Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Moonshine Glories

Chapter III

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: Moody - Warnings: [!!!] [?] - Published: 2006-08-13 - Updated: 2006-08-13 - 1889 words


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


The van was getting kind of cramped.

The Potter boy had squeezed in next to his teacher, and kept sending surreptitious, curious glances at both Jack and the general beside him. They were crammed almost uncomfortably close, especially since Jack was doing his utmost best not to look at Blake. He was afraid that if he did, he'd punch the man and cause an international incident.

"Um, Professor?" Potter ventured after they'd spent nearly ten minutes in an uneasy silence. "Where are we going? And... what's been going on? Only, I haven't heard anything since school let out..."

McGonagall patted his hand. "That's because nothing's happened. We haven't heard anything from You-Know-Who since the Third Task."

If she'd intended to reassure the kid, she managed just the opposite. Potter looked suddenly worried, even as Jack mouthed 'You-Know-Who?' to himself. "But then... the Ministry..."

"Refuses to admit he's returned." The professor's mouth twisted sourly. "The Headmaster has been trying to get him to see reason, but Minister Fudge has decided to bury his head in the sand."

"We're on our own, then," Potter said quietly, staring down at his clasped hands. He seemed smaller to Jack, and even younger than before.

Hesitating for a few seconds, McGonagall shook her head. "Not entirely."

Her eyes were on Jack, who blinked, taken aback. She couldn't mean... Was he the only help these people were getting? One aging American colonel with bad knees and a rarely-appreciated sense of humor? That was...

No, wait, he'd forgotten. All they needed was a kid who didn't even need to shave yet. Jack was only there to train him. Why in the world would they need more help than that? After all, it wasn't like they were about to fight a /war/, or anything... And speaking of which, Jack could have sworn the only kind of war schoolteachers got involved in was the war against drugs. So why was Professor McGonagall involved, and one of her students as well, in a situation the head of the SAS described as 'complex'?

Damn, but he wished he had Daniel along. The archaeologist was good at solving mysteries. Jack had trouble filling out the crossword puzzle in the morning paper.

A startled sound drew Jack's attention back to his company. Potter had followed his teacher's gaze to the American, and now was looking at him with wide, nervous eyes. Jack stared back for a long moment, and then nearly swore as he realized that as he'd thought, his expression had gradually settled into the look he normally reserved for System Lords and Senator Kinsey.

No wonder the kid looked like he'd been locked in a room with a poisonous reptile.

"Um, hi," Jack said awkwardly with a little wave. Somehow he had a feeling he'd just screwed up that whole 'first impression' bit.

"Hi," Potter mumbled in return. He didn't look like Jack had managed to reassure him any more than McGonagall had. "...Who are you?"

"The name's Jack, Jack O'Neill." Jack looked to the professor for aid, but she only pursed her lips. Another look toward Blake didn't give him any more help. "I guess I'm supposed to... train you..." The words left a bad taste in his mouth, but he refused to let it show on his face again. It wasn't the kid's fault, after all.

But Jack planned on having a very long talk with whoever had set this insanity in motion. Or perhaps a very short one. Fists didn't need to say much to make their point.

"Oh." Potter seemed to be arguing with himself for a few seconds, before hesitantly leaning forward and stretching out his hand. "Mine's Harry Potter."

Jack reached out to take it with a smile that barely needed to be forced even through his lingering ire. Maybe he hadn't messed up quite so badly as he'd thought... "Nice to meet you."

Potter nodded back, plainly still a little uncertain about his new acquaintance. "Professor?" he said, turning back to McGonagall. "You never said where we were going."

"We're taking the train to Hogwarts, child. A few professors have volunteered to stay there, as well as Mr. O'Neill," Jack almost interrupted with 'Colonel'. Almost. Why was it these people couldn't get his rank right? "-and you'll be staying there as well until the school year begins."

The boy smiled. "Thank you, Professor."

McGonagall frowned. It seemed to be a fairly common expression for her. "Don't thank me, Mr. Potter. We cannot rely on You-Know-Who to be quiescent forever."

Abashed, Potter returned to staring down at his hands. "Oh."

Sensing the silence that was about to ensue, Jack just had to ask. "'You-Know-Who'?"

"Voldemort," Potter said automatically, glancing up at him in surprise. McGonagall twitched even as Jack made an understanding moue, and the boy winced. "Sorry, Professor."

The American blinked and looked between the two of them, confused. "Sorry about what?"

McGonagall's frown deepened. "We do not say his name."

What the hell? "I... see." He didn't really, but under her stern gaze Jack settled back into what little room he had and closed his mouth. Blake gave him a sympathetic look, having taken the wiser route of staying silent in the first place.

They stayed that way for the rest of the drive.


Jack had been in London before on business, but he'd never had a chance to ride the rails. King's Cross Station was a beautiful old building of yellowed brick, but crowded as all hell. Blake had stayed in the van while he, McGonagall and the kid got out, and before they'd taken off into the station the general had quietly wished him luck. The American nearly hadn't returned his sincere salute, but a last vestige of diplomacy Daniel would have been astonished to see made him give a choppy, reluctant salute in return.

Once the three of them were past the turnstiles, Jack took the lead to force a way through the crowd. "Where are we going?" he called back, before muttering an apology to a teenaged girl he'd nearly run into.

"Platform nine and three-quarters," McGonagall said primly, trying her best to keep from touching any of the bodies crowding around her. Just behind the professor came Potter, who was pushing his trunk on a trolley. On top of the trunk was an empty bird cage Jack hadn't noticed until he'd helped to unload it from the van, and the use of which he couldn't imagine, since no bird had accompanied it.

The colonel did a double take. "But... Look, Professor, unless the British have seriously run out of space I kind of doubt the platforms come in fractions!"

McGonagall granted him a cool look in return. "Be that as it may, Mr. O'Neill, keep going until you reach the space between platforms nine and ten."

Muttering to himself about bossy schoolmarms, Jack turned back around and resumed pushing through the other pedestrians. "Don't dawdle, if you please," the professor said sharply, as though she could hear him. "Our train leaves very shortly."

Biting his tongue, Jack chanced a look back at Potter. The boy was keeping his head down, concentrating on the trolley, but Jack could have sworn he saw his lips twitch from beneath that mop he called hair...

Platforms nine and ten looked just like every other platform they'd passed. Exasperated, Jack stopped by the wall separating them and waited for the others to catch up. "Well? Now what?" he asked as McGonagall came level with him. She snorted softly as she passed him by. Jack started to turn to follow her, only to catch a man bumping into Potter's trolley from the corner of his eye.

He lunged forward in time to help the boy keep his trunk on board, but the bird cage fell off with a ringing clatter that drew every eye for twenty yards. Cursing quietly, and then looking guiltily at the kid, Jack grabbed it up off the ground and shoved it back on top of the trunk.

"Thanks," Potter said shortly, flushing with embarrassment. Jack nodded an acknowledgement and turned back to follow McGonagall.

Only to be brought up short as he found she'd vanished from sight.

"Aw, shit," he sighed. This just really wasn't his day... Jack looked at his young companion. "I don't suppose you know where she went?"

Potter blinked up at him. "Er, she went to the platform, sir."

Jack raised a skeptical eyebrow, a habit picked up from Teal'c. "Platform nine and three-quarters?" Potter nodded. The eyebrow went up a bit farther. "And... you know where this platform is?"

The boy nodded again, and gestured over Jack's shoulder. "It's just over there."

Jack followed the gesture, but didn't see anything more than a few other prospective passengers and the brick wall separating nine and ten. "Over there?" It was impossible to hide the doubt in his voice. He glanced back at Potter. "Okay, I'm not getting it. What's the joke?"

Potter sighed and pushed his trolley toward the wall. "Here, sir," he said, waving towards the bricks. "This is the entrance."

"Potter-" Jack started to say, and then stumbled to a halt. The kid wasn't a green recruit like Jack had been treating him; using his last name out loud instead of inside his head just sounded wrong. "Look, can I call you Harry?"

The boy nodded warily, and the colonel relaxed a bit. "Harry," he continued, "this is just a wall. A rather dingy, but more importantly a solid wall. Not a platform, let alone platform /nine and three-quarters/!" He didn't want to get mad at the kid, he really didn't, but as the day wore on Jack found himself getting more and more irritated. He was a little surprised he'd managed to keep a lock on it thus far.

Unlike before in the van, though, Harry didn't seem fazed. "Sir, if we don't hurry we're going to miss the Hogwarts Express," he said, glancing at a nearby clock. "Maybe if you'll take a closer look?"

Jack stared at him for a long moment, until the American realized he was serious. Sighing in frustration, he turned and bent forward to study the wall minutely. "Brick, more brick, yuck, someone's old gum," he humored his companion. "What exactly is it I'm supposed to be-"

In hindsight, Jack supposed he should have expected the hands that planted themselves at the small of his back and shoved, but he'd let his guard down around Harry. He had only a bare moment to brace himself for impact, fully expecting to run face-first painfully into the wall.

So he was very shocked indeed when instead he felt a sensation like cobwebs running over his skin, and then stumbled out into a brightly platform. An old-fashioned steam locomotive painted a vivid, fire-engine red blew its whistle just beyond, while a milling crowd of people in robes loaded their things on board. A conductor yelled out "Hogwarts Express/, leaving for /Winters/down, /Tigh/-Na-/Ruaich/, /Hogs/meade, and Loch /Tay in /five minutes/!" in an attention-getting sing-song.

Oddly enough, though, what drew Jack's attention were a few cast-iron letters welded to the wall. "Platform nine and three-quarters," he muttered, dazed.

"I'll be damned."
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