Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Moonshine Glories

Chapter II

by Lachesis 1 review

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: Dudley, Harry, Petunia Dursley, Professor McGonagall, Vernon Dursley - Warnings: [!!!] [?] - Published: 2006-08-12 - Updated: 2006-08-13 - 1995 words


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


It was actually a bit more than an hour that passed before the van slowed to a halt. "We're here, sir," the driver called back to his passengers.

The stilted pleasantries of the ride stopped as well. The trooper jumped up to open up the sliding down, and it was with true relief that Jack escaped out into the open air. There was only so much time you could fill with talking about the weather of a country you'd been in for less than a day, and sports you either didn't care about (soccer, or football as the general had called it) or that the other party had never heard of (how could McGonagall not know what hockey was?). Jack couldn't remember the last time he'd been so uncomfortable, though meeting Sara's parents had come close... All in all, he was glad it was over with.

"Well... damn," he muttered, staring at the neighborhood. "And I thought American suburbia was bad."

The houses around them looked as though they'd come off an assembly line; while large, they were a uniform boxy shape, and the only differences between them were their yards and the cars parked in each driveway. The one the van had parked in front of had a large brass '4' nailed where it could be clearly seen from the street: likely the only way anyone could ever pick out the place from all its neighbors, Jack reflected.

Number four was fronted by a low garden wall that supported a lawn perfectly green and trimmed in the bright Saturday sun. A greenhouse peeked over the wall that separated the front from the back, and several chimneys reared up from the roof. "Looks nice," the colonel offered diffidently, after a few moments had passed. "They've got a good gardener."

Professor McGonagall snorted bitterly as she stepped out beside him, and Jack gave her a startled look. "Oookay," he muttered to himself. Apparently mentioning plants around the woman was a bad idea.

"Feels good to be able to stretch a little," General Blake said, coming out to join them on the sidewalk. He let a minute go by, before turning to the professor. "Shall we retrieve Mr. Potter, madam?"

McGonagall nodded abruptly and strode up the walkway. Jack and the general trailed after her, Blake looking grim and the American more confused than ever. This wasn't at all what he'd been expecting, after the secrecy surrounding his arrival. He'd thought they'd pick up Potter from some top secret lab somewhere, not the middle of Suburbia, Brit style.

McGonagall rang the doorbell. At first there was no response, but then the trio heard slow, heavy footsteps coming from inside. The door opened, and Jack couldn't help but gape at the boy on the other side.

What the hell are his parents thinking! he wondered, outraged at the sight. Saying the kid was obese was like saying the ocean was deep, or Carter was bright; the word just wasn't enough to convey how incredibly round he was. Janet would've been going into hysterics over his cholesterol levels and arteries, and even Jack would have put money on his having a heart attack by the time he turned twenty-five. Why wasn't anyone getting him help?

"What do you want?" he asked sullenly.

"We're here to collect Harry Potter," the professor stated calmly, not looking at all surprised by the boy's appearance. In fact, she looked rather disgusted.

The boy blinked up at her for a moment with watery blue eyes, as though he couldn't quite comprehend the request. Finally he shrugged his shoulders and looked back inside. "DAD!" he yelled out, making them all jump. "They want the freak!"

Jack wasn't sure which astonished him more, the shout or the way Professor McGonagall growled and nearly stepped forward after hearing it. "That is quite enough of that, Dudley Dursley."

The boy turned and stared at her. "How do you know my name?" he asked, his heavy features screwed up in suspicion.

A man even larger than the boy appeared from further inside, interrupting McGonagall's answer. Jack wasn't impressed, even though a good bit of his size was actually muscle; being around Teal'c had raised his standards on just what 'big' meant. "Who the bloody blazes are you?" he demanded.

The woman drew herself up, her face set in dislike. "My name is Minerva McGonagall. I teach at Hogwarts-"

Instantly the man went a bright shade of red. "You're another one of those freaks!" he nearly yelled, grabbing Dudley's shoulder and pulling him back away from them. The boy was all too willing to go, running out of sight with his hands clamped over his bottom. "Get out! How dare you come here, to my house, in the middle of the daylight? /Get out/!"

He tried to slam the door closed, but General Blake stepped forward to stop it, and after a startled moment Jack did the same. Together they were able to force the door inwards, despite the large man's angry shouting and constant pushing from the other side. "Mr. Dursley," McGonagall said, stepping calmly inside as soon as they had forced the door open wide enough, "I assure you I no more want to be here than you want me here. Nevertheless, I am not leaving without Mr. Potter. If you would be so good as to call him down, so both of our wishes may be fulfilled?"

Dursley had given up on trying to force them out and was glaring at the professor, panting and with an even redder face. He seemed almost about to attack her, but then his eyes went past them, and he went perfectly still. Jack looked back to see the trooper and the driver had both run up behind them when they'd seen their commander trying to force the door. One of them had a pistol out and in plain view of their unhappy host.

"Mr. Dursley," McGonagall said again, her voice like a whip.

He glowered at her for another moment, and Jack stepped up behind her to stare menacingly back. He was really starting to not like the guy- he'd been nothing but an ass since the moment they'd shown up, and from the sounds of it he was the bastard who'd let his son put his health at such risk. In the event he did attack, Jack knew he wouldn't feel any qualms at all about putting Dursley into the hospital; he could see the same dislike he was feeling on Blake's face, so the colonel doubted there'd be any kind of official notice if he did, either.

"Vernon, what's going on?" a shrill voice cried out, and a slender, bony woman nearly ran into the hallway, which was steadily growing more crowded. Jack took a step to the side to try to give them some more room, and nearly knocked over an expensive-looking, if generic vase with his elbow. His instinctive move to catch it nearly sent him into the pictures lining the walls, all of them of Vernon and the woman, with Dudley parked between them at various ages.

You could tell which order they'd been taken in, given the way the kid looked progressively fatter in each photo.

"They're here for the boy, Petunia," Dursley growled in reply. "She's says she's from his /school/." He gestured towards Professor McGonagall, and Petunia took a step back in horror.

"Take him!" she yelped, waving towards the switch-back stairs a few feet away. "Just take him, and go, before the neighbors see you!"

Jack's gaze automatically followed her gesture, coming to rest on the shape, hidden in the shadows, that watched the ruckus from the landing above. It wasn't surprising that Potter had come out to see what was going on, given the noise they were making, a part of him thought, but the rest was occupied with what Dursley had just implied.

No, not implied, said outright! "/Boy/?" Jack repeated numbly, turning towards Blake. The general wouldn't meet his questioning gaze, instead choosing to look away with an uncomfortable expression on his face.

"We've come to collect you, Mr. Potter," Professor McGonagall called up to the shrouded figure. "You won't be returning before the school year begins, so grab all your things as well."

Potter stepped forward into better light to peer down at them more closely over the railing. He was as skinny as the first boy had been round, and had that oddly stretched out look kids got after having a growth spurt. Green eyes studied them suspiciously from behind round wire-framed glasses, and messy dark hair made him look as though they'd startled him out of bed. "Professor," he said in a light baritone, and then hesitated. "...Why did you put me on the team in my first year?"

For a moment McGonagall looked puzzled, but then her face softened in understanding. "You'd caught Mr. Longbottom's toy after a fifty-foot dive, Mr. Potter. Now, your things?"

The wariness had vanished from the terrifyingly young boy's eyes, and he smiled down at them. "Yes, Professor." He took a step back, and then stopped. "Er, I might need some help...?"

Blake gestured, and the two men whose names Jack still didn't know piled up the stairs. Potter vanished from view again, presumably to pack, but the American wasn't really paying much attention to it at that point.

"What the hell is going on here, General?" he hissed, turning on the older man.

Blake's flinch was almost imperceptible, and there was something disturbingly helpless in his expression when he faced Jack. "Now isn't the time, Colonel O'Neill," he said softly, his eyes flickering towards their 'hosts'.

Jack turned to see Vernon Dursley staring suspiciously at them. At some point the man had moved to stand protectively in front of his wife, and his son Dudley was peering at the gathering through a doorway, his hands still out of sight behind his back. "And when will it be the time for you to tell me why you want me to train a child for war, /sir/?" he asked, deliberately infusing the title with as much contempt as he could, even as he kept his voice too quiet to be overheard.

Blake glared at him. "God damn you, O'Neill, this isn't my choice!" He briefly closed his eyes, and when the general opened them again they were anguished. "It's not his choice, either. It's nobody's choice. It's just the way it is. All we can do is try to help, because I don't know about you, but there's no way I could live with myself if I didn't try!"

The other man's reply, though he could tell it was sincere, did nothing to quell Jack's rising outrage. "There's always another way-" he started to say, heatedly, before they were interrupted by the two soldiers carrying an old-fashioned steamer trunk down the stairs. Potter followed them closely, the skinny boy glancing curiously at their argument as he stepped over to McGonagall's side.

"Fine, you've got the brat," Dursley growled, straightened his not-inconsiderable mass and glaring at his visitors. "Now /get the hell out of my house/!"

McGonagall sniffed disdainfully and put a hand on her student's shoulder. "Come along, Mr. Potter. You won't need to see these... /people/, again until next summer. And not then, if I have any say in it."

There was no way Jack was imagining the look of sheer relief on the kid's face as he was led out the door. A tiny, unhappy suspicion wormed its way into his brain and settled there, and he gave the three Dursleys a hard look as he followed Blake out the door.

Somehow, Jack had the feeling this wouldn't be the last time he'd run into this particular family.

And he didn't think the next time would be any more pleasant.
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