Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Moonshine Glories

Chapter I

by Lachesis 0 reviews

Now that the Dark Lord has returned, the Order of the Phoenix must call in outside help to train their boy savior. Enter one officer used to dealing with the weird, Colonel Jack O'Neill...

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Action/Adventure, Crossover, Drama, Sci-fi - Characters: Professor McGonagall - Warnings: [!!!] [?] - Published: 2006-08-11 - Updated: 2006-08-11 - 2311 words


"War is at best barbarism... Its glory is all moonshine... War is hell."
-Gen. William T. Sherman


Jack looked down one more time at his watch, then scanned the rapidly-clearing terminal. General Hammond hadn't been able to tell him anything about his new assignment, which in itself was worrying since the President and the General were usually on pretty good terms. All that had been in his orders packet had been instructions to fly commercially to London, where an unofficial representative of the Home Office was supposed to meet him.

And really, that 'unofficial' just said it all. Welcome back to Black Ops, Colonel; don't tell anyone where you're going or we'll have the court martial waiting, sir. And the execution squad.

He snorted. Of course, if the op never got off the ground 'cause the representative didn't show...

Well, it'd piss off all the generals, that was for sure, but he really couldn't care less. Nothing they could throw at him could make up for losing the Stargate. Nothing. And Jack didn't really give a fuck who knew it, because the only reason he wasn't retired yet was that slim hope that the Stargate Program wasn't down for good.

"Mr. O'Neill!"

Jack turned towards the voice, just barely holding in a snarl of "That's /Colonel/, asshole!" Damn, but he'd really gotten used to not being Special Ops... "Yes?" he offered tersely, eyeing the stranger walking towards him. The man was tall and skinny, with round glasses that didn't go too well with his receding hairline. He looked uncomfortable in a civilian business suit, but he didn't strike Jack as a hardcore soldier. More an aide of some sort, probably newly promoted to captain.

"Ca- John Leland. I'm here to pick you up," the man said, nodding to him. He pulled out a business card and handed it to the colonel. "If you'll follow me, sir?"

Jack looked down at the card in his hand. General Edmund Blake was embossed in gold, and 21st Regiment in black beneath it. "Holy fuck," he muttered. He'd known this was big, since the Brits had gone directly through the President, but what the hell was the head of the freaking SAS doing calling for overseas help?

Hell, it wasn't like he didn't have good people of his own. Which meant that Blake didn't want Jack for his combat record... and the only other thing that distinguished him from every other colonel out there was commanding SG-1.

"What's this really about?" he demanded, turning a narrow-eyed gaze on the British captain.

Leland shook his head. "I'm just here to pick you up, sir. I don't know anything about why you're here. So if you'll come with me, sir?" This time he gestured toward the concourse, the faintest hint of impatience in his movements.

Jack took a deep breath. It wasn't the captain's fault he hadn't been briefed on anything. With the Colonel of the Regiment himself involved, it was probably going to be the kind of mission where no more people than those absolutely necessary were told. "After you," he said with a mock bow, forcing an amiable grin.

After they'd picked up his single piece of luggage, Captain Leland led him out the doors of the London City Airport and to, of all things, a dark green Volkswagen Bug. The Brit twitched when he saw Jack's raised eyebrow. "It saves on the petrol," he said defensively.

The colonel smirked. "Cute," was all he said, before he hefted his bag to put it in the trunk under the hood. Leland twitched again. Good, Jack wasn't losing his touch. Baiting Daniel was fun, but the younger man had gotten used to it all too quickly.

Leland went around to the driver's side and got in. Jack followed suit, and before long they were negotiating the crowded streets of London. "So, where're we goin'? Westminster?" the American asked after a few minutes of silence.

"I was given an address to drop you off at, sir," Leland replied woodenly. Yeah, Jack had gotten on his nerves, all right. He must really love his car. "I have no idea where you'll go after that."

Jack 'hmmed' and settled back into his seat. No, not Westminster, he thought, noting how they were traveling east. With something as hush-hush as this was looking to be, it probably wouldn't do to stroll right into the center of the British government anyway. He glanced out the window, hoping to see some of London's famous sights, but none were in view.

"So, what do you do?" he asked, idly drumming his fingers against the door frame.

"I work in the regiment's procurement offices," Leland answered, gritting his teeth. "Could you please not do that, sir? It's very distracting."

Obediently, Jack pulled his hand away from the pane, and set it on the armrest instead. "Procurement. And that's... what? Buying more paper when the pencil pushers run out?"

"My particular responsibility is to liaise with civilian contractors on technical data and design specifications. Mostly on small arms and individual equipment."

Jack snorted. "Sounds thrilling."

He could almost hear the teeth. They were really grinding now. "You'd be surprised, sir."

"Oh, I'm /sure/." It was just a little cramped inside the Bug, and the colonel shifted to try and give his knees some relief. The last two years of semi-constant combat had left Jack finally starting to feel his age; or at least, started his knees feeling it. It was probably all the running, jumping, and diving through the 'Gate in the bare nick of time that had done it. Janet was keeping an eye on them, and was planning on giving him a prescription for pain medication if they got worse...

Jack grimaced. No, she wouldn't be, because the Stargate was gone, or as good as. Probably going to end up collecting dust in some military store room for the next century, or however long it was before the administration felt safe in opening it again. He had no doubt it would be opened again; eventually humanity was going to look to the stars and be serious about it for once.

He just kinda wished he'd be alive to see it.

Damn Kinsey, and all his lackeys and especially the pull he had on the political side of things. The President was on their side, but even everything he'd tried to keep the SGC open had failed against that bastard. And Jack doubted it would stop there. Kinsey was the kind of person who, once they'd gained that crucial first bit of momentum, wouldn't stop until they were dead. The senator was aiming for the eventual presidency, that much was clear, and whenever Jack contemplated what kind of future was in store down that road, he got very, very depressed.

Jack was one of those people in whom depression leads to anger, and the armrest creaked under his hand as he gripped it tight. He still couldn't believe those idiots had listened to Kinsey! The Stargate was important, how could they not see that? And those blind, incompetent fools were sending him on a goddamn politico mission!

"Is... everything all right, sir?" Leland asked, eyeing the now continuously-creaking armrest with apprehension.

Jack forced his hand loose. "Oh, I'm just dandy," he growled, and the captain wisely didn't speak again.

A long and silent car ride later, they turned into an older district full of only moderately-seedy warehouses, and finally came to a stop on a narrow, sparsely populated street. "This is your stop, sir," Leland said calmly, opening up his door and getting out.

By the time Jack had done the same, the captain already had his bag out and sitting on the curb. "My instructions say you're to wait here, sir. Good luck with whatever it is." He nodded briskly and returned to the car, a certain relaxation of his shoulders revealing how glad he was to see the last of the irritating Colonial.

"Well, ain't this peachy," Jack muttered, staring after the departed vehicle. "The SGC's gone, Kinsey's jumping around doing cartwheels for joy, and I'm stranded in London with /no idea what the hell's going on/!"

At his shout, a deliveryman passing by gave him a strange look and hurried past. Jack closed his eyes and, his jaw clenched, focused on calming down.

It took some time.

By the time Jack could breathe calmly and evenly, and opened his eyes, a grey van had pulled up to the curb in front of him. The side door slide open, and a voice called out, "Colonel! In here!"

He hefted his bag and stepped inside. A uniformed young man wearing the sand-colored beret of the SAS slid the door shut behind him. Inside, a man with hair gone to silver waited on one of the seats that lined the far wall. He nodded to Jack, who nodded back uncertainly, but it was the middle-aged woman seated next to him who spoke first.

"This is the man you think can help us?" she asked in a light Scottish burr, studying Jack carefully. Under her stern gaze the American had to suppress the urge to run a hand through his hair and make sure his collar was straight. Her dark hair was pulled back into a strict bun, and she was wearing an old-fashioned high-collared business suit.

The silver-haired man- who was /not/, Jack noticed, wearing a uniform- nodded. "Yes, Ms. McGonagall, he is." He smiled at their guest. "This is Colonel Jack O'Neill, ma'am. Colonel, this is Professor Minerva McGonagall. She's here representing the people you've been assigned to aid."

Somehow, Jack wasn't at all surprised to find out that the woman was a schoolteacher. He bet no little munchkins ever disobeyed around /her/. "And you are...?" he trailed off, hoping he would finally be able to get some answers.

The man looked briefly chagrined. "Ah, yes. My name is Edmund Blake."

Jack instinctively straightened. "General."

"At ease." Jack sank down into the last open seat as the van began to move, on the opposite side from the scary schoolmarm. He might have been long decades away from his miscreant days in school, but the instinct to mend his ways until out of sight of the teacher still remained. "I imagine you're wondering just what your mission is, Colonel?"

"I might be," the American allowed, trying to keep his sarcasm to a relative minimum until he had a better idea of just where things were standing.

General Blake nodded abruptly. "Then listen closely. Your mission is to train a single individual to survive and thrive in a war. No more, no less. This particular war hasn't quite begun yet, but even so I wouldn't expect the civilian sector to ever hear about it."

Ah, Jack thought. One of those wars. "Who, sir?"

"His name is Harry Potter. We're going to pick him up now, and then drop off both of you and Professor McGonagall at King's Cross to catch a train to your next destination." He looked unhappy about something for a moment. "There may be certain parts of this mission you may and will likely object loudly to, but take my word for it now that there is, unfortunately, no other way."

The colonel filed that away for future consideration. "I see," was all he said aloud. "May I ask who this Potter guy will be fighting against?"

"A terrorist styling himself as Lord Voldemort who would like to rule the world, as well as commit a few massacres. He made a great deal of trouble a few years ago, but when it stopped, we thought the matter had been taken care of."

"But you were wrong, and now he's back," Jack filled in the rest for him. The general nodded. "Why just one man, sir?"

Blake winced and started to say something, but evidently thought better of it. "That... the reasoning is rather complex, Colonel, and might best wait until you've reached your posting."

Jack's lips tightened unhappily, but he went on. "And what resources will I have?"

"Everything our allies can give you," Blake nodded to the professor (and just why the hell was a schoolteacher getting involved in a war, Jack wondered), "as well as whatever you need from us, short of a tactical nuke." Jack's eyebrows went up in surprise, and the Brit's lips quirked. "Unless it's absolutely necessary, of course. The paperwork would be horrendous."

"I... see." Jack looked down at his hands, clenched over the strap of his bag. This was big, he translated from the general's words, and complicated. Not the kind of situation you normally called a colonel in on, especially one from another country. Unless... "General, does this have anything to do with my... previous posting?" he asked, looking up.

He was assuming that the head of one of the best Special Forces units in the world would know about the Stargate, even if he technically wasn't supposed to. And indeed, there was recognition in the general's eyes, but Blake shook his head. "Not directly, Colonel. In certain respects, though, they could be considered rather similar."

McGonagall looked like she was wondering what they were talking about, but she kept as silent as she had been up to this point. Looking at her more closely, Jack finally saw the circles under her eyes, and the way worry had left lines around her eyes. "So... how much longer before we get to wherever Potter is?"

"About an hour," Blake answered, after conferring with the driver.

Trapped in an enclosed space for an hour with the head of a foreign special operations unit, the embodiment of the strict schoolmarm, and a trooper who was very good at blending into the wall and thus not a good choice for conversation.

Jack sighed. This would be... interesting.
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