Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Family Issue

Promotions and Celebrations

by PerfesserN 7 reviews

Some are born to command, others have it thrust upon them

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: R - Genres: Action/Adventure, Fantasy, Romance - Characters: Bellatrix, Harry, Marietta Edgecombe - Published: 2007-02-28 - Updated: 2007-03-01 - 2113 words

Chapter 20 - Promotions and Celebrations

In the dungeon Bellatrix read aloud by the dim light of her reading wand:

Dans les caveaux d'insondable tristesse
Où le Destin m'a déjà relégué;
Où jamais n'entre un rayon rose et gai;
Où, seul avec la Nuit, maussade hôtesse

And Harry heard and understood:

My fate confines me, dark and shady,
In vaults of lone unfathomed grief.
No rosy sunbeams bring relief.
Alone with Night, my grim landlady,

He was astounded at the relevance of it, "Belle, that is so, I can't think of the word, just so right, right now."

"You can see why I am drawn to Charles Baudelaire, how could I not be?"

"Are all of his works so . . . dark?"

"I would have to say most, he was a tortured soul, but he wrote of great beauty, his 'Les Yeux de Berthe,'"

"Sounds like 'the eyes of Bertha' or 'Bertha's Eyes,' am I close?"

"Exactly, that and 'À une Dame Créole,' which translates to 'to a Creole Lady' are both celebrations of feminine beauty."

"Will you read those to me, please?"

"Of course."

A bright light shone just above his head and he heard Marietta softly call, "wakey, wakey sleepyhead" just before she planted a kiss on his forehead.

"Five thirty already?" he groused.

"Time to be up Luv."

He stumbled into the loo and took a quick shower, then shaved and returned to his bedroom to find 'Marie' stretched out on top of his comforter wearing the 'birthday gift-wrapping' from the weekend before.

"Um, Marie?"

"I hope you don't mind, lover, I woke you up early to give you a proper present."

He looked over at the mantle clock and saw that it was indeed early. They had about two hours before they had to be anywhere.

Harry swore he felt a snigger in the back of his mind as Belle took in the scene before him. He smiled and set himself to the task at hand, it might be his birthday but he was going to see to it that Marietta got the presents; as many as he could give her.

Two hours later, sweaty and out of breath they shared yet another shower and were prepared to meet the day with Mona Lisa smiles.

Thursday the 31st was a beautiful day, the aurors candidates were less than three weeks from graduation and their skills were being honed to a fine edge by the combined efforts of the Recruit Platoon Leader and the senior staff and cadre. Harry A.K.A. Platoon Leader Evans was astounded by the level of dedication to duty shown by his troops; men and women who had just two months before been school kids or shopkeepers. Now they were the edge of the sword and Harry was the chevalier.

As the trainees tromped back to their rooms, dirty and worn from a long day of training in the intense midsummer's heat they were reminded, "Formation at twenty-hundred, full dress robes."

Harry remarked that it was a sign of maturity that no one groaned at the thought of wearing the heavy maroon dress robes over the Class "A" auror's uniform. He took a long-hot shower, made longer and hotter by his yeoman who demanded a little one-on-one training with the Repple.

In no time Recruit Platoon Leader Evans, Yeoman Edgecombe and MaA Smythe were standing in front of his platoon; forty eight of Her Majesty's finest in four neat rows of twelve. To their left First Platoon headed by Christina Prince, to their right Third and Fourth Platoons respectively.

Commandant Hayden stepped smartly to the fore, flanked by his adjutant and Regimental Sergeant Major Moody.

"Avalon Regiment, Ninth Company, stand at ease!" The commandant's voice did not need a 'sonorus' charm, it carried on its own quite well thank you. "In three weeks you will be become a regular auror unit, a thin red line in a war that has set brother against brother and neighbor against neighbor. Some of our friends and family have gone over to the enemy and will not hesitate to kill us when we oppose them. Make no mistake ladies and gentlemen; we are engaged in a terrible civil war and we are fighting for our very survival. We must end this war quickly and decisively if the wizarding world is to endure. To do this we need soldiers, yes, troops to take the fight to the enemy but we also need leaders those who can and will make the difficult decisions in the days to come." His gaze transfixed the two hundred three troops before him. Then he called out "Recruit Platoon Leader Evans, front and center."

Harry strode foreward and whipped his wand out placing it over his heart in a smart auror's salute.

"Sah, yes Sah!"

"Platoon leader Evans, Ninth Company will be engaging Fifth Company and Seventh Company in maneuvers on the 18th of August, we need to appoint a Company Commander to lead this lot into victory against our sister companies. You are hereby volunteered, I mean appointed to that position."

The assembled troops chuckled at that.

The adjutant, a strikingly handsome woman who reminded Harry of his astronomy professor, came forward with Sergeant Major Moody who held a flat box. Opening the box revealed a gold braided cord.

Commandant Hayden held a scabbarded officer's sword and belt, his own.

The commandant spoke in a low voice, "Commander Evans, I wore this braid and this sword when I was the Company Commander training to go after Grindewald, I know you'll do them justice."

The two assistants affixed the golden braid so that it hung smartly over Harry's left shoulder. The older officer helped him affix the belt and sword about his waist.

Moody told Harry "there's stout and a late supper in the open mess, compliments of the Commandant, liberty weekend starts as of the close of this formation," then his grizzled and scarred face cracked a lopsided smile, "at your pleasure Commander."

Harry turned to face the assembled company.

"Avalon Ninth. Company. Attention!"

Two hundred and two pairs of heels clicked smartly together.

"Commandant Hayden's compliments, liberty weekend will commence at dismissal. Also, as we know you are going to do the Ninth proud during maneuvers the food is hot and the stout is cold; repair to the Open Mess." There was absolute quiet in the ranks when Harry shouted "Company - Dis-missed!"

Smythe shouted "Three cheers for Commander Evans!"

"Hip hip!"
"Hip hip!"
"Hip hip!"

Then the cheering throng descended on the open mess.

Harry followed the company to the mess which had been converted into a hall with tables and chairs lining the walls, he was congratulated and slapped on the back so much that he knew he'd have bruises the next day. He cornered Sergeant Major Moody and pointedly accused the grizzled old auror of setting him up for failure.

"Nonsense lad, I just thought you needed more manpower to release the lass from the DEs in that hole in the ground."

"Beg pardon?"

"You're the Company Commander now; you have access to the resources of all four platoons. Hell lad, y'could bring the cavern's roof down on the enemy with that much raw power."

"Wouldn't that be an abuse of my authority?"

"No lad, that'll be a use of your authority. Think about it. These lads and lasses are itchin' t' fight death eaters; you know where they're holed up. It's perfect."

"They're still trainees, they'd be slaughtered."

"Aye, that's a distinct possibility, but you can keep the body count down if yer smart about it. Use all the resources at yer disposal lad."

Harry knew that no Company Commander had sent newly trained troops against a ruthless enemy since the days of Grindewald. That had been Commandant Hayden's war. He spied the Commandant and begged a few minutes of the Old Man's time.

"Sir, I have my reservations about this commission, I mean, my aurors will do whatever I tell them, I know that. What happens when they don't follow orders and get killed? Worse, what happens when they do follow orders and get killed? How do I live with that?"

"Commander, you don't just live. You celebrate every victory, you mourn every unnecessary loss of life on both sides of the conflict; you honor their commitment and you never second guess a success, no matter what the cost."

Commandant Hayden took in his Company Commander's expression and put his hand on the young man's shoulder. "Evans, why did you sign up?"

Harry didn't hesitate in his answer, "I have to be able to fight, I have to beat him."

"And why is that?"

"He killed my parents; he has made my life a misery. Mostly I have to put paid to his accounts because I can."

"Even at the cost of you your life?"

"Of course" Harry said, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

"Evans, every man and woman in this regiment feels the same way. Look around you. Some of these fine young folk will not see the end of this year, they will die because of a maniac who knows he knows better than the rest of us who our friends can be, what jobs we're suited for and who's fit to live and who has to die because of an accident of birth."

Harry began to understand.

"Son, they signed up knowing they had a fair chance o' dyin'." Sergeant Moody interjected. "We're at war and people are dyin' all around us, they know that they might be next but their choice is to die for something. Something bigger than themselves, and like it or not, part of that 'something' is you."

"I'm not worth dying for . . ."

"Bullshit, you'd lay down your life for any one of them, right?"


"Then do them the courtesy of lettin' em decide who's worth livin' for and if needs be, dyin' for."

"Well said Sergeant Major!" Hayden rejoined, then with a "by your leave, gentlemen" excused himself.

Harry sought out Marietta and enjoyed her company and that of the other dedicated warriors in the hall. At nearly midnight he excused himself and started walking toward the Repple Flat.

"Um, Commander?"

Harry took just a moment before he realized she was talking to him, "Uh, yes?"

"You don't live there anymore."

"I don't?"

"No sir, you have a bungalow in officer's country."

"Oh, well, let me just pack and . . ."

"Already done Commander, this way if you please, sir." she led Harry to the far side of the compound to a high hedge, just past the flowering shrubs he saw neat rows of small houses with neatly trimmed lawns and signposts declaring the occupants. He found the one that read Cmdr James Evans and started up the walk. Marietta remained on the sidewalk.

"Aren't you coming?" he asked.

"I can't, sir, officer's country is warded against us enlisted types - keeps the riffraff out."
Harry was obviously irritated by that, "Please don't do that; don't talk about yourself as if you are unimportant. I wouldn't be here if it weren't for you"

Marietta just shrugged.

"Half a mo,' don't I rate a command staff?"

She nodded.

"Effective immediately, you are my right hand, my Lieutenant, with all the privileges and responsibilities that entails!"

Marietta squealed, ran and jumped into Harry's waiting arms wrapping her arms and legs around him, nearly toppling them both in the process.


Author's Note: As this chapter opens I'm trying to establish a growing bond, a familiarity if you will between Harry and Belle, Charles Baudelaire's "Flowers of Evil" seemed an ideal way to convey the heart of a poet in dire circumstances. Many of the modes of dress (cloaks and pointed hats for instance) as well as 'technologies' in the wizarding world are from previous centuries, wizards still write on parchment using quills, ride in carriages, and light their homes and halls with candles and torches. The use of "Huzzah" is very appropriate as it also harkens back to another century. I served in the US Navy for twenty years, many of our traditions and terms date back the 18th century - just look at the "Cracker Jack" uniform - these "outdated" customs are carried out with great respect for the traditions of the past, and gives us a unique kinship to the shipmates that have served before us. Before that I served in the US Army, while not quite as traditional as the Navy there are terms and traditions unique to that branch of service as well. Some people will never get this concept, they are to be pitied.
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