The Weapon is revealed, decisions are made
A/N2: My most profound apologies for the delay since the last chapter for Reaper. My Muse for this one got angry with me and took a prolonged vacation. We are very near the end, and that is already written, I just need to get us there. Since my muse has started whispering to me again about this tale, hopefully we will finish so we can all go on to nicer worlds.
Harry Potter and Merlin’s Reaper
Chapter Twenty-six – Doing What is Right or What is Easy
“Are you sure you’re up to this Harry?”
“I could do without the forced march Your Majesty, but yes, I’m all right.”
“Major Llewellyn firmly believes in leading from the front, while leaving me in the rear I’m afraid. This meeting is important, so we need to be well away from Headquarters.” The young King moved along the game trail of the Scottish hills in a manner that suggested a lifetime of moving over hill and dale quietly.
“So they have a weapon? The Major seemed very interested that I come along. I’m not sure what for; I’ve never been one for weapons other than wands and staffs. The Weasley Twins are the Weaponeers.”
The King kept his pace steady, catching sight of Fleur and her Red Headed slightly mad body guards a few paces ahead of the two young men. It was odd, William realized, he was still aware that Fleur was an attractive woman, but she no longer absorbed his entire attention. Odd indeed. “The Major doesn’t think that I should tell you much about the weapon.”
“The Major’s a smart man.” Harry grinned at his king. “You should probably listen to him.”
“The Major IS a smart man, he was one of my many tutors that formed what is laughingly called my education. Sometimes however, I find myself disagreeing with him. Like now.”
Harry did not say anything. He had no real idea as to the command dynamics of the Kings Army of Resistance. His memory of how government worked back in his original universe, the elected government was in command of the military, that government was gone. This army had rescued the infant king and gone to ground with him. What was William’s real position in the command structure? A few more moments of thought told Harry that he did not really care. Harry was not in the Army, as far as he was concerned this 15 year old was his king. Whatever failings Vernon Dursley had as a man, he had instilled into Harry at a young age that he was first and foremost an Englishman. To Harry, William represented the government of this island.
“We’ve been in contact with resistance cells in Europe. The people we’re going to meet are based out of Switzerland. The underground there has managed to keep their science. They believe they’ve developed a weapon that will destroy magic.”
“And the magic users?”
“From the information they have forwarded to us in preparation for this meeting, there is an 80 percent survival rate for those exposed to the weapon.”
“Yes. The ones likely to die are those being kept alive by their magic. Those over 100 years of age for the most part.”
“So it’s a disease then?”
“I don’t know.” William looked thoughtful. “Probably. That makes sense.”
“So they need something from me. Something the Major doesn’t think I’d give up willingly.”
There was the metallic click of a pistol’s safety being taken off.
“Hello Major” Harry said, not breaking step or turning to face the man. “Ever think of asking?”
“Major, Stand Down! This is no way to treat an ally.”
“Your Majesty, this man is an ally, but if his death will win the war then so be it. We have to think about more than one man. Mr. Potter if you as much as think about pulling your wand…”
“No worries Major.” Harry’s hands drifted upward, finger spread in the traditional sign of surrender. “Of course, I don’t use a wand.” The Major’s weapon disassembled its self in his hand. “I can do that to any of your weapons you choose to point at me Major. I know you have been fighting this war almost as long as I’ve been alive, but that does not mean I’m an idiot. I’ve always been aware that what we are doing could result in my death, and if my death will return this world to something more like what was, then kill me now.”
Llewellyn was a little ashamed of himself. “I’m sorry Mr. Potter. As you’ve said, it’s been a long war, and I’m afraid that I haven’t quite acquired the ability to trust a wizard quite yet.”
“I’d say it was alright Major, but lying to you isn’t a very good way of cementing an alliance…”
They reached the clearing in the woods where the meeting was to take place, the party spreading out to concealed places to await the arrival of the Europeans. Each settled into their blinds and kept focused on their own thoughts. An hour of waiting passed slowly.
William focused inward. He was more than a little ashamed of his actions with Potter and ashamed for the actions of his men. How had the world come to this? Damn Voldemort anyway. Damn him to hell.
The King started. Somehow, Potter had gotten close enough to touch him without his noticing. “Yes Harry?”
“I need your word Your Majesty. I need your word, that if this weapon kills me, you will see to my people’s protection. There will be those who will be looking for revenge against anyone who ever held a wand. Protect my people. Protect Susan and our child.”
“You have my word Harry. Your people will be protected. Anyone who wants to hurt your wife or child will have to go through me.”
Sergeant Evans and his party of visitors arrived at the meeting site 45 minutes after the King’s army had established its presence. Evans made it to the center of the clearing and made the ‘all clear’ sign unobtrusively. A score of men rose from their blinds.
There were a few moments of conversation in the clearing before Evans and his charges were led under the canopy. The Major approached and returned Evans’ salute.
“I am Llewellyn. I’m told you bring us weapons.”
“I am Cern, we do. We need strong Wizard. Voldemort No?
“Perhaps. Is French better for your people than English?”
“Oui, Much better.”
Llewellyn nodded. “Miss Delacour, if you would.”
Fluer rose from her hiding place, flanked by the twins, she made her way to the Major when there was a sudden movement from the Wizard among the envoys. He rushed to the startled woman and pulled her into a bone-crushing hug ignoring the wands of her escorts.
“Fleur! Fleur!” was all Harry could make out before the man holding Fleur began a flood of French.
“Jean Paul?” the startled witch gasped.
“And I say it’s damned suspicious that one of their number ‘just happens’ to be the uncle of one of your people Potter.”
“As I said the day we met, this is just one of the annoyingly frequent coincidences that make my life so very interesting. Your people have had their own wars you know Major. Did the actions of the Nazis make every German a bastard? Of course not. Fleur’s uncle is part of the European resistance, not terribly surprising really. The bastards cull entire families, my people, as well as your own.”
“Oui! “ The Swiss named Cern agreed. “I know Delacour forty year. Good man.”
Fleur returned to the circle and was handed a cup of tea. “Thank you for waiting.”
Cern unleashed a torrent of rapid fire French. Fleur nodded. “They have a biological weapon; it uses the Wizarding Flu as a vector. That virus uses magic to reproduce.”
The Swiss added more to the discussion.
“Uses magic to reproduce and spread. It needs to be introduced to the Strongest Wizard in the area, that Wizard’s magic will spread the disease. A Wizard with stronger magic will fight off the infection.”
“What does the disease do?” William asked.
Cern spoke to Fleur again. When he finished, she continued. “It attacks gene sequences that control access to magic. The magic users injected with the weapon always die within minutes and spread the infection. Once infected, the witch or wizard becomes a squib. If their magic is sustaining their lives, they die. Some of the test subjects died for no discernable reason.”
“What about unborn children?” Harry asked. “Or other magical species?”
Cern shrugged, the spoke a few words.
“They do not know, they didn’t have all the test subjects or resources they needed to find out.”
“So, the strongest Wizard? Voldemort then.”
“Or me Major.”
“Or you Mr. Potter.”
Harry looked pensive. He then looked up at the resistance members “How many doses do you have?”
“Then it looks like you should dose us both. Can the weapon be delivered by a dart gun?” Harry got blank looks from Fleur and the Europeans. “Dart gun, like they used to tranquilize large wild animals so that vets could examine them.”
The Europeans exchanged looks. “Oui”
Susan stood in the window staring out in the direction that Harry and the others had left. They had had their first fight this morning. He had forbidden her to accompany him wherever he was going. She, of course, would not be told. He was adamant. She had a responsibility to their child to be safe he said. She had been fighting this war long before he had even found this world she responded. He said that he had lost too many people that he loved already and he was NOT going to risk her. She began to cry. He locked her in their room.
Despite her worry, she smiled. He cared enough to worry about her. He told her he loved her. He spoke her name in his sleep. That first night together, he had spoken to Hermione. Not the angry damaged girl who shared their home, but the one he knew and loved from afar. Oh, he was going to pay for locking her into their bedroom and leaving without her, but he was going to know he was loved as well.
“Any sign of them?”
Susan was startled; she had been so deep into her musings that Hermione had managed to stand beside her without Susan noticing.
“No, nothing yet. It could be hours.”
“How do you do it?”
“Love him? I want to feel that for someone, but…”
“He’s a good man. He protected us when we needed it. He still does, and makes room for others.” Susan took Hermione’s hand and placed it on her stomach. “He’s given me this.”
“You’re pregnant? You are so brave. I could never bring a new life into this fucked up world.”
“Hermione, trust Harry. If anyone can unfuck the world, it’s him.”
The King’s Army and their European visitors returned to the Manor just before the evening meal, the elves were ecstatic to have even more people to care for. With full bellies (something of a rarity on the continent) and a few drinks everyone became rather talkative. Susan played her role as hostess and made sure everyone was comfortable.
Harry came to their bedroom and found Susan in tears. He sat on the bed and took her into his arms. She sobbed for another five minutes before she calmed down enough to be able to speak.
“Why does it have to be you?”
“I don’t know what you mean Susan, why does what have to be me?”
“I heard them talking down stairs. I know you’re going to let them kill you to stop Voldemort.”
Harry stroked her hair. “It’s not like that Susan. They are going to hit Voldemort first, then hit me only if it is necessary. I’m just bait to lure him out into the open. They have to use their weapon on the strongest Wizard in the area for it to be effective. If that is what it costs to keep you and our baby safe, then it’s cheap.
“We don’t need safe, we need you, you egotistical moron.”
“You grew up always on the run Susan. We don’t want out baby to only learn fear do we?”
She pulled at his clothing, hungry for him. With the knowledge that she could lose him so soon after getting him back, she was going to make every second they spent together memorable.
William made his way upstairs to his room. Other than the men on patrol, almost the entire Kings Army was in the manor’s ballroom partying like there was no tomorrow, and indeed they might be right. Somehow, he doubted that the ending of the rule of the Wizards would be as easy as the Europeans were predicting.
He entered his room to find the linens turned down and the room lit by candles and a hint of cinnamon in the air.
From the shadows stepped Hermione Granger. She was dressed in an old-fashioned long sleeved white cotton man’s shirt, her legs and feet were bare. The 16-year-old king found his mouth had gone dry.
“You know my past William. You know what I’ve done to survive.” She approached him, coming close enough that he could feel her breath. “It’s been 7 months since Harry rescued me, and I’ve been stupidly angry for most of that time. I have been used, but I have never been loved. I would like a lover at least once in my life William, and I would like him to be you. I don’t want anything from you, I don’t expect you to stay with someone like me, but for tonight, would you love me?”
He could not breathe. His heart was pounding so hard, so loudly, he was surprised when she did not seem to hear it.
He hesitantly lifted a trembling left hand to her face and leaned in to her kiss…