Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Moonshine Glories

Chapter V

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: 2006-08-27 - Updated: 2006-08-27 - 1984 words


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


Jack blinked. "...Come again?" He couldn't really be serious, could he?

The boy winced. "I'm guessing no one's told you anything..." He pulled a slender length of wood from his pocket and began to roll it in his fingers.

"You can say that again," the colonel said with a snort. "But still, there's no such thing as magic. The closest you can get is Clarke's Law."

If there was one thing the day had possessed in spades, it was confusion. This time, though, it was Harry's turn, not Jack's. "Pardon? Whose law?"

"Clarke's Law. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Jack was proud of that little tidbit of knowledge. It had only taken a few missions of listening to Carter mutter to herself about keeping Clarke in mind whenever they saw something particularly amazing before he got curious and looked it up.

Harry shook his head. "That might make sense, except that magic and technology are mutually exclusive. Hogwarts doesn't even have electricity. And besides, muggles aren't anywhere near as advanced as they'd need to be to do some of what we do."

Oh, I bet we could surprise you, Jack thought, but stopped himself from saying it out loud. Court martials and all that. "Still, there's no such thing as magic."

The boy sighed and pointed the stick in his hand at the books Jack was holding. He muttered something that to the American's ears sounded like gibberish, though Jack had a feeling Daniel would have been able to make some sense of it, and motioned with the stick. "And what's that, then?"

Jack stared at the books hovering in front of his face and swallowed. Slowly, he lifted his hand and ran it over the top of the stack, then around the sides and across the bottom. He encountered no wires, no obvious means of support... "That's not possible," he finally whispered as he tried to push them back down. They stayed stubbornly hung in midair, no matter how much pressure he applied.

"That won't work," Harry said quietly, as though he understood just what Jack was going through. "They won't go down until I cancel the spell." The boy flicked his stick... wand?... at the books again, and Jack yelped in surprise and pain as they tumbled into his lap.

Harry looked horrified. "Sorry! I'd didn't mean..." He trialed off in chagrin as Jack pushed the books off onto the seat beside him and rubbed his sore thigh. The colonel debated giving him a good glare, but decided against it; the kid really didn't seem the type to do something like that on purpose.

"Don't worry about it," he reassured the embarrassed boy, though it didn't seem to have much effect. Sighing, Jack glanced down at the messy pile of books he'd made, and nearly did a double take as he read their titles for the first time. "/The Standard Book of Spells, Grade 4/," he read out loud. "/One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi/. What...?"

Still blushing a little, Harry gave him a tentative smile. "They're my schoolbooks. From last year. I don't have this year's yet..."

Jack rummaged through the rest of the stack, feeling himself grow steadily more and more numb. Against every bit of will that he could throw against the thought, maybe... just maybe... "This Hogwarts school," he said slowly. "What, exactly, does it teach?"

The smile flickered uncertainly as Harry met the older man's eyes. "It's really the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry."

"I see..." A school that taught magic. How... unexpected.

Jack knew he was acting oddly. He hadn't been nearly as fazed as he was now when he'd been briefed on the Stargate, the first or second time. He supposed it was because aliens and traveling to other planets was generally accepted as something that would happen, if in the distant future; it wasn't just possible, it was probable. But /magic/...

Right now, he kind of felt like someone had blindsided him with a two-by-four. Wielded by a Jaffa. With nails in it. He'd always taken comfort in the fact that, though he had seen some truly wacky things through the 'Gate, Carter or Daniel were generally able to come up with explanations for them. But this, this was a whole different story. This was the fulfillment of the fantasy every child had, that somewhere there was something in the world that defied all sense, all logic, that could make all things better with just a word. The same fantasy that every child had to put away at some point, as they grew up and found that some things just couldn't be fixed. That Jack had had to put away, once in childhood, and once again when he held his son's body in his arms. This was...

This was too much to take in. Jack felt the weight of the exhaustion he'd been hoping for finally crash over him, leaving him, in a rare occurrence, feeling his age as well. He sighed, gathering the books together and holding them out to a startled Harry. "Thanks, but I think I'm going to get some rest instead," the American told him. "I'm too tired to think about this clearly."

The boy took the books with a silent nod, and Jack stretched out as well as he was able on the seats. The compartment was just a little narrower than he was long, and his last thought before he let himself drift off into dreamland was that he was going to be sore when he woke up.


Scritch/. /Scritch scratch/. And /scritch again.

Jack groaned as the sound invaded his ears, and pushed his head further into his pillow to try and block it out. The duffel resisted, its rough fabric scraping at his stubble, and the colonel started to wake up as he realized something wasn't right.

The first thing he saw when he opened his eyes was Harry, curled up asleep on the opposite row of seats. He'd bundled up what looked like one of his black robes to use as his own pillow, and one hand was loosely wrapped around his wand. He wasn't moving, Jack thought as he sat up, rubbing his gritting eyes, so who was making that damn scratching noise?

A glance around the compartment revealed no other occupants. It wasn't until the noise came again that his eyes were drawn to the window, and Jack stared, taken aback.

There was an owl flying alongside the train. Every few seconds, it would fly closer, and scratch a claw against the window pane, before the slipstream forced it away. Even as he watched, it came in for another pass, and hooted angrily at him as the wind tore it away from the window.

"Oh, for crying out loud," Jack muttered to himself, getting to his feet despite his generalized aching from what must have been at least a few hours in that cramped position. He stumbled over to the window, unlatching it and letting a stuff breeze into the compartment. The owl followed soon after, buffeting him around the head with a snowy wing as it went past.

"Hey!" he protested, rubbing his ear. As he shut the window again, the owl flew over to the slowly-waking Harry, landing beside his head and nibbling at his ear until the boy opened his eyes.

"I'm awake already," the teenager groaned, sitting up and running a hand through his messy hair, which Jack noticed did absolutely nothing to straighten it. "Lay off, Hedwig."

The owl fluttered off to land on Harry's trunk, hooting in what sounded, to Jack's ears, suspiciously like satisfaction. "So I take it you two know each other," Jack said dryly, reseating himself.

Harry jumped a little, like he'd forgotten the older man was there. "Er, yeah. Hagrid gave Hedwig to me when I first started at Hogwarts. She's my familiar." He blinked and turned towards her. "Hedwig, this is Colonel O'Neill. He'll be teaching me, I guess." The snowy owl hooted quietly in acknowledgement, preening under their attention as she ran her wickedly sharp beak through her feathers.

Jack grinned to himself as he looked back and forth between the two. The kid had the same look on his face as he'd had when he was talking about that Quidditch thing. It was a lot better than the polite little smile he wore all the rest of the time, more like the age he was supposed to be rather than the mini-adult that Jack had been introduced to.

Harry got up and opened his trunk, reaching in and pulling out a little bag. He started feeding the owl bits of what was in it, murmuring quietly to her all the while. Jack stretched, trying to work some of the kinks out of his back, and took a look at his watch.

"What the hell?" he wondered out loud as he stared at the utterly frozen hands. "Damn it, I could have sworn I just changed the batteries on this thing..."

"It's not the watch. We must be getting close to Hogwarts."

Jack glanced up at Harry, who was watching him and paying no notice whatsoever to the owl climbing up to his shoulder. "And I say... huh?"

Harry frowned at him. "I told you. Magic and technology don't mix well. When there's too much magic around, muggle technology stops working. And Hogwarts is one of the most magical places in the world."

The American blinked. Well... damn. If a watch had too much technology to work, then his cell phone definitely wouldn't. And what was it Harry had said early, something about Hogwarts not having electricity.

No electricity, no technology whatsoever... Out of nowhere Jack could feel a smile creeping across his lips. It was a good thing it was him on this mission, and not Carter. Without her laptop, she'd have gone completely cuckoo within the week.

The compartment door slid open, then, and Professor McGonagall stepped inside. She looked briefly surprised, to see them both awake, he guessed, but it passed after a bare moment. "We're about ten minutes from Hogsmeade," she informed them. "A student carriage will meet us at the station. I'd suggest you get yourselves ready to depart."

She pulled out a wand of her own as she turned to go, and almost absentmindedly waved it down her front. Her sober business suit seemed to twist in Jack's vision, finally resolving itself into a set of navy-blue robes.

Jack stared after her, amazed, until he heard a quiet chuckle beside him. "Professor McGonagall teaches Transfiguration," Harry explained. "Turning one thing into another. If you think that was wicked, you should see her change into her animagus form. She's a tabby cat."

Jack directed his astonished gaze to the boy. "You can turn into /animals/?"

Harry nodded. "Some of us can. It's really hard, and not everyone can, for some reason. I want to learn how. My dad was one, so I think I've got a good chance at it."

"Really? What did he change into?" the colonel asked, as beneath them the train began to slow with much squealing from the brakes.

"A stag," Harry answered, turning and starting to straighten up his things. He didn't bother folding the robe he'd used as a pillow before he tossed it in his trunk. The books were already stacked inside. "I don't know what I'd be, though. It's supposed to be based on your personality."

The train came to a stop. Outside the window, Jack could see a wooden platform with no walls, populated by a dozen or so families. "Are you ready, sir?" the boy asked, letting Hedwig out that same window.

The nap had done him some good. Jack could almost... /almost/... say he was.
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