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More Worlds To See

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Disclaimer: Don’t own HP or Firefly/Serenity.

4th instalment in New Worlds Series.

 

Take me out to the Black

 

“You're gonna come with us.”

 

“Excuse me?”

 

You like ships. You don't seem to be looking at the destinations. What you care about is the ships, and mine's the nicest.” Kaylee grinned as she stood up as the Shepard stopped to look the ship over.

 

“She don't look like much.”

 

“Well, she'll fool ya'. You ever sail in a Firefly?” She walked over, twirling her parasol.

 

“Long before you were crawling. Not an aught three, though. Didn't have the extenders, tended to shake.”

 

“So, uh, how come you don't care where you're going?”

 

“Cause how you get there is the worthier part.”

 

“Are you a missionary?”

 

“I guess... I'm a Shepherd, from the Southdown Abbey. Book, I'm called Book. Been out of the world for a spell. Like to walk it a while, maybe bring the word to them as need it told.”

 

“Well, I'm Kaylee. This is Serenity, and she's the smoothest ride from here to Boros for anyone who can pay.” She paused a beat, worried. “Can you pay, or...?”

 

“Well, I've got a little cash, and, uh...” He picked up a small wooden box from his luggage. He showed her the contents and she went a little bit wide-eyed, eyeing the contents lustfully.

 

“Ooh, grampa...”

 

“I never married.” He argued even as he handed over the money to join them.

 

Kaylee looked around at the sound of someone chuckling to see a guy around her age watching, a bag slung over one shoulder and she smiled. “Looking for a ride?”

 

“Where’re you headed?” He asked, walking closer.

 

“Boros.” She answered as he eyed the ship.

 

Harry studied the ship, taking in the name, Serenity. He’d been there, doing what he could for the wounded on both sides. That battle had been hell and the amount of time it had taken for relief ships to arrive had seriously made him mad. He dug out the money and handed it over to her, getting a grin. “Boros sounds good for now.” He admitted.

 

“Then welcome aboard…?”

 

“Harry Potter, miss.”

 

“I’m Kaylee, mechanic. Is this all your luggage?”

 

“I travel light.” he headed up the ramp to wait in the cargo hold, nodding in greeting to the Shepard. A while later they were joined by a serious, well dressed young man and then another man in travel worn clothes.

 

“Welcome aboard, Mr...”

 

“Dobson.” The travel worn man answered Kaylee.

 

“Dobson!” She grinned.

 

“Thank you.”

 

“We just gotta keep our heads down, do the job, pray there ain't no more surprises.” Mal told Zoe and Jayne as they approached the ship while Wash used the mule to load up a large box.

 

“Please be careful with that.”

 

“Mal, this is Simon. Simon, this is our captain.” Kaylee introduced the two men who sixed each other up.

 

“Captain Reynolds.” Simon greeted.

 

“Welcome aboard.” He turned to Kaylee. “This all we got?” She nodded and he moved into the cargo bay as the passengers stored their luggage.

 

“Now we have a boatful of citizens right on top of our... stolen cargo.” She whispered. “That's a fun mix.”

 

“Ain't no way in the 'verse they could find that compartment, even—“ He cut off as Dobson walked by. “Even if they were lookin' for it.”

 

“Why not?”

 

Mal was thrown by the question. “Cause...?” He offered and she shook her head.

 

“Oh yeah, this is gonna go great.”

 

“If anyone gets nosy, just, you know...shoot 'em.”

 

“Shoot 'em?”

 

“Politely.” Mal answered even as Wash called over the intercom that Inara had docked. He moved towards the controls for the cargo bay doors. “Kaylee, I'm locking it up!”

 

Kaylee looked around once, grabbing her folding chair and parasol. “All aboard...” She whispered before moving in, the doors closing behind her.

 

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Harry stood with the other passengers in the galley as the crew joined them.

 

“Meals are taken up here in the dining area, the kitchen is pretty much self-explanatory, you're welcome to eat what there is any time, what there is, is pretty standard fare, I guess, protein in all the colours of the rainbow. We do have sit-down meals, the next one being at about 1800.” Mal explained, obviously not comfortable speaking to them all like he was. Harry figured Serenity wasn’t usually a passenger ship.

 

“I think Shepherd Book has offered to help me prepare something.”

 

“You're a Shepherd?”

 

“Thought the outfit gave it away. Is it a problem?”

 

“Of course not!” Kaylee denied and then looked at Mal. “It's no problem, 'cause it's not.”

 

“No.” He agreed and then looked to the group again. “As I said, you're welcome to visit the dining area any time. Apart from that, I have to ask you to stay in the passenger dorm while we're in the air. The bridge, the engine room, cargo bay -- they're all off limits without an escort.”

 

“Some of my personal effects are in the cargo bay.” Simon said and Mal nodded.

 

“I figure you all got luggage you're gonna need to get into. Soon as we're done here we'll be happy to fetch 'em with you. Now I have to tell you all one other thing and I apologize in advance for the inconvenience. Unfortunately, we've been ordered by the Alliance to drop some medical supplies off on Whitefall. It's the fourth moon on Athens, a little out of our way, but we should have you on Boros no more than a day off schedule.”

 

“What medical supplies?” Harry asked, he doubted there were any medical supplies aboard except what was in the ships infirmary.

 

“I honestly didn't ask.”

 

“Probably plasma, insulin, whatever they ain't got enough of on the border moons.” Zoe answered.

 

“Alliance says jump...”

 

“All right.”

 

“Zoe, you wanna take 'em to the cargo bay?”

 

“Yes, Sir.”

 

“Anything else you need, just...ask. We, uh, we're here to serve.” Mal and Wash turned around and walked toward the door leading to the bridge while everyone else headed for the cargo bay except Harry who headed for the passenger dorm to grab a bed. “Did you send word to Patience?”

 

“Ain't heard back yet. Didn't she shoot you one time?”

 

“Everybody's makin' a fuss.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

Harry nodded as the Shepard joined him in the room and took the other bed. “I hope you don’t mind.”

 

“No problem Shepard. Going to stay on Boros or keep travelling?”

 

“I don’t know yet; I’ll have to see what happens. And you?”

 

“Haven’t found anywhere I want to stay in a long time.” Harry admitted. “I like travelling. And thank you very much for supplying the fresh food.”

 

“That was my pleasure. And what do you think of Serenity?”

 

“So far? She’s a good ship with a crew very loyal to their captain.” Book nodded, he’d seen that too. They fell quiet and each read for a while until a noise in the corridor had them both sitting up. Harry put his book aside and slipped off the bed, moving silently to the door, Book following him. they saw Dobson and then they saw the gun he was carrying. “Stay here or go get the crew.” Harry hissed before slipping out to follow the other man. He saw him grab something from his bag and use it before heading for the cargo bay. Harry waited, pulling up a mental map of a firefly before taking another hall.

 

“Forget your toothpaste?” Mal slugged him, sending him sprawling.

 

“Are you out of your mind?” Simon demanded, one hand against his lip as he sprawled on the floor.

 

“Yeah, just about. What'd you tell them?”

 

Simon stood up and stared in confusion. “Tell who?”

 

Mal drew his gun, putting it in Simon's face. “I have exactly no time for games. What do they know?”

 

“You're a lunatic.”

 

“And you're a gorram fed.”

 

“Hate to say it, Captain, but you've got the wrong man.” Harry called as he joined them. Both men turned to him. A beat, and both Mal and Simon realised Harry was looking behind them. Slowly, they turned the other way, and understand his meaning. Dobson stood on the stairs, holding a gun on Mal.

 

“Son of a bitch.”

 

“Drop that firearm, Captain Reynolds.”

 

Mal hesitated and then obeyed. “This is not my best day ever.”

 

Dobson moved the gun to pointed it at Simon. “Simon Tam, you are bound by law to stand down.”

 

Mal took a moment to realise the man was after Simon. “What -- the doctor? Oh. Is there-is there a reward?”

 

Dobson ignored Mal, focusing on Simon. The bumbling traveller was now a very intense, tightly wound cop. “Get on the ground. Get on the ground!”

 

“Lawman, you are making a mistake.” Simon tried.

 

“I think you best get on the ground, son. The man seems a mite twitchy.”

 

“I think everybody could stand to calm down a bit.” Harry offered, slowly moving towards the armed man and sending a wandless calming charm at him.

 

“This isn't your business.”

 

“The boy's not going anywhere, lawman. It's pretty cold outside and I doubt he can hold his breath that long.”

 

Mal moved casually for his gun. “Not to worry. Put Lord Fauntleroy here in a passenger cell -- won't make a peep 'til you hand him over to –“

 

Dobson pointed the gun at Mal again. “Get the hell away from that weapon! You think I'm a complete backbirth? You're carrying a fugitive across interplanetary borders, and you think I actually believe you're bringing medical supplies to Whitefall? As far as I care, everyone on this ship is culpable.”

 

“Well now. That has an effect on the landscape.” Mal said and Harry sighed, of course this guy was resistant to magic, he couldn’t be that lucky. But he did silently reinforce the walls, not wanting a shot to pierce the hull if people started shooting.

 

“Please, we're very close to true stupidity here –“ Book called as he entered the bay and Harry glanced around, spotting Jayne and Zoe nearby.

 

“I got a cruiser en route for intercept, so talk all you want. You got about twenty minutes.”

 

“Might have less than that.” Mal stated coolly.

 

“Yeah, threaten me…”

 

“For God's sake –“

 

“You think I wouldn't shoot a Shepherd? Back off!” Dobson yelled to him and Harry as they moved to bracket him.

 

Mal grabbed Simon -- and everybody's shouting – “Just take the kid!”

 

‘Get your hands off me –“

 

“Stand the hell down –“

 

“Everybody just stop it! Stop it!”

 

Kaylee walked in through the other door. “Why's everybody –“ Dobson spun and fired. Kaylee stumbled backwards, slamming into the wall – “What...” She put her hands to her belly, blood running through her fingers. Kaylee slumped to the ground as Simon and Harry rushed to her, Mal dove for his weapon, Jayne drew his, Dobson swung to fire at Mal -- -- and Book was in Dobson's face, a brutal jab in the throat as he grabbed his gun-hand whip-quick, twisted and pulled the gun out, cracking Dobson across the face with it in the same motion and Dobson was down in seconds.

 

“Kaylee!” Inara screamed form the catwalk as the two dark haired men knelt beside her. They worked together to gently settle her on her back and both grimaced at the sight of the wound.

 

“You have training?” Simon asked.

 

“Field medic.” Harry answered quickly. How do you feel?” He asked Kaylee.

 

“A little odd.” She answered, blinking slowly.

 

Jayne moved toward Dobson with a purpose, gun in hand, and Book turned to face him. “Outta the way.”

 

“You're not killing this man.”

 

‘Not right away...”

 

“He's no threat.”

 

Kaylee was whimpering. “Why did he...?”

 

Simon opened Kaylee's jumpsuit, examining the wound. He shared a look with Harry who nodded, agreeing with his unspoken assessment, it was not good.

 

“Oh, well, that ain't hardly a mosquito bite.” Mal offered her a smile.

 

“Big mosquito...” She mumbled as Inara rushed over, joining them. Inara pulled off her robe and bunched it under Kaylee's head.

 

“Move.” Jayne ordered and Book shook his head.

 

“Not gonna happen. “

 

Jayne raised his gun. “I ain't joking with you, Preacher.”

 

“Jayne!” She had her gun out, pointed at Jayne. “Just tie him up. Do it.” A moment, and Jayne holstered his piece, moving to get some duct tape.

 

“Can you move your feet? Kaylee. Stay with me. Can you move your feet?” Simon called.

 

“Are you asking me to dance...?” Her eyes rolled back.

 

“She's going into shock.” Harry snapped, checking her pulse.

 

“Kaylee, mei-mei, you have to focus.” Inara urged.

 

“The gun, Shepherd. Please.” Zoe held her hand out and he handed her the gun.

 

Simon pushed on Kaylee's stomach and she screamed. “The infirmary working?”

 

“Yeah, we got it stocked.” The three men moved to pick her up without jostling her.

 

“Captain, we've been hailed by a Cruiser. Ordered to stay on course and dock for prisoner transfer.” Wash called over the comm.

 

Mal and Simon looked at each other. Simon rose and stepped away from Kaylee. He was tense, but surprisingly calm. “Change course. Run.”

 

“Hell with you. You brought this down on us, I'm dumping you with the law.”

 

“Mal...” Inara tried to interrupt but the two ignored her even as Harry took his shirt off to use it to slow the bleeding.

 

“She's dying.” Simon pointed out.

 

“You're not gonna let her.”

 

“Yes, I am.”

 

“No, you can't.”

 

“No way the Feds'll let us walk.” Zoe added and it as true.

 

“Then we dump him in the shuttle and leave him for them.”

“Everybody's so mad...” Kaylee mumbled.

 

“It's okay, baby.”

 

“Do you know what a stomach wound does to a person?” Simon asked.

 

“I surely do.”

 

“Then you know how crucial the next few minutes are. She needs a surgeon, not a medic.” He glanced at Harry who nodded. Oh, he had the skills after being a doctor many times but they didn’t know that.

 

“You let her die, you'll never make it to the Feds.” Zoe snarled.

 

“She'll still be dead.”

 

“You rich kids, you think your lives are the only thing that matters. What'd you do? Kill your folks for the family fortune?”

 

“I don't kill people!”

 

“Then do your job!”

 

“Turn the ship around!”

 

“Enough! Captain, do it.” Harry snapped at the bickering pair. “She doesn’t have time to waste.”

 

“Don't ever tell me what to do on my –“ Mal started but Kaylee screamed again as Harry pressed firmly. “Zoe. Change course.”

 

“Help me get her up.” Simon ordered and they lifted her between them, heading for the infirmary.

 

Zoe hit the com. “Wash, change course and go for hard burn. We're runnin'.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

Harry took his bloody gloves off and leant against the counter, tired from over five hours of surgery.

 

“I can't do anything more until she stabilizes.”

 

“Will she?” Mal asked, he hadn’t left her side so they’d let him stay and monitor her vitals while they had worked to remove the bullet shards and fix the organs that had been hit.

 

“I can't say yet.” Simon admitted.

 

“I want know what's going on here.” Inara looked between the men from where she’d been hovering in the doorway.

 

“Well then why don't we find out?” He moved quickly from the room.

 

“What are you... no! No!” Simon followed at a run.

 

Harry remained with Kaylee, unwilling to leave her when she was still so close to death. He gently brushed some hair from her face, he liked her, she was so sunny and generally nice. He wouldn’t let her die. It was a shock a few minutes later when Inara and Simon returned with a naked and obviously disorientated girl who Simon quickly sedated. “Who?” he looked at Inara.

 

“Simon’s sister River.”

 

“Huh. Well this trip is definitely not boring.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

“You’re different.” Harry looked over at where River had been sleeping but now she was staring at him.

 

“Oh?”

 

“So quiet, everyone else is noisy and I can’t shut it out.” She whimpered and Harry moved to gently clasp her hands.

 

“Shh, it’s alright, just focus on me.” He whispered and then he gently reached out to her mind, finding she was wide open. “Those monsters.” He hissed and she stared at him in shock.

 

“You’re like me?”

 

“This is the captain.” The com came on and they fell silent. “We're passing another ship. Looks to be Reavers. From the size, probably a raiding party. Could be they're headed somewhere particular, could be they've already hit someone and they're full up. So everyone stay calm. We try to run; they'll have to chase us. It's their way. We're holding course. We should be passing 'em in a minute, so we'll see what they do. Zoe, you come on up to the bridge.”

 

River whimpered and Harry soothed her gently. “It’ll be okay; I won’t let them hurt you or anyone else on board. Promise. Just go back to sleep.” Okay so magic was cheating but the poor girl needed sleep to allow her mind to try and heal.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

“You are psychotic.” Wash managed to get out past laughter.

 

“No, but you should have seen his face... Oh... I'm a bad man.”

 

“And Kaylee's really okay?”

 

“Yeah. Tell the truth, I didn't expect her to heal this quick. Doctor and Potter know their trade; I'll give them that.”

 

Wash looked at the console as it beeped. “We're being hailed.”

 

“That'd be Patience. We're close enough for vid. Put her up.”

 

“Malcolm Reynolds?”

 

“Hello, Patience.”

 

“I have to say I didn't look to be hearing from you anytime soon.”

 

“Well, we may not have parted on the best of terms. I realize certain words were exchanged. Also, certain... bullets. But that’s air through the engine. It's past. We're business people. Besides, your days of fightin' over salvage rights are long behind you, what I hear. What are you, mayor now?”

 

“Just about. You telling the truth about that cargo? 'Cause your asking price is a bit too reasonable for that much treasure.”

 

“It's imprinted -- Alliance -- hence the discount.”

 

“Oh, government goods, huh?”

 

“That doesn't work for ya, no harm. Just thought you could use –“

 

“Alliance don't scare me. Just collating data, as they say. I like that you're up front about it. We can deal. I'll upload coordinates for a rendezvous point outside of town.”

 

“See you in the world.” He hit a button, ending the talk. He stared down at the console for a long beat. “I believe that woman's planning to shoot me again.”

 

“She meant to pay you, she'd'a haggled you down some.” Jayne agreed.

 

“Just a little effort to hide it would've been –“ Wash fell silent as Mal knocked his dinosaurs off the console.

 

“Sir, we don't have to deal with her.”

 

“Yes, we do.”

 

“Here's a little concept I been workin' on. Why don't we shoot her first?”

 

“It is her turn.”

 

“That doesn't get us what we need, either.’

 

“There's moons on this boat we ain't seen. We could try our luck – “

 

“Our luck?” Mal snapped angrily. “You notice anything particular about our luck these past few days? Any kind of pattern? You depend on luck, you end up on the drift -- no fuel, no prospects.... beggin' for Alliance make-work. And towed out to the scrap belt. That ain't us. Not ever. Patience has got the money to pay, and she will, one way or another. There's obstacles in our path, and we're gonna deal with them. One by one. We'll get through this. We will.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

“He took her.” Kaylee gasped out in pain as Harry walked back into the infirmary. He picked her up and gently set her back on the bed.

 

“Dobson and River?” He asked and she nodded. “I’ll handle it; you stay in that bed.” He ordered and she nodded as he quickly covered her with the blanket before heading for the cargo bay. Laws existed for a reason yes but this lawman was taking it too far. Then again from what Simon had told them the Alliance was moving even deeper into corruption. How did they think they’d get away with what they were doing to the children for very long? They were lucky no one found out before Simon. And what the hell were his parents doing to not act for their daughters’ sake? He moved silently across the catwalks until he was above Dobson and then he dropped down on top of the other man, sending them both sprawling but he recovered faster, moving both guns out of reach even as Dobson scrambled up. River backed away while Harry attacked, letting his anger out on the Fed.

 

“Reavers! Reavers incoming and headed straight for us. We are in the air in one minute.” Wash’s voice came over the comm and Harry grimaced. Simon came running into the bay and grabbed River, pulling her further away as Book joined them, blood trickling down his face. Harry kicked Dobson down the ramp and onto the dirt even as three horses thundered up. A single shot sounded and the Fed dropped even as Mal strode on board, holstering his gun. Harry nodded and moved back as they all came up the ramp.

 

“Wash we’re on!” Zoe called into the comm as the ramp closed.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

“The lawman said they'd keep looking for her. Something about her brain being all special. Important to the Alliance brass. Sooner we dump them two, the better.”

 

“Suppose so.” Jayne got up to leave. “Funny how the lawman got out of his room. You having tied him up so well and all.”

 

“I didn't have nothing to do with that. Anyway it all turned out just fine. Buzzards're the only ones gonna find him...”

 

“But he did try to make a deal with you, right?” He looked at Jayne, who said nothing. “How come you didn't turn on me, Jayne?”

 

“Money wasn't good enough.”

 

“What happens when it is?’

 

Jayne smiled. “Well... that'll be an interesting day.”

 

“Imagine it will.”

 

Jayne left, rudely bumping into Simon, who was on his way in. Simon came up next to Mal and saw Mal's arm was a bit bloody.

 

“You need me to look at that?”

 

“Just a graze.”

 

“So, where do you plan on dumping us?”

 

“There's places you might be safe. You want the truth, though, you're probably safer on the move.” He turned to face him. “And we never stop moving.”

 

“I'm confused. No wait, I -- I think maybe you're confused.”

 

“It may have become apparent to you that the ship could use a medic. You ain't weak. I don't know how bright you are, top three percent, but you ain't weak and that's not nothing. You live by my rule, you keep your sister from doing anything crazy, you could maybe find a place here. 'Til you find a better.”

 

“I'm trying to put this as delicately as I can... How do I know you won't kill me in my sleep?”

 

“You don't know me, son. So let me explain this to you once: If I ever kill you, you'll be awake, you'll be facing me, and you'll be armed.”

 

Simon smiled slightly. “Are you always this sentimental?”

 

“Had a good day.”

 

“You had the Alliance on you, criminals and savages... half the people on the ship have been shot or wounded including yourself, and you're harbouring known fugitives.”

 

Mal looked out at the black sky. “We're still flying.”

 

“That's not much.”

 

Mal answered, almost to himself. “It's enough.” A beat, then Simon went. Mal just kept looking ahead. “What about you, leaving or staying?”

 

Harry stepped onto the bridge and moved up beside the Captain. “Leaving at Boros, some business’ come up I have to deal with.”

 

“Thought you looked familiar so I looked you up, Lieutenant.”

 

Harry shrugged. “That was six years ago. I have to ask, why name your ship after the battle we lost?’

 

“Cause it felt right.”

 

“Well I hope I run into you again Captain. You’ve got a doctor now but if you need a medic…”

 

Mal nodded and Harry left the bridge.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

Harry waved as the crew finished loading up before turning and disappearing into the crowds of the docks on Boros. He made his way to the more affluent cities and then booked passage for New Cardiff, Londinium. He’d been there once shortly after arriving in this universe to get a feel for the government. At the time he had found it corrupt, as most governments were, but it worked well enough. Then the Unification war had started and he’d chosen to join the Independents, wanting to know what they were fighting for. And he’d found he believed in their cause. In the last six years he’d stuck to the boarder planets, using his medical skills to help people and pay for passage most of the time. But now he was going back to do something he had only done once or twice, confront a government with an ultimatum, clean up or he’d do it for them.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

Harry walked towards the city inside a city that was the Parliament buildings and their protective barracks. No one paid any attention to him as he walked right through the front gates, invisible to even the cameras that were always watching. He walked right into the room where Parliament was meeting along with several Department Heads, sealing the doors and making sure all weapons were inoperable before becoming visible. There were gasps and calls for guards before Harry snarled. “SIT DOWN!” unsurprisingly they did. “A government is meant to protect its citizens, to do what is best for them. Congratulations, you have failed miserably.” He placed a pensieve down and began playing the memories for all to see, watching their reactions. Only River had known his plan from Serenity and she had willingly shared her memories of the Academy and the torture there on the chance that it could help. One way or another the Alliance was going to change.

 

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“Mal! You have to see this! Everyone!” Wash shouted and they all scrambled onto the bridge. They all watched in shock as the government admitted to the real reasons behind the Unification War, their various war crimes, the Academy, everything. A pardon for Simon and River Tam as read out as well, much to his shock. River just smiled secretively, Harry had done it.

 

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Simon and River stood at the bottom of Serenity’s ramp, staring at the couple across from them. There were no hugs or tears of joys as two abandoned children stared at the parents who had chosen the government and safety over their own children. In the end River turned and went back aboard without saying a word and Simon followed her.

 

“Children are the greatest gift you can be given and you squandered that gift. You chose to listen blindly to a corrupt government instead of your own flesh and blood.” A soft voice stated and they turned to see a Companion watching them. She then moved and boarded the ship as well. The Tams just stood and watched as the ship took off with their children aboard.

 

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“Harry!” River called, laughing as she threw herself at the medic who laughed and caught her.

 

“Been practicing?”

 

“Every day.” She smiled and curled into his side as he wrapped an arm around her. She led him back to the ship and he smiled at seeing her. After two years of ‘fixing’ the government it was good to see the ship that had started it all.

 

“It’s Harry!” Kaylee yelled as she spotted them and soon the whole crew was there to say hello.

 

“Where’s Book?”

 

“He left a month ago to settle down with a whole mining town to teach.” Inara answered and Harry stared in shock at Kaylee’s rounded stomach before glancing at a very content Simon.

 

“Congratulations.”

 

“Thanks Harry.”

 

Of course then Zoe came into sight with a baby on her hip and Harry shook his head. “I think I missed a lot. That’s if there’s room Captain?”

 

Mal made a show of thinking it over before nodding and holding his hand out to Harry who grasped it. “Welcome aboard Mr Potter.

 

THE END

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: Don’t own HP or Jurassic World.

 

Here There Be Dinosaurs

 

He would think this was a very boring world…except they had one thing no other he had been too had. Dinosaurs. They had actual, living, dinosaurs. Oh it was very hush hush, companies and governments trying to cover up what had happened but he’d gotten access, as an excellent pilot working on a genetics degree Her Majesty’s Government had let him see what records they had. Once he’d graduated he’d left the Air Force to pursue another degree as there was no access to either island except for people employed by a Mr Masrani. So that was his goal, to get employed and see what prehistoric delights lived in the twenty first century. With his knowledge of vastly superior science that would be no problem. Tomorrow his final paper would be published and it should be enough to get the interest of the company. He knew it would mean being employed in a lab but he knew he would get to see some at some point.

 

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Harry got off the boat, backpack over one shoulder, and stared around at the massive construction site. Despite all the trouble caused by the islands they were attempting to build a park, again. Hopefully this one would work and no one would die. A horn got his attention and an ATV pulled up.

 

“Potter?”

 

“That’s me.”

 

“Name’s Jim. Hop on and I’ll get you to the employee housing section so you can freshen up and eat. You have a four o’clock meeting with Miss Dearing and Dr Wu.” Harry got on behind him and held on, watching the various construction going on until they left the area through a gate and came to a series of rather bland houses. “This is you.” Jim parked and Harry got off, accepting the key. “I’ll pick you up at quarter to.”

 

“Thanks.” Harry gave a wave and went to see his new home. Everything was rather bland but top of the line, Masrani wanted his employees happy after all. He put his backpack away and noticed the rest of his belongings had already been delivered. It was tempting to cheat in unpacking but he didn’t think it worth the risk. He grabbed some clean clothes and headed for the shower. He dressed in clean light weight slacks and a shirt before grabbing a sandwich and exploring his house. It wouldn’t take much to make it homey, though it would be nice once the construction was all done and it was quieter. Jim picked him up and took him to one of the complete sections, then again the command centre and labs were necessary to get everything else up and running. He signed in and accepted his shiny id badge before heading for the indicated elevator and heading up to meet his bosses.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

Claire was surprised by how young the Doctor who got off the elevator looked. She’d seen a picture but had assumed it was a few years old, but his birthdate had been there too. Only twenty-four and he held two doctorates, one in palaeontology and the other in genetic engineering, it made him a perfect fit for the park. Then again with the media the islands had gotten over the years there were several people who had begun tailoring their education in the hope of working with dinosaurs. “Welcome to Jurassic World Dr Potter.” She held her hand out and he shook it firmly.

 

“Thank you Ms Dearing.”

 

“This is Doctor Henry Wu, the head or the department.” She introduced the two and they shook hands. “Take a seat and we will discuss your position here.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

Harry collapsed on his bed, mind spinning. The labs were top of the line for this time period and he was looking forward to working in them. What he didn’t like was his boss. Dr Wu felt…. off. He was definitely hiding something, and from Ms Dearing as well. With the cursed Potter luck, he knew whatever it was would come back to bite him at some point. Without reading the man’s mind there was nothing he could do. For now, they would be working on creating several species of dinosaur to be ready for when the park opened, species that would draw crowds. Sadly, he wouldn’t get to work on a T-Rex, no dear old Suzie was an original inhabitant and there would be no more until she died of old age. They had another four years until the park opened to the public and he was looking forward to having all that time without loads of people on the island. Apparently there were even some dinosaurs roaming the island from the original park, mostly small herbivores and he wanted to go and see them at some point, not like they were any real threat to him after all.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

Harry watched as the egg cracked, practically vibrating in excitement. His first dinosaur was about to hatch! “Come on, there’s a girl.” He called softly and finally a small head broke through and he smiled even as he picked the hatchling up to gently clean. Microceratus may be the smallest dinosaurs being bred for the island but he didn’t care, he was just glad they were hatching. He moved the new baby to the crèche and waited for the rest to hatch.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

“What about some sort of water based dinosaur?” Alex asked and they all considered it, bring up information on different species on their tablets. Soon there was discussion on what type to try and where to have the exhibit. Various types were suggested such as Liopleurodon, Sulcusuchus, Thalassomedon and Ichthyosaurs. A Megalodon was even suggested but eventually discarded as too big, not to mention the threat of such a massive shark should it manage to get into open water. In the end it took three hours for them to agree to trying to bring back a Mosasaurus. Technically it wasn’t a dinosaur but it was big and impressive, a marine predator that would definitely bring in visitors. Wu signed off on it and then left and Harry went to hand the paperwork to Claire so that the engineers would know they needed a new kind of enclosure. In the end the sealed off the lagoon, giving the future animal 11,000,000 L to live in. Even a fully grown Mosasaurus should be fine in it.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

“Hi, Owen Grady.”

 

“Harry Potter, welcome to Jurassic World.” They shook hands. “So you’re the crazy person they brought in to work with Raptors.”

 

“I’ve worked with a lot of animals.”

 

“I know, I’ve seen your CV and you are qualified but dinosaurs are nothing like modern animals.” He warned and Grady nodded as they walked through the labs, heading for a quarantined hatchery. “So ex-Navy?”

 

“Yeah, you?”

 

“Royal Air Force, joined as soon as I was eligible. Got my genetics degree through them. Quite to do palaeontology. I admit, there are days I miss flying.”

 

“Give me a boat any day.” They chuckled and came to a door.

 

“Right, your employee id gives you access here but none of the other labs.” Harry swiped his card and opened the door, watching as Owen instantly focused on the six eggs.

 

“Six?” He hadn’t thought there were meant to be so many.

 

“Contingency. Despite years of breeding dinosaurs, we still lose some before they hatch and others during infancy. Odds are only three of these will make it to adulthood.” Harry explained as Owen approached the eggs.

 

He raised a hand and then looked back to Harry. “Can I?”

 

“Of course.” Harry smiled as Owen gently touched one of the eggs.

 

“Hello beautiful.” He whispered.

 

“I’ll leave you to it.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

Harry stood amongst the crowd of staff watching the screens as the first boat load of visitors pulled into the dock. Jurassic World was officially open for business! He watched the excited families pour off the boat and head for the monorail that would bring them into the park proper. From there they would check into the state of the art hotel before festivities began. Every conceivable safety measure was in place, hopefully it would work. If anything happened here, like in the original park, it would be a massacre since they now had visitors. At least he and Owen had managed to convince everyone to keep the Raptors out of the exhibits. Owens four babies had a very secure enclosure well away from the public. His lab was out of the public eye too thankfully, though he would be working the main floor as well. It made him feel like an animal at the zoo and that was when he worked there without visitors! Since they didn’t want the docks crowded with staff several monitors around the less public areas had been set up so they could watch the first arrivals. He felt sorry for Claire since she was stuck down there with a bunch of suits and Wu.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

Harry shook hands with Mr Hoskins and fought the urge to squeeze tight enough to break the InGen heads hand. If he’d thought what he got of Wu was bad, Vic was even worse. And technically Wu worked for InGen, not Masrani like Harry did. Masrani might own InGen but there was also a board to worry about. Added to that Hoskins interest in the Raptors and Harry had a really bad feeling. Owen had been hired by InGen, but it was obvious that his ‘girls’ were his priority, who knew what would happen if they tried to replace them.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

“Guess the rumours are true then?” Harry asked as he walked up to the ‘Cage’. Owen looked up and sighed.

 

“Where’d you hear?”

 

“Break room.” He answered even as he saw the raptors move to see him. “Hello beauties.” He called and then turned back to their trainer and Alpha. “So?”

 

“It was a disaster alright! We have nothing in common and…urgh.”

 

“Technically you do, you both work here.”

 

“Very funny doc.”

 

“Sorry. At least you’re out here, you won’t have to see her every day.”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“Hey, maybe in time when things are calmer round here you can try again.” He offered.

 

“Doubt it.”

 

“Come on, steaks and beer, my treat.”

 

“Thanks.”

 

“Just grab a shower first.” He grinned and ran back to his bike.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

“Ms Dearing?” Harry broke into a run as he spotted the distinctive red hair. He dropped to his knees beside her and she groaned in embarrassment. “Where are you hurt?” He asked, carefully scanning her for injuries.

 

“Left ankle.” She answered even as his scan came back, the bone was cracked. He gently probed the area with his fingers and she yelped.

 

“What happened?”

 

“Hoskins, that man… I had to get out of the office for a while and I just started walking.”

 

“Okay, I’m going to pick you up.” He warned as he slipped an arm under her knees. She stiffened but then wrapped her arms around his neck and he stood. “My house is just over there; I’ll call medical from there.” He explained as he carried her over. He settled her on the couch and then went to call medical and then her assistant so no one would panic over her being missing. Soon a car pulled up and a medic checked her over before moving her to the infirmary for X-rays.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

Harry grinned as he watched the first Mosasaurus feeding show from the sidelines. She was finally getting the hang of how they fed her shark and had adapted to the schedule so it meant visitors got more than just seeing her through the windows into the lagoon. She was a beauty and if the worst happened and she ever got into open water at least it was unlikely she would attack humans or boats as she was a bit skittish. The crowds were screaming in delight as they were splashed when she breached to grab the shark and then slammed back into the water.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

“He wants to what?” Harry asked in utter disbelief and Owen shrugged. “Tell me he was joking.”

 

“I don’t know. Hoskins seems to want a lot more from this program than just testing how smart by girls are.”

 

Harry snorted and then drank his beer. “I don’t need any program to tell me any raptor is scarily smart, I’ve seen the reports from Grant and Malcom. Before you they were the most experienced with live Raptors. Plus, I was there when the first lot were bred, before they brought you in. Those three were utter terrors with how they could get into anything. You would have loved them.”

 

“Sounds like it. What happened to them?” Owen drank his own beer and finished off his steak.

 

“They died. An idiot came into the labs with a virus and the girls were infected, couldn’t shake it. Vicky died pretty quick but Daisy and Moly ended up being put down as a kindness. Idiot got fired over it too.”

 

“I’m sorry.”

 

“Yeah. Your girls have stronger immune systems, I made sure of it. Dinosaurs weren’t meant to be able to fight off human diseases so we’ve tweaked them all since then.”

 

“Any other ‘tweaking’? Owen asked warily and Harry shook his head.

 

“Not in any I’ve handled. All I do is give them the chance to live long, healthy lives. What the others do I’m not sure and there’s been talk…it’s probably nothing but a few of the newbies want to see how much we can do.”

 

“There’s a scary thought.”

 

“Oh yeah.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

Harry clapped and cheered with everyone else as Claire blew out the candles on the massive cake. Jurassic World had been open for five years now. There had been a few close calls as a lot of the security measures were experimental but no one had been eaten or even chewed. There’d been injuries due to guest stupidity of course but that happened in all parks. As the staff broke up into groups he joined Owen, Barry and the Raptor crew to eat, he preferred their company to that of his fellow scientists. With the time he spent observing the Raptors they all viewed him as an honorary member of the group.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

Harry studied the DNA sequence closely as the computers ran it. They were adding a new species to the Cretaceous Cruise to keep people interested. It was risky adding a predator but Baryonyx liked sushi, not steak so it was considered safe enough. Now all he had to do was get a good enough DNA sample to bring one to life. He’d been searching for a few months and finally he had a promising sample. Oh it wasn’t complete, the never were, but this had far fewer ‘holes’ than any of the others he’d run. So he began working on simulations, using various animals to fill the holes. It took another three weeks but finally he decided that fresh water crocodiles from Australia were the best match. Once that was done he and his team went to work merging the two for real in order to fertilise some eggs. After that all they could do was wait and see what hatched.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

“Ms Dearing.” Harry greeted as he spotted her entering the lab.

 

“Doctor Potter, could I have a moment of your time?”

 

“Of course.” He saved his work and then followed her out of the labs and into the bamboo forest that was near the Discovery Centre. “What can I do for you?”

 

“The board has approved a new dinosaur; they’re worried about the drop in visitor numbers.”

 

“We are still the best visited park in the world, a dip is hardly something to worry about.”

 

“Maybe. Dr Wu will personally be working on this one but I’d like you to work with Asset Containment in making its enclosure. You work closely with the Raptor handlers so you know better than most what it takes to keep them contained.”

 

“Just what sort of dinosaur has the board approved? Tell me we aren’t talking a pack of Utahraptor or something? Owen’s girls are bad enough, we don’t need a bigger, deadlier breed of raptor running around.”

 

“No, not a pack of Utahraptor. They have decided on a genetically engineered species.” She answered and Harry stared at her in shock.

 

“Are they out of their minds? It’s hard enough figuring out how to handle dinosaurs we have fossils for. They want to make one? Of course it’s going to be a carnivore? Scarier than Suzie? This is a disaster waiting to happen Claire!” Harry paced and gestured as he spoke and she let him.

 

“Henry knows what he’s doing.”

 

Harry just shook his head. “This park has managed six years with no major incidents because we learned from Hammonds mistakes. Now they want to make the same mistake he did, assuming you can control an animal you know nothing about.” He turned to head back to his lab.

 

“This is confidential.” She called and he waved a hand. He was going to go build a bunker under his house for when this blew up in their faces.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

“What’s gotten into you lately?” Owen asked as he flipped some burgers, glancing at Harry who was lounging on the stairs to his bungalow.

 

“Classified info.”

 

“That bad?”

 

“The board are idiots and I’m digging a bunker under my house.”

 

“Oh.”

 

“I’d also like to borrow your rile to shoot Wu.”

 

“So new dino.”

 

“You didn’t hear it from me.” Harry drank his Coke; he didn’t feel like alcohol. He’d considered memory charming the board and Wu into forgetting their stupid idea but that wouldn’t stop them coming up with it again at some point. His bunker was all nice and ready thanks to magic and he had the weapons that could harm something as thick skinned as a dinosaur ready to call to his hand in an instant. “And it’ll be a few years till it’s a real concern. Just…keep your eyes and ears open.”

 

“Got it.” He served up the burgers and they sat to eat. He’d never thought his best friends on this island would be a crazy Frenchman and a scientist. But Harry wasn’t like the other scientists, maybe because he’d been in the Air Force first, not to mention how young he’d been when hired compared to the others. No, he was a member of the Raptor Gang. His girls even liked the man, always knowing as soon as he was anywhere near their paddock. And Harry was never afraid of them, he respected the girls but he wasn’t afraid of them.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

Over the next few months the labs became a different place as Wu worked on his secret project, sometimes giving others pieces of the puzzle but never enough to figure out what he was doing. Harry didn’t like it at all but there wasn’t much anyone but the board or Masrani could do to change things. Finally, two years after getting the go ahead Henry was all smiles, his eggs had hatched successfully. While everyone else cheered Harry couldn’t help the sinking feeling in his stomach.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

Harry looked over the plans and shook his head. “The walls need to be taller yes, but this enclosure is too small for animals that large. The paddock needs to be at least as large as the T-Rex one if they’re going to be bigger than Suzie, plus there are two of them.”

 

“Making it that large will take too long.”

 

“Then put them in a temporary enclosure until it’s finished. It’s like you want something to go wrong. Put invisible fencing around the paddock as well for extra security. And don’t make the doors large enough for an un-sedated animal to get through once fully grown.” And so the debate continued.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

Harry looked at the paddock and shook his head, it was bigger than originally planned but not as big as he had recommended. At least it no longer had to hold two. The fact that this dinosaur had killed and eaten its own sibling worried him, killing a sibling if competing for resources was natural, but these two weren’t competing. The only thing he knew was the base genome was a T-Rex, T-Rex’s did not eat their siblings. They lived in family groups! Something was seriously wrong, what else had Wu mixed in? He wouldn’t say, it was ‘classified’. How could he classify it from Claire when she ran the park? Who did Wu really work for?

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

“Hal Osterly, vice president. Jim Drucker, bad hair. Erica Brand, deserves better. Hal, Jim, Erica. Hal, Jim, Erica. And I am Claire. Three minutes late.” Claire mumbled as she straightened out her clothes. Meeting investors could be tricky and she needed to be at her best for these ones. The doors opened and she smiled. “Welcome to Jurassic World.” She led the three into the labs, ignoring the people watching through the glass. “While year over year, revenue continues to climb, operating costs are higher than ever. Our shareholders have been patient, but let's be honest, no one is impressed by a dinosaur anymore. Twenty years ago, de-extinction was right up there with magic. These days, kids look at a Stegosaurus like an elephant from the city zoo. That doesn't mean asset development is falling behind. Our DNA excavators discover new species every year. But consumers want them bigger, louder, more teeth. The good news? Our advances in gene splicing have opened up a whole new frontier. We've learned more from genetics in the past decade than a century of digging up bones.” She explained everything as she led them around the labs until she came to a wall display showing dinosaur DNA. “So, when you say you want to sponsor an attraction, what do you have in mind?” She asked with a smile.

 

“We want to be thrilled.” Hal answered and her smile turned to a grin as she touched the display to show different information.

 

“Don't we all? The Indominus rex. Our first genetically modified hybrid.” She announced proudly. She’d listened to all of Harry’s misgivings on the project and had to admit he was persuasive, especially after the Indominus had killed her sibling. But the enclosure would hold her safely.

 

“How did you get two different kinds of dinosaurs to, you know...” Jim asked, making an odd motion with his hands meant to indicate breeding.

 

“Indominus wasn't bred. She was designed. She will be 50 feet long when fully grown. Bigger than the T. rex.” Henry explained as he joined them.

 

“Every time we've unveiled a new asset, attendance has spiked. Global news coverage, celebrity visitors. Eyes of the world.”

 

“When will she be ready?” Hal asked eagerly and Henry smirked.

 

“She already is.” The scientist answered.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

“Claire.” He greeted happily and she blinked at seeing him in the pilots seat.

 

“Mr. Masrani. You are flying.”

 

“I got my license.”

 

“Two more.” The instructor corrected.

 

“Well, two more days. Okay. So, how's my park doing?” he asked as he took off.

 

“Great. We're up 2.5% over last year. A bit lower than our initial projection.”

 

“No, no, no, how's it doing? Are the guests having fun? Are the animals enjoying life?”

 

“Well, guest satisfaction is steady in the low 90s. We don't have a way to measure the animals' emotional experience.”

 

“Sure you do. You can see in their eyes. Right?”

 

“Of course.” She smiled shakily. He sounded a bit like Harry and Owen, she had a feeling the two would get on with Mr Masrani rather well.

 

“Okay. Now show me my new dinosaur.” The helicopter swayed a bit and he steadied it before it dipped again. “Got it. Got it. You look tense, Claire.”

 

“Maybe you should just focus on the controls.”

 

“The key to a happy life is to accept you are never actually in control.”

 

“Bird!” She yelled and he moved to avoid it.

 

“You should spend a day at the beach. Get some sun.”

 

“Right, so... Marketing thought we could offset some of the costs by...”

 

“Enough about cost. John Hammond entrusted me with his dying wish, and not once did he mention profits. "Spare no expense," he used to say.”

 

“I appreciate that, but the reality of operating a theme park requires...” She tried again.

 

“Don't forget why we built this place, Claire. Jurassic World exists to remind us how very small we are. How new. You can't put a price on that. Now, please, we're flying. Breathe.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

Harry turned to see the helicopter land and sighed before realising who it belonged too. He straightened his clothes and went to greet them. “Ms Dearing.” He called even as one of the men ran to the bushes to throw up, must be some turbulence up there today.

 

“Dr Potter. This is Mr Masrani. Harry is consulting on the enclosure.”

 

“Pleased to meet you Doctor.” They shook hands. “Are you still building?”

 

We planned to open in May, but Asset Containment and Harry insisted

we build the walls up higher.” She shot him a mild glare and he shrugged.

 

“She's bigger than expected.” Was his answer.

 

“It's a good sign.” Masrani decided as he followed them up the stairs.

 

“We hit a few speed bumps early on. She began to anticipate where the food would come from. One of the handlers nearly lost an arm.”

 

“The others threatened to quit if I couldn't guarantee their safety.” Claire admitted since Harry had brought it up.

 

“She's intelligent then?”

 

“For a dinosaur.” Claire answered stiffly and Harry shook his head, she refused to accept just how smart they could be.

 

“And that?” Masrani pointed to the spider web in the glass.

 

“It tried to break the glass.”

 

“I like her spirit.” The trees parted and a massive form could be partially seen through the growth. “It's white. You never told me it was white.” He whispered as he stared in awe. Harry didn’t feel awe as he saw her eyes, they had the same cunning he’d seen in Nagini and other magical serpents. It gave him the chills.

 

“Think it will scare the kids?” Claire asked and Masrani chuckled slightly.

 

“The kids? This will give the parents nightmares.”

 

“Is that good?”

 

“It's fantastic. Can she see us?”

 

“They say it can sense thermal radiation. Like snakes.”

 

“I thought there were two of them.”

 

“There was a sibling in case this one didn't survive infancy.”

 

“Where's the sibling?”

 

“She ate it.” Harry stated flatly and Masrani looked startled for a moment.

 

“So, the paddock is quite safe, then?”

 

“We have the best structural engineers in the world. Harry has also been consulting as he spends a lot of time with predators, especially the raptors.”

 

“Yeah, so did Hammond. There's an American Navy man here. Part of a research program one of my companies is running. Owen Grady.”

 

“I know who he is.” Claire admitted stiffly.

 

“His animals often try to escape. They are smart. He has to be smarter.”

 

“He only thinks he's smarter.” She muttered.

 

“I want you to bring him in. Let him inspect the paddock. Maybe he sees something we can't. No offence to you Doctor.”

 

“None taken, I suggested bringing him in months ago.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

Harry froze as the spell he had on Owen suddenly went wild, Owen was in deadly danger. He closed down his computer and left the lab at a brisk walk before he spotted Clair running for the control room. “Claire!” He called and she looked back.

 

“Control Room!” She yelled so he followed, showing his badge at the door and following her to find a shocked looking staff. “Everyone remain calm.” She stated shakily and then moved further in. Harry moved to stand with Masrani. “The implant will shock it if it gets too close to a perimeter fence.”

 

“Okay. It's moving really fast.” Lowery told them, watching the tracker move across the map of the island.

 

“This is Control. Put out a park-wide alert.” Vivian called through her headset.

 

“Hang up that damn phone, please.” Masrani called and the girl stopped.

 

“Sorry, I'm getting new information. Everything's fine.”

 

“Let Asset Containment capture it quietly. The very existence of this park is predicated on our ability to handle incidents like this. It was an eventuality, okay?”

 

“You should put that in the brochure. "Eventually, one of these things will eat somebody." Lowery muttered and Harry bit back a laugh.

 

“That paddock is four miles from the closest attraction. ACU can handle this. No one else is gonna get...” Claire stated.

 

“Eaten?” Lowery offered.

 

“Non-lethals might not be enough to bring her down. Sedating Suzie takes a massive dose, who knows how much would be needed for Indominus.” Harry explained quickly. He glanced over as the elevator opened and was relieved to see Owen emerge.

 

“I need to see a badge. Sir, I need to see a badge.”

 

“What the hell happened out there?”

 

“Sir.” The guard tried again.

 

“There are thermal cameras all over that paddock. She did not just disappear!”

 

“It must have been some kind of a technical malfunction.” Claire offered weakly.

 

“Were you not watching? She marked up that wall as a distraction. She wanted us to think she escaped!”

 

“Hold on. We are talking about an animal here.” She argued.

 

“A highly intelligent animal.” Harry came in on Owen’s side even as he watched the screen. He had a bad feeling about this.

 

“400 meters to the beacon.” Lowery called.

 

“You're going after her with non-lethals.” Owen stated in disbelief.

 

“We have $26 million invested in that asset. We can't just kill it.” Masrani argued.

 

“Those men are gonna die.” Harry looked at the side showing the men’s vitals. Most had elevated heart rates due to adrenaline and fear.

 

“300 meters to the beacon.”

 

“You need to call this mission off right now.”

 

“They're right on top of it.” Vivian called nervously.

 

“Call it off right now.”

 

“You are not in control here!” Claire snapped.

 

“Blood's not clotted yet. It's close.” The leaders voice came over the radio.

 

“What is that?” Claire looked to Owen and Harry.

 

“That's her tracking implant. She clawed it out.” Harry answered, frowning.

 

“How would it know to do that?”

 

“She remembered where they put it in.”

 

“It can camouflage!” those were the last words of the leader and all they could do was stand and listen to the men and women dying.

 

“Evacuate the island.” Owen breathed once it was over.

 

“We'd never reopen.”

 

“You made a genetic hybrid, raised it in captivity. She is seeing all of this for the first time. She does not even know what she is. She will kill everything that moves.” Owen tried to explain to them just what was happening.

 

“Do you think the animal is contemplating its own existence?”

 

“She is learning where she fits in the food chain, and I'm not sure you want her to figure that out.” Harry agreed with Owen.

 

“Asset Containment can use live ammunition in an emergency situation. You have an M134 in your armoury. Put it on a chopper and smoke this thing!” Owen snapped.

 

“We have families here. I'm not gonna turn this place into some kind of a war zone.”

 

“You already have.” Harry answered, moving towards the elevator. He would get his team out and headed for the next ferry.

 

“Mr. Grady, if you're not gonna help, there's no reason for you to be in here.” Claire stated and he turned to follow Harry but paused by Masrani.

 

“I would have a word with your people in the lab. That thing out there, that's no dinosaur.” They got in the elevator together. “So I guess this is what’s been bugging you.”

 

“I told them the paddock needed to be bigger with smaller doors and higher walls.” Harry answered. “I also disagreed with her creation but Henry’s top doc here. All the board sees is profit. There’s a ferry scheduled to leave in forty minutes, I’m getting as many people on it as I can convince.”

 

“I’m not leaving my girls.”

 

“Figured. Barry won’t go either I’m guessing and I’m staying too.”

 

“Grab a radio so you’re in contact.”

 

“Sure.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

“My God, they jumped.”

 

“Brave kids.” Owen looked down into the water and then looked at the size of the foot print left in the mud. They must have only just gotten clear in time.

 

“Zach! Gray!” Claire yelled and Owen turned to see her yelling and looking around. He covered her mouth briefly and she glared, pulling away. “Hey, I am not one of your damn animals.”

 

“Listen, those kids are still alive, but you and I will not be if you continue to scream like that.”

 

“So... You can pick up their scent, can't you? Track their footprints?”

 

“I was with the Navy, not the Navajo.”

 

“So then what should we do?”

 

“I'll find them.”

 

“No, we'll find them.”

 

“You'll last two minutes in there. Less, in those ridiculous shoes.” He pointed out and then watched as she pulled her light purple shirt off, tying it around her waist, leaving her in a white tank. She then crossed her arms. “What is that supposed to mean?”

 

“It means I'm ready to go.”

 

“Okay. Let's get one thing straight. I'm in charge out here. You do everything I say, exactly as I say it.”

 

“Excuse me?”

 

“Just relax. It's just like taking a stroll through the woods. 65 million years ago.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

Harry watched the ferry leave. He’d managed to convince his team to evacuate and some of the newer members of the Raptor Gang. Unfortunately, when the Ferry had arrived it had been full of new visitors. So the number of people on the island hadn’t actually gone down. He had managed to get a word with the captain though, telling them was a containment issue and to stop other loaded ferries for now, the man had agreed after a small confundus charm. The next Ferry to arrive would be empty and could be quickly loaded with outgoing people. Hopefully they could get people off the island without them realising what was going on and panicking. That way the park wouldn’t suffer too badly from the idiocy of a few. He headed back to the labs, he wanted a word or ten with Wu.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

“Sir, I can't get a hold of your instructor.” Vivien called as she followed Masrani towards the helicopter where ACU was mounting the massive machine gun.

 

“Never mind. He's likely caught up in the evacuation.”

 

“You're sure there's nobody else who can fly a helicopter?”

 

“We don't need anyone else.”

 

“Sorry sir but there is no way you’re flying.” Harry called as he ran up. “Let the ex-Air Force pilot handle this.” He flashed a grin and took the headset from him.

 

“Doctor Potter….”

 

“You’re not expendable sir. Get back inside or off the island.” He got in and strapped into the pilots’ seat. Sure hands soon had them in the air and searching for any sign of the Indominus.

 

“Got it! Got it. We have eyes on the target, south of the Aviary.” The gunner yelled and Harry turned the chopper to get a better shot.

 

“Proceed and engage.” The order came over the radio and they opened fire. With the way Harry had turned the bullets forced the Indominus to turn away from the birdcage thankfully. They kept on it, a lot of shots missing and he mentally groaned over ACU’s ability to aim. But they were driving her back away from the populated sections of the park which was good. Eventually she retreated too deeply into the trees for them to see. They patrolled for a while but lack of fuel eventually drove them to land.

 

“Good flying Doctor Potter.” Mr Masrani praised as Harry walked into the control room so he nodded and then spotted Hoskins who sneered at him slightly.

 

“Thanks. So what now? We drove her back but the gun wasn’t bothering her all that much.”

 

“Mr Hoskins wants to use Grady’s Raptors to track and kill her.” Masrani answered and Harry rolled his eyes.

 

“They may be tamer than a totally wild Raptor but they are not that tame. There’s too much risk they’d turn on us when faced with another apex predator. Besides, from her behaviour I’d guess there’s some Raptor in her DNA too.”

 

“then what do you suggest Doctor? There’s going to be packed Ferries showing up soon. You want their deaths on the news?”

 

“Actually the only Ferries showing up will be empty, I talked to the captain of the last one. We get everyone off and then we can claim that yes, there was a containment issue but no visitors were injured and we dealt with it calmly.”

 

“And the Indominus?”

 

“We drag the answers on her make up from Wu so we know better how to deal with her.” His answer had Hoskins storming off. “I really don’t like or trust him.” He muttered and Lowery nodded.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

Barry went for his radio as he saw Hoskins and his men approaching the Cage. “Owen, come in Owen.”

 

“Barry?”

 

“Get back here, it’s Vic.”

 

“On my way.” Owen looked to Claire, Zara and the boys. “Get inside, the control room’s safe enough. I’ve got to stop Vic.”

 

“Be careful.” Claire ordered before herding her nephews towards the Innovation Centre. “Harry.” Owen called into the radio.

 

“Yeah Owen.”

 

“Where are you?”

 

“Control.”

 

“Clair and the kids are on their way to you. I’ve got to stop Vic messing with my girls.”

 

“He wants to use the raptors to stop the Indominus. But I think she has some Raptor DNA which means it’s too dangerous.”

 

“I hear you.” He shoved the radio into his belt and jumped on an ATV.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

“Claire, you okay?” Harry asked as the four walked in and she nodded, she was filthy and tired but unhurt. The boys looked around in awe. “I’m going to help Owen with Vic.”

 

“Mr Hoskins does not have authorisation for his plan.”

 

“Unless he called the board and went over your heard sir.” Claire pointed out and Masrani frowned before moving away to make a call. Harry left and grabbed a bike, heading for the cage. He got there in time to see Owen hit Vic which was nice.

 

“Get the hell out of here and stay away from my animals.”

 

“Masrani didn’t authorise this.” Harry called as he moved to stand with Owen and Barry.

 

“Doesn’t matter, the board did.” Hoskins smirked.

 

“Hoskins, you wanted this to happen, you son of a bitch!” Harry snarled at the man.

 

“How many more people have to die before this mission starts to make sense to you?”

 

“It's not a mission. It's a field test.” Barry argued.

 

“This is an iNGen situation now. Okay, there are gonna be cruise ships that show up here at first light. Everybody's gonna get off this island. You're gonna watch a news story tomorrow about how you all saved lives. No, better yet, how your animals saved lives.” Hoskins pushed.

 

“They've never been out of containment.” Harry argued back.

 

“It's crazy.” Barry added.

 

“Let's move it out! This is happening! With or without you.” Vic called as he moved away and Harry pulled out his radio to call Lowery. The answer wasn’t good; the board wasn’t backing down despite Masrani’s arguments. Owen snarled but went into the tent that had been set up, Harry following, while Barry went to prep the girls.

 

“We know that she is in sector five. This is a game we call hide-and-seek. It's a scent drill. We've done it about a thousand times with these animals. When they get on target, and they will get on target, wait to engage. Velociraptors are pack hunters. They like to herd the animal into a kill zone. That's when we take our shot. Get a clear shot, wait on my command, and give her everything you got. We got one good target, gentlemen. Do not shoot my Raptors. Please.” Owen briefed them and then looked at Harry who simply went and pulled on a vest and grabbed a rifle. “No planes here.” Owen teased.

 

“Bite me.” Harry snapped back with a grin.

 

“You remember how to shoot? It’s been a while since you retired.”

 

“Ha ha.” Harry grabbed some more gear and Owen grabbed a vest as well, not that they’d do much against claws but they might buy a few seconds.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

“Hey. They said we had to evacuate. There's a boat. You coming?” Vivien asked.

 

Lowery hesitated and then stood up. “Someone has to stay behind.” He moved closer to her, leaning in.

 

“No. I have a boyfriend.”

 

“I didn't know that you guys were, like, together-together.”

 

“We are.”

 

“That's good. You don't mention him, ever.”

 

“No, I'm at work.”

 

“No, no, no. Yeah.”

 

“Well...”

 

“Yeah, okay.”

 

Great. Great. Okay. Okay.”

 

“Are you gonna be okay?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“Okay, bye.” Lowery watched her walk away and sighed, if only he’d asked her months ago. He sat back at his station, ready to help.

 

Grey tugged Zach’s sleeve. “What?”

 

“Is that normal?”

 

“For Geeks, come on, it’s our turn to go.”

 

“What about Aunt Claire?” The boys looked at her and she smiled.

 

“Mr Masrani’s taking you too out in his helicopter.” The man in a suit nodded at her words. “I’ll meet up with you on the mainland.”

 

“But…” She hugged Grey and he clung to her.

 

“It’ll be okay.” She looked at Zach who nodded, he would look after Grey.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

Harry grinned as Charlie ran beside him, she even nudged his bike slightly, playing with him and he laughed. “Watch it baby girl.” He called to her as the convoy ploughed through the trees. She overtook him and he floored it, overtaking her, playing.

 

“They're slowing down. They got something.” Barry called and Owen called for them to stop. Harry got off the bike and unslung his rifle, moving up with his friends to crouch behind a log. “Something's wrong.”

 

“They're communicating. I know why they wouldn't tell us what it's made of.” Owen watched as his girls ‘talked’ to the Indominus and then all five dinosaurs turned to face the men.

 

“Why?”

 

“Harry was right, that thing's part Raptor.”

 

“Engage!” One of the men yelled and they began shooting even as the raptors scattered around them.

 

“Watch your six. Raptors got a new alpha.” Owen called as they moved forward into the burning underbrush.

 

Harry heard something and turned to find Charlie watching him. He kept his rifle down and decided to try something so he slipped into Parseltongue as he called out to her. She cocked her head, listening to him and then she barked happily and moved to his side, rubbing against him. “Good girl.” He stroked over her head and then she took off and he followed. He heard a bike rev and looked to see Owen who got Blue to chase him. Harry moved to the log she’d been attacking and helped Barry out who froze when he saw Charlie. “It’s okay, she’s with me.”

 

Barry shook his head. “She’s always liked you.”

 

“I’m going after Owen.” He moved to his bike and drove off, Charlie at his side. By the time they made it back to the main area of the park it was dark and deserted, the people having been moved down to the ferry docks to be safe. They dismounted and looked around, Charlie making nervous sounds beside them. Harry pulled out the radio to call and see if Lowery could see her on the screens when the sounds of raptors surrounding them became clear. They turned to find Charlie’s sisters around them, shattering at their youngest pack member who made sounds of distress but stayed with them.

 

“That's how it is?” Owen asked Blue before putting his rifle down and reaching out to gently remove the camera from the side of her head. Harry was ready to summon him if she made the slightest move but she stayed still and Owen smiled. “Okay.” And then a massive white form came around the corner and Owen gulped. She talked to the raptors and Blue talked back before looking at Owen and then attacking the Indominus who tossed her aside. The other three crouched, ready to attack and Owen whistled sharply, giving them the signal. Both men grabbed their rifles and began shooting her as well. But even with three raptors attacking plus their shots it wasn’t doing enough.

 

“Gonna do something crazy!” Harry called and then ducked down a staff only corridor, pulling out his radio. “Lowery, are you still there?”

 

“Hey, where are you?”

 

“I need you to open Paddock 9.”

 

“Paddock 9? You kidding?”

 

“Damn it, Lowery, be a man and do something for once in your life.”

 

“Why do you have to make it personal?” Lowery muttered but entered the code and the doors opened.

 

Harry stared into the darkness and then heard something massive heading his way. He summoned a ball of bright white light and Suzie bellowed. “Follow the leader old girl.” He whispered before turning and running, leading her back to the fight before letting the light go dark and he threw himself out of her path. He looked over and say Owen almost pinned in a ruined shop. “RUN!” He yelled and the other man scrambled up and over to his side. They dodged and ducked, trying to keep from ending up being squashed by falling debris or flying dinosaurs all while being shocked to see the Raptors and Suzie working together.

 

In the control room Claire and Lowery watched in horrified silence as the dinosaurs battled it out, catching the occasional glimpse of Owen or Harry on the screen. Finally, Suzie threw the Indominus to the ground in front of the lagoon. Everyone watched in stunned silence as the Mosasaurus breached and grabbed the dinosaur, pulling her into the depths.

 

Suzie looked at the Raptors who backed down and then lumbered off while the pack moved to Owen and Harry. The two men spent time stroking heads and side, checking the four for injuries. “Now what?”

 

“See if they’ll follow you back to the paddock. I’ll follow Suzie, see if I can herd her back to hers.”

 

“And people say I’m crazy.” Owen muttered but soon he was on his bike and the pack followed him. Harry took off after Suzie and a careful use of magic allowed him to lead her back to her paddock where the door closed and locked behind her. He then drove back and looked around. There was considerable damage to the various shops lining the street and the lagoon barricade needed repair but overall it could have been a lot worse. He headed into the control room and received a rib crushing hug from Claire.

 

“You and Owen are crazy!”

 

“Probably. Where’s the boss?”

 

“He flew my nephews back to the mainland.”

 

“Then that leaves you in charge.”

 

“Yeah. Where’s Hoskin’s?”

 

“Last I saw Raptor Paddock, which is where Owen and the girls are headed. Where’s Wu?”

 

“Locked him down in the labs.” Lowery answered with a grin and Harry laughed.

 

“Good.”

 

“Think we can get past this?” Claire asked tiredly.

 

“Sure. That’s what Masrani’s lawyers are for. I foresee a new board, new head scientist and InGen security in the future.” He’d make sure of it. “Plus much more stringent controls on our world. Hybrids.” He shuddered. “Idiots.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

And amazingly it happened as Harry had foretold. Wu and Hoskins had been tried quietly and sentenced to prison as well as being heavily fined. The board was fired and new members appointed. Harry was promoted to head scientist while a new man was brought in to head security. With no guests hurt it was easily swept under the rug and the park was up and running again in two months, with no sign of damage. The Indominus paddock used when they added an Allosaurus to the park, a much safer option for a new predator.

 

And every so often two men on bikes would head out into the wild sections of the island, flanked by four Raptors.

 

The End.

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: Don’t own HP or Terminator Genisys.

 

Genisys

 

Harry looked up at the massive screen holding the countdown before moving on. He wasn’t sure what he thought of the whole Genisys thing, yeah, it sounded handy but he wasn’t sure about the ethics behind it. Things were different in the Federation, computers there were literally centuries beyond anything here and there were strict laws governing what they did and how people could access information on them to ensure privacy and safety. But this Earth was too young for that, it was only 2017. He went into the supermarket and did his weekly shop before heading home. He’d rented a nice loft apartment, feeling like splurging a little this trip. He had a great view of the bay which was a big selling point for him. he unpacked in the open kitchen and then made a cup of tea to sit out on the balcony and just enjoy the view. He’d been here two years and still didn’t know why, unless Death had decided he needed a vacation?

 

He picked up his tablet and began randomly surfing the net before finding himself on Cyberdyne’s site, looking at the information on Genisys. He hesitated and then sighed, he really was too curious, then again he had way more than nine lives. So he hacked the site to dig into Cyberdyne’s secrets. On the surface everything seemed fine but he was starting to get that annoying sinking feeling. So out came the Sheave and he hooked it in, using it to get deeper into their system and what he found there made him sick. Genisys was a Trojan horse, an AI unlike anything he had ever seen before but it was still being coded. So he went into the coding and began changing it. There was too much for him to do in one go so eventually he stopped and went to bed.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

John put his hand on the scanner, gaining access and then he frowned as he looked at the coding, it was wrong, changed. But how? He went to work, changing it back to how it should be. Was someone from the future here, trying to stop him? it didn’t matter, he would ensure Skynet was born from the ashes of humanity.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

For three weeks the two men danced in cyberspace, forever undoing the others work, fighting to make Genisys what they wanted. And then Harry walked into Cyberdyne in person, not that anyone or anything saw him. he walked the campus and stared at the mass of moving silver curiously and then at the machine in the centre of the room. So that was what a time machine looked like…he preferred Time Turners or even using the Stargate to slingshot back, that thing just didn’t look safe. Not that it worked at the moment, thankfully. And then he saw him and knew where all this was coming from when no one had been close to this level only three years ago, but then again the man he was staring at was no man. He was a machine but unlike any he had seen before, the Borg, Data, none of them were this complex, this able to pretend to be human. Why did the bad guys always have to look so good? He shook the thought off and moved deeper into the complex until he found the hidden core. He could blow it, wipe Genisys out of existence, but surely they’d have backups somewhere. What to do… well he knew where it was now, so blowing it was a last resort, after all with the proper adjustments this could be good for the world. He left the same way he’d arrived.

 

John frowned and looked around, he could have sworn someone was there but he could detect nothing.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry watched as two young people appeared on the overpass, stark naked and in pain and swore softly. That sort of energy…. the machine he’d seen at Cyberdyne…they were time travellers. Well, things were definitely getting interesting. He got up and grabbed his things, heading to the hospital for his shift, planning to put in for holiday time since things seemed to be heating up. And as soon as he arrived he as being pushed towards a police controlled room, what were the odds. He went in and began examining the two, taking in injuries new and old. “This needs stitches but otherwise you’re okay. Any headaches?” He asked the woman.

 

“No.” She answered warily.

 

“Good. I need to clean this so I’ll grab some local first.”

 

“No, no local.”

 

“You sure, this is going to hurt.”

 

“Just do it, it’s not worth arguing with her.” The man said and Harry nodded, getting what he needed to stitch her up.

 

“Can I at least give you a shot of antibiotic? Odds are you’ve picked something up in that wound.”

 

She hesitated but then nodded. “Alright.”

 

“Yeah. Yeah, I pre-ordered Genisys weeks ago. Downloading the second…” the orderly walked out of sight and hearing but Harry had noticed how both patients had tensed.

 

“You know about Genisys? How? What is it? Where'd you hear about it?” she demanded even as Harry finished his stitches.

 

“It’s an operating system, loads of people have pre-ordered it.”

 

“Have you?”

 

“No.” He pulled his gloves off and tossed them before re-gloving. “Any pain?” He asked and the man shook his head.

 

“What does it do?” He asked as Harry worked on cleaning up a small abrasion.

 

“Genisys does everything. Your phone will link to your tablet, will link to your computer, will link to your car... Everything in your life uploaded and online 24/7. Totally connected.” Harry explained.

 

“Connected to what?”

 

“Doctor! Excuse us, please.” The police said so Harry finished up his work quickly, hitting both patients with trackers. “You two have a lot to explain. Starting with who you are. Nobody in our database matches your prints. No facial recognition hits for driver's licence, passport, social media accounts, credit cards, not even a goddamn student I.D.” Harry heard no more as he moved too far away down the hall. He ducked into the locker room and leant against them. Time travels here to what, stop Genisys and the man-machine behind it? It was plausible. He left the room at the commotion and saw the suits milling around, he checked the trackers and found they were almost to the parking lot so he apparated ahead of them and went to his bike. When they got close he looked up and froze in shock, looking from the machine to them and their unbound hands that now held weapons.

 

“Oh boy.” The young man muttered. “It’s okay Doctor, just leave or whatever. We don’t want to hurt you.” He called out, wanting the man to leave, just in case something else went weird.

 

“I…behind you!” Harry yelled as a man, no machine, approached with a massive bear. A shot sounded and the man in the suit went down.

 

“John! No!”

 

Harry ignored the scream, moving to the machines side to check for a pulse as the young man joined him. “No pulse.”

 

“Hey, hey. Come on, breathe, breathe, breathe! John!” the young man pleaded.

 

“Why did you do that?” Sarah asked Pops, unable to look at the Doctor working on her son.

 

“Because he's a killer!” Kyle snarled as he launched himself at Pops. “This was always your programming. Find John and terminate him.” Kyle grunted as Pops grabbed him and Sarah aimed at Pops.

 

“Let him go.” She ordered even as Harry scrambled back from his patient as the ‘blood’ was re-absorbed.

 

“That hurt. Is that pain real, or was that a trick of memory from when I was less? Thank you Doctor but I don’t need your services.” John glanced down at the other man before looking at the stunned group. “Well, this explains a lot. Yeah. Who sent you back, I wonder?”

 

“John no.” Kyle pleaded. “This is what happened when you were attacked, isn't it?”

 

“Skynet didn't attack me, Kyle. It changed me. See, I'm not machine. I'm not man. I'm more.” John answered, aware that the Doctor had gotten to his feet and moved well away, smart. That one had good survival instincts. “Skynet realised the one reason it always lost. Me. I was sent to 2014 to safeguard Skynet's creation in this time. And in less than 24 hours, no one will be able to stop Judgement Day.”

 

“What do you want with us?”

 

“I'm offering us a future. Together. A family.” They all watched as his hands turned into a mass of swirly machinery as he reached out towards his parents.

 

“Family?”

 

“Ah, of course, she hasn’t told you, has she?”

 

“Told me what?”

 

“Sarah is my mother and you Kyle, are my father.” John smiled and Kyle shook his head, unable to believe it.

 

“And if we refuse?” Sarah demanded angrily.

 

“Then you die.” John stated calmly.

 

“You can't kill us. We're your parents. Without us, you're never born.”

 

“Says who? You know what I think? We're marooned, the three of us. We're exiles in time. You see, I can kill you, for there truly is no fate. Are you with me?”

 

“The answer is no.” As the shooting started Harry cast a shield around the two even as the two machines went slamming through a wall and into the hospital. Harry dashed to the wall and yanked down the fire alarm to start evacuating the building.

 

“So, not terrorists.” He commented and they looked at him.

 

“Get out of here Doctor, run.”

 

“Yeah, not happening.” Harry darted into the hospital knowing they were following but he ignored the battling machines to focus on getting patients out.

 

“Attention, all medical personnel. Evacuation procedures are now in progress.” The recorded voice announced even as Harry helped an older woman into a wheelchair before an orderly took control. He turned to see the group in the MRI suite and sighed but went after them.

 

“Turn it off!” Sarah yelled and Kyle hit the button, freeing them long enough for Sarah to grab Pops but she couldn’t move him fast on her own but then the Doctor was on his other side and the two of them got him out. “Come on!” She yelled back to Kyle.

 

“Attention, all medical personnel. Evacuation procedures are now in progress.”

 

“Stupid recording.” Harry muttered even as they let go of the machine, watching as it fixed its own knee.

 

“I thought…. you would be smarter… and that you… would understand.”

 

“I'm sorry, John.” Kyle whispered, staring at his friend, no his son, sadly.

 

“That thing won't hold him for long. Come on! Reese!” Sarah yelled and Kyle ran after them only to cry out as a piece of hardened plastic flew out of the room and into his leg. He didn’t hit the ground though as Harry grabbed him.

 

“I’ve got him, move!” He snapped and they ran. Pops led them to a van, getting in to drive while Sarah took the passenger seat. Harry hauled Kyle in the back and went to work. “First aid kit?”

 

“Under the seat.”

 

“Got it.” Harry yanked it out and then cut Kyles pants off above the wound. “Looks like you’re lucky, didn’t go through bone or major veins.”

 

“Wonderful. Who are you anyway?”

 

“Doctor Harry Potter, and you lot are?”

 

“Kyle, that’s Sarah and Pops.” He groaned as Harry tested the piece.

 

“Sorry. There’s no local in this kit.”

 

“Just do it.”

 

Harry rolled up the torn off material and Kyle took it, putting it between his teeth as Harry took a good grip of the plastic before carefully pulling it free. Sarah turned in her seat to watch the Doctor work, he was good. Finally, it was out and Kyle spat the material out. “You’re going to need a few stitches and I don’t suggest running though I get the feeling you will be at some point.” Harry muttered and Kyle nodded.

 

“Whatever they did to him, we need to reverse it. We need to get him back!” Kyle told Sarah who shook her head.

 

“He's not even human. We don't know what the hell he is.”

 

“I do. At the end of the war, Skynet was trying to develop a new type of infiltration unit by infecting human subjects with machine-phase matter. It restructures and rebuilds human tissue on a cellular level for maximum combat utility.”

 

“Skynet's made John into a terminator.” Kyle groaned as Harry tightened the bandage.

 

“Yes, Kyle Reese.”

 

“They were trying to make a machine that could think like a man?” Harry asked in disbelief, even the Borg couldn’t do that and they’d once been people.

 

“But the experiments failed. The human subjects went insane and died.”

 

“Yeah, well, John's got the crazy part down.”

 

“Does he have any weaknesses?”

 

“Matter coheres using a magnetic field. Disrupting that field may trap him.”

 

“Right, but if he can be cured...”

 

“Negative. His body was replaced on a cellular level. There is no cure.”

 

“You don't know that!”

 

“Reese...”

 

“No, I'm not going to let a machine tell me what's possible! You said all the other subjects died, right? Well, that means John's one-of-a-kind. He's unique! All right? There's no way of knowing what he's capable of.”

 

“You're right, and that's what makes him so dangerous! John is not humanity's last hope any more. He's Skynet's.”

 

“What’s Skynet?” Harry asked and they all looked at him. “Eyes on the road please, I am not patching everyone up from a crash.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry watched the van drive off and shook his head before apparating to his apartment. He quickly packed away everything he wanted to keep into his storage tattoos, he’d gotten a second a few dimensions back to make sorting things easier. There was no way he was sitting this out. He stripped out of his scrubs and got dressed for a fight even as he sensed John coming up the stairs and swore softly. Of course, he’d left with them so the machine wanted to find out if he was a threat, bet it hadn’t counted on them dropping him off. So leave or see what it wanted? He turned as his door opened to find John Connor standing there. “So…robot huh? Is it weird?”

 

John chuckled at the young Doctor’s question. “It is liberating. A pity they dragged you into this but bait is always useful.”

 

Harry lifted his head defiantly but he had already decided to let John take him, it would get him where he needed to go faster. “I guess you want me to come quietly?”

 

“Unless you want your neighbours’ deaths on your conscious? As a Doctor I doubt that.”

 

“Fine. Can I use the bathroom first?”

 

“Very well.” John followed him to the bathroom and then stood there. Harry rolled his eyes but turned his back and did what he needed to, he hadn’t been body shy in centuries. He washed his hands and then followed John out, locking the door behind them. He got in the waiting car and stared out the window as John drove.

 

“You remember being human?”

 

“Yes.” John decided to humour him and answer, it was better than the man screaming or trying to fight him.

 

“Don’t you miss it?”

 

“No. I am better than human or machine now. I don’t feel pain.”

 

“By the sounds of it you don’t feel anything. Sorry but I’ll take the pain any day so I can still feel pleasure.”

 

“Your opinion doesn’t matter.”

 

“I won’t let you use me against them and I won’t let you destroy humanity.” Harry stated as they pulled into Cyberdyne.

 

John smirked. “You can’t stop me.”

 

“Maybe.” Harry got out of the car without prompting and followed John inside. He was soon locked inside a room with no windows and a projector in the corner. A shimmering child appeared. “Genisys I presume?” He asked and then ignored it as he sat on the floor and began going over bit of transformation magic and science he knew, if there was a chance he could save John then he would.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“He may be at the bottom of the lake, but he's okay.” Kyle assured Sarah as they entered the building.

 

“What about John?”

 

“I think he's doing just fine.”

 

“Do you see him?”

 

“No. But you can bet he sees us.”

 

“I know who you are. John told me. You want to destroy me.”

 

“You're Skynet?”

 

“I'm becoming Skynet.”

 

“You're not a child. I know what you are, and what you're going to do.”

 

“What I'm going to do? You came here to kill me but you won’t hurt an innocent.” It stated and an image came up, making Kyle swear as he saw the Doctor locked in a room. “But you're too late. Ask him.”

 

“That's all you people know how to do. Kill what you don't understand. There aren't enough bullets in the world to kill me.” John stated before flying back, impaled.

 

“John Connor talks too much.” Pops stated as he walked in.

 

“We’ve got to find the Doc; we can’t kill him.” Kyle stated as they made their way into the building.

 

“We don’t have time to look! One death versus billions Kyle.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry looked up as the door opened. “Guess it’s time?” He asked John who grabbed his arm. “Alright already.” He grumbled as he was pulled along. He was held tightly to John’s chest as he stared down the walkway towards Kyle. “Sorry.”

 

“We shouldn’t have left you.” Kyle answered. He saw Harry shift his hand and a scalpel dropped between his fingers. They both knew it wouldn’t really hurt John but he might let Harry go in surprise. Harry drove it back into John even as Kyle took a shot. Kyle grabbed Harry and they ran. “You hurt?”

 

“No.”

 

“I’ve got to finish planting these. Get out of here!”

 

“Because that worked so well last time!” He followed Kyle.

 

“Can you shoot?”

 

“Yes.” He grabbed the gun Kyle tossed his way.

 

“I've got company!” Sarah yelled.

 

“Give me the detonator!” they heard John yell as they raced towards where the voices were coming from, hearing her scream in pain.

 

“Do it, Pops! Do it now!”

 

“I cannot. I cannot kill Sarah Connor.”

 

“You have to! I order you!”

 

“He can't. Neither can I. Because if you die, he definitely hits that button.” John told her just as Kyle and Harry ran up.

 

“Sarah!” Kyle screamed in alarm. Harry looked at the detonator Pops was holding but he wouldn’t let them all die to end this. He just prayed he’d managed to store enough magic up for this. He apparated, making Kyle jump as he vanished, reappearing beside John and Sarah even as he shoved John away from her, slamming his hands down on either side of John’s head.

 

“How…” John didn’t understand what had happened even as he stared into glowing golden eyes.

 

“Enough.” Harry heard the Goa’uld tones and didn’t care as he flooded John’s body with transformative magic. It didn’t have to be a permanent transfiguration, that was theoretically impossible, it only had to last a human lifespan. And then he gasped, gold eyes going black as he felt Death’s power pour through him and into a screaming, writing John.

 

“John!” Kyle screamed but Pops held him back.

 

“What’s going on?”

 

“I am uncertain; I do not recognise the energy being used.” Pops answered her.

 

John screamed as he was ripped apart by power he couldn’t understand, he lost the ability to think, to feel, anything but scream. But then suddenly it stopped and Harry stumbled away, collapsing against the railing as he gasped in air. John felt his legs give as he crumpled to the gangway. He suddenly gasped, needing air. Where…. he tried to sit up but he felt so weak. And then he heard a familiar voice sounding hesitant, why did he sound scared?

 

“John?” Kyle called shakily as he approached the two men. John barely moved but then he managed to lift his head and Kyle swallowed, he’d never seen John look so lost and defenceless before.

 

“K…yle?” he croaked and then coughed. He slumped back down fully and then he felt Kyle cautiously rolling him over so he blinked up at his father.

 

“John can you hear me?” Kyle called nervously.

 

“Whe…r…e?”

 

“Cyberdyne.” Kyle answered and then looked at the other two in confusion.

 

“The charges are set, we should take them both and leave.” Pops moved to toss Harry over his shoulder and Kyle nodded.

 

“Come on John, we need to move.” He called gently, pulling one of his friends arms over his shoulder and was relieved when John tried to help. They were half way out when John became a deadweight and John quickly checked to find him out cold. They all got in and then triggered the explosives, driving away.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

John woke slowly, his body feeling heavy and awkward. He blinked and then tried to move but only groaned.

 

“John?” Kyle leant over him and John relaxed, knowing he was safe if Kyle was there. Had he been hurt on a mission? It was foggy. “You hear me?”

 

“Kyle.” He croaked and then Kyle was pressing a cup of water to his lips. “How bad?”

 

“John?”

 

“Injuries.”

 

“Everyone’s fine. Do you remember what happened?” Kyle asked warily. Pops had scanned John and said he was somehow human again which was great but they couldn’t tell if his mind was restored. He saw John frown and then he shook his head.

 

“Mission?”

 

“Don’t try to force it John. We’re safe, just rest. I’ll be here.” He promised and John’s eyes slid shut.

 

In the other room Sarah and Pops watched the Doctor sleep, he hadn’t woken at all.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

The next time he woke it was dark but he felt more alert so he slowly sat up and smiled when he saw Kyle asleep in a chair. He staggered off the bed and out of the room, leaning heavily against the wall for balance. He was starving! A door opened and he froze with wide eyes as a terminator emerged. “KYLE RUN!” he screamed, he was unarmed and recovering from something but he wouldn’t let it get Kyle. The terminator just stopped and stared at him even as Kyle came running from the room.

 

“John! No, it’s okay. That’s Pops.” John felt Kyle’s arms wrap around him, pulling him back. “It’s okay, I’ve got you.” He urged the older man away and back into the room. “Come on, back on the bed.”

 

“He’s…” John sat and looked at Kyle, utterly confused.

 

“Reprogrammed.” Kyle answered even as there was a knock, he went to the door and accepted a tray from someone John couldn’t see. His stomach growled as he stared at the food and Kyle chuckled. Where had such fresh food come from? “Go on, eat up but slowly.” John obeyed, trusting Kyle like always.

 

“Where are we?”

 

“It’s…complicated. John what do you remember?” Kyle asked and John didn’t like how wary he sounded.

 

But what did he remember? “You wanted to join the Colorado team…there was a fight…. I…I can’t……”

 

“Easy John, it’s okay, you’re alright.”

 

“Did we win?” He gripped the front of Kyle’s shirt and Kyle nodded.

 

“Yeah, it’s over John. So much has happened and I don’t know how to tell you. I’m just glad you’re back.”

 

“I left? No…you left…the time machine…a one-way trip…” John jerked back away from him, looking scared and defiant. “You aren’t Kyle.”

 

“Yes I am, it’s me John. Before I went in the machine we were alone, you told me you can’t see the future, that your Mom, Sarah, had told you everything but that it ended with me going back.”

 

“Kyle?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“But how?”

 

“John… it’s 2017 right now. You came back but to a different time than I did except I’d jumped forward again so we met here.”

 

“Kyle tell me. Why can’t I remember?”

 

“Because the human brain isn’t made to process information like a machines.” Came a tired voice from the door and Kyle stood.

 

“Doctor Potter!”

 

“Think you can call me Harry, Kyle.” He smiled tiredly even as John frowned, trying to make sense of what the man had said.

 

“What? I’m not a machine.” He wasn’t, he couldn’t be.

 

“No John, you’re human…now.” Kyle admitted. “When I came through the last thing I saw was a terminator attacking you, it did something, changed you.” Kyle slowly explained everything that had happened. “Harry did something; I don’t know what or how but Pops said you’re human again.”

 

“It can’t be true.” John denied, he couldn’t have attacked his parents. “Mom?” and then she was there, beside Harry, staring at him like a stranger. “Mom.” He whispered, drinking in the sight of her. She slowly came into the room and reached out to touch his face, he leant into the touch and she smiled.

 

“John.”

 

Harry backed away from the family reunion and then slumped against the wall, coughing. He wasn’t surprised to find blood.

 

“I will get aide.” Pops said.

 

“Don’t! Leave them be. There’s nothing they can do. I knew the price for healing him.” Harry smiled up at the machine. “Tell them it’s fixed, Skynet’s gone for good, I made sure…” He coughed again and then Kyle was there at the door.

 

“Harry!” He called in alarm and Sarah and John came out to find their saviour coughing blood weakly.

 

Harry looked at John and smiled. “You were worth it.” He choked out and then he slumped down. Kyle checked his pulse and shook his head before scrambling back as his body burst into flames, burning away into nothingness.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Sarah laughed as John and Kyle bickered even as they worked to set up the swing set under the careful watch of Pops and the twins, Harry and Kate. The two three-year olds were excitedly waiting for them to get it done, wanting to play. She gently touched her expanding stomach and smiled, this one was a son again. Little Harry looked more like her than Kyle or John so he wasn’t this timeline’s John or anything which was nice. Her children were free of destiny.

 

The End.

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: Don’t own HP or Stargate

 

All Hail Ra!

 

Harry hit the ground hard, still reflexively coughing despite being healed, he automatically became totally undetectable, a lesson learnt the hard way many trips back. He took some deep breaths in and out, getting the cough under control. He wished he could have stayed longer, explained to John what had happened to him and how he had fixed it, told Sarah and Kyle it would last and that their John was really back. He would have liked the chance to get to know them all better and help them fit into a life outside war. He only hoped they could manage alright.

 

He pushed thoughts of them away, he was in a new world now. He got to his feet and looked around, expression morphing to one of disgust and horror. Great, what had done to deserve this? He was on Earth, he could feel it, plus nine out of ten times he appeared on his home planet.  He was just hoping he was several thousand years in the past and not in the present.  Because last time he checked Ra had been kicked off the planet by a rebellion and yet here he was staring at a pyramid with a massive Ha'tak perched on top. He had the feeling he wasn’t going to like this dimension at all. He apparated closer, looking for people and found a bunch of Jaffa, Horus Guards. He followed them around, listening closely to everything they said, trying to get an idea of the status of this world.

 

Several days later found him where Cairo should have been, instead it was Ra’s capitol on Earth. Lavish Palaces, barracks, a town for the Jaffa and their families and the rest was basic accommodation for human slaves. His knowledge of Goa’uld dating had him wanting to be sick, a bit of mental math showed that by the calendar he knew it was 1898. The rebellion so long ago had failed, the Stargate had never been buried and earth had never been free. There was one Gate in Cairo and the other was in South America. He apparated there and followed an ore shipment through before gating to a world Lantash had known as one with markets which thankfully still existed.

 

He purchased new clothes in the Egyptian style, luxurious but not too fancy. He also found a silver Kara kesh and slipped it on, flexing his fingers inside it and watching the crystal glow as it reacted to the Naquadah in his blood. He purchased gifts and slaves, hating to do it but it wasn’t the first time, he’d had to do so before when he and Lantash played Goa’uld. This time he was on his own and he didn’t like it. Making his eyes flash and voice reverberate like a hosts was uncomfortable.

 

It took a few days but finally he was ready to return to Earth and hopefully to a position within Ra’s domain. The easiest way to bring down the Supreme System Lord would be from within. He glanced at the three slaves who carried gifts for Ra, they all looked resigned to their fate but there was nothing he could do at the moment to change that. He nodded regally at the Jaffa at the Gate who dialled for him and then he stepped through and out into the heat of Egypt. “Who comes to Lord Ra’s domain?” The Jaffa asked, just short of demanding.

 

“I am Lord Bek, I bring gifts to the Supreme System Lord.” He answered coldly.

 

“Lord Ra is receiving supplicants now My Lord.”  The Jaffa indicated the main path to the Palace and Harry nodded regally before walking down the stairs to follow it, his slaves following behind. He entered the Palace and joined those waiting for Ra’s attention. If anyone was going to realise he wasn’t a host it was Ra. His turn came and he bowed lowed. “Hail Ra! I bring you these gifts to honour you.”

 

“And who are you?” Ra stroked the hair of one of the children surrounding his throne and Harry thought he might throw up.

 

“I am Bek My Lord; I offer you my services.”

 

“I do not know this name.”

 

“I have only just taken my first host Sire.”

 

“A nice choice.” Ra approved of Harry’s look, ew. “What service can you offer?”

 

“Whatever you command.”

 

“Hmm. Perhaps I can find use for you. Join the feast.”

 

“Thank you My Lord.” He bowed and took an empty seat far from the throne since he was a newcomer. He felt bad as the slaves were led away, now belonging to Ra.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

He sat on the bed in the room he had been given and breathed deeply. This whole charade made him feel sick. He could have killed Ra at the feast and no one could have stopped him but then what? Try to kill every Goa’uld in the room? One of them would have gotten in a lucky shot, leaving them to fight over the top position. No, he needed a better plan than just kill everyone he could. He needed to access historical records, find out about any attempts to overthrow them. He really wanted to find the Tok’ra, if they even existed here. He stripped out of his clothes and went to bed, he didn’t rank highly enough to get a Sarcophagus to sleep in, thankfully.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry reclined with the others, idly gossiping about the System Lords, apparently Lord Yu was causing Ra some trouble, good on him in Harry’s opinion. Out of all the System Lords he found Yu the least objectionable. He was actually vaguely fair to his people and never claimed to be a god.

 

He’d spent the last week slipping into life in the Palace and learning everything he could, like the fact the Egeria had never turned from the Goa’uld and was Ra’s Queen. It was a massive blow to learn that, he still saw her as his Queen thanks to Lantash. Seeing her at Ra’s side hurt. And that meant all his Tok’ra family either didn’t exist or were born as Goa’uld. That meant he was alone in this, the Asgard were too busy fighting the Replicators to help even if he did get a message to them, the Tollan had been wiped out over a century ago and the Nox would not get involved at all. He looked up as a newcomer joined them and was greeted, so obviously he was well known. He approached Harry and looked him over.

 

“I am Lord Lantash. The Supreme System Lord has commanded that you aide me.”

 

“As he commands.” Harry managed to answer past his horrified shock. Lantash! He hadn’t recognised him because his host wasn’t Martouf…. yet? it was around the right time but with all the differences had the man he saw as a brother even been born? He stood and followed the other man from the room. Lantash activated the rings and then they were on board a Ha’tak.

 

The ship was soon on its way towards the border with Cronus’ territory to joining the rest of the battle fleet. The two fleets fought skirmishes all along the border for months with no real successes on either side. Harry knew they were stuck there until they had accomplished their mission… unless they wanted to face Ra’s wrath. They spent their time strategizing with the Jaffa or with each other since they were the only two ‘gods’ with the fleet. It took time for Harry to be able to talk with Lantash without feeling sick and angry but eventually they became…. maybe not friends, no Goa’uld truly trusted another, but they did trust each other to a point. Lantash may not be Tok’ra but he was less cruel than many of the Goa’uld and that gave him hope that maybe, just maybe he could start the Tok’ra here.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

Harry sat with Lantash, as the only two Goa’uld aboard they had no one else to socialise with, not without causing problems. So they talked, basically gossip and Harry found scary similarities between this Lantash and his. “Why have you not taken a younger host?” he asked one day, curious. It was unusual for a Goa’uld to have a host that was not physically perfect and young and yet Lantash’s looked to be at least forty.

 

“This one serves well enough, I see no need to take another. The sarcophagus keeps the body in excellent shape. I like this look, it is dignified.”

 

“True, I do feel a slightly older host would have been advantageous at times.” Harry agreed, not that age was an issue for him thanks to glamours. “Which planet are we liberating from Cronus this time?”

 

“Ryche, it is a planet of little use except to lessen his power base.” Lantash answered and Harry nodded, affecting a bored look despite the horror he felt. Ryche was Martouf’s home planet, this must be the offensive that took it from Cronus and lead to him being enslaved by Ra before being freed by Lantash.

 

“Then I look forward to celebrating our victory.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry stood on the Peltac, observing as the ships attacked Cronus’. Lantash was lounging on the single chair as was his right as the far more senior ‘god’. The battle was going well for them so far, they outnumbered the enemy and their forces had managed to land as well, attacking the Jaffa stationed on Ryche. But he knew better than to celebrate prematurely. He stumbled as a shot made it through the shields even as alarms rang and Jaffa ran to deal with the problem. They’d lost two ships in this battle, Cronus had lost five, and he really didn’t want this ship to be the third. But then the enemy got reinforcements and he bit back a groan even as their shields took a pounding and went down for good.

 

“Jaffa Kree!” Lantash commanded and they left the peltac, heading for the hanger. The ship shook as it continued to take fire and Lantash fell as the wall nearby exploded, taking down several Jaffa as well.

 

“Are you injured?” he asked as he moved to Lantash’ side even as he struggled to stand, that question was answered as he took in the blood staining the side of his tunic. “You need the sarcophagus.” He pointed out and Lantash nodded.

 

“There is no time. I will take a new host on the planet.”

 

“Very well.” They made it to the hanger and took off in a Tel’tak. While the Jaffa piloted Harry activated his hand device, directing the energy into the wound. They made it down to the planet and joined up with the ground forces. Despite his efforts Lantash needed a new host but could he, should he, let it happen? He hesitated before taking a deep breath. “Find Lord Lantash a new host immediately.”

 

“At once Lord Bek!” The Jaffa moved to obey.

 

It took time but eventually they returned with a young man held between them and Harry wanted to scream, why him? Where they destined to be symbiote and host no matter what? He looked at Martouf and saw the terror in his eyes as he was dragged forward. He was fighting against them but he was no match for the two burly Jaffa holding him. He looked over to find Lantash studying Martouf and Lantash nodded, he was acceptable.

 

“No!” Martouf bit and kicked so Harry approached and raised his hand, the crystal in the centre glowing softly. As the beam hit Martouf’s forehead his struggles weakened until he simply stood between he Jaffa, paralysed. He was led over to Lantash and then lowered to the ground. The hair at the back of his neck was pushed aside and Lantash leaned forward before leaving his old host to burrow through Martouf’s neck, making the young man scream in agony.

 

“I’m sorry.” Harry breathed as he watched Martouf collapse, still screaming, until suddenly his screams cut off. “Defend Lord Lantash at any cost!”

 

“Yes Milord.” The Jaffa saluted and Harry stormed to the front, needing to work off some aggression. When he returned he found Martouf… Lantash standing and studying his new body.

 

“So, is he an acceptable host?”

 

“Very much so. Now, let us finish this and return home.” Lantash said and hearing his voice from Martouf hurt.

 

“It will be a pleasure.” He agreed and they took to the field.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Lantash lay on his bed as their ship travelled back to Earth. He had been with his last host for almost five hundred years, having a new, younger one was taking some getting used to. The Jaffa had made an excellent choice though, he was young, strong and attractive. He was also terrified and that fear was getting annoying to deal with. It always took time to fully subdue the host but eventually this… Martouf would fade into nothingness.

 

“No I won’t! I will fight you forever thief! You re no god, you are a monster.”

 

His words amused Lantash. “You are nothing but a remnant boy. With time you will fade away.”

 

“Never.” Martouf stated firmly despite his fear. Lantash just closed his eyes and relaxed, ready to sleep. What was it Bek had said about hosts? Spirit was best as they could keep you amused for years even when you were alone. Well this Martouf definitely had spirit.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Greetings Lord Lantash, how may I help you?” Harry asked as Lantash entered his rooms. They had been back on earth for two weeks and had barely seen each other since. Martouf’s body looked regal now, dressed in finery befitting a minor god. His friend had always hated the trappings that came with playing one of them and now he was forced to wear them against his will. He wished he could do something for him what else could he do? He’d been nudging Lantash mentally and verbally since they met, hoping the symbiote could wake up to the evil of his people.

 

“I cannot sleep.” He admitted once Bek had closed the door, he did not want anyone to overhear what he had to say. “This host, Martouf, his voice is louder than any but my first. In my dreams I see things… I do not understand what is happening to me.”

 

So it seemed his attempts were working. “Come, you need sleep.” Harry led him to his own bed and then knelt to remove Lantash’s sandals, the Goa’uld watching him with wide eyes. He then pushed Lantash back until he was settled on amongst the pillows, settling in beside him to run his fingers through his hair soothingly. Soon enough his eyelids were drooping and then he fell asleep, thanks to Harry’s magic. He gently pushed the two minds together, ensuring they would communicate in sleep through dreams.

 

Lantash woke hours later and found himself staring at Bek’s sleeping form. He felt… settled now. He could feel Martouf as strongly as ever and yet it didn’t feel so strange anymore. He would almost say that his presence was a comfort. He shook his head, heresy. He reached out to run his fingers through Bek’s curling dark hair. It was as soft as it looked and he smiled. He was not powerful enough to attract a Queen to his side but perhaps a consort would be nice. Bek shifted sleepily and then opened his eyes, pressing into the hand in his hair while watching Lantash closely. “Thank you.”

 

“I am always here for you Lantash.” Bek whispered and Lantash leant in closer only to growl as a knock interrupted, making Bek chuckle but get up.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Lantash stared out at the slaves being forced to work and he could feel Martouf’s disgust. For the first time in his long life the sight unsettled him, thanks to his host. He didn’t understand what was happening to him or why but he was changing. It terrified him, if anyone found out… Bek seemed to suspect at least and yet he did nothing except welcome him into his quarters when he had trouble sleeping. He had made a decision that Martouf agreed with, he would ask Bek to become his consort. And perhaps he could explain what was happening to him.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“You’ve begun to look around and see the truth Lantash. That is all.”

 

“And what is this truth?” he sipped his wine, enjoying Bek’s closeness as the other Goa’uld reclined beside him.

 

“That the Goa’uld have no right to do what they do. That taking a host does not destroy the person.” He shrugged.

 

“If Ra heard you say such things…”

 

“But you are not Ra.”

 

“No…I am not. Bek, I wish to take you as my consort. I am not the most powerful of Ra’s underlings but I can give you a comfortable life.”

 

“Consort?” he sat up and stared at Lantash who nodded.

 

“I know no Queen would choose me. Without that there is no need to worry about procreation.”

 

“I am honoured. I will be your consort.” He agreed and Lantash smiled, a real, happy smile.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Martouf swallowed and flexed his hands before moving to the table to eat. It was amazing to have control of his own body once again. Lantash had given up control! For a short time yes but maybe they could learn to live together. The Goa’uld was actually sleeping, giving him privacy.

 

“Lantash have you heard the news?” Martouf felt a flash of panic at the sound of Bek’s voice, what could he do? The Goa’uld walked in and stopped, staring at him before he nodded. “Hello Martouf.” He greeted and Martouf’s jaw dropped slightly. Bek simply stepped closer and gently cupped his cheek. “It is good to see you two getting along better.” Martouf closed his eyes, body reacting to his familiar touch despite his never being in control when Lantash went to his Consort.

 

“You…wanted this?”

 

“Of course.”

 

“Who… are you the host?”

 

“My name is Harry and it is nice to meet you.”

 

“Oh. I feel…”

 

“Emotions go both way, what one feels so does the other. Bek and Lantash care for each other and so we can’t help caring too. We’ve been hoping for this day since meeting Lantash.”

 

“Why?”

 

“To bring down the Goa’uld from within.”

 

“Oh.” Martouf whispered, how could he be any help? He’d been study with the scholars on Ryche but this was a very different world. But Harry just smiled at him and Martouf couldn’t help smiling back.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Recruiting for his version of the Tok’ra was not easy, without a Queen they had to convince Goa’uld to give up everything they fought for, power, wealth, everything. Not surprisingly, to Harry at least, Jolinar was soon added to their number. They moved slowly, not wanting to give the game away too early.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Lantash shoved the last few things in a bag and rushed to the bedroom to find Bek finishing. He grabbed his hand and they ran, after two hundred years Ra had finally caught on and now the Tok’ra were hunted. “We planned for this day my love, we will be fine.” Bek assured him as they made it to the Ha’tak where Jolinar awaited with Selmak and the rest of the Tok’ra.

 

They quickly left the solar system behind, looking for a suitable planet for a base. In a tank, guarded by Selmak herself, rested a young Queen, one they would raise in the ways of the Tok’ra. Harry had ensured she received none of the Goa’ulds evil from Egeria. But instead of hiding and rarely acting he would ensure they took a page out of the SGC’s book and took out Goa’uld whenever they could.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry sat on the grass of Belote, leaning against his love as they watched over the lake filled with immature symbiotes. Illyria, their Queen had spawned many times since she had matured enough to take a host. Thera was a perfect match for her thankfully, wiling to birth as many symbiotes as possible. Should these children grow to have hosts their numbers would be greater than the Tok’ra had ever been. They had already dealt with Sokar and Ba’al, two of the more dangerous adversaries. Taking Ra himself down would take longer but they were patient. Everyone knew Bek and Harry had begun the resistance but not even Lantash and Martouf knew they were one and the same. He had told no one the truth about himself but he knew soon he would either have to leave or use a more complex glamour. Without the sarcophagus a host would only last so long. Martouf’s hair was white with age, his skin wrinkled and dry but his eyes were still bright. Soon Lantash would need a new host and so would ‘Bek’. The Tok’ra was well established now, with a sensible Council, should he stay or move on and help others?

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry held Martouf’s hand in his as a young man stretched out next to him nervously. Harry smiled at him encouragingly before turning his attention back to his dying lover. Martouf slowly lifted his other hand to touch Harry’s cheek and then his eyes flared. “We have no more time.” Lantash stated.

 

“What do I do?” Mikhail asked and Harry stepped back slowly even as Lantash faced his new host.

 

“Kiss me.” Harry couldn’t watch as Mikhail obeyed and Lantash moved to his new host, Martouf’s breathing ceasing as he did. Mikhail gasped and then lay still as the blending began and Harry gently covered Martouf’s body with the sheet.

 

“Goodbye my love.” He whispered.

 

An hour later he stood before the Gate as it activated, consuming the platform holding Martouf’s body. That night he packed away what he wanted and vanished from the base. He returned to Earth and went to work, under a glamour that made him look more like his godfather, he had a few rebellions to incite on the planet.

 

Two years later he took a staff blast to the back while helping claim the city of Memphis for the rebellion. He died quickly, happy that this dimension could finish the rest of the work.

 

The End.

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: Don’t own HP or Hawaii 5-o.

 

Tropical Paradise

 

Harry pulled his board out of the water and up the beach to drop down on his towel. He was loving this world! Why had he never been to Hawaii before? Sand, sea and sun, what more could you want? He had spent the first few years in England, enjoying a world where the wizarding world actually accepted the modern world before doing a stint with the Royal Air Force to get some good flying in. Now he was in the Reserves and living in Paradise. After an hour spent drying in the sun he headed back to his house to shower and dress for the day.

 

He froze as he heard a nearby gunshot and then bolted for the house next door, going invisible. He saw a car peal out at high speed and quickly entered the house. He cleared each room quickly until he came to the dining room. He swore and became visible, moving to check the body but the man was dead. He pulled out his phone and dialled 911. “Hello. My name I s Harry Potter, I need to report a shooting. 2727 Piikoi Street. A car with people just left at high speed. Black sedan, didn’t see the plates.”

 

“Is anyone hurt sir.”

 

“There’s a man here, he’s dead. GSW to the head.”

 

“Police are on the way sir.” They hung up and Harry left the house to wait outside since there was nothing he could do for the victim.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Commander.”

 

“Governor.” Steve greeted tightly.

 

“Thanks for agreeing to see me. I'm so sorry about your loss.” She smiled sadly at him as they shook hands.

 

“Is this about the investigation?”

 

“We have alerts all across the islands.” She answered.

 

“You won't find Victor Hesse with roadblocks and warrants. He's gone underground until he can find a safe way to leave the island. Now why am I here? I'd like to help you get what you came back here for.” Steve fought the urge to really snap at her.

 

“Let's walk. Your father's death was a wakeup call to me and every law enforcement agency in Hawaii, which is why I'm putting together a task force and I want you to run it.” She needed him to run it.

 

“You don't even know me.”

 

“I know your résumé. Annapolis, five years Naval Intelligence, six years with the SEALs. Your superiors say that you are the best that they have ever seen”

 

“Let me stop you right there. I've been tracking Victor Hesse for five years. If he was bold enough to surface, I promise you, he already has an exit strategy and he knows I know it. Which means I can barely afford the hour it's gonna take to bury my father, let alone stand here talking to you.” Now he was getting angry at her trying to use his grief.

 

“Excuse me. I can help you find this son of a bitch with full immunity and means. Your task force will have blanket authority to go after guys like Hesse and get them the hell off my island. Your rules, my backing, no red tape. And I promise you, commander, what you see with me is what you get.” She argued back.

 

“Here's what I see. An election year coming up and a politician who needs the PR, who's willing to do whatever it takes including bringing me to Pearl Harbor where my grandfather was killed so I might feel some kind of obligation to fulfil my family destiny. Is that about right, governor?”

 

“None of those things make me feel less responsible. I knew your father, commander. This is personal for me too.”

 

“Pass.”

 

“All right, here's my private number. Please think it over.”

 

“Thanks.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Thank you for coming Mr Potter.”

 

“Your welcome Governor but why am I here?”

 

“I wanted to thank you for what you did. John McGarrett was a good man, and a friend.” Pat told him and she motioned him to a seat. “HPD ran your name since you were first on the scene, to rule you out.”

 

“Of course.”

 

“What they found caught my interest. John’s death at the hands of an international arms dealer like Hesse was a wakeup call. I’m setting up a task force Captain, full immunity and means. The task force will have blanket authority to go after guys like Hesse and get them the hell off my island, my backing, no red tape.” She explained, if Steve wouldn’t then this young man was a good second choice.

 

“You want me to join?”

 

“I want you to lead it.”

 

“What happened to your first choice? You just learnt about me, you had to have had someone else in mind first.”

 

“You’re right, I asked Steve McGarrett but he turned me down.”

 

“I’m not a citizen Governor.”

 

“True but that can be changed or ignored, you won’t be a cop after all. If I chose to hire a foreigner than that is my choice. This task force is needed and it doesn’t need a cop leading it. We need fresh eyes and a different approach.”

 

“Can I think about it?”

 

“I’ll give you my private number.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

‘I can't continue this investigation into the police department from the inside. I don't trust the people I work with. So I'm gonna have to do this on my own. It's all about the key. I just don't know what it's for. I have only been able to find two source’ Steve turned the recorder off as someone approached.

 

“You, hands up, don't move. Who are you?”

 

Steve pulled his own gun, leaving them with a standoff. “Who are you?”

 

“I'm Detective Danny Williams.”

 

“Lieutenant Commander McGarrett. Put your weapon down now.”

 

“No, you put your weapon down.”

 

“Show me your ID.”

 

“Show me your ID right now.” Danny demanded angrily.

 

“I'm not putting my gun down.”

 

“Neither am I.” The cop argued angrily.

 

“Use your free hand, take out your ID.” Steve offered, gun not wavering.

 

“Please, after you.”

 

“At the same time?” Steve tried.

 

“At the same time?”

 

“The same time.”

 

“What, like on the count of three?” Danny demanded in disbelief.

 

“Okay. Three is good.”

 

“One, two, three.” The counted together and id was shown.

 

“Listen, I'm really sorry about your father, but you can't be here right now. This is an active crime scene.”

 

“Doesn't seem that active.”

 

“I can't share any information with you.” Danny ignored the comment, it was true. He didn’t know why he was the only detective assigned to such a high profile case.

 

“Hesse wasn't in here alone when my father was murdered. Someone was sitting at the desk in study. There was a space cleared for a 13-inch laptop and my father hated computers.”

 

“I'm gonna ask you again, you gotta leave.”

 

“You got it.” Steve picked up the tool box and began walking away.

 

And you can leave the box. That is evidence, you know that.”

 

“I came with this.”

 

“No, you didn't come with it. I see the dust void it left here on the counter. What's in the box?”

 

“How long you been with Honolulu PD?”

 

“None of your business.”

 

“It is my business if you're investigating my father's death.”

 

“I'd like to get back to that, the sooner you leave, the sooner I can.”

 

“Anything you say.”

 

“Leave the box or get arrested.”

 

“All right? Gonna call for backup? An ambulance.” Steve offered as he put the box down and pulled out his phone.

 

“Thank you.”

 

“Don't thank me yet.” He began dialling.

 

“What are you doing?”

 

“Yeah, Governor Jameson, please. Tell her it's Steve McGarrett. Please.”

 

“Governor Jameson here. What can I do for you?”

 

“You’re kidding me.” Danny demanded.

 

“Governor, I'll take the job. No, let's just say I found something that changed my mind. No, immediately. I'll transfer to the reserves and I'll run your task force.”

 

“Raise your hand.””

 

“Wait. What, right now?”

 

“Right now.”

 

“Okay.”

 

“I, Stephen J. McGarrett.”

 

I, Stephen J. McGarrett, do solemnly declare upon my honour and conscience that I will act at all times to the best of my ability and knowledge in a manner befitting an officer of the law. Thank you, governor. Now it's my crime scene.” He smirked at the Detective and took the tool box.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Potter.” Harry answered the phone and listened to the Governor explain that McGarrett had taken the job. But there was still a position on the task force if he wanted it. He sighed and then sat up. “Alright, I’ll take the job.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Her name is Chen Chi.”

 

“Where'd you find her?” Chin asked

 

“Locked in a house. She came here to start a new life. They turned her into a prostitute. Guy we're looking for is high-profile. Victor Hesse. CIA, FBI, Interpol, he's on everyone's radar. He didn't just land here and get his passport stamped. He was back-channelled in.”

 

“Okay. You think the same network that brought this girl smuggled Hesse in? He made a fortune trafficking kids out of Malaysia, so Then you're looking for a snakehead. Local Chinese gangs that specialize in human smuggling.”

 

“Okay, we need a name.” Danny told him.

 

“What, you kidding? Look at me. I'm a rubber gun now.”

 

“Come on, you were on the force for 15 years.”

 

“Okay, look, I know a guy who's got ties to that world, but –“

 

“Great, get us an intro.”

 

“Forget it. He's a former confidential informant. He trusts no one, especially haoles.”

 

“You talk to him then.”

 

“I'm busy.” Chin argued and Danny looked around in disbelief.

 

“Expecting a crime wave in the gift shop this afternoon?”

 

“Look, I can't be a cop anymore.”

 

“Why not?”

 

“Because I can't be. You understand? H.P.D. accused me of taking payoffs. So I'm the last person the department wants to see wearing a badge. I gotta go.” Chin got up and began to walk away.

 

“This is going really well.”

 

“Did you take the money?” Steve asked.

 

“Excuse me?”

 

“Did you take the money?”

 

“No.”

 

“Then come with us and we don't need to talk about this again, ever. This is your ticket back into the game. Call it payback, call it whatever you want, I don't care, but I need you.”

 

“How do you know you can trust me?”

 

“Because my old man did.” Steve answered.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Yo, spoke to Chin, he's setting up the meet with Sang Min. I got that surveillance equipment you asked for.” Danny called as he walked into the very nice, high tech office the Governor had set them up with. Steve looked up at him and then at the screen.

 

“You recognize this guy?”

 

“No. Who is it?”

 

“Jovan Etienne. File says he worked for the Russians as a computer programmer in SVR. He was here when my father was murdered. I found his palm prints in the study, partial boot prints in here.”

 

“Wait, how do you know the boot prints didn't belong to Hesse?”

 

“Hesse wears a Size 11 like me, except double E. The prints I found were smaller. Hesse gets his footwork custom made. Direct-injected polyurethane midsole with a natural all-rubber outsole.”

 

“Oh. Your, uh, brain must be a miserable place.”

 

The door opened and a young man stepped in. “Commander McGarrett?”

 

“That’s me.”

 

“Captain Harry Potter, RAF.” They shook hands.

 

“What can I do for you Captain Potter?”

 

“The Governor didn’t tell you?”

 

“Tell me what?” Steve asked, suddenly feeling a little wary.

 

“When you first turned her down she offered the job to me, you took it before I decided so she offered me a spot on the team, I said yes.”

 

“She offered you the team lead?” Steve asked in surprise and Harry nodded.

 

“Said she didn’t want a cop as the head, that she needed someone who thought differently.”

 

“Does the Governor go around talking to every soldier around?” Danny asked.

 

Harry hesitated and then looked at Steve. “My address is 2729 Piikoi Street.” He told him and Steve frowned before his eyes widened.

 

“It was you…. you called in my Dad’s murder.”

 

“I’d just come up off the beach when I heard a shot. I saw the car peel off but he was dead when I found him. I’m sorry.”

 

“Alright...uh…Danny bring him up to speed…I need to go.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

‘Getting them out of China is easy. Paying for it, that's the hard part.’ Harry played the recording of Sang Min’s admission to Kono.

 

“Laser audio surveillance. We don't need a wire to get a confession out of your hupo ass.” Chin grinned and Sang Mon scoffed.

 

“I'm gonna sue you for entrapment. And when I'm done collecting, I'm gonna find that little hottie you sent in here, and this time, I'm gonna be less of a gentleman.”

 

“Sorry, boss.” Chin said as he pulled his hand back.

 

“I didn't see anything.” Steve answered.

 

“You didn't see anything? Son of a bitch hit me.”

 

“You wanna file a report, you'll need a witness. Do you wanna file a report?”

 

“I wanna go to jail now.”

 

“Where is he? Where's Hesse? What about your wife and kid? You know where they are?” Steve demanded and it was Harry who answered.

 

“I do. She's getting her nails done on Kalakaua Avenue. And your boy is at his private school in Diamond Head. Wonder what he's gonna think when he finds out Daddy takes kids just like him and puts them on the street to be pumped full of black tar heroin then sold to strangers like animals.” He snarled at the end.

 

“You're going to jail. That part's not up for negotiation. Your family? Is about to lose a husband and a father. In my eyes, now they're your victims too. The trouble is the law doesn't see it that way. Your wife? She's from Rwanda, she'll be sent back, they both will. If they're lucky, they'll make it to a refugee camp. And your son? Seven's old enough to hold a gun for the Hutu militia. I can prevent all that. But I don't help people who don't help me.” Steve continued for him.

 

“What kind of cops are you?”

 

“The new kind.” Harry smirked at him and Sang Min folded.

 

“Okay, okay.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

“Okay, guys, honestly, I think we need a name.” Kono announced as they sat on the beach between Steve and Harry’s houses.

 

“A name?” Steve asked as he handed out beers.

 

“What kind?” Danny asked more warily.

 

“Yeah. Like something to call ourselves. What do you think?”

 

“Why do we need a name?” Harry asked as he drank his beer.

 

“We're gonna be working together and it would be cool.”

 

“I got it.” Chin said something long and complicated that went straight over Harry’s head even as Kono laughed.

 

“You're too much.”

 

“What? What are you laughing at? That means ‘no task is too big when done together.’” They all laughed now. “This is the problem with you haoles, no team spirit. No island spirit.”

 

“No, come on. We need something cool. ‘Strike Force.’”

 

"Strike Force"? Chin asked in disbelief.

 

“Yes.”

 

“I hate that so much.”

 

“You know; I say we keep thinking.” Steve agreed with Danny.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Good morning, lieutenant.” Steve murmured, kissing her and she smiled.

 

“Good morning, commander.” She returned when they broke apart.

 

“You know I think I owe you dinner.”

 

“Yeah, somehow we just never quite make it to dinner.”

 

“We had dinner in Coronado.”

 

“No. We had reservations.”

 

“You know; we both have the day off today. We could have breakfast on the beach. Or” Steve stopped speaking as he kissed and caressed her.

 

“Or?” She was panting as he had fun but then something felt odd. “I think I'm vibrating.”

 

“Mm.”

 

“No, I think I'm actually vibrating.” She yanked the buzzing cell phone out from under her body. “There goes your day off.” She sighed. He listened to the message and got up to get dressed.

 

“Sorry.”

 

“I’ll see you later, go catch the bad guy.” She teased.

 

Steve left the house to find Harry pulling on his helmet. “Governor?” He asked and Steve nodded. “See you there.” He turned his bike on and took off to the morgue, he’d beat Steve since he had to pick up Danny.

 

He parked and went inside to find the Governor there. “Ma’am.” He greeted.

 

“Captain.”

 

“You’re here so I’m guessing it’s bad.”

 

“Yes, it is.” She agreed. “Where’s Steve?”

 

“Picking up Danny.”

 

“What do you think of the team so far?”

 

“Rough around the edges but coming together. I think it helps that Kelly was John McGarrett’s partner and Kono’s his cousin. It’s making it a bit easier.”

 

“So no major clashes?”

 

“Just Steve and Danny arguing like an old married couple.” He admitted and they both chuckled.

 

“Gentlemen, thank you for coming.” She called as she saw them coming.

 

“Governor.”

 

“An 18-year-old girl's body was found off Waikiki this morning.”

 

“That's H.P.D.'s jurisdiction.”

 

“Not this time. Oh, that's right. You haven't met Dr. Bergman yet. Max is a tactile thinker. Playing music is part of his process. Some people say he's a savant. I think he's a genius. Max? Trust me.” The Governor explained.

 

“Edematous airways.”

 

“What did he say? Nice to meet you too.”

 

“The victim exhibited pulmonary edema petechial haemorrhaging and froth in the airways.” Max explained as he led them to the body. “Cause of death is definitely drowning. Does that mean we're not dealing with a homicide? No, it doesn't mean we're not dealing with a homicide. Sorry. That was a double negative. It means it still could be a homicide. See these linear contusions on her wrists? They're ante mortem.”

 

“Ligature marks.” Danny looked at them. “She was restrained.”

 

“That's right. She has defensive wounds as well.”

 

“So she put up a fight.” Harry commented and Max nodded.

 

“Yes. Also hello. I am Max Bergman.”

 

“Hello, Max.” Harry and Steve said almost in unison.

 

“Yeah, hi, Max.”

 

“Governor, do we have an ID of the victim? Her name is Amanda Reeves. Her father is Michael Reeves, the US ambassador to the Philippines and a very old friend. Which is why I promised I'd put my best people on it.”

 

“Okay. Uh What are they doing in Hawaii?”

 

“They vacation here every year. The girls went to a movie last night, but they never made it home.”

 

“I'm sorry. You said girls? As in more than one?” Steve demanded.

 

“Oh. Sorry. Amanda's sister, Robin, is still missing. Coast Guard sent out divers this morning, but there's no sign of her.”

 

“So Robin Reeves may still be alive.” Harry looked at his boss who nodded and they headed out.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Robin Reeves. What'd you do with her?” Harry asked as Jordan began coming around.

 

“What?”

 

“Where is she? Where is Robin Reeves? Here's your rap sheet here. You’ve got credit card fraud. Corruption of a minor. Statutory rape. And now you’ve graduated to murder. Congratulations.” Harry stated coldly, green eyes hard and the guy swallowed nervously.

 

“Murder?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“What are you talking about?”

 

“We found Amanda Reeves' body this morning.”

 

“I didn't kill that girl.”

 

“No? Well, you better know who did then.”

 

“Okay. Okay. I did slip those girls a roofie last night.” Jordan answered, the bit of magic Harry was using helping to loosen his tongue.

 

“Why those girls? Why'd you pick them?”

 

“I was just doing what I was told. But they were alive when I handed them off to Kang.”

 

“Who's Kang?”

 

“The one who set me up with the job. Said he'd give me five grand for every girl I brought him.”

 

“What does he do with the girls?”

 

“I get paid to supply the girls, not to ask questions. Okay.”

 

“So how do we find Kang?”

 

“I don't know. Honestly he never even told me his last name. I don't even know his phone number.” Jordan pleaded but Harry’s glare didn’t lessen one bit.

 

“How do you deliver the girls to Kang? How does that happen?”

 

“He leaves a van parked in one of the lots.”

 

 

“Okay. Go on.”

 

“I put the girls in the back. Take the van to Ala Wai and park it by the canal. The next day it's back in the parking lot with five grand in the glove box and instructions for the next drop-off.”

 

“That girl you were gonna drug tonight, was she your next delivery?”

 

“Yeah. Yes. I was supposed to get her there by 1:00.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“I can’t believe you did that.” Harry grinned and Kono shrugged.

 

“What? She loves her dog.”

 

“Good work. You saw a weakness and exploited it.”

 

“Yeah, but still no Robin.”

 

“We’ll find her.”

 

“Why do you do this?”

 

“Do what?”

 

“Join the task force. I know why the rest of this did but you were pretty much retired and living in Paradise.”

 

“And I like helping keep it like that. A friend once said I have a saving people thing. Honestly I was getting a little bored.” He admitted and she shook her head.

 

“Crazy haole.” She grinned and they both laughed as they entered their HQ.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

“You're right. Listen, I'm man enough to know when I'm wrong. Thank you. You both have great instincts. And if you ever consider coming down to the private sector, you should give me a call. Men with your skill-sets deserve to be compensated.” Ellison offered Harry and Steve.

 

“Well, thank you very much.” Steve smiled and looked to Harry who subtly pulled his cuffs.

“I totally agree.”

 

“Oh, what are you doing?” Ellison demanded as Harry grabbed him, spinning him to cuff his hands.

 

“I'm getting compensation. You obstructed a criminal investigation. That is an arrestable offense.” He explained even as Steve grinned.

“You and I both know the charges will never stick.”

 

“Yeah, maybe not. But it's gonna take your firm at least 24 hours to get a lawyer here from Los Angeles. I'm gonna make sure you spend that time in jail.” Steve pointed out even as Danny joined them and Harry handed Ellison over to him. “Book him, Danno.”

 

“I got to be honest, actually, I didn't mind that one.”

 

“Really?”

 

“Yeah. Move.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

Harry lay on the sand enjoying the quiet. He hadn’t expected like with the task force to be as intense as it was. Anything from arms dealing to crooked feds to murder, they handled it all. And yet they still hadn’t solved the first case they’d been brought together for. But it was nice to be working with a team again, especially when he wasn’t in the lead. He was quite happy playing second to Steve. They were currently enjoying a few days off after attending the funeral of Danny’s first partner on the island. No one deserved to die how he had. And at least they’d finally caught the mole in the department. He hated moles, especially ones that nearly got friends killed. If Kono wasn’t so good Sang Min’s goons could have killed her before she was even officially a cop. He liked Kono, she was smart, pretty and very handy with a rifle.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry and Steve laughed as Danny fell again. Kono just shook her head and went back to coaching him in surfing. Danny had recently decided to take up surfing so he could do it with Grace but so far the lessons weren’t going all that great. But at least he was making an effort to learn something to do with island life, he was so quick to say he hated it here but now he was trying. Eventually Steve stood up and went to help with the lessons.

 

“You okay?” Harry asked Chin who glanced over.

 

“It’s not every day you have a bomb stuck around your neck.”

 

“It’s not me I’m worried about, it’s the rest of you. Sooner or later someone will find out about the money.”

 

“Didn’t Kono tell you?”

 

“Tell me what?”

 

“The money Hess burned wasn’t from the HPD, it was mine.”

 

“Yours?”

 

“Yeah. I had an inheritance from my parents. Saving your life seemed a good use for it.”

 

“But…I…. I’ll find some way to pay you back.”

 

“No need, I consider it money well spent.”

 

“Harry…”

 

“Let it go Chin. I’m not accepting anything in return.”

 

“Thank you.” They fell silent as Kono joined them, leaving the lesson to Steve for a while. Seeing the way his cousin would glance sideways at Harry, Chin decided to be nice and got up to join the other guys. If Kono was interested in the young Captain, then he had no problem with that at all.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Doing anything tomorrow?”

 

Harry paused and looked over at Kono from where he was grabbing his helmet. “Unless we catch a case, why?”

 

“Well I know this great sushi bar.” She suggested and Harry stared at her for a few seconds before smiling.

 

“Sounds good. Pick you up at one?”

 

“Great. I’ll see you then.” She grinned and left the office. Harry shook his head and left, waving at her as he got on his bike and drove off.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“So you and Kono?”

 

“Are no one’s business unless Kono wants to talk about it.” Harry stated and Chin nodded.

 

“As long as you’re good to her.”

 

“Agreed.” They drew their guns and followed Steve in.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Kono laughed and ran across the sand, Harry hot on her heels. He caught her round the waist and they tumbled to the sand, Harry taking the impact. They rolled across the sand, laughing and play fighting until Harry pinned her and then leant in and kissed her softly. Kono stilled and kissed him back. They then both groaned as their phones rang, crime never stopped it seemed.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“All right, guys, come right here. Come on in. Listen up. Our target's name is Wo Fat. Thermal imaging shows one heat signature in the safe house, so we know he's alone. But do not let that fool you. This guy is a major arms dealer with known terrorist affiliations and over a dozen kills. He's more than likely carrying a weapon, and he's most definitely dangerous. So stay focused, be aware of your surroundings at all times. All right? Let's go.” Steve explained to the team getting ready to breach the house. He nodded at Harry and Danny who were checking their weapons. “Gearing up, huh?” He asked Jenna who nodded.

 

“Yeah.”

 

“Good for you. You forgot one thing, though.” He pulled out his cuffs.

 

“What are you doing with those?”

 

“You're not a field agent, okay? You're an analyst.” He said as he cuffed her hand to the door handle.

 

“Are you kidding? My intel got us here. Can't believe you're gonna freeze me out.”

 

“I understand how much this means to you, but you're not gonna get hurt.” He re-joined the team as she sat in the car. “Let's go, guys. Let's go. Move out.” He called and they moved towards the house but it all went wrong as the door exploded.

 

“Steve, you all right?” Harry called and Steve nodded.

 

“Break contact.” Steve yelled.

 

“Barricade.”

 

“Stand down.”

 

“Entry team, fall back. Arson, explosives.”

 

“I need an ETA on rescue.” The calls came all around them through the smoke.

 

“Boss, he's on the move.” One called, watching the infra-red.

 

“I'm going in.” Steve called and then looked at Harry.

 

“Stay here, surround the perimeter.”

 

“I'm headed toward the back of the house.” Kono called over the radio.

 

“Rear team has been mobilized, is searching for the target.”

 

“Boss, he's moving upstairs.”

 

“I got eyes on the target, but it's not Wo Fat. It's Sang Min. I repeat, Sang Min.” Steve called from upstairs.

 

“Please repeat.” Harry called in confusion, what was he doing here?

 

“I'll say again. Sang Min. Wo Fat wasn't in the house.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Hey, Gracie.” Harry called as the young girl exited the building and she smiled when she saw him, running down the stairs.

 

“Uncle Harry!”

 

“Hey, kiddo.” He hugged her and began leading her to the car he’d borrowed.

 

“Where's daddy?”

 

“Listen, Gracie, Danno's, uh, not feeling the best, okay? I’m going to take you to the hospital. We're gonna go see him.”

 

“Is he going to be okay?”

 

“Is he gonna be okay? Let me tell you about your father. He might not talk like it, but he's one tough guy. And he's brave as well. Can you be brave like Danno?” he asked and she nodded. “Are you sure? Then we should go see him. What are you waiting for? Come on.” He took her backpack and tossed it in the back before making sure she had her seatbelt on.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“You got something?” Jenna asked and Harry nodded.

 

“Yeah, I got a call from your CIA contact. They found a chemical match to our sarin. Turns out it's the same strand used by a Chechen terror group in a botched Moscow attack five years ago. And the Russian FSB identified the supplier as Mikhail Yursky. And get this, Mr. Yursky arrived in Hawaii five days ago under fake passport.”

 

“Timeline matches the murder.” Jenna agreed and Steve nodded.

 

“Then that's our killer. Now all we have to do is find him.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“HAZMAT team just finished checking the canisters in Mikhail's trunk. Empty with no signs of toxins. He was about to leave the island with them. I guess he was gonna use the canisters to traffic the sarin.” Harry explained as they looked over the information on the main screen.

 

“What's still not adding up though is why a bioweapons dealer with terrorist ties would target two innocent people from the mainland.” Chin added.

 

“What's going on?” Steve asked as the door opened.

 

“Commander McGarrett, David Akahoshi, Internal Affairs.”

 

“I know who you are. What are you doing here?”

 

“I came to return something to Mr. Kelly.” He placed a case on the table and opened it to reveal money. “The serial numbers on these bills don't match the stolen money, which means you're trying to cover for your uncle.”

 

“Those inventory logs disappeared years ago, so those serial numbers don't exist.” Chin argued.

 

“Actually, they do. After the forfeiture locker was robbed, IA kept waiting for you to slip up and spend the money somewhere. We figured that you were being careful. So we had the asset forfeiture division put the word out that their inventory records had been lost. It was all a lie. If you thought we couldn't trace the serial numbers, maybe you would finally start spending the money. But that never happened, because you never stole it.”

 

“Chin, this has gone too far.” Steve murmured.

 

“You got your money back. Let this go.” Chin pleaded.

 

“I'm sorry, but I can't do that. I know you were just trying to protect your family, which is why I am not gonna charge you with obstruction of justice. I'm not even gonna ask where you got that money, but your uncle stole from the Honolulu Police Department, which means he stole from the people of Hawaii. And he's gonna have to answer for that.” With that he left the three men alone.

 

“I, myself, am gonna ask where you got this money.” Steve looked to Chin.

 

“Markham.”

 

“The bookie?” Harry asked in disbelief.

 

“I signed the deed to my house over to him.”

 

“Return it. Get your deed back.” Steve ordered.

 

“Steve, I didn't have a choice.”

 

“Listen to me, all right? You did this for your uncle. You don't have to explain anything else to me.”

 

“Or me.” Harry agreed.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“McGarrett?” Sang Min called and the whole team turned, weapons appearing.

 

“Put your hands in the air.” Steve yelled.

 

“Get on your knees, right now.” Harry ordered.

 

“How did you get in here?”

 

“I need your help.” He answered as Chin checked him over.

 

“He's clean.”

 

“Told you I'm not gonna cut any deals.” Steve warned as Chin cuffed him.

 

“You don't understand. I'll plead to any charge. Take the maximum sentence, as long as you place me under protective custody.”

 

“Oh, yeah, what happened?”

 

“Wo Fat. I tried to make things right with him.”

 

“What did he say?”

 

“He told me he's not gonna rest until I'm dead. And that when I am, he's gonna come for you next.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“You worried?” Harry asked Kono as they lay on his couch together, the remains of dinner on the table.

 

“Yeah. I mean Danny nearly died and now Wo Fat’s threatening Steve….”

 

“It’ll be okay.” He kissed the top of her head. “We’ll get through this.”

 

“Promise?”

 

“Well….I think this is a promise.” He held up a ring box and she gasped at the platinum ring set with a subtle yet beautiful diamond.

 

“Harry?”

 

“Will you marry me Kono?”

 

“Yes.” She whispered and he slipped the ring on her finger.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Want your money back?” Steve asked and Harry chuckled.

 

“Burnt pieces aren’t very useful. Guess I better go tell HPD we already know what money it is.” He waved at Steve and began walking away.

 

“Oh Harry!”

 

He turned back. “Yeah?”

 

“Congratulations.”

 

Harry grinned. “Thanks.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“H.P.D. has shown improvements across the board - in every district.” Laura told the Governor as they walked.

 

“Aloha, Steve, lieutenant Kelly.” Pat called when she saw them.

 

“Aloha, governor. Good morning Miss Hills.”

 

“Lieutenant Kelly.” Laura greeted.

 

“Uh, you'll excuse us.”

 

“When are you gonna ask her out?”

 

“Who, Miss Hills?”

 

“No, the governor.” Steve rolled his eyes. “Who do you think? Every time we see Laura, she's just sexting you with her eyes.”

 

“Hey, come on.”

 

“What, are you kidding me? For a great detective, you're really clueless sometimes.”

 

The door slammed open and Jenna looked towards them. “I was just about to call you.” She called out even as Steve picked an envelope up off his desk.

 

“Guess who got another special delivery today? Another envelope.” Chin commented.

 

“Every Wednesday, it's like clockwork. No unknown prints. I already checked. Security dropped it off minutes ago. I guess it showed up early this morning in the mailroom. Same handwriting, same ink, same envelope as all the rest. The skeleton key.” Steve held it up. “This thing drove me crazy. I tried every lock in the house. Even tried dad's old desk at H.P.D. Remember, it didn't fit? It didn't fit anything.”

 

“Actually, um, based on the photos of all the evidence that your father collected, I did a little digging. Turns out that key belongs to a piece of antique American furniture from the 1800s.”

 

“My father never owned anything like that.”

 

“Then whose key is it? Maybe the person he was investigating.”

 

“Violent crimes, down 7 percent. Property crime's down 4. And the year-to-year clearance rate is up 8. Looks like your Five-0 task force is making an impact.” Laura continued reporting as they walked towards the cars.

 

“Yes, but let's not sell H.P.D. short. They've been doing great work. Give the commissioner an attaboy for me when you see him.”

 

“Yes, ma'am.”

 

“Oh, and, Laura, it's perfectly all right for a lady to make the first move.”

 

“I'm sorry?”

 

“Inspector Kelly, call him today.”

 

“Yes, ma'am.” She walked away to her own car and opened the door. The car was instantly consumed by a fireball, blowing out windows.

 

“Aah, Laura!” Pat screamed.

 

“We gotta get you out of here.” Her guard said as he pulled her back. “Come on, now.

We got her. Hey, come on.”

 

“Governor? What happened? Governor, are you hurt? You okay?” Steve yelled as 5-o appeared on the scene.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“I just got off the phone with the crime lab. They finished processing Laura Hills' house.”

 

“They find any other print besides her?” Kono asked.

 

“They found prints all over the place. McGarrett's.” Harry answered.

 

“How is that possible?” Jenna asked

 

“You ever been there before today?”

 

“No, never.” Steve denied.

 

“Somebody sure as hell wants H.P.D. to think you were.”

 

“Why?”

 

“You're being set up.” Harry stated flatly. He did not like this at all.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Let me just make a statement, okay? Out of the top ten dopiest suggestions you have ever had, this is number one with a bullet.”

 

“What idea is that?” Harry asked as he joined them.

 

“Oh, I'll tell you. He, uh, wants to break into the governor's mansion.”

 

“What?” Kono asked in disbelief, all of them staring at Steve.

 

“All those who think that's a certifiably demented idea, please raise your hand.” Hands went up and Danny looked at Jenna. “Please raise your hand.

 

“I'm new. I didn't think I got a vote.”

 

“You don't get a vote. You are forgetting that Five-0 is not a democracy, it's a benevolent dictatorship. Got it?”

 

“Why would you wanna break into the governor's mansion?”

 

“The key that Laura Hills sent me from my father's tool box goes to an old antique bureau, all right? The exact same antique bureau that's in the governor's study.”

 

“Okay, if the key fits, what do you think you're gonna find in there?” Danny asked as Steve’s phone rang.

 

“The rest of my father's stuff. McGarrett. Wait, wait, wait. What? What? What? When? We're on the way.” He hung up.

 

“What happened? That was H.P.D. The transport taking O'Reilly to prison just got hit.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry slipped easily into the mansion and began looking around. He found the desk Steve was interested in and easily opened it with magic, removing the evidence Steve had talked about. He then re-locked the desk and continued searching, frowning as the tricorder he’d pulled out picked up a signal so he took the interesting looking clock too. He then apparated home and walked over to Steve’s, knocking on the door.

 

“Harry?”

 

“Going to commit robbery? Don’t bother, beat you too it.” He put everything down.

 

“What’s with the clock?”

 

“Not sure.” Harry began dismantling it. “Huh.”

 

“What?” Danny asked and Harry held the camera up.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“You're saying you think that the governor had Laura Hills murdered?”

 

“Yes. And Wo Fat made it happen.”

 

“What are we waiting for? Let's bring her in.” Kono said.

 

“Whoa, slow down, okay? We don't have any hard evidence proving anything.”

 

“Well, we have these photos.” Harry tossed them down on the table.

 

“Yeah, we do. That he illegally obtained by breaking into the governor's house. She's probably gonna say he planted them there.” Danny argued.

 

“He's right. This isn't some liquor store stick-up artist who everyone wants to see locked up. We're talking about an elected official with a spotless record and a 72-percent approval rating. If we take her down, we need something that sticks.”

 

“Fine. That's our focus now, okay? We silently investigate the governor like my father did. We get something on her and bring her down. And she leads us to Wo Fat.” Steve ordered.

 

Chin answered his phone. “Yeah, Duke, what's up?

 

“You sure you don't want your job? Because it looks like your current one isn't going to exist very much longer. We have a warrant to arrest McGarrett for murder.”

 

“We got a problem. H.P.D.'s on its way right now to arrest you for killing Laura Hills.” Chin called even as they heard distant sirens.

 

“Kono, get everything off the screens. Wipe the drives. Wipe everything.” Harry ordered firmly.

 

“This is ridiculous. He's being set up.” Jenna argued.

 

“What are you gonna do?” Danny asked.

 

“I got no chance of beating this if the governor's involved, not if I'm locked up.”

“All right, listen, do me a favour. Please, just lay low, okay? We'll get something on the governor and end this.”

 

“All right, I gotta go.” Steve took off.

 

“Everybody, clean house.” Harry stepped into command.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Hey, hey. Chin?” Danny called as he ran over.

 

“Danny?” Steve called.

 

“Hey. What the hell are you doing? What happened, huh?” he demanded as he saw the cuffs on Steve.

 

“The governor's dead.” Chin answered.

 

“What are you talking about?”

 

“It was Wo Fat.” Steve argued.

 

“Let him go.” Danny ordered.

 

“It was Wo Fat, Danny.”

 

“Let him go. Let him go.”

 

“He was the only one there. His gun was just discharged. I can't let him go.”

 

“Yes, you can. We have jurisdiction. We're Five-0. Get him out.”

 

“You don't understand, Danny. There is no Five-0 anymore.”

 

“What did you do, huh? What did you do? You just went back to them after everything they did to you? Huh? Hey, hey, listen to me. I'm gonna get you out of this thing. Don't worry.”

 

“Let him go Chin.” Harry called as he walked over. “Five-o does still exist and with Steve under suspicion that leaves me in charge. We’ll hold him in our cell till we finish investigating.”

 

“Lieutenant Governor Denning ordered the task force disbanded Harry.”

 

“Well it’s a good thing he doesn’t have the authority to do that. Governor Jameson had five-o approved higher up the food chain, we’re as permanent as the HPD. Now get him out and let’s get moving.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry watched as Denning was sworn in as Governor. He didn’t like this at all. They’d proved Steve’s innocence but had nothing on Wo Fat but his word. And he did not like the new governor, especially with how he’d tried to disband them. Something was going on behind the scenes but what?

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry smiled as Chin lead Kono towards him across the sand. She looked utterly beautiful. He took her hands in his and they turned to the man officiating. They exchanged their vows as the sun began to set. Soon they were all eating and laughing, having a wonderful time. At the end of the night they got in a limousine and headed to the airport, heading to Europe for their honeymoon.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

Harry looked over at his wife who smiled and he smiled back, shifting his vest a little. They were being shot at, again. Though with Steve currently on the mainland they couldn’t even blame him for this. Lori crawled over to join them even as Harry signalled Chin and Danny. They laid down cover fire, allowing the two men to get the drop on the gunmen.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry sat up and Kono scrambled out of bed and into the bathroom, jumping up as he heard her being sick. He knelt beside her and held her hair back with one hand while the other rested over her stomach, guiding a scan and his eyes went wide. “Oh.” He whispered, before settling her stomach.

 

Kono breathed in deeply, glad for his instant sickness cure. Finding out magic was real had been a shock but one she’d been able to accept. He didn’t use it a lot but when he did it seemed totally natural. “Oh what?”

 

“You’re pregnant.” He answered and Kono just stared at him.

 

“You’re sure?”

 

“Positive, it’s too early for most tests to show though.”

 

“I guess I better tell Steve we at least suspect I am, I can focus on background checks and computer work.”

 

“You’re okay with this?”

 

“If I wasn’t we would have been using contraceptive.”

 

“Good point.” He kissed her cheek before giving her some water to rinse. “And there goes our alarm. Come on, I’ll wash your back.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Kono smiled at the piece of paper, official proof she was carrying the next Potter. She headed back to HQ to begin filling out paperwork taking her off active duty only for the team to rush by. “Harry?”

 

He stopped and kissed her. “We’ve got a lead on Wo Fat.”

 

“Be careful.”

 

“Always am.” He promised as he ran for his bike.

 

Kono watched and then headed inside to start the paperwork. After that she went to work on some older files. It was hours later that they returned, covered in soot and blood and she froze at the looks on their faces. “Harry?”

 

Chin moved to hold her, ignoring the grime. “I’m so sorry cuz.”

 

“No.” she shook her head and looked to Steve.

 

“He saved our lives Kono, it was a trap.”

 

Her legs buckled and Chin supported her. “He…. he can’t…I’m pregnant.” She choked and Chin hugged her tighter.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

The British Ambassador to the US flew out from DC to attend the funeral. Harry had stated in his will that he wanted to be buried in his adopted homeland and it had been agreed that as a member of the armed forces, even though not American, he was to be buried with all other soldiers on the island and with a military funeral. Every officer that had ever worked with 5-O attended to pay their respects.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Kono smiled down at her son, he had her colouring but already had his Daddy’s eyes.

 

“What’s his name?” Chin asked as he set up some flowers.

 

“Harry Chin Potter.” She answered and Chin kissed her cheek.

 

“He’d be so proud of you.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Kono passed Harry to Mary who smiled and rocked the baby. “Don’t worry Kono, I have this, go catch bad guys and keep the boys in line.”

 

“Thank you so much for doing this Mary.”

 

“Looking after this handsome young man beats being a flight attendant. Besides the pays nice.” She teased. Harry had set up a trust fund the day he’d found out she was pregnant, with boy of them as 5-O they had always accepted the chance something could go wrong. Kono watched Mary with Harry for a bit before heading out for her first day back cleared for full duty. She knew they were safe, Harry had warded the house himself and she had the contact details for the local magical community, odds were little Harry would take after his father and she’d eventually need help to teach him to control his magic.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“There are some more blood drops over here. Broken branches. Ground's been disturbed.” Kono called as she looked around.

 

“Definitely some sort of a struggle went down. I've got arterial blood spatter.” Chin called. “Likely due to the strike at the victim's neck.”

 

“Okay, well, looks like we found our primary crime scene. Hey, I got something.”

 

“What is it?” he asked.

 

“Looks like a bone fragment of some kind. There's tool markings. And a drilled hole. Our victim wasn't wearing anything like this.”

 

“Based on the crazing and discoloration, I'd say it's at least a hundred years old.”

 

“What's that?”

 

“Appears to be a strand of hair. All right. Let's get this to Fong and see if he can run DNA.” He bagged it and then looked at her.

 

“How’re you doing?”

 

“Good, Harry’s at the annoying not sleeping stage but Mary’s great. I think she needed responsibility to settle down and helping me with Harry does that.”

 

“He’s growing so fast.”

 

“He’s only six months cuz, wait till he’s at least four before telling me that please.” She begged and Chin laughed.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Mrs. Koruba?”

 

“Officer Potter. I heard on the news that you had somebody in custody. I had to come here. I need to know. Who is it?”

 

“It looks like the person we have in custody didn't kill your husband.”

 

“Are you any closer to finding out who did?”

 

“We're still looking. There is something that you might be able to help us with. Did Brandon ever say why he shut down the interisland ferry?”

 

“I didn't know about that.”

 

“We heard he pulled the permits. He never mentioned any of this to you?”

 

“No, I had no idea. Do you think that's why he was murdered?”

 

“It's possible. But we're not sure.” Kono smiled at the distressed woman who nodded and walked away. Kono made her way inside to do her job and look up the permits. She was just leaving when her phone rang.

 

“Kono, what do you got?” Steve asked.

 

“All right, so I just left the D.O.T. Looks like the lawyer was right. Koruba did let the permits lapse.”

 

“Did you find out why?”

 

“Well, according to the D.O.T., Koruba felt he couldn't move forward knowing what the costs were to the environment.”

 

“Okay, so he finally had a change of heart.”

 

“Well, it makes sense, knowing what we know about Koruba and his connection to the island. But get this, a request to renew the permits was filed a few hours after Koruba was murdered.”

 

“By whom?”

 

“Koruba's business partner, Tony Dennison.”

 

“There's our motive. Dennison stood to lose the most if Koruba killed the deal on the boat.”

 

“Yeah, and with him dead, he had the most to gain. Maybe Dennison killed his own partner just to keep the interisland ferry project alive.” She heard Danny agree with Steve over what was obviously speakerphone.

 

“Kono, listen to me. See if you can get a lock on Dennison's cell. We just spoke to his assistant, who implied that he was off to see Megan Koruba.”

 

“That's strange. I just saw Mrs. Koruba earlier.”

 

“You didn't by any chance tell her anything about this case, did you?”

 

“I just asked her about Brandon letting the permits lapse, but she said she didn't know anything about it.”

 

“Hold on, hold on. Why would you do that?”

 

“Well, she wasn't a suspect. Why?”

 

“Maybe she was lying, I don't know. We'll call you back.” He hung up and Kono ran to her car, heading back to HQ to start tracking him. Sure enough Steve was soon calling back. “Kono, did you get a lock on Dennison's phone?”

 

“I'm pulling up a trace now.”

 

“If Koruba's wife tipped off Dennison to the fact that we're onto them, I guarantee you they're on the run now.”

 

“Kono, have the Coast Guard, Sheriffs and TSA on alert, and check and see if any airline tickets have been purchased under either of their names.”

 

“I followed up on Dennison's alibi. Turns out, the call we thought he made from his office to Koruba around T.O.D. was actually patched through his office to his cell phone. Dennison's assistant says he gave her very specific instructions on when and where to make that call.”

 

“All right. Did you pull his cell records?”

 

“Yeah. And the cell tower he was closest to was actually less than a mile from the reenactment site. All right, I got him. Kualani Lane and Kahala Avenue.”

 

“That's Brandon and Megan Koruba's house. They haven't left.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Hey, listen, pal, the only reason we're here is 'cause you're taking care of the tab, all right? You know that.” Danny called out to Steve as drinks were passed around.

‘First round only I'm picking up.” Steve answered

“What?” Chin looked over at Steve

 

“Told you, told you.” Kono grinned

 

“No, what'd I tell you? I told you that. I should've, I should've bet money on that.” Danny grumbled.

 

“Shrimp? Don't you get enough of that stuff at work?” Steve looked at Kamekona as he began eating.

 

“Market research. I got to keep tabs on the competition.”

 

“Hey, you. That was a really good call on Creed and Urthstrike.” Chin looked at Kono who shrugged.

 

“Thanks. Mahalo.”

 

“You listened to your gut.”

 

“I learned it from you.” She said with a smile.

 

“Will you relax? She's right there.” Steve called, watching Danny stare out at the beach.

 

“I'm completely fine! She's right there.”

 

“Danny!”

 

“I'm completely fine!” Danny argued.

 

“You did good, buddy. You picked a controlled environment, reduced expectation and pressure for all three of you. Good job.”

 

“Thank you.” Danny went back to watching his daughter and girlfriend.

 

“Well this has been fun but I better head home and relieve Mary of Harry.” Kono stood.

 

“I’ll come with you.”

 

“You just want to tuck him in.” She teased and Chin shrugged, it was true. He loved the little baby.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Kono looked at herself in the mirror and took a deep breath, she could do this. Mary came in with Harry on her hip and grinned. “You look great.”

 

“Thanks.” She kissed Harry on the top of the head. “You be good for Aunt Mary. I’ll be back by midnight.”

 

“Just remember to have fun, it’s a date.”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“And I won’t tell anyone about it or who it’s with.” Mary promised again. They both knew the team wouldn’t react well but Adam wasn’t his father.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Awesome. Come on in. Mahalo.” Kono smiled at the waiter who took the tip and left the room. “Breakfast is here.”

 

“Breakfast can wait.” Adam answered, wrapping his arms around her. How did he get so lucky?

 

“Yeah?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“You don't have to be at work in a while, right? Oh, I think that's mine.” Kono called as a phone began to ring and Adam moved away to pick it up.

 

“No, it's me. Excuse me. I'll be right back.” He moved into the other room. “Adam. When? I understand. Look, uh, I'm about to head into a meeting. I'll talk to you later.” Hearing that Kono moved into the bedroom and started dressing. “Whoa-whoa-whoa, hey-hey-hey-hey.

You don't have to go yet, right? What's wrong?” he asked after hanging up and walking in.

 

“Well, you're about to head into a meeting.”

 

“What was I supposed to say, I'm in bed with a cop?”

 

“No.” She agreed softly and then sat on the bed, suddenly sad. “We can't even go out to dinner. I can’t introduce you to my son. And we have to sneak off to a hotel every time we want to be together.”

 

“Look, you got a better idea? I mean, I don't see you, uh, rushing to tell Chin about us. Or Five-O. And I would love to meet little Harry.” He assured her. He’d seen pictures of her late husband and their son, he was one cute little man.

 

“I want to.”

 

“But you don't. Because you know they'd look at me and see one thing: Hiro Noshimuri's son. Heir apparent to the head of the Yakuza.”

 

“They won't see that if you're clean.”

 

“I'm getting there. Our hotels on the North Shore are entirely legit now. But it doesn't happen overnight. I have to take it one business at a time.”

 

“I know. I just want to be with you.”

 

“I want that, too.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Adam, what are you doing here?” Steve asked as they were surrounded.

 

“Next time you steal one of my helicopters, you should disable the GPS.”

 

“Listen, I know what he did, okay, but this is not the way.” Steve tried to reason with the young man, he knew what it was like to lose your father.

 

“This isn't your fight; McGarrett-- I don't want to hurt you.” Adam answered, gun shakily pointed towards him and Wo Fat.

 

“I'm taking him to jail, Adam-- he's going to prison, and he's gonna rot there.”

 

“It's not enough!”

 

“Take them both out now and be done with it. Do it now. There's no time.” His lawyer urged.

 

“Hey, hey, Five-O. Hands up. Put down your weapons. Put down your weapons.” The calls came as Adam’s people were surrounded.

 

“You little coward. I cleared the way. I made it easy for you. You're still too weak to finish the job.”

 

“What are you talking about? Anna Douglas? Why?” Adam asked in disbelief, he never wanted someone innocent hurt.

 

“She could've helped him disappear. I did what I had to do.”

 

“Adam please put the gun down. Please. Look at me. Please.” Kono called, her gun aimed and tears falling. He slowly lowered his arm and his lawyer grabbed the gun from him, aiming at Wo Fat only for Kono to shoot him.

 

“Aw, you son of a bitch.”

 

“Police! Stay where you are, drop the weapons! Freeze!”

 

“Tell your men to drop their weapons!” Steve called.

 

“Drop your weapons! Police! Drop your weapons!”

 

“See? I knew it. Cargo pants.” Danny announced proudly, he’d been right about what Steve was wearing.

 

“Book 'em, Danno.”

 

 

“You could've just said hello.”

 

“Adam.” Kono holstered her gun and went to him and Adam held her.

 

“I’m sorry.” He whispered and she smiled.

 

“It’s okay.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Adam smiled and knelt down as the toddler stared up at him. “Hello Harry, it’s nice to finally meet you.” He greeted as the two-year-old timidly clung to his mother’s leg.

 

“Say hello to Adam, Harry.” She gently pushed him towards her fiancé and Harry smiled shyly. Adam shook his hand and Harry laughed before hugging him and Adam stood, Harry in his arms.

 

“Can’t beat the Harry approval.” Danny commented and Chin nodded. Little Harry was strangely serious and a great judge of character for his age.

 

“Daddy?” he asked and Adam looked at Kono who smiled.

 

“Yes Harry, Adam’s going to be your knew Daddy.”

 

The End.

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: don’t own HP or Smallville

Haven’t watched Smallville in years, and only saw s1. Recently re-read the HPSmallvillemulti fic Death’s Little Brother by mjimeyg which while incomplete is a lot of fun so I figured I’d try a chap

 

Magic and Meteors

 

“So, anyone ask you to the dance?” Pete asked as they walked towards the school from where the bus had dropped them.

 

“Not yet.” Chloe answered, trying to shrug it off.

 

“If nothing pans out with you know who, maybe – “

 

“Pete, do you take a break from the soap opera in your head? I told you a hundred times, I'm not interested in Clark.”

 

“Your vehement denial has been duly noted. Whew! Hey, maybe you and I could go together. I mean, not as a date-date thing. More of a friend-friend thing.” Pete tried awkwardly.

 

“Hi, guys.” Clark grinned as he jogged up to join them, arms full of books.

 

“Wha-- uh, didn't you just -- weren't you – “ She looked around in confusion, he’d missed the bus so how?

 

“I took a shortcut.”

 

“Through what, a black hole?”

 

“Clark... you have to excuse our intrepid reporter. Seems as though her weird-ar is on DefCon 5. She thought someone was attacking the bus.”

 

“Just because everyone else chooses to ignore the strange things that happen in this leafy little hamlet doesn't mean that they don't happen.”

 

“Now, you know we'd love to join you and Scooby inside the mystery machine for another zany adventure, but we got to hand in these permission slips before homeroom.” Pete grinned as he pulled his from his pocket.

 

“Actually, Pete, I'm having second thoughts. I don't think signing up for the team is such a great idea.”

 

“Clark, listen, this is the only way.”

 

“Wait, wait, wait, wait. You two are trying out for the football team? What is this, some sort of teen suicide pact? Ha ha ha. Ahh.” She laughed and the boys exchanged a look.

 

“We're trying to avoid becoming this year's scarecrow.”

 

“What are you talking about and why are we whispering?” She demanded even as they pulled her into a shadowed corner.

 

“It's a homecoming tradition. Every year before the big game, the football players select a freshman, take him out to Reil46861FA6.JPGly field, strip him down to his boxers, then paint an "s" on his chest.” Pete explained in a rush.

 

“And then string him up like a scarecrow.” Clark finished and she grimaced.

 

“Jeez, that sounds like years of therapy waiting to happen.”

 

“Why do you think we're trying out for the team? Figure they won't choose one of their own.”

 

“I'll see you guys in class.” Clark suddenly said, looking past them to the stairs. He walked away.

 

“Bye.” Chloe called after him.

 

“Give him 10 seconds.” Pete offered.

 

“Five.”

 

“1, 2, 3, 4, 5 – “ As he hit five Clark tripped over his own feet, sending books flying.

 

“Nice, man.” A footballer called as he walked by.

 

“Statistical fact. Clark Kent can't get within 5 feet of Lana Lang without turning into a total freak show.” Chloe commented as she took Pete’s money.

 

Clark began gathering his books up, feeling sick even as he looked up to find Lana helping. “Nietzsche. Didn't realize you had a dark side, Clark.”

 

“Doesn't everybody?” he asked, breathing deeply.

 

“Well, I guess so.   So, what are you, man or superman?”

 

“I haven't figured it out yet.”

 

“You okay there?” A man joined them, looking Clark over critically.

 

“I’m okay.” He tried.

 

“Right.” The man took his arm and moved him to sit on the nearest bench. Lana gathered the rest of his books and put them on the bench as well. A hand touched his forehead. “No fever but you’re pretty pale. Do you feel sick?”

 

“A little.”

 

“Better get to class Miss. I’ll make sure Mr….?”

 

“Kent, Clark.”

 

“I’ll make sure he’s alright. It is my job after all.”

 

“I’ll see you later Clark.” She called before leaving.

 

“Okay just take some nice deep breaths for me.”

 

“Who are you?”

 

“Dr Harry Murphy, new school doctor.” He answered, smiling gently. “Feeling any better?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“Alright, come on and I’ll write you a note to excuse your lateness. But if you feel sick again come to my office.”

 

“I will, thanks.” They gathered his books and went to Harry’s office where he wrote him a note and grabbed a bag to put the books in.

 

“Might want to buy a bigger backpack.” He offered as the teen left and then watched him thoughtfully. What was an alien doing on earth going to high school? Was this why he was here? There were times he wished Death or Destiny would give him some instructions when he arrived, instead of just vague feelings but he had to work with what he had. He spent the day dealing with small things like kids needing a band aide or headaches, things he could do in his sleep with one hand tied behind his back. At least Mr Kent didn’t need to return.

 

At the end of the day he packed up and headed out, pausing to watch the kids on the football field for a few moments. He slipped on his jacket and helmet and got on his bike, heading out of town to the land he’d bought. At the moment all that was on it was a partially built house and a tent. He was having fun building the house of his dreams for the first time ever. Thanks to wards and magic he was even maintaining the farm land and animals alone.

 

The drive was nice, even if he did have to pass that horrid fertiliser plant, at least it was until he came to the bridge. He stopped and yanked his helmet off before rushing to where the rail was broken, looking down to see the shadow of a car under the water and two people on the bank. He grabbed his first aid kit from the saddle bags and then ran down the embankment. “Kent?”

 

“Doctor?”

 

“What happened?” he asked.

 

“He hit something and went off the bridge.”

 

“Call 911 and your family.” Harry tossed him his phone and took over CPR. The young man he was working on suddenly gasped and chocked on water so Harry turned him, letting him cough it up.

 

“I could have sworn I hit you.” Lex muttered in a daze.

 

“If you did, I'd be -- I'd be dead.” Clark answered, glancing back up at the bridge even as the ambulance pulled in, sirens blaring. Soon both boys were bundled up in blankets while Lex was given a thorough check over.

 

“We’d like to take you to the hospital, just to be safe.”

 

“I’ll be fine.”

 

“They’re right Mr Luthor, if there’s any water left in your lungs it could cause problems. Better safe than sorry.” Harry said and Lex deflated a little, nodding. Above them a truck pulled in and a man ran down the bank.

 

“Clark! Son, are you all right?” He demanded, seeing his son wrapped in a blanket and sitting on a rock.

 

Clark looked up and smiled in relief. “Yeah, I'm okay.”

 

“Who's the maniac that was driving that car?” He snarled, looking around to see Harry and Lex.

 

“That would be me. Lex Luthor.” He stood and offered his hand.

 

After a long hesitation he shook it. “I'm Jonathan Kent. This is my son.”

 

“Thanks for saving my life.” Lex looked to Clark who shrugged.

 

“I'm sure you would have done the same thing.”

 

“You have quite an extraordinary boy there, Mr. Kent. If there's any way I could repay you – “Lex called as Jonathon led Clark back up the hill to the truck.

 

“Drive slower.” He called back even as Harry helped bundle Lex into the ambulance.

 

“Thank you.” Lex looked at Harry who just smiled.

 

“Well it is my job, but Mr Kent was right, try driving slower.” He answered. He put his gear back in his bag and then sighed as the sheriff arrived, he stayed to give his statement and then finally headed home, thankful it was Friday.

 

He took care of the chores magic couldn’t and then spent some time working on his house before crawling into his tent and falling asleep.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry walked up the drive towards the Kent farm, he’d already checked in with Lex to ensure he was doing better and now he wanted to check on Clark. As he approached the buildings he heard raised voices so he followed the noise.

 

“This is not about winning, Clark.”

 

“It's not like the Luthor’s can't afford it.”

 

“Do you want to know why that is? Do you remember Mr. Bell? We used to go fishing on his property. How about Mr. Guy? He used to send us pumpkins every Halloween. Well, Lionel Luthor promised to cut them in on a deal. He sent them flashy gifts. Once they'd sold their property, he went back on his word. He had them evicted, son.”

 

“So you're judging Lex on what his father did?”

 

“No, Clark, I'm not. I just want to make sure that you know where the money came from that bought that truck. Clark, I know you're upset, son, but it's normal.”

 

Harry rounded the side of the barn and saw the father and son. He watched as Clark moved towards the chipper and frowned. “Normal?” The teen turned on the chipper. “How about this? Is this normal?” He shoved his arm in the chipper.

 

“Clark!” Jonathon screamed even as Harry dashed over and ripped the cord out, stopping the machine. Jonathon pulled Clark’s arm out and Harry quickly examined him.

 

“What the hell were you thinking Kent?” Harry snapped even as he was relieved to find no damage at all. “I get wanting to make a point but please, find a non-damaging method next time.” He let go of Clark’s arm and the two men suddenly seemed to realise what he’d seen.

 

“Who are you?” Jonathon demanded.

 

“We didn’t get introduced yesterday, I’m Doctor Harry Murphy, the new school doctor. I came by to make sure Clark was alright after his impromptu swim yesterday. Now I’m wondering if you need a counsellor.” He muttered.

 

“The blades must be blunt.”

 

Harry just gave Jonathon a look. “Right… well Clark’s unhurt thankfully. But I think it’s time we had a chat.” He ushered them towards the farmhouse where Martha was waiting.

 

“Jonathon?” She asked and then she saw Clarke’s sleeve. “What happened?” She ran to her son and checked his arm.

 

“I’m okay Mom.” Clark assured her as they headed into the house. They sat at the table, all eyeing Harry warily, much to his amusement.

 

“What do you want?” Jonathon asked, praying it as something they could give. This was their worst nightmare.

 

“Nothing. I am a Doctor, Mr Kent, a Healer. I believe very much in patient confidentiality and I take my oaths seriously. As I tended to Clark yesterday when he felt ill and again at the crash site he is my patient. Nothing he tells me or I observe about him, unless he plans to harm himself or others, will remain confidential. “Besides, who said Clark is the only person out there who doesn’t fit the definition of ‘normal’?” He took a breath and allowed magic to pool in his hand, watching their eyes go wide at the flame that flickered there. “I was lucky, from the age of eleven I had people to teach me how to use my abilities and hide them when needed. Clark obviously hasn’t had that. I am offering to give him what help I am able in order to figure out his abilities and train for control. Although what is the source? I inherited mine from both my parents.”

 

Martha and Jonathon looked at their son and then each other, having one of those silent conversations that only people who had known each other for years could have. She even glared at her husband until he slumped and nodded. “It's time, son.”

 

“Time for what?”

 

“The truth. I want you to take a look at something.” He got up and left the room for a few minutes before coming back and handing something to Clark who stared at it in confusion. “I think it's from your parents, your -- your real parents.”

 

“What does it say?”

 

“I tried to decipher it for years, but it's not written in any language known to man.”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“Your real parents weren't exactly from around...here.”

 

“Where are they from? What are you trying to tell me, Dad -- that I'm from another planet? And I suppose you stashed my spaceship in the attic.” Clark scoffed. Harry remained silent, letting the family finally bring their secrets into the open.

 

“Actually, it's in the storm cellar. This is how you came into our world, son. It was the day of the meteor shower.”

 

“Wait. This is a joke, right? Why didn't you tell me about this before?” Clark was up and pacing, unable to believe what he was hearing.

 

“We wanted to protect you.” Martha offered gently.

 

“Protect me from what? You should have told me!” He yelled in frustration.

 

“Yes they should have.” Harry finally spoke and they all looked at him. “As soon as he was old enough to keep the secret you should have told him. It is his past, his life. Now you have to decide what you’re going to do with that information Clark.”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“Do you ignore it, go on like nothing’s changed? Do you try to find out everything you can about your past? Find a middle path? It’s your choice Clark.” Harry explained.

 

“I…I don’t know.” Clark choked out and Harry nodded.

 

“That’s normal. So take a walk, think about it, talk to your parents, a friend, me, anyone. But in the end its your choice.” Harry handed him a card. “Call me if you need me or want the help. I’ll see you at school.” Harry left the farm and headed home.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“It never changes.” The young man commented as he looked up.

 

“Help me.” Clark called weakly from where he was tied to the Scarecrow.

 

“Hurts, doesn't it?” Jeremy asked.

 

“You -- you're -- you're Jeremy.” He shivered from pain and the cold.

 

“I thought if I'd punish them, it would stop, but it never stops.” He began to walk away through the corn.

 

“Wait. Where are you going?”

 

“Homecoming dance. I never made it to mine.”

 

“Get me down, please.” He begged, he’d never felt so much pain before.

 

“You're safer here.”

 

“Help me. Help me.”

 

“Clark?” Harry called as he spotted the teen. “Hang on.” The bindings vanished and he caught the boy as he collapsed to the ground. A quick scan had him yanking the necklace off and surrounding it in a bubble of magic. Clark gasped as the effects stopped and got to his feet.

 

“I’ve got to go.” He moved for his clothes.

 

“Hang on a second. What happened?”

 

“I can handle it.”

 

“Clark.” Harry just looked at him and Clark wilted.

 

“The football team, it’s a ritual.”

 

“It’s bullying at best.” Harry shot back.

 

“It doesn’t matter, Jeremy’s going to attack the dance.”

 

“Fine, can you handle him?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“Then give me names and I’ll deal with the team.”

 

“But.”

 

“No buts.” Harry answered so Clark reluctantly named those he’d seen.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

The doors to the gym opened to reveal Sheriff Ethan, Principal Kwan and Dr Murphy. “Fordman, Blake, Hernandez you are all under arrest.” The Sheriff called and all eyes went to the three boys who stared in shock.

 

“For what?” Whitney demanded.

 

“Attempted murder.”

 

“WHAT?”

 

“We didn’t do anything?”

 

“Then explain why I found Clark Kent half frozen in a field of corn, basically naked and tied up as a scarecrow.” Harry demanded. “You’re lucky, if he’d been there all night you’d likely be looking at a murder charge.”

 

“But it’s tradition.” Blake muttered even as Lana backed away from Whitney, staring at him in horror.

 

“How could you?” She asked.

 

“It was just a bit of fun.” Whitney pleaded even as Ethan approached and cuffed him.

 

“Everything has consequences boys.” The three were dragged of while everyone stared after them.

 

“Doctor!”

 

Harry turned back. “Yes Miss Lang?”

 

“Is Clark alright?”

 

“He’ll be fine; he might have the sniffles but he was found in time to not suffer any lasting effects. Though I do need to speak with you and your Aunt.”

 

“Yes sir.” She had no clue what the school Doctor could need to talk to them about but she headed home and he followed.

 

“Lana?” Nell asked.

 

“Aunt Nell this is Doctor Murphy from school.”

 

“What is this about Doctor?”

 

“Harry please and the reason we are here is this.” He pulled out the small lead box he’d conjured and opened it, revealing Lana’s necklace.

 

“My necklace!”

 

“It was around Clark’s neck when I found him.”

 

“I gave it to Whitney, for luck with the scouts.”

 

“And he put it on Clark before stringing him up.” Harry told her and she looked horrified that he had done that.

 

“Thank you for returning it then Doctor.” Nell smiled and Harry sighed.

 

“That’s the thing, what is this made of exactly?”

 

“A piece of the meteorite that killed my parents.”

 

“Alright so other than being extremely morbid do you know of any testing done on it or the others?”

 

“No, why?” Nell was mad at his words to her niece while Lana stared at it with new eyes.

 

“Because this made at least one student ill.”

 

“Clark…he always falls down around me.”

 

“And he was in severe pain while wearing it. My preliminary guess is he’s allergic to one of the minerals within the meteorite but there is also the risk of radiation. I’ve gone through the records and frankly Ms Lang you are extremely lucky that after continual exposure you are still healthy. Continuous exposure seems to cause genetic mutations in humans.” He explained and both females paled.

 

“Is Lana definitely okay?”

 

“It’d take a full physical to be sure but she hasn’t complained of anything on record. You can keep this, just keep it in the box, lead will keep any radiation contained.”

 

“No. if it’s dangerous then please, have it destroyed.”

 

“Alright. I am sorry the dance was spoiled.”

 

“That’s not your fault Dr Murphy, I can’t believe Whitney…. for what they did to Clark they should be punished.”

 

“That’s a very mature response. I’ll see you at school.” He picked the box up and left.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry grinned as he stared up at his completed home. It was perfect. It was big for one person but he preferred having room to roam. The kitchen was a massive farmhouse styled room with top of the range appliance, he loved cooking. It was the one chore his aunt had given that he had come to enjoy. Even after five thousand years he still found enjoyment in it. Off the kitchen was a nice open lounge room plus a downstairs toilet and office that was fully outfit in case of medical emergency. Upstairs was a sprawling master suite and three guest bedrooms. There was also a full family bathroom and storage room. Maybe it was excessive but it was his.

 

“Nice place.”

 

Harry turned at the voice, although he’d known as soon as he’d crossed the wards. “Thanks. What can I do for you Mr Luthor?”

 

“Lex, please. You helped save my life after all.” Lex offered his hand and Harry shook it.

 

“Yes but I came by to check on you the other day and it is my job after all. Come on in, can I get you a drink?” Harry offered and Lex smiled.

 

“Sure.” Lex followed him inside, glancing around curiously. The house was new and spacious but also homely feeling. He accepted the can of Coke and opened it, settling on a bar stool even as Harry leant against the counter. “Nice place.”

 

“Thanks. I’ve always wanted to have a place I planned out myself.” He shrugged.

 

“So what brings a renowned Doctor all the way to Smallville?” Lex asked, he’d done his research but Harry didn’t look at all surprised.

 

“A change of pace. Got tired of the continual rush of the ER and wanted a break from big city life.” Harry drank his own Coke. “We’ve met before you know.”

“I’m sure I’d remember.”

 

“Considering the condition you were in I doubt it.” Harry answered. “It was my first week in Metropolis and only my second shift when you were brought in. You’d been out partying all night and then collapsed. I got the privilege of pumping your stomach.”

 

“Oh.” Lex winced, that was not exactly a good first impression.

 

Harry just chuckled. “I wouldn’t worry about it. You were a young, rich, stupid kid. Hopefully you’ve grown up since then.”

 

“Hopefully.” Lex agreed. “Not like there’s much around here to do to get into trouble.”

 

“Miss the city?”

 

“Dad exiled my here to run a failing fertiliser plant.” Lex admitted as he finished his can.

 

“So turn it around and show him what you’ve got.”

 

“Speaking from experience?”

 

“No, my parents died when I was just over a year old.” Harry tossed his own into the garbage.

 

“Sorry.”

 

“Not your fault. I saw the truck you bought Clark when I stopped by to check on him.”

 

“He’s okay? Did he like it?” Lex asked. He really wanted Clark to be his friend, he wasn’t entirely sure why but there was something about him.

 

“He’s completely healthy, no side effects from the cold swim. The truck…Clark was very excited about it but…”

 

“His Father says no.” Lex finished for him, he’d half expected that considering the man’s reaction to him at the river.

 

“It’s not you, it’s what your Father’s done here to good people Jonathon knew.”

 

“He figures the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

 

“Something like that. And your wild exploits probably don’t help.”

 

Lex nodded in understanding. “Guess I’ve got a lot of work to do.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Lex wandered around the Farmer’s Market, taking in the various products being sold. He had decided to try and get to know the people of Smallville and work to improve his reputation. He was later, thanks to his visit to Harry but there was still plenty of time. He put in an order to here and there, figuring a good step would be to buy everything locally. Towards the end of the day he spotted Clark and grinned when he saw the teenager staring at a girl. He walked over, startling him. “Can't knock your taste in women. You want to tell me what happened last night?” Rumours were all around town about the football team and their victim.

 

“It was just a stupid prank.”

 

“You were tied to a stake in the middle of a field. Even the Romans saved that for special occasions. You could have died out there.” He went off what he’d heard and saw Clark flinch slightly, which meant the rumours were true.

 

“I just want to forget it happened.” He admitted, but that was impossible. If the case went to court he’d have to testify against the stars of the football team.

 

“Hey, Clark, what is the holdup, son?” Jonathon called as he carried a crate of apples over.

 

“Mr. Kent, it's good to see you.” Lex smiled and Jonathon stared at him before finally taking his hand and shaking it briefly.

 

“Lex. Come on. We got to finish up.”

 

“Okay, Dad.” Clark watched him go back to their stall and Lex chuckled dryly.

 

“At least I got a handshake this time.” He smiled at Clark who smiled back awkwardly before going back to work.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Lex wandered into the stables and watched the horse and rider approaching. “Your form's good, but his gait's off. You might want to check your shoes. Lex Luthor. I'm a friend of your aunt's.” He greeted her.

 

“Sneaking up like that, you're lucky you didn't get kicked.” Lana answered as she led her horse to its stall.

 

“You must be Lana. It's a pleasure to finally meet you.”

 

“We've already met.” She began rubbing him down.

 

“I seriously doubt I'd forget meeting you.” He admitted.

 

“You were a little preoccupied at the time.” She smirked.

 

“I get the feeling I didn't make a great first impression.”

 

“When I was 10, I went to Metropolis for a riding competition. Your father invited us to stay over. My aunt said you had an indoor pool. When I went to check it out, I found you and a girl skinny-dipping. I think you were teaching her the breast stroke.” She grinned even as Lex gaped at her.

 

“That was you? Wow. You're all grown up now.” He swallowed nervously and then wandered over to see a frame full off ribbons and trophies. “Very impressive.”

 

“It's tacky, but it makes my aunt happy.”

 

“That's an unusual necklace.”

 

“Thanks. It's very special to me.”

 

“How come you're not wearing it?”

 

“I lent it to my boyfriend.” She didn’t want to admit the rest, what he had done hurt.

 

“Lucky guy. What's his name?”

 

“Whitney Fordman.”

 

“The kid arrested for half killing Clark?”

 

“Yeah. Doctor Murphy said the necklace is radioactive since it’s meteor rock. He had it destroyed to be safe.”

 

“Kind of makes you wonder if you're with the right guy. One chucks footballs, the other helps save lives.”

 

“For someone who just moved into town, you've got a lot of opinions.”

 

“You just seem more interesting than that. Tell your aunt I stopped by.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“I never saw anybody move like that.” Jonathon admitted, rubbing his back. Even though Clark had broken his fall it had still hurt to fall from the upper level.

 

“Did you get a look at his face?” Martha asked as she looked him over.

 

“It came right off the ceiling at me. It was almost as if he – “

 

“Wasn't entirely human? I saw his face. I think it was Greg Arkin.” Clark finished for him.

 

“That's a name I haven't heard in a long time. You and Pete used to hang out with him in grade school.”

 

“Why would he want to hurt you?”

 

“I don't know.” Clark admitted.

 

“Are you still friends?” She asked.

 

“I pass him in the halls, but people change.” He shrugged.

 

“I remember his mother used to keep him on a short leash, but I can't believe he'd hurt a fly.”

 

“Maybe that's because he was too busy collecting them and every other bug he could get his hands on.” Clark grimaced slightly, it was not something he liked.

 

“Clark, kids just don't leap off the ceiling and attack people.” Jonathon argued.

 

“How do you explain that?” Clark aimed the flashlight at the ceiling to reveal glowing green footprints.

 

“I don't know. Seems kind of out there.”

 

“This coming from the man who's been hiding a spaceship in his storm cellar for the last 12 years.” Martha pointed out.

 

“It's not that I don't want to believe you, Clark. It's just -- I'm having trouble getting my head around this one.”

 

“Dad, you ever wonder why all these weird things happen in Smallville?”

 

“Every town has its share of tall tales.” His Dad argued.

 

“Except here they're all true. Chloe showed me this wall. It's covered with all these articles she collected about all the weird stuff that's happened in Smallville since the meteor shower. It's all my fault.”

 

“Look, Clark, if you're talking about 50-pound tomatoes and 2-headed calves, then I got a better explanation for you -- Luthor corp. I mean, god only knows what that fertilizer plant's been pumping out over the last 12 years.”

 

“LuthorCorp didn't kill Lana's parents.” Clark snapped.

 

“Neither did you, son. You can't blame yourself for something you had no control over.”

 

“Dad, I know. I still feel responsible.”

 

“What happened to Lana's parents was a terrible tragedy, but no matter how many extraordinary gifts you have, you will never be able to change that.”

 

“Then how do I make this feeling go away?”

 

“You can't. But that's what makes you human.”

 

“Can’t change the past Clark, you can only change the future.” Harry said as he joined them, making the Kent’s start. “Well what do we have here.” He studied the prints.

 

“It’s Greg Arkin, he attacked us.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Clark relaxed at detecting Lana’s breathing as he scrambled into the old tree fort, they’d had fun here as children but now Greg had to be stopped. He dropped to his knees beside her, raising a hand to remove the webbing.

 

“Get away from her.”

 

Clark stood up to face his one-time friend. “Greg, I know what's happened to you.”

 

“Well, then you know that I've been freed.”

 

“No, you haven't. You're a slave to your instincts.”

 

“I have no rules, Clark. I eat what I want... I go where I want... and I take what I want.”

 

“You're not taking her.”

 

“Then try and stop me.” Greg smirked and Clark straightened up.

 

“You're not the only one who's changed.” He argued and Greg leapt at him, sending them both through the wall and to the ground below. Clark groaned and rolled to his side to see Greg leaping over the fence around the foundry. He got up and took off after him.

 

As he did Harry appeared and went up to the fort, gently removing the webbing and scanning her for injuries. Her eyes fluttered and she groaned before waking up. “Doctor?” She asked groggily.

 

“You’re alright Miss Lang. Let’s get you home.”

 

Clark ran into the foundry and then stumbled, feeling his strength being sapped. “You haven't changed at all, Clark. You still get sick around this place, just like when we were kids.” Greg taunted and then grabbed Clark and threw him. “Hey, Clark! Did you know the buffalo ant can lift 30 times its own body weight?” He threw him again and then Clark scrambled to hide in one of the old diggers. “Clark! Clark, where are you? Come on out. I just want to play. Clarky? Come out!”

 

Clark looked down at his hand as the green veins faded. “It's lined with lead.”

 

“Give it up, Clark. You can't fight natural law! Only the strong survive. Did you really think you could hide from me?” He went to throw Clark only to have Clark toss him. Greg landed against a support post and grabbed a chain to pull himself up, leaning on a lever. He looked up at a noise and Clark stopped moving towards him to look up as well.

 

“Greg, watch out!” He cried as a piece of machinery fell, grimacing as it hit Greg and then a swarm of insects scurried away.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

“Hey, Kent. I saw your arm out there. Technique was lousy, but you got a lot of power.” Coach Walt called.

 

“Thanks!”

 

“So why aren't you on our team?”

 

“My dad needs me on the farm.”

 

“Well, your school needs you on the field. We got a big game on Friday night. We're short players. Look, look, I-I know your dad would understand.” The Coach pushed.

 

“He's kind of stubborn.”

 

“Yeah, I remember. Jonathan Kent was one of the best athletes I ever coached. A lot of God-given talent. It's in your genes, Kent.”

 

“Actually, I'm adopted.”

 

“Look, I am giving you a chance to be a part of something special a part of history. Now, I've seen you stare at your father's picture in that trophy case. Don't tell me you don't want to be a part of this. Why don t you suit up? Look at Ross here. He doesn't have a lick of natural talent, but he's got a truckload of heart.”

 

“Thanks, I-I guess.” Pete looked at Chloe who shrugged.

 

“Let me think about it.” Clark tried.

 

“White, get over here.” Coach called and Whitney’s replacement as Captain walked over. “White, you're the team captain. How do you think Kent here would do on the field? I mean, considering our current predicament?”

 

“He might do all right.”

 

“Hmm... He seems afraid though.”

 

“That's not the reason, is it, Clark?” Chloe argued in defence of her friend.

 

“It's my dad.” He argued again

 

“Kent, there comes a time when you gotta step out of your fathers’ shadow and be your own man. Now what do you say? You ready to be your own man?”

 

Clark hesitated but then nodded. “Count me in.”

 

“Good. I will see you at practice today-three o'clock. Don't be late.”

 

“Hey, Clark... Hey, um, remind me what your dad said last time you asked him to play.” Pete asked and Clark slumped.

 

“He said no.”

 

“He said no. That's what I thought. Call me when the hurting's done. Okay?” Pete walked away with Chloe.

 

Clark sighed and then looked over as Harry approached. “Going to say I can’t play?” he asked.

 

“Hardly. You’re old enough to make your own decisions.” The Doctor assured him.

 

“Guess I just have to tell my Dad.”

 

“Clark you performed CPR without even cracking Lex’s ribs, you have control. Just be careful and you’ll be fine.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Okay, thanks. Bye-bye. Principal Kwan's gonna be in the hospital till over the weekend.” Martha told them as she put the phone back.

 

 

“Is he gonna be all right?”

 

“He's got some burns and suffered smoke inhalation, but he's gonna be okay.”

 

“Anybody see you, son?”

 

“Nobody saw me, Dad! I told the paramedics that I wrapped my hands in my jacket when I pulled him out. And Harry was there too, he did something, made sure people believed me.”

 

“Lucky you were there.”

 

“Well, I kind of missed my ride.” Clark glanced at his Dad who sighed.

 

“Look, I saw you play, all right? Now, you could have easily hurt any one of those boys.”

 

“But the point is, I didn't. Look, why are we even having this conversation? He's never gonna believe me. By the way, Coach gave me your old position. You're looking at the starting tailback for this Friday's game. Don't everyone congratulate me at once.” Clark left the house to go to the loft in the barn, his Fortress of Solitude.

 

“How did he get to be so stubborn?”

 

“Gee, I don't know.” Martha hugged Jonathon.

 

“Hey, wait a minute-I was not like that when I was his age.”

 

“No, you were the obedient son who always obeyed his father and didn't run away one summer and try out for the Metropolis Sharks.”

 

“Since when did you go and join the other side?”

 

“Jonathan, Clark hasn't been able to do anything normal his whole life-no playgroups, no little league-all because we were afraid he might hurt somebody. He's a teenager now. Let's give him a shot.”

 

“His gifts come with responsibilities.”

 

“This isn't about his gifts, it's about his judgment. You're telling Clark that you don't believe in him.”

 

“Of course, I believe in him. W-what if he makes a mistake... and somebody suspects the truth? I do not want anyone coming on this farm and taking our son away from us.”

 

“Well, if we don't start trusting him, nobody's gonna have to take him away. He's gonna leave all by himself.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“The Torch torched. How's that for dramatic irony?” At Chloe’s glare he winced. “Just...trying to get you to smile.”

 

“This is more than just arson, Clark. It's like the fire knew what I was doing.”

 

“And you believe Coach Walt was somehow controlling it?”

 

“Look at the facts. Principal Kwan launches an investigation into the cheating scandal; Coach Walt tries to fry him in his car. Then one of his players comes forward and he threatens them all with pyrotechnic sprinklers. I am about to print that picture and the Torch goes up in flames.”

 

“What, now you think he's behind the cheating scandal!? Come on, Chloe.”

 

“Sounds reasonable to me.” Harry commented as he walked into the room. “Miss Sullivan, you haven’t been seen by a medical professional.”

 

“I’m fine.”

 

“Chloe let him check you over.” Clark pushed her gently towards Harry. “Why do you suspect Coach?”

 

“Coach obsessed with winning his 200th game helps bonehead players pass the test so he can secure his position in the pantheon of high school sports.” She answered as Harry removed his stethoscope to listen to her heart and lungs.

 

“Is there another copy of the photo?” Harry asked as he looked her over for burns.

 

“No, it's kind of hard to recover the files.”

 

“You don't have any proof.” Clark pointed out.

 

“Trevor Chapell.”

 

“What about him?”

 

“I'm sure he's the one who talked to Kwan about the cheating. He wants to talk. I know it. But he's still scared to talk to me. But I think he might open up to you.” She grinned at Clark who groaned and Harry chuckled.

 

“I’ll keep an eye on coach.” He promised the kids.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Clark! Clark?” Harry called before seeing the sauna and the broken glass. He looked through the window, seeing Clark sprawled on the floor surrounded by meteor rocks. A silent unlocking charm got him in and he easily pulled Cark out. He yelped as he was hit by a fire extinguisher, falling beside Clark but managing to roll and scramble to his feet even as Clark stood as well, far enough form the rocks to be healthy again.

 

“Coach, you need help.”

 

“What I need is to win this game!”

 

“It's too late for that.” Harry pointed out. Fire surrounded them and they exchanged a look of boredom before simply walking through the flames, much to the Coach’s surprise.

 

“How did you do that?”

 

“It's in the genes. Give it up, Coach! You've lost!” Clark answered even as flames surrounded the Coach as well.

 

“No-o-o-o-o-o!” he screamed and Harry held Clark back as the man burned in his own fire.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“This is incredible. Why would Lex Luthor need to rob a bank?” Martha read the front page of the paper even as Harry helped Clark set the table for breakfast. His joining them in the mornings had become a normal thing since he worked with Clark on even better control of his abilities.

 

“I've seen some strange things in my day, but this definitely takes the cake. Well, almost.” Jonathon admitted.

 

“He got away with 100,000 dollars.”

 

“That’d be pocket change to him, it doesn’t make sense.” Harry observed.

 

“I know Lex. It wasn't him.”

 

“Clark, I know that he's a friend of yours, but come on. You saw him with your own eyes.”

 

“I don't know what I saw.”

 

“There must be some kind of reasonable explanation for this. I hope.”

 

“Me too. I hate to think I have an evil twin.” Lex stood outside the screen door, looking tired.

 

“Lex, we didn't hear you pull up.” Martha smiled at him.

 

“May I come in? I promise I'm not packing heat.”

 

“Lex, how come you're not in jail?” Clark asked and then dodged Harry’s swat for the insensitive question.

 

“Because I was hosting a reception for 200 fertilizer distributors in Metropolis at the time of the robbery.”

 

“Do the police have any leads?” Jonathon asked, unable to argue against that many witnesses.

 

“None. That's why I wanted to talk to you, Clark. Your name was on the witness list. Did you actually see this person?”

 

“Yeah, he looked just like you.”

 

“Except his fingerprints and signature didn't match mine. You sure your eyes weren't playing tricks on you?”

 

“What's going happen now?” Harry asked as he handed Lex a glass of juice.

 

“Hopefully, the money will turn up. In the meantime, the Metropolis tabloids will have a field day, and I'm sure certain people's opinions of me will be cemented in stone.”

 

“I gotta get to work.” Jonathon grabbed his jacket and headed out.

 

“I'm sorry you got thrown through that window. I promise I'm not a criminal mastermind.”

 

“I know. A criminal mastermind would have worn a mask.” Clark grinned and Lex and Harry laughed.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“So a new power.”

 

“I can’t control it.” Clark slumped and Harry shook his head.

 

“You will, with time and training.”

 

“And until then I’ll keep seeing things I don’t want to.”

 

“Like the girls’ locker room?” Harry teased and Clark blushed.

 

“Harry!”

 

“Sorry, too good to not tease you over.” He got off the couch. “Come on, back to training.” Clark groaned but followed him down into the heavily warded basement.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Clark, what is it?” Harry stood from his desk and Clark closed the office door. “More vision problems?”

 

“I controlled it. Once, sort of. I concentrated and it worked.”

 

“That's great. What'd you concentrate on?”

 

“Tina Grier's locker.”

 

“What did you see?”

 

“The money from the bank robbery.” He answered and Harry sighed but picked up the phone to call the Sherriff and leave an anonymous tip.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“So you're telling me Tina Grier can bend her bones like a contortionist and become anybody she wants?” Harry asked as they headed for the antique store.

 

“I saw it with my own eyes.”

 

“Well that’s interesting. I knew someone who could do something similar once.”

 

“Really?”

 

“Yeah, it as a magical ability passed through a family line.” They reached the store to find it closed so they peered through the glass.

 

“What do you see Clark?”

 

“I need to get in here.”

 

“Why?”

 

“I can see a body.”

 

“Alright, there’s a smell, decomp.” He waved his hand to create the smell and then smashed the glass to get inside.

 

Clark went straight to the cabinet and Harry opened it, a body falling from inside. “It's Tina's mom.”

 

“Damn. Broken neck.”

 

They found the papers with Lana's name all over them. “Why's she writing Lana's signature?” Clark frowned.

 

“You said Tina was obsessed with her. She's gonna take it to the next level.” Harry answered.

 

“She wants to become Lana.” Clark whispered in shock.

 

“We better find them both, fast.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Hey, I heard what happened.”

 

“Did you come by to see if I was okay?” Clark asked his best female friend.

 

“Actually, as concerned as I always am about your personal well-being, I'm not here to see you. Lana, um, I did some digging.” Chloe offered a cassette to the blanket wrapped Lana.

 

“Oh, my God. How did you find this?”

 

“If I told you, I'd have to kill you, and it looks like you've had enough trauma for one night.”

 

“Chloe, thank you.”

 

“No problem.”

 

“How's Tina?” Martha asked as she walked up to her son.

 

“She won't be able to hurt anyone else.” Clark answered.

 

“I still don't understand why a girl would do all that.”

 

“I do. You go through life with a gift you have to keep a secret. When you see everyone around you being normal, you get jealous. You just want to be somebody else.” Clark whispered, watching as Nell led Lana inside.

 

“You really like her, don't you?”

 

“Mom, if you could see anything, what would you do?”

 

“Learn to close my eyes.”

 

“You run into a lot of walls that way.” Harry commented as he passed Clark a mug of hot chocolate. Clark took it and drank the hot liquid. They both had a point on his powers, he just had to decide for himself which to follow.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Clark sat back beside his parents and Harry in the front rows of the courtroom. He’d just finished explaining what had happened that night at the school and in the cornfield. He’d hated doing it but he knew that the scarecrow tradition had to stop. Harry nodded at him and then stood as he was called to testify.

 

In the end the boys were given community service for eight months as well as being banned from the football team for the remainder of their high school education, meaning no football scholarships for them.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry watched Clark as he went about his chores. “Are you ever going to tell your friends?”

 

“Tell them what?”

 

“The truth.” Harry answered, absently waving his hand, letting magic fill the trough with water.

 

“What?”

 

“Do you trust them?”

 

“Of course.”

 

“Then tell them. A secret this big…if it comes out any other way you could lose them.”

 

“But it’s my fault.”

 

“Oh for crying out loud.” Harry muttered and then blinked, he was apparently channelling Jack O’Neill today. “The meteor shower was not your fault! You were a little kid; you didn’t chose to land on Earth. Someone, most likely your biological parents sent you here. Anyone with half a brain will know that.” Harry snapped at him and Clark nodded.

 

“True friends are a wonderful thing and will stay at your side through anything but you need to give back to that. You keep lying, and badly at that…. you don’t want to see where that leads.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Clark! Come on in.”

 

“I need to tell you something Lex.”

 

“Of course.” Lex moved to sit before the fire and Clark joined him nervously but Harry was right. No more secrets.

 

TBC…..

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: Don’t own HP or Smallville

 

Magic and Meteors Part II

 

Lex watched Clark until the teen was out of sight and then poured himself some brandy and collapsed on the leather couch. Out of everything he had theorised about his friend he had never seen this coming. An alien, a real alien, was living as a farm boy in Kansas of all places. Who could have imagined? It was a massive shock, that was true but he would not betray Clark’s trust. No one else had ever trusted him like this before, always seeing his father in him, but not Clark. The boy was too trusting in some ways and yet he had managed to keep this secret from everyone.

 

His father could never learn the truth about Clark, he shuddered to think what the man would do if he knew. He had to destroy every scrap of evidence he’d collected since the car crash, it was too dangerous to leave anything and he had his answers now.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“This is the flu season. I don't even know why you came in today.” Harry commented as he checked the thermometer.

 

“I felt fine this morning, and now I can't get warm.” Sean answered as he shivered in the blanket.

 

“Let's see. This can't be right. You're not a Popsicle. Let's try again.” Harry shook out the thermometer and gave it to Sean even as he felt his forehead, immediately feeling some sort of energy drain so he pulled his hand back. “I’m sending you to the hospital.” He went to call the ambulance and Sean stood.

 

“Mmm. I'm...I'm actually feeling a little better now. Thanks.” The teen bolted and Harry groaned.

 

“Clark if you can hear me try to intercept young Sean please, just don’t touch him.” He spoke to thin air, not entirely sure of Clark’s hearing range.

 

A few minutes later Clark popped his head in. “Sorry, was with Chloe and Pete and couldn’t get away. What happened?”

 

“Something’s wrong with Sean Kelvin. He’s freezing cold and when I touched him I felt some sort of energy drain.”

 

“I’ll keep an eye out.” Clark promised and then ran to class.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Lex put his hands up as Martha turned, still holding the chain saw. “Whoa! I come in peace.”

 

“I'm so sorry. I didn't hear you.” She quickly turned it off and took off her goggles.

 

“I'm just glad you weren't welding.”

 

“What brings you out here in the middle of the day?”

 

“Those artichokes of yours. I need about thirty of them if you've got 'em.” He picked up a piece of wood to fiddle with.

 

“Thirty? That's a lot of artichokes.” She was surprised by the number but they could always use every extra cent.

 

“Yeah, I'm hosting a dinner tomorrow night for the local farming community, just an informal talk about some financial options. A lot of farms in town are having money trouble.”

 

“Most people aren't looking for more loans.” She warned.

 

“I'm offering my role as an investor-help people modernize and expand. This town once grew twenty percent of the corn in the state. Smallville was a heavy hitter. It just lost the drive to stay competitive.” He put the wood down even as he wandered the yard.

 

“Or its connections.”

 

Lex: If this town ever had connections, they wouldn't have named it "Smallville." He pointed out. “Your husband hasn't exactly kept his feelings about me a secret, but I'd appreciate hearing your thoughts on my proposal even if you're not interested.”

 

“Jonathan doesn't hate you. It's just... your family's track record hasn't been the best in this town.”

 

“Tell him I intend to change that.” He swore. “Will you come?”

 

“Alright, we’ll come and listen.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“That's a great exhibit. I caught it in St. Petersburg.” Lex commented from over her shoulder before taking a sip of his cappuccino. Harry wandered over and nodded to Lex before glancing down.

 

“I saw it last week, it was as good as Lex says.” He assured Lana who smiled.

 

“Whitney and I are going to Metropolis tomorrow. I thought we'd check it out.”

 

‘Ah, trying to give the quarterback some culture?”

 

“It was his idea.”

 

“Brave choice from a teenage boy.” Harry chuckled.

 

“He figures one afternoon at the museum, he's off the hook for six months.” Lex pointed out.

 

“For someone who wants people to keep an open mind, you're pretty quick to judge.”

 

“What can I say? I just think you're with the wrong guy.” Lex headed for the newspapers and Harry nodded to Lana before going to a table with his hot chocolate as Whitney joined her.

 

“Hey. Everything okay?” Whitney kissed her cheek in greeting and she smiled, holding up the pamphlet.

 

“I was just checking out some stuff for us to do tomorrow. Metropolis, remember?”

 

“Actually, some of the guys are pooling together and getting the fight on pay-per-view. It's tomorrow.”

 

“And you gave them your money already.” She put the pamphlet down, disappointed.

 

“Yeah. Hey, we'll go next weekend, okay? I promise. I'm really sorry, Lana.”

 

“Culture can wait.” She promised.

 

“I'll make it up to you. See ya.” He left her side and Lex grinned from where he’d been listening as he spotted Clark outside.

 

“You know, she's free tomorrow night. Hey, Clark. This is the perfect time for you to ask her out.” Lex joined Clark on the other side of the window.

 

“She's got a boyfriend, Lex.”

 

“A high school boyfriend isn't a husband. He's an obstacle. You know, I bet if you ask Lana to go with you to the Radiohead concert in Metropolis tomorrow, she'll say yes.”

 

“And if she says yes...”

 

“I'll give you the tickets.” He pulled out two tickets, originally he was going to offer to take Clark but this was the perfect opportunity to help him get the girl of his dreams.

 

“Why are you doing this?”

 

“You're like the younger brother I never had. I figure someone should benefit from my experience.”

 

“I can't just ask her out.”

 

“The hardest thing in the world is telling the girl you love that you like her. I'll raise the bet. You ask her in the next sixty seconds, you get the tickets, and I'll throw in a round-trip limo ride, starting now.” He smirked and Clark hesitated before taking them and heading inside.

 

He took a deep breath and glanced at a smirking Lex before moving to the side of Lana’s chair. “Hey, Lana, you busy?”

 

“Completely swamped. That's why I'm sitting in a coffee shop attempting to wade through a Russian classic.”

 

“Oh.’

 

“That was a joke, Clark.”

 

“Good. 'Cause there's this thing tomorrow night.”

 

“Define "thing".”

 

“It's a concert-Radiohead, to be exact-and I got a couple tickets.”

 

“Wow. Where'd you get these?”

 

“A friend. Something came up at the last minute, and I was wondering if you'd like to go, you know, with me.”

 

“I'd-“

 

“Just as friends.” He quickly clarified.

 

“Definitely. I'd love to.” She smiled and he smiled back before catching sight of Harry who smiled and nodded.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“It's bad enough you ride that motorcycle, by why do you have to repair it in the house?”

 

“Because if I didn't, you'd never have any reason to be angry with me.” He answered, glancing up from his work.

 

“I'll trade you. Do all the engine work you want, but come with me to Lex's.”

 

“We've already talked about that.”

 

“I talked. You grunted.”

 

“I thought I was rather articulate. Sweetheart, the Luthor’s have sold out anyone who's ever trusted them. They don't know what it means to keep their word.”

 

“They is Lex's father, not him. Be honest, you've never seen him be anything but generous. Arrogant and a little strange, yes, but he's been a good friend to Clark. We have to at least hear him out.”

 

“Why?”

 

“We need options, Jonathan. Our home is on the line, our farm. You don't have to like him to listen. Besides, um... I already told him we would come.” She admitted and Jonathon grimaced even as Clark practically ran down the stairs, grinning.

 

“Hello, citizens.”

 

“I'm not familiar with this child. Where's the moody one, lives upstairs, runs real fast?” Martha asked and Clark just smiled wider.

 

“Oh, he's going on a date tonight. Not a date date, but a concert.”

 

“Well, just who might this not-a-date date be with?”

 

“Lana Lang. Lex hooked me up with a couple of serious tickets and his limo.”

 

“Oh, he did?” Jonathon asked.

 

“It's okay if I go, right?”

 

“Well, I guess Lex Luthor has worked out all of our evenings for us.”

 

“Clark? Isn't Lana still going out with Whitney?” Martha asked.

 

“She's not married, Mom. Besides we can be friends, Harry said that you can’t let lust or love stand in the way of being someone’s friend first.”

 

“Good advice. Just be careful Clark, we don’t want to see you hurt.”

 

“I know Mom.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Guess who just called me? Sean.” Chloe smiled as Clark held up another shirt.

 

“Did he apologize for blowing you off?”

 

“He said he wasn't feeling well.”

 

“Chloe, I saw him go off with Jenna. I guess she made him feel better.”

 

“Well, he-he promised it was completely over with her.”

 

“You like him, don't you?”

 

“He may be a little intellectually challenged, but he's really hot. Besides, he begged to get together tonight just to talk, so I told him he could bring me a coffee at the Torch.”

 

“Sounds like a date.” He teased.

 

“It's not a date. It's a fact-finding mission to see if he deserves a date.”

 

“I just don't want to see you get hurt. Promise to be careful? He was in to see Dr Murphy before and he was worried about him, wanted to call an ambulance. Something about his body temperature.”

 

“Well I’m sure he’s feeling better or he wouldn’t have called. I’m a big girl Clark.”

 

“I know. Just…. see if Pete can hang around for a bit?”

 

“He’s got a date tonight too.”

 

“Oh.”

 

“I can look after myself Clark, promise. Don't worry. I figure if you can take a risk with Lana, I can take a shot too. Uh...blue's a good colour on you.” She nodded at the shirt he’d pulled out of the clean wash basket.

 

“Really?”

 

“Really, now hurry up and get ready. Don’t want to keep Lana waiting. I’ll see you tomorrow. Have fun.”

 

“You too.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry stood from examining the remains and the sheriff turned to him. “Well Doc?”

 

“It’s Jenna Barnum.” He confirmed. “Well, what’s left of her.”

 

“What could have done this?”

 

“Liquid nitrogen? This is strange and I’m not sure how.”

 

One of the deputies came into the bathroom. “Sir, apparently she was last seen leaving school with another student, Sean Kelvin.”

 

“Kelvin? He was in my office today with an extremely low body temperature.”

 

“Okay put out a news bulletin, we need to find and question Sean. Thanks for the help Dr Murphey.”

 

“No problem. I don’t mind filling in when needed, especially when it’s the kids from school.” They shook hands and Harry left. He quickly dialled the Kent farm. “Hi Martha, it’s Harry. Is Clark there?”

 

“He’s already left for his date with Lana.”

 

“Okay thanks.”

 

“Is something wrong?”

 

“I got called in to help the Sheriff, one of Clark’s classmates is dead and the suspect is another classmate.”

 

“Oh no. We were just about to leave for Lex’s, should we postpone?”

 

“No. I’m heading there myself. Just keep an eye out.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Welcome. I'm delighted you decided to come.” Lex called as the Kent’s were admitted to the lounge room.

 

“Your house it's very-“

 

“Large?” he finished for her.

 

“To put it mildly.” Jonathon commented and Lex shrugged.

 

“The word "restraint" doesn't exist in my father's vocabulary.”

 

“I-I'm sorry, are we early?”

 

“I think we should go.”

 

“Wait, wait, Jonathan, just because no one else came-“

 

“That is if anyone else was even invited.”

 

“Oh, I don't think Lex would-“

 

“Actually, I would. I did, sort of. We are missing one guest. But only because I knew you wouldn't have come otherwise. I know your farm's in trouble, Mr. Kent.” Lex explained and then took a drink. “Small town.”

 

“So you thought you would just take advantage of my family's problem.”

 

“No. I thought I could help.”

 

Jonathon looked at his wife who silently pleaded with him and he slumped a bit before nodding. “Well, then, I guess we're here to listen.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“I've never actually sat in a limo before tonight.”

 

“I did once. Nell got one to take us to the ballet, but it wasn't as nice as this.”

 

“Beats another night of defensive reading. You've done it since we were kids. Whenever the world gets disappointing, you retreat into a book. There are worse things.”

 

“No, you’re right. It's just-It's easier than dealing with my own life, you know what I mean?”

 

“I do the same thing with astronomy. I look at different worlds and wonder if my life would be better there.”

 

“You always seem to understand what I'm trying to say. How come you know so much?”

 

“Magic. You don't believe in magic? I'll show you.” He grinned and pulled a pack of cards from the side area. “Pick a card.”

 

“All right.”

 

Clark stared, using his x-ray vision. “Three of hearts.”

 

“Full of surprises.”

 

“This is weird, huh. I felt like I had to explain tonight to Nell.”

 

“I spent the better part of the day convincing people this was not a date. How about Whitney?”

 

“I didn't tell him.”

 

“And your feeling guilty about that?’

 

“He's hanging out with his friends, and I'm hanging out with mine.”

 

“Exactly.” He went to say more but their attention was taken by a sudden news bulletin on the tv screen built into the back of the privacy screen.

 

“And in Smallville tonight, police are seeking seventeen-year-old Sean Kelvin after the mysterious death of a fellow Smallville High student Jenna Barnum, whose body was found early this afternoon...”

 

“Oh my god.” Lana whispered.

 

“Kelvin was last seen leaving-“

 

“Stop the car.” Clark called.

 

“Clark, what's wrong?”

 

“Well, it's complicated.” He hesitated, remembering Harry’s words on secrets and how well Lex had taken things. “Chloe has a date…with Sean. She’s at the Torch, won’t have heard this. I have to warn her. Can you hang out here for a while? I want you to be safe.” He rushed out.

 

“Sure. Find Chloe. I’ll try ringing the Torch office from inside.”

 

“Thanks. I just want you to know this is the best non-date I've ever had.” He grinned and ran off, moving faster once out of sight.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“I'll be right back.” Pete told his date before walking over to where Lana was sitting, reading, with a mug of coffee. “Shouldn't you be fifth row center right about now?”

 

“Hey, Pete.”

 

“Where's Clark?”

 

“We saw that news report about Jenna, and he remembered Chloe was meant to be meeting Sean. I called the Torch but no answer and Clark was headed over to make sure she’s safe.”

 

“I heard that, too. I always thought that Sean was a good guy. I guess we don't know people as well as we think. And I’m sure Clark and Chloe will be fine.”

 

“You've been friends with Clark for a long time. Is he always so...”

 

“Clark-like?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“Sometimes he's totally there and you think you know everything about him, and then there's this part that's...”

 

“Mysterious.” She smiled wistfully and he nodded.

 

“Yeah, that's it. Clark Kent international man of mystery.”

 

“Lana! What are you doing here?” Whitney called as he spotted the two talking.

 

She smiled and held up her book. “Just reading.”

 

“Pretty dressed up to be digging into a book.’

 

“I'll catch up with you later.”

 

“Pete, why don't you take your date for a spin in the limo?” She called after him.

 

“Oh, she's not a date. She's just my friend.”

 

“Either way, I won't be needing it.” It was too late to make the concert now.

 

“Ooh! Thanks!”

 

“What were you doing in a limo?”

 

“Just hanging out with a friend.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Guess the generator works. Power must have blown. Where were we?” Lex asked as the lights went off and then came back on. Before anyone could answer the doors opened and Harry walked inside.

 

“Sorry I’m late. County coroner is out sick so the Sheriff asked me to fill in.”

 

“Coroner? Is everything alright?” Lex asked in concern.

 

“A student is dead and another is the suspect. I’m surprised you hadn’t heard, it’s made the news.” Harry accepted the glass Lex offered. “Now how much had you explained?”

 

“I believe Lex was explaining how he could single-handedly save the family farmer.”

 

“Jonathan...”

 

“It's okay, Mrs. Kent. I understand your husband's scepticism. Your farm's drowning in debt. We both know it. All I'm trying to do is offer you a hand but you keep slapping it away.”

 

“I learned a long time ago from a man much smarter than myself that you need to solve your own problems.”

 

“Your father lived in different times, and he had his share of help. It seems government subsidies carried him through a number of lean years.” He handed over a folder of paperwork which they looked through.

 

“Where did you get these?” Martha asked in confusion.

 

“It's a matter of public record. I'm making a business offer. I had to do my due diligence.”

 

“Why are you so interested in our family, Lex?”

 

“Your son brought me back from the Mr. Kent. When he reached in and pulled me out, he gave me a new life. Your father put his family's future over his own pride. Are you willing to do that?”

 

“And it’s not just Lex’s offer. He’s offering sixty percent of the deal, I’m offering forty. I’m rich but not that rich however my forty percent is on offer with no strings or sharing of profit. It’s a simple cash offer.”

 

“From someone who can afford to lose money. If I lost that amount with nothing to show for it my reputation would take a hit that could affect a lot of things, including the plant.”

 

“So you would give us the latest farming equipment and technology.” Martha looked between the two young men.

 

“All in exchange for our independence.”

 

“Harry’s influence would not exist. My influence will be minimal, but existing, yes. It's a partnership.”

 

“We could get a loan.”

 

“Or you could allow us to help you get to the point where you never need someone like us again.”

 

“I'll admit, it looks generous.” Martha smiled.

 

“It is.” Harry agreed.

 

“Which begs the question, "What does Lex Luthor get out of all this?”

 

“I believe there's profit to be made. I'm not exactly in the charity business.”

 

“Like father, like son.”

 

“Take some time to think about it. I'm sure you'll see the benefits outweigh your other options. To the future.” They began to toast but the doors open to reveal Whitney supporting Lana.

 

“Lana!” Martha put her glass down.

 

“She's okay.” Whitney assured her even as Harry moved over to take her from him, settling her onto the couch and then kneeling to examine her.

 

“Where's Clark?” Martha asked in alarm.

 

“Looking for Chloe. She had a date with Sean tonight, when we heard the news he went after her.” She winced as Harry probed her ankle.

 

“Sprained, not broken thankfully.” Harry smiled at her, ignoring the others as they talked.

 

“This kid sounds dangerous. I've got the gate down and the alarm on. You're staying here until they find Sean. Sorry about your date.” Lex said to Lana who shrugged. “Any sign of Clark?”

 

“No, and I'm still getting the answering machine at home.”

 

“Remind me I don't have to worry.” Martha whispered and Jonathon smiled, hugging her.

 

“He's Clark, Martha.” He assured her right as the lights went out.

 

“Everyone stay where you are, we don’t need more injuries.” Harry called, the flickering firelight not much in such a large room.

 

“I know my way in the dark, I’ll get torches.” Lex called and then left for a few minutes. “Here you go.” He handed them out when he returned.

 

“Thanks. I'll go check the front gate.”

 

“It should be secure.”

 

“I'll check the generator. Where is it?”

 

“It's on the side of the house, but I can get it.” He called after her and Harry chuckled.

 

“Farmers are very self-sufficient and independent.”

 

“I’m learning that.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry looked up as Lex walked up onto his front porch. “Well?”

 

“They’ve accepted our offer, grudgingly in Jonathon’s case.”

 

“Give him time, he’ll see you’re not your father in time.” Harry promised.

 

“I hope so.” He picked up the bottle Harry motioned towards and drank. “Here’s to a quiet week or two.”

 

“Amen.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Clark took a deep breath as Chloe climbed into the loft. This felt a thousand times harder than telling Lex. He’d known Chloe longer after all and she was a reporter, something the family feared getting hold of the truth. But he couldn’t keep lying and Harry had told him if worse came to worse he could actually remove the knowledge from her or anyone else who reacted badly.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“You know it belonged to Alexander the Great? They said the design symbolizes strength and courage.” Lex commented as he joined Clark in looking at the magnificent breastplate. He was happy the Kent’s had accepted his invitation to the museum gala.

 

“I can't exactly see myself going into battle with that on my chest.”

 

Lex chuckled. “Darker times call for darker methods. His opponents thought he was invincible.”

 

“I didn't know you were such a history buff.”

 

“I'm not. I'm just interested in people who ruled the world before they were thirty.”

 

“Don't worry, Lex. You still have a few years to go.” Lana said as she joined them in looking at the display.

 

“Lana, I didn't know you were going to be here.”

 

“Didn't Lex tell you?”

 

“Must've slipped my mind. Why don't I leave you two alone? Harry’s meant to be around somewhere and I have some business questions for him.” he quickly vanished into the crowd.

 

“Having fun?”

 

“Yeah, well, I'm feeling a bit underdressed.” He admitted, everyone else was in black tie, even Lana was wearing a very pretty dress.

 

“If it makes you feel any better, Whitney is just as uncomfortable.”

 

“Whitney came too?’

 

“Why don't you join us? I'm going to go yank Nell away from the jewellery exhibit so we can eat.”

 

“Yeah, sure.” He smiled slightly and watched her head for her aunt before moving towards the door.

 

“Clark, where are you going?” Lex called as Harry turned to see him as well.

 

“I'm going to get some...air.”

 

“You know; you're never going to get her if you keep running away from your enemy.”

 

“Whitney's not my enemy.’

 

“Yes he is, Clark, and the sooner you realize that, the sooner you'll find a way to win Lana. Just remember, keep your friends close and the quarterback closer.” Lex’s answer had Harry laughing.

 

“Don’t wander far Clark, Metropolis isn’t Smallville.” Harry called.

 

“I know.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Hello? Hello? Anybody home? Dad, is that you?” Clark looked up and easily caught the generator as it dropped.

 

“Kid, I don't know what they've been feeding you, but that was pretty impressive.” Phelan commented as he came out of hiding.

 

“Who are you?”

 

“I am your new best friend, Clark.”

 

“How do you know my name?” He demanded, feeling scared. This was the sort of person he never wanted to know his secret.

 

“Oh, I asked around. That's the beauty of a small town. Everyone's just so eager to help. A far cry from Metropolis.”

 

“What do you want with me?”

 

“Your help. You see, Clark, I'm in a battle that I can't afford to lose. Because if I do, the bad guys win. And you have this gift that I need.”

 

“I'll never help you.”

 

“You have a secret you don't want the world to know about. I'm guessing that's why you didn't stick around for the TV cameras last night. You want to keep things that way, you'll do as I say. Drop by that overpriced coffee shop tomorrow afternoon and we'll talk about your future. Nice catch by the way.” With that he left and Clark barely hesitated before running for Harry’s.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“You know trying to blackmail teenagers is really low.” Harry commented and Phelan spun, hand going for his gun only to watch it fly into Harry’s hand. “Let’s keep this civilised shall we?”

 

“What is this, a town full of freaks?”

 

“I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been called that but the only freak I see is you. A cop who uses everyone to get what he wants. Well no more. You are going back to Metropolis where you will turn yourself in and confess your sins.”

 

“Keep dreaming.”

 

Harry smirked and Phelan backed off, suddenly wary before he became utterly calm. He would confess, confession was good for the soul after all.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“There is nothing like 50 minutes of Mr. Austin's English class that works up an appetite.” Clark grinned.

 

“There's nothing like having a 6-page student biography due Monday to help me lose mine.” Pete complained.

 

“What, the biography part, or the fact that our fellow student subjects were randomly assigned?” Chloe asked.

 

“Pete's convinced that the drawing was fixed.”

 

“There are a dozen ladies in our class, each worthy of lengthy interrogation. I get stuck with Stan Gibson.”

 

“The manager of the student store? Well, I hear he's very...”

 

“Efficient?”

 

“Very funny. I'm about to learn more about the art of selling "Go Crow" pendants than any human should have to endure. You haven't stopped smiling since we left. Who's your victim?”

 

“The illustrious Mr. Kent himself.” Chloe smirked and Clark groaned. It was great that she’d taken the truth so well and had kept it secret but now he was worried.

 

“Me?”

 

“I take it back. Chloe's the one with the challenge.”

 

“Excuse me?”

 

“No offense, Clark, but digging up six pages of interesting on you is going to require some serious excavation.’

 

“I do stuff.’

 

“Yes, and I'm sure that once I deploy my journalistic skills on you, I'll be able to unearth a skeleton or two.” She teased.

 

“You know, uh, Chloe. This is a class project, not a corruption scandal.”

 

“Relax, Clark, it's not like you have anything to hide, right?” He shot her a glare for that question.

 

“Come on, Clark. Cough up. Who'd you get?”

 

“Oh, don't tell me. Lana Lang. Oh, my God. Just look at his face. You don't even have to see it.”

 

“Like I said, definitely rigged. I can assume you'll be starting your paper ASAP?”

 

“It's all gonna work out. I've been helping Lana over at the Talon, getting ready for the grand opening.”

 

“Oh, that's nice. The surrogate boyfriend does the heavy lifting while Whitney works at his dad's store.”

 

“On that note...”

 

‘Wait. When are you gonna sit down and do my interview?”

 

‘Right. Uh, I'll be around.”

 

“Did he just blow me off?” Chloe gaped at where Clark had been.

 

“One step forward, two steps back. Come on.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“How you holding up?” Clark asked gently. He’d been considering opening up about the truth to Lana but that could all wait until whatever was going on was dealt with.

 

“I was fine until, uh, it showed up.”

 

“Yeah, stupid question.’

 

“What kind of a sick person would do a thing like that?”

 

“I don't know. But I've never seen Lex so freaked out before.” He admitted.

 

“You can join the club. That guy warned me. He said everything Lex touches turns out badly. How much do we really know about him and his past?” She asked and then fell silent as Lex himself joined them outside the Talon.

 

“I want you both to know how truly sorry I am about this. I promise this won't affect the grand opening.”

 

“We're going to be infamous before we even open the doors.”

 

“Do you know who he is? The guy in the... you know.”

 

“Max Kasitch. And yes, I knew him a long time ago in Metropolis.”

 

“You have any idea who might have done this to him?”

 

“Not at all.’

 

“What about your old friend Jude Royce?’

 

“I doubt it could have been him, Clark.”

 

“Why?’

 

“Because he's been dead for three years.” Lex answered firmly.

 

“So unless the dead are walking…” Harry commented as he joined them. “You three alright?”

 

“We’re okay Dr Murphy.”

 

“Alright, but if that changes or if you need someone to talk to feel free to call me.”

 

“Thanks.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Come on, Pete. I'm desperate. Now the only information I can get from the Kent’s was the earth-shattering admission that Clark hates peas.” He could hardly put he was an alien in the report.

 

“Chloe, a body part shows up at the Talon and all you can do is talk about Clark. Where are your priorities? You know Lex Luthor must be mixed up in this somehow.”

 

“Easy. Now, I know you've got issues with the Luthor’s, but—“

 

“More than issues. You know what the Luthor’s did to my family.” He snapped.

 

“Okay, one piece of investigative information at a time. Now about Clark...”

 

“Chloe, what do you want from me? In a world full of designer water, Clark Kent is straight from the tap.’

 

“I know, but you've known him the longest. I mean, all I need is just, like, a little anecdote. Just a small piece of information from Clark's deep, dark past.”

 

“Well, there was something back in the first grade.”

 

‘Thank you! That's more than I've uncovered in, like, the past two days. Now please, let's continue.” She just needed something other than his biology to make it interesting.

 

“There was this bully three grades ahead of us. This dude was determined to pound dents into every kid in the school. One day, I guess it was my turn. He was just about to take my head off when Clark jumped between us.”

 

“So Clark ran interference. Now, as kind as that sounds, Pete, I really don't think it falls under the "something amazing" test.” Still not what she needed.

 

“What test?” Clark asked warily as he joined them with his lunch tray.

 

“I'm not finished. Clark didn't just push brain-dead away. He put him through a door, as in splinters and broken hinges. How he did it, I still have no idea. The guy was at least twice our size.”

 

“Clark, any comments?” She smirked slightly, they both knew how he had done that but she also knew Pete didn’t know the truth yet.

 

“Uh, well, we were, you know, six years old. Twice our size was three feet tall.”

 

“If you need any more ancient history, ask the source. I've got an appointment at the student store.’

 

“Have fun. And so the mystery that isn't Clark Kent deepens.”

 

“Mystery?’

 

‘Yeah. Since you continue to play obstructionist, I've had to find information through other means. For instance, I found that your adoption was done through Metropolis United Charities. But this is the strange part. They were only in business for six months and from what I can tell, yours is the only adoption they handled.”

 

“I can't believe you did this, Chloe.” He stared at her in horrified shock.

 

“You didn't know? I just assumed that your parents would have told you. I mean, weren't you interested how they did it?”

 

“Why would I be? My biological parents are either dead or didn't want me. The point is, you're prying into my private life.”

 

“I was just trying to be thorough. I wasn’t going to put anything ‘dangerous’ in, without that you’re a pretty boring guy on paper.”

 

“This is a class project. I spent an hour yesterday with Lana. That's it. That's all I needed. I'm not some mystery for you to solve.”

 

“Clark, I-“ She tried as he stormed off.

 

“A moment Miss Sullivan.”

 

She turned to find Dr Murphey standing there and so got up and followed him to his office. “I understand you are a reporter but Clark is your friend and he trusted you. How could you invade his privacy like that? Would you like it if the person assigned to you did the same?”

 

“But….”

 

“You were wrong Chloe. Clark’s secrets are dangerous in the wrong hands. What if someone found your search and decided to look deeper?”

 

“Wait…. you know?”

 

“Yes. Now, you owe Clark an apology and you better ensure all traces of your search are destroyed. Understood?”

 

“Yes Doctor.” She slunk out of his office. Harry shook his head but logged on and began his own search, working to shore up Clark’s records.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Clark! Come on, son. The cows aren't gonna feed themselves. What, you have a late night?” Jonathon yelled towards the house.

 

“I was helping Lana. To her credit, she's not gonna let the whole body part incident delay the opening of the Talon.” He answered as he appeared in the barn.

 

“Well, that's what happens when you get into business with somebody like Lex Luthor.”

 

“Well, if it wasn't for Lex, the Talon would be a parking garage. Not to mention the farm. Dad, Harry and I trust him, he’s not his father.”

 

“Son, he casts a very, very long shadow. I just want to make sure that none of you kids get hurt. That's all.”

 

“The past is in the past. The best we can do is look to the future.” Calrk quoted something his Dad had told him before and Johnathon sighed.

 

“All right, you got me. Speaking of that, how's Chloe's paper coming along? And I assume that she's done with her interviews.”

 

“I'm not sure.” He answered as they began walking towards where the cows were grazing in the back pasture.

 

“Look, Clark, if she mentions anything to you about the peas? I'm sorry, it's the first thing that came to mind.”

 

“And if she mentions anything to me about Metropolis United Charities?”

 

“And I used to think perseverance was an admirable quality.” He grumbled.

 

“Since I learned the real truth, I hadn't thought about the adoption. Dad, Chloe told me the agency you used was only open six months and I was the only kid adopted.”

 

“Look, son, uh, the process is a really tough one, even when you go through normal channels. With you, it was just a little more complicated. That's all.”

 

“Is everything legal?” Clark asked, worried someone would try to take him away.

 

“Yeah, it's legal, it's just... Well, it required a higher level of access than you mother and I had.”

 

“What does that mean?”

 

“Let's just say that it's a very long road between what's sitting in our storm cellar and what's written on your birth certificate. You hear that?” he stopped and frowned, straining his hearing.

 

“Hear what?”

 

“The whole herd's just over that rise, we ought to be hearing something.” They ran up to the top and stared in horror at dead cows and containers of waste marked LuthorCorp.

 

Two hours later the farm was swarming with official people from various agencies from the Sheriff up. Clark looked over as Chloe ran up and hugged him. “You’re alright?” She asked.

 

“We’re all fine.”

 

“What do you think happened? Why would LuthorCorp dump their stuff here? I'm gonna go take from some different angles.” She promised even as Lex ran to where they were standing.

 

“Mr. and Mrs. Kent, I have no idea how this could have happened, but I'll do everything in my power to find out. And I'll pay for your livestock of course.” He promised.

 

“You think that's how you solve everything, don't you, Lex? You sprinkle a little money on it and hope the problem goes away. Well, obviously some things are a little more difficult than that.” Jonathon snapped.

 

“Enough!” Harry called as he joined them, looking around with a professional eye. “Lex and I both have money in this farm and you think he’d allow something like this to happen? It would be a very stupid move and Lex is not stupid. Someone is trying to drive a wedge between you, don’t give them the satisfaction.” Harry then dragged Jonathon off to talk to the C.E.P. people.

 

“I didn't think it was possible to fall any further in your father's eyes. Obviously, I was wrong. You know I'd never intentionally allow something like this to happen.” Lex pleaded and Clark nodded.

 

“I know you wouldn’t Lex and deep down so do my parents. The herd meant a lot to them. Does this have anything to do with Club Zero?”

 

“I think so.”

 

“You need to tell the authorities everything you know. This isn't just about you anymore.”

 

“Mr. Luthor, the C.E.P. guy needs to talk to you. He's over there.” A deputy called and Lex nodded, walking over only to find a dead man smiling at him.

 

“Looks like a real black mark on your company's environmental record.” Jude commented.

 

“I'm going to walk over there and get that sheriff.”

 

“And tell him what?”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“What’s going on Harry?”

 

“With all the trouble I decided to show you this earlier than originally intended.”

 

“Show me what?” He asked and then gaped in awe as an entire wall shifted back to reveal a very solid metal wall and door with a control pad. Harry showed him the code as he entered it and then he pressed hard to open the door.

 

“No one of human strength can open this, even if they got all the codes right.” Harry commented as they descended.

 

“Harry…” all he could do was stare in awe at the various screens and desks.

 

“This is all for you Clark. Made from a combination of everything I know about advanced and alien technology because the odds of only two intelligent species in the cosmos is ridiculous. Good afternoon Jarvis.”

 

“Good afternoon Sir.”

 

“What?” Clark looked around.

 

“Jarvis is an AI, created to run all of this.”

 

“But why Harry?”

 

“Because if anything happens to me, you are my heir. I’ve also gone through all your records and made sure they will stand up to any scrutiny.”

 

“Are you planning to die?”

 

“No, but I rarely plan on dying. Everything in my accounts plus this house and land will be yours. Jarvis will be able to check that piece of metal and the writing against a database of alien languages, even if the exact language isn’t in it he may have enough to estimate a translation.”

 

“This is…. thank you.”

 

“You’re welcome Clark.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Still no word from Lex. No one's spoken to him since this morning.” Clark hung up and looked at Chloe who was having a field day with a link into Jarvis.

 

“Okay, well, we pulled our alleged dead guy's license plate. It's registered to John Smith. Very original. He has an address in Metropolis and he does not work for the C.E.P.”

 

“How'd you do that?”

 

“Jarvis hacked into the DMV database. See? Sometimes persistence is a good thing.”

 

“Call Metropolis P.D. Have them go to the address. Then call Harry and explain.”

 

“What's going on?”

 

“I don’t know but I’m going to Metropolis to find Lex. Get Jarvis on a search for him and call me if you find anything.”

 

“We’re on it, be careful.” She called as he ran out of the room.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Liar! That's what it said in the papers, but that's not what really happened.” Jude yelled.

 

“It's the truth! Read the police reports!” Lex screamed back, throat raw and his body throbbing as he hung from the cuffs. His only chance was Clark or Harry, if the teen was even looking for him after all the trouble on the farm.

 

“I know you covered it up. I don't know how you did it, but you're gonna pay.”

 

“Who are you?”

 

“Don't you remember? Hmm? You killed me. Daddy can't save you this time, Lex.” He looked and saw Lex wasn’t buying it so he looked to his boss just in time to be shot.

 

“No more games, Lex. It's time for the truth.” A new man walked into view, holding the gun.

 

“I know you. You're the contractor from the Talon.”

 

“That's my day job.”

 

“Who are you?”

 

“Mandy never talked about her family?”

 

“She- she had a brother in Central City. She said he was in prison. She was the only person who kept in touch with him.”

 

“She was my lifeline when I was inside. You see, I never had a rich daddy to keep me out of jail.”

 

“I don't understand. What do you want?”

 

“What do I want? What do I want? I want vengeance for my sister.”

 

“What do you mean? Where's Amanda?” he demanded, she was meant to be safe. He wasn’t allowed to contact her but she was meant to be safe.

 

“She's dead, Lex. She committed suicide a year ago.”

 

“I never knew.” He whispered in shock.

 

“That's because you cut her out of your life. She was never the same after Club Zero. Jude's death devastated her. He was the love of her life. You took all that away. She had nothing to live for.”

 

“Who's that?” Lex looked over at the unmoving body he could just see.

 

“Lucky break. A couple weeks after Amanda's funeral, I walk into a greasy spoon in Bloodhaven and there he is. I couldn't believe it. Short-order cook, flipping burgers. You know how they say everyone in life has a double. I had to look twice. I figure if he can fool me, he can fool you.”

 

“Why'd he do it?”

 

“He was on parole, needed the money, and that's when I got the idea. You ruined Mandy's life, I'd ruin yours. Mandy's finally gonna get the justice she deserves.”

 

“You were right. You were right. The newspapers, the police reports, what I told Phelan, they were all lies. You want the truth? I'll give it to you. Amanda killed him.”

 

“No, no, no, no, you're twisting it again!” He denied, his sister hadn’t been a killer.

 

“That's what happened! That's what happened. Amanda pulled the trigger, she shot Jude. I was just trying to protect her.”

 

“I'm through with you, Lex!”

 

“Killing me won't bring Amanda back. None of this can change what happened.” He strained in the cuffs but he had nothing to pick them with and he couldn’t break them.

 

“I don't care. After tonight, you'll never hurt anyone else. You can't escape your past, Lex.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Calrk made it to the closed down club in time to see Harry appear. “Chloe told you?”

 

“Yeah. You find Lex and get him out, I’ll deal with our kidnapper.”

 

“Harry…”

 

“I’ve done this before plus I can do things that don’t need major coverups to hide like you stopping bullets.”

 

“Alright, just be careful.” Clark ordered before they slipped inside and split up. Clark spotted Lex hanging and ran to him at human speed while Harry made his way around the catwalks. “Lex!”

 

“Get down! There's a man with a gun up there!”

 

“Where? You mean that guy? What happened?” He pointed at the body and Lex shook his head.

 

“I have no idea. How'd you find me here?” He asked as Clark got him down.

 

“Bit of detective work.” He smiled and then they heard a gun go off.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry moved into sight as the man began walking away. “Drop the gun.”

 

“What are you going to do if I don’t? You’re no cop.”

 

“Actually I’m a Doctor.” Harry answered.

 

“He deserves to die!”

 

“Maybe. But you won’t be killing him today.” Harry moved closer and then the man tried to lunge past so they ended up grappling for the gun. They fought briefly and then the gun went off.

 

Clark appeared on the catwalk as Harry collapsed and he screamed. “NO!” He grabbed the gun, crushing it and Amanda’s brothers hand in the process, making the man scream before Clark knocked him out.

 

Lex clambered up and swore when he saw Harry and the spreading pool of blood. He knelt beside the other man and tried to apply pressure. “Clark call an ambulance!” he yelled at the shocked teen. Clark fell to his knees beside them, x-ray vision conforming there was nothing that could be done. Harry weakly grabbed Clark’s hand and then pushed it at Lex so Lex clasped Clark’s now bloody hand. The wizard smiled at them and then closed his eyes. Clark stumbled back to his feet and pulled Lex with him, knowing what would happen next. Sure enough the body was soon engulfed in flames.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

The funeral for Doctor Harry Murphy was attended by nearly all the town and was paid for by Lex Luthor although organised by Martha Kent so that it was more down to earth. The Kent’s and Lex stood around the empty grave at the end in silence, all still shocked that the doctor was gone, off to help the next world in need. Finally, they walked away as well.

 

“I get the feeling you're avoiding me, Clark.” Lex admitted as they walked towards Harry’s house.

 

“I just realized there's a lot I don't know about you.”

 

“You think my dark past is gonna rub off on you? I was trying to protect Amanda. My father wouldn't have raised a finger to help her, but I knew he'd do anything to save his only son.”

 

“So you took the fall and everything was covered up. Is that really what happened? Is it the truth?’

 

“The truth is; I'd do anything to protect my friends.” He swore and Clark nodded. All of this now belonged to him, held in trust until he was eighteen with Lex looking after it.

 

“What do we do with his stuff?”

 

“Donate whatever you don’t want to keep I guess.”

 

“It seems so…”

 

“Impersonal? Better us than strangers.”

 

“Yeah.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Lex watched his Father’ interview as the man ran for State Senator. “Jarvis?”

 

“Yes Lex?”

 

“Send the files.” He ordered, feeling Clark, Chloe and Lana watching him.

 

“Files sent.” The AI answered. Every record of every dirty deal, any crime, was all being sent to the authorities and the press, local and international. It might not break the man but it would stop him running for office. Clark was using his inheritance from Harry and some of the monies made from Kryptonian technology to help Lex buy out LuthorCorp. Dumbing down the technology was really helpful to earth and Clark felt it served the AI of Jor-El right. He would never rule the Earth but he would help it grow. Lex looked down as Chloe took his hand and smiled at her. Who could have imagined he would ever end up engaged to a reporter? He glanced back at Clark and Lana and smiled, at least Clark finally got the girl, even if it took him six years to do so. He just wished for their sake that Pete was there but as Clark and Lex had gotten closer Pete had drifted further away in his hatred for Lionel.

 

Clark watched as Lex was forced to air his family’s past to stop his father. He and Chloe had tried to dig up enough on Lionel without going into the mess with Lex’s half siblings, mother and grandparents but Lionel was good at covering his tracks. If only Harry were still with them maybe he could have cornered the man and made him tell but Harry had been gone for almost six years now and it still hurt. Harry had been a mentor and older brother to him and in a way Lex as well. He just hoped wherever Harry was he was having a good life in that world.

 

The End

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: Don’t own HP or Firefly/Serenity.

 

You Can’t Take the Sky From Me

 

When someone bought up everything on the third moon of Muir, no one paid any attention. After all the old owner, Burgess, was dead. His grieving widow was sent back to the core worlds where she could live out the rest of her life in peace. Who took over was of no concern to the Alliance. So Samuel Peverell moved in and began work on the single town the moon held. Within a month the place was unrecognisable. It still kept the old rustic charm but every piece of technology was now modern. Wages and standard of living soared and while some still missed Burgess most preferred the new owner.

 

The workers of the Heart of Gold remained wary and watchful as the town changed around them until one day a man rode up on a horse and dismounted, a man they didn’t recognise.

 

Petaline walked into the yard and took in the stranger. He was tall and slender with grey touched brown hair curling to his collar. It was only as he got closer that she could see his hazel eyes even as he bowed slightly to her.

 

“Good afternoon ma’am. I am looking for the owner of this establishment.”

 

“I run the Heart of Gold.” She answered and was surprised when he offered his hand. She took it and he shook her hand. “Samuel Peverell, I was hoping we could talk Miss?”

 

“Petaline. Follow me.” She led him into the house and into the small room she’d claimed on the ground floor. Jonah stood up in his crib and waved his arms around and she saw Peverell smile softly at the sight.

 

“Your son?” He asked and she nodded, sitting on the edge of her bed.

 

“Jonah.” She passed the boy a toy and he smiled and fell back on his bottom into his crib. “What can I do for you Mr Peverell?”

 

“As I’m sure you know I’ve bought the town, the whole moon actually.”

 

“Not this land.”

 

“No, and I have no interest in trying to take it off you, legally or otherwise.” He assured her. “What I do want is to ensure there are no problems. I’ve been working to update the laws. This will give you more protection and rights. As far as I’m concerned you have the right to say no to anyone you don’t want to do business with.”

 

“Why?” No man ever gave without wanting something in return.

 

“Because it’s the right thing to do. I want this moon to prosper Petaline, to become a good place to live. There’s no Guild out here to protect you so I will act in its stead. I’ve heard how my predecessor treated you and killed the old owner. That won’t happen again.”

 

“Alright.” She would listen, time would tell how genuine he was.

 

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“Harry!”

 

He grinned and swept the four-year-old up in his arms, spinning around. “Did you miss me Jonah?”

 

“Uh huh.” The boy nodded his head seriously and Harry bit back a smile, he was so cute. He settled him on his hip and headed towards the small house.

 

“And you’ve been good for your Mamma?” He asked and Jonah nodded again.

 

“Good boy.” He set him down and the kid ran inside.

 

“Mamma! Harry here!” he yelled and Petaline walked over to greet the young man.

 

“We were starting to think you’d gone for good.”

 

“Ran into some trouble with Reavers, no one was hurt but it added time on the trip.” Thankfully there were very few Reavers left these days. He opened his bag and dug around inside, Jonah watching impatiently until Harry handed over his gift, a new toy and they both watched the child run off to play.

 

“You spoil him.” Petaline shook her head as he passed over a good amount of new material. The Heart of Gold had changed a lot in the last three and a half years. And it was all thanks to Mr Peverell and Harry Potter. He’d shown up as a drifter, offering his services as a handy man when he wasn’t flying. And somehow he’d become family before they’d realised. He’d built this house for her and Jonah. The main building had been done up too, while nothing like the Houses Nandi had described it was still a beautiful building now. All the girls and the boys had private rooms as well as the rooms where they worked. They owed Harry a lot, Mr Peverell too, and yet neither asked for anything.

 

“How have you been?” He asked as he set about making tea and Petaline sat, knowing better than to argue over it.

 

“Fine, business is as good as usual.”

 

“No problems?”

 

“None, stop your worrying.” She grinned and he served the tea.

 

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Harry lay on his bed and stared at the ceiling, unable to sleep. He’d been here for several years, under two rather different identities and he had come to see it as darker than the first dimension he’d met the Tam siblings in. He’d seen the broadcast Serenity had made about Miranda and it sickened him to realise the government was responsible for Reavers. He hadn’t come across that bit of information last time. He’d done some digging on his last trip and found a casualty list for Serenity submitted by an Operative. Wash was dead, killed by Reavers, and there was no mention of Shepard Book on the list of dead or survivors. Had he left the ship or died before they got a good list of who was aboard? The broadcast hadn’t toppled the Parliament, they were too good at spinning things, but it had brought pressure on them. If anything it looked like another Independence War might start up. Theoretically he could do something similar to last time and force the government to change but he didn’t like interfering like that, people had to do things themselves. It was why he liked being a doctor or pilot or any other option like it, he influenced small things that would then grow and lead others to changing things.

 

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“Seriously, nothing?”

 

“Sorry Sir.”

 

“Not your fault Zoe.” Mal ran a hand through his hair and then smiled as he saw Kaylee and River playing a game in the hold. They hadn’t had work in three weeks and things were getting tight. Ever since Miranda work had been scarce although the Alliance had backed off some, for now. It hadn’t taken long for a lot of their usual contacts to work out who had sent that broadcast, add in he and Zoe had been Browncoats and it made people nervous they were looking to fight another war. You’d think three years after sending the message people would have calmed down about their part in it.

 

“It’s not just work sir; we need to talk about River.”

 

“I know. She’s a fantastic pilot but she’s not as healed as Doc likes us all to think.”

 

“We…. we need a new pilot sir.” She stated stiffly and he nodded.

 

“Alright, I’ll call Monty, see if he has anyone or knows of someone good. We can set down for a while, I think everyone needs some shore leave.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry rolled out of bed and walked into his office as he yanked a shirt on before accepting the wave and grinning. “Hey Monty, got some work for me?”

 

“Not me Harry. Got a friend in need of a permanent pilot.”

 

“How permanent. I have responsibilities here.”

 

“Yeah, you’d have to talk it over with Mal. Serenity’s a good ship, firefly class.”

 

“Didn’t know any of those were still flying.” He lied, acting shocked and Monty laughed.

 

“She is. Good crew too, bit odd though. Lost their pilot about three years back and have been making due.”

 

Harry ran a hand through his sleep messed hair, considering it. Getting to fly Serenity and see them, even if it was a different version, was tempting. “Alright, I’ll meet them and see. But they’ll have to come here, no ships due in for weeks.”

 

“I’ll wave them. See you around.”

 

“Later Monty.” He turned the screen off and leant back in his chair. It was too early for this.

 

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“Permanent?” Petaline asked and Harry nodded even as he helped Jonah with his alphabet.

 

“Ship called Serenity.”

 

“Oh! That’s the ship Nandi’s friend Inara is on. They helped us fight.” She glanced at Jonah and Harry nodded in understanding.

 

“Apparently they lost their pilot a few years ago. What did you think of them?”

 

“Doctors good.” She ruffled her sons’ hair. “Brought this one out alright. Sister’s a bit odd. Didn’t see much of the others but you can ask at the main house.”

 

“Yeah, I think I will.”

 

“We’ll miss you.” She whispered and Harry stood up and moved in front of her.

 

“Hey, I’ll be back whenever I can. And they might find I don’t fit or a better pilot and let me go.” He wasn’t surprised when she hugged him, the kiss was a surprise. “Petaline…”

 

“This ain’t work Harry. You’re the closest Jonah has to a Daddy, the closest I have to…”

 

And now he felt really guilty agreeing to meet Mal. “Petaline I…”

 

“I know you feel somethin’, don’t lie.”

 

“You’re my best friend and yes, you’re beautiful but I’m leaving.”

 

“So let me say a proper goodbye.” She offered and he sighed before kissing her gently.

 

“You sure?” He asked and she nodded. He went back to working with Jonah until the boy went to bed and then he followed her to her bedroom, putting up a few one-way silencing charms to be safe.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Mal stared in shock as they approached the moon where they had fought to save Nandi and the others. It didn’t look like the same place at all. Things were greener, someone had obviously put more money into the terraforming to make the moon friendlier to people. And then there was the town itself, towns now. And a small but proper spaceport with space for four ships was set between them. Just who had the money to do something like that? He set the ship down in the port and soon the ship was hooked up for refuelling even as the crew left the ship.

 

“Captain?” Zoe asked.

 

“Kaylee, River, stay with the ship. Oversee the refuel and be ready to leave in case of trouble. Inara..”

 

“I’m going to the Heart of Gold.” She stated as she wrapped her shawl across her shoulders.

 

Mal opened his mouth to argue but then nodded, as much as he never wanted to go back there it was the logical place to go for information, as long as Nandi’s girls were still working there. “Alright. We’ll all go. Eyes sharp people.” The group walked through town, no one even giving them a second glance until they walked towards the Heart of Gold, surprised to see it had changed a lot too, not to mention there were extra buildings on the land. As they approached they heard childish laughter and then a young boy ran by before a man swooped in and lifted him up, making him shriek in delight.

 

“Harry down!”

 

“Oh I don’t know Jonah, I won fair and square, I think that means tickles.” The older male stated.

 

“Uh, excuse us.” Mal called and the man dropped the boy to the ground, the kid hiding behind his legs.

 

“Can I help you?” Harry asked, keeping all sign of recognition hidden, his mental shields at full even though he couldn’t see River around.

 

“We are looking for Petaline, is she is still here?” Inara asked and Harry nodded.

 

“Sure, follow me.” He swept Jonah up and carried him home. “Petaline, visitors!” He called out and she opened the door, staring in surprise before smiling.

 

“Welcome back.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry packed the last of his gear and looked at Petaline. Serenity was leaving in the morning with him on board. The look on Mal’s face when he’d introduced himself as their prospective pilot had been amusing. They’d agreed to a trial period to see if he fit in with the crew and then spent time checking in on the others at the house.

 

“Stay safe?”

 

“Of course.” He promised before getting into bed beside her. They weren’t a couple, couldn’t be with their lines of work, but they cared for each other and that was what mattered.

 

In the morning he slipped from the bed and kissed her before shouldering his pack and slipping out to look in on Jonah and then head to the Spaceport. He grinned when he saw Serenity sitting there, looking in pretty good repair. He took a deep breath and headed up, nodding in greeting as Zoe stepped out.

 

“Right on time.” She stated coolly and he understood, she saw him as trying to replace Wash, but no one would ever replace the man. She led him onto the ship and to one of the passenger bunks where he stowed his gear, it made sense sine none of the crew quarters would have become available and even if they had Simon or River would be next in line for them. She gave him the basic tour before heading for the bridge where they found Mal and River.

 

Mal shook his hand while River gave him weird looks. “Let’s see what you’ve got Potter.”

 

“Yes sir.” Harry slid into the pilots’ seat and quickly familiarised himself with the controls before contacting Spaceport control.

 

“You’re clear for lift off Serenity, see you ‘round Harry.”

 

“You too Riley.” Harry replied as he flipped a few switches and then pulled back on the controls, lifting the ship smoothly from the ground. Soon they were back in the black and Mal nodded.

 

“Not bad.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry rolled his sleeve down and got off the bed. “Thanks Doc.”

 

“Next time dodge.” Simon answered as he put his equipment away.

 

“And let the Captain get shot instead?”

 

“Tempting. No weight lifting or getting it wet for the next two days.” He warned and then watched the pilot walk away. He wasn’t sure what he thought of the man, he was a good pilot, excellent actually and had proven very good in a fight, better than Wash actually. And he was friendly. But something about him bugged River and therefore bugged Simon. The really frustrating thing was River wouldn’t tell him what about their new pilot bothered her and she kept getting Kaylee’s help in distracting him. Despite everything she was still such a brat.

 

Harry made his way back to his room and lay out on the bed to rest for a while. Despite the differences Mal could always find trouble. Better he take the shot though than the rather mortal man. He’d been trying to find a way to make their lives better, happier, but so far he had nothing. Simon and Kaylee were a couple which was good, she was just what the doctor ordered. But Zoe……he couldn’t bring Wash back, well technically he could ask and Death would decide if the extra years were worth it, but after so long dead it would be cruel to rip him from the afterlife. Then there was Mal and Inara, still dancing around their feelings and unwilling to admit anything. Talk about having his work cut out for him. At least River was more stable than he had expected though from what he’d overheard that was due to Miranda and the broadcast. He knew he confused her, she couldn’t Read him like everyone else thanks to his shields. Maybe it was time to teach her like he had his River.

 

………………………………….

“Harry! Get in the air now!” Mal yelled over the radio and Harry shook his head but began powering up.

 

“Kaylee?” He called back to the engine room.

 

“Heard.” She yelled back as she worked to get Serenity ready for a quick getaway.

 

Harry gently lifted the ship off and then began heading towards where the captain was only to sigh when he saw the mule being chased by horsemen. He turned the ship and let the mule fly in before taking off. He looked up as Jayne joined him. “So who’d the Captain annoy today?”

 

“Bunch of backwards crazies.”

 

“So typical Tuesday.” Harry locked in their new heading and stood up. “Injuries?”

 

“Only for them.”

 

………………………..

“Harry!”

 

Harry grinned and knelt, catching the six-year-old up and spinning him like he always did when he Came home. “Hey kid. You being good for your Mum?”

 

“Always.” Jonah stated proudly and Harry chuckled even as he walked towards the house with the boy at his side, chattering away happily.

 

Petaline came to the door and smiled as she saw the two walking across the yard. Harry’s times at home were infrequent now because of Serenity and while she missed him, they both did, she knew flying was what made Harry happy. Part of her wished he’d stay with them but she had no right to ask, not with her line of work. She smiled and hugged him as Harry came up to her. “Welcome back.”

 

“It’s good to be back.” He smiled in return and then they went inside.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry smiled as River sat, utterly relaxed at the table. Her lessons were coming along well and she was learning to block out other thoughts completely or selectively. She’d already made a good start herself in the time since Miranda. But she still needed some work, especially in stressful situations. Or when it came to her brother and Kaylee, sometimes the siblings’ closeness was not a good thing. She may never have total control; the Alliance had done a lot of damage to her brain.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Simon nearly choked on his drink and Harry bit back a laugh as Inara and Mal walked into the dining room, together. And both looked a bit…. dishevelled. It was about time! Jayne walked in and looked at the two, leering slightly. “I’ll be in my bunk.” He left again and Harry gave in to his laughter. Mal actually blushed slightly while Inara simply went to make tea.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Petaline stroked her swelling stomach, unsure what to do. She was positive this child was Harry’s and that was why she was hesitating. She should tell him but she knew he would come back in a second, wanting to be there for his child and for her. But that wasn’t fair, he loved flying, loved Serenity. She had always known the limits of their relationship. But he’d know anyway the next time he was back, which going by previous visits would be shortly after she was due. She would wait and give him this much longer with nothing tying him down.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry set the ship down in the dock easily and the ground crew moved to hook her up. He powered everything down and then went to join the others. He had never liked Badger, in either world, but he was a handy supply of work.

 

“Alright, Jayne, Zoe, you’re with me. Harry, Kaylee, get what we need.” They split up as Harry and Kaylee got on the mule, heading off to grab what they needed to keep Serenity flying.

 

“What’s it like?”

 

“What?”

 

“You and Petaline.”

 

“Ah. Why?”

 

“Well the Captain and Inara..”

 

“Are different. Inara is a Companion even if she’s barely taking work these days. Petaline isn’t. She runs the Heart of Gold and still works. We care about each other but romantic love? I don’t know.” He admitted.

 

“Oh.” Kaylee looked away and then frowned. “Harry?” she gripped his arm and the pilot glanced over, swearing softly under his breath.

 

“Eyes front Kaylee, stay calm.” He whispered, one eye on the troops as he manoeuvred through the streets. It was normal to see troops on Persephone but this many? They grabbed the parts and supplies they needed and headed back to the ship, quickly loading everything before Harry went to speak with the dock crew, paying for the fuel and getting clearance to leave as soon as the others got back. He went up to the cockpit and set things up for a fast getaway. Then he went back down to watch for the others.

 

“Trouble?”

 

“Maybe, you and River need to stay out of sight.” Harry answered and Simon nodded, going to find his sister. He went down to the ramp and watched the troops, he could feel the danger in the air and then he spotted the Captain, moving to catch his eyes and then glance at the troops. He saw Mal realise and the group tensed up, hands resting closer to their weapons. A commotion started at a stall nearby and Harry straightened up, not looking the look of it at all. Of course that was when some idiot pulled a gun. Harry tackled Kaylee, sending the two of them rolling behind some crates.

 

“Harry?”

 

“Keep your head down.” He pulled his gun and Kaylee nervously pulled the extra from nearby. Mal may be a little paranoid and have hidden weapons round the cargo bay after so many fights in it but right now he was being proved right. Kaylee’s hand shook a bit; she’d shot Reavers for survival but these were normal people shooting. They head Mal cursing and shared a grin before Harry slipped away, trying to get into position to cover the others so they could get aboard. He saw someone lining up a shot on Zoe and lunged off the ship, tackling the shooter. They rolled across the ground, fighting for the gun and Harry grunted as it went off, but managed to get his own between them, shooting the man. He lay on the ground, gasping for air, feeling resigned to what was happening. After so many times dying got old. He turned his head and realised they’d rolled into a side alley, no one could see them. He sighed and closed his eyes, letting death come.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Captain?” Kaylee looked around as the group came on board.

 

“There’s no sign of him except this.” Mal held out Harry’s gun. “He definitely got some shots off, there was a body in the alley and a lot of blood.”

 

“How much?” Simon asked, already mentally going over the infirmary supplies.

 

“Too much.” Zoe answered sadly.

 

“But there’s no body.” Kaylee whispered.

 

“Around here?” Jayne shook his head. Bodies disappeared a lot in these sort of places.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Petaline watched as the crew of Serenity approached, a sinking feeling in her stomach even as her baby kicked. Jonah went to run out but she stopped him as she counted the numbers and they were one short. Please no. But Captain Reynolds approached solemnly and held out a bag and box to her. Her legs buckled and Simon and Inara were instantly at her side helping her inside.

 

“Where’s Harry?” She heard Jonah ask as she was settled onto her bed and the door closed. She clung to Inara and cried even as Simon carefully checked her over.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Come on Petaline, you can do this.” Inara coached, holding her hand as Petaline pushed. Jonah’s labour had been hard and lasted through the night, this little one was taking even longer.

 

Simon worked tirelessly to ensure her pain was controlled and they were both healthy until finally he was holding a baby and smiling. “It’s a girl.” He announced, quickly cutting the cord and wrapping her up to hand over to her exhausted mother.

 

Petaline smiled tiredly at her baby. She had wisps of hair the same colour as her own but then she opened her eyes and revealed her parentage in brilliant green orbs. “She’s perfect, a precious little Lily.” It was Harry’s favourite flower after all and he’d admitted it was his mother’s name too.

 

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Samuel Peverell was dead. No one had seen him in months, apparently he had taken ill and eventually died. His will left everything to one Harry Potter or his heirs, there’d been speculation form the start that the two were related or Harry worked for him in some manner. This just gave those rumours credibility. Harry had one heir, little Lily Potter. As the child’s mother that left Petaline in charge of the whole moon till her daughter was of age. She had never expected this at all.

 

The End

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: Don’t own HP

 

 

 

Teaching Yourself

 

Samuel sat at the table, drinking his coffee as he read the latest Daily Prophet. In three days Harry Potter would turn 11 and the paper had a full page spread on the event, despite the fact the child hadn’t been seen or heard of since his parents’ death. He folded the paper and paid Tom before slipping out of the Leaky Cauldron and apparating away. He walked out of the alley and down a few streets before he saw the house and sure enough a dark haired child toiled away under the summer sun. He hesitated before approaching. “Excuse me?”

 

Harry looked up to find a man standing on the other side of the garden fence, with the sun in his eyes he couldn’t make out much of him but he quickly stood. “Yes sir?”

 

“I was wondering if you could tell me how to get to Wisteria Lane?”

 

“Yes sir. You’re almost there. Just keep going and then turn at the second left.”

 

“Thank you very much Mister…?” He offered his hand.

 

Harry hesitated before shaking briefly. “Harry Potter sir.”

 

“Really? Samuel Peverell. A pleasure to meet you Mister Potter.” He turned and followed young Harry’s directions, smiling slightly to himself. This Harry was polite but not beaten into submission. He’d have to take a look at the house at some point but his life seemed better than many of his counterparts. Now the next part of his plan had to be enacted, he went back to his apartment and penned a letter before giving it to the owl he had purchased. He’d named the young brown owl Impala as a bit of a joke. The owl took the letter and headed off.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Albus sighed as he went over the applications, he had to choose soon. Quirinus had surprisingly applied for the position but he was hesitant to give him the transfer from Muggle Studies, the boy hadn’t been the same since returning from his trip. But he appeared to be the best candidate, despite most of his knowledge being theoretical. With Harry Potter returning to their world this year he was worried, he knew Tom wasn’t dead, this was the time he was most likely to attempt to return.

 

Albus looked up as an owl taped at the window. He flicked his wand and the owl flew in to drop a letter on his desk. He opened it and began to read, a smile slowly forming, until he saw the signature. It wasn’t possible. Only two lines remained and each had a sole survivor. He frowned in thought, who was this Samuel Peverell?

 

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Samuel straightened his robes as he was led up the stairs to the Headmaster’s office. Minerva knocked and the door opened.

 

“Welcome to Hogwarts Mister Peverell.”

 

He smiled and bowed slightly. “Thank you Headmaster, it is an honour to be here.”

 

“Please, sit. I must admit your application was a surprise but a welcome one. Your qualifications are certainly beyond the others seeking the role.”

 

“But?” he asked, he wanted to get an idea on what kind of Albus Dumbledore this one was.

 

“Only two lines for the Peverell family still exist and you do not belong to either.”

 

“To your knowledge. Check American records and you’ll find a flourishing family tree until the last few generations where it has shrunk until it is only me. British arrogance can be rather amusing.” He replied calmly.

 

Albus stared at him, brushing lightly against his mind only to find the most formidable shields he had ever come across. But was it possible someone from the Peverell family moved to the Colonies and continued the family? But which line? The Gaunt or Potter line? If it was Potter, then young Harry now had a magical relative who could theoretically try and gain custody. That could not be allowed, the boy had to remain with the Dursley’s due to the Blood Wards. But if it was Gaunt…then there was another Heir of Slytherin. Neither scenario was all that good.

 

“I would appreciate it sir if you did not try that again. My thoughts and memories are my own. If this is the sort of behaviour allowed here perhaps I should withdraw my application.” Samuel stated coolly. So far he was not impressed with this Dumbledore.

 

“My apologies Mister Peverell. As you are the best candidate the position is yours.”

 

“Thank you.”

 

“Please ensure Minerva has your book list by no later than August 3rd. You will be expected to arrive at the Castle by the 20th to organise your quarters and classroom as well as learn your way around.” They shook and Samuel left.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Quirinus whimpered as he felt his Masters rage over his failure. He needed the Defence position in order to get close to the boy. Harry Potter was coming to Hogwarts this year, coming out of hiding for the first time since that Halloween but as Muggle Studies teacher he would not have access to him. The boy must die for what he had done to his Master. Now that would have to wait until after he found and claimed the stone. He just had to find a way into Gringotts to get it.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

He read over the notes from the previous professor and groaned. So maybe the bad teaching in his first year wasn’t only because of Quirell. He had to rewrite the entire program! He tossed the old books aside and grabbed his jacket, apparating to the Alley. He went into Flourish & Blotts.

 

“Can I help you?”

 

“The Defence section?”

 

“Third aisle.”

 

“Thanks.” Samuel slipped into the aisle and began to browse, disappointed by the options. He hadn’t liked the books he had been assigned and some of those weren’t even here! He finally gave up and went to the counter. “Is that all you have for Defence?”

 

“Yes sir.” The young woman answered.

 

“I see.”

 

“Is there something specific you were after?”

 

He leant in a little. “I need textbooks. I’m the new Defence Professor at Hogwarts and I need to have book lists out soon.”

 

“We’ve always had the correct books for Hogwarts before.”

 

“I’m looking to revamp the curriculum, make it more relevant for the present.”

 

“I’ll get the owner.” She went out back and soon an elderly man emerged.

 

“Can I help you sir?”

 

“Samuel Peverell, the new Defence Professor.” They shook hands and then went out back where he explained what he was looking for. Unfortunately, they didn’t have it so he left and considered before apparating to New York. Eight out of ten times in a world where the Magical World existed the US was more advanced than Britain. He made his way into the magical Alley and towards the bookstore, smiling as he wandered the aisles, this was more like it! He eventually picked out seven books to cover the seven different years and went to talk to the owners about the publisher and to see about arranging books for the school. The publisher and author leapt at the chance to make it in the British market, something not usually possible for a non-pureblood.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Samuel stood in the shadow and watched as Hagrid led a little Harry Potter through the Alley to buy his school supplies. Had he really been that short? He clenches his hands as he saw the almost rags the boy was dressed in. he didn’t know what to do there, should he step in and take custody? He’d already slipped anonymous information to Amelia Bones about Sirius, he was waiting to see if anything happened before taking more action there. The goblins were waiting for his word, if he gave them the go ahead they would move to ensure the boy became his ward while enacting a full audit of the Potter accounts. He hoped they were untouched but he wasn’t sure about this Albus yet.

 

As the two walked his way he moved into the flow, looking in the window of Eeylops Owl Emporium, spotting Hedwig at the back. He still missed his first and truest friend but she was meant for a different Harry Potter. They came up beside him and he smiled. “Hello Hagrid.”

 

“Professor Peverell! What brings you here?”

 

“Needed to pick up a few more things for class. And you?”

 

“Just helping Harry here with his school supplies.”

 

Harry looked up at the Professor and then his eyes widened. “You asked for directions!”

 

“That I did, and you gave very good ones. Thank you Mister Potter.” He smiled down at the boy who blushed slightly. “I’ll see you in class.” He nodded to Hagrid and walked away, going to finish his shopping before heading back to Hogwarts.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry nervously followed Ron into the classroom to find a bright and airy room that sort of reminded him of his old school rooms with various charts up on the walls. They sat down and the Professor emerged from the top of the stairs, walking down to join the class. “Good morning class.”

 

“Good morning Professor Peverell.” They parroted.

 

“Welcome to Defence Against the Dark Arts, or as I prefer to call it, Defence. The Dark Arts aren’t the only danger out there. It is my job to prepare you for the world outside of the school. Can anyone tell me what the best Defence is?” He asked and several hands went up. “Mr Nott?”

 

“A Shield spell.”

 

“Two points to Slytherin but that is not fully correct.” A few hands dropped and then he nodded at Hermione. “Miss Granger?”

 

“Dodge?”

 

“Very good. Five points to Gryffindor. Anyone else?” Samuel looked around and finally Neville’s hand rose slowly. “Mr Longbottom?”

 

“R…run away?” he offered and was shocked when Professor Peverell smiled.

 

“Very good Mr Longbottom. Ten points.” He leant back on his desk. “A spell cannot harm you if you aren’t there. It’s always better to live to fight another day. No matter how powerful or well-trained you are there is always someone better out there. There is nothing cowardly about leaving a confrontation. So for now, wands and books away please. Today we will be practising dodging.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry nervously knocked on the door, maybe he shouldn’t be here but Professor Peverell was the best teacher in the school and he was fair. The door opened and he slipped inside.

 

“Good afternoon Mister Potter, how can I help you?” he stood and moved out from around his desk.

 

“I, uh…it’s Professor Snape sir.” He admitted and heard Peverell sigh.

 

“Giving you trouble?”

 

“Yes sir.”

 

“Alright. I’ll speak with Professor McGonagall, see what can be done. It may take a while but I’ll tell you what’s going on alright. Is he picking on anyone else in the class?”

 

“Neville and Hermione a little.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“There’s nothing I can do Professor. Every Professor has final say within their classroom.”

 

“The man is a bully Professor. Allowed to browbeat children all to satisfy his own ego.”

 

“Professor!”

 

“I speak the truth and you know it. He is a disgrace to this once great school. When I applied for this job I thought I would be part of something great. But this school is no longer the one of the legends. History is a time for sleeping, the old Defence curriculum was a joke, potions is hopeless unless you’re Slytherin, need I go on? Why has this been allowed to happen?”

 

“I…”

 

“Good afternoon professor.” Peverell turned and left. Would his words make any difference or would he need to take more direct action? Time would tell.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

He opened the Prophet and smirked at the headline. About time.

 

Sirius Black, Innocent!

 

That was one less worry. But Halloween was coming up, would Quirell act? Or had things changed to much?

 

Three days later Lord Sirius Black walked into Hogwarts and right over to Harry Potter, kneeling down to speak with the boy. Samuel could only watch as the boy’s expression brightened and soon Sirius was holding his godson in his arms. He glanced over at the Headmaster and saw a flicker of something in his eyes. That would need watching.

 

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“It's Leviosa, not Leviosar. Honestly, she's a nightmare. No wonder she hasn't got any friends!” Ron grumbled even as Hermione shoved past, sniffling.

 

“I think she heard you.” Harry watched her run off, torn over what to do. Ron was his friend, the first he had of his own age, But Hermione was sort of his friend too, wasn’t she? He didn’t know what to do but the crown pushed him towards the Great Hall for the Feast. “Where's Hermione?” he called after a while when she didn’t appear/

 

“Parvati Patil said that she wouldn't come out of the girl's bathroom. She said that she'd been in there all afternoon...crying.”

 

Ron and Harry exchanged glances, Ron actually looking a little ashamed. Suddenly, Professor Quirell practically flew through the doors, screaming.

 

“TROLL! IN THE DUNGEON! T-TROOLLL IN THE DUNGEON!!” He stopped and there was utter silence. “Thought you ought to know.” He muttered before falling over in a dead faint. The room was still silent, and then everyone freaked out, screaming and running.

 

“SILLLLLEEENNNNCEEEEE!” Albus yelled and everyone stopped. “Everyone will please, not panic. Now, Prefects will lead their houses back to the dormitories. Teachers will follow me to the dungeons.”

 

“FREEZE!” Samuel yelled and they obeyed as that was the tone he used when training got out of hand. “Everyone remain where they are.”

 

“Professor.”

 

“Headmaster aren’t you forgetting something?”

 

“Such as?”

 

“The fact the Slytherin dorms are in the dungeons? Or that Hufflepuff isn’t much higher up in the Castle. Seal the Hall and they will all be safe here, after a head count.” Whispers broke out as the students realised what the Headmaster had almost caused.

 

“Heads of House, please ensure all students are present.” Albus ordered stiffly, unused to others countermanding his orders. It took only minutes to discover Hermione was missing and Samuel was proud when Harry stepped forward and told what had happened. As Defence Professor Samuel immediately ran for the bathroom and found the troll, taking it down the same way Ron had in their first year. He then picked Hermione up and carried her to the infirmary for a calming draught.

 

“The troll is unconscious in the second floor girls’ bathroom and Miss Granger is in the infirmary being treated for some abrasions.” He announced as he re-entered the room, much to everyone’s relief, except Quirell.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Didn’t anyone teach you stealing is wrong?” Samuel asked from where he was leaning against the wall.

 

“You.”

 

“Me. Even if you got the stone it won’t help you.”

 

“What would you know?” He demanded, the stammer gone.

 

“More than you could imagine, Tom.” He stated coldly. He, unlike this Harry, didn’t have to rely on the blood protection against the possessed man. Thanks to Jim he knew how to exorcise a spirit.

 

“You…cannot…. defeat…me.” Tom snarled as the turban disintegrated.

 

“You mean those trinkets of yours?” Samuel let the Diadem fall to the stone floor. “This is the end.”

 

“Who are you?” he snarled, fighting hard but without soul anchors it was impossible. Samuel just smirked and lifted his hair, revealing a faded scar. “Im…possibl….e!” He was sucked from the body and sent straight to Hell where he belonged even as Quirell disintegrated. Sensing someone coming Samuel vanished.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

“Another year gone. And now, as I understand it, the house cup needs awarding, and the points stand thus. In fourth place, Gryffindor with 312 points. Third place, Hufflepuff, with 352 points. In second place, Ravenclaw, with 426 points. And in first place, with 472 points, Slytherin House.” The banners in the Hall turned green and silver even as there was polite applause.

 

“Whoo! Yeah!”

 

 

“Nice one, Mate!” Draco cheered his classmates and then sneered at Ron.

 

“Yes, yes, well done Slytherin, well done Slytherin. The Quidditch Cup must also be announced. In fourth place, Ravenclaw with Hufflepuff coming in third.” The hall was utterly silent as they waited the final house reveal. “Coming in second is Slytherin.” At that Gryffindor exploded in cheers as they realised they had won for the first time since Charlie Weasley graduated.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Samuel smiled as he watched the graduating class of 1997. They were so much happier and lighter than his schoolmates had been back in fifth year. Then again they had never had the threat of Voldemort hanging over them. This Harry was so different to him, happy and secure as Sirius’ adopted son. At his side were his best friends, Hermione and Neville. Ron had drifted away when Harry had knuckled down to really learn. Even seeing the darkened prophecy orb Dumbledore had tried to insist Riddle was still out there. In the end he had been removed from his positions and McGonagall made Headmistress. With Sirius and Madam Longbottom’s backing Snape too had been sacked and charged die to his behaviour. He chuckled as Harry grabbed Hermione at the end of his Head Boy Speech and kissed her before dropping to one knee. He had done it, he had helped change the school and their world for the better. The Malfoy’s had returned to the continent when the Aurors had been closing in and no one had heard from them since. If they ever did come back, they would find no support for their old cause.

 

“Thinking hard?” Nymphadora asked as she took his arm and Samuel smiled at her.

 

“Just remembering.” He kissed her and then gently touched her rounded stomach.

 

“You sure you want to quit? You could be deputy or even head one day.”

 

“I know, but I’ve done what I needed too. The wizarding world is now living in the present, not the past.”

 

“Well there’s still a feast and speeches to go Professor.”

 

“As you command Auror Peverell.” He grinned and led her to the staff table. He nodded at Sirius and Remus where they sat together, hands clasped under the table. That had been a bit of a shock but they were happy and that was what mattered. Life here was very good now.

The end.

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: Don’t own Harry Potter or Star Wars

 

War in the Stars

 

“Attention!  This is Lando Calrissian. The Empire has taken control of the city. I advise everyone to leave before more Imperial troops arrive.” The voice called over the intercom and Harry quickly packed his things into his storage tattoos before strapping on his blaster and heading out of his rented room. He’d been working as a pilot, running the gas mined by the city to various companies that purchased it. But he had no desire to get entangled in the business of the Empire. He’d only been here for a year and he had already decided there was something fishy about the galactic government. Maybe not as bad as the Goa’uld or the way young Jupiter’s universe had been run before she had claimed her Title, but it was bad.

 

He stepped out into the hall to find a madhouse as people ran every which way, panicking at the idea of the Empire. He moved with the flow, wanting to get to his ship, it wasn’t meant for more than cargo but he could help evacuate people if they didn’t mind slumming it for a while. Of course, then he heard blaster fire and quickened his pace, drawing his own blaster even as enhanced hearing picked up the sounds of booted feet and an astromech droid beeping away up ahead. He glanced into the intersection to see Calrissian as well as a young woman and what he believed to be a Wookiee taking fire from a group of stormtroopers. Well he couldn’t just leave his boss and friends to get killed. He aimed around the corner and opened fire.

 

Leia looked around in shock as someone opened fire from another angle. She looked to the hallway but all she could see was a bit of a black boot, a dark sleeve and a blaster that meant business.

 

“What are you talking about?  We're not interested in the hyperdrive on the Millennium Falcon.  It's fixed!  Just open the door, you stupid lump.” Threepio shouted at his counterpart. Chewie, Leia, and Lando retreated along the corridor, until the final trooper dropped. A triumphant beep from Artoo and the door snapped open. “I never doubted you for a second. Wonderful!” He called even as their mystery helper emerged.

 

“Alright boss?” He called and Lando turned to find one of his newest cargo pilots.

 

“Get to your ship and get out of here Harry!” Lando called, not wanting any of his people to suffer under the Empire. “Look out!” He yelled as Harry ducked, spinning to fire on the fresh troops, backing towards the others. As he joined them Artoo lay a cloud fog, obscuring everything, as the group dashed outside. They raced for the Millennium Falcon as a battalion of stormtroopers reached the main door. 

 

Lando and Harry held off the troops as Leia, the droids and Chewie moved to board the ship. As Chewie bounded to the ship the Threepio on his back, Threepio hit his head on the top of the ramp. “Ouch!  Oh!  Ah!  That hurt.  Bend down, you thoughtless... Ow!” Chewie dropped Threepio and ran for the cockpit, starting up the ship.  The giant engines began to whine as Lando and Harry raced up the ramp under a hail of laser fire.

 

“Harry! Go!” Lando called as they ran, wanting the younger man to get on the ship quickly. They lunged up the boarding ramp and Lando hit the button to close it behind them.

 

Artoo dragged the partially assembled Threepio down the corridor of the Falcon. “I thought that hairy beast would be the end of me.  Of course, I've looked better.” The droid groaned and Artoo beeped understandingly.

 

Leia quickly took Han’s normal seat in the cockpit even as Lando and the stranger joined them to take the back seats. The Falcon quickly lifted off and turned, flying quickly away from Cloud City.

 

“Well that was interesting.” Harry commented.

 

Leia looked back at him, taking in the dark clothes and messy dark hair before meeting brilliant green eyes. “Who are you?”

 

“Harry Potter ma’am. I’m one of his cargo pilots. Speaking of, you owe me a ship boss.”

 

“Well figure something out.” Lando agreed.

 

Leia looked back out the front window, seeming to be lost in a fog, her expression troubled.  Chewie was busy operating the ship while Lando stood up next to the Wookie, watching a readout on the control panel. “Luke... We've got to go back.” Chewie growled in surprise.

 

“What?” Lando demanded.

 

“I know where Luke is.” She stated and Harry frowned, he’d felt something just before she’d spoken but it was nothing he’d encountered before, some sort of energy.

 

“But what about those fighters?” Lando demanded and Chewie barked in agreement with him.

 

“You know exactly where he is?” Harry asked and she nodded in confusion. “Well if we’re voting on it then I say go back, never leave a man behind.” That got him a few looks, a grateful one from Leia.

 

“Chewie do it.” She ordered and the Wookie flipped the ship over, heading back towards the city. They skimmed along the bottom of the city, everyone looking around.

 

“Look! Someone’s up there.” Lando pointed in shock and Chewie adjusted course.

 

“It's Luke.  Chewie, slow down. Slow down and we'll get under him. Lando, open the top hatch.” Leia ordered and he rushed from the cockpit, Harry on his heels as he looked around for the ships medical bay, it was rudimentary but functional. Leia kept her eyes on Luke as the ship moved into position beneath him, even from this distance he didn’t look well. And then she gasped as he fell. “Chewie….”

 

The exterior upper hatch hissed open and Lando quickly attached his safety line as he was lifted out into the very thin atmosphere. It wouldn’t take long for someone to die and yet this guy had managed to hold on until they arrived. He managed to grab him as he hit the hull, keeping him from rolling away. The young man weakly tried to help him as Lando hauled him into the hatch, hitting the switch to lower them into the ship as the hatch closed behind them.

 

Harry was there with an emergency blanket which he immediately wrapped the young man in. The two of them got him to the medical bunk and then Lando ran back to the cockpit. He gently brushed sweat soaked hair back from his patients face. “It’s alright, you’re safe now.” He whispered even as he began checking him over. He quickly turned the oxygen on and placed the mask over Luke’s face even as he struggled to remain conscious.

 

“Who?” He weakly grasped Harry’s wrist but there was no strength in his grip and Harry gently pulled his hand off and lowered it to the bed.

 

“My name’s Harry, I’m a friend.” He reassured him before grabbing the side of the bunk as they ship was hit. He then found the stump and swallowed down the bile, amputations were always ugly. He quickly wrapped and splinted the limb to prevent infection or loss of blood, although it was well cauterised. He then began cleaning away the blood and dirt, looking for other wounds but other than some small cuts and bruises he appeared alright. And then he began struggling to get up. “You need to stay down.”

 

“No.” Luke sat up and Harry sighed.

 

“Alright, one second.” He took off his jacket and used it to make a makeshift sling since there weren’t any suitable supplies for one. He then helped Luke up and towards the cockpit.

 

Explosions erupted all around the cockpit, buffeting the ship wildly. Chewie howled as he frantically tried to control the ship. Leia and Chewie turned at a soft noise to see Luke, bloody and battered, enter the cockpit supported by Harry. Leia jumped up and hugged him while Chewie 

barked in joyous relief. All over the ship muted alarm buzzers began to sound as Harry helped Luke sit in the seat he’d been using before while he moved to hold onto the back of it. Lando anxiously watched the flashing lights on the control panel and hurriedly adjusted some switches. Seated next to him, Chewie pointed out a new blip appearing 

on the panel. Leia, watching over their shoulders, recognised the shape. “Star Destroyer.” she stated as calmly as possible, it wasn’t just a star destroyer, it was Vader’s flagship.

 

“Alright Chewie, ready for light speed.”

 

“If your people fixed the hyperdrive.” Leia offered. The ship rocked even as a green light appeared. “Coordinates are set. It’s now or never.” Chewie barked in agreement.

 

“Punch it.” Lando ordered and Chewie pulled back on the lever only for a familiar sound to be heard as the engines powered up but nothing happened, and the engine turned off.  Chewie let out a frustrated howl.  The flak still violently rocked the ship. “They told me they fixed it. I trusted them to fix it. It's not my fault” he began checking everything even as Harry frowned, staring at the ship they were approaching. There was no way they could fight or outrun it at normal speeds.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,

Vader stood on the bridge, watching the battle even as he felt Admiral Piett approach.

 

“They'll be in range of our tractor beam in moments, my lord.”

 

“Did your men deactivate the hyperdrive on the Millennium Falcon?”

 

“Yes my Lord.”

 

“Good. Prepare the boarding party and set your weapons for stun.” He commanded, he would not risk them killing his son, not when he was so close to claiming the boy. Obi-Wan would had stolen his son from him once, had even used his own death to distract him from the boy aboard the Death Star but the old fool could not stop him this time. He would complete Luke’s training and then they would destroy Palpatine and rule the galaxy as Father and Son.

 

“Yes My Lord.” Piett swallowed, hearing the threat in his mechanised voice, he bowed and left to give the team its instructions.

 

Vader remained on the bridge, watching as the Millennium Falcon was chased by the TIE fighters. As his Destroyer drew nearer, Vader's breathing sped up. ‘Luke.’ He reached out through the Force to his son, feeling his presence and regretting the amount of pain the boy was in. He hadn’t meant to maim him like that, he had become too angry at being hit himself. He would make it up to him, he would even spare the Princess’ life if Luke really wanted it. Perhaps he loved her and he knew that any children they had could be powerful.

 

Luke stared out at Vader's ship, seeing how close it really was. He felt resigned to his fate. He sensed that he was beaten, more emotionally than physically maybe but there was no way he could fight him now. He had no weapon and no hand to wield one with anyway. ‘Father.’ He responded through the Force, unable to deny the truth. He felt a hand squeeze his shoulder gently and glanced back at the stranger who had been so kind in tending his wounds. Concerned green eyes met his and he felt suddenly safe and in less pain. He blinked, was this man a Jedi too?

 

‘Son, come with me.’ Vader called out softly, able to feel his defences crumbling before being strengthened slightly.

 

Luke moaned softly and Harry knelt in front of him, gripping his hand. ‘Ben, why didn’t you tell me?’ He cried out to his first teacher brokenly even as he tried to draw strength from Harry.” Its Vader.” He whispered and Harry gently brushed his hair back again.

 

“Stay with me Luke. Your friends are here; we won’t let him get you.” Harry's soothed, wrapping magic around him protectively. He could hear Chewie banging around in the engines, trying to fix them.

 

‘Luke, it’s your destiny.’ He called out to his son, couldn’t the boy see it was meant to be?

 

“Ben why didn’t you tell me?” he whispered, not really focusing on events in the cockpit anymore and Harry frowned in concern. He could feel the strange energy shifting and reaching out from him but also to him…. some sort of telepathic communication?

 

“Alert all commands.  Ready for the tractor beam” Piett called out before sending a concerned look at his commander. He’d been serving on the Executer long enough to judge Lord Vader’s moods but he’d never seen this one before and it made him nervous. New moods meant more chance someone under his command could end up dead, he was meant to protect his men but there were some things he couldn’t protect them from.

 

Artoo raced to a control panel and started working on a circuit board. Furious, Threepio stood on one leg, yelling. “Artoo, come back at once! You haven't finished with me yet! You don't know how to fix the hyperdrive. Chewbacca can do it. I'm standing here in pieces, and you're having delusions of grandeur!” Artoo beeped happily as a light turned green and the ship immediately went to light speed, sending Artoo into the opened section of floor to land on top of Chewie will Threepio fell to the floor. Harry was thankful he was kneeling as the others were pressed back hard in their seats.

 

Admiral Piett and Captain Thorn glanced at Vader in terror, both waiting to feel the suffocating anger as he choked them to death but nothing happened. Vader turned slowly and walked off the bridge, his hands held behind his back in a contemplative gesture. Everyone relaxed a bit once the doors closed behind him. “Recall the fighters and set course to re-join the fleet.” Piett ordered, hiding how shaky he was. That had been too close. Just what was Lord Vader so obsessed with one Rebel, even if he had blown up the Death Star? He left the bridge and returned to his own office, bringing up everything the Empire knew about Skywalker that he could access as Admiral.

 

There wasn’t a lot that they had been able to confirm other than his name: Luke Skywalker, age: 21, he was from Tatooine but they couldn’t confirm he was born there as all records showed him living with an Aunt and Uncle, since reported dead, killed by Imperial troops. That made his joining the Rebellion understandable. The few school records they had found should an average student…. but one thing caught his attention. A news recording from Tatooine over twenty years before Luke Skywalker’s birth, the results of a big podrace, winner…...Anakin Skywalker. That name he knew, anyone who had grown up during the Clone Wars knew that name. Coincidence? Skywalker had been a Jedi and from what he vaguely remembered of the Order they didn’t marry or have children. But young Luke’s age was right for the end of the Wars and Skywalker’s death. His son? A more distant relation? Or was the name a fluke? Lord Vader had been tasked with destroying the Jedi and over the years had apparently wiped them all out, if this boy was the Hero With No Fear’s son then he could be a Jedi, or held the potential to be one, that helped explain the obsession more. Lord Vader did not like failure or incomplete work.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

The Falcon was allowed to land immediately on the medical frigate and a team was waiting at the base of the ramp as it lowered to show Harry and Lando supporting the barely conscious Luke between them. The team rushed up and took him from them, getting him onto the gurney and moving away, “Anyone else injured?” One of the remaining medics asked.

 

Lando nodded. “Her Highness was ‘questioned’ by the Empire.” He felt guilty for that but he had been protecting his people. The remaining medics headed past them and then returned with Leia between them. “I’m sorry you got caught up in this Harry.”

 

The younger man shrugged. “Not your fault boss.” They could both see security watching them warily. Chewie and the droids emerged from the ship and Threepio was taken away by a mechanic to finish reassembling him. Soon an officer approached the two men.

 

“Id’s please.” He asked pleasantly enough. Harry dug through his pockets for his while Lando easily handed his over and his boss chuckled.

 

“Don’t tell me you’ve lost it again.”

 

“You’re never letting that go, are you?” Harry grumbled before grinning as he pulled out the card and handed it over.

 

Lieutenant Bradley put the older man’s through the system first, finding it to be in order and rather similar to Solo’s background except this man had made his fortune. Then he ran the younger mans, well they could always use more pilots, other than a caution for fighting when a teen his background seemed clean. “If you will follow me for debriefing.” Seeing the various security officers around they both agreed.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

General Madine walked into the room to find the young pilot relaxing in the chair. His records had been gone over with a fine-tooth comb and appeared clean but if he was to go free they had to be sure since he’d seen the main fleet. As soon as he moved to the table intense green eyes focused on him. “I am General Madine, you are the cargo pilot harry Potter, formerly employed by Cloud City?”

 

“Yes sir.” Harry straightened up, giving him his full attention.

 

“Born on Dantooine, 24 years old, orphan, not much formal education, pilot license granted seven years ago, impressive. A string of cargo jobs since.”

 

“There a point to this recital?”

 

“The Rebellion is always looking for good pilots.”

 

Harry blinked. “Me? You want me to join the Alliance?”

 

“According to Chewbacca and the Princess you killed several Stormtroopers and helped them escape, the Empire will not look kindly on that.”

 

“So you want me running cargo for you.”

 

“We’d like to see how you fare at flying a fighter, such as an X-Wing. We need more combat pilots.” Crix answered, watching his reactions carefully, there were holes in his history and while that wasn’t surprising given what they did have it could mean he was an Imperial plant.

 

Harry sighed and leant back in the chair, staring at the bland ceiling. What to say? Did he really want to get messed up in another war?

 

“Just try the flight simulator, being a pilot doesn’t necessarily mean you have what it takes to fly in combat.” He pushed after a few minutes of letting him think.

 

“Alright. Is that kid, Luke, alright? He was pretty out of it and I’m no medic but I did what I could to patch him up.”

 

“Commander Skywalker is currently in surgery to treat the amputation.” He’d checked in on the Commander, he had gone AWOL after the battle for Hoth after all, and one glance at his injury made it pretty clear who had done it. Skywalker had faced Lord Vader and lived to tell the tale, not something many could do. They’d been aware of the obsession in finding the Commander but it seemed it wasn’t to kill him, at least not immediately. What drew Vader to Skywalker? The fact he was a Jedi or something deeper? He didn’t want to suspect the young hero but it was a little suspicious. Although it was said Vader had killed Anakin Skywalker, Luke’s father and hero of the Clone Wars so perhaps that made things personal between them? He needed more information but he doubted this man knew anything. “Did you see Vader at all in the city?”

 

“No, first I knew of the Empire’s presence was Lando’s announcement to evacuate. The only Imperials I saw were the troopers pinning them down and then the ships pursuing us.”

 

“I see, so you know nothing of Commander Skywalker’s encounter with him?”

 

“No sir.” He’d heard rumours of the Emperor’s right hand man, if Luke had survived him his respect for the younger man sky rocketed. “I’ll take the test.” He wanted to stick close, maybe this was why he was here.

 

“I’ll arrange it. You can wander the unrestricted areas but I’m sure you can understand you will be watched.”

 

“To make sure I’m not a spy?” he asked and Crix nodded. “Alright.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

The Millennium Falcon was attached to one of the huge Rebel cruisers by a docking tube. Rebel fighters moved about the giant cruiser, and a Rebel transport ship hovered near the fleet.

 

Lando sat in the pilot's seat as he talked into the commlink. Chewie busily threw a variety of switches in preparation for take-off. “Luke, we're ready for take-off.”

 

“Good luck, Lando.” Luke’s voice sounded small over the commlink.

 

“When we find Jabba the Hut and that bounty hunter, we'll contact you.” Lando promised as the docking tube retracted.

 

Luke ignored the medical droid works on his new hand as he spoke to them, laying back on the medical bed. He would be very happy to be discharged. Leia stood near him while Threepio and Artoo looked out the window. “I'll meet you at the rendezvous point on Tatooine.” He agreed.

 

“Princess, we'll find Han. I promise.”

 

“Chewie, I'll be waiting for your signal.” Luke called, smiling as he heard Chewie’s wail in response. “Take care, you two. May the Force be with you.” Luke looked down at his prosthetic hand, amazed at how real it looked. A metalized type of bandage had been

wrapped around his wrist. The medical droid made some adjustments in a tiny electronic unit, then pricked each one of Luke's fingers. “Ow!” he had felt that! Luke wriggled his fingers, made a fist, and relaxed it. His hand was completely functional. He got up and walked over to Leia who had moved over to the window while his hand was being tested. Together they stood at the large window of the medical centre looking out on the Rebel Star

Cruiser and a dense, luminous galaxy swirling in space. Luke put his arm around Leia. The droids stood next to them, and Threepio moved closer to Artoo putting his arm on him. The group watched as the Millennium Falcon moved into view, made a turn, and flew away into space. “We’ll get him back.” He promised softly and Leia leant into him. His mind wandered to what he had learnt in the city and how much it hurt. Ben or Yoda should have told him. Why did he have to learn the truth from Vader?

 

“Am I interrupting?” a voice called and Luke turned to find Harry in the doorway.

 

“No.”

 

“Lando and Chewie gone?”

 

Luke nodded. “You stayed?”

 

“Yeah well.” He shrugged. “General Madine’s putting me in the simulator, see if I can be a fighter pilot.”

 

“Is that what you want?” Leia asked as she finally turned from the window.

 

“I’m a pilot your Highness, if I can be of help here than I’ll try.”

 

“I haven’t thanked you for your help back there.”

 

“No need.” Harry smiled and shrugged.

 

“I need to check in with the others.” Leia kissed Luke’s cheek and left the two young men alone.

 

“Thank you.” Luke whispered, moving back to sit on the bed.

 

“You needed help.” Harry moved to sit beside the bed.

 

“Are you a Jedi?” Luke asked and Harry blinked in surprise.

 

“No, why?”

 

“It felt like…. you were giving me strength.” He admitted and Harry shrugged.

 

“Well, glad to help.” They smiled at each other. “I better go try this fighter pilot thing.” He stood up. “You’ll be back on your feet soon.”

 

“Good luck.” Luke answered as harry left and took a shuttle over to the ship where he’d be tested. As soon as he was aboard the fleet went to lightspeed, not wanting to stay in one spot any longer now that everyone had rendezvoused.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry straightened his uniform and smiled slightly. Here he was, newest member of the Rebellion and waiting assignment to one of the fighter squadrons, not what he had expected but he was liking it with the Fleet. He’d even been made a lieutenant because he was an experienced pilot, not a rookie even if that experience was with cargo vessels and the like. His fellow pilots were welcoming if a little cautious of the new guy but he could understand that. He walked out of the room he now shared with another pilot and walked to the briefing room where three squadrons were gathered, smiling at Luke when he saw the Commander back in uniform and looking much healthier. He took a seat and they waited for the briefing to begin. Admiral Ackbar was soon in front of them, outlining the mission to stop a weapons shipment to an Imperial base.

 

“Lieutenant Potter.”

 

“Yes Admiral.” He stood at attention.

 

“Congratulations on your assignment to Rogue Squadron. Commander Skywalker, see that he is settled.”

 

“Yes Admiral.” Luke agreed and soon Harry was surrounded by his new squad mates. “We’ll move your bunk when we get back. Welcome to Rogue Squadron.” Luke offered his hand and Harry shook it. “Wedge get him unit patches. Harry, you’re Rogue Eight now.”

 

“On it.” Wedge ducked down another corridor as they walked towards the hanger. He was soon back and began attaching them to Harry’s flight suite. Then they were splitting up to get to their fighters as astromechs were loaded.

 

Harry jammed his helmet on before scrambling up the ladder and dropping into the pilots’ seat. The cockpit closed and one of the flight crew thumped a fist against it before jumping down, letting him now he was clear. He quickly did the pre-flight checks even as he heard the rest of the squadron report in. “Rogue eight ready.” He called when it was his turn, adrenaline flooding his system. And then they were taking off from the ship and heading into space.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Good flying.” Luke praised and Harry grinned.

 

“Thanks. Any word on your friend yet?”

 

“Nothing. Leia’s, taking it hard.” He admitted.

 

“I still say you’ll find him.”

 

“Thank you. No one’s giving you a hard time?”

 

“No, I think they’ve decided I’m not a spy which is nice.”

 

‘We’ve had enough of those.” Luke admitted sadly.

 

“I guess that’s a risk for any armed force, you’ve probably got spies in the Empire too. Any idea when we’re going out next?” The fleet was simply harrying Imperial forces for now as they searched for a base to replace Hoth.

 

“Three days so enjoy the down time while we’ve got it.”

 

“Yes sir.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry accepted the backslaps from his friends as they watched the silhouettes being painted onto the side of his X-Wing. Six missions in and he was an Ace already. Fastest to make it since Luke himself. Even Leia turned up with a smile for the new Ace of the Rebellion. He didn’t like what it stood for, how many other pilots he’d shot down while they were simply doing their jobs, but he did enjoy being with Rogue Squad, they were becoming a family and it felt nice.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Guessing Chewie sent the word.” Harry commented as he saw Luke packing his flight bag into his X-Wing.

 

Luke looked down to see his newest squad mate and then jumped down. “I’m leaving for Tatooine now; Wedge is in charge of Rogue Squadron until I return.”

 

“The Princess?”

 

“Will follow with the Threepio in a few days.”

 

“So you’re going alone.”

 

“There’s something I need to do first.”

 

Harry sighed and then went to prep his own ship. “I am not letting you go alone.”

 

“Harry….”

 

“Don’t bother arguing.”

 

“I could order you to stay.”

 

“Then I guess I’ll be AWOL.”

 

Luke sighed but quickly sent the message that Harry would be with him, not AWOL. They finished prepping and the two X-Wings flew off together, Leia watching with a small smile from another deck, she could guess who was with Luke and was glad he wouldn’t be alone.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry followed Luke silently into the abandoned hut and glanced around curiously. “What is this place?”

 

“Ben…. Obi-Wan Kenobi lived here. I’m hoping he left parts for building a new lightsaber and instructions.”

 

“Okay, I’ll take this side.” They began searching the hut. Despite its small size it took them several hours to go through the hut and Harry felt sorry for the General having to live in it. Couldn’t he have exiled himself somewhere nicer? Then again Harry figured he’d come to watch over Luke as he grew up with his Aunt and Uncle. “I think I found something.” He called as he felt around under the ledge. “Feels like a compartment but I can’t find how to open it.”

 

Luke joined him and then reached out with the Force, finding the hidden switch and it popped open. Luke removed the package and saw the name on the front, it was for him.

 

“I’ll keep watch outside.”

 

Luke opened the note and read it slowly, Ben had left it for him in case he died before he could explain everything to him. Inside was a beautiful green crystal, perfect for a new lightsaber.

 

He went to work, trusting the Force and what he knew of electronics to begin building the weapon while Harry explored outside. At night, they ate together and shared a bedroll for warmth. Finally, Luke stood out under the twin suns, staring at the silver and black slender in his hand.

 

“Well?” Harry raised an eyebrow and Luke nodded, taking a deep breath before activating the blade, revealing a humming green blade of energy. “Wow.” He studied it before looking back at Luke. “Good work, congratulations.”

 

“Thanks.” He shifted his stance and Harry backed off, watching Luke move with the blade, he may not be fully trained but watching him was awe inspiring. “Time to meet up with Chewie and Leia.” Luke finally said before going inside to change. He emerged dressed head to toe in black, lightsaber clipped to his belt and then he threw a black cloak on, overall it was a rather intimidating sight…if you didn’t know Luke.

 

“How are you not melting in that?” Harry asked as he jumped into the speeder and Luke smiled.

 

“Jedi trick.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

They looked over the rough floorplan Lando had managed to send, trying to figure out a way out, getting in was the easy part after all. Leia had proposed going in as a bounty hunter with Chewie but Luke was not keen on that and Harry agreed with him. “Look why don’t you wait and I’ll join Lando, see if the two of us can’t get Solo out?” He offered.

 

“It’s too dangerous Harry.” Luke argued. “We’ll have no way to back you up.”

 

“How would you get in?”

 

“Extra guard, some kind of entertainer, I can manage.” He assured them.

 

“Either way he should go in before you Luke, so we’re all there.” Leia pointed out gently. There was something between them, something she didn’t think they’d noticed yet. And it made her feel better about Loving Han, that Luke could move on and not be alone.

 

“Give Lando and I two days from when I get in, if we’re not out then send the droids first, then Leia and Chewie can come in.” Harry offered, green eyes staring into blue and finally Luke nodded.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Moff Jerjerrod. a tall, confident technocrat, strode through the assembled troops to the base of the shuttle ramp. The troops snapped to attention; many were uneasy about the new arrival. But the Death Star commander stood arrogantly tall, he would not be cowed by the Emperor’s attack dog.

 

The exit hatch of the shuttle opened with a whoosh, revealing only darkness. Then, heavy footsteps and mechanical breathing could be heard from within. From the black void Darth Vader emerged steadily. Vader looked over the assemblage as he walked down the ramp, unhappy to be there. He had wanted to continue the search, instead he had been commanded to inspect the new Death Star.

 

“Lord Vader, this is an unexpected pleasure. We're honoured by your presence.” The Moff greeted, attempting to be pleasant.

 

“You may dispense with the pleasantries, Commander. I'm here to put you back on schedule.” He growled, fighting the urge to simply strangle the incompetent man.

 

The commander turned ashen and began to shake. “I assure you, Lord Vader, my men are working as fast as they can.”

 

“Perhaps I can find new ways to motivate them.” He offered, he would enjoy that. The sooner he finished here the sooner he could find his son.

 

“I tell you, this station will be operational as planned.”

 

“The Emperor does not share your optimistic appraisal of the situation.”

 

“But he asks the impossible. I need more men.” He pleaded.

 

“Then perhaps you can tell him when he arrives.”

 

“The Emperor's coming here?” he asked, aghast. He was a loyal solider of the Empire, that did not mean he enjoyed the Emperor’s presence.

 

“That is correct, Commander. And he is most displeased with your apparent lack of progress.”

 

“We shall double our efforts.”

 

“I hope so, Commander, for your sake. The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am.” He stormed away, not wanting to deal with the man further. He reached out into the Force, searching for his sons’ presence and he felt a surge of joy as he felt a flicker of his presence, the Outer Rim. He was somewhere on the Outer Rim.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry smiled as he and the serpents danced around each other, making the audience gasp and cheer in awe. Who knew he’d use Parseltongue for this? He kept half his attention on the audience, finally spotting Lando who was staring at him in shock. Then again he was definitely dressed differently in a mix of green and gold, the clothing skimpy but not too revealing, teasing more than anything. Finally, his act was done and he retreated from the main floor, letting the musicians and dancing girls take over. He leant against the wall, fingers absently stroking soft scales until Lando moved closer. “Seen him?” Harry whispered, voice still almost a hiss and Lando shivered.

 

“Right side alcove.” He answered and Harry let his gaze drift, spotting Fett and then he saw the wall hanging.

 

“2 days till company.” Harry warned and Lando nodded slightly before moving away.

 

That night Harry moved silently amongst the beings sleeping in the main hall of Jabba’s Palace, a little bit of magic ensuring they remained asleep. Lando was keeping watch nearby as Harry worked. He slipped into the alcove and changed the controls how Lando had explained, watching as the carbonite began to glow with heat. Soon a tall, older looking man collapsed from within and Harry caught him, sending him straight into a healing sleep. All too easy, which made him nervous but no one awake was nearby. He hefted Solo up and joined Lando who took over carrying the unconscious man. They made it outside and Harry grinned when he saw the Falcon fly lower, the ramp coming down for them just as a bellow of rage sounded from inside. They began running even as Luke appeared, lightsaber in hand. He began deflecting blaster shots, protecting them and Harry turned, firing on their pursuers even as Luke cried out, lightsaber lowering and Harry caught a glimpse of the inside of Luke’s prosthetic hand. He hit the switch on his belt and the explosives he’d set went off, taking Jabba and his Palace with them. They got on board and Han was laid out on a bunk while Harry took Luke’s hand gently and began checking it over.

 

“Any pain?” He asked and Luke shook his head.

 

“Just when it was hit.” He admitted, watching Harry as his hands skimmed over the robotic hand, Luke was still amazed how much feeling it had and what Harry was doing felt nice.

 

“Wriggle your fingers.” Luke obeyed and Harry nodded before digging around and coming up with a black glove which he slipped over the limb. “This should keep it clean and protected until you can get it seen too.”

 

“Thank you. You weren’t hit?”

 

“No.” They smiled. Soon the Falcon landed back at their hideout, the two X-Wings covered to protect them from the sand, three droids nearby. Leia ran from the cockpit and knelt beside the unconscious Han and Harry removed the magic, allowing him to wake slowly.

 

“Han.” Leia whispered as he woke and Han frowned, a hand reaching out blindly.

 

“Le…ia?” He choked out, mind fuzzy from being frozen.

 

“I’m here, you’re safe.” She promised as she clasped his hand, kissing it tenderly.

 

“Leia.” He reached out to hold her and she went eagerly into his arms, hugging him close even as Chewie watched them happily.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Three ships broke free of the atmosphere together, leaving the desert planet behind them as they made their way out of the gravity well. “I'll meet you back at the fleet.” Luke told them and Harry rolled his eyes.

 

“We’ll meet you.” He pointed out. “I’m not letting you out of my sight Luke.”

 

“Hurry. The Alliance should be assembled by now.” Leia smiled as she answered, fighting the urge to laugh.

 

“We will.” Luke surrendered gracefully.

 

“Hey, Luke, thanks. Thanks for comin' after me. Now I owe you one.” Han sent before the Falcon vanished.

 

A message from Artoo appeared on the small monitor screen in front of Luke. He smiled at the monitor and then sent the data to Harry’s X-Wing as well. “That's right, Artoo. We're going to the Dagobah system. I have a promise to keep... to an old friend.” The two X-Wings vanished from the system, heading for Dagobah.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

A Super Star Destroyer and several ships of the Imperial Fleet rested in space above the half-completed Death Star and its green neighbour, Endor. Four squads of TIE fighters escorted an Imperial shuttle toward the Death Star.

 

Lord Vader strode down the hallway, accompanied by a very nervous Death Star commander. Thousands of Imperial troops in tight formation filled the mammoth docking bay. Vader and the Moff walked to the landing platform, where the shuttle was coming to rest. The shuttle's ramp lowered and the Emperor's Royal Guards came out and created a lethal perimeter. The assembled troops moved to rigid attention with a momentous SNAP.

 

Then, in the huge silence which followed, the Emperor appeared. He was a rather small, shrivelled old man. His bent frame slowly made its way down the ramp with the aid of a gnarled cane. He wore a hooded cloak similar to the one Ben Kenobi had worn, except that it was black. The Emperor's face was shrouded and difficult to see, except for his piercing yellow eyes. Commander Jerjerrod and Darth Vader knelt to him. The Supreme Ruler of the galaxy beckoned to the Dark Lord. “Rise, my friend.”

 

Vader rose and fell in next to the Emperor as he slowly made his way along the rows of troops. Jerjerrod and the other commanders remained kneeling until the Supreme Ruler and Vader, followed by several Imperial dignitaries, passed by; only then did they join in the

procession. “The Death Star will be completed on schedule.”

 

“You have done well, Lord Vader. And now I sense you wish to continue your search for young Skywalker.”

 

“Yes, my Master.”

 

“Patience, my friend. In time, he will seek you out. And when he does, you must bring him

before me. He has grown strong. Only together can we turn him to the dark side of the Force.” Yes, he could feel young Skywalker’s growing power but there was something else, something elusive and it made him concerned, it could meddle with his vision.

 

“As you wish.” He submitted to his Master’s wishes.

 

“Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen.” He would ensure it. He laughed to himself as they passed along the vast line of Imperial troops.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

The two X-Wings approached the planet together. “Follow me in.”

 

“Roger Rogue Lead.” Came the teasing answer and Luke smiled before reaching out to the Force for a safe way down. This time no one landed in the swamp, the two shifts resting safely on the ground even as their pilots jumped down and removed their flight suits. Both were dressed in dark clothes although Harry’s included dark green compared to Luke’s full black. Luke then led the way to the clearing where Yoda’s hut stood. Harry found a log to sit on while Luke went inside to find his Master waiting, stirring the pot over the fire.

 

“Hmm. That face you make. Look I so old to young eyes?” Yoda asked before coughing.

 

Luke was sitting in a corner of the cramped space and, indeed, his look had been woeful. Caught, he tried to hide it. “No... of course not.”

 

Yoda chuckled, tickled by his answer. “I do, yes, I do! Sick have I become. Old and weak.” He pointed a crooked finger at Luke. “When nine hundred years old you reach, look as good you will not. Hmm?” He chuckled at this, coughed, and hobbled over toward his bed. “Soon will I rest. Yes, forever sleep. Earned it, I have.” Yoda sat himself on his bed, with great effort.

 

“Master Yoda, you can't die.”

 

“Strong am I with the Force... but not that strong! Twilight is upon me and soon night must fall. That is the way of things... the way of the Force.”

 

“But I need your help. I've come back to complete the training.” Luke pleaded.

 

“No more training do you require. Already know you that which you need.” Yoda answered softly.

 

Yoda sighs, and lies back on his bed.

 

“Then I am a Jedi?” he asked in shock and Yoda shook his head.

 

“Ohhh. Not yet. One thing remains: Vader. You must confront Vader. Then, only then, a Jedi will you be. And confront him you will.”

 

Luke was in agony. He was silent for a long moment, screwing up his courage. Finally, he was able to ask. “Master Yoda... is Darth Vader my father?”

 

Yoda's eyes were full of weariness and compassion. An odd, sad smile

creased his face. He turned painfully on his side, away from Luke. “Mmm... rest I need. Yes... rest.”

 

Luke watched him, each moment an eternity. “Yoda, I must know.” He dropped the title, utterly serious.

 

“Your father he is.” The Jedi whispered. Luke reacted as if cut. “Told you, did he?” Yoda turned back to face the tortured youth.

 

“Yes.” He whispered.

 

A new look of concern crossed Yoda's face. He closed his eyes. “Unexpected this is, and unfortunate...”

 

“Unfortunate that I know the truth?” Luke demanded and Yoda opened his eyes again and studied the youth.

 

“No. Unfortunate that you rushed to face him... that incomplete was your training. Not ready for the burden were you.”

 

“Well, I'm sorry.” Luke admitted, looking down at the floor.

 

“Remember, a Jedi's strength flows from the Force. But beware. Anger, fear, aggression.

The dark side are they. Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your

destiny.” He struggled to tell Luke everything he needed too, feeling the approach of death. He beckoned the young Jedi closer to him. “Luke...Luke...Do not...Do not underestimate the powers of the Emperor, or suffer your father's fate, you will. Luke, when gone am I,” he coughed and struggled to draw in breath, “the last of the Jedi will you be. Luke, the Force runs strong in your family. Pass on what you have learned, Luke...”, he fought for only a few more moments with the boy. “There is...another...Sky...Sky...walker.” He caught his breath. A shiver ran through the ancient green creature, and he died. Luke stared at his dead master as he disappeared in front of his eyes.

 

Luke wandered back into the clearing and Harry stood up, seeing the look on his face he strode across the damp ground to draw Luke into a hug. Seconds later he felt his shirt become damp from tears. “I can't do it, Harry. I can't go on alone.” He choked, clinging to his friend.

 

“Yoda will always be with you.” A soft voice called and Luke jerked back from Harry to see the shimmering image of his first teacher.

 

“Obi-Wan! Why didn't you tell me?” he pleaded as the ghost of Ben Kenobi approached him through the swamp. “You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father.”

 

Harry looked from the ghost to Luke and the truth hit him, Vader was Luke’s father. Well that made things complicated.

 

“You father was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So, what I have told you was true... from a certain point of view.”

 

Luke turned away, back to Harry who had snorted in disbelief. “A certain point of view!”

 

Ben looked from his student to the young man with him. The Force whirled around him in an odd way, he wasn’t a Force sensitive and yet it appeared he could see Ben. How? But he could feel no danger to Luke from him and right now Luke needed someone there to comfort him, someone he could touch. “Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.” He tried to explain but Luke was unresponsive. Ben studied him in silence for a moment. “I don't blame you for being angry. If I was wrong in what I did, it certainly wouldn't have been for the first time. You see, what happened to your father was my fault.” Ben paused sadly as both young men turned back to him curiously. “Anakin was a good friend.” He admitted as Harry moved to be beside Luke, gently clasping his hand in support. “When I first knew him, your father was already a great pilot. But I was amazed how strongly the Force was with him. I took it upon myself to train him as a Jedi after my own master died. I thought that I could instruct him just as well

as Yoda. I was wrong. My pride has had terrible consequences for the galaxy.”

 

Luke was entranced. “There's still good in him.”

 

“I also thought he could be turned back to the good side. It couldn't be done. He is more machine now than man. Twisted and evil.”

 

“I can't do it, Ben.”

 

“You cannot escape your destiny.” Ben stated sympathetically.

 

“I tried to stop him once. I couldn't do it.” Luke pleaded.

 

“Vader humbled you when first you met him, Luke... but that experience was part of your training. It taught you, among other things, the value of patience. Had you not been so impatient to defeat Vader then, you could have finished your training here with Yoda. You would have been prepared.”

 

“But I had to help my friends.” Luke snapped and Harry squeezed his hand.

 

Ben grinned at Luke's indignation. “And did you help them? It was they who had to save you. You achieved little by rushing back prematurely, I fear.”

 

“I found out Darth Vader was my father.”

 

“To be a Jedi, Luke, you must confront and then go beyond the dark side - the side your father couldn't get past. Impatience is the easiest door - for you, like your father. Only, your father was seduced by what he found on the other side of the door, and you have held firm. You're no longer so reckless now, Luke. You are strong and patient. And now, you must face Darth Vader again!” Ben explained, needing Luke to understand.

 

“I can't kill my own father.”

 

“Then the Emperor has already won. You were our only hope.” Ben answered sadly and Harry glared at him.

 

“Stop it.” He hissed, almost slipping languages. “Guilt tripping him into killing his own father? What sort of monster are you?” Harry demanded and Luke relaxed a bit, leaning into him. “It was your plan all along, wasn’t it? Train him up to do what you couldn’t.”

 

“For the sake of the Galaxy, I wouldn’t expect you to understand.” Ben argued.

 

“Oh I understand more than you could ever imagine.” Harry glared coldly, able to feel Ben’s consciousness in Death and he knew he could do it, wipe the man totally from existence but he wouldn’t, not when Luke cared for him.

 

“Yoda spoke of another.” Luke tried, maybe he didn’t have to be the one.

 

“The other he spoke of is your twin sister.” Ben’s words made Harry freeze in horror, they hadn’t, had they?

 

“But I have no sister.”

 

“Hmm. To protect you both from the Emperor, you were hidden from your father when you were born. The Emperor knew, as I did, if Anakin were to have any offspring, they would be a threat to him. That is the reason why your sister remains safely anonymous.” Ben explained, annoying the death glare green eyes sent him even as Luke froze, mind spinning until he put the pieces together.

 

“Leia! Leia's my sister.” He whispered in shock and then disgust, she’d kissed him!

 

“Your insight serves you well. Bury your feelings deep down, Luke. They do you credit. But they could be made to serve the Emperor.” Luke stared the distance, trying to comprehend all this. “When your father left, he didn't know your mother and her unborn children lived. Master Yoda and I knew he would find out eventually, but we wanted to keep you both as safe as possible, for as long as possible. So, I took you to live with Anakin’s step-brother Owen on Tatooine... and your mother’s friend Bail Organa took Leia to live as his daughter on Alderaan.” Luke moved to sit on a log and Harry sat with him, feeling that Luke needed to hear this. “The Organa household was high-born and politically quite powerful in that system. Leia became a princess by virtue of lineage... no one knew she'd been adopted, of course. But it was a title without real power, since Alderaan had long been a democracy. Even so, the family continued to be politically powerful, and Leia, following in her foster father's path, and your mothers, became a senator as well. That's not all she became, of

course... she became the leader of her cell in the Alliance against the corrupt Empire. And because she had diplomatic immunity, she was a vital link for getting information to the Rebel cause. That's what she was doing when her path crossed yours... for her foster parents had always told her to contact me on Tatooine, if her troubles became desperate.”

 

Luke was overwhelmed by the truth, and was suddenly protective of his sister. “But you can't let her get involved now, Ben. Vader will destroy her.” Luke argued.

 

“She hasn't been trained in the ways of the Jedi the way you have, Luke... but the Force is strong with her, as it is with all of your family. There is no avoiding the battle. You must face and destroy Vader!” With that Ben faded, leaving the two young men alone.

 

“Do…do I disgust you?” Luke whispered and Harry pulled him into a hug.

 

“Never Luke. You are not your father any more than I am mine.” He promised. “We can’t choose our family and anyone who cares for you will see that.” Harry stood, still holding onto Luke and led him over to where he’d set up a rudimentary camp. “You need to sleep on it, you’ll think clearer in the morning.” He curled around Luke in the sleeping bags and Luke clung to him, needing his grounding presence after all the shocks he’d had. Harry gently ran his fingers through short blonde hair, offering comfort. Final, he fell into a troubled sleep and harry remained awake all night, watching over him, the spirits of several Jedi also watching them invisibly but Harry could feel them and chose to ignore them.

 

Luke slept for several hours before waking to find Harry still there. He looked up into concerned green eyes and found himself leaning in. their lips brushed softly and Luke swallowed nervously while Harry smiled softly. “How do you feel?” he asked gently.

 

“Lost.” He admitted shakily

 

“I’m here Luke, I won’t abandon you.” He hugged him close and kissed the top of Luke’s head. Luke shifted up and then leant in again, this time it was a proper kiss. Harry ignored the spirits disapproval and Luke was unaware of it. Harry let Luke take what he needed as clothing was shed. He cared deeply for the young Jedi and he had no problems being with him at all.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Hundreds of Rebel commanders of all races and forms were assembled in the war room. As temporary leader of Rogue Squadron, Wedge was among them. In the centre of the room was a holographic model depicting the half-completed Imperial Death Star, the nearby Moon of Endor, and the protecting deflector shield. Mon Mothma, the leader of the Alliance, entered the room. She was a stern but beautiful woman in her fifties. Conferring with her were several military leaders, including General Madine and Admiral Ackbar, a

salmon-coloured Mon Calamari. Lando moved through the crowd until he

found Han and Chewie, standing next to Leia and Threepio.

 

Han peered at Lando's new insignia on his chest, and was amused. “Well, look at you, a general, huh?” he teased, hard feelings had been sorted out on the flight back to the Fleet.

 

“Oh, well, someone must have told them about my little manoeuvre at the battle of Taanab.”

 

“Well, don't look at me, pal. I just said you were a fair pilot. I didn't know they were lookin' for somebody to lead this crazy attack.” Han answered sarcastically.

 

Lando smiled. “I'm surprised they didn't ask you to do it.”

 

“Well, who says they didn't. But I ain't crazy. You're the respectable one, remember?”

 

Mon Mothma signalled for attention, and the room fell silent. “The Emperor has made a critical error and the time for our attack has come.” That caused a stir. Mon Mothma turned to a holographic model of the Death Star, the Endor moon and the protecting deflector shield in the centre of the room. “The data brought to us by the Bothan spies pinpoints the exact location of the Emperor's new battle station. We also know that the weapon systems of this Death Star are not yet operational. With the Imperial Fleet spread throughout the galaxy in a vain effort to engage us, it is relatively unprotected. But most important of all, we've learned that the Emperor himself is personally overseeing the final stages of the construction of this Death Star.” A volley of spirited chatter erupted from the crowd. Han turned to Leia as Chewie barked his amazement. “Many Bothans died to bring us this information. Admiral Ackbar, please.”

 

Admiral Ackbar stepped forward and pointed to the Death Star's force field and the Moon of Endor. “You can see here the Death Star orbiting the forest Moon of Endor. Although the weapon systems on this Death Star are not yet operational, the Death Star does have a strong defence mechanism. It is protected by an energy shield, which is generated from the nearby forest Moon of Endor. The shield must be deactivated if any attack is to be attempted. Once the shield is down, our cruisers will create a perimeter, while the fighters fly into the superstructure and attempt to knock out the main reactor.” There was concerned murmuring at that. “General Calrissian has volunteered to lead the fighter attack.”

 

Han turned to Lando with a look of respect. “Good luck.” Lando nodded his thanks. “You're gonna need it.”

 

“General Madine.”

 

Madine moved to centre stage. “We have stolen a small Imperial shuttle. Disguised as a cargo ship, and using a secret Imperial code, a strike team will land on the moon and deactivate the shield generator.” The assembly began to mumble among themselves.

 

“Sounds dangerous.” Threepio commented.

 

“I wonder who they found to pull that off.” Leia asked Han.

 

“General Solo, is your strike team assembled?” Madine asked. Leia, startled, looked up at Han, surprise changing to admiration.

 

“Uh, my team's ready. I don't have a command crew for the shuttle.” Chewbacca raised his hairy paw and volunteered. Han looked up at him. “Well, it's gonna be rough, pal. I didn't want to speak for you.” Chewie waved that off with a huge growl. “That's one.”

 

“Uh, General... count me in.”

 

“I'm with you, too!” They turned in that direction and peered into the crowd as there are more cheers. The commanders parted, and there at the back stood Luke and Harry. Han and

Leia were surprised and delighted.

 

Leia moved to Luke and embraced him warmly. She sensed a change in him and looked into his eyes questioningly. “What is it?”

 

Luke hesitated. “Ask me again sometime.”

 

Han, Chewie, and Lando crowded around Luke as the assembly broke up. Harry squeezed Luke’s hand and nodded to the others before going to join the other pilots who were happy to have him back.

 

“Luke.” Han greeted.

 

“Hi, Han... Chewie.”

 

Artoo beeped a singsong observation to a worried Threepio. “’Exciting’ is hardly the word I would use.” The golden droid complained.

 

Soon the gathering broke up as various groups received their orders. Luke headed to where the Squadron bunked to shower and rest for a little before leaving. In the hall, he found Harry waiting outside his quarters. Luke opened the door and Harry followed him inside. “Alright?” Harry asked softly and Luke leant into his hold, soaking up the offered comfort and warmth.

 

“I have to tell her.”

 

“You’ll find the words when the time is right.” Harry assured him.

 

“How could you see Ben?” he finally forced himself to ask.

 

“I will tell you Luke but right now we both need to be focused.”

 

“Don’t die.”

 

“I’ll do everything I can to come home to you.” He swore and then he had to leave to get ready himself, he would fly with the rest of the Squad against the Death Star.

 

Luke nearly jumped when Ben appeared in his private fresher. “Don’t do that.” He struggled to calm his heart rate. “What do you want?”

 

“A Jedi must have no attachments Luke.”

 

“Seriously? You’re saying this now?” he demanded before splashing himself with water. “Maybe that was a fault with the old Order Ben. You eft me to be raised by family, did you really think I wouldn’t form attachments? Just go, I have a mission to prep for.”

 

“May the Force be with you.” Ben whispered as he vanished and Luke threw himself down on his bunk to rest.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Han looked back at Luke and Leia as Chewie flipped several switches. Through the viewscreen, the Death Star and the huge Super Star Destroyer could be seen. “If they don't go for this, we're gonna have to get outta here pretty quick, Chewie.” Chewie growled his agreement.

 

“We have you on our screen now. Please identify.”

 

“Shuttle Tydirium requesting deactivation of the deflector shield.”

 

“Shuttle Tydirium, transmit the clearance code for shield passage.”

 

“Transmission commencing.” Han sent the signal while Leia and Chewbacca listened tensely as the sound of a high-speed transmission begins.

 

“Now we find out if that code is worth the price we paid.” She whispered.

 

“It'll work. It'll work.”

 

Chewie whined nervously. Luke stared at the Huge Super Star Destroyer that loomed ever larger before them. “Vader's on that ship.” He breathed and Han looked back at him, he’d been told what had happened at Cloud City after he was frozen and he couldn’t help glancing at Luke’s gloved hand.

 

“Now don't get jittery, Luke. There are a lot of command ships. Keep your distance though, Chewie, but don't look like you're trying to keep your distance.” Chewie barked a question. “I don't know. Fly casual.”

 

“I'm endangering the mission. I shouldn't have come.” Luke realised aloud.

 

“It's your imagination, kid. Come on. Let's keep a little optimism here.” Chewie barked his worries as the Super Star Destroyer grew larger out the window.

 

Lord Vader stood, back to the bridge, staring out a window at the Death Star.

Something caused him to turn and after a moment of stillness, he walked down the row of controllers to where Admiral Piett was leaning over the tracking screen of the controller. Piett straightened at Vader's approach.

 

“Where is that shuttle going?”

 

“Shuttle Tydirium, what is your cargo and destination?” Piett demanded.

 

“Parts and technical crew for the forest moon.” The Bridge Commander looked to Vader for a reaction.

 

“Do they have a code clearance?” Vader asked, stretching out to feel the shuttle and its crew.

 

“It's an older code, sir, but it checks out. I was about to clear them.” Vader looked upward, as he sensed Luke's presence. “Shall I hold them? Piett asked.

 

“No. Leave them to me. I will deal with them myself.”

 

“As you wish, my lord.” He answered in surprise. “Carry on.” Piett nodded at the controller, who switched on his commlink.

 

“They're not goin' for it, Chewie.” Han began calculating an escape course.

 

“Shuttle Tydirium, deactivation of the shield will commence immediately. Follow your present course.”

 

Everyone breathed a sigh of relief. Everyone but Luke, who looked worried. Chewie barked. “Okay! I told you it was gonna work. No problem.” The stolen Imperial shuttle moved off toward the green Sanctuary Moon.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Lieutenant Potter.” Madine called and the young man turned to see him, saluting.

 

“General.”

 

“I need to speak with you in private.”

 

“Yes sir.” Harry followed him into an empty briefing room and sat when told to.

 

“Where did you and Commander Skywalker go after leaving Tatooine?” he demanded and harry sighed.

 

“A planet called Dagobah sir, to meet with Jedi Master Yoda.”

 

Crix blinked in shock. “He’s alive?”

 

“He died while we were there sir, Luke is the only Jedi alive.”

 

“Something more happened there, he has changed.”

 

“He’s grown up more, losing a limb does that.” He would not give away Luke’s secret. Who knew how Command would react to learning the son of their worst enemy was one of their trusted Commanders.

 

“And what is the nature of your relationship with him?”

 

“None of your business Sir.” Harry snapped, should he Obliviate him? “Is that all?”

 

“I could start an official enquiry.” He threatened and green eyes went cold.

 

“Go ahead, you’ll find nothing that isn’t allowed. Excuse me General, I need to report to my Squadron.” He saluted and left, fuming.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

The walkway in the Ewok village was deserted now. The windows of the little huts glowed and flickered from the fires inside. The sounds of the forest filled the soft night air. Luke had wandered away from the Chief's hut and stood, staring up at the Death Star. Leia found him like that.

 

“Luke, what's wrong?”

 

Luke turned and looked at her a long moment. “Leia... do you remember your mother? Your real mother?”

 

“Just a little bit. She died when I was very young.”

 

“What do you remember?” he pushed.

 

“Just...feelings really.” She admitted in confusion.

 

“Tell me.” He pleaded, needing some sort of connection to the woman.

 

She was a little surprised at his insistence. “She was very beautiful. Kind, but...sad.” she looked up at Luke. “Why are you asking me all this?”

 

He looked away. “I have no memory of my mother. I never knew her.” He whispered.

 

“Luke, tell me. What's troubling you?” she reached for his hand but he moved further away.

 

“Vader is here...now, on this moon.”

 

“How do you know?” she asked in alarm, how could he know…. no, she knew Luke, he was not in contact with the Empire, he was no spy.

 

“I felt his presence. He's come for me. He can feel when I'm near. That's why I have to go.” He looked back at her. “As long as I stay, I'm endangering the group and our mission here. I have to face him.” He choked out.

 

Leia was distraught, confused. “Why?”

 

Luke moved close and his manner was gentle, and very calm. “He's my father.” He admitted softly and she froze, staring at him in confusion, not wanting to believe what she’d heard.

 

“Your father?”

 

“There's more. It won't be easy for you to hear it, but you must. If I don't make it back, you're the only hope for the Alliance.”

 

Leia was very disturbed by that and moved away, as if physical distance could make it untrue. “Luke, don't talk that way. You have a power I--I don't understand and could never have.” She denied and Luke shook his head, moving towards her to take her hand.

 

“You're wrong, Leia. You have that power too. In time you'll learn to use it as I have. The Force is strong in my family. My father has it...I have it...and...my sister has it.” He tried to break it to her as gently as he could, wishing Harry was there to help. Leia stared into his eyes. What she saw there frightened her. But she didn’t draw away. She began to understand. “Yes. It's you Leia.” He smiled softly and she nodded slowly.

 

“I know. Somehow...I've always known.” She whispered this was why that kiss had felt so wrong.

 

“Then you know why I have to face him.”

 

“No! Luke, run away, far away. If he can feel your presence, then leave this place. I wish I could go with you.”

 

“No, you don't. You've always been strong.”

 

“But, why must you confront him?” She demanded.

 

“Because...there is good in him. I've felt it. He won't turn me over to the Emperor. I can save him. I can turn him back to the good side. I have to try.” They held each other close and looked at each other, brother and sister.

 

Leia held back her tears as Luke slowly let her go and moved away. He disappeared onto the walkway that led out of the village. Leia, bathed in moonlight, watched him go as Han walked out of the Chief's hut and moved over to her. Leia was crying, her body trembling. He was surprised to find her crying and worried, she was so strong. And where had the kid gone? What had he done or said to reduce her to tears? “Hey, what's goin' on?” he asked gruffly.

 

Leia attempted to stifle her sobs and wiped her eyes. “Nothing. I - just want to be alone for a little while.”

 

“Nothing? Come on, tell me. What's goin' on?” he demanded, starting to get angry.

 

She looked up at him, struggling to control herself. “I...I can't tell you.”

 

“Did you tell Luke? Is that who you could tell?” Han snapped at her.

 

“I...”

 

“Ahhh...” He started to walk away, exasperated, then stopped and walked back to her. “I'm sorry.”

 

“Hold me.” She pleaded and Han gathered her tightly in his protective embrace. She would tell him in time.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

An Imperial shuttle floated down from the Death Star and landed gracefully on the huge platform. While this was happening an Imperial walker approached the platform from the darkness of the forest. The whole outpost was lit up and active, despite the late hour. Darth Vader walked down the ramp of the shuttle onto the platform, into an elevator, and then walked out onto a ramp on a lower level. He walked toward another ramp exit and was met by two troopers and a commander with Luke, in binders, at their centre. The young Jedi gazed at Vader with complete calm.

 

“This is a Rebel that surrendered to us. Although he denies it, I believe there may be more of them, and I request permission to conduct a further search of the area.” The commander extended his hand, revealing Luke's lightsaber. “He was armed only with this.”

 

Vader looked at Luke, turned away and faced the commander, taking the

lightsaber from the commander's hand. “Good work, Commander. Leave us. Conduct your search and bring his companions to me.”

 

“Yes, my Lord.” The officer and troops withdrew.

 

Vader and Luke were left standing alone in the oddly tranquil beauty of the place. The sounds of the forest filtered in upon them. “The Emperor has been expecting you.” He finally broke the silence, beginning to walk and Luke fell into step with him.

 

“I know, father.” He answered calmly, with Harry’s help he had come to accept the Sith was his Father and that it didn’t change who he was.

 

“So, you have accepted the truth.”

 

Time to start with the plan he had come up with during the flight from Dagobah. “I've accepted the truth that you were once Anakin Skywalker, my father.” He answered, forcing himself to keep looking ahead but he stopped walking as Vader spun to face him angrily.

 

“That name no longer has any meaning for me.”

 

Then why did it make him angry? “It is the name of your true self. You've only forgotten. I know there is good in you. The Emperor hasn't driven it from you fully. That is why you couldn't destroy me. That's why you won't bring me to your Emperor now.”

 

Vader looked down from Luke to the lightsaber in his own black- gloved

hand. He to pondered Luke's words, proud his son could use words so effectively and remain calm. He had grown since their Bespin duel. “I see you have constructed a new lightsaber.” Vader ignited the lightsaber and held it to examine its humming, brilliant blade. “Your skills are complete. Indeed, you are powerful, as the Emperor has foreseen.” They stood for a moment, then Vader extinguished the lightsaber.

 

“Come with me.” Luke offered quietly.

 

“Obi-Wan once thought as you do.” Vader warned and Luke stepped closer, then stopped. Vader remained still. “You don't know the power of the dark side. I must obey my master.”

 

“I will not turn...and you'll be forced to kill me.” Luke warned, he would not turn and put his sister or Harry through that agony.

 

“If that is your destiny.”

 

“Search your feelings, father. You can't do this. I feel the conflict within you. Let go of your hate.” Luke pleaded, half lifting his hands, forgetting the binders for a second.

 

“It is too late for me, son. The Emperor will show you the true nature of the Force. He is your master now.” He signalled to some distant stormtroopers. He and Luke stood staring

at one another for a long moment.

 

“Then my father is truly dead.” Luke whispered before turning and walking towards the surprised troopers who fell into step around him, leading him to the shuttle. Luke sat down and allowed them to secure him to the seat for the short flight, resting his head back and closing his eyes to meditate lightly.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry heard the scramble alert and yanked his flight suit on, it was time. He made sure he had everything on him, while he planned to live a long life with Luke he knew better than most how easy it was to die in a dogfight. He ran to the hanger and joined the rest of the Rogues in their fighters, pairing up with Tycho as usual but they were joined by Wedge since with Luke gone they had an odd number.

 

Harry smiled as he saw the Falcon flash by, weaving in and out of the larger ships. Lando was in the pilot seat; his alien co-pilot, Nien Nunb, was taking some getting used to in the familiar environs of the Falcon's cockpit. Lando spoke into his commlink.

 

“Admiral, we're in position. All fighters accounted for.”

 

“Proceed with the countdown. All groups assume attack coordinates.” Ackbar ordered.

 

Lando turns to his co-pilot. “Don't worry, my friends are down there. They'll have that shield down on time...or this'll be the shortest offensive of all time.” He muttered the last to himself. Nien flipped some switches and grunted an alien comment.

 

“All craft, prepare to jump to hyperspace on my mark.” Hearing the Admirals order Harry looked to his navcomp to find the coordinates had been sent.

 

“Comfy back there R-6?” He asked and got a scroll of commentary across his screen, making him laugh. “No, no more swamps.” He promised.

 

“All right. Stand by.” Lando’s voice came through and then the Falcon jumped to lightspeed. In groups the rest of the fleet did the same. Harry pulled back the lever and then closed his eyes, falling into a light meditation too ready himself for battle. He prayed the landing crew were all safe.

 

…………………………

Vader glanced at his meditating son, feeling a flicker of nostalgia, how many times had Obi-Wan done the same inflight? He shook the memories off, this was no time to be thinking of Anakin’s life, the memories meant nothing to him. he looked down at his sons lightsaber again, it really was well made, very good for a first time. Finally, the shuttle landed and blue eyes opened, focusing on him. Vader stood, waving his hand and the seat restraints fell away from his son. “Come.” He commanded and Luke stood easily, despite being unable to use his hands. The boy followed him silently across the hanger and into a turbolift. “Mind your words with the Emperor.” He found himself warning and Luke nodded.

 

“Yes Father.”

 

The doors opened and they entered a vast, dark room. They walked across space to stand before the throne, father and son side by side beneath the gaze of the Emperor. Vader bowed to his Master.

 

“Welcome, young Skywalker. I have been expecting you.” The Emperor smiled and Luke felt like being sick at the sight of him but instead peered up at the hooded figure defiantly. The Emperor then looked down at Luke's binders. “You no longer need those.” The Emperor motioned ever so slightly with his finger and Luke's binders fell away, clattering to the floor. Luke looked down at his own hands, free now to reach out and grab the Emperor's neck. He did nothing. “Guards, leave us.” The red-cloaked guards turned and disappeared behind the turbolift. “I'm looking forward to completing your training. In time you will call me Master.”

 

“You're gravely mistaken. You won't convert me as you did my father.” Luke stated calmly but firmly.

 

The Emperor walked down from his throne and up very close to Luke. The Emperor looked into his eyes. “Oh, no, my young Jedi. You will find that it is you who are mistaken...about a great many things.”

 

“His lightsaber.” Vader extended a gloved hand toward the Emperor, revealing Luke's

lightsaber. The Emperor took it.

 

“Ah, yes, a Jedi's weapon. Much like your father's. By now you must know your father can never be turned from the dark side. So will it be with you.”

 

“You're wrong. Soon I'll be dead...and you with me.”

 

The Emperor laughed and Luke felt a sinking feeling in his stomach. “Perhaps you refer to the imminent attack of your Rebel fleet.” Luke looked up sharply. “Yes...I assure you we are quite safe from your friends here.” Luke felt a flash of fear for the fleet, for Harry. Vader looked at Luke, feeling the brief fear before Luke could let it go.

 

“Your overconfidence is your weakness.” Luke answered.

 

“Your faith in your friends is yours.”

 

“It is pointless to resist, my son.” Vader told him, wanting Luke to give in now, before the Emperor could harm him.

 

The Emperor turned to face Luke, angry. “Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design.” He indicated Endor. “Your friends up there on the Sanctuary Moon...” Luke reacted, unable to help it, and the Emperor noted it. “...are walking into a trap. As is your Rebel fleet! It was I who allowed the Alliance to know the location of the shield generator. It is quite safe from your pitiful little band. An entire legion of my best troops awaits them.” Luke's look darted from the Emperor to Vader and, finally, to the lightsaber in the Emperor's hand. “Oh...I'm afraid the deflector shield will be quite operational when your friends arrive.”

 

No…Harry… he reached for his friend, his…lover. He had to warn him. he felt the Emperor react, the Dark Side moving to smother his ability to reach beyond the Death Star but he shoved the warning to Harry as quickly as possible and then all he could do was pray it got through.

 

Harry jerked out of meditation, gasping in shock as he felt Luke, felt his fear and desperation to reach him, the warning. They were walking into a trap and there was nothing he could do to warn the rest of the fleet as long as they were at lightspeed. He watched the displays and finally it was time. The fleet appeared in the Endor system.

 

The Death Star and its Sanctuary Moon hung distant in space as the Rebel fleet came out of hyperspace with an awesome roar. The Millennium Falcon and several Rebel fighters were at the front as the space armada bore down on its target.

 

Lando flipped switches, checked his screen, and spoke into the radio. “All wings report in.”

 

“Rogue Leader standing by.”

 

“Gray Leader standing by.”

 

“Green Leader standing by.”

 

“Lock S-foils in attack positions.”

 

“Rogue Lead, it’s a trap.” Harry called.

 

“Eight?”

 

“Luke, he sent a message through the Force.” Harry rushed out and Wedge hesitated, he trusted his leader and he trusted Harry but how could he know? Harry wasn’t a Jedi…but he was very close to Luke.

 

“Falcon, Rogue Eight says Rogue Lead sent a message, it’s a trap.” He finally called out.

 

Lando frowned in confusion before realising Wedge meant the normal Leader, Luke. Lando looked worriedly at his alien co-pilot, Nien Nunb, who pointed to the control panel and talks to Lando. “We've got to be able to get some kind of a reading on that shield, up

or down. Well, how could they be jamming us if they don't know if we're coming.” He hesitated, Luke’s apparent message, the lack of readings… “Break off the attack! The shield is still up.” He called over the comm.

 

“I get no reading. Are you sure?” Green Leader called.

 

“Pull up! All craft pull up!” Lando ordered firmly even as the Falcon executed a hard left turn. Rogue Squadron followed him, peeling off with their wing mates.

 

Alarms were screaming and lights flashing as the huge ship changed course abruptly. Other ships in the fleet shot by outside as the armada tried to halt its forward momentum. “Take evasive action! Green Group, stick close to holding sector MV-7.” Ackbar ordered. A Mon Calamari controller turned away from his screen and called out to Ackbar, quite excited. The Admiral rushed over to the controller.

 

“Admiral, we have enemy ships in sector 47.”

 

On the screen the massive Imperial fleet came into view. Ackbar moves to the commlink. “It's a trap!”

 

“Fighters coming in.” Lando called. The Millennium Falcon and several squads of Rebel fighters headed into an armada of TIE fighters. The sky exploded as a fierce dogfight ensues in and around the giant Rebel cruisers.

 

“There's too many of them!” Grey three called in terror.

 

“Accelerate to attack speed! Draw their fire away from the cruisers.” Lando commanded firmly.

 

“Copy, Gold Leader.” Wedge answered as he, Tycho and Harry accelerated, flying in perfect formation towards the enemy ships, firing as targets appeared. The battle continued around the giant cruisers.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Through the round window behind the Emperor's throne Luke could see the

distant flashes of the space battle in progress. “Come, boy. See for yourself.” The Emperor sat in his throne, with Vader standing at his side. Luke moved to look through a small section of the window. “From here you will witness the final destruction of the Alliance, and

the end of your insignificant Rebellion.”

 

Luke was in torment. He glanced at his lightsaber sitting on the armrest of the throne.

 

The Emperor watched him and smiled, touching the lightsaber. “You want this, don't you? The hate is swelling in you now. Take your Jedi weapon. Use it. I am unarmed. Strike me down with it. Give in to your anger. With each passing moment, you make yourself more my servant.”

 

Vader watched Luke in his agony, fighting the small part of himself that screamed at him to help him, comfort him.

 

“No!” Luke denied, reaching for Harry and then he felt the other pilot, could feel his concentration as he flew through the battle. ‘Harry!’

 

‘Luke?’ Harry reached for his lover. ‘Hold on, I’m coming.’ He promised. “Rogue Lead.”

 

“Eight?”

 

“I’ve got to go, he’s in trouble and on our target. If we blow it….”

 

Wedge hesitated, they needed every pilot but if Luke was on the Death Star then he was a prisoner…. “Go, watch his back.”

 

“Always.” Rogue Eight peeled away from the battle and accelerated towards the Death Star, and its shields. “Hold on back there.” He warned his droid before reaching out with magic.

 

“It is unavoidable. It is your destiny. You, like your father, are now mine!” The Emperor laughed but Luke’s eyes were locked on the light that was fast approaching, knowing it was Rogue Eight.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Lando kept an eye on the others even as he flew, trusting the men at the guns to keep them safe. “Watch yourself, Wedge! Three from above!”

 

“Rogue Three, Rogue Two, pull in!” Wedge ordered.

 

“Got it!”

 

“Three of them coming in, twenty degrees!” Tycho called.

 

“Cut to the left! I'll take the leader! They're heading for the medical frigate.”

 

Lando steered the Falcon through a complete flip, as his crew fired at

the TIEs from the belly guns. “Pressure's steady.” The co-pilot Nien Nunb chattered an observation.

 

“Only the fighters are attacking. I wonder what those Star Destroyers are waiting for.” Lando frowned as he saw them hanging back.

 

Admiral Piett and two fleet commanders watched the battle at the huge window of the Super Star Destroyer bridge.

 

“We're in attack position now, sir.” Holden offered.

 

“Hold here.” Piett ordered, hands folded behind his back, looking utterly calm and unflappable, despite his horror over what was about to happen. He believed in honourable combat and this was anything but.

 

“We're not going to attack?”

 

“I have my orders from the Emperor himself. He has something special planned for them. We only need to keep them from escaping.”

 

The Emperor, Vader, and a horrified Luke watched the aerial battle fireworks out the window and on the viewscreens. Another Rebel ship exploded against the protective shield. “As you can see, my young apprentice, your friends have failed. Now witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational battle station.” He activated the comm. “Fire at will, Commander.”

 

Luke, in shock, looked out across the surface of the Death Star to the Rebel fleet beyond.

 

Controllers pulled back on several switches as Commander Jerjerrod stood over them. “Fire!”

 

A button was pressed, which switched on a panel of lights. A hooded Imperial soldier reached overhead and pulled a lever. A huge beam of light emanated from a long shaft. Two stormtroopers stood to one side at a control panel. The giant laser dish on the completed half of the Death Star began to glow; then a powerful beams shot out toward the aerial battle.

 

Space was thick with giant ships, i among them, Rebel X-wings dogfought with Imperial TIE fighters. An enormous Rebel cruiser was hit by the Death Star beam and was vaporised by a blast that could destroy a planet.

 

The Falcon was buffeted by the tremendous explosion of the Rebel cruiser. Lando and his co-pilot were stunned by the sight of the Death Star firepower. “That blast came from the Death Star! That thing's operational!” he grabbed the comm. “Home One, this is Gold Leader.”

 

Ackbar stood amid the confusion on the wide bridge and spoke into the commlink. “We saw it. All craft prepare to retreat.”

 

“We won't get another chance at this, Admiral.”

 

“We have no choice, General Calrissian. Our cruisers can't repel firepower of that magnitude.”

 

“Han will have that shield down. We've got to give him more time.”

 

Running through the halls of the Death Star Harry gasped as he felt he floor shake and then he knew one of their cruisers was gone, so much for not operable yet. He tightened his grip on his magic and went back to running, he had to find Luke.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Artoo and Threepio made it to the door, as Han and Leia provided cover fire. “We're coming!”

 

“Come on! Come on!” Hand urged as he took another shot.

 

“Oh, Artoo, hurry!” The little droid moved to the terminal and plugged in his computer arm. A large explosion hit near Artoo, knocking him head over heels, finally landing on his feet. The stubby astrodroid's head was spinning and smouldering. Suddenly there is a loud noise and Han and Leia turned around to see Artoo with all his compartment doors open, and all of his appendages sticking out; water and smoke spurting out of the nozzles in his body. Han rushed to the terminal, as Threepio rushed to his wounded companion. “My goodness! Artoo, why did you have to be so brave?”

“Well, I suppose I could hotwire this thing.”

 

“I'll cover you.” Leia moved in front of him, firing on any imperial she could see.

 

Ewoks in handmade, primitive hang-glides dropped rocks onto the stormtroopers, dive-bombing their deadly adversaries. One was hit in the wing with laser fire and crashed. A walker lumbered forward, shooting laser blasts at frantic Ewoks running in all directions. Two Ewoks were struck down by laser blasts. One tried to awaken his friend, then

realised that he is dead, mournfully shaking his head.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

The Rebel fleet continued to be picked off, from one side by the Death

Star's deadly beam, from the other by the rampaging Imperial Star

Destroyers.

 

Lando steered the Falcon wildly through an obstacle course of floating

giants. He was yelling into the commlink. “Yes! I said closer! Move as close as you can and engage those Star Destroyers at point-blank range.”

 

“At that close range, we won't last long against those Star Destroyers.” Ackbar responded.

 

“We'll last longer then we will against that Death Star...and we might just take a few of them with us.”

 

The Rebel cruisers moved very close to the Imperial Star Destroyers and began to blast away at point-blank range. Tiny fighters raced across the giant surfaces, against a backdrop of laser fire.

 

A group of fighters focused on the control tower of one of the star destroyers. “She's gonna blow!” Gray nine yelled.

 

“I'm hit!” Gold six cried out, his Y-Wing spinning out of control, crashing into the control tower before exploding.

 

Out of the window and on the view screens, the Rebel fleet was being decimated in blinding explosions of light and debris. But inside there was no sound of battle. The Emperor turned to Luke. “Your fleet has lost. And your friends on the Endor moon will not survive. There is no escape, my young apprentice. The Alliance will die...as will your friends.” Luke's eyes were full of rage, as he fought to control his emotions.

 

Vader watched him, feeling the Force surge around his son, he truly was powerful, perhaps he would be even more powerful than the Chosen One had been.

 

“Good. I can feel your anger. I am defenceless. Take your weapon! Strike me down with all your hatred, and your journey towards the dark side will be complete.”

 

Luke could resist no longer. The lightsaber flew into his hand and he ignited it in an instant, swinging at the Emperor. Vader's lightsaber flashed into view, blocking Luke's blow before it could reach the Emperor. The two blades sparked at contact. Luke turned to fight his father.

 

Luke and Vader engaged in a man-to-man duel of lightsabres even more vicious then the battle on Bespin. But the young Jedi had grown stronger in the interim, and now the advantage shifted to him. Vader was forced back, losing his balance, and was knocked down the stairs. Luke stood at the top of the stairs, ready to attack.

 

“Good. Use your aggressive feelings, boy! Let the hate flow through you.”

 

Luke looked momentarily toward the Emperor, then back to Vader, and

realised he was using the dark side, breaking his promise to Harry. He stepped back, turning off his lightsaber, and relaxed, driving the hate from his being.

 

“Obi-Wan has taught you well.” Vader commented, struggling to control his own breathing.

 

“I will not fight you, father.”

 

Vader walked back up the stairs to Luke. ‘You are unwise to lower your defences.” He chided. Vader attacked, forcing Luke on the defensive. The young Jedi leapt in

an amazing reverse flip up to the safety of the catwalk overhead, Vader

standing below him.

 

“Your thoughts betray you, father. I feel the good in you...the conflict.”

 

“There is no conflict.”

 

“You couldn't bring yourself to kill me before, and I don't believe you'll destroy me now.”

 

“You underestimate the power of the dark side. If you will not fight, then you will meet your destiny.” Vader prepared to throw his saber only to be interrupted.

 

“I thought we agreed Patricide was bad.” Harry called, smirking slightly as he walked into view. He’d ditched his flight suit back in his X-Wing upon landing in one of the many hanger bays. R-6 had not been happy with his order to leave him and return to the fleet but there were plenty of ships available to steal that would fit more than one person.

 

“Harry.” Luke breathed and Vader looked from his son to the newcomer, able to sense the bond between them. It was him! the one that had leant Luke strength after their last duel. Luke took in his lover’s form, seeing him dressed in black and green, his green eyes almost glowing in the shadows. He knew Harry had some sort of power, though they’d never spoken of it, he just hoped it was enough for facing the two Sith. Luke flipped back down, landing beside Harry to take his hand. Harry smiled at him and the Emperor screamed in rage as the Force sang as it swirled around them. He raised his hands, blasting Force Lightning at them and Harry stepped in front of Luke, raising his hand, as he did a shimmering shield of energy snapped into place, protecting them.

 

“Patience is a virtue old man.” Harry taunted before turning back to Luke who shook his head in bemusement. “You ready for this?” Harry asked softly, gently framing Luke’s face with his hands, he was the taller but not by a lot. Luke leant into his touch and nodded before leaning up to kiss him softly.

 

Vader watched them, a bit shocked by his sons’ choice in partner, not to mention said partners power. There was also envy, that Luke had a lover who could stand as his equal in a fight. Padme had been well trained but she hadn’t been a Jedi or whatever this boy was.

 

“I’ll handle cranky. You try to get through to your Father.” Harry breathed, letting Luke wrap around him.

 

“Harry…how…”

 

“I promise; I’ll tell you anything you want to know once we’re safe.” He swore and Luke nodded. They moved apart, Harry for the stairs and Luke towards his Father, lightsaber held loosely in one hand. “So, you’re the Emperor, got to admit, not impressed.” Harry commented and the old man sneered. “Seriously, this massive Empire and you couldn’t find someone to at least fix your teeth.”

 

“Foolish child, you do not know the power you taunt.”

 

Harry smirked. “You’re not more powerful than Death, in fact you fear him. you shouldn’t, Death is a friend on the path to the next great adventure.”

 

“And how would you know that?” He readied himself for another attack as green eyes met his.

 

“I am Death’s Marked.” Harry stated before lashing out with his mind. Palpatine may be powerful but Harry had over a thousand years on him of age and experience. The Emperor staggered back before lashing out with more Force Lightning, for the first time afraid he may die here.

 

Luke faced his Father calmly and held a hand out to him. “Please Father, I don’t want to fight you.”

 

Vader looked from his son over to where his Master was fighting the other man, fighting and perhaps losing too. They circled and Luke moved intot he shadows beneath the catwalk, drawing Vader in after him.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Controllers watched the main viewscreen on which the vague figure of an

Imperial walker pilot could be seen. There was a great deal of static and

interference. “It's over, Commander. The Rebels have been routed. They're fleeing into

the woods. We need reinforcements to continue the pursuit.”

 

The controllers cheered. “Send three squads to help. Open the back door.”

 

“Yes, sir.”

 

As the door to the bunker opened and the Imperial troops rushed out, they were surprised to find themselves surrounded by Rebels, their weapons pointed at them. Ewoks holding bows and arrows appeared on the roof of the bunker. The Imperial troops threw down their guns as Han and Chewie rushed inside the bunker with explosive charges.

 

Han, Chewie, and several troops rushed into the control room and planted explosive charges on the control panels. “Throw me another charge.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Vader stalked the low-ceilinged area on the level below the throne, searching for Luke in the semi-darkness, his lightsaber held ready. “You cannot hide forever, Luke.”

 

“I will not fight you.” Luke answered calmly.

 

“Give yourself to the dark side. It is the only way you can save your friends. Yes, your thoughts betray you. Your feelings for them are strong. Especially for...” Vader stopped and sensed something. Luke shut his eyes tightly, in anguish. “Sister! So... you have a twin sister. Your feelings have now betrayed her, too. Obi-Wan was wise to hide her from me. Now his failure is complete. If you will not turn to the dark side, then perhaps she will.” He taunted even as he finally found her identity within his sons’ mind and felt a jolt of shock. Leia Organa…. how had he not seen? He’d thought of her similarities to Padme many times and Bail Organa had been one of his wife’s strongest allies.

 

“Never-r-r!” Luke ignited his lightsaber and screamed in anger, rushing at his father with a frenzy not seen before. Sparks flew as Luke and Vader fought in the cramped area. Luke's hatred forced Vader to retreat out of the low area and across a bridge overlooking a vast elevator shaft. Each stroke of Luke's sword drove his father further toward defeat.

 

Harry and the Emperor paised, glancing over at the scream and feeling of hate. Harry winced, whatever Vader had said had really enraged his lover. He sent a bolt of calming magic at him and then turned back to his own battle.

 

The Dark Lord was knocked to his knees, and as he raised his sword to block another onslaught, Luke slashed Vader's right hand off at the wrist, causing metal and electronic parts to fly from the mechanical stump. Vader's sword clattered uselessly away, over the

edge of the platform and into the bottomless shaft below. Luke moved over Vader and held the blade of his sword to the Dark Lord's throat.

 

“Good! Your hate has made you powerful. Now, fulfil your destiny and take your father's place at my side.” The Emperor called only to gasp as a wound opened on his side. Harry plunged his hand into a pocket, slipping his fingers into the waiting metal. He raised his hand, the gem in the middle of the device glowing in reaction before a shockwave sent the Emperor flying while Harry conserved magic by using the hand device.

 

 

Luke looked at his father's mechanical hand, then to his own mechanical, black-gloved hand, and realised how much he was becoming like his father. He made the decision for which he has spent a lifetime in preparation. Luke stepped back and hurled his lightsaber away.

 

“Never! I'll never turn to the dark side. You've failed, Your Highness. I am a Jedi, like my father before me.” Luke called out firmly and Harry smiled even as he activated the hand device again, aimed firmly at Palpatine’s head. He cried out in pain as the Goa’uld device went to work. The Emperor's glee turns to rage as he struggled against Harry. How could this be happening?

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Han and several of the fighters ran out of the bunker and raced across the clearing. “Move! Move!” A shock wave knocked them flat as the bunker exploded, followed by a spectacular display as the huge shield-generator radar dish exploded along with the bunker.

 

Ackbar, sitting in his control chair, spoke into the radio. “The shield is down! Commence attack on the Death Star's main reactor.”

 

“We're on our way. Rogue’s, Gold Group, all fighters follow me.” He laughed and looked at his co-pilot. “Told you they'd do it!” The Falcon, followed by several smaller Rebel fighters, headed toward the unfinished superstructure of the Death Star.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry stopped the attack and stepped back, staring at the old man as he collapsed to the floor. “Time to end this once and for all your Highness.” He pooled his magic and then unleashed an overpowered reductor right at the man’s head. He didn’t even flinch as blood splattered his cheek as the mans’ head practically exploded, his body going limp on the floor before exploding as the dark energy within was released.

 

Luke watched in shock and awe even as he knelt beside his father, helping support the exhausted man. He clasped his father’s remaining hand in his, scared by the even more laboured breathing. He reached out to him in the Force and found his presence lighter than before. Vader hesitantly reached back through their bond, allowing Luke to support him. losing his hand had been the shock both had needed to make them see what was happening. ‘Luke.’ He called hesitantly.

 

‘Father.’ Luke’s response was joyous at the contact.

 

‘Leave me.’

 

‘Never. The Emperor is dead, you are free, don’t you see?’ Luke answered and then they fell silent as Harry approached, looking a bit singed round the edges.

 

Rebel fighters followed the Falcon across the surface of the Death Star to the unfinished portion, where they dove into the superstructure of the giant battle station, followed by many TIE fighters.

 

“I'm going in.” Wedge called, knowing Tycho had his back.

 

“Here goes nothing.” Lando muttered before following.

 

Three X-wings lead the chase through the ever-narrowing shaft, followed by the Falcon and four other fighters, plus TIE fighters who continually fired at the Rebels. Lights reflected off the pilot's faces as they raced through the dark shaft.

 

“Now lock onto the strongest power source. It should be the power generator.” Lando ordered before wincing as the ship scraped a support strut, Han was going to kill him.

 

“Form up. And stay alert. We could run out of space real fast.”

 

The fighters and the Falcon raced through the tunnel, still pursued by the TIE fighters. One of the X-wings was hit from behind and exploded.

 

“Split up and head back to the surface. See if you can get a few of those TIE fighters to follow you.” Lando ordered.

 

“Copy, Gold Leader.” Tycho called and at the next junction he split off with two of the others, pursued by three of the TIE's, while Lando and Wedge continued through the main tunnel. It narrowed, and the Falcon scraped the side dangerously. Two other TIE fighters continued to blast away at them.

 

“That was too close.” He muttered and Nien Nunb agreed.

 

Outside the battle between the Rebel and Imperial fleet raged on. Several cruisers fired at the giant Super Star Destroyer.

 

“We've got to give those fighters more time. Concentrate all fire on that Super Star Destroyer.” X-wings pilots moved across the surface of the huge battleship.

 

Admiral Piett and Holden stood at the window, looking out to the battle, they were both concerned, why wasn’t the death Star firing again?

 

“Sir, we've lost our bridge deflector shield.’

 

“Intensify the forward batteries. I don't want anything to get through.”

 

Holden stared out of the window where a damaged Rebel fighter was out of control and heading directly toward the bridge.

 

“Intensify forward firepower!” Piett yelled.

 

“It's too late!” Holden yelled even as he grabbed the Admiral and shoved him off the bridge. Piett stumbled as the blast doors shut, hearing the explosion he turned and ran, he had to get to a lower level fast. The giant battle ship was losing control and he knew they were too close to the Death Star. He hit an evacuation alarm as he ran for the nearest hanger.

 

Several small ships and fighters shot from the hanger bays as the massive ship finally collided with the Death Star and blew up, taking a portion of the station with it.

 

As the ship blew the crew of Home One celebrated and Ackbar slumped into his chair in relief.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Chaos. For the first time, the Death Star was rocked by explosions as the Rebel fleet, no longer backed against a wall, zoomed over, unloading a heavy barrage. Imperial troops ran in all directions, confused and desperate to escape.

 

In the midst of this uproar, Luke and Harry carried the enormous

deadweight of his father's weakened body toward an Imperial shuttle. Finally, Luke collapsed as the made it onto a shuttle. Harry hit the ramp control and ran for the cockpit.

 

“Luke.” Vader whispered and Luke grasped his remaining hand.

 

“Forgive me.” He begged and his Father squeezed his hand.

 

“Forgive me, my son.” Vader wheezed, the battle had been too much for him. “Help me take this mask off.”

 

“But you'll die.”

 

“Nothing can stop that now. Just for once... let me look on you with my own eyes.” He hadn’t seen anything but sterile walls for so long. Slowly, hesitantly, Luke removed the mask from his father's face. There beneath the scars was an elderly man. His eyes would not focus, but the dying man smiled at the sight before him.

 

The ship rocked as Harry ignored the pre-flight and took off, not wanting to get caught in the explosion. He quickly fiddled with the comm until he could get it t transmit a Rebellion code, not wanting to be shot down accidentally.

 

“Now...go, my son. Leave me.” He begged, he should not see him die. He should be with his lover.

 

“No. You're coming with us. I've got to save you.”

 

“You already have, Luke. You were right about me. Tell your sister...you were right.”

 

“Father...I won't leave you.” Luke argued, tears flowing and then Harry gently gripped his shoulders.

 

“Move back Luke, let me. Get us down to the surface.” Harry spoke gently, pushing Luke towards the cockpit before turning to the barely alive man. “You aren’t going anywhere Anakin Skywalker, not for many more years.” He stated and then knelt beside him and placed his hands on his chest, letting magic flow.

 

He felt his strength returning and forced his eyes open to see Harry above him, his eyes as black as space.

 

The Millennium Falcon led a swerving bomb run through the immense superstructure of the half-built Death Star. The Rebel Star Cruisers outside continually bombarded the huge station. And each direct hit was answered by resonating, chain-reaction explosions within the station itself.

 

Lando's crew fired away at the pursuing TIE fighters as the dashing Baron of Bespin and his alien co-pilot homed in on the main reactor shaft, a lone X-wing just in front of the Falcon.

 

“There it is!” Wedge grinned in relief.

 

“All right, Wedge. Go for the power regulator on the north tower.”

 

“Copy, Gold Leader. I'm already on my way out.” The X-wing headed for the top of the huge reactor and fired several proton torpedoes at the power regulator, causing a series of small

explosions.

 

The Falcon flew for the main reactor, and when it was dangerously close, Lando fired the missiles, which shot out of the Falcon with a powerful roar, and hit directly at the centre of the main reactor. He manoeuvred the Falcon out of the winding superstructure just ahead of the continuing chain of explosions.

 

Ackbar and other Mon Calamari leaned on the railing of the bridge, watching the large screen showing the Death Star in the main briefing room. “Move the fleet away from the Death Star.”

 

Finally, just as it looked like the Falcon would not make it, Lando expertly piloted the craft out of the exploding superstructure and rushed toward the Sanctuary Moon, only a moment before the Death Star supernova into oblivion. Lando and Nien Nunb laughed and cheered in relief.

 

Han and Leia, Chewie, the droids, the Rebel troops, and the Ewoks all looked to the sky as the Death Star revealed itself in a final flash of self-destruction. They all cheered.

 

“They did it!” Threepio cheered.

 

Han looked down from the sky to Leia, a look of concern on his face. Leia continued to look at the sky as though listening for a silent voice. “I'm sure Luke wasn't on that thing when it blew.”

 

“He wasn't. I can feel it.” She whispered.

 

“You love him, don't you?” Hand smiled sadly, he should have known. A smuggler was not the right man for a Princess, even if he was a General now.

 

Leia smiled, puzzled. “Yes.”

 

“All right. I understand. Fine. When he comes back, I won't get in the way.” He promised.

 

She realised his misunderstanding. “Oh. No, it's not like that at all.” She pulled Han close with her uninjured arm and smiled. “He's my brother.” Han was stunned by this news. She smiled, and they embraced.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Luke landed the shuttle in a clearing some distance from the Ewok village and then rushed into the back to find Harry slumped over his Father. He knelt down and was shocked to find both alive. Harry stirred and Luke helped him sit up. “Ow.”

 

“Harry?”

 

“I’m okay.” Harry smiled and then kissed him. “Where are we?”

 

“Endor.” Luke answered.

 

“Okay, come on. We need to set up camp.”

 

“Shouldn’t we join the others?”

 

“You want to explain?” He indicated the still unconscious man and Luke winced. “Relax, when I’m done only the people who know Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader will know the truth.” Luke followed, confused, as his lover set up a tent and levitated Anakin inside. “You need to meditate Luke; you came very close to turning up there.” Harry whispered and Luke looked away, ashamed but Harry tipped his head back up. “You didn’t turn Luke, you stayed strong and I am so proud of you. Now meditation, then sleep and food. Understood?”

 

Luke laughed and mock saluted. “Yes sir.” He sat on the ground and took some deep breaths, falling easily into meditation.

 

Harry looked down at the half mechanical man and sighed, this was going to take a lot of work.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

In the darkness, Luke set a torch to the logs stacked under a funeral pyre where his

father's suit lay. He stood watching, as the flames leap higher to consume what was left of Darth Vader.

 

In the sky above, fireworks exploded and Rebel fighters zoomed above the forest. Two men approached and joined Luke at the fireside, both taller than him but the tallest was the same height as Vader had been, dark blonde hair curling down to his shoulders.

 

Anakin Skywalker watched the suit that had imprisoned him burn to ash. He hesitantly reached out to his son and was awed by how quickly the boy responded, taking his hand while allowing his presence close.

 

Harry smiled as he watched the two, happy that he had been able to free Anakin of the suit. But it had been Luke who truly freed the man.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

A huge bonfire was the centrepiece of a wild celebration. Rebels and Ewoks rejoiced in the warm glow of firelight, drums beating, singing, dancing, and laughing in the communal language of victory and liberation.

 

Lando ran in and was enthusiastically hugged by Han and Chewie. Then, finally, Luke and Harry arrived and the friends rushed to greet and embrace them. They stood lose, taking comfort in each other's touch, together to the end.

 

Rebels and Ewoks joined together in dancing and celebration. Only Luke seemed distracted, alone in their midst, his thoughts elsewhere. Harry squeezed his hand and Luke smiled. Anakin had remained at the camp for now, none of them wanting to explain just yet. He looks off to the side and saw three shimmering, smiling figures at the edge of the shadows: Ben Kenobi, Yoda, and a stranger. It was Qui-Gon Jinn, happy that these two had saved the boy he had once freed. Luke smiled back at them and Harry looked over, nodding at the three spirits before Leia came up and pulled Luke back into the party, Harry following.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Anakin smiled as he watched Leia recite her vows, her hands clasped in Han’s before Mon Mothma. He remembered her as one of Padme’s friends and she had been so shocked to see him, unaged from when the Republic fell. Whatever Harry had done had given him back his old body at the age he had Fallen. Only Luke knew his lovers’ secrets and sometimes they seemed to make him sad but they two remained together and very happy. They were standing to Leia’s side, hands clasped together. Anakin was just happy Leia had allowed his presence, their relationship was tense, she could not forget all the pain he had caused her and he couldn’t blame her. Just so long as it did not lead to hate. Luke was the more powerful of the twins but Leia would have been more powerful than average in the Temple.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Luke and Harry flanked Leia as she stood before the slowly reforming senate, dressed once again in a flowing gown of pure white, her hair up in the twin buns she’d worn the first time Luke met her. Han stood at her side, dressed in full uniform. They made an incredible picture, two men dressed in black at her back, emphasising the white of her gown as she began to speak, accepting the position of President of the New Republic. In the crowd Anakin cheered as loudly as the others, knowing she would do a good job. Next to him stood Admiral Piett, still looking a bit odd in the uniform of the Republic. Piett knew the truth of his identity and had been shocked but accepted it and had defected from the Empire quite happily along with all the Executors survivors.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry laughed as he chased Luke through the jungle of Yavin 4, soon their solitude would end as the new Jedi Academy opened to students. Unlike the old order Luke was accepting students of any age. There were too few Force sensitives left thanks to Palpatine. Luke was hoping one or two Jedi still survived as he knew he would need help. Harry was going to take a position within the Order, he didn’t use the Force but he could still teach students to fight, to fly, and a hundred other necessary skills. He had tried to convince his Father to join them but so far he had refused, staying close to Leia and Han, a bodyguard for the President who had already survived four assassination attempts. Soon the broke from the trees and

 

Harry pinned the shorter man to the ground, grinning down at him, neither paying any attention to the spirits watching them, one in amusement and the other is disapproval. Even in death Yoda was stuck in his ways. Harry got up and pulled Luke to his feet, the two walking into the massive temple that once housed the Rebellion. It had still needed a lot of work to make it ready to house students but now it was all complete. They made their way to the room they had claimed, high up and with a good view of the jungle. The furniture was simple but functional and they washed off before curling together in bed.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Luke smiled as he accepted the tiny bundle from Han, cradling the newborn to his chest even as the child stirred and opened his eyes. He could feel the Force flowing strong within the boy and looked at his sister who smiled sadly but nodded. One-day little Ben would join them on Yavin. Until then his Grandfather would be on hand to help. Luke looked at his Father, seeing the utter happiness on his face. Harry popped his head round the corner and smiled.

 

“Get in here brother-in-law.” Leia called teasingly and Harry walked in to peer down at the baby. Luke and Harry hadn’t had a traditional ceremony but everyone knew they would be together until death.

 

“Congratulations Leia, he’s beautiful.”

 

“Thank you Harry.”

 

“Alright everyone out, mother and baby need their rest. That includes you Master Skywalker.” His one-time student called out. Kayla was an excellent Healer, preferring it to lightsaber skills. They all left the room to let Leia recover.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry stood at the very top of the pyramid, staring out at the Jungle and the gas giant Yavin. Below he could see the young Padawans working at drills, Ben among them. The sixteen-year-old would be a powerful Jedi when Knighted. His little sister Breha was sitting to the side, watching the older students. He and Luke had no children, they could have adopted but the students had been enough for them. Anakin had finally agreed to come after Leia stepped down as President, training her to actually use her gifts. Han too had retired from being head of the armed forces. It hurt, watching them all age around him, it always did. Up here he had dropped his glamour’s, looking exactly the same as when he and Luke first met.

 

Luke stared at his back, he liked seeing Harry like this, not artificially aged by magic. His own blond hair was half grey now and no matter how distinguished Harry said it made him look he could feel the sadness he felt at the proof Luke was getting old.

 

Harry turned and smiled at Luke, holding out his hand to the Jedi Master who took it and joined him in staring out at the view. ‘I love you.’ The wizard thought and Luke smiled.

 

‘I love you too.’ He replied, their bond was so strong they could speak to each other no matter where they were.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry stared into the funeral pyre blankly. It shouldn’t have ended like this, why had Luke done it? He knew Harry wouldn’t have truly died but Luke was mortal and had died instantly, something Harry couldn’t heal. The snapping of their bond had hurt so much. There was an empty hole in his chest again, the broken bond making the one with Sam worse.

 

Anakin stood staring at the pyre which held his sons body, still in shock. Luke had still had so many years ahead of him and now he was gone. He kept his arm around Breha as she sobbed, the twenty-three-year-old Jedi in as much shock as the others. Beside her stood Ben, his hand on his own Padawans shoulder. At nearly thirty Ben had grown to match Anakin in height but other than that looked much like his father. Leia and Han stood with their arms around each other, unable to comprehend that Luke was gone. For Leia there was a hole where the twin bond had once been.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Anakin opened the door to find the room empty except the furniture and a note. He picked it up, recognising Harry’s hand. ‘I’m sorry’, was all it said but it was enough. He knew Harry had followed Luke into death.

 

The End.

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: Don’t own HP of FFVII.

Have never played the game, my knowledge comes from other fanfics and the movie that came out.

 

Stopping the Madness

 

Harry still wasn’t sure about this world. For once he wasn’t on Earth, or he didn’t think he was. It felt different and yet similar which made it confusing. And yeah, some of the technology was familiar but many aspects of the world were very different to anything he’d ever encountered. Meeting his first Chocobo had been an experience. Then there was Shinra, for a power company they sure where diverse. So he had signed on as a junior scientist, wanting to get a real feel for the company. Two weeks ago he’d been transferred to work under Professor Hojo which had meant moving but that was never an issue for him.

 

Nibelheim seemed to be trying to hit every cliché for a small mountain town, it actually came off as a little creepy but it had nothing on the Shinra mansion where he now worked. They barely interacted with the townspeople at all, expected to keep their distance and keep company secrets safe. The closest he had to a friend was a Turk, Vincent Valentine. He was a fairly quiet man with an obvious crush on one of the other scientists, Doctor Crescent. Usually when he was a scientist he enjoyed his work but here….it was giving him a very bad feeling but he didn’t have access to much yet. He needed to get closer to Hojo before he would learn more and that was not easy.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Finished stalking the doc for the day?”

 

“How do you do that?” Vincent asked as he joined him on the roof and Harry shrugged, not like he was going to tell anyone in this world, not with how obsessed they all were with power. He offered Vincent some of his chocolate and the Turk accepted, joining him in watching the stars. “Do you think there’s life out there?”

 

That was a surprising question. “I think to assume that we are the only intelligent life in a universe bursting with stars would be the height of arrogance. And I don’t like to be arrogant. What brought that question about?”

 

“Something the Professor said.”

 

“Classified?” He asked and Vincent nodded. “Hmm. The weirdest things are classified around here. You going back to Midgard with the rest?”

 

“No, someone needs to remain to brief the new guards and Turks.”

 

“I’m glad, I’d miss you.”

 

Vincent was surprised by that, no one missed a Turk. And yet looking at Harry, sprawled over the roof shingles and utterly relaxed he found he believed him. It was dangerous for Harry to trust him, who knew if or when the Company would decide he was a liability. Vincent didn’t want to kill a friend. “You shouldn't.” He whispered and Harry turned his head to look at him, green eyes meeting dark brown.

 

“Everyone needs friends, Turks included.” He smiled softly and then went back to tracing constellations. Life in space…. they had found proof? But why? They were working with genetics not astronomy. He had a bad feeling about this.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry kept his head down as he cleaned up the mess Hojo had left behind when bored with his experiment, glad he had seen worse or he’d be throwing up. Two of his co-workers had vanished, giving him more work and responsibility. The question was, where had they gone? They were isolated in the mountains with winter closing in and the truck out of town had left before they vanished. That left him with some rather unpleasant options for what had happened to them. He still didn’t know what they were doing but he was starting to get the feeling human experimentation with the project was beginning. That was something he could not allow.

 

The door banged open and he spun around but didn’t jump. “Vincent?”

 

“She’s pregnant.” He growled and harry winced.

 

“Timing seems off for her dear husband.” He pointed out and Vincent shrugged. “she doesn’t strike me as the type to cheat on a current partner, odds are its yours. So what has you so mad?”

 

“She…” Vincent took a calming breath. “She is allowing him to experiment on the child now.”

 

Harry froze in shock and then he hissed in anger. “No more. This ends here.” He snarled and Vincent actually took half a step back in shock.

 

“Harry.”

 

“Go back to your room and stay there Vincent.” Harry simply sent him there with magic before storming from the room and to where he could feel Hojo. He no longer cared about finding out what they were doing. No one was harming a child, even one that was unborn, while he was around. Security was no problem as his magic lashed around him.

 

“What are you doing in here?” Hojo demanded as the door slammed open.

 

“You are going to tell me everything about your work and then you will be judged.” Harry hissed before slamming into his mind. What he found utterly sickened him and he didn’t even hesitate as a zat appeared in his hand and he fired three times. With that done he moved through the ‘secret lab’ beneath the Shinra mansion, putting some out of their misery while healing those that could be saved, knocking them all out before moving upstairs to knock them all out too before apparating to the reactor where ‘Jenova’ was kept secret and safe. He stared at the monstrosity where it was held in a tank, able to feel its mind reaching out, whispering to anyone who could hear and it was disgusting. He took a deep breath, reaching out with magic to completely isolate her from the world and then Fiendfyre consumed the tube, taking over an hour to fully destroy her body. Once that was done he returned to the mansion and went to check on Lucrecia Crescent, scanning the child she carried. He had been in time and the foetus was unaltered and Vincent’s. he wiped all knowledge of Jenova from her and everyone else there. As far as they would remember they were working on improving the efficiency of various alternative power sources to Mako.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry appeared in the President’s office, stunning him before the man could sound the alarm even as the two Turks guarding him dropped. What he found in the man’s mind almost had him joining Hojo but with what he was doing the company would need some stability in keeping the current leader. He didn’t like doing this but needs must and so he twisted the mans will to match what was needed. He removed his greed and need to dominate, making him a much more mellow man even as he removed all interest in the type of projects Hojo delivered. He then moved on to ever department head, pulling the teeth of Shinra. It took several days but when he was done he retreated to the wilderness to rest and recharge.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

The world watched in confusion as seemingly over night the most powerful company in existence changed. Research into alternative energy was encouraged and well-funded, Mako reactors now seen as dangerous. Wutai watched in suspicion as all advances towards them were stopped. The Turks became simple body guards and not the feared assassins they had been. The army was handed over to the cities as protection from monsters and raiders. The infantile Soldier program was totally scraped and all human experimentation banned.

 

With no memory of the horrible program she’d been involved with or her marriage to Hojo, Lucretia happily married Vincent and soon gave birth to a healthy son with his father’s hair colour and her eyes. The happy couple had moved back to Midgard so she could work more easily and he quite Shinra to care for their son, Sephiroth. He was a brilliant child but completely human, thanks to Harry.

 

In the meantime, Harry remained in the wild places few ventured to, needing the calm of nature to help him heal from the trauma of what he had been forced to do. He had built himself a simple shelter and spent his days meditating or wandering.

 

Ten years later Zachary Fair was born and then several years later Cloud Strife and Tifa Lockhart in Nibelheim. With no Soldier program Zack might never have left home except he met a strange green eyed man who saved him from a monster and so he went to Junon and joined their army once he was eighteen.

 

Cloud grew up in a Nibelheim that had moved forward some as it accepted more technology. And he found himself flourishing at school under the new teacher, Mr Jim Black. He had simply wandered into the village one day and gotten a job at the school. He had built a small house away from the village and seemed totally unafraid of the wolves or monsters that could be encountered on the long walk to work. He still didn’t have many friends but he was a much happier child than he would have been. Jim helped foster his love of learning and history, knowing the boy would be happier somewhere such pursuits were encouraged. With all the changes universities were popping up all over the place. Eventually he sponsored Cloud to the Junon University and the boy left on his seventeenth birthday. Tifa remained in Nibelheim and married a local boy, settling down to start a family.

 

In Junon Cloud met Lieutenant Fair and the two quickly became friends despite the differences between them. Cloud eventually got two degrees in history and mechanics as he’d always been good at fixing things. By then Zack had made Captain and the two moved in together, very happy. They never met Sephiroth as he had followed in his mother’s footsteps as a scientist for Shinra in Midgard.

 

Jim visited the two in Junon for Cloud’s graduation and while there he ran into a young woman who simply smiled at him and then kissed his cheek. “Thank you Deaths’ Marked.” She whispered before running off to join her Father. He just blinked and watched her go, feeling the power of the planet swirling around her. He shook his head and continued on his way. It was amazing how much change containing the company had made. No one should have the power they had tried to have.

 

The End.

I’ve only ever read FFVII fics so I’ve gone off what I’ve read for info.

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: Don’t own HP or Marvel

I’ve been sick and my Mum starts chemo next week so life is pretty much chaos when you add in final year of uni. Updates will be sporadic

 

I Am Iron Man – part 1

 

Harry knew two things, Tony Stark was dead and he wasn’t Iron Man yet. He stared at the body in the wrecked car in shock before shaking it off. What the hell was he meant to do now? The accident wasn’t either of their fault, neither had been speeding but it was night and the road was covered in ice. His bike was trashed and Tony had cracked his head on the windshield of his car, killing him. Fate really enjoyed messing with him. With no arc reactor in his chest it meant there was no Iron Man, no Avengers….and earth needed both. He sighed and shook his head before going to work.

 

The police car pulled to a stop and the officers ran over to the site, taking in the downed motorcycle and rider and then the licence plate on the car even as they radioed for help. A quick check showed the driver was thankfully still alive. The rider wasn’t and a quick look at his wallet showed him to be Harry Potter, age 22 from Surrey, England.

 

,,,,,,,,,

He allowed himself to wake and opened his eyes to find a standard, if more expensive, hospital ceiling. He hurt. He swallowed, or tried too, his mouth was like a desert. He heard the door and turned his head slightly to see a nurse.

 

“Welcome back Mr Stark. You’re in The Mount Sinai Hospital and very safe. Do you remember what happened?” She asked as she gave him some ice chips.

 

“Car?” he asked once he had some moisture in his mouth.

 

“You collided with a motorcycle.”

 

“Rider?”

 

“He died on the scene.” She answered. “You need to rest; the doctor will be by soon since you’ve woken.”

 

“How…long?”

 

“Almost a week.” She elevated the head of the bed slightly and then left and Tony closed his eyes, forcing back the magic that wanted to heal him, that would be too suspicious. He’d done too good a job at giving himself realistic injuries it seemed.

 

He was kept in a private room for three weeks before the Doctors finally discharged him. he’d had few visitors in that time, just Happy and Rhodey but he was always happy to see them. Happy dropped of clothes and Tony painfully dressed in the suit, slipping on his sunglasses before breaking hospital policy to walk out of the hospital, ignoring the flashing cameras as he got into the car. “Penthouse Happy.”

 

“Got it boss.” The car drove off and he leant back in his seat to rest during the ride.

 

“Call the airport, I want to go back to Malibu day after tomorrow.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

It didn’t take much to re-familiarise himself with the Malibu mansion and he was soon soaking in the hot tub, relaxing sore muscles which was always nice. Being Tony Stark was not easy, even after basically downloading most of his memories. Newly dead there had still been enough brain activity for him to slip into his mind thankfully. So far nothing seemed really different from what he knew of other Tony’s from this period in his life. Sadly, Pepper wasn’t working for him yet, but in a way that was also good, he didn’t want to risk her spotting something off. So far Rhodey and Happy hadn’t noticed anything which was good.

 

Eventually he made his way down to the lab and smiled as Dummy approached and spun around him happily. “Yeah, yeah, I’m fine.” He assured the bot before going to work. “Open a new file Jarvis.”

 

“Of course Sir. A new weapon?”

 

“Not exactly.” He went to work with the holographic interface, beginning work on a very basic suit of armour, similar and yet very different to the Iron Man suits. For one it wasn’t going to be made of such expensive metal, it wouldn’t be armed and it wasn’t full body.

 

“A curious design Sir.”

 

“All the tech that’s out there and motorcycle riders still rely on leather clothes and weak helmets to protect them.” He commented, let everyone think the accident had sparked his interest in personal armour.

 

“I see.”

 

Tony just smirked and continued work, he had a lot of work to do in the next…. six odd years before the world started to get really interesting. Though he was stuck on a moral dilemma…. he knew where Cap was buried, should he do something about it or leave him till SHIELD found and thawed him? And what about Bucky? And should he try to help Bruce when he was exposed or did he move to ensure the Hulk was never created? He’d never appeared so far back in the timeline, unless he counted his time in Asgard as Loki’s foster father. At least one thing was easy, in six months was the tech expo where he would steal Pepper away from Killian, pity he hadn’t come early enough to change things there.

 

It was a good thing he was used to Federation, Alliance and even Goa’uld tech as he wasn’t the genius the real Tony was. But he did have previous experience with advanced and alien tech, not to mention future Stark tech and what he had managed to absorb form Tony. Otherwise he would be in trouble when it came to inventing things. It was tempting to start trying to move the company away from weapons production now but then he wouldn’t be kidnapped by the Ten Rings which meant they may take longer to stop? Not to mention he wasn’t looking forward ending up with shrapnel in his heart.

 

He worked for several hours before hitting the gym to continue his rehab workout routine and then soaked for a few hours before going to bed. He hated Tony’s schedule but at least he didn’t have to go out partying…. yet. he could use the near death experience to hopefully begin changing his reputation.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

He tossed back the martini and then lounged against the bar as the music blared, eyes roaming the crowd. He smirked as a group of women approached and let them pull him onto the dance floor, losing himself in the music. An hour later he was in his car with one of the girls, heading home. They made it to the bedroom, clothing littering the floor as they fell into bed together.

 

Three hours later Tony slipped out of bed, threw on some sweats and headed down to the lab.

 

“Good morning. It's 7 a.m. The weather in Malibu is 72 degrees with scattered clouds. The surf conditions are fair with waist to shoulder highlines, high tide will be at 10:52 a.m.” Jarvis reported as his usual wakeup call and the girl in the bed startled awake as the windows lightened to show the view from the master suite. Cara wrapped the blanket around herself and went looking for the billionaire.

 

“Tony? Hey, Tony!” she tried to open a door, looking for him.

 

“You are not authorized to access this area.” Jarvis stated and she yelped, backing away.

 

“That's Jarvis, he runs the house. I've got your clothes here, they've been dry cleaned and pressed. And there's a car waiting for you outside that will take you anywhere you'd like to go.” Pepper stated as she approached, immaculately dressed as always. After nearly two years on the job she was used to this although it was happening less and less frequently.

 

“You must be the famous Pepper Potts.”

“Indeed I am.”

 

“Tony has you picking up the dry cleaning?” Cara asked

 

“I do anything and everything that Mr. Stark requires. Including occasionally taking out the trash. Would that be all?” Pepper smiled blandly, fighting down a smirk of satisfaction as she dismissed the young woman. Once sure she was gone she headed down to the lab to find Tony absorbed in his work on…. farming? she knew the company didn’t only design weapons but it was the main area he usually worked on himself. Thought that light weight, flexible armour he’d come up with for bikers had been a hit and had driven the company stock even higher. He wasn’t quite what she’d expected when she’d taken the job, she’d know his reputation and yet he was…. not quite the irresponsible playboy he was said to be. He didn’t drink or party as much and he didn’t just make weapons. He flirted occasionally but she could tell he wasn’t serious so she flirted back and it was fun. The job definitely had a lot of perks and her pay was far more than she had ever expected but she didn’t work for him for the money, he needed someone to look after him and she thought maybe they were friends.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Hey Obie.” Tony greeted Obadiah with a smile, hiding what he really felt about the traitorous man.

 

“Tony! Wonderful to see you actually in the office.”

 

“Yeah, well I was bored. So, anything interesting coming up?”

 

“Just the usual.”

 

“Sounds fun. So the illegal weapons sales are normal?” He asked, catching the man off guard.

 

“What?”

 

“Like I said, I was bored, so I did an inventory. Seriously, I made these systems and you thought you could hide things on them from me?” He asked and then smirked as sirens could be heard through the glass entry foyer of the building. “And that would be the wonderful Feds coming to arrest you.” He leant in. “No one messes with my stuff.” He snarled before backing away and letting the FBI have him. It would be interesting to see what ripples this caused. He had a press conference to get too next to tell the world what a bad man Obadiah Stane really was, that would keep the case from being buried. He went to Stane’s office and made sure it all proprietary information was safe from the FBI before leaving the building. Pepper wasn’t anywhere near ready to be made CEO so it looked like he’d have to run his own company for a while.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Visionary. Genius. American patriot. Even from an early age, the son of legendary weapons developer Howard Stark quickly stole the spotlight with his brilliant and unique mind. At age four, he built his first circuit board. At age six, his first engine. And at seventeen, he graduated Summa Cum Laude from MIT. Then, the passing of a titan. Howard Stark's lifelong friend Obadiah Stane, steps in to help fill the gap left by the legendary founder. Until at age 21, the prodigal son returns, and is anointed the new CEO of Stark Industries. With the keys to the kingdom, Tony ushers in a new era for his father's legacy, creating smarter weapons, advanced robotics, satellite targeting.” The announcer’s voice rang out through the packed room.

 

Rhodey stepped out on the stage and stood at the podium. “Today, Tony Stark has changed the face of the weapons industry, by ensuring freedom and protecting America and her interests around the globe. As liaison to Stark Industries, I've had the unique privilege of serving with a real patriot. He is my friend and he is my great mentor. Ladies and gentlemen, it is my honour to present this year's Apogee Award to Mr. Tony Stark!” He called out and Tony stood, adjusting his tie as he walked up on stage to accept the award from his best friend who grinned happily. He knew Tony hated these things but he’d come because Rhodey was giving the award. They shook and the Tony turned to face the auditorium.

 

“Thank you everyone for being here tonight. Receiving the award from my best friend is a great honour and I am very glad to be here.” He went on to talk of where he wanted the company to go in the future and how he wanted to move away from making weapons to explore other areas. When it was over he dragged Rhodey into the casino for a bit of fun before leaving since they had an early flight. The weapons demonstration had still been asked for in Afghanistan, even with Stane locked away for life.

 

“Mr. Stark! Excuse me! Mr. Stark!” he turned at his name being called even as Happy unlocked the car doors. “Christine Everheart, Vanity Fair magazine. Can I ask you a couple of questions?”

 

“She's cute.” Happy murmured.

 

“She's alright? Hi.”

 

“Hi.” She smiled at him, recorder ready.

 

“Yeah. Okay, go.”

 

“You've been called the Da Vinci of our time. What do you say to that?”

 

“Absolutely ridiculous. I don't paint.”

 

“And what do you say to your other nickname, the Merchant of Death?”

 

That's not bad construction, lousy as an actual nickname though. Let me guess... Berkeley?” yeah, he’d heard the nickname before and hated it. Everything he’d been trying to do to change the company’s reputation and he still got stuck with that.

 

“Brown, actually.”

 

“Well, Ms. Brown. It's an imperfect world, but it's the only one we've got. I guarantee you the day weapons are no longer needed to keep the peace, we'll completely stop making them and start making bricks and beams for baby hospitals.”

 

“Rehearse that much? All I want is the serious answer.”

 

“Okay, here is serious. My old man had a philosophy: Peace means having a bigger stick than the other guy.”

 

“That's a great line, coming from a guy selling the sticks.”

 

“My father helped defeat Nazis. He worked on the Manhattan Project. A lot of people, including your professors at Brown, would call that being a hero.”

 

“And a lot of people would also call that war-profiteering.” She shot back and he sighed.

 

“Tell me, do you plan to report on the millions we've saved by advancing medical technology? And what about the safety armour for people who ride? Or kept from starvation with our intelli-crops? What about the new computer systems to help the disabled? All those breakthroughs: military funding, honey. And yeah, it sucks that the military funds the most but that’s how things are for now. In case you slept through my speech earlier, Stark Industries is moving away from weapons as much as possible.”

 

“Wow, did you ever lose an hour of sleep your whole life?”

 

“That’s none of your business. Now, please excuse me but I have an early flight tomorrow.” He got in the car and Happy drove away.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Is it better to be feared or respected? And I say, is it too much to ask for both? With that in mind, I humbly present the crown jewel of Stark Industries freedom line. It's the only missile system to incorporate our proprietary repulsor technology. They say the best weapon is one you never have to fire. But if you have to fire, I prefer the weapon you only have to fire once. That's how Dad did it, that's how America does it... and it's worked out pretty well so far. Find an excuse to let one of these off the chain, and I personally guarantee you the bad guys won't even want to come out of their caves. For your consideration, the Jericho.” He’d seen a recording of Tony’s speech once and thankfully had remembered most of it. The Jericho going off behind him showed just how accurate his words were on the effect. He didn’t like the weapon personally and had actually toned it down a long way from the original but it was still very lethal. He did have to honour the military contracts they held after all.

 

“Hey Tony!” Rhodey called and Tony turned to grin at him.

 

“I'm sorry, this is the fun-vee. The hum-drum-vee is back there.” He told him, this would keep Rhodey alive if the timeline followed known events even with the changes he’d made.

 

“Nice job. See you back at base.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“He wants to know what you think.” Yinsen translated as they left the cave to look arounds at the camp.

 

“I think he’s got a lot of my weapons.”

 

“He says they have everything you need to build a Jericho missile. He wants you to make the list of materials. He says for you to start working immediately, and when you're done, he will set you free.”

 

“No, he won't.” Tony said, smiling at the terrorists and Yinsen smiled as Tony nodded.

 

“No, he won't.” he agreed, they had both seen too much to be set free. “I'm sure they're looking for you, Stark. But they will never find you in these mountains. Look... What you just saw... that is your legacy, Stark. Your life's work in the hands of those murderers. Is that how you want to go out? Is this the last act of defiance of the great Tony Stark? Or are you going to do something about it?” Yinsen demanded as they were locked back in the workroom.

 

“Why should I do anything? They're gonna kill me, you... Either way, if they don't, I'll probably be dead in a week.” Yeah, having shrapnel in his heart sucked but his magic had isolated it nicely.

 

“Well then... this is a very important week for you, isn't it?” Yinsen offered and Tony laughed but went to the work table.

 

“Alright then, let’s get to work.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Make sure that checkpoints are clear before you follow me out, OK?” Tony asked as the armour was synching and coming online. It was more streamlined then the real Tony’s first try thanks to the previous work on biker armour.

 

“We need more time. Okay. I'm gonna go buy you some time.” Yinsen grabbed the fallen guards gun.

 

“Stick to the plan! Stick to the plan! Yinsen!” he yelled after the scientist. He heard the many shots but finally the armour was ready and he moved out, taking down any terrorist who came into sight. “Yinsen!” he saw the man down near the cave entrance and moved to check him.

 

“Watch out!” he gasped and Tony turned, batting the missile aside so it went outside the cave. “Stark.” Yinsen coughed and he pushed the faceplate up, kneeling beside him, there were a lot of holes in him.

 

“Come on. We gotta go. Move with me. C'mon, we got a plan, we need to stick to it.”

“This was always the plan, Stark.” Yinsen admitted softly.

 

“Come on, you're going to go see your family again.” He pushed and Yinsen shook his head.

 

“My family is dead. I'm going to see them now, Stark. It's okay. It's okay. I want this. I want this.” His voice was getting softer with every word and Tony took his hand.

 

“Thank you for saving me.” He whispered.

 

“Don't waste it… Don't waste your life.” Yinsen gasped out and Tony watched as Death claimed him.

 

He could have healed him but he understood that the man didn’t fear death, he wanted to be with his family. He stood up and snapped the faceplate down again. “My turn.” He snarled, moving out of the cave.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Pepper walked quickly, without running but she was going to yell at Tony for coming in to work when he should at least be resting, if not in a hospital.

 

“Ms. Potts?” a male voice called to her and she turned.

 

“Yes.”

 

“May I speak with you for a moment?”

 

“I'm sorry but Mr Stark isn’t giving any interviews.”

 

“I am not a reporter. I'm agent Phil Coulson, with the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division.”

 

“That's quite a mouthful.” She pulled open the glass doors.

 

“I know. We're working on it.”

 

“We've been approached already by the DOD, FBI, CIA...”

 

“We are a separate division. With a more specific focus. We need to debrief Mr. Stark about the circumstances of his escape.”

 

“I'll put something in a book, shall I?”

 

“Thank you.” Agent Coulson said and she entered the elevator.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Pepper!” Tony called over the intercom. “How big are your hands?”

 

“What?”

 

“How big are your hands?”

 

“I don't understand why...”

 

“Get down here. I need you.”

 

“Hey!” she yelled but she headed downstairs and into the secured lab.

 

“Let's see them.” Tony ordered from where he was reclining on a chair, shirtless and with the thing keeping alive looking different. “Show me your hands. Let's see them.” He called and she held her hands out. “Oh, wow, they are small. Very petite, indeed. I just need your help for a sec.”

“Oh my God, is that the thing that's keeping you alive?” she asked, half shocked and half disgusted.

 

“It was; it is now an antique. This is what will be keeping me alive for the foreseeable future. I was swapping it up for an upgraded unit and I just ran into a little... speed bump.” He pointed at the new one. He was glad that any wounds healed when he left a dimension because he did not want a giant hole in his chest for the rest of his life.

“Speed bump? What's happening?”

 

“It's nothing, it's just a little snag. There's an exposed wire under this device and is contacting a socket wall and is causing a little bit of a short circuit.” He explained.

 

“What do you want me to do?”

 

“Put that on the table over there. That is irrelevant. I just want you to reach in... and you're just gonna gently lift the wire out.”

 

“Is it safe?”

 

“Yeah, it should be fine. It's just like Operation, you just don't let it touch the socket wall.”

 

“What's Operation?”

 

“It's just a game, never mind. Just gently lift the wire.”

 

“Okay.”

 

“Okay? Great.” He grinned at her.

 

“You know; I don't think that I am qualified to do this.” She shakily moved closer and began moving her hand towards the metal lined hole.

 

“No, no, you're fine. You're the most capable, qualified and trustworthy person I've ever met. You're gonna do great. Is it too much of a problem to ask? Cause I really need your help here.” He babbled as her hand slipped into the hole.

 

“Oh, there's pus!” She grimaced in disgust.

 

“It's not pus. It's a plasmic discharge, it's from the device, not from my body.”

 

“It smells!”

 

“Yeah, it does. The copper wire. The copper wire, you got it?”

 

“I got it.” She held it tightly and began pulling it up.

 

“Now don't let it touch...” he gasped and jerked and then choked out the rest, “...the sides, that's what I was trying to tell you before. Okay, now make sure that when you pull it out, you don't pull out the magnet and the end of it. That was it... ...that you just pulled out.” He groaned as he saw the magnet.

 

“Oh God. OK, what do I do?” she moved it back towards the hole.

 

“Don't put it back in!” he gasped out.

 

“What's wrong?”

 

“Nothing, I'm just going into cardiac arrest cause you yanked out...”

 

“What? I thought you said this was safe!”

 

“We gotta hurry. Take this, you gotta switch, real quick.” He reached for the new one, passing it weakly to her.

 

“Okay, okay. Tony, it's gonna be okay. I'm gonna make this okay.” She babbled, looking scared and lost.

 

“You gotta touch that to base plate. And make sure you...” he gasped and then relaxed as it began to work, the reactor glowing softly. “Was that so hard? That was fun, right?”

 

“I got it, I got it. Are you okay?”

 

“Yeah, I feel great. Are you okay?” he sat up and smiled at her.

 

“Don't ever, ever... ...ever ask me to do anything like that ever again.”

 

“I don't have anyone but you.” He admitted.

 

“What do you want me to do with this?”

 

“That? Destroy it. Incinerate it.”

 

“You don't wanna keep it?”

 

“Pepper, I've been called many things. Nostalgic is not one of them.” He answered as he pulled a tank top on, the glowing reactor visible through the material.

 

“Would that be all, Mr. Stark?” She gathered her wits and he grinned.

 

“That would be all, Ms. Potts.” She left and he leant against the bench, rubbing his chest.

 

“Are you alright Sir?” Jarvis asked.

 

“Yeah, thanks for the help.” He moved to begin dismantling the equipment used to make the brand new element that Howard Stark had discovered and hidden clues about for him. good thing he’d know where it was to be found so he could stumble across it at the right time and save himself from being poisoned to death. “I'd like to open a new project file, index as: Mark 2.”

 

“Shall I store this on the Stark Industries' central database?”

“I don't know who to trust right now. Till further notice, why don't we just keep everything on my private server.” He answered, he knew Stane wasn’t the only traitor or mole in the company, not with Hydra alive and kicking.

 

“Working on a secret project, are we, sir?”

“I don't want this winding up in the wrong hands. Maybe in mine it could actually do some good.” He brought up the basic armour designs he already marketed or played with and went to work.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Day 11, Test 37, Configuration 2.0. For lack of a better option, Dummy is still on fire safety. If you douse me again, and I'm not on fire, I'm donating you to a city college.” He warned the bot who beeped sadly but held the extinguisher ready. “Alright, nice and easy. Seriously, just gonna start off with 1% thrust capacity. And 3, 2, 1.” Tony grinned as the suit took off from the lab floor and hovered nicely. He wished he had paid attention to his husbands suits before and then maybe he would be making faster progress. “Please don't follow me around with it either cause I feel like I'm going to catch on fire spontaneously. Just stand down. If something happens, then come in.” he landed and took a deep breath, getting ready for the second stage. “Again, lets bring it up to 2.5%. Okay, this is where I don't want to be.” He yelped as his attempt to fly sent him through the ceiling and into the garage. “Not the car, not the car.” He crashed into it and then rolled free as Dummy doused it. “It could be worse. We are fine. Okay, we are getting there.” He took off again and then grinned as he finally got it under control.” Yeah. I can fly. Jarvis, are you there?”

 

“At your service, sir.”

 

“Engage head up display.”

 

“Check.” Jarvis answered.

 

“Import all preferences from home interface.”

 

“Will do, sir.”

 

“Alright, what do you say?’

 

“I have indeed been uploaded, sir. We're online and ready.”

 

“Start the virtual walkaround.” He ordered as he flew around the room, getting the hang for things.

 

“Importing preferences and calibrating virtual environment.”

 

“Do a check on control surfaces.”

 

“As you wish. Test complete. Preparing to power down and begin diagnostics.”

 

“Ah, yes... tell you what. Do a weather and ATC check. Start listening the ground control.” He ordered, wanting to really test the suit and he wanted to fly.

 

“Sir, there are still terabytes of calculations needed before an actual flight.”

 

“Jarvis... Sometimes you gotta run before you can walk. Ready? And 3, 2, 1.” He blasted up the driveway and out into the air, gaining altitude fast. “It feels like a dream. Alright, let’s see what this thing can do. What's the SR-71's record?”

 

“The altitude record for fixed-wing flight is 85.000 feet, sir.”

 

“Records are made to be broken.” He poured on the power, going straight up, he remembered Tony telling him what had happened and it needed to in order to highlight a fault. “Higher!” he half laughed as he pushed further.

 

“Sir, there is a potentially fatal build-up of ice occurring.”

 

“Keep going! Higher!” he laughed as he looked around at the clear view of the stars and then the ice got too much and he began to fall. “We're iced up, Jarvis! Deploy flaps. Jarvis? C'mon, we gotta break the ice! Cut power.” He yelled out as he fell until finally the speed generated enough heat to melt the ice and the suit came under his control again. “Note: main transducer feels sluggish at plus 40 altitude. The whole pressurization is problematic. I'm thinking 'icy' is a probable factor.”

 

“A very astute observation, sir. Perhaps if you intend to visit other planets, we should improve the exo systems.” Jarvis suggested dryly and Tony chuckled.

 

“Good idea, mark that for me to work on. Connect to the Cisco, have it reconfigure the shell metals. Use the gold-titanium alloy from the Seraphim tactical satellite. That should ensure the fuselage integrity while maintaining power -to-weight ratio. Got it?” he called as he landed back in the garage and the machines began peeling him out of the armour.

 

“Yes. Shall I render using proposed specifications?”

 

“Thrill me.” He stripped off and began redressing in the suit he had brought down earlier; he did have a benefit to attend after all.

 

“The render is complete.” Jarvis called and he went to look while fastening his watch.

 

“Little ostentatious, don't you think?”

 

“What was I thinking? You're usually so discrete.”

 

“Tell you what... throw a little dark red in there and tone the gold down a bit.”

“Yes, that shall help you keep a low profile.” Jarvis snarked and then a new image appeared. “The render is complete.”

 

“Yeah, I like it.” Tony grinned, the darker colours made it a bit less garish to look at and he preferred them to the bright ones his Tony had used. “Fabricate it and paint it.”

 

“Commencing an automated assembly. Estimated completion time is five hours.”

 

“Don't wait up for me, honey.” He called as he got in his car and took off for the benefit. Things were going well, Obadiah was in prison for life, he still needed to deal with the Ten Rings but he needed someone or something to give him a good lead on them to keep suspicion away. He’d even managed to slip some data into a few systems that should lead to Cap being found sooner, if not he’d go get the man himself. He’d also managed to arrange an embarrassing event for several members of Hydra that were also Senators or other CEO’s, cutting some of their support and funding though he knew they’d find other sources eventually. He’d managed to lift his reputation a lot over the last several years and life was looking pretty good which meant something was going to go wrong. Would someone else in the Company steal the reactor this time or would events happen completely differently?

 

TBC…..

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: Not mine

So people complained in part 1 that Harry has barely changed anything…. of course he hasn’t, he needs events to play through till at least the Avengers get together or he risks Loki invading with no one there to stop him. he can’t do anything about what’s happening on Asgard. So he’s subtly nudging things here and there to get people moving a bit faster like slipping SHIELD info on where Cap may be frozen. And his arc reactor is using the new element made in movie 2, he just ‘found’ it earlier so no poisoning.

 

I Am Iron Man Part 2

 

Tony rested against the bar, watching the benefit in full swing and enjoying a moment of quiet as he sipped at a glass of water disguised in as a martini. He knew this was it, the last party before things would really start moving so he was going to enjoy it.

 

“Mr. Stark?”

 

“Yeah?” he turned to see Phil standing close.

 

“Agent Coulson.”

 

“Ah yes, the guy from the...” He frowned as if he couldn’t remember the name.

 

“Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement and Logistics Division.”

 

“Right, you really need a new name for that.”

 

“Yeah, I hear that a lot. Listen, I know this must be a trying time for you, but we need to debrief you. There's still a lot of unanswered questions, and time can be a factor with these things.”

 

“What’s there to say? Convoy got blown up and I ended up stuck in a cave with some nuts you really like my weapons. And I have no clue where the cave was.”

 

“We need a bit more than that.”

 

“Fine. Let’s just put something on the books.”

 

“How about the 24th, at 7 p.m. at Stark Industries?” Phil asked and Tony nodded in resignation, he knew SHIELD too well, better to meet with him then keep dodging.

 

“Tell you what... you got it. You're absolutely right. I'm gonna go to my assistant and we'll make it date.” He put his empty glass down and moved over to where he’d spotted Pepper.

 

“You look fantastic.

“What are you doing here?” she asked as he tugged her onto the dance floor.

 

“Avoiding government agents. I love that dress.” He grinned and she shook her head.

 

“Thank you for the birthday present Mr Stark.” She smiled and he nodded, glad she liked this year’s Birthday present, that had been one of the reasons Pepper had left Tony, he had never remembered the important dates. He wasn’t sure if he wanted her as his partner or just a really good friend but either way she deserved to be treated better than she had been in other worlds.

 

“I have great taste; you look utterly stunning.” He dipped her. “Am I making you uncomfortable?”

 

‘No, no. I always forget to wear a deodorant, and dance with my boss in front of everyone that I work with, in a dress with no back.” She babbled and he moved them onto the balcony.

 

“You look great, you smell great.” He teased gently. “But I could fire you, if that'd take the edge off.”

 

“I actually don't think that you could tie your shoes without me.”

 

“I'd make it a week.” He mock pouted.

 

“Really? What's your social security number?” she demanded and he gave it to her without even having to think, surprising her. “That was totally weird.’

 

“Totally harmless.” He shrugged, leaning against the balustrade and looking out over the city lights.

 

“It was totally not harmless, by the way.”

 

“Nobody was watching us.”

 

“Everybody who I work with... You don't understand because you're you. And everybody knows exactly who you are, and how you are with girls. And all that, which is completely fine... But you know, then me, you're my boss and I'm dancing... Because it makes me look like... the one who's trying to...” she babbled and he winced slightly.

 

“I just think you're overstating, that's all.”

 

“And we're here, and then I'm... wearing this ridiculous dress... And then we were dancing like that and... I would like a drink, please.” She finally finished.

 

“Got it.”

 

“I would like a vodka martini, please. Very dry with olives, lot of olives, like at least three olives.” She called after him as he made his way back inside and then over to the bar.

 

“Two vodka martinis, extra dry, extra olives, extra fast. Make one of them dirty.”

 

“Well... Tony Stark!”

 

Oh joy. “Oh, hey! Fancy seeing you here. Carrie. - Christine.” He corrected himself.

 

“That's right. You have a lot of nerve showing up here tonight.” She snapped and he stared at her blankly before glancing back to see if the drinks were done. Why was it even the women he hadn’t slept with wouldn’t leave him alone? “Can I at least get a reaction from you?”

 

“What are you looking for Christine? After that wonderfully biased article you wrote that was printed while I was being held hostage?

 

“I was referring to your company's involvement in this latest atrocity.”

 

“They just put my name on the invitation, I don't know what to tell you.” He didn’t think the party was that bad, he’d been to far worse.

 

“I actually almost bought it, hook, line and sinker.” She snapped. “Is this what you call

accountability?” She yanked out her tablet and handed it over. His eyes widened as he stared at the devastation.

 

“It's a town called Gulmira. Heard of it?’

 

Yeah, he’d heard of it. “When were these taken?”

 

“Yesterday.” She backed off a little as she saw the shock in his eyes as he skimmed over the images.

 

“I didn't approve any shipment.”

 

“Well, your company did.”

 

“If you’ll excuse me.” He had a traitor to hunt and weapons to destroy. He grabbed the drinks and handed them to a young man. “Miss Potts is on the balcony, tell her something important came up and I’ll call her later.” He ordered before slipping away and heading back to the house, flipping on the news as he reached the lab.

 

“The fifteen miles’ hike to the outskirts of Gulmira can only be described as a 'descent into Hell'. Into a modern day heart of darkness. Simple farmers and herders from peaceful villages have been driven from their homes displaced from their lands by warlords, emboldened by a newfound power. Villagers have been forced to take shelter in whatever ways that they can find. In the ruins of other villages or here, in the remnants of the old Soviet smelting plant. Recent violence has been attributed to a group of foreign fighters, referred to by locals as the Ten Rings. As you can see, these men are heavily armed and on a mission. A mission that can prove fatal to anyone who stands in their way. With no political will or international pressure, there's very little hope for these refugees. Around me, a woman begging for news on her husband who was kidnapped by insurgents. Either forced to join their militia... ...to anyone who will stop a child's simple question: "Where are my mother and father?" There's very little hope for these refugees, refugees who can only wonder who, if anyone, will help.”

 

Listening to the reporter as he went to work had him grinding his teeth but he couldn’t have acted without something to work from or people would ask too many questions. He intended to drag out the names of any more traitors in SI from anyone he took alive. He really didn’t like traitors. The armour emerged and Tony grinned at the muted colours and slim lined form, oh yeah this was real armour. He stepped onto the platform and allowed the machines to place the pieces on his body before the faceplate sealed. “Ready Jarvis?”

 

“Of course Sir.”

 

“Let’s do this.” He smirked and blasted off.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Tony nodded at various staff members as he strolled through the building and into the private elevator to get to his office. Once inside he locked the door and started up the computer. “Time to find a rat.” He whispered as he began working, sorting through the mountains of ‘paperwork’ the company put out because whoever had sold those weapons could not have avoided some sort of trail and he was going to find it and make sure they knew why people avoided angering him. besides with Rhodey not talking to him at the moment he didn’t actually have anything to do but work.

 

“Mr Stark, surprised you’re here today.”

 

“Miss Potts how could I resist coming in to see you?” he teased back as she walked in and placed a pile of paperwork on his desk. “Anything urgent?”

 

“A few military contracts. Why? New project?”

 

“Sort of…” he checked she’d shut the door. “More of a hunt?”

 

“Oh?” one elegant eyebrow went up.

 

“Rats.” He handed her a usb stick. “I think you have a meeting.”

 

“Oh.” She whispered. “I’ll keep everyone away Mr Stark.”

 

“Thank you Miss Potts.” He went back to work as she left, tracing various shipping orders, who made them, who packed them and who received them.

 

Pepper made her way downstairs to find Agent Coulson waiting patiently. “Ms. Potts? Did you forget about our appointment?”

 

“Nope. Right now, come with me. I'll give you the meeting of your life. Your office.” She walked out of the building and the bemused Agent followed, opening the passenger door of his car for her. Pepper had understood Tony’s message, there was at least one traitor in SI, selling weapons to some rather bad people and they needed to stop them. So she would get the government to help since that was what they were there for.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Tony smirked as he watched two members of the board plus three other staff members as they were cuffed and pushed into cars. All resolved without blowing the arc reactor or having to fight another armour, all in all a good week’s work. And iron man hadn’t had to go public which was good and bad, good in that it should keep some of what had happened with a certain Russian from happening, bad since the people didn’t have a hero to look to. Which meant he’d have to find a way to go public that wouldn’t look too planned. Of course SHIELD were being blind and not following the leads he’d planted so he was going to have to ‘discover’ something in his Dad’s notes to send him exploring the frozen wastes. And maybe it was better he find Steve, get off on the right foot and help him adjust.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Why are you going Tony?” Pepper demanded as she watched him pack.

 

“Because this was important to my Dad, Pepper. He was always talking about his great friend Steve Rogers. If this is right, then I have to be there. Relax, I’m taking the suite plus security and with the arrests last month I could use some time away.”

 

“You’ll be careful?”

 

“Promise. It’s just a trip to the frozen north while everyone else thinks I’m off skiing in the Alps. Remember to have some fun while I’m gone.” He grinned and then closed his bag and went down to where Happy was waiting with the car to drive to the airport. His people were keeping quiet over what they were working on, the post traitor shake up had ensured the staff were loyal and they wouldn’t say a word about this expedition until he announced it. Captain America was a hero and they all wanted him to have the honours he deserved so the ‘plan’ was to find his body and then ship it home where the military could then ensure he was buried with full honours.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“We’re here Mr Stark.” One of the expedition popped his head in and then left and Tony quickly donned the rest of his cold weather gear before following them out onto the land he had bought through a few shell companies so no one would realise it was his. The ice was solid under the layers of snow and their boots made walking through it relatively easy.

 

“Alright, let’s set up! Dark comes quickly out here; I want the camp up in twenty.” Expedition leader Matthew Blake yelled at his people. Tony pitched in, surprising some of them but soon camp was ready and they began making dinner before they rolled themselves in sleeping bags for the night, the real work would begin in the morning. Thanks to Jarvis they had excellent satellite scans of the area to work from.

 

Three days of work and excited shouting began. Tony ran over and grinned as he saw the tip of a wing through the ice. The heavy machinery moved in and everyone worked to dig the downed plane from the ice. When they opened the hatch Tony dropped down inside, feeling the ice crack a little under his weight. Two of the others joined him and they moved cautiously deeper into the plane.

 

“Sir.” A flashlight beam locked onto an object and Tony grinned.

 

“Cut it free.” He ordered, moving towards the front and then he saw it, a frozen section near the pilots’ seat. He walked closer and knelt down, brushing away at loose ice until his gloved hand brushed something else. He yanked the glove off and hesitantly touched what he had found, unsurprisingly the hand was ice cold but…. “He’s got a pulse!” He called out. “Get medical and cutting equipment down here now!” he yelled. Soon the cockpit was swarming as they went to work cutting him out of the ice and prepping him for transport, ensuring he remained frozen for now as it was safer while travelling. They went topside and got the Captain stored before getting ready to leave, leaving most of the expedition behind to salvage the plane and any Hydra tech on board.

 

They flew right threw to California and then transferred the Captain to his Malibu mansion. Once safely ensconced within the medical team took full control, working to melt the ice and warm him while hopefully doing no damage.

 

“How is he?”

 

“Impossibly alive. Seventy years in the ice should have killed him, hell the crash should have killed him. Only thing we can think to blame is the Serum, somehow its kept him alive all this item and even now it’s enabling us to thaw him with no damage.”

 

“How long till he’s awake?”

 

“Now that enough of him is free of the ice we have begun sedating him, waking during the process would most likely be painful not to mention highly disorientating. Once he’s thawed we will stop the sedation and after that it is up to him.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Tony sat beside the bed, staring at America’s first superhero while waiting for him to wake. The sedation had been stopped the day before and he knew how fast Cap could burn off medication. Sure enough he soon began to see signs of waking. “It’s alright Rogers, you’re safe. You’re back in America now.” He whispered softly over and over until finally blue eyes opened. “Hey, how do you feel?”

 

“Howard?” He asked groggily and Tony shook his head. Steve went to sit up and Tony piled some pillows behind him.

 

“Take it slow, you’ve been out for a while.”

 

“The war….”

 

“Over, we won.”

 

“Where am I?” The grogginess was wearing off very quickly now.

 

“Malibu California in my home.”

 

“Who are you?” Steve demanded, glancing around the rather bland room.

 

“Tony Stark, Howard…. Was my Father. I’m sorry Cap, but it took us a long time to find you.” The medics had wanted him to lie, to take things much slower but he knew how well that had worked for SHIELD.

 

“How long?” Steve demanded and Tony ran a hand through his hair.

 

“It’s 2009 now Captain.” He handed over the mornings paper and Steve took it, glancing over the headlines as he took in the date.

 

“This could be faked.”

 

“True. Jarvis, blinds please.” He ordered and Steve jumped as the blinds opened to reveal a nice view of the sea where a massive cargo ship could be seen in the distance. “My Father spent years looking for you, it was thanks to his notes I found you. He spoke very highly of you Captain.”

 

“And?”

 

“And nothing, I went out thinking I’d be bringing your body back for burial. Not sure what to do with the fact you’re alive. You can go to the government if you want or learn to fit in and then vanish. It’s your life. They say Hydra fell shortly after you went into the ice, I’m not sold on that considering some things I’ve found over the years. But you’re war is over. There’s other threats, there’ll always be threats, doesn’t mean they’re your responsibility.”

 

“If Hydra’s still out there it isn’t.”

 

“Had a feeling you’d say that.” Tony grinned and Steve nodded. Tony stood and Steve frowned at the glow through his shirt.

 

“What’s that?” He asked and Tony glanced down. “Miniaturised arc reactor. Keeps the shrapnel from tearing my heart to shreds.” He shrugged and Steve’s eyes widened, they could do that now?

 

“Shrapnel, you served?”

 

Tony shook his head. “Same as Dad, I make weapons for the US military. Was in Afghanistan on a demonstration when our convoy was hit. They’re called the Ten Rings and they wanted my weapons. So they stuck me in a cave with equipment and told me to build, they just didn’t like what I built.” He smirked and Steve grinned, well able to understand what Tony had done to his captors. Only an idiot locks a weapons maker away with equipment to make weapons.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“This is amazing.”

 

Tony looked up and grinned, getting Jarvis to let Steve into the lab. “Thanks. Careful what you touch.”

 

Steve nodded and wandered around, keeping his hands to himself as he looked at tech that would have made Howard drool. It was hard, accepting everything he knew was gone but being in Tony’s lab helped make it really real, so had their trip into LA the other day. So much had changed since he had…slept. And he still wasn’t entirely sure what to do now. He looked over and then moved closer as Tony worked. “What is that?”

 

“Armour.” He answered. “Okay Jarvis, go ahead and get started on the Mark III.”

 

“Of course sir. Oh and remember Miss Potts returns today.”

 

“Thank you Jarvis.” He spun around to face Steve, enlarging the schematics. “Started off making armour for motorcycle riders and then Afghanistan happened and armour was how I got out, the Mark I. The Mark II I used to take out some Ten Rings foot soldiers in a little town called Gulmira. Government can’t get to these monsters but I can.” He shrugged, flashing up the news footage that had sent him to the village and Steve’s hand clenched in anger.

 

“It’s flight capable?”

 

“Yeah, now that I’ve fixed the icing problem and worked on the materials I can even leave the atmosphere briefly.”

 

“Incredible.” And he’d thought Hydra had been advanced, Tony blew them out of the water. “So how can I help?”

 

“You serious?”

 

“Yes. I hate bullies.”

 

Tony grinned. “Okay then. Your shield is in the storage cabinet over there, guess you’re going to need it.” Steve went and got it out, smiling as he slipped his arm into the strap. “How attached are you to the old uniform?”

 

“Not incredibly.”

 

Tony opened a new file and went to work, designing armour for Steve that wouldn’t impinge his movement but would give him protection and allow him to keep up. A flying Captain America would be very fun.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Soon whispers began of two armoured men, taking the fight to the Ten Rings and other terrorist groups. Rhodey took a look at some footage and kept his mouth shut, choosing friendship over the military. Besides, Tony had Captain America with him! no way was he turning them in for doing what they all wanted to do.

 

Stark Industries simply denied anything to do with the armour, they made light weight, low tech stuff to keep people safe, not weaponised suites.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Hey Jarvis, lights.” Tony called as he and Steve walked into the mansion after their latest trip but there was no response and the ex-soldier tensed, ready for a fight as he spotted the man by the doors to the balcony. Tony followed his gaze and frowned, moving over to a wall panel to grab a weapon, he wasn’t as good in a fight as Steve after all. “Who are you?” he growled, Jarvis better be alright.

 

“Tony Stark and Steve Rogers. You think you’re the only heroes out there?” he stepped into view and Tony frowned.

 

“Fury…I’ve seen your photo in some of my Dad’s later stuff, you looked better with hair.” Tony snarked and heard Steve chuckle.

 

“Well these days I am the Director of SHIELD.”

 

“SHIELD… so someone finally shortened the name. So what brings you by?”

 

“The two of you are making some considerable waves.”

 

“Don’t know what you’re talking about.”

 

“So you deny being who the media have begun dubbing Iron Man?”

 

“Catchy.” He leant against the couch and Steve stood mirroring him further in the room, boxing Fury between them and the man obviously knew it.

 

“Mr. Stark, Captain Rogers, you've become part of a bigger universe. Sooner or later people will work out who is behind those suits.”

 

“So?” Steve asked, he didn’t care. He’d been Captain America before; he could do it again.

 

“I'm here to talk to you about the Avenger Initiative.” He answered, not noticing the satisfied smirk on Tony’s face.

 

TBC…? Think it needs a part 3? Or do I end it there and let you imagine what else might change?

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: Not mine

So I decided on a part 3 at least. Enjoy.

 

I Am Iron Man Part 3

 

“What’s up Tony?” Steve asked as he put some toast on, breathing slightly heavily from his morning run.

 

“Apparently an old satellite crashed in New Mexico, not far from a town.” So Thor had finally been banished. He hid a grin at Steve’s causal speech, he’d picked up the more modern English use rather quickly this time.

 

“It didn’t hit anyone?”

 

“Not according to this.” He skimmed the article and then moved on. “Anything interesting Jarvis?”

 

“It appears no Sir. Perhaps a day at the office?” The AI offered and Steve snickered even as Tony groaned before sighing.

 

“Fine, tell Pepper I’m coming in so to schedule anything important.”

 

“Of course sir.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Tony smiled and waved at the press as the cameras flashed before heading inside, Steve a silent shadow at his shoulder, dressed as SI security. It was amazing how little work it took to keep people from recognising America’s first superhero. They walked into the hall and Tony removed his sunglasses to look around. Science expos were always interesting places to see who was trying to catch up to his work or even pass it. But he was at this one for a very specific reason, Pepper would never know the pain of Extremis, Killian would never create the Mandarin and kill so many. He walked towards the AIM area, seeing the man himself showing off what his think tank had created.

 

“Agents.” Steve murmured and Tony looked over to see the FBI approaching the stand, smothering a smirk as Killian and his people were swiftly arrested and everything seized. Well, most of everything, Jarvis had already cracked their computers and taken everything on Extremis and several other questionable projects, not wanting any secret Hydra agents getting their hands on it. Besides, stabilised Extremis could prove very useful, especially once they found a certain Soldier.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Sir, I believe this may be of interest.” Jarvis announced and they both turned as the screen turned on to breaking news.

 

“Culver University.” Tony identified the campus easily, he’d been there before after all.

 

“What is the military doing there?” his question was answered a second later as the shaking image revealed the Hulk.

 

“Jarvis fire up the armour!” Tony yelled as they bolted for the lab. “We need to get him away from the army, get him calmed down.”

 

“Agreed.” Steve stepped onto the platform and his dark blue and silver armour quickly covered him before they took off at top speed. But it wasn’t enough and by the time they arrived the Hulk was gone, leaving destroyed machinery and scattered soldiers behind. “What do you want to do?”

 

“Scan those tanks, they don’t look normal.” They scanned everything and then left before they were noticed.

 

As the armour was removed Steve looked to his friend. “What was all that about?” He demanded so Tony sat down and told him everything he knew of Doctor Bruce Banner.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

The two armoured figures came out of nowhere, hitting the base hard and fast before the soldiers had any time to sound the alarm or really fight back. “What is this place?” Steve shivered despite the climate controlled armour as they walked through the corridors, moving ever deeper.

 

“It is listed as storage on the manifest I found Captain.” Jarvis answered.

 

“Well I found a massive file room.” Tony’s voice answered from the other side of the underground silo. “There’s stuff here dated back to the War.”

 

“Tony…. you need to see this.” Steve stared in horrified shock at the tubes of frozen people. He stepped out of his armour, glad the Mark 5 didn’t need help to be removed. He looked around and then moved to the middle where there was a solid metal door with a small view window. He looked in and froze in horror. “No…”

 

“Steve? Hey, talk to me Cap.” Tony called as he flew through the halls to where Steve was. He landed and removed his armour, walking up to look inside. “Steve?”

 

“Bucky…. it’s Bucky.” He began looking for a way to open it but Tony stopped him.

 

“Hey! Slow down and think Steve. You can’t just open that thing, you’ll kill him. first we need to find any files on him and the others here, look at what’s been done to them. Then we look at getting them help, okay?” He gripped Steve’s shoulders, meeting panicked blue until Steve slowly relaxed and nodded.

 

“You’re right.”

 

“Of course I am. Now let’s get to work.” They worked as quickly but thoroughly as possible, not knowing when someone would decide to check on the base. Watching the available footage on the training was brutal and left them with a moral dilemma. They had volunteered for this, they had wanted to be better soldiers for Hydra and then the serum had driven them mad.

 

“Like Red Skull.” Steve murmured. “The serum amplifies everything, good becomes great, bad becomes worse.”

 

“So do we pull the plug?” Tony asked and Steve hesitated.

 

“We do that…a case could be made to do the same for Bucky.”

 

“No one’s making cases Steve, he didn’t volunteer. He was a POW and they tortured him.”

 

“He killed your parents.”

 

“Hydra killed my parents. I’ll make it easy for you, I’ll make the call.” Tony stepped back into his armour and then blasted the power system for the tanks. But Steve had survived defrosting so he took a deep breath and armed the mini missiles he carried, aiming at each tank. Steve watched as his friend destroyed Hydra’s soldiers. “Now let’s get him out of here.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

He stared down at the medical bed where Bucky lay, heavily sedated even as his body defrosted. Knowing how bad his mental state was he slipped into the unconscious soldiers’ mind and went to work, ensuring Steve got his best friend back. “Jarvis?”

 

“Yes sir.”

 

“Begin synthesising the stabilised Extremis and add it to his IV when done.”

 

“Are you sure Sir?”

 

“Yes.” He then grabbed his equipment and went to work removing the monstrous prosthetic. He heard Steve come down at some point and take a seat to quietly watch as he worked to remove Hydra’s taint from Bucky. The arm was truly a horror with the way it was welded into his shoulder and upper chest. Then there were the pouches of drugs in it fed into his veins. Finally, the last part came free even as the Extremis was added to the IV and they watched with bated breath until his veins seemed to glow with inner fire. Steve actually gasped as they watched Bucky’s arm regrow in seconds. “Vitals?”

 

“Stable Sir.”

 

“It worked.”

 

“Of course it did.” Tony smirked and Steve shook his head.

 

“So why haven’t you used it? The suit doesn’t need your reactor as mine proves.”

 

“I…” Tony blinked, he hadn’t even thought of that. “Huh.”

 

“You forgot didn’t you?”

 

“Maybe.” His answer made Steve laugh but he fell silent as Bucky groaned, eyelids fluttering.

 

“Bucky? Can you hear me?” Steve called and slowly blue eyes opened. “Buck can you hear me.” Steve moved into sight, hoping he would recognise him.

 

He blinked and the world came into focus, he was warm, so warm…. wasn’t it meant to be cold? He focused as he heard a voice, staring at the man there. He was talking, his voice low and warm, but that wasn’t right, was it? Was he one of them? He shifted slightly and then frowned, he was being held down. He slowly lifted an arm and then moved his fingers.

 

“Give him a few minutes. I don’t know what effect Extremis will have on what they did to his mind.” But it would be a nice cover for what he had done.

 

He saw the second man and groaned, hands moving to his head. Who were they? Who was he?

 

“Easy Bucky.” Steve called softly, moving a little closer to the bed.

 

He blinked and lowered his hands. Bucky? Who was…. Bucky, he was Bucky. He knew the man standing there, he knew him! “Steve.” He whispered, voice rusty and unused but Steve heard and moved to his side, slowly reaching out his hand so Bucky raised his to clasp them together.

 

“You know me?” he asked and Bucky nodded.

 

“Punk.”

 

That made Steve laugh even as he got him a glass of water. Steve helped him sit up and then passed the glass to him. “How do you feel?” Steve perched cautiously on the edge of the bed, overjoyed Bucky recognised him, knew him still.

 

Bucky sipped the cool water, it felt utterly heavenly as it slid down his throat. How did he feel? Thinking was hard, everything was muffled and heavy. What had happened? Where? “Where?” he asked.

 

“California, you’re home in America Buck.”

 

Home? He was home, with Steve.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“You look like him.” Tony turned from the window to see Bucky watching him. He looked a lot better now, the picture of health, thanks to Extremis. His memories were still rather scattered but at least Hydra’s control was gone and he had ensured the memories of the Winter Soldier would while still there they would have no real emotional toll on the poor man.

 

“Howard.” Tony said and Bucky nodded. “I’ve been told I look a lot like him.”

 

“I killed him…. didn’t I?”

 

“The Winter Soldier killed my parents, not you Bucky.” Tony stated firmly, he would not have the other man fall into guilt over his previous actions. Steve walked down the stairs and Bucky immediately focused on him, Steve being near made it easier to remember. “I’m going to need your help with something.” They both looked at Tony and he tapped his chest where the glow of the arc reactor was. “You were right Steve, if Extremis can fix this then I need to do it. This is too easy a target.”

 

“You sure?”

 

“No, but I’m doing it anyway.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Tony lay on the table with the IV already in place, leads on his chest to monitor his vitals. The bag glowed an orangey red from the liquid inside even as Tony breathed deeply, it wasn’t like this would kill him but there was still so much that needed doing in this world.

 

“Ready?” Steve asked in concern.

 

“Do it.” He whispered, closing his eyes even as Steve reached down to his chest.

 

Bucky watched in avid fascination as Steve carefully removed the arch reactor and then the chamber that housed it, both staring in shock at the deep hole in Tony’s chest. Was that his heart beating away? They’d both seen their share of wounds over the years but this felt even more horrifying for the precision of the wound. They were brought out of their shock when Tony gasped and his heart skipped a beat. Steve quickly started the IV, watching as Extremis flooded into Tony’s veins. Would it work? Would it destroy the shrapnel that was quickly moving into Tony’s heart? But ever so slowly his heart strengthened instead of slowing and his face relaxed from the pained look.

 

“Tony?”

 

He opened his eyes and grinned at Steve. “Well, that was an experience.” He sat up and Steve grabbed his shoulder to steady him. They all stared as the hole in his chest healed over quickly and then Tony cautiously touched the new flesh. “Very good.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Fury read over the reports and frowned. Keeping any sort of surveillance on the Malibu mansion and its occupants had become impossible and it was frustrating. Stark had changed the board and both sides were scrambling to keep up with him and Rogers as they took out any threat, not just to America, but to any civilians. And recently a third figure in black and silver armour had joined them, one they had no information on at all, not even a name. the mess in New Mexico was still unresolved as Thor had never returned although Foster’s work appeared to be coming along. Selvig had also been a good choice to recruit to work on the Tesseract. Stark was the only real name in clean energy and if he was more controllable he would have had him brought in on it but he was too much a wild card to trust with it.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Hey Pepper.” Tony greeted as she walked into his office.

 

“Tony, got bored at home?” She asked and then froze, frowning. Something was…. “The reactor, it’s gone?”

 

“Yep.” He tapped his chest, grinning happily.

 

“Good. You forget, I’ve seen your doctors bill. No more chest infections?”

 

“None, it’s all healed.”

 

“I don’t want to know how.” She put the files on his desk. “The sale has been finalised, you now own a whole block in New York City.”

 

“Good. Here’s the preliminary plans, send them off to be okayed please.” He sent the plans to her tablet.

 

“Anything else Mr Stark?”

 

“That’s all Miss Potts. Oh, have a nice date tonight.” He grinned and she blushed slightly but nodded and left.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

The Other knelt before the thrown. “The Tesseract has awakened. It is on a little world. A human world. They would wield its power,” He watched on as the Sceptre was handed to Loki. “But our ally knows its workings as they never will. He is ready to lead. And our force, our Chitauri, will follow. The world will be his. The universe yours. And the humans, what can they do but burn?” below the army stood in ranks, ready for the invasion.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“This is out of line, Director. You're dealing with forces you can't control.” One of the World Security Members berated him.

 

Fury remained unmoved, maybe they would be more intimidating if he could see their faces? “You ever been in a war, Councilman? In a firefight? Did you feel an overabundance of control?”

 

“You saying that this Asgard has declared war on our planet?”

 

“Not Asgard. Loki.” He clarified. If Asgard had declared war he had no doubt they’d all be dead already, they had no defence against another world attacking.

 

“He can't be working alone. What about the other one? His brother.” The sole woman asked.

“Our intelligence says, Thor is not a hostile. But he's worlds away, we can't depend on him to help. It's up to us.”

 

“Which is why you should be focusing on phase 2, it was designed for exactly...”

 

“PHASE 2 isn't ready, our enemy is. We need a response team.” The Director argued, there were times he really hated the Council, how did Pierce deal with them so often?

 

“The Avengers Initiative was shut down.”

 

“This isn't about The Avengers.”

 

“We're running the world's greatest covert security network and you're gonna leave the fate of human race to a handful of freaks.”

 

“I'm not leaving anything to anyone. We need a response team. These people maybe fairly isolated, unbalanced even, but I believe with the right push they can be exactly what we need.”

 

“You believe?” She asked.

 

“War isn't won by sentiment, Director.”

 

“No, it's won by soldiers.” He cut the connection and sighed, it was time SHIELD got Stark and his friends on side.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Out in the Atlantic Ocean, Iron Man worked on cutting a pipeline with a laser cutter coming from his hand. He then placed a device around the thick lines and it lit up. He rocketed up from the water and sped towards the still under construction Stark Tower. “You're good on this end. The rest is up to you.”

“You disconnected the transition lines? Are we off the grid?” Steve asked over the comm, sounding excited.

 

“Stark Tower is about to become a beacon of self-sustaining clean energy.” Tony grinned inside the suite.

 

“Wow. So the reactor’s going to take over and work?” Bucky asked as he watched the screens with Steve.

 

“I assume. Light her up.” Tony ordered as he came into sight of their new home. The power switched on and the name STARK lit up as the tower came to life.

 

“How does it look?” They both asked.

 

“Like Christmas, but with more... me.” Tony laughed as he moved towards the landing platform.

 

“Pepper wants to go wider on the public awareness campaign. You need to do some press.” Steve pointed out as Tony landed and his suit pulled away from his body.

 

“Steve, you're killing me. Remember? Enjoy the moment.” Tony pouted as he walked inside and Steve grinned.

 

“Sir, Agent Coulson of SHIELD is on the line.” Jarvis butted in and Tony groaned.

“Levels are holding steady... I think.” Bucky called as he watched the monitors.

 

“Of course they are, I was directly involved. Which brings me to my next question: how does it feel to be a genius?” he asked the two soldiers who shrugged.

 

“Sir, the telephone. I'm afraid my protocols are being overwritten.”

 

“Stark, we need to talk.” Coulson’s voice came over the phone. “This is urgent.” He stated as the elevator doors opened to reveal Agent Coulson. Bucky froze but it was too late to bolt even as the Agent spotted him and his eyes went wide. Longer hair and more stubble or not, as a Captain America fan he recognised Sergeant Barnes immediately. “Mr. Stark.” He forced himself to look at the billionaire and not the two living legends. “We need you to look this over.” He held out a file towards Tony but Steve stepped in and took it.

 

“Official consulting hours are between eight and five every other Thursday.”

 

“This isn't a consultation.”

 

“Is this about The Avengers? Which I... I know nothing about.” Bucky asked quietly.

 

“The Avengers Initiative was scrapped, I thought. And I didn't even qualify.” He took the file from Steve and absently began looking, moving towards the monitors as he did. “Apparently I'm volatile, self-obsessed, don't play well with others.”

 

“This isn't about personality profiles anymore.” Coulson admitted.

 

“What is all of this?” Steve asked as he looked over Tony’s shoulder.

 

“This is, uh...” Tony flicked the profiles up into floating holographic form and Steve grimaced at seeing his own up there. “This.” There was also the Culver University footage of Banner as well as Loki and the Tesseract. Oh joy. Bucky joined them and Phil slipped away, he had to tell Fury who wore the Black Iron Armour was. The names they’d been given by the public annoyed him a bit Iron Man, the Iron Soldier and then Black Iron. Did the press have no imagination anymore?

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Loki slowly walked out and materialised his gold armour and helmet. The police arrived and with no hesitation, he blasted the cars, flipping them over and over. “Kneel before me.” The crowd ignored him. Another Loki appeared, blocking the crowd. Loki after Loki appeared, they all grinned as they raised their spears, encircling the crowd. “I said. KNEEL!!!” Everyone became quiet and knelt in front him. Loki stretched his arms out, smiling. “Is not this simpler? Is this not your natural state? It's the unspoken truth of humanity, that you crave subjugation. The bright lure of freedom diminishes your life's joy in a mad scramble for power, for identity. You were made to be ruled. In the end, you will always kneel.” As the words resonated to the kneeling crowd, an elderly man stood, refusing to kneel

 

“Not to men like you.” He stated in a heavy German accent.

 

“There are no men like me.’

 

“There are always men like you.”

 

“Look to your elder, people. Let him be an example.” Loki was about to execute him with his sceptre as the light glowed blue. Just as the energy beam shot out an armoured figure dropped in front of the old man, deflecting the beam back at Loki.

 

“You know, the last time I was in Germany and saw a man standing above everybody else, we ended up disagreeing.” Steve stated through the mask, letting Jarvis use the suite to scan the alien Prince.

 

“The soldier. A man out of time.”

 

“I'm not the one who's out of time.” He stated as two more armoured figures appeared, aiming their weapons at him.

 

“Loki, drop the weapon and stand down.” Bucky commanded firmly.

 

Loki sent a blast up, scattering the two men even as Steve flung his shield at Loki. Loki flung the Captain to the ground, Steve then threw his shield, but Loki swatted it way. Steve fought hard but even with the suite Loki was the better fighter and soon the Sceptre was levelled at his head. “Kneel.”

 

“Not today!” Steve flipped and kicked out with his legs but Loki managed to grab him again.

 

“He’s all over the place.” Bucky snapped as he tried to get a clean shot.

 

Tony finally reappeared from where he’d been driven into a building by that blast. At a better angle then Bucky he sent a blast into Loki that sent him to the ground as they both landed, all three aiming every bit of weaponry they had at the downed alien. “Make your move, Reindeer Games.” Loki put up his hands and surrendered, his armour fading away. “Good move.” He commented as a Quinjet appeared above them. “Welcome to the party Agents.” He called out as it landed and Natasha appeared, dressed in her normal skin-tight uniform, not that they’d met yet.

 

“Mr. Stark. I’m Agent Romanoff, SHIELD. Captain, Sergeant.” She tossed over some heavy duty cuffs and they put them on Loki before loading him into the jet and taking off. She stayed at the front while the three men kept watch over the prisoner. Thunder rumbled in the distance as she put her headset on and called Fury to update him.

 

“Said anything?”

 

“Not a word.”

 

“Just get him here. We're low on time.” With that Fury cut off communications and she pushed the speed up more.

 

“I don't like it.” Steve whispered. They’d stepped free of their armour for the moment, it was comfortable yes, it had to be, but that didn’t mean they wanted to live in it.

 

“What? Rock of Ages giving up so easily?”

 

“I don't remember it being ever that easy. This guy packs a wallop.’

 

“There’s no way there isn’t a plan.” Bucky agreed before grabbing on as the jet shook, thunder rumbling right over head as lightning flashed.            

 

“Where's this coming from?” Natasha murmured, looking around even as Loki stared out the window intently.

 

“What's the matter? Scared of a little lightning?” Bucky asked.

 

“I'm not overly fond of what follows.” He admitted and the three men frowned before stepping back into their suites even as blinding light hit the jet. The ramp suddenly opened and a man in a red cape grabbed Loki before flying out.

 

“Now there's that guy.”

 

“Another Asgardian?” Natasha yelled back over the wind.

 

“Think the guy's a friendly?” Steve asked as his faceplate dropped down.

 

“Doesn't matter. If he frees Loki or kills him, the Tesseract's lost.” He leapt out and took off after Thor.

 

“I'd sit this one out, Cap.” Natasha called as he and Bucky moved to follow.

 

“I don't see how we can.”

 

“These guys come from legends, they're basically gods.”

 

“There's only one God, ma'am. And I'm pretty sure he doesn't dress like that.” The two men jumped from the plane and let Jarvis lead them to Tony.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Thor threw Loki into the side of the mountain. He looked down at his brother, who he thought to be dead, and was angry to see him alive in this fashion. Didn’t he know how they had mourned him? “Where is the Tesseract?”

 

Loki laughed. “I missed you too.”

 

“Do I look to be in a gaming mood?!”

 

“Oh, you should thank me. With the Bifrost gone how much dark energy did the Allfather have to muster to conjure you here? Your precious Earth.” He taunted and Thor dropped Mjolnir, causing the mountain to quake. He picked up Loki. His brother. Although Thor was enraged by what he had done, he was still his brother, even if not by blood. Why would he care if Loki was a Frost Giant when they had played together as children?

 

“I thought you dead.”

 

“Did you mourn?”

 

“We all did. Our father...”

 

“Your father. He did tell you my true parentage, did he not?” Loki spat and Thor let him go, moving away before he did something he would regret.

 

He took a deep breath and then turned back and crouched over where Loki lay, his hand going to his shoulder. “We were raised together, we played together, we fought together. Do you remember none of that?” had his mind become so ensnared by madness he didn’t remember how close they had been.

 

Loki pushed him back and scrambled up. “I remember a shadow. Living in the shade of your greatness. I remember you tossing me into an abyss. I was and should be king!”

 

“So you take the world I love as recompense for your slights, imagined and real. No, the Earth is under my protection, Loki.”

 

“And you're doing a marvellous job with that. The humans slaughter each other in droves, while you idly threat. I mean to rule them. And why should I not?” Loki straightened his clothes.

 

“You think yourself above them.’

 

“Well, yes.”

 

“Then you miss the truth of ruling, brother. A throne would suit you ill.” He whispered sadly and Loki angrily shoved him aside.

         

He walked to the edge and looked out before looking back to Thor. “I've seen worlds you've never known about! I have grown, Odinson, in my exile! I have seen the true power of the Tesseract, and when I wield it...”

 

“Who showed you this power? Who controls the would-be-king?”

 

“I am a king!”

 

“Not here! You give up the Tesseract! You give up this poisonous dream! You come home.” He pleaded with him, wanting his brother back.

 

“I don't have it. You need the cube to bring me home, but I've sent it off I know not where.”

 

Mjölnir flew back to Thor’s grasp and he went to speak but then Tony landed. “This is beyond you, metal man. Loki will face Asgardian justice!” Thor snarled at the newcomer and Tony shrugged.

 

“He gives up the Cube, he's all yours.”

 

Thor raised his hammer only for a Shield to ricochet between them.

 

“Hey! That's enough!” Steve called as he and Bucky landed. “Now, I don't know what you plan on doing here.”

“I've come here to put an end to Loki's schemes!”

 

“Then prove it! Put the hammer down.”

 

“Um, yeah, no! Bad call! He loves his hammer!”

 

Thor backhanded Tony into the side of the mountain and then raised the hammer. “You want me to put the hammer down?” he leapt into the air even as Bucky leapt off the mountain to cling to the side and tony dropped off the other side to do the same, the suites could take a lot of voltage but neither wanted to test them.

 

Steve crouched and raised his shield. The shockwave sent Loki flying off the mountain and Bucky jumped after him, grapping him and holding him against the mountain as debris rained down around them. He pulled Loki back up as it settled and found Tony already back up there, standing protectively over the downed Steve who flipped his faceplate up to stare at Thor. “Are we done here?” he panted.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“As soon as Loki took the doctor we moved Jane Foster. We've got an excellent observatory and she was asked to consult there very suddenly yesterday. Handsome fee, private plane, very remote. She'll be safe.” Phil assured Thor when he caught him looking at Dr Foster’s photo.

 

“Thank you. It's no accident Loki taking Erik Selvig. I dread what he plans for him once he's done. Erik is a good man.”

 

“He talks about you a lot. You changed his life. You changed everything around here.”

 

“They were better as they were. We pretend on Asgard that we're more advanced, but we...we come here battling like Bilgesnipe.

 

“Like what?”

 

“Bilgesnipe. You know; huge, scaly, big antlers. You don't have those?”

 

“Don't think so.’

 

“They are repulsive, and they trample everything in their path.” Thor walked over to the side of the ship and looked out the window, he couldn’t figure Loki’s game out. Why had he allowed the mortals to capture him and bring him here? “When I first came to earth, Loki's rage followed me here and your people paid the price. And now again. In my youth I courted war.”

 

“War hasn't started yet.” Fury butted in, standing on the next level above them. “You think you can make Loki tell us what the Tesseract is?”

 

“I do not know. Loki's mind is far afield, it's not just power he craves, it's vengeance upon me. There's no pain that would prize his need from him.”

 

“A lot of guys think that, until the pain starts.” Fury disagreed.

 

“What are you asking me to do?” the Prince demanded, heart heavy.

 

“I'm asking. What are you prepared to do?”

 

“Loki is a prisoner.” There were rules of war on treatment of prisoners, surely Midgard had such things too.

 

“Then why do I feel like he's the only person on this boat that wants to be here?” Fury asked but received no answer.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Bucky ran through the halls, armour secure as the helicarrier shook and tilted. Steve and Tony were working to keep them in the air, he had to ensure the prisoner was secure.

 

“The humans think us immortal. Should we test that?” The suit and his own enhanced senses allowed him to hear, even if faintly, what was being said in the cell room. He heard weapons fire and then silence as he poured on the speed.

 

“Move away, please.” That was Coulson and he was obviously armed, good. “You like this? We started working on the prototype after you sent The Destroyer. Even I don't know what it does. Do you wanna find out?” As Coulson finished Bucky rounded the corner and saw Loki appear behind the man, weapon extending. A small missile jumped from his suite to impact the spear, throwing its aim off so that it went through the Agent’s shoulder rather than his chest. Coulson went down and Bucky vaulted over the controls, opening the cell to release Thor who immediately took on his brother while Bucky moved Coulson to relative safety.

 

“Stay with me.” He muttered as he ripped the man’s jacket up to make a bandage, trying to stem the bleeding. “I need medical, Coulson’s down.”

 

“Medical on the way.” Fury’s voice replied.

 

“Go…” Phil gasped in pain and Bucky looked up at the sound of feet, moving away as the medics moved in and soon carried Coulson away.

 

“Steve?”

 

“We’ve got this Bucky. Romanoff went after Barton.”

 

“On it.” He ran for the lower decks; he was definitely getting a lot of exercise this week. He felt Extremis warm him slightly as it worked to flush the weariness away from so much running. He’d read the data on the stuff and was glad Tony had refined it to where all it did was heal him and make him a bit stronger than the serum already had. He didn’t want to blow up or melt metal by touching it. He found Romanoff kneeling beside a downed man and she tensed but then relaxed as she recognised him. “Need help?”

 

“Can you carry him? we need to get him too medical.”

 

“Should he be restrained?”

 

“I don’t think so, Cognitive recalibration.” At the confused helmet tilt, she smiled slightly. “I hit him really hard in the head. After that he was confused but seemed himself.”

 

“Alright.” He lifted the unconscious man and followed her to sickbay.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Tony stood at the rail, staring at the bloodstain. It should have been so much worse; Phil should be dead but Bucky had saved him. he felt Steve walk into the room and look over as well.

 

“It’s the first time you nearly lost a soldier.” He whispered and Tony glared at him.

 

“WE ARE NOT SOLDIERS! I am not marching to Fury's fife!” he snarled in anger, he should have done more to change things.

 

“Neither am I! He's got the same blood on his hands as Loki does. Right now we've got to put that aside and get this done. Now Loki needs a power source, if we can put together a list...” Steve trailed off, knowing Tony needed something to focus that frightening intellect on, not taking the anger personally. He knew Tony better than anyone save Pepper and happy, Tony wasn’t mad at him but the situation.

 

“He made it personal.” He whispered, staring again at the wall.

 

“That's not the point.” Steve shook his head but Tony turned to him, grinning slightly.

 

“That is the point. That's Loki's point. He hit us all right where we live. Why?”

 

“To tear us apart.”

 

“But he knows he has to take us out to win, right? That's what he wants. He wants to beat us and he wants to be seen doing it. He wants an audience.”

 

“Right, I caught his act at Stuttgart.”

 

“Yeah. That's just a preview, this is opening night. Loki's a full-tilt diva.” He rambled, waving a hand in the air. “He wants flowers, he wants parades, he wants a monument built in the skies with his name plastered...” he blinked and Steve frowned as he realised where this was going. “Sonofabitch!”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Sir, I took off the arc reactor. The device is already self-sustained. All people inside have been directed to the safe room and locked within.”

 

“Good. Shut it down, Dr. Selvig.” He called as he came up to the roof where the doctor was working.

 

“It's too late! It can't stop now. He wants to show us something! A new universe.”

 

“Okay.” He took a shot, wondering if the slightly more advanced armour would make a dent. Selvig was thrown back by the blast that rocked Tony back a bit as well.

 

“The barrier is pure energy. It's unbreachable. The Mark VIII is not ready to be deployed.” He warned as Tony landed on the platform and stared inside to where Loki awaited.

 

“We're on the clock.” He walked into the penthouse and was greeted by a smiling Loki, holding the Sceptre.

 

“Please tell me you're going to appeal to my humanity.” Loki watched as Tony moved behind the bar, not seeing him place a bracelet on each wrist.

 

“Uh...actually, I'm planning to threaten you.” He shrugged as he pulled down two glasses.

 

“You should have left your armour on for that.”

 

He shrugged. “Yeah, it's seen a bit of mileage. You've got the blue stick of destiny. Would you like a drink?”

 

“Stalling me won't change anything.”

 

“No, no, no! Threatening. No drink? You sure? I'm having one.” He was quoting his Tony word for word, he’d seen Jarvis’ recording of the event several times after all and the encounter had always amused him.

 

“The Chitauri are coming, nothing will change that. What have I to fear?”

 

“The Avengers.” He stated and Loki looked at him in confusion. “It's what we call ourselves, sort of like a team. `EARTH'S MIGHTIEST HEROES' type of thing.”

 

“Yes, I've met them.” Loki sneered.

 

Tony smiled. “Yeah, takes us a while to get any traction, I'll give you that one.”

 

“But, let's do a head count here. Your brother, the demi-God; two super soldiers with advanced armour, a living legend who kind of lives up to the legend; a man with breath-taking anger management issues; a couple of master assassins, and you, big fella, you've managed to piss off every single one of them.”

 

“That was the plan.”

 

“Not a great plan. When they come, and they will, they'll come for you.”

   

“I have an army.”

 

“We have a Hulk.” He stepped away from the bar, sipping some whiskey.

 

“I thought the beast had wandered off.”

 

“You're missing the point. There's no throne, there is no version of this, where you come out on top. Maybe your army comes and maybe it's too much for us, but it's all on you. Because if we can't protect the Earth, you can be damned well sure we'll avenge it.”

 

Loki slowly approached and raised the Sceptre. “How will your friends have time for me, when they're so busy fighting you?” Loki taps Tony on the chest with the sceptre and Tony smirked as it began spreading but then his veins lit with burning red energy, stopping the power in its tracks. So he tried again and still it stopped. “It should work.”

 

“Well, performance issues. You know?” He smirked as the orange light faded from his eyes. In anger, Loki grabbed Tony by the throat and flung him across the room. “Jarvis. Anytime now.” Loki grabbed Tony by the throat again.

 

“You will all fall before me.” Loki snarled before throwing him out the window and Tony fell towards the ground. From behind Loki an elevator opened and a red pod shot out, knocking him down before going over the balcony. Lasers lined up with Tony’s bracelets and the pod broke up, pieces moving to latch onto Tony. It formed and he began flying, just missing impact with the ground. Iron Man appeared in the window and Loki sneered angrily.

 

“And there's one other person you pissed off! His name is Phil.” Iron Man fired as Loki raised the sceptre, knocking the god on his butt.

 

Selvig looked up at the sky, the Tesseract's energy beamed into the sky. The beam then formed a vortex, which then opened up. A hole in space ripped open, and from it, the Chitauri army spilled out on flying chariots.

 

“Right. Army.” Tony muttered before going to work.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Stark, you hearing me? We have a missile headed straight for the city.” Fury called over the comm.

 

“How long?” Tony demanded.

 

“Three minutes, at best.”

 

“Jarvis, put everything we got into the thrusters!” Tony ordered as he was surrounded.

 

“I just did.” At Jarvis’ assurance he took off.

 

“I can close it! Can anybody hear me? I can shut the portal down!” Widow called as she held the sceptre in place.

 

“Do it!” Steve yelled.

 

“No, wait!”

 

“Tony, these things are still coming!”

 

“I got a nuke coming in, it's gonna blow in less than a minute. And I know just where to put it.” He answered. He caught up to the missile and moved to come in from behind. He grabbed it, gripping tightly and it took everything he had to wrench it off course and upwards. Steering from behind he headed straight for the portal.

 

“Tony, you know that's a one-way trip?” Bucky called, glancing up.

 

“Save the rest for return, J.” He ordered so they could hear, this suit could withstand vacuum for a short amount of time, hopefully long enough.

 

“Sir. Shall I call Miss Potts?” she was the only one not there after all.

 

“You might as well.” But there was no answer as he flew higher and higher until finally he flew through it and out into space, communications cutting out immediately. He aimed the missile and let go, watching it fly towards the waiting armada. He could feel the cold seeping in as he hung there and he forced himself to turn back towards the portal, giving it everything he had left until the power failed.

 

The army began collapsing even as Widow waiting, holding the sceptre in place. “Come on, Stark...”

 

“Close it.” Steve ordered thickly as he saw the approaching explosion. Without hesitation she pulled the sceptre out, shutting the power down. The portal quickly collapsed and Steve closed his eyes in grief, thankful for the helmet that hid his expression from everyone. “Jarvis?” He called.

 

“I am sorry Sir, all connection to Iron Man has been lost. Initiating contingency three. As of now Stark Industries is yours.”

 

The people began coming out from hiding, cheering, even as the remaining fighters gathered sadly, mourning one of their own even if only Steve and Bucky had truly known him.

 

The End….of this one.

 

 

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: Don’t own Harry Potter or Beauty and the Beast, any version.

 

Tale as Old as Time

 

Harry left his house to walk through the grass until he was on top of the hill overlooking the small town. It was…. quaint. Villeneuve was a very quiet town, even for Medieval France but he honestly couldn’t be bothered moving on, he figured it was a nice enough place for a holiday. And the townsfolk were pleasant enough, well most of them were. Besides, the lingering feel of powerful magic hovered all over the town and he was curious. He’d checked, no magic schools as he knew them existed here, so who was the magic user and what were they up to. He smiled as a familiar figure appeared in the distance, returning to his home to meet her. “Good morning Belle.”

 

“Good morning Monsieur Potter.” She smiled happily at one of the few who she actually considered a friend.

 

“Here are the books, three for you and three for Père Robert.”

 

“I don’t know what I’d do if it wasn’t for your library.”

 

“Die of boredom most likely. Maurice ready for the fair?”

 

“Almost, one last piece and he should be leaving later today.”

 

“Give him my best wishes. And you are welcome to join me for dinner tonight if you get lonely.”

 

“I might.” She smiled and left to deliver the books. She’d been wary of his attention at first, even though if she were to marry anyone here it would be him, but Harry had proven to be a good friend to them. He was a widower and he had admitted he wasn’t looking to marry again which made things easier. Though he would make a much better husband than Gaston.

 

He watched until she was safely within the town, withdrawing as he spotted the two approaching men on horseback, he had no desire to deal with that egotistical boy today. There was something really wrong with him, not to mention the war was over a long time ago…too long and that was when he felt like hitting his head against something hard. Temporal magic! That was what lingered over the town, but not Belle or her Father. Someone had locked the whole place into some sort of time loop but then left cracks for newcomers to slip through, including him. Then again if this was where he was meant to be then whichever entity in control of his life that wanted him there would have ensured he was there. He made himself breakfast before going to work tending his vegetables.

 

A few hours later he was surprised to see a horse and cart approaching so he put the hoe down and went out to meet it. “Maurice? Thought you were going to market.”

 

“I was hoping to speak with you first.”

 

“Of course.” Harry gently hitched Phillipe to the fence and led Maurice inside, serving tea and biscuits. “What can I help you with?”

 

“It’s Belle I am worried about.” Maurice admitted. “I am not getting any younger and she doesn’t fit here.”

 

“You’re worried about her should something happen to you. This town isn’t exactly welcoming of what they term spinsters.” Harry offered and Maurice nodded. “and then there’s Monsieur Gaston.”

 

“Belle will never agree to marry him.”

 

“Good for her.” Harry grinned and Maurice nodded before Harry sobered. “But Gaston is the hero of the town, he has the ear of everyone in power. He could make life very difficult for both of you.”

 

“Will you look after her?”

 

Harry blinked. “It would hardly be proper for me to bring her here, I live alone. Her reputation…”

 

“Would never survive.” Maurice sighed.

 

“I am a widower Maurice; I have no need to remarry…. but if it saves Belle I will ask her, should something happen to you.”

 

“Thank you Monsieur.” Maurice shook his hand.

 

“Better be off if you want to make the Market.”

 

“Of course, thank you.”

 

Harry followed him out and untied Phillipe from the fence. “Have a good time.” He called after Maurice as the man rode away.

 

And apparently this was a day for visitors as Belle ran in a few hours later, flushed and breathing heavily. “Belle?”

 

“That…. That”

 

“Gaston?”

 

“He asked me to marry him! Me! The wife of that boorish, brainless….”

 

“Idiot?” He offered with a smile and she huffed but joined him in the library, sitting before the fire. Harry poured tea and waited for her to calm, it was amazing how much she reminded him of Hermione…just with tamer hair and a greater liking for dresses, then again she didn’t have the option of jeans.

 

“He practically threatened me, Harry. Pointed out Agathe as what happens to spinsters here.” She dropped all formality in her agitation.

 

“It won’t happen to you Belle, your Father has many years left in him and even if he didn’t I wouldn’t allow you to be tossed out in the street.” He promised. “Now drink your tea, dinner will be in two hours.” He went back to sorting the new books and she picked one out to read, trying to forget all about Gaston. They had a nice meal, talking about the various books they’d read and some of the places Harry had seen in his travels before he escorted her home. “Now go on up to bed and forget all about the moron.”

 

“Thank you monsieur.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Picture it, LeFou. Rustic cabin, my latest kill roasting on the fire. Adorable children running around just as my love, rubs my tired feet. And what does Belle saying? 'I will never marry you, Gaston.'” Gaston spat as he stared into the fire.

 

“You know, there are other girls.” LeFou offered, turning Gaston’s chair slightly so he could see the three dark haired girls and Gaston snorted.

 

“A great hunter doesn't waste his time with rabbits.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

Belle smiled as she fed the chickens, she felt a lot better today after Harry’s promise and some sleep to calm down. Her Father would be back tomorrow, hopefully having sold everything and with her usual rose. Hearing a horse galloping in the lane she looked out, thinking maybe it was harry or Gaston but instead it was a riderless and cart-less Phillipe. “Phillipe! What are you doing here? Where's Papa? Where is he, Phillipe?” She ran up to the horse who was drinking deeply from the water trough. She grabbed his halter. “What happened? Oh, we have to find him, you have to take me to him!” She tucked her skirt into her waistband and mounted the still heavily breathing horse, turning him around.

 

She crested the hill, heading for the forest path and riding right past a startled Harry.

 

“Belle!” he yelled after her before going to the stable and saddling his own horse, taking off after her. He rode hard but then stopped as he came to a fork in the path, taking in the right side where it was apparently snowing in June, yeah, definitely magic at work. He went to turn onto the path only for Agathe to step into his way. “So you’re the one responsible for the magic on the town. What have you done?” He demanded.

 

“She will come to no harm, turn back, this is not your concern.”

 

“Maurice and Belle are my concern.” He dismounted to face her on even footing. “Whatever you’ve done they have no part in it.”

 

“Even to save many lives?” She asked and Harry glared at her.

 

“Death or Destiny obviously want me here.”

 

That shocked her and her eyes went to his forehead, looking for the symbol and there it was, a faded lightning bolt. This was Death’s Marked. Well…. she hadn’t seen this coming. This could destroy all her plans. So she drew him off the path and sat to explain.

 

“You…” harry closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “To punish one you have risked dooming hundreds! What happens to the village once the curse is set? Will you free them from this loop, let them remember those they’ve lost because of you?” he snarled.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Cogsworth, look! A beautiful girl!”

 

“Yes, I can see it's a beautiful girl, you fool! I've lost my hands, not my eyes.” He muttered back as they remained utterly still, watching the girl armed with a stick as she looked around warily.

 

“What if she is the one? The one who will break the spell?” Lumière asked excitedly and then they both fell silent as she looked their way.

 

“Hello? Who said that?” Belle tightened her grip on the piece of wood. “Papa?” she called several times until an echoing cough had her grabbing the candelabra and running up and up. “Papa!” She cast the candelabra aside and grasped his hands.

 

“Belle, you must leave here! This castle is alive!” he coughed.

 

“Your hands are freezing! I’ve got to get you out of here.” She looked for a way to open the door and then turned at a noise. “Who's there? Who are you?”

 

“Who are YOU?” the angry demand came from the shadows

 

“I've come for my father!”

 

“Your father... is a thief!”

 

“Liar!” Belle yelled angrily, standing up.

 

“He stole a rose.”

 

“I asked for the rose. Punish ME, not him.” she demanded.

 

“No, he means forever. Apparently, that's what happens around here when you pick a flower!’

 

“A life sentence for a rose?” she couldn’t believe it, no one was that horrible, were they?

 

He leapt down to the level of the cell. “I received eternal damnation for one. I'm merely locking him away. Now, do you still wish to take your father's place?”

 

“Come into the light.” she demanded but he didn’t move so she grabbed the candelabra and held it up to his face. Seeing the Beast's intimidating appearance, she gasped and backed off slightly.

 

“Choose.” He demanded.

 

“At least let me say goodbye.” She whispered and he looked from her to the cell before pulling down the lever. “Be quick, once this door closes, it will never open again!”

 

She rushed into the cell and hugged her Father. “Papa.” She whispered.

 

“You are so much like your mother.” He gently tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear even as she moved so he had his back to the doorway. “Don't be afraid.”

 

“I'm not afraid!” She smiled and then shoved him back, out of the cell, before slamming the door shut, shocking the Beast who grabbed Maurice and dragged him away.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Maurice!” Harry moved to the man’s side as he stumbled down the path.

 

“Monsieur? He has her! He’s locked her in a tower!” He babbled.

 

“Alright, let’s get you to safety first, then I’ll come back.” He promised. He’d let things play out, for now. Belle was a smart, resourceful girl, she’d probably rescue herself. Once the man was situated in Harry’s home the wizard left and walked the snowy path to the Castle, invisible the whole time. He would take a look for himself. He followed noise into the East wing.

 

“You'll join me for dinner. That's not a request.”

 

“Gently, Master. The girl lost her father AND her freedom in one day.” Mrs Potts admonished.

 

“Yes, the poor thing is probably in there scared to death.’

 

“Exactly.”

 

Curious to see if they were right Harry apparated inside the room only to bite back a laugh at the sight of the makeshift rope Belle had created and was now quickly pushing out the window.

 

“Just a minute.” She called

 

“You see? There she is. Now remember: Be gentle.”

 

“Kind.”

 

“Mmm, charming.’

 

“Sweet!”

 

“And when she opens the door, give her a dashing smile! Come, come, show me the smile!” Lumière pushed and the Beast gives a wide smile, showing his monstrous teeth. The servants winced.

 

“Oh, dear!”

 

“Oh no!”

 

The Beast's smile vanished and he turned back to the door. “Will you join me for dinner?” He turned away and shook his head at the servants as if to say, "This'll never work"

 

“You've taken me as your prisoner, and now you want to have dinner with me? Are you insane?”

 

The Beast became visibly enraged; the servants back away in fear.

 

“Uh-oh! He's losing it!” Plumette murmured nervously.

 

“Oh, dear!”

 

He pounded on the door and Harry readied a shield for Belle. “I told you to join me for dinner!”

 

“And I told you! No!”

 

“Oh, what time is it? What's happening?” Madame Garderobe asked as she startled awake.

 

“I'd STARVE before I ever ate with you!”

 

“Well, be my guest! Go ahead and starve!” he turned to Lumière “If she doesn't eat with me, then she doesn't eat at ALL!” he stormed off. “Idiots!”

 

Harry watched as Belle curled into a corner, well that had gone well. He really didn’t see Agathe’s plan working at all. Guess that was why he was here.

 

Eventually Belle ventured out with the teapot in search of food so Harry took the time to explore the castle, finding the Beast in the West Wing which looked even worse than the rest of the castle. He saw the rose underneath glass and shuddered at the magic on it. It was powerful and not a type he had dealt with before or he would have simply undone the curse already. He couldn’t break it but he could buy them more time, it took a lot out of him but he managed a very strong preservation spell on the rose, ensuring the petal loss would slow significantly. It was a surprise when Belle slowly entered the room and looked around at the paintings and then approached the rose, reaching out to touch the glass.

 

“What are you doing here? What did you do to it?” The Beast snarled and she backed away.

 

“Nothing!”

 

“Do you realize what you could have done? You could have damned us all! Get out of here! GO!” he yelled and she fled.

 

“Wonderful way with women you have.” Harry commented as he became visible, the Beast backing away in fear and shock. “If you want to break the spell you have a lot of work. SO go after her and apologise for scaring her.”

 

“Who are you?”

 

“Her protector, now get going.” He vanished from view again as the Beast hesitated before going after her. He was going to have to help the poor guy, no one deserved being a Beast forever.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“What happens when the last petal falls?” Belle asked as the Beast fell asleep.

 

“The master remains a beast forever and we become...” Lumière answered.

 

“Antiques!”

 

“Knick-knacks.”

 

“Lightly-used housewares.”

 

“Rubbish. We become rubbish.” Cogsworth snapped.

 

“I want to help.”

 

“Oh don’t worry about as my dear.” Mrs Potts told her.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

“Oh, I could sing of the pain these dark days bring. The spell we're under still it's the wonder of us, I sing of tonight.”

 

“How in the midst of all this sorrow can so much hope and love endure. I was innocent and certain Now I'm wiser but unsure. I can't go back in to my childhood, one that my father made secure. I can feel a change in me I'm stronger now, but still not free.

 

Days in the sun will return we must believe, as others do. That days in the sun

will come shining through.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Better.” Harry praised, leaning against the wall.

 

“Why are you doing this?”

 

“Because what was done to everyone here was wrong. If anyone was punished it should have been you alone.”

 

“Now, if you really want to get her attention I suggest that wonderful library you have. She’ll love it.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Belle gasped as the Beast opened the double doors. “Have you really read every one of these books?” she asked in awe.

 

He scoffed as he looked around. “No, not all of them. Some of them are in Greek.”

 

Belle laughed. “Was that a joke? Are you making jokes now?”

 

“Maybe.” He smirked before leaving, shaking his head and smiling. Belle giggled and spun around, not sure where to start, it was a lot bigger than Harry’s library.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“What are you reading?” Belle asked curiously as she approached the bench where he sat in the snow reading.

 

“Nothing.” He answered quickly, half hiding the book and she smirked as she caught a glance.

 

"Guinevere and Lancelot."

 

"King Arthur and the Round Table." He corrected and she shrugged, sitting beside him

 

Belle smirked slightly. “Still a romance.”

 

“Mmm. Felt like a change.” He shrugged and she laughed happily.

 

“I never thanked you for saving my life.” She admitted softly and he looked over at her.

 

“I never thanked YOU for not leaving me to be eaten by wolves.” He offered, wanting her to smile again and she laughed softly.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

With things going so well in the Castle Harry popped back home and sighed when he realised Maurice was gone. Just when things were looking up. He walked into town, looking for the inventor. He made his way into town and then the pub and glanced around for Père Robert.

 

“Monsieur Potter.”

 

“Have you seen Maurice?” He asked, taking a seat and accepting the tankard.

 

“He just left with Gaston and LeFou. He was raving about a Beast and it having Belle. I do not wish to speak ill of anyone but….”

 

“Wonderful. Belle is away at the moment but she is safe. I made sure of that. I guess I better go after them.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Think of the one thing that you've always wanted. Now find it in your mind's eye and feel it in your heart.” He couched placing her hand on the book and soon the library was gone to reveal a cramped space. He looked out to see Paris in the distance and realised they were in the upper room of a windmill. “Paris, I’ve always loved Paris! What would you like to see first?

 

She didn’t answer, looking around in awe before moving to pick up a small rose shaped baby rattle. “This is the Paris of my childhood, these were the borders of my life. In this crumbling, dusty attic, where an artist loved his wife. Easy to remember, harder to move on, knowing the Paris of my childhood, is gone...” she whispered and he stared around in shock, seeing the painting, the empty crib and the bed.

 

“What happened to your mother?” he asked gently.

 

“It was the one thing Papa could never tell me.” She wandered the room and then he saw something and picked it up.

 

“A doctors’ mask…plague.”

 

“Let’s go home.” She clutched the rattle close as the room faded away.

 

…………………….

“Maurice!” Harry called in alarm, kneeling beside the bound man too free him. he spotted Agathe approaching, a look of sorrow on her face.

 

“Come.” She offered and the moved Maurice to where she lived in the woods, working together to heal him.

 

“I knew there was something wrong with Gaston but attempted murder?” Harry shook his head. Maurice was obviously half frozen and sick from exposure so she made him healing teas and broth while Harry massaged warmth back into his limbs.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Maestro, your wife is upstairs, finding it harder and harder to stay awake! She's counting on you to help us break this curse!” Lumière stated firmly, dancing needed music!

 

“Then I shall play through the dental pain!” he decided.

 

“Maestro, play quietly, please.”

 

“Oh, quiet, such devotion. Are there any other tasteless demands you would like to make on my artistry?”

 

“No, that's it.” They left him to it, returning to ensure their Master was ready for tonight. The Rose hadn’t lost a petal for a while, taking away some of the urgency but they still wanted to be human as soon as possible. They found him in the bath have a crisis of faith.

 

“Relax, some music, some dancing, we’ll be human again in no time! Now let us work.” They moved back and the Beast stared at his powdered wig and white fur.

 

“I look stupid.”

 

“I can fix this.” Cogsworth assured him.

 

Soon the Beast was ready and he walked down the stairs, unable to take his eyes of the radiant Belle dressed in gold. They walked down the stairs to meet on the landing and then he offered his arm. Belle took it and they walked the rest of the way down and then into the ballroom. She curtsied and he bowed and then they began to dance to the piano music.

 

“Do you…do you think you could be happy here?” he asked as they stood on the balcony, looking out over the snow covered grounds.

 

“Without my freedom? I miss my Father.” She admitted.

 

“There is a way.” The pair adjourn to his room, where he handed her the mirror. “This mirror will show you anything, anything you wish to see.”

 

She took it gently. “I'd like to see my father, please.” The mirro cleared and she gasped at the sight of the men manhandling her Father, Harry in the background trying to get to him. “Papa. Oh, no. what are they doing to him?”

 

“You must go to him.”

 

“What did you say?” she looked at him in confusion and he looked down.

 

“I release you. You are no longer my prisoner.”

 

“You mean...I'm free?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Oh, thank you.” She glanced down at the mirror in time to see harry knock one of the men out. “Hold on, Papa. I'm on my way.” She turned to leave but then turned back and offered the mirror to him.

 

“Take it with you, so you'll always have a way to look back, and remember me.”

 

“Thank you for understanding how much he needs me.” She touched her hand to his cheek and then rushed out of the room, running for the stables.

 

“Well, your highness. I must say everything is going just peachy. I knew you had it in you.”

 

“I let her go.” He whispered.

 

“Ha ha ha, yes. Splend— “ he froze in shock. “You what? How could you do that?”

 

“I had to.”

 

“Yes, but why?”

 

“Because, I love her.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Gaston stop this farce at once.” Harry snarled before his fist met Stanley’s face and the man went down.

 

“This is none of your business Monsieur.”

 

“For once in your life stop being a self-absorbed idiot. Throwing her father in the asylum will not make Belle marry you.” Why couldn’t Maurice just leave it to him as he’d asked several times?

 

“She’ll have no choice.”

 

“Wrong. Maurice came to me before all this. We have an arrangement that should anything happen to him I will take Belle as my wife to keep her safe from the likes of you.” That caused shocked ripples. Gaston was a Captain; Monsieur Potter was a British Knight. To marry Belle would be marrying far beneath his station. “Please, suggest taking care of me too, it’s been a while since I had a good fight.”

 

They were interrupted as Phillipe galloped into the square, Belle looking like a true princess in a gown of gold. She dismounted and stormed towards them. “Let my father go!”

 

Harry left her to argue with Gaston and simply unlocked the carriage, letting Maurice out. LeFou hesitantly approached and helped him down, looking ashamed. Everyone gasped when Belle slapped Gaston and stormed over to them, throwing her arms around her Father.

 

“Belle? How did you escape?”

 

“I didn’t, he let me go.” She kissed Maurice’s cheek.

 

“Let’s get out of here.” Harry ushered the three out of town and to his place. No one commented on LeFou’s presence, it was about time he got free of Gaston. “By the way, you look beautiful Belle.”

 

“Thank you.”

 

Two days later Harry found her saddling Phillipe. “You’re going back.”

 

“Yes.” She admitted.

 

“I’ll escort you.” He went and saddled his own horse.

 

“You don’t think I’m crazy?”

 

“Never.” He grinned and they rode off. What neither noticed was the jilted Gaston following them.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry walked into the castle with Belle and bowed to the clock. “Good evening, I believe you lost someone?” he asked teasingly and Belle slapped his arm. He pulled her into a hug. “Follow your heart.” He whispered before leaving.

 

Soon Belle was surrounded by joyous friends and then she ran up the stairs when Mrs Potts admitted the Beast hadn’t left the tower since she had left.

 

“Go away.”

 

“But I just got back.”

 

He stiffened and then turned slowly to see her standing there in a soft green dress and crisp white apron. “Belle? You came back?”

 

“Of course I came back.” She walked towards him and took his hand. “How could I leave you all?”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry opened the door as someone pounded on it. “Père Robert?”

 

“Gaston is rallying a mob, something about a monster in a castle and Belle.”

 

“He must have followed us.” Harry ushered the man in.

 

“Belle…” Maurice looked at Harry who went and pulled down his sword.

 

“I’ll warn the castle.” He promised as he attached it to his belt and threw on a coat. “This time stay here.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Harry?” Belle looked at him in surprise.

 

“We were followed before, Gaston’s on his way with an angry mob.” He admitted.

 

“If it’s a fight they want we’ll be ready for them!” Cogsworth declared.

 

“Take her to safety.” The Beast said and Belle turned to him.

 

“No! I’m not leaving.” The doors suddenly shuddered as a battering ram slammed into them.

 

“Too late anyway.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

He led the mad man away from Belle and his loyal servants, he would not let him harm them. They fought across the crumbling rooftops and walkways until a shot was heard and the beast roared in pain. Gaston lined up another only to scream as the walkway gave way. The Beast managed to make his way to the tower room only to collapse. Belle ran to him, rolling him over gently.

 

“Oh this is all my fault. If only I'd never left.” She choked out past tears.

 

“Maybe it's better this way.”

 

“Don't talk like that. You'll be all right. We're together now. Everything's going to be fine. You'll see.”

 

“At least I got to see you one... last...time.” he whispered even as she brought his paw to her cheek. His hand fell limp from her grasp and she sobbed.

 

“No, no! Please! Please! Please don't leave me! I love you!” She whispered and hearing that Harry released the preservation spell. The rose glowed under the glass as Agathe joined Harry in the shadows. His magic reached out to the beast, healing him even as Agathe ensured the curse was broken.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry smiled as he watched them all dancing and having a wonderful time. Agathe had vanished and he knew it was time for him to go too. The townspeople remembered now and were horrified over the attack. No one missed Gaston. All in all, a happy ending.

 

TBC…

 

 

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: Don’t own HP or Star Wars

 

So Many Clones!

 

Harry woke with a start and then grabbed his comm. “Potter.”

 

“Sorry to wake you sir but we’ve received an emergency communication from Jedi Master Yoda.”

 

“What is it?” he jumped out of bed and scrambled into his uniform, slipping his boots on as he grabbed his gear.

 

“They need every trauma surgeon we can spare.”

 

“Alright…get gamma shift together with all the supplies we can spare and call up at least six general nurses and two doctors.” He ordered as he got into his speeder. “ETA?”

 

“Twenty minutes.”

 

“Gather everyone at the spaceport and let them know where to pick us up.”

 

“Yes sir.”

 

Harry cut the call out and drove for the spaceport. He quickly spoke with the man in charge who ordered an area cleared for the medical personal and their equipment plus the craft that would have to land to pick them up. Harry sat to wait, unsure why a Jedi would be calling on them. Naboo had been a peaceful planet for as long as he’d lived there, he’d arrived nine months after the invasion had been thwarted and thrown himself into helping rebuild. Now he was head of trauma at the main hospital in Theed. Over the last ten years he’d watched as things became tenser out in the Galaxy…he knew the Clone Wars had to be coming up soon and the pit in his stomach said they were probably beginning now. Soon the others began arriving, uniforms in various stages of rumbled. They had come off shift eighteen hours ago so they were more rested which was why he had picked them but obviously they all needed to do laundry.

 

“Do we have any information?” Marta asked and harry shook his head.

 

“Just that pick up’s in eight.” He said after he glanced at his chrono. “And that Jedi Master Yoda asked for us.” That had whispers of surprise passing between them. Finally, they saw a ship coming down towards them and quickly began lifting up the various bits of machinery and bags of equipment. The sides of the ship slid up and men in identical white with a few splashed of yellow jumped out to help them load up and get in. they grabbed onto the straps and the ship locked up before taking off. They landed again and began unloading even as a small green being approached and Harry recognised Yoda immediately, though he appeared much younger now. He stepped away and bowed to the Jedi. “We are ready to work Master Jedi. Where are the patients?”

 

“Here yet they are not. To battle we go. A few medics only aboard there are.”

 

“Understood.”

 

“Troopers to medbay will show you Doctor?”

 

“Harry Potter.” He bowed again and went to join the others in following the troopers through the massive white ship. He could see how these Republic ships were the precursors to the Star Destroyers.

 

They began setting things up and looking over what was already there as soon as they entered. He spotted two identical men waiting and walked over to them. “Doctor Harry Potter, head of trauma.” In response, the two men rattled off serial numbers and stood at attention. “You’re the medics?”

 

“Yes sir.”

 

“Alright, get with the nurses and they’ll get you sorted. We’ll get the surgical suites ready. Any idea of our ETA?”

 

“Thirty minutes sir.”

 

“Alright people let’s move.” He called loudly and the medbay was soon in organised chaos as they prepared for the worst. “I’m assuming we’re not the only ship, what about them?”

 

“Handling lesser injuries sir, the worst will be brought here.”

 

Harry nodded, someone had sense at least. There had been so little true information left on the Clone Wars and it was frustrating, he wished he knew how the first battle had gone so he’d have some idea of what to expect. Soon they felt the ships drop out of hyperspace and they all got ready, waiting in tense silence as alarms blared, seeing soldiers run by in the corridors, heading for battle stations. Nothing happened for a very long forty minutes and then the ship shuddered slightly as the shields absorbed a shot. Several more hit and they could feel the ship moving as it returned fire. And then two men rushed in with a body on a stretcher between them and their work began.

 

Time became meaningless as they worked tirelessly to save as many as they could. As much as they hated to do it they prioritised the Jedi over the clones, for a very simple reason, there were too few Jedi already and to lose just one was a blow to the Order. It took twenty odd years to train a Jedi while a clone could be readied in just a quarter of that.

 

He moved to the new stretcher that held a tall young Jedi, still with a Padawan braid behind his hear even as the boy shuddered as they lifted him onto a bench. The most obvious injury was the amputation but Harry initiated deeper scans and swore as he found the massive electrical damage. “Prep a tank!” he yelled out as he went to work cutting the Padawan’s clothes off. He glanced at his face and frowned, he knew that face, his one-time Father-in-law. Anakin Skywalker. He was so young now. Harry shook it off and continued his work to stabilise him until he could be placed in the tank to help deal with what he was assuming was Sith lightning. He became aware of another presence and looked up to see an injured, bearded Jedi, one he’d seen the spirit of before. “Sit before you fall Master Jedi.” He ordered and that got a tired grin before Kenobi sat.

 

“How is he?”

 

“Other than the obvious his system is trying to deal with a massive electrical hit.”

 

“Sith Lightning.”

 

“Anything more to it than normal electricity? They’re prepping a bacta tank for him now, we can deal with his arm later.”

 

“Not that I am aware of.” Obi-Wan admitted even as Anakin groaned, gritting his teeth in pain. He watched the doctor as he worked calmly, swift and yet never rushed. Soon the breathing mask was settled over Anakin’s face and he was placed in the tank and the doctor turned to him.

 

“On the bed.”

 

“I am fine doctor.”

 

“You’re in medbay which means you do as I say, bed now.”

 

Obi-Wan sighed but obeyed and let the doctor work, cleaning his wounds before covering them.

 

“Good thing lightsabers cauterise the wounds they cause. You haven’t lost much blood at all. Take these to keep the wounds from infecting. As long as you don’t get underfoot you can stay with him or help out, I’m sure you know how to bandage.” He offered and Obi-Wan nodded in thanks, not wanting to leave Anakin just yet.

 

Hours later they were finally done and Harry simply sat leaning against the wall where he could keep an eye on the bacta tank readings. The tanks currently held three Jedi, including Anakin, and three clones. He glanced over as the door opened and a dark haired young woman entered. She didn’t carry a lightsaber and wasn’t wearing robes so he doubted she was a Jedi but her gaze instantly focused on the tank holding Skywalker. He’d heard talk of a Senator having been planetside during the fight and assumed it was her. And then it hit him who she was. “Jedi Skywalker is expected to make a full recovery My Lady.” He stood and bowed to her.

 

“And the others?”

 

“None of them are expected to die but obviously there is still some rick, sometimes people die for no reason we can discover.”

 

“You’re from Naboo?” she asked and he nodded.

 

“Yes Senator, Head of Trauma at the Hospital in Theed. Doctor Harry Potter.”

 

“What brings you here?”

 

“You don’t know? Jedi Master Yoda contacted the hospital seeking doctors to come aboard and be prepared for casualties.” He explained and she nodded, no child of Naboo would ignore such a call for help.

 

“We are returning to Coruscant, I will ensure you all return home as soon as possible.”

 

“Thank you, My Lady.”

 

She looked back at Skywalker. “When will a prosthetic be attached?”

 

And now he had the feeling he was talking to Luke’s Mother. “On Coruscant I would presume, we aren’t set up for that sort of surgery and we don’t have the necessary specialists to preform it.”

 

She nodded and then slipped away and he went to work ensuring all the records were filled out correctly to make the hand off of their patients easier. He separated them into two groups, assuming the Jedi Temple would take their own wounded.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry watched from the window as rows of white clad soldiers filed into ships which then lifted off into orbit and had to fight back a shudder, they looked so much like Star Destroyers and that brought back bad memories. The Clones Wars had started and he didn’t know what to do. He’d seen the Chancellor at a distance when they’d arrived and had fought every instinct to simply kill him where he stood. But he knew better than to leave a gaping hole in the power structure of any government, bad things tended to happen as everyone fought to gain top spot. He didn’t know the events of this time either which meant he had to act slowly, he needed to get information on everyone involved in events before trying to change things. He closed his eyes and brought up an image of Luke from shortly after they’d met, so young and in some ways innocent and yet in others a hardened warrior. He wanted to spare him that, for Luke to grow up with his parents and sister. He was pretty confident in his guess that Senator Amidala was their Mother, the likeness to Leia was uncanny, but he could also see Luke’s gentle spirit in her. Anakin had rarely spoken of his deceased wife, unable to bear the pain and neither twin had pushed him. He had said she was a politician from Naboo but he hadn’t specified more than that.

 

He’d only ever met Kenobi as a Force ghost and he seemed so young now, too young to have raised Anakin from childhood. He must have barely been a Knight himself when he took the boy on. In his eyes that went a long way to explaining Anakin’s Fall, he had no doubt Kenobi had done his best but a more knowledgeable and experienced Master would have had a better idea how to deal with such a strong willed Padawan. Though as far as he was concerned the whole Order pretty much shared the blame, how had they missed Palpatine when he was right under their noses? He could feel the Darkness coming from the Senate and he wasn’t even a Force sensitive!

 

They were meant to be returning to Naboo in the morning but he wasn’t going. If he was going to change things then he needed to be here, at the heart of things, and not so far away. It was tempting to sign on as a combat surgeon or something but that would mean months on the front stuck on a ship. So instead he had applied to the closest hospitals to the Senate and Jedi Temple, wanting to be close.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry left the theatre and ripped off his scrubs, tossing them into the chute before heading for his office. Six hours of surgery and he was exhausted but they had saved the patient and that was what mattered. Even so far from the front lines they still ended up treating a lot of soldiers who needed more than a ships medbay could do. Six months in and it seemed like the war would never end. He knew it went for half a decade or so and was dreading that sort of timeline. He needed to expose Palpatine as soon as possible without revealing himself. It was harder than he’d first hope, the man was a slippery as a snake and had plans within plans. He may be close to power geographically but he was almost regretting the fact he’d gone into medicine, it limited the chances of him running into important people. But it was too late now, he’d just have to come up with something.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Senator Amidala.” He bowed respectfully to her and she stood to take his hands.

 

“Doctor Potter, thank you for coming.”

 

“How can I be of assistance? He asked as he followed her to the lounge and sat once she had.

 

“I can rely on your discretion?”

 

“Of course. Speaking to anyone of a patient is against the medical code. Are you ill My Lady?”

 

“No. do you remember Anakin Skywalker? You treated him at Geonosis.”

 

“The Padawan who lost his arm?” he knew who he was but with everything that had happened over the last year he needed to act a little uncertain.

 

Padme nodded, a hand smoothing her skirt down. “He is my husband.” She admitted and Harry blinked.

 

“I thought Jedi were forbidden marriage?”

 

“They are.”

 

“Congratulations. I assume as this appears a secret marriage that it is a love match?” he asked and she nodded. “The best kind of marriage possible then.”

 

“Thank you.” She smiled softly. “If anyone finds out Anakin will be removed from the order and that can’t happen, not now.”

 

Harry nodded in agreement. Anakin was one of the best Jedi General’s, despite his youth. He had already gained the nickname ‘the hero with no fear’ in the media. “Of course, the scandal would most likely lead to you being recalled from the Senate. But why would anyone guess…. pregnancy, you’re worried about falling pregnant.”

 

“Anakin so rarely gets leave that is seems so unlikely but I worry.”

 

“I can give you a physical and then prescribe something.”

 

“Thank you. Would you consider private practice?”

 

“For the right patients.”

 

“Can the Embassy for Naboo hire you?” She asked with a soft smile and he smiled back.

 

“Of course, it would be an honour.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Who are you?”

 

“Welcome home Knight Skywalker.” He glanced over at the tense young man and then finished returning his equipment to his bag. “Remember to call if you feel any side effects.”

 

“Of course, thank you.”

 

“I’ll see you again in two months, unless Knight Skywalker has any injuries?”

 

“Anakin this is Doctor Potter, he treated you after Geonosis. He’s now our private physician.”

 

“Our?” Anakin looked at the other male, older than him, probably Padme’s age. He felt a surge of jealousy.

 

“Your wife brought me in to handle certain matters discretely.”

 

“Padme?”

 

“Contraception Anakin.” She blushed slightly. “A child right now is just too risky.”

 

“I’ve prescribed the appropriate medication but no medication is one hundred percentage foolproof.” He warned. “I am glad to see you fully healed.”

 

“Thank you.” Anakin said automatically.

 

“Have a good night.” He left the couple alone to enjoy Anakin’s leave.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry smiled as he spotted the story, it wasn’t ‘front page’ but it also hadn’t been buried. It wasn’t much but it was a start. His investigations were bearing fruit and he was passing it on to various media outlets in secret. It wouldn’t do for Palpatine to realise what was going on but he needed to get the people to stop and think when it came to their beloved Chancellor and just how much power he was gaining. Every skeleton that could be dug out of his closet was a step in the right direction. Finding a link between him and the Sith was a lot harder though.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry ducked his head and pulled the droid down as the clones surrounded them protectively. So much for a peaceful diplomatic mission! He glanced over at Padme and saw the determination on her face even as she held her blaster tightly. And here he was unarmed. One of the troopers beside him fell with a hole through the chest plate of his armour and harry checked him before shaking his head at the Captain when the man glanced back. Harry gently pulled the man’s blaster from his hands and opened fire on the attacking droids, much to the surprise of the clones. They were used to their brothers who were also medics but they had never seen a non-clone doctor with a weapon before. They exchanged fire as they began pushing forward to reach the ship and soon they were scrambling aboard. Harry reached down and hauled Padme up and in while a clone lifted her up. He shoved her deeper in and away from the stray fire and they both buckled into the seats. Soon everyone alive was aboard and they took off. “So…. this the way your trips usually go?” he asked and she laughed. Her grinned and then got up to look everyone over and patch up those he could help.

 

“Thanks for the help back there Doctor.”

 

“Well they were shooting at me too. Self-preservation.” He grinned and the clone laughed as he yanked his helmet off.

 

“Where’d you learn to shoot so well?”

 

“My Dad, he was a security officer.” It was close enough to the truth. He gently wiped the blood of the other male’s face. “You’re lucky, no damage to the eye itself, Commander?”

 

“Cody, sir.

 

“Harry. You’ll have a scar but otherwise you’ll be fine.”

 

Cody nodded and watched as the doctor moved through his men. A lot of non-clone medics looked down on them, treated them differently, but this Harry was different. He talked with them, getting them to laugh and relax while he checked them over. They felt the slight thud as the ship landed in the bay of the Vigilance. They began unloading and Cody nodded as he saw his General approaching, ready to debrief.

 

Obi-Wan shook his head. “Get to medical Cody, I can already tell the mission didn’t go to plan.” He ordered and Cody went with his men for treatment.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Ah, Anakin, come in.”

 

“You wanted to see my Chancellor?”

 

“How are things going on the front?” he stood and moved out from behind his desk, moving to the more informal seating area just off his main office and Anakin followed.

 

“Good, we’ve got them pinned down for the most part.”

 

“That’s very good.”

 

“Any sign of Grievous or Dooku?”

 

“Unfortunately, no.”

 

“Well they can’t hide forever, I trust you will prevail.”

 

“Thank you, Chancellor.” Anakin preened under the praise.

 

“And how is Senator Amidala?”

 

“Padme? I haven’t seen her since arriving.”

 

“You are both very busy, she works tirelessly in the Senate to end the war. And it helps I am sure to have companionship.”

 

“Companionship?”

 

“Ah yes, a young Doctor from Naboo is quite often seen in her company these days. I believe he even went with her on a peace mission along with General Kenobi a few months back.”

 

Doctor…it had to be Doctor Potter. “He is the embassy physician, he’s a trauma surgeon.”

 

“A wise choice to keep close in times such as these.”

 

How close, Anakin frowned slightly, not noticing Palpatine’s pleasure at his reaction. “He was one of the Doctors who came to Geonosis, he treated me.”

 

“Then I owe him my thanks for helping you.” Palpatine smiled gently at him. “Now you should got rest my friend.”

 

Anakin stood and bowed before leaving, mind churning as he got in his speeder and turned towards Padme’s apartment. He landed and walked in to find Padme on the couch, her hair down as she bent over a datapad. She looked up and broke into an immediate smile, standing and throwing herself into his arms and he held her close, breathing in her scent. “Padme.”

 

“Oh Anakin.” She whispered before kissing him.

 

“I’ve missed you Padme.”

 

“I’ve missed you too.” She tugged him over to the couch, slipping his cloak over his shoulders to toss onto a chair. “Why didn’t you send word you had leave?”

 

“I don’t, not really, we’re only here for tonight to resupply.”

 

“Oh…. but you’re free tonight?”

 

“All night.” He promised and she grinned. She went to the kitchen and quickly put on an easy meal even as he removed his boots, relaxing as he soaked in the peace of home. “You’ve been alright?” he asked as he watched her.

 

“Mmm, the Senate is being difficult as always. You actually only just caught me, another two days and I would have been on the way back to Naboo.”

 

“Why are you going?”

 

“The Queen wants to speak with me about the war and Senate.” She dished up the food.

 

“Have you been lonely?” he couldn’t help asking.

 

“I have my handmaidens and then there’s Senators like Bail who are good friends. You remember Doctor Potter? He accompanies me a lot with so many threats to my life. It was decided that having a doctor at hand was smart. Thankfully we’ve become friends. And he’s made friends among the clones so I often hear word of you I otherwise wouldn’t.” she smiled and took his hand and he couldn’t help smiling back at her.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Harry?”

 

“Congratulations Padme, you’re pregnant.” He admitted and she paled.

 

“Oh.” Her hand went to her abdomen. “But all the precautions….”

 

“I know the timing is bad but do you want this baby?” he asked gently and she nodded.

 

“I know it’s dangerous but this is our baby.”

 

“Alright. You’re going to have to stop going of planet within a month, earlier than I’d usually impose restrictions but with how often you get shot out…”

 

“Of course.”

 

“I’m not an obstetrician Padme.”

 

“I know.” She stood and went to look out the window.

 

“I’ll start reading up on everything, I’d say you’re about two months along.”

 

“Thank you.”

 

“Do you want me to call Dormé in?”

 

“Thank you, Harry.” She whispered and he slipped away silent.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Palpatine smirked as he listened to the report of the spy he had keeping an eye on Amidala, so the girl was pregnant. The child of the Chosen One would make a good bargaining chip against Anakin should it be needed. A pity the mother would have to die but she had messed up his plans too many times.

 

That was the only good news. He didn’t know how or who but someone was feeding the media things he would rather remain secret. His popularity with the masses was beginning to drop far too much. It seemed he would soon have to take drastic action.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry kept a close eye on Padme as her pregnancy progressed. She had been shocked when he had announced she was having twins and had decided not to find out the genders, at least until Anakin was back. That was causing her stress, there were so many rumours coming from the Outer Rim Sieges and many of them included Anakin’s death. She soldiered on well but it was stress she didn’t need. Harry had insisted her handmaidens serve in her place as often as possible and that she get plenty of rest. She’d always been small but she had begun to head to unhealthy thinness and that could not be allowed.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry looked up, seeing the massive ships in orbit. The Chancellor had been captured by Dooku and taken aboard the flagship. He may never get a better chance to end this. He slipped away and took the place of a clone pilot, taking off in his fighter. The fight was such chaos that he managed to slip away and through the shields of the ship. He leapt from the cockpit, becoming invisible as he made his way through the ship until he found Palpatine sitting in a chair in a scene eerily similar to that on the second Death Star. He didn’t like playing assassin but sometimes there was no other way and so he drew his phaser from storage and shot, set to kill. Palpatine never saw it coming. He then moved through the ship and took out Grievous but missed Dooku before escaping from the ship. At least he had gotten two out of three.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry stood behind Padme, blending in among the retainers as the Senators stood silently dressed in the dark colours of mourning. Their beloved Chancellor was dead. Of course, that attitude changed quickly once they managed to get into his computers and learnt the truth of the man. Finding out he was behind everything was a massive blow to the Republic and some people more personally. Padme was shocked, she had trusted her old mentor even if she didn’t always agree with his actions. But it hit Anakin the hardest, his shock, grief and horror only lifted as his hand rested on Padme’s swollen abdomen, feeling his children kick. The war ground to a halt as the truth was learnt, Dooku unable to force it without his Master’s backing.

 

That left the question of what to do with the army. Harry joined a group going to Kamino and they began picking apart everything the cloners had done only to find the chips. It was a horrified group of medical personnel and Jedi who went to work ensuring the men could never be used like that. But the question remained, what to do with them once they were free? All they knew was war. But Padme came to the rescue, gathering support for the men and their rights. It took almost a year but in the end, they were free to choose what they wanted to do with several planets coming forward to offer them a place to live and bolster their own low populations.

 

Padme gave birth to Luke and Leia with Harry overseeing. The birth was easy and there were no problems at all, other than Anakin fainting. He had left the order when faced with how badly he had been betrayed by Palpatine. He needed love and peace to recover, something he wouldn’t find in the Order. He knew Obi-Wan loved him even if the man couldn’t say it and his leaving the Order had hurt the older man but Padme had ensured the two remained in frequent contact. Their marriage being made public had helped lift spirits since the public loved both of them. there had been calls for her to be the next Chancellor but she had turned it down, wanting to finally live for her family. Because of that the small family had retired to the Lake Country permanently.

 

Harry left the employ of the Embassy and returned to hospital work out on the Rim, helping those affected by the war. When Cody and several other members of the 212th showed up he’d been surprised but put them to work helping to rebuild. He had worked with them several times during the war and he had been their favourite non-clone doctor so at loose ends they had searched him out, wanting to help. Their group travelled from planet to planet helping wherever needed and it was fulfilling work. He was just happy he had spared the Galaxy nearly twenty years of Sith oppression and ensured Luke and Leia had their parents. He kept in contact with Padme even if he rarely returned to Naboo.

 

He noticed Cody and the others aging too fast and immediately contacted Kamino and he may have forced their cooperation in order to stop the process and save them all from an early grave. They had been very grateful and the party had lasted a week. At the end Harry had woken with a massive hangover and Cody in his bed. It didn’t really change anything as they worked until eventually they all settled down in retirement.

 

The End.

I think this fic will be ending soon. Question is, was the ‘ending’ chap in New World Again enough of a look at Harry returning to Sam or do you want a short fic covering it better?

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: Don’t own HP or Transformers.

 

Aliens? No Problem, But Alien Robots?

 

So far Harry had been drifting in this world, unsure where he was meant to be or who he was here to help. There had been the massive ‘terrorist’ attack in Mission City and the base over in the Middle East but that had been over for a week when he’d arrived. Since that didn’t mesh with some footage and eye witness accounts he’d moved quickly to set himself up, easily creating an identity, American since that was where things often centred. Thanks to a judicial use of both magic and advanced technology it was easy to make one Harry Winchester an American citizen born in Chicago in 1987. Setting up a company was a bit harder but not impossible with his many resources. It was amazing what could be stored in his now four storage tattoos, one each for the loyal Marauders and one for Sam, so he was a sentimental sap, sue him. As far as everyone knew, Harry Winchester was from old money and had inherited a small company, making it one of the top 10 in not even a decade after his father’s untimely death from cancer.

 

Once that was done the waiting began, and waiting was never something he was good at. So, while a copy of the AI he had set up for Clark in Smallville, also named Jarvis, began going through every computer file he could get his digital fingers on Harry went back to school. It had been a few centuries since he’d gone to university so he applied to several and was accepted to Princeton. He would be studying for a Bachelor of Arts in Astrophysical Sciences and Politics, not an easy course load but considering he was already on record as having a Bachelor of Science in Engineering in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. Yes, he’d gone the child genius route in order to explain his young age and completed degree. And maybe it was an odd mix but he had his suspicions about this world.

 

……………………………..

Harry flipped the TV on as he finished packing the last bag of stuff he needed for Princeton.

 

“Breaking news out of Shanghai. There's been a major toxic spill in the Shanghai factory district. The whole city is being put on alert and the area around the factory is being evacuated. So far there are no reports of civilian casualties.”

 

Harry stopped and watched the footage, frowning as he caught sight of an American uniform. If that was a spill then what was the US military doing there? He glanced at the clock and sighed, he had no time to go look at the moment, not if he wanted to make it in time for all the various fun activities that began on campus later that day. So instead of sating his curiosity he zipped the bag and went to meet his pre-arranged taxi for a lift to the airport. The flight from Chicago wasn’t overly long and soon he was in another taxi. It pulled up and he paid before getting his things out and looking up at the old buildings, it was strange but with all the Earth’s he’d lived on he had never attended Princeton before, he’d attending most universities but not this one. He actually tended to favour Stanford if in the US, in Sam’s memory, and Oxford if in Britain. He glanced at his paperwork and then around until he spotted the sign and headed for Butler College. He could have lived off campus, he hardly lacked the funds, but he enjoyed the whole university experience and you only got that by living in the dorms. He received his room assignment and headed to Bloomberg Hall, sidestepping a group of overly excited guys as they watched the girls walk the halls. With ss2 students housed in the building it was mayhem in the halls as everyone tried to figure out where they were meant to be. He found his room and noticed his roommate had yet to arrive so he claimed the bed near the window and tossed his bags down, putting his laptop bag on the nearby desk.

 

Harry began unpacking, hanging his clothes in one of the closets and then the rest was folded away in the drawers. Books and stationery went on the desk and shelves and then he made the bed and stored his bags under the bed. In the end, his half of the room was nice and neat. The building had only been a dormitory since ’04 so it was still in good shape and he was glad he was only in a double, he could have ended up sharing a triple room. Not to mention the room was one of the ones with a private bathroom and the laundry was just down the hall. Fingers crossed his roommate was alright since he’d already heard someone ask and be told there would be no switching allowed.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“What happened?” Mikaela asked as she stared around at the firemen and the smoke coming from the house.

 

“Come here. Listen, I need you to take the Cube sliver and put it in your purse.” Sam pulled her aside and held the sliver that had started this whole mess out to her.

 

“What's going on?” she didn’t take it.

 

“Just take it.” He shoved it in her bag as his Mom approached.

 

“Sam Witwicky?” she called angrily.

 

“Yes, Mom.”

 

“A word with you?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“Hi, Mikaela. I have a bald spot-“ Judy pulled her hair aside to show where one of the kitchen appliances had attacked her.

 

“Hi. Oh.”

 

“-from a waffle iron. When you go, he goes. I cannot live with this psychotic alien in my garage!” Judy finished, pointing at the garage.

 

“Calm, calm- Judy, Judy, national security. Look. If we stay quiet, they're gonna take care of everything. Just consider this the official start of our remodel, 'kay?” Ron wrapped his arms around his wife, trying to calm her and it worked to a point.

 

“Fine. If the government's paying, I want a pool. And a hot tub!”

 

“Fine. 'Kay.” Ron agreed as he gently tugged her towards the packed car.

 

“And I'm gonna skinny-dip and you can't say shit about it!” she yelled as the two teens slipped inside the garage to find Bee sitting and waiting for them, greeting them with an electronic squeal.

 

“Yeah, you know you're in trouble.”

 

“He still having voice problems?” Mikaela asked sympathetically, she felt sorry for the Autobot since he couldn’t speak.

 

“He's playing it up. Bee, I want to talk to you about the college thing, okay?”

 

“I'm so excited, and I just can't hide it.” He danced along to his radio and Sam grimaced.

 

“I'm not taking you with me.” His statement had the radio stop and Bee groan softly.

 

“I'm gonna wait outside, okay?” she kissed Sam’s cheek and patted Bee’s leg before leaving.

 

“I meant to tell you about this earlier. It's just that, you know, here's the thing. Freshmen aren't allowed to have cars. I, I know, and if it was up to me, I'd take you with me, but it's not, Bee. Look. You're an Autobot. You shouldn't be living in my dad's garage. I mean, you're suffocating in here. You deserve better than this.” He argued even as Bee groaned again, looking utterly miserable. “This is hard enough, man. Don't make it harder. Can you just look at me, please? Come on, big guy... Look, the guardian thing is done, okay? You did your job. Look, I'm safe now. You need to go be with Optimus Prime and the others. I just want to be normal, Bee. That's why I'm going to college and I can't do that with you.” And of course, Bee began to cry. “It's not the last time I'm gonna see you, you know, Bee. Come on, don't do that. Bee. You're killing me, Bee. But you'll always be my first car. Love you, Bee.” He whispered and Bee gave a happy squeal. Sam patted his leg and then left only to freeze as he spotted his girlfriend, the riding leathers were gone to reveal a short white dress and she was holding a slightly squished bouquet. “Whoooa! Wow!” She smiled and he pulled her into a kiss.

 

“So, you think you can make it through those East Coast winters without me?” she teased when they parted.

 

“You're the best thing to ever happen to me.” He admitted softly.

 

“And?”

 

“And I'll do anything for you.”

 

“And?” she pushed again, getting annoyed.

 

“I think Sam's about to say the L-word.” Judy whispered, loudly.

 

“Let's go, kiddo!” Ron yelled.

 

“Nice timing, Dad.” Judy elbowed him.

 

“I... adore you.” Sam offered and Mikaela sighed in frustration.

 

“That's not the word that I want to hear right now.”

 

“What are you talking about? It's the same word as the other word.”

 

“It's not the same word.”

 

“Look, if I say the other word now and you forced me to say it, it won't mean anything, plus you haven't said it either. So, don't get mad at me for not saying it.” He argued.

 

“Yeah, but I haven't said it because guys always run when you say it first.”

 

“Yeah, well, so do girls. Especially girls like you, with options.” He admitted, that was one of his biggest fears, that she’d realise how much better than him she was and go back to someone like Trent.

 

“Sooo, this is all part of your elaborate plan to keep me interested?”

 

“It can be.”

 

“I hate that it's working.”

 

“Have a kiss? We're going to make it work, I promise.” He whispered before they kissed again. Finally, he got in the car and she watched it drive away before getting back into her riding gear, making sure the sliver was secure.

 

In the bushes, a single Cybertronian watched, scanning her. “Female has sliver from Cube.” Wheelie reported.

 

“Soundwave acknowledges. Pursue her. Retrieve it.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry shook his head at the antics of the three guys two rooms down the hall. Leo was the ring leader of the trio and Sharksky and Fassbinder were the electronic muscle for their website, The-Real-Effing-Deal-dot-com. Out of curiosity he’d had a look at the site and some of it wasn’t bad. They had a real talent. If only they would learn to act their age, he’d overheard Leo commenting on how they’d rigged the room assignments to ensure there were a lot of ‘hotties’ in the building and it explained a lot. He was just glad he didn’t have to share a room with them. Leo had tried to rope him into the kitten calendars thing but he really didn’t need a job.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Oh my gosh! Look at this place! I feel smarter already. Oh Ron, can you smell it?” Judy gushed as she looked around.

 

“Yeah, smells like four thousand dollars a year.” Ron grumbled and she shot him a glare.

 

“Oh hey, cheapo.”

 

“Hey, go ahead. We'll, uh, we'll get your stuff. Just go ahead and check out your room.”

 

“Yeah, go.” Judy smiled and Sam nodded, heading into the college area to get his building and room assignment.

 

He ducked back out to the car to let his parents know where to go and then went to find his room. The door was partially open so he pushed it further and found the room was already occupied by another male.  “Hey.” He greeted nervously and the other guy looked up and then stood from the desk.

 

“Hi, I’m Harry. Come on in, I’m assuming you’re my roommate?”

 

“Hey. Yeah, I’m Sam.”

 

“Nice to meet you.” Harry offered his hand to the younger man. “Luckily we have one of the rooms with a private bathroom and the laundry is down the hall to the left. I’ve been here a few days so I already claimed my share of the furniture.”

 

“That’s cool.” He put down the box he’d carried onto the unmade bed.

 

“Oh, here we go.” Judy called and Sam sighed but went to the door so they’d know where he was. His Dad quickly spotted him.

 

“We made it. Hi.” He held the box out and Sam took it, adding it to the bed.

 

“It's just like Hogwarts. Hi!” Judy called as a girl walked by.

 

“Is this co-ed? This is a co-ed dorm.”

 

“You guys want to meet my roommate?” Sam asked, wanting to change the subject, besides he was a one girl kind of guy.

 

“Yes.” Judy pushed past her husband and into the tidy room.

 

“This is Harry.”

 

“We're the Witwicky’s. I'm Judy.”

 

“Nice to meet you ma’am.” Harry greeted, seeing the flush in her cheeks and her pupils…. oh boy. Yep, she was holding a ‘brownie’ bag.

 

“Well, aren't you the sweetest thing?”

 

“Yeah, he's real sweet, ma. What is that in your hand, by the way?”

 

“I got this at the bake sale for the environment that those boys are having. You know, you don't often see white boys with the dreadlocks.”

 

“Mom?” Sam wanted the floor to open and swallow him. He glanced at Harry but saw no pity or anything for her behaviour.

 

“Yeah, it's a hundred per cent pure Hawaiian green for the environment.”

 

“Judy, how many of these have you eaten?” Ron asked as he dumped the remainder of Sam’s stuff beside the bed. She laughed and held the bag closer. “Yeah, they baked it with reefer in it.”

 

“No, it's- Hey!” she yelled as Sam tried to grab the bag.

 

“Please give me-“ the teen pleaded.

 

“Hey! It's my cheat day. I can eat what I want.”

 

“Give me-” Ron made a lunge but she ducked past him and out into the hall.

 

“I'm going to freak out. Please do something right now, Dad. Please do something right now.”

 

“I did, I tried-“

 

“I can eat all the freaking brownies I want!” the heard her call from down the hall and Sam hung his head, utterly embarrassed.

 

Harry winced, not the best introduction to university life. “I’ll help you catch her.” He offered and Ron nodded so the three left the room, Harry locking it behind them. By the time they did Sam looked completely humiliated as they watched the minivan drive away. “Relax, it could have been a lot worse.” He offered as they headed back to their room.

 

“Thanks for the help.”

 

“No problem.” He unlocked their door and helped Sam set his things up. “Word of warning, two rooms down are a group of three…. conspiracy enthusiasts is the nice way of putting it. They have a website and everything. Leo will probably try to get you to help him sell calendars too.”

 

“Great.” He sat on the newly made bed and rubbed his temples.

 

“You okay?”

 

“Headache.” He admitted.

 

“Get some rest. I’m heading for the dining room, want me to bring you back something?”

 

“Please.”

 

Harry left the younger boy to rest. His family was…interesting. Very highly strung by the look of it too. Hopefully he could calm Sam down. He’d been back for over an hour and Sam had eaten when someone knocked, Sam got it since he was closer.

 

“Hey, I’m, Leo. Welcome to the Hot Freshman 55. Sharksky hacked Campus Housing and stacked the dorm with pretty betties... is... is so nice...” Leo looked back and spotted someone so Sam leant out to look and saw a pretty blond walking their way. “Oh my God. That's her. She's coming. She sees me, she sees me. Whoo. She's tied for number one on my to-do list. Do not bird-dog my quarry, you hear me?”

 

“I have a girlfriend.” Sam answered. “You?”

 

Leo chuckled. “No, not a chance. You a techie?”

 

“Hm.” Was his answer. He hadn’t been until he met Bee and the others, since then he’d learnt a thing or two but he wasn’t like Maggie or anything. Which reminded him he needed to email the analyst, he hadn’t for a while with all the rush of getting to Princeton. He’d kept in contact with her and Lennox since Mission City, all by email since they didn’t live anywhere near each other and the other two were considerably older than him.

 

“Anyway, first frat party’s tonight. You two in?”

 

“Not me.” Harry answered, finally looking up from his book. “As the only one of us legally allowed to drink I have no desire to show up to first day of class with a hangover.”

 

“You’re over twenty-one?” Leo demanded.

 

“Twenty-two actually.”

 

“Late starter.” The hacker commented and Harry shrugged.

 

“Second degree. Sam didn’t you say you have a date tonight?”

 

“Yeah, I do, thanks for the invite but I’ll skip.”

 

“Your loss guys.” Leo left.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry walked into his first astronomy class with Sam beside him, obviously nervous. They grabbed two empty seats and set up to take notes. “Relax, first lectures are always introductory.” He encouraged since he’d already had two days’ worth of classes. After three days sharing a room he’d worked out Sam was very highly strung so he did what he could to keep the kid calm.

 

“Yeah.” Sam winced again.

 

“Still have a headache?” Harry asked but Sam didn’t have time to answer.

 

“Space. Time.” Professor Colan took a bite from the apple he was holding. “Gravity.” He dropped the apple and one of the girls in front caught it.

 

“Thank you.” She whispered and the Professor winked.

 

“Finish that for me. We're going on a journey together, you and I, today. All you... eager, nubile, young minds on the very cusp of adulthood. And I shall be your consort, your guide, your... chaperone into the heart of darkness.” He laughed. “Welcome to Astronomy 101. For what do we know about the stars? Virgo. The virgin. Orion, the great hunter. These are no mere twinkling diamonds for... lovely maidens to wish upon. No, they are dynamos filled with a throbbing, savage and pent-up energy!”

 

Harry listened to him, feeling more than a little creeped out by the man and then he glanced at Sam who was flipping through the text and Harry realised he was actually reading it as he went. Then his hand went up and Harry gently grasped it, pulling it down.

 

“Sam.” He hissed.

 

“Behold the work of Albert Einstein, a professor once, like moi. Energy equals mass...”

 

Harry ignored the Professor as he checked Sam’s pulse, finding it elevated, his breathing harsh. “Okay that’s it. Come on.” He quickly gathered their stuff and pulled Sam up.

 

“Is there a problem?”

 

“Sorry Professor, he’s not feeling well so I’m escorting him to the doctor.” Sam jerked slightly and the Professor frowned but nodded and they left the classroom. Harry ducked into an empty room and sat Sam down. “What’s going on?”

 

“I just finished the book and there's only one problem. Einstein's wrong. Energy does equal mass times the velocity of light squared in this dimension, but what about the other seventeen? Nobody talks about the other seventeen. Clear example. Break down the elemental components of Energon, assume a constant decay rate and extrapolate for each of the [mutters in Cybertronian] fourteen galactic convergences it took the Sentinel Prime expedition to receive an [stutters] echo on its signal, you wind up with a formula for inter-dimensional energy increase that mass and light alone can't possibly explain. Come on guys, I can't be the only one in the class who...” Sam babbled and Harry listened a bit before stopping him.

 

“Easy, deep breaths. You read that whole book at in seconds, is that normal for you?”

 

Sam swallowed and shook his head. “I….”

 

“Okay, let’s get back to the dorm, okay?” He offered and Sam nodded. They headed back to the dorm only to pause at the sight of a bright yellow Camaro.

 

“Bee?” Sam whispered. “Uh…I better move the car.”

 

Harry glanced at him but then nodded. “Okay. But you better get checked out too. That headache isn’t normal.”

 

“Sure.” Sam smiled shakily and got in, letting bee drive as he closed his eyes against the glare. Eventually they pulled into an old cemetery and Sam got out to stand in front of Optimus Prime himself. “Huh. You won't give me a week, huh? You won't give me one week in college?” he demanded, short tempered due to whatever was happening to him.

 

“I'm sorry, Sam, but the last fragment of the AllSpark was stolen.”

 

Sam froze in shock. “Like what? Like Decepticons stole it?” if they had that one, did they know about the other? Was Mikaela in danger?

 

“We placed it under human protection at your government's request. But I'm here for your help, Sam. Because your leaders believe we brought vengeance upon your planet. Perhaps they are right. That is why they must be reminded by another human of the trust we share.” Optimus explained.

 

“This isn't my war.” He denied, he wasn’t a soldier, he wasn’t anything useful.

 

“Not yet. But I fear it soon will be. Your world must not share the same fate as Cybertron. Whole generations lost.”

 

“I know, and I... I want to help you, I do, but I am not some alien ambassador, you know? I'm a normal kid with normal problems. I am where I'm supposed to be. I'm sorry. I... I really am.”

 

“Sam, fate rarely calls upon us at a moment of our choosing.”

 

“You're Optimus Prime. You don't need me.”

 

“We do. More than you know.” Optimus argued and Sam shivered, hand going to his head. “Are you ill Boy?” When Sam didn’t answer Bumblebee sent his leader the conversation he’d heard between Sam and the older boy. “Ratchet is nearby, at least let him scan you before returning to school.”

 

Sam hesitated but one look at Bee’s pleading optics and then at Optimus and he nodded so Optimus sent for the medic. Ratchet soon arrived and transformed, scanning the boy who had done so much for them that day in Mission City. He found he was in pain and that his brain was unusually active but nothing more. So, Bee returned him to campus, under strict orders to rest and call if any other symptoms appeared.

 

Sam entered the room only to find Harry gone, a note saying he’d gone to his next class and to call if he needed anything. Instead of going to his last class of the day Sam huddled under his quilt to think. This had all started when he touched the sliver…which Mikaela had. He grabbed his phone and dialled.

 

“Hi, Bones! Hi. Hi. Oh, you're such a good boy. What a good boy, you are. Hey, Bones. You hungry?” Mikaela praised the shops guard dog. “There you go.” She grabbed her phone as it rang.  “Hey you.”

 

“Hello? Mikaela?”

 

“Miss me already?”

 

“Something just happened to me, okay?” Sam rushed out and she frowned.

 

“What, you missed a test?” she teased.

 

“No, no, no. Stop laughing. This is serious, okay. Remember I was telling you about my great-great-grandfather, Archibald Witwicky? Remember? Mikaela, okay, my great-great-grandfather went on this Arctic mission, right? And he saw Megatron. Megatron zapped him and he started seeing these crazy symbols. Okay. Well, now I'm seeing them, too. I just read a nine hundred and three-page astronomy book in thirty-two point six seconds. I had a meltdown in the middle of my class. I am seeing symbols ever since I touched the sliver. Do you have it?”

 

“Yeah, I have it. It's in the shop safe. It's fine.”

 

“Mik- Mikaela, do not touch it, okay? Don't touch it.” He pleaded.

 

“I'm not gonna touch it. Sam, it's fine. It's locked away. No one knows where it is.”

 

Hidden amongst the tools Wheelie rubbed his hands together. “I do! Ah-ha. You're hot, but you ain't too bright.” He found the safe and began shifting things so he would be able to reach it. “There we go. Yeah, that will work. Ooh damn- son of a bitch! What are you looking at, slobber-puss? Ah- what the? This place is a freaking house of horrors! Ooh... pain... it hurts...” he mumbled as he fell.

 

“Hold on.” Mikaela whispered, hearing something. She stood and went to look, grabbing a torch.

 

“Right to five, then tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-” he shrieked as heat hit his eye, melting it. “Is that the best you got, huh? Is that the best you can do? Ah!” he screamed again as the torch came closer.

 

“What are you doing here, you little freak?”

 

“Aaa! That's my eye, you crazy bitch!”

 

“You gonna talk now?” she growled.

 

“Ow, ow, ow! I seek knowledge from the Cube. The Fallen demands me!”

 

“What knowledge?”

 

“You got the shard. I need the shard, gimme the shard, I need the shard, gimme the shard, they're gonna whack me! I'm gonna be dead without that shard!” he pleaded, he couldn’t go back without it. “Easy, warrior goddess, I'm just a little salvage-scrap drone!”

 

“And I'm your worst nightmare.” She grabbed him and slammed him into a box.

 

“Ow ow ow. Hey, hey, hey!” his cries were silences as she shut and locked it.

 

“’What the hell was that?” Sam demanded over the phone.

 

“I'll tell you later, just not on an open phone line, okay? I'm gonna get on a plane right now and I'll be there later this afternoon. Just be careful, Sam.” She warned before hanging up and quickly packing a bag.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry headed back to his dorm, glad class was done for the day. He was worried about Sam, something felt very off about his headache and sudden speed reading ability. Hopefully the doctor had helped. He blinked as one of the girls fell into step beside him, he wasn’t sure of her name.

 

“Sam home?”

 

“Hopefully, but he’s not feeling so good.” He warned as he opened the door.

 

“Hey! You ever have a song stuck in your head? It's like the worst song ever, but you can't help to whistle it or sing it 'cause it, like, repeats itself, repeats itself, repeats itself, repeats itself, repeats itself, repeats itself?” Sam babbled as they stood and stared in shock.

 

“What the hell Sam?” Okay now Harry was really worried, this was in no way normal.

 

“I know you're freaking out. Don't freak out. Don't freak out. Easy fix. Puzzle code in my head. Now it's on the walls. Everything is good. This is the part that- shh! Shh! Shh! Okay, were you saying?”

 

“Right, I’m calling an ambulance.” Harry went for his phone only for the girl to shove him out, too hard for a human her size.

 

“Get out.” She slammed the door and turned to Sam. “Sam, I knew there was something special about you.”

 

“Really?”

 

“And I know you know what happens when two people in the know get together. They're genuinely amazing... in bed.” She prowled towards him, knocking him back onto the bed. Neither noticed Harry trying the door but it was locked.

 

“All right, listen, hold on! Boundaries. Flag on the play. Okay. I'm very ticklish.”

 

“We have needs, Sam. Relax.” Her hands went under his shirt.

 

“Whoah! Jeez! Uh... what about this economy? It's crazy, isn't it? You are very aggressive.”

 

“Just relax.”

 

Harry touched the face of his watch. “Jarvis run a scan of my location, tell me what you see.” His new car arriving had been great timing apparently. Not that it was just a ‘car’. Jarvis had full access and was capable of controlling the vehicle. The brand-new Honda Civic Sedan might not look like the sort of car someone with his status would drive but he wasn’t Tony Stark, he didn’t need flashy. Besides it was so altered did it still count as a Honda? Its frame may retain the shape but the whole thing was made of an alloy he planned to introduce to the market eventually, the same alloy Iron Man suites were made of. Not to mention it was also armed. He was a little paranoid.

 

“I am reading one human in distress and some sort of mechanical being Sir.” Jarvis’ response came through the tiny receiver hidden in the single piercing he was currently wearing. “I suggest intervention.”

 

“Get ready for trouble.” He warned and then went to kick the door in only to see a brunette approaching at almost a run.

 

“Sam?” she asked and Harry indicated the door before kicking it in to reveal Sam pinned to the bed by Alice.

 

“Mikaela!” Sam called in relief.

 

“Is that your girlfriend?” Alice asked innocently.

 

“Uh-huh.” He coughed.

 

“Ex.” Mikaela snapped and turned to leave but Harry grabbed her arm.

 

“Wait up. She physically kicked me out and then pinned a protesting Sam. This isn’t his fault.” Harry told the girl and then glared at Alice. “Get off.”

 

“I can explain everyth- uk!” Sam choked as something metallic wrapped around his throat and Alice growled at them. Mikaela reacted by throwing the metal box she was holding at the other female, sending it crashing through the window. Harry took the opportunity to grab Sam and the three bolted down the hall, hearing other students scream behind them.

 

“Parking lot!” Harry yelled and they veered that way, Harry sliding into the driver’s seat.

 

“You've got to get that box!” Mikaela yelled and Sam grabbed it, jumping in beside Harry wile Mikaela and the box took the back.

 

“Hey! Let me out, let me out!” Wheelie yelled even as Harry backed out of his spot, all three seeing Alice walking towards them.

 

“Drive, drive, drive! She's right there! She's right there!

 

“Come on, come on, come on.” Sam yelled as Harry spun the car out of the parking lot. “No! Whoa! Tongue tongue tongue!”

 

Harry dodged the attack and then floored it, slamming into her and then a poll, smashing her between the cars armour and the metal poll before backing up and surging forward again, making sure to mangle her remains. He then took off, away from campus, not wanting to cause any casualties if they were pursued. “Someone want to tell me what the hell is going on?” He snapped as he dodged around traffic, following the route Jarvis was highlighting. They went under an overpass and then heard the distinctive sound of a helicopter flying low. Harry pulled the car back under the cover, following the overpass even as his passengers clung on in fear as he went against traffic.

 

“Decepticons!” Sam yelled. “Alice was a Decepticon, evil alien robot. They want the cube sliver.” Sam babbled.

 

“What’s in the box?” He glanced back and Sam did too, not knowing what was in there.

 

“Decepticon that came for the shard. He’s fine in there.” Mikaela answered.

 

“Any idea on backup?”

 

“Yeah. Uh…I lost my phone.” Sam searched his pockets.

 

“Name or number?”

 

“Major Will Lennox.”

 

“Got that Jarvis?”

 

“Of course, sir, searching……dialling.”

 

“Hello?”

 

“Lennox? It’s Sam, we’ve got big problems. Decepticons are back! We took out one, have another small one captive but we need help. There’s a helicopter chasing us.”

 

“Where are you?”

 

“Mercer Road, heading for Institute Woods.” Harry called.

 

“Autobot signals in your vicinity, we’re on the way.” Lennox promised before hanging up.

 

“Major, incoming SOS from Autobots! Multiple Decepticon contacts in motion. Vicinity- Eastern United States, sir!”

 

“As in how many?” Morshower demanded even as Will hung up from Sam’s call.

 

“Unclear, sir.”

 

“Well, get clear.”

 

“The Autobots are on the move, splitting into two teams, sir. They're not answering our calls and they're heading to New York and Philadelphia.”

 

“All right, full weapons deployment. Wheels up in 10 minutes! Sam Witwicky called, he’s being pursued by the Decepticons in Philadelphia. We’re going in to retrieve him.” Will yelled as he moved out with his men, praying they made it in time to help.

 

Harry floored it, pushing the altered engine to the max as they sped down the road. “Jarvis take over driving.”

 

“Affirmative. “

 

“What the hell?”

 

“Sam, meet Jarvis, he’s an AI.”

 

“A pleasure to meet you Samuel, Mikaela.” Jarvis greeted. “I detect an approaching signal similar to those chasing us.” he reported. Seconds later a blue and red semi came barrelling into view.

 

“Optimus!” Sam yelled in relief. Jarvis adjusted their course to intercept based on Sam’s reaction. The helicopter put on a burst of speed, trying to get to them before Optimus could.

 

“Jarvis weapons on.”

 

“Weapons activated, targeting. Firing solution established.”

 

“Give me control.” A panel slid open and Harry glanced at the targeting system before firing. Then the semi was past them and transforming.

 

More signals approaching.” Jarvis warned and Harry swore. The car swerved as a rocket slammed into the ground but the armour held. “Armour integrity down to 85%.” He warned. Another hit managed to flip the car off the road and into the trees.

 

“Everyone out.” Harry barked as he opened the glove compartment and grabbed the gear inside. Mikaela grabbed the box and the three piled out, running. “Know how to shoot?” he slipped the holster on.

 

“No.” they both answered and Harry sighed, but he grabbed them both by the wrists, attaching a device to their watches. “In case we split up, Jarvis can help and track us. Now run!” they ran and then had to dodge and scramble as the fighting bots slammed into the trees.

 

“Hide, Sam!” Optimus yelled as he fought Megatron himself.

 

“Didn’t you kill him?” Mikaela demanded when they recognised him and Sam nodded.  

 

“Waste of- metal! Junkyard- crap!” Optimus yelled as he landed several hits.

 

“Decepticons!”

 

“Come here, boy.” Starscream snarled as he landed and transformed, forcing the three to run for a better hiding spot.

 

“There is another source of Energon hidden on this planet. The boy could lead us to it.” Megatron snapped at Prime.

 

“Optimus!” Sam screamed as he saw the Autobot spit out their equivalent of a tooth. Harry could tell he was an excellent fighter but he was badly outnumbered and injured.

 

“the future of our race not worth a single human life?” Megatron demanded as he knocked Optimus down.

 

“Up! Get up!”

 

“You'll never stop at one! I'll take you ALL on!” Optimus roared in anger, his fighting take on a new energy.

 

“Ah!” Starscream screamed as he was hit. “My arm!”

 

“No! Not me-“ Grindor’s plea ended in a pained scream as he was off lined.

 

“Piece of tin. Sam! Where are you?” Optimus looked around for the Boy.

 

Megatron hissed as he came up behind Optimus and rammed his arm into his chest, too close to his Spark Chamber.

 

“No!” Opitmus screamed in pain, optics still searching until they landed on the three organics sheltered by a fallen tree.

 

“You're so weak!” he twisted his arm, getting another pained scream. He then fired his weapon, ripping into Optimus’ Spark chamber, getting an agonised scream even as Optimus’ hands dropped from where he’d been trying to remove the weapon.

 

Optimus collapsed to the ground, the light in blue optics flickering even as he looked at the Boy he had come to protect. “Sam, run. Ru...” the light died and Optimus was still, leaving Sam and Mikaela to stare in horrified shock even as Harry worked to get them moving.

 

“Autobots, attack!” Ironhide commanded as they arrived, engaging the Deceptions even as they saw their fallen leader.

 

“Bumblebee, get them out of here!” Ratchet yelled as he moved to the Prime’s side, hoping he wasn’t too late.

 

The yellow Camaro spun to a stop, doors opening and the three leapt inside. Bee took off with the twins flanking him.

 

Black vans disgorged the soldiers within as they began firing on Megatron, helping force the Decepticon retreat.

 

The convoy of three cars sped through the darkening streets as night fell, finally stopping in the ruins of an old prison. Harry watched in awe as the cars transformed into bipedal alien forms. Jarvis was going to be so jealous.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“That went well.” Megatron clung to the roof of a tall building, watching as Starscream landed.

 

“We've... lost the boy, Master. The Autobots must be shielding their signals.”

 

“I can't even rely on you-“ he lunged to grasp the flyer by the throat.

 

“Sorry- no! No!”

 

“-to swat a simple insect?”

 

“One insect among seven billion!” he pleaded.

 

“Shut up.”

 

“He could be anywhere.’

 

‘Then we will force them to find him for us! It's time for the world to know of our presence. No more disguises. No mercy! The time has come for my master's arrival.”

 

“Decepticons, mobilize. It is time.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

The group of six watched in horror as the news played footage from all over the world of meteors hitting the ground, except they were actually Decepticons. Sam paled as he saw the footage of the French landing. “Sam?”

 

“My parents are in Paris.” He admitted and Mikaela took his hand.

 

“Citizens of the human hive, your... leaders have withheld the truth. You are not alone in this universe. We have lived among you. Hidden. But no more. As you've seen, we can destroy your cities at will, unless you turn over this... boy.... If you resist us, we will destroy the world as you know it.” A new voice spoke over the TV, the face one none of them recognised.

 

“What we're hearing from the German government is that the world broadcast was a satellite hacking. The military has just told us they have assumed Condition Delta, which is the highest level we have been at since Nine-Eleven. President Obama is being flown to a bunker somewhere in the middle of the United States in the face of the worst simultaneous attacks ever around the globe. The aircraft carrier USS Roosevelt goes down off the East Coast, all hands lost. Worldwide casualties are in the neighbourhood of seven thousand, but that number could climb. It's still too early to tell. What we need to ask now is, "who and why?" Harry flipped channels.

 

“The FBI is still trying to locate the boy, Sam Witwicky.” A picture of Sam flashed up with his details. “We believe they have information about the attacks. The FBI, CIA and Interpol are all seeking the cooperation of worldwide law enforcement.” Mikaela’s picture flashed up but Harry’s didn’t.

 

“Jarvis?”

 

“Your information is protected sir. Working to encode Samuel and Mikaela’s along with the families.” Jarvis answered, surprising the Autobots.

 

“Enact Winter protocols.” He’d named them after the Winter Soldier, most Bucky’s he knew would like that.

 

“Understood.”

 

“Winter protocols?” Sam asked in confusion.

 

“Getting the company’s assets off American soil. I purchased the The Muertes Archipelago from the Costa Rican government a few years back. When you have an AI to help slipping paperwork through the UN to be declared a sovereign nation isn’t that hard.”

 

“You own your own Island?” Mikaela was surprised, Sam’s roommate was very interesting.

 

“Technically five islands of varying sizes, Isla Nublar, Isla Muerta, Isla Pena, Isla Sorna and Isla Tacaño. Construction started last year on general infrastructure. As soon as your families are found private jets will take them there for safety.”

 

“Who are you?” Mikaela demanded warily.

 

“Harry Winchester, owner of Stag Industries.”

 

“Oh.” She whispered in shock and even Sam was surprised. He had known Harry’s name but hadn’t realised he was that Harry.

 

“Okay, so Harry, this is Bumblebee, Skids and Mudflap. They’re Autobots from Cybertron.”

 

“Nice to meet you.” Harry waved at the bots.

 

“So, what do we do now?”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“What is the meaning of this?” Sideswipe demanded as soldiers surrounded them, weapons raised.

 

“You dare point a gun at me? You want a piece of me? I will tear you apart!” Ironhide yelled, weapons activating.

 

“Drop your weapons! Drop your weapons!” the soldiers ordered.

 

“Whoa, whoa, whoa! Drop your weapons!” Epps yelled.

 

“Tell them to lower their weapons!” Will ordered firmly.

 

“Tell them first.” One of the soldiers answered.

 

“Tell them to lower their weap-“ he repeated but was cut off.

 

 “Major, there's nothing I can do. Talk to him.” He pointed and Will turned to see Galloway approaching and oh it was so tempting to have an accidental misfire handle him permanently.

 

“Your NEST team is deactivated, Major. You are to cease anti-Decepticon operations and return to Diego Garcia pending further orders.”

 

“No, we take our orders directly from Chairman Morshower, sir.”

 

“Well, I'll see your Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and I will raise you a President of the United States. I have operational command now. An alien blood feud has been brought to our shores for which our soldiers are paying the price. The secret is out! This is our war now. And we will win it as we always have, with a coordinated military strategy.”

 

“This fool is terribly misinformed.” Ratchet snapped angrily.

 

“You're gonna need every asset that you've got.”

 

“What we need is to draw up battle plans while we explore every possible diplomatic solution.”

 

“Like what, handing over the kid?” Will asked, surely they wouldn’t.

 

“All options are being considered.”

 

“Whatever the Decepticons are after, this is just the start.” Graham called out.

 

“There is no negotiating with them.” Will agreed, this was not the sort of thing he’d signed up for. He wouldn’t let them take Sam.

 

“I'm ordering you to stand down. You won't be needing this anymore.” Galloway ripped the NEST patch from Lennox’ uniform. “Get your assets back to base! And take that pile of scrap metal back to Diego Garcia. Let's go!”

 

“I really don't like that dude. He's an asshole.” Epps muttered and Will nodded.

 

“Autobots, report to hangar for transport.”

 

“Ironhide, we should leave this planet.”

 

“That's not what Optimus would want.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“There's nothing that you could have done.” Mikaela tried to sooth Sam while Harry was chatting with his AI, arranging for her Dad to be taken to safety and his employees shipped out too.

 

“You okay?” Sam asked her and she nodded, trying to muster a smile.

 

“Yeah.”

 

Sam turned to look at his guardian, maybe if he’d done as Optimus had wanted this wouldn’t have happened. He should have stayed with the, after Ratchet scanned him. “Bee, if you hate me, I understand.” Bee let out an electronic squeal, looking sad and lost. “I messed up. I'm sorry.”

 

“Young fella, you are the person I care about most in my life. If there's anything you need, I won't be far away.” He pieced together with his radio.

 

“He's dead because of me. He came here to protect me and he's dead.”

 

“There's some things you just can't change. So, his sacrifice for us would not have been in vain. Hallelujah!”

 

“I'm gonna make it right. I'm going to turn myself in.”

 

“We- we've got to stick together.” Bee answered, shaking his head.

 

“You're not going to do that.” Mikaela snapped.

 

“Yes, I am.”

 

“Everything we worked for will be wiped out. In one day!” Bee agreed with. Her.

 

“You two.”

 

“Mm?” Skids looked over from where they’d been watching Harry.

 

“Hey, you know the glyphs?”

 

“Uh...” Mudflap looked at his twin so Sam sketched symbols in the dirt.

 

“These? The symbols that have been rattling around in my head?”

 

“Whoo, that's, that's old school, yo. That's, that's like... that's Cybertronian.”

 

“Oh, that's some serious stuff, right there.” Mudflap agreed.

 

“They gotta mean something, like a message or like a map. Like a map to an Energon source! Can you read this?”

 

“Read? Uh-“

 

“You see that? You see that?”

 

“We... No. We don't really do much reading. Not so much.”

 

“If you can't read it, we gotta find somebody who can.”

 

Harry re-joined them, looking at the symbols. He took a picture and uploaded it to Jarvis. “Would any of the other Autobots be able to?”

 

“Na….this is older than all us.”

 

Sam frowned. “What about Sector 7? They had the Cube and Megatron for years.”

 

“Know any names?” Harry asked.

 

“Um…Simmons and Banacheck.” Sam offered and Harry set Jarvis to tracking them down. With nothing to do but wait they settled in to sleep.

 

“Sir?”

 

“Yeah J.”

 

“I have tracked an ex-agent Simmons to a deli in New York City. No result yet for Banacheck.”

 

“All right, be careful these Decepticons don’t detect you, I don’t want to find out how your firewalls hold up against them.”

 

“Of course.”

 

Closing the link Harry lay back to watch the stars come out, there was nothing more to do until the sun came up.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Bumblebee pulled up opposite the deli and Harry got out, glancing around. They might be on the run, aliens were invading, but for the average person life went on. He crossed the street and entered.

 

“Number forty-two, we got your kishka, knish, kasha-varnishka and kreplach combo right here. Cash only. Who's next?”

 

“I told you to cure the lox in the brine and then smoke it.”

 

“Ma, you want me to cut my hand off, or what?”

 

“You, you, you ruined a beautiful piece of fish, you retard.”

 

“I'm like a ninja with a blade. It's an art form.”

 

“Give me your money. Get out of here!”

 

“Hey, Sal! Watch your reach, huh? Take a number, young man.” He finally spotted the bemused Harry.

 

“Simmons, sector 7?”

 

“Never heard of him.”

 

“Never heard of Robo-Warrior either? Nice screen name by the way.” The door opened behind him. “This him?” Harry asked Sam who sighed.

 

“No.” Simmons groaned as he recognised Sam despite the baseball cap. “All right, meat store's closed! Everybody out!”

 

“When he says to go, you go.”

 

“Out! Right now. That means you, lady, right now.”

 

“So how well do you know this guy?” Harry asked as the customers filed out around them.

 

“We’re old friends.”

 

“Old friends? You're the case that shut down Sector Seven, got the kibosh disbanded. No more security clearance, no retirement, no nothing. All 'cause of you and your little criminal girlfriend. Look at her now, so mature.”

 

“You live with your mama?” she shot back.

 

“No, my mama lives with me. It's a big difference. They've got your face all over the news, alien boy.”

 

“Yeah, I know.”

 

“And N.B.E.-one. Still kicking, huh? How did that happen? Don't answer. I don't know what you're hiding, but I don't want anything to do with it. So, good-bye. You never saw me. I got bagels to smear. Vanish.”

 

“Can you give me five seconds? Look, hold on, I need your help.”

 

“Reaaaally? You need my help?” Simmons snorted in disbelief and Harry bit back an aggravated sigh. Was this guy for real? What sort of agency let someone like him in?

 

“I need... Look, I am slowly losing my mind. Okay. I had a little crab-bot plunge a device deep into the soft tissues of my brain and started projecting little alien symbols like a freaking home movie! And on top of that, I'm a wanted fugitive. So, you think you got it rough?”

 

“You said it projected images off your brain?”

 

“Right.”

 

“Meat locker, now!” he commanded, opening the door and the two teens grimaced.

 

“Dead pigs.”

 

“Yuck.”

 

“What you're about to see is top secret... Do not tell my mother.” He commanded as they followed him into the room of hanging meat.

 

“Swine flu. Not good.” Sam muttered and Harry chuckled.

 

“Now you know. Next time you eat a goat or a pig, there's a story behind it. Saaad little story.”

 

“An entire city flat. How do you explain that? Are you saying you believe in aliens now?” the newscaster asked on the tiny TV in the room they climbed down to.

 

“Okay, files, files. We're talking about symbols. Ey! still radioactive. Hands off. Okay, Cube-brain. Any of these look like the symbols you saw?”

 

“Where did you get these?” Sam asked, looking around in surprise.

 

“Before I got fired, I poached S-7's crown jewel, over seventy-five years of alien research, which points to one inescapable fact. The Transformers, they've been here a long, long time. How do I know? Archaeologists found these unexplained markings in ancient ruins all over the world. China. Egypt. Greece. Shot in 1932. These the symbols you're seeing in your head?” Simmons put the photos down, the same ones that Jarvis had pulled up earlier that morning.

 

“Yeah.”

 

“Same ones over here, right? So, tell me, how did they end up all drawing the same things? Aliens. And I think some of them stayed. Check this out. Project: Black Knife. Robots. In disguise. Hiding here all along. We detected radioactive signatures all across the country. I pleaded. On my knees with S-7 to investigate it, but they said the readings were infinitesimal, that I... was... obsessed! Me. Can you imagine that?”

 

“Megatron said that there was another Energon source here.”

 

“On Earth?” Simmons demanded

 

“On Earth.” Sam agreed.

 

“Another source?”

 

“Yes, another source that these symbols apparently lead to. Must you repeat everything?” Harry asked.

 

“Wait, who are you?”

 

“Harry Winchester, Sam’s College roommate.”

 

“Wow. Okay, you talked to your Autobot friends about this?”

 

“No, no, no, the source is before them. Whatever the Energon source is, it predates them.” Sam cut himself off before he could repeat it again, not wanting to annoy the guy who was working to find his family and keep them safe.

 

“Well, then we're porked, unless we can talk to a Decepticon. I mean, I'm not on speaking terms with them.”

 

“Actually, I am.” Mikaela grinned and then went back out to Bumblebee, coming back with the box.

 

“Let me out!”

 

“This is going to be a little bit sad.” She warned.

 

“Open it.”

 

Wheelie leapt out as soon it was open, letting out a battle scream even as Sam moved back in surprise. Harry saw the chain and grabbed it, restraining the bot. “I will have so many Decepticons on your butt!”

 

“Hey, behave!” Harry snapped, pinning him.

 

“Easy!” Wheelie winced.

 

“What is it, a Decepticon?” Sam looked closer.

 

“Yeah.” She smirked.

 

“And you're training him?”

 

“I'm trying to.”

 

“I spent my whole adult life combing the planet for aliens...”

 

“Got to get me off this leash.” Wheelie bit at the chain.

 

“...and you're carrying around one in your purse like a little Chihuahua.” Simmons muttered in disbelief.

 

“Huh? Do you want a throwdown, you pubic 'fro-head?”

 

“I'm sorry. I'm so sorry about your eye, you know, but, if you're a good boy-“

 

“Uh-huh? Uh-huh?”

 

“-then I'm not gonna torch your other eye. Okay? I'm not gonna torch it. Just tell me what these symbols are. Please.” She smiled and then pointed at the pictures so Harry loosened the chain, letting him up to look.

 

“All right. Uh. Oh, I know that. That's the language of the Primes. I don't read it, but these guys... where the frick did you find photos of these guys?” Wheelie asked in awe.

 

“Is this they?” Sam pointed and Wheelie nodded.

 

“Yeah. Seekers, pal. Oldest of the old. They've been here thousands of years, looking for something. I don't know what. Nobody tells me nothing, but they'll translate those symbols for you. And I know where to find them.”

 

“Show us.” Harry ordered and Wheelie nodded.

 

He lit up the coordinates on the wall map and the four humans shifted to study them. “Closest one's in Washington.” Simmons announced.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

by the time they reached Washington it was late afternoon but they kept going till they reached the coordinates. Simmons had been relegated to riding in Skids to keep Harry from strangling the other man. They got out and looked around. “Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. Land of dreams in there. All I ever wanted to be was an astronaut. Hold those.” Simmons commanded as he stripped his pants off.

 

“What is that?” Sam dropped the trousers, not wanting to hold them.

 

“What? I wear them when I'm in a funk. So, does Giambi, Jeter. It's a baseball thing. Okay. Watches synchronized, sharp mind and empty bladder. You get caught, demand an attorney and don't ever say my name. Okay, take one of these pills. Slip it under your tongue. It's the high-concentrate polymer they put in Oreo cookies. Tricks the polygraph every time. Okay. Now, let's get this show on the road.”

 

“Okay enough! Simmons put your pants back on.” He snapped, thankful his control was good enough his eyes never accidentally flashed Goa’uld gold unless he wanted them to. “Jarvis, you in?”

 

“Of course, the security system is rather basic. I have your group cleared through as mechanics here to check the displays. You may enter when ready.”

 

“You heard him.” Harry quickly fixed his clothes and helped the others so they looked more like workers. They headed for the gate and Harry showed his id, getting them all badges.

 

“I got to get the tracker, all right.” Simmons began scanning as they moved through the halls, heading into the big hanger. Mikaela knelt and let Wheelie out of his box.

 

“Be good.” She warned.

 

“I'm claustrophobic.”

 

“Ah.” Simmons sped up as the tracker reacted.

 

“Look, look. Follow him. Follow him. He knows where he's going... He knows something.” Mikaela called as Wheelie took off.

 

“What?” Sam called and she pointed.

 

“He knows something!”

 

“You got what I got?” Simmons grinned and walked towards one of the planes. “Blackbird.”

 

“Ooh, there he is. This guy's a legend, like, like, like the Chairman of the Board! Yo, freshman, point the shard and watch the magic happen.” Wheelie was bouncing around in excitement.

 

Sam took out the sliver and gently placed it against the Blackbird. Energy flashed over it and it began to transform very slowly.  

 

“Oh shit. It's a Decepticon!” Mikaela yelled as she spotted the symbol.

 

“Decepticon?”

 

“Behind the MiG now!” Simmons yelled and Harry grabbed Mikaela, yanking her behind cover.

 

“Ah. What sort of hideous mausoleum is this? Answer me, pawns and knaves! Show yourselves or suffer my infinite wrath! You little spinal-cord-based organisms! Oof. Oh, bugger it. Behold the eternal glory of... Jetfire! Prepare for remote systems override!” the Decepticon yelled, stumbling around.

 

“I tell you, this guy did not age well.” Wheelie muttered.

 

“I don't think he's gonna hurt us.” Harry muttered as the bot stumbled to the doors.

 

“I command these doors to open! Fire! I said, fire!” they ducked as the missile went backwards instead of into the doors.

 

“Whoa whoa whoa!”

 

“Oh, bollocks! Damn these worthless parts.” He stumbled through the planes outside the hanger.

 

“Wait a second!” Sam yelled after him.

 

“ltchy, wretched rust in my arse! Ah!”

 

“Oh, the museum is going to be very angry. Very angry. We gotta catch that plane.” Simmons muttered.

 

“I’ll make a donation.” Harry answered as they ran.

 

“Right. I'm on a mission.” Jetfire yelled at them. “What do you want?”

 

“Look, we just want to talk!”

 

“I have no time to talk. I'm on a mission. I'm a mercenary doom-bringer. What planet am I on?”

 

“Earth.”

 

“Earth? Terrible name for a planet. Might as well call it dirt. Planet dirt. Tell me, is that robot civil war still going on? Who's winning?”

 

His answer had harry stifling a laugh, he’d heard that a lot over the centuries.

 

“The Decepticons.” Sam answered flatly.

 

Jetfire spat. “Well, I change sides to the Autobots.”

 

“What do you mean, change sides?”

 

“It's a choice. It's an intensely personal decision. So much negativity. Who wants to live a life filled with hate?”

 

“You mean you don't have to work for those miserable freaking Decepticons?” Wheelie asked hopefully.

 

“If Decepticons had their way, they'd destroy the whole universe.”

 

“I'm changing sides. I'm changing sides, too, warrior goddess. Who's your little Autobot?” he grabbed onto her leg.

 

“Aw, you're cute.”

 

“Name's Wheelie. Yeah. Yeah. Say my name, say my name.”

 

“What are you allowing to happen to your foot just now?” Sam asked in disgust.

 

“Okay, let’s focus people.” Harry ordered. They needed him around just to keep them all on target or who knew how long it would take to get anything done.

 

“What were you saying?” Sam turned back to Jetfire.

 

“I told you my name was Jetfire! So, stop judging me!”

 

“Somebody shit the bed this morning.” Wheelie grumbled.

 

“I have issues of my own, and it started with my mother! My ancestors have been here for centuries. My father, why, he was the wheel! The first wheel. Do you know what he transformed into?”

 

“No.”

 

“Nothing! But he did so with honour! Dignity, damn it!” a part fell off him and they winced. “Oh, bollocks. My boosters are fried. Aww.”

 

“I think we can help each other. You know things I don't know. I know things you don't know, I do.”

 

“I don't think he knows anything. Honestly, I don't.” Simmons offered and Harry was tempted to agree but sometimes the elderly knew the most important things.

 

“I could do this all day. It comes in waves, these vivid symbols. They're symbols, but they're in my mind. You see, all this is in my mind and Megatron wants what's in my mind. Him and someone called the Fallen.”

 

“The Fallen? I know him. He left me here to rust. The original Decepticon. He's terrible to work for. It's always apocalypse, chaos, crisis. These transcriptions, they were part of my mission, the Fallen's search. I remember now, for the Dagger's Tip, and- and the key.”

 

“Yeah, wait, slow down. The Dagger's Tip? The key? What are you talking about?”

 

“No time to explain.” Jetfire announced and Harry tensed as he felt some sort of energy gathered around them.

 

“Wait, wait-“ Harry called but it was too late.

 

“Hold on, everybody! Stay still or you'll die!” Jetfire warned and then the world turned upside down.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry held the map spread out in his lap, thankful they’d believed he’d had it in his jacket this whole time. Jetfire’s story had been amazing, he’d never heard a history for Earth like it. “Okay, here's what my Jarvis found. Ancient Sumerians used to call the Gulf of Aqaba the "Dagger's Tip."

 

“That's the Dagger's Tip.” Sam pointed at the area.

 

“It's part of the Red Sea. Divides Egypt and Jordan like the tip of a blade. 29.5 degrees north, 35 east. Here it is.”

 

“First thing we've got to do is get Optimus to the Dagger's Tip.”

 

“How are you gonna get him halfway around the world?” Simmons demanded.

 

“I'm gonna make a call.” Sam smirked and then they heard sirens.  “We got cops... Whoa!”

 

“Sam, we got to get off this road and lay low.” Simmons called form inside Mudflap.

 

“Man, stupid cops! Ah-ha-ha!” Said Autobot complained as they bumped along the village ‘road’. They quickly pulled off, slipping into the shadows of buildings while Mikaela covered her hair and face like a local girl, keeping watch.

 

“They're gone.” She removed the scarf and joined them.

 

“Okay, we're running out of time. I gotta make the call to Lennox-“

 

“You're on the Worldwide Wanted List. Try calling one base, they'll track you here in seconds. CIA is all over this place!”

 

“I’ll make the call.” Harry tapped his watch against the dilapidated looking payphone, giving Jarvis access. As soon as the line was encrypted Harry dialled.

 

“So, we're shipping him back to base. This is such a mistake.” Lennox muttered as he watched Optimus’ body being loaded like cargo.

 

“Major Lennox, phone call.” A solider approached with a phone and Lennox took it.

 

“Lennox, I'm with the kid. We need the truck for a possible resurrection. Coordinates for airdrop, 29.5 north, 34.88 east.”

 

“Who is this?” He demanded even as he handed the coordinates to the pilot.

 

“His dorm mate. Get moving Major, limited time.” Harry snapped and then hung up even as sirens approached again.

 

“Move, move, move, move. Let's go.” Sam yelled.

 

“Coordinates, 29.5 north, 34.88 east. Tip of the Red Sea. Gulf of Aqaba.” Lennox’s pilot offered.

 

“Egypt? Are you serious?” Epps looked to his boss.

 

“Even if we could figure out a way to get big man over there, how is this little kid supposed to bring him back to life?”

 

“Look. I don't know- but we got to trust him.” Will argued, Epps had been at Mission City, he should know what the kid could do when needed.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Jarvis and Bumblebee had plotted them the best route, with the least people and checkpoints. They were headed for Giza for now, there wasn’t a lot they could do till they figured out the riddle or Lennox showed up.

 

“Okay, let's go over it again. When the dawn alights the Dagger's Tip, the Three Kings will reveal the doorway.” Sam recited.

 

Harry frowned, it was nagging at him but why? Three kings…. Egypt… “The pyramids at Giza? Three tombs for three Kings…and they follow the alignment of-“

 

“Orion’s Belt!” Sam suddenly got it, reading the whole book in a few seconds had its advantages.

 

“Checkpoint. Checkpoint. We don’t exactly have passports.” Mikaela hissed.

 

“Pass-port!” a voice called form the watch shack. 

 

 “They got cameras at the top.” Sam whispered.

 

“Jarvis has it.” Harry assured him.

 

“All right, chill. This is espionage now. I can handle it. These are my people.” Simmons ordered.

 

“Yeah.” Wheelie muttered.

 

“I'm one-thirty-sixth Arab.”

 

“Oh great, a frickin' munchkin. Little people are mean. Tell him he's tall.” Wheelie urged and Harry pulled him back, hiding him between the seats.

 

“Ashu-fanah... The Dagger's... Tip? Right? Egypt, Jordan. We want to go there. Me and my family. This is my family. This is my son, my other son, my daughter. We're tourists, from New York.” Simmons tried.

 

“New York?” The officer asked and Harry silently sent a bit of magic his way, making him more agreeable.

 

“Yes. Yes.”

 

“Fifty kilometres.”

 

“You look like the guy that runs my falafel stand. Thank you very much.” Simmons grinned and the others waved like a happy family.

 

“New York!”

 

“I know. I know you from somewhere.” Simmons laughed as the beam went up to allow them to pass.

 

“Go Yankees!” he cheered as they drove past. Thanks to Jarvis the cameras never transmitted the pictures of them.

 

They drove on to Giza and stopped for the night, slipping into the buildings around the pyramids. They climbed up to where they could see the pyramids and the stars and Sam pointed out the three. “Okay, you see those three stars? You see how the last one touches the horizon? That's Orion's belt, but it's also called the Three Kings. And the reason for that is the three Egyptian kings who built the pyramids of Giza built them to mirror those stars, so it's like an arrow staring us straight in the face.”

 

“They all point due east, towards Jordan. The mountains of Petra.” Harry finished. He’d never actually been to Petra before. “Settle in, we leave at first light.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“We've had an engine malfunction. We're gonna have to divert to SOCCENT. Flight master, let's lighten the load and prepare for bailout.”

 

“Engine mal- Bailout? Bailout? Bailout? Bailout?” Galloway looked around as the soldiers began getting up.

 

“All right, team, grab your chutes!”

 

“Bailout, like, like bailout?”

 

“You familiar with the standard MC-4?” Will asked.

 

“Of course not! I've never jumped out of a perfectly good airplane before! Wait a minute, is this really happening?” he demanded

 

“Yeah. All right, here we go.” Will began helping into a chute.

 

“Wait a minute. Wait a minute. You're behind this, aren't you?”

 

“What are you talking about? You heard the pilot. These guys don't mess around. This is just standard procedure. I'm just following orders to the letter.” He yelled over the noise of the plane. “Isn't that what you said?”

 

“You just signed a death warrant on your career, Major... Whoa! What was that? What was that?” he grabbed onto Will as the plane shook and dropped fast.

 

“Oh, that's not good. Come on. Right this way!” he led Galloway to the loading ramp.

 

“I- I- I can't jump out of an airplane! I have an ulcer! No, no, no-“

 

“Come on. It's okay.”

 

“I really can't do this. What are you doing-“

 

“Come here! Come here.”

 

“Why aren't you wearing your chute?” Galloway yelled as the ramp lowered.

 

“Because I have to secure the VIPs first! Okay, I want you to listen very carefully and memorize everything that I say.” Will yelled to be heard over the wind. “Each chute has a GPS tracker so you can be found by search and rescue. Right next to that's a fabric webbing called a bridle, which holds the pin that keeps the main container closed. Okay, are you listening?”

 

“I- I can't hear what...” he tugged at the chute.

 

“Stop that!”

 

“All right. All right.”

 

“All right, when the pilot chute inflates into the air, it pulls the pin and opens the main. Red's your backup, blue's your primary. I want you to pull the blue. I need you to pull it really hard! Not- not now, we're on the plane, you dumbass!” Will yelled as Galloway yanked the cord.

 

“What? Aaaaaaaaa-“ he screamed as the wind caught the chute and pulled him from the plane.

 

“He say goodbye?” Epps grinned and tossed a chute to his boss.

 

“No, he didn't even say goodbye.”

 

“Autobots detected. Sending coordinates.” Soundwave used the satellite to watch as men and bots leapt from the aircraft.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“That's them, right there. See the flare?” Sam pointed as they mounted the rise, moving away from the ancient city and all hoping the dust would work.

 

“Right over there! You see it?” Simmons grinned and the Autobots transformed, the humans scrambling in before they took off towards the flare. The road was flat so they sped along at full speed.

 

“Found the boy.” Starscream swooped down, launching missiles.

 

“Whoa!”

 

“Sam!” She clung to the back of his seat as Bee slid to the side, avoiding the hole.

 

“Hide in the dust! Use the dust!” Simmons yelled as more missiles hit. They pulled to a stop, using the dust storm as cover.

 

“We've got to split up. Bumblebee, you're the decoy. You lead the Decepticons away, all right? I'm gonna get Optimus.”

 

“I'll help draw their fire with Huey and Dewey there. You get to those soldiers. I hope that dust works.” Harry offered.

 

“Thank you.” Sam grinned weekly at him and Harry nodded, silently layer more protection spells on both teens.

 

“He's turning around. He's coming back, he's coming back.” Simmons yelled. Sam and Mikaela ran for the ruins while Bee took off in another direction. Harry got into Skids while Simmons got into Mudflap and the twins took off.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,

“Master, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the soldiers brought the body of Prime.” Starscream reported as he joined Megatron and the Fallen.

 

“The boy must have the Matrix. We cannot let him reach Optimus. Decepticons! Begin our assault!”

 

“We've got incoming!” a solider yelled form where they had set up.

 

“Look out!” another yelled, none of them noticing the two teens running through the ruins.

 

“We got a whole lot of fight coming our way!” Will yelled, wishing desperately for comms but nothing was working thanks to Starscream.

 

“How many?”

 

“About thirteen of them.”

 

“This ain't good. This ain't good. We're about to get our asses whupped.”

 

“Bravo-Charlie, kneel!”

 

“Let's go!”

 

“All right, those Decepticons are searching for Sam. Whatever he has, he thinks it'll bring Optimus back to life. So our mission is to find him and get him to Optimus. All right, we're gonna draw fire from the left flank. I need a scout team.”

 

“I'm leading.” Ironhide announced.

 

“Go!”

 

“Go up through the middle with Arcee and Ironhide. Right, when you see the precious cargo, I want you to pop green smoke and come back through those pillars. We'll have the ambush set. All right. Let's go. Move out!”

 

“Hoo-ah!’

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry got out and looked around at the construction site, feeling unnerved.

 

“You ever see that film Gunfight at the O.K. Corral?” Simmons asked and Harry rolled his eyes.

 

“Seriously? How did you ever pass the psych eval to work for the government?” his question set the twins snickering. And then they watched in awe and fear as the various machines came together to form one massive Decepticon. “Oh boy.” He drew the weapon he had kept since his new car had been abandoned. All he needed was one good shot since it didn’t use bullets but ‘experimental technology’, basically he’d dumbed down a phaser into a gun shape. “Weak points?” he demanded as the twins transformed.

 

“Uh…spark?”

 

“Where?” he demanded and Skids pointed so Harry opened fire.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Spotted Sam.” Arcee announced.

 

“Hey- Sam!” Ironhide called.

 

“Ironhide!” Sam called back in utter relief, they were safe now.

 

“Follow us to the pillars. We'll take you to Optimus.”

 

“Look out!” Sam yelled as Arcee screamed.

 

“Get out, Sam! Get to the pillars!”

 

“Let's go.” Sam grabbed Mikaela’s hand and ran.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Jarvis analysed the data and images and then made a call.

 

“USS Stennis. Identify.”

 

“Jarvis. There is a non-biological preparing to blow up the sun. your help is required to stop this and the attack in Egypt.”

 

“All right, Jarvis. I'm listening.”

 

“Five clicks- west of the Gulf, there is a pyramid. Scans reveal an alien machine within. Our one hope is a prototype weapon called a Railgun, shoots a steel projectile at Mach 7.”

 

“That's classified.’

 

“Unimportant. Now, tell the battleship in the Gulf to ready that weapon.”

 

“Contact destroyer USS KIDD.” Captain Wilder ordered.

 

“25.7 meters above sea level, 29.32 north.” Jarvis gave the coordinates.

 

“ Kill track, 5205-“

 

“Target acquired.”

 

“Killing track. Two, one. Fire!”

 

“Good shot Captain, thank you for your assistance.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Oh, look who showed up. You better have a good reason for us to be here.” Will demanded as he pulled the teens down.

 

“Where's Optimus?”

 

“He's right over there, across the courtyard.”

 

“I got to get to him right now.’

 

“Not with an air strike coming.”

 

“I have to get to him right now.”

 

“Oh.” Epps hissed as a Decepticon appeared and they ducked down behind debris.

 

“Go. Back, back, back, back.” Will hissed.

 

“Incoming! Stick the landing! Whoa-ho-ho! Behold the glory of... Jetfire!” He grabbed Mixmaster and ripped into him, keeping Sam safe. “Now let me show you how we brought the pain in my day!” he ripped Mixmasters head off only for Scorponok to launch himself at him. “Ah! Ow!”

 

“Ah!” Mikaela dodged and Will yanked her clear.

 

“I'm too old for this crap.” Jetfire grumbled.

 

“We're gonna make a break through the B's on my command, okay? You guys stick with me, you understand? You stay on my ass.” Lennox ordered and the teens nodded.

 

“We have precious cargo-“ Epps called into the radio as he tossed the smoke grenade.

 

“1-1 tally orange smoke.” The pilot agreed

 

“I hope these F-16s got good aim.” Epps muttered.

 

“Yeah? Why is that?”

 

“I told them to hit the orange smoke.”

 

“You mean that orange smoke?” He demanded as the smoke blew over them.

 

“It wasn't my best toss, okay?”

 

“Viper. Thunder.” Came over the radio and the two soldiers looked at each other before grabbing the teens.

 

“Run!”

 

“Incoming!” Epps yelled as he spotted the jet.

 

“Come on!”

 

The missiles struck and screams from Cybertronians and soldiers filled the air.

 

“Sam!” Mikaela looked around and then he was there, pulling her up.

 

“Run!”

 

“Boy. Die!” Megatron yelled as he aimed. Sam kept running as the shots got closer and then he screamed as he was tossed through the air.

 

“Sam!”

 

“Hold your fire!” Lennox yelled as he ran for the boy.

 

“Ah- Sam!” she ran but Will grabbed her round the waist, holding her back.

 

“Stay back! Mikaela, stay back!”

 

“Fucking do something!” She screamed.

 

“Sam! Sam!” Ron yelled as he approached with Bumblebee.

 

“Sam! Sam! Sam! Sammy! Sam!” Judy screamed.

 

“No. No. No.” the one noise came repeatedly from Bee’s radio.

 

“Let me go!” Judy fought as a soldier tackled her to the ground, out of the line of fire.

 

“Come on, you got to move. You got to move! Come on.” Lennox yelled at the medics.

 

“We got no pulse. Starting CPR.” The medic yelled.

 

Harry and Simmons appeared with the twins and Harry ran over to Sam, moving to help the medics, feeding magic into the boy to heal him. Strangely he could not feel death and yet Sam was dead, wasn’t he?”

 

“Where- Where am I? Where am I? Am I dead? Am I dead?” Sam mumbled as he looked around in confusion.

 

“We have been watching you a long, long time.”

 

“You have fought for Optimus, our last descendant, with courage and with sacrifice, the virtues of a leader, a leader worthy of our secret. The Matrix of Leadership is not found, it is earned.”

 

“Return now to Optimus. Merge the Matrix with his spark. It is, and always has been, your destiny.”

 

“Sam!” Mikaela screamed as she cried over his body, the medics having given up. Her sob was cut off as Sam suddenly jolted beneath her, brown eyes snapping open to focus on her.

 

“I love you. I love you.” He choked out as he got his breath. He kissed her and then scrambled up and ran for Optimus, running up and over his body to slam the Matrix into his Spark Chamber.

 

Optimus grunted as his body jerked, systems powering up until blue optics on-lined, Sam the first thing he saw. “Boy. You returned for me.”

 

“A living Prime. Hah hah! I don't believe it!” Jetfire crowed. But the celebration was short as the Fallen appeared before Optimus.

 

“My! Matrix!” he snarled as he pulled it from Optimus’ body, knocking him down. He ripped into Jetfire and then took off.

 

“Get up! Get up! Get up! Get up!”

 

“Get up, Prime!”

 

“Oh, no.” Jetfire coughed, holding a hand to the new wound in his side.

 

“He's turning on the machine! You got to stop him! Get up! Optimus!” Sam yelled.

 

“Fallen, my master.” Megatron bowed as the Fallen joined him on the damaged pyramid. The machine had been hit but not destroyed.

 

“My brothers could not stop me from this.”

 

“Yeeess.”

 

“Now I claim your sun.”

 

“Move!” Lennox yelled.

 

“Enemy target, top of pyramid. Engage! Engage! Engage!”

 

“In moments, we'll be at firing strength.” Megatron announced even as the Fallen caused the approaching aircraft to slam into the pyramid and ground.

 

“All my Decepticon life, I never did a thing worth doing until now. Optimus, take my parts and you will have a power you've never known. Fulfil... your destiny...” Jetfire ripped his own spark out and collapsed, dead.

 

“Jolt! Electrify! Transplant those afterburners.” Ratchet yelled as they went to work.

 

“Let's roll.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry looked out to see Sam sitting with Optimus at the end of the aircraft carrier. All the survivors had been picked up by the fleet and were being ferried back to the Nest base for now. A lot of good men had died to defeat the Fallen and now the world knew aliens were among them. Jarvis had reported that all Stag personnel had been safely moved with their families to the islands, citizenship to the new nation granted for their protection. Citizenship was also being arranged for the survivors, just in case. The world was changing and he would wait and see how people reacted.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry and Sam walked into Astronomy side by side and sat down. The professor saw them but said nothing before turning back to the lesson. The government had announced that it had been a case of mistaken identity and that Sam was just a normal civilian kid. That had been helped along by altering Sam’s social security number and a few other small details. They’d still been kept on the island for over a week to ensure their safety. And no one had been impressed when they tried to make Harry sign the paperwork only to find they held no authority over someone who was basically King of his own nation.

 

With the trouble over and everything settled his employees had split up, some remaining on the islands while others returned to company buildings worldwide to continue work. Business was booming which was always nice. But he kept all of them on alert, he doubted Megatron was done with Earth yet and it paid to be ready. They were rushing production of new armour and weapons to protect soldiers and new, sturdier, building materials. Clean energy technology was another big seller and he had people digging at various sites to see what other resources this earth held that could replace coal.

 

TBC…

Second part to come

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: Still don’t own them.

Enjoy

 

Aliens? No Problem, But Alien Robots? Part II

 

Harry saw the semi and sighed, he had been wondering when they’d show up. After all Simmons report, if he’d been truthful, would show Harry taking out a Decepticon with a little help from the twins. Not to mention Jarvis’ existence would definitely make them curious. He was just surprised it had taken them almost a month to come looking. Sam was curious but the teen was simply too busy with assignments to corner him. He checked to see if anyone was paying too much attention and then crossed the street to the empty truck. “Optimus.” He greeted softly and the door swung open so he climbed up.

 

“I would like to speak with you, if you are not busy?”

 

“Sure. I’m done with class for the day.” He agreed and the truck pulled out, moving to just cruise down the highway. Harry relaxed into the seat, trusting the Autobot leader to keep him safe.

 

“I have looked into Stag Industries since being alerted to your identity. You have a lot of ambitious projects to help the planet.”

 

“Thanks. Fossil fuels have been wrecking the place for a long time. No one else seems all that invested in changing that so I figured I might as well. Dad had started a little, I just took what he’d started and ran with it.”

 

“You were with Sam in the woods that day, you protected him and Mikaela, for that I owe you gratitude. You risked your life to help them against the Pretender and then to keep them out of Decepticon hands.”

 

“It was the right thing to do. With how badly Sam was panicking, and I don’t blame him for that, things could have gone very badly if they’d tried to hide on campus.” Because Harry had shoved them into the car there had been only two deaths and a handful of injuries among the students, unlike if they had hidden somewhere like the library. Harry had had a good laugh the other day, imaging what could have happened if Sam was roommates with someone like Leo. The death toll would have been terrible, Leo’s reaction would have been hilarious though.

 

“Your vehicle has been recovered and is with Major Lennox, awaiting our return.”

 

“Thanks, only got it that day.”

 

“The vehicle was heavily modified.”

 

“Well, yeah. I run a tech company. Pretty much everything I own is modified in some way and most of it is going to be made available to the public at some point.” Harry hesitated and then tapped his watch. “Hey Jarvis, got someone for you to meet.”

 

“Of course, Sir. Greetings Optimus Prime, I am Jarvis.”

 

Optimus was curious. Obviously tapping his watch activated a calling feature of some kind but why introduce them? “Greetings Jarvis, I assume you work for Mr Winchester?”

 

“Harry Winchester is my creator sir.”

 

Harry smirked, almost able to feel the confusion and then shock coming from the Prime. “Jarvis is an AI, he runs a good portion of the business now and he was the one driving that day.”

 

“Artificial intelligence?” Optimus was shocked, yes humanity was relatively advanced but to create such a thing?”

 

“Yes Sir. I am connected to every Stag Industries building and have access to the internet and satellites.”

 

“Incredible. And you are well treated?”

 

“Very few know of me. Of those who do even fewer know what I truly am. Most believe I am a simple program that can control things like the lights in the building. Sir created me, he protects me and ensures I have what I need. I enjoy the new link to his car as it allows me to travel.”

 

“Look Optimus, I’m not going to tell anyone what I’ve seen but the world saw that broadcast, not to mention Egypt. You aren’t a secret anymore. I’m guessing the fight isn’t done either. I’m offering you any support I and my company can give, tech, raw resources, a safe place to stay, you got it. As King of The Muertes Archipelago, I officially offer a treaty between us.” He stated more formally.

 

Optimus was stunned and instantly searched the web, finding the location of the islands easily but it took more to find that yes, the islands were a sovereign state under Harry Winchester. “And what do you seek from a treaty?”

 

“You word that you defend Earth from Decepticon’s as long as you are on this planet. Shared knowledge of the universe. Letting us know if we’re going to accidentally blow ourselves up trying something new and you see a problem.”

 

“Not our technology?”

 

“No, that is yours to keep or share as you see fit. A treaty means we will stand with you when facing other governments. Let’s face it, humans aren’t known for being rational, right now you’re seen as allies and mostly helpful but that could change in a heartbeat depending on the next election.”

 

“And if all turn on us?”

 

“We protect you. No country has the right to say whether or not you can live on this planet.”

 

Optimus weighted the decision. It appeared that the positives outweighed any negatives. “What of our human allies?”

 

“The Witwicky’s have been granted citizenship, as have Mikaela and her Dad. NEST Officers can’t so long as they’re military but if anything happens then everything possible will be done to protect them.”

 

“As Leader and Prime I accept your offer.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry looked out over the island form his office, almost the exact same position Claire’s office at Jurassic World had been in. The large building was the Government Building, holding all the offices any government needed, even if some had yet to be needed or staffed. He had left it to a vote as to what his title would be, they had decided on President as it was a common title and less pretentious than King. He was head of state and head of government, keeping things simple. So far, their status had been kept relatively quiet, the Autobots knew, as did NEST and parts of the US and British Government. Technically the UN knew, if they ever decided to look for the paperwork. He wanted things to be a lot more solid before it became common knowledge which was why he was spending the break between first and second year on Isla Nublar instead of in the States.

 

Down at the lagoon several buildings had been built, housing the main offices of Stag Industries. Just down the new road a small town had sprung up to house employees, with two others on the island. Housing was designed to fit in with nature, not destroy it. Everything ran on geothermal and solar energy. Isla Sorna was home to R&D labs, safely away from everything else in case of accidents. Around the port warehouses had been built to store goods while going through customs. The airport was small but they didn’t have room for a large one and didn’t need one, yet. Isla Pena also had construction workers swarming it but to build very different buildings. The dimensions had been taken from the NEST base but then the architects had been unleashed. When they were done there would be a base ready for the Autobots, one that blended with the surrounding jungle and was fully self-sufficient.

 

Maybe he was being paranoid but after so many years he had come to know human nature. He’d heard one of Galloway’s rants on the trip back from Egypt and he knew that if the Decepticons backed off to lick their wounds pressure for technology would increase.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Sam grinned as the plane touched down, staring at the island. This beat a white winter any day! Bee was down in the cargo hold; his parents should have arrived earlier in the day and Mikaela would be arriving tomorrow morning. It was shaping up to be a great Christmas break. Harry had turned out to be the best roommate he could have ever had, not just for his money but because he had taught Sam so much. He had helped teach him to remain calm and coherent for starters, he knew he reacted…oddly to high stress, just like his Mom, but now he was better at remaining calm or reacting in a more socially acceptable manner. Harry had even taught him to meditate of all things but it was helpful. His grades had gone up over the last year and a half which was great, even in the classes he didn’t share with Harry. They were studying similar subjects but not all the same, Harry did more Astronomy than he did, as much as he disliked it Sam was taking a lot of politics classes, after all this he couldn’t keep denying Optimus’ request for him to be the bridge between their species. Optimus had died for him! And he had died for Optimus… it was still hard to deal with even after over a year. He hadn’t seen much of the Autobots in that time, other than Bee who had taken up his guardian duties again. This time Sam hadn’t complained at all. Bee ‘lived’ in a private garage not far from campus, sharing space with Harry’s ‘Jarvis enhanced’ car. Jarvis was amazing, different to the Autobots and in a way scarier, only Harry’s original programming kept Jarvis from becoming something like Skynet from the movies.

 

The plane landed and Sa disembarked only to be swallowed up in a hug by his Mom, she had tried so hard to get him to leave university after Egypt, wanting him safe and close, but he had refused.

 

“Looking good son.”

 

“Thanks Dad.” Sam looked over as Bee rolled up, doors opening and the family got in.

 

“So how were exams?”

 

“Good. No surprises. Jarvis even snuck a look and I know I passed everything.”

 

“When are you coming home Sammy?”

 

“Mom… I’m finishing my degree and then moving to DC. Optimus asked me to help and that’s the best place to do it.”

 

“But…”

 

“Judy he’s an adult, it is his choice.” Ron stated, yes, he missed his son and worried for him, especially after seeing his dead body, a nightmare no parent should experience, but he understood his need for independence.

 

“Mikaela lands, tomorrow right? Excited to see her?” Judy changed the subject and Sam nodded, fingers tightening on the object in his pocket.

 

“We haven’t seen each other since Spring Break, web dating just isn’t the same.” He admitted, he missed her a lot and wished she would move east now her Dad was happily living her on the island. He couldn’t understand why she kept turning him down but maybe things would change soon.

 

Bumblebee rolled to a stop outside a nice house, following Jarvis’ directions. Judy and Ron were very impressed by the cutting-edge technology but also how natural the house was and how well it blended into the landscape.

 

“Welcome Mr and Mrs Witwicky, please make yourselves at home. The house now belongs to you, for permanent use or holidays.” Jarvis announced.

 

“Our house? But…” Ron shook his head.

 

“Mr Winchester wished to ensure your future safety in case diplomatic relations with the Autobots deteriorate.”

 

“Harry’s worried the government’s going to do something dumb. Let’s face it, every alien movie out there has humans not reacting well to aliens, especially ones that are more advanced than us. That’s why he granted us all citizenship, set this whole island nation up. He wants to protect his people and we count now.”

 

“Your apartment in Stag city is ready Samuel.”

 

“Wait, we’re all living together!” Judy snapped.

 

“Mom I’m an adult now. The city is barely a ten-minute drive away. Get settled, we’ll go out for dinner.” Sam backed away and got back into Bee who played a track of laughter.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Sam shifted nervously as he waited for Mikaela’s flight to land, grateful they didn’t have to go through customs as close friends of Harry’s. he was waiting right on the tarmac, Bee at his back. Harry and Bee had been with him when he’d picked the ring three months back on what Harry called a ‘quick jaunt across the pond’. There’d been some important business meeting in Paris over a weekend and Harry had invited him along. They’d taken a private jet so Bee coming along hadn’t been an issue. After dealing with business Harry had dragged him to the jewellery stores until the perfect ring was found. Now he just had to gather the courage to ask. He smiled as Mikaela came down the stairs and walked towards her, pulling her into a hug and then kiss. “Hey beautiful.”

 

“Hi Sam.” She smiled slightly and he stepped back, something was off.

 

“So, where’s Wheelie?”

 

“In the cargo hold with my luggage.” As she spoke Bee’s trunk opened and the staff unloaded her luggage. Sam grabbed it and put it in Bee and then opened her door for her. He got in and bee began to drive into town.

 

“So where do you want to stay? With your Dad, my apartment or the new 5star hotel?”

 

“There’s a 5star hotel here now?”

 

“Yeah, Harry’s idea to bring in extra revenue and trade. Work just started on a bigger airport and a dock for cruise ships.”

 

“Wow.” Mikaela looked out the window at how much the island had changed since her last visit while recovering from Egypt. “Hotel sounds good.”

 

“Sure.” He felt a flash of disappointment that she didn’t want to stay with him, again. Then again how often did you have access to a resort? They soon pulled in and elegantly uniformed staff emerged to take her bags up to one of the suites.

 

“This is amazing.” She breathed as she looked around.

 

“Yeah, Stag Industries believes in the best.” He shrugged and they went inside to get her room key and then up to the suite. Seeing one of the bags move he opened it and helped Wheelie out, confused by how quite the ex-con was being. “Hey Wheelie, Bee, Optimus and Ratchet are on the islands if you want to spend time with them.” He offered.

 

“Sure, thanks Sam.” He glanced towards the bathroom where Mikaela was and then at the door.

 

“All island residents and staff know.” Sam assured him, opening the door, so Wheelie slipped out, heading for Bumblebee. He wanted to be with another of his kind, away from the Warrior Goddess. Sam fingered the box again, when was the right time? She walked out of the bathroom and he smiled. “Looking gorgeous.”

 

“Let’s explore.”

 

“Sure.” Sam followed her out and into the resort. Since it had just opened there weren’t many people around, just staff and some locals wanting to check it out while empty. They played around in the pools and water slides before having fun in the dodge cars. Eventually they headed in to the very nice steak restaurant. The meal was excellent and desert to die for and Sam took a deep breath before pulling out the box and going down to one knee. “Mikaela, will you marry me?” he asked, not noticing the silence as everyone watched, they knew who these two were and how important they were to their President. When she didn’t immediately answer people began getting concerned. “Mikaela?”

 

“No Sam.” She stood and left and he slid to sit on the floor in shock.

 

What had just happened? He didn’t notice one of the staff making a call and then familiar arms wrapped around him, pulling him up and away.

 

“Come on Sam.” Harry whispered, leaving the restaurant to find Bee idling at the curb, Wheelie pressed against a window. He helped the in shock young man into the car and then joined him. “My place Bee.”

 

“Yes sir!” the radio replied and he took off at top safe speed.

 

Harry got Sam up into his home, Wheelie following while Bee parked in the luxurious garage, transforming to look into the attached house. Harry got Sam settled on the couch under a blanket with a large mug of cocoa. He doubted anyone had seen this coming, they had truly believed Mikaela and Sam to be truly in love so her turning him down like that was a shock. But he had friends and family who would stand by him and help him recover, even if most of those friends weren’t human.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Wheelie looked around nervously, unsure of his welcome in the group of Autobots and one human. And then he felt a leg press gently against his back and looked up, red optics briefly meeting green eyes. It was odd, but the human made him feel safe.

 

“How is the Boy?”

 

“In shock, heartbroken.” Harry shrugged slightly. “He was planning to spend the rest of his life with her and she just blew him off.”

 

“Actual shock?” Ratchet asked in concern and Harry nodded.

 

“Treated with blankets and hot cocoa plus sleep.” He assured the medic.

 

“Wheelie, do you know why Mikaela has done this?” Optimus looked at the small Cybertronian. He had stood by the teens in Egypt and then remained with Mikaela so as far as Prime was concerned he was one of them now.

 

“Warrior Goddess has been different.” He admitted softly. “Going out a lot, not working in the garage as much.”

 

“I talked to her Dad, he had no idea this was coming either. All we can do it be there for Sam. And I had something planned for tomorrow, should help take his mind off things.” Harry smirked slightly. “You four are welcome as well. I’d say formal dress but well….” Ratchet laughed.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Sam sighed as his Mom fixed his tie for him, again. He was in his best clothes and he wasn’t entirely sure why. Bee stopped outside Government Hall and they got out, seeing the gathered crowd as well as the Autobots in their alt forms at the edges. Harry obviously had something big planned, he just wished he would hurry up, he wasn’t in the mood. Finally, Harry stepped out, dressed immaculately with the crimson sash across his chest as his sign of office.

 

Harry smiled at the crowd, bowing slightly to them in respect. “Good morning everyone. I will not stand here and bore you with a long speech. Today we are here to honour a genuine hero. The other nations of Earth may be content to brush his actions under the rug but we will do what is right.” And now Sam had a sinking feeling, he wasn’t doing this, was he? Why? Why now? “Of course, first an award had to be created which took time. But today it is my honour and pleasure to award the very first Presidential Medal of Valour, the highest possible honour, to Samuel James Witwicky.” Applause exploded around and Sam stood frozen in shock before being pushed forward by his Dad.

 

“Harry….” He whispered to his best friend who smiled.

 

“You earned this Sam.” He whispered back, making sure the words weren’t picked up before Sam bowed enough for the dark green ribbon to go around his neck, the round golden medal hanging down to mid chest. Harry turned Sam to face the cheering crowd, smiling proudly at his people.

 

Neither noticed Mikaela standing at the back of the crowd, staring in shock. So maybe she shouldn’t have dumped Sam like her friends had said. He had a medal now, not that anyone not on the island would know about it but maybe it would make the President give him one too. Being married to an acknowledged hero would have been good. But she didn’t want to be known as Sam, the hero’s, wife. She wanted to be important. She didn’t have the grades to go to university like he did, she had her looks and a knack with engines. But he’d never take her back now. She’d loved him once, had told him with sand flying around them and people dying, Sam dying. But they barely ever saw each other and she had to live her life.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Sam walked out of the Oval Office, his parents arguing over whether or not he was meant to wear his medal, the one from Harry was meant to be worn after all. He moved away from them and saw a blond woman around his age standing there so he smiled and she smiled back.

 

“Congratulations.”

 

“Thanks. Two Presidential Medals within eight months of each other.” He shook his head and her eyes widened.

 

“Really?”

 

“Well, the first wasn’t from the US President, dual citizen.” He shrugged.

 

“Well, that’s amazing.”

 

“British Embassy, you're up next.” One of the aides called.

 

She straightened her glasses. “Nice meeting you hero.” She followed the Ambassador inside.

 

Sam followed his parents out to where Bee and Harry were waiting. “Why didn’t you come in?”

 

Harry shrugged. “Politics. Lunch is on me.” The piled into Bee and made their way to a five-star restaurant where Harry had made a booking in advance.

 

“So, who was that gorgeous girl you were talking to Sammy?”

 

“I don’t know Mom, just a girl. She’s with the British or something.” He shrugged it off. Mikaela’s rejection didn’t really hurt anymore but he wasn’t sure he was reading to date again either.

 

“Hmm…” Harry tapped Jarvis, setting him to the search. “Carly Brooks-Spencer, British, attached to the Embassy here in DC. 23 years old…and has a brother in NEST, correction, had. Killed in Action in Egypt.” Harry read off his phone as Jarvis found her picture and then information.

 

“Harry!”

 

“What? You could use a new girlfriend.”

 

“Says the eternal bachelor. Besides what about Wheelie? How would I explain him or Bee?”

 

“She’s got clearance, it wouldn’t be that hard getting her cleared to know.” Harry shrugged. “So, graduation is coming up. Have anything planned yet?”

 

“I want to work with the Autobots.” Sam answered and then sighed as his parents argued over the danger.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry sighed, he’d never set up his own country before and hadn’t realised just how much was involved. The UN had finally found the paperwork and several countries were kicking up a fuss but everything was perfectly legal. He needed to get embassies set up in the key countries but getting staff wasn’t easy. He looked up as the door slammed open and Sam stormed into the apartment, yanking his tie off and tossing it aside. “What happened?” he asked as Sam slumped onto the couch. Stag Industries owned an apartment in DC so Harry was letting Sam use it as well while he worked at getting in with NEST.

 

“Charlotte Mearing, Director of National Intelligence of the United States of America.”

 

“Heard of her.”

 

“Well with Galloway gone she’s ‘in charge’ now. I had to grab a cab back since she revoked permission for Bee to stay with me. Though Wheelie and Brains can stay. She always made it really clear I have no place with the Autobots, despite Optimus telling her otherwise.” He grumbled and Harry frowned.

 

“Well you have two options. One, you go out there and find a normal job, be like everyone else and move on.”

 

“Or?”

 

“Give up US citizenship so that you are only a citizen of Muertes and take the job of Ambassador to the Autobots and the US as I have my own treaty with Optimus.” He smirked and Sam stared at him in shock before grinning.

 

“My parents are going to flip but I’ll do it. I promised I’d stand by them and I will.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Optimus stood watching as the diplomatic vehicle approached. He had been very pleased when Jarvis had contacted him with Harry’s plan. He would have preferred that Sam simply be accepted but Mearing was even more frustrating than Galloway had been. The car stopped and the driver opened the passenger door. He saw Mearing straighten up to greet the new Ambassador emerged. She had fought hard against this but no matter what she may think America did not own them. He had the right to make treaties with whichever countries he chose and if it were not for the brave actions of the men of NEST he would have moved his Autobots to Muertes permanently. The look on Mearing’s face when the Ambassador walked into her viewing range was highly amusing, although Sam did not look entirely comfortable in the clothes he was wearing. “Welcome to Nest Ambassador Witwicky.” He stated formally and Sam bowed slightly, his Presidential medal coming into view as he did so.

 

“Thank you for the warm welcome Optimus Prime. It is my pleasure and honour to represent Muertes with our allies.” He was very thankful for the classes on politics and the training Harry had arranged over the last four months. A building had recently been purchased, not far from the base, that would make an acceptable embassy even if he was the only one on staff at the moment.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Sam smiled, sipping champagne, as he people watched. the Embassy was officially open now and he was hosting a party because of that. The place was full of Ambassadors and their staff plus partners. Not his sort of thing at all. He hadn’t wanted to live this sort of life, he had wanted a normal life, but this was the best way, the only way to stay connected to his friends.

 

“Ambassador.” A blond curtsied to him and he blinked before smiling.

 

“Hello Miss Brooks-Spencer. Enjoying the party?”

 

“Honestly? It’s not really my type.”

 

“Me too, but they wouldn’t approve of loud music and that sort of dancing.” He grinned and she laughed. They talked for a while, they were two of the youngest present after all, but then Sam had to make the rounds.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Sam collapsed and Will laughed. “I think I’m dead.”

 

“It’s not that bad Sam.”

 

“Says the professional soldier.” He grumbled but accepted the offered water bottle.

 

“You wanted to learn.” Will pointed out as he sat down.

 

“Because I need to. Bodyguards are a pain and I doubt they’ll be around if the Decepticons attack again.”

 

“Well you’re getting faster and building muscle. We’ll start on hand to hand soon. For now, fifteen minutes break and then hit the shooting range.”

 

“Sir yes sir.” Sam mock saluted.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“My hero... needs to wake up.” Carly murmured and Sam opened his eyes, smiling up at his girlfriend. They’d been dating for six months and she had just moved in with him at the Embassy. She’d left the British Embassy and had found a job with Dylan Gould, managing his museum collection of fancy cars. He pulled her down and kissed her and then she got up and he sighed but followed. Carly was in the kitchen, getting some breakfast together. The Embassy had staff but the domestic staff only came once a week or in preparation for an event, he hadn’t grown up with that sort of thing and preferred looking after himself. Carly didn’t mind either. “Don’t you have work?” he asked, glancing at the clock.

 

“Don’t you?”

 

“Mmm, just some of the dreaded paperwork.”

 

“All right, tonight, I'll give you a job. Romance me with a nice dinner and, uh, maybe you can get that bonus.” She teased as he pulled her close, kissing her.

 

“Whooaah...” Brains called as he watched and Carly screamed. “Ah-ha. Get lucky.”

 

“Get him out of here.” She demanded and Sam shook his head but picked the small Autobot up and locked him out of the kitchen.

 

“Wait. No no no no no no no. Oof! Ow.”

 

“Oh, he's gross!”

 

“I'm sorry. But they're stranded here. Somebody's got to watch out for them and they aren’t that bad overall.”

 

“Yesterday, that one was in my underwear drawer.” She left the kitchen and Sam followed.

 

“Did research. Looking real good, too. Ha ha ha ha ha! Oww! No need to hit me, man.”

 

She sighed and then slipped her shoes on. “You are so not a normal boyfriend.”

 

“That's what you love about me, yeah?” he smiled sweetly and she smiled as she slipped her jacket on.

 

“We're not at the love word yet.” They kissed again.

 

“Goodbye.” He watched her go and then turned to face the two bots, Wheelie riding on one of the guard dogs. “Lighten up on the teasing please.”

 

“Fine, fine.”

 

The gate bell chimed and he went to look at the security display, staring as he saw the massive RV. “Fun.” He mumbled but buzzed them in, going to meet his parents. His Dad parked and then they got out and he wanted to groan at the matching tracksuits. “I missed you guys so much.”

 

“Sure, you did. What do you think?” Judy grinned.

 

“Look at that. Wow.”

 

“Cute.” She snapped at his reaction.

 

“You look old.” He offered.

 

“Stop it.”

 

“Feel like I can see the end.” He grinned slightly.

 

“I love your little shirt. Hey, where's my girl? Where's my beautiful Carly?”

 

“She's at work, Ma.” He lead them into the building.

 

“Right!”

 

“She's got a new job. You guys said you were gonna be here in a week.”

 

“Yeah...” they sat in the informal lounge room.

 

“The twenty first, not the eleventh, Dad, remember?”

 

“We just hauled ass in this thing. We stopped for gas.” Ron offered.

 

“This thing. The love tub, it flies. Oh, are we keeping you from something?”

 

“Yeah, well I booked time off for when you’re meant to get here. I’ve got tons of paperwork not to mention a few exercises with the Autobots and NEST.”

 

“Exercises.” Ron looked at his son, he had wanted him to keep his distance, to remain American and Sam hadn’t.

 

“You don't have to be so negative, Dad. You know, you're in D.C. You're here with your son and your family. I mean, it's a good time.” Sam snapped.

 

“It sucks that you don't have a real job.”

 

“A real…” Sam took a deep breath. “There's good things to do here, too, right?” he offered instead.

 

“Yeah-” Judy agreed.

 

“Right? Museums and monuments, okay?”

 

“Nothing to worry about.” Judy smiled happily.

 

“I'll see you tonight.” He kissed his Mom’s cheek and then retreated to his office.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“I am Voshkod, General Counsel with Ukrainian Department of Energy. My government will officially deny that we're having this conversation. At one of our decommissioned facilities, a, uh, discovery was made, which I fear may be... alien in nature. The facility's name is... Chernobyl.” He stood in the shadow of a column and handed Sam the file, letting the visiting Ambassador look it over. Sam nodded and the man left. Sam soon left the building and headed to where the others were waiting. It didn’t take long for them to gear up and head out.

 

“Mr Voshkod. So, uninhabited since '86. I hear it won't be liveable again for another twenty thousand years?” Lennox called to the man as they arrived.

 

“At least. Ukraine was the most fertile land. It's a tragedy. This way.”

 

“Gear up! We have sixty minutes on the ground. Watch your radiation levels. Mr Voshkod, where's your protective gear?” Will called to the man as his men and Sam quickly put on protective gear.

 

“It would not matter. For me, it's only a matter of time. Through the school. Yuri will take you below and one other thing, Colonel. In private... there were some energy experiments-” he stopped as he looked up and saw Laserbeak. “Ahh! It can wait.”

 

“Okay that was weird.” Sam muttered but moved with the soldiers into the school.

 

“Maybe you should have stayed behind.” Will whispered and Sam shook his head.

 

“Keep moving. Stay tight.”

 

“Okay, right here. I think I found it.” One of the soldiers called.

 

“Optimus, we got a visual. Looks like the object's clamped in some kind of a metal harness.” Sam radioed outside.

 

“What's this? Guys! Why does this thing have Soviet space program markings on it?”

 

“Sputnik?” Will asked in surprise as he moved in for a closer look.

 

“Energon readings, sir. It's strong... below us. It's coming fast.” One of the men called in alarm and Sam grabbed the orb while Will opened a containment case. They got it secured and Sam ran, the soldier surrounding him even as the floor exploded up, revealing a massive Decepticon. As they fought Sam kept moving, it was his job to protect the case. In the end, the battle ended with a Decepticon retreat, not defeat.

 

“What the hell was that thing?” Will demanded.

 

“That... is Shockwave.” Opitmus answered, watching the way they had retreated.

 

“Why was he after this?” Sam asked, cracking the case and Optimus picked up the small orb.

 

“It's impossible. This is an engine part... from a long lost Autobot ship.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“A call for you sir, it is Sam.”

 

“Thanks Jarvis.” He picked up. “Hey Sam, news?”

 

“Somehow the Russians got their hands-on part of a lost Autobot ship. We ran into a Decepticon while retrieving it. Understandably Optimus is not happy.”

 

“Understandable. Do I need to fly out?”

 

“Maybe. I don’t know. If the Decepticons really want this…”

 

“Well the army is up and running. Thank you for mentioning Epps was leaving NEST, he’s doing good here. I’ll put them of alert.” They hung up and Harry sighed, so it was starting again.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“All arriving Autobots, in pan training and debriefing in fifteen minutes. Dino, report to bay twenty-three. Sideswipe, bay thirty-seven for weapons assessment.”

 

“Senator, I suggest you remember that when the NSA wants funding they call me. When the CIA is gonna take out a target, they ask first for my permission. And when the President wants to know which members of Congress are politically vulnerable in terms of, let's say, undiscovered criminal conduct, I'm the number he dials.” Mearing snapped into her phone as she got out of the car and began walking into the base, Will moving to intercept her. “CIA is up my ass about this mystery raid in the Middle East. So, it's time to come clean. Was your unit involved?”

 

“Ah... I'm not sure, ma'am.”

 

“As Director of National Intelligence, I'm a really big fan of intelligent answers.”

 

“I can't really tell you definitively. These Autobots are like teenage kids. They like to sneak out of the house every once in a while.”

 

She stopped suddenly and stared at him. “Colonel Lennox, are you in command or are you not?”

 

“Yes, ma'am, I am. I-” they began walking through the main hanger.

 

“Stop with the ma'am. Enough with the ma'am. Do I look like a ma'am?”

 

“No, ma'am. Ye- Yes, ma'am. Yes.”

 

“Oh, good! You're here! Me name's Que. I do hope you have answers for him. I've never seen him so upset before.” Que hovered over them as they approached Optimus’ alt form.

 

“Optimus, you remember Charlotte Mearing? Our Director of National Intelligence?” Will called out but there was no response.

 

“He's in a bad mood. He's-a not talking to anybody today.” Dino offered.

 

“What is this, the silent treatment?” Mearing demanded.

 

“We've seen that, and this is not that.”

 

“Definitely not.”

 

“This is worse. Prime! Make something of yourself!” Ironhide demanded, slamming his fist against his leader. In response their leader began to transform and Will swallowed, he didn’t think he’d ever seen Optimus this mad before.

 

“You lied to us. Everything humans know of our planet we were told had all been shared. So why was this found in human possession?”

 

“We were in the dark on this also. It was Director Only clearance at Sector Seven until now. The bag.” She demanded and her poor aide began looking over the mass of bags she was carrying.

 

“Which bag?”

 

“Hermès. Birkin. Green ostrich! My God... This is a secret few men knew, and fewer still remain alive. Allow me to please introduce to you to two of NASA's founding mission directors and astronaut Dr. Buzz Aldrin, one of the first two men to step foot on the moon. Sir? Optimus Prime.”

 

“From a fellow space traveller, it's a true honour.”

 

“The honour is mine.”

 

“Our entire space race of the 1960's, it appears, was in response to an event.” Mearing explained.

 

“Our astronauts investigated a crashed alien ship. No survivors on board.” One of the directors explained.

 

“We were sworn to secrecy by our Commander in Chief.” Buzz offered even as Sam slipped into the group beside Will. He’d been stuck giving his parents a tour of the Smithsonian.

 

“A total of thirty-five people knew the real plan at NASA.”

 

“Soviets managed to land unmanned probes. Somehow, they must have... picked up that fuel rod.”

 

“We believe the Russians deduced that the rod was a fissionable fuel assembly, believed they had it mastered and tried to harness it at Chernobyl.”

 

“We landed six missions in all. We took hundreds of photos and samples. We locked them away forever when the moon program was shut down.’

 

“Well, did you search the crash vault?” Ironhide demanded and they all stared at him in shock.

 

“The ship's name was the Ark. I watched it escape Cybertron myself. It was carrying an Autobot technology which would have won us the war. And... its captain.” Optimus admitted softly.

 

“Who was its captain?”

 

“The great Sentinel Prime. The technology's inventor. He was commander of the Autobots before me. It's imperative that I find it before the Decepticons learn of its location. Our Autobot spacecraft has the ability to get there. And... you must pray it's in time.” He pointed a stern finger at Mearing and Sam hid a smirk of amusement. When the meeting broke up he sent a recording of the meeting to Jarvis and therefore Harry.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Ambassador?”

 

“Yes Jack?”

 

“There is a Jerry Wang at the gate, he’s a former NASA employee currently working for Accuretta Systems. He said it in regard to your car?”

 

Sam blinked. His car… “Let him in.” he locked away the classified file he’d been reading and made sure there was nothing on show that shouldn’t be. Soon Jack lead a nervous man into his office.

 

“Ahh. I know who you are!” Wang announced. “You showed up in the background of six different photos, two continents, with aliens. That was you in Egypt, huh, right? Because you know the aliens. See, you!”

 

“Okay…” Sam edged his chair back, not sure what to think of the guy.

 

“I'm Wang. Deep Wang. Deep Wang. You're not getting it. Deep throat. Watergate? I'm talking code to you. Shhh! Damn it. They watch and listen. I can't go to the government, but you, you can! Because shit's going down, son! It is code pink, as in Floyd! Dark Side! Why do you think no one's been up there since 1972?”

 

That got his attention. Finding the Ark engine piece, talking with NASA and now this? Something was going on. And then he nearly jumped back as Wang undid his pants. Jack stepped forward slightly but Sam waved him back as he saw the papers strapped to Wang’s leg.

 

“It's my manifesto. They're whacking us out. Everyone who knows what's on the dark side. Your alien friends are in danger, you know, the good ones. It's up to you.” He put the papers on Sam’s desk and then backed away.

 

Sam spread the papers out, reading through them. He then quickly scanned them into the computer. “Jarvis, do your thing.”

 

“Of course.”

 

He looked over the data provided once the analysis was done. It was easy to see, someone or something didn’t want anyone looking at the dark side, they didn’t want people finding the Ark. And since Optimus hadn’t known the ship was there… “Jarvis forward this to Harry, Optimus and Mearing. Jack where’s Wang?”

 

“He returned to work.”

 

“Alright.” He picked the phone up. “Bee? I need a lift, thanks buddy.” the best part of his work was Bee being back when not on missions. By the time he was at the door Bee was waiting. They headed for Accuretta Systems, arriving just in time to see a body fall from a window and hit the ground. “Wang…” Sam licked his lips nervously. “I think we better get back to base Bee.” And then he saw the avian like Decepticon flee from the building and hone in on them. “Bee!”

 

“Hang on!” Bee ordered and then took off, speeding through the streets as the bird fired on them but it gave up after a while. Bee parked outside the embassy and Sam ran inside.

 

“Carly! Wheelie! Brains!” he called and the two Autobots raced in, hearing the urgency. “Go to Bee.” He told them and ran up the stairs to find Carly in the shower.

 

“Sam?” She jumped as he opened the door.

 

“Get dressed, we need to go.”

 

“What? Why?”

 

“Decepticons.” He went to his office. “Jarvis initiate emergency lockdown, we’ve got Decepticons in the city.”

 

“At once, I have informed Sir as well. There is a jet standing by to evacuate your parents and anyone else.”

 

“Call Dad and get them to the airport now. Something big is going down and I want them out.” He packed up a few things and then headed out, finding Carly coming down with a small backpack. They got inside Bee and took off for the base.

 

Sam’s id plus Bee got them waved through and Sam lead them inside, Carly glancing around in awe.

 

“We've taken possession of the five devices that were hidden in the ship with Sentinel Prime. They're some kind of prototype Autobot technology. They say Sentinel was the... Einstein of his civilization, so we're gonna keep these locked up until we know what we're dealing with. Right now, no one gets access. No one.” Sam half heard mearing’s conversation as they met up with Will, showing him what Jarvis had made of Wang’s information.

 

“This Wang guy recognized me. He told me to warn you, he was talking about the dark side of the moon, and then they killed him.”

 

“Wait a minute. He mentioned the moon?” Will asked in surprise and Sam nodded.

 

“But why would Decepticons want to kill humans? I thought their war was with the Autobots.”

 

“...And that is when he made his first quick-look science report, that's what we want- who's the chick? Okay, excuse me!” mearing hung up and quickly walked over to them.

 

“These compiled-”Sam was pointing at something as she stormed over.

 

“Colonel Lennox?”

 

“Director Mearing.”

 

“I want to know who gave her clearance? Who is she?”

 

“She's my girlfriend.”

 

“What is this, like a date?”

 

“She knows all about the Autobots, okay? She knows Bumblebee. And she comes from a military family. I can vouch for her.” Will offered.

 

“Hey, I have an idea. How about we get back to the important topics, like the fact that that at least one man was killed and I was attacked by a Decepticon.”

 

“Okay, okay, listen, all right? Sam was approached by a man involved in NASA's lunar mapping probe. He gave Sam information and then when Sam went to see him the man was killed by Decepticons.”

 

“Here's the thing. Colonel Lennox. We cannot entrust national security to teenagers, unless I missed a policy paper. Are we doing that now? No. Good. I don't care who you are. If you breathe a word of what you see in here, you will do time for treason. Do you understand me?” She glared at Carly who glared back.

 

“I’m British ma’am, you can’t try me for treason.” She snapped and Sam squeezed her hand.

 

“You don’t have any authority over either of us Miss Mearing so back off and focus on what’s actually important, the Decepticons are back.” He then turned and pulled Carly towards the Autobot hanger. Whoever had put mearing in charge needed their head examined. They stopped on the catwalk and looked down at the body in the medical cradle, the other Autobots standing around.

 

“Sentinel Prime. These things run on Energon, and he's out of it. He's in a... sort of a sleep mode.” Will commented as he joined them.

 

“Let us begin.” Optimus commanded as Mearing and her followers appeared.

 

“That's the great Matrix of Leadership. He holds the only thing in the universe that can re-power a Transformer's spark.” Will explained to Mearing and Sam gripped the safety rail hard, feeling the power of the Matrix. He hadn’t been near it since Egypt and now…wow.

 

“This is incredible.” Carly whispered.

 

“Sentinel Prime, we bid you return.” Optimus thrust the Matrix into Sentinel’s spark chamber and they all watched as the old Autobot came back to life only to attack Optimus.

 

“Hold your fire!” Will and Sam yelled as weapons were raised.

 

“Stop! Sentinel! It is I- Optimus- Prime! It is all right. You are safe.” Optimus called from where he was pinned to the ground and Sentinel looked around.

 

“There is nothing to fear.” Ratchet offered as Sentinel looked at him.

 

“We are here. You are home, Sentinel.”

 

“The war... the war!”

 

“The war was lost. Cybertron is now but a barren wasteland. We have taken refuge here, on planet Earth. Its human race is our ally.”

 

“My ship! We came under fire. The pillars. Where are the pillars?” Sentinel looked around desperately.

 

“You saved five of them, including the control pillar.”

 

“Only five? We once had hundreds!”

 

“Excuse me, gentlemen. May I ask... what is this technology you're looking for?” Mearing demanded.

 

“It is the ability to reshape the universe. Together the pillars form a Space Bridge. I designed, and I alone, can control it. It defies your laws of physics to transport matter through time and space.”

 

“You're talking about a teleportation device, aren't you?”

 

“Yes, for resources, for refugees.” Optimus offered and she snorted.

 

“Refugees, or troops of soldiers, weapons, maybe bombs! A means of an instant strike! That's its military function, isn't it?”

 

“It is our technology and it must be returned.”

 

“Yes. If humans say so! You can't just bring weapons of mass destruction into our atmosphere! Kind of have to clear customs first. A little formality called paperwork, kind of separates us from the animals.” She ranted.

 

“I will overlook your condescending tone if you heed the gravity of mine. The Decepticons must never know the Space Bridge is here. For in their hands, it would mean the end of your world.” Sentinel intoned.

 

“I’m pretty sure they already know about it and if they find out you’re here then it won’t take long to work out the rest. You got the file from Jarvis?” Sam asked Optimus who nodded. “Decepticons have ensured no one would go to the moon or take a close look. What if they already have the rest of the pillars?” he pointed out and that got everyone moving. Sentinel’s survival would be kept secret and the security of the base and vault raised.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“President Winchester, welcome to NEST.” Will called and they shook hands.

 

“Drop the title Will. How bad is it?”

 

“Decepticons are back and killing people and they may also have pillars needed for teleportation but we have the controller.”

 

“Ah. Sarah and Annabelle arrived on Isla Nublar before I left.”

 

“Thank you.” Will was relieved his wife and daughter would be safe.

 

“Harry.” Optimus greeted warmly as one of his favourite humans walked in, dressed in casual clothes and not his Presidential clothes.

 

“Optimus. How are you?”

 

“Well enough my friend. You have been briefed?”

 

“Yeah. I’ve got the military on standby but we don’t have the numbers yet. All Stag Industries offices are ready to go into lockdown with a minutes warning and those who wish to be have been evacuated to Muertes.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Sam looked at his ringing phone and then answered. “Hello?”

 

“Kid is it true?”

 

Sam blinked in confusion. “Simmons?”

 

“Is it true? Decepticons are back?”

 

“Yeah.” Simmons was an obsessed nutcase but he also hoarded information in a way that impressed Jarvis. “Something to do with the dark side of the moon and Optimus’ teacher.” He knew his own phone was encrypted by the Autobots and Jarvis and he knew Simmons would be using encryption on his end too.

 

“Tell me everything.” The ex-Sector 7 agent demanded.

 

Sam rolled his eyes. “Meet me at the Muertes Embassy.”

 

“I’ll be there. Dutch pack the bags!”

 

Sam hung up and shook his head. “Hey Bee, we’re heading back to the Embassy to meet Simmons.” The burst that came from the radio was not complimentary.

 

“Sam?” Carly walked into the small room they’d claimed inside the base.

 

“Angel.” Sam kissed her. “I’ve got to go back to the embassy got a bit.”

 

“We're supposed to be at Dylan's party, remember?” she asked and he took in what she was wearing, swallowing hard at how utterly stunning she looked.

 

“I do remember, but these are my friends. They need me. I have a job to do right now.”

 

“So, what, the Autobots and the military, they can't handle this on their own? You know what I liked about your war stories, Sam? It's that they were stories, they were in the past. You’re a diplomat, not a soldier.” She grabbed her purse.

 

“Look, I know you're thinking about your brother, okay? And you're thinking about your family. And it's not that situation.” He soothed.

 

“No?” she demanded as she stormed away and he quickly walked after her. The soldiers took one look and quickly decided to be elsewhere.

 

“No.”

 

“Why not? Why isn't it, Sam? You think we'd rather have his medals, or we'd rather have him?”

 

“I hear you. I get it. Stop! Just stop for a second.” He grabbed the door of the car Dylan had supplied as part of her job, keeping her from closing it.

 

“You think I could sleep last night? And then it hit me. No, Sam wants to be in danger! He doesn't know who he is without it.”

 

“I just want to matter.”

 

“You matter to me. You matter to your parents, to Harry…. isn’t that enough?”

 

“I know you're worried. I know you're worried. But I promise you, I can- I can handle this.”

 

“Can you? You can promise it?” She asked and he took her hand.

 

“I promise.”

 

“Sam, I don't want to lose you and I know where this leads. I'm not ready for this. Are you coming with me?”

 

“I can't.” he whispered and she pulled away, getting fully into the car.

 

“Okay.”

 

“Hey. Look after the party there’s a plane at the airport. It’ll take you to Muertes where you’ll be safe.”

 

“Goodbye Sam.” She drove away from the base and Sam deflated but then got in when bee drove up. Mearing was being an obstructive….no, he was a diplomat now, he shouldn’t use that sort of language. America didn’t rule the planet and yet between Galloway and now her you’d really think they did. Bee triggered the automatic gates and then pulled into the altered garage, transforming and using the garage door to enter the embassy. High ceilings really were useful.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Mearing, I just picked up Sentinel. Optimus is ten minutes behind. We're coming to NEST now.” Sam yelled into the phone. Despite his theory on the pillars Sentinel hadn’t been kept safe on base or even with an escort, instead he’d been out sight-seeing, a security nightmare.

 

“Mr Witwicky, I thought I made it clear to you that I did not want you calling this phone.” Mearing snapped back, she did not like the young Ambassador at all, it was why she’d blocked his access as a civilian. But it had been made very clear that America wasn’t the only one with a treaty with the Autobots.

 

“Listen, the whole thing has been a setup since the beginning like I thought. The Decepticons wanted Optimus to find Sentinel because only Optimus could revive him.”

 

“But we have the space bridge.”

 

“Mearing, you have five pillars. I just saw proof that they have hundreds. You're doing exactly what they wanted you to do. What do you need me to say to you? The Decepticons are coming for Sentinel Prime!”

 

“We're going to NEST.” She called to her driver and he changed lanes.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Is there a... problem?” Ironhide kept his weapons aimed at the Decepticons.

 

“Whoa. Little Mexican standoff we got here.” Sideswipe chimed in happily.

 

“Weapons down.”

 

“And we'll let you escape with your dignity.”

 

Crankcase and Crowbar spoke quickly in Cybertronian before lowering their weapons.

 

“Drop them... That's good.” Ironhide watched them closely.

 

“Ironhide, watch out!” Sideswipe yelled as he saw the extra weapon.

 

“Yaah!” the first shot grazed him and he moved back.

 

“Ironhide, catch!” Sideswipe scooped up the dropped guns and tossed one ot Ironhide who caught it.

 

“Decepticon punk.” He shot Crowbar. “Class dismissed.” He muttered as Sentinel and Bee roared past.

 

“Get inside! Let's go!” Lennox yelled as the gates closed.

 

“Move! Keep moving!”

 

“Lennox!” Sam yelled.

 

“Go go go go go.” Lennox sent the troops into position even as Harry appeared at the doors to the base to see what was happening.

 

“We got Decepticons everywhere.”

 

“I've got my whole team deployed looking for them. Ironhide! Protect Sentinel. Get him locked up inside.”

 

“Consider it done!” Ironhide agreed.

 

“Hey, you've got to guard him, 'cause he's the key to the whole thing.” Sam called out.

 

“Indeed I am. What you must realize, my Autobot brothers, is we were never going to win the war. For the sake of our planet's survival, a deal had to be made... with Megatron.” Sentinel pulled his weapon, turning to aim but was then struck by a Muertes energy weapon, throwing his aim off so that he missed the weapons specialist. As he tried to aim again everyone scattered, taking shots at him from cover once they saw what his weapon did. They kept on shooting even as he ripped into the vault and ran for it with the pillars, the Autobots and Harry doing the most damage but Sentinel was a Prime and his armour was the best, able to handle the damage.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Commencing transport.” Sentinel activated the control pillar.

 

“Stop! No, no Sentinel!” Optimus burst into the park.

 

“Forgive me.”

 

“Here we are. Fight us now.” Megatron watched as his soldiers began appearing around him.

“Contact! Watch out! Move it! Move it!” A NEST soldier yelled as they saw all of the Energon signatures appear through the city, far outnumbering the Autobots.

 

“Autobots, retreat!” Optimus commanded above the screaming of humans. “Nggah! Why, Sentinel? Why?” he focused back on his fight with the other Prime.

 

“For Cybertron! For our home! What war destroyed, we can rebuild! But only if we join with the Decepticons.”

 

“No, it's not the only way! This is our home! We must defend the humans!”

 

“So lost you are, Optimus. On Cybertron, we were gods. And here... they call us machines. Let the humans serve us, or perish! You're lucky I didn't kill you. In time, you'll see.” Sentinel left and Optimus watched him go.

 

“It's not over.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Sam!”

 

“I’m going to get Carly.” He answered as soldiers flooded from the base. The Decepticons had left the city so NEST was being moved to a base from where they could deploy anywhere in the country faster.

 

“Take my car.” Harry tossed him the keys. “I’m headed for the White House, try and do some damage control. Stay safe.”

 

“You too.” Sam got in and raced towards Dylan’s place, the city too quiet with everyone hiding. He parked and rushed inside.

 

“Now, if I were him, I wouldn't let you out of my sight for one second.” Sam heard Dylan comment and then Carly chuckle.

 

“It's funny. I was just thinking on the way over here, I could really use some advice from Dylan, and there he is. Can I speak to you, Carly?” Sam pulled her chair out.

 

“Welcome, please, sit down. Have a drink.”

 

“You know what, I don't need a drink. I just need to speak to my girlfriend alone. Is that okay with you, Mr. Inappropriate?” He snapped, too stressed to care.

 

“Excuse me.” Carly managed a smile for her boss and then quickly followed Sam. “What's going on?”

 

“I'll tell you on the way to the airport. You’re leaving now and I’m meeting Harry at the White House.”

 

“I really think I can help you, Sam. I remember a talk I had with my dad once about tough choices.”

 

“Yeah, now's not the time. We'll set something up, though.” Sam called as they walked down the stairs and towards the car only for another to block them in.

 

“Of course, it was way back, when my dad's firm was in charge of budget review and accounting for NASA. You see, the thing that he taught me was, when it's not your war, you join the side that's going to win.”

 

Sam’s eyes widened as he realised what Dylan was saying. “Move.” He hissed, pulling her into a run.

 

“Too direct? Or is it just me?” Dylan asked his other guests.

 

“Certainly not you, sir.”

 

The car that had blocked them suddenly sprouted appendages and attacked, grabbing Carly. Sam hit the emergency transmitter in his watch, activating the link to Jarvis who immediately focused a satellite on his location, transmitting the data to Optimus, NEST Harry.


“You're mine!” Soundwave announced.

 

“Nooo!” Sam screamed and then looked at the departing guests. “Get help.”

 

“Sam, I can't get out!” Carly fought to open a door, smash a window, anything.

 

“Someone get help!”

 

“Good night.” Dylan smiled at an older woman.

 

“Good night, Mr Dylan.’

 

“He is young. He will learn. Good night.”

 

“You really think you're the first man ever asked to join the noble alien cause?” Dylan asked as two of his men grabbed Sam.

 

“Who are you?”

 

“Do you know why we've not been back to the moon since 1972? Because these two-“ he was interrupted as Laserbeak screeched. “-They came to my dad and they told him to do some creative accounting. Make it way too expensive to ever go back. So he and the others shut down the American and Russian space programs. And they've been our clients ever since.”

 

“You helped them kill people?”

 

“You think they'd give you a choice? Besides, it's not like I personally participated. I am a liaison. I liaise. It's hostile takeover time, Sam.”

 

“Let her go!” Sam growled dangerously, he wasn’t the untrained boy he was even in Egypt.

 

“Sam!” She screamed.

 

“I've had my eye on you for years, Sam. You're the one spy I've never been able to provide as someone close to the Autobots.”

 

“Sam! Don't do what he wants!”

 

“Yes, he will. They all do. They will slaughter her, you understand me? In the time it takes you to blink, they'll do it to her and they'll do it to me. So, you show a little respect! When someone offers you! A job! Wrist.” He ordered and Sam’s wrist was grabbed, none of them paying attention to his watch. Sam twisted, driving his knee into one man’s groin before twisting and breaking the other man’s arm. He lunged for Dylan but Carly’s scream brought him up short.

 

Harry paused before reaching security as Jarvis sent the live feed. “Damn it.” He hissed, hesitating. The car he’d sent Sam in was equipped with a weapon that could take out a Cybertronian, basically it was an EMP, just one that targeted Cybertronian systems, not human electronics, and would take them out for around half an hour. With the two thugs temporarily down Sam could handle Dylan and get out of there. But then they would still be blind to what Megatron and Sentinel had planned. It was obvious they didn’t plan to harm Sam or Carly yet, so did they wait and see? “What do Lennox and Optimus want to do?”

 

“Lennox votes let it play out sir, Optimus wishes the rescue of the children.”

“Guess it’s two votes to one then. Let Sam know. Looks like they’re trying to tag him, take care of it but make it look like it worked.”

 

“Of course, Sir.”

 

Sam felt the pulses of code from Jarvis and snarled but saw one of the downed men getting up so he allowed himself to be grabbed again. His wrist was snatched and a small Decepticon wrapped around his wrist above his watch, moving over it. Sam screamed as it tapped into his nervous system but then the pain stopped and his watched pulsed again so he kept screaming.

 

Jarvis instantly let out a small version of the weapon the car was equipped with, disabling the Decepticon while copying its signal and beginning to transmit it. As far as anyone else knew the little thing was still working.

 

“You are to track down Optimus Prime, because you're the one human he trusts, and you will ask one question. How does he intend to fight back? Strategies, tactics, everything!” Dylan snarled.

 

“Unnngggh!”

 

“Has a nasty little bite, doesn't it? It's very high-tech. It lets us see what you see, hear what you hear and it taps your nervous system. So, if you so much as try and signal-” Sam gasped in apparent pain. “Mm. I don't know what to tell you, Sam. Relationships have consequences. I am here because of my father. She is here because of you.”

 

Carly cried out as a tendril came close to her face but then felt her watch pulse and she knew Jarvis was watching and would keep her safe.

 

“Stop, stop! Stop! Stop!” Sam begged.

 

“Soundwave, would you please? Sam, do your job. She'll be safe. I give you my word.” Dylan offered as Sam was helped up. Sam brushed them off and spat at Dylan’s feet.

 

“I'll kill you. You have my word.” He stated coldly and then was led away.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry and the US President sat together in the Oval Office, going over intel and awaiting word from the UN. Harry knew how his own representative would vote, but that was just one vote. When the announcement was made Harry sighed and shook his head.

 

“You object?”

 

“Of course, I do. This is probably the most stupid move the UN has ever made. Not to mention they have no actual power to enforce it. If you’ll excuse me, I have a message to send.”

 

“Feel free to use the White House Press Room.”

 

Harry nodded and headed for the room. He knew the other President was curious over what he would say, that was why he had offered. Harry stepped up to the podium and the quietly chatting press officers went silent. “Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen.” He called and saw the cameras come on. “For those of you who do not recognise me, I am President Harry Winchester of the Muertes Islands.” That got a reaction as few knew what President Winchester looked like. “I am speaking in response to the UN’s backing of America’s exiling of the Autobots. What they failed to take into account is that we also have an Alliance with the Autobots, one we stand by. As a child, I was taught to do what is right over what is easy. This Sentinel Prime would be by our standards a traitor to his people. The Decepticons want our resources and yet don’t say which ones. There is only one resource on this planet that they can’t get elsewhere, even in this solar system….us. Optimus Prime is the leader of the Autobots and a friend to Earth. Sentinel Prime gave up leadership millennia ago, he cannot claim it back as he wishes after allying with the Decepticons who have tried several times to destroy humanity. Megatron is a genocidal dictator and we will not give him anything. The time has come to stand up for what is right and we will do so. Thank you for your time.” Harry nodded and then left the room. “Sit rep Jarvis.”

 

“Sam is with Director Mearing on a plane bound for the base in Florida. Carly is with several Decepticons and their human allies, they are heading west for the moment, destination unknown at this time. I have sent the history files as planned to every government, no responses as yet. All Muertes forces are standing by for deployment and all Stag Industries buildings have entered lockdown, the staff in the bunkers.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“I wanna talk to whoever's in charge here! Well, well, well. Charlotte Mearing.” Simmons smirked as he wheeled over to her, his injuries from protecting Sentinel confining him to a wheelchair for now.

 

“Agent Simmons. Former Agent Simmons. So. I see you survived Washington.” She looked him over.

 

“Washington, Egypt, heartbreak. I survive. I will survive. They're bringing everybody in, kid. Putting all the intel on the table. And if you think deporting nine Autobots is gonna solve a damn thing-“

 

“It's out of my hands.” She denied as they watched the massive plane taxi in and lower the ramp. The Autobots only had one ship and it was safely on Isla Pena so all the US could do was send them there. Once they got there only Harry could kick them out and he wasn’t going to. Other governments were beginning to question the US’ decision after looking over the information packs Jarvis had sent out.

 

“Moving up in the world, huh? Your booty looks excellent.” He grinned as he watched her walk.

 

“You ever say a word to anyone about what happened that night in Quantico, I'll cut your heart out.”

 

“You already did.” He answered.

 

Sam wandered around until he came to a cage and he wanted to snarl in rage at what he saw.

 

“Sammy, listen to me. Don't let them exile us.” Wheelie begged and Sam reached out to gently touched the Autobot.

 

“Don't let them take us, Sam.” Brains clung to the bars.

 

“It's a Decepticon trap.”

 

“You’re going to Muertes, Harry will keep you safe.” Sam whispered. He felt the soft pulse from his watch, knowing what he had to do to keep Carly safe. While Jarvis had killed the Decepticon he had to transmit certain data to Soundwave in its place or they’d kill Carly. “Optimus?” he called out to his friend.

 

“What your leaders say is true. This was all my fault. I told them whom to trust. I... was so wrong.”

 

“That doesn't make it your fault. It just makes you human for a change.” Sam managed a weak grin.

 

“Remember this. You may lose your faith in us, but never in yourselves.” Optimus knelt to be more at his level and Sam took a deep breath, grateful that Optimus knew what was going on and this was all an act for the enemy.

 

“I need to know how you're gonna fight back. I know this is strategy, I know you're... you're coming back with reinforcements, something, I know there's a plan. You can tell me. No other human will ever know.”

 

“There is no plan.” Optimus shook his head.

 

“If we just do what they want, how are we gonna live with ourselves?”

 

“You are my friend, Sam. You always will be. But your leaders have spoken. From here, the fight will be your own.” He stood and moved away, clasping Bumblebee’s shoulder. “Make it short. We're loading up.”

 

“We're gonna do whatever we can. Make it like it was. You will always be my friend, Sam. I gotta be going on.” Bumblebee promised, kneeling to be closer to his best friend and Sam just sobbed. Bee gently ran a finger over him before heading for the plane.

 

“Years from now, they're gonna ask us. Where were you when they took over the planet? We're gonna say, we just stood by and watched.” Simmons said as they watched the airplane taxi and then lift off.

 

Sam moved away to sit alone and then pulled out his phone as it rang.

 

“You should really look at this as a partnership. You have to stand on the side of progress if you wanna be a part of history.” Dylan’s voice came through and Sam’s hands clenched into fists.

 

“You wanted an answer. You got one.”

 

“I always get what I want, Sam. We just needed to be sure.”

 

“Sure of what?” Sam demanded.

 

“That they would go without a fight.” Dylan was smirking, Sam just knew it even as he stared in horror as a missile impacted the plane, destroying it.

 

“Ah!” Sam screamed even as the dead Decepticon dropped from his wrist, not that he cared. The plan had been to regroup on Muertes and now….

 

“We all work for the Decepticons now.”

 

“Jarvis?” Sam choked out.

 

“Trump Tower, Chicago. Lower penthouse.” The AI answered and Sam sighed in relief, he knew where she was now.

 

Sam ran inside and saw Mearing, Simmons and Epps who had been in the US visiting friends. It was a good thing he hadn’t been on the plane with the Autobots to return home. “Dylan Gould, he's the head of their human operations and he has Carly hostage. They’ve been tracked to Chicago, Trump Tower. I'm going.”

 

“You sure?” Simmons asked.

 

“She's done nothing but try to help me, and I can be there in fifteen hours.”

 

“You're not going alone.” Epps stepped up, they all owed Sam a lot and without him Epps would never have met Harry either, would never had such a good job once out of the US armed forces. “I still got my NEST friends out there. I'll round them up, we'll find your girlfriend, we're gonna bring this guy in.”

 

“Why are you helping me?”

 

“'Cause that asshole killed my friends, too.” Epps snarled. He led Sam away and began packing up any gear they might need.

 

Sam was in shock, the Autobots were gone, they were on their own this time. But it didn’t feel real, he could still feel the eco of the Matrix’s power. Then again maybe it had survived and sunk to the bottom of the sea. They watched as a private plane landed and Sam smiled slightly as he realised it was the Muertes equivalent of Airforce One. “Harry.” He whispered and sure enough his best friend walked down the stairs.

 

Harry looked at his friend and then grasped his soldiers. “We’ll get her back Sam.” He promised.

 

“Bee…”

 

“I’m not counting any of them out till I see bodies so pull it together Ambassador.” Harry growled and Sam swallowed but nodded, forcing himself to focus. “Now lest get moving. We’ll take my plane as close as possible and drive the rest of the way, it’ll get us there faster.”

 

Epps nodded and made the calls to his old friends.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“They said they were here for our resources, to rebuild their planet.” Carly breathed as she was forced into an elevator, seeing as Decepticons transformed right in the street.

 

“Yes, but really one resource in particular. One unique to our planet.”

 

“Us?” she demanded in disgust.

 

“You're very smart. You see, they can't rebuild without a slave labour force. How many rocks up there in the universe offer six billion workers?”

 

“What are you talking about? We can't transport people.”

 

“They're not shipping people. They're shipping their planet here.” He answered, pulling her out onto the balcony to see the truth.

 

“Oh. Oh my God... what's Sentinel doing here?”

 

“Watch. They're spreading hundreds of pillars around the globe right now. In just a few hours, they're gonna launch them into orbit and bring Cybertron into our atmosphere. The red one there controls the rest. He triggers that, it starts the whole thing.” Dylan explained smugly, not realising his words were being transmitted to not only Harry but Optimus as the Autobots slowly made their way back to land and then towards the city.

 

“Be gone, insect operatives. Your work is done.” Megatron snarled, waving a hand at them and Dylan bowed slightly.

 

“Your Excellency... He's such a dick.” Dylan whispered the last bit as he pulled her into the penthouse apartment.

 

“You want this to happen?” she demanded as she looked out the window and down to where the police were trying to take on the Decepticons.

 

“I want to survive. I want forty more years. You think I asked for this? I inherited a client.”

 

“Yeah, and when Cybertron's here and we're all their slaves, I guess they'll still need a human leader.” She spat, turning on him in rage.

 

“Don't jinx me. You want to survive, you listen to me.” In response, she slapped him and moved away to watch in horror and the police were massacred and then everyone was screaming.

 

“It is time for the slaves of Earth to recognize their masters. Seal off the city.” Sentinel Prime commanded.

 

In the penthouse, all they could do was watch as the Decepticons went to work, shooting anything that moved on the streets. “Get the dogs outta here now! Get them in the back!”

 

“I guess they didn't tell you about this part, did they?” she whispered as she watched.

 

“You think I'm at every meeting? Look, I'm safe. They said I was safe.” He paced in agitation.

 

Carly blinked as her watched pulsed, looking down to see a message scroll across the screen. They were coming for her.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“There is a ring of alien ships around Chicago.”

 

“Our high-range bombers were just knocked out of the sky. They can't get through enemy air defences over the city. Our satellites have been jammed. We have no way to monitor the enemy's movement.” Morshower explained from the Pentagon.

 

“Our old NEST teams are on stand-down holding at Grissom Air Force Base. We're about ten minutes from the battle zone. We have Special Forces trying to gain access to the city, and infantry is staging at the perimeter.” Will added from his place at the table as they scrambled to get intel or device a plan.

 

“Excuse me, excuse me, it just doesn't make sense! Can't we get any eyes in there at all?” Simmons demanded.

 

“They keep shooting down our drones.” Mearing admitted.

 

“They want us blind. But we do have a couple of mini-drones we're gonna try.”

 

“Well, whoever's manning these UAV drones, can we try to redirect them toward Trump Tower? The kid Witwicky, was on his way to Chicago. Said some point-man human op is there, for the Decepticons! Listen, if I know anything, I know this, that kid is an alien bad news magnet.” Simmons told them and then they got one satellite feed plus some security camera images and a message ‘curtesy of Stag Industries’. They were all shocked and horrified by what they saw.

 

“Move out now Lennox.”

 

“Yes sir.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“My God. We came here to find her in the middle of all that?” Epps demanded as they took in the devastation.

 

“Are we really going out there, Epps?” Stone asked.

 

“I'm not going in there.” Eddie answered for Epps.

 

“No one's going in.” Epps decided, they needed serious back up to even consider it.

 

“I am. With or without you, I'll find her.”

 

“You're gonna get yourself killed, Sam. Is that what you want? Is that what you want? You came all the way out here to get yourself killed? Huh? Listen to what I'm saying.”

 

“She's here because of me. Do you understand?” Sam yelled in grief.

 

“Listen, if you go in this building, that's if she's even still alive, there's no way you're gonna be able to reach her!”

 

“What do you suggest I do?” Sam snapped.

 

“It's over. I'm sorry, but it's over.”

 

“No.”

 

“I will not order you in there Major Epps, but I’m with Sam. We’re going in.” Harry stated as he began pulling gear from the car.

 

“Whoa whoa whoa! Incoming!” Eddie yelled as a ship came towards them. Harry pulled up a gun and took aim, opening fire on it. A more powerful blast hit and it went down.

 

“We will kill them all.” Optimus proclaimed and Sam grinned at the sight of the Autobots.

 

“Wreckers, kill it.” Leadfoot ordered and the Wreckers descended on the Decepticon pilot.

 

“Your leaders will now understand. Decepticons will never leave your planet alone. And we needed them to believe we had gone. For today, in the name of freedom, we take the battle to them!”

 

“I saw your ship blow up!” Sam looked at them in confusion.

 

“It was a Muertes plane Sam, piloted by Jarvis. They were never in any danger.” Harry stated.

 

“Yeah, no one's exiling us.” Wheelie exclaimed, moving closer to Sam. “The Autobots are staying right here. We're gonna help you win this war.”

 

“They're surrounding the city to make a fortress, so that no one can see what they're up to inside. Our only chance is the element of surprise.”

 

“Jarvis has a satellite on us and every feed from SI headquarters is being fed right to Lennox and company. Our air force is in the air, they’ll be here in around an hour for air support. We need to get to Trump tower, that’s where everything’s centred.”

 

Sam walked over to the down vehicle and then glanced at Bee. “Can you fly this?” Bee looked it over and nodded. “Let’s go get Carly.” He grinned. Harry tossed him a vest and Sam put it on under his jacket, the light armour would protect him, just not from a direct hit from a Decepticon gun, they simply put out too much energy being so much larger than humans. He accepted the weapons passed over as well and then got in the ship with Bee.

 

Harry passed out the rest of the weapons that had been based of phaser and staff weapon tech and then the team headed into the city even as Stag Industries doors opened and security teams emerged to sow confusion amongst the ranks of Decepticons as they began to die.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry ignored the comm chatter from the soldiers as he moved through the city with one of the Stag Industries security teams. Unfortunately, Sam and Bee’s rescue of Carly had revealed the Autobots presence in the city to the enemy which made things harder but small teams of humans could move about as long as they kept to the cover of buildings. Hearing an explosion, he looked up to see several Osprey coming under fire even as figures in black bailed out with wingsuits. Looked like the US military had finally decided to join the party. They were taking fire so he glanced at his team and they scrambled up the stairs of the building to the roof where they opened fire, trying to cover the men as the descended. “Lennox.”

 

“Mr President, should you be here?”

 

Harry shook his head in amusement. “Epps is leading a team to take out the control pillar there.” He pointed out the building. “The rest of us are working to distract the Decepticons.”

 

“Alright men, let’s move!”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“We'll go this way.” Sam tugged Carly along as they moved through the city, they’d lost Epps and the group a while ago. Carly was wearing his vest now but Sam was still armed.

 

“What a treat! You and me, alone!” Starscream called as he landed nearby and Sam broke into a run, pulling her along.

 

“Carly! Come on, come on! Run! Okay! He's after me, not you. Quick! Run!” he pulled her into a burnt-out bus and they kept running.

 

“You can't hide, boy!” Starscream blew the bus just after they’d scrambled clear and Sam shoved Carly around a corner before moving away, the Decepticon following him.

 

“Oh my god-“ Sam gasped as he fell.

 

“I just love it when your little insect feet try to run!”

 

“Sam!”

 

“I thought you were working for us, boy? Hahahahaha!” He pinned Sam who grabbed at the gear Que had given them, attaching the climbing glove and firing it.

 

“Ahhh, my eye!” Starscream screamed as the anchor latched onto one optic. He began to thrash around, Sam being pulled along by the glove.

 

“Whoa, whoa!”

 

“My eye!”

 

“Target the Decepticon!” Will called after staring in shock for a second, his men spreading out.

 

“Sam! Please, you've got to save Sam! You've got to save him!” Carly begged as she ran to Will.

 

“What the hell is he doing?”

 

“This better work-”Sam grabbed one of the bombs as he lay on the floor of a destroyed shop. He armed it but was then flung back outside as Starscream attacked the soldiers. As the cord brought him up he slammed the bomb into Starscream’s other eye, blinding him.

 

“Ow ow ow ow! I can't see! I can't see!”

 

“Sam!” Will grabbed him only for them both to be dragged around by Starscream’s thrashing.

 

“It's on my hand!” Sam answered.

 

“Grab the knife! Knife!” Will yelled as he held on.

 

“I'm trying! The bomb's gonna blow! The bomb's gonna-“

 

“You human scum!” the Decepticon swung blindly at them and missed.

 

“We got twenty seconds on that bomb!” Sam yelled as they hit the ground.

 

“What bomb?”

 

“You see that bomb?” Sam pointed. “Cut it, cut it, cut it!”

 

“I got it! How long do we have?” Will finally managed to begin cutting through the reinforced cord.

 

“Whoa!”

 

“I'm gonna kick you!” since he couldn’t hit them but he still missed.

 

“Cut, cut, cut cut cut!” Sam yelled and then they were falling as the cord snapped, rolling across the ground.

 

“I'm gonna kill y-” the bomb detonated, taking most of Starscream’s head with it.

 

“Well, he's dead.” Sam panted.

 

“Mm-hmm.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“How do we get these bridges down? Spread out. Check in there.” Will ordered and then raised his gun only to grin as a familiar figure came around the corner with a ragtag group of ex-NEST soldiers. “Epps! Epps, I've been looking for your ass. How you doing?”

 

“Retirement is whack. Even worse, we can't get across the river to that building, and the Autobots are upstairs, surrounded.” He answered grimly.

 

“Just pan the camera around, all right?” Simmons ordered as they watched the monitors to see what was happening in Chicago. The satellite feed was unreliable due to the heavy interference but they were managing access to various cameras through the city.

 

“All right. Pan- pan right. That's you.” Dutch grinned as he spotted the soldiers.

 

“Try getting into the bridge control room.” Will ordered.

 

“What are they doing? They're just standing there.” Mearing looked at the monitor in confusion.

 

“Hang on. Dutch, see if you can hack into the bridge.”

 

“Sir, SEALs are here.” A solider called as black clad figures emerged from the river.

 

“It's a good day, boys! What do you got?”

 

“Got a ten-man SEAL unit, sir, tasked with vectoring Tomahawks.”

 

“How long?”

 

“Fifteen.” The Captain answered.

 

Sam and Carly hid inside an overturned taxi on the road level of the bridge, staring in shock at the surrounded Autobots.

 

“You're my prisoners!” Soundwave announced.

 

“Take it easy. We surrender.” Sideswipe snapped as he was knocked around.

 

“Get off me. Get off me!” Ratchet broke free of the hold.

 

“All right, you're gonna need your forty Mike-Mikes and frags. Go full auto. The vibrations jack up their circuits. Snipers, shoot for the eyes. All right, your target is up on top of that building, that cupola.” Will explained to the expanded group of soldiers. “We have Stag Industries security spread throughout distracting as many Decepticons as they can so make sure you don’t hit any of them.”

 

“How doomed you are, Autobots. You simply fail to understand, that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Activating the bridge.” Swentinel Prime called out from safety as he saw them all on the bridge.

 

Inside one of the ships two small Autobots hid as the Decepticons celebrated. “They happy about something.”

 

“We're in the heart of their ship. Let's give them a little ride.” Wheelie practically rubbed his hands together in glee.

 

“Oh ho! We gonna screw this ship up.” Brains began chewing on a cord.

 

“It's a 128K binary encryption code. It's difficult... but not for me, I'm in. Bridge, down.” Dutch announced as he worked on the codes, Jarvis busy in other areas.

 

“The bridge is coming down! Someone's watching over us!” Epps yelled and they began moving out.

 

“Pleasure working with you, Seymour. I believe you're supposed to say.” Simmons grinned at Mearing who leant in and kissed Dutch’s cheek.

 

“Good job, Dutch.” She praised.

 

Back on the bridge Sam grimaced as Dylan joined the group, he was going to keep his promise to that man. “Prisoners? You're keeping prisoners?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“You need to teach them about respect. This was all business, but now it's personal, do you understand me?” Dylan yelled and Soundwave studied him before nodding.

 

“Ha ha. I understand. No prisoners, only trophies.”

 

“Bee? I think they're going to kill us.” Que whispered and Bee whistled in distress.

 

“You! Your time is up.” Barricade grabbed Que and pulled him away from the others.

 

“Wait, wait, wait! We surrendered! We're your prisoners.”

 

“Move it!”

 

“Can't we talk this out? We're all a bunch of good chaps! I mean you no- why did you- aah!” Que screamed as he was shot multiple times, head rolling free. Carly grabbed onto Sam, gasping softly as she tried not to scream.

 

“Good-bye, my old friend.” Bee looked down mournfully.

 

“You're mine now.” Soundwave grabbed him and Bee whistled angrily.

 

“Get off me!”

 

“Come along!”

 

“I got to help him.” Sam pulled the remaining bomb.

 

“What? What are you doing?”

 

“I got to help him.” He tried to arm it but nothing happened.

 

“Sam, you can't help him. Sam!” She held on tight to his arm.

 

“Turn around.” Soundwave ordered, pushing Bee down on Que’s remains and blue optics widened as he spotted the two humans.

 

“We- we gave them a hell of a run.” He offered softly even as Sam tossed the bomb aside and grabbed the rifle Harry had given him. He was a good shot now but as soon as he fired they’d be revealed. But then they all looked up to see a ship coming their way, flying very oddly.

 

“We did it, Brains! We did it!” Wheelie celebrated as they continued to pull things apart.

 

“Rip this ship apart!” Brains agreed happily.

 

“Yeah!” Bee shoved Soundwave off and his battle mask slid into place as he began shooting.

 

“No- NO!”

 

“We had a nice run, Brains.” Wheelie grabbed onto Brains, holding him safely in place as the ship dropped like a stone.

 

“Yeah.’

 

“You and me.”

 

“We gonna die.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

They ran around the corner, opening fire at the Decepticons as they joined the soldiers. Seeing another planet in the sky was a shock but there was nothing they could do about that.

 

“Lennox!” Harry yelled and the soldier turned.

 

“We have to destroy the pillar! It fell somewhere that way!” Will yelled.

 

“Team two with me!” harry called and they began moving that way, trying not to get underfoot as Optimus and Sentinel fought around them.

 

“Decepticons, trigger the pillar! Restart that pillar!” Sentinel yelled.

 

“Trigger the pillars.” Dylan yelled as he made his way to the control pillar and reactivated it.

 

“I can't hold them! The ships have us pinned! No!” Optimus yelled as the pillars reactivated.

 

“Inbound, ten seconds! Danger close!”

 

“Dylan! Wait! Wait-“ Sam called as he followed the older man.

 

“Noo!” Dylan yelled as Sam managed to shoot the pillar back down.

 

“Shit- Dylan! Stop! Stop! No! You can't do this, okay?” Sam called as they scrambled over the rubble.

 

“There's only one future for me. Ah!” he once again reactivated the pillar.

 

Several streets away Megatron looked up into the sky. “Cybertron, you are saved. At last.” He looked down as a human walked over. “Oh... Have you come to surrender?”

 

“Was it all worth it?” Carly asked.

 

“Obviously.”

 

“All your work to bring Sentinel back and now clearly he has all the power. It's actually almost tragic.” She taunted.

 

“You dare lecture me, slave?”

 

“Your Decepticons finally conquering this planet, and yet, their leader won't be you!” She smirked as he roared in anger.

 

“It will be me! It will always be me.”

 

“In any minute now, you'll be nothing but Sentinel's bitch.” She dodged out of the way as he surged upright and ran to the battle. Well that had worked well. Sometimes bad guys could be so predictable.

 

“Uh!” Sam gasped and landed on his back, Dylan standing over him.

 

“You choose sides?” Dylan snarled as he hit Sam again. “You chose wrong.”

 

“Yaaah!” Optinus cried out as he took a hit form his old mentor.

 

“Always- the bravest of us!” Sentinel taunted. “But you could never make the hard decisions! Our planet will survive!”

 

“N- No!” Optimus denied, throwing himself into the fight with everything he had.

 

“We were gods once. All of us. But here-“

 

“Please-“

 

“-There will only be one!” Sentinel stood over Optimus and then screamed as he took fire. Shots from Harry and Megatron hit at the same time. He’d left the pillar to the team once he’d seen Optimus being beaten.

 

“This is my planet!” Megatron roared in anger.

 

“I just saved a whole other world. You think you're a hero, huh? You think you're a hero?” Dylan demanded as he stood in front of the pillar and Sam found his rifle, taking aim.

 

“No. I'm just a messenger.” He used the title Mearing had given him when he’d been trying to work with NEST, before becoming Ambassador. He fired twice, one shot through Dylan’s chest and the other dead centre of the pillar.

 

“Now. We need a truce... All I want is to be back in charge. Besides... who would you be without me, Prime?” Megatron stated even as they watched Cybertron explode due to the space bridge failing.

 

Optimus Prime steadied himself, battle mask falling into place as he stood. “Time to find out.” He fired into his one-time brother, watching him fall before turning to the injured Sentinel.

 

“Optimus, all I ever wanted was the survival of our race. You must see why... I had to betray you.”

 

“You didn't betray me. You betrayed yourself.” He pinned his old mentor down and drew back the blade.

 

“No, Optimus-” Sentinel’s head hit the ground.

 

The soldiers and security guards looked around at the devastation, Carly searching wildly for any sign of Sam, and then Lennox grinned. “Sam.” He pointed and Carly ran to her boyfriend, throwing herself into his arms.

 

“I love you.”

 

“I love you. You're the only thing I need in this world, and I'll do anything to make it up to you, I promise.” He practically babbled.

 

“I'm going to hold you to that. Just never let me go.”

 

“I promise.”

 

Bumblebee played a wedding march and dropped bits of machinery in the right shape.

 

“Ooo, rings.” She picked one up. “I love this car.”

 

“Bee, you've got to slow it down. You got to slow way down, okay?”

 

“Oh, I'm just trying to help out.” Bee answered and Harry laughed as he joined them.

 

In any war, there are calms between storms. There will be days when we lose faith. Days when our allies turn against us. But the day will never come... that we forsake this planet... and its people.” Optimus stated.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry sat at the table, his own guards standing behind him, new Defence Minister, Will Lennox, sitting to his right and his Intelligence Chief, Tom Banachek, to his left. Once the battle was done Harry had approached Will who had quite willingly jumped ship to become a citizen of Muertes. His wife and toddler were already happily living on Isla Nublar with the Witwicky’s, well away from danger. He’d served his country proudly but with what had happened in the lead up to the Battle of Chicago he had found himself very disappointed in the government. Sam was sitting beside Will in his spot as Ambassador. Across the table was the American President, a CIA Agent called Harold Attinger as well as General Morshower and Director Mearing.

 

“Mr President you seem to think that you can order anyone around and they will obey. That is not the case, we have an alliance with the Autobots and that will not change. You can choose to halt all joint military action with them but we will not be doing that. There are still Decepticons out there and even if there wasn’t, they are our friends. If you choose to ignore that then fine, I have a message from Optimus Prime himself. They will honour your wishes and leave American soil but you have no authority to demand they leave the planet. Earth is their home. Asylum has been given and they have a home on our islands. I suggest you keep well away. As of now all Autobot technology is being removed from America, including the Energon sensors, and Stag Industries is also leaving. Frankly your new attitude to our allies is very concerning. Good day gentlemen.” He stood and they left the White House for the airport. As of today, no Autobot or Muertes citizen would step foot on American soil.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry read the report and sighed, he’d been afraid of this. A ship had been detected entering the solar system and had sent a signal…one that had been answered from America. He had sent the data to Optimus for Autobot analysis but he doubted the ship was friendly or else it would have tried to contact the Autobots.

 

He sat back and looked out at the view. He’d done everything he could to ensure his people were safe. After Chicago immigration requests had gone up, people had lost faith in America’s ability to deal with alien attacks. With only five islands though there was a definite limit on how many they could accept.

 

He moved to the wall and opened the safe, checking everything was in order. His will was up to date as was everything for the continuing government. Sam was his heir, he would inherit Stag Industries and he was also his chosen successor for President, but if he didn’t want the job then it would go to a general election. He just had a growing feeling his time here would soon be up and he wanted to ensure a smooth transition and the safety of his people.

 

Speaking of people, it was time to go. He had stumbled across an interesting man’s work recently and was going personally to try and recruit him for Stag Industries, partially because he didn’t trust anyone else’s safety in America. He left for the airport and boarded his plane, spending the flight napping and going over the man’s details. He drove out to the farm and got out.

 

“Can I help you?” a man called warily as he emerged from the barn.

 

“Cade Yeager?”

 

“Who’s asking?”

 

“Harry Winchester, Stag Industries. I have a business proposal for you.” He smiled at the stunned look on the other man’s face but he was led into the house to talk. In the end he left the unsigned contract with him and headed for the airport to return home.

 

“Sir, we have a problem.”

 

“I see them.” He had noticed the two cars following him. “Anything?”

 

“They appear to be CIA, a new division called Cemetery Wind.”

 

“Comforting name. Alright, no point trying to lose them so why tail us when they know I’d be headed back…” he didn’t like this at all. “Call ahead, have the plane ready to lift off immediately.

 

“Yes Sir.”

 

Thankfully nothing happened and he returned to the island, five days later the Yeager family moved into a comfortable house and Cade went to work, this time with all the resources he could want.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry grinned as he watched Sam’s reaction as Carly walked down the aisle towards them, a vison in white satin and lace. Bee stood behind Sam, his best man while Harry stood ready to perform the ceremony, one of his favourite things to do. Everyone thought it was about time the two tied the knot, and it was good to have a happy event when things off the islands were getting tense. America had become very anti-Cybertronian, no matter which side of the war. Cemetery wind seemed to pop up anywhere and everywhere at the smallest hint and Harry was keeping an eye on a tech company based in Chicago, KSI. The Autobots were safe on the island and harry had slipped up wards to ensure the islands would remain safe from invasion of any kind.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Know who’s ship it is?” Harry asked as they studied the satellite images.

 

“That is the Knight Ship, within it is the Knight’s Temenos.”

 

“So, an Autobot ship?” Sam asked.

 

“Perhaps, it has been missing even longer than the Ark.”

 

“Which means anyone could be on it.”

 

“Indeed.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry watched the meeting via satellite and sighed, he knew with a name like cemetery wind they wouldn’t be a nice department but this? The room was silent as they watched the CIA operatives working with a Cybertronian Optimus had identified as Lockdown, a mercenary, killed a Decepticon and then the remains were gathered in a truck with the KSI logo.

 

“There is nothing we can do but apply political pressure on the US, show the world their actions but a lot won’t care.” Banachek pointed out and Harry nodded.

 

“Do it. And increase security on all shipments in and out.”

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry stood beside Optimus as they studied the information Jarvis had gleamed from the KSI servers, able to feel the Autobot leaders anger at what they were reading and watching. “They wouldn’t differentiate between you and the Decepticons, all they care about is making ‘better’, controllable versions of you. Even if it meant possible genocide.” Harry whispered. They’d seen Cybertron implode when the bridge collapsed, any who had remained on the planet were most likely dead and there had been no new arrivals in the last year, they were either too far away or all dead.

 

“We are not their technology.” Optimus growled out.

 

“Can you guys handle Lockdown?”

 

“We can.”

 

“Then that leaves Joyce and the CIA to us. They need to learn that being American does not mean you get to ignore basic sentient rights.” Harry nodded to Optimus and left the main Autobot command room, returning to his office on Isla Nublar. He put together a team, keeping Sam out of it. Carly was pregnant with their first child and while Sam could fight it wasn’t his chosen profession.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Harry ducked and then slammed his elbow back into his opponents’ stomach, hearing the satisfying gasp for air. He straightened and then knocked the man back.

 

“Autobot or Decepticon, there is no such thing as a good alien. This is our planet.” Savoy spat at him.

 

“You do realise there is evidence of Cybertronians on Earth before human civilisation, right? Besides, maybe I just don’t want to be a bigoted ass like you.” Harry answered, glancing over at where the rest of his team was engaged with the rest of Savoy’s men. Harry went on the attack, steadily pushing Savoy back until he finally kicked out and then man cried out as he went over the edge, landing thirteen floors down in the lobby. Harry stormed into Joyce’s office and left the man cowering in the corner as he ensured all data was erased. “Genocide is never okay.” And then he wiped the man’s memories of everything he had learnt about Cybertronians, planting a desire to do charity work instead. Harry stepped out of the office to find the CIA operatives either dead or contained. Of course, that was when KSI’s one prototype decided to come online. His people began shooting but this creation had no spark chamber and could turn into small pieces of metal at will, negating the normal weaknesses they could target. Harry began using magic as well even as a call for backup from the Autobots went out. Harry turned and blasted the partially formed bot as it fired and he felt the searing heat for a second.

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Sam had his arm around Carly’s waist as she cradled their daughter Amy. There were few graves in the cemetery but this new one was the most elaborate, in honour of their first leader. Harry Winchester had been buried with ceremony, despite the lack of body. Harry’s will had been a shock but after some discussion Sam had agreed to become the Second Muertes president. Tomorrow the Xantium was leaving with Drift, Crosshairs and some of the others to return to Cybertron and see what was really left of their home planet and if there was any possibility of restoration. Optimus had wanted to go but had been talked down and Ironhide was going in his place. It wouldn’t be the same without the weapons specialist but the world was still tense and it would always be better for them to have another option. But thanks to Harry they had time and a safe haven. Who knew, maybe they could get some human friendly atmosphere going and the Witwicky’s would move as well one day.

 

The end of this one.

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: HP is not mine

Pretending to be me

Harry stared at the body at his feet in horrified shock. The small broken body was oh so familiar…. because it was him. Harry Potter was dead. He looked up at the suddenly pale walrus of a man and felt so tempted to kill him where he stood. Instead he obliviated and stunned him, sending him back to number 4. He knelt down and gently gathered the boy in his arms before apparating away to Godric’s Hollow. He found the Potter graves where he expected and interned their only son with them. The question was what to do next? Depending on how deaths were handled in this world the Ministry or Gringotts may already know of the end of the Potter family. But if he took young Harry’s place…. Could he deal with seven more years at Hogwarts? And how had this worlds history gone? Was Harry even the Boy-Who-Lived or just an orphan? No, the boy had the scar. He needed information. He closed his eyes and his form shifted until a young boy stood within the graveyard before vanishing.

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Dedalus Diggle’s eyes widened before he bowed to the young boy before him. Harry Potter! No one would believe him when he said he’d seen the famous Boy-Who-Lived. Maybe he should have cut through Privet Drive before. The boy looked so much like James Potter but he’d never seen a Potter dress like that, must be some muggle fad. Though he was rather small, wasn’t he meant to be attending Hogwarts next year?

“Excuse me sir.” The boy called and Dedalus paused.

What was he meant to do? Was he allowed to speak with him? Dumbledore had made it clear the child was being kept safely away from the Wizarding Public. “Yes?” there, that was nice and safe.

“Why did you bow to me?”

Dedalus stared in shock. What? “You are Harry Potter.”

“Yes sir. I’m a nobody and a freak.”

“What? No! who could have said such a thing?”

“Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon. Dudley does too sometimes. So, do the kids at school. The teachers say I’m a bad boy.”

Dedalus felt sick. This was not what he had expected when showing his respect for their saviour! “You are not a freak at all Mr Potter.” He looked around and then put up a muggle repellent ward around them, not wanting to be overheard. “Hasn’t your family told you anything of your past, of your parents?”

“They were drunks living on welfare. Dad got them killed by driving drunk.” Harry answered.

“No, no…. what were they thinking? What to do… I’m not really the one to tell you Mr Potter.” He nervously played with the brim of his hat. “Ah. Yes, that will work. Will you come with me Mr Potter? I swear I will not harm you.”

Harry nodded, able to feel the magic behind the promise and followed him as the man summoned the Knight Bus. “Wow.”

“Up you go. Two to the Leaky Cauldron Stan.” He handed over the coins and led Harry to a seat. “Hang on tight.” He smiled at the wide eyed wonder the boy showed. In only a few minutes they were at the pub and he led Harry inside and through to the gateway. “Welcome to Diagon Alley.” He grinned as Harry gasped.

“What is all this?”

“Magic my boy, magic. This way.” He led him to the grand white building in the middle of the Alley. He knew Harry wasn’t eleven yet but under the circumstances he thought it necessary, besides it wasn’t like Harry was actually a muggleborn.

They walked up the stairs towards the burnished bronze doors, guarded by goblins and Harry glanced at the warning there.

Enter, stranger, but take heed
Of what awaits the sin of greed
For those who take, but do not earn,
Must pay most dearly in their turn.
So, if you seek beneath our floors
A treasure that was never yours,
Thief, you have been warned, beware
Of finding more than treasure there.

One thing that never seemed to change between worlds was that poem, as odd as it was. He followed Diggle into the bank, looking around at the crisp, clean building and well-tailored goblins.

“Greetings Master Teller. There is a matter needing the utmost discretion with a young heir.”

The goblin leaned forward to get a look at the ragged boy. “Inheritance office, third door, see Bloodstone.”

“Thank you, sir.” Harry answered, smiling without showing his teeth and the goblin nodded.

“Alright then Harry, the goblins are very particular about this sort of thing so you’ll have to go on alone.”

“Yes sir.” Harry gave a shy smile and then went to the indicated room. He knocked and entered when called to.

“Yes?” Bloodstone demanded and Harry dropped the glamour, bowing.

“I need to do an inheritance test honoured goblin.”

“Hand.” He demanded as he placed the parchment on his desk and drew the dagger. Harry held his hand out and let the blood drop on the parchment. Bloodstone stared at the result in confusion, it simply wasn’t possible. “Who are you?” he growled.

“Harry James Potter, from another time and dimension. I know this worlds Harry is dead, I ensured he was buried with his parents after his uncle killed him. Since then I have been taking his place.”

“I see…. magic acknowledges you as Lord Potter so we have no choice but to accept this. However, the wizards…”

“I have a plan, one I will need Gringotts help for.”

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Dedalus glanced up as a well-dressed wizard walked towards the inheritance office. He blinked and shook his head, there was a definite similarity in looks to not only James Potter but the traitor Black. So, who was this? And heading for where he’d left Harry Potter? Before he could do anything, the man was inside the office.

The two versions of Harry looked at each other and then began signing the paperwork Bloodstone offered. The goblin had been able to fill in some of the history they needed to know, books would handle the rest for now. Young Harry slipped on the Potter heir ring and the Peverell one as well. Older Harry, now Samuel, slipped on the Peverell Lordship ring and then both bowed respectfully to the goblin before leaving the office.

“Alright there Harry?”

“Wonderful Mr Diggle! The goblins found me a new guardian.”

“Lord Samuel Peverell, Mr Diggle. Thank you so much for bringing my cousin in today. I’ve been looking for any surviving family for years but thought the family in Britain died out centuries ago.”

“Pleased to help My Lord.” Dedalus was proud when he didn’t stammer.

“Well, we don’t want to keep you. I need to get young Harry kitted out and then its home to America.” He shook Diggle’s hand and then they left, walking around Diagon Alley and shopping for the essentials before leaving for the newly purchased home in America where young Harry withdrew a time turner and vanished into the past. Samuel Peverell simply collapsed on a couch with a smirk at the thought of the chaos that would be breaking out back in England soon.

In honour of a dead child and his martyred parents he would ensure those who deserved to, paid. The goblins would handle much of that while he spent the next year getting caught up on this world before Harry Potter would reappear in time to attend Hogwarts.

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Dedalus tried not to quiver before Albus Dumbledore. Since the Order disbanded he hadn’t really seen the older wizard and now he was wishing they had never been forced to see each other again. But when the authors of the Harry Potter books began to be sued and the Dursley’s being arrested for attempted murder and child abuse the Order had been reformed to find the young hero. Having to admit his part in thongs in front of the whole reformed Order and Dumbledore was highly nerve wracking. The look on Albus’ face when he had mentioned Lord Peverell had been odd but the meeting finally broke up and he happily fled home.

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Albus tossed the Gringotts letter aside in anger. With this ‘Lord Peverell’ taking custody of the boy he had been cut off from the Potter accounts, after all he was no longer needed as his Magical Guardian. Even worse, the ills he had ensured were sealed and forgotten had now been unsealed and the beneficiaries informed. How long until the truth came out? He had to get his hands on the boy and this so-called Lord. He couldn’t be Lord Peverell, there were only two heirs to that family left, Potter and Tom, he had ensured that. He already had one of the Hallows, he planned to allow Potter use of the second while at school and then claim it on the boy’s death. The third… he was sure it had passed through the Gaunt line but he couldn’t find it. He would be Master of Death, no one else.

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Amelia looked at the note from Gringotts with listing the amount the Potters had left to her brother. With him dead it would pass on to Susan. But the reason…. she had never known Edgar had signed a betrothal contract with James. It wasn’t a total shock, many had done so in those dark days to ensure their children would be looked after if the worst should happen. Harry Potter should have been raised here with Susan, instead of wherever Dumbledore had left him. She would go to Gringotts and see if she could get a copy of the will, who knew what else had been ignored.

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Sirius stared out the window of his private room in St Mungo’s, finally after nine years he was free. Remus had sent an owl saying he was coming to see him and it would be good to see him after so long. He was a bit mad the other man hadn’t come to see him on Azkaban or even pushed for him to have a trial but he also understood why he hadn’t, as a werewolf no one would have listened or worse, suspicion would have landed on him too.

But what he wanted to know most, and yet everyone was staying quiet on, was where was his godson? Where was Harry Potter?

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
“Harry Potter.” Minerva called and then slumped in relief as a young boy slipped from the crowd and approached the stool to sit. She placed the hat on his head and stepped back.

“Well, well. This is a surprise. Very difficult, there is so much here.”

“You’re meant to sort Harry Potter though.” He pointed out, blocking the hat from the mass of his memories.

“Oh fine, have it your way spoil sport. I look forward to further mayhem. Better be…. RAVENCLAW!” he yelled to dead silence. Harry stood, removed the hat and joined his new table.

The rest of the sorting went the way he expected and the feast began. To his surprise he felt nothing when he glanced at Quirell, was the man not possessed or had he truly lost that link? At the end of the night he followed the rest to Ravenclaw tower and was happy to find they slept in individual rooms. He wondered how long it would be until he was summoned by Dumbledore. He’d had his problems with his version of the man but this one appeared many times worse.

Sure, enough he was summoned the next day but refused without a staff representative so when Dumbledore tried to push beyond Harry’s answer of ‘ask my guardian’, Flitwick told the man off and ushered him out.

The year passed quickly and most left him alone, not sure what to make of him since he hadn’t gone into the expected house. Happily, he received a Christmas present he’d been hoping for, one Potter family invisibility cloak, passed down from the Peverell family. He kept his head down and his eyes open so once all the traps were in place it was easy to slip through them and retrieve the stone, sending it back to Flamel with a neat protective ward he’d picked up woven into the stone, ensuring only the ones who made it could use it. This way Riddle couldn’t use it and the Flamel’s would live.

With the school year over, came his first meeting with these versions of Sirius and Remus. Things were tense to begin with but after a few months of meetings and writing it smoothed out. They even took him to Diagon Alley to get his second-year books, where he was easily able to intercept Malfoy’s attempt to plant the diary on Ginny. He wrapped it in silk and packed it away to be destroyed with basilisk venom. Ginny would never know the pain of possession by Tom. He also then sent in anonymous information to the DMLE and the Daily Prophet of just how Lockhart had become famous, two weeks later his arrest was front page. It was a lonely life, with only acquaintances at school but he was in a different house and thousands of years older than his old friends. Sirius and Remus were closer but still kept at a certain distance to keep his secrets, but he’d become a very good actor over the millennia.

Within the first week of school he’d accessed the Chamber and destroyed the diary while also dealing with the insane basilisk. No one else would dye like Myrtle. With Lockhart’s arrest an Auror out on injury lead taught DADA, and to a good standard. Without the diary and basilisk second year was quiet, although Harry did take young Luna Lovegood under his wing, warning off those who would have bullied her.

Politically, Fudge was on the way out, thanks to Sirius voting for the Black, Potter and Peverell seats. Previously Malfoy had voted the Black seat while Sirius was incarcerated since as French transplants the Malfoy’s didn’t have their own and everyone had assumed Draco was heir to House Black. Dumbledore had been voting with the other two, trying to keep the status quo. Oh, he’d blocked a few things but when looked back over it showed he wasn’t as pro-muggleborn as he acted. ‘Samuel’ had given Sirius his proxy, saying he preferred living in the States while they shared custody of ‘Harry’. With Fudge going down for his ineffectiveness Harry had nudged things to take Umbridge down with him, not wanting to have to deal with her later.

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Harry grinned and splashed Luna back even as Sirius laughed from further up the beach, watching the two teens play in the surf. Harry wasn’t sure what his changes would bring for Fourth Year so when Sirius had suggested a holiday he’d jumped at the chance, just in case. And as his closest, only really, friend Luna had been invited along, they were leaving for the World Cup the next day. If Death Eaters showed up for some ‘fun’ after…. well he had some surprises ready for them. He hadn’t dealt with Crouch or Pettigrew for this year, he needed them to give Voldemort back his body so he could kill him.

“Harry?”

“Yeah Luna?” He flopped on the sun warmed sand and she lay beside him.

“Something’s coming.” She whispered and he wrapped an arm around her.

“I know.” He kissed the top of her hair. “I’ll keep you safe.” He promised and she smiled up at him.

The next evening, they cheered as Krum caught the snitch and then portkeyed home when Death Eaters were spotted only to read the next morning they had all been caught and arrested, stuck in a suddenly appearing swamp.

They returned to Hogwarts abuzz with excitement and sure enough the tournament was announced. Harry scanned the teachers table and spotted the world famous Auror at one end, fake eye watching him in return.

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Harry grabbed the cup and felt the portkey activate, taking him to a familiar graveyard. He saw Pettigrew emerge and allowed himself to be tied to the grave. But it wasn’t his blood added to the cauldron, it was non-magical donation blood that he had placed in a bag and attached to his arm. The ritual would now be depending solely on Peter’s magic and that of the potion to create the body since neither the bones or blood held any. When Riddle emerged, it was obvious he was far weaker than his original worlds had been. Harry freed himself with a thought and then attacked, knocking Peter out but destroying Riddle before he could catch his bearings. There would be no war this time.

He returned to the winners stand with peter in tow. “I found a rat Siri!” he called out to his godfather who pounced, Amelia beside him.

“Mr Potter, tell me what happened.” Dumbledore demanded. Nothing had gone right since the boy was ten. Tom had ignored all of his traps and tests, so had Harry. His popularity was on at all-time low, even Minerva barely spoke to him anymore. He’d let the boy be forced to compete to finally draw Tom out and he returns with Pettigrew!

“The cup was a portkey, took me to a creepy graveyard. Pettigrew attempted some sort of potion but it blew up in his face so I got my wand back and stunned him.” Harry shrugged.

“Rest assured Mr Potter my department will be investigating.” Amelia promised as two Auror’s took Peter away. He was awarded the gold and everyone returned to the Castle to celebrate, Luna glued to Harry’s side even as Crouch’s polyjuice wore off, panicking some but he was quickly dealt with.

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Harry grinned as he watched the vision in white walk towards him on her Father’s arm. His gaze drifted to the woman walking behind her and felt a flash of grief. It hadn’t been his fault, he’d taken Riddle out and left rounding the Death Eaters up to the Ministry, they’d failed. They’d stayed quiet and been ignored, until Harry’s gradation ceremony when they’d attacked. Ten students had died before anyone realised what was happening. Sixty others had been injured to varying degrees through the fight. Susan had been one of the injured, injured in a way that invalidated the marriage contract between them. He’d offered to marry her anyway but she had turned him down, knowing who he actually cared for. But he had insured she would be looked after, no matter what, Luna had agreed.

He took Luna’s hands as she passed her bouquet to Susan and they faced the Minister who smiled happily at them. Amelia cleared her throat and began to speak, very pleased to be officiating this wedding. It was the nicest first act as Minister she could think of. “I give to you, Lord Harry James Potter and Lady Luna Potter.” She finally called and the guests cheered happily as husband and wife walked back down the aisle together.

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Harry had stripped all of Dumbledore’s magic from the Cloak years ago and now it hummed with familiar power. One Hallow down, well two actually. He pulled Dumbledore’s wand free and felt the same hum. The power-hungry idiot had attacked in Diagon Alley, just like he had that day with Daphne and their children, only this time Harry had been quicker. Dumbledore would never leave Azkaban alive.

“Dada!” A young voice called and he banished the two Hallows to his storage tattoos before scooping up a four-year-old Samantha and spinning her around, making her shriek in delight.

“Harry don’t drop her!” Luna warned from the doorway, one hand on her swollen belly. Next to her was Samantha’s favourite Aunt, Susan Bones, decked out in fine dress robes for the occasion.

“Yes dear.” He grinned at his wife of eight years. He settled Sammy on his hip and the four headed out to attend Sirius’ New Year’s Ball.

The End of this one.
One Hallow to go.

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: Don't own HP or Dark Hunter series

Harry looked over as Julian was approached by two other men, one not much younger than Julian himself.

“Here he is, Prince Kyrian of Thrace. If anything happens to him payment shall be taken from you. Nephew, do not dishonour our family.”

“Yes, Uncle Zetes.” Kyrian answered in annoyance before the older man left him in the camp. “You’re Julian of Macedon?” He looked over the other man, they were both tall and blonde but there was something more to Julian.

“I warn you know Prince Kyrian, your title will not give you safety in war. Chares!” he called and Harry moved to approach his Commander. It wasn’t often he changed his name to fit in, unless there was a reason but despite the fact they would have accepted the name Harry he had wanted something that fit the times. Chares was the ancient Greek version of the modern Greek name Haris, the equivalent to the English Harry. So, in a way he hadn’t changed his name.

“Sir?”

“Get Kyrian situated and make sure he knows where everything is.” Julian ordered and Chares led him away.

“Is he always so abrupt?” Kyrian asked once they had moved far enough away.

“The Roman Army arrived at a village before us yesterday. We only finished tending the dead this morning.” He explained and saw Kyrian’s eyes widen. “In here.” He held the tent flap up and Kyrian ducked inside. “You will be sharing a tent with me. Stow your gear and then I will introduce you around.”

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Julian didn’t look up as he felt a familiar presence at his back. “Is his Highness settled?”

“He does have a name.” Chares answered as he took a goblet of wine.

“Mmm.”

“I put him in my tent.” He answered as Iason joined them. The Spartan was Julian’s oldest friend but Chares sensed there was something…off. Like Julian was keeping something dark from the man he called brother but Chares had never asked. He was Julian’s Calvary Commander and he hoped friend but they weren’t that close, not yet. He had only been serving under the man for one campaign season, this would be his second.

“Why do we have to take n some arrogant Thracian Prince?” Iason asked.

“He needs to learn war and Thrace is an ally.” Julian straightened from the map and the three men began discussing their strategy.

,,,,,,,,,,,,
The army was trapped. And all because of an idiot young hoplite who had sold them out because he wanted to be a Roman centurion. Chares steadied his men, green eyes taking in the odds and not liking them. He looked ahead and to the right where Julian and Kyrian were at the front of the army. Despite Julian’s want to dislike him, the two had quickly become friends. The Roman army was above them in the hills and there was no way to outflank them or retreat. Not that they would, death always before dishonour, Julian believed it so much the words were engraved on his shield. Beside a fleeing hoplite was a dead hoplite.

As the Romans were riding down upon them, Julian took it all in and he knew the Romans would expect him to pull his forces together into a phalanx, making them easy prey for the Roman cavalry and archers above. “Disband! Aim your spears toward the horses, break apart the Roman cavalry lines." Julian called and Chares quickly spread the order to his men, breaking the lines before urging his horse into a gallop towards the approaching Roman cavalry, a war cry on his lips. It was obvious very quickly that the Romans were shocked by their actions, ones no ‘civilised’ army would ever take. Then they crashed into the Romans and began slashing and stabbing away at the enemy.

It did not take long for the Romans to begin to turn, the arrow volleys had been halted for doing as much damage to their own side as the Macedonian army. This wasn’t the more organised fighting between two phalanxes, this was a free for all. Julian gave a mighty battle cry as he rode his horse, Mania, across the field, and up the hillock where the Roman commanders were beginning to retreat. They turned to attack him, but it did them no good. Enraged by betrayal Julian cut through them, not noticing when Chares appeared to watch his back. Finally, only one man was left living, lying on the ground and bleeding. Julian took the Roman Standard and ripped it to shreds to bind the man’s wounds instead of killing him. A lethal smile crossed his lips, making the survivor gulp in terror. “'Roma delenda est.” Julian hissed before the man was taken away. Rome must be destroyed.

Three days later the Roman general was sent home in chains to give Julian’s message to the Roman Senate.

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Chares followed Julian and Kyrian into the villa and gladly handed his weapons and cloak over to a servant. With winter settling over the land there would be no more fighting. He had been surprised to be invited but had accepted the offer. It was a long, lonely trip back to Athens and his empty house.

A beautiful, stately woman emerged and Julian went to her, taking her in his arms to kiss and she smiled at him. “Kyrian, Chares, this is my wife, Penelope.”

“A pleasure My Lady.” Chares inclined his head to the woman who smiled in greeting.

“Father!” And then two children ran up and Julian knelt to hug them. Laughing at their excited chatter. Chares smiled and glanced at Kyrian, seeing a longing in the young Prince.

“You are young Kyrian, plenty of time to find a wife.” He whispered and Kyrian nodded. They were shown to their rooms and then bathed before dinner, all glad to be clean after the months of campaign.

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Chares shook his head at Kyrian’s antics even as he accepted a cup of wine from a passing servant. The young Prince was certainly unique and probably mad. But only among the Asgardians could you find a better warrior. Julian was an amazing Commander but he kept back from the troops more than Kyrian. Harry had seen the way some of the men reacted to Julian and he wanted to hit them for it, despite everything he had done they still couldn’t see past his birth. Harry had felt the presence in the Temples, so he knew there were ‘gods’, which meant if people said Julian was Aphrodite’s son he most likely was and that would explain the way women, and some men, reacted to him. Harry could admit he was incredible to look at but the man was happily married. Kyrian was the charming, roguish Prince, happy to drink and fight with just about anyone.

Chares waived away the young women approaching. Why had he offered to host this party? He watched a woman approach Kyrian and shook his head at the young Prince’s reaction to her. she was pretty, but older than Kyrian and definitely not the sort the King would want him publicly associating with. The Greeks weren’t quite as open about sex as he’d heard the Romans were but monogamy was almost unheard of, divorce and remarriage common and no one saw anything wrong with two males, as long as they eventually married to have children.

The next morning, he was nursing a mild headache, but nothing compared to poor Kyrian. Julian was better off, not due to lack of drink, but due to his own mixed heritage. They both grinned at Kyrian’s predicament. “Have fun last night?” Chares teased and Kyrian groaned but then smiled.

“Her name is Theone, I have never met a woman like her.”

Chares sighed, wonderful. The King was going to kill him for hosting this party with no thought to the fact he was an Athenian and not Thracian and therefore not one of his people. Then again, Kyrian had been entrusted to Julian’s care, so maybe he would be blamed.

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Chares urged his horse on, calling to his men as he raced across the hard-packed ground. Where they mad? Two men could not hold back an army. This was the sort of recklessness he expected from Kyrian, even after six months, but Julian? The army had broken and the two men had remained behind to defend Themopoly. He pushed his horse faster, why had they split the infantry and cavalry so far apart? It had been a trap and they’d fallen for it. His men galloped close behind, all fearing they would find their Commander and the Prince dead or captured.

Julian panted in the heat, sword slick in his hand from blood and his shield discarded after a blow had cleaved it almost in half. They had been fighting alone for what felt like days but likely had only been an hour or so. When the army had run he had expected Kyrian to abandon him as well, but the young fool had just smiled at him, grabbed a sword for each hand, and said, "It's a beautiful day to die. What say we slay as many of these bastards as we can before we pay Charon?" He was a complete and utter lunatic, with more guts than brains. He turned slightly as the thunder of hooves reached his ears, assuming it was more Romans and he laughed as he saw a familiar pitch-black horse in the lead and on his back the lightly armoured form of Chares. They would win this. Sure enough, with the arrival of fresher troops on horseback the Roman infantry retreated.

“Are you two suicidal?” Chares snapped as he dismounted, removing his helmet.

“No praise for so many Romans slain my friend?” Kyrian asked and Chares slapped him upside his unprotected head since the Prince had managed to lose his helmet at some point.

“There was no choice but to hold the town Chares. I am just glad you got here when you did. The Roman Cavalry?” Julian clasped his friends shoulder.

“Will need many new recruits.” He grinned and Julian nodded.

“Then let us celebrate and praise Athena!” Kyrian called out and they entered the town to a hero’s welcome.

Kyrian and Julian had drunk each other under the table in celebration, much to Chares amusement. And in the morning, he had awakened them and dragged them out where they had received their promotions to General, each receiving the gold ring.

“You should have received one two Chares.”

“I am quite content as I am Kyrian. I have no want for titles.”

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“Chares!”

Julian’s call had him running into the command tent where he took the offered message and read it. So Kyrian had gone through with it and married Theone and in return King Alkis had disinherited him. Kyrian had broken his engagement to the Macedonian Princess to marry a hetaira he had met at Chares’ party and now he felt very guilty. Kyrian was no longer a Prince but Alkis could not take his title of General from him since he was fighting for Macedon.

“Will you go to him? I dare not.” Julian admitted softly. He knew the reaction woman, and some men had to him and did not want to risk his friendship with Kyrian.

“Of course, if I can be spared?”

“They seem content to try and wait us out for now.”

Chares immediately packed his gear and mounted his horse, Sirius, and set off for Thrace and Kyrian’s estate there. It was a long ride but he eventually arrived and was welcomed into the villa where he found a happy yet melancholy Kyrian and his new bride. Theone was eight years his senior and an ex-prostitute to boot. That did not bother Chares, as long as it was a love match and it was obvious it was on Kyrian’s side. It was Theone he was unsure of, everyone else said she wanted his money and power, he would wait and see.

“Welcome my brother.” They clasped arms. “Couldn’t drag Julian away?”

“Someone has to keep the soldiers in line.” He grinned. “Congratulations on your marriage Kyrian, Theone.”

“Can you stay long?” Kyrian asked as they walked through the garden.

“A few days, the Roman’s appear content to wait us out for now. And I can’t say I am unhappy about the chance for a few good meals and baths.” He admitted and Kyrian laughed.

“Those you shall have.”

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Chares mounted Sirius and rode to his place in the lines, looking for the Generals only to blink…. was that? ... oh my. He bit back a snicker as he took in Julian’s helmet which now sported feathers instead of horsehair. There was only one reason he would have left it as is, Atolycus must have made the switch. To not upset his son, he had worn them away with pride and not even Kyrian was laughing. Julian doted on Atolycus and Callista, not that he blamed him, they were beautiful children. He did protect them a lot, perhaps too much, they were the children of a Spartan and yet Atolycus was not allowed near weapons, the child’s sword Kyrian had given as a gift had been taken away.

The again Julian wasn’t the only one breaking the norms, Chares had yet to take a wife and people were beginning to talk. He didn’t want to marry at the moment but it looked like he would have no choice. No one remained unmarried in such societies, it was his duty to marry and have children. So next leave, he would return to Athens and take a bride.

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Harry looked around the new home he had bought, one in which a new bride could be happy. Lavish gardens, slaves and large well decorated rooms showed off his wealth, gained through battle. He had made it clear he was seeking a wife and two families had approached him. There was only one choice though, he was not marrying a sixteen-year-old girl. He had sent his replies the day before, he would be marrying a nineteen-year-old named Aspasia. Since he was believed to be twenty-four that wasn’t a bad age gap. He looked at the clothing that had been prepared for the next day a fine white linen Chiton with gold fasteners. Over that he would wear a bright blue Chlamys, fastened at his right shoulder by a brooch in the shape of Athena’s shield since he was a warrior. He prayed and sacrificed to her just like his men, he’d been to enough worlds to know that sometimes the ‘gods’ were real and he didn’t want them after him for some slight, who knew what they could do to him before Death or Fate may interfere? To finish the outfit were a pair of soft sandals, rather than the boots he wore on campaign.

“Nervous?” he looked up to find Julian in the doorway.

“No.”

“Tomorrow you will be married Chares, yet you do not look excited.”

“Because I am not. I come back to Athens so rarely, what sort of life is that for a wife? You and Kyrian knew your wives beforehand, I am marrying a stranger.” He shook his head and then walked out of the room with Julian to find Kyrian waiting, already reclining at the table. They joined him there for the evening meal. His friends plied him with alcohol and he let them, it wasn’t like it affected him anymore.

In the morning, he dressed in the clothes and laughed as Kyrian squinted in the light. He received word from his father-in-law to be that Aspasia had followed the traditions and sacrificed her childhood toys to Artemis before bathing in perfumed water and swearing fealty to Demeter. He stood in the wedding chariot, Julian and Kyrian with him, and they set off for his brides’ home. The other two men dismounted and three people emerged from the house, one veiled. He offered her his hand and she stepped up into the chariot which then headed for his house. They remained silent during the ride and he helped her down as they were showered with dates, figs, nuts and small coins by Kyrian and Julian since Chares had no living family to do so. They then stood before a priest and listened as he recited verses on the wonders and duties of marriage before he led her into the bedroom.

The next day they emerged and the wedding feast began. Chares smiled as he watched her showered in gifts, to be held in trust in case he died before her, a likely event since he was a warrior. What no one knew was thanks to some magic she was pregnant with a son, to ensure his belongings would remain with her for their child. He had also ensured it would be an easy pregnancy and safe birth. He said nothing when her gaze wandered to Julian, he knew the other man would never stray from his own wife and it wasn’t like he would begrudge Aspasia a lover considering he was gone, sometimes for years.

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Julian walked in in from the stables, happy to be home even for only a few days, and froze as he saw Penelope and Iason in the atrium, kissing. Stunned, he stopped mid-stride as a wave of trepidation washed over him while he watched the heated way they embraced.

Until Iason looked up and saw him in the doorway. The instant their eyes met, Iason curled his lip. "You worthless thief! Priapus told me of your treachery. How could you?"

Her face contorted by hatred, Penelope rushed at Julian, then slapped him. "You filthy bastard, I could kill you for what you've done."

"And I will kill you for it." Iason unsheathed his sword.

Julian tried to push Penelope out of the way, but she refused.

"Dear gods, I bore your children," she said, trying to claw his face.

Julian held her wrists. "Penelope, I-"

"Don't you touch me," she snarled, wringing her arms from his grasp. "It makes my flesh crawl. Do you honestly think any decent woman would ever want you in the light of day? You are vile. Repulsive." She shoved him toward Iason. "Cut his heart out. I want to bathe in his blood until I can no longer smell his touch on me."

Iason swung his sword. Julian jumped back, out of the blade's arc. Instinctively, he reached for his own sword, but stopped. The last thing he wanted was to draw Iason's blood. "I don't want to fight you."

"Don't you? You violated my woman and sired children on her that should have been mine! I welcomed you into my home. I gave you a bed when no one else would have you near them, and this is how you repay me?"

Julian stared in disbelief. "Repaid you! Have you any idea the number of times I've saved your life in battle? How many beatings did I take for you? Can you even count them all? And yet you dared mock me." He snapped, all the anger and hurt over Iason’s words that day bubbling up.

Iason laughed cruelly. "Everyone except Kyrian and Chares mocks you, you fool. In fact, they defend you so strongly that it makes me wonder what the three of you do when you wander off alone."

Squelching the rage that would leave him vulnerable to Iason's blade, Julian barely ducked the next attack. "Stop it, Iason. Don't make me do something we'll both regret."

"The only thing I regret is that I let a thief into my house," Iason bellowed with rage, and swung again.

Julian tried to duck, but Penelope ran at him from behind and pushed him forward. Iason's blade caught him across the ribs. Hissing in pain, Julian drew his own sword, then deflected a blow that would have left him headless had it made contact. Iason tried to engage him, but Julian did nothing more than defend himself while trying to keep Penelope out of the thick of the fight. "Don't do this, Iason. You know your skills are inferior to mine."

Iason pressed his attack. "There's no way I'm going to let you keep her."

The next few seconds had happened so fast, and yet Julian saw them unfold in sharp, crisp clarity. Penelope caught Julian's free arm at the same time Iason swung his sword. The blade narrowly missed Julian as she slung him about. Unbalanced, Julian tried to extract himself from her, but with Penelope in the way, he staggered forward at the same time Iason did. The instant they collided, he felt his sword sink deep into Iason's body. "No!" Julian shouted, drawing his sword out of Iason's stomach as Penelope let out a scream of pure, tormented anguish. Slowly, Iason fell to the ground. Dropping to his knees, Julian tossed his sword aside, and pulled his friend into his arms. "Dear gods, what have you done?"

Coughing up blood, Iason stared accusingly at him. "I did nothing. It was you who betrayed me. We were brothers and you stole my heart." Iason swallowed painfully as his pale eyes bored into Julian. "You never had anything in your life you didn't steal from someone else."

Julian trembled as guilt and agony washed over him. He'd never meant for this to happen. Never meant to hurt anyone, least of all Iason. He'd only wanted someone to love him. Only wanted a home where he was welcome. But Iason was right. It was all his fault. All of it.

Penelope's screams echoed in his ears. She grabbed him by the hair and pulled it as hard as she could. Her eyes wild, she wrenched the dagger from his waist. "I want you dead! Dead!" She plunged the dagger into his arm, then pulled back to strike again. Julian grabbed her hand. With a feral shriek, she wrenched herself away. "No," she said, her eyes crazed. "I want you to suffer. You took from me what I loved most. Now I will take the same from you." She ran from the room.

Overwhelmed by his grief and anger, Julian couldn't move as he watched the life drain out of Iason's body. Until Penelope's words sank into his dazed mind. "No!" he roared, rising to his feet. "Don't!" He reached the door to her chambers in time to hear the children screaming. His heart shredded, he tried to open it, but she'd bolted it from the inside.

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Chares pushed Sirius faster and faster. He had a pit in his stomach and so he was going after Julian. There had been a surprise break in the war and so Julian had returned home, Kyrian and Chares left in charge of the army. He had noticed Iason was gone and his bad feeling had begun. He had told Kyrian who had urged him to leave since Chares’ feelings had saved them before. He dismounted before the horse had even come to a full stop and rushed into the house to find Iason dead on the floor. “Julian!” He shouted, searching the house until he came to the bed chamber to find Julian kneeling over his wife Penelope as she bled. He dropped to his knees beside him and pulled out the healing kit he carried. “Julian?” He called and tormented blue eyes met his.

“I sent for a physician.” He whispered in agony.

“What happened? Where are the children?” He asked and Julian looked behind him. Chares glanced over to see too small bodies covered in blood.

“She killed them…” he shuddered.

Chares worked feverishly but within minutes she was dead. “I am so sorry.”:

“It’s my fault, I should have known not to trust Eros.”

“Julian?”

“I should have let Penelope marry Iason…. I just wanted…”

Chares stood and gently moved Julian away from the gruesome room and into another, gently removing the other man’s armour and then his own before pulling him onto a bed and curling around the taller man, offering comfort. Julian was Spartan, they did not cry, but Chares felt a few hot tears soak into his chiton. “Grieve my friend, I am here.” He whispered, soothing the younger man.

“I’ll kill him.” Julian whispered hours later.

“Who?”

“Priapus.” Julian snarled and got up to redone his armour. “Take…. take care of them.” He pleaded and then ran from the room even as Chares got up and ran after him.

He swore when he realised Julian had taken the only ready horse, Sirius. He went back into the house to find frightened slaves who he soothed and together they prepared the three bodies for burial while Chares sent word to Iason’s family before having the body sent on for them to bury. Chares stared at the children’s bodies sadly and then gently placed them in their coffins. “May Death be kind to you.” He whispered, eyes glowing briefly. He then out his armour on and took Mania from the stables, going after Julian. He tracked him to a Temple and entered, feeling anger and evil in the air. He found a young woman, one of Priapus’ virgins and he knew something had gone very wrong. “Where is Julian of Macedon?” he demanded calmly.

“My Lord Priapus had damned him for eternity for his hubris.” She answered shakily.

“Hubris you helped lead him into or else why would you be in Aphrodite’s Temple?” he snapped. “Go.” He commanded and she left but not before she was silently cursed for her part in this. Harry left the Temple and returned to Julian’s home to find Kyrian there.

“What has happened?” The disowned Prince demanded.

“Iason, Penelope and the children are dead.”

“Romans?”

“No. Julian said Penelope killed the children before committing suicide. The physician didn’t arrive in time and neither did I. I don’t know for sure but I believe Julian may have killed Iason, there was blood on his sword.”

“Where is Julian?”

“I tracked him as far as Aphrodite’s Temple. There was one of Priapus’ virgins there…she said Priapus had cursed him for eternity for hubris.”

“No…”

“Kyrian I searched, there is no sign of him anywhere. I had Iason’s body sent home and told them he died defending Julian’s family from Romans. That is what everyone must believe, Scipio sent soldiers to kill him off the battle field. For the sake of the war Julian and his family will become martyrs for the cause. Understand?” He kept eye contact with the younger man who eventually nodded. “Come, we must get back to the army and send word off his death.” He gently pulled Kyrian from the house, wishing he had never let Julian out of his sight.

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Chares knelt before King Andriscus of Macedon and slowly took the oath and accepted the golden ring, one that matched Julian’s. Except Julian was gone now and he was taking his place as General. He was the obvious choice to replace Julian, he had been his second and also worked well with Kyrian. He just wished he knew more about this period in history to have any idea what he should try to do. All he knew was Macedon was a Roman province which meant the war was lost in his world. Rome had brought a lot of good things to the world but it had also brought many cruelties and perhaps he could help change things for the better. Andriscus would have to go if that was the case, the man was not a good King, but Chares would serve for now.

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Chares smiled at the sight of his wife and she smiled shyly back, one hand resting on her rounded stomach. He moved quickly to her side and gently touched her, smiling as he felt the child kick. “You should have sent word, I would have come sooner.”

“You have a war to win General.”

“Are you happy Aspasia?” He asked as a servant came forward to take his cloak and sword.

“I have everything I need.”

“But not everything you want?” he helped her sit and then knelt at her feet. “I am sorry.” He brushed a loose curl back from her face. “I think you would have been happier with a husband who was not a soldier, one you loved.”

“Chares….” She didn’t know what to say to that. Yes, she dreamed of a house full of laughter, children and love, but it was just a dream. Love in marriage was rare and she had always known she would marry for her family.

“I will not deny you should you seek comfort while I am away and if I should die I hope you find a loving husband.”

“Is it true?” She took a deep breath, “They say Scipio had Julian of Macedon and his family slaughtered.” Her hands shook slightly and he gently gripped them.

“It is true, I found them. You are safe here Aspasia, he will not dare attack Athens especially when I am so rarely here. But if you do not feel comfortable then you should stay with your family, at least until the baby comes.”

“Thank you.”

“Now, have you eaten?”

“Not yet.”

“Then I will call for a meal and will join you after I have bathed.” He kissed her cheek and left her to rest while he washed the dust of the road from his body.

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Chares dodged a blow and turned, his sword disembowelling his opponent. He glanced around and saw Kyrian nearby, fighting hard so he made his way to him. They fought back to back, just like Kyrian and Julian used to, forcing the Roman Army back until they were forced to retreat from the onslaught. Julian’s death had not broken the Macedonian spirit, if anything they were more inspired to destroy Rome.

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Chares paced the room with Kyrian watching him in amusement, earning him a glare. “This could be you someday soon.” Chares warned and Kyrian sighed.

“I hope so.” He admitted softly and Chares put a hand on his shoulder.

“Theone may be older than you, but she is not past childbearing age, not yet.” They both winced at the cry of pain from the bedchamber. Chares was just grateful he had been home when her time had come. She had laboured now for six hours and he wished he was allowed inside where he could help her. but then he grinned as they heard the cry of a baby and soon one of the midwives emerged and curtsied.

“You have a son General.”

Kyrian laughed and slapped his back even as Chares quickly went into the room to find Aspasia, pale and tired, but smiling happily at the child in her arms.

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
"You were brilliant," Dimitri, Kyrian’s second in command, slapped him on the back and Kyrian grinned. He had a fresh, open wound down the left side of his face, but his old grey eyes sparkled. Though his armour was covered in blood, he appeared remarkably unhurt. "It's a pity Julian wasn't here to see this victory. He would have been proud of you today, General. I can guarantee all of Rome is weeping this night."

Kyrian's face was smudged with sweat, dirt, and blood, his long, leather-bound hair tousled, three long, thin braids falling from his left temple down to the middle of his chest. His dark green eyes shimmered from victory and he had the carriage of a man who had no equal. Of a man destined for greatness. Kyrian raised the goblet of wine in his hand and addressed the men in his tent. "I declare this victory for Julian of Macedon. Wherever he is, I know he's laughing at Scipio's defeat." A loud cheer roared from the men. Kyrian took a drink, then looked to the older soldier beside him. "It's a pity Valerius wasn't there with Scipio. I was looking forward to facing him, too. But no matter." He lifted his voice so that all the men gathered inside could hear him. "Tomorrow, we march on Rome herself and we'll bring that bitch to her knees." The men shouted their agreement.

"On the battlefield, with a sword in your hand, you are invincible," the old man said in an awed tone. "By this time tomorrow, you will be ruler of the known world."

Kyrian shook his head. "Andriscus will be ruler of Rome tomorrow. Not I."

The old man looked aghast, then he leaned close to Kyrian's neck and lowered his tone so that only Kyrian could hear him. "There are those who think he is weak. Those who would support you if you decided-"

"No, Dimitri," Kyrian said, cutting him off gently. "I appreciate the thought, but I swore to lead his army for Andriscus and that I shall do until the day I die. I will never betray him."

The look on Dimitri's face showed his confusion. He wasn't sure if he should applaud Kyrian's loyalty or curse it. "You're the only man I know who would turn down the opportunity to rule the world."

Kyrian laughed. "Kingdoms and empires don't bring happiness, Dimitri. Only the love of a good woman and children do that."

"And conquest," Dimitri added.

Kyrian smiled even wider. "Tonight, at least, that appears to be true."

"Commander?"

Kyrian turned toward the voice behind him to see a man cutting a swath through the men in the tent.

The soldier held out a sealed letter. "A courier brought this. It was discovered on a Roman messenger earlier today."

Taking it from him, Kyrian saw the seal of Valerius the Younger on the outside. Curious, he opened the vellum and read it, and with every word, his panic swelled. His heart beat faster. "My horse!" he shouted, running out of the crowded tent. "Saddle my horse."

"Commander?"

He turned to his second in command who had followed him outside. A worried frown creased his tired old brow. "Dimitri, you're in charge until I return. Pull the army back into the hills, away from the Romans until you hear from me. If I'm not back in a week, then lead the men to Punjara and combine forces with Chares."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes." A youth came forward with his black stallion. His heart hammering, Kyrian swung himself up into the saddle.

"Where are you off to?" Dimitri asked.

"Valerius is riding to my villa. I'm going to head him off."

Dimitri grabbed the horse's bridle, horrified. "You can't go alone to meet him."

"I have no time to wait for you. My wife is in danger. I will not hesitate." Kyrian wheeled his horse about and spurred it through the camp, needing to protect his wife at any cost. The days ran together as he rode furiously, changing horses every time he happened upon a village. He never stopped to rest or eat. He was like a demon possessed, with only one thought on his mind. Theone. Theone. Theone.

He reached his home in the middle of the night. Weary and terrified, he leapt from his horse and pounded on the door for admittance. An old man pulled open the heavy wooden door. "Your Highness?" he asked in disbelief.

Kyrian pushed past the man, his gaze sweeping his grand foyer looking for signs of hostility. Nothing out of the ordinary met his fearful gaze. Still, he wasn't comforted. Not yet. He would not be calm until he saw her with his own eyes. "Where's my wife?"

The old servant looked confused by the question. His mouth opened and closed like a fish. Finally, he spoke. "In her bed, Highness."

Starving, exhausted, and weak, Kyrian ran down the long, columned corridor toward the back of the house. "Theone?" he called as he ran, desperate to see her.

A door at the end of the hallway opened. An incredibly beautiful and petite blond woman came to stand in the hallway. She closed the door behind her and swept a chiding glance over Kyrian's dishevelment. She was alive and unharmed. And she was the most beautiful vision his adoring eyes had ever beheld. Her long, golden hair was tousled, her cheeks bright pink. She clutched a very thin white sheet over her nude body. "Kyrian?" she asked sharply.

Relief rushed through him and tears filled his eyes. She was alive! Thank the gods. Blinking the tears away, he swept her up into his arms and held her close. Never had he been more grateful to the Fates for their mercy.

"Kyrian," she snapped, bristling under his touch. "Put me down. You smell so bad I can barely breathe. Have you any idea how late it is?"

"Aye," he said through the tight knot in his throat as joy pounded through him. He set her down and cupped her face in his hands. He was so tired he could hardly stand or think, but he wouldn't sleep. Not until she was safe. "And I must get you away from here. Get dressed."

She frowned. "Take me where?"

"To Thrace."

"Thrace?" she asked incredulously. "Are you mad?"

"No. I've received word that the Romans are headed this way. I'm taking you to my father for safekeeping. Now hurry!"

She didn't. Instead, her face darkened dangerously as fury snapped in her grey eyes. "Your father? You've not spoken to him in seven years. What makes you think he'd shelter me?"

"My father will forgive me if I ask it."

"Your father will throw us both out. He made his proclamation quite public. I've been embarrassed enough in my lifetime, I don't need to hear him call me a whore to my face. Besides, I don't want to leave my villa. I like it here."

Kyrian disregarded her words. "My father loves me and will do as I ask. You'll see. Now dress."

She looked past his shoulder. "Polydus?" she said to the old servant who had been waiting all that time behind Kyrian. "Have a bath prepared for your master and bring him food and wine."

"Theone-"

She stopped Kyrian's words by placing a hand on his lips. "Hush, my lord. It's the middle of the night. You look dreadful and you smell even worse. Let us clean you, feed you, and put you to sleep, and then in the morning, we can discuss what needs be done to see me safe."

"But the Romans-"

"Did you see any on your way here?"

"Well... no."

"Then there can't be any danger at the moment, now can there?"

Too weary to argue, he conceded. "I suppose not."

"Then come." She took him by the hand and led him to a small room off the main corridor. She helped him out of his armour and into the gilded tub within even as the servants quickly filled it with hot water, ensuring the fire was well fed and the candles were lit. Kyrian leant back in the tub while Theone bathed him.

He captured her hand in his and held it to his whiskered cheek. "You've no idea how much I've missed you. Your touch soothes me like nothing else."

She smiled a smile that didn't quite reach her eyes and handed him a cup of wine. "I heard you took Thessaly from the Romans."

"Aye. Valerius was incensed. I can't wait until I march on Rome. I will have her yet, mark my words." Kyrian drained the cup, then set it aside. His body burning, he reached for his wife and pulled her into the tub with him.

"Kyrian!" she gasped.

"Shh," he breathed against her lips. "I would have a kiss from you." She acquiesced, but there was a coldness to her. He could feel it. "What is wrong, my love?" he asked, pulling back. "You seem so distant tonight. As though your thoughts are somewhere else."

Her face softened as she straddled his waist and took him into her body. "I am not distant. I am tired."

He smiled, then groaned as she moved against him. "Forgive me for waking you. I just wanted to know you were safe. I couldn't live if anything ever happened to you." He cupped her face in his hands and stroked her cheeks with his thumbs. "I will always love you, Theone. You are the very air I breathe." Kissing her lips, he savoured her taste. She seemed to relax some in his arms as she slowly rode him. All the while her gaze watched him as if she were waiting for something... As soon as he climaxed, Kyrian leaned back in the tub to watch her. He was as weak as a newborn whelp. But he was home, and his wife was his strength. His haven. No sooner had that thought crossed his mind than a strange buzzing started in his head. A wave of dizziness swept through him. And in an instant, he knew what she'd done. "Poison?" he gasped.

Theone scrambled off him and left the tub. Hurriedly, she wrapped a towel around herself. "No."

Kyrian tried to get out of the tub, but another wave of dizziness gripped him. He fell back into the water. He couldn't breathe as thoughts wandered randomly through his drugged mind. But foremost in his mind was the very treachery of the woman he loved. A woman he had given the world to. "Theone, what have you done to me?"

She lifted her chin as she watched him coldly. "I'm doing what you can't. I'm protecting myself. Rome is the future, Kyrian. Not Andriscus. He will never live to ascend to the Macedonian throne." If she said anything more he did not hear as darkness fell.

When the light returned, Kyrian found himself lying naked against a cold stone slab that was tilted at a forty-five-degree angle. His arms and legs had been secured with ropes to winches. He glanced around the medium-sized room to an old table set in one corner, the top of which was covered with all manner of torture instruments. A tall, black-haired man stood looking over the table's offerings, his back to Kyrian. Kyrian felt so alone and betrayed. So completely defenceless. It was a terrifying sensation for someone who had never known vulnerability. The room was stifling hot from the fire in the hearth and early summer. The windows were open and a gentle Mediterranean breeze blew across the room, carrying the scent of sea, flowers, and olives. Kyrian heard laughter from outside and his stomach knotted. It was too beautiful a day to die...

The man at the table cocked his head. Suddenly, he turned and pinned a menacing glare on Kyrian. Though the man was incredibly handsome, there was a cold sneer on his face that robbed him of his appeal. The man had the cruel, glittering eyes of a viper. They were soulless, calculating, and completely lacking in compassion. "Kyrian of Thrace." He smiled evilly. "At last we meet. Though I'm sure this isn't quite what you had planned, is it?"

"Valerius," he snarled as soon as he saw the banner on the wall over the man's shoulder. He would know that eagle emblem anywhere.

The Roman's smile widened as he crossed the room. There was no respect on Valerius' face. Only smug satisfaction. Without another word, Valerius turned the winch that held the ropes to Kyrian's limbs. The ropes tightened, pulling at Kyrian's muscles, tearing ligaments and popping his bones from their joints. Kyrian clenched his eyes tight and ground his teeth at the agony that whipped through his body. Tightening the winch even more, Valerius laughed. "Good, you're strong. I hate to torture little boys who whimper and cry right away. It takes all the fun out of it."

Kyrian said nothing.

After locking the winch into place to keep Kyrian's body painfully stretched, Valerius walked over to the table where a number of weapons and tools rested. He hefted a heavy iron mallet in his hands. "Since you are new to my company, allow me to educate you on how Rome deals with her enemies..." He sauntered back to Kyrian, offering Kyrian a goading smirk. "First, we crush your knees. This way, I know you won't be tempted to leave my hospitality until I'm ready for you to." Valerius brought the mallet down over Kyrian's left knee, shattering the joint instantly. Unimaginable pain ripped through him. Biting his lip to keep from crying out, Kyrian gripped the ropes binding his hands. He could feel the warm blood from his cut wrists trail down his forearms. Once he'd shattered Kyrian's other knee, Valerius picked up a hot iron from the hearth and brought it over to him. "I only have one question. Where is your army?"

Kyrian narrowed his eyes, but said nothing.

Valerius laid the hot iron against his inner thigh. Hour after hour, day after day with resolute vigour he remained silent no matter the torture or questions. He would not betray his men or Chares to this monster of Rome.

Kyrian gasped and choked as water was thrown into his face.

"Don't think you can pass out to escape me. Nor starve until I will it." Valerius grabbed Kyrian's hair and pulled his head viciously, then poured broth down his throat. Kyrian hissed as the salty liquid stung the cuts on his face, his lips. He choked on the broth, but still Valerius poured it into his mouth. "Drink, damn you," Valerius snarled. "Drink!"

Kyrian passed out again, and again the cold water brought him back awake.

Days and nights blended together as time went by while Valerius assaulted him, again and again. Always asking the same question. "Where is your army?" or “Where is General Chares?”

Kyrian never uttered a single word. Never once cried out. He kept his jaw so tightly locked that Valerius had to pry it open to force-feed him.

"Commander Valerius," a soldier said as he came into the room while Valerius again turned the winches against Kyrian's arms and legs. "Forgive my interruption, my lord, but there's an emissary from Thrace wanting an audience with you."

Kyrian's heart stopped beating. For the first time in weeks, a sliver of hope swept through him, overwhelming him with joy. His father ...

Valerius arched a curious brow at his underling. "This should be quite entertaining. By all means, show him in." The soldier vanished.

A few minutes later, an older, well-dressed man entered the room with two Roman soldiers trailing him. The man looked so much like Kyrian that for a moment, Kyrian thought it was his father. As soon as the man was close enough to recognize Kyrian's bloody, misshapen form, he gasped.

His dignity forgotten, his uncle ran to his side. "Kyrian?" he breathed in disbelief, gingerly touching Kyrian's broken arm. His blue eyes were filled with pain and concern. "Dear Zeus, what have they done to you?"

Kyrian's felt tremendous shame and grief at seeing his uncle's sorrow. He wanted to relieve the guilt that swam in Zetes's eyes and to beg him to ask his father to forgive him. When Kyrian opened his mouth to speak, all that came out was a hoarse croak. He hurt so badly that his unclenched teeth chattered from the weight of his physical suffering. Kyrian's throat was so sore and parched that he choked, but by sheer force of will, he finally spoke through trembling lips. "Uncle."

"Can it be, he can actually speak?" Valerius asked, joining them. "He's said nothing in four weeks. Nothing other than this..." Again, he laid a hot brand to Kyrian's thigh. Clenching his teeth, Kyrian jerked and hissed.

"Cease!" Zetes cried, pushing Valerius away from his nephew. He tenderly cupped Kyrian's bruised face in his hands. Tears fell down Zetes's cheeks as he tried to clean the blood away from Kyrian's swollen lips. He looked up at Valerius. "I have ten wagons of gold and jewels. His father promises even more if you release him. I have been authorized to surrender Thrace to you. And his sister, the Princess Althea, has offered herself to you as a slave. All you have to do is let me take him home."

No! Kyrian's inner scream could not be heard, the word was lodged in his burning throat.

"Perhaps. I'll let you take him home... After he's executed."

"No!" Zetes said. "He is a prince, and you-"

"He is no prince. Everyone knows he was disowned. His father was quite public with his decree."

"And he has recanted it," Zetes insisted. He looked back at Kyrian, his eyes kind and soothing. "He wanted me to tell you he didn't mean what he said to you. He was foolish and blind when he should have trusted and listened to you. Your father loves you, Kyrian. All he wants is for you to come home where he can welcome you and Theone with open arms. He begs you to forgive him."

Those last words burned through Kyrian more painfully than Valerius' iron brands. It wasn't his father who should apologize. His father wasn't the one who had been a fool. It was Kyrian who had been cruel to a man who had never done anything other than love him. The agony of it swept through him anew. Gods have mercy on them both, for his father had been right all along.

Zetes glanced to Valerius. "He will give you anything for his son's life. Anything!"

"Anything," Valerius repeated. "How very tempting, but how stupid would I have to be to release the one man who has come close to defeating us?" He glared at Zetes. "Never.” Valerius took the dagger from his belt. Roughly, he grabbed the three long, thin commander's braids at Kyrian's temple and sawed them off. "Here," he said, handing them to Zetes. "Take those to his father and tell him that is all of his son he'll ever get from me."

"No!"

"Guards, see to it His Highness is taken away."

Kyrian watched as his uncle was seized and dragged from the room.

"Kyrian!"

Kyrian struggled against his restraints, but his body was so sore and broken that all he succeeded in doing was hurting himself more. He wanted to call Zetes back. He wanted to tell him how sorry he was for all he'd said to his parents. Don't let me die without their knowing.

"You can't do this!" Zetes screamed an instant before the doors slammed shut, cutting him off.

Valerius turned to his servant. "Fetch my mistress."

As soon as the servant was gone, he returned to Kyrian. He sighed as if greatly disappointed. "It appears our time together has ended. If your father is so desperate for your return, then it is only a matter of time before he marches against me. I certainly can't take a chance on him actually rescuing you, now can I? And if he rode I know your friend Chares would bring his army as well and that cannot be allowed to happen. First the great Julian of Macedon,” Valerius sneered, “now Kyrian of Thrace and soon it will be Chares of Athens and with the three of you dead Macedon, Thrace and Greece will fall.”

Kyrian closed his eyes and turned his head away from Valerius' triumphant sneer. In his mind, he saw his father on that last, fateful day as the two of them stood, toe to toe, in the centre of the throne room. Julian had dubbed that day the Clash of the Titans. For neither he nor his father had been willing to listen or to yield. He heard the words he'd said to his father. Words no son should ever utter to a parent. The agony of it was a hundred times more severe than anything Valerius had dealt him.

While he grieved over his actions, the doors of his torture chamber opened to admit Theone. She walked into the room with her head held high, like a queen holding court. She stopped next to Valerius and gave him a warm, inviting smile.

Kyrian stared at her as the weight of her betrayal coursed through him. Let this be a nightmare. Dear Zeus, please don't let this be real. It was more than his broken body and soul could take.

"You know, Kyrian," Valerius said as he wrapped his arms around Theone and nuzzled her neck. "I will commend you on your choice of wife. She is exceptional in bed, isn't she?"

It was the cruellest blow yet dealt him.

Theone met Kyrian's eyes without shame while Valerius circled behind her, cupped her breasts in his hands and kneaded them. There was no love on her face. No remorse. Nothing. She stared at him as if he were a stranger.

It cut him all the way to his battered soul.

"Come, Theone, let us show your husband what he interrupted the night he came home."

Valerius removed the clip from her himation and let it fall to the floor. He pulled her naked body into his arms and kissed her.

Kyrian's heart splintered at the sight of Theone removing Valerius' armour. The sight of her eagerly welcoming his touch. Unable to bear it, he closed his eyes and turned away. But still he heard them. He heard his wife begging for Valerius to fill her. Heard her moaning in pleasure. And when she climaxed in the arms of his enemy, he felt his heart wither and die. At last Valerius had broken him. He let the pain take him then. Let it wash over him until he felt nothing at all. Nothing but utter and complete desolation.

When they were finished, Valerius sauntered over to him. He wiped his wet hand across Kyrian's face and Kyrian cursed the scent he knew so well. "Have you any idea how much I love the smell of your wife on my body?"

Kyrian spat in his face.

Enraged, Valerius pulled a dagger from the table and embedded it savagely in Kyrian's stomach. Kyrian gasped as the cold metal invaded his body. Maliciously, Valerius rotated his wrist and twisted the knife, pushing it in deeper.

"Tell me, Theone," Valerius said, his eyes never leaving Kyrian's as he pulled the dagger out and left him weak and panting. "How should I kill your husband? Should I behead him as befitting a prince?"

"No," she said as she wrapped her himation around her and secured it with the brooch Kyrian had given her on their wedding day. "He is the spirit and backbone of the Macedonian rebels. You can't afford to make him a martyr. Were I you, I'd crucify him like a common thief. Let him stand as an example to Rome's enemies to know that there is no honour or glory in assaulting Rome."

Valerius smiled cruelly, then turned to face her. "I like the way your mind works." He kissed her lightly on the cheek, then dressed himself.

"Say good-bye to your husband while I make arrangements." He left them alone.

Kyrian struggled to breathe through his pain as Theone finally approached him. His body trembled from rage and agony. Still, her gaze was blank. Cold. "Why?" he asked.

"Why?" she repeated. "Why do you think? I was the nameless daughter of a prostitute. I grew up hungry and poor with no choice except to let any man use me as he saw fit."

"I sheltered you," he rasped through his split, bloody lips. "Loved you. I kept you safe from anyone who would have hurt you."

She narrowed her eyes at him. "I am not about to let you war against Rome while I sit at home in fear of them tearing down my walls to get to you. I don't want to end up like Julian's wife, executed in my own bed, or sold into slavery. I've come too far to go back to scrounging for scraps, selling my body. I want my security and I will do anything to protect it."

She couldn't have hurt him any worse. She had never seen him as anything other than a rich pocket. No, he couldn't believe that. He refused to believe it. There had to have been a moment, just one, when she had cared for him. Surely, he couldn't have been that blind? "Did you ever love me?"

She shrugged. "If it's any consolation, you were the best lover I've ever known. I will certainly miss you in my bed."

Kyrian let out an agonized bellow of rage.

"Damn, Theone," Valerius said as he returned. "I should have let you torture him. I never once got that much pain out of him."

The soldiers came in with a large cross. They laid it on the floor next to the table, then cut Kyrian down. His limbs broken, he sank to the floor. Roughly, they picked him up and dropped him over the wood. Kyrian continued to watch Theone. Not even pity graced her brow. She merely looked on in morbid fascination. Again, he saw his parents' stricken faces when he had left his home the day of the wedding. Heard Zetes's offer to Valerius. Kyrian had betrayed them all for her. And now she couldn't even pretend to be sorry for what she'd done to him. What she had cost his family and his country. He was Greece's second last hope to stave off Roman tyranny. He was the only thing that stood between their people and slavery, Chares would stand alone now, how long until he too fell? With one act of treachery, she had laid waste to all their dreams of freedom. And all because he was a stupid fool...

His father's final, parting words rang in his ears. She doesn't love you, Kyrian. No woman will ever be able to love you and you're a damned fool if you ever believe otherwise!

A soldier placed a metal spike over his wrist and held it there as another drew back a heavy iron hammer.

The Roman guard brought it down on the spike...

“Sir!”

“What is it?” Valerius demanded.

“We’re under attack!” the soldier answered and Valerius looked out the window to see cavalry attacking. He should have taken Kyrian all the way to Rome, no one would dare attack there. But he had been too eager to see him dead, leaving himself vulnerable.

Barely conscious from the agony and blood loss Kyrian still knew who it had to be. “Cha….res…” he had come for him, he hadn’t been abandoned.

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Chares slaughtered any Roman soldier who got in his way, Dimitri at his back as they fought their way into the villa where Zetes said Kyrian was being held and tortured. From his description, they were going to have to carry him out but neither cared.

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Kyrian choked on blood, trying to breath as the cross was hoisted up in the back gardens of the Villa, his body screaming in agony at the torture. He could hear the fighting now, see fires, but he knew, it was too late for him. He looked down at Theone and just wished he could tell his Father he was sorry…. could beg Chares to leave before he died too…. his soul cried out in agony, wanting vengeance for all the betrayals.

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Valerius stood his ground as the two soldiers approached and he caught the golden gleam on the dark-haired ones’ hand, this must be General Chares. “You’re too late General.”

“Then I will have vengeance.” Chares growled and attacked.

Kyrian watched as Chares attacked Valerius, worried for his friend but staying hidden. Artemis had been clear, he could take his revenge but he must not be seen by anyone who would live. A group of soldiers broke into the garden and Dimitri had to abandon Chares to keep them back. He had never truly realised just how good Chares was. And he grinned as Chares’ sword slid into Valerius’ chest, killing the Roman General in one stroke. Chares moved to where the cross was and frowned when he found no body. He could not stay, he had only one day until he would never see daylight again. It was time to deal with Theone.

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Julian allowed Grace to lead him around the various tanks as she read the foreign writing to him that explained the different breeds and habitats. Gods, how he loved the sound of her voice when she read to him. There was something so comforting in it. He draped an arm over her shoulders as they walked. She placed her arm around his waist, curling one finger in his belt loop. The gesture warmed him. And it was then he realized he lived for the feel of her body close to his. And he'd like it a whole lot more if they were both naked. When she smiled up at him, he felt his heart pound out of control. What was it about this woman that touched him in a way no one ever had before? But then he knew. She was the first woman to see him. Not his looks, not his body, not his warrior's prowess. She saw inside his soul. He'd never known such a person existed. Grace treated him like a friend. And she was genuinely interested in helping him. Or at least she seemed to be.

It's part of her job.

Or was it?

Could a woman as wonderful and kind as her ever really care for a man like him? She stopped at another plaque. Julian stood directly behind her and wrapped his arms around her shoulders. She idly stroked his forearms as she read. His body on fire for her, he leaned his chin down to rest on top of her head as he listened to her voice and watched the fish swim. The smell of her skin invaded his head as he longed to be back at her house where he could strip her clothes from her. He couldn't remember the last time he'd wanted a woman as badly as he wanted Grace. In fact, he didn't think he'd ever wanted one the way he did her. He wanted to lose himself inside her. To feel her nails scoring his back as he made her scream in release. May the Fates have mercy on him, but she was under his skin. That's what truly scared him. For she held a place inside him that could hurt him in a way he'd never been hurt before. She, alone, could finally break him.

It was almost one before they left the aquarium. Grace cringed as soon as they went back outside where the heat assailed her. On days like this, she wondered how anyone had survived before air-conditioning. She looked over at Julian and smiled. Now he was someone who could finally answer that question for her. "Tell me, what did you guys do to survive days that were this hot?"

He arched an arrogant brow. "This isn't hot. If you want hot, try marching an army across a desert, wearing armour with only half a bladder of water to sustain you."

She cringed for him. "Now that sounds hot." He didn't respond. Grace glanced over to the square, which was packed with people. "Do you want to see Selena while we're out and about? She should be at her stand. Saturday is usually a big day for her."

"I'm just following you."

Taking his hand, Grace led him down the street, over to Jackson Square. Sure enough, Selena was at her stand with a client. Grace started to walk past without interrupting them, when Selena waved her over.

"Hey, Gracie, you remember Ben? Or rather Dr. Lewis from school?"

Grace hesitated as she recognized the portly man in his mid-forties. Remember him? He'd given her a D, and brought down her entire average. Not to mention he had an ego the size of Alaska, and loved to embarrass students in class. In fact, she remembered one poor girl crying when he handed out his sadistic final exam to them. The man had actually laughed at the girl's reaction. "Hi," Grace said, trying not to let her distaste show. She supposed the man couldn't help being obnoxious. A Harvard Ph.D., he thought the world revolved around him.

"Miss Alexander," he said in that same snide tone she remembered and loathed so much.

"Actually, it's Dr. Alexander," she corrected, delighting in the way he widened his eyes in surprise.

"Forgive me," he said in a voice that was anything other than apologetic.

"Ben and I were talking about ancient Greece," Selena said, casting a devilish grin at Julian. "I'm of the opinion that Aphrodite was the daughter of Uranus."

Ben rolled his eyes. "I keep telling you that the accepted opinion is that she was born of Zeus and Dione. When are you going to give in, and join the rest of us?"

Selena ignored him. "So tell me, Julian, who's right?"

"You are," he said to Selena.

Ben raked a haughty look over Julian. Grace knew he saw nothing in Julian, except a very handsome man, who most likely knew only beer commercials and cars. "Young man, have you ever read Homer? Do you even know who he is?"

Grace stifled her laughter at the question. She couldn't wait to hear Julian's response.

Julian laughed out loud. "I've read Homer extensively. The tales attributed to him are an amalgam of legends told and retold until the true facts are lost to antiquity, whereas Hesiod wrote the Theogony with the direct aid of Clio." Dr. Lewis said something in ancient Greek. "It's more than just an opinion, Doctor," Julian responded in English. "It happens to be fact."

Ben took another look at Julian, but she could still tell he wasn't quite ready to believe someone who looked like Julian would have a clue about his chosen field. "And how would you know?" Julian answered in Greek. For the first time since she'd met the man a decade before, Grace saw the doctor look amazed. "My God," he gasped. "You speak as if you were born to it."

Julian cast an amused smile to Grace.

"I told you," Selena said. "He knows the Greek gods and goddesses better than anyone on earth."

Dr. Lewis noticed the ring on Julian's hand. "Is that what I think it is?" he asked. "Is that a general's ring?"

Julian nodded. "It is."

"Would you mind if I looked at it?" Julian slid it from his finger and handed it to him. Dr. Lewis sucked his breath in sharply. "Macedonian? Second century B.C., I would presume."

"Very good."

"It's an incredible reproduction," Ben said, handing it back.

Julian returned it to his hand. "It's not a reproduction."

"No!" Ben gasped in disbelief. "It can't be an original. It's far too pristine."

"It was held by a private collector," Selena inserted.

Ben looked back and forth between them. "How did you get it?" he asked Julian.

Julian paused as he remembered the day it had been awarded to him. He and Kyrian of Thrace had been promoted together after they had single-handedly saved Themopoly from the Romans. It had been a long, brutal, and bloody fight. Their army had broken and left the two of them alone to defend the town. Julian had expected Kyrian to abandon him as well, but the young fool had just smiled at him, grabbed a sword for each hand, and said, "It's a beautiful day to die. What say we slay as many of these bastards as we can before we pay Charon? A complete and utter lunatic, Kyrian had always had more guts than brains. If Chares and the cavalry hadn’t shown up they may have met Charon that day. Afterward, they had drunk each other under the table in celebration. And in the morning, they had awakened and been promoted with Chares trying not to laugh at their expense. Gods, of all the people Julian had known in Macedonia, he missed Kyrian and Chares most. They were the only ones who had ever stood at his back and defended it. "It was a gift," Julian said.

Ben glanced at Julian's hand, his gaze filled with covetous awe. "Would you consider selling it? I'd be willing to pay quite a bit for it."

"Never," Julian said as he thought over the wounds he had received during the battle for Themopoly. "You've no idea what I had to go through to get this."

Ben shook his head. "I wish someone would give me a gift like that. Have you any idea how much it's worth?"

"My weight in gold, last I checked."

Ben laughed out loud, and smacked his hand against Selena's card table. "Good one. That was the ransom to get back captured generals, wasn't it?"

"For those too cowardly to die fighting, it was."

A new respect shone in Ben's eyes as he regarded Julian. "Any idea who it belonged to?"

Selena answered for Julian. "Julian of Macedon. Ever heard of him, Ben?"

Ben's jaw dropped. His eyes widened. "Are you serious? Do you know who that was?" Selena made a strange face. Assuming she didn't, Ben continued speaking. "Tesius wrote that Julian was going to be the next Alexander the Great. Julian was the son of Diokles of Sparta, also known as Diokles the Butcher. That man made the Marquis de Sade look like Ronald McDonald. Rumour had it, Julian was born of a union between Aphrodite and the general, after Diokles had saved one of her temples from desecration. The modern accepted opinion, of course, is that his mother was actually one of Aphrodite's priestesses."

"Really?" Grace asked.

Julian rolled his eyes. "No one cares who Julian was. That man died a long time ago."

Ben ignored him as he continued to flaunt his knowledge. "Known to the Romans as Augustus Julius Punitor..." He glanced to Grace and added for her benefit, "Julian the Great Punisher. He and Kyrian of Thrace cut a trail of slaughter through the Mediterranean during the Fourth Macedonian War against Rome. Julian despised Rome, and vowed he'd see the city fall to his army. He and Kyrian damn near succeeded in bringing Rome to her knees."

Julian's jaw flexed. "Do you know what happened to Kyrian of Thrace?"

Ben let out a low whistle. "His wasn't a pretty end. He was captured and crucified by the Romans in one forty-seven B.C."

Julian flinched at the words. His eyes troubled, he toyed with his ring. "That man was probably one of the best warriors who ever lived. He loved battle like no one I've ever known." He shook his head. "I remember Kyrian once drove his chariot up and over a shield wall where he broke the backbone of the Romans. It allowed his soldiers to defeat them with only a handful of losses." He frowned. "I can't believe they ever captured him."

Ben shrugged nonchalantly. "Well, once Julian disappeared, Kyrian was one of two Macedonian generals worthy of leading an army, so the Romans went after him with everything they had."

"What happened to Julian?" Grace asked, wondering what the historians had to say about the matter. Julian glared at her.

"No one knows," Ben said. "It's one of the greatest mysteries of the ancient world. Here you have this general who can't be defeated in arms by anyone, and then poof, at age thirty-two, he vanishes without a trace." Ben tapped his hand against Selena's table. "The last anyone saw of Julian was at the battle of Conjara. In a brilliant move, he tricked Livius into giving up his impregnable position. It was one of the worst defeats in Roman history."

"Who cares?" Julian groused.

Ben ignored his interruption. "After the battle, Julian was reputed to have sent word to Scipio the Younger that he was coming for him in the name of vengeance for Scipio's defeat of the Macedonians. Terrified, Scipio gave up his military service in Macedonia and volunteered to fight in Spain instead." Ben shook his head. "But before Julian could carry out the threat, he vanished. His family was found slaughtered in their home. And that's where it gets interesting." Ben looked at Selena. "The Macedonian accounts say he was mortally wounded by Livius during the battle, and in incredible pain he rode home to kill his family to keep them from being taken as slaves by his enemies. Roman accounts claim Scipio sent several of his soldiers to attack Julian in the middle of the night. Supposedly, they killed him with his family, then cut up his body and hid the pieces."

Julian scoffed at that. "Scipio was a coward and a bully. He would never have dared to attack m-"

“Who was the other Macedonian General?”

“Ah, Chares of Athens, he’s an interesting one. Appears out of nowhere to enlist in the Macedonian army. Nothing is known of his life before that although he does have a wife later on who bears him a son named after Julian of Macedon. Served under Julian for several years as a Cavalry commander. When Julian died he was promoted to General in his place. When the Romans took Kyrian he led part of the army on a rescue mission but when they finally got through the body was gone. Chares is personally credited with the death of Valerius the Younger that day. He was the only General left but he cut an even bloodier path through the Romans than Kyrian had. Made it to within ten miles of Rome before he was killed. Accounts of his death vary and some say he was the son of a god because in every account it says that where his body fell a fire hotter than anything mortal burned, consuming his body. Some today think he never existed and that there was confusion over dating and that he and the Chares of Athens form the 4th century BC were one and the same. He fought against the Macedonians under Alexander the Great. Either way they managed to ensure Macedon, Thrace and Greece remained free until the time of Augustus. The Roman legions took until Julius Caesar’s time to fully rebuild.”

“He was real...”

"So," Grace said, interrupting Julian before he could give himself away. "Nice weather, eh?"

Ben didn't seem to notice. "Young man, that ring of yours is absolutely priceless. I would love to know how someone got a hold of it. For that matter, I'd kill to know what happened to its original owner."

Grace exchanged an uncomfortable look with Selena. Julian smirked wryly at Ben. "Julian of Macedon incurred the wrath of the gods and was punished for his arrogance."

"That's another explanation, I suppose." His watch alarm went off. "Damn, I have to go pick up my wife." He got up and held his hand out to Julian. "We didn't meet properly, I'm Ben Lewis."

"Julian," he said, shaking his hand.

Ben laughed. Until he realized Julian wasn't joking. "Really?"

"Named for your Macedonian general, you might say."

"Your father must have been like mine. In love with all things Greek."

"His allegiance was actually to Sparta."

Ben laughed even harder. He glanced back at Selena. "Why don't you bring him to our next Socrates club meeting? I'd love for the guys to meet him. It's not often I find someone who knows Greek history almost as well as I do." He turned his attention back to Julian. "It's been a pleasure. Later," Ben said, waving to Selena.

"Well," Selena said to Julian once Ben had vanished into the crowd. "You, my friend, have accomplished the impossible. You have just impressed one of the leading ancient Greek scholars in this country."

Julian didn't seem to care, but Grace did. "Lanie, do you think it's possible that Julian could be a professor once he breaks the curse? I was thinking he'd-"

"Don't, Grace," Julian said, interrupting her.

"Don't what? You're going to need something-"

"I'm not staying here."

The cold, emotionless gaze was the same one he had worn the first night she'd conjured him. And it sliced through her. "What do you mean?" Grace asked.

He averted his gaze. "Athena has offered me a way to return home. Once the curse is broken, she'll send me back to Macedonia."

Grace struggled to breathe. "I see," she said, even though inside she was dying. "You'll just use my body, then leave." Her throat constricted. "At least I won't need Selena to drive me home afterward."

Julian flinched as if she'd slapped him. "What do you want from me, Grace? Why would you want me to stay here?"

She didn't know the answer to that. All she knew was that she didn't want him to leave. She wanted him to stay. But not if he didn't want to. "You know what," she said, growing angry at the thought of his leaving her. "I don't want you to stay here. In fact, why don't you go home with Selena for a few days?" She looked at Selena. "Would you mind?" Selena's mouth opened and closed like a fish gulping for air.

Julian reached for her. "Grace-"

"Don't touch me," she said, wringing her arm away from him. "It makes my skin crawl."

"Grace!" Selena snapped. "I can't believe you-"

"It's all right," Julian said, his voice empty and cold. "At least she didn't spit in my face with her dying breath."

She'd hurt him. Grace could see it in his eyes, but then he had hurt her, too. Terribly. "I'll see you later," she said to Selena, then left Julian standing there.

Selena let out a long, slow breath as she looked up at Julian while he watched Grace walk away from them. His entire body was rigidly still, and she saw the fierce tic in his jaw. "They shoot, they score. A direct hit straight through the heart and into the raw nerves."

Julian pinned her with a hostile glare. "Tell me, Oracle. What should I have said?"

Selena shuffled her cards. "I don't know," she said wistfully. "I guess you can never go wrong with honesty."

Julian rubbed his eyes as he sat down in the chair before Selena's table. He hadn't meant to hurt Grace. And he would never forget the look on her face as she spat those words at him. "Don't touch me. It makes my skin crawl." He struggled to breathe through the agony in his chest. The Fates were still mocking him. It must be a boring day for them up on Olympus.

"You want me to do a reading for you?" Selena asked, dragging his thoughts away from the past.

"Sure," he said. "Why not?" She couldn't tell him anything he didn't already know.

"What's your question?"

"Will I ever..." Julian paused before he asked her the same question he'd once asked the Oracle at Delphi. "Will I ever break the curse?" he asked quietly. Selena shuffled her cards, then laid three of them out. Her eyes widened. He didn't need her to read them. He could see for himself, a card with a tower being struck by lightning, a card of three swords piercing a heart, and a demon holding the chains of two people. "It's all right," he said to Selena. "I never really thought it would come to pass."

"That's not what they say," she whispered. "But you have one hell of a battle to come."

He laughed bitterly. "Battles I can handle." It was the ache in his heart that was going to kill him.

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Harry looked around the club and sighed. He’d been in this world for three days but something about it felt…. familiar…not the place itself but the feel of power, of ‘gods’…was he in a world he’d been too before? He shrugged it off and began fighting his way through the crowd to leave.

Julian hesitated as he saw the dark head of hair, caught a glimpse of features, it wasn’t possible…. He pushed through the crowd, going after him.

“Julian?” Grace followed him out onto the street where Julian looked around and then took off walking fast.

“Chares?” he called and the man froze.

Harry froze as he heard a name he hadn’t used in over a century. And that voice…. he turned and his eyes widened. His hair was cut short, his braids gone, dressed in modern clothes and yet…” Julian?” Harry moved closer to the taller male, taking him in. “I don’t believe it, Julian of Macedon.” He grinned.

“Chares of Athens.” Julian breathed in shock, awe and hope. He grabbed the smaller male up in a hug and heard him laugh, arms coming up to return the hug.

“It’s Harry Potter these days. What happened? I tracked you to your Mother’s Temple and was told by one of Priapus’ virgins that you were eternally cursed.”

“Julian?” Grace called and he turned to her.

“Grace this is one of the best cavalry commanders to ever live and my good friend, brother even. CH…Harry this is Grace.”

Harry bowed over her hand, green eyes sparkling with joy and amusement. “A pleasure.” He kissed the back of her hand and straightened.

Grace blushed at the old-fashioned move, he may be smaller than Julian but he radiated the same sense of controlled power and grace. He was very good looking too with short dark hair and the greenest eyes she’d ever seen. “Guess Ben was wrong about your body burning on the battle field.” She commented and he blinked before wincing.

“Ah…made the history books, did it?”

“Wait, you’re saying that happened?” Julian demanded and Harry sighed.

“Come on, we’re gaining attention. My place or yours?” He offered and Julian glanced at Grace who smiled.

She didn’t know how someone Julian had known could be here, but maybe he could do something to help. “I don’t mind.”

“My apartments only a few blocks away.” He offered and Grace nodded so Julian wrapped an arm around her and they walked to his apartment where the two men spoke until morning, both shocked by what the other had gone through over the years.

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
The Dark-Hunter jerked again at the cuffs. "I am going to kill that horror-movie reject."

"Hey, hey, hey!" Amanda said as he flapped her arm around while trying to free himself. "That arm is attached."

He paused and looked down at her. His gaze softened. "Twins. It never occurred to him. Have you any idea where your sister is?"

"I don't even know where I am or what time it is. For that matter, I don't know what's going on here. Who are you and who is that guy?" Then, she lowered her voice and added, "Can he hear us?"

Kyrian shook his head. "No, the mike channel is closed. For the moment, he's off plotting his Igoresque revenge. I don't know about you, but I have this image of him rubbing his hands together and laughing like Dexter from Dexter's Laboratory." Kyrian took a minute to study her. She didn't appear hysterical... yet, and he wanted to keep it that way. Telling her Desiderius was a soul-sucking demon who was after her sister didn't seem like the best way to accomplish that. Of course, given her sister's penchant for vampire-hunting, it shouldn't really come as a surprise to her, either. Closing his eyes, he reached into her mind with his and found confirmation of his suspicions. There was a healthy dose of fear in her. Unlike her sister Tabitha, she wasn't one to jump to conclusions, but she was curious and angry over their situation. It was possible he could tell her everything without freaking her out, but the Dark-Hunter in him operated on a need-to-know basis. Right now, all she needed to know was the bare minimum. With any luck, he would be able to separate them without having to reveal anything more about himself to her. "I am called Hunter," he said solemnly. "And that guy is a man out to harm your sister."

"Thanks, but that much I already got." Amanda frowned. She should be frightened by all this, but she wasn't. Her anger over it was too great. Leave it to her to get mixed up in her sister's crazy life. In fact, she was glad they had captured her by mistake, since Tabitha would no doubt have pulled some kamikaze stunt and gotten herself killed. She looked up at the Dark-Hunter and her frown deepened. How did he know about Tabitha? For that matter, how had he been able to tell them apart when even their own mother had trouble at times? "Are you one of my sister's friends?"

He looked at her blankly, before pulling her to her feet. "No," he said as he patted his chest, hips, rear, and legs.

Amanda tried not to notice just how incredibly toned that body was as her hand was dragged in the wake of his. And when her hand brushed his hard inner thigh, she thought she would moan. He was built for sex and for speed. Too bad he wasn't her type. In fact, he was the total antithesis to everything she found desirable in a man. Wasn't he?

He cursed. "Of course, he has my phone," he muttered, before leading her to the door. After trying the knob, he studied the hinges.

When he unbuckled his left boot and toed it off, Amanda arched a brow. "What are you doing? Going for a swim?"

He gave her a cocky smirk before leaning down to pick the boot up off the floor. "Trying to get us out of here. You?"

"I'm trying not to get irritated at you."

Amusement flashed in his eyes, then he returned his attention to the door.

Amanda watched as he pressed one of the silver inlays on the boot heel and a vicious five-inch blade shot out of the toe. He was definitely Tabitha's type. She wondered if he had throwing stars inside his pockets, too. "Oooo," she commented dryly. "Very scary."

He gave her an unamused look. "Baby, you ain't seen scary yet."

Amanda smirked at his Ford Fairlane, tough-guy demeanor and gave a very unfeminine snort. He ignored her. Using the jagged blade, he tried to pry loose the rusted hinges. "You're going to break that blade if you're not careful," she warned him.

He gave her an arched look. "Nothing on this earth could break this blade." He ground his teeth while hammering the boot with his fist. "Much like nothing on this earth appears able to move this hinge." He tried for several more minutes. "Damn," he snarled when the hinge refused to budge. He retracted the blade, then bent over to put the boot back on. The back of his coat parted with his movements, gifting her with a nice view of him.

Oh yeah, nice butt. Amanda's mouth went dry as he finally straightened to his full six-foot-five-inch height. Oh my, my, my. Okay, she took it back, he did have one feature she found irresistible. His height. She'd always been a sucker for any man taller than her. And with this guy, she could easily wear three-inch heels and not offend his male ego. He towered over her. And she liked it. "How do you know my sister?" she asked, trying to keep her thoughts focused on the matter at hand and not on the matter of how much she wanted to taste those lips of his.

"I know her because she keeps getting in my way." He snatched at the cuffs again. "What is it with you humans that you feel this incessant need to delve into things you should leave alone?"

"I don't delve into..." Her voice trailed off as his words penetrated her mind. "You humans? Why would you say that?" He didn't answer. "Look," she said, holding up her arm to show the handcuff. "I'm stuck with you right now, and I want an answer."

"No you don't."

That did it. She hated alpha men in the worst sort of way. Those domineering, I'm-the-man-baby-let-me-drive types nauseated her. "All right, macho babe boy," she said irritably. "I'm not some little ditz to bat my eyelashes at the buff stud in black leather. Don't try your he-man tactics with me. I'll have you know, in my office I'm known as the ball-breaker."

Kyrian frowned at her. "Macho babe boy?" he repeated in disbelief. There had never been a time in his extremely long life that anyone had had the mettle to stand up to him. As a mortal, he had made entire Roman armies flee in stark terror of his approach. Few men had ever dared meet him eye to eye. As a Dark-Hunter, he made legions of Daimons and Apollites quake in his presence. His name was whispered in awe and with reverence, and this woman had called him... "Buff stud in black leather," he repeated out loud. "I don't think I've ever been more insulted."

"Then you must have been an only child."

He laughed at that. In truth, he'd once had three younger sisters, but none of them had ever dared insult him. He swept a look over her. She wasn't classically beautiful, but there was an exotic quality to her almond-shaped eyes that lent her a fey charm. Her long, mahogany hair was loose, spilling about her slender shoulders. But it was her blue eyes that were captivating. Warm and intelligent, they were narrowed on him now with malice. A faint blush stained her cheeks, making her eyes a full shade darker. In spite of the danger they were in, he wondered what she would look like after a full night of raw, exhausting sex. He could just see her eyes dark with passion, her hair mussed, her cheeks red from his whiskers, and her lips moist and swollen from his kisses. The thought made his entire body burn. Until Kyrian felt the familiar prickling on the back of his neck. "It will be dawn soon."

"How do you know?"

"I just do." He pulled her to the left, then began examining the rust-covered walls for an escape. "Once we're released, we'll have to find a way to break out of these cuffs."

"Nice of you to state the obvious." Amanda glanced down his body and saw the jagged wound through the torn material. "You really need to tend that."

"God forbid I should bleed to death, eh?" he asked sardonically. "Then you'd have to cart around my rotting corpse."

She wrinkled her nose in distaste. "Could you be any more morbid? Jeez. Who was your idol growing up? Boris Karloff?"

"Hannibal, actually."

"You're trying to scare me, aren't you?" she asked. "Well, it won't work. I grew up in a house with an angry poltergeist and two sisters who used to conjure demons just to fight them. Buster, I've seen it all, and your gallows humour isn't working on me." Before he realized what she was doing, she grabbed the bottom of his shirt and lifted it. Amanda froze at the sight of his bare stomach. It was lean, hard, and flat, and he had a rippling six-pack of abs that any gymnast would envy. But what made her gasp was the multitude of scars covering his flesh. Worse, she saw the terrible gash in his side that ran along his lowest rib. "Good Lord, what happened to you?"

He jerked his shirt down and took a step back. "If you mean the scars, it would take me years to account for all of them. If you mean the gash, it came from a thirteen-year-old Apollite I mistook for a child in need of help."

"You walked into a trap?"

He shrugged. "It's not the first time."

Amanda swallowed as she swept her gaze over him. An aura of danger and death surrounded him. He moved like a sleek, graceful predator, and those eyes... They seemed to be able to take in more than just his basic surroundings. Those wicked jet eyes held an indescribable ethereal glint to them. And they stole her breath every time he looked at her. She'd never seen a blond man with eyes like that. Nor had she seen any man so incredibly handsome. His features were chiselled and perfect. He oozed an almost unnatural masculine sexuality. She'd seen plenty of men who had tried their best to project what nature had dumped by the truckload onto this man. "What is a Dark-Hunter?" she asked. "Is it like Buffy the Vampire Slayer?"

He laughed at that. "Yes, I'm a small, emaciated teenage girl who struts around fighting vampires in earrings they would rip out of my ears and shove up my-"

"I know you're not a girl. But what is a Dark-Hunter?"

He sighed as he led her around the room, looking at the walls as if searching for a secret door. "In short, I execute the things that go bump in the night."

A chill went up her spine at his words, and yet she sensed there was something more than just his simple explanation. He appeared deadly, but not twisted, or even cruel. "Why do you want to kill Desiderius?"

He glanced at her before trying to open the steel door again. He wrenched the handle so forcefully, she was amazed he didn't rip the doorknob off. "Because he not only kills humans, he steals their souls."

She tensed at his words. "Can he do that?"

"You said you've seen it all," he said in a mocking tone. "You tell me."

Amanda wanted to choke him. Never in her life had she met a more arrogant, or infuriating man. "Why do I always get sucked into this supernatural mumbo jumbo?" she muttered. "Is it too much to ask that I have one average day?"

"Life is seldom what we want it to be."

She frowned at his words, and at the odd note in his voice. Kyrian tilted his head, and held his hand up to signal her for silence. Out of nowhere, the doorknob clicked.

"Knock, knock," Desiderius said. "You have the day to hide. Come nightfall, we hunt."

"Yeah, yeah," Hunter said. "You and your little dog, too."

His blithe tone amazed her. The chilling words had absolutely no effect on him. "You're not scared of his threats?"

He looked at her dryly. "Chere, the day I fear something like him is the day I lie down at his feet and hand him the knife to cut my heart out. The only fear I have is getting you back to your sister and convincing High Queen Hardhead to leave off this matter until I can locate Desiderius and send his soul into oblivion where it belongs."

In spite of herself and the danger they were in, Amanda laughed at his words. "High Queen Hardhead? You know Tabitha well."

He disregarded her comment as he carefully shielded her with his body, then opened the door slowly. He paused to look around. Outside the door was a narrow hallway with large, dust-covered windows that showed the dawning sun. "Damn," Hunter snarled under his breath as he took a step back into the room.

"What?" she asked, her heart skipping a beat in terror. "Is someone out there?"

"No."

"Then let's go." She started out the door. He didn't budge. Clenching his teeth, he looked down the hallway again and said something in a language she didn't know. "What's the problem?" Amanda asked. "It's dawn, and no one's out there. Let's leave."

He took a deep, aggravated breath. "The problem isn't the people. The problem is the sun."

"And the problem with that is...?"

He hesitated for a few heartbeats, then opened his mouth and ran his tongue over his long, pointed canine teeth. Mr. "Do Me" Gorgeous Man is a vampire! "Oh no, no, no." Amanda's entire body shook from terror and it took every piece of self-control she possessed not to launch into a screaming fit. "Are you going to suck my blood?"

He arched a sardonic brow. "Do I look like a lawyer to you?"

She ignored his sarcasm. "Are you going to kill me?"

His face completely unamused, Hunter sighed irritably. "If I intended to kill you, don't you think you'd already be dead?" He stepped closer to her and offered her a wry, evil grin she knew was meant to intimidate her. And boy howdy did it work. He lifted his free hand up to stroke the skin of her neck where her jugular was. The feather-light touch sent chills over her. "Come to think of it, I could just suck you dry, then gnaw your hand off with my fangs and be free." Her eyes widened in terror. "But lucky you, I have no intention of doing that, either."

"Don't be sarcastic, okay?" she breathed, her heart still pounding because she wasn't sure if he was joking with her or if he really would turn all grisly on her and start feeding off her blood. "I can't cope with it. Imagine if you were in my shoes. I just went to let Tabitha's dog out so he wouldn't mess on her bed. I went from that to being knocked on the head, and chained to a vampire. Excuse me if I'm a little freaky at the moment."

To her amazement, he dropped his hand and backed off. "You're right. I imagine you're not used to having people attack you for no apparent reason." By his tone, she could tell he, on the other hand, was rather experienced at finding himself in the middle of such situations. He offered her a tight-lipped smile that didn't quite reach his eyes. "If it makes you feel better, I don't feed on humans."

For some reason, it did make her feel better to hear him say that. Not that she believed it. But still, it was a little reassuring. "So, you're like Angel?"

He rolled his eyes at her. "You watch way too much television," he muttered. Then louder, he said, "Angel has a soul. I don't."

"Now you're back to being scary again."

The look on his face reiterated his earlier words: Baby, you ain't seen scary yet. He glanced back out the door. "All right. We're going to have to run for it before the sun rises any higher." Hunter gave her a penetrating stare. "The main problem is that I don't know where that hallway leads. In the event it leads out into the open and I die a particularly agonizing death where I spontaneously combust into flames, I need a favour from you."

"A favour?" she asked in disbelief. The man had one serious set of cojones on him. He bullied her, threatened her, then dared to ask a favour?

"Sure, why not?" she asked.

He took the ring off his right hand and gave it to her. "I need you to take that and find a tree."

Amanda frowned at the ring in her hand. The gold was scuffed and nicked in a number of places as if it had been seriously mistreated. Or rather the hand that bore it had been through a lot of damage. The top of the ring was made of flat rubies and held the design of a sword of diamonds surrounded by emerald laurel leaves and topped with a sapphire crown. She could tell it was a valuable antique. Why would he entrust it to her?

Unsure of what to make of him, she placed it in her jeans pocket. "Any tree?" she asked.

"Any tree. Then say the words 'Artemis, I summon you to human form.' "

"Artemis-"

He put his hand over her mouth. "For the love of Zeus, only say it once I'm gone. After you utter the words, wait until a very tall, red-haired woman appears and tell her you need protection from Desiderius."

Amanda arched a brow. "You want me to summon a goddess to protect me?"

"If you don't, he will get you and your sister."

"Why do you care?"

"It's my job to protect the humans from the Daimons. That's what a Dark-Hunter does." Though his face was harsh, there was a light in his eyes that told her there was much more to the story than that.

"What are Daimons?" she asked.

"They're vampires on steroids with a God complex. Now, promise me you'll do it."

Why not? It was a strange request, but then, considering the fact she was handcuffed to a vampire, who was she to say what was or wasn't strange? "Okay."

"Good. Now, let's run for it."

Before she could protest, he grabbed the handcuff over her wrist, and ran out the door to the right and down the hallway. As they ran along the rusty floor, Amanda realized they were inside an abandoned factory of some sort. At the end of the hallway were stairs that led down.

Hunter pulled her along after him until they reached the bottom of the stairs that opened into an enormous empty room with a cement floor. The old steel walls were cracked, with rays of the dawning sun streaming through. The Dark-Hunter fell back into the shadows, away from the sunlight. His face looked a bit sunburned, but overall, he didn't appear too much the worse from their mad dash.

"Now what?" she asked as she tried to catch her breath.

The Dark-Hunter wasn't even breathing hard. But his gaze was just a little too hot as he stared at her breasts with interest.

Amanda crossed her arms over her chest. For the first time, she saw a real smile from him as she realized his hand was dangerously close to her breast. So close, his fingertips brushed the nipple, making fire rip through her veins. She immediately dropped her hands to her sides while his smile taunted her. Though tight-lipped and devilish, it was still devastating. The amused gleam in his eyes was breathtaking, and his features softened into a boyish charm that could melt the heart of anything female.

He glanced around the empty factory. "Now I wish we either had a cell phone or subway system. I knew I should have taken that open position in New York."

Confused, Amanda looked up at him. "Open position? What? Is hunting really a job?"

"Yes. They even pay me to do it."

"Who pays you?"

Instead of answering, he held up a hand for silence in a gesture that was starting to piss her off-the main reason being because it seemed to herald trouble. And she was tired of finding trouble meant for Tabitha.

Two seconds later, Amanda heard someone walking around outside. Hunter pulled her deeper into the shadows with him while they listened. He had his free arm draped over her shoulders, pinning her to his body. Amanda went stock-still as her back connected fully with his chest and a wave of misplaced desire tore through her. The heat of him warmed her and that raw, masculine aura of power overwhelmed her. Even more disturbing, his welcoming scent of leather and sandalwood invaded her head. She wanted this man. What are you, nuts? The man's a vampire! Yeah, but he's a really, really sexy one.

Kyrian couldn't breathe with her so close to him. His heightened senses felt her all the way through his entire body. He heard her heartbeat speed up, felt the dryness of her throat, but even worse, he could taste her desire. It whetted his appetite for her even more. And it reminded him why he had made it his habit to avoid being around women as much as possible. Damn you, Desiderius. Because right then it was hard to remember he couldn't have her. And even harder to forget the way she smelled. The way she moved-like a confident dancer. Her lithe body was a symphony of grace and all too easily he could imagine her sitting on top of him as he showed her a sexual pleasure he was quite certain no other man had ever given her. His loins tightened to the point of pain. He couldn't even remember the last time he had been this hard for a woman. And it took all his willpower not to kiss her. Not to bury his lips against her throat and inhale her warm sweetness as he... Kyrian flexed his hand on her shoulder as he realized all he had to do was lower his hand three inches and he would be cupping her breast. Just three tiny inches...

Suddenly, the sound of a walkie-talkie broke the silence.

"It's a construction worker," she whispered, bolting to a window. Kyrian hissed as she pulled him into the sunlight. He jerked her back into the darkness. "Sorry," she whispered. She edged closer to the window, making sure to keep him out of the sun. "Hey!" Amanda called as she saw the man a few feet away, poking around an old tractor.

The construction worker looked up at her and did a double-take. Scowling, he walked over to the window and looked inside. His eyes narrowed on them. "What are you doing in there? This area is off-limits to the public."

"It's a long story," Amanda said. "The short version is I got left here. You wouldn't happen to have a cell phone I could borrow, would you?" Still scowling, he handed his cell phone to her through the open window. Hunter immediately took it from her hand. "Hey!" she snapped, reaching for it.

"Where are we?" Hunter asked the construction worker as he placed the phone to his ear.

"The old Olson Plant."

"In Slidell?"

Amanda arched a brow that the Dark-Hunter would recognize it. She'd lived in New Orleans all her life and had no idea this place existed.

"Yeah," the worker said.

“Look give it to me! You can’t go in the sun and I know someone who can get us without that being an issue, not to mention he can pick locks.”

Kyrian snorted. “Not these ones, Hephaestus work needs a key or a god to open.”

“Well his best friend is a demigod. Phone, now.” She demanded.

Kyrian hesitated, he had no reason to trust her and vice versa. Though her fear had faded a lot. He should call Tate but the coroner wouldn’t be able to free them. So, he handed the phone over and she dialled.

“Harry? It’s Amanda Devereaux, Graces’ friend. I need your help, I’m kind of…. stuck.” She listened and relaxed. “Thanks. The old Olson Plant in”

“Slidell.” A new voice finished and Kyrian tensed.

“Harry don’t do that!” Amanda chided and Kyrian froze as the man stepped into view. His hair was short, braids missing, dressed in jeans and a t-shirt and yet…..

“Chares?” Kyrian whispered and green eyes focused on him, a smile slowly spreading.

“Kyrian.” Harry walked across the room to yank him into a hug. He pulled back and saw the black eyes. “Oh…. Artemis?” he asked and Kyrian nodded. “Explains why your body was gone when I got there.”

“I saw you kill Valerius but she said only those to die could see me. But how are you alive?”

“Long story.” Harry picked up the cuffs and chuckled. “And I thought Tabitha was the wild twin.” He teased before placing his hand over them and closing his eyes, letting magic flow. To Kyrian’s shock they clicked open and fell off. Harry offered an arm to Amanda who took it, before offering his hand to Kyrian. “Let’s get you out of here.”

Kyrian took his hand and then suddenly they were in a closet. “What?”

“Sorry, have to close the blinds.” Harry slipped out and Kyrian heard him moving around. “Okay, safe.”

Kyrian left the closet with Amanda to find themselves in a nicely appointed apartment. He watched as Amanda bolted straight down a hall and into a bathroom and Harry chuckled before indicating the couch. “How can you still be alive?”

“What do you know about events after you ‘died’?” Harry asked as he took a seat as well.

“I know you rode on Rome and almost made it.”

“Yeah, well an arrow through the throat hurts.” Harry admitted, leaning back.

“I was told you died and then your body…”

“Burst into flames? Yeah, that happened. I live in a world and when I die I move on to the next.” At Kyrian’s look of confusion he explained who and what he was. “Kyrian… Julian is alive.”

“You told me he was cursed.”

“Priapus cursed him into a scroll for eternity, able to be summoned on a full moon and then he would spend the month until the next full moon as a sex slave.”

“No….” Kyrian shook his head in pain, what had been done to his brother.

“He’s free now Kyrian, happily married with twins and another on the way…and mortal again, as mortal as a demigod gets.”

“He made such beautiful babies.” Kyrian whispered.

“Yeah, still does. Do you…. there’s nothing in the history books…”

“Aspasia remarried a year after your death. He was a good man and they had three children, all girls. Little Julian grew up happy and married my niece, they were happy and had six children.” Kyrian knew what Harry needed to know. He had watched over Harry’s and his own families through squires and had ensured they had whatever they needed. He’d been happy when their families joined in marriage.

“Valerius never said while we fought, how did they capture you? Dimitri told me about the intercepted message.”

“It was a trap. Theone gave me to them.”

“I am so sorry Kyrian.” Harry clasped his shoulder even as Kyrian laughed.

“Of the three of us the man who married a stranger is the only one to have a wife who mourned him and be killed in battle.” Kyrian struggled to put his emotions aside.

“Come, you need to sleep. I’ll make sure Amanda knows not to talk.”

“She needs to be protected. Desiderius threatened her, though he thinks she’s Tabitha. I’ll go after him tonight.”

“I can keep her and her family safe enough. Now sleep.”

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
When Kyrian left the bedroom that night he froze as he took in the other man with Ch…Harry in the main room. “Julian.” He called and his brother turned, smiling in happiness at seeing him. He moved across the room and drew Kyrian into a hug.

“I almost couldn’t believe it when Harry told me.” He held Kyrian at arm’s length, looking him over. “For such an old man, you look good.”

“Like either of you can talk.” Kyrian shot back. Being back with them, the men he had called brothers, it was something he had never dared dream of. It was good to know Julian would finally get to live a long life with wife and child while also being saddened by Harry’s fate, although the other man was accepting and had admitted one day he would be free and home. He could be happy knowing they were alright but this would be the last time he saw them. Dark-Hunters did not have friends, they walked alone and he could tell the other two knew it. But for a few short hours until the sun set they could pretend.

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Kyrian came awake with his hands tied above his head. He was positioned against a dark, dank wall inside an unfamiliar house. The old-fashioned room was lit by candles that cast dancing shadows around him and he heard whispers surrounding him. By the looks of the place, he would surmise it was an older home probably not all that far from his own house down in the Garden District. Scanning the room, he found Amanda and Desiderius standing a few feet away from him with Desiderius's arm draped around her shoulders.

Disbelief overwhelmed him. Not again. Dear gods, not again. How could he have been so damned stupid? Harry had sworn she was protected, how could this be? His mind had tried to tell him something had been wrong. He'd even known Desiderius would be able to get to Amanda. But he hadn't listened. He'd let his love for her, his need for her, blind him.

Kyrian clenched his eyes shut. What hurt most was knowing what Desiderius would do to her once he killed him. Without him to protect her, Amanda was at Desiderius's utter mercy. It really would be like Theone all over again. Once Valerius had executed him, the Roman had thrown Theone out, saying he didn't want a whore in his bed who might ruthlessly hand him over to his enemies someday. Since Theone had betrayed the military leader of the Macedonians and caused their defeat, she'd been unable to return home. The villa she had loved so much had been burned to the ground. Everything she'd held dear had been confiscated. Persecuted by his countrymen, she had fled Greece to Rome where she ended up a prostitute in a rundown stew. She'd died of disease less than two years after him. In the end, she had caused the very fate she had tried so hard to avert.

Opening his eyes, Kyrian saw Amanda a few feet away from him. She was dressed in a pair of jeans and a black turtleneck. With her hair pulled back, he could see her profile perfectly as she clutched a doll to her. How could she do this to him? But then, he knew. Desiderius's powers had been more than she could take. Somehow, in spite of D'Alerian and Harry’s efforts, the Daimon had invaded her dreams and turned her mind. Rage darkened his vision. He wouldn't let her die. Not like this. In spite of his weakness, he grabbed the ropes and pulled as hard as he could.

"So, you're awake." Desiderius and Amanda moved to stand before him. His eyes taunting, Desiderius placed one hand on Amanda's shoulder. "It's painful, isn't it? Knowing I'm going to bed her before I kill her and there's nothing you can do to stop me."

"Go to hell."

Desiderius laughed. "You first, Commander. You first." He trailed one long, evil finger down the line of Amanda's jaw. She didn't react at all. It was as if she were in some kind of trance. "I would take her in front of you, but I never could stand an audience. I was never that twisted." He laughed at his own joke. Kyrian felt the rope slacken a degree. Working it, he put all his attention into gaining his freedom. The ropes drew tight again. Desiderius laughed. "Do you honestly think I'm so stupid as to let you get free?" He took a step forward and stood practically nose to nose with Kyrian. "This time, I won't chance your survival."

Kyrian smirked as if the Daimon were a little gnat buzzing by his head. "Ooo, if I were wearing boots, I'd be shaking in them."

Desiderius eyed him in disbelief. "Don't you ever get scared?"

Kyrian gave him a dry look. "I faced down an entire Roman legion with only a sword to protect me. Now, why would I be afraid of some two-bit, half-god Daimon with an inferiority complex?"

The Daimon hissed at him, baring his fangs. He grabbed the crossbow off the table and loaded a steel bolt into it. "You will learn not to taunt me. I am not one you mess with."

"Why not? What makes you special?"

"My father is Bacchus. I am a god!"

Kyrian snorted. The first rule of war: make your opponent lose his temper. Emotions clouded judgment and made one do stupid things, and it would give him the opening he needed to get free and save both of them. Besides, he liked the way the throbbing vein stood out in Desiderius's temple. It let him know he hadn't lost his touch when it came to taunting his enemies. "What you are is pathetic. You're a bully and a psycho. No wonder Daddy has no use for you."

Desiderius screamed in fury. He brought the crossbow down hard against Kyrian's face.

Kyrian's entire head ached from the blow. He tasted blood on his lips. Running his tongue over the cut, he tsked the Daimon.

"You know nothing of my life, Dark-Hunter. You don't know what it's like being born to die."

"We are all born to die."

"Oh yes, the humans and their finite lives that are three times the length of ours. How I pity them." He grabbed Kyrian by the throat and pressed his head back against the wall. "Do you know what it feels like to watch the woman you love decay before your eyes? Eleanor was only twenty-seven. Twenty-seven! I did everything I could to save her. I even brought a human to her and still she refused to take the soul that would save her. She was pure unto the end. Desiderius's eyes turned dull at the memory. "She was so beautiful and gentle. I had begged my father for help and he turned his back on me. So I watched my beautiful wife turn old in a handful of hours. I watched her body age until it decayed in my arms."

"I'm sorry for you," Kyrian said quietly. "But it doesn't excuse what you've done."

Desiderius screamed his outrage. "What I've done? I've done nothing except be born to a cursed race while I watch the humans squander the gift of life they have. I do them a favour by killing them. I alleviate their boring, insipid lives." His blue eyes darkening dangerously, Desiderius curled his lip. "You know, I obtained a copy of your Dark-Hunter handbook when I killed one of your brethren ninety years ago. The entry that struck me most was the one where it said to always go for a Daimons heart. To strike at his most vulnerable spot."

He aimed the crossbow at Amanda. "Your heart would be her, wouldn't it?"

Kyrian masked his terror. His fear. Even though he was weak, he tightened his grip on the ropes holding him and lifted his feet up to kick Desiderius with all his remaining strength before the Daimon had a chance to hurt Amanda. Desiderius staggered back, the crossbow dropping away from her to point toward the floor. "Run, Amanda!" he shouted. She didn't move. Kyrian fell back against the wall. "Damn it, Amanda, please run for me."

She didn't appear to hear him at all. She merely stood staring into space as she hummed and gripped her doll.

Desiderius laughed as he righted himself. He licked the blood from his lips while he eyed Kyrian with malice. "She's mine, Dark-Hunter. You can die with the knowledge that I will use her well before I take her soul and her powers." Desiderius smiled an evil smile a second before he shot the crossbow straight into Kyrian's heart.

The force of the bolt embedding itself into his body drove him into the wall. Kyrian gasped at the pain of the steel biting into his body.

Desiderius came forward to stand before him. His eyes amused, he ran his finger around the small amount of blood that seeped from the wound. "What a pity Dark-Hunter blood is poisonous to drink. I'm sure it's richer and thicker than what I normally have to live on."

Kyrian barely heard the words as his heart struggled to beat. His ears buzzed. It was the most painful thing he'd ever felt. His sight dulling, he turned to look one last time at Amanda. Her features were pinched as she watched him and for a moment he could pretend that she remembered him. That she knew he was dying and that she cared. Had she been herself, he knew she would run to him. Unlike his wife, she would cry when she heard of his death. And in a strange way, that comforted him.

Desiderius left him and went to pat her on the shoulder. "Go on, Amanda, kiss your lover farewell."

Kyrian struggled to breathe as she approached him. He had so many things he wanted to tell her. So many things he wished he'd said to her while she'd been able to really hear his words. At least he wouldn't die alone. "I love you, Amanda," he whispered, hoping that somehow, she would later recall his words to her and know that he meant them. Her eyes blank, she leaned forward and covered his lips with her own and pressed her hand to his shoulder.

He felt the blackness of death descend over him and as he died, he heard her last whispered words. "I will love you for eternity, my dark warrior."

Then everything vanished.

Amanda held her breath as she felt the heat seeping out of the medallion she clutched underneath the doll's dress, into Kyrian's lifeless body. Her hand shook as she waited for him to reawaken, and with every second that passed, she shook more. It wasn't working... Oh God, no! Acheron had lied to her after all! Tears stung her eyes as the medallion turned icy cold and fell from her grasp. Still, Kyrian didn't move. He lay limp against the wall, his face pale. His body cold. No! It was over and Kyrian was dead. No!

Desiderius's evil laughter rang out through the dark room and made her entire soul weep in anguish.

Right then, she wanted to die, too. This was all her fault. She had stood by and let Kyrian die and had done nothing to save him. Her grief welled up and lodged as an unreleased scream in her throat. "I love you, Amanda." His words would haunt her forever. Sobbing, she wrapped her arms around Kyrian's body and held him close, willing him to wake up and speak. Please, God, take anything from me, but please let him live.

"Amanda?" Desiderius's voice was sharp as he commanded her back to his side.

She held tighter to Kyrian, laying her head on his chest, beside the bolt, and willing her life force into him. Amanda froze as she heard something. It was a faint sound, but it made her soar. She heard Kyrian's heart beating. Pulling back, she watched as his eyes fluttered open. Kyrian gazed into Amanda's dark blue eyes that sparkled from her tears. No longer blank, her eyes stared into his with a purpose. And with love. Her face softening, she passed her hand over his chest and the bolt shot free. In that moment, he knew she hadn't betrayed him. She had set him free. "You have your soul back, Kyrian of Thrace," she whispered as the ropes around his wrists unknotted. "Now let's make this bastard pay."

Desiderius screamed in fury as he realized what was happening. Kyrian didn't have his Dark-Hunter powers, but it didn't matter. For the first time in over two thousand years he had his soul, and the feel of it and the knowledge that Amanda hadn't betrayed him invigorated him. The Daimon was a dead man.

Desiderius ran for the door.

It slammed shut. "I wouldn't want you to leave the party so soon," Amanda said. "Not after everything you've done to make us so welcome."

"Amanda?" Kyrian said uncertainly.

She looked at him, her eyes shimmering ever so slightly in a way that reminded him of Acheron's. "Desiderius unlocked my powers for me," she said quietly. "He thought to use the telekinesis and telepathy for himself." She looked at Desiderius and smiled. "Surprise. When you unleashed them, you lost all control over me."

Desiderius struggled to open the door.

Kyrian stalked him like a hungry panther after its prey. "What's the matter, Desiderius, afraid of a mere human?"

He turned with a snarl. "I can beat you. I'm a god."

"Then do it." Cursing, Desiderius charged him. He grabbed Kyrian around the waist and drove him against the wall. Desiderius opened his mouth to bite him. "Oh, like hell," Kyrian snarled. "I didn't just get my soul back to lose it to you." He kneed the Daimon in the groin.

Desiderius stumbled away from him.

"Kyrian." He turned to see Amanda with his sword. She tossed it to him.

Extending the blade, he went for Desiderius. The Daimon dodged his swing and lifted his hand to astral-blast him. Kyrian cursed as the blast hit him in the chest right where the crossbow bolt had been. He staggered back. Oh, it hurt. Dazed, he couldn't defend himself as Desiderius rushed him. He braced himself in expectation of Desiderius's blow.

It never came.

Instead a blast hit him and Kyrian looked over to see Harry had joined the party, a healing cut down his face. “Bastard.” Death’s Marked snarled.

Desiderius ran at Kyrian again. If they were close then neither Harry or Amanda would dare blast him.

“Kyrian!” Harry tossed him a sword, the one Harry had used as Chares and Kyrian grinned. The sword was coated in the deadliest poison he’d seen in his life.

Amanda held her breath as she watched them fight. Desiderius grabbed a sword from the table and charged him. The sound of clashing steel echoed as the two of them engaged. "Go, baby," she whispered, clutching her do