of the jumbo jet Harry was flying on at several hundreds of miles per hour at well over 30,000 thousand feet above the Mediterranean. They were instantly pulled off the wing and flung in many directions, one of them hitting the body of the aircraft, rendering him unconscious.
Because of the speed they were flung off the plane and the high altitude (being extremely cold and having low oxygen), Voldemort and his followers only had a few seconds to act before being rendered unable to react, if not fully unconscious. Each instinctively tried to apparate back to Voldemort's hide-away.
To do so safely, they had to be within apparation distance. They also first had to slow their momentum before that, so that when they apparated they would not hurdle to the floor at their current acceleration.
Seven of the twelve conscious attackers forgot to try and alter their momentum. Since the hide-away was also well outside their apparation limits, their splinched body parts slapped noisily all over the cavern that they had left just moments before.
Voldemort, Bellatrix Lestrange, Fenrir Grayback, and one of the enlisted Pure-Blood fanatics all managed to slow their momentum and apparate. All four hit the floor with great, but at least not deadly, force. Unfortunately for Grayback and the Pure-Blood, they were outside their apparation limit. Due to his condition, Grayback was able to survive the splinching until Voldemort recovered enough to put him back together. The Pure-Blood did not.
Bellatrix suffered numerous broken bones and other serious damage. She and Grayback would be out of commission for weeks as they recovered. Voldemort, due to his more powerful magic and the condition of his now-inhuman body, survived fairly intact, although badly shaken.
His mood was not improved by hearing the laughter of the Boy-Who-Lived in his head until their connection closed down.
Harry and Hermione had been asleep. Hermione had been sleeping some time. While they had to have their seatbelts on, they had the arm up between their seats. Hermione had slipped off her shoes and tucked her legs up under her and against the side of the plane, as she had the window seat. Harry had his arm around her and Hermione's head was on his chest. Harry had just slipped into sleep.
The magic from the portkey disrupted the plane's electrical system for a split second. That, combined with the fraction of a second the thirteen had stood on the wing and the impact of a Pure-Blood on the plane, shook the aircraft for a few seconds. That, and Voldemort's screams of terror in his head, woke Harry up.
Harry concentrated on what he was receiving and feeling. He probed Voldemort's mind with Legilimency, as it was occupied with assessing the damage of this attempt to attack Harry. Harry taunted the Dark Lord by laughing internally, until Voldemort managed to close the connection.
Harry then spent the next ten minutes reestablishing his own Occlumency shields, and only then sorted through the information he had picked up. Once Harry realized that he had not picked up the location Voldemort had apparated back to, he decided there was no rush in informing Remus. They wouldn't be able to contact anyone until they landed in Singapore in any event.
Voldemort woke up a few hours after the disaster. He had managed to snatch a few fleeting impressions from Potter, which only told him that the Boy had been in an Muggle aircraft of all things. Voldemort had never even considered such a possibility, which explained why there were no safeguards built into the portkey device which might have saved his followers.
Voldemort considered what few resources he had left. A crippled, barely sane werewolf and an insane yet functional Bellatrix Lestrange, not to mention a pair of wild dementors which where still sticking with him.
They weren't much, but Voldemort decided they would have to do.
Harry carefully explained what had happened when Hermione and their escorts woke up. When the plane landed, Remus was able to make a phone call to Mrs. Figg, who passed the information on to Dumbledore.
There was no question that this information could be released to the general public. There was simply no way to explain how the Order had acquired the information. Dumbledore did, however, pass the information on to a few select members of law enforcement. The aurors from all over Europe covered all their respective territories, looking for any clue on where the injured Voldemort might be found.
They found no clue after weeks of searching, other than a pile of body parts high in the Alps.
Saturday, July 3, 1993
"Well, well, look who is here," Lucius said with a grimace. "Come to visit your goddaughter?"
"I'll see her on my way out," Sirius said. "I thought you might like the most recent news of your former . . . mentor."
"If he was gone, it would have been in the news," Lucius pointed out.
"True," Sirius agreed. "Last week, he and apparently all the followers he could muster used a targeting portkey to try and attack Harry."
"And what happened," Lucius said politely, as if he could care less what had happened.
"Unfortunately for Riddle, Harry was aboard a Muggle aeroplane, several thousand feet in the air and traveling at several hundred miles per hour." Lucius said nothing. "Although it was a large aircraft, carrying several hundred people, the tight space meant the nearest place to materialize the group was on the wing of the aircraft."
Malfoy knew little about such things, but he knew enough to wince.
"As best we can tell, Riddle, Grayback, and your sister-in-law may have been the only survivors. Aurors all over Europe and North Africa are looking for them. Other body parts materialized from central Greece through Switzerland and they found other body parts in a pile yesterday."
"They don't have the know-how or man-power to find them," Lucius said. "They would have to sign on to these new consortiums of Ministries that the North Americans are pushing to have the resources, and it would take another Dark Lord to force the European Ministries to that extreme."
"You're probably right," Sirius agreed.
"So, what did you really come here for?" Lucius demanded.
"I was curious as to how your tame historian might be doing," Sirius answered.
"He is making progress," Lucius answered. "You tell me, how has your classroom experiment played out, now that it has been going for two years?"
"I think it's gone well," Sirius answered frankly. "Many of the Muggle-raised are more interested in the traditions than any of the Pure-bloods. I think that for any Full or Pure-blood we lose to the Muggle world, we will have gained at least two solid supporters of most of the traditions."
Lucius merely curled his lip.
"You believe too much in ancestry," Sirius said. "No society can be static. It either grows or dies off. Wealth and ancestry have never been in total control of any society. People have always been dropping in and out of the top rank of any culture, Muggle or magical." Sirius gave Lucius a twisted smile. "Of course, it's always been easier to drop out than to get in."
"I suppose that is true," Lucius agreed without enthusiasm.
"I've been doing a lot of studying. . . ." Lucius snorted. "I know," Sirius admitted. "That's hardly my reputation. Still, the key is to study when people aren't looking." He grinned. "James and I had it down to an art, although we couldn't hide it from Remus or the rat. The point is, there's nothing wrong with elitism. The problems occur because people want to not just keep power for themselves, but pass it on."
"If you ever have children, you might change your attitude on that point," Lucius pointed out.
"Do you know why Snape hates me?" Sirius asked.
"There are many reasons, but you're probably referring to the time you sent him to visit Lupin."
"Exactly. He had fed me a potion, insuring that I would never have children." Sirius grimaced. "Nothing worked for two weeks. Even though I'm now, well, functional, I'm shooting blanks." He sighed. "I'd hoped it had worn off, but I had myself tested last year, and still nothing."
Lucius' eyes went wide. If anyone had done that to Lucius, last of his line, before he had created an heir, he would have done much worse than feed the perpetrator to a werewolf. "Which is why you insured that Draco now partially bears your name."
"I plan to have a talk with him, asking him, if he has more than two sons, to have one bear the name of Black," Sirius admitted. "Rather hypocritical of me, considering my opinions."
"I regret to admit it, but the more I see the more I believe it is impossible to be consistent for our acts and beliefs to be without contradictions," Lucius said.
"To get back to the point we've been dancing around," Sirius said, "is your historian going to reopen the debate on bringing the Muggleborn out of the Muggle world?"
"Yes," Lucius said. "What I do not see is why you're interested in pushing the point."
Lucius shrugged. "I've lost the war I care most about; regulating the Mudbloods to the dregs of our society where I still believe they belong. If that can't work, we must keep their ideas as far from us as we can."
"I don't if that would work over time, and I don't know if it should," Sirius said. "We really do not have all that much which is original, just ideas which we took from the Muggles centuries ago and have forgotten where they came from." Lucius winced at that. "Still, we need the stress between ideas. This idea is not as extreme as the old Pure-Blood bullshit."
"And perhaps we can at least separate some of the Mudbloods, excuse me, Muggle-borns, from their families when they are young." Lucius smiled. If he couldn't keep the Magical population pure, perhaps he could help keep the ideals pure.
He thought how strange it was that Sirius Black was a partial ally in this.
All around the magical world, things were moving that summer. The non-European ministries continued to form alliances, determined to prevent the rise of any further dark wizards. Percy Weasley's dream of 'good government' seemed to be coming true, although not for Britain or the rest of the Europe. By August, the demands that Europe should follow the rest of the magical world were rising above a mere background murmur.
Into that debate was thrown a controversial book on Magical-Muggle relations, outlining why the magical world had to be wary of the Muggles, and Muggle technology. It had nothing about supporting the old Pure-Blood agenda, although it did castigate most Pure-blood families for under-producing offspring.
Instead, it advocated furthering the split between the magical and Muggle worlds, due to the increasing changes in the Muggle world, which would make the magical world stand out even more in contrast should the two meet on Muggle terms.
To further that, either the magical world had to become more like the Muggle, or the Muggles born with magic had to be removed from the care of the Muggles while young and put into loving magical households. That there were extreme difficulties with both was beyond doubt. What the author claimed was that one or the other had to happen, or else the wizarding world would die out or be conquered.
It certainly gave all shades of opinion pause when it was released in twelve different languages in late July. Any educated Muggle could have pointed out the extreme logical fallacies and the even more extreme rhetorical sophistry of the arguments. However, since such 'mere Muggle education' was almost unheard of even amongst the Muggle-born of the Magical world, it would take decades before the book was successfully renounced.
The portkey idea was adapted from several instances in 'Rorschach Blot's' funny story 'Make a Wish'.
Please note that this story will be on a one month hiatus as I move 1/4 of the way across North America There should be 8 more chapters of which 7 2/3 are in good shape.