Categories > Books > Harry Potter

Necessary Evils

by Brother_G 1 review

The year is 1962. They say that the war is over, but for the resistance it will never be over until Britain is free again.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: G - Genres: Drama - Characters: Tom Riddle - Warnings: [?] - Published: 2014-03-18 - Updated: 2014-03-18 - 2807 words - Complete


Memphis, Tennessee.

The Tall Man exited the Floo and brushed the soot off his robes. He clapped his hands; his eyes danced back and forth between Griffith and Dori. Emotion flickered on his face— perhaps anticipation, perhaps a hint of worry, but it was too brief for Griffith to tell. His dress was somber, accented only by a single ring on his finger. Scars covered his face, the marks of a man who had been in battle after battle and cared more about assaulting the enemy than with protecting himself. They said that he was a demon when he fought. Some wondered if he could even cast a protego.

He looked behind himself, as if wondering if someone would be coming after him.

“Were you followed?” Griffith asked him.

The Tall Man shook his head. “Is this place secure?”

“Practically,” Griffith answered. “But we can do one better. Dori, ready our transition.”

Dori looked back at him and a conversation played between them in subtle gestures and facial expressions. Having served around each other as long as they had, they were well-acquainted with each other’s thoughts and could read each other easily.

Are we sure about talking with him?
[/We have to be.

[/Can we trust him?

[/We can’t turn back now.

It took only a moment but Griffith wondered if the Tall Man had caught the doubts that had been transmitted or even recognized the communication in the pause.

Dori’s wand moved through the air and skimmed the door. Runes were left in its wake and they glowed for a single moment as he muttered the proper incantation.

“Fascinating,” the Tall Man said, almost too low to be heard. “I’d never seen…”

“We all have our specialties, don’t we?” Dori remarked. “The British excel in losing their wars, right?”

The Tall Man scowled and folded his arms but said nothing.

Dori opened the door. Only a minute ago the door had led to the open air but now there was another room on the other side. It was a small dining room built in the Colonial style, perhaps Colonial Revival. A fire was burning on one side, and lamps were distributed throughout to provide ample lighting.

Griffith stepped to the side and signaled for Dori to do the same. He paid careful attention to the Tall Man’s expressions, which were presented and shed with rapidity. They were subdued, easy to miss but sharp like the edge of a thin razor. Griffith remained silent as the Tall Man’s wand flew through the air, checking for traps.

“Ministry wizards are not so paranoid.”

“Ministry wizards,” the Tall Man retorted, “lost us the war.”

“I can’t argue with that. And I must confess that it is a pleasant surprise to meet a British wizard who remembers the ways of war. Your years behind the sea wall let you grow soft, as it did our ancestors before they were driven here.”

“And as it was with your people, the scar tissue has let us grow tough again, I assure you.”

“If I can believe the reports then that’s true,” Dori said. “But if I can believe the reports then there’s a lot else to be unhappy about.”

Griffith extended his wand hand for a formal greeting. “Griffith Mervin, agent of the Constitutional Federation. Dori and I,” he said, motioning to his companion, “will be your negotiators.”

The Tall Man frowned. “You’re not simply escorting me.” He exhaled deeply, as if a great stone were crushing all of the breath out of him. “I was told that I would be meeting with Senators.”

“I’m afraid not. It was decided that we needed more deniability. We’ve gone rogue, if we deny your request and word goes out that we met with you at all.”

“I see. And what actual authority do you have, Griffith? We can’t bear to wait another four months as your government shilly-shallies some more. My people are being murdered.”

“Just like a British wizard to call the death of combatants ‘murder,’” Dori said. “Not like you’ve done any better, eh?”

“Not everyone is a combatant.”

“Twelve-year-old children can sever a wizard’s jugular vein with a well-aimed diffindo. Show me a wizard and I’ll show you a combatant.”

The Tall Man sighed. “That may be the way of the world, that may even be the reasonable way, but it is not the British way. And there are still many who have failed to learn their lessons, even now.”

“Why bother to save recalcitrant, overgrown children then?”

“Dori,” Griffith interrupted. “Have peace.”

The Tall Man closed his eyes, perhaps collecting peace himself, and extended a hand. “T. Marvolo Riddle,” he said. “General of the British Underground.”

Griffith looked to his companion, who finally introduced himself as well. “Dori Maddox, CFA.”

“Please. Sit.” Griffith pulled a chair out.

Marvolo accepted it. He waited without comment until Griffith and Dori were sitting with him.

“You know what I’m asking for. Supplies, Floo routes, specialty foci like you have,” Marvolo said, pointing to Griffith’s gloves. “Manpower, where you can spare it. Information, when you have it.”

“And what do you offer us in return?”

“A warm feeling in your heart?” Marvolo chuckled and shook his head. “I would not agree if I were sitting in your seats either. But what about self-interest?” His expression grew darker. “Grindelwald’s forces are marching through Africa and the Middle East as we speak. Nations are falling before him like wheat in the harvest,” he said, slamming the edge of one hand down on the other for emphasis, “but Britain continues to tear at his heels.”

“Britain was conquered,” Dori interjected. “You had your, your Dumbledore, you had your chance, and Britain waves the Hallowsbrand now.”

“Britain,” Marvolo snarled, “is under new management. Dumbledore was softhearted. I will not make his mistake.”

“No,” Griffith said softly. “You’ve certainly proven that in the past fourteen years. You think that you can turn Britain into something new, then? That you are, in effect, going to be defining force behind Grindelwald’s death? Tell me where you were when Britain fell.”

Marvolo held his head high. “Armenia. I didn’t know of the invasion for several months, and by then it was better for me to finish my work there. It was too late for me to turn the tide then but I made friends there.”


“And more,” Marvolo said. “But you have a particular dislike for vampires in America, don’t you?”

“And cannibals,” Dori spat.

“Enough!” Griffith exclaimed, nearly shouting the words, but Marvolo held a hand up.

“Let him,” Marvolo said. “I don’t expect my methods to be extolled from on high. You can’t dispute that they work, though. There are many places in Britain where the Nurmengarders fear to go. Compare to Egypt, or to Spain, or to Libya, where they have walked upon the corpses of the fallen with impunity. Decry my practices if you will but tell me next what you would do differently.”

“There are stories about you, Marvolo. They say that madness runs in the Gaunt line.”

“Oh I’m flattered, Griffith. People do just say the nicest things."

“Your Ministry says that you are fighting an illegal war in contravention of the Yorkshire Treaty. Can you dispute that?”

Marvolo’s eyes lit up. “I can. They are not my Ministry. I have no Ministry. The Ministry,” he growled, “sold our people into slavery the minute that they gave up calling themselves the Ministry-in-Exile and handed over every colony of ours from Africa to the Far East in order to save their own precious flesh! If they have given up the seat of Empire then they have ceased to be the Ministry.”

“Nevertheless they remain in Australia and in Canada, and Canada lies very close to our own lands.”

“Do you seriously think that they would go to war against you? They signed the treaty because they were cowards to begin with.”

“If Grindelwald could pressure them this far,” Griffith replied, “then who knows what they won’t do? It is worth keeping in mind.”

Marvolo nodded as he took that in. “I can’t disagree. But there are greater dangers than that,” he added a few seconds later. “Your entire strategy as it stands now is based on a single, erroneous idea: that Grindelwald will stay his hand at the Atlantic. If we’re dealing in possibilities and magnitudes of risk then ask yourselves what will happen if you are wrong!”

He brought his fist down on the table, hard.

“Grindelwald is still fighting in lands far from your own but he is finding friends everywhere. There is always a disenfranchised people ready to be offered freedom and power in exchange for their service. If he is allowed to consolidate his lands then he will be unstoppable.”

“But you… you can stop him now. That is what you believe.”

Marvolo said nothing for a little while, and then, “May I draw my wand?”

After Griffith nodded his assent, Marvolo conjured a decanter and touched his wand to his head. When he drew it back there clung the silver of a memory, which he let fall into the glass. He handed it to Griffith.

“What you will find in there is proof of what I will tell you now."

Griffith nodded.

“There was a prophecy spoken when I was young. As I understand, it was at the very same moment that I stood above the bodies of my father and his parents.”

“You admit it,” Dori said. Disgust dripped from his words, but Marvolo continued as if he hadn’t heard anything.

“The prophecy said that there would come a day that I would stand before Grindelwald, as death against death. It would be our first meeting, and it would be our last.”

Griffith looked at the vial. “You’re sure that it refers to the two of you?”

“It all but says my name.”

“And Grindelwald?”

“The same. Study the Peverell brothers if you want to understand. They’re a European legend, the origin of Grindelwald’s Hallows talk. The prophecy identifies me as Cadmus and Grindelwald as Antioch.”

“Where do you draw that conclusion?”

Marvolo’s features tightened. “I can’t tell you.”

“Secrets among friends?"

“The prophecy does not state that I will win; only that one of us will die. The key to the prophecy, the information that let it be decoded, may very well be a piece that the whole war hinges upon. Both of us have secrets but Grindelwald knows neither mine nor that I know his. Both of those facts may prove crucial to my success.”

“If you succeed."

“If I succeed,” Marvolo agreed. “It’s not unlikely, however.”

Griffith hazarded a guess. “Because… more secrets?”

Marvolo smiled. It was like a rictus grin. “You’re starting to catch on.”

“And after he dies?”

“Excuse me?”

“What happens when he dies, Marvolo? When the war ends. Do you call it quits or do take back the honor that you lost?”

“All honor lost was at the hands of the Ministry,” Marvolo answered, and Griffith found the words to be cryptic.

Or all too revealing.

“The Ministry will return if Britain is freed,” Griffith said, testing the air.

“The Ministry will try,” Marvolo corrected.

“But you won’t let them.” Griffith frowned. “You’re going to go from one rebellion to another.”

Marvolo shook his head. “From resisting one invasion to another."

Griffith could guess, but there was something that he had to ask anyway. “Then what will happen after Grindelwald is defeated?”

“The Constitutional Federation of the Art will be rewarded as its efforts merit.”

“But who will rule?”

Marvolo laughed. “Don’t you worry. We’ll have elections.”

“When?” Griffith pressed.

“When… the situation is stable.”

“But they’ll be for show, won’t they?”

“They’ll be the real thing.”

“Will that matter?”

Marvolo almost— almost— looked puzzled. “What do you mean?”

“Will anyone vote against you?”

The Tall Man smiled again. “That would be a tragedy, wouldn’t it? May I draw my wand again? Thank you.” He placed it on the table an equal distance between the three of them. “A yew wand, you know. But do you know what that means?”

“Dark wizardry,” Dori said.

“Butcher,” he said slowly, “or protector. Those are the options that are open to me. Greatness, no matter what I choose, but in what manner will it come to me? For what reason will they whisper my name through the centuries?” He looked at Griffith. “I will ascend to Britain’s seat and I will gather in the frightened sheep of Empire that the Ministry scattered away.”

“In the end, sheep get slaughtered.”

“Only the firstborn,” Marvolo replied. “And the shepherd weeps despite its necessity.”

“Will you weep?"

“I will regret that there was not a cleaner path.”

“I think that my partner and I need to withdraw for a minute."

“Take as many minutes as you need.”

Dori closed the door behind them when they left and cast all manner of silencing and privacy charms, including some that Griffith didn’t know.

“It’s not about the details,” Griffith said. “We’ll have to discuss some of the logistics if we agree to support Riddle’s war but… This isn’t something that we can go into half-heartedly. It’s all or nothing.”

It was a heavy feeling that accompanied the knowledge that between the two of them quite likely hung the future of their nation. History had so many paths to walk down but with a few words Griffith and Dori would close off all but one of them.

“He’s a monster,” Dori said. “A madman. He’s a dragon in his own right.”

“It doesn’t matter if we like him. But do we need him? Or in other words: is he right?” Griffith let the words hover there in the air, and then said what thoughts had to be voiced next. They both knew, but the saying would crystallize their reality. “Grindelwald’s dream is to unify our worlds. That will go cleaner if he has the whole world in his grasp. Less dissent that way. But even if he is content with his holdings and leaves us be, the whole world will still know. There will be no secrecy at all.” Griffith paused. “We will have to integrate our society, if not our government, with the Others’.”

Dori made a sound like he wanted to be sick.

“And they will know, Dori. They will know what we did to them to secure our freedoms.”

“Then we can’t. Not if it means integration.”

“But there’s the other side of the coin. If Grindelwald dies then Marvolo lives.”

The blood drained from Dori’s face, as if he had forgotten about that until now. More likely, though, it was not the immediate meaning of “Marvolo lives” but the realization, as they were said, of what else that would imply. “You know the stories as well as I do. You know what they say he’s been up to. Who they say he’s talked to.” Dori shook his head fiercely. “We can’t. Even if it means mixing with the Others… I think I really am going to be sick, Griffith.”

Griffith nodded. “Marvolo intends to rule everything that the Ministry once controlled. Everything.”

“Including Canada.”

“I don’t think that either of us believe that the Ministry could dig him out of Britain if Grindelwald can’t. He’ll stay entrenched there and bide his time until he’s as strong as they are weak, and then Marvolo will be very, very close.”

“If he’s content to go no further.”

“Yes. Grindelwald or Marvolo, either way we might be fighting a world conqueror. But who could we parlay with? And…” Griffith was silent for a moment. “Could Marvolo win anyway? And if he does, then what will he do with us?”

“You don’t think he could, do you?”

“What was he doing for all those years before he returned to Britain, Dori? What secrets does he have that make him so confident of his success? The Dark Arts hold many possibilities known only to those that have plunged their depths sufficiently. Dori, what has he done?”

The lesser of two evils. That was as all that they could hope for. But which was the lesser?

A few minutes later Griffith walked back into the room where Marvolo sat waiting for an answer. He looked back as Dori dissolved the enchantments of the door, and he wondered if they had made the right decision.
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