Chapter One: The Final Curtain.
At age twenty one, Harry Potter was one of the newest Aurors at the Ministry of Magic. He clashed with the upper management at the Ministry of Magic regularly, but they couldn't argue with his results. He was said to be the best Auror to come down the pike in the Ministry in some time.
Given some of the recruits over the past five or so years, Harry wasn't sure whether or not he wanted to consider that a compliment.
The war was over, Voldemort perished. Both sides lost a lot of bodies on each side. Friends, enemies, strangers, they all died because this war.
The war was not over; the rise of Voldemort was just one battle to a larger war. The blood purity movement splintered into several factions. There was a group that wished to preserve what was left of the old families by letting it be. On the opposite end of the equation, there was a group of purebloods that wished to pick up where Voldemort left off.
There were two of his top Death Eaters who had picked up the fight, the Lestrange Brothers. That made sense given that they had been among the most fanatical of Voldemort's followers during his temporary sabbatical and how they drove the Longbottoms into a vegetative state with the Cruciatias curse.
The word out on the street was that the Lestranges decided to get in touch with some mercenaries from the other side of the world. Three days ago, a team of Aurors investigated the lead. Each day passed, without any word of the Aurors returning.
That was when they sent Harry in. The plan would be to extract the Aurors if they were imprisoned, hopefully alive. The Department of Magical Law Enforcement hemmed and hawed about the entire plan, but they decided that the best would be to send Harry in.
Harry was undecided whether that some hoped for him to get killed, or if they really did have the utmost of confidence in his abilities. He figured that it could be some combination of the both.
The rundown shack was in the middle of the wilderness and it was a bit of a trek. The cold winter air repelled off of Harry. The charms on his cloak still held nicely, which was well. He would need to break them if he used offensive magic. That would cause problems with his comfort level.
Harry didn't become an Auror to be comfortable.
'So far, nothing,' Harry thought.
If this was where the Lestranges were holed up, it was a hell of a place for them to lead the resistance. They were out in the middle of nowhere. It made how Harry spent his second year seem extremely civil indeed.
The door creaked open. Harry half expected wands would be blazing the second he opened the door. So far there was nothing.
Harry saw enough Muggle movies when the Dursleys thought that he wasn't looking to know that he shouldn't say that things were too quiet. That would lead to problems.
He entered and his observation skills found the burning embers of a fire. The fire was lit several days ago and was almost burned out.
Harry placed his ear to the basement. A hissing sound caught his attention. That seldom was good news.
He cracked open the basement door and it swung forward. A rickety set of stairs greeted Harry. He waved his hand against the stairs. They hissed and glowed red.
Each step was cursed with each curse on each individual step being different.
"They must not want me to go down into that basement," Harry murmured. He levitated himself off of the ground and glided above the pull of the spells.
The hyper gravity field around him disoriented the young wizard. It stopped when he passed the spells.
The basement looked in disarray, books and broken pieces of pottery were on the floor. Tin cans of food rested on the ground.
Something stirred. Harry's tensions rose and then he relaxed. Only slightly, merely a rat, who was scourging for food and seemed very disgusted that he came up empty.
Harry walked across the room and saw a part of the basement that was kept up very nicely. There was a book shelf full with several raggedy and dusty books.
He reached forward and picked up one of the books. Harry cast a charm on the book. There were no curses, hexes, jinxes, or any kind of magic that would indicate trouble. It looked to be a perfectly normal book.
Other than the fact that there was absolutely nothing inside, that was. Not one word was written in the book.
Harry shifted the shelf off to the side. He spotted Ancient Runes carved into the wall. They looked recent and he saw traces of dried up blood on them.
Whose blood raised some questions in Harry's mind, but that didn't matter.
"This house isn't a safe house, it's an entry point," Harry narrated to himself. He pressed his hand on the Rune.
He felt a spark of magic touch his hand. This didn't give him many answers. It just raised even more unsettling questions as far as Harry was concerned.
Now, Harry remembered one of the primary points in Auror training. Never open up a portal unless you had a good idea exactly where it was taking you.
It was sound advice, in most circumstances. In these circumstances, every second Harry delayed, put innocent lives in danger.
Plus, curiosity was not a virtue that left Harry Potter even after his time at Hogwarts. It got him into more trouble than he cared to remember.
At the same time, his curiosity led him into a better position than ever before sometimes. It was a fifty-fifty shot.
He also remembered the second point he learned in Auror training. There might have been a lot of fluff, but the instructors did make some good points. Even though Harry's best skills came from his independent studies and his extracurricular activities.
'Never let the enemies dictate the circumstances of your meeting.'
Those were words Harry intended to live by, but there was a catch. Circumstances could be shifted to screw over the enemy.
He began tracing the Runes, down to the last miniscule detail. He would get to where this house lead.
Rodolphus Lestrange hated the fact that he had been considered nothing, but Bellatrix's husband, and he vowed to do all that he could to correct that assumption.
"I'm surprised the Ministry hasn't sent anyone to investigate their Aurors getting captured," one of his fellow resistance members commented.
Lestrange snorted. The Ministry couldn't catch sickness in the middle of the dark ages. The Ministry was more interested increasing their own public relations and making nice after the fall of the Dark Lord.
"Our friend should be arriving soon," Rodolphus said. He narrowly stepped around the question. "You're going to make yourselves presentable for him."
He slipped a ring on his finger. It was a family heirloom, and it was supposed to protect him from danger. The oldest Lestrange brother was well aware of the hefty price tag on his head for anyone who brought him into the Ministry.
A lot of the old crowd showed their colors once more when the Dark Lord fell. Lucius Malfoy was quick to endorse Harry Potter as the savior of the world. Granted, Potter regarded Malfoy's attempts to buddy up to him with either amusement or cold indifference, so Lucius was still under close watch from the Ministry and one slip up would put him in Azkaban. Still, the man was a traitor and a snake, and Rodolphus vowed once the balance of power shifted, to put Lucius down where he belonged, along with his brat of a son.
"Don't call me Rodolphus any more, call me, My Lord or Master," the eldest Lestrange brother replied sharply.
"Fine…Master," one of his associates said. It was obvious that he distasted what he was saying. "I don't see why we haven't killed the Aurors. What if one of them escapes? They have seen this place."
Rodolphus held up his wand and the man felt his throat clench. He doubled over. "Do you doubt my ability, Yaxley? You were loyal to the Dark Lord's cause….in your own fashion. But don't think that will allow you an unlimited license to question my decisions."
Yaxley nodded and felt the grip around his throat loosened. He wondered where Rodolphus's set of balls was when his wife was around. He most certainly didn't have them then.
"To answer your question," Lestrange said. He paused. "Rest assure, I have my reasons to keep the Aurors alive."
"Yes, my Lord," Yaxley said. "I will await your command with the others."
"See that you do," Lestrange said.
Yaxley slunk off to the shadows. Weasel like minion he was, Lestrange didn't have many options. There were many cowards that would pretend to support Harry Potter.
Lestrange swept his way through the long hallowed hallways. The perception of power allowed you to accomplish much. That was why many feared Harry Potter. Lestrange was one of the few that didn't, believing him to be nothing, but smoke and mirrors.
His brother waited for him at the end. Rodolphus smiled at Rabastan. "I do hope that you understand what you're going to sacrifice."
"To save our world, I understand and embrace it, my Lord," Rabastan said. He got down on one knee. "Anything that you need of me, I will do so."
They arrived. Several figures filed in and stepped on either side. A tall and imposing figure dressed in elegant robes, with a hood pulled over his face approached him. He spoke with a refined accent. "Rodolphus Lestrange, you have fulfilled your end of your bargain."
"I have, Mr. Damon," Rodolphus agreed. The enigmatic man and his supporters stared for him. "The sacrifices will be presented to you. All of them of them Mud…first generational magical users. But why?"
"By your own words their magic is stolen," Damon said. "They are guilty of a theft. They would be perfect to be sacrificed, and they will lead the way for your reward. Our organization must have a Dark Lord in Europe for the balance of power to be restored. Otherwise the veil which allows our business to thrive will vanish."
Rodolphus understood. He cherished the power.
The portal was opened somewhere. Rodolphus was alerted of it right away.
"My Lord, the Ministry has sent Aurors."
"How did they find this place?" Rodolphus asked. He thought that he covered his tracks.
There was a loud scream and several of his followers were down. He was made to be rather foolish in front of Mr. Damon and that was not something that he would allow to occur.
Rodolphus walked down the hallway, his wand lifted. The guard at the end of the hallway met him. His mouth hung open and was about to yell for him.
Something twisted his neck like a butterbeer cap. He hit the ground, unmoving.
"Come out," Rodolphus said. He fired a spell into the shadows. It intended to slice the organs of anyone that it hit to ribbons.
His brother joined him at his shoulder. Mr. Damon and his followers hung back. "How many of them are there?"
"Just one," Harry Potter said. He turned up and faced off against both of the Lestrange Brothers. Public Enemy Number One and Two as far as the Ministry of Magic was concerned.
"Potter, I was hoping that you would come here," Rodolphus said.
"Oh, Roddy, did you grow a set of balls?" Harry asked. "I was under the assumption Bella sliced those off years ago."
Angered at the mention of his wife, the eldest Lestrange Brother fired a deadly curse at Harry. He deflected it back at him with a crack whip, and it caught him in the chest, almost slicing him in half from the spell being repelled back at him.
Harry watched him fall to the ground, his organs obliterated from his own curse. The younger Lestrange brother's eyes widened and he was about to bellow that Harry killed his brother.
Only he got banished hard against the wall. Several bones cracked when he connected against the wall extremely hard.
Harry turned around and the remaining followers looked at him, eyes widened. They didn't know whether to attack him or run.
It was a comical scene, when half of them took each other out, and Harry took the other half of them out.
There was a loud and slow clapping. Harry turned around and saw a mysterious cloaked individual looking back at him.
Harry raised his wand and the man didn't even blink. "And I hoped that you would bring your other wand."
He didn't relax his arm.
"Don't you want to know who I am?" he asked. The question was responded by Harry sending a jagged silver light through the air, but the man blocked it, with precision. "You've improved. I'll give you that. You aren't Dumbledore's drone any more. But, the world is full of drones. Only a small percentage of the population is…."
Harry tried to nail him while he was in the middle of a monologue. That was the third lesson he learned in Auror training. Always trick the enemy into delivering a monologue because that was the best time to blast him.
"I've stood toe to toe with deadlier men then you could ever hope, hundreds of years, I've seen civilizations rise and civilizations crumble," the man continued. He flung something from his hand.
It looked to be a glowing orb. Harry blocked it seconds before it hit his chest. It burned through his shield, but Harry teleported behind the enemy.
"And yet, people make the same mistakes," he continued. "The world is full of drones and….."
Harry launched him off of the ground and caused him to land down.
"Any prison that you put me in will be dust before I am," the man in the hooded robe said. His hood remained up, obscuring his facial features. "And any death you give me is only a temporary rest stop."
"Death is the only certainty," Harry replied. Granted, he wasn't too certain.
"But, yet, you returned from it," the man said. He rose to his feet; his robes protected him from the worst Harry did to him. "They say no magic can reverse the dead. But until the body is completely cold, is it truly dead? They say the soul doesn't leave until the body is completely cold."
The robed figure grabbed one of his drones and absorbed energy from him. A shield formed around him preventing Harry from attacking him no matter how hard he tried. The drone fell to the ground and withered from what he did to him.
"And now my body warms," the robed figure said. "We will meet again."
He broke through Harry's anti-teleportation fields. Harry could feel the magic blow back through his body and burn his hands severely.
Harry heard the muffled voices. The captured Aurors were below and Harry needed to get them out of there.
Back the Ministry of Magic, Harry filled out a mountain of paperwork. There was an inquiry filed about the death of Lestrange Brothers and who they were talking to. Harry had been down to the Wizengamot at least three times today to give his detailed testimony.
Whether or not they believed him, that was another matter entirely. Regardless Harry gave his testimony.
He tried to research the robes worn by the robed man and his drones. Perhaps he could find a clue. They looked to be relatively new players on the scene, or perhaps old players that were long forgotten. If what their leader said was true.
Harry almost longed for the simpler days of Hogwarts. At least trouble only visited him roughly every single June. It visited him more often during his career as an Auror.
Most of the Auror office decided to take an early holiday. It was getting extremely close to Christmas after all. They really didn't take this seriously at all. The official word the Ministry was giving that everything was just fine.
Harry hated to be the office Grinch, but he had a case to work on and he was determined to solve it. The official Ministry records didn't seem to yield any results, but perhaps the unofficial Ministry records might.
Strictly speaking, The Aurors were not supposed to venture into the Department of Mysteries to work on a case. It was not by the book, and was strongly frowned upon. Harry was already in a sufficient amount of hot water because he didn't bring the Lestrange Brothers back alive.
Harry was kind of amused how Rodolphus was setting himself up to be some big bad destroyer of worlds and he wiped him out in approximately five seconds.
So naturally, he wasn't too fussed about upsetting any apple carts. Harry was already on probation. What were they going to do, fire him? He would have to ease his pain with his piles of Galleons and the many women who were willing to throw their panties at him if he just said the word or even gave him a wink.
Harry entered the lift and made his way down into the Department of Mysteries. It had changed a little bit since his trip there during his fifth year, the fiasco that was.
"You know, you're not supposed to down here?"
A soft and quiet voice spoke to Harry. He turned around and saw one of his fellow year mates from Hogwarts starting back at him. A dark haired Asian girl watched him with a frown. She wore elegant black robes with silver trim that fit around her body.
"Hi, Su Li," Harry told her.
"Hello, Harry," she commented. "So, the DMLE giving you the cold shoulder yet again?"
"I killed some Death Eaters," Harry said. Su Li raised an eyebrow. "The Lestrange brothers."
"And I'm certain that the reward got lost in the post," she said.
"Perhaps," Harry replied. "I need to look up some information."
"Help yourself, but remember you never saw me," Su Li said. She stepped to the side and smiled.
Harry was a young man who was of great power and potential, who honestly squandered it by working at the Ministry. She knew that the entire Auror thing was just a hobby to kill time, and many agreed. The DMLE might bitch while he was here, but they would be sad if he ever should move onto other endeavors.
This wasn't Harry's first time searching the unofficial Ministry archives to help him with information with a curse.
"Search, yellow robes, black trim, broken triangle on them," Harry said. He really wished that he was better with giving a description.
"Searching, one match found," the system answered.
"Curious," Harry muttered.
"The Colony, an organization who among its many aims wish to preserve the veil of secrecy between the magical and mundane world in an attempt to profit from both," it told him. "It is also known in many circles in the world, as HIVE."
"Oh, Potter, why do you have to learn things that you weren't meant to know?"
Harry turned around and saw several robed figures standing in front of him. Blocking his way from the exit and they were led by Blaise Zabini.
"Mr. Damon warned me that you would be looking around here, trying to find out about our little operation," Zabini said. "It's a wonder you haven't learned his proper name….but to be fair, none of us know that. But, I'm certain that you're capable of finding that out."
Harry held his wand in the air, but two of the robed figures dragged a half conscious women towards them.
"Oh, and did I mention that we have your wife, Potter?" Blaise asked. Harry saw Ginny look up at him with pleading eyes. He didn't blame her for this one. "I'll give her the antidote for the poison, if you surrender your wand to me."
Harry slid the wand out of his hand and dropped it to the ground. He was hit with several blasting spells and dropped to the ground.
"Typical, Potter, always a hero," Zabini said in disgust. "For the record, Potter, Lestrange was supposed to be the patsy, I was pulling the strings."
Harry woke up some time later. He was on his knees, in anti-magical restraints. The smug face of Blaise Zabini was staring back at him.
"Well, Potter, I wanted you awake to see this," Zabini answered. "I'm afraid that this is the last time you try and play the hero. You've gotten too good to play our game. You've outgrown the position."
"So, I see that Mummy taught you a lot about murder," Harry said. He laughed.
"My mother taught me a lot," Zabini admitted. "She intended to kill me upon my 18th, but I turned the tables on her."
"Good for you, Zabini," Harry said.
"You recognize this room, don't you, Potter?" Zabini asked. He gestured to the veil that was behind Harry. "Remember your precious godfather having an accident here?"
"Yes, I recall it," Harry said. He could see Ginny still secured, this time against a pillar. "You have me. Let Ginny go."
"Yes, I do, and it's delicious, absolutely delicious," Zabini cackled.
"And you're getting into this bad guy thing a bit too much," Harry replied.
"If Hogwarts bothered to teach a proper History of Magic course, you would learn that this veil was used to take care of prisoners before the Ministry struck a deal with the Dementors," Zabini said. "The DMLE kept it as a prize. Black was the first to go through it in some time. If the Ministry had brains, they would have utilized it more often, but….well I'm sure both of us can see the logical fallacy of that."
Zabin looked at him.
"You know, Zabini, keep talking, and you might succeed in killing me," Harry said. "You know, by boring me to death."
"Wit, it almost amuses me, Potter," Zabini said. He leaned down to get in Harry's face.
Harry responded by headbutting him in the face; despite he was secured by magical restraints. That caused Blaise to howl in horror because if there was one thing he hated, he hated getting hit in the face.
Despite his arms were secured, Harry got to his feet. He dodged and kicked his way through the robed attackers he fought. He knocked them down onto the ground.
One of them caught him with a blast to the back of the legs. Harry felt like his knees had been reduced to jelly.
Zabini tried to fix his nose. He conjured a mirror and tried to fix the damage that Potter delivered to his precious face by cheap shotting him like a Muggle street hooligan. "You'll pay for that, Potter!"
His men held Potter and Zabini placed his foot on his chest.
"Goodbye Potter, but don't worry, a new hero will rise up in your place," Zabini said.
He kicked Harry through the veil. Time stood still when he fell through to his apparent and immediate doom.
To Be Continued.