Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Moonshine Glories

Chapter IV

by Lachesis 3 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: Harry, Professor McGonagall - Warnings: [!!!] [?] - Published: 2006-08-14 - Updated: 2006-08-14 - 1832 words


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


Even dazed as he was, the sound of footsteps and the rattle of the trolley brought Jack around to see Harry stepping unruffled onto the platform, through an arch that showed no signs whatsoever of having been a solid wall only moments earlier. He could see pedestrians walking around outside, acting perfectly normal and calm as though two people hadn't just walked- /been pushed/- through a wall in front of them.

"Wha... but..." Jack spluttered, waving a hand at the clear archway. Sure, he'd seen some truly weird and amazing things, but always on other planets! Earth was supposed to be safe, and ordinary...

Harry gave him an odd look, stopping just past him. "It's just an illusion, sir," he said, his voice puzzled. "To make sure no one gets on the platform who isn't supposed to be."

One of Jack's eyebrows went up again. Next time he saw Teal'c, the colonel would have to tell him how much he'd been practicing. "/Illusion/?"

The boy blinked back at him, for a few seconds looking even more confused than Jack. Then his eyes went wide. "You... you're a /muggle/! But-"

"Mr. O'Neill, Mr. Potter, if you would please get on board!" Professor McGonagall called out from near the train, cutting Harry off in mid-protest. The kid glanced over at her, then back at Jack, something helpless in his eyes before he shook his head and turned back to his trolley.

Puzzled, Jack caught up to him just in time to help lift his trunk on board.


Before heading towards the front of the train, to speak with the conductor, she said, Professor McGonagall saw the two of them settled into a booth. She turned a stern gaze to Harry, who was carefully shoving his empty birdcage up on a ledge over the seats. "Should anything happen, Mr. Potter, you may defend yourself. We weren't able to get the Ministry to lift the Underage Restrictions on you, but on this train and at Hogwarts they won't be able to detect anything you may happen to do."

Harry gave her a smile in return that had more than a shade of unhappiness to it. "Thank you, Professor," he said quietly.

She nodded, and then they were alone in the compartment. The train started to move soon after, but for a few minutes more they both stayed almost stubbornly silent.

"So," Jack finally said, and Harry's eyes snapped towards him as the silence was broken. "How long is this ride going to be, exactly?"

The boy thought for a moment. "Well... in September, we always leave at eleven in the morning, and with no stops we get there just before dusk. So maybe... eight hours? Nine?"

Jack couldn't stop the wince. First the twelve-hour flight from Colorado Springs to D.C., then to London, flying commercial all the way because this farce was a be-damned black ops mission. Then the car ride with the close-mouthed captain, and the not one, but two stiflingly uncomfortable trips trapped inside the van between McGonagall and Blake. And now, a nine-hour train ride!

For someone who had just gotten used to traveling to other planets in less than the blink of an eye, Jack had to say that traveling on Earth severely sucked.

"Wonderful," the American muttered, closing his eyes and pinching the bridge of his nose between two fingers. After a moment his eyes opened again to look at his companion. "I don't suppose you have anything to read I could borrow from you? I wasn't expecting this..."

Reading away the hours didn't sound particularly thrilling, but Jack had only managed to catch a couple of hours of sleep, despite catching an overnight flight. Maybe a book would make it past his body's keyed-up state and put him to sleep.

Harry looked apologetic. "Just my schoolbooks, sir. Usually there're only Hogwarts students on the train, so we just talk to each other."

The colonel's lips quirked. Schoolbooks sounded mind-numbing enough to work. "That'd be fine, thanks." The boy got up from his seat and opened up his trunk, which sat beneath the window. He rummaged around inside, pushing aside several outfits of what Jack could have sworn were black robes like the people on the station had been wearing. "We're going to Hogwarts, right? What's it like?" he asked, feeling a dark suspicion take hold of him.

If McGonagall, Harry, and this Voldemort character were all a part of some cult, it would do a lot to explain why the British government wasn't officially getting involved. Governmental interference with cults never ended well, with the Waco fiasco only a couple of years ago as a prime example. And civil war within a cult might make the Brits even more reluctant to take direct action.

In response to Jack's question the kid's face lit up. "It's wonderful! There's no place like it. The school is in this enormous castle, on a hill above a lake, and it's the most beautiful place you've ever seen! Right by it is the Forbidden Forest, and between the Forest and the castle is the Quidditch pitch-"

Jack hid his grin at the name of the forest- the school must've had a problem with students sneaking in, and undoubtedly now had an even bigger problem with it- but had to ask about the second, because it just sounded so ridiculous. "Quidditch?"

"It's a sport we play. Er, Americans don't play it, I don't think. They play Quodpot, or something like that." Harry paused in his rummaging to wrinkle his nose at Jack, who openly grinned this time. The transformation from the wary, subdued boy of earlier to this bright enthusiasm was remarkable. If anything, it reminded him of Daniel, about to launch into one of his lectures on some squiggle-covered rock that generally made Jack interrupt and ask for a summary made of nice, simple words. Come to think of it, if Harry kept using words he'd never heard of, Jack might have to ask for those from him as well... "Each of the houses has a Quidditch team, and we all play each other for the Quidditch Cup at the end of the year."

He stopped and blinked at the older man. "Er, the students at Hogwarts are divided into four houses, based mostly on personality. I'm a Gryffindor, and the other houses are Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin."

"What kind of personality ends up in which?" Jack asked. That kind of system might give him some insight into his student's character.

"Ravenclaws are the bookish types; they like to know things for the sake of knowing them. For most of them, that makes them good students, but it also makes them terrible gossips. Actually, most people at Hogwarts gossip a lot," Harry added with a rueful smile towards Jack. "In my first year, the Headmaster told me something like, the surest way to make sure the entire school knows something is to declare it a complete secret."

Jack grinned to himself. That sounded an awful lot like the SGC. The speed at which rumors circulated in the converted missile silo had astounded him, that first year.

"Gryffindors are recklessly brave. At least, we're reckless according to the Slytherins. They're... kind of our opposites." Harry grimaced. "In fact, you could just about say we hate each other. They're sneaky and will do anything to get ahead. They're more likely to attack you from behind than from where you can see them coming."

This time, the colonel frowned as he tried to think of a way to say it without treading on the kid's obvious dislike. "Those... aren't really bad traits to have, you know. In moderation." Especially when you're headed into a war.

The boy's face set stubbornly. "Voldemort was a Slytherin," he said simply.

He wanted to sigh. Well, now he knew at least part of what he might need to teach Harry, though if Jack had his way it wouldn't ever be necessary. He had no problem at all with never teaching the kid how useful dirty tricks like shooting your enemies in the back could be.

And on the other hand, the beginning of a connection between Voldemort and the boy in front of him had been confirmed. What kind of place really was this Hogwarts, though, to turn out both Harry and the massacre-causing, world-ruler-wannabe Blake had described?

Realizing the compartment had been quiet just a tad too long, Jack glanced at Harry, who was still kneeling on the floor next to his trunk but was now staring moodily off at nothing. "So, uh, that was three of the houses, wasn't it?" he asked quickly.

Harry jumped a little, twisting to look at the American. "Er... yeah. Hufflepuff. They're..." He hesitated over his words. "They're supposed to be the most loyal kids, and the hardest workers, but most people just think of Hufflepuff as the catch-all house, the one the students who couldn't make it into the other houses get put into. I used to think that too," he added, at last returning his attention to the contents of his trunk.

About to ask what had changed his mind, Jack shut his mouth with a quiet 'click' when Harry spoke again. "Cedric was a Hufflepuff," he said sadly, almost to himself as he pulled out a handful of books. "And he was one of the bravest boys I knew."

A little stunned by the past tense, Jack automatically accepted the books held out to him. Not looking down at them, he watched as Harry resettled himself in his seat. For a moment the boy seemed unaware of his regard, plucking absentmindedly at the hem of his oversized t-shirt, but then he looked up and met Jack's eyes with a frown. "Sir?" he started. "...Just who are you, anyway? I know you're supposed to help train me, but... how can you do that if you're a muggle?"

The colonel's first contemplated response was that he was rather wondering that himself, but instead he sighed. "First off, I need to reintroduce myself. Colonel Jack O'Neill, of the United States Air Force." He held out his hand in a repeat of their earlier meeting, and a startled Harry shook it. "And second... what the hell's a muggle?"

Harry started to say something, then stopped and laughed. "You know, I think I might need to reintroduce myself, too. Harry Potter, fifth-year Gryffindor, and the Boy-Who-Lived." His voice while saying that last was bitter enough that Jack knew there was a not-very-happy, and most likely very long story behind it.

"And a muggle is a person who doesn't have magic."


Author's Note: Harry's views are those of his canon self at the end of fourth year, and will most likely change. This is also the end of what was pre-written; future updates will be slower.
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