Login  
 
 
Go Back   Chamber of Secrets > Harry Potter > Flourish and Blotts

A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era



Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #61  
Old September 13th, 2007, 1:57 pm
USNAGator91's Avatar
USNAGator91  Male.gif USNAGator91 is offline
The Godfather
 
Joined: 3583 days
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Age: 47
Posts: 1,127
Re: A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era

Chapter 62 – The Babysitters

Harry was dreaming. He was flying along on his Firebolt, rising high above the clouds. Ginny was flying next to him and the pair soared high in the sky, laughing at their own daring. Her light brown eyes shown quixotically and her long red tresses trailed her as she banked and climbed in unison with him. He heard a slight rustle in the wind, an incessant buzzing noise in his ear. He tried to keep his focus on Ginny, but the noise was getting louder and louder, like an approaching train. He hesitated and looked over towards Ginny. She seemed to be calling his name. “Harry…” “Harry…”

“Harry!” He woke with a start. His eyes open, he was looking at Ginny who’s tired and cross features he could barely make out in the darkness of their room. “It’s your turn!”

Harry lay there confused, and then the buzzing noise in his ear resolved into the banshee wails of young James, who was crying in the nearby bassinet. Harry’s brain finally resolved itself into some semblance of consciousness. Wearily, he nodded and rose from the bed. He shuffled over to where his son was emptying his lungs of all oxygen in the known universe and gently lifted James out of his bed. Harry cradled the infant in the crook of his arm. Still barely awake himself, Harry toted the boy off to adjacent room and changed the baby’s diapers. James, Harry noted, was now fully awake. Harry tried, for a moment, to be cross with the boy’s timing. It was, after all, three in the morning, but James’ eyes were wide and they looked at his father with a look that demonstrated unconditional love.

Or, as Arthur Weasley told Harry the other day, the boy just had gas. It didn’t matter to Harry; he liked the unconditional love explanation better. Harry finished swaddling his son and carried him downstairs to the kitchen. When he walked into the kitchen, Kreacher shuffled out of small door leading to an alcove off of the kitchen area. The house-elf said not a word but simply walked up to Harry and handed him a bottle. His task complete, Kreacher did an abrupt about face shuffled back into the door and shut it behind him. Harry held the bottle and stared at place where Kreacher had disappeared. Shrugging his shoulders, Harry upended the bottle, allowing a few drops of the milk to touch his wrist.

In reality, Harry had no earthly idea what the ideal feeding temperature for James’ bottle was supposed to be. He figured that somewhere between scalding and ice cold would be just right, and the test on his wrist seemed to fit that criteria. Harry grabbed a new dish towel from the counter and walked into the sitting room. Through careful negotiation where he laid out a thoughtful argument, Harry was able to finally wait out Ginny’s decision to return the sitting room back to its Gryffindor splendor. One remarkable change was the addition of a large, cushioned rocking chair near the fire place. Harry carried James over to the chair and sat down. Carefully supporting the baby’s head with his arm, Harry placed the nipple of the bottle between James’ lips and the starving baby began to take long pulls on the milk within. Harry began a gentle rocking motion in the chair, never taking his eyes off his son.

His son. It’d almost been two weeks since his birth and Harry still could not believe that this small being was there in his home. Ginny and Harry had their lives turned upside down and shaken up by the power of the love that they could have for this tiny person. Harry studied every inch of his son’s face. He saw how puffy his cheeks became as the baby sucked on his meal. As his stomach began to fill, James’ eyes began to grow heavy; the feeling of satisfaction combined with the warmth of his father’s touch calmed the boy. After a time, the bottle was near empty and James’ eyelids were drooping towards closing. Harry removed the bottle and moved to the chaise that sat in the corner of the room. Harry carefully placed the towel over his shoulder and gently brought the baby up to the shoulder. He began to lightly pat the baby’s back, until he heard the tell tale sound of burping. Exhaustion began to build in Harry’s bones and he lay back on the chaise, placing James on his own chest. Maybe he’d lie there for a few minutes and give James the chance to fall back asleep. Soon, Harry was sleeping himself, his son nestled on his chest and in a deep sleep.

Ginny rolled over in her bed and reached an arm to where she normally found Harry. His spot was empty and she smiled. The first rays of dawn were peering through the shutters on the windows and she sat upright. She stretched out her arms and knowingly looked over to the bassinet. She rose and pulled on a bathrobe and padded down the stairs, bypassing the kitchen and made beeline for the sitting room. The two men in her life were sleeping soundly on the chaise and she paused for a moment in the doorway gazing at them. Harry was lightly snoring, but he had an arm firmly around his son’s body. The baby was lying on his stomach, his head turned to the side, as if his ear were turned to listen to Harry’s heartbeat. There was a slight smile James’ face. Ginny chuckled and knew her father would probably tell Harry that it was gas.

Ginny moved over to sleeping pair and gently picked James up from his father’s chest. She lightly kissed him on the forehead and with little movement he remained asleep as she repositioned him on her arm. She leaned down and kissed Harry gently.

“Harry.” Her voice was warm, reassuring. Harry stirred and smiled, enjoying the sound of his name on her lips. “Harry.”

He opened his eyes and saw them, the rays of the morning light casting a warm glow on the figure of his family. “Good morning.”

“Good morning, yourself.” Ginny’s eyes cast a glow of mystery and romance. “You’d better get up; you’ll be late for work.” Harry groaned, the moment was lost. He rose and went upstairs to get ready to go into the Office.

***

Ron came into work whistling a tune. His life was extraordinarily good of late. One thing about Hermione, when there was something to be accomplished, she approached it with a vigor and a single-minded focus that was enviable, to say the least. She always completed what she starts out to do. Lately, her focus had been on two things. First, she wanted a complete reconciliation and rapprochement with her husband and secondly, she was fixated on starting a family. Both objectives seemed to always have positive net gains for one Ronald Weasley. Ron walked to his row of cubicles and looked over to where Harry sat. His friend was at his own desk, hunched over with his head firmly ensconced on a pile of papers from the inbox, like a pillow. Ron could swear that he could hear the tell-tale murmur of snoring, but couldn’t really be sure. Nonetheless, Ron smirked and walked over to his friend’s sleeping form and clapped him soundly on the back.

“Late night again, mate?” Harry jumped up with a start, his eyes were bloodshot and his clothes in haphazard disarray. “You look a sight, Harry.” Ron started to giggle a bit.

Harry grimaced and attempted to straighten his clothes. “It was my night to feed James. I’m tired as I’ve ever been. I’m barely keeping my wits.”

Ron couldn’t help but chuckle. “I think, my boy, that your wits are gone forever. Just look at my dad, the man is a walking zombie.” Harry gave Ron an evil stare. “By the way, not that you haven’t thought of this, but what are you doing for Ginny’s birthday, it’s tomorrow, you know. Of course you know, silly me, she’s your wife, the mother of your child, the light of your life, etcetera etcetera, etcetera.”

Harry’s eyes shot open, he was immediately awake. He shot a glance at a nearby calendar. The date read August Tenth. Ginny’s birthday was tomorrow. Ron saw the sheer terror in Harry’s eyes and smiled even more. “You didn’t remember?” The look on Harry’s face told the whole story.

“Ron, you’ve got to help me!” Harry’s brain worked through the dilemma. “Can you and Hermione watch James tomorrow night?”

“I’m sorry, my friend, but Hermione and I have dinner plans with her parents, and I can’t back out of them.” Ron was almost genuinely sorry for his friend. The greater sum of his emotions, however, was that he was glad that he wasn’t in Harry’s position. “Why don’t you ask my dad?”

Harry nodded and ran to an adjacent door that led to the Department for the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts. Harry peeked into the open door and saw his father-in-law, Arthur Weasley sitting behind a cluttered desk and writing on a newspaper. The room was full of an assortment of confiscated items and books. The items ran from the mundane, like tissue boxes to the odd, like a miniature guillotine that was nominally used as a cigar cutter. Harry had no idea how that particular object had been “misused.” Arthur looked up from his desk and saw Harry’s entry.

“Ah, Harry, I so love trying to complete the crossword, but without the proper context, I have no idea what word belongs where. Do you know a four letter word for a hint to a mystery?”

“Clue.” Harry stared at Arthur while the man filled in the answer.

“Capital, Harry! I’d been trying to figure a way to work Pensieve in there. What brings you around? You look like you’re holding up…” Arthur searched for a word to fit Harry’s bedraggled appearance. “…admirably.” Much like the men with Custer at the Little Big Horn, they’d held up ‘admirably’ until the end too, Harry thought.

“I was hoping that you and Mrs. Weasley could take James tomorrow night. It’s Ginny’s birthday and I’d like to take her out.” Harry’s eyes were pleading, desperate.

“Forgot that her birthday was tomorrow, did you?” The reddening of Harry’s cheeks told the entire story. “I’m afraid we can’t help you tomorrow Harry. You see, Molly and I have our own plans for tomorrow. With all the children out of the house, we’ve been rediscovering our relationship. We’ve got tickets to a show and who knows what’ll happen after that?” Arthur gave Harry a playful nudge with his elbow and a sly wink. Harry’s stomach started turning, but he didn’t know if was from the anxiety of not having a babysitter or contemplating the elder Weasleys new dating patterns.

“I’m sure you’ll figure something out. You’re a resourceful chap, and what’s the worse that can happen? Ginny is a reasonable person.” Arthur couldn’t help but laugh, as if Harry’s discomfort was a source of considerable entertainment. “Let me know how it turns out.” As Harry walked out of his office, Arthur began to imagine what this week’s Sunday Dinner would bring.

Harry ran through the Office and passed Ron without a word. He had to find Ginny a gift and he was desperate to find someone to sit with James. He’d have to accomplish both tasks by tomorrow and he had no time to waste. Harry ran out the door to catch a lift to the atrium.

***

Another sleepless night passed, but this time he wasn’t awakened by James, but he was kept awake trying to find a resolution to his problem. Andromeda Tonks was not available and Bill and Fleur had taken Victoire on a visit to Fleur’s parents in southern France. Harry was growing desperate as his time grew short. He had but one more option and in his current state, he was willing to try it.

He arrived home early from work and found Ginny in the sitting room. She’d laid out a large down blanket and placed James in its center. She was making faces and chatting with him. His eyes were wide, drawn to the dulcet tones of her voice and the glow of her eyes. Harry paused. She was still the most beautiful creature on the planet and the joy she expressed playing with their son, radiated down to his soul. His breath slowed and his heart rate slackened. He walked in knelt on the blanket beside them.

“Happy Birthday, Ginny.” He kissed her and gave her a bouquet of red and white roses. “I’d like to take you out to dinner.”

“What about James?” She was a little anxious given that she’d not been apart from her son since his entry into the world.

“Not to worry, I found someone to sit for us. It’ll only be for a couple of hours. We both need the break, I think.” She smiled, still a little uncertain, but also looking forward for a couple hours respite. She ran up the stairs to change. A little while later, she reappeared, ready to go out on the town.

“So, who did you find to watch him?” Her question was interrupted by a loud knocking on the door. She pulled it open and stepped back in surprise.

Lee, George and Dudley strutted through the opening. George looked around and spotted James lying on the floor in the sitting room. He turned to his sister, “I heard the little squirt wanted to spend some time with his three favorite uncles. Well, your babysitters are here.”

Harry carefully watched Ginny’s reaction. She was immediately incredulous, but as she worked through the possibilities her face morphed into a completely different expression. It wasn’t agreement or happiness. Neither was it disappointment or anger. Ginny Potter was a Weasley and had as big a love for irony as any in her family. A small part of her saw the potential mischief that could happen with these three overconfident men watching her small bundle of joy. The look Harry saw was a kind of twisted, like that of a person who knows that a practical joke was about to happen and couldn’t wait for the results. .

Ginny’s response was syrupy sweet. “You all are so kind to do this for us. James is really no trouble at all. Do you have any questions for us?” She batted her eyes a bit.

“Questions? He eats, sleeps and gets changed. How hard could it be?” George snorted.

Perfect, thought Ginny. How hard, indeed? Harry led Ginny from the house and took her to a nice dinner out on the town. Later, they walked along the park leading back to their house. Harry reached into his bag and pulled out a carefully wrapped present.

“Happy Birthday, Ginny.” She smiled and took the package from him. Gleefully, she removed the bright ribbons and tore through the paper. She opened the box within, and pulled out what appeared to be an old Kodachrome camera. She looked up at Harry.

“It’s similar to the cameras we use in investigations. It takes a full three dimensional image.” She raised an eyebrow at her husband. “I figured it would come in handy while you’re covering Quidditch matches. You could take pictures of the action, that is, if you want to go back to work.”

She stopped for a moment. She’d been torn with conflicting emotions. Part of her wanted to stay home all the time with James, but part of her didn’t want to lose her identity. She loved her mother, but she didn’t think that Molly Weasely’s life was the one Ginny Potter wanted to have. She felt a little guilty for wanting to have a career and to be a mother. She’d been unable to raise the issue with Harry, unsure of what his thoughts were on the subject. This simple gift, this small gesture told her volumes. He understood her dilemma. He understood her completely and he’d known.

“I do want to go back to work, eventually. How did you know, Harry?” He shrugged. It was always good to have a friend like Hermione who basically knew everything. She’d clued Harry into what was on Ginny’s mind a few days ago. Sometimes it was like taking the N.E.W.T.s with an open book. Ginny gave Harry a huge hug and kissed him deeply.

“Well, it’s still your birthday, what do you want to do next?” She thought for a moment and looked down at her camera.

“Really? I miss James. Let’s go home. I just feel like looking at him.” Her gaze softened, because her explanation was mostly true.

Harry grinned. “Is it just because you miss James or is there another reason?”

She checked the film in the camera. “Oh, obviously I have ulterior motives. Let’s go.”

The almost ran the rest of the way to the house. Carefully opening the door, they walked into the hall. Diapers littered the hallway and silence dominated the space. They inched their way to the sitting room and found it a shambles. The blanket was tossed up on the ceiling and an unidentifiable residue covered the walls. The couple smiled at each other and moved to the kitchen where pots and pans were strewn about with several opened and half empty baby’s bottles. A pot was boiling over on the stove and Harry took it off the flame and shut the gas. His eyes pointed up the stairs.

They crept up the stairs to their bedroom, which where the devastation from downstairs was repeated. The bassinet was upended and clothing was cast around. The three erstwhile babysitters were sitting on the floor with green and white liquid covering them. Their backs were resting on the large bed in the middle of the room. On the bed, James lay on his back. His hands had just discovered his feet and he was grasping them. As if sensing their arrival, James turned his head and smiled, a devilish grin, his dark brown eyes twinkling. Harry thought he was too young to be this much trouble, it had to be just gas.

George saw them enter, but couldn’t muster the strength to rise. “Projectile vomiting! How does that much liquid come from so small a person?”

Dudley looked up, “His crying could raise the dead. I’m telling you, I have permanent hearing loss.”

Lee didn’t even bother to look up. “You didn’t tell us you gave Kreacher the night off and you didn’t tell us that putting on a diaper could be so dangerous.”

Ginny smiled with distinct pleasure. She raised the camera up and centered the lens on the three pathetic men collapsed on her floor.

“Smile, everyone!” She snapped the shutter and waited for the film to develop. When image resolved itself, she laughed and turned to Harry.

“What a splendid birthday present!” Harry laughed and returned his gaze to his son. James burped and giggled at his own ingenuity, but at only two weeks of age, Harry was pretty sure, it only gas.

***A/N: Again, you can't make some of this up. When my oldest was born, I would swear he was smiling at me, but my mother-in-law would say it just gas. Of course, when he smiled at her, he was smiling at nana.

FEEDBACK


__________________

Thanks to cybobbie for the awesome sig pic!
Thanks to the best fanclub in the world!

My Fanfics:
A History of Magic: Part II - Beyond the Epilogue
Teddy Lupin and the Legacy of the Marauders ; A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era (on hiatus); You Are Cordially Invited... (First Attempt)
Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
  #62  
Old September 13th, 2007, 9:30 pm
USNAGator91's Avatar
USNAGator91  Male.gif USNAGator91 is offline
The Godfather
 
Joined: 3583 days
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Age: 47
Posts: 1,127
Re: A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era

Chapter 63 – Jealousy and Pie

The summer progressed rapidly while Harry and Ginny learned the intricacies of being parents. What they found out, ultimately, was that they would never know everything there was to know. Harry constantly felt that he was forgetting something or missing something. He had been a better than average student, both at Hogwarts and as an Auror, but there was not textbook on child rearing. Nothing, anyway, that matched the experiences he and Ginny were going through. The fact of the matter was that the times they felt inadequate were far overshadowed by the times of pure joy they felt as James began to grow. Every day brought a new discovery, a new motion, a new experience and Harry and Ginny cherished watching James discover his world.

James immediately became the center of the Weasley universe and it was no more telling than at the Sunday Dinner. Each time Harry and Ginny arrived, they were bombarded by constant requests to hold little James. For his part, the young Mr. Potter seemed to relish the attention. He had a particular affinity for Hermione, who displayed very capable mothering techniques. James cooed for her and his eyes danced every time she talked to him. Aunt Petunia was now a regular at the gatherings and made a distinct fool of herself every time she held James. Not to be outdone, Molly Weasley and Andromeda Tonks began a friendly competition of seeing who could get young James to say a word, even though these two supposedly “experienced” parents knew full well that actual words were still months away.

Everyone treated the new arrival with great pleasure. Everyone, that is, except young Teddy Lupin. He’d been the first child of the post-Voldemort era and had, for a time, been the focus of attention for the family. Now, the arrival of James Potter had changed that dynamic. Even when Victoire had been born, Teddy still had a place in the eyes of the people gathered here, because, after all, Victoire was a girl. But now, everything had changed. His Uncle Harry barely spoke to him and Uncle George was more interested in the sounds the little baby made. Ever since the memorial, Teddy started to get the feeling he that he was alone and that he didn’t belong. Even now, his grandmother was doting on the baby. Teddy began to brood and act out a bit. It started with small things, but slowly began to progress into full blown rebellion.

Today’s party was especially festive because Charlie Weasley was able to make an appearance. Of course, Teddy thought, Charlie paid more than enough attention to James. He’d barely noticed how much Teddy had grown since Charlie had last been in the Burrow.

“Teddy!” He felt the grip of the pair of arms grab his waist and squeeze. Normally, he was simply embarrassed. Today, he was just mad. He tried to ignore Victoire, but the irrepressible cherub would not be swayed.

“You can sit next to me, if you like.” Her royal highness had deigned to offer Teddy the ultimate prize, proximity to her person.

“I don’t want to sit next to you. In fact, I just wish you’d leave me alone!” Teddy pulled her arms from his waist and walked off, away from the adults. What would it matter, he thought, no one would notice anyway.

A small tear formed in Victoire’s eye. She looked around hoping that someone had noticed how rude Teddy had been to her. She glanced at her parents, but they were engaged in some small talk with Charlie. A lady doesn’t tattle, either, she thought. In a huff, Victoire walked off to find Crookshanks. Someone had noticed the exchange, someone who always kept a watchful eye on Teddy and had noticed his darker mood. Andromeda Tonks shook her head and walked over to where Harry stood talking to Ron.

“Harry, could I speak to you for a moment?” Harry excused himself and walked over to where she stood. “I think Teddy is a little jealous.”

Harry looked around for his godson, but didn’t see any sign of him. “What do you mean?”

Andromeda sighed. “He’s getting older, Harry and he feels alone. With James around, he thinks we’ve all abandoned him. He thinks that you’ve abandoned him.”

“That’s preposterous! I’ve just been busy, that’s all. I don’t mean for him to feel like I don’t love him.” Harry rewound the events of the past few months, and discovered that Andromeda was probably right.

“He’s seven years old, Harry. Just like when you were his age, he’s beginning to understand that he doesn’t have any parents and he’s trying to fit in somewhere. Large changes in his world can unsettle him. It would unsettle anyone in his shoes.”

“It was unsettling for me.” Harry’s tone was somber, as he remembered. He nodded to her and walked off to find Teddy.

Teddy had walked out of the Burrow and out to a nearby pond. He was angrily hurling stones into the pond, watching the ripples on the water. The force of his throws increased with his fury. He picked up a good sized rock and looked directly at a duck near the pond’s far shore. Teddy reared back to throw the rock.

“You don’t want to hurt anyone, or anything. You’ll regret it.” Harry’s voice froze Teddy. Teddy’s hair turned a bright shade of red and he dropped the stone, heavily into the water.

“What do you care?” Teddy was sullen, his anger giving way to shame and sadness.

“Of course I care Teddy. You’re important to this family.”

“I don’t have a family, ‘cept Gran. I don’t have anyone when she’s gone.” Teddy collapsed on the ground and buried his head his knees. Harry could hear his sobs and the sound hit him squarely in the chest.

“That’s not true, Teddy. The Weasleys are your family and I’m your family. James is your family, too.” Harry sat down next to Teddy and put a strong arm around his shoulders. “Do you remember when I told you that we were the same? I lost my parents, just like you?”

Teddy looked over at Harry and nodded.

“Well, there is one difference. I didn’t have anyone like you have. You should ask Dudley or my Aunt Petunia. You’re very lucky. All these people love you.”

Teddy sniffled a bit. “I thought that you didn’t want to be around me, because of James. He’s your real son, after all.”

“Yes, yes he is and I’m sorry I’ve neglected you. I’m still learning how to be a good godfather and a good dad. I’m not perfect, you know.” Harry smiled and for the first time that day, Teddy smiled with him.

“I was pretty rotten to Victoire.” Teddy stood, and helped Harry up. “I guess I should apologize.”

“Perhaps.” Harry stared Teddy down, causing Teddy’s hair to brighten to a shade of purple. “I love you, Teddy. You will always be part of my family. Sometimes, you just got to help me remember, but keep this one thing in mind.” Teddy looked up at Harry earnestly. “You are never going to be alone, ever.” Teddy smiled and allowed Harry to take his hand and lead him back to the party.

Teddy approached Victoire who turned her back to him and raised her nose. “I’m sorry, Victoire, I was a real heel to you. You didn’t deserve it.”

The golden haired beauty was surprised at his sincerity and she immediately forgave him, however, being a lady, she decided to let him stew about for a few minutes. When she turned around to face him, her eyes grew wide with shock and surprise.

A large pie, twice the size of a normal pie made a graceful arc through the air and landed firmly on Teddy’s head. Victoire turned to the source of the pie and spotted George standing beside Dudley and Lee, snickering.

“I got you, Teddy! I’ve been waiting months to get you back and I finally got you!” George roared in triumph.

“George Weasley!” Ginny walked up to her brother and made to pull on his ear.

“This side, sis.” George redoubled his laughter, pointing to his one good ear.

Ginny turned a brilliant shade of purple. Teddy watched in awe as he wiped the remnants of the pie from his face. “He’s seven! You’re picking on a seven year old boy!”

George’s grin grew sheepish. “He started it.” That was all he could muster.

Ginny dipped a hand into her pocket and removed the photo she took of George and the other babysitters. She turned to face the three, Dudley, George and Lee. She waved the incriminating picture in their faces.

“What you three juvenile delinquents seem to forget is that I work for a widely published newspaper!” Ginny walked over to Teddy and took his hand. As they walked away, Teddy turned and stuck his tongue out at George.

Lee looked at George. “She wouldn’t, would she?”

Dudley looked over at Lee and then at George. George returned their stares. “Yes, I think she would.”

***A/N: A little shorter, but fear not, the next chapter is almost ready and will be up by tomorrow.

FEEDBACK


__________________

Thanks to cybobbie for the awesome sig pic!
Thanks to the best fanclub in the world!

My Fanfics:
A History of Magic: Part II - Beyond the Epilogue
Teddy Lupin and the Legacy of the Marauders ; A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era (on hiatus); You Are Cordially Invited... (First Attempt)
Reply With Quote
  #63  
Old September 14th, 2007, 11:52 am
USNAGator91's Avatar
USNAGator91  Male.gif USNAGator91 is offline
The Godfather
 
Joined: 3583 days
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Age: 47
Posts: 1,127
Re: A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era

Chapter 64 – The Pain of Loss

Dennis Creevey, Cho Chang and Lionel Creevey sat around the dinner table of Lionel’s home. The conversation was light and Lionel didn’t feel the burden of the pain that always seemed to find him. He was happy that his only remaining son had found someone he cared for deeply. He noticed how Cho and Dennis rarely let their glances drift too far from each other. Dennis was working in the government in some capacity, Lionel wasn’t really clear as to what and Cho had become a developer of sports equipment for some game played in their world. That was the key phrase, “their world”. The details escaped Lionel and yet, they dwelled on the events and the people that inhabited the strange world that had been introduced to Lionel and his wife so many years ago.

Dinner wound down and Lionel made to clear the table. “That’s alright Dad, we’ll get it.” Dennis drew his wand and began to motivate the dirty dishes towards the kitchen. Lionel’s face became a dark cloud.

“Don’t do that!” Dennis cast a quick look at this father, not expecting the harshness of the rebuke. “I mean to say, you don’t have to do that. I like doing this myself, besides what if one of the neighbors happened by. We still need to be discreet, Dennis.”

Dennis nodded his head and had the wayward crockery return to their spots on the table. He was still puzzled by the vehemence of his father’s shout, but decided that it was just a case of the blues. His father had seemed to be in a deep funk, despite the fact that it’d been over six years since Colin had died. Their mother had passed almost a month later, overcome by the shock of the loss of her oldest son. That had left their father alone and the proud, hardworking milkman had never seemed to shake the dual blows of the losses. Dennis had some news that he hoped would help his father lighten his mood, if only for a little while.

“Cho and I are getting married!” Lionel stood mouth agape. He looked at Cho whose face was flushed, her eyes downcast. He recovered quickly and went to embrace the two.

“That’s wonderful, Dennis. I’m happy for you both.” He moved to a sideboard and removed a well-used bottle from the cabinet. “I’d say this calls for a drink. When are you going to tie the knot?” He poured three glasses of the amber liquid and handed them out to his son and his fiancé.

“Probably sometime in November, we were thinking of doing it on the grounds at Hogwarts.” Lionel smiled once more and raised his glass.

“To my son and his lovely bride-to-be, may you be blessed in life, marriage and parenthood.” The last caused Cho’s face to darken more. They touched glasses and drank to the toast. They made small talk about the upcoming nuptials. After a while, Dennis and Cho rose to leave, and kissed Lionel goodbye.

“Are you sure you will be fine with this Dad?” Dennis looked at his father. “Are you okay, Dad?”

Lionel looked at his one remaining family member. Dennis had grown. He was well over a head taller than his father. Dennis was a hulk of a man; he had a broad chest and massive arms, but he still had the look of the little boy that Lionel had sent off to that place.

“I’m fine, Dennis. I’m just a little tired. I’m proud of you, boy. Just remember, take care of each other. You live in a very dangerous world, and I want to see my grandchildren.” Lionel’s voice was heavy and low.

Dennis beamed, the confidence of youth combined with experience eking out of his being. “Don’t worry about a thing, Dad. I’m pretty good at this.” Dennis winked and walked out the door with Cho.

By the time he’d cleaned up the dinner plates and tidied up the kitchen, darkness had fallen. Lionel poured himself another drink and decided that he didn’t want to turn on the lights. Instead, he fell into the recliner in the living room and turned on the television. He didn’t hear the program that was playing; instead he grabbed a small picture frame that was propped up on the table nearby. He stared at the picture. It wasn’t one of those magical photos that Dennis and his like used; it was a simple image of Lionel and his wife with the two boys when they were children. It was from before the kids knew they were special, before Lionel was convinced to send them off to that school, before Albus Dumbledore walked into his house and convinced Lionel to make the decision that would take the lives of his oldest child and his beloved Dorothy.

He grasped the picture solidly while his eyes darkened. He’d been brooding more, lately. He was happy for Dennis, but how long before his “magical” colleagues got him killed? Dennis was a good boy. He was a man, now, no longer a boy, but he was immersed in that world and Lionel feared that there was no way to convince his son of how terrified Lionel was of that secret alien existence. Now Dennis was going to marry another of his kind, another “magic” person. Lionel was sure that he’d lose his son, as sure as the sun would rise. The thought caused his depression to start to turn to hate and the hate kindled a fire within him. He wouldn’t lose his son, not to “those people”.

The noise of the television caught his attention. A reporter was on location at a bookstore, it seemed, interviewing a doddering old man, who sat a table, a stack of books displayed.

“This is Diane Hoss. I’m here at Jacob’s Books with Professor Elias Cohen, author of the book ‘The Hidden World of Magic’. Professor Cohen, many people thought that this was a ‘how-to’ book on magic tricks, but you’re saying it’s something different entirely.”

The old man had a kind face, the top of his head prominently displaying a receding hairline. His hair was starkly white and he had a bushy mustache that covered the area from his nose to his lip. He wore a bright red running suit and his eyes were a cool blue, younger than his apparent age.

“Yes, Diane. You see, there’s a hidden magical world that most humans are kept from. It’s as if a secret society exists in the midst of our own, causing great harm sometimes, but often filling the world with wonder.”

The reporter’s skepticism was demonstrable on her face. She allowed her eyes to roll faintly, nevertheless, she kept her microphone trained on her guest’s face.

“I don’t know why we’ve been kept from interacting with this world, but I’m sure there is government involvement, all the way up to Ten Downing.”

“But Professor, this sounds like another one of those ubiquitous conspiracy theories; instead of black helicopters, you say there are black robes.” The reporter was sure she’d scored points with her producers back at the station with her deftness at handling this obviously deranged man.

Cohen didn’t notice her slight. Instead, he chuckled. “I understand that you don’t believe it. It’s an interesting story, though, that the most famous secret organizations of our history were related to this magical world. The Freemasons, Illuminati, Skull and Bones, or the Order of the Dragon, were all mechanisms for wizards and witches from this secret world to gain entry into ours. They are all the same.”

The reporter knew that this interview had long passed its point of real value, so she quickly signed off and the broadcast moved to other things.

Lionel switched off the television and stared at its blank screen for a time.

“Filling the world with wonder, that man is an idiot.” Lionel brooded at the interview. The haze of the alcohol was clouding his head. “He has no idea how deadly that world is.” Lionel pulled himself out his chair and made for the door. He was going to tell that “professor” how wrong he was.

***

When Lionel arrived at bookstore, he had difficulty finding the man he saw on the interview. The table he’d seen was placed far in the back of the store and when Lionel finally found him, Professor Cohen was sitting idly, not a soul nearby, an untouched stack of books on the table.

“You’re that man who knows about the magic world.” Lionel’s voice was gruff, angry.

“Yes. Yes, I am.” Cohen straightened up and pulled on the bottom of his track suit jacket. Aside from the reporter, no one had been there at his book signing. “Do you want me to sign a book?”

“I’m not interested in your bleeding book. You’re wrong. There’s nothing wonderful about wizards and witches. It’s all rubbish.” Cohen was struck by the venom in the man’s tone. It wasn’t the tone of a doubter, it was much more real.

“What do you mean? Mister?” Cohen offered his hand.

Lionel ignored the gesture. “My name is Creevey. The world you think you know is dangerous and evil. It killed my son and wife and more people than you can imagine. It’s not wonderful at all.”

Cohen was really intrigued. In his time, he’d met the crackpots and he’d been called one too. This man in front of him was genuine and he had to know his story. A sense of anticipation swelled in his chest. This man may hold the key. He may be the one they’d been looking for.

“Why don’t you tell me about it?” Cohen offered Lionel a seat. Lionel paused for a moment, the exertion of his outburst having drained him of the pent up emotions he’d been feeling.

“You won’t believe me. No one ever believes me. The only thing real is that my boy and my Dorothy are dead and they were killed by magic.” Lionel’s head drooped, the effects of the liquor and his depression combining to increase the weight on his shoulders.

Cohen head burned in anticipation. The whole point of this “book” was to try to draw someone out who could get them a line in to Britain’s magical society. He was so close.

“I’ll believe you. Tell me your story, Mr. Creevey. You look like someone with a good one to tell.”

Lionel Creevey unburdened his soul. He started with the oddities that began to happen when his boys were growing up. He told Cohen of the visit from the mysterious headmaster of a peculiar school that would educate his sons in the ways of their abilities. Creevey spoke of port keys and Diagon Alley, of wands and owls and finally of death and loss.

“Their world is dangerous, Professor Cohen. Don’t get me wrong, there are good people there, but the good are always fighting evil and their evil ones are very bad. My son, Colin, died fighting one the worst of the lot.” Lionel felt the weight on him slacken. He was relating feelings that he couldn’t even share with Dennis, but for some reason, this strange man before him seemed to be a kindred spirit of some sort. “Now my only remaining son is getting married, to a witch no less. He will be a part of that world for rest of his life, how ever long that may be.”

Elias Cohen had been waiting for Lionel Creevey for a long time. He savored the opportunity that the pathetic man in front of him gave him. Cohen nodded his head at the right times, but was fixated on the chances that an association with Mr. Creevey might bring.

“You know, I’ve always believed that if these “magic” people were less secretive and more open to the rest of the world, they’d be less of a threat.” Lionel looked at Cohen, his mind working. “I think part of the problem is that no one knows about them and if the public did, then maybe everyone, humans and wizards, would be safer.” Cohen placed greater emphasis on the wizards word. Essentially, he was focusing Lionel’s grief and pain on the secrecy portion of the equation.

“It doesn’t matter. They keep to themselves and they’re good at it. I don’t know how much you or me could accomplish by just telling folks about them.” Lionel shrugged his shoulders. Cohen smiled broadly, his teeth showing beneath the long tendrils of his whiskers.

“What if I were to tell you that I had a very powerful sponsor, who had the power to change both worlds? Wouldn’t that be worth your son’s life?” Cohen went for the kill. Lionel pondered the question. Was it possible? Lionel Creevey wasn’t sure, but he would do anything to keep Dennis alive. Lionel couldn’t bear to think about any other alternative. He would do anything.

***

Professor Elias Cohen was walking down the deserted street. He had his cell phone to his ear and was conducting a vigorous conversation with the party on the other end of the line.

“I’m telling you Simon, this one is the key. He’s perfect!” The voice speaking back to Cohen wheezed, trying to get the words out forcefully, but only managing a whisper.

“I hope you’re right Elias, we’re running out of time, maybe only until the end of the year.”

“I know Simon, but this is the only way. I’m bringing Mr. Creevey around tomorrow. We’ll start the background with him then. Will you be able to put on a good show?” Cohen heard a pause on the phone.

“I want the strongest we can find, Elias. Everything else is secondary. Do you think this Creevey will know who that is?” The man known as Simon broke into a bout of hacking coughs.

“He’s already mentioned a name. It keeps resurfacing. The most prominent and apparently the most powerful is a man by the name of Harry Potter.” Cohen let his words echo across the distance.

“Good. That confirms some of the other information we have. Bring Mr. Creevey around, I’ll be ready. Our target is now Mr. Harry Potter.” The line fell dead with a click.



***A/N: And so we start the new arc. Some will say "EWW, Dennis and Cho?" Yep, Dennis and Cho.

FEEDBACK


__________________

Thanks to cybobbie for the awesome sig pic!
Thanks to the best fanclub in the world!

My Fanfics:
A History of Magic: Part II - Beyond the Epilogue
Teddy Lupin and the Legacy of the Marauders ; A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era (on hiatus); You Are Cordially Invited... (First Attempt)
Reply With Quote
  #64  
Old September 14th, 2007, 9:24 pm
USNAGator91's Avatar
USNAGator91  Male.gif USNAGator91 is offline
The Godfather
 
Joined: 3583 days
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Age: 47
Posts: 1,127
Re: A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era

Chapter 65 – Illumination

His office was a reflection of his power. It covered the entire top floor of his headquarters. He sat behind the expansive desk and surveyed his surroundings. Banks of large flat-screened monitors, manufactured by his own company of course, covered a wall to his front. A wide array of business programming blanketed the televisions spewing an unending crescendo of information from the multitude of markets that his company traded on. His was the penultimate position of power in this world, and yet, he still felt powerless.

Simon Clark had risen from the depths of poverty to create the richest conglomerate in the world. Clark Industries was heavily diversified in everything from computers to shipbuilding, biotechnology to military hardware. He was young still, barely thirty-five. Clark was tall and lean, in most respects, the picture of health. He shunned all of the vices that tempted men of his means. He didn’t drink or smoke and he rigidly monitored what he ate. He wasn’t married, and was not one for casual dalliances. For all of his money and influence, for all of his healthy lifestyle, Simon Clark could not stem the flow of the inevitable. He was dying.

Doctors called it the rarest of genetic defects. So rare, in fact, that his was the only known case of the disease. His body was literally eroding from the inside out. He reclined back in his chair. An innocuous metal pole stood sentinel next to him. Affixed to the pole, a clear plastic bag of liquid was suspended with a long tube extending from its bottom. The tube ran into his arm, feeding a controlled amount of a special drug that his research division had developed. The drug was not a cure, in fact, his scientists felt that every time he took a dose of the drug, it literally removed a day of life from his frail body, but the drug, when taken, gave him the opportunity to function normally. He was once more the titan of industry that his persona portrayed to the general public. After a course of the medicine, he was able to forget, at least for a few hours, that his time on this planet was limited.

He’d tried every known remedy. Blood transfusions, bone marrow transplants, gene therapy and holistic medicine, everything he tried failed without any trace of success. Then he met Elias Cohen. Elias, at the time, was an unknown curmudgeon who was peddling an even lesser known theory in the form of a book to one of Clark’s publishing companies. Elias would have been unknown to him except for his appearance in Clark’s research in the occult. Cohen’s story was different. He didn’t speak of tricks or religion. Instead, Cohen’s theory posited that evolution had created a different race of humans. These humans were imbued with fantastic magical properties and, more importantly, life spans more than double ordinary humans. When Clark brought Elias into his office, he was amazed when the doddering old man regaled him with stories of the magical world. Clark was a skeptic at first. He cross checked every fact that he could and what he found was that Cohen was more right than wrong. Their relationship began a pursuit. It was a race against time based on whether they could unlock the mystery of these wizards before Clark’s body succumbed to the inevitable. Theirs was a symbiotic relationship. Clark wanted to live while Cohen was motivated by the desire to unmask the hidden world. Together, they would achieve both their aims in the person of one Lionel Creevey.

***

Lionel Creevey found himself exiting the Regent’s Park Tube Station to a rainy, dreary September day. He turned the collar on his coat and quickly consulted the small sheet of paper in his hand. Gaining his bearings, he followed along Great Portland Street until he came to where the large roadway met Weymouth Street. On the northwest corner, a large red brick building rose almost ten stories in height and extended the length of the block. Lionel hesitated a moment and then spied Elias Cohen standing in front of the glass entrance to the building. Cohen was in a royal blue jogging suit, completely ignoring the rain pelting his head. Seeing Lionel, Cohen waved and Lionel walked to meet with him.

“Good, right on time.” Elias ushered Creevey into the entrance to Clark Industries. They ignored the receptionist and walked straight through the elaborate security apparatus constructed at the front door. Cohen led him past the bank of lifts to the rear of the building and punched a code into a keypad outside a set of lift doors that were separated from the main bank. The lift doors opened immediately and Cohen pressed the only button on the panel. They rode silently, Lionel’s eyes were lowered and his mind raced with doubts as to what he was doing. His thoughts were erased when the doors opened and he walked into another alien world.

“Mr. Creevey? A tall, ball headed man walked from around the large desk in the room he’d entered. The man walked confidently and he had a pleasant smile on his face. He approached Lionel and gave a nod to Elias, then extended his hand in greeting. Lionel shook his hand and noticed the firmness and self-assurance behind the gesture.

“I’m Simon Clark. Welcome, sir. Won’t you sit down?” The young man invited Lionel deeper into the office and indicated one of the large comfortable seats in front of his desk. Instead of returning to the area behind the desk, Clark sat in an adjacent chair, on its edge, leaning forward.

“It’s so good of you come. May I call you Lionel?” Creevey nodded. “You see, Lionel, I’m in the business of providing a better life for all mankind. Elias here has told me your story and I think there’s a way for me to help you and for you to help all of mankind.” Lionel’s interest perked up noticeably.

“What do you mean?” Clark smiled.

“You see, Elias here believes that a lot of our world and the wizards’ world as well suffers from the secrecy that they live in. I would think you would know more about this than I do.” Lionel again nodded. “In my mind, there’s more to this than just knowing about each other. There’s so much that would benefit all of mankind by our capability to share in the magic world’s knowledge.”

Lionel hadn’t quite thought about this issue in that light. He’d been fixated on the danger that living in a small insular world had brought to his son. He’d never really thought about benefits.

“What do you mean?” For the first time, he was open to hearing more.

“Did you know what the life span of a wizard is?” The blank stare greeted his question. “It’s up to almost two hundred years.” Lionel gave a look of shock. “Wouldn’t it benefit all of us to find out why and make our world better?”

Lionel pondered the question. In the final analysis, he really didn’t care. What good was it for his children to have a long life expectancy if they didn’t survive their world? In his mind, his object was to lift the veil of secrecy and allow Dennis the ability to live in the light, free from fear. He told Clark as much.

Clark, for his part, didn’t bat an eye. “I understand. Believe me, your goals are my goals. The thing of it is, if you can help me, I can help you. Are you willing to work with Elias and myself to do that?”

Creevey sat back in his chair. His mind raced at the possibilities. He’d be able to see his son marry and have children.

“I will.” Lionel was committed.

“Splendid! We’re going to make a better world, for you and your son.” Clark rose and offered his hand. “Please follow Elias. We’re going to ply you for some information, but believe me, when it’s all said and done, we will make history. Who knows, maybe young Dennis can work here for me!”

Lionel smiled at the notion. His mind pictured Dennis having a normal life with a normal job. He readily followed Elias out a door at the side.

***

Clark watched the man follow behind Elias. When he disappeared out the door, Clark felt his energy draining from him. He slowly made his way towards his seat at his desk. He dropped into his chair and hit a small button on his desk. Another door opened and a large, brutish man dressed in a finely tailored three piece suit. His muscles stretched the fabric of his coat and he had the tell tale bulge of a weapon holstered tucked beneath his left armpit. His brown eyes were constantly moving as if looking for a threat. His hair was cropped short and he had a large forehead and a jutting chin. His bearing was military and utterly deadly. Anthony Stephens was ex-military, a commando, no less. He had a reputation for ruthlessness which had got him mustered out of the service to begin with. He was a deadly instrument of mayhem and he was completely devoted to Simon Clark.

Stephens walked to his boss and began the complex process of connecting a vial of intravenous fluid, this time containing a solution designed to replenish Clark’s nutrients. Clark nodded at Stephens as he felt the cool sensation of the liquid entering his veins. After a moment, Clark sat up and focused on a monitor imbedded in the surface of his desk. The image was that of a conference room and he saw a large table where Lionel Creevey, Elias Cohen and a transcriber keying into a laptop. From the audio, Lionel was speaking without pause. Clark smiled and turned to his brooding companion.

“Prepare your assault team with a maximum load. We’ll have a target for you soon enough.” The giant henchman bowed slightly and turned to leave the room. Clark noticed the small smile on his team leader’s face. Stephens was relishing this chance and apparently he hoped that he’d meet some resistance.

Clark leaned back in his chair and contemplated this opportunity. If he was right, he’d not only be cured, but he’d live a lot longer. He savored the possibilities. Why on earth would he share this power with anyone? He’d be the most powerful man on the planet. Clark smiled even more deeply. No, there was no need to share this ability; he’d just have to make sure that he was the only one to reap the benefits of his efforts. The knowledge gained from this venture would have to be compartmentalized, after all.

***
Hours passed and Lionel began to tire. Elias dismissed the stenographer and decided to call it a day. He motioned for Lionel to follow him out the door.

“Do you want to see something interesting?” Lionel shrugged his shoulders. They walked down a long corridor that led to an open room. The room was filled with display cases much like a museum. The cases held a variety of wands and robes and other objects that Lionel had only seen in the display windows during his visits to Diagon Alley with his sons.

“This is the sum total of our knowledge of that world. These artifacts were recovered from all over the world.” Lionel spotted a familiar face on the wall. Elias noticed his focus. “Yes, that’s Benjamin Franklin. He, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were all members of the Freemasons.” Lionel recognized the names, but had no idea who the Freemasons were. “They were all wizards, who rather dwelled in the human world, not their own.”

“Muggles.” Elias looked at Lionel curiously. “They call humans, muggles. It sounds kind of like the name of a pet.”

“Muggles, then. The wizards still enforced their secrecy, but these secret societies sprouted up.” Elias pointed to the gallery. “This would have never happened had we not found out about these societies.” Cohen lost himself in the moment. Indeed, there were Illuminati members that will play a key role in their gambit. “Anyway, let’s get you home.”

Cohen escorted Lionel to the front door. With a wave, he watched the tired man walk towards the tube station. Cohen took the lift back to Clark’s office and plopped himself in front of the desk.

Clark remained stationary, allowing his medicine to take hold. “Well? What do you think?”

“I think we have a very good opportunity.” Elias watched his patron turn in his chair towards him. “We can use the Creevey boy’s wedding to make our move. Potter is sure to be there and we can use Lionel to gain access to the proceedings.”

Another door opened and Anthony Stephens lumbered into the room. Clark turned his head towards him. “Have your team ready to go in six weeks. Your objective is the retrieval of a man named Harry Potter.”

“What about collateral damage?” The voice was deep.

Clark looked at Elias. “The device will render them impotent so resistance should be negligible.”

Clark nodded. “Be that as it may, should anyone try to play the hero, use all available means to secure Potter. I want him alive, all other considerations are secondary.”

Stephens snapped his heels together and turned about. Clark let out a sigh and wheezed deeply. Finally, he spoke. “Are you sure the device will work? Everything depends on its utility.”

“It was crafted by one the world’s most powerful wizards over one hundred years ago.” Elias was sure.

“How do you know?” Clark knew the answer, but he couldn’t leave anything to chance.

“You know the answer, I was his assistant.” Elias steepled his fingers. “I was there.”

Assured, Clark closed his eyes and allowed sleep to overtake him.


***A/N: What device? Elias is a wizard? Stay tuned, the answer will come soon enough.

FEEDBACK


__________________

Thanks to cybobbie for the awesome sig pic!
Thanks to the best fanclub in the world!

My Fanfics:
A History of Magic: Part II - Beyond the Epilogue
Teddy Lupin and the Legacy of the Marauders ; A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era (on hiatus); You Are Cordially Invited... (First Attempt)
Reply With Quote
  #65  
Old September 15th, 2007, 5:10 am
USNAGator91's Avatar
USNAGator91  Male.gif USNAGator91 is offline
The Godfather
 
Joined: 3583 days
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Age: 47
Posts: 1,127
Re: A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era

Chapter 66 – Illuminati Scientia

The Potters sat around the dinner table enjoying a quiet meal at home. James was seated in a high chair and his parents took turns feeding him from jars of food that sat in front of them. He didn’t much care for the orange goo that his mother was feeding him and disliked the yellow mush that his father was feeding him. His parents, as usual, were ignoring his insistence that the quality of his meals get better.

“Getting married?” His mother’s squeal caused James to giggle which was fortunate because he was growing bored with smearing his food on his high chair.

Harry wiped a large section of yellow paste off his son’s cheek. “Yes, Dennis said they were going to hold the ceremony at Hogwarts. I saw him in the training arena.”

Dennis had been selected to lead the new Magical Law Enforcement hit team that was being reconstituted after its decimation during the Morgana crisis. Dennis was ramping up the training regimen and using Harry’s team as a training cadre for his recruits. In the beginning, Harry’s team of Aurors won every contest, but Dennis’ diligence was bringing the Ministry Hit Team up to full proficiency.

“That’s wonderful.” Ginny fed James a spoonful of orange paste which he immediately pushed out of his mouth with his tongue and smiled at his ingenuity. “I wonder what I’ll wear? We can get my parents or Andromeda to sit for us. I can’t wait.” Ginny crammed a bit more of the orange paste into James’ mouth and held the spoon to prevent a repeat of his tongue feat. “I’m going to see Cho tomorrow at the shop.”

Cho was an equipment designer at the Quality Quidditch Supply Shop. Ginny saw her often in Ginny’s capacity as senior Quidditch correspondent for the Daily Prophet.

“That’s great, why don’t you try to get a line on a good gift for them?” Harry picked up James from the high chair and head up the stairs to bathe him. He left Ginny who was scribbling furiously on a notepad a list of things to do to prepare for the wedding.

The next day, Ginny found herself walking along Diagon Alley towards her job at the Daily Prophet. On the way, she stopped at the Quality Quidditch Supply Shop and looked for any sign of Cho. Spotting her in a corner of the shop, near a rack of new Firebolts, Ginny almost ran to Cho, squealing in delight.

“I’m so happy for you!” She embraced her friend with a crushing hug. Cho took a deep breath, trying to replace the air that Ginny had squeezed out of her. “Is there anything I can do for you?”

“No, not really, I think we’ve pretty much got it sewed up.” Cho noticed Ginny’s disappointed expression. Noticing the camera strapped around Ginny’s neck, Cho had an inspiration. “We don’t have a photographer, though. Do you think, maybe, you can take some shots of us?”

“I’d be delighted!” Ginny beamed. “How’s Dennis doing?”

“He’s gotten into the swing of things. He’s out with his father right now. I think this whole wedding has brightened his Dad’s outlook.” Cho gave Ginny a hopeful grin.

“That’s great!” Ginny leaned in conspiratorially. “Now, never mind all that, let’s see your ring.”

***
Dennis sat with his father at a pub down the road from the senior Creevey’s home. They were watching a fiercely contested rugby match on the television and tipping back ales.

“Dennis, can I ask a favor about the wedding?” Lionel’s tone was measured.

Dennis took a sip of his beer. “Sure Dad, anything.”

“I was wondering if I could bring a few friends with me.” Dennis gave him a curious look. “They’re all part of a grief counseling group I belong to. Everyone lost someone during the Voldemort problem.”

Dennis thought for a few moments. He was surprised by the request. Mostly, he was taken by his father’s mention of the word friends. Given the morose mood his father had been in the past few years, Dennis was overjoyed by the fact that his father was socializing.

“Sure Dad, how many were you thinking?” Dennis took another sip of his drink.

“Just myself and four others. We’ll use my port key to get there.” Lionel watched his son’s nod as he drained his own drink. In the background, one of the team’s scored eliciting a rousing cheer from the pub’s patrons. Dennis found himself distracted by the applause and failed to notice his father’s inability to look him square in the eye.

***

“How many? Four? That should be enough. Good work, Lionel. Think of it this way, you’ll be giving Dennis quite a wedding present. You’ll hear from us soon.” Elias hung up his cell phone and turned to Clark who was resting on a couch in his office.

“It’s on. He’ll be able to get four in without much notice.” Elias smiled in triumph. Clark returned with a wan grin of his own.

“I should prepare the device for transport. Where’s Anthony?” Elias looked around and spotted the ever present soldier of fortune. Cohen gestured to Stephens and motioned for him to follow. With a wave to Clark, Elias led Stephens out of the room.

They made their way through the wizard gallery in the center of the floor and walked up to a panel in a wall. Elias waved a pass card over a spot on the wall and it raised into the ceiling revealing a large room. The room was large with bright lights illuminating the portraits of six men. Cohen sighed and looked at a glass display case in the center of the room. In the middle of the display case was a battered, ancient pocket watch. Its hands were of iron and the outer covering seemed to be made of brass, which had lost much of its luster. Carefully, Elias swiped his pass card over a reader on the side of the display case and the front of glass popped open. Cohen reached in and removed the watch and turned the rusty wheel at its top until the time read twelve o’clock. The watch began to emit a dull red glow. Satisfied that it was working, Cohen reset the hands by spinning the wheel, causing the glow to fade. He rubbed the front of the watch and handed it to Stephens. The device was lost in his large hands.

“Remember, set the time for noon. Its range is roughly one kilometer, so make sure you stay in the open. When it’s activated, your electronics should be able to work.” Stephens barely nodded, instead he wheeled about and left the room. Cohen stayed behind, his mind dwelling on the pictures of the six men in the room. He sighed and let his memory return to a time almost one hundred years ago, when these men had last gotten together.

***

He was younger then, his hair thick and blonde. The men had been called together by Alfred Nobel, who was the first of them to renounce their lives as wizards. Around the table the greatest minds of their era were collected to discuss the future. Nobel sat at one end of the table. At his right, Thomas Edison and Nicola Tesla had their heads together discussing dynamos and alternating currents. On Nobel’s left, Albert Einstein and Guglielmo Marconi studiously ignored each other, the result of a disagreement on theories of energy. The other end of the table was occupied by an understated man, who at first glance seemed to be out of place among the mental colossuses seated near him. He pushed his wire-rimmed glasses up on his nose and smiled. H.G. Wells cleared his throat drawing the attention of the others present.

“I think we’re all here, Alfred. What’s on your mind?” Wells removed his glasses and wiped them down with a handkerchief. Replacing them, Wells smiled. “It’s quite dangerous for us to be meeting like this.”

“Quite right, Nobel. We could have a Ministry posse here at any time.” Edison’s retort was gruff.

Nobel raised his hands and asked for silence. “Gentlemen, I know we’re taking a risk but it was imperative that we meet. I’ve come to a decision that may impact all of us.”

This brought stares from all of them. Nobel sipped water from a nearby glass. “What do you mean?” Einstein stared the older man down.

“We all left the world of wizards because we wanted to share our power and knowledge with the masses. We used our powers to move mankind along the path to discovery and knowledge. Edison, you and Tesla have been introducing the muggles to the possibilities that electricity can give.” Nobel gave them a careful look. “Marconi, you’ve been helping to introduce mass communication through your gift of wireless. Wells, you’re stories have filled them with hope and anticipation of a brighter future.”

They noticed that he’d skipped over Einstein. “Albert, I’m not sure what you bring is truly a gift. For myself, I gave the world dynamite, which, even now, has been perverted into a dreadful weapon of mass killing. I thought I could make war so terrible, that men would think twice about killing. I was wrong.” Nobel sighed. “Imagine what they’ll do with your theories on the nature of energy. The devastation would be indescribable.”

These men had known each other since their days at Hogwarts. When Tesla had discovered the Room of Requirement, the six men began to hold regular meetings there. Ravenclaws all, they called themselves the Illuminati Scientia. As they finished their times at the school, they came to an agreement that knowledge was for all, not just the magical few. At first, their chafing at the International Statute of Secrecy could be written off as youthful rebellion, but as they matured, there was seriousness to their goal and each had left the wizarding society, even with the threat of arrest and imprisonment. Having fancied themselves modern versions of Prometheus, they felt their mission outweighed the risks.

Nobel creased his forehead. “I can’t do it anymore. I’m already responsible for more deaths than my conscious can bear. I don’t wish to participate any longer. I’m dedicating my life to peace.”

“You can’t speak for us, Nobel. You may want to quit, but you made a commitment to us. It’s not something that you can just walk away from.” Edison’s tone was surly, menacing. “You wouldn’t want us to take matters into our own hands, would you?” Edison twirled his wand in his hand, the point never really leaving Nobel’s general direction.

“You forget, Thomas that I’m in possession of Tesla’s trinket.” Nobel removed a shiny brass plated watch from his pocket. It was glowing red. “When Nicola conjured this device, ostensibly, it was to keep prying Aurors from tracking our meetings. I will keep possession of this device.”

Audible gasps came from around the table. “Your aim is to blackmail us?” Wells tinny voice carried across the table. “I suppose your conscience won’t rest until all of us are serving your penance in Azkeban?”

“No. As I said, I don’t wish to participate in creating machinery of death. Albert’s work terrifies me. It cannot be allowed to see the light of day. I will make it my mission to prevent that day from happening. I am sorry, Albert.” Einstein glared at his old friend.

“You won’t live forever, Alfred.” Edison stood up and motioned to Tesla. The meek younger man rose as well. “Magic isn’t the only means we have at our disposal.” With that, the two left the meeting. Wells looked at Marconi and nodded. As one, they left the room without saying goodbye.

“I understand your fear, Alfred, truly.” Einstein’s voice was quiet. “You only see the evil in my work. There are limitless possibilities for good my work. It holds the secret that could power human society for ages. Man could go to the moon or to the stars.”

“You know that man’s tendency is to destroy, not to discover.” Nobel thought of his invention of barbed wire and how it’d been used to make killing men easier.

“Maybe so, but one day, even as a weapon, this information may be needed to stop a greater evil than the knowledge itself. I guess your altruism about helping the muggles wasn’t very sincere, after all.” Einstein rose and offered his hand to Nobel. “I wish you luck, Alfred, but keep this in mind. Edison was right. You do not speak for us and you can not speak for me. My work will continue.” Einstein left the room.

Nobel sat motionless. He looked up when he noticed Elias enter the room. “I suppose, Elias that could have gone better.”

“Yes, sir.” Cohen agreed with Nobel. “What more could you have done? I know you’re thinking about the muggles in your decision.”

“True, but I’m not so sure that the rest think so.” Einstein’s rebuke burned in his mind. “Nevertheless, I can only do what’s in my power.” He stared at the glowing pocket watch.

“Will you keep it, sir?” Elias’ eyes stood locked on the watch.

“Yes, if only to keep the rest in line, at least until I die.” Nobel chuckled at the thought.

Elias laughed at his mentor. “Well, let’s hope that’s not for quite a long time.”

“Indeed.”

‘Quite a long time’ lasted exactly three more years. Nobel died under mysterious circumstances after establishing his foundation dedicated to peace. During that entire time, Elias Cohen nearly ever strayed from his side. The watch was active during that entire time. Elias was so used to not having the use of magic, that he almost forgot that he was a wizard. When Nobel died, Cohen had been away on an errand. The old man died and his body and the watch were spirited away by the members of his foundation. Elias returned and found Nobel gone. Nobel’s death unnerved him. An even bigger shock was when he tried to use his wand to conjure a seeking spell, Elias found that he could not execute the magic. He could not use any magic. Somehow, the prolonged exposure to the watch had robbed him of his ability to cast spells.

Elias lived on, his magic gone. To Cohen, it was like losing a limb only deeper. His mind began to wallow in madness. Slowly, his loss and fear turned to hatred for the remainder of the great men who’d driven Nobel to make his decision. Cohen tracked them all down and turned them into the Ministry, anonymously. One by one, over the course of fifty years, hit teams came for the other five and took them away. The last was Einstein, and Cohen made sure he was there when they took him away. Once his task was completed, the madness turned to the society that birthed him. Elias vowed to make the magical world which had granted him his gift, pay for taking it away.

His crusade brought him to where he was today. His association with Clark allowed for the retrieval of the device. He hadn’t told Clark everything about his background; just enough to find a way to get the watch, but when they finally had Potter, maybe the device would give him a way to take Potter’s powers for himself. Once he had them, he would be the most powerful wizard in the world. Clark would have to be eliminated, of course, but what was the life of a dying muggle to him anyway?

***A/N: OK, enough of the background. We are going to be getting into the serious action next chapter. The tentative title: "A Wedding to Remember" since "Wedding Crashers" was used somewhere else. Pfft...Movies, bah.

FEEDBACK


__________________

Thanks to cybobbie for the awesome sig pic!
Thanks to the best fanclub in the world!

My Fanfics:
A History of Magic: Part II - Beyond the Epilogue
Teddy Lupin and the Legacy of the Marauders ; A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era (on hiatus); You Are Cordially Invited... (First Attempt)

Last edited by USNAGator91; September 15th, 2007 at 5:15 am.
Reply With Quote
  #66  
Old September 16th, 2007, 4:25 pm
USNAGator91's Avatar
USNAGator91  Male.gif USNAGator91 is offline
The Godfather
 
Joined: 3583 days
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Age: 47
Posts: 1,127
Re: A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era

Chapter 67 – A Wedding to Remember

November at Hogwarts brings bright, clear days marked by brisk temperatures and blue sky. It’s as if the school was preparing its students for the harshness of winter, while reminding them of the beauty of the spring. Cho particularly loved this time of year as her memory brought her back to the vigorous Quidditch practices she’d participated in all those years ago. That was why she picked November for her wedding. Dennis had readily acceded to her request although, his main stipulation was to have the ceremony on the grounds at Hogwarts, essentially to be in sight of his brother’s final resting place. Cho’s parents had gone all out in their preparations and a large array of seating was set up facing the lake. A raised stage using the backdrop of the lake was constructed in front of the seating. Today, the crowd was standing room only, with all of their friends in attendance. As Cho peaked out from a tent that had been set up just to rear of the seating area, she saw members of the staff and faculty of Hogwarts were in the crowd as were the members of the current student body. Towards the front, dignitaries representing the Ministry had made their way in as had the collected membership of Dumbledore’s Army. At the very front of the seating area, she saw her mother and father sitting patiently but on Dennis’ side, Lionel hadn’t arrived yet. Cho took a quick look at her watch, she had a little over thirty minutes until the rest of her life began.

“Half an hour!” Dennis started in his shoes. Harry’s exclamation revealed the anxiety he was feeling. He gave Harry a half-hearted grin.

“I know, were you this nervous on your wedding day, Harry?” For the umpteenth time, Dennis adjusted the knot on his tie.

Harry grabbed Dennis’ hand and made a slight adjustment to the bow tie. “Worse, Dennis. I couldn’t speak or breathe. You’re doing fine.”

“I hope so. Thanks for doing this for me, Harry.” Dennis took another peek out of the tent. It seemed like he was looking for someone. “I wonder where my dad is? Oh wait, there he is.” Harry followed Dennis’ eyes and saw Lionel Creevey walking up from the Hogsmeade road in the company of four well-appointed men. Three of the men were non-descript, finely dressed and their faces seemed to be in the spirit of the occasion. The fourth was a beast of a man. He towered over Lionel. He wasn’t as animated as the other and his eyes roved the area like a predator. A nagging sensation buzzed in the back of Harry’s brain, there was something distinctly out of sorts about that man.

“It’s my pleasure, Dennis. I’m glad to be of use.” Dennis had asked Harry to officiate at the wedding, a gesture which surprised and delighted Harry. “I’d better head up to the podium, you won’t change your mind, will you?” Dennis laughed at Harry and shooed him off. Harry made his way down the side of the seating area and spied Ginny standing off to the side. In her hands, she had her camera and she was fiddling with the lens and snapping pictures. Harry walked up behind her and placed his arms on her hips. He placed a soft kiss on her neck. She spun around and smiled at him, her brown eyes twinkling in the fall sun.

“Go on, Harry, we’ve got work to do.” Harry smiled and placed a full kiss on her lips, savoring the electrical shock he received every time their lips met. Ginny had a devilish grin on her face. “You know, my mum will have James overnight. We have the entire evening to ourselves.” Her smile was impish and her eyes had an invitation which sent his heart racing.

Harry kissed her once more and head for the stage. She watched his back, her mind on their plans for the evening. She felt someone brush on her shoulder and she was passed by Dennis’ father and four men. The largest of the men had bumped into her while they were making their way to the seating at the front of the crowd.

Lionel and his guests made their way to their seats. Anthony Stephens took the end seat, his eyes never stopping their scan of their surroundings. Stephens was bursting with anxiety and nervous energy. He was a little unsettled by the small feats of magic that were demonstrated all around. He watched flowers orchestrated in a variety of patterns around the ceremony area. He watched the wizards and witches perform mundane tasks with a wave of their wands. He could sense the raw power behind those simple tasks, and his job was to seize the most powerful of the bunch. The main fact of the matter was that this was his job. He was a professional and he knew that he had a mission to complete. Stephens felt the weight of Tesla’s Device in his inside jacket pocket.

“Which one is Potter?” Stephens leaned into Lionel, masking his voice from the surrounding people.

Lionel looked up at the stage. “That’s him there, the one behind the podium. He’s wearing glasses.”

Subvocally, Stephens communicated to the rest of his team. “We’ll move right before the ceremony begins. Creevey, I suggest you try to keep your son and his bride out of our way. I’d hate for either one to get hurt on their wedding day.” There was a hint of dark humor in his voice. Lionel felt a distinct sense of menace in Stephens’ voice. A tinge of doubt crept into Lionel’s conscience.

“Don’t.” Stephens’ voice was heavy and evil. “This is going to happen. The only variable is how many people get hurt. If you want to keep the harm to a minimum, you’ll cooperate. Cross me, and I can’t predict who’ll get hurt. Maybe it’ll be your son, or his fiancé. You control the outcome, Creevey.” Lionel Creevey felt a pit form in his stomach. He had made a dreadful mistake and it was too late to do anything about it.

Harry arranged his notes on the lectern, preparing for the beginning of the wedding. He gave a quick wave to Ron. Members of the DA were seated round the area Ron sat and Harry found himself giving a nod to Dean Thomas. Harry’s eyes fell on George, Dudley and Lee and Harry felt a bout of anxiety. Where those three could be found, mayhem was sure to follow. Harry made a note to himself to keep an eye on the brain trust behind Weasley’s Wheezes. He scanned the crowd, recognizing people here and there, and reflecting on how young the Hogwarts students seemed. Harry chuckled, had he ever been that young? Out of the corner of his eye he spotted Lionel and his odd quartet of companions. The man on the end seemed to staring at Harry. Again, Harry felt a nagging pull in his brain. The man made him nervous. The ceremony was about five minutes from starting, but Harry couldn’t shake the odd feeling he had about Mr. Creevey’s guest. Harry gave a glance to Ron, whose querulous look turned into understanding. Ron nodded to Sarah Peebles who was seated next to Lee. Unaware of the situation, Sarah reacted based on instinct. She saw Ron’s glance and saw Harry moving from the stage. She let her wand fall out of her sleeve into her hand as she rose to follow Ron down the aisle.

Harry moved down the side of the stage, his wand suddenly appearing in his hand. Stephens watched Harry’s movements. Stephens moved his hand into his pocket and removed the watch. He whispered to his team to ready them and turned the hands to the twelve o’clock position. Stephens replaced the watch into his pocket and drew the TASER.

Harry felt strange. He glanced around him and saw the enchanted flower petals no longer twirling in patterns, but lost on the whims of the wind. Nothing magically motivated seemed to be moving. No on, as yet, seemed to notice the change. Harry noticed the four men with Lionel Creevey rise from their seats. He noticed the large man pull something from around his waist. In his hand, the man held a narrow, boxy object and extended his arm towards Harry. Harry snapped up his wrist and extended his wand.

“Expelliarmus!” The man flinched momentarily, but when nothing happened to him, he grinned. A rapid flash of light and smoke extended from the object in his hand and reached out towards Harry. Small barbed darts trailing wires behind them imbedded themselves in Harry’s chest. He felt a surge of power ripple through his body. He lost control of his hands and legs and was thrown to the ground by the hammer blows of thousands of volts of electricity. His wand dropped to the ground and he felt consciousness slipping from him.

The four men moved with military precision. Stephens incapacitated Potter with the TASER and motioned to his men to take up positions. One of the men reached underneath his jacket and pulled a small canister out of his belt. He pulled a pin at the top of the canister and tossed it towards the center of the crowd of wedding guests. Smoke began to filter from the object filtering among the guests. The billowing clouds of CS gas assaulted the nearby guests, bringing tears immediately to their eyes and causing bouts of nausea and discomfort, effectively rendering the majority of them incapable of action. All three of the remaining pulled weapons from inside their coats. Stephens handed the TASER to one of the other men and drew his own sidearm from its holster.

“Harry!” Ron saw his friend struck down. Ron raised his arm and tried to stun the four men moving towards Harry. Nothing happened. He felt his lungs choking up from the gas and for a moment, felt his knees weaken. Ron ignored his own discomfort or his own inability to cast a spell. Harry was his friend and his brother, and he wasn’t going to let him down. Ron stood and sprinted towards the men, with no idea of what he would do when he got there.

Stephens turned and saw the red haired man running towards him. Stephens gave a twisted smile and raised his arm. Aiming carefully he squeezed the trigger of his weapon and saw the charging man thrown back by the impact of the bullet. Stephens tracked the rest of the crowd with his weapon and called out in a clear voice.

“We just want Potter. Anyone who tries to interfere will be shot. Make no mistake, your health is not my concern.” He pointed his gun towards Ron’s prone form.

“Ron!” Hermione leapt from her seat as she saw her husband fall. She ran to his body and turned him over. A red stain was rapidly increasing in size on his left shoulder. When she saw that there was no way to use magic, she tore pieces of her robe and clamped them down tightly on the wound. The blood flow as slow and she heard Ron moan. She felt Sarah join her and try to assist in her ministrations to Ron’s wound. Off to the side, she heard the loud report of another gunshot.

“No! This isn’t what we agreed to!” Lionel Creevey attacked the man nearest him, grabbing his gun and fighting for control of the weapon. While they struggled for the pistol, the barrel of the gun got turned inward on its owner. The gun went off and Lionel came away possessing the firearm, its previous owner crumpled to the ground. Stephens didn’t hesitate. He snapped up his wrist and fired twice, hitting Lionel twice in the chest, dropping the older man in his tracks.

Stephens cast a glance at his fallen man and couldn’t see any movement. He turned to one of his remaining men. “Get the beacon on line!” The man nodded and removed a small, square device that had a keypad on it. Typing in a sequence of numbers, a small integrated circuit inside the device transmitted a signal to a satellite flying miles overhead. The satellite noted the men’s location and sent the precise coordinates to a similar device mounted on the dash of a helicopter orbiting the bright Scottish skies. The pilot of the helicopter looked back in the passenger compartment and gave thumbs up to the man seated in the cargo seat. The man nodded and the pilot pointed the nose of the rotary aircraft towards a point on the compass.

The scene at Hogwarts was in a tumult. The appearance of smoke and the use of dangerous weapons combined with the nullification of their use of magic had caused the attendees to panic. The panic turned into a rout as teachers pointed their students back towards the school. Bodies flew in every direction save for the one which held the three remaining attackers and their prize, Harry Potter. Lost in the confusion, Ginny Potter tried to get to Harry. The mass of people fleeing the other direction and the shooting of her brother caused her to pause. In a matter of fleeting seconds she fought down the impulse to charge the man, her thoughts on Harry and on James. What would Harry want her to do? What would Harry need her to do? She fought back her tears and screwed her face into an expression of resolve. She raised her camera to her eye and began to snap pictures of the assailants. Later, she would tell herself that the tear gas was the cause, but as she took the pictures, tears began to pour from her eyes.

Stephens walked to Harry’s prone form and removed a hypodermic syringe from his pocket. Removing the protective sleeve, he pushed the needle into Harry’s arm and pushed the plunger down full. The sedative took immediate effect and Harry felt his world disappear into a haze. Stephens motioned to the other two men and they picked up Harry’s body between them. They dragged the dazed Auror towards an open field area nearby. Stephens looked up in the sky and spotted a dark speck in the sky that was slowly getting bigger. He smiled and kept his weapon trained on the area that held the seating area. The large black helicopter approached the field, circled momentarily, allowing the pilot to verify the identity of the men summoning him. Quickly, the helicopter alit on the field and the passenger cast open the doors and stepped down on the grass, beckoning the men to hurry. Elias Cohen looked over at the high walls of Hogwarts and sighed in reflection. The sound of screams and reports of gunshots snapped him out of his reverie. He helped the two men drag Potters body onto the helicopter and turned towards Stephens’ approaching form.

“Hurry, we’ve got to go!” Stephens turned towards them and ran. When he reached the door, he turned one more time and tossed an aimed shot down towards the wedding party. Elias reached and pulled down the big man’s arm. “Enough! We’ve got to go!” Elias hissed with vehemence.

Stephens turned and put the muzzle of the pistol under Elias’ chin. “Don’t tell me what to do!” Stephens looked into the helicopter and saw the stunned looks on the faces of his men. Returning to his senses, Stephens dropped his grip on Cohen and climbed into the cabin. Cohen took one last look at the scene and followed him. The pilot pulled up on the collective and pulled the helicopter up and away from the scene. Stephens looked out the rear window and watched the spires of Hogwarts recede in the background. As they pulled the Tesla Device out of range of the school, the charms that had shielded the school from detection for hundreds of years took hold and it disappeared in a shroud of spells and magic.

The entire encounter had lasted for less than fifteen minutes, yet the chaos continued to reign over the scene. Several bodies littered the ground, attended to by several people. The return of their ability to cast spells allowed for substantially better treatment and transport to St. Mungo’s. Nevertheless, several were critical and there had been one death. Cho wandered the area and spotted Dennis, who was huddled over the lifeless body of his father. Dennis saw her approach and looked at her through pleading, teary eyes.

“I’m alone now. Nobody’s left of my family.” Dennis cast his eyes down and sobbed heavily.

Cho reached down and put her arms around him. “You’re not alone, Dennis. You’ll always have me.”

“I know.” He smiled gratefully and they mourned the death of Lionel Creevey together.

***A/N: Man, I want to hurt Stephens. Who will lead the effort to rescue Harry when Harry is the person who's been leading the rescues to date?

FEEDBACK


__________________

Thanks to cybobbie for the awesome sig pic!
Thanks to the best fanclub in the world!

My Fanfics:
A History of Magic: Part II - Beyond the Epilogue
Teddy Lupin and the Legacy of the Marauders ; A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era (on hiatus); You Are Cordially Invited... (First Attempt)
Reply With Quote
  #67  
Old September 17th, 2007, 10:17 pm
USNAGator91's Avatar
USNAGator91  Male.gif USNAGator91 is offline
The Godfather
 
Joined: 3583 days
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Age: 47
Posts: 1,127
Re: A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era

Chapter 68 – Captivity

The haze of the sedatives cleared momentarily. Harry tried to move his hands and found himself laying on a chrome bed. His hands were manacled by shiny bindings that kept his hands locked above his head. His legs were in irons that locked them to the foot of the metal frame. The bed was raised at his head, leaving him reclined at a forty five degree angle. He looked around the room. The walls were all white. There was a large mirror on one wall and a single door that had a small window. To his side, a small cart with a screen and monitor was connected by a plastic tube to his arm. He saw red fluid flowing from his arm into the apparatus on the cart. He was dressed in hospital scrubs and his feet were bare. His head felt light and a wave of dizziness overcame him as he opened his eyes fully. Banks of high powered klieg lights were aimed at his face and he had difficulty determining how long he’d been there.

He heard a rustle at the door as it was unlocked. He made out several figures walking into the room, including the beast of a man who’d fired the strange weapon at him. The large man walked deferentially behind a tall, bald man whose eyes gleamed with delight at seeing Harry conscious. A couple of attendants stayed in the background, well away and deferential to the bald man. In the corner of the room, a white-haired old man wearing an obnoxious yellow track suit hovered, his sharp blue eyes fixed on Harry.

“Ah, you’re awake. Welcome, Mr. Potter.” The man pulled a plastic white chair from out of Harry’s vision and rolled it beside the bed. “You don’t seem to be any worse for the wear.”

“Where am I? What do you want from me?” Harry’s tongue felt heavy. He was still fighting the power of the drugs that had been injected into his system.

“Where you are is not important and as for what we want from you? We’ve already taken it.” The man smiled and nodded to the tube that was slowly draining Harry’s blood. “Where are my manners? My name is Simon Clark. This rather menacing gentleman, whom I believe you’ve already met, is Mr. Stephens. The older gentleman in the corner is Professor Elias Cohen.”

Clark turned as the door opened and a short, rail-thin man wearing glasses and a lab coat entered the room. “Ah, Dr. Kendall, you have news for us?”

The clinician cautiously approached his boss. His face belied fear and failure. Clark’s expression turned dark. He turned and nodded to Stephens who closed the distance to the doctor. Kendall cleared his throat and began his report.

“We’ve finished our analysis, sir. There is nothing distinctive in the blood chemistry of the subject. His blood is a normal O positive type. His white blood cell count is nominal and his neurotransmitters are fine. I can find nothing peculiar about this subject.” Kendall bowed his head and hoped that Clark’s wrath would be visited on him.

Clark brooded for a moment. “Adrenaline.” He stood up rapidly. “We need adrenaline. Specifically, we need the adrenaline induced by pain.” He looked at Cohen who shrugged his shoulders. Clark made a motion to Stephens, who retrieved another cart from another portion of the room.

Stephens removed a sheet covering the top of his tray. A variety of sharpened instruments covered the cart mixed with wires and probes of all types. Stephens looked expectantly at Clark who smiled and turned to Harry.

“You see, Mr. Potter. I need what you have inside your blood. Your DNA may hold the key to my survival. We thought we could just take what we need from your blood, however, we were not so lucky. My friend over there,” He pointed to Stephens. “is very proficient at inflicting and prolonging pain. You see, when humans feel pain, they produce adrenaline. Our theory is that this is where your ‘magic’ resides. We want to tap that magic, Mr. Potter. The life you save, may be mine.” Clark smiled at his own attempt at humor. He rose from the seat and pulled the chair away. He looked over to Stephens and nodded. The hulking lackey smiled, enjoying the chance to ply his trade.

Harry watched Stephens grab a scalpel from his array of implements and approach his bound form on the bed. Stephens cut open Harry’s shirt, revealing his chest. With no hint of softness, he pushed the blade of the knife into Harry’s shoulder, just above the chest, cutting a small incision. He repeated the process on the opposite shoulder. Harry tensed as the cold metal sliced his skin. Stephens repeated the process on each side of Harry’s temple. Stephens repeated his handiwork on Harry’s stomach, piercing the skin with matching three inch incisions on either flank. Harry could feel the wounds bleeding, not overly so, but enough to be a reminder of the pain.

One of the orderlies in the room flinched momentarily at the sight, but recovered before anyone noticed. Clark watched his henchman with great interest, offering commentary as each cut was made. “You see, the pain fades. We need to prolong the pain, without letting you pass out to quickly. Mr. Stephens is quite able at this type of work. I think you’ll find this next step interesting.”

Stephens removed six probes from the table. Each had a wire leading from one end and barbed point at the other. With little warning or subtlety, he inserted a barbed point into each incision. He then casually walked over to a panel on the wall on the far side of the room. Clark looked over at Harry. “You see, each probe injects a small dosage of acid into your wounds, and then we hit the wound with a suitable amount of voltage. We repeat the process and are able to keep the pain lasting. We’ll have to adjust this until we find the proper threshold. Too much and too soon, you will pass out. Too little and not soon enough, you will not produce the right amount of neurochemicals. Please bear with us, we are experimenting, after all.”

Clark waved at Stephens who pressed some buttons on the panel on the wall. He then began to slowly turn a knob on the panel, activating the probes. Harry felt the stinging warmth and sharp pain of the acid being pumped into his cuts, which were immediately followed the hard jolt of current that followed the acid into his wounds. The pain built and he grit his teeth to fight off his weakness. He failed. His screams rang through the room until the pain was too much to bear. All the while, the machine at his side would extract a sample of his blood, whirring periodically as it drew the fluid into its midst.

***

Harry’s team sat around the conference table with Dawlish, Lachlan, Proudfoot and Savage. Spread about the table were the photos of the incident that Ginny had managed to take during the assault. For the past several hours, they’d wracked their brains trying to figure out who had taken Harry and why. The fact that they’d lost their powers during the attack had shaken the establishment to the core. They had been powerless to prevent Harry’s kidnapping and now, were even more so in trying to find who’d taken him.

“Williamson, you’ll lead Harry’s team until we get him back.” Dawlish’s first order of business was to establish that they would, indeed, get Harry back. The crimson-clad Auror nodded his head soberly and glanced over at the rest of his team mates. “We don’t know who is behind this, but maybe there is a clue that the muggles can determine from the dead man we recovered. We need to get over to Lionel Creevey’s home and see if he left anything to tell us about this. One thing’s for sure, he was involved somehow.”

Dawlish looked up as the door to the conference room burst open. Ginny, Hermione and Arthur Weasley entered the room, leaving the guarding Auror in their wake.

“Where the hell is my husband, John?” Ginny practically shouted at them. “It’s been almost two days and you’ve not done anything.” Dawlish recoiled at her verbal assault. She wasn’t hysterical, which made her outburst even more disconcerting. “Don’t lie to me. My brother is still in the hospital and there’s not sign of Harry. What exactly are you doing to get him back?”

Dawlish lowered his eyes. “We don’t have anything to go on. We’re going to have to take this to the muggle authorities.” Ginny’s jaw lay agape. They’d accomplished nothing in getting Harry back. The shock of the reality numbed her. She fell into a nearby seat and put her hands in her head. Hermione placed an arm around Ginny’s shoulders.

Arthur Weasley felt desperate. His son had been viciously wounded in a heinous attack involving muggle projectile weapons. His son-in-law, the father of his grandson and the husband of his only daughter had been brutally taken in a precision assault. Arthur put his hands in his pockets and glanced down at the pictures of the attack. He laid a finger on one of the pictures. A small, detached portion of his brain reflected on the image of the helicopter, the muggle machine that had conveyed Harry away from the site. He looked closer at the man in the running suit that’d opened the door when the helicopter landed. A pang of recognition overcame Arthur. It was memory from his past, of a time before Arthur was working in muggle relations. Arthur picked up the picture, the memory of a time years ago came flooding to him. He looked up sharply and held the picture out to Dawlish.

“I think I may know someone who can identify this man.” His words echoed through the room. Ginny lifted her head up and stared at her father. Arthur looked over to his daughter then turned back to Dawlish. “I’m going to have to talk to the Minister. I need to call in a favor.”

Dawlish and Arthur walked into Kingsley Shacklebolt’s office. Kingsley was sitting with Percy Weasley poring over reports of the clean-up from the attack. The lifting of the protective spells around Hogwarts had exposed the school to thousands of people in the surrounding communities. Teams of Aurors and Ministry officials were busy trying to blank out the memories of the event. This had been the most egregious violation of their muggle protection in history and the fall out was still poring in. Kingsley rose as he saw Dawlish and Arthur enter.

“Arthur, I’m so sorry. How’s Ron doing?” Kingsley invited the two to sit.

“He’s recovering. He lost a lot of blood, but fortunately, Hermione knew rudimentary first aid and probably saved his life.” Arthur gratefully accepted the invitation to sit.

“Kingsley, I need a favor, I think I may be able to help piece together who’s behind the attack.”

“I already know who’s behind it.” Kingsley’s words rocked his two friends. “The muggle Prime Minister informed me that the helicopter belonged to a man named Simon Clark.” Dawlish gaped at Shacklebolt. “I spent a long time as an assistant to the Prime Minister. I still have contacts.”

“That’s great, Kingsley. Where can we find him? We’ve got to get a team out there at once.” Arthur leapt to his feet. Kingsley raised his arms.

“I’m sorry, Arthur. There will not be an assault from a team of Aurors. We are not to interfere with the muggles in this.” Kingsley’s words hammered at Dawlish and Arthur.

“Minister, what do you mean?” Dawlish was incredulous. “Who knows why they took Harry?”

“My hands are tied, John. The Prime Minister is concerned about the exposure we’ve had already. Simon Clark is a very powerful man and no one in the government is willing to take him on. I am bound by oath to accede to the Prime Minister’s request. I’m sorry.”

“This is bleeding preposterous!” Arthur’s face was a fiery crimson. “How much does that boy have to give before he gets a small modicum in return?” Kingsley’s face flushed in shame. “Minister, please accept my resignation, effective immediately. I can not work for an administration that has so little regard for its heroes that it leaves them to their fates. I intend to make it my mission to see that your administration is finished in the next election.” Arthur wheeled around and left a stunned Kingsley Shacklebolt in his wake. Percy gave an apologetic glance to Kingsley and ran after his father.

“Dad! Dad! Will you stop!” Percy reached his father and pulled around abruptly. “That could have been handled better, Dad.”

“Percy, don’t lecture me on fairness. We’ve all been in the fight. Harry, more than anyone else. Kingsley should know better.”

Percy glared at his father. “He’s bound by an unbreakable vow that he took when he was an aide to the Prime Minister during the Dark Lord’s rise. He can’t do anything, Dad, it’s not his fault!”

Arthur raised his hand to his face and pinched the bridge of his nose. “I know, Percy. I just feel so helpless. You might want to keep Kingsley away from your sister, there's no telling what she'll do to him.” Percy put a hand on his father’s shoulder. Arthur’s hand drifted to his pocket, feeling the picture he’d placed there from conference room. “Percy, I need a favor.”

“Sure, Dad, anything.” Percy looked at his father.

“I need you to set up a meeting for me. I need to ask someone some questions.”

***A/N: OK, bear with me. I should have another chapter out sometime tonight and another tomorrow. The suspense is killing me.

FEEDBACK


__________________

Thanks to cybobbie for the awesome sig pic!
Thanks to the best fanclub in the world!

My Fanfics:
A History of Magic: Part II - Beyond the Epilogue
Teddy Lupin and the Legacy of the Marauders ; A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era (on hiatus); You Are Cordially Invited... (First Attempt)
Reply With Quote
  #68  
Old September 18th, 2007, 3:10 am
USNAGator91's Avatar
USNAGator91  Male.gif USNAGator91 is offline
The Godfather
 
Joined: 3583 days
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Age: 47
Posts: 1,127
Re: A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era

Chapter 69 – Action Stations

The high towers of Azkeban rose into the sky and were lost among the dark storm clouds that chronically swept the island. A small twin-masted wooden ketch plowed through the stormy seas, plying through the waves effortlessly. As it approached the rocky promontory that the prison lay on, the ketch rose out of the water and floated in the air, its sails limp on its spars. It flew to the side of the prison, stopping at a balcony near the middle of the high ramparts. A gangplank extended from the ship and rooted itself on the balcony. The figures of two men bounded across the gangway and into the prison.

A team of Aurors transported Prisoner Number One to a small room off the main receiving area. The masked guardians of the prison placed the old man in the room and released his bindings. He was old, his white beard flowing down to his waist. He peered around the room, the first time he’d been out of his routine in years. He rubbed his wrists, trying to restore circulation. He noticed a glass ewer with water and a couple of glasses on the table in the room. He plucked a glass off the table and poured himself some water. He sat at the table and casually sipped his water. He saw the door open and an older version of a familiar face appeared in the threshold.

“Hello, Nicola.” Arthur Weasley walked into the room and sat across from Nicola Tesla, the man he’d helped apprehend almost fifty years prior, as a member of the Ministry’s Hit Team.

“Arthur Weasley. My, my, my, this is a surprise.” Tesla stroked his beard allowing a smile to crease his lips. “What ever brings you to this neck of the woods?”

Arthur noticed how frail Tesla had gotten. His skin hung on his bones and his hair had grown longer and stringy. His eyes remained vibrant, a sense of delight and humor in the gaze.

“I’ve come to ask for your help, Nicola. Someone from your past seems to be making some trouble and I was hoping that you could help me.” Arthur scooted the picture from Hogwarts onto the table and pushed it towards Tesla.

“Why should I help you, Arthur? I’m serving my time. I’ll die here.” Tesla never looked at the picture. He simply crossed his arms and stared Arthur down.

“Because, the attack was on my son and my family. Because, the man in the picture was present at each one of the arrests of the Illuminati Scientia and because he used your device to accomplish the task. Thousands of muggles saw Hogwarts when its protective charms were lifted. Children are at risk and you are partially responsible.” Arthur sat back and stared Tesla down. For his part, the mention of his device provoked a spark in Tesla’s expression. He slowly looked down at the picture. Recognition flared in his eyes. He smiled.

“That’s Elias Cohen. He was Nobel’s assistant. He was a fairly decent wizard, however, I don’t know what became of him.” Tesla laughed hard. “I’m sure he was very surprised at what the device did to him.”

“What do you mean?” Arthur leaned forward.

“Using the device when set to twelve o’clock for a prolonged period, like a year or more, eliminates your ability to cast spells. It was a safeguard I built into it to ensure no wizard could use it to hold power over others.” He gazed at the pictures of the carnage from the assault. “I had not anticipated that an alliance with muggles would be the result.”

“The man backing Cohen is named Simon Clark. He’s rich and powerful and ruthless. We know where he is, but how do we defeat the device?” Arthur’s eyes bore in on Tesla.

Tesla sighed. “The device relies on vision. A wizard in an Invisibility Cloak should be able to access the device. If you set it for precisely nine thirty five, you will render it powerless, forever.”

Arthur rose and picked up the photos. “Why nine thirty five?”

“Because that’s what time it was when I finished building the device.” Tesla laughed. “Arthur, I hope you succeed. It wasn’t our intention to hurt the world. We thought we were saving the world, for both muggles and wizards. Nobel was right, we just didn’t see it. Our interference caused more harm that good.” The man known as Nicola Tesla bowed his head. Arthur Weasley left the man to his thoughts.

Arthur walked into the reception area and greeted his son, Percy. “We’ve got to go.”

Percy looked back at the meeting room as a team of Aurors walked in to take Prisoner Number One back into his cell. “You’re going to defy the Minister?”

“I don’t work for the Minister, Percy, and if you know what’s good for you, you’ll forget this meeting. I wouldn’t want your career to suffer.”

Percy winced at the rebuke from his father, but Arthur delivered the line with no real venom. Percy smiled. “I don’t know, Dad, apparently violating Ministry rules always seems to result in a promotion. I think I’m in the mood to bump up my career.”

Arthur clapped his son on the back and the pair head for their ride back to London.

***

The pain had stopped. Harry felt unable to open his eyes, but began to hear the sounds permeating the room. He heard the hum of the machinery which gave a rhythmic temp to his heartbeat. Harry heard the voices of the people in the room.

“Nothing?” Clark’s voice echoed in Harry’s skull. “You’ve found nothing at all?”

“No sir, I’m sorry. There’s simply nothing different from normal human chemistry. There were elevated levels of norepinephrine, but nothing unusual for the amount of, er, persuasion the subject had been subject to.” Kendall’s voice had a high pitch.

Elias interjected. “Perhaps it’s the device? It took away my powers, maybe the device nullifies all traces of magic in his system?”

“Do you think that’s possible?” Clark’s question demonstrated his willingness to try. “How do we ensure he won’t use the magic against us?”

“Well, for one, he doesn’t have his wand. He’s too young to really be able to cast spells without one.” Cohen murmured his response. “For another, if you keep him under heavy sedation, he won’t be able to speak the required charm, even subvocally.”

Harry opened one eye carefully in time to see Clark remove the watch from his pocket. Clark noticed Harry’s gaze and nodded to Stephens, who turned up the amount of sedative dripping into Harry’s arm. Harry felt the heavy fog of sleep overtaking him. He felt a difference in his body, as he thought about Clark turning off the inhibiting device. Soon, he was overwhelmed by drowsiness and drifted off into a slumber, an image of Ginny emblazoned in his mind.

***

The orderly who blanched at Harry’s earlier treatment entered the room. Clark and his associates had retired elsewhere. She was pretty, petite, with long brunette hair and hazel eyes. Her uniform fit her figure nicely and she obviously took rigorous care of her body. She glanced about her and approached Harry’s sleeping figure on its bed. Harry stirred briefly, his eyes opening to catch a quick sight of her. The one image he had before he drifted into slumber was that of the orderly turning off the sedative drip that was feeding the tube in his arm.

***

They sat around the dinner table at the Burrow. Sarah, Ron, Dawlish, Lachlan, Cavendish, Dean Thomas, Ginny, Hermione, Percy and Arthur had been huddled around each other going over what Arthur and Percy had discovered as to the nature of Harry’s assailants.

“We know the building is near Regent’s Park. Do we have enough Invisibility Cloaks?” Arthur was leading the meeting, collating the data they’d collected thus far.

“No, we have three between us all, including Harry’s.” Dawlish looked around at the other people at the table. “Three of us will have to go in first and disarm the device, and then the others can give us back-up.”

Lachlan nodded. “Well then, who gets to go first?”

“I’m going.” Ron’s response was firm but weakened, he’d only just returned that morning from the hospital. His answer drew a sharp look from Hermione.

“No you don’t, Ron Weasley. You’re not strong enough and you’re not leaving my sight.” Hermione faced down her husband causing him to give in.

“It needs to be Aurors.” Arthur’s voice filled the room. He looked his daughter down, anticipating her response. “Ginny, you’re not entirely objective here, and you need to think of James.” The answer stung her, more from its truth, than from its heat.

Dawlish spoke up. “It’ll be me, Lachlan and Sarah.” Cavendish gave him a sharp look. “Don’t look at me like that Elizabeth. You have to lead the rest in after we’ve succeeded.” She didn’t buy his explanation at all, but nodded nonetheless.

Arthur resumed the meeting. “Very well. John, you and your team will disable the device. We will move in once that’s accomplished. How will we know if you succeed?”

Ginny stirred and pulled two galleons out of her pocket. She affected a Protean Charm on the galleons. “He’ll be able to send us a message, if the device is turned off.”

Dawlish smiled. “Right then, when do we go?”

“Tonight.” Arthur looked around at the small group of wizards and each nodded in assent.

***

The humming of the machinery was clearer. He could discriminate between the hum of the lights and the thumping of the blood extraction unit in his arm. He carefully tried opening his eyes and was surprised when he succeeded. He turned his head and looked at the manacles holding him in place. Slowly, he put his parched lips together.

“Alohomora.” The word came out in a whisper. He glanced at the bindings around his wrist. He kept his eyes focused on the clasps that held the metal band together. Imperceptibly, the lock turned and the binding clicked open. Harry allowed himself a smile and turned to the other locks holding him in place.

***

Dawlish, Lachlan and Sarah walked into the lobby of Clark Industries, following behind several employees while they entered the doors. Outside, the rest of their team kept vigil, anxiously peering at the large façade to see if they could ascertain the whereabouts of their friend.

“He’s got to be up there on that top floor.” Dean Thomas, who’d been keeping watch at St. Mungo’s over Ron had taken his role literally and followed his friends to undertake the rescue. “Maybe we should use our brooms?”

Cavendish gave his suggestion some thought. After a moment, she nodded. It made sense to bypass the lower floors of the building and attack the penthouse level directly. The gathered wizards grabbed their brooms, looking like an army of chimney sweeps. Ginny anxiously peered at the galleon in her hand.

“Hang on Harry, hang on.” She thought she’d said these words to her self. Hermione reached over and put a reassuring hand on her shoulder.

“He’ll be fine, you’ll see.”

The hidden Aurors made their way to the stairwell. They were much too exposed in the lift. They silently made their way up the stairs, Dawlish in the lead, with Lachlan placing a hand on his shoulder and Sarah doing the same to Dawlish. They pulled their wands out and proceeded up the stairs towards the penthouse level.

***

Harry swayed a bit, finally free from his bonds. He looked around and found his clothing resting inside a drawer along the wall. Quickly he dressed, but hissed at not being able to find his wand. He went to the door and with a whispered spell, it opened with relative ease. He eased himself out into the passageway. He was free, but now time was working against him. As soon as Clark realized Harry was free, the device would be activated and Harry would have no means to defend himself. Harry crept along the corridor, his senses slowly returning to a relative state of stability. He heard some movement ahead of him around the bend of the hallway. Peering around the corner, he saw the orderly that he remembered shut off his sedative rustling around in a broom closet. With a quick movement, Harry swept up behind her and placed a hand on her mouth. He shoved her into the closet and pulled the door behind him.

He turned her face towards his and gave her a motion to remain quiet. Silently she nodded her understanding. He removed his hand from her mouth.

“Who are you? Why did you help me?” He whispered.

“My name is Stephanie Munson. I’m a member of the Nobel Peace Foundation.” Harry gave her a puzzled look. “We’re a secret branch of the Nobel Foundation. We were charged with keeping the Tesla Device in safe keeping.”

“Apparently you failed.” Harry’s voice held a trace of sarcasm.

She gave him a glare. “Well, Clark has it and he’s willing to use it for his own gain.” Harry relented from his own suspicions. She had, after all, helped him.

“Can you get me out of here?” She shook her head no.

“I’ve helped you as much as I can. My mission is the Device.” Harry’s shoulders drooped. “Look, you have some time. He’s in the main lab in the basement, awaiting the results of your DNA scan. If you go to the far end of the hall, there’s a door that leads to the roof. Can’t you make yourself invisible or something to avoid detection?”

Harry smacked the top of his head. Of course, he could use a Disillusionment Charm. He smiled thanks and whispered the incantation and ran to the door at the end of the hall. He made his way up the stairs and pushed his way onto the roof. Just as his feet hit the gravel on the rooftop, he heard the telltale siren scream of an alarm. They’d noticed he’d gone missing.

***

Dawlish pushed open the door into the penthouse. He and his two companions rushed in, wands drawn, still hidden beneath their cloaks. They swept the room and ran into the office area. When the reached the landing of the office, they stopped in their tracks, shock blazing over their faces. Dawlish reached into his pocket and pulled out the galleon.

Ginny felt the galleon in her hand grow warm. She looked down at the letters and her face fell, her eyes generating real tears.

“The floor is empty, no furniture, no walls. There’s no one here. Harry is not here.”

***

Harry rushed to the side of the roof. The skyline was of a city he did not recognize. All around, tall buildings reached up into the night. He looked down and realized he was at least eighty stories in the air. He felt a strange sensation that his powers were gone. He attempted to cast a spell and nothing happened. Clark had reactivated the Device. Harry went back to the stairwell and heard the tell tale sounds of booted feet climbing the stairs. They were looking for him. Without his magic, he was defenseless and it was just a matter of minutes before they reached the roof. He was trapped.


***A/N: OOOOO, How I love my cliffies! Tee Hee!

FEEDBACK, if you dare.


__________________

Thanks to cybobbie for the awesome sig pic!
Thanks to the best fanclub in the world!

My Fanfics:
A History of Magic: Part II - Beyond the Epilogue
Teddy Lupin and the Legacy of the Marauders ; A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era (on hiatus); You Are Cordially Invited... (First Attempt)
Reply With Quote
  #69  
Old September 18th, 2007, 11:52 am
USNAGator91's Avatar
USNAGator91  Male.gif USNAGator91 is offline
The Godfather
 
Joined: 3583 days
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Age: 47
Posts: 1,127
Re: A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era

Chapter 70 – On the Run

The rooftop door burst open. Anthony Stephens led a group of black-clad men armed to the teeth with wicked looking automatic rifles. All of the men had their faces covered by balaclavas and their pockets bulged with assorted weaponry. Stephens motioned with his hand and the armed men dispersed, searching for the escaped wizard. Stephens’ eye was caught by some movement on one side of the wall. He drew a large, chrome plated pistol and ran to the edge of the roof. Glancing down the side, he swore and pumped his fist, recalling his men. He led them down the stairs. He whispered into a microphone in his sleeve. Running at full speed, the team found a high speed elevator waiting. They ducked in and depressed a button for the street level. A few minutes later, they reached the street and rushed around the side of the building. An empty window washer’s scaffold rested on the sidewalk and there was no sign of Potter to be seen. He sent his team back into the building and called for more men who were dressed less obviously in order to begin a grid search of the city. How far could one, helpless wizard get?

The answer to Stephens’ question was not that far. Harry watched him from the roof top. He’d sent the scaffolding down by itself, hoping that it’d draw his pursuers downward. He’d not expected it to reach street level to cause a bigger distraction than intended. He watched Stephens direct his men in street clothes to various quadrants in a radius from the scaffold. Harry watched as a motorcade of large vehicles roared up to Stephens’ location. The large soldier-for-hire leapt into the lead vehicle and Harry watched the procession drive off. In a few moments, he felt a change in his body. He grinned.

“Lumos!” The end of his index finger glowed a bright blue. “Nox!” The light extinguished just as rapidly as it came. Harry looked over at an adjacent rooftop and apparated from his location. He appeared on the next rooftop. He repeated the process until he was well away from the location.

***

“How the hell did he escape?” Cohen watched the blood rush to Clark’s face. Clark whirled at Cohen and grabbed the older man by the front of his jacket. “You told me to turn off the device! This is your fault!” Clark was beset by a bout of coughing, causing him to lose his grip on the defrocked wizard.

“Ahem, sir?” Dr. Kendall stood in the door, a clipboard held in his hand. “I think I found something.” Clark steadied himself and turned to face his doctor. “We passed the blood through a micron filter. There are elevated neuron levels. They’re off the chart. There’s definitely something different here. I think this is what you were looking for.”

Clark smiled wanly and patted Cohen on the chest. “Do we have enough to try on me?” Kendall shook his head. Clark threw his hands in the air and then grabbed a handset off his desk. “Stephens, find Potter. I don’t care how, but find him. When you do, we need him alive, at least until we can drain every pint of his blood from his body. Is that clear?” He received an affirmative response from his team leader. Clark threw down the radio and collapsed into his chair, his energy gone.

***

“Where did they go?” Ginny paced the living room of her parents’ home. “How do we find out where he is? He could be anywhere in the world!” The despair in her voice tore at her father’s heart.

“I may have an idea where they are.” Dudley appeared at the door, his hand clinched around a bundle of papers. “I searched out some information on the Internet. His main headquarters is in Berlin. It’s where his main research hub is. If he’s got Harry, that’s where he brought him, I’d wager. His headquarters is in the Glasturm am Potsdamer Platz.”

“Berlin? How do we get there? Floo?” Ginny’s mind was going a mile a minute.

Arthur pondered the possibilities. “I have to check the registry. We have to find a proper fireplace to land in.” He rushed and grabbed a large book that looked very similar to a telephone directory. He thumbed through the pages and found the appropriate passage. “Ah, here it is, Berlin’s Central Post Office.”

“Wait a minute, Arthur. You can’t expect to bring all of these people through. It’d be too obvious.” Dawlish stared at the people sitting around the living room. “Everyone can’t go.”

“Well I don’t know how you’re going to keep me from going.” Ginny planted her foot and crossed her arms. No one dared oppose her. No one save for Hermione.

“Ginny, you have to be reasonable.” Hermione’s voice was steady and calm. The past few days had frayed her nerves to no end. “You know you can’t go. Not only do you have James to consider, but what if they’re wrong? We need to be here to react if things change.”

Ginny’s lower lip protruded from her mouth. She wasn’t ready to give in. “It’s Harry, Hermione. I won’t lose him again. I can’t.” She faltered her voice breaking. “I can’t bear to live without him.”

“I know exactly what you mean.” Hermione felt the same way about Ron. “But Ron is healthy enough to travel. He’ll go, won’t you Ron?” Ron nodded vigorously, awed by Hermione’s willingness to agree to such an arrangement.

Ron gave his sister a solemn look. “I promise, Ginny, if he’s there, we’ll find him and we’ll bring him back.” Ginny gave her brother a crushing embrace. Ron returned her hug and gazed lovingly at his wife. He was making a promise to her as well. He was promising to return home, safe.

“Besides, if I know Harry, he’s causing them all kinds of trouble, probably more trouble than he’s worth.” Dean’s words helped to release the tension in the room.

***

“This Potter is more trouble than he’s worth!” Stephens muttered beneath his breath. His patrols had not caught any sight of the escaped wizard. Wizard, bah! Stephens didn’t really believe in any of this hocus pocus mumbo jumbo. He held the device tightly in his hands. Berlin was a large city, and he was searching for a very well hidden needle in a large haystack. Perhaps Clark was hoping that Potter would simply fall back into their laps?

Harry was tiring of his apparition from roof top to roof top. He had no idea what city he was in. The landmarks weren’t familiar and he was hesitant to go to street level, lest he be stranded and trapped when the Device came into proximity to him. Still, he had to get his bearings, so he decided to chance an apparition near the street. He spied a lower roof top, barely a second story above the surface. He concentrated and appeared on the roof top. He saw an advertisement written in what he recognized as German. Berlin! He was in Berlin. He smiled and concentrated hard. He conjured his Patronus and sent it rushing off into the ether. He glanced up at a nearby skyscraper and concentrated on transporting himself upward. He disappeared and immediately reappeared in mid air above the street. He fell from the sky and landed hard in the middle of the road. The motorcade came to a screeching halt. The Device had been brought within range, just as Harry was apparating away. In fact, he had fallen into their laps.

Harry rolled onto his back, his body hurt from the fall, but nothing was seriously hurt. He raised his head in time to see the punch from Stephens land on his face. Then there was blackness.

***

As they finalized their plans, Ginny stole upstairs to Ron’s old room and looked in on James. Her son was sleeping soundly. He’d rolled onto his back, his head turned to the side. His arms were raised above his shoulders and he had a slight smile on his face as if he were dreaming about something wonderful. She reached a hand and lightly touched his cheek. Her heart ached at seeing him. She knew that Hermione was right. Suddenly, the room filled with a bright white light as a miniature version of Harry’s stallion Patronus appeared in a flurry of mist and light. She heard one word, but it was enough. She took one last look at James, and then ran down the stairs to her friends.

“Harry sent me a message by Patronus! It said ‘Berlin’! He’s in Berlin!” She was giddy with excitement.

Dudley raised his eyebrows. “That’s interesting isn’t it? You know what this means, don’t you?”

“Of course, silly. It means he’s alive!” Ginny’s relief was evident on her face.

“Well, yes, of course.” Dudley looked around at the rest of the faces drawn in his direction. “If he could send a Patronus, doesn’t that mean he’s out of range of the Device? I mean, doesn’t it mean he’s escaped, or something?”

The shocked looks on the gathered faces registered the simple conclusion. Dawlish gave a quick command and soon, five of them were exiting the living room floo, on a course for Berlin.

***

Stephens was not gentle returning Harry to his master. He tossed Harry into the room that he’d escaped. Harry had been roughed up, but Clark was happy to see him nonetheless. Stephens coupled Harry back on the bed.

“Mr. Potter, you had us worried!” Clark looked worse. His breathing was labored and his skin grown ashen. “I was concerned about your escape, so I checked the security tapes.” The door opened and two security guards walked in carrying the battered form of Stephanie Munson between them. “Imagine my surprise when I found out you had help. It’s a good surprise, mind you. By day’s end, we will be able to turn off the Device and you know what happens next?” Harry glared at Clark. His captor returned the look with a sneer. “It means every ounce of blood in your body will be mine.”

Stephens had returned the needle to Harry’s arm and turned on the sedative drip. Clark smiled and turned to the guards holding the unconscious form. “Take her to the roof of an adjacent building, and throw her off.”

The intravenous fluid continued its progress into Harry’s body, as if counting down his death.

***A/N: Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick.....who's going to Berlin? Will they get there in time? tick, tick, tick, tick....

FEEDBACK


__________________

Thanks to cybobbie for the awesome sig pic!
Thanks to the best fanclub in the world!

My Fanfics:
A History of Magic: Part II - Beyond the Epilogue
Teddy Lupin and the Legacy of the Marauders ; A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era (on hiatus); You Are Cordially Invited... (First Attempt)
Reply With Quote
  #70  
Old September 19th, 2007, 3:49 pm
USNAGator91's Avatar
USNAGator91  Male.gif USNAGator91 is offline
The Godfather
 
Joined: 3583 days
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Age: 47
Posts: 1,127
Re: A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era

Chapter 71 – Gravity

The Glasturm am Potsdamer Platz was a massive structure, rising to touch the darkening sky in a pillar of black glass and gray steel. Clark had built the skyscraper amid a flurry of protests from his German competitors who opposed the presence of such a wily and ruthless competitor in their midst. A few well-placed bribes to some highly placed politicians had gained Clark the ability to build his monstrosity and now it was the headquarters of his entire operation. The top five floors of the building were reserved for his biotechnology research division and his own private living quarters. It was here, he’d spirited the captured Harry Potter after the attack at Hogwarts, and it was here the dying industrialist hope to cheat his own death, through the murder of Harry.

They had eschewed laying him on a bed. Instead, Harry was suspended from the ceiling by his arms with is wrists bearing the brunt of his weight by their containment in titanium shackles. His legs hung down with his toes barely touching the floor and his shoulder ached from the position. He’d been gagged with a gauze rag doused with ether which was kept in place by a generous wrapping of duct tape. The ether was keeping him groggy and the gag prevented him from speaking or muttering any words. The reedy Dr. Kendall was busily attaching a tube to Harry’s leg, using a long needle to penetrate the large vein in his thigh. With a nod, he backed away from his handiwork.

“You see Mr. Potter, when the neurochemical count in your blood reaches the levels we need, we’re going to bleed you dry.” Clark eyes were wide; he was pacing the floor wildly. “Are those sedatives taking hold yet? I don’t want him to be able to get away when I turn off the device.”

“He’s has enough sedatives in his system to tranquilize and elephant. Heck, they might even be elephant sedatives, for all I know.” Stephens checked some monitors and looked at Harry. “He should be completely under in a few minutes.”

“Good, nothing can stop us now.” Clark cackled in positive glee. He could almost feel Harry’s blood coursing through his veins.

***

Dawlish felt the Ron’s firm grip on his shoulder. He could only assume that Arthur had a similar grip on Ron’s shoulder as the three cloaked wizards made their way into Clark’s glass fortress. They moved slowly and silently through the lobby. The moment of greatest exposure came when Dawlish propelled them rapidly into a closing elevator. Fortunately, its lone occupant kept to the far side of the cab, allowing the three to stay well away from him. Nevertheless, they all held their breaths, afraid that the slightest sound would give away their gambit. The rider strode off on a floor somewhere on the thirtieth floor. Dawlish reached out and pressed the button for the penthouse level.

“When we get up there, we need to split up. Arthur, you go left, Ron you go right. I’ll take the center of the floor. Our first priority is the device. Once we turn it off, we should have no trouble rescuing Harry.” Dawlish disembodied voice echoed through the car. He was afraid to remove his cloak, lest someone with video surveillance catch sight of him.

Arthur spoke, “Don’t bother casting spells. You can under your cloaks, but they dissipate once out in the open. We’ll need to destroy the device first.”

Dawlish took the further silence as indication that they were ready. “Okay, prepare yourselves.” The silence of the car was only broken by the insistent chime of the controls as they made their way up to the ninetieth floor.

Lachlan and Cavendish left the elevator and moved out onto the roof. They were on a building adjacent to their target. Their vantage point was slightly lower than the Clark’s building, but they could see across to the windows of the penthouse level. The sky was black, no moon to shine on them. The building across the divide had reflective windows and Lachlan could not make out any movement in the offices across the way. Cavendish looked over at him, her amber eyes afire with anticipation.

“Why didn’t John let me go with him? I can handle myself.” She huffed almost like a petulant child. Lachlan chuckled as he responded, his high, clear voice tinged with a light Scottish lilt.

“You know the reason better than I do.” Her face flushed at his comment. “I’m surprised he let you come at all. I would think he’d want you to stay back in London, out of danger.”

It was Elizabeth’s turn to chuckle. “We’ve been working on the relationship. He doesn’t try to affect my job and I don’t ignore him.” Lachlan looked at her to see if she were joking. She was. “It’s a great arrangement.” She laughed, her voice beautiful, her hair bouncing but her heart was still anxious as to Dawlish’s predicament.

The two grasped tightly to their brooms. Lachlan’s was battered and old, yet he held it tight. Cavendish eyed the broom, a question in her eyes.

“Yes, it’s Mad Eye Moody’s. I got it from Robards, before he died. Mad Eye was my tutor many years ago. He didn’t have any family and Robards thought I’d like to have it.” Lachlan stared wistfully at the adjacent building.

Suddenly, the door they’d come out of burst open. A pair of black camouflaged figures was dragging a woman between them out onto the roof top.

“Stephens says to toss her over the side.” The two Aurors sidled into the shadows. “He says she helped that strange prisoner over there escape.”

“Don’t you find everything a little strange?” His partner was nervous, the events of the past few days shaking him. “I mean, the man just disappeared in thin air and then reappeared.”

His cohort shrugged his shoulders. “Look, they pay me fine and every once in a while I get to shoot people.” He adjusted his burden and surveyed the roof. “Really, what can an ex-convict really ask for out of life?” His friend laughed heartily. Together, they proceeded towards the edge of the roof. Silently, Lachlan tried to stun the guards to shake them of their intent, but they were well within in the Device’s effective range. Lachlan looked over at Cavendish who saw his intent in his eyes. Gripping Mad Eye Moody’s broom by the handle near the sweep, Lachlan quietly paced out of his cover, sneaking up on the men. Cavendish mirrored his movements with her own broom. They crossed the distance between themselves and the henchmen. They’d just about gotten to within striking range when a rustle of a pebble beneath Cavendish’s feet caused one of the men to turn. With a shout, he warned his partner and quickly drew his pistol. He pointed the weapon at the two wizards.

“Stay where you are.” The man who liked his job because he got to shoot people immediately sensed that his job satisfaction quotient was about to go up. “I think we have ourselves more of those loonies.”

His partner held his own weapon out, “Yeah, but look at that one. She’s definitely a looker. Maybe we can have some fun first?” His sneer sent chills down Cavendish’s spine.

***

“I think he’s ready, sir.” Kendall stepped away from his monitor and flipped a page on his clipboard. He winced and put his finger in his mouth, the paper cut he’d received was deep, but not serious.

Clark whirled and smiled. He withdrew the Device and turned it from the twelve o’clock position. The red glow ebbed and died. He looked over at his medical assistant.

“Last time, we saw results in five minutes, no more.” Clark’s eyes blazed with glee. He turned to Stephens and tossed him the Device.

“Put that in the safe.” Stephens bowed and made for the door. “Oh and Stevens?” The ogre-like assassin turned to face his master. “I think Professor Cohen has outlived his usefulness. Please inform him that I am terminating his employment…permanently.” Clark’s eyes were lustful, insane. There was no way he was going to share this power with anyone. Stephens smiled, his own grimace matching his master’s madness. He turned and made his way out the door.

***

The lift reached the top floor and the doors opened with a bell. The receptionist looked questioningly at the open doors but no one seemed to be there. She felt a whisper of wind pass by her but ignored what she thought was a momentary rush of the air conditioning. She smiled at the two armed men near her and they returned the gesture, each trying to figure a way to get close to the pretty office worker.

The clandestinely clad Aurors separated as arranged. Ron made his way down a long corridor, stopping to glance in each office door as he passed. He came to a bend in the hallway and heard the sound of footsteps approaching. Ron pressed his body against the wall and nearly gasped as the large man who led the assault on Dennis’ wedding strode past. The big man was so near, Ron could smell the sweat on his frame. The man waved a gorilla sized arm near Ron and made his way around the bend. After a few steps, he stopped and turned back to look at the spot where Ron had been standing curiously. Ron crept around the corner and made his way down the adjacent hall.

Stephens looked back at the corridor. His instincts were blaring an alarm. He stared at a spot on the wall where he thought he’d seen a ripple of light, like the air around the wall had bent briefly than went back to reality. He stared for a second replaying the incident in his mind. He was many things, but above all he was a highly trained killer. He always trusted his instincts. He pulled his pistol from its holster and walked down the way Ron had gone.

***

Lachlan raised his arms slowly, dropping his broom, nodding for Cavendish to do the same. The two armed men ignored their prisoner and moved towards the pair of Aurors. The one directly across from Cavendish gave her a perverted smile.

“We’re going to have some fun, aren’t we pretty?” He placed the muzzle his pistol right on her neck, tracing the outline of her chin.

Lachlan’s stare became hardened. The other guard noticed the older man tense up and pulled back the hammer of his own weapon in warning. At that instant, Lachlan felt a tingling sensation in his body, as if a switch had been turned on and power was once again flowing. Lachlan bent his wrist, pointing his wand at his assailant.

“Stupefy!” The targeted guard went flying across the roof top and slammed into the wall near the door where they’d exited. The sickening crunch of flesh and bone impacting on concrete sung out across the area. His partner looked at Lachlan wild-eyed. He spun his gun towards the aging wizard only to blasted by a shield charm from Cavendish. The solid impact of the shield sent the man flying and he landed near the edge of the roof. Unable to stop his momentum, he skid across the tar and gravel and flipped over the ledge. He made a desperate grab for the rim around the ledge but missed and he continued over the side of the building, terror in his eyes replacing the lustful sneer of only moments earlier. His screams were drowned out by the wind and distance of the fall.

Lachlan retrieved his broom and looked over at Cavendish who was knelt over the prone figure of Stephanie Munson. “Did you do that on purpose?” Cavendish shrugged her shoulders and picked up her own broom.

“She’ll be alright. We’d better go.” Lachlan watched as the impossibly beautiful Auror sat astride her broom and leapt up into the night. He smiled and followed her lead.

***

Ron came to an opulently appointed office. He walked in and strode around looking for a clue as to the whereabouts of the Device. He noticed a painting located in a nave inside a book case. He lifted it gently and surprisingly found it had been hinged and opened out into the room. He glanced at the dialed knob and handle of the safe door. He took a quick glance around and lifted the hood of his cloak off his head. Figuring he had to try something, he whispered the unlock charm, not expecting what happened. He heard an audible click. He reached up and tried the handle and the door swung open soundlessly. Inside he saw a battered brass pocket watch. He reached in and noticed the time read eleven thirty. It wasn’t activated and soon, it would be rendered permanently impotent. His fingers worked their way to the dial. Nervously, Ron began to manipulate the hands to destroy the Device.

“Drop that, right now.” Stephens’ gravelly voice carried through the room. Ron whirled and saw the brute standing in the doorway, his gun raised and pointed at Ron’s head. “I thought I saw something moving.” Stephens was slightly taken aback, all he could see was Ron’s head floating in air and one hand moving on its own. He did not see Ron slide his wand out into his other hand. Ron raised his wand arm up in one movement and jumped to the side.

Stephens’ martial instincts kicked in at Ron’s sudden movement. He gripped the trigger, squeezing rounds out in a staccato. He felt the heat of the stun charm as it passed by his head, while he pelted the area where Ron had been with several rounds. Ron had leapt behind the large desk in the center of the room. He peeked out from under the desk and spied his enemy’s booted feet bolting to a position that would allow the man a clear shot at Ron from behind. Ron dove over the top of the desk, in mid air the twisted his body and brought his wand up and aimed it at Stephens’ direction.

Stephens caught Ron’s movements and brought his weapon up, aiming for a spot where he thought the disembodied head’s torso should be. He fired a couple of shots before his pistol went flying out of his hand and across the room. Ron felt the heat of pain on his shoulder. He looked down and saw a tear in his cloak and the tell-tale red of escaping blood. Even though the bullet had only grazed him, he was hoping that Hermione wouldn’t be too disappointed, even though he’d promised her to return unharmed. Ron stood up and removed the cloak from his body, freeing up his limbs for better movement. He spotted Stephens as the bigger man was charging him from across the room. In the mercenary’s hand, a wicked K-Bar fighting knife had appeared, its serrated top blade reaching for Ron’s throat.

“Protego!” Stephens’ body was halted in midair and he was sent flying into a nearby bulkhead, the air squeezing out of his lungs. He recovered quickly and gave a yell. Spotting Ron’s steady form in the open, he charged again, hoping to overpower the Auror with brute force.

Ron calmly allowed Stephens to gather steam. With a slight smile, Ron gave a whisper. “Levicorpus!” Ron laughed as Stephens body was elevated in the air by his ankle.

“Let me down!” Stephens’ face was purple from his rage and position. “I’m going to kill you. You freak! Let me down!”

Ron gave his own deadly smile. “Reducto!” The floor to ceiling windows near the desk shattered in a blast of glass and air. The wind at this height buffeted Ron’s body. Without bothering to respond to Stephens’ threats Ron motioned his wand at the man. “Locomotor Man.” Stephens’ felt a force compelling his body to move towards the open window. His heart began to race.

“Wait! You don’t have to do this! I’m just a follower!” His cries were getting desperate as his body drifted out the windows and he hung suspended in the air, ninety stories up.

“A follower? You seemed to enjoy your little attack. I saw the smile on your face up close while you shot all those people.” Ron’s voice was icy cold, his eyes darkened. “You wanted me to let you down, so maybe I should let you down?”

Stephens felt a coldness grip his chest. “Wait, that Potter guy says you guys are cops. He says you’re the good guys. Why don’t you just arrest me and we can all go home?” Slowly, Stephens dipped his hand into this breast pocket, grabbing for his backup weapon, a small derringer-type pistol.

“We’re not ‘cops’, we’re Aurors. We battle the dark because we are the light. We represent justice and peace.” Ron sighed and started walking from the windows. Stephens smiled to himself. Like all cops, this one couldn’t bring himself to kill him. That was why the powerful dominated the weak. The weak didn’t have the nerve to do what was needed. His hand grasped the pistol as he wait for the fool to reel him in to make the “arrest”.

Ron turned and faced the suspended man and noticed the hardness in the killer’s eyes. Ron smiled and pointed his wand at Stephens.

“Finite.” The magic holding Stephens above the city disappeared, as did the bodyguard, as he was caught by gravity and propelled almost three hundred meters to the asphalt below.

Ron turned and ran to the spot where the Device had fallen. Quickly, he turned the dial to read nine thirty five. The watch burned a bright blue and then broke into scores of tiny pieces. Springs and sprockets fell from Ron’s hands, casting about on the floor.

Ron heard a sound behind him and spun around and raised his wand. His muscles relaxed as he saw Lachlan and Cavendish alit on their brooms. Lachlan approached Ron, glancing out the window.

“The Device?” Ron pointed to the floor where Lachlan saw the remnants of the watch strewn about. Lachlan looked back at the window. The screaming form of Anthony Stephens had drawn his attention to the entrance. “What was that all about?”

“Justice and peace.” Ron saw Cavendish give him a knowing nod. Ron returned the look and set his jaw. “Let’s go find Harry.”


***A/N: Sorry for my tardiness and only half a resolution. I was out of Wifi range for a while and the endgame is a lot. I figured I'd give you half now and half later. I'd hate to leave you guys hanging.

FEEDBACK


__________________

Thanks to cybobbie for the awesome sig pic!
Thanks to the best fanclub in the world!

My Fanfics:
A History of Magic: Part II - Beyond the Epilogue
Teddy Lupin and the Legacy of the Marauders ; A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era (on hiatus); You Are Cordially Invited... (First Attempt)
Reply With Quote
  #71  
Old September 19th, 2007, 6:58 pm
USNAGator91's Avatar
USNAGator91  Male.gif USNAGator91 is offline
The Godfather
 
Joined: 3583 days
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Age: 47
Posts: 1,127
Re: A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era

Chapter 72 – Justice

Clark paced madly about the room. He felt his body giving out, his last bit of energy devoted to this one, desperate grasp at life. Every so often, his eyes were drawn to the vessel of his salvation. Harry’s head drooped down on his chest, the sedative working its way through his body. Off to side, Dr. Kendall was staring at a computer monitor, watching the raw data filter through from the probes that were inserted directly into Harry’s blood stream. The flow of information raced past the screen, seemingly keeping pace with the footsteps of Clark. The sine curves met with Kendall’s tolerances. He looked up and nodded to Clark.

“At last! Drain him dry!” Clark rubbed his hands together in anticipation. He resolved himself to watch every last drop of blood leave so unworthy a human being. Clark would be a god, possessing of the power necessary to rule the planet. His mind buzzed with the possibilities.

Kendall walked to a machine that held a plastic drum topped by two large gyroscopes, much like a heart bypass machine. Harry’s blood would collect in the drum and be processed for infusion into Clark’s body. Satisfied that the machine was order, Kendall walked to the two-way mirror on the wall and placed a hand on the panel nearby. With a look to Clark, Kendall’s hand hovered over the switch that would turn on the extraction pump. In a matter of seconds, every pint of Harry’s blood would be suctioned out of his body. Harry would die, of course, but Kendall knew that was the price of science. Clark’s eyes burned with a fire, part lust and part anticipation.

Suddenly, the mirror near Kendall exploded. Large shards of glass and wall plunged into the frail doctor’s torso, killing him instantly. Clark was blown back by the door. The dust and debris seemed to wash over a blank space in the room. A floating head appeared as Dawlish removed his hood. Clark’s eyes narrowed, but he reacted instantly and ran out the adjacent door. Dawlish ignored Clark’s escape, his eyes focused on Harry’s suspended figure. With a flick of his wand, the blood extraction equipment exploded in a shower of sparks. Dawlish made his way to Harry and took on his friend’s dead weight onto his own shoulders. The Head Auror raised his wand and released the shackles holding Harry’s wrists. Slowly, Dawlish lowered Harry to the floor, looking for signs of life.

***

The explosions had caused the building’s internal alarms to ring out. Elias Cohen scampered fervently about his office, cramming money and valuables into a satchel. Spying a gem of particular worth on a far table, he spoke an Accio command, almost out of habit. He’d been used to decades where nothing had happened. The diamond left its mounting and flew into his palm. Stunned, Cohen stared at the gem in his hand. He felt different, as if he’d been a paraplegic who’d risen one morning and walked across the room. He stared at his hand and smiled. He was a wizard again.

“Going somewhere, Professor Cohen?” The voice seemed to emanate from thin air. Arthur Weasley allowed his cloak to drop to the floor, exposing the voice’s source to Cohen.

“You!” Cohen recognized the tall man who’d led the apprehensions of the Illuminati Scientia so long ago. By instinct, Cohen raised his arm and let fly a curse towards Arthur. The elder Weasley was ready, his shield deflecting the blast. Even though Cohen had regained use of his magic, he was wandless and almost one hundred years out of practice. The curse had been poorly aimed and had limited power.

Arthur moved, his speed belying his age and his sedentary lifestyle. With a quick move of his wand, Arthur froze Cohen with a paralyzing charm, locking the older man rigid in place.

“It’s been a long time, Professor Cohen.” Arthur’s smile held little humor. The man had helped wrought significant tragedy on his family. “The irony of the matter is that you held the power to reclaim your magic with you all the time.” Cohen’s eyes bore in on Arthur. “According to Dr. Tesla, the Device couldn’t deprive you of your magic, it only nullified it. When it was destroyed, it returned your powers. Ironic, don’t you think?”

***

Ron, Lachlan and Cavendish systematically worked their way down the corridor. The alarm had brought down the entire private army that Clark had at its disposal. Every corner and every doorway held a heavily armed assailant, intent on shooting them on sight. The going was slow and their progress incremental. They’d worked out a system where Cavendish would shield them from the oncoming fire while Ron and Lachlan incapacitated the source of the fire with spells. They worked methodically, gaining momentum as they burst through each barricade with unbridled power.

Ron’s eyes kept up a roving scan and his movements were elegant, everything timed and thought out. He and Lachlan kept up a pirouette of motion, crossing over thresholds and leaping barriers, all the while covered by Cavendish’s well placed shields. Not everything was easy. The volume of fire and the use of grenades by their enemy made their defense far from impregnable. Soon, all three were bleeding from multiple wounds as stray rounds and shrapnel tore into their flesh. Nonetheless, the three Aurors kept up the fury of their assault, driving the mercenaries further back into Clark’s sanctum.

Clark ran down the hall, urging his men to buy him time. A dim corner of his mind reflected his discussion with Potter about adrenaline and its power. Clark’s adrenal glands were working overtime. It was the only explanations for why he’d not collapsed from his body’s inner demons which he felt were tearing away at his insides. He ran into a corner office, his real office which was separate from the large one he’d reserved for public displays of his power. This office was full of the accoutrements required to keep him alive. He felt his pulse slackening. He was running out of time. He reached his desk and pulled open a drawer. He pulled out a syringe with a long, ten inch needle. Without hesitation, he jabbed the needle into his chest, directly into his heart and pushed on the plunger. A steady flow of epinephrine flooded his heart wall. He felt a surge of energy. He figured he had just enough time to make these mutants pay for foiling him. He’d lost, but so would they. He pressed a button on his desk and the top flipped open, revealing a computer screen and keyboard. He furiously typed in a command. A distended female voice hailed from the speakers mounted over the desk.

“Self-destruct charge, armed. What time setting do you wish to employ?” Clark typed in a few more commands and waited. “You have coded in ten seconds for detonation, please press ‘Y’ to acknowledge this setting.” Clark pressed the Y key on the keyboard. The screen flashed a large number ten. A panel on the desk flipped open, revealing a large plastic red button, encased in a clear case. Clark flipped open the case, exposing the button. His eyes moved rapidly from the screen to the button. All his life, all his power and all of his fortune had been spent trying to cheat death, now here he was, ready to end it in a matter of seconds. He hesitated. He took a long breath and reached down to press the button. Just before his palm could reach the plastic, Clark felt a force collide with his chest, raising his body in the air. He collided with the thick, bullet resistant windows and rebounded onto the floor. He looked up to see the bloodied and battered form of Ron Weasley standing in the doorway.

“Whatever you were thinking, I’d just assume you didn’t press that button.” Lachlan and Cavendish entered the room, assuming flanking positions on either side of him. Both of them were a similar condition as Ron, cuts and bruises from shrapnel and concussive forces dotting their bare skin. “That’s him. That’s Clark. He’s the one that started this all.” Ron strode towards Clark, the muggle moving to his knees, his eyes defiant.

“You aren’t worthy to have your powers. I am superior.” Clark stood and thrust his chest out.

Ron’s face was grim. He pointed his wand at Clark. “I’ll show you what real power is.” Lachlan and Cavendish stood to the side, anticipating Ron’s solution to the problem.

“Ron.” The voice was weak and soft, yet Ron heard the rebuke in its tone and the owner’s disappointment in what he was about to do. Ron turned and saw Harry in the door, his arm draped around Dawlish as the senior Auror helped him into the room.

Ron’s eyes blazed with fury. “Harry, don’t. He could hurt us more than you could possibly know. We can’t just allow him to run free.”

“We won’t, Ron.” Harry limped away from Dawlish and reached a hand out to his friend’s shoulder. “But, this wouldn’t be justice. He’s dying Ron, his body is tearing itself apart. You would only be granting him mercy.” Clark stared at Harry, hatred permeating his gaze.

Harry looked at the billionaire with contempt, but then his gaze turned to one of pity. Harry neared Clark and raised an arm. Clark flinched, expecting to be smitten from the earth, or whatever these wizards did to their prey.

“Episkey.” An ethereal glow emanated from Harry’s outstretched hand and extended to Clark. His posture straightened as he felt warmth pervade his body. His lungs ceased their pleas for air and for the first time in his life, Simon Clark felt well. “All you really had to do was ask.” Harry turned to his companions and saw Arthur Weasley enter the room, preceded by the frozen form of Elias Cohen.

“That’s it? You’ve cured me and now you’re going to leave me be?” Clark was incredulous. The weakness that Harry was displaying demonstrated that without a doubt, the dark haired wizard was undeserving of his gift. Clark began to laugh until he felt his extremities lock into rigidity as Dawlish petrified him with quick spell.

Harry gave a quiet thanks to Dawlish, who moved over to attend to Cavendish’s injuries. Harry turned to the paralyzed Clark, staring the man in the eye. “Not quite. Sometimes, there are worse things than death.”

***

They’d gathered on the adjacent building, the six companions and their two charges. Stephanie Munson was gone. In her place was a note, weighed down by one of the discarded weapons of her would-be murderers.

“The Nobel Society knows all about you. Keep the Statute of Secrecy and all will be well. Violate it to your own detriment. Hope that we do not meet again.”

“That’s gratitude.” Lachlan rubbed a sore shoulder, it had been a long night. Harry chuckled and walked to where Ron sat astride his broom. With a little effort, Harry climbed on the broom behind Ron and held on. With a pat on Ron’s shoulder, the pair flew off towards Clark’s headquarters.

They stopped a few meters distant from the corner office. Through the open window, Harry could barely make out the large red button on the desk. Harry extended a finger and concentrated, focusing his energy on the button.

“Protego.” Harry’s brow furrowed as he rendered his shield into a space roughly the diameter of the button. He imagined a lighter touch and the deftness of the charm’s power amazed his friend. Ron watched as the red plastic button slowly dropped down. He watched as the numbers on the monitor began to scroll down. Ron quickly came to his senses and soared away from the tower. Behind them, the top of the Glasturm am Potsdamer Platz exploded in a fiery display of power, all of the five floors destroyed in the blink of an eye.

They rendezvoused with the others. Gathering together and nursing various wounds, they clambered aboard their brooms and took off, their prisoners dragging along behind them. As they soared through the dark sky, the first tendrils of dawn began to shine in the east, chasing their retreating figures into the night.

***A/N: If you try to find the Glasturm am Potsdamer Platz, you won't find it. It was a planned 90 story skyscraper that never got funding. I'll be tying up some loose ends. It just seemed right to end this chapter here. By the way, the lost time wasn't wasted. I've got a good idea for the next adventure arc, but I want to get a little lighter, first.

FEEDBACK


__________________

Thanks to cybobbie for the awesome sig pic!
Thanks to the best fanclub in the world!

My Fanfics:
A History of Magic: Part II - Beyond the Epilogue
Teddy Lupin and the Legacy of the Marauders ; A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era (on hiatus); You Are Cordially Invited... (First Attempt)
Reply With Quote
  #72  
Old September 20th, 2007, 3:07 am
USNAGator91's Avatar
USNAGator91  Male.gif USNAGator91 is offline
The Godfather
 
Joined: 3583 days
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Age: 47
Posts: 1,127
Re: A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era

Chapter 73 – Consequences

The small ketch made its way through the storm tossed North Sea. Its beam was bracketed by the incessant pounding of the surf and rain pelted the frail-looking sails as the winter gale buffeted ship. Its wooden prow knifed through the water while the deck yawed from side to side. Any outside observer would have sworn the vessel was close to foundering on the treacherous seas. Nevertheless, the boat made its way towards the foreboding rocky speck of land in the distance. As the ketch approached the island, it sprung from the water, seemingly rising with crest of a wave and never returning into its trough. It flew through the air, majestically, and stopped near a landing on the side of a dingy gray stone wall. The ship hung in midair, ready to deposit its charges to the prison of Azkeban.

The figures of two men were rigid, paralyzed seemingly floating across the gangway motivated by the three wizards who’d accompanied them. The Auror in charge of the prison met them at the door and led them into the reception and processing area. A single prisoner, dressed in a tattered gray prison suit with the number one etched on its front, waited idly in a corner. He smiled at one of the three men who’d accompanied the new prisoners. Arthur Weasley acknowledged Nicola Tesla’s greeting.

“Nicola, it’s so very nice to see you again.” Arthur waved to his companions. “This is my son, Percy and this is Harry Potter.”

Tesla shook each of their hands. His gaze tarried on Harry’s face. Harry was still pale, his body wracked from the trials of the previous few days. Tesla noticed that Harry’s eyes still glowed with a mixture of force and regret. The last surviving member of the Illuminati Scientia looked over at Arthur.

“Percy here has spoken to the Minister. Your sentence has been commuted. You must, of course, abide by the law, but you’ll be leaving with us on the ship.” Tesla’s eyes misted. He’d all but lost hope in being able to breathe fresh air and to feel the sun on his face. Arthur pointed to the men being led in. “I thought you’d want to meet our prisoners, Nicola. This is Simon Clark, the muggle behind the nonsense we talked about.” Tesla looked at the man and smiled, knowing the fate that awaited him. Arthur gestured towards the other man. “I believe you know our other guest.”

Tesla glared deeply at Cohen. Recognition covered Cohen’s eyes. “Hello, Elias. I gather you got your powers back.” Tesla looked up at Arthur for confirmation. Arthur nodded. “Pity you won’t be able to use them here. I’ve been here almost sixty years, thanks to you. In all that time, I’ve never seen it worse than it is today, even with the dementers. I hope you will enjoy your stay.”

Arthur led Tesla back the way they came. Without looking back, Nicola Tesla boarded the ketch, the first leg on his voyage to freedom. Percy Weasley gave a parchment over to the senior Auror and bowed his head. He gave a brief glance to Harry, who returned the gesture. Without a word, Percy walked over to board the ship. Harry gave the warden a look and the prison guards led Simon Clark’s body into the meeting room. Harry followed closely and entered the room. The guards left and shut the door behind them. Through the portal in the heavy wooden door, he heard Elias Cohen’s introduction to his new life.

“You are Prisoner 688. You no longer have a name. You no longer exist. You have been consigned to Azkeban Prison for the duration of your magical life. You will only refer to yourself by your number. Your sentence will commence now.” Harry heard the footsteps of the masked guards as they led Prisoner 688 to the cell that he would die in.

Harry turned to face Simon Clark. He felt the weight of his wand in his hand. It had been odd to apply so much magic without a wand, but it drained him and he felt more in control with his wand than without. Another consideration was that keeping others from knowing that he was almost as good a spell caster without a wand as with would be a good hole card. He’d asked his friends that had been with him to keep their knowledge of his enhanced abilities to themselves. Harry swept his wand forward and whispered the spell that released Clark from his paralysis.

Clark paced, staring Harry down. “Why did you save me?” His eyes blazed hatred. “Maybe it’s because you were too weak to kill, to do what was necessary.” There was a note of triumph and defiance in his voice. He’d never felt stronger.

Harry smiled, “Maybe or maybe I thought that killing you would not be the right outcome for your crimes?” Clark stopped pacing for a moment.

“You can’t keep me here forever. Your minister is bound to obey the Prime Minister. Cohen told me so. I wield a lot of power. He’ll demand that I be released, and when I am, I’ll use everything in my power to make you pay Potter.” Clark put his hands on his hips daring Potter to deny the truth.

Harry reached into a pocket and removed a Times clipping. He tossed it down on the table in front of Clark. The headline blared, “Billionaire Simon Clark Killed In Berlin Research Lab Explosion!” Clark scanned the news story, disbelief filtering into his head.

Harry put his arms on the table and leaned his face into Clark. “All you said would be true if anyone knew you were still alive.” Clark collapsed into a nearby chair. Harry stood and looked down at him. “It’s a very difficult life here. Many powerful wizards have gone mad here, from the hopelessness and the terror. Most just simply die from despair.” Harry paced a bit, keeping his viridian eyes locked on Clark. “We’ve never had a muggle here, so I don’t know what the experience will do to you.”

“You can’t do this to me! I’m not supposed to be here! It’s for your kind, not me!” Clark’s voice was raspy, its pitch high.

“You violated a major law of magic and you put our children at risk. You sought to dominate your world and ours and you tried to make my wife a widow. Don’t tell me what I can and can’t do, Mr. Clark, you no longer have the power to decide.” Harry walked to the door and knocked. A large, masked Auror opened the door and made room for Harry to leave.

He stopped in the threshold and turned back to address Simon Clark for the last time. “You know, when I healed you, I added many years to your life. I didn’t save you, Simon. I only prolonged the agony of your death. Believe me, before long, you’ll wish I had killed you. Before long, you’ll wish you were dead.” Harry turned his back and walked out the door. He heard Clark screaming his name until the guard paralyzed him. Harry strode over the gangplank and onto the waiting ketch. The ancient sailing vessel banked in the air and dove for the ocean to ply its way home.

Simon Clark tried to move, but the spell held him rigid. He could see the stone blocks that made up the ceiling of the corridor. He was led from the meeting room out to the reception area. He vaguely made out the glow of the gas lamps as he heard the steps of the head guardian approach.

“You are Prisoner 689. The fact that you are not a wizard does not preclude you from performing your tasks. You will only refer to yourself by your number. There is no escape, especially for you. You have been sentenced for the rest of your natural life. Your sentence begins now.”

He looked up at the guard pushing his body down the hall. The guard wore featureless silver mask, shrouding any hint of individuality from Clark. They walked up and down ramps and through endless passageways. Finally, they came to a stop. He heard the creaking of a heavy door and he was pushed into a room. He heard the door slam shut behind him and then felt himself regain control of his limbs. He stood and surveyed the dingy six by eight foot stone box he’d been thrown into. There were no windows and a small wooden cot took up a third of the floor space. He felt cold, not only in temperature but in his soul. There was no sound, not of conversation or activity, just silence. He looked down at his cot and sat. Dirt and rock seemed to be aligned in neat rows as if the previous occupant of the cell had been a neatness freak. He leaned his head forward and swore he could see the outline of a cat drawn in the dust. Clark stood, the one time captain of industry and the maker of kings, was reduced to being the master of a small cell in a prison incapable of being seen by humans on an island in the middle of nowhere. The despair started forming in his chest, sooner than Harry had anticipated. Simon Clark settled onto his bed and let his mind lose itself in his depression.

***

Harry and Arthur returned to the Burrow. They had the others go ahead as they dealt with the disposal of their prisoners. Arriving at the Weasley family home, they were met by a crescendo of cheers and applause. Harry worked his way through his family and friends, not really seeing them, his eyes searching for someone in particular. He felt the familiar crush of her arms and the lilac scent of her hair overwhelmed him. He winced from the various wounds he’d suffered but was unwilling and unable to let her go. He leaned his face down and kissed Ginny strongly, without regard to who was near and where they were. The kiss energized him as if she were conveying strength and life through the embrace. He ran his fingers through her hair and lost himself in her eyes. He felt mostly complete.

“Where’s James?” His question was simple. She smiled at him and broke the embrace.

“Kreacher!” She looked at his puzzled face. “I asked Kreacher to hide James until the crisis was over. I don’t know where he took him, but I knew he’d watch over him with his life.” Harry smiled at her ingenuity. Besides Ginny and himself, Harry knew of no one who would guard James better than Kreacher, who’d attached himself to the boy.

A puff of smoke and a loud crack announced the arrival of the house-elf. He held James deftly in one arm while he carried a blue baby bag decorated with yellow stars and moons on the other. Kreacher’s face beamed at seeing Harry. He loped up to his master and held James up to his father’s arms. Harry grinned in delight and silently thanked Kreacher. He held James up to his face and smiled at his son. James eyes twinkled in recognition of his fathers face. His hands reached up and grabbed at Harry’s glasses. Harry cooed at him and James giggled in response. Harry turned towards Ginny, inviting her in to the circle. Harry gave Kreacher another glance and then turned back to Ginny.

Molly Weasley wiped a tear from her face and ushered the rest of the visitors out of the room. Arthur Weasley slipped back into his doddering father role. “I’m telling you, it’s just gas!” Molly pushed him to the kitchen. Harry caught Arthur’s eye, and the elder Weasley gave him a wink, then disappeared out the door.

Harry reached down and gave Ginny a kiss. “Let’s go home.” Harry nodded to Kreacher who reached up and grasped their arms. They disappeared in a flash for Grimmauld Place.

***

Arthur Weasley arrived at the Ministry and hurriedly made his way through the crowd. He grabbed a lift which deposited him on the level that led to the Minister’s office. He walked in and saw Percy sitting at a large desk, working through some parchment.

“Any repercussions?” Arthur was worried as to Percy’s fate.

“Well, yes.” Percy smiled. “I’ve been promoted. I’m no longer the deputy junior undersecretary, now I’m the senior deputy undersecretary. I told you breaking the rules is good for my career.” Arthur smiled at his son and walked into Kingsley Shacklebolt’s office.

“Arthur, I’m glad everything worked out. Sit down.” Arthur Weasley took a seat as Kingsley walked from behind his desk. “I assume you’ll be wanting to come back to work then? I’m sorry about before, my hands were tied.”

Arthur held his breath. Kingsley Shacklebolt was a friend and they’d been through a lot over the years. It pained him to speak. “No, I don’t think I want my old job back.” Kingsley sat back, pondering Arthur’s statement.

“Another role, then, something in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement? Just name it.” Arthur stood up and faced his old friend.

“No, I’ve already taken another job.” Arthur let out his breath slowly.

“You’re leaving the government?” Kingsley was surprised at Arthur’s willingness to leave decades of service behind.

“I didn’t say that. I’ve been elected to a position in the Wizengamot, as leader of the opposition party. I’ll be seeking new elections for the Minister’s post by the summer.” Kingsley felt a physical shock, the blow striking him to the core.

“But why? I told you, my hands were tied. There was nothing I could do.” Arthur felt his friend’s pain, but Kingsley had become a politician, he was beholden to too many interests and it was beginning to impact his ability to govern.

“I know about the Unbreakable Vow to the Prime Minister, but you could have done anything in your power up to breaking the vow to help Harry. You should have even been willing to break the vow. Harry was willing to die for you, for all of us when Voldemort needed defeating.” Arthur placed a hand on Kingsley’s shoulder. “I’ve been your friend for many years. This job has changed you, Kingsley. I wonder if the change has clouded your judgment. My family was involved. Ron was shot and Harry is as much a son to me as any of my other children. We owed him everything and you hid behind your vow and did nothing. I’m sorry.”

Arthur turned and walked out of the Minister’s office, feeling sad at hurting his old friend, but mostly elated and liberated. He was plotting a new course for a different future. He was more energized than he’d been in many years. He couldn’t wait to tell Molly. It was time to continue with the rekindling of their relationship. He sprung to the lift, and headed home.

Kingsley Shacklebolt sat in the chair in front of his desk. His shoulders drooped and his head sagged. He’d lost Arthur’s confidence. He had become a politician. Kingsley Shacklebolt, like his friend Arthur, began plotting a new course for the future.


***A/N: Believe me, this last bit is important for how the next adventure sets up. You'll enjoy it, I hope.

FEEDBACK


__________________

Thanks to cybobbie for the awesome sig pic!
Thanks to the best fanclub in the world!

My Fanfics:
A History of Magic: Part II - Beyond the Epilogue
Teddy Lupin and the Legacy of the Marauders ; A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era (on hiatus); You Are Cordially Invited... (First Attempt)
Reply With Quote
  #73  
Old September 20th, 2007, 10:03 pm
USNAGator91's Avatar
USNAGator91  Male.gif USNAGator91 is offline
The Godfather
 
Joined: 3583 days
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Age: 47
Posts: 1,127
Re: A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era

Chapter 74 – Making Up for Lost Time

Christmastime rolled upon the extended Weasley Clan more rapidly than they’d anticipated. The entire family had been thrilled at Arthur’s career change, even Percy. Molly Weasley had her reservations about the move, especially its potential impact on Kingsley Shacklebolt. As the Yuletide season rolled around, those involved in the Clark Episode began to pick up where they left off, before their lives were interrupted. Harry stood in the well appointed study in Grimmauld Place. Kreacher had a roaring fire blazing and had just brought Harry a piping hot cup of cocoa, made only in the special way that the talented house-elf could manage. Harry rubbed a sore point on the front of his shoulder, one of the many painful reminders of his time as a guest of Clark Industries. He’d been admitted to St. Mungo’s to heal the most egregious injuries, but he still felt the aches and soreness that resulted from the torture he’d experienced. His shoulders and back were especially painful, residual effects of being strung up by his wrists for hours. He still felt bouts of nausea as the last traces of sedative filtered its way out of his body. Harry sipped on his cocoa; as always, he felt the taste of the drink seemingly melt away his physical ailments, if only for a little while.

Harry gazed out the window. A fresh blanket of snow covered everything for miles. He smiled, winter, especially Christmastime was his favorite time of the year. The snowfall, in particular, elicited especially warm feelings of comfort and pleasure for him. He stared outside as a fresh snowfall began to occur. It seemed as if he were trying to watch each individual snowflake makes its journey to earth. He felt warmth around his waist and smiled. Ginny had walked up behind him and put her arms around his waist, clasping her hands in front of him. She rested her head on his back. Seemingly by instinct, she avoided the wounds that dotted his chest and stomach. She ran her hands up and down his chest and purred like a kitten. He felt the vibrations course through his body and what remained of his aches and pains dissipated in a flow of love and happiness. He turned towards her and put a hand on her cheek. Her skin felt warm and alive and her brown eyes were lighter, the firelight dancing in the center. He smiled and leaned down and kissed her. For a while, they stood, holding each other tightly, watching the snow cover the landscape, as if washing away the evil in the world.

Harry turned to her, “Where’s James? Sleeping?” She gave a giggle, her eyes dancing with merriment. She took his hand and led him out of the room. He followed her up the stairs, past their bedroom. A few months earlier, they’d been able to move James to his own room and out of theirs and into his own crib. Harry and Ginny had decorated one of the bedrooms into a proper nursery, complete with a large wooden crib, changing table and chest of drawers set up against the walls. The walls were a light blue and images of magical creatures pranced along their surfaces, a gift from his Auntie Luna. Ginny put a finger to her lips, indicating that Harry should remain silent. They crept to the door, and Ginny carefully opened it a crack. She checked inside the room and then beckoned for Harry to do the same.

James was lying on his back on a thick down blanket in the middle of the floor. He was babbling incessantly, punctuated by bursts of hysterical laughter. His hands were raised and his fists were wrapped tightly around a pair of gray, leathery ears. Harry looked closer and saw that the ears were attached to Kreacher’s head. The house-elf was speaking in a sing song which he would interrupt periodically with a screeching bellow that Harry could only assume was a laugh. Every time Kreacher would call out his howling chortle, James would laugh uncontrollably. In his hands, Kreacher held a stuffed unicorn and a doll dressed like an Auror. Kreacher was pantomiming a story to the little Potter boy, complete with sound effects. Harry snickered silently. Kreacher did have a lot experience with children. After a moment, Ginny pulled Harry away from the tableau and together, they walked to the kitchen.

“How long has that been going on?” Harry placed his empty mug in the sink.

“I think it started when Kreacher had him for safe keeping.” Ginny’s eyes clouded over as memories of Harry’s kidnapping roiled through her brain. She decided to change the subject. “I saw Cho yesterday but I couldn’t bring myself to bring up the wedding. What do you think they’re going to do?”

Harry allowed a smile to creep onto his face. “I talked to Dennis. It’s all planned, he has something special up his sleeve.”

Ginny’s ears perked up. “What is it? What’s going on? You’ve got to tell me.” Harry shook his head.

“He asked me to keep it confidential.” Ginny walked over to where he was standing and playfully rubbed her hands on his chest.

“Come on, you can tell me.” She gave her best alluring smile and she batted her eyelashes unremittingly. Harry sighed and kissed her lips.

“He sort of figured you’d beat it out of me.” She gave him a smack to the side of the arm. Harry whispered in his wife’s ear.

Her eyes widened and her smile went from ear to ear. “That’s perfect! I can’t wait to tell…” Harry gave her a stern look of warning. She caught herself and twisted an imaginary lock on her mouth. “I promise, not a soul.” Harry rolled his eyes and hoped that his wife would keep her word. In the back of his mind he realized, he’d just put his hopes in a journalist. He didn’t have to tell her what he was thinking, she smacked him soundly on the arm once more.

***

Ron lay dozing on the couch. He was in a tee-shirt and shorts and he was sprawled along the entire length of the sofa. Soft Christmas music played on the radio and he listened absently as his eyelids kept the soft light of the lamp out of his eyes. In addition to his bullet wound, he had been nicked or grazed over thirty times during the battle. The concussive force of the some of the explosions had bruised him considerably and he’d suffered a couple of cracked ribs for his efforts. Hermione had not left his side the entire time he’d been laid up in St. Mungo’s and even now, was no more than a few steps away, puttering around in the bedroom. His mind was racing, playing back the events in Berlin. He’d always understood that killing or being killed was a part of his job, but his actions with Stephens and Clark had scared Ron terribly. Was he a killer?

He was at a loss at who to talk to about his doubts. Finally, he was able to sit with Cavendish after hearing the tale of her adventure on the roof. The amber-eyed Auror could offer no real explanation. She’d never been put in the position she’d been in and truthfully, didn’t know if she’d reacted emotionally to the implied threat or if the death of the henchman was a consequence of battle. Ron understood her ambiguity. He’d seen murderous intent in Stephens’ eye, but he couldn’t really be sure if the ape-like mercenary would have been able to accomplish his aim. Still, Ron’s brow furrowed as he contemplated his original question.

He felt her finger trace the lines of his eyebrows. “What is it? What are you thinking about?” He opened his eyes and saw Hermione kneeling next to the couch, her nestle of long curly hair dancing playfully about her shoulders. He saw the concern in her eyes that was matched by worry. Ron had tried countless times to tell Hermione about what had happened, but each time he was halted by the fear that she would feel less of him. The look on her face startled him. Her expression told him that she was blaming herself for his funk. He made his decision to tell her, right then and there.

“I’m worried, Hermione.” She looked at him, fear in her eyes, still wondering if it had been something that she’d done. He put a hand on her face, caressing her gently. “It’s nothing that you’ve done. I’m worried that I might be, well, er, that I might be a murderer.”

The surprise on her face made the burden on his heart heavier. He raised himself up to a sitting position, groaning as the sudden movement made the wounds on his body rub together, a painful reminder of his escapades. Hermione carefully touched his arm where the bullet had grazed him.

“How can you think that? What makes you think that? Tell me, Ron? If you can’t tell me, who can you?” Her eyes pleaded with him. This was a pivotal moment in their marriage. She still held doubts as to his trust since the vampire incident. Now, the first major crisis had occurred since then and she was waiting, almost testing, to see if he would trust her.

Ron took a deep breath. He looked in her eyes and told her how he’d dispatched Stephens. She listened, barely breathing. She watched his face fill with turmoil as he agonized over the steps he took and the actions that he’d done. Soon, she saw the pain he was under. Hermione reached up her face to his and kissed him deeply. Ron felt the weight he’d been shouldering lessen more and more as the kiss lasted. Their lips parted and Ron gasped for breath, overwhelmed by her display of support and love.

”You were in a very unique situation. You did what you felt was right. Look at Harry, you saw what that animal did to him. You saw what he did at Hogwarts. He was a psychopath and he was bent on killing you and the others. I can’t see that you had any other choice.” She sat next to him and took his hand.

“But, I killed a helpless person. What kind of Auror does that make me?” His words were halting and she saw that he doubted his ability to do his job. It was this doubt that could get him killed in the future.

“It makes you just like all the other Aurors, including Harry.” He raised his eyebrows. “It makes you human.”

Her words echoed in his head. She was right, of course. She was always right. Come to think of it, even when she was wrong, she was right. He chuckled at the thought and told Hermione. She laughed. “Don’t you forget it, either.”

They held each other tightly and watched the city cover itself in a blanket of snow. He leaned down and whispered in her ear. “Do you still want to have a baby?” She smiled and carefully helped him off the couch. They practically ran into the bedroom, causing a sleeping Crookshanks to start when they slammed the door.

***

Arthur Weasley’s infatuation this Christmas was snowmen. Dotting the entire living room was a vast collection of snowmen of various makes and materials. In the center of the room, a miniature snow scape was dominated the scene. Despite the warmth of the room, tiny drifts with snowmen dotted the entire room complete with clothing and features. Some of the snowmen were moving, animated by magic. Arthur had taken to time to craft snowmen in the likenesses of his family and friends. A miniature snowman Harry Potter was flying about on a broom with an even smaller snowman James riding behind him. Harry, Ginny and James appeared in the living room floo and stood amazed at the scene. The walked past a portion of the room where snow continued to fall in earnest, dotting James delightfully with little snowflakes that he immediately proceeded to play with.

Molly Weasley was at the front door. “Oh no you don’t Arthur Weasley. You are not bringing that into my house!” Harry looked out the door past Molly and saw Arthur busily rolling a large snowball, roughly four feet in diameter and growing towards the front door.

“But, it’s the base of my greatest creation!” Arthur’s voice rang through the house.

Molly let out an exasperated retort. “You can make your ‘greatest creation’ outside! Now get that away from the door, everyone’s starting to arrive!” Molly slammed the door and turned to face Harry and Ginny. Her eyes perked up and she gave the couple a perfunctory peck on the cheek and grabbed up James from Harry’s arms. “There’s my little man!” Molly swung James around in the air, eking another bout of giggles and guffaws from the cherubic child.

Ginny and Harry smiled at each other and helped to greet the rest of the family, who’d begun arriving for the festivities. Lee and Sarah made their appearance. Sarah’s finger was adorned with a large diamond ring which brought squeals of delight from Ginny. Harry clapped Lee on the back, then turned to greet Dudley and Aunt Petunia as they made their way in the door. Petunia also gave Harry a peck on the cheek and practically ran to where Molly was making strange faces at James. Prim Aunt Petunia joined in the one-sided game of charades with Molly. Harry could swear that his son’s expression was one of bemusement rather than delight. Apparently, the child reveled in making old ladies make complete fools of themselves. He reminded Harry of Teddy in that regards. Speaking of Teddy, Andromeda and her grandson chose that time to make an appearance. Teddy embraced Harry, but with another ubiquitous peck on the cheek, Andromeda Tonks rushed to join Petunia and Molly in entertaining little James. Harry laughed as Teddy rolled his eyes.

“Come on Teddy. I’m heading out to give Arthur his present. He’s going to need some help from us, though.” Dudley had come up to Teddy and was gesturing to the door. Harry gave his cousin a questioning glance. Dudley gave a big smile. “I found an old snowmobile. I figured that he’d want to tinker with it.”

“You mean I can help?” Teddy’s hair turned a bright pale blue. His excitement brimming.

Dudley smiled down at him. “Why not? You’re almost eight, aren’t you?” Teddy nodded excitedly. “Besides, your alternative is them.” Dudley canted his head over to the babbling old women in front of James. For a moment, Teddy’s hair turned jet black, the returned to its pale blue as he followed Dudley out the door.

Harry greeted George and his girlfriend, Verity as they entered the room. They were followed by Percy. Bill, Fleur and Victoire made their appearance, but the little blonde girl was more amused by James than curious as to where Teddy had gotten off to. Finally, Hermione and Ron arrived, tightly intertwined together. They looked as happy as Harry had ever seen them. Silently, he gave a silent hope that they would soon be blessed with a child. They definitely deserved it. A knock at the door interrupted his thoughts. He turned and answered the door and was taken aback by the figure in the threshold.

***

Dudley, Arthur and Teddy were huddled around the engine of an ancient snowmobile. Dudley was pointing out a fuel line and Teddy was anxiously handing tools to Arthur as he tried to figure out the mystery of the snowmobile’s engine. They didn’t hear Harry’s footsteps as he approached.

“Arthur?” The elder Weasley looked up. “You have a visitor. Dudley, Teddy, why don’t we give Arthur some privacy.” Seeing the figure behind Harry, Dudley quickly grabbed Teddy’s hand and maneuvered him towards the house. Harry gave a nod to the visitor and walked back after them.

“Arthur.”

“Kingsley.” Arthur was surprised to see the Minister. They’d not spoken since that day in his office. “Have you come to talk me out this?” Arthur stood defiantly.

“No, in fact, I came here to help you.” Arthur was surprised at what Kingsley said. It showed on his face. “I’m going to resign after the New Year. You were right, Arthur, this job is not for me. I’m moving on.”

“I don’t know what to say.” Arthur gave his old friend a hug.

“Just one thing Arthur, don’t fall into the trap that I did. Don’t become a politician.” Arthur smiled, relieved that his friend was back.

“I’m sure you’ll help keep me straight.” Arthur gave Kingsley a worried look. “What will you do? Will you stay in the government?”

Taking a page from Arthur’s previous speech, Kingsley smiled. “No, I don’t want to work in the Ministry. I already have a new job.” Arthur waited to hear the news. “I talked to Professor McGonagell, one of her professors is retiring at the end of this year. I’m going to Hogwarts. I’m going to be the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher next year.”

Arthur beamed at the news. He reached into a hidden cupboard and pulled out an ancient bottle. Finding two relatively clean glasses, he poured some liquid and handed a cup to Kingsley. “You will stay for dinner?” Kingsley nodded. “Then let’s drink to our new jobs and then let me show you how to make a snowman out of coconuts.” The two friends laughed and tossed back their drinks.

***A/N: You see? I'd never leave Kingsley hanging. But wait, what about Dennis and Cho? Next chapter.

FEEDBACK


__________________

Thanks to cybobbie for the awesome sig pic!
Thanks to the best fanclub in the world!

My Fanfics:
A History of Magic: Part II - Beyond the Epilogue
Teddy Lupin and the Legacy of the Marauders ; A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era (on hiatus); You Are Cordially Invited... (First Attempt)
Reply With Quote
  #74  
Old September 21st, 2007, 3:11 pm
USNAGator91's Avatar
USNAGator91  Male.gif USNAGator91 is offline
The Godfather
 
Joined: 3583 days
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Age: 47
Posts: 1,127
Re: A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era

Chapter 75 – Auld Lang Syne

The Room of Requirement was festooned more gaily than the previous year. Its high arched ceilings danced in a cacophony of light and sound. The five piece orchestra from the previous year had expanded to a full band, its ghostly instruments pulsing out a melody as the crowd on the packed dance floor whirled to the music. The alumni of Dumbledore’s Army had expanded the attendance to the second annual New Year’s soiree. As they’d all grown older, they’d met significant others who, in turn, were introduced to the unique association that was the D.A./P.A.

Subconsciously, Harry detested the P.A. designation. He’d never thought that anything should be about him, specifically. At first, he’d made attempts to dissuade his friends to stop the practice, but to no avail. As Hermione told him in a matter of fact manner, the D.A. had been as much about Harry as it had been about supporting Dumbledore. Harry gave up on telling them otherwise. A romantic standard was playing and Harry had his arms wrapped around Ginny as they made slow rounds on the dance floor. His chin fit just atop her ahead and they both had their eyes closed as they enjoyed the pleasure of being together. Harry opened his eyes and took in his friends as they enjoyed the party.

George and Verity were talking excitedly in the corner of the room. Their story was interesting to say the least. Lee had hired the beautiful blonde bombshell to run his Hogsmeade store. From the start, she and George clashed over every aspect of managing the operation. Without fail, Verity’s ideas were proven to be much more on target than George’s and her store’s sales were skyrocketing, far surpassing the Diagon Alley location, even with half the traffic. George was many things, but a fool was not among the list. With the agreement of Dudley and Lee, he brought Verity in as a full partner in Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes and her ideas had helped launch the brand to greater heights.

At first, George and Verity’s planning sessions were legendary for their duration, often into the night, and their fireworks, both of the strong-willed egos refusing to give in. What was remarkable to Harry, was for the first time in almost seven years, George had a kindred spirit who was willing to battle with him on equal footing. It was as if he’d been able to fill the void that had been created with Fred’s death. Eventually, George began to realize what role Verity was assuming and he began to allow the walls of sarcasm and jocularity he’d built up to mask the pain of Fred’s loss to crumble. Late one night, during a particularly heated session regarding the future of their mail-order business, something inside George snapped. He no longer wanted to fight with her. He simply stopped talking and kissed her in mid sentence. His heart was racing because up to this point, she’d given him absolutely no indication of even a passing interest. Surprisingly, she returned the kiss. Verity was an orphan, who’d grown up with her own walls to the rest of the world. In one fell swoop, George broke down her defenses, much like she’d done to his. They’d been inseparable ever since. What hadn’t changed was they each were still insistent that their ideas were right. Even now, Harry thought, they were probably arguing about the order that the inventory should be placed on the shelves.

Lee and Sarah were latched on to each other. They were planning their wedding and Harry was glad that his good friend and his protégé had finally gotten around to getting on with their lives. The Vampire Incident was troubling for many of them. Harry wondered how many lives and relationships were irrevocably damaged by the numbers that had been turned by Kirklees Burke and David Farrant. It was a telling time for Lee Jordan, would he forgive Sarah or would he let her go? In the end, they rediscovered each other and the end result was their fervent planning of the rest of their lives. Harry knew they were perfect for each other.

Harry’s eyes fell on Dudley. His cousin was an entirely different person from when they grew up together. Often, an experience with a Dementer is unforgettable. For Dudley, it had been life altering. Long gone were his insecurities that had led to his bullying of the weak. Instead, Dudley had grown into a thoughtful, proud man. He dove into a life in the wizarding world, providing both his business partners and others a unique perspective into muggles. For years Dudley had been envious and afraid of who and what Harry was. Now, that world was embracing him fully and he felt more accepted and loved than in the muggle world. Dudley was standing at the punch bowl. On his arm was a shy but pretty brunette. She was tall, almost as tall as Dudley and her eyes never left him as they made their way through the line. Her name was Beatrice Haggerty and Dudley had met her while walking through the aisles at Flourish and Blotts. She was a clerk at the book store and was immediately taken with the muggle confident enough to walk among the wizards with now trace of awe or fear. She was especially interested in the fact that Dudley was full, participating partner in the most prosperous store in the Alley. She asked him to dinner and he readily accepted. Tonight, he was introducing her to his friends, really, for the very first time. She’d been nervous at meeting Harry, and was genuinely surprised to find out that Harry and Dudley were blood cousins. Finding out that fact impressed her even more, not because she was star struck by Harry, but because Dudley had never boasted about his relations. Other men, she assumed, would have trumpeted their relationships loudly, but Dudley wasn’t a braggart, and she felt herself liking him even more.

It seemed everyone had decided to move on with their lives. Luna Lovegood had returned from her travels abroad. She was becoming a well-known naturist and her quirky journals were flying off book shelves. She was dancing with a thin, smallish man who looked very familiar to Harry. Then he remembered him as Harry recalled a staff meeting at the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magic Creatures. His name was Nathan Scamander, grandson of the famous Newt Scamander, the author of “Famous Beasts and Where to Find Them.” Nathan worked in the Department as a member of the Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures. He was a fiery advocate for magical beasts and was the voice of reason on the committee. More often than not, he was finding unique ways to remove beasts from a situation without necessarily harming them. He had met Luna at a symposium on the merits of preserving dragon scales, and the two had been inseparable ever since.

Harry continued his survey of the room. Dean Thomas was busily chatting with a dark-haired girl he’d brought to the party with him. Harry had not had the opportunity to meet her yet. Seamus Finnegan was dancing wildly with Parvati Patil who had a bemused grin on her face. Harry laughed at his antics. He continued to search around, but could not find one person in particular. Nearby, Ron and Hermione were whispering to each other, obviously enjoying their pastime of “people-watching” as Hermione called it. Harry gave a secretive glance at Ron who carefully maneuvered Hermione towards Ginny and Harry.

When they were near enough, Harry leaned into Ron’s ear. “Have you seen Neville?” Ron shook his head.

“I hope he’s not upset about Luna and Nathan.” Ron’s voice a little more than he’d expected.

Harry pondered the idea. “No, I don’t think so. More than likely, he’s pinching some tree bark into a vial.” Ron snickered. Harry looked at Dean who smiled knowingly. With a quick word to his date, Dean headed for the door, on his mission to find Neville.

Dean hurried up the stairs that led him to the tower where Neville’s office was. His date was remarkable. He’d met her in his job at an accounting firm and had spent the past few months preparing her for the wondrous sights of the wizard world. Her name was Isabella Ramirez. She was from Puerto Rico and was an analyst at the firm where he worked. Her skin was a deep olive tone and her hair was jet black and extended down past her shoulders. Her eyes were light brown and glittered with attitude mixed with fun. She spoke a staccato fashion, rapidly with a lot of passion and Dean was mesmerized by her charm and beauty. Dean missed her already, and finished the stairs two at a time. He bounded down the hall to the heavy oak door that marked Neville’s office. Dean saw the flicker of light shimmering from beneath the door. Smiling to himself, Dean figured that Neville must be playing with his plants again. Dean threw open the door with a loud thud.

“Come on, Neville! Your plants can wait until later, the party’s started and you’re going to miss the main event!” Dean’s voice trailed off. He stood shocked and embarrassed. Neville’s lips were in a firm lock with those of a tall woman. The two quickly separated. The woman had high cheek bones and a small nose. She straightened her horn-rimmed spectacles and made a production of adjusting the hem of her skirt. Her cheeks blazed red almost matching Dean’s.

“Oh, um, I’m sorry, Neville.” Dean stammered a bit.

Neville burst out laughing. His humor was soon matched by the woman’s. Dean stood in the door in considerable puzzlement. “It’s all right, Dean.” Neville stood and offered his hand to the woman. “This is Jennifer Crabtree. She’s a visiting professor in Divination from America. She’s learning under Professor Trelawney. There’s a good chance that Sibyll may retire this year to devote more time to writing books. Jennifer has a good shot of taking her place.”

The statuesque woman offered a hand to Dean. “It’s very nice to meet you. I’m sorry, we seemed to lose track of time.”

“That’s quite all right.” Dean chuckled. “But we’d better hurry, Neville, it’s almost time.”

Neville stole a glance at the clock on the wall and started. “Blimey, you’re right. Come on, Jennifer, we mustn’t miss the big moment!” The three practically ran down the hall.

Harry saw Dean return, a large grin on his face. Upon seeing Harry’s puzzled look, Dean shrugged his shoulders and nodded behind him. Harry’s, and practically everyone else’s, jaw dropped when Neville walked in, Jennifer in tow. At that precise moment, the music stopped almost as if the Room of Requirement had not anticipated Neville having a date.

Neville halted for a moment and took a brief look at Jennifer. She smiled encouragingly. Neville straightened his shoulders and gave her a quick kiss on the lips. “Everyone, this is Jennifer. She’s my, um, girlfriend.” A louder than expected roar danced through the crowd.

Harry laughed to himself. They truly had moved on. He felt a tug at his arm, and Ginny gave him a silent prod. It was time. Harry walked up to a raised stage and lifted his arms up for attention.

“Well, I know it’s not midnight, but we have a special occasion to celebrate tonight.” All around, curious looks were exchanged among the revelers. No one had any idea what was about to happen, save for Ginny, Harry and one other person.

“Cho Chang, will you come up here please?” Cho stood stunned and bewildered. At Dennis’ encouragement, she walked up to the stage. Harry nodded and a far door opened, revealing Cho’s parents, who joined Harry and Cho on the stage.

“Cho, Dennis and I were thinking. We were rudely interrupted at your wedding ceremony. So, we were wondering if you wouldn’t mind if we just went ahead and finished it properly?”

Cho stood with her mouth open. Her eyes welling with tears. She gave a slight, imperceptible nod. Dennis raced up the podium and grasped her hands in his. Harry smiled at them and looked out to the crowd. It was eleven o’clock; he had more than enough time before the New Year.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we are gathered here to celebrate the power of two people in love…”

***

Midnight struck and the partygoers celebrated another year together. Lips touched and fireworks rang throughout the hall. Harry kissed Ginny with passion. He ran his fingers through her hair and soaked up the atmosphere. It was perfect. The crowd around him was moving through the course of their lives. No matter what happened in the future, nothing would deter them from being friends.

Hundreds of miles away, a black, rotting hulk of a ship made its way into Portsmouth Harbor. Magically shielded from prying eyes, the ebon hull and tattered sails cut through the calm bay like a knife through butter. On the bow, a dark hooded man watched the approaching shore line. His eyes glowed red and he offered himself a sinister smile. He watched the fireworks bursting ashore. A large, ugly vulture alit on his shoulder. He looked up at the bird.

“It’s almost time. Happy New Year.” The bird cackled in response to the man’s maniacal laugh.


***A/N: Not to worry, we're not getting into the baddies just yet, but I like to keep you guessing.

FEEDBACK


__________________

Thanks to cybobbie for the awesome sig pic!
Thanks to the best fanclub in the world!

My Fanfics:
A History of Magic: Part II - Beyond the Epilogue
Teddy Lupin and the Legacy of the Marauders ; A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era (on hiatus); You Are Cordially Invited... (First Attempt)
Reply With Quote
  #75  
Old September 22nd, 2007, 3:00 pm
USNAGator91's Avatar
USNAGator91  Male.gif USNAGator91 is offline
The Godfather
 
Joined: 3583 days
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Age: 47
Posts: 1,127
Re: A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era

Chapter 76 – The Minister of Magic

Arthur Weasley reclined in his seat behind the large desk that sat in the center of the Minister of Magic’s office. He’d just returned from his courtesy visit to the muggle Prime Minister. The conversation had been bland, but the man was more than polite and seemed particularly amused by Arthur’s fascination with the various gadgets that were scattered about the office. Arthur closed his eyes and put his hands behind his head. He reflected on the whirlwind of events over the past two months that brought him to sitting behind this desk. True to his word, Kingsley Shacklebolt had announced his resignation as Minister of Magic and had, in his speech, placed his overwhelming support behind Arthur, much to the chagrin of his party in the Wizengamot.

Arthur was swept in by popular acclaim, his candidacy boosted by the fact that a good percentage of the Office of Aurors, including Harry Potter, were behind him, if only from a support standpoint. On his first day in office, Arthur retained Percy as his most senior aide, but was soon buried in a pile of letters of resignation from the host of functionaries who’d served in the previous administration. While these were a matter of tradition, Arthur used the opportunity to begin a wholesale housecleaning of the Ministry, the likes of which not seen since the fall of Voldemort.

Today, Arthur was going to have to find someone to head the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. He’d run through a very short list of candidates and had settled on someone he thought would do the job well and not just be a political hack. Arthur allowed a smile to creep on this face. His reverie was interrupted by a wrap on the door. Arthur looked up and beckoned the visitor to come ahead in.

“Sorry to bother you Dad, I mean, Minister, but Mr. Dawlish is here.” Percy ushered in the Head of the Office of Aurors. Arthur smiled and shuttled his visitor to a seat.

“John, it’s so good to see you.” Arthur’s eyes gleamed as he took in the nervous countenance of the man seated across from him. “As you know, the previous head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and I were not in complete agreement on policy, so he has decided to seek other employment.” Arthur neglected to mention the row that had resulted when he’d confronted the man on the amount of graft that had been occurring.

Arthur scrutinized Dawlish’s face, looking for any sign of weakness or hesitation, but Dawlish had been in government service for decades. He’d seen transitions come and go and easily adapted to the change. This new government, no matter how pleasing, was one that was just like others before and Dawlish would adapt, just like before.

Arthur continued. “I need someone to lead the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. I’d like you to take that job.” Dawlish’s shock registered on his face. The Department he’d been asked to lead was the largest in the Ministry. Many of the other Departments deferred to its strictures by default. In essence, he was being offered the second highest position in the government.

“I don’t know what to say, Minister. I’ve been an Auror for most of my life. I don’t know if I could do this.” Dawlish began to run his fingers through his hair, his nervous habit caused Arthur to chuckle.

“John, you are more than capable of handling this job. I need someone that can be trusted to do the right thing. I need someone who will stand up to this office, should they disagree with me. I know that person is you, will you take the job?” Dawlish thought carefully, and then squared his shoulders. Carefully, he gave Arthur a nod.

“Splendid, I knew I could count on you.” Arthur rose and came around the desk to shake hands with his new chief of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. “Now, any thoughts as to who you’d like to see replace you as Head of the Office of Aurors?”

***

Percy waited until Dawlish had left and then walked into his father’s office. Percy had never contemplated his father in this position, yet upon reflection, people had always underestimated Arthur, including Percy himself. He walked into the office and found Arthur scribbling away at the myriad of reports. Arthur smiled at his son and nodded to a chair.

“How’d it go, Dad? Did he take the job?” Percy plopped down in the proffered chair.

“Yes, with the right amount of encouragement, of course.” Arthur chuckled, but his face turned downward. “Do you think that we’re doing the right thing here? People might accuse us nepotism.”

“Dad, you’ve got to stop thinking like that. You’re whole opposition to Kingsley was that he’d become a politician.” Percy looked at his father seriously. “That’s how it began, when he started worrying about what people thought about him. You made a good decision here, now stick to it. That’s all you can do.”

Arthur nodded, but still felt a twinge of anxiety in his stomach.

***

Dawlish walked into the main area that held the Office of Aurors. He strode purposefully past the rows of cubicles and into his own office, without saying a word to anyone. Lachlan and Harry had been discussing some reports and were obviously curious about their boss’ demeanor. Lachlan looked over at Harry and volunteered to find out. Lachlan knocked at Dawlish’s door and entered. A few minutes passed and then Lachlan exited the office, a wide grin on his face. The older man walked over to where Harry was standing.

“He wants to see you.” Harry nodded, puzzled by Lachlan’s humorous grin. Harry walked over to the Dawlish’s door.

Cavendish had risen and walked over to Lachlan, her team leader. “What’s going on? Is everything all right with John?” There was a trace of worry in her amber eyes.

“No, no, John’s going to be fine.” Lachlan looked over at the Dawlish’s door. “In fact, he’s going to be great, but what happens next is going to be interesting.” Her befuddled expression gave rise to a bout of laughter from him.

Harry knocked and walked into Dawlish’s office. “You wanted to see me?” Dawlish grunted and continued his flurry of movement. Harry watched Dawlish tossing various items into a satchel. “You’ve been sacked?” For a moment, a flicker of anger passed over Harry’s face.

“No, that’s not it at all.” Dawlish peered over at Harry and stopped packing for a moment. “I’ve been promoted. I’m the new head of the Department.”

“That’s fantastic, John! Congratulations. You deserve it.” Harry shook his friend’s hand vigorously. “Maybe now, you can get off your duff and marry that woman.” This drew a sharp look from Dawlish. Harry laughed and Dawlish joined him. “So, is Lachlan going to head our Office?”

Dawlish stared at Harry seriously. “No, it’s never been his ambition to have this job. He prefers where he is.”

“Than who did they select to lead the Office?” Harry’s mind went over the list of candidates. Proudfoot? Savage? Williamson? There was an entire roster of senior Aurors who’d fit the bill. Harry looked at Dawlish who’d gotten extremely quiet.

“You, Harry. The Minister and I have decided that you should be the new Head of the Office.” Dawlish sat back in his chair and crossed his arms in front of him.

“Me? That’s ridiculous. I’m not the most senior Auror here. It’s absurd to think that I should head this Office.” Harry shook his head in disbelief.

“Harry, are you saying that the Minister of Magic and myself are absurd?” Harry hastily shook his head no. “We’ll brook no argument, as of today, you, Harry Potter, are now the Head of the Office of Aurors.”

Harry knew he was defeated and slowly nodded his head.

***

A few days later, the main area of the Daily Prophet on Diagon Alley was buzzing. Ginny walked into the office and made her way towards her desk. She acknowledged with a smile the various congratulatory hails she received from her colleagues. The goings on at the Ministry had created a buzz among the wizards and witches. Ginny’s father was gutting the Ministry, making changes to the personnel and the way they did business. The announcement of Harry’s appointment as Head of the Office of Aurors had been met with general acclaim. Ginny walked to her desk and began to ply through her correspondence.

A bright pair of blue eyes sequestered behind tortoise shell glasses watched Ginny’s progress through the news room. The lids in front of the eyes narrowed and their owner subconsciously rubbed a spot on her forehead where the shadow of the acne that had dotted the spot had been. Harry’s appointment had been met with general acclaim, not unanimous acclaim. Rita Skeeter had her own doubts as to Arthur Weasley’s motivations. The Weasley family in general had made great inroads in assuming a position of power and influence in the past few years.

The appointment of an obviously unqualified son-in-law to lead an important position in the government was troubling to Rita, if only for the additional prestige it gave the Weasleys. Rita’s brain stewed at the thought. There had to be something nefarious to this family. There was something she was missing. This would take her best investigative talents. She needed to uncover the deep, dark secrets of the Weasley family, but where to start?

The day’s edition of the Prophet was sitting on her desk, and idly she thumbed through the pages. Her eye caught on an advertisement in the corner of the sports section.

“Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes! The Best Gags in Town!”

Rita’s mouth twisted into a perverted version of a smile. She had the angle she’d use to get back. No that wasn’t right, not get back. She would uncover the truth about the Weasleys.

***

The Minister of Magic arrived home, tired. He walked into his living room and smiled at his wife as he collapsed in his chair. Molly put a gentle hand on his shoulder and gave him a peck on the cheek.

“Hard day dear?” Arthur gave her a baleful look. “Well, you’ll work everything out. By the way, Teddy’s spending the night. Andromeda had to go out of town for a couple of days.”

“Where is he?” Arthur enjoyed the boy’s attention. It reminded him of when his own children were that age.

“Most likely, he’s in that tree house you built.” Arthur grinned. Over the past summer, Arthur had read about building the perfect tree house in Popular Mechanics. He, Teddy and Dudley had undertaken the project with great amount of energy and a little bit of magic. They’d built a multiplatform structure that made up the entire upper boughs of a grand oak tree. Whenever Teddy visited, he was sure to be found in his tree house.

A loud bang announced the arrival of visitors to the floo. Fleur and Victoire arrived. The precocious blonde girl gave her grandparents very unladylike hugs and smiled broadly. Arthur, ever the diplomat leaned over to his granddaughter, “Guess what, princess? Teddy is here. He’s in the tree house.”

Victoire’s eyes grew wide and before another word could be said, she disappeared out the door.

“Really, Arthur. You’re going to drive that boy batty.” Molly couldn’t help herself, she was laughing.

Victoire climbed the ladder up to the main floor of the massive tree house. “Teddy?” She looked around for him. “Where are you?”

A firm voice came from above her. “I’m up here, Vee!” She looked up and saw a pink-haired boy on the top platform. “Come on up!”

Victoire smiled to herself and climbed up several platforms and rope ladders. Finally, she reached the uppermost level where the object of her affection was staring out across the sky. Only six years old, Victoire was convinced that Teddy was the man of her dreams. Teddy wasn’t so sure, but still enjoyed the little girl’s company.

“Vee, take a look at this.” She enjoyed the way he called her “Vee”. Teddy was peering through a telescope as it was pointed to the sky. “You can see the moon rising over there. Look how close it is!” Teddy moved to the side and gave her room to view through the eyehole. She could make out the craters and the features of the moon.

“It’s beautiful!” She marveled at the sight. She looked over at Teddy, who shrugged his shoulders.

“I like the moon. My dad was afraid of the full moon. Sometimes I think that I’m looking at the moon for the both of us.” Victoire looked over at him. His hair had turned a bright white, almost the color of the moon itself.

“I think your dad would like the way the moon looked tonight.” Teddy smiled at her comment.

“I’m sure he would.” The stars started coming out, twinkling in the clear sky. Victoire looked out as Teddy pointed out constellations to her. They stayed that way until they were called in for dinner.



***A/N: Ooooohhh, Rita Skeeter! Woo Hoo!

FEEDBACK


__________________

Thanks to cybobbie for the awesome sig pic!
Thanks to the best fanclub in the world!

My Fanfics:
A History of Magic: Part II - Beyond the Epilogue
Teddy Lupin and the Legacy of the Marauders ; A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era (on hiatus); You Are Cordially Invited... (First Attempt)
Reply With Quote
  #76  
Old September 24th, 2007, 2:00 pm
USNAGator91's Avatar
USNAGator91  Male.gif USNAGator91 is offline
The Godfather
 
Joined: 3583 days
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Age: 47
Posts: 1,127
Re: A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era

Chapter 77 – Weasley-Gate


The morning edition of the Daily Prophet sat on Arthur Weasley’s kitchen table. Following his usual morning routine, the newly elected Minister of Magic strolled down the stairs to his home’s kitchen. He had taken to rising earlier, now that he was the Minister and his responsibility had increased tenfold, Arthur found himself making allowances to be in the office much earlier. He thanked the stars for Percy, who’d been guiding him through the morass of bureaucracy that the Ministry had become over the decades. Layer upon layer of inefficiency and some corruption had riddled the various offices with accounting systems that would make the Gordian knot seem easy. With Percy’s help, Arthur felt that he would be able to unravel the greatest mystery of all, the government’s finances.

Arthur poured himself a cup of coffee and sat at the table read his morning paper. He sighed to himself, momentarily missing the ado that used to come with mornings in the Burrow. The manic patter of seven children would resonate through the home and even though he seemed oblivious to the sounds, Arthur actually felt that the tumult accompanying the waking habits of his children was more akin to music to his ears and he missed it terribly. He took a sip of his coffee and glanced at the headline. His eyes narrowed decidedly and he calmly placed his mug down on the table. He stared at the paper for a few more minutes then carefully folded it up and put it in his battered attaché case. Molly was moving around in one of the bedrooms upstairs, already tidying up for this weekends visit from her grandchildren.

“I’m heading in, dear!” He heard her muffled response and headed into the office. Arthur pat the briefcase with the newspaper tucked inside and realized, it was going to be a very long day.

***

“Blimey! The nerve of that woman!” Lee Jordan was sitting at one of the outdoor cafes near Weasley’s Wheezes in Diagon Alley. He was reading the Daily Prophet and steam seemed to be flowing from his ears.

Sarah Peebles, Auror and fiancé to Lee, raised a curious eyebrow. “What is it?”

“Skeeter. She’s gone to far, this time.” Lee ignored his tea and ruffled the paper violently. He turned the headline for Sarah to see.

“MINISTER’S HANDS IN THE COOKIE JAR: DID THE NEW MINISTER OF MAGIC STEER FUNDS TO FAMILY?”

Sarah looked at the headline with considerable alarm. The very notion that Arthur Weasley could be remotely corrupt made her shake her head in disbelief. Sarah peered closely at the article and saw Rita Skeeter’s name on the byline. Sarah immediately began to feel the bile rise in her throat.

“What’s she saying?” Sarah’s blood was rising and subconsciously, she began to twirl her wand about in her fingers, her brain roving over a myriad of curses she’d like to try on Skeeter.

“She said that no one knows how Fred and George got the money to start the business. Then she said that in his capacity in the Office for the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts, Mr. Weasley had access to large amounts of discretionary funds. In addition, when Scrimgour and Thicknesse were in charge, they were too busy with the Dark Lord that no one had been accounting for expenditures in the Ministry.”

“That’s it? Nothing to link all those events together?” As an Auror, Sarah had learned to rely on fact, not supposition.

“She doesn’t need to. The innuendo alone is enough to raise a cloud.” Lee tossed the paper down on the table.

“Where did George and Fred get the money to start the business?” Sarah’s brain was ready to accept whatever response she got.

Lee hesitated for a moment. “Frankly, I don’t know.” His response took Sarah by surprise. “But, I don’t believe for a moment that Arthur Weasley did something illegal, if that’s what you mean.”

For a second, Sarah had allowed a tinge of doubt to overcome her. It passed quickly. The problem was that the general public who did not know Arthur so well may not be as accepting. Storm clouds were definitely brewing.

***

Rita Skeeter sat smugly at her desk at the Daily Prophet. Her story was having the desired effect. Outwardly, she exuded the image of a shocked and disappointed journalist who’d uncovered, much to chagrin, evidence that the Minister of Magic was corrupt. Inwardly, she was pleased, because she was going to take down the Weasley family a peg. Arthur Weasley had littered his Ministry with his cronies. His son, Percy, was now the senior aide in the Minister’s office. He had another son, Ronald, who was an Auror. Ronald’s wife Hermione, had been instrumental in forcing that absurd house-elf emancipation bill through the Wizengamot. Worst of all, Arthur’s son in law, Harry Potter, had been appointed to head the Office of Aurors. The Weasley’s were establishing a power base in the government that made Rita’s skin crawl.

Rita saw a flash of red hair by the entrance. She watched as Ginny Potter stalked through the news room. Rita allowed a smile to cross her face. On a personal level, taking the Weasleys down a peg would help wipe away the indignity Rita had suffered at the hands of Ginny a few months before. So lost in her thoughts, Rita failed to notice Ginny’s approach.

“You had better have some proof, Rita. The libel suit alone will destroy you.” Skeeter started from her thoughts and found Ginny standing beside her desk, arms folded and eyes searing through into her eyes.

“Whatever do you mean, Ginny darling? My story is all fact.” Rita’s voice was syrupy sweet. With an innocuous wave of her hand, a small beetle began to scurry from Rita’s handbag to a place near the leg of the desk. “If you know otherwise, I’d be more than happy to print a clarification, from your point of view. Why don’t you tell me where dear brother George got the money to start his quaint little enterprise? Your family is far from wealthy. How do twins drop out of Hogwarts and start the biggest new business in over a decade?”

Ginny’s face turned red. The fact of the matter was she had no idea where Fred and George had gotten the money to start the business. Out of the corner of her eye, Ginny noticed some movement on the floor. Ginny’s face darkened and she stared at Rita’s face, its holier than thou halo made Ginny’s stomach turn. Ginny brought her face closer to Rita’s. For her part, Skeeter knew that the inevitable threat was coming. She rubbed her ear, ensuring that she’d hear every word through her recording beetle’s antenna.

Before Ginny reached Rita, she raised her foot up and brought it crashing down on the beetle’s body. The insect screeched loudly which sent a high-pitched shriek into Skeeter’s ear lobe. Rita grasped her ear trying to dampen the noise, to no avail. Ginny allowed herself a smile and leaned into Rita’s ear.

“Remember this, Rita. I don’t get even, I get ahead.” With that, Ginny whirled on her heel and walked out the door.

***

“What in blazes is this woman doing?” George paced through the back room at Weasley’s Wizards Wheezes. Verity, Dudley and Lee kept their distance from him as the lanky red head stormed back and forth. “She’s saying that my dad stole money from the treasury to finance this? That’s preposterous!”

“We know that, George.” Verity looked over at him, her expression pained as she watched George suffering through this. “Why don’t you tell us where you and Fred got the seed money to start up and we can shove it down her throat?”

George looked over at her and then allowed his gaze to shift to the other partners in the room. “I can’t tell you. I made a promise. Fred and I had a silent partner.” George’s face dropped. His heart sank as he watched the others allow a seed of doubt creep into their expressions. They thought that just maybe, there was a kernel of truth to Skeeter’s rumors.

“George, go ahead and tell them. When you’re done wallowing, we can go about getting even, what say you?” George looked over to the doorway. Harry stood in the threshold, his eyes twinkling with a mixture of anger and deviltry. George allowed himself a broad smile and nodded over to Harry, ignoring the confused stares of his friends. Harry walked in and took a seat. “It would be to Skeeter’s benefit to retire, I don’t think I have the power to save her from Ginny, and I don’t think I’d want to if I had.” George’s brain began to turn. First things first, he told his partners the story of the creation of Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. When he was done, the others looked at Harry, who nodded and then they got down to the business of plotting their revenge.

***

When she wanted to, Rita Skeeter could blend into the background of any public setting. She left the Prophet’s offices; she strolled down the Alley with a careful gait, blending in with crowd of shoppers and business wizards as they went about their daily routines. Soon she was standing opposite 93 Diagon Alley, the main office of the Weasley’s enterprise. Her best ammunition, this far, had been the reluctance of the founder, George Weasley to admit where he’d found the money to start his venture. Perhaps, Rita thought, there was a hint of truth to her story. In her mind, journalism was about thirty percent conjecture and five percent facts. The other sixty five percent was dependent on the imagination of the journalist to fill in the blanks. That’s where exposes came from.

Skeeter saw a figure darting down the Alley, making a beeline for the back entrance to the store. She recognized the figure of Percy Weasley casting furtive glances around him before he ducked into the door. She raised her eyebrows and walked from her position into the bustling crowd. She was bumped and knocked to the side as she tried to wade through the tide of humanity walking the Alley. Ginny Weasley had destroyed Rita’s last beetle, so the intrepid reporter had to make her way over to the side alley near the service entrance to the store. Rita snickered to herself as she pulled a pair of “Extendable Ears” from her purse. How appropriate, she thought, she’d use one of their own inventions against them. She placed an ear against her own and sent the other end out to the window, just to the side of the door. She recognized the voices of Percy and George Weasley. They seemed to be arguing.

“I’m telling you Percy, I can’t keep this secret!” Rita heard George pacing about the room. “This is ruining my business.”

“Your business? Come on George, this could take down the government! Is that what you want?” Rita held her breath. Maybe, just this once in her career, had she gotten something right?

“Percy, I’ve got to let the world know, I can’t live with this on my conscience.” Rita sent her hand to her large alligator skin purse. Her Quick Quotes Quill responded to her silent command and began to write feverishly on a piece of parchment suspended in the air.

“Your conscience? Now you have a conscience?” Percy’s voice became shrill.

“Laugh all you want, but I have a business to run and employees who rely on our doors being open. I can’t cover the truth any longer.” George’s voice was firm.

“Fine, George, but his will be on your head.” Rita heard Percy’s footsteps approaching the door. She reeled in her Ears and ran into a doorway, hiding herself from the door. She’d barely gotten to cover when she saw Percy storm away from the store. Watching his retreating back, Rita smiled to herself. If she hurried, she could make the late edition deadline. She disappeared into the crowd, ignoring the elbowing of the close quarters, her story already formed in her head. She began to picture where she’d stand when the Minister had to announce his resignation. She hoped she was standing next to Ginny Potter, so she could see the arrogant whelp’s expression.

Harry watched Skeeter move through the crowd. When she’d turned the corner, he removed his Invisibility Cloak and stood in the side alley. He heard the door open and saw George emerge from the store. He turned again and saw Percy walking towards him, a smile on his face.

“Well?” George looked over at Harry, expectantly. “Did it work?”

Harry smiled and held up his hand. He was holding Skeeter’s original Quick Quotes Quill. “I hope you made sure Hermione checked the spelling in the Self-Correcting Quill you gave me.”

“Of course she did, you think I’m daft?” George gave his best ‘who me?’ look. Percy rolled his eyes, which drew a laugh from Harry.

“Good, because now I can’t wait for the afternoon edition of the Prophet.” The other two laughed with him and together, they walked back into the door.

***

Rita Skeeter had the same smug look on her face. She’d barely been able to turn in her story for printing. She wrote it as she walked down the Alley and simply turned it over to the copy owl as she entered the offices of the Prophet. Her trusty Quill had never let her down, and proof-reading and fact-checking were activities she’d cast aside long ago. She had a juicy story. She had confirmation of government involvement in nepotism and corruption. She would be on top of the world. Her heart raced as the first afternoon edition of the Prophet hit her desk. Her mouth watered, savoring the thrill of what this would do at the Ministry. She pushed her cat’s eye glasses up on her nose and took in the headline. The blood drained from her face.

“I MADE IT UP: THE TRUTH BEHIND MY PHONY STORY. By Rita Skeeter”

She plied through the story. Her eyes widened as she read about Harry’s desire to use his winnings from the Triwizard Tournament for anyone but himself, given the pain winning the tournament had caused. She read how Harry had insisted that the Weasley twins use the money to start their business, because he believed it would flourish and he knew that some of their inventions would be helpful in fighting the Dark Lord. Finally, she read about her admission to having a personal vendetta against the Weasleys and the Potters and that her judgment had been clouded by her personal feelings.

She rocked back in her chair, stunned. She reached into her purse and pulled out her Quick Quotes Quill. Nothing seemed different about it. She rolled it through her fingers examining it closely. She didn’t hear the figure approach her desk.

“I’d like to see you in my office, Ms. Skeeter.” The pug-shaped old man’s voice was gruff and low. He had the lit stub of a cigar in his mouth and his face was cross, the age lines running together in a fearsome pose. The publisher of the Prophet was not a happy wizard and he was about to convey his dissatisfaction to Rita. Wearily, she walked into his office. When his office door slammed, everyone in the news room jumped.

An hour later, Rita Skeeter walked from his office. Her curly platinum hair was in disarray and her glasses hung limply from their chain around her neck. She walked to her desk as if she was walking through wet cement and her fellow employees studiously ignored her presence. She got to her desk and saw that its top was cleaned off, save for the box that contained all of her personal effects. Her head drooped and she picked up the box and head for the door, before that Ginny Potter could see her leave. She’d been sacked. Even more so, her publisher had pretty much guaranteed that no magazine or newspaper in the UK would give her a job. Even Xenophilius Lovegood had sent a note indicating that she should not bother sending any material to him. Even the Quibbler wouldn’t accept her stories. She was destroyed.

She walked out into Diagon Alley and set herself down at a table at a local café. She ordered a strong drink and looked down at her belongings. She saw the plaque she’d received for her story in the Quibbler about Harry Potter. It had been her way to return to credibility. She picked up the plaque and saw a smudge obscuring her name. She licked her finger and rubbed the offending stain off the nameplate.

The plaque exploded in her face in a cloud of dark smoke. When the smoke cleared, her face and hands were stained a dark violet, like an ink stain. She made an effort to wipe the dark pigment from her skin to no avail. Her blood stopped and she reached into her purse for a mirror. She looked at her face in horror. Her platinum curls had again receded from her forehead. Her face was stained a deep shade of purple, except for the handwritten letters in white atop her head. The letters formed the single word, “LIAR” stretching from temple to temple. The mirror dropped to the ground, shattering.

“That’s another seven years, bad luck, Rita.” The reporter turned to look at the source of the voice. Ginny stood near her, a dark look on her face. “My brother and my husband may have been satisfied with discrediting you. I, on the other hand, had given you fair warning. Never cross my family. You were warned. I’m not as forgiving as my family.” Ginny turned away from Rita, who sat agape at the fiery red head.

***

Harry, Dudley, George, Lee and Verity sat around the table in the stock room reading the latest edition of the Prophet. They were more relieved than happy with the experience. Soon, their merriment returned.

“Thanks, Harry, for everything. I don’t know how to repay you.” George clapped Harry on the back.

“For starters,” They all turned to see Ginny in the doorway, “You can start paying out his percentage of his investment. He has a family to feed.”

George began to stutter as his brain tried to figure out what he owed Harry. Verity laughed at his predicament. She was joined by the rest. George looked over Ginny, who was trying unsuccessfully, to hide her face which was rippled in laughter.

George turned red, and began to plan how to get back at his sister. Of course he wouldn’t admit it, but he was frightened of her response, so he’d have to come up with something foolproof. Even the great Ginny Potter could be had, and George would find a way. He joined in with the revelry, his mind turning over at the possiblities.


***A/N: OK, this was not as funny as I'd planned, but I thought Rita needed some comeuppance. Next one will be lighter. It's harder to write the comedic stuff than it is the action.

FEEDBACK


__________________

Thanks to cybobbie for the awesome sig pic!
Thanks to the best fanclub in the world!

My Fanfics:
A History of Magic: Part II - Beyond the Epilogue
Teddy Lupin and the Legacy of the Marauders ; A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era (on hiatus); You Are Cordially Invited... (First Attempt)
Reply With Quote
  #77  
Old September 25th, 2007, 12:35 pm
USNAGator91's Avatar
USNAGator91  Male.gif USNAGator91 is offline
The Godfather
 
Joined: 3583 days
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Age: 47
Posts: 1,127
Re: A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era

Chapter 78 – Blessings of New Beginnings


The winter faded to spring which relented to summer. Arthur Weasley’s administration began to leave its own stamp on the Ministry. Arthur was not one for the niceties of the office. By sheer force of will, he trimmed the fat of the various bureaucracies and caused a stir by the goings on. The Rita Skeeter article was good, in that, it gave public view to the dire straits that the finances had been in. Dean Thomas had been brought in as Exchequer to the Minister and he set about making practical changes by consulting with Bill and Fleur at Gringotts. Slowly, but surely, sanity began to take hold of the Ministry and its Departments, leading to the highest confidence in government ratings that had been seen in decades.

In the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, John Dawlish was a superb administrator. He made wholesale changes in the various Offices, while allowing his Office heads to put their own stamp on their areas of responsibility. Dawlish centralized administrative functions and condensed the Department into two main Offices, Magical Law Enforcement and Improper Use of Magic. He’d promoted James Proudfoot to head the Improper Use of Magic Office, which housed the various smaller offices like the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts and the Underage Use of Magic. Overall, Dawlish set about rebuilding the Enforcement arm of the Ministry to a level of professionalism and quality that had been shattered by the repeated crises over the years.

Harry had made the Office of Aurors his own. In reality, he had two responsibilities. First, he headed up the Office of Aurors. The loss of four Aurors to promotion had opened the door to four new trainee openings. Harry felt fortunate because he’d been able to use Neville’s position at Hogwarts to identify candidates for the positions. Harry had promoted Williamson to fill his old spot as team leader and had moved Elizabeth Cavendish over to assume Proudfoot’s team. Harry’s second responsibility was to assume control of the Ministry’s Hit Team. Harry had tapped Dennis Creevey to lead the Hit Team. Dennis had been instrumental in rebuilding the team and had earned the top spot.

The hallmark of Harry’s leadership style was to stress training. To that end, he was constantly drilling the Auror Teams and the Hit Team in the training arena. On some occasions, he’d put one team versus another. In others, he’d invite “guest lecturers” to take their try at some of the teams. During one recent session, Harry and Kingsley Shacklebolt had taken on two full teams of Aurors and had held their own for a while. The repeated training sessions, however, had crafted very competent fighters, and Ron and Lachlan’s team, in particular, had soon made short work of Harry and Kingsley. Overall, the Office of Aurors was approaching peak efficiency, and Harry was enjoying being back at the teaching helm once more.

Today, Harry was perusing an application for Auror training that had raised his eyebrows. Seated in front of him was a recent Hogwarts graduate, a Slytherin, no less. On his desk, Harry scanned a letter of introduction from his friend Neville Longbottom, a professor at the school.

“Harry,

I know you’re going to be surprised, but I’d like to recommend Silas Hornsby for entry to Auror training. You’re rehabilitation plan worked splendidly. Ever since his encounter with you and his subsequent punishment, he’s been overwhelmingly superb at his studies. He’s scored Outstandings on his NEWTs and he’s professed a desire to be an Auror, no doubt because of the impact you had on him three years ago.

As a side note, Mr. Hornsby has single-handedly changed the image of the House of Slytherin. He’s been forthright and fair. He’s made a remarkable effort to integrate his House with the rest of Houses of Hogwarts. People can change, Harry. I think you’ll find that Mr. Hornsby has done that. By the by, you will find an endorsement of this recommendation from Professor Slughorn as well at the bottom of this letter.

My warmest regards to the family,

Neville.”

Harry touched a hand to his chin and stared thoughtfully at Silas Hornsby. The boy was growing to manhood and the overweight bully had turned into a leaner, quieter version of the past. Harry stroked his chin and put the paper down.

“Professor Longbottom seems to think highly of you, Silas. Do you remember our last encounter?”

It had been on Sarah’s first outing as Harry’s trainee. Hornsby and his friend, Mortimer Gafney, had been taunting muggles using stolen wands. Instead of sending them straightaway to Azkeban, Harry had given them a second chance to redeem themselves, under the watchful eye of Neville Longbottom. The anxious applicant swallowed and nodded.

“What’s become of your friend, Mr. Gafney?” Harry sat back in his chair and steepled his fingers in thought.

“He’s well, sir. He’s still got one more year, but he’s the head boy for Ravenclaw. He’s feeling kind of left out, but I think he wants to apply as well, when he graduates.” Harry made a mental note to send an owl to Kingsley to see if the new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor could make an assessment of young Gafney over the coming year.

“I see. Why do you want to be an Auror, Silas?” The question was simple, but the most telling part of any interrogation is usually the simplest question.

Hornsby allowed his eyes to fall, the question had been posed before, but never had it meant so much. He took a deep breath and just let the truth come out. “There isn’t any one reason, sir. I want my life to mean something. I want to do good, but part of it is shame, if I can be blunt. I wasn’t the best person to people, growing up, sir. You can attest to that. I want to make up for those mistakes, as well.”

Harry nodded and leaned forward. Without a word, he took a parchment and scribbled some lines on it. Harry waved his wand over the paper and it folded itself into a glider and flew out the door. Harry sat for a few moments, pretending to review paperwork on this desk. He watched as Silas stewed a bit, beads of sweat coming off his brow. Soon a knock came at Harry’s door.

“You wanted to see me, Harry?” Sarah Peebles walked into Harry’s office.

“Yes, Sarah, you remember Mr. Hornsby, don’t you?” Sarah took in the youth and her eyes widened in recognition. “Good, Mr. Hornsby has applied to be accepted into Auror training.” Sarah’s eyes grew larger; the implication that Harry was even remotely considering the possibility surprised her.

“I’ve decided to admit him to the program.” Harry turned to Silas, who gulped in astonishment. “Mr. Hornsby, Auror Training is neither easy nor to be taken lightly, however, like Professor Longbottom, I believe in second chances. Everyone can change.” Silas nodded gratefully and looked hesitantly over at Sarah, whom he definitely remembered. “Ms. Peebles will be your tutor. You will listen to everything she says, and maybe, you’ll make it through. How well you do all depends on your commitment. Any questions?” Hornsby shook his head slightly and rose from his seat. Harry reached out and shook his hand. “Good, you start Monday at eight AM. Don’t be late.” Hornsby gave Sarah a nod and took his leave out the door, his feet barely touching the ground.

Sarah watched him leave. “I don’t understand, Harry, don’t you remember what he did?” Harry pointed Sarah to a seat.

“Of course I do, but Neville believes he’s changed and that’s good enough for me. Everyone deserves a second chance, wouldn’t you agree?” Sarah face reddened. Once upon a time, Sarah had been branded as unredeemable and Harry had taken on the responsibility as her tutor, offering her a second chance.

Harry’s face softened, “You’ll be fine, Sarah. Train Silas as an Auror you’d want in your Spear, it’s as simple as that.”

Sarah chuckled. “How many times has that been used on you?”

“Twice, but Lachlan and Dawlish were great teachers.” Harry returned her laugh.

“I’ll do my best, thanks Harry.” She rose and left his office. He watched the door as she left; his mind drifting back to the time when he was her tutor. They’d both come a long way, since then.

***

Harry consulted his watch and hurriedly threw his remaining paperwork into its appropriate bins. He grabbed his satchel and a carefully wrapped gift and ran out the door. He grabbed the first available lift and ran to the exit Floo with a quick nod to Eric Munch at his security desk. Harry was immediately transported to the Burrow. His appearance in the Weasley’s living room was greeted by a huge roar from the twenty or so people gathered there.

“Surprise!” Harry stood dumbfounded. He was supposed to be running late for James’ first birthday. Instead, he was greeted by banners and balloons proclaiming his own birthday, which he shared with his son. He scanned the assembled party goers and found his wife, holding James. He gave her a look, but she simply put James down and the newly turned one year old’s eyes lit up when he saw his father. Ginny had placed James down on his feet and slowly, the child was determined to make his way to Harry. His first steps were unsteady and he waved his arms to right himself. Slowly, he picked up momentum, and he practically raced the last few paces into his father’s arms. Harry quickly forgot the din of applause around him as he lifted his son up.

“Happy Birthday, James!” Harry smiled and gave his son a hug and a kiss.

“Da!” His son’s word was declarative. He knew who held him and that was all that mattered. Harry’s heart burst and he turned to greet the well wishers around him, not letting go of James. After a moment, James began to squirm a bit, and Harry put him down on the ground. Freed to meander about, the toddler began to stumble around the living room, his inquisitive hands touching everything in sight. Subtly, Ginny edged her body around the room, strategically redirecting her child away from trouble areas.

The party began in earnest as Harry’s friends and family made the occasion a celebration of his birthday, as well as James’. Harry spotted Dennis and Cho with their heads together in the corner of the room. Making his rounds to greet the guests, Harry maneuvered his way over to the newlyweds.

“So, how is married life treating you?” Harry shook hands with Dennis and offered a kiss on Cho’s cheek.

“It’s better than I could ever imagine!” Dennis beamed at Harry and Cho’ face colored visibly at the attention.

“I knew it would. That’s what we’ve all found.” Harry clapped his large friend on the back. Harry took in the scene. Sarah and Lee were standing with Ginny. The two girls were chatting animatedly about the plans for Sarah’s wedding. Lee’s eyes were drifting, looking for someone to rescue him from the talk of table settings and invitations. Having had to suffer through the same situation before, Harry knew exactly what Lee was going through and decided to leave him to his fate.

Harry noticed Ron and Hermione sitting quietly on the sofa. Harry hadn’t had a chance to talk to them since he’d arrived. He excused himself from Dennis and walked over to where his friends were sitting. There was a kind of tension in the air between them, not necessarily like they’d been fighting, just awkwardness.

“Happy Birthday, Harry.” Hermione was reserved, and a little shy about the greeting. Harry gave her a curious look and then turned to Ron.

“Yes, Happy Birthday, mate.” Ron’s greeting seemed preoccupied. Something was on his mind.

“OK, out with it. What’s eating you two?” Harry’s bluntness caused Hermione to blush deeply, not the reaction that Harry had expected, neither did expect the same result from Ron. “What’s going on?” Harry put his hands on his hips.

Ron gave Hermione a questioning glance and she nodded. Ron turned back to his friend. “We didn’t think that this was the right time to tell you, being that it’s your birthday and all.” Harry gave Ron a hard look, telling him to get on with it. “Well, you see, Hermione and I, well, we’re going to have a baby.”

Harry’s face lit up in a wave of emotion. Ginny saw his reaction and made her way over to her husband. She gave him a questioning look, especially considering the expressions on Ron and Hermione’s faces. Harry put an arm around his wife. “That’s amazing! Ron and Hermione are going to have a baby!”

Ginny couldn’t contain herself and flung her arms around the couple. The ado drew stares from their friends and family. Molly Weasley stopped for a moment and then drew near, understanding what would drive her daughter to such hysterics.

Molly made her way over. “Is it true?” The nod from her youngest son caused a wave of emotion to sweep Molly. “Oh dears, that’s wonderful. Arthur! Get over here! You’re going to be a granddad again!” The party became especially festive with the expectant couple becoming the center of attention.

Unseen in the corner of the room, little James had been startled by the commotion that surrounded the big people. He quickly recovered and noticed that his watchdog that had been keeping him from feeling the smooth items on a nearby table had disappeared. Pleased with his anonymity, James made his way to an end table and started to reach his hand over to pick up the glass encased heirloom, its sharp and shiny points beckoning his little fingers. Just before he reached the glass, a hand came and guided his away from the impending accident. Nonplussed, James looked up at the source offending hand, intending to demonstrate his displeasure at being foiled in his quest. Before he could allow himself to be irritated, James was distracted by his savior. A quiet giggle began to turn into a genuine bout of laughter in the boy. He held up his hands to be picked up by his guardian.

Ginny stood among the crowd and suddenly felt the quick mother’s panic as she realized she’d lost track of her son. She glanced around the room and found James. He was sitting on Teddy’s lap and laughing hysterically as Teddy changed his hair color, much to the little boy’s delight. Victoire sat to the side, between James and his original object of interest, the table holding the sharp crystal stars that were an affectation of Molly’s. Ginny smiled at the scene and then turned to soak in the love of family and friends that were gathered around. Ginny had her own news to share, but she’d save it for later. This moment was for Ron and Hermione; she’d tell Harry later that he too, would be a father again. Ginny pat her stomach and laughed at some inane joke that George was telling.


***A/N: I come from a big family and my son is the oldest of all the cousins. He usually ends up in Teddy's position and he's very good at it. That's the image I have. Anyway, we're settling in, but get ready, the nine months of both pregnancies are going to be interesting.

FEEDBACK


__________________

Thanks to cybobbie for the awesome sig pic!
Thanks to the best fanclub in the world!

My Fanfics:
A History of Magic: Part II - Beyond the Epilogue
Teddy Lupin and the Legacy of the Marauders ; A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era (on hiatus); You Are Cordially Invited... (First Attempt)
Reply With Quote
  #78  
Old September 25th, 2007, 9:50 pm
USNAGator91's Avatar
USNAGator91  Male.gif USNAGator91 is offline
The Godfather
 
Joined: 3583 days
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Age: 47
Posts: 1,127
Re: A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era

Chapter 79 – The Department of Mysteries

Just south of the main shipping terminal in Portsmouth, lies the Royal Garrison Church. Its roof had been laid asunder by a German bombing raid in 1941, so the main sanctuary lay open to the elements. A light drizzle showered the five men meeting in the church. The low cloud cover and the darkness of the night kept their gathering secluded from their surroundings. Four of the men were wearing royal blue robes. Their skin was leathery, the effect of decades exposed to the elements. Their robes were short, revealing matching bloused pantaloons tucked into short, black leather working boots. Their forearms were adorned with various tattoos, testament to their obvious years at sea. Each had an identical tattoo on their right forearm. It was an elongated anchor with a sea serpent intertwined with the shanks of the anchor. When they were in proximity of each other, the tattooed serpent writhed, much like it was doing now. They were the Brotherhood of the Blue Tar, an ancient society of mariners when it began. Over the years, the Brotherhood had transformed itself into practitioners of the Dark Arts who delved into the mysteries of the sea. Fate and ambition had brought them to this place and they faced the fifth man with noticeable interest.

The man was garbed in a sea worn pea coat, its wool exterior repelling the collected droplets of precipitation that rolled down his sleeves. He looked somewhere between thirty and fifty years old, the weather beaten features of his face offering wrinkles that the condensation would pool and overflow from. His eyes glowed red, an evil aura punctuated by the large vulture sitting on his shoulder. In the background, Portsmouth Harbor twinkled in a flurry of light and mist and the man strained to find the masts of his vessel, moored to a hidden wooden dock outside the church. Ever since the ship, owned and operated by the four men present, had docked in this busy port on New Year’s Eve, he’d been out and about collecting intelligence on their goal. He smiled and offered his feathered companion a slice of raw meat to gnaw on. He pet the top of the vulture’s head with his opposite hand.

“Good boy, Carrion, now make sure we’re not disturbed.” He’d conjured some of the best disguising spells he could muster, ensuring that prying eyes would not see their gathering from the outside. The massive vulture rose into the air and began a slow circle of the area, its keen eyes on the watch for intruders.

“The object we seek is in the Department of Mysteries. The changes in the administration will make our quest even harder. The Hit Teams guarding the key are much more vigilant than we’d thought.” He allowed that thought to permeate his followers’ brains. They were undertaking something completely radical and complications from the Ministry’s guardians would pose a significant threat to their success.

The tallest of the blue-clad men was picking at his fingernails with an ancient dirk. “So, what does that mean for retrieving the key?”

“Cameron, it means we’ll have to be more effective with our plan. We have to proceed, nonetheless.” His crimson orbs took in each of their faces, individually. It’s a large risk, but I don’t see where we have a choice.”

This drew a sneer from a hard looking wizard, his smile revealing several gaps in his mouth where time, tide and a hard life at sea had robbed him of some of his teeth. “If the Dark Lord couldn’t find success in the Ministry, what makes you think that we stand a chance?”

The leader hissed his anger evident. “I am not the Dark Lord.” He straightened the front of his robe and continued. “Our objective has never changed, and the key is vital for our long term goals. What’s the problem, Tyler, do you no longer have the stomach for our quest?”

The man called Tyler chortled, not obviously afraid of the man. “Be that as it may, whether I have the stomach or not, we still have to deal with the guards and recover the key. How do you propose to do that, Reginald?”

The man called Reginald took a deep breath, his patience thinning, now that he was so close to his goal. “Patience, Tyler. If we stick to the original plan, the number of guards will be irrelevant. We have to take the key, which is the most important goal here.”

Tyler shrugged his shoulders. In addition to the bond he had with the Brotherhood, his thoughts turned to the galleons that were lining his pocket. He had to give it to the old man, he paid well.

“What about the guards at the Department of Mysteries?” Tyler hadn’t given up the ghost on his conversation, so he steered the discussion to the plan.

“As I as saying, we need to strike fast and get into the Department of Mysteries forthwith.” Reginald accepted the nods of his compatriots as acquiescence. “Is the ship ready?”

The man, who’d spoken earlier, Cameron, looked over at Reginald with an exasperated smile. “We’re as ready as we’ll ever be. Just say the word and we can sail.” He spoke with an indistinguishable brogue, as if a life at sea had eliminated any traces of his origin or birthplace, which is why he’d stayed on as a sea captain. “The ‘Malitia’ will be ready when you are.”

Reginald nodded and drew the group closer. “We’ll strike in the next two days. When we get the key, be ready to shove off. We’re so close; I don’t want to make a mistake. You three,” he pointed at everyone save for the captain. He laid out a map which held the interior design of the Ministry of Magic. “This is the plan.” The others moved in to hear their parts of the design.

***

Hermione sat at her desk in the near the Wizengamot. Her efforts on behalf of House-Elves and their emancipation had brought about the abolition of the House-Elf Relocation Office. She’d been promoted to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement to oversee the crafting of laws and procedures on handling the day to day interactions between the magic world and its new citizens. The upside was that she had a direct hand in how the law could be applied to House-Elves, plus she had an office that was not to far from Ron’s. The downside was that her workload increased ten-fold. She’d always wanted to work in the Law Enforcement Department but had no idea how massive the undertaking would be.

She gave a sigh and leaned back in her chair. She placed her hand on her stomach and imagined she could feel the life growing within. She allowed herself a smile. The work she did never really overwhelmed her. Now it was even more important to help design a better world for her and Ron’s child. Her brain wrangled through the many twists and turns her life had taken and she smiled how all the roads seemed to lead back to Ron. Her husband had taken her announcement very well and she was pleased that Ginny was going through the process at the same time. Harry had regaled Ron about the horror stories of dealing with an expectant mother, and for the first week or so, Ron had walked on eggshells around her. She soon righted his expectations, telling Ron that cravings were only a myth. Still, for some reason, the idea of mixing peanut butter and anchovies seemed to call to her.

“Galleon for your thoughts?” The voice startled her out of her daydreaming. She turned to the door and found her husband standing there, leaning against the jamb. His arms were crossed and he had a small grin on his face. Her heart raced, like the first time she realized that he felt the same way she did about him. He’d lost his insecure expression sometime back, when he realized that he was a fine Auror and he was doing something he was good at. She took in the sight of him as his long, dark red hair contrasted nicely with the ebon robes he wore. She saw his bare forearm which was taut, rippled with a musculature crafted from days and days of hard training. She noticed the twinkle in his eyes; the Weasley trait of irreverence shooting a bolt of electricity across the void to her.

“What are you doing here?” He stood straight and walked in the door. He plopped himself in the chair in front of her desk and rested his feet on the top.

“It’s almost six, were you planning on calling it a day, any time soon?” His voice held no trace of bitterness or rebuke. He was toying with her.

“Maybe. I’ve still got loads to do, unless you have a better offer.” Hermione was already packing her things in her beaded bag.

Ron smiled. “Well, I can think of a few things that you could do instead of work. You could go ahead and schedule a root canal with your mum, if you like.” She laughed and rose to go.

“With an offer like that, how can I refuse?” He rose with her and grasped her hand. She looked up at him. “Maybe, I can think of something that doesn’t involve Novocain?” Ron laughed and escorted her out the door. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he remembered a conversation he’d had with Harry about some interesting changes during a woman’s pregnancy. Perhaps, this was one of the good ones?

They walked out the door and down the hall to the lifts. They talked idly about their day at work and exchanged silent looks as they commented on the people they saw. The climbed aboard a lift and easily exited with the flow of the crowd in the Atrium. Hermione watched as Ron’s eyes roved the crowd, assessing for danger, while still maintaining solid eye contact with her. He was good at what he did. They walked to the exit floos and departed for their apartment.

As Ron and Hermione disappeared into their floo, across the hall, four men appeared in the entry floos. They were wearing blue workman’s clothes and looked like ubiquitous maintenance men. A close observer would see that everything was in order, including the official looking tool boxes they carried. Everything was in order, save for the worn black boots on their feet. They were less workmen’s boots and more warriors boots. In the bustle of the rush hour crowd, no one took notice of the anomaly. Reginald, his eyes hidden behind a dark pair of glasses, led his three cohorts to Eric Munch’s security desk. He gracefully placed his took kit down on the floor and faced the bored watch wizard.

“Magical Maintenance sent us.” Reginald nodded to his compatriots. “There’s a report of flooding on Level Ten, apparently someone ordered a squall that got messy.” Munch barely raised an eyebrow. “There’s a trial scheduled for tomorrow morning, and we’ve got to get the place cleared by then.” Munch glared balefully at them for a moment and waved them through. Reginald nodded and led his men to the lifts.

The only way to access Courtroom Ten on the selfsame level was to get off on Level Nine. A door off the hallway led to a stairwell that went to Level Ten. Fortunately for Reginald, Level Nine also held the Department of Mysteries. They exited the lift and surveyed the area while they approached the door to Level Ten. Two members of Dennis’ Hit Team were patrolling the plain door that led to the Department of Mysteries. Reginald nodded to the men and made for the knob to the Level Ten door. Reginald gave a small wave to the two men behind him and in a flash of light; stunning spells leapt out and hit the two guards.

One of the men raised his wand. “Avada Ked…”

Reginald pulled down the man’s wand arm. “No! Jacob, no Unforgiveables!” The man called Jacob wheeled on the leader, venom in his eyes. “What if there’s a jinx on it? You’ll have the whole Department of Magical Law Enforcement down on us!” The man reluctantly relented, but kept his wand trained on the unconscious men.

“Incarcerous!” Ropes leapt from the air and bound the still forms of the guards. Reginald checked his handiwork and led them to the single door at the end of the hall. They entered a circular room which held twelve doors. As soon as the four of them were fully in the chamber, the door behind them shut with a slam. His three companions jumped and the one called Jacob tried to turn the knob, finding the door locked.

“We’re trapped!” Reginald shushed him and concentrated on the doors. The walls of the room began to rotate, becoming blindingly rapid as he tried to determine the right door. After a moment, the room stopped spinning and the doors ground to a halt. Reginald smiled to himself and pulled a small black leather bound book from his pocket. He opened the book; its pages were brittle from age. He held up his wand and whispered an incantation in Greek.

“Apan Diyao.”

His wand glowed red, matching his own eyes. He approached a door on the wall. As the light touched the top of the doorframe, it revealed letters that seemed to tell the viewer what was behind the door. The first door was labeled “The Brain Room”. Reginald moved on to the next door, which revealed the words, “The Time Room”. He shook his head and moved to the next door, “The Death Chamber”. He continued on to the next door which was labeled, “The Ancients”.

Reginald smiled and returned the book to his pocket. He tried the knob on the door and it opened easily. He stepped into a large, open room. The walls were of dusty stone, much like the interior of a cave or an Egyptian pyramid. There were rows and rows of shelves along the floor of the room. It was dark, save for the light of a lantern at the far end of the room. The lantern was sitting upon a beaten, scratched desk and a small, bookish man sat with his nose in a large ledger, writing on its pages. The man seemed to be cataloguing a nondescript scroll and hadn’t noticed their entrance.

The four interlopers walked silently down the main passageway, bypassing the thousands of artifacts that dotted the walls. They proceeded apace and finally reached the desk. The shadow they cast drew a questioning glance from the man, who looked up at them.

“Who are you? You’re not supposed to be here.” He rose from the desk and stood defiantly in front of them.

Reginald chuckled at the man’s moxie, but he did not have time for delays. “We’ll leave soon enough, as soon as you give us Solon’s Key.” The man shuddered. His eyes darted from man to man as he contemplated a way out.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” The man started stepping backwards. He cast an eye at his wand, which was tantalizingly out of reach, resting upon a battered lunch pail. “You probably have the wrong room.”

Reginald was impressed by the man’s fortitude, but time was of the essence. With a quick draw of his wand, he made his move. “Legilimens!” Reginald had asked the question first, bringing the location of the key to the front of the caretaker’s mind. It was a simple matter to pull the location from the man, who collapsed in a heap when Reginald lowered his wand. With a smile, Reginald walked the aisles until he found the one he was looking for. He scanned the shelves and pulled down a tight burlap bundle with a catalog number affixed to it. Slowly, he untied the twine holding the bundle together and unrolled the coarse fabric until a glint of gold caught his eye. He was holding an old, golden key. It was large, about the size of his hand and it had letters in ancient Greek and Egyptian hieroglyphics etched in its body. Reginald removed his darkened glasses and his eyes grew a brighter shade of red as he rolled the key in his hand. Giving a triumphant shout, he motioned for his followers to leave, their goal accomplished.

Clive Scatterbaugh was not a brave man. For over fifty years, the small, frail wizard had spent his life studying and categorizing the objects in the Ancients Room. He’d never been subject to a mind bending assault like the one that had wrested the location of Solon’s Key from his head. He felt woozy and through the blurriness, he saw the figures making a dash for the door. He cherished every item in the room, but felt an extraordinary sense of dread about the loss of the key and what it meant for the world. Slowly, he pulled himself to his hands and knees and crawled to a clear glass jar that sat on the edge of his desk. In simple magic marker, the jar had writing on it. It said, “In Case of Emergency, Break Glass.” Clive raised his arm. His hand shook from the effort. Slowly, he used his fingertips to push the jar over the edge of the desk. Seemingly, as if in slow motion, he watched the glass urn fall to the floor, shattering into thousands of pieces. As he fell back into unconsciousness, he heard the ear-splitting wail of a caterwaul charm echo through the room and out into the Ministry. He allowed the darkness to overtake him with a smile.

***

Dennis sat in Harry’s office, briefing him on the latest training session for the Hit Team. As they were about to wrap up, the loud alarm of the caterwaul charm assaulted their ears. Dennis stood up immediately and drew his wand. Harry followed him out the door, into the main office area. Several heads popped up over the cubicles, as the on call Hit Team and the night duty Aurors started moving towards the door.

“It’s the Department of Mysteries!” Harry shouted and was rewarded by the sight of his Aurors and Hit Team responding automatically. Harry looked over to Dennis who was running with him. “Which room?” Silently, Harry hoped it wasn’t the Death Chamber, the room still haunted him.

Dennis looked thoughtful, “it’s the Ancients Room!” That was no better, thought Harry. The Ancients Room held items that no one alive had any clue about. Any one of them could mean the end of the world as they knew it. They reached the lifts and tore for several narrow doors to the side which held metal poles in their midst.

Harry turned to Dennis. “You go for the Atrium and see if you can cut whoever they are off. I’ll take the Aurors to Level Nine!” Dennis nodded and immediately led his team to the opening labeled “Atrium”. Without a second thought, he careened down the pole, the chute taking him to the Atrium. Harry jumped down the chute labeled “Level Nine” and emerged from a corresponding opening near Department of Mysteries almost immediately. He raised his wand and gestured for Williamson to deploy his team. The crimson-clad Auror nodded and spread out his team. Coombs and Burby took the left side of the hall, while Manchester and Sigismund covered the doorway to Level Ten. Sarah hung back with her trainee, Silas Hornsby. Harry noted that the young man looked afraid, yet had his wand out, ready to do battle. Harry raised his hand and moved to the motionless figures of the guards. They were alive but bound tightly. He severed their bonds and raised one to a seated position.

“They just came through, sir. You just missed them. They’re dressed like Magical Maintenance Workers!” Harry nodded and gestured for Burby and Coombs to follow him. Williamson needed no instructions from Harry. He pointed to Sigismund and Manchester, who entered the Department of Mysteries to see if they could find out what had happened to the caretaker. Sarah, Silas and Williamson stayed to care for and interrogate the guards.

Harry and his team ran into the opening marked “Atrium” and shot upwards when they touched the pole. Immediately, they were transported to the Atrium, right into a maelstrom of spells as Dennis’ team had intercepted the fleeing thieves. Harry took cover behind the fountain and saw Dennis exchanging spells with a pseudo-maintenance man on the far side of the Atrium.

Wordlessly, Harry signaled to Dennis that he’d take his team around the flank. Harry moved rapidly and got to a good firing position behind a column. He let fly a stunning curse that was blocked by the tall man in the center of the suspects’ circle. Harry caught sight of the man’s eyes, the coursing red aura shocking him, momentarily. Suddenly, caught off guard, the pillar next to Harry exploded, as did the statue that Dennis had been hiding behind. Harry was thrown from his feet and landed awkwardly on the marble floor, the air rushing from his lungs. Dennis rolled to his right and let fly a spell that caught one of the trailing men in the middle of the back, knocking him to the floor senseless. Without hesitating, Dennis ran towards the fleeing men.

Reginald saw that time was against them. Without a word, he left Jacob to his fate and leapt into the floo exit, closely trailed by his two remaining men. Dennis ran up to the floos and jumped directly into the residue of the previous transit, closely trailed by Burby and Coombs and three members of his Hit Team. Harry rolled over and tried to rise, but the pain from some obviously cracked ribs stopped his momentum. He surveyed the room and bound the one wizard that had been captured quickly.

A lift door opened, and Sarah led Clive Scatterbaugh into the Atrium. She gave a worried look at Harry, who waved her concern away. The caretaker for the Ancients Room was sputtering endlessly. Seeing Harry, he ran over and grabbed the Head of the Office Aurors by the shoulders. Harry winced as the pain of his injuries coursed through his body.

“You’ve got to stop them! They’ve got Solon’s Key!” Harry looked at the man, an uncomprehending look in his face. “You don’t understand!” The exasperated little man allowed the pitch of his voice to rise. “Solon’s Key is the Key to Atlantis!”

Harry stared at the crazed man, the shock emanating from his green eyes and the fear of understanding weighing on his aching bones.


***A/N: Ah, another adventure arc begins, but we have to keep an eye on our two pregnant ladies as well. Buckle up, boys and girls, we got a sea chase a comin'.

Ahoy, FEEDBACK, if ye' dare, matey!


__________________

Thanks to cybobbie for the awesome sig pic!
Thanks to the best fanclub in the world!

My Fanfics:
A History of Magic: Part II - Beyond the Epilogue
Teddy Lupin and the Legacy of the Marauders ; A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era (on hiatus); You Are Cordially Invited... (First Attempt)
Reply With Quote
  #79  
Old September 26th, 2007, 3:49 pm
USNAGator91's Avatar
USNAGator91  Male.gif USNAGator91 is offline
The Godfather
 
Joined: 3583 days
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Age: 47
Posts: 1,127
Re: A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era

Chapter 80 – Harry Potter and the Argonauts

A thunder of smoke and light announced Dennis Creevey’s arrival. He barreled out of the giant stone hearth and found himself standing in the ruins of an old church. Panes of stained glass cast a kaleidoscope of color on the rotted pews while the open night sky beckoned through the opening that was the remains of the roof top. Within moments, a corresponding flash announced the disapparatures of Burby, Coombs and three members of his hit team. Dennis gave them a quick nod and they spread out in search of their prey. The smell of salt air overpowered his senses; he was near the sea and he heard the rustle of waves and the distinct sounds of men working. Dennis moved towards the door at the far end of the chapel. He took a peek out the doorway and saw the masts of a sailing vessel out in the open blackness of the night. A heavy mist had fallen and the ship itself was shrouded from his sight.

The six Law Enforcement officers made their way to a long pier. They saw lanterns swaying in the breeze and could barely make out men working aloft in the rigging of the ship at the far end of the pier. The fog seemed to be centered on the quay, hiding the vessel from prying eyes. For a moment, Dennis thought he saw a large shape gliding across the night sky, but then it disappeared into the mist. The menacing shadow sent chills down his spine and caused Dennis to tense, as he led the men down the pier.

Reginald Thornton stood near the helm of the ‘Malitia’ watching her crew scurry to make its preparations to depart. Her captain, Cameron Forsythe, stood next to him, directing the efforts of the thirty or so similarly clad sailors, prodding them to move faster. The large vulture landed on Thornton’s shoulder and touched its head to his. Giving the hideous bird a pat on the bill, he turned to the captain.

“We have visitors, on the pier.” Forsythe grimaced and looked over to the thick squat man standing at the top of the gangway.

“Mr. Cavanaugh, prepare to repel boarders. The threat is approaching down the pier.” Gibson Cavanaugh acknowledged his captain’s orders and pulled ten men out of the ship’s preparations. Cavanaugh was older, his skin taut against his bones, giving him a skeletal look. His blue robes hung loosely on his shoulder and his face was marked by large scars that terminated in an eye patch covering his left eye. His hair was jet black, cut close to the scalp. He ran down the gangway and positioned his men among the crates and barrels that dotted the pier.

Dennis and his team walked through the mist. The outlines of a ship began to form in the distance. It was a ketch rigged sailing vessel, one large single mast in the center and a smaller mizzen mast just in front of the helm. It was roughly sixty meters in length and painted the darkest black. Barnacles dotted the sides, some preventing the various gun ports from closing fully. Its sails were tattered; giving the overall impression of a ghost ship, save for the flurry of activity on its deck. Dennis glanced around the pier and caught a flash of red light in his chest. He was flung to the hard boards of the pier. Coombs immediately returned the fire while Burby pulled Dennis behind a large cast-iron bollard on the edge of the pier. Dennis rubbed his chest and pulled back the tear in his robe, revealing the Weasley Counterspell Shirt he’d been wearing. The Defense items that Weasley’s Wheezes had produced were lesser known among the general public, but prized among the members of Dennis’ hit team for their efficacy. This one had saved him from bearing the brunt of the last curse. Dennis gave a reassuring glance to Burby and stood with his wand raised.

The air was alive with a myriad of light and sound. The Aurors and the Hit Team were taking fire from the pier and from the ship, including the tops. Dennis heard an explosion as the wood planks of the pier disintegrated under the feet of one his Hit Team. The man fell through the hole into the black water below. Coombs was everywhere at once. The rail thin man was a dynamo, casting a spell, and then moving to another position. He heard the tell tale sound of a body falling as he threw another spell down range. Despite his efforts, they Ministry representatives were barely making headway and Dennis began to realize that the thieves were likely to get away. Dennis reached into his satchel and pulled a silver salad fork out. He smiled and looked over to Burby, who was engaging the sailors directly on the ship.

“Cover me!” Burby nodded and began to fling larger shield and stunning spells out towards the enemy. A loud horn sounded from the ship. Soon the fire from the pier began to slacken, indicating that the men on the pier were embarking and the ship was beginning to get underway. Dennis rushed towards the ship, whose bow was now swinging away from the pier and turning to face towards the sea. As the high walls of the ketch came to an appropriate angle to their position on the pier, Dennis could see the several rusty and decrepit looking cannons being run out their port holes. He ran with a desperation, knowing that time was against him. He saw the barrels of the guns glow red and then a rush of light hit the pier, causing the entire portion where his men and Dennis had been to explode in a shower of wood and water. Dennis was thrown forward, towards the ship and he landed with a heavy splash in the water, just to its stern. He struggled in the inky blackness of the water and pulled himself towards the ship. Approaching to within a foot or so of the large rudder, he jabbed the fork into the dark wood of the rudder, its tines imbedding deep into its grain. Dennis tread water for a few moments, as the dark ship disappeared into the night. He read the name ‘Malitia’ on its stern and he watched as the aft lantern disappeared into the night and fog. Dennis turned around and swam back to the remains of the pier to see if any of his colleagues had survived.

***

The conference room was full, most of the available Aurors plus Harry, Dawlish and Arthur Weasley were listening intently to the briefing that Clive Scatterbaugh was giving them as to the nature of the purloined key. The aging intellectual was animatedly describing how Plato told the story of a Greek poet and legislator named Solon, who’d made his way to Egypt and discovered the story of Atlantis.

“Atlantis was an island, somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean. It was founded by Poseidon and a mortal woman named Cleito. The woman, Cleito founded a bustling society filled with magic and power centered on her palace which rest on a hill in the center of the island. She and Poseidon had ten sons who became the rulers of Atlantis. They build a seafaring power, which included building a system of canals that connected their mother’s palace with the main city of Metropolis.”

The old man took a deep breath and looked around the room. He continued. “Solon’s key opens the vault in Cleito’s Palace. It supposedly holds Poseidon’s Scepter, which among other things, grants ultimate power to whoever wields it.”

“What do you mean by ultimate power?” Harry’s question resonated around the room.

“Immortality, Invincibility, Alchemy. Whoever holds the scepter would hold power over the oceans, they would have the ability to rule the world.” A murmur spread through the room.

Ron leaned over and whispered to Harry, “Great, another ‘I’m going to rule the world, plot.’ Why can’t we just chase broom speeders for once?” Harry couldn’t help himself, he laughed drawing looks from the rest. Harry quickly regained his composure.

“How does he intend to find Atlantis? He has the key to the palace, but do we know where he’s heading? By the way, do we know who ‘he’ is?” Harry looked around to blank stares. A feeling of helplessness was beginning to descend when the door burst open. A rather soaked Dennis Creevey walked in followed closely by Lachlan McCrory.

Lachlan spoke first. “We just interrogated the prisoner. We used Veritaserum with your permission, Minister.” Arthur nodded towards Lachlan, asking him to continue. “His name is Jacob Lobo. He’s a member of the Brotherhood of the Blue Tar.” Only a few of the people in the room recognized the name. Williamson was one.

“That’s preposterous. Those blokes were always crack pots. They never struck me as having the brains to do something like this, nor the resources either. There’s never more than one or two of them, trying to work on as day laborers on the docks. They don’t even have a ship, much less a ‘Brotherhood’.” Williamson snorted in contempt.

“They have a ship now, and I’ve got two dead Hit Team members and two wounded Aurors to attest to the power of it. It’s called the ‘Malitia’ and they sailed from Portsmouth about half an hour ago.” Dennis report stunned them. Williamson immediately rose, his concern for Burby and Coombs evident. “They’re soaked, but they’re no worse for the wear, they should be back here within the hour.” Relieved, Williamson returned to his seat.

“So how did this second-rate yachting club get this idea, much less pull it off?” Dawlish looked back over to Lachlan who continued.

“They found a leader. He’s a man by the name of Reginald Thornton.” The name did register to more of the onlookers. Reginald Thornton was once one of the intellectuals tasked with investigating the items in the Department of Mysteries. Along the way, he became infatuated with the Dark Arts and for a time, was the chief Ministry expert on the subject. During the first rise of Voldemort, Thornton watched with disconnected interest how the Dark Lord was initially defeated. While he never became an acolyte of the Dark Lord, Thornton had studied his every move plus the lives of several other practitioners of the Dark Arts. He imbedded himself in the practices and found himself fired from his position at the Ministry as his objectivity was severely compromised. He’d sworn revenge, but had not been heard from in over ten years. Now, according to Lachlan, he was back, planning the ultimate revenge.

“We still don’t know which they are heading. Atlantis could be anywhere from the Atlantic to Timbuktu and anywhere in between.” Harry scanned the crowd and saw Dennis grinning. “What is it Dennis?”

“I have a way to track them.” All eyes centered on the large soggy man in front of them. Carefully, Dennis laid out a thin square of balsa wood, roughly a half inch thick and a foot square. On its surface was painted a circle with the cardinal directions marked with letters. Dennis then laid a silver stirring spoon in the center of the compass rose. The spoon turned on its axis until it stopped on the position labeled ‘SSW’. The spoon shone a distinct greenish color, that darkened ever so slightly.

“It’s one of Weasley’s Wheezes anti-theft items. Dudley calls it a ‘Forkjack’. It’s supposed to keep someone from stealing your silver. I put the tracking fork in their ship and we can follow them using this board. The spoon changes color based on distance. The redder it is, the closer you are.” Dennis looked around the room. Arthur was beaming, considering that George and his partners had come up with another ingenious invention.

“It looks like we have a pursuit on our hands.” Harry looked over to Dawlish who nodded. “Mr. Scatterbaugh, based on the general direction, any hypothesis on where they’re going?” The caretaker laid out a chart of the Atlantic Ocean on the table. He took a measurement and followed the track of the Malitia’s from Portsmouth. After a moment, he nodded.

“Most likely, he’s heading to Bimini Road.” Empty faces greeted his announcement. “It’s near the Bahamas.” He hesitated once more. “It’s in the center of the Bermuda Triangle.”

Again the temperature in the room dropped, the mission becoming more dangerous by the second. Harry stood and started issuing instructions and questions. “I’ll lead this one. I’ll take a minimal team. Williamson, is your team up for it?” The senior Auror nodded, but interjected.

“I’d like to leave Sarah here. She’s got a trainee and I don’t think Silas is quite ready for this yet.” Sarah wanted to argue, but her leader was right.

“That makes sense; we’ll take someone from another team. Minister, do we have a ship we can use?” Harry turned towards his father-in-law, who was deep in thought.

After a moment, he nodded. “We have a contract with a brig in Plymouth called the ‘Discooperire’. We use her for diplomatic missions and as a revenue cutter from time to time. She should fit the bill. The captain is a bit of a head case, just crazy enough to take this on. I’ll have the papers drawn up. You’ll have them within the hour.”

“Excellent. Williamson, tell your team to pack and meet me at the Plymouth docks by dawn. That should put us in a chase position, but it’ll give everyone the chance to put their affairs in order.” Williamson nodded and hurried out the door, his team quickly following. Harry began to gather up the briefing materials. Dennis came up to him.

“Harry, I should go with you. My team could be of great help.” Harry smiled.

“No, Dennis, your duty is here, guarding the Ministry, should we fail. You did great work, now its time for the Aurors to do ours. Now go home and change, you’re starting to smell moldy.” Dennis laughed, still disappointed and then head out the door.

Harry walked out in the hall and felt a tug on his sleeve. Ron had caught up with him. “Harry, when are we leaving?”

“I’m leaving after I talk to Lachlan. He’s going to take over for me when I’m gone. You aren’t going anywhere.” Ron gave his friend a hard look.

“What do you mean? You have a spot on your team, I should go.” Ron placed his hands on his hips.

“I’m filling that spot with Aaron Steuben from Cavendish’s team. You are not going, Ron, that’s final.” Harry began to walk towards his office, but Ron stopped him again.

“But why, Harry? Why would you leave me out of this? I’ve proven myself. You don’t trust me? Is that it?” Ron’s voice was defensive.

Harry sighed and stared his friend in the face. “You’re the best Auror I have, Ron. That’s one reason. This is sounding like a one way trip. I want you to stay, in case I don’t come back, to make sure the Office stays sharp, ready for whatever comes.”

“What’s the other reason, Harry? What’s the real reason?” Ron’s voice was low, somber at his friend’s frank confession.

“Ron, you’re about to be a father. You need to be here for that time. Hermione needs you. I need to know that James’ godfather will be here to watch over him, if I don’t come back. Your duty and your responsibility is here Ron. I’ll feel better if I know you’ll watch over my family. Can you do that for me?” Ron nodded, but he couldn’t help but shake the feeling that Harry was telling him goodbye. Harry embraced Ron and then walked down the corridor, on his way home.

***

Dawn came sooner than he’d wanted. Harry was standing in the doorway of James’ room watching his son’s chest move rhythmically in his slumber. James lay on his back, a broad grin on his face as whatever he dreamt of caused him delight. No doubt, Harry thought, he was dreaming of hair changing colors. Harry felt her arms reach around him and with one last look at James, he turned to face Ginny. She smiled at him, but her eyes filled with worry.

“I don’t know if I can do this, Harry. I don’t know if I can go without knowing if you’re alright.” Her voice trembled.

“I’ve been thinking about that.” He reached into a pocket and handed her a cloth-wrapped object. She opened the cloth and saw a shard of broken mirror. Her eyes opened in wonder. “I’d almost forgotten about this, but Aberforth gave me the other piece a few months back. We can talk every night, if you want.”

She smiled and wrapped her arms tight around him. They kissed deeply their hearts beating together in time. He touched a finger to her lips and walked down the stairs. She heard the clap of thunder as he left to catch his ship. Ginny stared at James, but clung tightly to the piece of reflected glass in her hand.

***

Harry walked down the long wharf to the spot where a large wooden ship stood with its masts high in the morning sun. It was a brig, highlighted by a broad beam and paired main masts. She was constructed of solid oak planking and her crew seemed to float from place to place, happy in their work. Harry spotted Williamson, who directing the loading of his team and their kit. Harry saw Burby and Coombs, both upright but the tell tale signs of bruises and bumps from the previous evening’s adventure still evident. Harry walked up and boarded the ship’s quarterdeck and was greeted by a tall, tanned woman. Her eyes were light green and her jet black hair was pulled back into a pony tail, the end stretching down to almost the small of her back. She wore loose fitting pants and knee high riding boots with the pants tucked into the edges. Her blouse was starkly white, the top buttons opened down the front, contrasting nicely with her dark skin. Around her waist, she had a red sash, with a long rapier tucked into one side and a vicious dagger on the other. Her smile was radiant and Harry noticed that his male Aurors were having difficulty taking their eyes off her. She reached her hand out and shook his firmly.

“Ah, Signor Potter. My name is Adelina Herminia Liliana Virginia Barretto. I am the capitan of this vessel. Welcome to the ‘Discooperire’!” Harry smiled, he didn’t believe in coincidences. Herminia? Liliana? Virginia? This seemed like a good omen, the names of three of the most important women in his life. The captain continued. “Please, forgive my English, I am Brazilian. Usually, my first mate handles the communications. Ah, here she is. Signor Potter? This is my first mate.”

A stunningly gorgeous woman gave a slight bow to Harry. Her hair was a flaming red, the color of the dawn on the horizon. Her face was beautiful, highlighted by freckles and by the bluest of eyes Harry had ever seen. She wore form fitting black riding pants tucked into black leather boots. Her blouse was black, matching her pants, and her porcelain skin contrasted in the opposite way from her captain’s. Her lips were full and pouty and Harry wondered what a few weeks at sea would do his Aurors in the presence of these two beauties. Like her captain, she had a red sash tied to her waist with a heavy cutlass tucked into the side. Around her neck, she wore a Bo’ sun’s pipe on a lanyard.

The first mate offered her hand and spoke in a light Scottish lilt that fluttered around Harry’s ears, “I’m Muireall Innes, first mate. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to make you and your party comfortable, anything at all.” She smiled and bat her beautiful eyes at him. Harry gave a shake of his head. He was beginning to wonder what a few weeks at sea would do to him. He cinched up his carry all and walked onto the ship.

Captain Barreto’s voice rang through the ship. “Make ready to get underway, Number One.”

Harry heard the mate’s melodic response, “Aye, Captain! Prepare to cast off!” The voices of the women sounded like those of an angel. Harry smacked himself on the forehead. Right now, those voices were more like a siren’s call, than an angel’s melody. He put his bag down and glanced out towards the southwest. Somewhere out there, his target was making time against him. It was time to go to work. Harry grimly gripped the railing as the ‘Discooperire’ caught the wind and began to fly across the waves.

***A/N: This will not be "The Love Boat". Don't judge the captain by her appearance, she's as competent as they come.

Hot captain and first mate FEEDBACK!


__________________

Thanks to cybobbie for the awesome sig pic!
Thanks to the best fanclub in the world!

My Fanfics:
A History of Magic: Part II - Beyond the Epilogue
Teddy Lupin and the Legacy of the Marauders ; A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era (on hiatus); You Are Cordially Invited... (First Attempt)
Reply With Quote
  #80  
Old September 27th, 2007, 2:16 pm
USNAGator91's Avatar
USNAGator91  Male.gif USNAGator91 is offline
The Godfather
 
Joined: 3583 days
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Age: 47
Posts: 1,127
Re: A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era

Chapter 81 – Two Weeks

The chase across the Atlantic bound apace. On several occasions, the ‘Discooperire’ caught sight of black sails on the horizon, with the tracking spoon turning bright amber. Captain Barreto maneuvered her vessel masterfully, but was hindered by passing squalls that interceded between the ships. On their first day out at sea, Harry briefed the lovely captain and her first officer on their mission. The gravity of the impending danger brought a brief moment of solemnity to their faces, however, the radiant smile on Captain Barreto’s face was not long lost. Gifted with a sense of timing and an inherent ability to focus on the positive, the captain accepted the challenge wholeheartedly.

“It seems to me, Signor Potter, that we must be ready for anything. The Bermuda Triangle will pose great risks, but this ship will be ready.” The captain turned to her alluring first mate. “Number One, I believe we need to start up General Quarters drills with the crew.”

Muireall Innes tossed back her flowing red hair and agreed with the captain, her voice causing Harry’s pulse to accelerate. “Aye, captain. We’ll work the gun crews and clear away the peacetime clutter. Mr. Potter, we need to discuss what we expect from your people.”

Harry smiled and looked over at Williamson, who had remained quiet during the exchange. “We’re at your disposal, Ms. Innes. Mr. Williamson is in charge of the team. Where do you see us fitting in?”

Innes paused thoughtfully. “From what I can see, your team is prepared for combat. I think we’ll use them as a ready force to repel boarders or as a boarding party, depending on the circumstances. I’ll work with Mr. Williamson to make sure we’re all working together, will that work for you Mr. Williamson?”

Williamson blushed, his face almost matching the fiery red of his robes. The noticeable effect that the first mate had on him made his voice catch in his throat. He simply nodded and gave a baleful glance at Harry. For his part, Harry appreciated his team leader’s discomfort, but was exceedingly happy that the tempting first mate seemed to focus her charms on Williamson and not on Harry. Satisfied with their overall plan, Captain Barreto adjourned the meeting.

In the time it took the ‘Discooperire’ to reach the periphery of the Triangle, Harry scoured the scores of tomes that Mr. Scatterbaugh had provided them on both the Triangle and the Atlantis legend. Atlantis had been a mighty sea power whose dominance almost three thousand years ago rivaled that of Athens. The descendants of Cleito had, at first, concentrated on expanding their overall knowledge of science and magic. Somewhere along the line, their pursuits morphed into that of conquest. The Atlanteans had expanded their influence across the whole of North Africa and into the Mediterranean. They overpowered the Phoenician colonies in modern day Morocco and Libya and destroyed the first kingdom in Carthage. They had set their sights on Egypt which brought a direct confrontation with the empire in Athens. For decades, the Athenians got the worst of the fight. In a desperate move, the Athenians rallied the other city states in Greece and fought the Atlanteans to a standstill, culminating in a mighty sea battle near the Straits of Gibraltar. The battle lasted for three weeks and was a touch and go affair. In the end, the Athenians destroyed the flagship of the Atlantean king, Atlas. As a consequence of their defeat, the Atlanteans lost favor with Zeus and the gods of Olympus, including their patron Poseidon. A great cataclysm was visited on their island kingdom and in an orgy of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, which sent Atlantis to places unknown, taking their riches and power with them.

Overjoyed with their deliverance from conquest, Egyptian scholars in the great library of Alexandria shared the history of Atlantis with Solon, a Greek poet and legislator out of Athens. Solon wrote his chronicle and the key, which was taken from the fallen Atlas’ body. Years later, Plato wrote his own chronicle, but so relieved at their near loss to the Atlanteans, the history of Atlantis was buried, until now.

Harry glanced at the spoon on the table near him. It was a canary yellow, indicating that the Malitia was well over the horizon, but still tracking to the Bimini Road. The best case was for Harry to catch Thornton before they got to the mystical gateway, but he had to be prepared for chasing him up to Atlantis and into its exterior. Harry sat back and listened to the waves against the hull and the shouts of the sailors and Aurors on the main deck as they drilled to prepare for whatever form the confrontation took.

Harry’s eyes drifted to the small shard of mirror that sat near him. For the past two weeks, he’d been getting updates from Ginny as to what was going on back home. Their conversations were about the mundane, which Harry relished because his mind would drift away from the unknown dangers they’d face. He particularly enjoyed hearing about Ron and his adventures as Hermione dealt with her pregnancy. Ginny regaled him on goings on with the Weasley family: Arthur, George, Bill and of course, the antics of Teddy Lupin.

Last night’s conversation had been particularly memorable. Andromeda Tonks had taken to allowing Teddy to idle away hours at a time at the Diagon Alley location of Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. The precocious lad wandered the aisles and back store room checking out their wares. He was especially engaged in the product testing side of the business. He appreciated that George, Verity, Lee and Dudley welcomed his input on how humorous (or not) certain product lines would be. Harry was especially taken with how much Teddy had bonded with Dudley. George and Verity were usually swamped with the financial demands of the business and with the personal demands of carrying their relationship forward. Lee and Sarah were immersed in the planning for their upcoming wedding. While Dudley and Beatrice were also moving their relationship onwards, Dudley had taken it upon himself to fill the godfather role that had been lacking with Harry’s absence. From Teddy’s perspective, he adored Dudley’s attention. Dudley didn’t treat him like a little kid, but more like a brother. Teddy liked Beatrice, especially because she worked at Flourish and Blott’s. Teddy was becoming a voracious reader and consumed the books she recommended at a frightful rate. Between Beatrice and Dudley, who was more mechanically minded, Teddy’s summer was steeped in tinkering and reading.

Dudley looked over at Teddy, who was perched on a high stool in the storeroom, watching Lee shoot spells at George, who was wearing a ring-mail vest. The spells were rebounding too sharply and the two were making adjustments to the protective charms. “Hey Teddy, I have an idea, but I’m going to need your help.”

Teddy jumped off the stool and walked over to Dudley. Every time Dudley had an idea, it usually involved tools and machines, and Teddy was always up for helping. “What is it Uncle Dudley? Do we get to take something apart? How about a car?”

Dudley smiled at his exuberance. “I’ve been talking to your Uncle Arthur. Harry’s motorbike is still sitting in his workshop under a tarp. I was thinking we could help him get in working condition for when Harry gets back. Do you feel like helping?”

Teddy’s eyes widened, this was something special. “Oh yes, Uncle Dudley. Are we going to make it work better?”

Dudley’s eyes grew excited which told Teddy that ‘better’ may be an understatement. “Oh yes. Tomorrow, we’re going to go to my apartment. We’re going to watch some movies with a character named ‘James Bond’ in them. We should be able to get some ideas for adding features to the motorbike.”

“That sounds great, Uncle Dudley. Was James Bond a wizard?” Teddy began to rub his hands together in anticipation.

Dudley laughed out loud. “No, but he had one that worked for him. His name was ‘Q’ and we might learn something from him.” Teddy’s brain began to work a mile a minute, visions of contraptions and apparatus buzzing in his head.

Ginny would share with Harry all the stories of James’ growth. In two weeks, Harry’s son had grown more confident in his walking and was now making brave steps in climbing the stairs. Ginny remarked at how patient Kreacher was with the boy, allowing James to make mistakes while not allowing him to suffer any injury or harm. James’ vocabulary was growing as he tried to communicate with those around him. One night, Ginny had been able to put the mirror to James’ eye and the toddler babbled excitedly when he saw Harry’s face in the image. Harry chuckled to himself as James mimicked the raspy tone of Kreacher’s voice and Harry could only imagine the pride that was on the house-elf’s face every time his son chatted with him.

The Ministry had taken to a more alert status, but Arthur was not one to let impending doom dissuade his efforts at cleaning up the mess, especially in the finances. Dean Thomas had done yeoman’s work in setting things straight, but momentum had really taken off when he brought Isabella Ramirez in as a consultant.

The Puerto Rican beauty was a whirlwind, cutting through the politics and getting directly to the heart of the matter. Dean marveled at her tenacity, but also at how underwhelmed she was at the mystical nature of the people she was serving. To her, they were customers with vast abilities who remarkably inept at keeping track of where galleons went on a day to day business.

“No, no, no. You can not just purchase items with credit vouchers on a whim.” Dawlish looked across the table at the dark-skinned woman, her eyes afire with conviction. Dean offered Dawlish a conciliatory glance, but kept his mouth shut.

“We need these items, Isabella.” Dawlish looked down at an invoice from Weasley’s Wheezes for various security and combat purchases. The Department of Magical Law Enforcement was in arrears by almost six months to George’s business. “One of these shirts saved Dennis Creevey’s life a couple of weeks back.”

Isabella didn’t soften her gaze. “I don’t doubt that the items are needed. All of these purchases make sense, but you have to budget for them, Mr. Dawlish. They are not free.” She uttered a stream of profanities in Spanish under her breath. “You need to prioritize these things, ask yourself, what is needed more? Do you really need to buy thirty boxes of Self-correcting Quills at thirty galleons a piece? The store sells them at less than five per box, but you are not soliciting competitive bids and that drives the price up to list. We need to be smart, Dios Mio!”

In the corner of the room, Percy chuckled to himself. He’d had doubts as whether his father would be up to the challenge, but this aspect of the Ministry restructuring had been a stroke of genius. Dean was capable, but Isabella was a marvel. His mind began to structure the announcement of a tax cut he would implement when the Ministry was working optimally. The political possibilities were endless.

Ginny was Harry’s anchor to reality. Their conversations held back the anxiety he felt as they neared the Triangle. While no replacement for holding her or touching her, the ability to touch souls through their conversation filled him with joy. He shared with her what was occurring on the ship. He described the interesting nature of the crew in detail.

“That first mate seems flirty,” she half-heartedly warned him. “I know what redheads do to you.” Now she was really giving him the business.

“She’s alright, in that buxom, alluring way, if that’s what you like.” Harry smiled. “You should see my team. Coombs and Burby are always hanging around the captain, asking inane questions about the day to day operations of the ship. Manchester is quite taken with the ship’s master at arms, or mistress at arms, and I’ve never seen Williamson so flustered before in my life. Muireall has got him wrapped around her finger.”

Ginny chuckled, and then caught herself. “How many women are on that ship?”

“About a third of the crew is female.” The silence from her caused Harry to bite his lip. He’d forgotten how hormonal pregnant women can be. “But none are as beautiful as you, love.”

It was a lame attempt, but Ginny appreciated the effort. Harry made a quick stab at humor. “Leonora calls them ‘The Amazons’.” Ginny was well acquainted with the only female Auror who’d made the trip. Leonora could more than hold her own. Most of all, Leonora Sigismund would help bring some sanity to the group, her biting sense of humor was a great antidote to the flood of testosterone in the team.

Harry felt the anxiety of his mission returning. “I miss you.” He missed James too, but right now, he needed her to know how much he missed her. She felt the change in attitude and returned the sentiment.

“I miss you too. I’m glad you found the mirrors, I’d be going mad, right about now.” She smiled and blew a kiss to him.

There was a knock at the door, Harry turned and beckoned the visitor to enter. It was Captain Barreto. “Signor Potter, you’d better come up on deck. We are about to enter the Triangle.”

Harry nodded and turned back to the mirror. “Did you hear that?” Ginny nodded, her eyes showing a trace of worry.

“Be careful, Harry. I love you.” Her face called to him and he gave her a brave smile.

“I love you, too. Give my best to James and Teddy and the family. I’ll talk to you soon.” Ginny’s image nodded and then disappeared. Harry wrapped the mirror carefully and rose. He grabbed a spyglass off the table and head out the door to see the Bermuda Triangle, the so called Graveyard of Ships, for himself.


***A/N: As you can see, I'm using the mirror conversations to keep up with news from the homefront. The Bermuda Triangle is next. I'll try to describe Bimini Road, but google it as well to see what it looks like and the theories as to how it got there.

Eerie FEEDBACK here!


__________________

Thanks to cybobbie for the awesome sig pic!
Thanks to the best fanclub in the world!

My Fanfics:
A History of Magic: Part II - Beyond the Epilogue
Teddy Lupin and the Legacy of the Marauders ; A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era (on hiatus); You Are Cordially Invited... (First Attempt)

Last edited by USNAGator91; September 27th, 2007 at 2:47 pm.
Reply With Quote
Reply
Go Back  Chamber of Secrets > Harry Potter > Flourish and Blotts

Bookmarks


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 9:27 am.


Powered by: vBulletin, Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Original content is Copyright © MMII - MMVIII, CoSForums.com. All Rights Reserved.
Other content (posts, images, etc) is Copyright © its respective owners.