Jack O’Neill had been gone for almost twenty hours and the remaining members of his team were beginning to get worried. They had been so hopeful that Jack had been putting together a device that would help him and from what little Daniel had understood of the Ancient language that was Jack had told him it would do, but so far he hadn’t returned.
As Teal’c meditated in the corner of the General’s briefing room, to try and alleviate his worries, Sam and Daniel were taking turns pacing. Every now and then they would stop and go over the plans Jack had drawn or the conversations they had had, trying to see if they had missed something or if they could figure out what exactly Jack had done.
Suddenly an alarm began blaring “Unauthorized Stargate Activation” and then they heard Harriman’s voice call out over the intercom, “Incoming Wormhole! All Security teams to the Gateroom!”
Daniel and Sam dropped their papers onto the table and raced for the control room with Teal’c only a few steps behind them.
They got there in time to hear General Hammond ask. “Is there an IDC?”
“No sir.” Harriman told him, his hand over the button that would seal the iris.
“Close the Iris” Hammond’s eyes never strayed from the gate or the men waiting below weapons ready.
Daniel spoke up, “but sir, it could be Jack. He didn’t have a GDO.”
“I know that son,” Hammond looked briefly at the younger man, before turning his attention back to the scene below, “But it’s not a risk I’m prepared to take. Nor would Colonel O’Neill expect me to.” Hammond didn’t look that pleased with his decision. “We don’t need a horde of Jaffa in the gateroom. Colonel O’Neill knew the risks when he left.”
“Sir,” Harriman’s concerned voice interrupted before Daniel could say anything more. “The Iris won’t close.”
Harriman’s fingers were moving rapidly over his keyboard trying to get control of the iris back.
Carter moved quickly to the nearest computer console and started typing in commands to see if she could figure out what had happened.
Hammond waited impatiently to hear what she’d found out.
“We’ve been locked out,” she finally announced but that didn’t stop her from continuing to try and get past whatever had taken control of their computers.
“Could it have been something put in by Colonel O’Neill before he left?” Hammond asked. If it had been, he was going to have words with the Colonel when he got back.
“No sir,” Carter stated with certainty. “Whatever has us locked out, is originating from outside our system. It is preventing the command from reaching the Iris.”
Before Hammond could ask another question, a figure stumbled through the gate and down the ramp a few paces. As soon as the person was clear of the gate it disengaged.
“It is O’Neill!” Teal’c recognized the weary person sinking to his knees on to the gate ramp.
Before anyone could react and stop him, Daniel raced out of the control room and toward the gateroom, quickly followed by Carter and Teal’c.
As Daniel started to push through the cordon of SF troops that filled the entrance to the gateroom, Hammond called through the mike in the control room, “Colonel O’Neill, how did you prevent the iris from closing?”
O’Neill remained on his knees but wearily raised his head to meet his commander’s gaze in the control room. “It wasn’t me, sir.” O’Neill stated in a pain-filled voice as he remained where he was. His head still felt someone had been using it for a kettledrum. “It was the Asgard… sir.”
Daniel came to a stop at the bottom of the ramp as Jack was talking to the General. He was quick to make the connection with the race that protected Cimmeria. “Thor’s people?”
“Yep and they look like the Roswell greys.” Jack added helpfully, then mumbled to himself. “Forgot to ask them why they ended up in Roswell.”
The alarm continued to blare until Jack shouted. “Could somebody please shut that damn thing off? My head is killing me.” He quickly regretted that shout though as his head found new levels of pain to express its displeasure at the noise. He curled on his side on the ramp, his head held firmly in his hands
Harriman shut off the alarm and without being prompted by the General then called through the intercom system. “Medical team to the gateroom. Medical team to the gateroom.”
“A little quieter next time please,” Jack begged as he lowered his head back into his hands. His head was beginning to feel like his last ten hangovers were coming back to hit him all at once.
Dr. Frasier and her team came into the gateroom and quickly knelt near Jack and began to check him over.
As she shined a penlight in his eyes to see how his pupils were reacting, Jack jerked his head away. “Watch it with the light Doc. An ice pick in the head would’ve been kinder than that.”
“Well, you’re going to have to put up with a lot worse.” Janet reminded him. “You know the drill, Colonel.”
“Yeah,” Jack sighed as a couple of orderlies helped him to his feet. “Spending quality time with Vampires R Us is something I always love to do.”
“And we’re going to be enjoying each other’s company for quite awhile. You are going to be confined to the base until I am certain that you are fully recovered from the effect of that Ancient device, not to mention what was done to you to correct it.”
“Oh come on Doc, I’m fine,” Jack told her.
“Colonel, that device implanted knowledge in your head that was in the process of remapping your brain among other things.” Frasier countered stiffly. “You won’t be allowed off base any time in the near future.”
Dr. Frasier gestured for the orderlies tried to help him to his feet so they could get him on a gurney, but Jack shook himself free of their grip. “And I can walk all by myself. I don’t need to ride on that thing. I just have one hell of a headache, that’s all.”
“You can walk under your own steam, can you? Well prove it.” Having dealt with Colonel O’Neill’s stubbornness before, Janet motioned for the orderlies to step back a moment. She also gave his team mates a look indicating they were not to help. “If you can make it down to the infirmary on your own two feet, without help from anyone, I’ll let you stay in VIP quarters after your tests. At least that way it will be easier for your friends to smuggle you the foods I won’t be letting you eat. Otherwise, you spend the night in infirmary, without a single complaint. Agreed?”
Jack nodded carefully. Taking a deep breath, he pulled himself to his feet. He stood there for several moments then began a slow and careful walk to the door. He stayed close to the wall, leaning against it every now and then for support. Daniel, Carter, and Teal’c followed close behind.
Jack’s legs were starting to get a bit wobbly as he reached the elevator and punched the button for the medical level.
Janet eyed him as he leaned up against the wall, not liking the pallor of his skin. “Ready to give in yet, Colonel?”
“A deals a deal, Doc.” Jack told her, leaning his head back against the wall to rest a little as the elevator moved up several floors.
On the medical level, the five people riding with him, waited for Jack to leave first, then followed behind him once more.
As he reached the door of the infirmary, Jack’s legs finally gave out on him and he sank down to his knees, making sure he was on the other side of the doorway.
“Made it!” he crowed weakly.
Janet just shook her head. “Help him into a bed, please Teal’c.”
Teal’c nodded and with Daniel’s assistance, O’Neill was settled into the nearest bed.
“Now, you all might as well go get yourselves something to eat.” Janet advised the rest of SG-1, even though she knew she was probably wasting her breath. “These tests are going to take a while.”
“Other than a slightly higher that normal brain function and exhaustion, you seem to be ok.” Janet told him.
“So I can get out of here?” Jack wanted to know.
“Only as far as the VIP suites on the next level. I’ve already had one made up for you.” Janet told him.
“Ah come on doc, you just said I was fine.” Jack protested.
“And I told you,” Janet countered, “you’re not leaving the base until I am certain you suffered no lasting damage from what happened to you.”
“Well Janet, are you ready to throw Jack out the door yet?” Daniel asked coming up to the bed. “Or should we just save you the trouble and take him out of here for you?”
“You can have him, Daniel,” Frasier told him. “But you are not to take him any further than the VIP suite on the next level and I expect a member of SG-1 to stay with him at all times. You might spot something wrong quicker than one of the monitoring nurses or the guard outside the door will. You’re going to be on Candid Camera for a while Colonel so remember to keep it clean.”
When his demented cousin Bellatrix appeared at the top of the stairs and hurried down to join in the battle, he growled like a dog. Moving to intercept Bella, he saw Harry off to one side and ordered him. “Harry, take the prophecy, grab Neville and run!”
He lost sight of Harry as he got between Bella and his godson.
“It’s been a long time, cousin,” Bella commented in a sickly childish voice as she sent a cutting hex his way.
“Not long enough,” he commented, nimbly dodging the curse and then sent a 'Reducto' curse her way.
Their battle went on for several minutes and he was beginning to enjoy the thrill of battle again. He’d missed this! He wished for a moment that James were here to share this with him. They’d always made such a good team.
As he dodged another cutting hex, he couldn’t resist shouting, “Come on, you can do better than that!”
Bella’s face became red with rage and she did do better as her next spell hit him right in the chest and he fell backwards through something made of cloth into blackness.
Jack rubbed his chest absentmindedly where Bella had shot him. He could still feel the sting of the stunning curse. Bella’s curses always did pack quite a punch, he thought absently. Then realizing that he was acting as if what had happened in that dream world were real, he stopped and stared at his hand, wanting to make sure it was still his and not the one he’d seen holding the stick in his dream. As if he were this Sirius Black but he couldn’t be. I was born in 1956 not 1960, so it is impossible isn’t it? Why would I dream that I died as someone else. That makes no sense?
Jack realized he was sweating after the exertion of that dream battle and he also had an overwhelming urge to make sure that he was still in his own body and not that one from the dream.
He moved quietly into the bathroom to avoid waking Daniel and stripped out of the sweaty hospital pajamas. He studied his face in the mirror. Yep, that’s me!
Once he had the shower set the way he wanted it, Jack stepped in and let the water sluice down his body trying to work out the kinks the dream had left behind. As he moved this way and that his mind wandered back to the time he and James had pranked the shampoo in girl’s shower with a potion that made their hair turn different colors depending on their mood. Lily had not been impressed even though it was a very good potion. She had gotten them back though by hitting them with a spell that had them spouting complimentary things about the Slytherins for almost two weeks.
Jack stopped moving. James! He didn’t know anyone named James, at least not anyone he would’ve played jokes with, but the Sirius from his strange dream did. What the hell is going on? It can’t be reincarnation, because that is reliving past life, not one that comes after yours. How could I be this Sirius?
As he stepped back out of the bathroom looking for a pair of underwear and pajamas, Jack saw a calendar tacked up on the wall and out of habit glanced at it. It took several moments for his thoughts to catch up with his eyes as he looked at the date. It was May 5th or 6th but Sirius died on June 4th. How could he dream about the death of someone who hadn’t died yet? And if he was in some very weird way remembering a past life as this Sirius how could he be alive at the same time the other man, that wasn’t the way it was supposed to work, was it? And last but certainly not least, if the dream was real and he did somehow prevent this Sirius Black from dying, would he cease to be? God, I hate metaphysical stuff!
"Mr. Maybourne," Vernon Dursley began, smiling the seedy smile of a used car salesman, as he held out a beefy hand to the dapper silver-haired gentleman. " It's a pleasure to meet you."
"Mr. Dursley," Maybourne said, just as smoothly, as he shook the portly man's hand.
"Would you care for any tea or coffee," Dursley asked, as he directed Maybourne towards the chair in front of his antique oak desk.
"No, thank you," Maybourne replied politely. "I prefer to get right down to business."
"Ah, of course," Vernon replied with a smile. "So how can Grunnings be of service to you?"
Maybourne leaned back in his chair, his legs crossed as he eyes Dursley with a cold calculating look. "Actually my business isn't with Grunnings, it's with you, Vernon. I can call you Vernon, can't I?"
"Of course," Dursley replied nervously.
"You see Vernon, some very interesting information has reached the ears of certain individuals across the pond as you Brits say," Maybourne said.
"Information," Vernon nervously played with a pen. "What kind of information?
"Before we discuss that, we need to discuss the funds missing from the account set up to provide for your nephew's well-being. You know the one that you and your wife have access to," Maybourne replied.
"Excuse me," Vernon drew himself up, "Those funds were spent on the boy just as they should have been!"
"Oh really. You and your family took a vacation in Majorca and your nephew didn’t accompany you there. You’ve managed to purchase a new car about every 18 months. Then there’s your many business trips to Dublin and the Merrion Casino," Maybourne stated. "And let’s not even go into the expensive presents and clothes you’ve bought for your son while providing young Mr. Potter with your son’s cast-offs. I’m sure that those responsible for his trust would consider that money properly spent."
"We're entitled to it!" Vernon snapped. "We didn’t want anything to do with his family, but we took the brat in anyway and gave him a home. Why shouldn't we be entitled to some compensation for that."
"Because I believe most people call it embezzlement," Maybourne countered. “And you can go to jail for it.”
Vernon leaned back into his chair, a smirk on his face. "Of course you do realize that the laws here are different than those in America."
"Of course," Maybourne said with a smile of his own.
"Besides I plan on returning the funds," Vernon stated.
"Of course you will," Maybourne’s smile grew slightly. "Just as soon as your luck changes, you'll pay all the money back that you took from the account meant to provide for Potter’s needs. Maybe you should ask your son Dudley for a loan. I mean when you consider how successful his business has been, he should be able to lend you the money."
Maybourne nodded his head. "From what I’ve managed to find out, the British Mafia is fairly impressed with him. I understand he's starting to branch out into prostitution and illegal drugs."
“You’re a ruddy liar!” Vernon spat. “My son... my son would never be involved in anything illegal!"
"Of course, Vernon. You're probably right. I mean Dudley Dursley has to be a very common name," Maybourne’s grin was similar to that of a shark. "I'm sure that when Dudley Dursley is arrested for whatever they call racketeering over here, the press won't link you or your family to him. Nor will they find about you taking money that you weren’t entitled to, from the trust fund intended to pay for your poor nephew's needs. And I'm sure Grunnings will also be very understanding. After all a little bad press about their Managing Director being caught borrowing funds from his underage ward, and his only son’s involvement in organized crime should be nothing for a company like Grunnings. And then, there is the abuse you have heaped on Mr. Potter. Treating him as one would a slave."
Vernon licked his lips nervously. This man knew way too much for Vernon’s comfort "So how much do you want?"
"I knew you were a smart man, Vernon," Maybourne replied, "but I’m not here for money. I represent a group that is very interested in acquiring in something that you will have in your custody in a few days time."
"The boy," Vernon whispered, his eyes growing wide. "You want the boy."
"See I knew you were a smart man," Maybourne crowed with pride.
"You know about the boy. What he is?" Vernon looked around his office as if expecting someone to suddenly appear and go boo. Sweat appearing on his pudgy face. "You know that they watch him," he whispered.
Maybourne leaned forward in his chair. "We know exactly what Potter is, Vernon. That’s why we want him. And we both know exactly how well they watch him and your family, don't we Vernon."
Vernon licked his lips nervously. "They'll find him and bring him back. They've done it before." Seeing Maybourne’s questioning look, Vernon explained. "We couldn't take it any longer. We left him at a church in Shrewsbury but they brought him back, forced us to take him back. We never wanted to be involved with any of that, but that old coot that seems to run things amongst his kind didn’t give us a choice."
Maybourne nodded his head. "You give Potter to us and I'll guarantee that you will never see him again."
"What about his money?" Vernon wanted to know.
Maybourne leaned back in his chair. "That's not our concern. All we care about is getting the boy."
"Never to return?" Vernon asked.
"Not if I have anything to say about it," Maybourne said with a wicked smile.
Vernon looked down at the pen he was playing with, lost in thought.
"So have we got a deal Vernon?" Maybourne asked as Vernon continued to remain silent.
Vernon looked up at Maybourne as he thumb pressed the button at then end of the pen. "Where do I sign?"
"Harry," Ginny nudged him with her shoulder.
"Hmmm," Harry mumbled looking away from the countryside and at the concerned faces of his friends.
"Do you want to play Exploding Snap with us?" Ginny asked, picking at the seam of her shirt.
Harry smiled softly at her. "No. Not right now," he replied before turning his attention once again to the world outside the train.
"Harry," Hermione said in a commanding tone.
Harry turned once again from the window and looked at Hermione in confusion.
"You know…" Hermione hesitantly began, "You know we all miss him," she finished hastily.
Harry nodded his head. "I know, but you didn't get him killed," Harry replied. "Or lead you…. all of you injured." Harry's eyes roamed over those in the compartment.
"You can't blame yourself, Harry," Luna said with a dreamy expression. "We decided to follow you. Even if you tried you could not have left us behind. And your godfather… perhaps he was needed someplace else?"
Harry smiled at Luna kindly as he accepted her oddities and her kind words. "But I need him here."
Luna nodded her head. "Perhaps he'll come back for you then."
"I can only hope," Harry turned his attention back to the countryside as he brushed the back of his hand against his eyes.
"Harry," Ron said, trying to draw his friend back to them.
Standing up suddenly, Harry told his friends. "I… I need to go to the loo."
"Of course, Harry," Hermione said as the group rearranged themselves to let him pass.
Closing the compartment door behind him, Harry let out a sigh as he ran a shaking hand through his hair. Taking a breath Harry walked down the narrow hall towards the loo at the far end of the passenger car.
Entering the magically enlarged compartment, Harry quickly glanced at the two empty stalls before closing the door behind him wanting to make sure he was alone. "Why can't they let me be?" Harry asked himself. Shaking his head in disgust, Harry walked up to a stall and shut the door. The sound of someone taking a piss along with a relieved sigh filled the small room.
A few minutes later a slightly more relaxed Harry opened the stall door. Walking up to the sink, Harry stared at himself in the mirror above it. "Why did you have to die, Sirius," Harry asked as a single tear rolled down his cheek.
A soft whine was heard a heartbeat before Harry's eyes rolled up into his head and he collapsed on the floor.
Dropping from the ceiling, a figure dressed in black robes and wearing a white mask landed next to Harry, a snake-like weapon in his hand instead of a wand. Quickly the man checked the boy over before pocketing Harry's wand.
Hoisting Harry up with a grunt and throwing him over his shoulder, the man opened the door a crack and looked out into the passageway. Seeing no one he stepped out of the loo and moved quickly to the door leading to the next passenger car. The man and unconscious boy exited through the door, but never arrived in the next car.
"Draco," Pansy's voice called out from inside the compartment. "Is there something wrong?"
"No. No everything is perfect," Draco replied as an evil grin appeared on his face.
"Any sign of magic being used?" Moody demanded.
Tonks shook her head. "Nothing that you wouldn’t expect to find. Childish hexes and pranks."
"What about his family?" Moody growled as he turned his attention to Shacklebolt.
"His uncle is still waiting for him," Shacklebolt replied, how brow furrowed in thought. "He was demanding that we give him Harry immediately.”
Moody narrowed his eyes as he stared at Shacklebolt. "Was there something else?"
A distant look came to Shacklebolt's eyes as he reviewed his meeting with Mr. Dursley. "He seemed nervous."
"They hate Harry," Ron chimed in. "They hate everyone and anything to do with magic, so they're probably not real happy waiting on Harry, and with all of us magical folks wandering around them."
Shacklebolt shrugged his shoulder. "It's a possibility."
"But you don't think so," Moody stated to which Shacklebolt nodded his head. "Find out what the family’s so nervous about."
With a quiet nod of his head Shacklebolt left the small group.
Turning to the students, Moody growled, "Tell me what happened again."
Hermione started the story once again. "Harry was depressed about Sirius' death."
"He was staring out the window the whole time," Ron chimed in.
Hermione shot a nasty glare at Ron for interrupting her. "A couple hours into the trip Harry left to use the loo and never returned. Of course we searched the train and Harry's usual hiding spots but like Shacklebolt and Tonks said, there was no sign of him."
Moody nodded his head. "And you're sure he was on the train?"
"Of course we are," Hermione exclaimed in outrage. "Do you think we don't know our own friend."
"Harry's scent was in the compartment the kids shared," Lupin supplied. "I don't believe anyone was impersonating him. He smelled sad, depressed."
"So Potter got on the train, went to the loo and vanished," Moody said as he summoned up the facts as simply as possible. "So the question is, did he leave willingly or not. And with whom?"
With wide eyes Draco hid in the shadows of the landing as he watch the library door, listening to the sounds coming from inside the room. His wand firmly grasped in his hand, Draco darted through the lighted section of the landing to the room on the other side.
Opening the door slowly, to avoid making any noise, Draco slipped in and went to the large clear crystal that the Malfoy heir had been taught to use to spy upon those in the manor.
Placing his hand on the crystal Draco mentally directed the device to look into the library. The magic that was embedded in the crystal quickly showed the interior of the room, which contained only three people: Draco's mother Narcissa Malfoy, his aunt Bellatrix, and Severus Snape.
Bellatrix’s voice came from the crystal. "Have you found it yet?" she demanded as she leaned back in her chair her feet on the desk. "The Dark Lord wants that spell before dawn or he will be very displeased."
"Well it would go faster if you help," Snape snarled as he grabbed a leather bound book and quickly looked through the contents.
"Books are not exactly my thing," Bellatrix commented as she waved her hand to dismiss Snape's suggestion.
"Yes," Narcissa said bitterly. "We all know how well you and books get along."
Bellatrix just smiled smugly at her sister as she picked at her nails with a knife. "Well we all can't be perfect like you dear sister." Allowing her feet to fall off the desk and hit the floor with a thump, Bellatrix stood up. "What about Draco? Could he find this book we're looking for. After all while Lucy is in Azkaban, he is the head of the household."
Draco's eyes widen at what Bellatrix had just said. "Head of the household," he whispered in confusion.
"Shut your mouth," Narcissa snarled as she swung around to face her sister, her face filled with rage. "That is not to be spoken of."
Snape raised an eyebrow at Narcissa's comment, but wisely remained silent.
"Oh so the little dragon doesn’t know, does he, my sister. How very Slytherin of you, keeping your son ignorant of his duties, of the fact he controls the Malfoy's fortunes while you keep control of everything," Bellatrix cooed. "Are you already making plans on what gifts to give to your court of lovers since he won't know he can stop you? Does he even know his dear mother has lovers?"
Draco's eyes narrowed at his aunt's words.
"No, and he’d better not find out about any of this dear sister, if you know what is best for you," Narcissa said evilly.
Bellatrix gasped in mock terror as she placed both hands over her chest. "Are you threatening me, dear sweet little sister."
Raising her nose slightly in the air Narcissa turned her back on her sister and resumed the search while Bella cackled wildly.
As mischievous glint appeared in his eyes, Draco deactivated the crystal before proceeding towards the library.
As he arrived at the door, Draco let his eyes droop so they had the 'just woke up' look to them. "Mother?" Draco said around a yawn as he opened the door.
"Draco," Narcissa said as she whirled around, hiding the book she was looking through behind her, as if to try to hide her guilt. "What are you doing up?"
"I heard voices," Draco explained simply as he rubbed his eyes with his left hand, "so I came to see who was here.
The sound of a book being slammed shut drew everyone's attention to where Snape stood. "That was very unwise of you Draco," he said. "You entered a room half asleep with no knowledge of who was in here and without your wand. What would you have done if you had found someone here who was trying to kidnap you and your mother, so they could use you against your father? Or, what if it had been Aurors here to raid the manor for twisted reason? With the announcement of the return of our Lord, you may be assured that they are wand happy right now and your sudden appearance would be a perfect reason to remove you as the Malfoy heir."
Draco tried to take on a properly chastened air as he looked down at the floor. "I didn't think of that. I was hoping there might be some word of father."
"Do not worry about your father," Snape said as he placed the book he was holding back on the shelf, "I'm sure the Dark Lord has plans to rescue those loyal to him from the accursed island."
Draco looked up at his godfather with a smile. "I hope it’s soon. I do miss him."
Sighing wearily, Narcissa opened the book she had and began to flip through the pages. "Go to bed Draco. You have lessons in the morning."
Ignoring his mother comments, Draco sat down in his father's favorite chair. "What are you looking for?" he asked after watching his mother and Professor Snape search through books while keeping an eye on his Aunt Bellatrix, who was amusing herself, by balancing a knife, point down, in the palm of her hand.
"The Dark Lord asked your father for a book but he never had a chance to deliver it," Snape stated as he picked up another book.
"What was the book?" Draco asked innocently, "Perhaps I can help you find it."
With a sigh Snape looked at Draco. "It was a books of spells and charms to find one's hidden enemies. Unfortunately, neither the Dark Lord, nor anyone else knows the title of the book since this was a recent acquisition of your father’s."
Draco nodded his head silently in thought before rising from his seat and walking over to a black box that rested on a stand near the fireplace.
Removing the lid of the box, Draco placed it down on the table before removing the sides and placing them next to the lid. In the place where the box had been, was a human skull, covered with ancient runes in black ink.
Picking up a silver knife that lay to the skull, he pricked his finger, then smeared the welling blood onto the forehead of the skull.
"You are not the head of the Malfoy line," replied a disembodied voice.
"My father has been imprisoned and until he is freed I must honor the Malfoy line and lead in his absence," Draco replied as his eyes rested on the skull.
Narcissa hissed softly as her hands clinched into fists at Draco's words, while Bellatrix glanced at her sister smugly.
"Yes. Yes, I see," the voice said. "So how may I be of service young Lord."
Draco seemed to stand taller at the use of the title. "I am searching for a book my father recently acquired, which contains spells for locating one's hidden enemies."
"Do you wish for a book on finding your enemies who appear to be your friends and allies, or a book on finding the location of a hidden enemy and their loved ones?" the voice asked.
Draco turns to Snape, an eyebrow raised questioningly.
"Location of enemies," Snape replies. "The Dark Lord wished to discover where Potter is hiding for the summer."
Draco's eyes widened slightly. "You mean he escaped!"
All eyes immediately snapped to Draco.
"What do you mean, escaped?" Bellatrix asked as she caught the knife in her hand after flipping it into the air.
"That Potter has escaped from the Dark Lord," Draco replied, confusion evident in his voice.
"And what gave you the idea that the Dark Lord had Potter," Snape asked as he walked over to Draco.
Draco looked back and forth between the adults in the room. "I saw Potter being taken from the train by a Death Eater."
The eyes of the three adults, loyal to the Dark Lord, met over Draco's head, reflecting their shock and confusion.
Major Carter knocked on the door that led to General Hammond’s office.
“Come,” the General’s voice barked from inside.
When he saw who was there, Hammond asked, “What can I do for you Major?”
“I was just wondering if you knew where Colonel O’Neill might be. Janet said she released him last night, but he’s not on the base and he’s not answering his home phone.”
“I would be surprised if he were.” Hammond told her. “When Dr. Frasier released him last night, Jack came by and asked to take some time off. Said something about wanting to spend some time fishing and relaxing.”
“So he’s gone to his lake cabin.” Carter commented.
“If you and Dr. Jackson would like to join him, I’m sure he won’t mind, Major,” Hammond told her. “I’ve put you all on downtime until he gets back. I think Teal’c mentioned something about going to see his son for a few days when I told him about the Colonel taking some time off.”
“Ah, no thank you, sir,” Carter told him quickly. “I have a few projects I can work on while he’s away. I’ll pass the message on to Daniel though, he may want to go.”
Hammond quickly hid a smile. He had a feeling that Dr. Jackson would rather face Apophis than go fishing with Jack, if he had a choice.
After returning from the Land of Light and completing his necessary physical, Teal’c went down to DanielJackson’s office; fairly certain he would find the younger man there.
Looking in the open doorway, he saw that his guess was confirmed. The younger man was scratching out some text on the chalkboard and comparing it to the picture taped up there. There were open books and old tomes scattered about over every available surface. Teal’c took in all the candy wrappers scattered on the desk and a trashcan over flowing with them. A plate containing a half eaten sandwich and a half-filled cup of coffee sitting near it that the Jaffa was willing to bet was stone cold was on the table near the door. An airman had probably brought that by because Teal’c could tell that the linguist was very absorbed in his work, because he hadn’t been greeted yet.
Teal’c stood there for several minutes watching Daniel Jackson as he moved around the office. He never ceased to be amazed at the younger man who preferred to settled things peacefully if possible but could fight like a Gornash if needed in defense of his friends. What amazed him the most was how DanielJackson could move around this tiny cluttered room with his attention totally focused on the book he was reading, yet not strike any of the objects or books scattered about.
“Greetings DanielJackson,” Teal’c spoke up once Daniel was stationary back at the chalkboard.
The chalk screeched on the board for a moment as Daniel turned in surprise. “Teal’c, I thought you weren’t coming back until Friday.”
“It is Friday, DanielJackson.” Teal’c told him. “Have you not been out of this office since I left a few days ago?”
“Well, this research needed to be done, so that SG-11 had all the information they needed for that treaty negotiation they are going to next week on PX8734.” Daniel told him feeling slightly defensive. “The leaders of the Sarnai are very touchy on protocol. We can’t afford to get anything wrong.”
“Surely O’Neill would have seen to it that you left your office at least once in the last five days.” Teal’c stated somewhat surprised.
“Well, he’s up at his cabin fishing.” Daniel told him. “Once Janet released him, he requested time off, telling General Hammond he had some things he wanted to think about.”
“And has no one heard from him since he left?” Teal’c wanted to know. He had known that O’Neill was up at his cabin, but had thought he would be back by now since he hadn’t been able to talk anyone into going with him.
“I haven’t, but Sam might’ve. He’s been trying to get her to go fishing for a while now.” Daniel told him his mind wandering back to the contents of the chalkboard.
Before Teal’c could try and question him further, the phone in Daniel’s office rang. Seeing the other man was engrossed once more in his translation, Teal’c picked up the phone. “DanielJackson’s office.”
“Teal’c?” The Jaffa recognized General Hammond’s voice. “Is Dr. Jackson there?”
“He is working on a translation for SG-11 so he told me,” Teal’c advised the General.
“Bring him up to my office as soon as possible.” Hammond ordered. “We seem to have a missing Colonel on our hands.”
“We will be right there,” Teal’c told him. Putting down the phone, he informed Daniel that General Hammond wanted them in his office as soon as possible. “It seems something may have happened to Colonel O’Neill.”
That got Daniel’s attention away from the chalkboard. Putting down the book he was holding, Daniel followed Teal’c out the door.
“Come in and close the door behind you.” Hammond instructed as soon as he saw Carter standing in the doorway.
“Sir, you said something about the Colonel being missing?” Carter spoke up as soon as the door was closed.
“Yes,” Hammond gestured to the seats around his desk. “I received a call from the Sheriff of Stillwater, Minnesota.”
“That’s where Jack’s cabin is!” Daniel announced unnecessarily.
Hammond glared at him for a moment before returning to the matter at hand when Daniel remained silent. “I had a call from Sheriff Breitmeir in Stillwater. He informed me that the Colonel’s cabin was broken into and vandalized last night before the jeep he keeps there was stolen by four teenagers for a joyride.”
“And what of O’Neill? Did he make no move to stop the intruders?” Teal’c found this hard to believe. He also didn’t believe these teenagers could’ve taken O’Neill out.
“Apparently the Colonel wasn’t there when it happened.” Hammond told the trio seated in front of his desk. “The Sheriff called here, because he thought Colonel O’Neill was at the base and he wanted to let him know about the break-in.”
“Why would he think Jack was here?” Daniel asked puzzled. “He’s been at his cabin most of the week.”
“Apparently not,” Hammond told them. “I spoke with Mr. Jamison, the man Colonel O’Neill has kept an eye on his cabin when he is not there and he reported that he hasn’t seen O’Neill in several months. At first I thought maybe he just hadn’t seen the Colonel arrive, but I was informed that O’Neill always calls when he is going to the cabin, so that Mr. Jamison will know when to meet his plane. And that’s only if the Colonel hasn’t made prior arrangements for another ride, then he just lets him know when he will be arriving, so he will know not to call the police if he sees lights at the Colonel’s cabin. The man is retire military and takes his job very seriously.”
"I'm assuming the sheriff has questioned the kids about Jack's whereabouts?" Daniel asked.
Hammond nods his head. "The teens claim to have found the Jeep on Jack's property, the front door was open and the keys were on a hook by the door. They deny vandalizing the house though or even seeing O’Neill. According to the kids there were no lights on in the house when they got there."
“Does he believe them?” Carter wanted to know.
“The Sheriff says they have never been in trouble before.” Hammond told them. “According to him the teenagers were celebrating the fact that school was out. About the only crimes he intends to charge them with as of right now is underage drinking and trespass. The blood tests done at the hospital at the time they were admitted came back showing the teens were well over the legal limit even for an adult. I’ll leave it to your imaginations just how drunk they were by the time his deputy caught up with them. The trespass charge is because they admitted to entering O’Neill’s cabin and drinking his beer. Fortunately they didn’t make it very far in the Colonel’s jeep. He says they were lucky because they nearly flipped the jeep into a nearby river.”
“Jack is going to kill them,” Daniel muttered. Actually on further reflection Daniel thought that Jack wouldn’t kill them. He’d want them to suffer and from what he’d been told Jack’s cabin sometimes needed a lot of work to maintain it, especially after some of the storms that went through his area. He could see a lot of hard labor in the teenager’s immediate future.
“Did they say what they were doing out there?” Carter wanted to know. “According to the Colonel his place is kind of off the beaten track.”
“According to the Sheriff, the kids were apparently looking for somewhere new to drink, since all the usual places are so well known and frequently patrolled.” Hammond told her.
Teal’c asked the question that was on everyone’s mind. “Could the NID have taken O’Neill due to the knowledge downloaded into his brain by the Ancient’s repository?”
Hammond told them. “That is the most obvious possibility. I need SG-1 to go to Stillwater and see if you can figure out what happened to Colonel O’Neill. If he was taken by the NID or someone associated with them there should be traces somewhere.”
“Sorry folks, but this road is closed,” the deputy told them.
Getting out of the car, Carter gave her ID the deputy, telling him, “My name is Captain Samantha Carter, United States Air Force. I believe Sheriff Breitmeir told you to expect us.”
“Yes, ma’am, he did.” The deputy checked her identification and then recorded it and their arrival time on a clipboard he had in his squad car. “May I see some identification, gentlemen?”
Daniel handed over the ID that identified him as a civilian working for the Department of Defense. That one usually raised less questions with outsiders than the ID he had to wear around the SGC. Teal’c also handed over his civilian DOD identification as well.
Returning their identification the deputy requested. “Please check in with me when you leave ma’am and sirs. Also since General Hammond informed the Sheriff that Colonel O’Neill was missing, we are treating this as a crime scene. We were going to have the CSI team from Beaumont come in, until he told us he was sending you to check on things first, since the Colonel was working on a top secret project. So if you remove anything from the property I will need to make a list of it, so it can be accounted for later.”
“If we find anything that needs to be removed in the interests of National Security, we will let you know Deputy,” Carter assured him.
As they pulled up in front of the cabin, they saw that O’Neill’s jeep had been returned. They saw that the left front bumper of the jeep was crumpled up and away from the wheel well. There were also long gouges down the left side to the rear quarter panel.
“I hope those kids' parents have filed the insurance claim for this, or Jack may just take it out of those kid’s hides.” Daniel commented.
“Should not the ones who caused the damage be required to atone for it?” Teal’c wondered.
“If they don’t have a driver’s license it will be up to their parents to pay for the damage and then work out a method for their kids to pay them back.” Carter told him. “If they did have a driver’s license and therefore auto insurance it will pay for this rather expensive damage and then they will be required to pay the insurance company higher rates because this accident will be on their records for at least seven years.”
Getting out of the car and checking the immediate area, they saw that the front door was closed and everything appeared undisturbed.
“Do you have the keys the Sheriff gave us?” Carter asked Daniel.
“Right here,” Daniel held up a key ring.
“Should we check inside or outside first?” Teal’c wanted to know.
“Let’s start with the outside.” Sam suggested. “Daniel, you check the carport and the area around it, while Teal’c and I check to see if there are any signs of a struggle outside. We’ll meet back at the front door in fifteen minutes.”
When they met back up at the front door, Carter reported, “I found a lot of cigarette butts and beer cans and bottles near the pond.”
“I found the same on the far side of the house.” Teal’c reported.
“There wasn’t anything in the carport.” Daniel reported. “The kids must’ve done all their drinking where they could make a quick break for it if they were found.”
Daniel unlocked the front door, and they entered what might politely be described as the aftermath of a hurricane. Stuff was scattered all over the living room. Magazines were thrown about on the floor along with some file folders and seat cushions and chairs were overturned. The kitchen was worse. Things had been pulled out of the cabinets and some of the packages were open with their contents strewn over the counter.
As they started to move into what looked like an office, Teal’c heard a crash from one of the back rooms. He quickly held up his hand for silence. The other two looked at him wondering what was going on, when he motioned toward the back.
Pulling her pistol out of the holster in the small of her back and nodded indicating she would follow Teal’c’s lead. Daniel also pulled out a pistol but stayed further back to cover them in case the intruder got past Sam and Teal’c, though the chances of that were very slim.
With Carter covering him, Teal’c entered the office quietly, expecting to be attacked by whoever was involved with O’Neill’s disappearance. Instead the sight that greeted him was someone’s rear end as they tried to wriggle out of the narrow but not impassable window. The intruder was about halfway through, when Teal’c grabbed the flailing legs and dragged him back into the room.
The man twisted in mid-air trying to recover from his rather abrupt removal from the window only to land on his butt. A familiar voice started swearing. “Damnit! There’s no need to be so rough.” He looked up and smiled weakly when he saw it wasn’t who he expected it to be.
“Maybourne.” Teal’c growled. “Where is O’Neill?”
Maybourne looked back and forth between Carter and Teal’c and noticed neither looked pleased to see him. He also couldn’t help noticing that Carter’s gun was pointed slightly lower than his heart toward some other important equipment. Gulping noisily, Maybourne decided that the truth was the safest course for now if he wanted to keep the important pieces of his anatomy intact. “I don’t know. I thought you were Jack.”
“You really expect us to believe that?” Carter commented as Teal’c pulled the NID agent off the floor.
“It’s the truth.” Maybourne insisted.
Daniel had come into the room in time to hear the last comment. “Maybourne, you wouldn’t know the truth if it danced naked in front of you.”
“Yes, I would,” Maybourne managed to look slightly insulted.
“Why are you here?” Carter demanded, her eyes betraying her need to know.
Suspecting that something had happened to O’Neill and that they thought he had something to do with it, Maybourne knew the only way he would get out of the room if not the house intact, was to come clean. “I was sent to talk with O’Neill. My superiors wanted to see what information he retained from that Ancient database that was downloaded into his head.”
“And what would you have done, if he did remember any of it?” Teal’c leaned in threateningly.
“I was told to bring him in to talk with them.” Maybourne had to fight the urge to cower back from the threatening Jaffa. “I was kind of surprised to find he wasn’t here, not to mention the place looking like a hurricane had gone through it.”
“So you don’t know where Jack is either?” Daniel burst out in surprise.
Maybourne shrugged one shoulder, given that the other was being held in the iron grip of Teal’c and said truthfully. “Not a clue.”
Carter pulled out her cell phone and hit the speed dial for General Hammond’s office. When she got through to Hammond, she told him, “Sir, you are not going to believe who we found at Colonel O’Neill’s.”
In the waiting area of Gate 19, a man in his late 40's with salt and pepper hair sitting in one of the uncomfortable airport chairs, his hand holding the hand of a sleeping young man. The younger man’s head was wrapped in bandages. The older man spoke softly to the unconscious young, speaking words of comfort and encouragement.
A pretty young woman wearing the uniform flight attendant of Air Canada stopped next to the older man. "Mr. Maybourne?" she asked, her nametag was bearing the name of Kelly on it.
"Yes?" the lean man got to his feet, pulling his aviator sunglasses off as he faced her.
"We can load your nephew and yourself now," Kelly replied.
Maybourne replied with a smile. "Thank you, miss," he grabbed the handles of the wheelchair and started to push it towards the entry ramp.
The flight attendant looked down at the sleeping young man, his forehead covered with bandage. Licking her lips nervously, "Mr. Maybourne?"
"I know it's none of my business," she began.
"It was a car crash," Maybourne answered her unspoken question. "My brother and his wife were killed instantly and Daniel was… they didn't think he would live. The doctors just cleared it so I can take him home with me. I just wish that the pain meds he's taking didn't leave him so dopey. It seems as he sleeps most of the time and when he's awake... I don't know if he understands what's happening"
"Oh! I'm so sorry Mr. Maybourne," she gasped.
"Harry. Please call me Harry," Maybourne replied. "And it's alright you didn't know."
"I know. It's just that I feel bad now," Kelly replied, "so if you or your nephew needs anything please let one of the other flight attendants or myself know. We‘ll help anyway we can to make the flight as comfortable as possible."
"I will Kelly," Harry Maybourne replied, "And thank you."
As Maybourne pushed the unconscious Harry Potter onboard the airplane a voice announced over the loudspeaker "Flight 127 to Vancouver will begin boarding shortly at Gate 19.
Raising himself unsteadily up onto his elbow, Harry looked around at the rest of the room he’d found himself in. It contained what appeared to be two full size beds, a low dresser, a small table with two chairs, and most important of all a television sitting on the low dresser. As he looked at the television, Harry suddenly realized that he wasn’t dressed in his school robes but in clothing that he’d never seen before that looked brand new and fit him perfectly.
Adrenaline flooded his system as he realized that the last place he clearly remembered being was the loo on the Hogwarts Express. Rising shakily Harry got to his feet, trying to see if he could find his wand. Spying a carry-on bag on the far side of the other bed, Harry moved slowly over to it. He’d noticed after the first couple of steps that moving quickly was a bad idea, unless he wanted to end up face down on the well-worn carpet. Picking up the bag and placing it on the nearby bed, Harry unzipped it and was about to start looking inside when he heard the sound of the door opening.
Turning toward the door, Harry positioned his body so that he could fight or flee at a moments notice. The graying man stood in the doorway and stared at Harry, two pizza boxes balanced in one hand and a six pack of soft drinks in the other. "Harry," the man said breathlessly as he looked at Harry with longing.
"Who are you?" Harry demanded as he unsteadily backed away from the man. "Where am I?"
The man shut the door behind him and moved slowly into the room, his eyes on Harry the whole time. "My name is Jack," he said as he placed the food on the dresser next to the television. "And you're in a hotel room near Vancouver, Canada."
"Can… Canada!" Harry sputtered. "I can't be in Canada."
"Trust me kid, you're in Canada," Jack said. "I should know. I’m the one that brought you here.”
"But I can't be. I have to go back to the Dursley's," Harry said more to himself than to Jack. Suddenly as if he realized what was going on Harry's head snapped up and his narrowing eyes fixed onto Jack. "Why?"
Jack sighs as he ran a hand over his short graying hair. "It has to deal with Sirius Black."
"What about Sirius?" Harry demanded. "What do you know about him?"
"I know that he died a week ago," Jack said. "Look kid, what I have to tell you is difficult and I hardly believe any of it myself. And this isn't exactly the best place to tell you any of it. So you got to trust me. Let me take you to someplace safe and I promise I'll explain everything."
"Why should I trust you?" Harry demanded. "You kidnapped me from the Hogwarts Express or had someone do it for you. You drugged me. Undressed me and then dressed me like I was a doll to be played with. Kidnap me from my homeland. And take my wand, my only means of defense away from me. So why the bloody hell should I trust you?"
"You're definitely Lily's child," Jack mumbled.
"Look if I give you your wand back will you trust me enough to come with me?" Jack asked. "I want to get out of here before anyone in England realized you're missing and starts trying to find you."
Harry shook his head no. "Why wouldn't I want to be found?"
"Harry do you honestly think that Sirius's death was an accident? Dumbledore has plans for you, plans that Sirius disagreed with," Jack stated as he pulled Harry's wand out of his jacket and tossed it onto the bed near Harry.
Harry licked his lips as his eyes moved between Jack and his wand. "Ok," Harry said as he grabbed his wand off of the bed. "Let's say I believe you for the moment, where are we going?"
"I own a cabin in Minnesota. When we get there I'll explain everything. I promise," Jack said with a relieved smile.
Harry looked down at the wand in his hand and slowly nodded his head. "OK."
"Great. That’s great," Jack said. "Umm I got pizza. I got you one with green peppers since I know you love them."
"No centaurs?" Harry commented as he looked out the passenger side window.
"No. No, we got lucky on that," Jack replied with a chuckle.
Harry nodded his head half heartily before turning to stare out the passenger side window again.
Jack glance briefly at Harry before turning his attention back to the road. "We're going to have to go into to town tomorrow," Jack stated. "I have food at the cabin but I didn't think on getting you any extra clothes."
Harry let out a weary sigh. "Why am I not surprised?"
"Give me a break kid," Jack grumbled. "I'm not used to kidnapping teenage wizards from a train and transporting them half way around the world."
"Oh and you're used to kidnapping other people transporting them half way around the world?" Harry asked.
Jack squirmed slightly under Harry's gaze. "Maybe."
Harry crossed his arms over his chest as he stared at Jack waiting for more information.
"I'm a Colonel in the United States Air Force," Jack stated, "and that’s all I'll say on that subject."
Harry relaxes slightly at Jack's confession. "Have you ever caused a friend to die?" Harry asked, as he seemed to shrink into himself.
Jack glanced over at the teen. "Yes."
The growl on the engine and the hum of the road was the only thing that filled the cabin of the vehicle as the miles sped past.
"How do you get through it?" Harry asked finally breaking the silence.
"Finding someone to talk to, someone who will actually listen to you is the first step," Jack said as he watched to road. "The next step is to realize that no matter what you did differently it probably wouldn't have made a difference."
Harry snorted. "Yes, it would have."
Jack glanced over at Harry, his concern evident in his eyes. "Yeah, well sometimes it might but you know what they say about hindsight. Look kid, when you're out in the field, you have to make decisions on the info you have. Good or bad, you make the best decision you can at the time and fucking hope for the best. But I'll tell you this, looking back at the decisions you made in the past with the knowledge you have now… well it's either going to cause you to crawl into a bottle or put a gun in your mouth. You made the best decisions you could with the info you had at the time."
"Yeah but Sirius… Cedric still died," Harry replied softly.
Jack slowed the car down and pulled of to the side of the road. Coming to a complete stop, he put it in park. Turning in his seat, Jack took a good look at the youth next to him. "I'm going to tell you the God’s honest truth, Harry. The decisions you made even the ones that turned out bad you made honestly; you weren't trying to get anyone hurt or killed. It just turned into a big cluster fuck. And it will probably happen again and nothing you do will stop that. But letting the guilt eat you up, you'll start to second guess everything you do and that will get you killed and probably other people too."
Harry wiped his eyes with the heel of his hand. "It's not fair. It's not right."
"It never is," Jack replied. "But who ever said that life is fair. All you can do is live for those who didn't get the chance."
Harry nodded his head.
"Look kid… Harry, if you ever want to talk about," Jack said, "I'm here to listen and if you don't want to talk to me I know some other people who are good at it too."
"Ok," Harry replied his voice breaking up as he tried to keep from crying.
With a nod of his head Jack turned back in his seat and put the car into gear.
“Daniel,” Sam never took her eyes off Maybourne. “Would you call General Hammond and let him know who we found here.”
“This is going to make his day.” Daniel commented pulling out his cell phone.
A few moments later, Daniel said, “General Hammond we found someone or maybe I should say something at Jack’s cabin.”
“Hey!” Maybourne took offense at being called a thing.
“Be silent.” Teal’c growled into Maybourne’s ear.
“We found Maybourne poking around. He claims that his superiors sent him to talk Jack about the Ancient Repository.” Daniel responded to an unheard question.
Daniel listened to the voice on the other end of the line for a few more minutes and repeated, “Yes sir.” a few times. As he put his phone away, Daniel gave Maybourne an almost sympathetic look.
“Well?” Sam glanced briefly at Daniel before returning her attention to Maybourne.
“The General’s sending Ferretti out here by jet. He wants us to bring Maybourne back to the SGC for questioning once Ferretti gets here.” Daniel told his teammates. “Ferretti is going to be to keeping an eye on the place and see who else shows up. Until Ferretti arrives, General Hammond wants us to finish going through the cabin to see if Jack might have left us a clue about what happened or where he’s been taken.”
“Well we’re gonna need someway to keep him confined.” Sam commented, her gun never wavering.
“The deputy’s cuffs?” Daniel suggested.
Sam shook her head. “He would ask too many questions about how Maybourne got here and why we aren’t taking him to jail. I’m fairly certain General Hammond is going to want to keep Maybourne’s presence here a secret.”
“So how are we going to get him out past the Deputy?” Daniel wanted to know.
“The trunk of the car should be big enough to hold him, especially if we gag him.” Sam commented.
“And render him unconscious,” Teal’c added leaning menacingly over Maybourne, “so that he is unable to make any other kind of noise.”
Maybourne paled and gulped realizing the Jaffa was serious about knocking him out.
“Daniel, can you see if the Colonel has any zip ties or something like them around here so we can try and keep Maybourne out of our hair?” Sam requested.
Daniel glanced at Sam and Teal’c then gave Maybourne a slightly pitying look before leaving the room.
Turning to face Maybourne, Sam asked, “Now are we going to do this the easy way or should I let Teal’c fulfill a few of the darker fantasies he has about you?”
“They involve you screaming in agony.” Teal’c put in helpfully, a slight smile on his face. Those who knew the Jaffa well, upon seeing that expression, would’ve been the first to advise Maybourne to co-operate since the thought of torturing Maybourne appeared to make him happy.
Maybourne barely kept a whimper from escaping as he looked at the almost expressionless Jaffa and wished Jack O’Neill were here. At least he knew what that man was capable of.
“Captain,” Maybourne said earnestly. “I really don’t have any more information I can give you. And that is the absolute truth. All I was told to do was come talk to O’Neill, find out how much he remembered from that alien database and if he remembered anything, to bring him in to talk to my bosses.”
Seeing she still didn’t believe him, he hurried on. “When I got here this morning, I had to wait until the Sheriff left, then sneak past the Deputy and that wasn’t easy let me tell you, that young man takes his job very seriously. When I got inside this place was already a mess and there was no sign of O’Neill. Since I hadn’t seen any ambulances leave, and Jack wasn’t here, I figured he’d been called back to the SGC. While I hadn’t heard of anything that would require him to be recalled, I figured it must’ve been a serious emergency that made him bug out and leave this mess behind.”
“Then what were you doing in here, if you thought he was gone?” Teal’c growled.
Maybourne flinched back from him. “I was checking to see if O’Neill might’ve written down what he remembered, so I’d have something to take back to my superiors, but you got here before I had a chance to do a thorough search.”
Daniel walked in as he finished speaking and Maybourne clammed up unwilling to say any more and appear weak in front of a civilian. In his opinion Jackson had no business being at the SGC or at least no business going off-world. They were in a war and civilians only made war messier.
“All I could find were these?” Daniel held up a strip of plastic lawn and leaf garbage bag ties. “I figured we could join several of them together to fit around his wrists. They shouldn’t break easy.”
Sam examined them for a minute and then pulled several off the strip. “These will work fine Daniel."
"Teal’c can you take care of securing Maybourne in the trunk of the car?” Sam requested after she’d secured Maybourne’s wrists behind him with the strung to together plastic ties. “While you do that Daniel and I will go through the papers here and see if we can get an idea of what happened to the Colonel.”
“It will be my pleasure.” Teal’c sounded menacing as he looked around for something to use as a gag and something to tie Maybourne’s feet together.
An electrical cord that had been ripped out of a lamp by whoever had messed up O’Neill’s cabin served very well to insure the felnick Maybourne’s immobility. And Teal’c used a t-shirt from O’Neill’s laundry basket to fashion a gag.
AD had me killed The word me had been scratched out and looked like it had been replaced with SB
… AD needs to control HP. AD might have HP killed. Dangerous to keep HP around once V gone.
AD need HP gone to claim money/fame for V’s death
SB fell through veil. Is it like SG?
Is M real or am I crazy
Both Sam and Daniel recognized the writing as O’Neill’s but the several lines of text or code made no sense to either of them. Sam bagged it to take back to the SGC to see if someone there could figure out the code and what the initials meant
Felnick - an insulting Jaffa word for something lower than a cockroach
Jack steered the car down the down the long driveway to his cabin. "Welcome to my hide…" he said as the cabin came into view only to slam on the brakes suddenly. "What the hell!"
"I take it you don't normally decorate with police tape?" Harry commented as he eyed the police tape strung around the porch of the cabin.
"No," Jack replied a touch of steel in his voice as he put the car in reverse turned in his seat so he could see out the rear window.
Slamming his foot on the accelerator Jack steered the car down the wavy driveway until he got to a spot were he could turn the car around, putting the car in drive once again Jack, gravel kicking up as he sped out of there.
"Where are we going?" Harry asked as he held on to his seat.
"To find a phone. Someplace where there's lots of people," Jack commented. "I need to call a friend who normally watches the place for me. He'll be able to tell us if it's safe or not."
"And if it's not?" Harry asked as he clutched his wand.
Jack took his eyes off the road and glanced over at Harry. "You're not going back there. I swear."
Harry nodded his head, looking more like the scared boy he really was.
Opening a snap on his vest Lou pulled out a cell phone and dialed a number. Pressing the phone against his ear, Ferretti waited for an answer. "Sir?" he said when the other end was picked up. "Colonel O'Neill was just here with another person."
"No, sir. The other person in the car appeared to be male however I'm not positive on that, sir," he replied to a question from the person on the other end.
"No, sir," Ferretti replied to yet another unheard question. "I guess when Jack saw the police tape he figured the place wasn't safe and high tailed it out of here."
Lou nodded his head, agreeing with whatever the person on the other end of the phone was saying. "Well, sir, if I were to make a guess since he doesn't want SGC involved he'll try to contact Jamison."
Ferretti listened to whatever the other person was saying. "Yes, sir. Understood." He said before closing the cell phone and returning it to the pocket on his vest.
With a sigh he settled down in the spot where he could watch the cabin and the road that led up to it. "You better have a damn good explanation Jack."
"Yeap but evil," Jack commented as he dragged Harry deeper into the store.
"Evil?" Harry frowned. The place didn't look evil or feel evil.
Jack nodded his head. "They come in with promises of low prices, force the mom and pop stores out of business and then start to raise their prices. And if you don't like what they carry then you're S.O.L."
"S.O.L?" Harry asked, still frowning and little bit confused.
"Shit out of luck," Jack replied as he pulled Harry to the payphones located next to the restrooms and layaway department in the back of the store.
Fishing some coins out of his pockets, Jack was soon waiting for the other end of the phone to be picked up.
A faint “Jamison” so came out of the ear piece of the phone handset.
"Corey?" Jack replied.
"Jack? Hell Jack I've been trying to get a hold of you for the past couple of days," the voice at the other end of the phone replied.
"Yeah well something came up Corey," Jack replied.
"Well it better have been damn important for you to not tell me you're up here," Corey replied.
Jack glance over at Harry who was looking over some junk near the layaway department. "Yeah, it was important," he replied. "So what happened at my place?"
"Well it turns out that the local kids…." Corey gave Jack the run down on what happened at his cabin and his Jeep and how the sheriff and SGC had been called in.
"They drank all of my beer?" Jack growled.
Corey's laughter rang out from the receiver. "Damn, Jack I thought you would be more upset about them smashing up your Jeep than over your beer."
"It was a case of Heiniken," Jack whined. "Those brats wouldn't know how to appreciate a good beer if it sat up and kissed them."
Corey chucked. "Of course not, Jack," he replied. "Of course when you were their age you knew how to appreciate a good beer."
"That I did, Corey. That I did," Jack replied, "but I could never appreciate a good Tequila."
"It's 'To Kill Ya', Jack, not to Tequila," Corey snarled. "And you promised never to mention that blasted drink again."
"Right you are Corey. Right you are," Jack replied smugly. "Look I'm going to be at the cabin for the next few days and I would appreciate it if you don't mention to anyone you heard from me."
Jack request was meet by silence before Corey finally asked. "You in trouble, Jack?"
Jack once again glance over at Harry. "Only if they find us first. Talk to you later Corey. And thanks," Jack replied before hanging up the phone.
"Everything okay?" Harry asked as he put the item he was looking at back on the shelf.
"Yeah," Jack replied as he shoved his hands into his pants pocket. "Some teens busted into my place. That’s all."
Harry raised an eyebrow at Jack's comment, at how he dismissed it. "So?"
"So I was thinking since you need some more clothes and since we're here," Jack said, waving his hand in the general direction of surrounding store.
Harry sighed his shoulders slumping. "I hate shopping for clothes."
Jack threw an arm over Harry's shoulder and dragged him closer. "Every guy hates shopping for clothes. It's in our genes," Jack explained. "Now women. Some women love it and some would rather have a root canal done then go shopping for clothes."
Carter called the tower at the Air Force Academy and got clearance for them to land. General Hammond had already made arrangements for a car to meet them near the private hangers, which were used to store the non-military jets. These civilian jets were used to shuttle military and civilians attached to the Academy and or Cheyenne Mountain to locations where there was no military airbase nearby or when the matter required secrecy.
The only regret voiced during the trip back to Colorado, was from Teal’c who had been disappointed that they hadn’t been able to give Maybourne a more uncomfortable ride.
Daniel had used the time, they were in the air, going over what Jack had written down while he had the ancient database in his head and the partially burnt scrap of paper that they’d found in the fireplace at Jack’s cabin. Daniel flipped back and forth between the papers Jack had written on and the bits of Ancient knowledge he had been able to accumulate on his own, to see if he could figure out what any of it meant. However it was the intriguing code Jack had used on the burnt scrap of paper that captured the majority of Daniel’s attention. He was fairly certain that the letters were initials and at one point he had called Hammond to forward that information to him. He hoped that the General would be able to get someone to go over Jack’s military records to see if they could find any matches for those initials.
“Buckle up, Daniel, we’re about to land.” Carter ordered through the cockpit door, when she saw he was still leaning over the table in front of him.
Sighing, Daniel put the papers away and fastened his seatbelt. When he saw Maybourne eyeing the papers, Daniel made a mental note to get them put into Hammond’s safe as soon as possible. The last thing they needed was Maybourne’s people getting hold of these pages and figuring out how to read the Ancient’s language. He was fairly certain there had to be at least one mole at the SGC. Somehow the NID had learned about Jack having the ancient database stuffed into his head, a fact that hadn’t even been reported to the Pentagon yet. The General was still sanitizing the information to make sure that Kinsey and those who worked with him didn’t learn more than they needed to.
The Special Forces soldier wisely made no comment about Maybourne’s roughed up appearance nor the fact that he was bound. The soldier fought to conceal a smirk as SG-1 paraded Colonel Maybourne past him into the elevator. It was a well-known fact among those stationed at the SGC that whenever Colonel Maybourne appeared or was known to be in the area, trouble would soon follow on his heels usually aimed right at the SGC and SG-1 in particular. The soldier hoped that this time SG-1, even without Colonel O’Neill, had gotten to him before the trouble could start.
When the elevator doors opened, a pair of guards were there to meet them and escort them to General Hammond’s office.
“Enter,” they heard Hammond’s muffled voice bark through the closed door after the senior SF soldier’s knocked on his office door.
“SG-1 is back with their prisoner sir.”
“Thank you, Lt. Jennings,” Hammond looked up from his desk. “Please escort Colonel Maybourne to the conference room and make sure to put a double guard on him.”
“Yes, sir.” Jennings and his companion took custody of the prisoner and left SG-1 standing in the open doorway.
“Come in,” Hammond ordered, “and close the door behind you.”
Once the door was closed, Hammond smiled at them. “You will be pleased to know that Colonel O’Neill turned up at the cabin a couple of hours after you left. It seems that the police tape around the cabin made him suspicious though and he took off before Major Ferretti had a chance to make contact. The Major believes that he will return as soon as he has made contact with Jamison, the man who takes care of his cabin to find out what happened there.”
“Was he all right?” Carter asked.
“Major Ferretti reported he appeared to be ok and that he had a companion.” Hammond told them.
“Companion, sir?” Carter queried. “Any idea who?”
“Afraid not.” Hammond told them. “Major Ferretti thinks his companion was male but he wasn’t one hundred percent certain of that.”
“So if Ferretti is right, the police tape really spooked Jack, or possibly his companion. And given he bugged out so fast, it is most likely his companion that Jack is trying to protect.” Daniel concluded. “Which may mean must be someone he feels is in danger if they are found or he would’ve gone on in.”
“Or possibly his companion is the one that requested they depart.” Teal’c put in.
Before Hammond could comment, the phone rang.
Since it wasn’t the red phone, the General barked, “Hammond!” into it.
After listening for a moment, Hammond said, “Give me a moment to put you on speaker Major. SG-1 is here and they should hear this as well.”
Hammond punched a couple of buttons on his phone and then set the hand set back in its cradle. “Okay, Major, would you repeat what you just told me.”
The three remaining members of SG-1 heard Ferretti say, “I said the Colonel is back sir, along with a friend.”
Hammond asked. “Does the Colonel appear to be a prisoner of his companion?”
“No, sir, the Colonel appears to be free and mobile,” was Ferretti’s response
O’Neill’s teammates sighed in relief then Daniel asked. “Lou, is he ok?”
“Yeah Dr J. He looks good, tired but good.”
“What can you tell us about his companion, Major?” Hammond returned to business now that they were assured of O’Neill’s apparent good health.
“Caucasian male. Early to mid teens. Dark hair possibly black.” Ferretti provided a description of the person with O’Neill.
“Is the young man with the Colonel confined or injured in any way?” Hammond inquired, puzzled as to who the youngster might be. O’Neill had no close kin still living.
“No sir, the kid appears to be fine. They appear to be kidding around right now.” Ferretti then added, “However the kid appears to be nervous about something… And so is the Colonel.”
“Any indications about what they might be nervous about?” Hammond wondered what O’Neill had gotten himself into.
There was a pause before Ferretti said, “No sir, but I don't think the kid trusts the Colonel completely.”
“What makes you say that, Major Ferretti?” Teal’c asked.
“From what I can see the kid is on edge and looks ready either to fight the Colonel or run.” Came the response.
“All right Major. I want you to watch over the Colonel and his guest.” Hammond ordered. “I’m sending SG-1 back to your location so we can try and get a handle on what’s going on. Call me if the situation changes.”
“Yes, sir,” Ferretti hung up.
“SG-1, I want you to return to Colonel O’Neill’s cabin and bring him and his guest back to base.” Hammond ordered.
“Bring an unknown civilian onto the base sir?” Carter questioned. “Are you sure that is a good idea?”
“We should be able to keep the young man from finding out things he shouldn’t.” Hammond seemed certain. “Right now, the most important thing is to get Colonel O’Neill back here where he will be safe from the people Maybourne works for and I have a feeling that he may not come without this young man. I want Colonel O’Neill back here as soon as possible.”
“Yes, sir.” Carter saluted him while Daniel and Teal’c nodded in understanding.
“So here we are again,” Jack said as he put the rental car into park and turned off the engine.
“Yeah, we are,” Harry eyed the crime scene tape across the front door of the cabin warily.
“Nervous?” Jack asked noticing the unease in Harry’s voice.
Harry shrugged his shoulders. “I’m thinking of some of the horror movies my cousin Dudley likes to watch. Isolated place. Some kids from town come out to party. One of the girl's drags their boyfriend out to the woods to have sex, and hiding in the building is some type of monster or a really creepy guy with a big knife. Thus begins the bloodshed."
Jack chuckled at Harry. “I wouldn’t worry about that. We’re completely safe here.”
“Really?” There was a sarcastic hint to Harry’s voice.
“Yeap. There isn’t a big chested blond on hand to be the first to die. Also we’re missing the traditional nerdy virgin who will be the sole survivor,” Jack replied as he opened his door and climbed out.
“That’s only for slasher movies,” Harry countered. “In monster movies, it’s the older male character gets eaten first and it’s the handsome younger male character who survives.”
Jack looked over at the car roof at Harry. “Love you too,” he snarled teasingly.
“Now that’s a totally different type of movie and we won’t get into those,” Harry said with a smirk before grabbing the plastic bags out of the back seat.
“Just for that I’m going to find the worst movie ever made and have you watch it,” Jack threatened.
“And here I thought you kidnapped me to protect me, not torture me,” Harry countered.
“If I wanted to torture you I would have you eat Carter’s cooking or have Daniel tell you all about his rocks,”
Harry let out a snort. “I’ll keep that in mind,” he said before looking at the forest surrounding the cabin. “Jack? Are you sure we’re safe here?”
Jack looked up from where he was examining his mangle up Jeep. “Yeah, we are. No one in England knows that I have you and the name I used will have them on a wild goose chase long enough for us to get everything straightened out.”
Harry inhales nervously; the teasing and joking air vanished. “So why did you kidnap me? How did you know my parents and… and Sirius?” he whispered.
“It’s kind of complicated,” Jack said as he ran a hand through his hair. “Look, let’s get everything straightened up and then I’ll explain everything to you.”
Harry eyed Jack with distrust.
“Look, it’s complicated. I hardly know where to begin and as it is, I have trouble believing half of it myself,” Jack said. “I’m not going to lie to you or tell you half truths or keep things from you because I don’t think you’re old enough. I promise you that!”
“You'd better not!” Harry threatened, angrily, before turning and striding toward the cabin, the bags in his hands swaying dangerously, in perfect juxtaposition to how afraid he actually was.
Jack stood there and watched as Harry disappeared into the cabin. “Damn.”
Lou focused the binoculars on the Colonel’s friend. “No, sir, the Colonel appears to be free and mobile,” he replied to General Hammond's question.
A smirk came to his face at the sound of SG-1's obvious relief reached his ears.
When Daniel's question of whether or not Jack was 'ok' was spoken, Lou immediately turned his focus onto O'Neill. "Yeah Dr J. He looks good, tired but good," he replied.
“What can you tell us about his companion, Major?” Hammond voice came over the headset.
Lou located O'Neill's guest and adjusted the binoculars focus. “Caucasian male. Early to mid teens. Dark hair, possibly black.”
Ferretti continue to focus on the teen as Jack walked the kid walk around. “No sir, the kid appears to be fine. They appear to be kidding around right now," he replied. Pulling his eyes from the binoculars, Major Ferretti looked at the scene before him. “However, the kid appears to be nervous about something… And so is the Colonel.”
“Any indications about what they might be nervous about?”
Lou raised the binoculars to his eyes once again to study the area beyond O’Neill’s cabin then returned to Jack and the kid. “No sir, but I don't think the kid trusts the Colonel completely.”
“What makes you say that, MajorFerretti?” Teal’c’s voice came over the headset.
“From what I can see the kid is on edge and looks ready either to fight the Colonel or run.” Lou replied as he watched the kid threaten Jack before marching off towards the cabin leaving a dejected O'Neill behind.
Lou nodded his head at what the General said next before saying, “Yes, sir,” and disconnected the call.
Focusing the binoculars solely on Jack, Lou said, "What the fuck are you mixed up in this time, Jack?"
“Thanks for helping clean up,” Jack said between bites.
Harry shrugged his shoulders. “I’m used to it.”
Jack glanced over at him. “Yeah, I imagine so.”
“So…” Harry said glancing inquiringly at Jack.
“So…” Jack replied before taking a drink.
Harry raised a single eyebrow at Jack’s avoidance of Harry’s unspoken question.
“Right,” Jack said with a glum smile. “I guess you want to know what this is all about.”
“It would be nice,” Harry said before take a bite of his sandwich.
“Well I guess you could say it all started with my job,” Jack said. “If you haven’t figured it out I’m in the US military, the United States Air Force, to be exact and most of what I do is classified so I can't go into too much detail."
Harry nodded his head, accepting the condition of what he's going to be told.
"Well," Jack began, waving a hand around, "I was in an incident with this highly technical thingamabob that… well it downloaded all the knowledge of a long dead civilization into my head," Jack explained.
"Was it magic?" Harry asked. "This thingamabob? Was it a magical creation? I mean, you know that magic exists. So was it?"
"No…Yeah… maybe. It's was beyond what we, I mean non-magic people can make and magical people can make." Jack took a bite of his sandwich while he gathered his thoughts. "It might be a combination of the two, magic and technology."
"So what happened?"
"Well, I had all this stuff in my head and it was killing me. My brain wasn't made to be crammed full of information. Luckily for me the information included how to contact a race that could help," Jack said.
"Goblins, High Elves, vampires?" Harry asked.
"None of the above," Jack replied with a smirk. "It's a race that has been pretty much forgotten about. I mean they're still around but they're so good at hiding that almost no one remembers them and any that claim to have met them are look upon as crazy."
"Luna might have met them," Harry said around the bit of sandwich he was chewing.
Harry nodded his head. "Yeah she's always looking for this or that creature." Harry let out a snort. "Maybe she's not as crazy as everyone thinks she is."
"With everything I've seen I wouldn't doubt that she's seen something," Jack commented.
"So since you're still alive, I'm assuming you were able to contact your mysterious race?"
"Right," Jack said. "So they were about to un-cram my brain and send me home but well… they seem to have unlocked something in my brain."
"They unlocked something in your brain," Harry said with a smirk. "What did that do?"
"Well it seems to let me remember things. Things I wasn't meant to ever remember," the nervousness he was feeling suddenly evident in his voice.
"Remember what?" Harry asked as he set his half-eaten sandwich down.
"My past life," Jack said quietly. "I remember everything of my past life."
"So who were you?"
Jack took a deep breath and look Harry directly in the eyes. "Sirius Black."
Don't you blame this horrible cliffie on us. The All Knowing Coin told us to stop here. We even flipped it 5 times each and it came up as end chapter now.
"So who were you?"
Jack took a deep breath and look Harry directly in the eyes. "Sirius Black."
Harry let out a bitter chuckle as he put his glass down on the table in between Jack and himself. "Yeah, right. That's not possible. You're too old to be Sirius."
Jack looked down at the glass in his hand, then back at Harry "When I fell through the Veil, I was transported back into time. Somehow, I was reborn as Jonathan O'Neill."
Harry’s eyes narrowed, becoming harder. Rising from his chair, he stepped back, getting out of range of Jack. "Prove it," he demanded.
"At Christmas… This past Christmas, Dumbledore in his infinite wisdom and love allowedus to spend time together in that fucking hell hole that was my prison," Jack ran his hand through his hair. "Fuck… I was so messed up from Azkaban. I sometimes had trouble remembering you weren't James, that everything that had happened to me, really did happen and it wasn’t all some sick twisted nightmare."
Harry stared at Jack, his jaw clenched tight; his wand in his hand as his eyes demanded more proof from the man seated in front of him.
Jack let out a weary sigh. "The day after Christmas, you'd found me in Buckbeak's room. I usually went up there to escape… to escape them, myself, that damned house… everything, even if only for a little while. We ended up talking. I told you how everything had gone wrong the day James tried to ask Lily to marry him; how in the end Lily asked him to marry her.” Jack smile fondly at the memory. “I remember telling you how as a baby, you seem to have this uncanny ability to pee in any man's face with the exception of yours truly when they changed your diaper. Oh and there was this one time that rat had you and somehow your diaper came undone and you let it rip with both guns all over his new robes and then finished up with puking up on the only clean spot left."
Harry looked at Jack with wide eyes; his hand shook slightly as Jack's words rang with truth.
"I always figured it was James pulling a prank on Peter,” Jack commented, “but I guess you knew more than we did about that little rat."
Harry backed up one more step; he shook his head violently. "No. That’s not proof," Harry had trouble speaking, given the painful emotions rising up in him and looking for an outlet. "No, you could have used Occulmency to learn those things."
Jack shook his head. "You know perfectly well that I didn't Harry," he replied. “You would’ve felt me. I was never very good at Occlumency. My teachers always said I left them with a headache, even if I did it while they were asleep.”
As Jack got up and moved toward Harry intending to comfort him, Harry snarled and backed away from him, his wand out and pointed at Jack’s chest. "No. No! This is some kind of sick trick! You're working for Voldemort. Or… or you're working Fudge, trying to get me expelled."
Jack snorted. "I'm not a Deatheater and Fudge is too stupid to come up with an idea like that."
"You could be a sympathizer," Harry countered, grasping at any possible reason for why this man would be making these outrageous claims. "You might be one of those who believes that Voldemort and his followers are right… that all the Muggleborn should be killed."
"And if I were, then you would have already been in Moldywart's hands, if not dead," Jack pointed out, throwing his hands up in the air. "Hell, your mother was a Muggleborn, Harry! If I believed in that crap, or the crap my parent's spouted, I would never have been her friend, let alone your Godfather."
"You're not my Godfather!" Harry shouted, tears running down his cheeks. "Sirius is my Godfather… was my Godfather, but he's dead… And it's my fault!"
"I. Am. Sirius." Jack repeated emphasizing each word.
"You're not! You can't be Sirius! " Harry insisted wiping his tears away angrily. "Sirius would… Sirius would never have left me with the Dursley's, if he could’ve helped it."
Jack rocked back oh his feet as if he had been struck. Collapsing back in his chair, the older man tried to explain. "That night… the night when James and Lily were killed… I admit it… I wasn't thinking straight. I was thinking about how it was my fault that they were gone. If I hadn't thought up the idea of switching secret keepers, they would have still been alive," Jack admitted softly his head bowed. "When I saw you with Hagrid, I knew he would take you to Hogwarts, to Dumbledore. I knew you would be safe there until I was able to deal with Peter. I was going to catch that rat and send him off to Azkaban. I only let you go so you would be safe."
Harry stared at Jack in silence.
"When I ended up becoming Jack, reincarnation...whatever happened to me…who I am now," Jack said haltingly, "I didn't remember anything about being Sirius, about you, or Lily or James. But as soon as my memories started to come back, I made plans to come and get you, to rescue you. I remembered how much you hated living with the Dursley's."
Harry shook his head in disbelief. "No. That… everything you’ve said doesn't prove anything!" Harry snapped. "You’re in the military, for all I know you're working for some government agency that wants to use me, to turn me into some type of weapon. You'll say anything to make me believe in you, …to trust you."
Jack shook his head sadly, but before he could say anything their attention was diverted by a black Hummer as it drove down the driveway toward the cabin.
As Jack rose to his feet, his hand slid toward the small of his back where he kept his gun. Pulling it out, he brought it down beside his right leg, slightly out of sight, alert for danger.
Harry’s eyes widened at the sight of the gun, not to mention the black Hummer coming toward them. It was all the confirmation he needed that this man wasn’t to be trusted. "I knew it! I was right! You were lying to me! This was all a setup!"
Turning on his heels, Harry took off into the woods surrounding the cabin. Jack took a moment to snarl, "Damn!" before taking off after Harry while trying to keep one eye on the Hummer.
As the headlights slid past the pair, they saw the teen look in their direction and then take off around the back of the house. They saw Jack’s shadowed form following a moment later.
“Ferretti!” Daniel called into his radio, “Jack and the kid have bolted around to the back of the house. We seemed to have spooked them. Can you try to intercept them from your side and we will split up and search for them from this side of the house?”
“I’m on it, Dr. J. ” Ferretti’s reply came over the radio.
Once Sam had the Hummer parked near the porch, she went to the rear of it and pulling a flashlight out of the emergency kit, she handed it to Teal’c.
“Daniel and I will get a couple of flashlights from the cabin and be right behind you.” Sam told Teal’c, nodding toward the cabin.
Taking the flashlight, Teal’c nodded before heading in the direction O’Neill and the young man had gone. Pulling a handkerchief out of his pocket, he covered the lens of the flashlight with it so the glare wouldn’t be quite so obvious but it would still give him enough light to see by.
A few feet into the woods, Teal’c stopped and knelt down to examine some strange tracks. At first they had been the size of an adult tennis shoe, obviously O’Neill’s, but then those tracks had suddenly stopped and from that point on, the tracks continued as those of a large canine. There was no pause between one set of tracks and the other. He checked the surrounding area for other footprints and while he found a number of sets, they appeared to be older tracks. He couldn’t find any more recent sets of tracks for O’Neill. How was this possible?Where had O’Neill gone?
Looking down at the unexpected animal tracks, Teal’c radioed the others to alert them. “Captain Carter, I do not believe we are out here alone. O’Neill’s tracks have suddenly stopped and seemed to have been replaced by a large dog’s.”
“Did you say dog, Teal’c?” Sam queried.
“Yes, Captain Carter,” Teal’c confirmed his earlier report. "And from the size of the print and length of stride I would say it is a very large dog.”
“Ferretti, did you hear that?” Sam wanted to know.
“Yea, I did,” Ferretti called back.
“Be careful, there’s no telling what that dog’s been trained to do.” Sam warned both men. “We are just leaving the cabin now with more flashlights, so Daniel and I will be joining you shortly.”
“Captain Carter. I do not believe we are out here alone. O’Neill’s tracks have suddenly stopped and seemed to have been replaced by a large dog’s,” Teal'c voice came through the small earpiece that Lou had in his left ear.
Lou moved silently through the forest in the directions of what sounded like someone one blindly running though the woods.
Captain Carter's voice came from the earpiece next. "Did you say dog, Teal’c?"
“Yes, Captain Carter.”
Ferretti froze in place so not to give way his position as his mind replayed exactly what Teal'c had said.
“Ferretti, did you hear that?” Captain Carter's voice said into his ear.
Lou licked his lips as he touched the button that allowed him to transmit. “Yea, I did,” he replied softly.
Carter's reply came back immediately. “Be careful, there’s no telling what that dog’s been trained to do. We're just leaving the cabin now with more flashlights, so Daniel and I will be joining you both shortly.”
"That's not what I'm worried about," Lou said softly to himself as he glanced at the nearly full moon in the sky. "What did they do to you Jack?"
The sounds of someone stumbling blindly though the forest in a hurry, snapped Ferretti out of his study of the moon. With skill that had been drilled into him for years, Lou started to move silently towards his target using the shadows to hide his presence.
Silently, he positioned himself so that the target would pass him if it continued on the same hurried path from Jack's cabin. A mumbled curse from what sounded like the young teen alerted the Major to the target’s position.
Holding his breath, Lou waited for the boy to be slightly in front of his hiding position before grabbing and pulling the boy towards him.
The boy didn't shout or call for help as Lou had expected him to do when caught by an unknown. Instead the boy went limp for a moment before suddenly starting to fight like a demon against Ferretti’s hold; biting, kicking, scratching, doing whatever he need to make Lou let go.
"Hold still, kid," Ferretti growled as he tried to restrain the teen without hurting him. "I'm not going to hurt you.”
A menacing growl from the left of their position caused Major Ferretti and the kid to freeze in place. Almost as one they turned and looked in the direction the noise had come from. They saw a pair of glowing blue eyes about two and a half to three feet off the ground and slightly below them were a set of shiny white teeth. The creature growled once again at them
"Oh shit," Lou exclaimed as he pushed the boy behind him and drew his gun.
All of a sudden the sounds they were following ceased, causing Daniel to freeze in place, uncertain of what was going on. A moment later he heard something growl and then he heard the words ‘oh shit’. The voice sounded like Lou’s. He started moving in Lou’s direction worried that the animal Teal’c reported tracking, had found Ferretti. A moment later his fears were confirmed by the sound of gunfire.
Another growl followed by a shout galvanized Daniel and had him rushing toward the sound shouting “Lou!”
The second thing to happen between heartbeats was for the creature to crouch down and then spring at Lou as a mass of black fur and teeth.
With the creature attacking him, Lou swung his gun up into firing position, hoping to get a shot off before it could complete its attack. The boy Ferretti was trying to protect suddenly grabbed hold of Ferretti's arm, pulling the gun away from the creature.
With a 'Oof' the black beast landed on Lou, forcing him to the ground, and his finger twitched on the trigger sending a single bullet into the night sky.
As Ferretti slammed into the ground with the massive weight of the dog on his chest, knocking the breath out of him, his gun slipped out of his fingers to land someplace unseen.
The shout of Lou's name cause the beast to stop, its teeth just inches away from Ferretti's face and the boy to take off once again into the forest.
The creature remained on Lou's chest as it looked in the direction the voice had come from and then in the direction the boy has gone. The dog looked back again to where the voice had come from and heard the sounds of more people coming closer. Letting out a pitiful whine, the dog bounded off after the boy.
Coughing weakly, Lou forced air back into his lungs as he watched the beast go after the helpless kid.
Still trying to recover his breath, Ferretti coughed out “Teal’c, when you said it was a big dog you weren’t kidding. That thing felt like a car when it landed on me and it has big teeth… lots of big teeth.”
“What happened, Major?” Carter wanted to know.
“I caught the kid, and he was fighting me, when we both heard something growl. Saw a pair of glowing blue eyes looking at us.” Ferretti told them. “I shoved the kid behind me and reached for my gun when that thing growled again. I started to take a shot as soon as it came out of the shadows, but the kid jerked my arm, spoiling my chance at getting a shot off. Then Cujo landed me before I had a chance to get another shot off. It felt like I’d been hit by a car when it knocked me to the ground. The kid took off and the dog followed him.”
“Then we need to find the kid before that dog does.” Daniel commented. “Whoever Jack is protecting that kid from probably trained it to go after him.”
“We need to find the Colonel as well.” Carter reminded them, scanning the surrounding forest all senses on alert. “Did any of you see him?”
All three men shook their heads.
“I think we need to find the kid first. Jack knows how to take care of himself and it looks like the kid doesn’t.” Daniel reminded them. “Once we find him, we can keep him with us as we search for Jack.”
“I agree,” Teal’c nodded. “At the moment it would appear as though the child is in more danger from the dog. Once we have him where we can keep an eye on him, we can concentrate our search on O’Neill instead of having to split our resources.”
Carter and Ferretti nodded. It was the most sensible thing to do, since they had no idea where O’Neill was, but Ferretti did have a direction on where the unknown teen had gone.
Hobbling along the best he could, Harry tried to put as much distance between the man who’d grabbed him in the woods and the creature he was afraid to name.
Unfortunately any further hopes of escape were dashed when he stepped wrong and his twisted ankle gave out on him, sending him crashing to the ground again.
Harry sat on the ground his hands wrapped around the bruised ankle, rocking back and forth, as if to beg for it to get better now. His breath hitched with a mix of frustration and pain.
Not one to give up, Harry started looking around for branch or something to help him continue his escape before someone or something found him. Unfortunately, the something found him first. He heard it whine.
In the shadow of a massive tree was the same pair of blue eyes of the creature that had attacked the stranger who had grabbed him. Harry started to madly grab around for anything he could use to defend himself, while his eyes never strayed from the creature.
As Harry's hand wrapped around a rock he could use as a weapon the creature slowly stepped out of the shadows revealing itself to be a huge grim-like dog.
Harry sat motionless as he stared at a creature that was almost identical to the Sirius' Animagus form.
The Grim lowered it's front legs so that only it's hind end was up in the air, it's tail wagging madly almost like the beast was trying to say 'come play with me'.
"Siri… Sirius?" Harry whispered softly as if afraid that this is only a dream.
The creature replied with a friendly sort of bark.
Harry stared at the creature in shock as the color drained from his face; the rock tumbled out of his hand onto the ground.
With a concerned whine the dog lowered it's rear end and crawled over to Harry. Licking Harry's hand, it whined for him to respond.
"Sirius?" Harry said once again his voice breaking with unshed tears as he started to touch the animal as if to make sure it was not a dream.
The dog whined once again as it pressed its cold nose against Harry's cheek before giving him a slobbery kiss on the same cheek.
"Sirius!" Harry cried out as he wrapped his arms around the massive dog, burying his face in the black fur as his body was wracked with muffled sobs.
Harry let out all the emotions he had buried since his godfather's death, while the animal suffered through it silently. The only time the animal moved was when Teal'c stepped out of the sheltering shadows.
The large shaggy dog looked up at Teal’c and sneezed.
Harry started in surprised at Teal’c’s low rumbly voice. He couldn’t let this man take him or Sirius. How could he have forgotten they were in danger? He had to get Sirius out of here!
“Captain Carter, Major Ferretti, DanielJackson,” Teal’c contacted the others who were out there searching. “I have located the boy and the dog. The dog apparently belongs to him as it seems to be protecting him.”
“Any sign of Colonel O’Neill?” Carter wanted to know.
“No,” Teal’c told them as he watched the boy and dog. “The boy appears to be injured. I do not believe he will be able to keep up with us. I suggest we return him to the cabin. Then Major Ferretti and I can continue searching for O’Neill.”
Hearing the big man’s intentions towards him, Harry tugged on Sirius’ fur trying to get the dog’s attention. Once he had it, he hissed, “We have to get out of here. We can’t let them take you.”
Sirius pulled away from him and took up a position halfway between Teal’c and Harry. He then did something that totally surprised Harry. Lowering the front half of his body to the ground while keeping his rear end in the air the dog yipped at the black man and wagged his tail as begging the man to play with him.
“Sirius!” Harry hissed unable to believe that Sirius could be this foolish. They didn’t know who this man was. Why was he acting like he could trust him.
“I mean you no harm,” Teal’c told the young man. “Colonel O’Neill brought you here to protect you from something and that is all I and my companions want to do as well.”
Harry looked back and forth between Teal'c and Sirius. "Jack lied to me. He told me something that I know perfectly well now is a lie," Harry said. "He kidnapped me from my home, from my country. Why should I trust you?"
“I know O’Neill very well.” Teal’c countered, seemingly unperturbed by the boy’s anger. “While he has been known to lie on occasion, it is never without good reason. Also while I do not know what it is you think he lied to you about, I do believe he brought you here for your protection. Maybe you should give him the benefit of the doubt until he proves unworthy of your trust.”
"I've been told that before.” Harry hissed. “I'm been told to trust people for my own good before and you know what happened? I'm the one who ends up fighting for my life, or getting tortured by people who are supposed to be my allies"
Teal’c decided he needed to make a show of trust on his part in an effort to get the boy to believe him. Kneeling down he extended his hand toward the dog and waited to see what it would do. The dog the boy had called Sirius, trotted over without hesitation and licked Teal’c’s hand. Then he leapt forward and gave the man a sloppy doggie kiss.
“If you will not trust my words, will you not trust your dog’s instincts?” Teal’c inquired.
Harry chewed on his bottom lip as he looked back and forth between the unnamed man and Sirius. "I don't like this," Harry said. "I don't like being at a disadvantage. Too many unknowns."
Teal'c raised an eyebrow at Harry's statement. "I do not know anyone who would be comfortable if they were in a situation similar to yours," Teal'c replied.
Sirius looked back and forth between Teal'c and Harry before grabbing the sleeve of Teal'c shirt and started to drag him to Harry.
"It appears that your dog wishes us to be friends," Teal'c said as he allowed the dog to drag him closer to the boy.
Harry scooted back a few inches. "One word, Sirius… Wormtail."
As Harry said that one word, Sirius released Teal'c shirt and dropped to his belly. Whining the whole way, Sirius crawled towards Harry his blue eyes seem to have grow wider as they begged for forgiveness.
When the dog was within reach Harry pulled it towards him, holding on tight. "I'm sorry, Sirius. I shouldn’t have said that but I don't know what to do. I don't know who to trust anymore; not after what the Dumbledore told me."
At the mention of Dumbledore's name Sirius began to growl; Harry pulled back in alarm. Seeing that had scared Harry, Sirius started to whine once again and gently licked Harry's face, asking for forgiveness.
Harry pulled Sirius towards him once again like a small child holding his stuffed animal when upset. Looking over at the man, Harry said, "What's your name?"
"I go by many names," Teal'c replied. "Many know me as Murray however you can call me Teal'c."
"Teal'c?" Harry said to which the man simply nodded his head.
"And what may I address you as?" Teal'c asked as if he knew the boy would probably not give him his real name.
"James," Harry said tentatively.
Teal'c nodded his head. "I am pleased to make your acquaintance, James," he said. "However, I think it would be best if we returned to O'Neill's cabin at this time. Your ankle may need medical attention and it appears that O'Neill is missing."
Sirius sneezed once again and then let out a whine.
Teal'c and Harry both looked at Sirius questioningly.
"Your dog is very intelligent," Teal'c said as he studied the animal. "Do you think it's possible he could lead me to O'Neill?"
"Sirius, do you know where Jack is?" Harry asked.
Sirius lay down on the ground and covered his eyes with his paws.
Before either of them could figure Sirius’ strange actions out, three others stepped out of the trees.
“I see you found the kid,” Ferretti commented.
Teal’c rose to his feet and said, “I found James and his dog Sirius.”
“Hello James,” Daniel knelt so he was on a level with the seated teenager. “We heard a little of your conversation with Teal’c and while I understand that you don’t trust us or Jack right now, I hope you will give us a chance to earn your trust, because we really don’t mean you any harm. My name is Daniel Jackson by the way. That’s Major Ferretti,” he pointed out the other unknown man. “And,” pointing to the blond woman, he said, “That is Captain Samantha Carter.”
“Hello,” Harry nodded cautiously to them.
“So the devil dog belongs to you huh, James?” Ferretti couldn’t resist commenting. The dog was bigger than he’d thought and might be the stuff of nightmares if someone were drunk enough.
“No, actually, Sirius belongs to my godfather, who’s an escaped mass murderer.” Harry countered, glaring at Ferretti for his devil dog comment.
“And you are actually proud that your godfather is a mass murderer?” Daniel questioned certain the teenager was joking.
Harry shrugged. “Everyone needs a hobby.”
Daniel stood there staring at the teenager still waiting for the punchline to the joke, and when it didn’t come he started to get a little worried.
“How many people is he supposed to have killed?” Ferretti asked also certain the kid was joking.
“Thirteen, unless you count my parents.” Harry told them matter-of-factly. “He likes things that go bang. Me, I’ve only got two to my name, almost had three. Give me enough time and I will probably beat his record. At least that’s what people keep telling me.”
Sirius whimpered and covered his eyes again. The last thing he wanted was for his teammates to think he was a crazed mass murderer. He was going to have a hard enough time trying to explain to them how he could turn into a dog. He’d forgotten he could do it, until he had set off in pursuit of Harry, and now he was stuck because he couldn’t remember how to transform back. The switch to his Grim form had been instinctive, but he had yet to regain the memories of how to get back to his human form.
“It would appear that Sirius knows where O’Neill is.” Teal’c commented diverting their attention from the prospect that the boy was claiming to be a serial killer in training.
“He does?” the blond haired man looked pleased by that news from what Harry could tell.
Harry shrugged again. “I’m not sure. He whimpers every time Jack’s name is mentioned. He may know something, then again he may not.”
Sirius gave a doggie sigh and nudged Harry slightly so that he rolled onto his side. Before Harry could recover, Sirius grabbed Harry’s wand with his teeth and pulled it out of the back pocket of his jeans.
Harry batted him on the nose making him drop it. “What are you thinking? You know the rules.”
Sirius whimpered at the pain from the swat on the nose before nudging the wand with his nose.
“What rules are you talking about?” Carter demanded. “What is that stick? Does it have something to do with Jack’s disappearance?”
Harry glared at the dog. “Now you’ve done it. What am I supposed to do now?”
Sirius nudged the wand again.
Harry looked from the wand to the people around him gauging the distances and trying to figure out how many stunning curses he could get off.
Sirius growled as if reading his mind and shook his shaggy head.
"Then what?" Harry snapped.
Sirius nudged the wand again, while whining pitifully.
"I don't get it, Sirius," Harry said. "What do you want me to do?"
"Maybe he wants you to throw the stick," Lou commented as he watched the kid warily.
Harry just rolled his eyes in typically teenage fashion.
Sirius let out a frustrated snort before touching Harry's hand with his nose then touching his paw and then once again Harry's hand, finally he touched the wand.
Harry looked at the spot on his hand that Sirius had touched then at Sirius then back at his hand.
"You're stuck?" Harry asked cautiously.
Sirius immediately started barking and bouncing around happily.
"How in hell did you get stuck?" Harry asked in confusion as he watched the dog act like a hyperactive Chihuahua.
Harry's question had the same effect as a bucket of cold water. Sirius immediately sat down on his hindquarters; his tail tucked in between his legs and a forlorn expression on his face.
Harry simply shook his head at the sudden change in the dog's behavior before looking down at his wand and then at those gathered around them.
The words had hardly left Harry's lip before Sirius was on his feet, his lips curled back as he snarled at the teen. The members of SGC reached for their weapons as the teen tried to back away from the snarling beast.
"I can't Sirius," Harry said in his defense. "It's against the rules."
The dog started to bark and growl at the boy almost as if he was chewing the boy out.
"Okay! Okay!" Harry shouted, holding his hands out. "I'll do it!”
Sirius immediately settled down and actually let out a snort of satisfaction.
Harry looked over at the four strangers, then down at the dog. Pointing the wand at the dog, Harry said, "If I get expelled for this you are in so much trouble! And I don't want to think what Moony is going to do to you. And don’t think I won't tell him! Restituo Ut Humanus."
“Restore to human?” Daniel automatically translated what the teenager had said. “Why would you say that to a dog?”
As the four adults watched, a beam of light shot from the stick, striking Sirius who hadn’t moved out of the way. The next thing the people from SGC saw was a sight that they would not quickly forget. The dog seemed to melt and grow at the same time. A few moments later the dog was gone and Colonel Jack O’Neill was standing before his team.
Daniel had fallen on his butt with a thump, while Carter simply stared at him saying, “That’s not possible.”
“Of course it is Carter. It’s magic,” O’Neill said with a smirk, enjoying the sight of Daniel rendered speechless.
Due to readers' demand, we have now included the Magic 8 Ball of Doom to our writing tools. So when we have to decide the fate of a character or if we should end the chapter at a nasty cliffie, we will turn to the Magic 8 Ball of Doom (unless the Magic 8 Ball of Doom can't decide and then we'll use the All Knowing Coin)
And yes people the Magic 8 Ball of Doom decided to leave you with this chapter's cliffie.
And I think both are gonna drive the Beta to distraction.. with their Magic Ball and Coin..
Daniel had fallen on his butt with a thump, while Carter simply stared at him saying, “That’s not possible.”
“Of course it is Carter. It’s magic,” O’Neill said with a smirk, enjoying the sight of Daniel being rendered speechless.
"So you're a werewolf now?" Lou said as he watched Jack wearily.
Jack rolled his eyes. "No, but if you want, I can introduce you to Moony. Isn't that right, kid," Jack said as he turned his attention to Harry who was staring up at him with wide eyes.
"Yep," Jack replied with a fond smile. "One of my best friends from before."
"Before what, Jack?" Daniel asked as he climbed to him feet brushing leaves and dirt from his clothes.
"Before Jack," Jack told them as he knelt down so he was could look Harry in the eyes easier. "So do you believe me now?"
Harry stared at Jack for a moment. "Moony is so going to kill you."
"Wouldn't be the first time," Jack shrugged his shoulders before he checked out Harry's twisted ankle.
"O'Neill." Teal'c spoke up from where he was standing guard to make sure nothing snuck up on their group. "I am confused. Several people have told me about the legends of someone cursed to change from a human to a canine are just stories to scare people and yet you appear to be able to do so though you claim that you are not a werewolf. How is this possible?"
Harry spoke up before Jack had a chance to reply. "The stories are true, though werewolves only change under the light of the full moon and they don’t have any control over their actions. Besides Sirius… I mean Jack is more like a Grim than a werewolf. And since there is no full moon, we don’t have to worry about it."
"Grim?" Lou asked nervously as he shifted his weight from one foot to the other while trying to keep an eye on O’Neill and the surrounding woods at the same time. "For some reason that doesn't fill me with a warm and comfortable feeling."
"In European mythology, a Grim was said to be a large spectral hound. Sometimes reported to have large glowing eyes and sometimes not, but one thing all the legends agree on is that a Grim is somehow a guardian of the underworld. That distinction is probably linked to the legends of Anubis, who was said to be guardian of the Underworld and who is depicted in wall paintings in Egypt as a jackal or dog. To some the Grim was even considered to be a protector or a sign of good luck while others saw its appearance as a sign of a death… often a violent death." Daniel informed the group. "Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is believed to have modeled the Hound of the Baskervilles on the legend of the Grim."
"So… Jack is a death hound," Lou reduced all that information down into simpler terms.
"Nope, I can just look like one, when I want to." Jack said as he cradled Harry in his arms and picked him up. Stumbling slightly because he’d overestimated Harry’s weight, Jack looked at his godson and commented, "Kiddo we really need to fatten you up."
"But how?" Sam sputtered. "It's physically impossible. The mass difference alone would make impossible."
“Fattening Harry up?” Jack looked at Carter in disbelief. “I’m sure a few good meals would be a start.”
“No, Sir. I mean yes, Sir.” Captain Carter stumbled over her words, realizing that she and the Colonel were thinking of two different things. “I was referring to the mass difference involved in changing from a human to a canine. You can’t just lose mass and suddenly gain it back, sir. It’s scientifically impossible to do.”
"What can I say," Jack said with a shrug as he started to the cabin. "They did it in Transformers."
"That’s a cartoon show, Sir," Sam exclaimed in disgust. "You can hardly base real life on things you see in a child's cartoon."
"Just like the Star Trek transporter is similar to a ring device.” Jack pointed out reasonably. “Or how about "The Mirror" and that show you like so much, what was the name of it…”
“I believe you mean Sliders, O’Neill.” Teal’c supplied the name of the show as he walked behind the rest of SG-1 watching their six.
"But that's completely different, Sir," Carter countered. "I mean at least those shows are partially based on reality. They are based on credible science, not the imagination of some writers.”
“What about Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein?” Daniel pointed out reasonably. “She introduced the idea of organ transplants long before they were made reality. And what about Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea? He introduced the world to the electronic submarine and deep sea diving suit.”
“Those things existed beforehand or were being theorized by the scientists of the day.” Carter countered. “The writers only borrowed those ideas for their books.”
“They’re worse than Ron and Hermione.” Harry grumbled softly as he was carried along.
Jack simply nodded his head as he started to hum the Transformer theme song.
"DanielJackson," Teal'c said. "What is this TV show called Transformers?"
Crossing his arms over his chest, Harry glared up at Jack. "Well, you were the one who decided to carry me the whole way," he pointed out. "I could have walked back to the cabin.”
Jack let out a snort before walking over to the kitchen cabinet where he kept his first aid kit. "And if Poppy or Janet heard that I let you walk on an injured ankle I would be a dead man."
"Who's Poppy?" Daniel asked, looking back and forth between Harry and Jack.
"An evil, evil woman," Jack answered as he carried the first aid kit over to Harry.
Harry looked over at Daniel and the others. "My school’s nurse."
"Jack, you're scared of a school nurse," Lou said teasingly as he sat down slowly in the nearest chair, favoring his left side.
A shiver ran through both Harry and Jack. "Yes!" They said in unison.
"Try to imagine an older version of Janet, who just happens to have more disturbing ways of treating her patients than simple needles." Jack explained as he tossed Lou a bottle of Tylenol.
"Poppy even scares Snape and most of the school is convinced he's a day-walking vampire," Harry chimed in.
"Vampires are real?" Lou asked nervously as he tried to swallow the Tylenol dry.
"Why Lou, I didn't know you were superstitious," Jack said teasingly as he wrapped an ace bandage around Harry's ankle.
Major Ferretti rolled his eyes. "I'm not," he stated. "I just want to be prepared for the unknown, especially when you're involved. All the really weird shit happens to you."
"I haven't met a vampire yet but I know they exist," Harry chimed in. "So do werewolves, ghost, trolls…"
Carter snorted in disgust finally reaching the point where she could no longer remain silent. "Those are all misidentified creatures or peoples who are suffer from some unnamed disease or genetic condition."
Jack and Harry looked at each other, identical smiles on their faces. Anyone who had known Sirius Black and James Potter during their time at Hogwarts would have been very worried that they had just been pranked. Especially if they had seen those twin smiles.
"Moony?" Harry wondered, nodding towards the blonde Captain.
"Moony," Jack quickly agreed with his choice. "Possibly Hagrid."
Harry nodded in agreement then with an evil grin, he suggested "Could introduce her to Peeves?" Let’s see her try to rationalize a poltergeist.
Jack tapped his fingers against his chin, looking thoughtful. "Tempting. Very tempting, but I’m not sure Peeves would be the best choice. Though I would love to introduce Peeves to Kinsey."
"And who are these people, O'Neill," Teal'c said as he eyed O'Neill warily, no longer completely sure he could trust the man he once considered to be his friend, his shield brother.
Colonel O'Neill looked up at his old friend having caught the undertones of distrust in Teal'c voice and understanding the reasons behind them even if he did not like them. "They're people I know from before, back when I was Sirius," Jack explained. "They're people I would trust with Harry's life, even Charlie's, if he were still alive... Well maybe not Peeves."
Teal'c raised an eyebrow at O'Neill's words. "And why would you not trust Peeves?"
"Dumblejerk too much of a threat to Peeves for him to risk pissing the old man off," Jack replied. "And the fact that he's a practical joking poltergeist with a weirder sense of humor than me or rather Sirius doesn't help either."
"I didn't think anyone but the Bloody Baron could truly control Peeves," Harry commented. "At least that’s what I always heard around school."
Jack nodded his head. “Dumblejerk normally lets him get away with stuff but Peeves knows if he pushes it too far the old man can always exorcise him.”
"Ghosts and poltergeist don't exist," Sam stated with conviction, not understanding why her commanding officer was continuing to play this stupid joke. "Besides we need to return to SGC immediately. General Hammond's orders. We were able to learn from Maybourne that the NID are veryinterested in talking to you, Sir."
"Maybourne? What does he have to do with this?" Jack demanded.
Daniel rubbed his nose for a moment before saying, "After the Sheriff reported your cabin was vandalized and your jeep was wrecked, Hammond sent us up here to check on you. We found Maybourne here, going through your stuff."
Jack's eyes narrowed. "And why was he looking for me?"
"His employers were curious to see how much you remembered…" Daniel glanced over at Harry, "from that trip you took last month."
Jack's eyes narrowed, his hands curled into fist at the thought of Maybourne or any member of NID going through his cabin. “I see,” he said before starting to move around the cabin gathering up the few unpacked things and the shopping bags full of things he’d bought for Harry.
"Colonel," Carter chose her next words carefully. "There is also the matter of," Carter glanced over to where Harry sat on the couch, "of the young man?"
O'Neill looked at his friends immediately on the defensive. "What do you mean?"
"We can't take the kid to the base, Jack. You remember this little thing call security." Lou stated bluntly with a nod of his head toward Harry, who was watching them silently. "There's also the problem of you kidnapping him from the land of tea and crumpets, not to mention god awful tweed suits."
"I didn't kidnap him," Jack snapped.
"Yes, you did!" Harry snapped. "You kidnapped me from the train. You shot me with something while I was in the loo!"
Jack walked over to a travel bag that was sitting next to the door. He quickly opened it and pulled some papers out. "I didn't kidnap you," he said smugly as he held the papers out to Harry.
Snatching the papers, Harry quickly began reading them. His eyes opened wider and wider as he realized what the papers meant. Once he reread the last sentence for the third time, Harry sat there in stunned silence before saying in a voice barely louder than a whisper. "You're my guardian… really?"
Jack nodded his head, a hopeful smile on his face. "But only if you want me, kid. If you don't, I'm sure we can find someone who's willing to take you in. Someone who is not under Dumblejerk's thumb."
Stealing the papers from Harry, Lou gave them a quick once over. "Right, so you’re the kid’s legal guardian, but that doesn't change the fact that we can't take him to the base."
"I know," Jack growled as he ran his hand through his hair. "But I don't have anyplace safe to leave him. Right now if Dumblejerk finds Harry he'll hide him so I can't find him again or worse."
“I can take care of myself.” Harry mumbled to himself, just like any rebellious teen.
"Why not take him to my house?" Lou offered, noting but ignoring Harry’s mumbling like he occasionally did with his own kids. If they wanted it heard they would say it again and louder. "He'll be safe there plus he would have Sara and the kids."
"I don’t think that would be a good idea unless you want them dead.” Harry said softly.
Ferretti's hands curled into fists, his eyes changing from a kind prankster to that of a hardened killer. "And what do you mean by that?"
Jack sighed as he sat down next to Harry on the couch. "Exactly what he meant. There are a number of people after Harry. There’s Dumblejerk and his Order who just want to control him and turn him into some type of weapon. And then there the other group that just wants to kill him… in the slowest most painful way imaginable."
"And let’s not forget the Ministry who just wants me to disappear," Harry commented. "Permanently."
"Fuck kid! Don't you have anyone of your side?" Lou asked.
Jack raised his hand.
Harry shrugged his shoulders. "Plus a couple friends at school but they're more than likely to listen to Dumbledore first."
"Isn't that a bit of an exaggeration?" Carter asked, unable to wrap her mind around what the Colonel and Harry were saying.
"I wish it were," Jack sighed. "Ever since he defeated Moldyshorts when he was still a baby, his life has been controlled by either Dumblejerk or the Ministry. And then you have his life being threaten almost daily by Moldyshorts and his merry band of psychos."
"Moldyshorts?" Daniel‘s eyebrow shot up at the odd name. “What kind of name is that? Why would he or she attack Harry when he was a baby?”
"Look," Jack said as he rubbed his forehead as if to stave off a headache, "why doesn't someone call Hammond to see what he can do about providing a safe place for Harry. Once we're at the base, I'll explain everything."
"I'll do it." Lou got out of his chair with a hiss. Shooting Jack a look that promised revenge later, he headed for the door of Jack's cabin office.
The members of SG-1 looked at Harry and Jack with different levels of curiosity, but they restrained themselves since Jack had promised to explain everything later.
Sighing, Jack turned to Harry and asked. "So what happened after my death?"
Harry shrugged his shoulders. "Tried to use the Cruciatus Curse on Bella but it didn't work. Got possessed by Voldemort. Dumbledore finally decided to tell me the prophecy. Not much, just the usual crap fest."
Jack nodded his head, not really surprised by what Harry told him. He’d sort of expected it. He’d noticed some time ago that the Karma Fairies seemed to spend a lot of time crapping on his life and those of his friends and family. Then he asked curious, "Has the Ministry at least gotten off its bloody fucking ass and declared me innocent yet?"
Harry shook his head no.
Jack sighed. "Good thing I went to Gringotts then."
"Why is that, Jack?" Daniel finally gave into his curiosity.
Jack shook his head. "I'll explain at SGC, Daniel."
"A bit like Hermione?" Harry whispered with a slight nod toward Daniel.
"More like Moony. Carter,” Jack nodded toward the blond woman who even now was jotting down notes on a piece of paper, “is more like Hermione."
"Right. Scary but brilliant," Harry replied as he watched the Captain.
Teal'c raised an eyebrow at the young man's accurate description of Major Carter even though he had never met her before today.
As Jack and Harry spoke quietly to each other, Lou slipped back into the room. "The General didn't like it but he agreed to let Harry come to the base but he's going to be under guard the whole time."
Jack nodded his head, not really surprised by that condition. Harry was an unknown after all. He would’ve insisted on it himself, If someone else had tried to do the same thing. At least Harry wasn’t going to be too far away and that’s what counted. "Alright."
"The General also said that both of you are restricted to the visitor and medical levels," he announced. "You're security clearance has been rescinded until you're been cleared by the Doc."
Jack let out a wearily sigh. "Yeah, I kind of figured on that."
"I believe it would be best if we left as soon as possible," Teal'c suggested. "Those after O'Neill and HarryPotter would most likely use the hours of darkness to try to retrieve them."
"Can't disagree with you on that Teal'c," Jack said with a smile. "I guess it's time to load up campers."
It was a well-known fact that Dr. Frasier hated working with minimal information. She was therefore understandably annoyed by General Hammond’s order to give Colonel O’Neill and the young man accompanying him the same level of physical that someone returning from off-world would receive. She couldn’t understand what kind of trouble O’Neill could have gotten into on Earth that would require a complete check-up to determine if he were now a threat to the people of the Earth.
"And what have you been up to that require you to be given a complete physical?" she demanded as she nodded her head towards one of the beds.
"You're right," a young voice came from behind the Colonel. "She is a younger version of Madam Pomfrey."
"But with needles," Jack added giving the doctor his most charming smile in hopes of avoiding said needles. "Big honking needles."
"And you must be Harry Potter," Fraiser said in a kinder softer tone as she looked the thin boy over with a professional eye.
"Yes ma'am," Harry said a slight blush on his check.
A quick smile flashed across Fraiser's face. "Up on the bed, young man."
Harry nodded his head before hobbling past her.
"What happened to your leg, Harry?" Janet said as she glared at the M.P. who had accompanied the Colonel and the boy for not aiding the young man.
"Just twisted my ankle, ma’am," Harry replied as he seem to curl up on himself. "It's nothing to be concerned about."
"I'll be the one to make that decision, Mr. Potter," Fraiser replied.
Jack rocked back and forth on his feet. "Yes, sir, I realize that."
Hammond nodded his head at Jack's comment. "Be seated," he orders as he sits down at the head of the table. "Now before you begin, Colonel, I think it might be best if Dr. Fraiser gives her report."
If Dr. Fraiser's eyes were weapons at this moment they would be set on kill instead of stun. "First, I would like to know if the Colonel knows where Harry's guardians are, sir?"
Hammond eyes widened slightly at the anger in the doctor's voice. "And why would you like to know that Doctor?"
"Because the boy shows all the classic signs of physical, emotional and mental abuse," the doctor growled. "And I intend to report those animals if no one else ever has."
"It has been reported before," Colonel O'Neill said softly, "but the reports were quietly covered up. Can't mold a weapon if it's happy and well centered."
Everyone in the room could hear Dr. Fraiser's teeth grind against each other. "And you had knowledge of this?" she said in a deadly calm voice.
"Yes and no," Colonel replied.
"I think you better explain right now, Colonel," General Hammond warned, feeling just as angry as the good doctor toward someone who would abuse a child, not to mention the animals that would allow it to be covered up.
"It's all pretty confusing, Sir, so I think it might be best if I started at the very beginning," Jack said.
Hammond nodded his head. "That might be a good idea, son."
"It all began back on June 4, 1960 when Sirius Black was born…." Jack started his tale.
It was nearly an hour later when Colonel O'Neill was finishing his tale of Sirius Black. "… and he fell through the Veil of Death."
"While that is very interesting I don't see how that pertain to the matter at hand," Hammond commented.
"I'm getting there, Sir," Jack assured the General as he ran a hand through his short hair.
"O'Neill, at the cabin you mentioned that you trusted certain people when you were serious," Teal'c said. "Am I correct in assuming you mean when you were this Sirius Black?"
Jack smiled at the old joke as he nodded his head. "I think the Veil might be an Ancient device, sir," he said as he turned to Hammond. "I was reborn as Jonathan O'Neill and until I returned from the Asgaurd home planet I never had any memories of being Sirius Black."
Hammond sat back in his seat and stared at his 2nd in command. "And that is why you retrieved Mr. Potter from the United Kingdom."
"Yes sir. Along with securing my... I mean Sirius's vaults," O'Neill replied.
"And why was that important?" General Hammond demanded.
"Sirius was the head of the Black family and therefore had control of the family's money and valuables," Jack explained. "I didn't want my cousin getting control over the money and using it for the war. There was also the fact that one of my ancestors was very interested in Egyptian artifacts."
Like a puppy hearing the word play, Daniel perked up just at the words Egyptian artifacts. "Artifacts? Do you know from what period in Egyptian history? What about their conditions? Are they in an environmentally controlled area?"
Jack rolled his eyes. "They're fine, Daniel. I know for a fact that the Blacks pay extra to make sure nothing happens to any of the items in the vaults."
"When was the last time you checked on them?" Daniel ignored his reassurance, given that Jack’s idea of fine and his were miles apart. "It's always possible that one of the people taking care of them may not be doing it properly."
"The one thing I know for sure about the goblins, is they never screw things up when it comes to money," Jack commented. "If they said it would be safe then it will be. Besides some of the stuff is over 5000 years old, Daniel and I'm sure if it can survive in hot and dry Egypt then it can survive in dark and dank England."
Daniel let out a whimper of pain at the words dark and dank.
"Goblins? You mean like in Lord of the Rings goblins" Lou interrupted before Dr Jackson could start his rant over the care some people took with the world’s antiquities.
Jack shrugged his shoulders. "Besides being fierce but honorable warriors, they run the banks in the wizarding world. One thing every witch and wizard knows is that you can't cheat or fool a goblin and if you are stupid enough to try, you won’t live for very long afterwards."
"Are they Aliens?" Hammond asked with a thoughtful expression.
Jack stopped and thought for a moment. "I'm not sure, sir. Everything I remember points to them being from Earth but I guess it’s possible."
"O'Neill if you say it is not possible to fool these creature then how did you convince them that you are SiriusBlack reborn," Teal'c asked.
A shiver ran through Jack's body. "Pain. Lots of pain."
After what seemed like eternity Jack finally found himself facing the goblin teller. "Hiya," Jack said cheerfully earning himself a goblin’s scowl. "I have some private business I need to conduct."
The goblin half heartily glared at Jack for a moment before raising his hand into the air and waved it around for a moment. Lowering his hand, the goblin asked with contempt, "What do you want, human?"
"I need to access my vaults," Jack said with a cocky grin.
The goblin sighed wearily, "Key," he asked as he held out his hand.
Jack rubbed the back of his head. "Well you see I don't have my key. And this isn't my original body."
"Do tell," the goblin replied dryly.
"Well you see I kind of died, I guess, and then I was reborn in this body," Jack replied.
"And how did you kind of die?" There was no emotion evident in the goblin’s voice.
"Umm," Jack shuffled in place under the goblin's stare, "well I was kind of fighting my cousin and I kindofgotknockedbackintotheVeil."
The goblin stared at Jack for a moment before sighing once again. "Follow me," he ordered, leaving his desk.
Jack trailed behind as the goblin lead him to a door on the fall wall. Knocking only once the goblin opened the door and stepped in, leaving it open for Jack to step through.
"What do you want?" an older goblin demanded, never looking up from the papers he was bent over.
"This wizard claims to have been reborn and he wants access to his previous vaults," the goblin explained.
The older looked up from the papers, his beady eyes targeting immediately onto Jack. "Really," he said in a drawn out tone. "We haven't had a case like that since that Ed Becera who claimed to be Lancelot du Lac reincarnated. Very interesting fellow for a human."
Jack shuffled in place as the older goblin continued to stare at him.
After what seems like forever the older goblin turned his attention back to his papers. "I'm assuming you wish to have you soul and magic tested."
"Umm… tested?" Jack asks nervously.
The goblin glanced up briefly. "You do want access to the vaults you are claiming to be yours, do you not?"
"Yeah. Yeah, I do," Jack licked his lips, "so how do we go about it?”
Much later, Jack sat in the only chair in the room, a heavy blanket wrapped around him as he shivered violently.
"Congratulation on surviving, Mr. O'Neill or do you prefer Mr. Black," the older goblin asked as he bared his teeth at Jack in a form that was meant to be a smile.
"O'Neill will do," Jack replied as he huddled under the blanket.
The goblin nodded his head, accepting Jack's decision. "We have some matters to discuss before you can visit the Black vaults."
"Matters? What matters?" Jack asked through his shivering blue lips. "And can I get something warm to drink? Please."
"Of course," the goblin replied before nodding to a very young goblin who quickly scuttled away. "Now there is the matter of your will or I should say that of Sirius Black's will."
"Yeah," Jack said as he accepted a cup of hot cider from the young goblin that appeared next to him, "I left almost everything to Harry and Moony. Moony helped me update it. He got it to you after all. But I take it that it hasn't been read yet?"
"Not yet. However Dumbledore has requested that the will would be read as soon as possible," the older goblin replied.
"Right," Jack said to himself, "so I have to rewrite my will… I can do that, can't I? I mean rewrite my will and back date it?"
"For a fee, of course," the goblin replied with grin full of sharp pointed teeth.
"Right. Umm, I'm going to need a pen and paper," Jack commented. "And can we do anything to delay its being read?"
The goblin's grin grew larger.
"And got stuck as a dog, too, sir," Ferretti put in with a smirk on his face. He knew he would be able to milk that little incident for months, if not years to come.
Jack shot Lou a look that promised revenge before turning his attention back to where it belonged. "Yes, sir, however I don't know exactly how I did it. It seems more instinctive then a conscious decision. After Harry ran off, I knew I had to find him fast and I guess you could say Padfoot took over."
Hammond stare hardens. "And what's to stop Padfoot from taking over at other times?"
The Colonel looked the General straight in the eyes. "Training. I need to get my abilities, …my magic back under my control."
Hammond nodded his head. "And how to you propose to do that Colonel? After all you did mention that we are under unfriendly terms with the school that teaches it."
"Only in England, sir," Jack answered. "The American schools shouldn't be a problem. Beside I was thinking of training with Harry. Dumbledore made damn sure that the kid was undereducated so that he was easier to control. By working together, both of us should be up to at least 5th years, after that we might have to look for someone to train us."
"Witchcraft at Stargate Command," Lou mumbled under his breath. "Kinsey's going to have a fit if he hears about this."
Jack smirk at Lou's mumbled comment. "Yeah but now I can turn him into the jackass he is."
"Jack," Daniel chastised the Colonel, "don't insult the poor jackass. Kinsey is much lower than that."
General Hammond closed his eyes as he struggled to maintain his composure. Taking a deep breath he opened his eyes once again. "Major Ferretti has brought up an interesting point, Colonel. How to you propose to keep people like the Senator and this Dumbledore from finding out about you and Mr. Potter? Especially given that we seem to have a mole in our ranks at the moment."
O'Neill opened his mouth to replied. Closed it. Opened. Closed. "I'm still working on that sir."
"Could the goblins you had mentioned earlier be of any use, O’Neill?" Teal'c asked.
Jack nodded his head slowly. "Maybe. Maybe. I'll have to get with DOM and get everything cleared with them concerning Harry and me. And they can keep Kinsey in line. Maybe get some goblins wards put in place around the mountain, which isn't be a bad idea anyway."
"Department of Magic. US version of the Ministry," Jack answered. "I can get them to declare Harry and me to be US citizens. That would keep the Ministry off of our backs. The wards would delay Dumbledore long enough to escape through the Stargate if Dumbledore tries to enter."
"Colonel, are you proposing to take a child who just happens to be a citizen of a foreign nation through the Stargate," Hammond asked.
"Sir, I honestly believe that once we explain the situation to the President, he would agree to it," Jack replied with confidence. "In many ways, Harry is like the second coming of Christ at least to the magical community. If he was to die while in our hands it could be all out war."
Everyone was startled by the level of importance that the magical community had put on this young man's shoulders.
"I'll see what I can do," Hammond replied.
"Thank you, Sir," Jack replied.
"Colonel, there is one thing I would like to know," Dr Frasier said.
"And what would that be?"
"What do you plan to do about Harry's previous guardians?"
And almost evil smile appeared on Jack's face. "Oh, I have something planned. Something, I think you'll love."
That look alone always promised pain. Lots of pain.
In the kitchen of number twelve Grimmauld Place, London, the members of the Order of the Phoenix were gathered along with Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. Everyone was waiting for Headmaster Dumbledore to arrive to start the meeting.
"Does anyone want some tea or biscuits?" Mrs. Weasley asked as she tried to remain busy without breaking down into tears.
"No, thank you," a number of people murmured in reply.
Standing up from the table, Arthur Weasley took a hold of his wife's hand and pulled her towards the table. "Why don't you take a seat, dear," Arthur said softly as he gently pushed his wife into his chair.
"I have to do something," Molly whined as she clutched at the fabric of her robes. "I’m so worried about him. I can't imagine what they're doing to that poor boy. I keep seeing him… seeing his body all broken and dead." Tears started to well up in her eyes.
"There. There my dear," Arthur said patting his wife on the shoulder. "I'm sure we'll be able to rescue the lad shortly. The Headmaster probably has a plan already."
"Do you really think so?" Molly asked hopefully, looking up at her husband as she wiped at her tears.
Arthur smiled reassuringly but the smile did not reach his eyes. "Of course I do, my dear."
"And don't forget, Mum, Harry's gotten out of worse," Ron chimed in as he ate a biscuit. "He's faced off against You Know Who before."
"Don't speak with your mouth full," Molly chided her youngest son.
"The lad got a point," Moody commented from where he sat, his magical eye spinning in all directions looking for danger. "I'm sure that no matter how badly the lad is injured, he won't give in right away."
At Moody's words Molly took a shuddering breath before she began to sob quietly.
"Good work, Moody," Tonks chimed in. "Very reassuring."
With his arms cross over his chest, Moody replied, "It's better that we faced the facts then to build up false hope. If the lad is in hands of the Death Eaters then we need to expect the worst."
"If he's in the hand of the Death Eaters?" Hermione parroted. "Is there a reason to not expect him to be their prisoner?"
"Just because he vanished from the Hogwarts Express doesn't mean that the lad was kidnapped," Moody pointed out as he fixed the girl with his remaining eye. "The lad has just lost his godfather and was returning to a place he didn't want to return to. I would say that was enough of a reason for the lad to disappear on his own."
"Harry wouldn't do that," Ron spoke up in defense of his friend as he grabbed another biscuit from the plate. "At least he wouldn't do that without telling us before-hand or sending a message afterwards."
Moody nodded his head in acceptance of the facts that Ron pointed out. "Even if the lad was kidnapped there are other out there besides Death Eaters who would like to get their hands on the lad."
Molly dabbed at her eyes. "But who would want the poor boy?"
"The Ministry for one," Hermione pointed out. "Harry told them about You Know Who after the Tournament and insisted that he was back all year long no matter what Professor Umbridge did to him. And then there was the fact that Harry insisted that Sirius was innocent. I can't imagine the Ministry would like the public learning the truth about all of that."
Tonks snorted. "I can't see that happening. One thing I've learned as an Auror, is that there are no secrets inside the Ministry. If the Ministry had Harry, someone would definitely be talking and I can't imagine that Dumbledore wouldn't find out."
"So if the Death Eaters didn't take Harry and neither did the Ministry, who else would want to kidnap him," Ron demanded.
"Foreign governments. People who want to marry Harry or have him father a child," Moody suggested. "Those after fame or fortune."
"So we're talking about the majority of the wizarding world," Dung commented as he played with a piece of silverware before it vanished into his robes.
Moody shook his head. "No, if we assume that the lad didn't leave on his own then we'll be after someone who has access to the Express. Someone, who has talent on a broom, concealment charms or was trained to apparate from a moving vehicle. We need someone who can silently take down the lad without alerting anyone else. The lad may not be fully trained but he's smart enough to call for help."
"They could have warded the loo," Hermione commented. "Plus we can't assume it was just one person. A group of people could have kidnapped Harry."
"There was no signs of any warding in the loo aside from the usual ones," Flitwick chimed in as the charms master poured himself a cup of tea.
"We're assuming that Harry was taken from the train, what if he was kidnapped earlier?" Tonks suggested as her hair changed from hot pink neon green and then back again.
"At which case anyone could have taken him, even Muggles," Moody commented thoughtfully.
"Hedwig!" Hermione said suddenly drawing everyone's attention to her. "She could help us find Harry."
"Hermione's right. I'm sure she could find Harry no matter who has him or where," Ron said excitedly.
"Hedwig? Potter's owl?" Moody asked to which the two Gryffindors nodded their heads. "Could work. Of course that's assuming that is Potter's owl and wasn't switch with another owl before hand."
"I'm sure Hagrid could tell if she wasn't Hedwig," Hermione pointed out. "I know he bought her for Harry and that she would visit him from time to time. I'm sure he would be able to tell."
Moody nodded his head. "We'll mention that to Dumbledore when he finally arrives."
As if by magic Headmaster Dumbledore arrived in the doorway with Professor Snape a few steps behind him.
"I'm sorry I'm late," the Headmaster said as he sat down at the head of the table. "I was delayed at the Ministry."
"Fudge asking you to save his sorry ass from all his screw ups," Tonks snickered.
"Something like that, my dear," Dumbledore replied with a twinkle in his eyes. "Now that we're all there I think it would be best to begin with Severus' report."
"The Dark Lord does not have Potter however it appears that one of the Death Eaters or someone dressed up as one does," Snape reported simply with a snarl on his face.
"And how to do you know that, boy," Moody growled as he glared at Snape.
"First because the Dark Lord has every available Death Eater looking for Potter. And the second because Draco saw Potter being taken from the train," Snape answered.
"You can't believe that slimy snake," Ron exclaimed. "He probably helped them kidnap Harry!"
Snape glared in Ron's direction. "I highly doubt that. For one thing Mr. Malfoy was very much surprised to learn that Potter was not in the hands of our Lord since he witnessed Potter being taken by someone dressed as a Death Eater. And for another thing it would not be to his advantage to help kidnap Potter at this time. Malfoy knows of the importance to waiting until the time is right to strike at his enemies though at time he can be a bit impatient."
"Why would a Death Eater kidnap Harry and not bring him to Voldemort?" Dumbledore asked more to himself than those in the room.
"Someone wishing to gain favor with the Dark Lord, who is not a Death Eater," Snape suggested. "Or to study the boy to see how he survive the killing curse for their own benefits. That is assuming that the person was a Death Eater. If the mutt was still alive I would say it was him; pulling one of his childish pranks on us."
"I'm assuming that the Dark Lord knows about what the Malfoy brat saw?" Moody asked. "Or were you able to Obliviate the brat before he was able to tell anyone else?"
Snape shook his head. "Draco unfortunately informed me about what he saw in front of his mother and Bellatrix. I had no choice but to report it to him."
"So some of the Death Eaters will be answering some interesting questions soon," Moody said with an evil smirk.
"Undoubtedly," Snape replied with narrowed eyes at Moody's pleasure at hearing someone would be tortured.
"Who do you think could have pulled something like this off, Severus?" Dumbledore asked as he leaned forward in his chair, his hand clasped in front of him.
"Lucius would have been my first choice however since he's in Azkaban we can discount him," Snape answered. "While Bellatrix has the skills I doubt she could have done it without turning the train into a bloodbath not to mention that she is completely loyal to the Dark Lord and would have turned Potter over to him immediately. Rodolphus and his brother Rabastan could perhaps do it however they are still recovering from their stay in Azkaban."
"So it's probably someone else who kidnapped Harry," Hermione pointed out.
"Does anyone know where the Lupin was at the time or even where he is right now?" Snape asked.
Everyone looked around the rest of the group hoping one of them might have the answer.
"I know he was upset over Sirius's death," McGonagall supplied. "I assumed he was wandering around Hogwarts at the time."
"Or perhaps he was kidnapping the cause of death for his last best friend," Snape suggested with an almost malicious glee.
"That's enough Severus," Dumbledore snapped. "I'm confidant that Remus would never willingly harm Harry in any fashion."
"He might have stolen Harry if he thought he was protecting him," Tonks suggested with a shrug of her shoulders.
McGonagall shook her head. "He barely passed flying class. He always told me his wolf had a fear of flying."
"Could Harry has faked his disappearance and flown off on his own?" Ron said as he chewed his bottom lip. "Maybe he teamed up with Remus to disappear for a while."
"Possible but very unlikely," Dumbledore finally spoke up. "I know for a fact that Remus has gone on a little mission for me and that he's been out of contact with Harry since a week ago."
"Why didn't you mention that before," McGonagall snapped.
"I believe the Muggle term is brainstorming," Albus said with a smile. "I wanted to see what ideas we could come up with to explain Harry's disappearance."
"And what haven't you told us about Harry's disappearance," McGonagall demanded, reminding them all why she was not a woman to be crossed.
"Nothing my dear Minerva. Nothing at all," Dumbledore replied sweetly. "But perhaps someone else has the key to our dear Mr. Potter's vanishing."
McGonagall crossed her arms over her chest and glared fierily at the Headmaster.
"Was there anything else to report, Severus?" Dumbledore asked.
"Only that the Dark Lord is in possession of a book that contains spells used to track one's enemies," Snape supplied. "He plans of finding and capturing Potter as soon as possible."
Dumbledore nodded his head. "Moody?"
"There was no sign of spell or charms in the loo or in the walkway Potter would have taken if he had in fact gone to the loo aside from the ones that you would expect to find there," Moody stated.
"Draco claims the Death Eater carried Potter from the loo and through the door to the next car," Snape supplied.
Moody nodded his head as the considered this new information. "In which case we're at a dead end as far as the train is concerned," Moody stated. "However the girl," he nodded towards Hermione, "might have an idea."
"I was thinking we could put a tracking charm on Hedwig and then follow her to Harry, sir," Hermione stated.
"An excellent idea my dear but it is one I have already tried when I had his things brought back to Hogwarts," Dumbledore replied. "The poor dear flew around for a bit before returning to roost. Either Harry is well hidden or he a long way from here."
"Or Hedwig thought it would be better that we didn't know were Harry was at," Ron commented softly.
"Why would you say that Ron?" his mother demanded.
"Maybe she knew that Harry was safer wherever he was instead of with the Dursley's," Ron stated.
Noticing the confused looks from his parents and the other members of the Order, Ron growled, "Don't tell me you never noticed! How could you not see how much thinner Harry is at the beginning of the school year or how he shies away from being touched? Or how about how he dresses or how he's been wearing to same glasses since I meet him. What about the bars over his windows!"
His parents blinked at him in confusion. "I thought it was a Muggle thing," Molly said. "Like those people who wear an earring in their eyebrows and different color spiky haircut."
A few of the younger more Muggle knowledgeable members of the Order shook their heads sadly.
"No, Mum. It was not some Muggle thing. It's more of a hide a problem away and hopes it dies type of thing," Ron growled at his mother.
"I'm sure you exaggerating what was really going on young Ronald," Dumbledore said in a grandfatherly fashion as he tried to reassure everyone.
Ron stared at the Headmaster in shock. He opened his mouth to reply only to be stopped by Hermione as she squeezed his hand from under the table, hard. Ron turned to Hermione and looked at her. Hermione quietly shook her head. In response Ron's eyes narrowed at his friend before turning back to the Headmaster.
"With all due respect, sir, I think the lemon drops have warped your brain," Ron stated calmly as he hid his wincing when Hermione dug her nails into his hand in order to make him shut up. "Did you know that before Hogwarts Harry's room was the cupboard under the stairs? Or that the Dursley's have four bedrooms? One for Mr. and Mrs. Dudley's, two for their son and one for guests?" Ron ripped his hand free of Hermione's, her nails gouging strips of skin from his hand. "Did you know he took care of most of the chores plus cooking and cleaning of the house? Or that the Dursley's allowed their son to beat and torment Harry?"
"Boys will be boys," Dumbledore replied simply as he smile indulgently at Ron. "And beside a little hard work never harmed anyone."
Ron ground his teeth together. "As the Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot can you tell me why Sirius Black was denied a trial as is the law?"
Dumbledore blinked for a moment at the sudden change of subjects. "You must understand young Mr. Weasley at the time, it was very chaotic and mistakes were make," Dumbledore said in his defense.
"Like Malfoy and all of his Death Eater friends buying their freedom," Ron commented. "But why didn't you order a trial after you found out about Sirius's innocence? Or overturn Fudge's order for him to be Kissed on sight? After all how could the Minister overrule the judgement of the Wizengamot?"
"Ronald Bilius Weasley that is enough of that behavior!" Molly Weasley exclaimed in outrage. "We are here to find poor Harry, not to attack the Headmaster."
"You're right, mum," Ron said with a slight nod of his head. "We're here to find Harry and protect him from whoever would harm him," Ron turned to stare at the Headmaster with narrowed eyes. "However everyone keeps ignoring a threat to Harry and to the rest of the students at Hogwarts."
"And you consider the Headmaster to be a threat?" Shacklebolt spoke out as he looked back and forth between the Headmaster and the youngest male Weasley.
Ron turned to look at Shacklebolt. "The facts seem to be pointing that way."
"And what facts are those lad?" Moody demanded.
"In our first year Dumbledore had the Philosopher's Stone brought to Hogwarts and series of traps layered to protect it," Ron explained. "Of course three first year students were able to get through all the traps easily as was Professor Quirrell, who at the time was possessed by the spirit of You Know Who."
"By exceptionally bright students who followed the path Quirrell has left before them," Dumbledore stated with a smile. "I'm positive that Voldemort would not have been able to discover the secret to the last trap without the help of Mr. Potter. If it wasn't for Harry's actions I'm sure that I would have been able to save poor Quirrell and vanquish Voldemort when I returned to the school."
Ron narrowed his eyes at the Headmaster when he laid the blame for what happened on Harry's shoulders.
Turning to look at the other members of the other, Ron continued. "Second year we had to face a giant Basilisk that was traveling throughout the school turning everyone to stone," Ron pointed out. "And yet the only time someone came to help deal with this threat, they drag Hagrid away! I'm curious," Ron said looking pointedly at Tonks, Shacklebolt and Moody, "were the Aurors ordered to not to come or did you just not care about what happened to any of us?"
"I never heard about it until everything had already been dealt with," Shacklebolt replied. "Seems the higher ups wanted to keep everything mum. Didn't want to frighten the parents and have them pull their kiddies out."
Ron turned and looked at Hermione. "And how did you parents feel about you being turned to stone? Or how about when you were attacked by a troll? Or did they even know it happened?"
"Mister Weasley," Dumbledore said in a commanding voice, "That is enough!"
"Why?" Ron snapped back. "Are you afraid of people finding out the truth? Of them questioning you or somehow finding out you're less perfect than they think you are?"
"If you don't stop this line of questioning, of sowing the seeds of dissent then I will have to ask you to leave the room," Dumbledore said.
Ron rose out of his chair. Standing tall he looked down at the Headmaster. "I'm afraid that you'll find it's already too late Headmaster especially when you ignored the fact that Umbridge was torturing the students. People are starting to open their eyes and see the real you. And let me tell you Headmaster from what I can see you're not that much different from the You Know Who."
Ron started for the door before anyone can say anything. Stopping in the doorway, Ron called out. "I wonder if I'll find myself in Azkaban like Sirius did since I'm a thorn in your plans, Dumbledore." And with that Ron left the room.
The room sat in shocked silence as slowly everyone's attention drifted back to the Headmaster, who was gritting his teeth, his eyes flaming with anger. Taking a deep breath, Dumbledore appeared to calm himself. "Shacklebolt do you have anything to report," he demanded.
Shacklebolt glanced at the door Ron had just exited through. "Not at this time, sir," he replied respectfully. "However I would like permission to question the Dursley's further. I believe that they may know something more about Potter's disappearance."
Dumbledore nodded his head. "Do whatever you feel is necessary. Just bring me answers."
Shacklebolt nodded his head once again. "Yes, sir."
With a pig like snort Vernon Dursley opened his eyes for a moment only to close them once again and roll over in bed. The deep rumbling sound of snoring filled the room.
Moody looked over at Shacklebolt, who was trying his best not to laugh at Moody's disgusted expression over the Muggle's lack of 'constant vigilance'.
"Ice water?" Shacklebolt suggested with a smirk in a normal tone of voice.
Moody shook his head. "Too nice for this fat slob." Moody's face twisted up into an evil grin as he aimed his wand at the figure under the blankets. "Teum!"
Vernon seems to jump three feet above the mattress when the spell hit him, shrieking to the heavens like a pig that is being dragged to the slaughter.
"New version of the stinging hex?" Shacklebolt asked with professional interest.
"Not really," Moody replied smugly as he watched the Muggle flounder about on his bed. "It's not used very often anymore since it can be blocked by most shields. The only people who use it anymore are those who work with livestock."
"What the hell is going on? Who are you people!" Vernon demanded furious and not yet realizing the danger his mouth was placing him in since his brain hadn't fully woken up to his peril. "What are you doing here? Do you know what time it is?"
"Twenty-five after two," Shacklebolt replied with a cheeky smirk.
Dursley blinked a couple of time in confusion. "What?"
"It's Twenty-five minutes after two in the morning," Shacklebolt said slowly as if talking to a small child. "You asked what time it was and I told you."
"Twenty-five after two?" Vernon repeated to himself in bewilderment.
Turning to Moody, Shacklebolt said, "I think you fried his brain."
"I don't think there was anything there to begin with," Moody said as he glared at Dursley.
Then as if someone had thrown all the shutters open in Vernon's mind; the overweight man turned towards Shacklebolt and pointed a finger at him. "You," he said as he tried to be menacing in his baby blue pajamas. "You're one of them! One of those freaks. You were at the train station."
Moody lean forwards so that his face was inches from Vernon's. "That’s right, Dursley. And we're here to talk to you about Harry."
Dursley leaned back from Moody in fear. "What about him? I don't know where the brat is. He wasn't at the train station."
"We know that Vernon, that's why we came to talk to you," Shacklebolt said respectfully as he pulled Moody back from Dursley.
"At two in the morning?" Dursley said in confusion when he suddenly turned around to look at the bed, realizing that someone was missing. "Where's Petunia? What have you done to her? If you've hurt her or Dudley, I promise you, you will pay!"
Moody crossed his arms over his chest, his wand clearly visible. "You're wife is fine. She's asleep in the guestroom. And we have no idea where you son is. He wasn't in his room when we checked."
"Why should I believe you?" Dursley demanded. "I know your kind. Lay abouts and scoundrels the whole lot of you. Wouldn't know an honest days work if it was forced upon you."
Moody snarled at Vernon. "A word of warning Dursley, you're rapidly losing any good feelings we have for you."
Dursley snorted. "It's not like you can do anything to me. Your kind is forbidden to do magic outside of that blasted school of yours."
A truly evil smile appeared on Moody's face. "That would be true Dursley, if we were students but since we're not," he said as he pointed his wand directly in Vernon's' face.
"Hold on Moody," Shacklebolt said coming to Vernon's defense. "I don't think he meant anything by that. Just woke up on the wrong side of the bed, that’s all."
"Yeah. Yeah that all," Vernon sputter as his crossed eyes stared at the tip of the glowing wand.
With a snort of disgust Moody flicked his wand away then sat down in a reading chair Petunia had insisted be put in the room.
"Sorry about that," Shacklebolt apologized. "Moody just gets a bit high strung when he hasn't been allowed to kill anyone in a week."
Vernon's' eyes grew wide as his brain finally realized what Shacklebolt had just said. "That… that’s ok," he sputtered as he stared at the deranged man sitting in his bedroom. "What… what did you want to know?"
"Not much, Mr. Dursley," Shacklebolt said smoothly. "But when I met you at the train station you seemed kind of nervous and we were wondering why."
Dursley turned and looked at Shacklebolt. "Ner… nervous?"
Shacklebolt nodded his head. "And you seemed really upset when I told you that Harry was missing."
"Of… of course I was," Vernon answered swallowing nervously. "He's…he's my nephew."
"And I'm sure that you're a good uncle to the boy, Mr. Dursley." Shacklebolt patted Vernon on the back reassuringly. "But you do know that there are some dangerous people after Harry and they might be trying to get to him through you. You haven't been visited by anyone recently, have you?"
Dursley licked his lips nervously. "No… no. No one's been asking about the boy."
"Don't lie, Dursley," Moody snarled. "We know you hate Harry. We know that you despise the boy and that you've abused him. And we know you're lying about someone asking about Harry."
Vernon looked bad and forth between the nice wizard and the demented bastard in the chair. Vernon opened his mouth. Closed it. Open. Closed.
"If you talk to me. Tell me everything, I can protect you," Shacklebolt said gently. "I can protect your whole family."
Vernon looked over at Moody before turning back to Shacklebolt. "He came to my office. He threatened my family."
"Who threatened you family, Dursley," Moody demanded as he leaned forward in the chair.
"A Yank. Said his name was Maybourne," Dursley said. "He wanted me to sign Harry over to them."
"To the Yank?" Shacklebolt asked.
Vernon nodded his head. "I didn't have a choice. I was to take the boy to them after I picked him up from the train."
"Where were they going to take him, Dursley," Moody demanded. "What did they want him for?"
"I don't know," Vernon squealed. "I didn't want to know. We never wanted the boy in the first place!"
"What did this Yank look like?" Shacklebolt demanded.
"I don’t remember. It was weeks ago," Vernon sputtered.
"Was he tall, short, fat or thin?" Shacklebolt pressed. "Was he white, black? What color was his hair or eyes?"
"White. He was white," Vernon answered. "Short hair, grey. He was thin, stuck me that he was a soldier or had been one."
"What else, Dursley," Moody snarled.
"That's it!" Dursley exclaimed. "If I knew any more I would tell you!"
Moody and Shacklebolt shared a look before Shacklebolt raised his wand and fired a spell at Dursley who then collapsed to the ground.
"Think he was telling the truth?" Shacklebolt asked as he looked down at the bloated man.
Moody nodded his head as he looked down at Vernon in disgust. "Unfortunately. The fat bastard would probably sell his own mother to save his skin."
"The Yank?" Shacklebolt said as he looked up at his partner.
"A decoy most likely," Moody replied. "Either that or that boy has more people after him then we know."
"I just one question," Shacklebolt said.
"And what that?" Moody asked as he made his way to the bedroom door.
"What's a Yank?"
With a weary sigh General Hammond picked up the red phone that sat in the right hand corner of his desk. "I need to speak to the President," he said to the person on the other end of the phone.
A moment later he said, "Mr. President, a matter of possible national, perhaps world security has come to my attention."
"Yes?" Harry frowned as he called out cautiously.
The door opened slight and Jack's head popped in. "You decent?"
"Why wouldn't I be?" Harry asked.
"Well I remember being a teen at your age… and well…. Umm…." Jack mumbled. "I didn't know if you were busy or not."
"Busy?" Harry replied in confusion.
"Yeah," Jack said as he slipped the rest of the way into the room while signaling someone to wait before shutting the door. "With everything going on I figured you probably needed a visit from Rosie and her 4 sisters."
Harry slowly shook his head. "I don't know anyone named Rosie or anyone with 4 sisters."
"Harry palm? Spank your Monkey? Choke your Chicken?" Jack said to which Harry shook his head. "Mangle the Midget."
Finally in frustration Jack said, "I'll just let Janet explain all of that to you." The older man turned, opening the door, Jack hollered, "Daniel get your ass in here."
"Everything okay?" Daniel wondered, poking his head in the doorway.
"Fine with a side of dandy," Jack grumbled.
Harry just shrugged his shoulders.
Daniel looked at Jack then at Harry then back at Jack. "Okay," he said slowly. "Teal'c is getting snacks and a pizza I think."
"Snacks?" Harry glanced over at Jack.
"Movie night," Jack explained. "And since we knew you weren’t doing anything we figured that you might want to join us."
"But if you don't feel like watching a movie, I'm sure we can do something else," Daniel babbled. "Maybe Monopoly or Clue?"
A touch of color appeared on Harry's face at the idea that someone beside Sirius… Jack would want to do something with him. "A movie would be nice."
"Then lets go," Jack said as he held out the crutches to Harry. "Teal'c has the best TV in his rooms. Surround sound and everything."
Grabbing the crutches, Harry followed the older men out of the room and down the hall towards Teal'c’s room.
Knocking on the door, Jack opened it without waiting for an answer. "It's show time!" he called out merrily.
Teal'c gave Jack a tolerant look. "HarryPotter welcome to my quarters," he said with a slight bow of his head towards the teen.
"Thank you Mr. Teal'c for including me," Harry said nervously as he sat down in one of the chairs placed in front of the TV.
"It is my pleasure," Teal'c replied. "I always enjoy sharing Earth's cinema with others."
"So what's the movie of the night?" Jack asked excitedly. "Horror, adventure, comedy?"
"Since HarryPotter is the guest here I believe it should be his choice," Teal'c said.
Harry shrugged his shoulders. "I don't know any movies. The Dursley's never really allowed me to see a movie."
"You never go wrong with Mel Brooks," Jack suggested dragging Harry's attention away from Teal'c and his reaction to Harry's comment.
"I think that Mel Brooks might be a bit racy for Harry," Daniel commented.
"There’s nothing racy in Young Frankenstein… okay there is but I'm sure it's nothing a growing young many like Harry can't hand…," Jack said before glancing over at Harry. "Maybe… Indiana Jones?"
"Jurassic Park?" Daniel suggested. "Or Terminator."
"No to the Terminator," Jack said with a shake of his head. "Lethal Weapon? Alien?"
"Star Trek or Star Wars?" Daniel suggested.
"Perhaps it would be best if we allowed Harry to look through the movies and select one," Teal'c suggested.
"I don't really care," Harry seemed to shrink in on himself under the men's attention. "Whatever you want is fine with me."
Teal'c, Daniel and Jack looked at each other before Jack said, "Indiana?"
Teal'c nodded his head before turning to his collection of movies to find it.
"I almost forgot, Harry," Jack said drawing Harry's attention to him. "I have to visit the US Department of Magic tomorrow to register us. I also wanted to see about getting you citizenship here so that you can't be forced to return if you don't want to. I know I didn't ask you about that but I hope it's ok."
"Do I have to go with you?" Harry asked as he tried to absorb everything.
"No," Jack shook his head. "I'm not sure how long I'll be gone and Janet wants you to stay off that foot as much as possible. Besides, I don't want word of you’re being here get back to Dumbledore so soon."
"Okay," Harry said softly as he played with the edge of his shirt.
"If you want you can join me in my office," Daniel suggested. "I mean it won't be too exciting but you won't be stuck in your room, or the dining hall or the infirmary."
"Oh okay. That would be nice," Harry replied carefully, not sure of how he should respond.
"Daniel here's an Egyptologist," Jack supplied. "He studies the stuff Bill usual digs up for Gringotts."
Daniel turned to Jack. "What stuff?"
"You know," Jack said. "Rocks and stuff."
Daniel turned to Harry. "What kind of stuff?"
Harry shrugged his shoulders. "I don't know. Ron did say that they got to visit tombs that had some skeletons of some Muggles who had broken in and end up growing extra heads."
Daniel's head whipped back to Jack. "You mean there are tombs out there that we don't know about!"
Jack shrugged his shoulder. "Appears so," he said in a dismissive tone. "Cheetos?" he passed the bag of chips to Harry as the movie started.
"So what did you do, Helen?" Jack asked
"Why I swatted his bottom of course," Helen replied as if it was the most obvious thing. "My boy may believe that butter won't melt in his mouth but as his mother I know better."
"But isn't that true for every boy?" O'Neill said teasingly. "After all we need that skill to catch wily young ladies like your husband did long ago."
"Oh you," Helen giggled as she gently swatted O'Neill
The wizard behind the counter rolled his eyes at the antics of Helen and O'Neill.
"Oh stop that Maxwell," Helen scolded as she glared at the young wizard. "I saw you rolling your eyes at me."
"Yes, Dame McKnight," Maxwell sighed in a bored tone.
Helen sighed in frustration as she shook her head. "You'll have to forgive young Maxwell," she said turning to Jack, "he has very little patience with us old timers." Helen leaned towards Jack as if she were going to him a great secret but spoke in her normal voice. "The silly thing seems to think that being descended from one of the First Colonist's is important."
"First Colonist?" Jack said as he watched Maxwell warily.
"There's some sillies out there who believe there is something important to the order in which your ancestors arrived in the New World," Helen explained. "Maxwell's family arrived some time in the early 17th century when the British first settled here."
"It was in the year 1608 and my ancestors came over to America on the Sea Venture," Maxwell said with snotty pride.
"You see what I mean," Helen said. "They're a bit like those silly things in Britain who believe that blood is important. Of course when you point out that there were people here before they arrived they get all flustered. They just can't stand to have the truth pointed out to them."
"So what can I do for you Helen," Maxwell growled through clenched teeth, "or have you simply come to torment me?"
Helen shook her head sadly. "This poor young man wandered in my office looking for help," Helen said as she pulled Colonel O'Neill to counter. "It turns out he's one of the Lost Ones."
"The Lost Ones?" Maxwell looked over at Jack who shrugged his shoulders as if to say he didn't know either.
"What do they teach you young people at that school of yours," Helen made a tisking sound. "It's obvious they don't teach you History anymore.”
"I graduated with a perfect score in History as you well know Dame McKnight," Maxwell replied.
"And yet you don't know about the Lost Ones," Helen shot back.
Maxwell closed his eyes, took a deep breath and slowly exhaled. Opening his eyes once again he asked, "And who or what is a Lost one?"
"Well since you asked," Helen said before dropping into a lecture tone of voice. "It started after World War 2 and ended during the Sexual Revolution; that was a grand time I can tell you. Anyway this time period was call the Red Scare where Americans were living in fear of communism. Everyone watched everyone else in case they acted in a way that was un-American. No one knew who might be the next one to be named as an evil communist. It was a time when the American government was very paranoid."
"Now imagine what would happen if you were a Normal born witch or wizard during that time?" Helen said. "You couldn’t go to a wizard school since people would investigate the family if a middle class child suddenly was invited to a private boarding school. It was even worse for a child who wasn't white or was of German descent. You couldn't trust anyone who was keeping secrets and that is one thing our society depends on is that we keep our existence a secret."
Maxwell snorted. "If he's a Lost One then how does he know about magic?" he demanded.
Helen looked over at Jack questioningly.
"My mother was a squib," Jack explained.
"A war bride," Helen squealed happily recognizing the term squib as one used only in England
Jack nodded his head. "My dad fell in love with her when he was over in England during the war. Since the family was killed during the bombing, mom inherited everything, all the books and stuff. I know she was confused when I didn't get a letter when I was 11 but she figured it was because dad was still in the military and we moved around a lot. She ended up teaching me from what was in the books she’d inherited and what she remembered seeing her brothers and sisters doing."
"You poor dear," Helen said as she patted Jack's arm in a comforting manner. "We really did fail you."
With a snort Maxwell crossed his arms over his chest. "Still doesn't explain how he knows where here is," he pointed out. “A British girl wouldn’t know how to get into one of our government buildings."
"The Goblins told me," Jack explained with a sigh. "They explained that I had to register Harry as my ward when I arrived back in the States. And to see if I could get him American citizenship."
"With what I've been hearing about what’s going on over there that’s a very good idea," Helen chimed in.
"Fine. Fine," Maxwell said in disgust as he started to pull out forms. "I'm assuming that you will need to be registered also."
"Afraid so," Jack said with a shrug of his shoulders.
"Name?" Maxwell said his head bowed over the papers as he started to fill things in with a fountain pen.
"Mine or Harry's?” Jack asked.
"Yours," Maxwell sighed.
"Colonel Jonathan "Jack" O'Neill, United States Air Force," Jack said very formally.
Maxwell froze in mid sweep of the pen stroke. Tilting his head up slightly so that he could look at Jack he said, "Normal Air Force?"
Jack shrugged his shoulders. "Didn't know there was a magical one."
"They don't do very much, dear," Helen said. "They're bogged down in political squabbles. Most of the lads who want to join end up serving in the Normal Air Force. I hear they have more fun in it than they would have on silly old brooms."
"Yes but brooms would have their uses to especially when you're trying to sneak into an area undetected," Jack said thoughtfully. "Any chance I can get a list of who's in the military and which branch."
Helen tapped her chin thoughtfully. "Probably not but it might be possible to post something in the U. S. M. M. S. newsletter."
"U. S. M. M. S.?" Jack asked
"United States Magical Military Service," Helen replied. "It was primarily for those who served in the magical military but after World War 2 they opened their doors to anyone who served in the US military, normal or magical."
"Excuse me but can we get back to what's really important," Maxwell requested, waving his hand at the forms.
An hour later they finished Jack's paperwork. It took a half hour longer than usual because of Jack and Helen's verbal sparring.
Maxwell sighed in relief as he straightened up the pile of forms before putting them in the Out box from which they vanished into thin air. He picked up his pen and placed the tip onto the paper once again. "Ward's name?"
"Harry James Potter," Jack said as he glanced first at Maxwell and then at Helen to see if either one reacted to the name. Only Helen reacted to the name and she simply raised an eyebrow questioningly. Jack ducked his head like a little boy who knew he was in trouble.
"Birth date?' Maxwell demanded never noticing anything amiss.
"July 31, 1981," Jack replied.
"Birthplace?" Maxwell continued.
"Someplace in Britain. Not really sure," Jack said.
"Lily and James Potter," Jack said as he once again glanced over at Helen.
"Umm… I think he finished his 5th year at Hogwarts," Jack replied.
"That's a shame," Maxwell said as he pulled out some more forms and started to fill those in. "He'll have to be retest before he can enter any of the American schools."
Maxwell sighed wearily as he set his pen down. "Unfortunately many of the European schools have fallen behind the times and are not teaching the things today's students need to learn."
"You mean like computers and advanced mathematics?" Jack asked.
"Mathematics, yes. It's important that any young witch or wizard learn how to balance their own books instead of depending on the goblins to do it for them. As for computers," Maxwell made a dismissive noise, "they're simply Normal toys. No doubt a passing fad just like the Poodle skirt. I could never figure out why anyone would want to wear poodle skins as a dress."
Jack stared at Maxwell in silence for a moment. "I think I'm going to home school Harry."
Maxwell shook his head as he pulled out more forms. "More and more Normal born are doing that."
An hour later this time without Jack and Helen's verbal sparring, the paper work on Harry Potter was dropped into the Outbox.
"So what happens to those forms?" Jack asked.
"They're automatically filed with all the correct departments," Maxwell said absentmindedly as he started to straighten his counter for the next person to visit here.
"So no one ever see those files?" Jack asked.
"No. Of course not. As long as the files were filled in correctly, which they were since they are no longer in the Outbox, there should be no reason why anyone would want to see them," Maxwell said.
Helen threaded her arm through Jack. "If Harry decides to move back to Britain someday he can have the Ministry review his forms to help speed up the process."
"He doesn’t have duel citizenship?" Jack asked Helen as she steered him out of the office.
"No. There would be too much confusion over what a person was allowed to do," Helen explained. "Did you know that over in Britain that Normal borns are not allowed to practice magic even in their homes?"
"And they're allowed to here?"
"Of course. As long as it is not seen by, or done to a Normal who is not in the know, it's acceptable. In fact it's highly encouraged," Helen explained.
Jack opened the office door for Helen.
"You know my dear Colonel, you remind me quite a bit of my son." Helen said.
"How so?" Jack replied.
"He believed butter wouldn't melt in his mouth either," she replied as she walked out the door.
Daniel walked slowly beside Harry as they went down to his office with the guards following close behind. He knew from experience how difficult it could be to walk on crutches and it wasn’t like Harry had a cast to protect him from injuring his sprained ankle even further.
Opening the door to his office, Daniel waved the young man in. “I know it’s a bit cluttered, which will make it a little hard for you to move around, but I moved all the really fragile stuff to a table against the back wall.”
Harry’s head swiveled from side to side taking in the clutter of books and artifacts. The first thought that came to mind was: Hermione would probably offer to carry Daniel’s first child for a chance to look at these books. While he was no expert on books, a lot of them looked old… very old. And there were a few tablets that looked like they had runes right out of Hermione’s Ancient Runes class carved on them.
The desk was covered in papers and sitting on the far corner of it was a computer that looked like it had a screensaver of ancient Egyptians walking across stone walls on it.
Daniel ran his hand through hair feeling a little nervous, before gesturing toward the couch against the opposite wall. Having no idea what Harry’s hobbies or interests were, Daniel just hoped that the things he had gotten to keep the teenager occupied would work. Bored teens were almost as dangerous as a bored Jack “Just make yourself comfortable. I have a little work to do, but Teal’c loaned me his Gameboy and some the games he plays on it for you to use and I borrowed some fiction books of various types in case you want to read.”
Harry nodded as he hobbled over to the couch. The guards had already taken up a position outside the door. And closed it.
As Harry set the box with the rest of the game cartridges on the table in front of him, he accidentally knocked over a stack of paper and most of it slid to the floor.
Daniel looked up hearing the thud of paper hitting the floor and saw Harry awkwardly move off the couch onto the floor intending to pick up the pages. He immediately hurried over to help. Jack and Janet would both have his head if Harry injured that ankle any further.
“I’m sorry,” Harry hastily apologized as he saw Daniel come over.
“It’s ok,” Daniel was quick to reassure him. “Nothing has been damaged. These are just copies of things I intend to work on when I have time.”
Harry took a look at one of the pages curious about what he was working on. “Are you writing a book?”
“Not really,” Daniel chuckled. “Everything I work on here is top secret.”
“I doubt this would be,” Harry looked back at the piece of paper in his hand. “I think Jack may have intended to play a joke on you, cause this looks like the opening to a science fiction story.”
“What do you mean?” Daniel recognized the squiggly symbols that were on the back of the page. Those symbols had come from a wall on a planet where the Goa’uld had destroyed an entire race with a plague more than a thousand years before. According to the warning plaque that had been there, the entire race had been viewed as a threat to the Goa’uld race, but not even Teal’c knew why. He had been hoping to find out why from the rubbings he’d made of the wall but so far he’d not found a comparable language from which to work.
“It says ‘Greetings, if you can read this, then I welcome you home, for you are a child of this place, even though your ancestor had to be taken from here by Moros to preserve some of our race because the Serpent Lords wanted to kill us all’.” Harry read the first paragraph.
“You can read that?” Daniel couldn’t keep the surprise out of his voice.
“Of course I can, it’s English after all.” Harry told him, but as soon as he saw the expression on Daniel’s face he had a feeling it wasn’t English he was reading. “From the expression on your face, this isn’t English so what is it?”
“I can’t tell you that right now.” Daniel regretted having to say that. He knew from the little Harry had said the night before that people had been keeping secrets from him his whole life, but this secret wasn’t Daniel’s alone to tell. “Harry, this involves the work Jack does here and it is top secret. We will have to wait until he gets back since he is responsible for you to see if he can get the ok for you to be told.”
“You promise,” Harry wanted a guarantee.
“Yes.” Daniel assured him. “If Jack gets the General’s permission for you to be told, I will explain it to you. Besides, I want to know what the rest of the document says and so far you are the only one who can read it.”
Harry smiled for the first time that morning.
“Now let’s get you back up on the couch before Jack and Janet have my head for letting you strain your ankle.” Daniel slid a hand under Harry’s arm to help him to his feet and back on to the couch.
As soon as the car stopped the passenger side door opened and several men built along the lines of a bodybuilder and exuding a menacing air exited the cars. The men checked the area for danger before signaling to those in the car that they could get out.
"So is this the place?" a rat face man asked as he looked at the house with a disquieting expression.
"Indeed it is my dear, Benjamin," the well-dressed blond said with pride. "This is my little bird house."
"Bird house, cute name," Benjamin replied with a snort. "So how many little birds do you have in residence here, Steven?"
"Currently about a dozen but we're expecting to pick up a few exotic birds in the coming week," Steven replied with a leer. "Shall we take a look at my birds? After all a good owner should always take care of their pets."
"Why not," Benjamin replied with an air of disinterest.
Steven led Benjamin into the home through the security system. "One should always protect their pets. After all you wouldn’t want them to disappear or be found by a snake, now would you?”
Benjamin looked at Steven with a curious expression. "Never heard of them referred to as snakes before."
"But that's exactly what they are," Steven explained. "They catch any of my little birds and I’ll never see them again. All gobbled up by the system."
With a snort Benjamin shook his head. "That's an interesting way to put things."
Steven chuckled. "What can I say my mother forced me to read classical literature in the hopes I’d become something besides a street thug and look what happened," he said as he waved his hand at the impressive interior and at some of the women leaning cautiously around the doorway to see who was here.
"Mr. McMaster?" a young blond man who slightly resembled a pig walked into the room.
"Ahhh Double D. Come and meet my new associate," Steven said as he waved the younger man over. "Benjamin allow me to introduce you to Double D, an up and comer in the business field."
"Is that so," Benjamin said as he studied the young man before him. "What type of business?"
Double D glanced over at Benjamin. "Mostly debt collection and security but Mr. McMaster has me branching out into bird watching and… high altitude flying."
Benjamin chuckled. "High altitude flying! I'll have to remember that."
Double D smiled at that. "If you don't mind I need to speak to Mr. McMaster for a moment privately."
Steven nodded his head. "Why don't you look around Benjamin," he suggested. "I'm sure you can find a little bird to entertain you for a bit."
Benjamin nodded his head before wandering off.
"What is it?" Steven demanded when Benjamin has disappeared into an adjacent room.
"Got word from one of my men that the Coppers are planning to raid the warehouse in North London," Double D explained.
"How soon?" Steven demanded.
"3 days," Double D replied. "I've already ordered them to move what they can and to torch the rest.
Steven looked curiously at Double D.
"That way if they track the building back to you, you can say it was an investment and you had no knowledge that someone had been making drugs in it," Double D explained. "Besides you can collect the insurance off if it then, so it's not a total loss.”
Steven laughed out loud. "I like the way you think!" he said. "You'll go far in the business with a mind like that."
Double D smiled. "Learned it off my old man," he said. "When life gives you trash beat the shit out of it until it makes you a profit."
"Girls," he said with a nod of his head.
The girls looked at each other then one of them rose from her seat and walked towards him in what she thought was a seductive way.
Benjamin shook his head. "Not interested," he said with a smirk. "My old lady would cut them off if I ever thought of it."
The girls looked at him in surprise. "Then what are you here for?"
Benjamin glanced towards the door where he could barely hear Steven talking to his employee. With a smirk he say, "Just laying in the grass."
The front door was knocked off its hinges as the police used a battering ram against it. As soon as the way was clear they swarmed in like an army of invading ants. They spread everywhere quickly arresting the men who were in the house and escorting the girls and young women out to a waiting van from social services.
The police in the rear of the house wound up having to use their nightsticks on a blond young man when he tried to charge through them like an enraged elephant.
"You're under arrest," a police officer said as he put the cuffs on the suspect.
"My arm!" the young man cried. "My arm! You broke my arm."
"Tough break for you lad," the officer said as he haul the man on to his feet and dragged him to the waiting transport will news reported snapped photos and filmed the action for the morning news.
"There was a fire in North London," he announced. "Drug related. Probably some damn foreigner."
"You're probably right, dear," Petunia agreed as she read the entertainment section of the paper.
"Hmmm… police raid in London. Page 3" Vernon said to himself as he turned the page.
The phone started to ring
"I'll get it," Petunia setting her section of the paper down.
"Dursley residence," she spoke into the phone.
"Mummy," Dudley's voice came from the other end.
"Dudley where are…?" she said in a slight panic as she turned to look at Vernon who was staring at the paper with a lost expression. "I thought you were upstairs."
"I ran into a little trouble last night, mummy," Dudley said.
"I, Sirius Black, being of sound mind and body, I hear-by declare on my magick, I am not under the influence of any Potions, spells or compulsions, declare this is my Last Will and Testament," the goblin read.
A number of those gathered to hear the reading of the Will glanced at each other. Their brows furrowed at the strange start to the Will.
"To my cousin, Andromeda Black Tonks, I leave the family jewelry which I expect to be passed down to your daughter Nymphadora upon the proper milestones of her life. I'm sure you'll remember them well Andromeda. In addition I leave for you 100,000 galleons," the goblin’s head was bowed over the Will, until the goblin raised it to look directly at Andromeda. "Do you accept this bequest from Sirius Black?"
Andromeda held out her wand and said, "I do." The end of her wand glowed for a moment.
"To my dark haired cousin who bleaches her hair, Narcissa Black Malfoy. My dear cousin, no one believes you’re a natural blond so stop pretending to be. Now I know that you believe in your little black heart that I'm going to leave that little maggot you gave birth to the mantle of the Black family but you're wrong. That worm doesn't deserve to be even associated with the Black family name. No, the Head of the Black family will go to the last true Black on Earth and that is Nymphadora Tonks. The Black family is not about using the Dark Arts to achieve our goals but using our brains and cunning to get what we desire even if it is to lock away criminals. And Narcissa I expect you to help the new Head of the family in even way possible after all you did swear an oath to the family.
The goblin looked directly at Mrs. Malfoy. "Do you accept this bequest from Sirius Black?"
Narcissa's lip curled back in a snarl as she whipped out her wand. "I do not!" Her wand glowed for a moment before going out.
The goblin turned to Nymphadora Tonks, who was sitting there still as stone, her mouth slightly open in surprise. "Do you accept this bequest from Sirius Black?" the goblin asked her.
Andromeda nudged her daughter as Tonks turned to her mother questioningly. Andromeda nodded to the goblin.
Tonks blinked a couple of time as she tried to clear her shock. "Excuse me?" she said in a voice that squeaked.
The goblin sighed wearily. "Do you accept this bequest from Sirius Black?"
Tonks nodded her head.
The goblin sighed once again as he rolled his eyes. "You have to swear on your wand, human," everyone heard a low growl under the words.
"Oh," Tonks said as she pulled out her wand only to drop it on the floor. Reaching down for it, she bumped her head on the back of the chair that was in front of her. Standing up with wand in one hand as the other rubbed the goose egg on her head with the other she said, "Ummm…"
The goblin closed his eyes. His lips moving as he said something softly to himself. Finally the goblin opened his eyes and said, "Do you accept this bequest from Sirius Black?"
"I agree," Nymphadora said causing the end of her wand to glow briefly.
As Tonks sat back down her mother pulled her into a hug as her Aunt Narcissa with hatred.
"I wouldn't get too comfortable as the head of the family, my dear Nymphadora," Narcissa said smugly. "I plan on fighting dear Sirius' Will. After all your mother was expelled from the family for marrying someone of lesser blood."
The goblin tapped the papers against the desk in order to straighten them. "Actually he reinstated her and all of her descendants. So you see Mrs. Malfoy, everything is in order and Nymphadora Tonks Black is now the head of the Black family."
Narcissa glared at the goblin before picking up her stuff and storming out of the office.
"Pity," the goblin said. "She should have stayed around to hear the rest of the Will."
The goblin turned to the next page of the Will. "To my almost brother, Remus 'Moony' Lupin. I leave the sum of 500,000 galleons and the land I own on the Isle of Skye. I expect you to write that book on Defense Against the Dark Arts you always wanted to write, Moony. I'm sure it will be a best seller in no time. Now I do have one thing to ask of you and no it doesn’t have anything to do with Harry, by now he's in good hands. No, what I have to ask you is for you to help Nymphadora in her duties as head of the Black family. I know that Andromeda will help as much as she can but to be honest she was never trained to take over the family. You, Remus on the other hand have heard both James and I bitch about what we have to do. You sat down and helped us study the rules and by-laws our family forced on us. You're the only person that I can trust not to screw her over or to try to influence her for your own benefit."
The goblin looked up from the pages of the Will. "Do you accept this bequest from Sirius Black?"
"I do," Remus replied his wand glowed for a moment before going out. Turning to the new head of the Black family line, he said, "When would be a good time for us to meet?"
"Umm… 10 o'clock tomorrow?" Tonks stammered.
"Very well, Lady Black," Remus said with a bow of his head.
"It's Tonks," she replied.
Remus shook his head. "Once you became the head of the Black family your last name automatically became Black. You have no choice in the matter."
"Wonderful," Tonks snarled as she crossed her arms over her chest and sulked.
"The clan Weasley, I leave 50,000 galleons and the mortgage to their home known as the Burrow," the goblin read aloud. "To Ron Weasley, you're about the same age I was when I made what had to be one of my biggest mistakes. I allowed my hatred of another student to blind me to the dangers I placed my fellow students, my friends and myself in. My temper and desire to what I saw as justice allowed others to believe in the worst about me instead of seeking out the truth. Learn to curb your desires. Remember the best revenge is not to live but to live well. To Fred and George Weasley, your mother is a shrew."
Molly screeched in outrage at being called a shrew.
The goblin looked up from his papers. "Madam, shut up," he said before continuing with the reading of the Will.
"To Fred and George Weasley, your mother is a shrew. She would rather see you under her thumb than for you to live your own life. Live your own dreams. Go out into the world and create your joke shop. If it's a success then it's a success. If it's a failure then learn from it, so next time it will be a success. Don't let her dictate to you what you can and cannot do. And to help you fulfill your dreams I would suggest you go talk to Moony, after all he is an evil genius when it comes to the world of pranking."
Fred and George looked at each other as huge and very scary grins appeared on their faces. Slowly the twins turned to Remus still wearing the grins.
Remus looked at the twins and then scooted his chair closer to Tonks for protection.
"Sucks to be you," Tonks said to Remus as she eyed the twins before moving over to take the chair Mrs. Malfoy had used.
"Please bear in mind that we are not finished reading the Will of Sirius Black," the goblin snapped stopping whatever the twins were about to do.
"Yes, sir," the twins said similarly as their creepy grins vanished. "Sorry, sir."
The goblin let out a huff of frustration before picking up where he left off. "Arthur and Molly Weasley, in life we are often faced with choices, either to do what is Right or to do what is Easy. The first time I truly had to make this choice was when I was being Sorted. I could have followed the easy path and entered the House of Slytherin as my family has done for generations, instead I was shunned and disowned by my own family, not that they were much of a family but I did love them. In the past few years you have been presented a choice where you chose what was Easy over what is Right even though your own children have shown you proof of what was really happening. When it is all said and done and you are standing before your Creator, will you say you did what was Easy or what was Right."
"What is he talking about," Molly demanded. "Our family has always done what is Right."
Arthur looked at his wife then at his three sons who had been invited to the reading of the Will. Slyly he glanced over at the Headmaster then over at Remus.
"I think his time around the Dementors have rattled his brain," Molly commented to herself. "I hate myself for saying this but it might have been a good thing that he's gone before he infected the children with his… insanity."
"Do you accept this bequest from Sirius Black?" the goblin asked of the older red headed man.
Mr. Weasley, as head of the Weasley clan stood up, his wand in this hand. "I do," he announced as the tip of his wand glowed briefly.
"To Hermione Granger," the goblin said as he glanced briefly over to the young Muggleborn girl who has taking careful notes on the goings on during a reading of a wizard will, "that day you saved my life and my soul, you did what you believed was Right. Therefore I'm leaving you a sum of 25,000 galleons and some advice. No one is infallible. We all have our weakness; our strengths; our own desires and goals and we will do whatever is necessary within the limits of our powers and ethics to do what we want to achieve those goals. Now with this in mind remember it is these same people who write the books that you trust and believe in so much."
"Do you accept this bequest from Sirius Black?" the goblin asked
Granger stood up and looked over to Dumbledore who simply nodded his head. Turning back to the goblin she said in a clear voice, "I do." And with that her wand glowed briefly before going out.
"To Albus Dumbledore, I leave the sum of one Muggle penny."
"What!" Hermione shouted as she stood up. "How dare he insult Dumbledore that way!"
"Sit down and shut up, child," Andromeda commanded.
Hermione turned to the older woman and sputter, "Did you hear! How... how could he insult the Headmaster in such a fashion!"
"What insult?" Arthur Weasley asked as he looked back and forth between Andromeda and Hermione.
"He gave the Headmaster a penny!" Hermione replied as if that cleared up everything.
Andromeda turned to Arthur and said, "In Muggle America when someone does a service for you like waitressing or carrying your luggage to your room it is customary to tip the person; to give them a percentage based on the bill, usually 10 or 15 percent. Now if they give you poor service and you want them to know that you do it by giving a tip of lesser value and if they did a really crappy job you leave a penny."
"Wouldn't leaving nothing be a better way to know they did a bad job?" one of the twins asked.
Andromeda shook her head. "To leave a penny implies you took the time to think about it. If you left nothing they would think either you forgot, someone stole the tip, or you're just cheap."
"So Sirius Black is saying that Dumbledore did a poor job," Madam Bones spoke for the first time since the reading of the Will had begun.
"I'm afraid that Sirius' mental state might have been a bit rattled from his time in Azkaban," Dumbledore suggested.
"Indeed," Bones replied as she studied Dumbledore for a moment before turning to the goblin who was waiting impatiently for the humans to quit interrupting him. "Could you please reread the beginning of the Will?"
The goblin grumbled under his breath as he turned back to the beginning of the Will. " I, Sirius Black, being of sound mind and body, I hear-by declare on my magick, I am not under the influence of any Potions, spells or compulsions, declare this is my Last Will and Testament," the goblin repeated.
"Is this a standard wizard will?" Bones asked.
"Of course," the goblin growled. "If it had been anything less than it would have been invalid."
"Thank you," Bones said with a bow of her head towards the goblin.
The goblin sighed loudly. "Can I continue now or do you humans want to continue debate Black's reasons instead of having them read to you?"
"Oh please do," Tonks said with a cocky grin.
"Nymphadora," Andromeda said in a chastising tone of voice
"But Mum, we're just getting to the good part," Tonks replied.
The goblin shook his head as he started reading again. "To Albus Dumbledore, I leave the sum of one Muggle penny." The goblin glanced over to Hermione to see if she would interrupt him again. "I'm sure that by now one of the better educated witches or wizards has explained the meaning behind the penny to you but to make everything crystal clear; you, Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore are a failure. You are a failure as the Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot. You are a failure as the Headmaster of Hogwarts. And you are a failure as a human being. You can deny it all you want Dumbledore but the truth is the truth.
"You are a failure as Chief Warlock since you did not do your duty in seeing to it that everyone accused got a fair trial. How many Death Eaters did you allow to walk away from justice for the price of a few galleons? How many innocent souls did you allow to wither away in Azkaban? And then when faced with the truth about an innocent soul locked away without a trial, did you fight for a trial for this person? How hard would it be to say that you were reviewing a trial transcript and discovered that someone,… that I did not have a trial as was my right? How hard would it be to place a hold on the sentence to have me Kissed as soon as I was captured? How hard would it have been to arrange to have Shacklebolt capture me, after all you did live in my home and eat my food while preaching to me how you were doing your best to get me a trial and how I must remain hidden until then."
Madam Bones looked over at Dumbledore with a determined glint in her eyes.
"You are a failure as a Headmaster. Not only have you placed my Godson in danger multiple times but you placed the whole school if not the whole world in danger with your games. How many times have you lied to the Ministry so that they wouldn't come and find out the truth behind your precious school, Dumbledore? Do they know about the possessed teacher you had? Or about the one who tortured her students if they said something she disagreed with? Or how about the Death Eater who pretended to be your best friend and you couldn’t tell the difference? Or did you, Albus? Did you know that Moody had been locked away by someone pretending to be him? Did you even care or was it all for the Greater Good."
"And speaking of the students of Hogwarts can you explain why there are fewer students attending Hogwarts now than there were when I was a student or when you were a student? Oh I know you will claim it's because of the lives lost during the two Wizard wars and that might be true of the Pureblood and Half-blood but it doesn’t explain why there are so few Muggle born when in fact there are more Muggle born witches and wizards being born every day compared to those who are wizard born. You would be surprised what one can learn when one is rich, powerful and bored. I learned that Hogwarts turned away wizard born who are moderately powerful but lacking the funds or political powers, while those with money or political powers can become a student no matter how little magic they have. But if you're a Muggle born, you must be controllable and able to pay your way through Hogwarts after all who really wants to spend the money set up to pay for the poor."
"Have you even read the Muggle book Animal Farm by George Orwell, Dumbledore? It's about farm animals who take over the farm in order to create society in which all the animals are equal. The problem starts when some of the animals, pigs started to think they were more equal than the other animals. So while the other animals are cold, starving, and overworked, the pigs are warm, fat and lazy. You could say that the animals were working for the Great Good, Comrade Dumbledore. I mean it was for the Greater Good that Harry was sent to the Dursley, which was against Lily and James' Will. It was for the Greater Good that you had the Philosopher's Stone brought to school instead of having it placed in a vault with stronger wards. I'm sure that the Flamel's would be really happy with that decision if they weren't dead."
"I could go on and on about how you're a failure Comrade Stalin… I mean Dumbledore but why waste the time. You won't listen or if you do you'll dismiss it as the rambling of a mad man but let this mad man tell you one thing, Dumbledore, someday you'll die too and everyone will be waiting for you. And it won't be pretty!"
The goblin looked up. "Due to the amount being less than one galleon you are not required to accept or reject the bequest."
"To the fair and just Amelia Bones, I leave to you all of the Black family blackmail information; all the dirty little secrets and lies; all the skeletons, alive and dead that are hiding in people's closets. This includes all the blackmail information Malfoy has gathered on my dear cousin's money. Since I'm so sure Lucius would gladly hand over the information I had the goblins collect it for you. I have faith in you Amelia to do the right thing with this information whether you use it to solve a crime, bring peace to a family or to roast marshmallows over. On in the event of your untimely death or dismissal from your post, the information will be sent to every wizard news agency in the world and to the British Secret Service. I'm sure James Bond will enjoy it."
"Who's James Bond?" Arthur whispered to Hermione.
"A fictional character who was a spy for the British government," Hermione whispered back.
Ron leaned over to Hermione, "But are you sure he's a fictional character?"
"Oh course he is," Hermione snapped back. "The stuff he does is impossible."
"You mean like magic?" one of the twins added in. "Bet you didn't believe in magic before you got your letter."
"Do you accept this bequest from Sirius Black?" the goblin asked.
"I do," Madam Bones replied, her wand tip lighting up before going dark.
"To my Godson, Harry Potter, if everything has gone right then you are not sitting there listening to the goblin reading my Will."
The goblin stopped reading as he waited for someone to interrupt. Looking up from the Will, the goblin scanned the faces waiting for the proverbial light bulb to go off. Seeing only confused faces over the fact that he had stopped reading, the goblin shook his head before picking up where he left off.
"If you are here to hear the whining and moaning of my friends and family…"
"Wait a second," Ron suddenly shouted out. "What do you mean if everything has gone right?"
Everyone looked at Ron in confusion.
"You mean that Sirius planned Harry's kidnapping?" Ron demanded.
The goblin reached down beside him and raised a huge battle-ax up, and put it down heavily on the desk.
Ron stared at the battle ax for a moment before meekly saying, "Never mind."
"To my Godson, Harry Potter, if everything has gone right then you are not sitting there listening to the goblin reading my Will. If you are here to hear the whining and moaning of my friends and family then my good friend Jack needs his arse kicked once again," the goblin read as he rested one hand on the battle-ax. "But knowing Jack he's probably done something that even the Gods would have a hard time believing, so it's probably safe to say that Harry is safe and sound, far, far away from merry old England. Now don't you worry about our little cub, Moony. I've known Jack for a very long time and I trust him completely. You could almost say that Jack is my evil twin brother except for the fact we look nothing alike and he's older than me."
"Now on to what I left you since I know everyone who is gathered here is dying to find out and they’re hoping I'll drop some hints about the tall dark stranger who is in your life now, not that it really describes Jack. I mean he's fit and trim, a true fighting man's man but in no way is he dark. You know reading over what I just wrote make it sounds like I'm lusting after Jack… it has been too long without a woman in my arms. Oh well it's too late for that now, I can only hope there are beautiful and willing women at my next destination but with my luck they will all be doctors or nurses who want to take my temperature and tuck me into bed."
"Now the first thing I'm going to do in my list of last things to do is to adopt Harry as my son. Yes I know Narcissa, if you stayed to hear out the rest of the Will, which I doubt you did, just because I adopt Harry as my son doesn't mean he's a Black or that he can inherit any title or wealth from the Black line. But he can inherit my personal vault and I'm sure that 14 years of deposits from the family vault plus interest will add up to be a nice sum. Also I can't forget the few trinkets I've thrown into my Vault from over the years. I’ve always had an interest in all things Egyptian. In addition to that Harry will now have a family that will look out for him, well he'll have the new head of the Black family, Andromeda and her husband to look after him. I always hated the family motto, Always Pure. It should be something like Never cross a Black or it will lead to your blackest days."
"And with that my dear friends, family and bastard, this is Sirius Black signing off. Hope to see you again in a land far, far away."
The goblin stood up and picked up his battle-ax. "This concludes the reading of the Will of Sirius Black." And with that the goblin turned on his heel and walked out of the room.
So it was quite understandable that when a lowly human entered the office of the leader of the goblin nations, he was nervous but confident enough to know that this goblin would not kill him simply because he's the messenger.
"Sir?" the man's voice broke as he tried to project a confidence he didn’t feel.
"Come in, Sutton," the goblin ordered without look up from his papers. "And shut the door behind you."
"Yes, sir," Sutton replied as he closed the door behind him before walking over to stand before the desk.
"Report, Sutton," the goblin ordered.
"Dudley Dursley has been arrested and charged with numerous crimes including kidnapping," Sutton reported. "He is currently being held without bail because of the nature of the charges against him."
"And the likelihood that the charges will be dismissed or young Mr. Dursley will be found innocent?" the leader of the goblin nation inquired.
"Very slim, sir but it is possible," Sutton admitted. "More likely he will be given a reduced sentence because he is a juvenile or for becoming a witness for the Crown, sir."
The goblin looked up at Sutton. "They would give him a lesser sentence because of his age," the goblin said a touch of disbelief was evident in his tone of voice.
"They're Muggles, sir. They lack the means to insure that someone is telling the truth. They have to rely on the evidence gathered and the word of witnesses," Sutton replied. "A good solicitor might be able to argue that Dudley was an innocent youth who was just employed by Steven McMaster as an errand boy and had no knowledge of the true nature of Mr. McMaster’s business."
"That will not do," the goblin said thoughtfully. "Our client wishes that young Mr. Dursley be imprisoned for no less than 15 years."
"That would be highly unlikely at this time, sir. Dudley will probably turn Crown evidence and then combined with his age and lack of a previous arrest record… even with the crimes he's being charged with… 10 years max," Sutton admitted.
"Then we will have to provide the police with more evidence," The goblin stated.
"Sir?" Sutton said.
"Inform our agent within the Surrey police to contact the Yard," the goblin said. "Have them turn over the evidence they're been collecting on young Mr. Dursley. I'm sure it will be enough to extend his stay in prison enough to satisfy our client."
"Yes, sir," Sutton said with a grin.
"And what news do you have about the parents?" the goblin asked.
"As to be expected they are in denial, sir," Sutton replied. "Mrs. Dursley is accusing the police of falsifying evidence against her son. Mr. Dursley is saying that his son is an adventurous youth who was looking for a good time with older more experienced ladies and that he had no idea he was in a house that catered to those with younger taste."
"And of course they are searching for the very best solicitor to defend their child in court," the leader of the goblin nation said with smile that would send the strongest of men running for their life.
"Yes, sir," Sutton said nervously as he fidgeted in place.
"Excellent," the goblin said with a glint in his eyes that even Dumbledore would be jealous of.
"Here you are, sir," the Airman said as he handed back Jack’s ID and access badge. "I've also been told to inform you that Dr. Jackson would like to see you in his office when you get back."
“Is something wrong?” For a brief moment, Jack thought something might’ve happened to Harry.
“I don’t think so, sir, I was told that he sounded excited about something.” The airman watched as O’Neill then proceeded to bang his head gently against the steering wheel of his car. He could understand the Colonel’s reaction. It was a well-known fact that an excited Dr. Jackson was not a good thing for his teammates.
That meant the excitement reported by the gate guard had to be something to do with his rocks. Daniel reminded him in many ways of Hermione Granger. He loved finding out new information and working out complicated puzzles. He also had a tendency to become so absorbed in his research that he forgot to eat or sleep and tried to survive on coffee and chocolate, unless someone… Jack… dragged him kicking and screaming off base.
Jack was willing to bet a month’s salary, that Daniel hadn’t left his office until the day before yesterday when he’d gone to Jack’s cabin because Jack had been missing, which meant that Daniel was still recovering from his usual research routine. Exhaustion usually cut the edge of Daniel’s usual hyperactive Energizer bunny impersonation, but if he’d managed to get his hands on enough coffee after a night’s sleep, then Jack knew he would be hard to contain. Daniel bouncing around after spending a week or more figuring out something about one of the rocks he’d brought back or about one of the rocks he’d been given by another team was bad enough, but Daniel on a caffeine and information high was not something he wanted to face ever again. He would rather face the Goa’uld than that.
As Jack entered Daniel’s cluttered office, he spotted Harry reading a comic book. He was relieved to see that because even though the gate guard had told him Daniel sounded excited, it might’ve been because something happened to Harry.
Jack barely had time to notice that Harry’s nose was buried in what looked like one of Teal’c’s Batman comics before Hurricane Daniel hit him. “Jack, you won’t believe it. Harry can read the language that we found on …”
“Which language?” Jack interrupted before Daniel accidentally gave away the planet’s designation.
Daniel waved a piece of paper in front of him. Jack grabbed his wrist and held it still so he could see what it looked like and found him looking at something vaguely familiar… from the Sirius part of his life. It took him a few moments to place it. He’d seen something similar in a book that held sections of various old languages that his family had full scrolls and tablets of in the family vault. His father had told him when he was younger that the squiggly script was parseltongue, because the last person who’d been able to read and write with it was Salazar Slytherin himself. The Heads of the Black family made a habit of showing the languages in that book to their children before they went off to Hogwarts, hoping that maybe they might have the heir to Slytherin in their family. It would’ve been a great coup for them among the rest of the Pure Bloods.
Quickly controlling his expression, Jack looked over at Harry who was looking at both of them and asked. “Parseltongue?”
“Not sure,” Harry shrugged. “But it seems likely given it mentioned a group called the Serpent Lords in the little bit of it I did read.”
“What did the part you read say?” Jack asked him.
“Something about welcoming the person reading this home,” Harry’s brows were furrowed in thought. “It also mentioned someone named Moros taking their ancestors somewhere to protect them from the Serpent Lords.”
“Serpent Lords?” It took Jack a moment to make to connection with the Goa’uld. The next thing that occurred to him was that the Goa’uld had destroyed an entire race of parselmouths on PX7226 because they were the biggest threat to them given that a parselmouth could command any snake. Could Harry’s gift, which was considered something Dark by wizard kind, be the thing to help them defeat the Goa’uld? Or could there be a weapon there that could be used to destroy the Goa’uld once and for all? The only problem with the second option that Jack could see, was that if there was anything useful on PX7226 they would probably have to take Harry with them if they were to have a hope of finding it.
Jack sighed. “Looks like I have more to talk with Hammond about than I thought.”
Daniel caught the knowing look he gave Harry and whispered. “I thought you weren’t going to tell Harry about the StarGate till he was a lot older. I mean he’s still a child.”
“No,” Jack countered solemnly, in a low voice, “he’s not. In many ways he grew up a lot like you did. Though I wish it hadn’t been that way, Harry was never allowed to be a child. Between the actions of the Dursleys and Voldemort, he had to grow up fast if he was to have a chance of surviving. Not to mention the actions of Dumbledore, the so called Leader of the Light.”
Jack hadn’t wanted to get Harry involved with the SGC. Personally he would’ve preferred Harry not get involved at all, but if he had to be, Jack had hoped it would be about ten or twenty years from now after Dumbledore was dealt with, but it was beginning to look as though there was going to be no way to avoid it. They needed to deal with the Goa’uld and if that planet might have something they could use they needed to check it out. He would have to get Hammond’s permission for Daniel to explain about the StarGate to his ward.
He looked at Daniel. “Looks like you and I will need to make arrangements to go to my vault at Gringotts soon. There are some scrolls there that have things written in parseltongue as well.”
“When?” Daniel asked eagerly.
“Dunno,” Jack shrugged. “Right now, I need to go talk to Hammond about a few things.”
Jack looked over to the young man on the couch. “I’ve got to talk to the General and I’ll be back in a bit to get you so we can go get something to eat.”
Harry nodded and returned his attention to the comic book.
“No sir, Harry was apparently able to read something off one of his rocks.” Jack told him, not really surprised that Hammond knew. There wasn’t much that happened on this base that Hammond didn’t know about, even if he did have a great poker face.
Hammond sighed, wishing he hadn’t run out of antacids earlier today. “And what did it say?”
“From what he told me, he didn’t read anything too revealing, though we may want to tell him about the StarGate.” Jack told him. “If what Harry read was correct then the Goa’uld killed the race of PX7226 because they were a race of parselmouths.”
“Parselwhat?” Hammond demanded.
“Oh sorry, sir,” Jack apologized. “They were a race that could speak with snakes and understand them and if what I remember about parselmouths from my memories of being Sirius are accurate, a parselmouth can command a snake and the snake has to obey them.”
“And just how common are these parselmouths?” Hammond wanted to know.
“Very very rare,” Jack told him. “I only know of two who are currently living. Voldemort and Harry.”
“I see,” Hammond was quick to realize what Harry being a parselmouth could mean to the SGC and their fight against the Goa’uld, but he also hated the idea of bringing a child into the middle of a battle. “Do we know if this trait works on the Goa’uld?”
“No, sir,” Jack told him honestly, “but given what the Goa’uld did to the people of PX7226, I would say they believed the people there could control them.”
Hammond was silent for several minutes. “We will need to need to explain things to Mr. Potter, but that is going to be postponed until we find the leak. The last thing we need is for the NID to find out what he is capable of doing and kidnapping him like they intended to do to you.”
“Maybourne actually admitted that they intended to kidnap me.” Jack wasn’t really surprised to hear that Maybourne might’ve already betrayed those who sent him. The man was weasel, out to save his own skin first, and while that normally would’ve insured that such a person was at the top of a number of hit lists, Maybourne was useful and had dirt on a lot of major players in a number of governments that they didn’t want to get out, so they left him alive.
“Only to Teal’c,” Hammond told him. “Since he was placed in solitary, he hasn’t said a word. He knows that sooner or later his people will arrange for his release. If they do come to the base to arrange it, we will need to make sure you and Mr. Potter are off the base when that occurs, so they don’t get any ideas about using him to get to you.”
“I don’t think they would like the results if that happened sir.” Jack told him calmly.
“Colonel,” Hammond chastised him, though he could agree with the sentiment.
“I wasn’t referring to me, though I would retrieve him.” Jack told him calmly. “No if they take him, then it is possible that one of the other wizards who is part of the military will learn of it and some of them have to know who Harry is if only by reputation. Someone at the Department of Magic did this morning, though she won’t say anything.”
“Are you sure?” Hammond wanted to know.
“Yes, sir,” And Jack was certain that Helen would say nothing. He got the feeling she enjoyed knowing something that pompous little scut of a bureaucrat Maxwell didn’t. Jack also couldn’t help wondering how good her contacts were in Britain, given that she recognized Harry’s name, but Maxwell didn’t. Maxwell struck him as being a lot like Percy and if he’d recognized Harry’s name he would’ve been kissing ass big time. Given that he hadn’t, Jack was willing to bet that the majority of American born wizards wouldn’t know who Harry was, only those from Britain or Europe who had come to America in the last ten or fifteen years would recognize Harry’s name.
Hammond knew that Jack was fairly good at reading people so he took his word that this unknown woman wouldn’t reveal Harry’s presence to others. Then he realized what else Jack had said. “There are magic users in the military?”
“According to Dame McKnight a lot of the magic users who join the military go into what she called the ‘Normal Air Force’ though I would imagine there are some in other branches as well.” Jack told him. “I was thinking it might be useful to get a list of the witches and wizards currently serving in the regular military, because they might prove useful here at the SGC. Those with a Mastery in Wards would definitely prove useful, even if we do get help from the Goblins as well.”
"I agree," Hammond nodded. "However I do have some concerns. The first being, who would they ultimately be loyal to? Are they are loyal to the United States as a whole or just their part of the US since they have kept themselves largely separate from the rest of us."
Jack shrugged his shoulders. "We could have a magically binding contract drawn up for them to sign to keep what they are shown confidential or risk losing their magic. That would protect the StarGate, Harry and anything we might find out there that might be of benefit to the magical people of Earth. The politicians of the magical world seem to be just as power hungry as non-magical ones."
Hammond nodded his head. "And that brings up the other concern, if they do become part of the StarGate program we need to have some way to insure their safety. Aside from some of the scientists who would be very interested in figuring out how their magic works, we would also have to deal with those who believe that magic users are evil or who wish to use them for their own benefit."
Jack nodded, his understanding. Aside from rescuing Harry it had been one of his main worries as well. “Well if we do bring them in, we can pick their brains for ideas. I think between them, Sam and Daniel, we should be able to come up with something that will work for both sides.”
Before Hammond could say anything, an alarm began blaring and a voice announced.
Unauthorized StarGate Activation!
Madam Bones jotted notes down as she read the blackmail material that the Black family had collected along with the information Malfoy had paid for with the money granted to his wife. Occasionally she would jot something down in the Muggle notebook.
“So that’s how that bastard did it,” Bones mumbled to herself. “All these years and I would never have expected Abraxas Malfoy to dress in women’s clothing to avoid arrest. I wonder where he…” Bones turned the page and stopped talking to herself as she read over the information. She tuned the page back and reread the report again before breaking down into a girlish giggle. “He was a cross-dresser. Abraxas Malfoy liked to dress in women’s clothing! Oh! Oh, that explains so much about Lucius! It really is true the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”
Still giggling to herself Madam Bones continued reviewing the documents until she was interrupted by a knock on her office door. Touching her wand to the picture of her niece Susan, Madam Bones watched as the door to her office became see-through. She growled softly when she saw that the person on the other side of the door was Dumbledore.
As he knocked again, Bones stared at the much respected older man, her brow furrowed in thought. When Dumbledore knocked a third time, this time more forcefully and impatiently, Bones wrote a note and placed it in her out-box. As soon as the parchment touched her out-box it vanished with a puff.
Bones watched as Dumbledore scowled at the door separating them, knowing full well that the man could not see her. She studied him carefully as one of her newly graduated Aurors came up behind him.
“Excuse me, Headmaster,” the Auror said respectfully, “But Madam Bones has asked not to be disturbed.”
“Ah Timothy,” Dumbledore said as he turned to face the Auror. “I see congratulations are in order. I knew you would become an Auror.”
A slight blush came to Timothy’s face. “Thank you, sir, but it was your good word that gave me the chance to get into the academy. I doubt they would have accepted me without it.”
Bones’ eyes narrowed as she took in what was being said.
“Nonsense, my boy. All I did was make sure the right people saw the reports on you,” Dumbledore replied. “It was your hard work that won you your spot.”
“That may be, sir but I’m still sure that your recommendation made the difference,” Timothy stated.
Dumbledore nodded his head with a grandfatherly smile on his face, the type of smile one sees when a grandson follows his grandfather’s instructions exactly and the results are as the grandfather predicted.
Dumbledore glanced over to the door that led to Bones’ office. “I need to speak to Madam Bones about some important business,” he said. “Do you think it’s possible for you to help me my dear boy?”
Auror Timothy glanced at the same door before shaking his head. “I’m sorry, Headmaster but Madam Bones left strict orders that no one, not even the Minister was allowed to interrupt her while she reviews the information that Black family had collected. She wants to separate the information that might be important to the Ministry from that which is simply embarrassing for some family.”
Dumbledore nodded his head. “A noble effort to protect the innocent in such matter but I need her aid in an important matter, one that could be the deciding factor in the war against Voldemort and his followers.”
Timothy flinched at the name of the Dark Lord. “And…and what’s that, sir?”
Dumbledore sighed wearily as he took a step closer to the young Auror. “Son, what I am about to tell you must be kept in strict confidence.”
Timothy nodded his head. “I understand, sir. I promise not to tell a soul.”
Dumbledore smiled kindly at the young man as he patted him on the shoulder. “I know you won’t, son,” he said. Taking a deep breath, Dumbledore told him, “Harry Potter is missing.”
“Missing!” Timothy gasped.
Dumbledore nodded his head. “He was kidnapped and spirited away from our fair land. I need Madam Bones’ help…I need the help of the Aurors’ to rescue Harry from the grasp of his kidnappers.”
Timothy glanced over at the closed office door then back at Dumbledore. “I…I can send a message to Madam Bones telling her that you’re here and the reason why, sir.”
Dumbledore nodded his thanks. “If you would, it would be a great help.”
Timothy nodded his head before hurrying off to send the message to Madam Bones.
Madam Bones sat at her desk watching Dumbledore pop a lemon drop into his mouth with a satisfied expression on his face. When she heard a pop she turned her attention to her in-box. Picking up the folded sheet of paper she unfolded it and read over the message written on it.
Picking up her quill she wrote a quick message on paper before tossing it in her out-box where it vanished with a puff.
Leaning back in her chair Bones waited patiently for Auror Timothy to return to Dumbledore’s side with her reply.
“Headmaster Dumbledore,” Timothy nervously clutched the paper that had the Madam Bones’ reply on it.
Dumbledore turned towards Timothy with a grandfatherly smile. “Timothy, so when did Madam Bones say she would see me?” he asked.
“Umm…she hasn’t,” the Auror replied. “Madam Bones replied that she trusts Sirius Black’s choice of guardian for Harry Potter. She also says she can not speak to you due to the ongoing investigation into your misconduct as Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot and as the Headmaster of Hogwarts. She doesn’t want anyone to claim she showed favoritism to you or denied you a thorough investigation, sir.”
The sound of the lemon drop being crushed could clearly be heard. After a moment Dumbledore replied, “I see.”
“Uhh…sir…May I ask what Madam Bones was talking about? The misconduct, I mean,” Timothy asked.
“It’s nothing, my boy. Just a misunderstanding, that’s all,” Dumbledore replied.
“Yes, sir,” Timothy replied with a nod of his head, however the narrowing of his eyes spoke of his doubt in the Headmaster’s words as his Auror trained instincts kicked in. The young Auror watched as the Headmaster walked quickly towards the exit, his every movement expressing the anger he would not voice.
A small smile tugged at the corner of Madam Bones’ lips as she watch her Auror learn the first rule in police work; question everything and believe nothing without proof and even then question the proof.
Madam Bones continued to stare at her one-way door after Dumbledore and her young Auror had left; her brow furrowed with thought. “Too many secrets,” she commented softly as she looked at the piles of paper on her desk that she had been reviewing then at the door to her office. “Dumbledore wants Potter for some reason. And Black had him spirited away but where do you hide someone…”
Madam Bones allowed her eyes to wander around her room mumbling to herself, “Where in the world do you hide someone who’s being hunted. Where do you hide…” Bones stopped what she was saying as her eyes centered on the picture of her niece Susan. “In plain sight.”
“If Potter is no longer in the United Kingdom and is still practicing magic then he has to have registered with the ministry of magic for the country he is now living in,” Bones said to herself. “Which means they would have reported that our Department of Magical Registration.”
With a determined stride, Madam Bones left her office and headed in the direction of the elevators. Auror Shacklebolt soon joined her matching her stride easily.
“Dumbledore was here,” Shacklebolt said. “He wanted to speak to you about Harry Potter.”
Madam Bones nodded her head in reply.
“He’s requesting our help in locating Potter and returning him to his home,” Shacklebolt explained.
Bones snorted. “What Dumbledore wants is irrelevant after all the man is not Potter’s guardian. In fact Potter’s legal guardian arranged for someone he trusted to become the boy’s guardian in the event of his death.”
“Yes…well…” Shacklebolt stammered.
“Which reminds me Auror Shacklebolt, when did you learn of Black’s innocence and when were you planning on informing me?” Madam Bones demanded, stopping and turning to face Shacklebolt.
Shacklebolt took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “I was informed of Black’s innocence shortly after his escape from Hogwarts.”
“And how did you learn this?” Bones demanded.
“The Headmaster informed me,” Shacklebolt answered.
Bones nodded her head. “And you were told not to inform anyone of this fact.”
“Dumbledore thought that if we kept it a secret that it might lull Pettigrew into a false sense of security so that we could capture him easier,” Shacklebolt replied.
“And as a result we have at least one child murdered by the man who really betrayed the Potters, the return of the Dark Lord who has had a year to consolidate his forces,” Bones snarled, “And on top of all that, the man who you were assigned to capture, a man who you knew was innocent of all crimes, is now dead when he tried to defend the Ministry from Death Eaters.”
Shacklebolt cringed at Madam Bones’ words. “In my defense, Madam Bones, Dumbledore wasn’t sure who he could trust with information about Black’s innocence. He felt it was better that we have Pettigrew in custody before we announced Black’s innocence.”
“Of course,” Bones replied. “What better way for Dumbledore to have everyone ignore his part in sending an innocent man to Azkaban than to parade around the real criminal.”
Shacklebolt’s jaw muscles tightened at Madam Bones’ harsh words. “I’m sure that is not the real reason, Madam Bones,” he snarled.
Madam Bones stared at Shacklebolt for a moment studying him before saying, “Tell me Auror Shacklebolt, who do you work for?”
“Pardon?” Shacklebolt replied in confusion.
“Who…do…you…work…for?” Bones spoke slowly as if to a child. “The people or Dumbledore? You see I’ve discovered some things recently and I realized that Dumbledore is the mirror image of the Dark Lord, just in the Light instead of the Dark. So tell me are you a servant of the people…or one of Dumbledore’s version of Death Eaters?”
With his hands clenched, Shacklebolt glared at Madam Bones. “I am not a Death Eater.”
“True but you did put what Dumbledore wanted before the rights and needs of the people, namely Black,” Bones replied. “If you had done your job and brought me this information, Black could very well be alive right now and as a free man. Instead he died as a wanted man for crimes he didn’t commit. I suggest you should think long and hard about your actions Auror Shacklebolt and about where exactly your loyalty lies.”
And with that Madam Bones left Shacklebolt behind and entered the elevator.
Shacklebolt stared at the elevator door with a blank expression on his eyes. Slowly his eyes drifted up to the arrow that indicated what floor the elevator was at.
Blinking a couple times, Shacklebolt cocked his head to the side. “Why would she be on that floor?” he mumbled to himself. “All that there is on that level is the Department of Registration and the Department for regulation and Control of Magical Animals.”
Shacklebolt suddenly inhaled sharply, his eyes widening in surprise. “Of course!” he gasped
Vernon grounded his teeth together as he listened to the reply
“Well they’re lying! My son would never do anything like that,” Vernon stated with a firm conviction. “It’s police entrapment, that’s what it is! They needed someone to pin a crime on, to show people that they were doing their job instead of lolling around and they picked on my son. Well I can tell you I won’t stand for it! I’ll fight them and prove my son innocent. And I’ll see them hang for what they’ve done!”
Vernon nodded his head in agreement with whatever the person on the other end of the line said.
“Yes. Yes, that would be fine,” Vernon answered some unheard question from his caller. “Just do whatever it takes to get my son out of that prison. Thank you. Good-bye.”
“Vernon?” Petunia asked softly as he hung up the phone.
“They denied him bail,” Vernon said softly.
“My baby,” Petunia sobbed.
“There, there, Pet.” Vernon gathered his wife in his arms. “It will be alright, you’ll see. Dudley will be home soon, where he belongs.”
Petunia sobbed into her husband’s chest. “But my baby… They have him locked up with all those…criminals! Who knows what they’ll do to my baby.”
“He’ll be alright, Pet. They won’t lock him up with adult criminals; he’s under age after all. Besides Dudley is a strong boy, he’ll be able to survive until we can get him out,” Vernon tried to soothe his wife. “I’m more worried about who set him up.”
Petunia raised her tear stained face to look at her husband. “What?”
Vernon wiped the tears away from Petunia’s eyes with his thumb. “We both know that Dudley is a good boy and would never do anything like what they’re claiming, so someone had to have set Dudley up.”
“But who,” Petunia said as she pulled away from her husband. “Who would do such a thing?”
“The boy or one of his kind,” Vernon answered.
“But why? Why would they do such a thing?” Petunia demanded.
“Why do they do anything?” Vernon replied. “They’re not good people, Pet. I mean what type of people leave a child on someone’s doorstep like a bottle of milk in November. They never asked if we would take him in, they forced him upon us. No. The only explanation is that they used their…abilities to make it so Dudley was arrested.”
Petunia nodded her head. “They probably did it to make sure we took Harry back once they find wherever he ran off too.”
Vernon nodded his head, his eyes not quite meeting hers. “You’re probably right. They are the type to blackmail good hard working people into doing what they want. Either that or using their magic against them.”
“So what are we going to do, Vernon?” Petunia asked as she chewed on her bottom lip.
“What we have to,” Vernon replied.
Petunia wiped the tears from her eyes with the palm of her hand. “You’re right. You’re absolutely right.”
Just then the mailman slipped some letters through the mail slot.
“Oh, that mailman!” Petunia snapped. “I wish our old mailman hasn’t retired, this new one just does it completely wrong. He starts at the wrong end of the street and we don’t get our mail til nearly lunch. I don’t know what is wrong with him after all everyone knows to start with our end of the street first.”
Petunia knelt down and picked up the mail. Sorting through the letters she stopped to stare at one of them. “Vernon,” she said with a slight tremor to her voice.
“Yes, Pet,” Vernon answered.
“I think this one is for you,” she held out one letter to her husband.
Taking the letter, Vernon looked at the return address and said softly, “It’s from the Inland Revenue. What do they want with us?” Vernon looked up at Petunia in confusion.
“Open it,” Petunia ordered with dread.
Vernon opened the envelope and read the letter. “We’re being audited.”
Unauthorized Stargate Activation!
”The computerized female voice warned over and over again.
O’Neill and Hammond quickly headed for the control room that was situated above the gate room as Special Forces soldiers raced into the gate room readying their weapons, in case they were needed.
The event horizon of the wormhole whooshed out and back, settling into a rippling pool of light.
“Do we have an ID coming through?” Hammond asked Carter and Harriman who were monitoring the computers that would receive the GDO code and for activity through the wormhole.
Walter rechecked his systems. “Nothing as yet sir.”
“Anything registering on your systems, Carter?” O’Neill asked.
“Not yet, sir.” She told him
The soldiers in the gate room kept their weapons trained on the gate as they waited for someone or something to come through the wormhole; while up in the control room, Hammond and O’Neill watched as the techs continued to type commands into their systems in an effort to get an idea of what if anything was coming through the gate or why nothing had yet. After a few more minutes passed with nothing coming through and everyone watching it getting more and more edgy, the wormhole suddenly shut down.
Jack looked at the now empty Stargate and quipped. “I would’ve thought we would’ve at least gotten whatever the galactic equivalent of a bag of flaming dog poop is, thrown through so they could watch us try and put it out. Instead we just get someone ringing the doorbell and running away.”
Hammond just gave Jack a look that shut him up without another word. The Special Forces troops didn’t relax their guard though. If anything a few of them clustered more tightly around the doorways in case something invisible had come through the gate.
"Major Carter, do we have any idea why the gate activated or where it was activated from?" Hammond wanted to know.
Carter typed in several strings of commands and waited for the results. Hammond and O’Neill stood nearby.
“Just before the gate shut down a short message came through and it appears to be from the Tok’ra sir. It’s in one of the codes they gave us.” Carter told them after nearly ten minutes of work. “It was sent on a very low frequency band. If the frequency band had been any lower, we wouldn’t have gotten it. They want to arrange a meeting and specifically requested SG-1 be the contact.”
“So instead of pranking us, they are asking us out on a date?” Jack crossed his arms over his chest. "For some odd reason the theme song from Jaws just started going through my head. da duh da duh da duh da duh da duh da duh."
Carter gave him a sour look. “The gate address for the site they want to meet us at is for a location we’ve already been to, sir. The only things on the planet are the gate and some ruins.”
“When are they wanting to meet with SG-1?”Hammond asked.
“About two days from now, planetary time which is about sixty hours from now.” Carter told him.
Jack sighed and looked up silently toward heaven even though he couldn’t see it. Does somebody up there hate me? This was going to complicate things. He had just gotten his godson back and now even though he didn’t have anything in place for his safety yet, he was going to have to leave for lord knew how long.
The big problem he had was that if the Goblins had held the will reading as they should have then both Bones and Dumbledore knew about an unknown person named Jack who should have Harry in his custody and neither of them were stupid. It wouldn’t take them long to think of checking the Department of Registration.
“Sir, can I speak with you privately for a couple of minutes?” Jack asked. “It’s about that item Daniel is currently working on.”
Hammond nodded. Conversations about Harry Potter were not something that should happen in the control room. Wild rumors were already making the rounds of the base since SG-1 had brought Jack, the boy and Maybourne back. The rumors ran the gamut from the Potter boy being Jack’s child by a previously unknown woman, an alien that had been placed in Jack’s custody but then was kidnapped by the NID, or that the boy was really O’Neill’s previously thought deceased son Charley, though that one was not being spread anywhere near O’Neill or a member of SG-1. While some of the people on the base might be gossips, they weren’t suicidal.
Once they were in Hammond’s office with the door closed, Jack told him "Sir, I would say we have a couple of problems."
Hammond turned and looked at his second in command "You mean Harry?"
“Among other things,” Jack agreed with a nod. "Given how I had to get him out of Britain, I don't think it's in his best interests or the base’s, if I leave him. As far as I know I'm the only magic user on base aside from Harry and he's not fully trained yet. While Harry is a little more skilled than your average fifth year, he wouldn’t be able to stand up to a number of wizards given he is injured and neither would anyone else on the base. There is also something a little odd about how the Tok'ra asked us out on this…date…it’s got my spidey sense tingling. Why would they ask for us specifically instead of going to their own people? I mean except for Jacob, I think most of the others view us as the children who should be seen and not heard."
"So you think the message is a trap?" Hammond asked.
Jack shrugged his shoulders. “I don't know. If it wasn't for the fact that non magical British government didn’t know about the Stargate program I would suspect that it was a wizard trick to separate Harry and me."
Hammond eyes widened. "Could they do that? Influence the gate like that?"
Once again Jack shrugged his shoulders. "Yes. No. Maybe. There is a department in the Ministry of Magic called the Department of Mysteries. Along with the Hall of Prophecies, it’s where all the unusual, dangerous, or not fully understood magical items are kept once they’ve been confiscated by the Unspeakables.”
“Unspeakables?” Hammond asked.
“They are kind of the magical version of Special Ops and the NID.” Jack told him. “The Dept of Mysteries is also where the Veil room is. In my other life as Sirius I fell through the veil and through a round circle that looked an awful lot like the Stargate. I have no idea, if it was one or not. If it was it wasn’t a typical gate, because I don’t remember it having any glyphs for the gate addresses."
Hammond ran his hand over his bald head. "Then we need to figure out an alternate way to protect Harry and ourselves." He went on before Jack could interrupt. "I know you want to stay and protect Harry but I need you to go especially if it's a trap. Your team is one of the best at getting out of traps, not to mention thinking outside the box. I have a feeling we are going to need that in the next few days."
Jack shoulders slumped as he nodded his head.
"You said that when you were taking care of getting Mr. Potter registered at the Dept of Magic, a Dame McKnight told you there were people with magic serving in the regular armed forces?” Hammond paced a little “Could she put you in contact with someone who might be serving near here or someone we could contact directly?"
Jack shrugged, “I don’t know. She gave me an address to write to if I wanted to get a listing of those currently serving, apparently they maintain a newsletter for them, but that would take too long since the meeting with the Tok’ra is in a couple of days and the address is a PO Box.”
“I agree we do not have the time to wait for regular mail,” Hammond concurred. “I know we have been working on the assumption that you and Harry are the only magic users at the SGC, but is there any way for you to tell if someone else is capable of doing magic?”
Jack shook his head. “While I know that there are spells that can detect those capable of doing magic, I have no idea what those spells are or how to do them. And most of those spells are limited to the birth of the child or the spells placed on clocks that allow a family to keep track of the health and safety of its members. I kind of wish we could come up with something similar to help us keep track of Daniel. It would spare me a lot of gray hairs.”
“One of those would be useful to keep track of your entire team, Colonel.” Hammond couldn’t resist commenting.
O’Neill tried to look offended at the implication that his whole team was trouble magnets, then his mind returned to the problem at hand. “Hogwarts has a book that tracks them from birth until they're eleven after that the magic seems to fade. I’ve often thought it was because the tracking spell placed on the wands obscured the results of the spell either that or once they were enrolled in a magical school the spell no longer worked, because its purpose was to make sure they were found and received a magical education.”
Hammond sighed. “Then I can see only one option. If you believe you can trust her, contact this Dame McKnight and see if she can suggest someone, who might be in the Colorado Springs area?”
“It would have to be someone on leave, if they aren’t already at the SGC, because there would be awkward questions about why we were bringing them on to the base on such short notice.” Jack commented, thinking out loud, “Or someone who could move around freely without questions being asked.”
Before Hammond could comment his office phone rang. Picking it up, Hammond barked into the phone. “Hammond.”
After listening for a few minutes, Hammond nodded. “He will be up in a few minutes to find out what your visitor wants.”
Once the phone was returned to its cradle, Hammond fixed Jack with a gimlet stare that had O’Neill trying to figure out if he’d done something wrong that he’d forgotten about.
“It looks like you won’t have to make that call to Dame McKnight after all.” Hammond told him. “She is currently waiting in one of the visitor’s area near the main gate. She asked to speak to you.”
“You’re kidding!” Jack wondered for a moment if Dame McKnight might not be a seer. “I wonder how she found us?”
“So do I.” Hammond fixed him with another gimlet stare.
Jack held up his hand. “I didn’t tell her I was stationed here. I just listed my place of residence as Colorado Springs and told her I worked for the Air Force.”
“So she might’ve checked the airbase and the Academy and not finding you there thought you were stationed at NORAD.” Hammond concluded.
“I’ll find out once I’ve talked to her.” Jack told him before heading out of the room and to the elevators that would take him up to ground level.
Unauthorized Stargate Activation!
”Daniel looked at Harry for a moment, debating on what to do. He quickly realized that the injured boy would not be able to move quickly on crutches if it became necessary to evacuate the base. Going to his office door, he spoke to the SF soldier standing guard outside requesting that a wheelchair be brought down to his office as quickly as possible, for Harry.
The soldier spoke into his radio and passed on the request, then listened for a minute before telling Daniel. “It should be down here in about ten minutes Dr. Jackson.”
“Thanks,” Daniel turned back to face Harry who was up on his crutches.
“What is going on?” Harry wanted to know.
“I’m afraid I can’t tell you.” Daniel told him, then when he saw Harry was going to protest, he went on, “It involves what Jack does for a living and unfortunately it's top secret or Jack would have told you.”
Harry rolled his eyes as his face took on a stubborn expression. “Adults always say that when they do not want to answer a question. I am not a child you know.”
Daniel sighed, running a hand through his hair. “I know this is hard for you. You grew up like I did having to rely solely on yourself and not really being able to trust others, but I promise you Harry that Jack and I will tell you what we can but there are some things we can't tell you. And what Jack and I do for a living is one of those secrets. Jack and I work for the military, and the military has things that have to stay secret. Just like the fact that you are here has to be kept secret from those outside this base, or they might try and take you away or accidentally tell this Dumbledore person, that you and Jack are worried about, where you are.”
Harry didn’t respond to that. Instead he chose to turn away from Daniel and picked up one of the nearby books that he could reach without too much of a struggle given he had to use crutches to remain upright.
“Harry, one thing I can tell you is that warning means you and I may have to evacuate the base.” Daniel advised him gently. “I’ve made arrangements for a wheelchair to be brought down so we can get you out of here quickly if we need to leave.”
“What about Jack?” Harry wanted to know. “Will we be waiting for him?”
“No,” Daniel told him gently. “He is a few floors further down into the base and if he has to evacuate he will go out a different way than we will, but we should see him topside. My primary responsibility is to get you out. And yours, at least for now, as much as I know you don’t want to hear it, is to follow my lead.”
Harry looked like he was going to argue the point, but Daniel hurried on. “Just think of how Jack would feel once he was topside and couldn’t find you.”
That shut Harry up as he remembered the last time he had rushed into a situation without thinking things through. He had lost Sirius. And while it was true he had him back now if in a different body, Harry wasn’t going to make the same mistake again.
“Helen,” Jack greeted her. "Not that I'm not happy to see you but what are you doing here?"
“Your ward’s file has been looked at.” Helen told him, no longer playing the dotty but kindly old lady. “And unlike Maxwell, I know who and what he is, so I had it flagged so I would know if it was accessed.”
“Someone in Britain?” Jack wanted to know.
“Yes,” Helen gave no further details.
Jack studied her for several minutes then led her away from the guardhouse to an isolated area a short distance away from the main entrance to both NORAD and the SGC. Once they were far enough away from those who as far as Jack knew were not magical, he asked, “What department do you really work for, Helen?”
Helen sighed wearily. "While we originally had a different name, thanks to one of my predecessors who had a fascination for cartoons we wound up being given the name... Mystery, Inc by the other departments."
Jack bit back a snicker as he asked, “And do you have a talking dog as well?”
“No, thank goodness,” Helen sighed again.
“So what exactly is Mystery, Inc?" Jack asked.
"Think of it as a cross between the British Department of Mysteries and the CIA?” Helen explained.
“Magical spies,” Jack nodded. “Only you do more than watch.”
“Exactly,” Helen replied. “Our charter is to protect the United States from magical threats no matter what the source and by whatever means are necessary. I’m the head of it. Colonel O’Neill, we need to talk about your time in Britain. And I also need to speak with Mr. Potter. I need to find out exactly what is happening in Britain, and not the pabulum that Minster Fudge is trying to feed his magical allies.”
Jack could understand the need for information.
Every nation in the world, whether magical or non-magical, needed information to keep their people safe. They needed to figure out who their allies and who their enemies were. If you tried to bury your head in the sand and pretend that the rest of the world would make nice with you if you just made nice with them then one day you would wake up in the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust or the magical equivalent of it. And right now the other magical countries needed to prepare for what might be coming, even if the British magical government was still trying to bury its heads in the sand. Jack was willing to bet that just about every other magical government was making plans on what to do if Voldemort managed to spread his tentacles beyond Britain. And there was no doubt that if they knew Harry was out from under Dumbledore’s control, the magical governments of the world would be scrambling to find him and get him under their control.
Of course Jack wasn't planning on allow anyone to use Harry or himself in their plans without having a say in the matter. However before he would allow Helen McKnight or anyone else anywhere near Harry, he was going to get some guarantees as to his godson’s safety. He would allow no one to manipulate or control Harry any longer. “Are you planning to take us into protective custody?”
“No,” Helen met his gaze steadily.
“You said you want information, what are you willing to trade for it?” Jack asked her.
“Nothing that will betray the security of magical or normal Americans.” Helen told him crisply.
“What about some of your time?” Jack asked. He had a feeling that anyone who’d managed to become head of a department like the Dept of Mysteries, would be able to take care of Harry for him while he dealt with the Tok’ra. “I will also need an oath from you that what you are going to see while you are with me will remain between you, me and my CO, unless we release you from the oath.”
“And what will I get in return?” Helen McKnight wanted to know.
“The answers to your questions about what is going on in Britain and if this partnership works out, we may be of use to each other later.” Jack told her.
After Jack had Dame McKnight’s oath, he pulled out his cell phone and called Hammond. “Sir, you remember that matter we were discussing earlier? I think that the person we were talking about can take care of it for us, while I handle that other matter. Can I bring her down to discuss it?”
There were a few moments of silence, before he told Hammond. “She swore an oath to keep it confidential and if she breaks it the results wouldn’t be good for her. I think we can trust her at least for now.”
Jack escorted Helen back to the security gate and got her a visitor’s badge, before escorting her into the SGC.
Hammond looked at the woman puzzled. She looked familiar though he couldn’t quite place her yet.
Jack performed the introductions "General Hammond may I introduce Dame McKnight head of the magical department known as Mystery Inc. Dame McKnight, this is General Hammond."
"A pleasure to meet you General Hammond," she held out her hand.
Hammond puzzled look became more pronounced as he finally figured out where he had met her before. “Miss Helen?”
“Miss Helen?” Jack glanced back and forth between the two of them.
“Miss Helen was my 4th grade teacher.” Hammond told him. “And she doesn’t look any older than when I was in her class.”
“You taught in non-magical school?” Jack raised an eyebrow in question. “Given that General Hammond would have been in elementary school in the early 50’s how did you manage it?”
Helen remembered George Hammond as a honest and forthright child who would do what was right even if it came at a cost to him and since he obviously knew that O’Neill was magical, it was safe to trust him with this as well…at least for now. When O’Neill wandered into her office by mistake, she had had the same impression about him. He would fight to the death to do what was right even if it cost him.
“Since the founding of this country,” she told the pair, “we have always had people in place to keep abreast of developments in the normal world. It was easier before the age of computers, to move around and build a new identity, or have someone else assume a previously existing identity in another place. We refused to be like the rest of the magical world and ignore what our normal counterparts were doing. Normals are very clever when they want or need to be as evidenced by the development of the electric light and the telephone. They have also shown they are willing to do whatever is necessary to preserve their world as evidenced by the first atomic bomb that was dropped from an airplane and used to end World War II. Because of that it became even more important to keep up with the developments going on around us so we could deal with them on an equal footing and if worst came to worst we would know if they ever became a threat to us and how so we could come up with a way to save ourselves. We were not willing to be like those in Europe who for some reason isolate themselves and think that the normals are backward idiots.”
Jack had to swallow a smile as he agreed, “The ones I encountered in Britain seemed to be stuck in the 16th or 17th century. They still write with quills instead of ballpoint pens and they still write on parchment paper rolls. Who does that any more except for those who participate in historical re-enactments? What surprised me though was that none of the normal born ever seemed to think of bringing a pen or pencil and spiral notebooks to that school Harry went to…Hogwarts, I think it was.”
“There are a couple of reasons for that.” Helen told him. “The first is because of the spell placed on the letter each normal-born receives from the teacher who goes to explain about magic to them. The magical’s in Europe need to separate the normal-born from their old lives and keep them from ever thinking of going back to that world. They begin the process with the packet they receive explaining the magical world to them and their families. How well it works will depend on how desperately the normal-born wants to fit in. Sometimes small things will slip through, like a cherished book or maybe a picture, but none of the things that are used in daily life like ballpoint pens and regular paper. The separation spell is reinforced with each letter they are sent from Hogwarts. Eventually though the spell combined with several years of immersion in the magical world, will pull them away from that thing. A lot of normal born tend to want to fit in so badly and that’s what makes the spell take hold so hard. It works until they are no longer receiving correspondence from Hogwarts and they are trying to find a job in the magical world and can’t. Unless they have married into a magical family, they either return to the normal world or they leave for another country with a magical population, where they might have a chance of fitting in.”
“And that is not done here?” Hammond wanted to know.
Helen shook her head. “After the Red Scare died down, the magical schools listed themselves as very select private schools. And if they wished to continue functioning as a school in magical America they had to teach normal classes as well as magical ones. We even have a few magical universities for those who want to continue on with their magical education, but American magical’s can move easily between the magical and normal worlds without standing out or attracting attention because they even know how to use a telephone.”
Helen looked at both men. "Gentlemen, I know you have more questions but every moment we delay is more time Dumbledore and Voldemort have to further their plans. For the security of the United States both the normal and magical worlds, I need to speak to Mr. Potter as soon as possible." Helen turned to look at Jack. "And I have a feeling you'll be able to provide a lot more information on those things Mr. Potter doesn’t know about regarding the state of affairs in Britain."
“I don’t know what I will be able to tell you,” Jack told her. “But you are welcome to whatever information I was given by Sirius Black when he asked for my help in getting Harry out of Britain, before more harm was done to him. I do have one request though. Treat Harry very carefully. Between how Sirius told me the Dursley’s treated him and what he went through every year at Hogwarts he is not a very trusting person right now. I think the only reason he trusts me at all is because I was able to convince him that Sirius asked me to help him.”
Helen nodded acceptance of that condition, but Jack continued. “I would also suggest you don’t try and act like you are a harmless old lady, from what Sirius told me that was Dumbledore’s biggest trick and given his behavior led to Sirius’ death because he refused to share information with Harry when he needed it most, I doubt he will trust anyone else who tries it on him…no matter who they are.”
Helen nodded in agreement. “And what exactly do you want from me, Colonel?”
Jack raised an eyebrow in a questioning gesture. “What do you mean?”
“You are acting too agreeable, though I am fairly certain that the last thing you want to do is allow me access to Mr. Potter. You are even telling me how to handle him so that I do not get on his bad side. What do you want in exchange for this? On the surface you asked for my time. Why? And for what reason?”
“I have a mission that will take a few days.” Jack chose his words with care. “From what Sirius’ letters told me about the Supreme Mugwump and Harry has confirmed, I think that Dumbledore will try to get him back since he now has an idea about where he is.” There was a note of contempt in O’Neill’s voice, which had Helen wondering just what Sirius Black had told him and if she could get her hands on those letters. “My read on the man is that he uses cat’s paws to do his wet work. While he may not be willing to do the dirty work himself, my concern is he may be able to convince the British Ministry to try and retrieve Harry so they will bear the blame if it blows up. And if the Ministry gets involved then their current Dark Lord might also be able to find Harry. Sirius’ letter told me he had spies in the Ministry. I really don’t think we want their Dark Lord over here possibly killing innocent people in his quest to get his hands on Harry. I need someone who is magically capable to keep an eye on Harry and protect him in case either of those events happens. As far as I know there isn’t anyone on the base who fits that bill. What I would like from you if you are willing is to have you and maybe some of your people watch over Harry for a few days while I am gone.”
“Do you have a safe house in the area? One not in your name O’Neill?” McKnight asked as she made a mental note of whom she would need to contact to arrange for guard duty. “I don’t know the level of resources that Dumbledore has available to him that he can use in finding properties connected to you.”
Jack was silent for a couple of minutes and then he remembered the house he’d put in Sara’s name when they’d divorced. Wizards in Britain from what he remembered of his time as Sirius, only looked at the surface of things and never really dug very deep, and if he based things off his only other magical contact in America so far…the Percy clone in the Dept of magical records, most American magical’s weren’t that much different from their British counterparts. Only being nosey when it suited them or they had something to gain. That meant Sara’s house should be safe at least for the short term and they should be able to wrap things up with the Tok’ra in a few days.
“My ex…” Jack coughed, “Sara is out of town for a few weeks. I have the key to her place. We could put you and Harry up there along with your people.”
“Is it in your name or hers?” McKnight asked.
“It’s been put in her maiden name.” Jack told her.
McKnight nodded. “It should work, then. Especially if it’s in a neighborhood that is one of those quiet types. British magical’s will stand out a mile, since they have no concept of how to blend in to a normal neighborhood.”
“And your people won’t?” Hammond asked.
McKnight shook her head. “All Mystery Inc operatives have to spend at least two months every two years living as a normal in a different location. That means living in a non-magical area and using no magic. That way they can blend in, even if they may be a little out of fashion and keep current on what is being used by Normals.”
“What was that alarm about?” Harry wanted to know. “Jack, you are all right?”
“I’m fine, but that alarm was a request from one of our allies for help.” Jack told him cautiously.
“Help?” Daniel questioned.
“The group Jacob is staying with.” Jack told him obliquely, hoping that would clue him in.
Daniel nodded in understanding. The Tok’ra had contacted them and were asking for their help.
“And that means what?” Harry had a feeling judging by the serious expression on Jack’s face he wasn’t going to like the answer to this.
Jack sat down next to Harry on the couch in Daniel’s office. "It means as much as I wish I didn’t have to, I am going to have to leave you in the care of someone else for a few days, while I take care of this.”
“So I’ll be staying with Daniel? Or Mr. Ferretti?” Harry asked.
“I’m afraid not?” Jack told him. “When I went to the US Ministry yesterday to register you, I met the Head of the American version of the Unspeakables. She recognized your name and put a monitor on your file. Apparently they have been monitoring events in Britain and unlike Fudge they weren’t going to assume you were lying. She came to warn me that someone in Britain has accessed your file. Someone at the Ministry knows you are in America though I don’t know who and fortunately for us, they don’t know where.”
“And she conveniently offered to watch me while you are sent off on this unexpected mission.” Jack could see the distrust and suspicion in Harry’s eyes.
Jack shook his head as Daniel started to speak. This was between him and Harry. He had a slight idea of how rough the boy’s life had been and how little trust he had in adults and cursed Dumbledore for creating the situation. “No, I asked her to take care of you. The mission is separate from her. The mission has to do with my job here. My team was asked for specifically so there isn’t another team that can take it.”
“She could have arranged it.” Harry countered.
“No, she couldn’t have.” Jack shook his head. “One of these days when you are a little older, if you choose to work here, I will explain exactly what it is we do here but I give you my word on my magic, that Dame McKnight’s arrival has nothing to do with why I have to go even if it is only for a few days. I also give you my word that if this mission wasn’t important to the safety of everyone here, I wouldn’t go. You are that important to me.”
“Then why is she here?” Harry demanded. “What does she want in exchange for watching over me for you?”
“She wanted to talk to you about Voldemort and what is going on in Britain.” Jack told him. “I want you to tell her everything you know about him and what has happened to you over the last five years. All of it.”
“She is willing to take the word of an under-aged wizard?” Harry didn’t bother to hide the skepticism in his voice.
“Yes,” Jack assured him. “She’s not like Dumbledore or Fudge.”
The ride to Sara’s was done in silence, even though Helen had tried to engage Harry in conversation by asking about his hobbies and the subjects he’d liked at school.
Once they were at Sara’s, Jack loaned Helen his cell phone so she could call some of her people and get them out to where she would be staying until Jack came back to pick up Harry.
After making sure that Harry was taken care of even if his godson wasn’t completely happy with the situation, Jack said good-bye to Dame Helen and as he was going out the door, he heard her ask Harry, “What can you tell me about Voldemort and his rebirth?”
What had supposedly been a simple contact mission with the Tok’ra had turned out to be a trap in a way. The Tok’ra it appeared had a spy in their midst who had betrayed their codes and the news that they were allies with the Tau’ri to Apophis who had wanted their help to hide him from Sokar and they’d had to bring him back to earth at least for a while, placing Earth in danger yet again. About the only thing that Jack had been grateful for in that whole mess was that Harry wasn’t there. There was no telling how Apophis would have reacted to Harry and his ability to speak to snakes. Not to mention how the Tok’ra who had come to chide them for taking Apophis to Earth would have reacted.
Everything was resolved now though with Apophis off to spend some quality time with Sokar and the Tok’ra off doing whatever it was they were doing. Personally Jack thought they were about as useful as the Order of the Phoenix when it came to dealing with the Goa’uld.
Jack was just getting in his car when he heard a popping sound and a female voice say, “Colonel Jonathan, O’Neill, you are a hard man to locate.”
Jack turned around and found himself face to face with Amelia Bones Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.
Jack was just getting in his car when he heard a popping sound and a female voice say, “Colonel Jonathan, O’Neill, you are a hard man to locate.”
Jack turned around and found himself face to face with Amelia Bones, Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.
“And you are?” Jack asked as he leaned back against his truck, crossing his arms.
“My name is Amelia Bones and I am Head of the British Department of Magical Law Enforcement,” Amelia introduced herself
“Ah yes, Sirius mentioned you a few times. Called you fair and just,” Jack snorted as he looked her over. “Personally I think you’re blind and deaf after learning what’s been going on in that hellhole you Brits call a school.”
Amelia bristled at the implication that she had failed in her duty to the people of magical Britain, and she felt personally insulted, because it was a well-known fact that she was one of the few incorruptible members of the Ministry. "Well if that were the case then why would he have left all of his family's blackmail material to me to use as I saw fit?"
Jack shrugged his shoulders. “Maybe he thought if he rubbed your face in the dirt you’d turn into the guard dog he knew you could be instead of being one of those yippy lap dogs that you have been. Of course you never reacted to any of the dangers your niece was in before so I don’t think the stuff Sirius left you will make any difference.”
Amelia stiffened as if she'd been slapped. She had never failed to protect her niece! "What exactly are you talking about?" she growled. "My niece never mentioned any problems to me in or out of Hogwarts."
Jack snorted. “I guess you never actually asked her about school. I’m sure your niece would have told you about the rumors of attempted murder, the death of a teacher, the giant snake that turned people to stone, the Dementors attacking the Quidditch field, the teacher that tortured the students with blood quill and more shit than I want to get into. Or if she did tell you it went in one ear and out the other as you nodded your head like a bobble head doll while saying ‘that’s nice’.”
"How dare you?!" Amelia Bones sputtered. "I have always done the very best to protect my niece!"
Jack pushed himself off of his truck before stalking over to Bones. “And yet you never investigated shit. You never asked how Sirius escaped and now you have a whole bunch of nut cases running around following Mold in the Pants and killing people. You never investigated how that kid died during the Tournament or how Harry, a very much under aged student was forced into it. Have you ever actually looked into how things are run at that school? Have you ever actually questioned anything that old goat fucker ever said or do you worship the ground he walks on because he’s Albus Fucking Dumbledore?”
Amelia forced herself to stand her ground against the American wizard who had suddenly gone from mild to threatening, while unobtrusively making sure her wand was still easily accessible in its sheath up her sleeve. "I had someone investigating the circumstances surrounding Black's escape, but found out only recently he was reporting to someone else and taking orders from him on what to tell me. As for the Tri-Wizard tournament, while it was not my area of responsibility, there was someone there I trusted to tell me if he found anything fishy... Alastair Moody. As for the mass escape, Fudge appointed a panel to look into it and I was forbidden to interfere or face the loss of my magic, because of the magical oath I swore when I took over as head of the DMLE. And I did try and keep up with what went on at the school given my niece was going there, but if you know anything about Albus Dumbledore, you know how well he controls what information goes in and out of that school. His staff is very loyal to him and would die before betraying him because of how they view him.”
“Yep. Mind control is a wonderful thing. I’m assuming you didn’t know that Moody was a fake and that the real one was locked away for the whole year while the fake one had easy access to your niece and all the other kids.” Jack pointed out. “And actually I’m surprised you haven’t lost your magic yet after all you swore to uphold the law but then again from what I understand in the British Wizard community, Dumbledore is the law. After all he says jump and just about everyone in magical Britain says how high on the way up. And yet for some reason you left your niece in that hell hole instead of transferring her to a different school.”
Amelia again felt herself bristling at the implication that she was under Dumbledore's control. This man had no idea how things worked in Britain. She had always done her best behind the scenes to curb Dumbledore's power. She was quite proud of the fact that everyone knew that she was one of the few who would stand against the Chief Warlock if she felt he was in the wrong. He was a very well respected wizard among a large portion of the population of magical Britain for his defeat of Grindelwald and for his stands against You-Know-Who. Or, he had been until Fudge had done his smear campaign against the Headmaster and Potter but that trend was reversing now that the truth was out that the Dark Lord was indeed back.
Even though she knew it was going to sound like a weak defense, Amelia told him. “I was never informed of the things that went on at Hogwarts, even by my niece. The teachers at Hogwarts have always thought the Headmaster could walk up to a dragon and steal its egg and the dragon would let him and I’m afraid most of the children have been brought up with the idea that he was as great as Merlin. Believe me when I say that if I had known there was anything like what you have claimed going on, I would have had Susan transferred to Beauxbatons so fast everyone would think she had apparated out of the Hufflepuff dorms and I would have had Dumbledore and his staff up on charges.”
“For some reason that doesn’t fill me with much hope. The British magical community keeps promising to clean up their messes but all you do is keep making bigger and bigger messes. The last time Mold in the Pants was taken out, you Brits promised that you would get all his followers. And you did. But they paid you off and then went on their merry way until he came back. Wonder how many people they killed in secret while everyone looked the other way?” Jack commented.
There was nothing that Amelia could say to those charges, since they were mostly true. Though most of that occurred under her predecessor. She needed to get things back on track, because she had no idea how long it would be before Dumbledore reached the same conclusion she had about where Harry Potter had to be. "I am not here to talk about the past Colonel O'Neill. I need to discuss Mr. Potter with you. Based on the will that was read at Gringotts, you were chosen by his Godfather Lord Black as Mr. Potter’s guardian. I needed to speak to you and Mr. Potter and make sure that you both understand that Albus Dumbledore is not going to stop trying to get the boy back from you.”
“Oh I know what that goat fucker will do and exactly what he’s capable of doing and he has no clue about what I can do and how far I’ll go to protect Harry from him, Mold in the Pants or the rest of your inbred morons,” Jack growled.
Amelia shook her head. "I don't think you understand Colonel O'Neill, just how much power Dumbledore can bring to bear in his attempts to try and retrieve Mr. Potter. I don't know how much Lord Black told you about the positions Dumbledore holds, but as Supreme Mugwump he can exercise power over magical citizens in any country if there is sufficient need and I have a feeling that he is going to try and use them to get Mr. Potter back from you, because from what I have observed he for some reason seems to think that Potter is needed to defeat You-Know-Who.”
Jack smirked. “And I think you give the old goat fucker too much credit. Don’t worry, Harry will be completely safe and then I’ll deal with Dumbledore.” Jack turned his back on Amelia as he pulled his keys out of his pocket. As he climbed in the truck he said. “And don’t forget Ms. Bones there are others who would want a crack at Mold in the Pants and Dumbledore. I’m sure that the French, Germans and so many others would like to help destroy them for you.”
As he pulled away Madam Bones stared after the truck, speechless.
Dumbledore said he was working for the benefit of all but when Shacklebolt sat down and reviewed everything he knew he began to have some doubts.
Why would Dumbledore stop him from bringing Black to Madam Bones and having him dosed with Veritaserum? Why did he keep Snape at Hogwarts when the man hated children? Why would Black give Potter to a complete stranger instead of giving someone he knew his guardianship over Potter?
Shacklebolt kept swinging back and forth between his duty to the people and his duty to Dumbledore. The one thing that finally forced him to decide was when he heard a young Auror talking about a quote he saw on the wall of memories.
‘When we place our duty to our faith, our family, our alliances above our oath to the law and to justice we dirty the name of Auror and everything we stand for.’
It was with this new belief in his duty as an Auror that Shacklebolt attended the Order of the Phoenix meeting at number 12, Grimmauld Place.
“Ah Nymphadora and Kingsley, it’s good you can join us,” Dumbledore said in greeting as the two Auror walking to Grimmauld Place.
“Headmaster,” Tonks said with a nod of her head and grimace at the fact that he had used her first name. “And it’s Tonks, sir. Things have been busy thanks to Sirius giving all the blackmail information he had to Madam Bones.”
“Yes,” Dumbledore said grimly. “Unfortunately by doing so, Sirius made it much more difficult for us to gather information.”
“I don’t understand, sir.” Tonks gave the two men a confused look.
“He means we can’t blackmail or use the same scum as we did before since they're now in jail,” Shacklebolt told her.
Dumbledore nodded his head. “It would have been better for all if Sirius had left the information in our hands. After the war it would have been handed over to the proper authority.”
Shacklebolt made an agreeing noise as he looked around the House of Black. “Where are the children?”
“Upstairs. Confined to their rooms for the duration of the meeting,” Dumbledore answered as he walked towards the kitchen where the normal held the meeting.
Shacklebolt glanced up the stairs as he walked past them. “Good. I have some questions for young Mr. Weasley.”
“What questions?” Dumbledore turned to look at younger man.
Shacklebolt waved off Dumbledore’s concern. “Just some questions about Mr. Potter. Nothing too important; just hoping for a better understanding of the young man.”
“I’m sure Miss Granger could answer them,” Dumbledore suggested.
Shacklebolt shrugged his shoulders. “Maybe but there are some things boys just won’t tell a girl.”
As Shacklebolt took his seat at the table next to Moody, the older Aurors softly said, “And the fact you wanted to make sure that the boy didn’t suddenly disappear into the bowels of that hell hole?”
“The boy did raise some interesting points,” Shacklebolt commented in the same soft voice.
“That he did,” Moody replied as Dumbledore started the meeting.
Dumbledore stood at the head of the table, looking down at those gathered around it. “Thank you all for attending. As you can see Nymphadora…”
“It’s Tonks!” the pink haired woman growled.
“And Kingsley were able to take a few minutes away from their busy schedule as Aurors to join us,” Dumbledore said as he ignored the conversation between Moody and Shacklebolt. “I think its best that we begin with my search for Mr. Potter. I have contacted a number of my colleagues across the globe in the hope that they might find Mr. Potter or this mysterious Jack person that Sirius left Mr. Potter with. From what I been able to determine, I believe that Jack is a wizard Sirius met shortly after escaping Hogwarts. Because of the type of birds Sirius used to communicate with Harry at that time I think it would be best for us to concentrate our efforts in locations close to the Equator; perhaps Brazil with its strong wizard community.”
“That’s a large area to search and not all of it is friendly to British wizards thanks to Grindelwald and You Know Who,” one of the members commented. “This Jack person probably is someplace that would be more accepting to Harry and himself if this Jack person is British. I suggest we look first on at places that once were ruled by the British Empire. They’re more likely to accept him.”
“You mean like India?” Another member chimed in. “I’m pretty sure that they would stand out against the natives there.”
“What about Australia and New Zealand,” a third Order of the Phoenix suggested. “They would be able to blend in better.”
“The wizard community in Australia is a very tight group. They would spot an outsider in a minute and they would gossip about them,” Moody commented. “As for the New Zealand wizard community… they’re a bit… touchy. Outsiders are generally not welcome.”
“This Jack character could be an Aussie or an American,” someone suggested.
“You’re of course assuming that Jack is his given name and not a nickname or a perhaps has something to do with his profession,” Shacklebolt suggested.
“Excellent points, all of them” Dumbledore declared. “So now I think it would be best to look in areas that have wizard communities that were once or still are under the control of the Muggle British government.”
Dumbledore looked around at the nodding heads. “Severus perhaps you would enlighten us about Voldemort’s actions and if he has an idea where Mr. Potter might be hiding.”
“At this time the Dark Lord is of the belief that Potter has been kidnapped by an outside party. He is of the opinion that a foreign government kidnapped Potter.” Snape stated. “However a few of the inner circle believe Potter vanished for other reasons.”
“Money comes to mind. The Potter family was well off and since Potter was the sole heir any child born to him would stand to collect upon his death. Some think he’s ran away to save his own hide.” Snape let out a snort. “One of the lesser Death Eaters claims that Potter was spirited away by the love child of Death and Chaos. When the Dark Lord heard of this, he dealt with him... severely.”
“Who does Voldemort suspect kidnapped young Mr. Potter,” Dumbledore asked.
“The French,” Snape answered.
“Why the French?” someone asked.
Snape gave the person who asked the question a look of disgust. “Because Potter rescued Gabrielle Delacour during the second task. And while her father Maurice Delacour is a simple businessman, his father is well known as one of the rebel leaders against Grindelwald.”
“So Voldemort thinks that the Delacours had Potter kidnapped in order to train him as a way to repay the debt they think they owe him for rescuing their daughter,” Dumbledore concluded.
Snape nodded his head in agreement. “He has his contacts in France looking for wherever the Delacours have hidden Potter.”
“And if Potter isn’t in France?” Shacklebolt asked.
“Bulgaria would be his next choice,” Snape replied.
“Viktor Krum. The other champion,” Moody supplied. “I doubt that the Delacours would be so foolish to use such an obvious choice.”
“But sometimes the most obvious choices are the best,” Dumbledore commented. “Bulgaria is a mountainous area with access to the Black Sea. It would easy to hide in the mountains and if necessary escape by sea.”
A number of Order members nodded their heads in agreement.
“Arthur, I would like you to contact Bill and see if he can learn Harry’s location from Fleur,” Dumbledore ordered.
Arthur Weasley blinked a couple times before saying, “I’m not sure that would a good idea. I wouldn’t want to endanger their relationship. Young love and all that. Besides I don’t think her father or grandfather would have told her anything in order to protect her and Harry.”
“Never the less, we need your son to find out what he can as soon as possible,” Dumbledore replied before turning this attention back to Snape. “What else can you tell us about the Dark Lord’s plans, Severus?”
Snape shook his head. “The Dark Lord is keeping any plans he has to himself,” he admitted.
Dumbledore nodded his head. “Kingsley, Nymphadora…”
“It’s Tonks,” Tonks growled.
“Do you either of you have anything to report?” Dumbledore asked.
“Only if writer’s cramp counts,” Tonks commented massaging her hand. “With the information Sirius left Madam Bones, we’re been able to solve a number of old cases no one ever thought that we would figure out. The robbery of Smithy’s Jewelry that happened during the early part of the war. You know how everyone thought it was Death Eaters… well it turned out it was the owner’s wife who committed the crime. She wanted to get her lover a gift but didn’t want her husband to find out or to realize that their children weren’t his.”
A number of people gasped at the information.
“I always knew there was something not right with those children. They look nothing at all like Walter,” one of the older male Order member said.
“But a couple days ago you swore that Walter’s eldest was the spitting image of him,” another Order member declared.
“I did not,” the Order man who had made the comment exclaimed.
“I was there. You said it.”
Dumbledore sighed wearily as the two Phoenix member continued to argue. It was only after the member who started the argument called the other person a ‘son of a drunk albatross’ that Dumbledore interrupted the argument.
“While this debate is very interesting we do have some business to conduct,” He said before turning his attention back to Tonks. “Do you have anything else to report, Nymphadora?”
“It’s Tonks,” Tonks replied automatically. “There’s a rumor about Madam Bones wanting to raid Knockturn Alley but no one knows when or if it will happen.”
Moody snorted. “There have been rumors about a raid on Knockturn Alley since before I joined the Aurors.”
Tonks simply shrugged her shoulders.
“Kingsley, do you have anything to report?” Dumbledore asked.
Shacklebolt looked at Dumbledore. “No, sir,” he answered. “Everything is more or less like Tonks reported.”
Dumbledore’s eyes narrowed as he stared at Shacklebolt. “And what about Potter?” he asked.
“I’m sorry to say that there is nothing new to report. Madam Bones is of the opinion that Black undoubtedly picked someone he could trust with Mr. Potter, someone who could protect him and that by searching for him we could endanger him,” Shacklebolt answered.
“And what is your opinion on the matter?” Dumbledore’s nostrils flared slightly.
Shacklebolt paused for a moment. “That’s Mr. Potter’s safety should be our primary goal.”
“So is that why you decided not to tell us that Madam Bones has located Mr. Potter,” Dumbledore snapped.
“What?” Shacklebolt gave him a confused look.
“You know where Harry is?” Molly exclaimed. “Where is he? We have to go rescue him!”
“And we will, Molly,” Dumbledore said, “But first I need to visit the Department of Registration to learn what country Sirius’s friend has taken Harry to.”
Shacklebolt stared at Dumbledore in surprise for a moment. “You used Legilimency on me!”
“Only because it’s necessary,” Dumbledore replied in a grandfatherly tone of voice. “The smallest detail, something you view as insignificant might be the one thing that wins the war against the Voldemort and this Death Eaters.”
“And that gives you the right to poke around in our heads, to invade our private thoughts, without our permission!” Shacklebolt snarled.
“Voldemort be must be stopped at any cost,” Dumbledore let out a tired sigh. “But perhaps you are right. I have allowed my desire to rid the world of this monster to cloud my judgment.”
Those gathered about the table were silent for a moment.
“We understand, Dumbledore,” one of the older members of the Order said. “We don’t like it but we understand.”
“But I don’t,” Shacklebolt growled as he stood up and walked to the door. He stopped at the door and turned back. “When I was a cadet I was taught that there was a thin line between right and wrong and that as an Auror I would have to walk that thin line every day. More than once I wanted to cross that line, to take out the monsters that threaten our world but there was one thing that stopped me each and every time…. My oath to the law. I swore I would uphold the law to the best of my abilities. I joined the Order in the hopes of fighting the corruption in the Ministry that allowed those monsters to walk free. Imagine my surprise when I found that same corruption exists inside the Order. Guess I owe Madam Bones an apology.”
And with that Auror Kingsley Shacklebolt walked out the door, leaving the Order of the Phoenix behind some with very thoughtful expressions on the member’s faces.
The group was silent for a moment before one of the members says, “A rather prickly person that one. After all it wasn’t like Dumbledore was checking to see what bird the dear fellow last enjoyed.”
“Oh shut up, Jonathan!” another member replied. “We really don’t need to hear your opinion on the matter. We just lost a major source of information from inside the Ministry.”
“Now. Now. There is no need to fight,” Dumbledore said calmly with a twinkle in his eye. “Kingsley is under a great deal of stress right now and reacted without thinking. In a couple days I’ll talk to him and I’m sure he will rejoin us.”
“Not without apologizing first,” Molly chimed in. “If he was my son I would scourgify his mouth for how rude he was to you.”
Dumbledore nodded his head. “I’m sure he will, Molly. I sure he will.”
Leaning back in his chair, Moody watched silently those who agreed with Dumbledore and those whose faces showed that they didn’t but respected Dumbledore too much to speak against him. “Some days even the kings must fall,” he said softly to himself.
Remus’s eyes flickered over to Moody.
“I think I pissed off the British Ministry,” Jack said as he faced the older woman.
Helen sighed. “What did you do?”
“I let out my inner Sirius,” Jack answered.
“You’re inner Sirius?” Helen replied with a confused look.
Jack nodded his head. “You know that little voice in your head that tells you right from wrong?”
Helen nodded her head. “That’s your inner Sirius?”
“Not exactly. He’s more like the voice in my head that tells me when I should keep my mouth shut and then to open fire with both barrels. Which he seems to like to do a lot,” Jack admitted. “Anyways he was kind of pissed when he met Madam Bones and he kind of let it loose and then reloaded a couple of times.”
Helen snorted. “There is no such things as overkill. There is only ‘open fire’ and ‘I need to reload.’”
Jack blinked a couple of times in surprise.
“Yes. Yes I read Schlock Mercenary,” Helen said. “Wisdom comes from many places even from a Muggle online comic.”
“The Evil Overlord list,” Jack suggested.
Helen chuckled. “I’m so happy that the Dark Lords and Ladies never read that list. They might actually win if they ever did,” she replied.
Jack snorted. “That is one thing you never have to worry about at least if A Dark Lord or Lady is anything like that clerk at the Department of Magical Registration. They’re too arrogant to believe that people outside their little world might have a better idea than them,” he commented.
Helen chuckled. “Yes. That is one person I can’t see reading the list or even asking a 5 year old if there are any flaws in his master plan.
Jack cocked his head to the side with a thoughtful look on his face. “I always wondered if the good guys could bribe the 5 year old to not point out the problems with a plan?”
Helen shook her head. “It never worked for me when my children were that age. Somehow they always knew what to say and when to say it to create the most embarrassment possible.”
“What’s the Evil Overload List?” Harry chimed in after having snuck out of the house to join Helen and Jack.
“I thought I told you to stay inside,” Helen said as she looked at Harry with a stern expression.
“Your team needs more training?” Jack asked.
“Never send a minion to do the really important work because they are easily distracted,” Helen said as she took hold of Harry’s arm and started to walk back towards the house.
“Why do you have minions, Dame Helen? I thought that only bad guys had them. And what is the Evil Overload List?” Harry demanded as he allowed Dame McKnight to drag him back to the house as Jack followed.
“It’s a very important list you need to read. I’ll have to try to find the heroes list and have you read that one too,” Jack followed them inside. “That list saved my life a number of times.”
Bad Author Notes: Sorry about the delay on this fic. Real life and the flu bites.
For those who have been unable to find the Evil Overlord List, please follow this link
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
After her meeting with Colonel O’Neill and the tongue lashing she had received from that man, Madam Bones returned to her office to briefly check on things before returning home in order to have a talk with her niece.
“You’re home early,” Susan looked up from the book she was reading when her aunt walked into the library.
“Some… interesting allegations came up that I am hoping you can shed some light on,” Madam Bones told her, sitting down in a chair near the couch her niece was lounging in.
“Me?” Susan looked confused as she closed her book.
Bones nodded her head. “It concerns some things going on at Hogwarts and some people actions.”
“I don’t understand,” Susan admitted.
Madam Bones leaned forward. “Tell me about your first year at Hogwarts and about Harry Potter.”
“But I wrote about all of that in my letters,” Susan said.
“I know. I know but let’s pretend that you didn’t. Tell me about that year,” Bones replied.
Susan stared at her aunt for a moment. “I noticed Harry while we waited to be sorted…”
An hour later, “And then Dumbledore rewarded Neville 10 points which let Gryffindor to win the house cup,” Susan finished her story.
“And what about second year?” Bones asked.
“Aunty! It’s late! I should be getting ready for bed,” Susan said in exasperation.
“It’s important Susan,” Madam Bones said simply
Susan’s eyes narrowed. “Is this about a case? About Harry being missing?”
Madam Bones reared back in shock. “What do you know about that!” she demanded
Susan crossed her arms over her chest, a smug look on her face. “I know more than most people think I know.”
“How?” Bones demanded.
“I’m 16, Aunt Amelia, not 6 though everyone treats me like I am. I do hear and notice things,” Susan replied. “Beside I’m a Bones. And we Bones are well known for being able to ferret information out of any source.”
Madam Bones chuckled. “That is so true. You are your father’s daughter,” she said fondly. “Your grandparents had a hard time trying to keep your father from finding out what his gifts were when he was your age. He was always piecing little bits of information together in order to figure out the big picture. Your mother was the only thing he could never figure out and that’s why he claimed he wanted to marry her, so he could have a lifetime to figure her out.”
“Only to be killed by Death eaters,” Susan said sadly as she looked away.
They sat in silence as they remember their lose.
“What do you need to know?” Susan finally asked with a tired sigh.
Madam Bones sat in silence for a moment before saying, “I don’t know. Someone is claiming that I was fed false information about what was happening at the school, information that possibly endangers everyone at the school. I need to find out the truth.”
“And my letters couldn’t help?” Susan asked. “I wrote to you almost every week about what was happening. Couldn’t they help?”
Bones bit her bottom lip for a moment before admitting, “I think your letters were compromised.”
“My source of information suggested that your letters along with letters from other students were intercepted and edited so that parents wouldn’t be concerned about what was going on,” Bones replied.
Susan sat in silence for a moment before saying, “You do realize that they would have to intercept the letters the parents were writing as well. Not every letter… they would be looking for key things and key people. I mean you wouldn’t have Mr. Malfoy write to his son that he should trust Dumbledore and the teachers since it would have been out of character for Mr. Malfoy to do.”
Madam Bones stared at Susan in surprise. “Do you have the letters I wrote?”
Susan nodded her head. “Do you have mine?”
“Of course,” Bones replied with a smirk that Susan quick copied as the two women rose from their chairs to fetch their letters.
The guard stepped out of the checkpoint at security gate leading to NORAD as a three vehicle convoy drove toward the front gate. He started to get a bit worried when the first jeep pulled off to the side of the road about five hundred feet from the gate. The driver and his companion got out of their jeep and took up a position at the back of it watching the road leading up to the gate.
The guard recognized the truck as belonging to Colonel O’Neill and while he relaxed a little, he didn’t let his guard down completely. Reese had been warned when he first started working at NORAD who the most likely personnel were to bring trouble intentional or otherwise onto the base and O’Neill and his team had been at the top of that list.
While O’Neill was driving the truck, the passenger set off the guard’s internal threat-o-meter, even though the Colonel looked completely relaxed. The other man in the truck with O’Neill was dressed all in black right down to his sunglasses. Between that and the man’s utter stillness, Reese thought he was looking at a robot, until the man turned his head to look at him then he thought the man was sizing him up for a coffin.
“Colonel O’Neill, is everything ok?” The guard kept his hand near his pistol in case it was needed.
O’Neill looked at his passenger then back at the solider. "Did you ever have one of those days where you wondered if you’d just woken up in the Twilight Zone?"
“Once or twice, sir, since I started working here” Corporal Reese admitted truthfully. Given this man and his team’s reputation he didn’t think it would be held against him.
"Then you are one of the lucky ones.” O’Neill told him. “Personally right now I'm debating on whether or not this guy is human or a robot. I think he could be dead ringer for a younger Arnold in the Terminator.”
“I don’t have an accent,” O’Neill’s passenger commented blandly.
“You’ll notice he didn’t deny the possibility of being a robot.” O’Neill commented in a loud whisper to the guard, before getting back to business. “He and the others are merely providing an escort for their boss Mrs. McKnight who works for CIA and my ward to make sure he makes it safely back to the base since the people who killed his parents are still out there looking for him. They won’t be staying long.”
The gate guard nodded his head as he told him, "I need to clear that with the General, sir."
"Go right ahead," O’Neill turned to his passenger and asked, “so do you take showers? I would be afraid of rusting?"
Dame Helen’s agent just looked at him from behind the dark sunglasses and didn’t say a word.
The gate guard came back and told O’Neill, “The General said that he will meet you and Mrs. McKnight on level twenty, sir.”
“Thank you, Corporal Reese.” O’Neill nodded his understanding of the instructions. “Mr. Arnold here will wait for Mrs. McKnight, near her vehicle. And they will be leaving together along with the two jeeps outside.”
“Very good sir, I will let the perimeter guards know,” Corporal Kyle Reese told him.
O’Neill escorted Dame Helen and Harry to the elevator that would take them back to the SGC.
When the doors to the elevator they were treated to the sight of Daniel standing in the corner of the elevator bouncing from one foot to the other.
O’Neill shook his head as he asked, “Ok, who let you have unrestricted access to the coffee pot? They know better than that.”
“Are you sure he doesn’t need to go to the bathroom?” Helen asked a slight smile on her face. “The way he is moving reminds me a lot of my son when he needed to go to the bathroom.”
“Nah,” O’Neill disagreed, hiding a small smile at the look of outage on Daniel’s face and gesturing for Harry and Helen to enter the elevator. “Daniel’s Pee Pee Dance is different. There are usually groans of pain and bent over rapid walking is generally involved. This is either a caffeine high or else Daniel has made some tremendous breakthrough in regards to his rocks that he wants to share.”
“I have never made groans of pain or walk doubled over.” Daniel protested.
“Last month,” O’Neill reminded him, “you got so involved with that project you were working on that when I interrupted you to ask you about something, you groaned almost doubling over in your seat before you got up and pushed past me as you ran hunched over to the bathroom.”
“That was one time.” Daniel protested.
“Then there was the time you and Carter were working on some translation science project and when I came to get you both for dinner, you did the same thing.” O’Neill disagreed. “Just admit it, Daniel, you get so wrapped up in your work that you would forget to breath if it weren’t an automatic function of your body.”
Harry had to smother a snort of laughter because even during his brief time around Daniel he had seen how involved the man could get in his work. The only person he knew who was more research obsessed was Hermione. She could get so fixated on trying to find one obscure fact that she would forget to eat if he and Ron didn’t drag her to the Great Hall for meals.
“What brought you up topside, Daniel?” O’Neill punched the button that would take them to level 20. “I half expected that I would have to pry you out of your lab when I got back here.”
“The General got permission for me to explain what we do here to Harry,” Daniel was bouncing up and down as he said this. “It seems as though the President knows about Harry and what is going on in the wizarding world.”
Helen told them. “I had my second in command alert the President to some possible problems coming from magical Britain and that we suspected that Mr. Potter had information on the potential issues and we were trying to locate him to get that information.”
Daniel nodded his head. “That explains why when the General called to get permission to let Harry know about what goes on here, he seemed to recognize the name and gave permission. He also said that he was going to arrange for someone to be sent from the Dept of Magic to help protect Harry and mentioned that they may have a way to protect the knowledge of what goes on here so that no one magical can get it out of anyone’s head, which would increase our security. He said that person was to be fully briefed about us as well once they have swore an oath to keep it secret. Do you really have that kind spell?”
Helen nodded her head. “There is a couple way to stop someone from telling anyone even under torture or truth drugs or from having someone read your mind.”
“Your people can read minds?” Daniel asked.
“A few,” Helen admitted before O’Neill could say anything. “The art is called Legilmency.”
“And Dumbledore is a Master of the Art as is Severus Snape.” O’Neill added. “If either of them show up here, don’t ever look them in the eyes. The old saying the eyes are the window to the soul has some foundation because of Legilmency. If you meet their gaze they gain access to your thoughts.”
“I’m surprised it’s not illegal?” Daniel commented.
“In some countries it is.” Helen told him. “In the US those who learn the art are required to register to learn it and then they have to swear an oath to only use it to help people and not harm or lose their magic.”
“Why such a strong oath?” Daniel asked curious.
“Because if someone abuses the skill they can cause a lot of harm.” O’Neill told him “The common name for the crime is mind rape. If it is not done correctly or taught correctly, you can rip someone’s mind to shreds.”
“I have no doubt Snape was trying to rip my mind apart,” Harry commented in the ensuing silence. “I always had such horrible headaches after those Occulmency lessons Dumbledore made me have with him. Not that they were really lessons. I mean having someone stand in front of you shouting clear your mind when you have no idea how to do it and then trying to break in does not strike me as teaching me how to protect my thoughts.”
Helen stared at Harry in slight surprise. She had known that Dumbledore was a master of the mind arts, but she hadn’t known about Snape and Harry hadn’t mentioned any of that when they had talked. She felt like a fool for not having Potter checked for possible mental tampering when she was having a healer check him out for possible injuries magical and otherwise. The boy would have to be checked soon, not only for possible mental damage but in case Snape or Dumbledore had left any commands planted in his mind. “I will need to make arrangements for one of the Mind healers on my staff to have a look at you, to see what if any damage was done and get it fixed.”
O’Neill remembered from his time as Sirius the Occulmency lessons that Dumbledore had insisted Harry needed to protect his mind from Voldemort, but he hadn’t known that Snape was teaching him nothing. Sirius’ parents had taught him when he was young how to protect his mind so he knew that the first steps were meditation and teaching someone how to build defenses before trying to attack them. Snape was going to pay. O’Neill swore silently to himself. It would require careful planning but he would make sure the man paid for the pain he had inflicted on his godson.
They left the elevator and headed down the hall with Daniel chattering a mile a minute to Harry, about his travels on Earth and the few times he had been in England and asking him questions about what he knew of the magical world.
O’Neill stopped at the briefing room door and got ready to open it, when he noticed that Daniel still had Harry moving down the hall. “Hey Daniel, the general first, your rocks later.”
Daniel reluctantly turned around and led Harry back to the open door.
“Dame McKnight,” Hammond greeted the leader of magical version of the CIA with a nod of his head as she entered the room.
When Harry came into the meeting room, Hammond move toward him, hand extended. “It’s a pleasure to finally meet you, Mr. Potter. I’m General Hammond and I am in charge of this base.”
Harry looked at Jack for a moment to find out what he should do. When Jack nodded that it was ok, he took the General’s hand. “Thank you for letting me stay here sir.”
“You are quite welcome, young man. From what I’ve heard you’ve had a rough time of it so I’m happy I was able to help.” Hammond assured him before gesturing for them to take seats a t the table.
Once they were seated, Hammond came right to the point. “Dame McKnight, Mr. Potter, if you both are willing to swear an oath on your magical to never voluntarily discuss what you are about to learn with anyone who does not already know about it, then I have been given permission from the President of the United States to brief you on what goes on here at this base.”
Dame McKnight removed her wand as swore the requested oath.
Harry had also pulled out his wand, but looked over at Jack before swearing his oath to make sure it was ok for him to do so. “Is an oath given to a muggle binding, since they have no magic?”
“They do have magic, no matter what the wizard world may believe. Magic is part of your soul. Theirs is just not trainable the way yours can be. People who lift cars off loved ones or seem to fall from great heights and yet miraculously escape unharmed or with very minor injuries. They were able to tap into their magic, because they believed it a higher power to help them and it did. It’s ok to make the oath,” O’Neill assured him. “Trust me on this. The stuff that the General has gotten permission for Daniel to tell you about, could help save your life and I want... need you to know how to get to it and use it if you ever need to.”
Harry nodded and gave the requested oath to General Hammond, then turned to Jack and asked. “Why is Daniel going to be the one explaining?”
Helen had to admit she was kind of curious about that herself.
O’Neill shrugged. “He understands and can explain it better than just about anyone and he doesn’t drift into technobabble, the way Carter does.”
“I thought you didn’t like the orientation I usually gave to the new base personnel.” Daniel reminded him. “You always complained that I spent too much time going on about dead people and rocks.”
“You do,” O’Neill agreed, “but you are no where near as bad as Sam when she’s done it.”
Deciding to accept the backhanded compliment, Daniel turned on the projector and began explaining about the Stargate starting with the expedition led by Dr. Langford up to present day.
While Helen took in the majority of the lecture and understood the implications, part of her mind was on the writing she has seen on the cover stone and on other items from that dig. They reminded her of items currently being held at the American Ministry that had been left in their care by a Franklin named O’Connell, who told them he had been given the things by a friend of his from Egypt after Langford’s group had left Egypt. According to the instructions that O’Connell had left with the items, they were to be kept secure by the Ministry unless the Doorway to Heaven was opened and if it were ever opened, to give them to the Doorkeeper.
Once Dr. Jackson was done with his explanation, Dame Helen spoke up. “General Hammond, I will need to make arrangements for some items that are currently being kept in a secure area at the Ministry to be delivered here.”
“What items?” O’Neill and Hammond asked at the same time, then Hammond asked, “Why are these items supposed to be brought here?”
Dame Helen sighed, “About seventy years ago a Franklin named O’Connell brought some things to the Ministry saying he had been given them by a friend of his in Egypt. He was told they were to be kept by the Ministry and only given to one individual, the Doorkeeper, if the Doorway to Heaven were ever opened.”
“What’s a Franklin?” Harry and Daniel asked at the same time.
“In Britain those born to Magical parents who aren’t magical are called squibs.” Helen told them. “They were called the same thing in America until a very famous one proved that just because you didn’t have magic you weren’t useless. His name was Benjamin Franklin also known as one of the “Founding Fathers” of America. After he died the part of America that was magical decided to honor him by replacing a very derogatory term with his name to honor everything he had done and show those who had been born to magical families but had no magic themselves that they could accomplish wonders without any magic.”
While O’Neill and Hammond were both surprised to learn that Benjamin Franklin had come from a magical family, neither of them let it deter them from the more important issue, ‘Someone in Egypt seventy years ago had known what the gate was and what it could do.’
“Do you know who O’Connell’s Egyptian friend was?” Hammond asked.
“No.” Dame Helen told them. “And given the man’s reputation, no one at the Ministry was about to ask.”
“Reputation? What kind of reputation?” O’Neill wanted to know.
“In magical circles, he was known as one of the few to survive finding Hamunaptra, and if stories are to be believed, he also did battle with the Scorpion King who was a servant of Anubis and he defeated him.” Dame Helen told them seriously. “Given his reputation among the magicals in Egypt, no one over here was going to ask him any questions.”
“That’s kind of short-sighted isn’t it?” O’Neill couldn’t resist commenting. “What if what he’d brought you had been something intended to destroy the Ministry?”
“We knew it wouldn’t be,” Dame Helen sounded certain. “While O’Connell has a reputation of being reckless, he was also considered a defender of humanity.”
"Survive Hamunaptra?" Daniel gasped. "I take it you're not talking about the city in India that was excavated in the '20's"
“You would be correct, Dr. Jackson.” Dame Helen told him. “When we heard from O’Connell that it had been found, we knew we had to take action to take action to distract people from looking for it. The easiest thing to do was to distract them by letting them find another old city that had been cleaned of everything magical already as far from the real one as possible and think it was Hamunaptra.”
McKnight leaned forward in her chair. “You must understand that there are still ancient magics and magical items in the real city that should never be allowed to see the light of day. The Egyptian Minister of Magic has slowly been clearing magical items from Hamunaptra with the help of the Medjai. They are the descendants of the ancient line of guardians who protected the city even when it was in use. From what I understand, it is hoped that someday, in the not too distant future that Egyptologist can discover the city once again. Unfortunately at this moment the city is a danger to the whole world.”
“And the items you mentioned?” Hammond asked.
“It’s been suggested that O’Connell’s friend might have the gift of Sight and knew that some day they might be needed, given that Langford had been allowed to depart with the Doorway in the first place. They trusted O’Connell to insure the right thing was done and by extension us,” McKnight answered.
“What about the Mummy movies?” O’Neill asked, “Were those the Ministry’s doing too?”
There was a slightly mischievous look on Dame Helen’s face as she shook her head. “We can’t take credit for that. O’Connell along with a few other Franklins were responsible for the early Mummy movies.
In the dark of night a cloaked figured slipped into 12 Grimmauld Place through the front door, shutting it silently behind him.
Moving quickly by quietly the cloak figure climbed the stairs to the second floor. Glancing briefly at the portrait of the former Lady Black to make sure she was covered, the cloaked figure walked down the hall. Stopping in front of the door that led to one of the bedrooms the figure slipped into the room like a thief in the night.
Once in the bedroom, the cloaked figure closed the door behind him and waited for his eyes to adjust to the dim light that found its way in through the heavy curtains.
Finally he turned his attention to the sleeping figure in the bed. In a heartbeat the cloak figure was next to the bed, his hand covering the mouth of the sleeping person to keep them from screaming out as they suddenly awoke.
“Shhhh! Shhh! Ron, it is me,” the figure said in a hushed voice as the young boy fought against him.
“Bill!” Ron gasped as he finally pulled his brother’s hand from his mouth. “Bloody hell what do you think you are doing!”
“Trying to keep you from alerting the whole household for one thing,” Bill pulled the curtain open a little bit, allowing some more outside light to come in. “And for another, trying to avoid mum until much later. After all it is easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.”
“What are you talking about,” Ron demanded, confusion evident on his face.
Bill sat down on the edge of the bed. “Tell me, Ron, Do you trust Dumbledore?”
“Dumbledore?” Ron said as he sat up and leaned against the headboard.
Bill nodded as he waited for an answer.
Ron sighed. “Why do you want to know, Bill?”
Bill shrugged his shoulders. “Like I said it is easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.”
Ron snorted. “Will I am pretty sure that everyone knows my opinion of the Headmaster since I compared him to the Dark Lord.”
Bill blinked a couple of times in surprise.
Taking Bill’s silence as a sign to continue. “While I do not believe I will find myself in Azkaban like Sirius, especially after I mentioned that option in the meeting; I would not be surprise if I had an accident while at Hogwarts.”
“Accident?” Bill said.
“Quidditch accident. Potions accident. Falling from the stairs because they moved suddenly. Serving a detention in the Forbidden Forest. A prank that goes wrong,” Ron listed off a number of possible accidents. “I am sure that it will not be something deadly just in case someone remembers that I suggested that Dumbledore would arrange for me to be removed like Sirius was. It will probably be something that will take a long time to recover from or something that would cause me to join Neville’s parents in St. Mungo’s.”
“I can see you thought that out,” Bill was slightly taken back by his baby’s brother attitude about the whole thing.
Ron shrugged his shoulders. “After Harry disappeared I sat down and really thought things out. I started to look at everything like it was a chess game and I did not like how the game was being played. Too many mistakes that left my Queen open and unable to defend herself.”
“Harry is the Queen?” Bill asked.
Ron nodded his head. “Dumbledore sees himself as the king since he thinks the whole game revolves around him and You Know Who. But with Harry gone, it has thrown the whole game out of balance.”
“So if Dumbledore is the King and Harry’s the Queen, who is everyone else?” Bill asked.
“Pawns mostly,” Ron answered. “I would say that Dumbledore sees Snape and McGonagall as bishops. Moody is a castle.”
“Who are the knights?” Bill asked
Ron shrugged his shoulders. “Probably Sirius and Remus. I have seen a lot of games of chess where the players ignored the knights or sacrifice them uselessly because they never realize the true powers they have.”
Bill nodded his head. “So mum, dad and the rest of us are just pawns. It explains why he sent dad to ask if I could get any information about Harry from Fleur.”
Ron looked at Bill in confusion. “Why would he… never mind. He probably thinks that the Fleur and Gabrielle’s parents had a hand in Harry’s disappearance because Harry rescued Gabrielle during the Tournament.”
Bill nodded his head. “Dad said so when he told Fleur and me why he was there.”
“He what?” Ron sputtered.
“Do not forget who taught you chess, little brother. Dad knew how to explain things so it kept all of us with the exception of mum out of trouble with the Delacours. Mum, they just put down as a woman who is insane with worry over her missing child,” Bill explained.
“And Dumbledore takes the rest,” Ron said thoughtfully.
Bill nods his head with a smirk on his face. “As you can imagine the Delacours are not pleased.”
Ron nodded his head. “So that brings up the question about why you are here, Bill? What game are you playing?”
A huge toothy grin appeared on Bill’s face. “Where’s Wally.”
“Where’s Wally?” Ron echoed back in confusion.
“Yep. It is a Muggle game,” Bill stood up. “Get dressed Ron. You are playing Wally.”
“What exactly are we doing?” Ron asked, climbing out of bed.
“We are hiding you from Dumbledore,” Bill threw a clean shirt at his baby brother. “And from mum, of course. Can not imagine she will be pleased when she learns you are gone.”
“Gone where?” Ron demanded as he pulled the shirt over his head.
“I know a bloke from New Zealand, who has a third cousin who works for the wizard school there. Now their Headmistress has agreed to allow you attend school there unofficially; mostly because she wants to thumb her nose at Dumbledore,” Bill explained.
Ron paused for a moment. “So I am hiding in plain sight?”
“Yep. Using your own name and still having the same bright red Weasley hair,” Bill said with a cheeky smile. “And no one will ever figure it out. After all if everyone is looking for the missing and possibly kidnapped Ron Weasley, they would never believe he is attending school in New Zealand under his real name.”
“No,” Ron shook his head as he pulled up his pants. “Someone would figure it out and tell Dumbledore or mum.”
Bill leaned against the wall. “Did I ever tell you the prank some 7th years pulled when I was in my 2nd year at Hogwarts?”
“No,” Ron sat down to put on his shoes.
“It was a beautiful spring day and I was just coming out of Honeydukes when a group of 7th year Gryffindors walked past me completely nude,” Bill said as a blush came to his cheek. “And no one noticed and if they did they just shrugged their shoulders and went on with their business.”
Ron stared at him in shock. “And no one said anything? Not even McGonagall.”
Bill snorted. “She said someone pranked her students and turned their clothes invisible to everyone except for those in the group. Of course I actually asked one of them about it at the end of the year and they told me that all they had on were warming charms. That the whole thing was a test to determine how blind the wizard world is, which turned out to be pretty blind since no one attempted to clothe them or tell them that they could see everything and the fact they weren’t punished for it.”
“So I’m going to be in plain sight where anyone could find me if they actually looked,” Ron stood up after putting his other shoe on.
“Exactly. Now come on, let’s get out of here before someone realizes I am here,” Bill said.
“But what about my stuff?” Ron looked around the room.
“Leave it,” Bill answered. “If we take it then people will assume you ran away where if we leave it…”
“People will assume I was kidnapped,” Ron said with a mischievous grin on his face.
“Or that Dumbledore spirited you away or that the house ate you,” Bill said with a grin that mirrored his baby brother’s. And he turned to the door, Bill added softly, “And teaches him a lesson about interfering with a Weasley in love.”
“Ginny, go upstairs and wake your brother,” Molly was busily frying some bacon for breakfast. “I can not believe that boy is still asleep at this hour in the day.”
“Yes, mum,” Ginny walked out of the kitchen and made her way to Ron’s room.
Stopping in front of the closed bedroom door, Ginny tapped softly on it. “Ron. Time to get up,” she called softly. She knocked again when there was no answer. “Ron?”
Stepping back from the door she sighed dramatically. “Oh my poor brother is fast asleep and just will not wake up for me. Whatever shall I do? Should I tell mum I could not wake him or take a page from my other brother’s playbook?” she asked out loud with a twinkle in her eye. “Oh what shall I do?”
“Is something wrong, Ginny,” Hermione walked over to the young girl, a book in her hand.
“Oh I was just figuring out what the best way to wake Ron would be?” Ginny waved a hand towards the closed door.
“Did you knock?” Hermione asked.
“Of course but he did not answer,” Ginny replied.
“Well are you sure he is not awake and maybe somewhere else in house?” Hermione demanded.
Ginny snorted. “He is not in the kitchen and I doubt he will be anyplace else at this hour.”
Hermione sighed. “You are right, of course. If it is not food, quidditch or chess, Ron is not interested.”
Ginny giggled. “He is a walking stomach.”
Hermione nodded her head. “Of course most boys his age are but Ron is the worst. Have you ever watched him eat?”
Ginny nodded her head. “But it’s not Ron’s fault. It’s our older brothers’ fault that he eats like that.”
“What? How?” Hermione sputtered, confused from Ginny’s statement.
Ginny shook her head. “Imagine being the youngest boy out of 6 boys, 6 hungry boys.”
Hermione took a moment before saying, “Ohhh so he eats fast so he can get seconds.”
“Or keep what he has. I have seen the twins steal from his plate when he was not paying attention or eating too slow,” Ginny said. “I do not think Ron has realized he does not have to protect his food while he is at Hogwarts. Of course I never had that problem since I was the only girl in the family.”
“I can not believe your mum would allow such a thing,” Hermione protested.
Ginny shrugged her shoulders. “She said her brothers did the same thing. That it was good for them to learn that they need to defend what was theirs.”
Hermione let out a small gasp of surprise at Molly’s attitude about the whole thing.
“Anyway I am trying to decide how to wake Ron up before breakfast gets cold,” Ginny turned her attention back to the bedroom door.
“Why do not you just open the door, walk in and wake him up?” Hermione said as she pointed out the simplest solution.
“Are you mad!” Ginny exclaimed as she turned on Hermione. “I can not do that! Who knows what type of trap Ron has laid for the twins!”
“Ron would not do something like that,” Hermione dismissed Ginny’s concern with a shake of her head.
“Ron is not stupid, no matter how much he makes himself out to be. He knows perfectly well that the twins would test their pranks on him if they got the chance,” Ginny snapped back at the older girl.
“I am sure that Ron would not do anything like that, especially when he is a guest in someone else’s home,” Hermione countered.
“Fine,” Ginny snapped. “You can go first. Open the door, walk in and wake my brother up.”
Hermione glanced over at the innocent bedroom door then back at Ginny then back at the door. “Fine then,” she said before marching over to the door.
Taking a deep breath, she reached out and turned the doorknob then gave the door a gentle push to open it.
Hermione turned to Ginny with a triumphant smile. “See nothing happened.”
Ginny crossed her arms over her chest. “You still have to go in and wake him up.”
“I will,” Hermione snapped back before turning on her heel and walking into the room. “Ron! It is time to get up!”
A moment later, Hermione called out, “He is not here.”
“What do you mean he is not here?” Ginny demanded, walking into the room.
“I mean he is not here,” Hermione pointed towards the bed.
Ginny glared at the bed as if it had just personally offended her. “He is probably downstairs eating all the bacon.”
Hermione rolled her eyes before saying. “Then we best get down there before he eats everything.” And with that she walked out of the room.
The kitchen the twins were busily filling their plates when an unearthly scream filled the air.
With a much put upon sigh, Molly turned to the twins and asked, “What did you two do?”
“What make you think it was us?” one of the twins said since the other was busy chewing his food.
Molly said nothing but stared at her boys.
“We were just trying out a directional prank, mum,” the other twin said as his brother took the opportunity to eat some of his breakfast.
“A directional prank?” Molly asked with a sigh.
The twins nodded their heads in unison. “It only goes off if you pass the prank in the correct direction.” They switched off once again so the other twin could eat.
“A hundred people could walk through the doorway with one of our directional pranks on it but the first, second or fifteenth person to exit the room through the same door will get pranked.”
Molly sighed once again as she pitched the bridge of her nose. “And exactly which door did you put this prank on?”
“Ron’s bedroom,” one of the twins answered.
Molly shook her head before turning back to the stove and started to cook more food.
“YOU!” The single word was spoken with so much hate and disgust that everyone turned towards the source of the word.
In the door stood Hermione, the shirt she was wearing was stretched tightly over a set of enormous breasts.
“This is all your fault,” Hermione glared at the twins with a promise of death in her eyes.
“I think we have a new market, Gred,” Feorge commented, staring at Hermione’s very ample cleavage.
“I believe you are right, my dear brother but will need to refine it some more. I am sure that most women do not what them to be that… large,” Gred answered.
Feorge nodded his head as he continued to stare at the breasts. “And increase the time limit on the spell. We would not them to suddenly deflate when the spell ends.”
“Or have someone use Finite Incantatem on them,” Gred commented.
Hermione stared at the twin shocked as they talked about her breasts in a ‘matter of fact’ manner. Her breasts rising and falling with each breath she took.
“They are much larger than any breasts I have seen before,” one of the twins commented.
“Reminds me a bit of that Muggle book we found. The one with the comics inside. All the girls in it had huge breasts, wide eyes and a thing for tentacles,” the other brother commented.
Hermione let out a screech of outrage.
“You better run,” Ginny called out over Hermione’s shoulder as the older girl charged after the twins before they could simply apparate away.
“I’m going to kill them,” Hermione snarled. “How dare they do this to me!”
“Of course you will,” Molly said calmly as set down a plate of food before pulling out her wand and casting a spell on Hermione that caused her breasts to return to normal. “But I am curious about one thing...”
“And what is that Mrs. Weasley?” Hermione tried to straighten up her clothes.
“Well the prank the twins set would only affect the first person coming out of Ron’s room,” Molly said as she eyed the young lady. “So is there something you want to tell me about Ron and yourself?”
“What?” Hermione sputtered as Ginny howled with laughter.
“I completely understand the thing about young love but I would have preferred that you waited until both of you were older to spend a night together,” Molly said.
“No! No! I didn’t… we didn’t…” Hermione sputtered as her face turned bright red and she shook her head.
“Mum, Hermione was helping me wake Ron up. She did not spend the night with him,” Ginny came to the older girl rescue.
“Oh... well then… ummm…” Molly said flustered over what she had implied about her youngest son and the young lady in front of her. “Yes, well… Ginny, where is your brother?”
“I do not know,” Ginny sat down at the table. “His room was empty when we went in there. He is probably someplace in the house.”
Molly looked at the two girls then out the kitchen door, into the rest of the house. “Eat up and then I want you to search the house for him.”
“Yes, mum,” Ginny sighed as she started to load her plate.
“He is probably was caught in one of the twins prank and can not get out of it or is too embarrassed to ask for help,” Hermione commented.
Ginny choked on the milk she was drinking. “Ron with breasts,” she gasped when she could speak again.
“Oh Merlin!” Hermione exclaimed. “He is probably hiding so he could play with them.”
Ginny nodded her head. “He is such a boy!”
Two hours later Molly called Arthur to tell him Ron was missing.
Was looking to make sure I spelled it right and found this link indicating that Hamunaptra was actually in India not Egypt and thought that it was just the sort of misdirection a magical society that really wanted to stay hidden without harming others might use as a distraction and so decided to use it as such in the story. Here is the link to that site if you want to see what it says.: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Is_Hamunaptra_a_real_Egyptian_city.
Mad Eyed Moody stepped out of the fireplace, wand in hand and a spell on his lips. “What’s the emergency?” he demanded as he spied Lupin standing in the room.
“Ron’s missing?” Remus told him. “Molly has already searched the house and is now contacting every Order member to see if they know where he is.”
“Has she checked the Burrow?” Moody demanded.
“Not yet but I’m sure she will as soon as someone suggests it,” Remus replied.
“Then I suggest we do so, since the boy isn’t here” Moody said.
Remus glanced around the room. “He is not in here is he?”
“You mean hiding in secret room? He’s corpse cooling with every moment?” Moody said with an evil grin. “No. The lad isn’t here. But I can’t promise that his corpse isn’t cooling some place. The boy has some powerful enemies.”
Moody made his way into the kitchen where Molly typically held court.
“…and if you hear anything, please let me know, Emmeline,” Molly said before pulling her head out of the fire.
“Any luck?” Remus asked, following Moody into the kitchen.
“No. No,” Molly replied before noticing Moody. “Have you seen Ron? He wasn’t in his bed this morning and no one has seen him.”
“No,” Moody answered. “And before you ask, he’s not hiding any place in the house.”
“Oh,” Molly said softly as she sat down in one of the kitchen table’s chairs. “Do you have any idea where he might be?”
Moody studied Molly for a moment before asking. “Have you tried the Burrow or Hogwarts?”
Molly stood up suddenly, her eyes filled with determination. “No. Of course, he would go to the Burrow after all it is home. I should go there and bring him back.”
Moody grabbed a hold of Molly before she could head to the fireplace. “Why don’t you take one of your boys with you and Ginny too,” he suggested. “I’m sure she knows all of the hiding places that exist in your home.”
Molly nodded her head before calling for her children.
As the children filed in, Remus spoke up, “Boys, one of you needs to go with your mother and sister to check out the Burrow. It’s possible that Ron went there or to Hogwarts. I need one of you to stay here in case someone floo calls or Ron returns. I’m going to check around the neighborhood just in case Ron went exploring.”
“Ron wouldn’t do that,” Hermione spoke up. “He doesn’t know anything about the Muggle world and he wouldn’t be foolish enough to wander around without me to show him around.”
“That is one possibility,” Moody stated. “While they’re look for the boy, you will be showing me his room and telling me if you noticed anything odd in the past few days.
“Nothing out of the ordinary happened,” Hermione stated.
“Are you a trained Aurors with decades of experience?” Moody growled.
Hermione let out a sigh of frustration as an answer.
“I didn’t think so. Boys, which one of you is staying and which one is going?” Moody demanded.
“I’m better with offensive and defensive spells, so I’ll go,” one of the twins replied. “But I think it best if Ginny stayed here; just in case.”
“And I know every hiding spot there is in the Burrow; even where Bill hid his magazines. The kind that would have mum screaming at him,” Ginny countered. “So I’m going. If Ron hid something at the house which will help us find him or Harry, I’ll find it.”
“What magazines?” Molly asked with a slightly confused look on her face. “And why would it be something I’d have to talk to Bill about?”
The children all looked at their mother before turning back to each other.
“Besides I think mum took too much calming potion. You’ll need someone to deal with her if something happens,” Ginny pointed out.
The twins nodded their heads in agreement. “If Ron has just wandered off I am thinking of charming his pillow into spiders?”
“Seems too similar to when we charmed his teddy bear,” the other twin countered. “Should have one descend onto him while he’s asleep.”
Ginny let out an irritated huff over their ignorance. “Amateurs. Have every piece of food he tries to eat turn into spiders, except for things like rhubarb or pickled cockles. He won’t touch either one of those.”
“Neither will we,” the twins said at the same time.
“What’s wrong with pickled cockles?” Remus demanded. “They’re good.”
“With enough fire whiskery to kill a horse,” Moody mumbled before speaking louder. “You better hurry up before your mother needs another dose. Come along girl. I want to see the boy’s room”
“My name is Hermione or Miss Granger, not girl,” Hermione growled as she followed behind Moody.
Moody let out a snort. “Minerva claims you’re the smartest witch of her generation.”
Hermione didn’t reply but a small smile appeared on her face.
“Of course Filius told me some tales which left me wondering if you were trying to become fodder before you completed your schooling,” Moody stated as he climbed the stairs to the second floor.
“Fodder?” Hermione echoed in confusion.
“Cannon fodder,” Moody replied. “So do you have a death wish, girl?”
“No! Of course not!” Hermione explained.
“First year you took on a maze that was that was designed by masters of their fields to stop anyone from getting in,” Moody stated.
“It wasn’t that difficult,” Hermione said in an off-handed way.
Moody snorted. “Of course not. After all Albus went behind everyone’s back and weakened the defenses.”
“What? No. No, he didn’t,” Hermione disagreed.
Moody stopped on the stairs and looked back at Hermione. “Yes, he did. Each trap was designed to be impassable. No one was ever meant to get through the traps.”
“That doesn’t make any sense. How could you expect to retrieve the stone, if you couldn’t get through the traps,” Hermione countered.
“Fawkes,” Moody stated simply. “Then in your second year, only you could figure out what was petrifying everyone. I rather doubt that the whole of Ravenclaw are too stupid to have figured it out.”
“Harry was the clue they needed since he heard it. Besides none of them came forward with the information,” Hermione stated.
“Or if they did figure it out, they were suddenly made to forget,” Moody stated. “I seem to remember your defense teacher that year had a habit of wiping people’s memories. I’m sure that other people could do the same.”
“You mean the Headmaster. Your friend and the leader of the Order,” Hermione said snidely.
“Ahhh, yes. My good friend, Dumbledore, who couldn’t tell the difference between me and a Death Eater, who was polyjuiced to look like me? Of course, if Dumbledore had done his duty as Chief Warlock, Black might still be alive today,” Moody stated.
“Well, the Headmaster is a busy man. Headmaster of Hogwarts, Chief Warlock, Supreme Mugwump, and leader of the Order,” Hermione growled, surprised that Moody would say such things about Dumbledore.
Moody stopped at the entrance to Ron’s room and looked at Hermione. “Then I guess you can say Albus is a man of many hats. But you know the one thing I’ve notice about a man who is always wearing a hat?”
“No, what?” Hermione asked in confusion.
“He’s always trying to hide something,” Moody said before opening the bedroom door. “Now you said that Ron left without his wand, broom and he took no clothing…”
“Yes.” Hermione just stood outside the doorway while Moody investigated. “His wand is in the same spot he usually puts it when he goes to bed.”
“So you’ve been in this room when the boy was asleep or was he preparing for bed?” Moody asked with a lecherous grin.
“Hardly,” Hermione folded her arms across her chest. “I’ve had to help wake Ron up more than once.”
Moody made some dismissive noise as he cast a few spells. “Now that’s interesting.”
“What is?” Hermione asked, walking into the room.
“There are signs of a monitoring spell,” Moody stated more to himself than to Granger.
“Mrs. Weasley?” Hermione suggested.
“No. It’s not the type a parent would have on their child,” Moody said before dropping his voice and saying, “Unless they were a sick freak.”
“What? What did you say?” Hermione asked surprised.
“I recognize the magical signature,” Moody stated.
“Whose is it?” Hermione asked.
“Is that Potter’s bed?” Moody pointed at a bed that was half covered with Ron’s clothing, books and magazines.
Moody was soon casting spells over the bed and making noises that indicated the results were interesting.
“Tell me, Miss Granger, who are you loyal to?” Moody demanded.
“What! I’m not a follower of the Dark Lord,” Hermione snapped.
“You would be a damn fool if you were. I want to know who are you loyal to. Your friends or Dumbledore,” Moody demanded.
Hermione glared at Moody for a moment before saying, “I’m a Muggle-born, which makes me a target for the Dark Lord and his follower. Add in the fact that I’m smarter and more powerful than the majority of Pure-Bloods and a friend of Harry Potter’s; you can put me near the top of list of people the Dark Lord wants destroy. So to answer you question, I’m loyal to myself and whoever can kill the Dark Lord and his followers.”
With that, Hermione turned out on her heel and marched out of the room. Just as Hermione vanished from Moody’s sight, she screeched. “Fred! George! I’m going to kill you!”
“Thank you for seeing me on such short notice, Lady Longbottom,” Madam Bones said as she exited the manor’s floo system.
“Think nothing of it, my dear,” Lady Longbottom replied, guiding her guest to the sitting room. “The Longbottom family is always happy to assist the Aurors whenever necessary. I believe you were my dear son, Frank’s, supervisor at one time.”
Taking her seat, Lady Longbottom proceeded to pour tea for Madam Bones and for herself before pulling out a bottle from between the seat cushions and showing it to Madam Bones.
“Make it a double,” Bones sighed.
Lady Longbottom chuckled and she poured some of the liquid from the bottle into the teacup. “Neville would be astounded if he knew about that.”
Bones let out a snort. “Augusta, can you imagine what the children would think if you brought up sex?”
Augusta Longbottom chuckled. “Amelia, I think that all children believe that their parents only have sex only enough times to account for themselves and their siblings.”
“Well after looking through some of the blackmail information that Black gave me, I would tend to agree with the children,” Amelia stated. “At least when it came to having sex with someone of the opposite sex.”
“Oh really?” Augusta’s eyes sparkled in mischief.
A sly smile appeared on Bones’ face. “Let’s just say there is a very good reason that Lucius is an only child.”
“And is Lucius a chip off the old block?” Lady Longbottom asked.
“No. No but Narcissa is a true ice queen to Lucius,” Amelia replied. “Of course she does invite other men who catch her interest to her bed.”
“Oh... umm… is…” Augusta sputtered.
“Draco’s is his,” Amelia answered. “Both Abraxas and Narcissa’s father checked moments after he was born. There was something written in the contract to insure that there wouldn’t be a cuckoo in the nest.”
“That is what one gets when they marry for blood status and gold instead of love,” Augusta said wisely. “Now what secrets did Black have on my family?”
“Nothing that you need to worry about,” Bones assured her.
“Which means there are secrets. Secrets that could harm my grandson,” Lady Longbottom countered.
Amelia nodded her head. “Did you know that you husband often went into the Muggle world and attended their cinema?”
“Of course. I often attended them with him,” Augusta admitted. “I still do attend them in his memory.”
Bones smiled at the answer. “My brother and our father had a thing for football games… or more likely for the fights among the fans,” she said. “They would drive our mother crazy with worry.”
“Catherine would go crazy with worry if your father was 5 minutes late. He had so many calming potions on hand when you and your siblings went to Hogwarts,” Augusta stated. “She was always afraid that something would happen to all of you.”
“She was right,” Amelia said softly before finishing her laced tea.
Setting her tea down, Lady Longbottom said. “I guess it’s about time we got to the business at hand. How can the Longbottom family be of aid? In your letter you asked about the letters Neville sent to me while at Hogwarts.”
Bones nodded her head as she accepted the change of topic, knowing that Augusta wanted to avoid discussing an awkward topic. “I was hoping that both you and your grandson had kept the letters you sent each other.”
“May I ask why are you so interested in these letters,” Augusts asked.
“Someone in Hogwarts edited the letters my niece, Susan sent to me,” Madam Bones stated. “I need to know if the person was just targeting my niece or the whole school.”
Lady Longbottom blinked a couple times in surprise. “How exactly have the letters been edited?”
“What did Neville write about in his second year?” Madam Bones wanted to know.
“Second year,” Longbottom echoed back then paused to think. “His letters talked about his plants. The boy seems to have love of them. He also wrote about the problems he was having in potion class. I also seem to remember Neville writing about a dueling lesson and something about it not going right.”
“So nothing about the attacks on the students or the heir of Slytherin,” Madam Bones asked.
“Pardon me but did you say attacks on the students? The heir of Slytherin?” Augusta demanded.
“Unfortunately,” Amelie replied. “Susan wrote about it in her letters but someone edited them before I received them. That same person or group of persons edited my letters to her as well. They told her to remain calm and not to cause a scene. They indicated that the Ministry knew exactly what was going on and was trying to solve the problem without panicking the students.”
Lady Longbottom sat there for a moment, very calm and quiet. “Who do you believe is doing such things?”
“As head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, I cannot say who our suspects are until all the evidence has been gathered and examined,” Amelia admitted. “Having said that I am fairly certain you suspect the same person I do.”
“Dumbledore,” Augusta said with a trace of disgust.
Madam Bones nodded her head.
“Have you contacted any other families about this matter?” Lady Longbottom asked.
“Not yet,” Amelia admitted. “This matter is a bit tricky considering the amount of political influence Dumbledore can wield. I’m concerned that if he finds out about my investigation, he might have me removed from my position.”
“That should be the least of your concerns,” Augusta replied.
“What do you mean?” Madam Bones asked.
“The easiest way to deal with a problem is either to remove the source of the problem or somehow gain control over the source of the problem,” Lady Longbottom explained. “Susan would make an excellent hostage. One you willingly sent into the lions den.”
Amelia sat absolutely still for a moment before sighing in frustration. “The man is the perfect position. He’s surrounded by children for most of the year in a castle that almost defend itself; that will defend the Headmaster if anyone tries to remove him from the castle by force.”
Lady Longbottom sipped her tea before saying, “Then the only solution is to remove any lever that he has against you. I believe your niece Susan has completed her O.W.L.S.”
Madam Bones nodded her head in agreement.
“Then there is no reason for Susan or my Neville to return to Hogwarts,” Longbottom announced.
Madam Bones choked on her tea. After coughing a few time to clear her airways, Bones said, “What?”
“Oh some of those cinema shows I see every so often summon it up perfectly; shoot the hostage,” Augusta explained. “We simply have to remove Susan and my Neville from the situation.”
“I hope you don’t mean to shoot them with a Muggle gun,” Bones replied.
“Of course not. We need to simply withdraw them from Hogwarts and send them someplace where Dumbledore does not have control or supporters,” Augusta stated
Amelia sighed. “I’m trying to deal with so many things that I never consided that. I can withdraw Susan on account of death threats against me and the fact she is the last of the Bones. I can’t fight this war while worrying about Susan’s safety.”
“While Neville is the last of the Longbottom I don’t think that will work for him,” Augusta stated. “Perhaps apprentice him to someone who deals with plants…”
“No, Dumbledore won’t like him being removed from his control, especially if he’s part of the prophecy,” Amelia stated
“Prophecy? Neville?” Augusta sputtered.
Madam Bones nodded her head. “That’s why the children were at the Ministry. The Dark Lord was trying to use Potter to retrieve a prophecy that may have mentioned him.”
“And what did this prophecy have to say? Did it actually mention my grandson,” Longbottom demanded.
“I don’t’ know,” Amelia admitted. “Potter was able to destroy it before it ended up in the wrong hands.”
“Then why do you think it was about Neville?” Augusta asked.
“Because Dumbledore was the one who witnessed the prophecy when it was made. He was the one who submitted it to the Hall of Prophecy,” Madam Bones told her.
Lady Longbottom hissed sharply. “He was the one who suggested the Franklin take Alice and Neville and hide. I never knew why… but a prophecy about Neville…”
“Or Potter. Or both. And the only person who knew was Dumbledore and he’s very interested in finding Potter,” Amelia admitted.
“Potter’s vanished?” Augusta’s concern was evident in her voice.
“Not quite. It seems as if Black had arranged for Potter to vanish if anything ever happened to him,” Bones admitted. “I can tell you that he’s safe.”
Augusta nodded her head accepting the answer. “You did say that the children were in the Hall of Prophecy?”
“Yes. And from what the Unspeakable were willing to tell to me, they also entered a number of other rooms within the department,” Bones told her.
Lady Longbottom sat quietly for a moment before a sly smile appeared on her face that quickly vanished. Turning sorrowful eyes towards Amelia, she said, “My poor Neville is so sick ever since he’s returned from Hogwarts. I’m afraid that he might have contracted something from the Department of Mystery and that it’s affecting his magic. Would you be so kind as to contact Saul Croaker for me.”
Amelia stared at Augusta in shock for a moment. “So you can claim that the Unspeakables have put Neville in isolation for his protection and that any contact with magic could not only harm him but others too.”
“Exactly,” Augusta replied as she poured herself and Amelia another cup of tea.
“But the only problem is getting the Unspeakables to agree with the plan,” Bones pointed out.
“That’s why I need you to contact Saul for me. He would be very… motivated to insure my grandson’s safety,” Augusta stated.
“Blackmail information?” Amelia guessed.
The sly smile appeared on Augusta face once again. “Of a type. Now about those letters.”
With a wearily sigh, Arthurs walked into the Lamb & Flag, which was a pub on Rose St in the Muggle world.
“Arthur, long time, no see,” the bartender called out. “The usual?”
“That would be wonderful, thanks John,” Arthur replied as he used Muggle coins to pay for the drink.
“Hard day at work?” John asked as he handed over a pint of Guinness.
“Too many evil bosses,” Arthur admitted. “And that’s not counting my wife.”
“Isn’t that the truth. Can’t live with them and we would starve to death without them,” John joked.
Arthur saluted John with his glass before heading towards the back of the pub where other government and business drones were unwinding before returning home.
“Arthur, finally escaped from your prison cell?” a rather plain looking man joked from his table.
“Until tomorrow, when they drag me back to that place, Markus” Arthur replied before taking a drink from his glass. “But I’m going to enjoy the little bit of freedom that I have right now.”
“Then I hate to be the bearer of bad news but I think one of your children is here,” Markus nodded to the table next to the fireplace.
Arthur looked over in the direction Markus indicated and sighed. “Yeah it is. I guess freedom didn’t last very long today.”
Markus chuckled in reply as Arthur walked over to where his son sat nursing a glass.
“Bill,” Arthur said as he sat down across from his eldest.
“Friend of yours?” Bill asked as he nodded to Markus.
“Fellow Ministry worker, just a different department,” Arthur answered. “I’m rather surprised to find you here.”
Bill shrugged his shoulders. “I remember you mentioning the place once so I took a chance, plus they had Guinness. Mum contacted the flat this morning and said that Ron was missing but then I popped over later, she didn’t appear to upset about it. Think she took too much calming potion again.”
Arthur made agreeing noise. “Your mother now believes that Ron knew where Harry is hiding and has run off to join him.”
“Really,” Bill said in surprise. “From what the twins told me, Ron left everything behind. His clothes. His broom. And even his wand. So why does she believe that Ron’s done a runner?”
“Two reasons. The clock and Dumbledore,” Arthur answered.
Bill groaned. “I forgot about the clock.”
“So did I,” Arthurs grumbled while sharing a sly look with his son. “After searching the house and contacting me, Molly floo-ed back to the Burrow and discovered that Ron was traveling”
“And the Headmaster?” Bill asked.
Arthur sighed. “Molly reported to everyone what she had found and Dumbledore declared that Ron was traveling to join Harry.”
Bill snorted. “And everyone will declare it is the truth since it came from Dumbledore’s lips”.
Arthur nodded his head in agreement. “Your mother is still worried about Ron but she knows that he’ll return home once the Headmaster gains access to the Department of Registration so he can bring Harry home.”
“And if Ron isn’t there?” Bill asked.
“Now won’t that be like setting the cat among the pigeons,” Arthur commented.
Bill snorted. “So when do you think Dumbledore will be able to find out where Harry is?”
“The Department of Registration is ... Do you remember when we visited your great uncle Clive?” Arthur asked.
Bill nodded his head, his confusion evident on his face.
“And do you remember how his house was?”
“I remember mum nearly having a fit over how messy the house was,” Bill stated.
Arthur nodded. “It was messy to your mother but to Uncle Clive everything was in perfect order. He used to say everything had its place and a place for everything.”
“You mean it’s a complete disaster area and only those who work there know where anything is,” Bill translated.
“And the head of the department is not a fan of the Headmaster. There appears to be some bad blood between the Headmaster and the department head’s family, I believe it had to do with his younger sister and her calling Dumbledore a minuscule prick with delusions of adequacy,” Arthur commented.
“Ouch. Wonder what he did to deserve that?”
“I was told you don’t want to know,” Arthur admitted. “So I figure it will be 3 to 5 days before they give the Headmaster what he wants just so he goes away.”
“I hope that whoever is Harry’s guardian now, has a plan for dealing with him. Or Harry’s going to find himself back in England very shortly,” Bill commented.
Arthur snorted. “If Sirius’s friend is anything like Sirius was, then I’m sure he has something planned.”
“You’re right,” Bill replied before draining his glass. “It’s best we get home before mum sends out a search party for us. She wanted me to show up for dinner.”
“You’re right,” Arthur said with a regrettable sigh. “It’s best that we leave.”
As the father and son started to leave, Markus called out, “Leaving so soon, Arthur?”
“Family dinner,” Arthur replied.
“Extra dry roast beef with lumpy mashed potatoes and cold gravy,” Markus stated nodding his head.
“And rock hard rolls,” Arthur added in.
“And the only good thing is the drink,” Markus raised his half finished glass.
Arthur chuckled. “Too true. Too true.”
Arthur’s eyes suddenly narrowed before walking over to Markus. Bending down, Arthur picked up something up from the floor. “I think this is yours,” he said as he handed over a small folded piece of paper.
“Good thing you saw that,” Markus replied as he took the paper. “Number and address of a lovely young lady.”
“Which will turn out to be the number and address of her drag queen brother,” Arthur countered.
“That only happened once,” Markus joked. “Go and enjoy your horrible family dinner Arthur but don’t drink too much. You have work tomorrow.”
“Night,” Arthur replied with a wave.
“Mum’s roast beef isn’t dry,” Bill grumbled to his father as the walked out of the bar.
“Yes, but the potatoes are lumpy.”
Back in the pub, Markus finished his drink and had another one before making his way out of the pub. He wandered up and down the streets, glancing into the windows at different shops. Nearly an hour after leaving the pub, Markus walked into a cream color stone and green glass building at corner of Thorney and Millbank.
Chapter 18: Chapter 18
Sorry for the delay but between Corwalch's family issue and my health issue, it's been a fun time since our last update. Of course my Muse for this story running off to parts unknow doesn't help either.
Daniel Jackson was bouncing on his toes as he pounded on the door to the VIP suite that Harry had been assigned.
Opening the door, a sleepy Harry stared at Daniel in confusion.
“Morning Harry,” Daniel said in an excited tone of voice one would recognize come from a small child on Christmas morning.
Harry looked at Daniel in puzzled expression before turning his head to look at something in the room before turning back. “It’s 5:30 in the morning, Daniel.”
Daniel nodded his head. “You promised you would look over the artifacts we found on PX7226.”
“PX7226?” Harry asked sleepily.
“The land of the Serpent Lord… they wrote in parseltongue,” Daniel reminded him.
Harry looked back in the room before looking at Daniel and repeating. “It’s 5:32 am.”
“Yeah,” Daniel nodded his head.
Slowly Harry closed the door, leaving Daniel looking at it in confusion.
“Dr. Jackson,” an Airman stepped up to Dr. Jackson, having seen just what happened and asked, “Have you had any sleep tonight?”
“Ummm… yeah… I think so,” Daniel replied. “I’ve been working on trying to find anything that I think Harry can translate for us.
“And have you been drinking coffee?” the Airman asked.
Daniel nodded his head. “I found this new blend called Death Wish. I think someone sent to me as a joke but it’s really good. They claim to be the strongest coffee in the world.”
The Airman closed his eyes for a moment. “And how much have you had?”
“Ohhh… ummm… one or two,” Daniel answered.
“Cups,” the Airman’s voice betrayed his hope.
“Pots,” Daniel said with a smile.
The Airman nodded his head as he let out a sigh that was bordering on a sob. “Come with me, Dr Jackson,” he requested as he gently took Daniels arm.
“Where are we going? I need to get Harry to look at the artifacts,” Daniel babbled.
“Sir, do you remember what the General said would happen if you drank too much coffee?” the Airman asked as he led Daniel down the hall.
“But it was only two pots,” Daniel whined.
“Your friend is evil,” Harry growled as he set his tray down on the table across from Colonel O’Neill.
Swallowing his mouthful, Jack replied, “Which friend.”
“Daniel,” Harry snarled.
“What did he do this time?” O’Neill sighed, looking around the mess hall for the man in question.
“He woke me up at 5:30 am so I could translate things for him,” Harry hissed.
“Was he vibrating in place like a dog who wanted to play fetch and you had the ball?” Jack asked.
“More like I had a nice juice steak and he was waiting for me to give it to him,” Harry proclaimed.
“Right. He OD’d on caffeine again,” Jack stated before returning to his food.
Harry shot Jack a dirty look before asking, “Which means?”
“Which mean he’s in the hands of our lovely and graceful Dr Frasier,” O’Neill stated as he glanced over at the few members of the medical staff who were in the Mess Hall.
Harry let out a snort before saying softly, “Chicken shit.”
“And you, Grumpy, are not a morning person,” Jack pointed his fork at Harry.
“You try being woken up at 5:30 in the bloody morning by someone who acts like a 5-yr. old on a sugar high,” Harry snapped.
“No, he’s completely different when he’s on a sugar high. This was a caffeine high,” Jack countered. “And I’ve worked with him for years. Try sharing a tent with him after you tell him he can’t play with his rocks anymore because the sun has set.”
“Talking about Dr J again?” Ferretti asked, placing his tray down next to Harry’s. “What did he do this time?”
“Woke me up at 5:30 in the bloody morning,” Harry growled as he stabbed his food.
“OD’d on caffeine,” Jack translated. “And Harry is not a morning person.”
Harry gave Jack the British version of the middle finger.
“Dr J tends to get a bit excited and forgets about things us mere mortals needs to survive like eat, drink, sleep…” Ferretti pointed out.
“Hermione,” Harry grumbled before shoving a fork full into his mouth.
“But look on the bright side. Frasier will keep him until his caffeine level is closer to normal level,” Ferrite offered. “No one wants a repeat of what happened last time.”
“What happened last time,” Harry asked.
“We’re not quite sure,” O’Neill admitted. “But there were three trashed rooms, the elevator somehow ended up misaligned in the shaft and four Marines begged to never have to work with Daniel again.”
Harry let out another snort as he shook his head.
“And if you’re lucky, Dr Frasier won’t release Daniel until some time this afternoon when Dame McKnight will be returning with new rocks for him,” Jack suggested.
“Which he’ll want me to translate,” Harry countered.
“Possibility, but I doubt it. If they’re from Egypt then they probably won’t have any of the stuff you can translate. Beside Daniel will only drag you around until he learns to read the language himself; after that we’ll have to pry him away from it,” Jack stated.
“And if he can’t figure out a way to learn it?” Harry asked.
“Then think of it as job security,” Ferretti replied.
Jack rolled his eyes. “Daniel will learn it, it’s just a question of how long will it take. And you being able to translate for him will make it go along a lot faster.”
Ferretti made some agreeing noise as he quickly glanced around. “Hey Jack, I think you’re running low on coffee. You should get some more.”
Jack looked at his nearly full cup before looking over at Lou who nodded his head towards the side.
“Yeah, you’re right. I should top it off,” Jack stood up, cup in hand and walked towards the coffee urn.
“That was subtle… not,” Harry grumbled.
Ferretti shrugged his shoulders, “Well subtle isn’t my middle name. It’s Brent.”
Harry glanced at Lou for a moment before turning back to his food. “So, what did you want to talk about while Jack wasn’t around?”
“I wanted to know how you were doing. I mean a lot of things have happened in a short amount of time and I wanted to make sure you’re handling it,” Lou said before taking a bite of his breakfast.
“I’m fine,” Harry replied.
“No, I’m fine is Dr J’s line… normally when he’s bleeding but he’s found some rock to study,” Lou stated. “Come to think about that’s Major Carter’s line when she had something to study. And Jack’s and my line when we want our team checked out first. So that can’t be your line.”
Harry gave Lou a look that was reminiscent of Teal’c’s raised eyebrow.
“And that’s Teal’c’s look for when someone is being stupid. I see that a lot around Jack,” Lou pointed out.
“And Teal’c never used the I’m fine line?” Harry asked.
“Well… yeah but we tend to believe him… until he passes out,” Lou stated with a shrug. “What can I say, he has a better poker face.”
“So, what does your version of I’m fine mean,” Ferretti asked, nudging Harry’s shoulder.
Harry turned his attend to his plate as he played with his food. “It means… I’m dealing with everything. Not like throwing a fit will change anything.”
“Nope. Never worked with my girls. But that’s doesn’t mean you have to grin and bear it,” Ferretti pointed out. “I’m pretty sure everyone is expecting you to have at least one door slamming, ‘fuck off’ fit,” Ferretti explained.
Harry glanced over at Lou. “Never had much luck when I tried that. Normally called an attention seeking liar or something like that.”
Lou hmm’d in agreement as he played with his food for a moment. “People look at you and see a kid. They don’t like to think that bad things to happen to kids. They don’t like thinking about things kids sometimes have to do to survive. And they sure as hell don’t like thinking of kids having to fight for their lives or even having to kill to survive.”
“But bad things do happen,” Harry replied softly.
“Yeah they do. And all we can do is help them heal,” Ferrite stated. “And try to make sure it doesn’t happen to the next kid.”
“Is it safe to come back?” Jack asked as he stood in front of his chair.
Lou glanced over to Harry, who shrugged his shoulders in response. “Yeah, I guess so,” Ferretti drew out. “We’re done talking about you... at least for now.”
“Talking about me?” Jack said as he sat down.
Lou made some noise of agreement as he drank some of his coffee.
“So….” Jack looked back and forth between Harry and Lou.
“So?” Lou echoes in reply.
“So, you were talking about me,” Jack stated.
Lou once again hmm’d in agreement, as Harry remained silent.
“Sooo…” Jack drew the word out.
Harry let out an exasperated sigh. “I was telling Lou about some of the stories Moony had told me… but I haven’t told him anything about the poodle.”
“Poodle?” Lou said turning to Harry. “What poodle?”
“Harry… have you ever wanted to take a ride in military jet? Or how about a H.A.L.O.?” Jack quickly asked.
“Halo?” Harry said in confusion.
“Don’t do it,” Ferretti quickly chimed in. “Only the crazies do halo jumps.”
“Are you calling me crazy?” Jack asked.
“Yes,” Lou agreed simply.
“What’s a halo?” Harry asked.
“High altitude low open parachute drops,” Lou told him.
“Oh about 30,000 feet but you open your chute around 28 hundred feet,” Jack replied.
Harry’s eyes got a faraway look in them. “What about using a broom instead…”
Jack paused for a moment. “I’m not sure the Firebolt would be the best broom for that. I mean while they’re fast and maneuverable, I don’t think they would be able to stand up to the stress a halo would put on them.”
Harry nodded his head. “You couldn’t use it at high altitude. They’ve tried and brooms don’t do so well, so you’d have to free fall until you get to an altitude you can use it.”
“You’d need a good breaking system to slow down,” Jack pointed out.
“That would be a lot of stress on the handle and the twigs,” Harry said thoughtfully. “I don’t think anything on the market could handle it.”
Jack nodded his head. “Might want to see if you could make a broom out of aircraft strength aluminum or maybe a composite material…”
“Can’t you guys do something like teleport?” Ferretti asked. “Just teleport in mid jump to the ground.”
Harry and Jack looked at Lou in disbelief. “Where would the fun be in that?” Harry demanded. Jack nodded his head in agreement.
“Right. You’re both crazy,” Ferretti stated firmly.
“I don’t think I’ve see you look better, Harry,” Colonel O’Neill said as he leaned against the wall near Maybourne’s jail cell.
“It’s the prison bars. They take 20 pounds off,” Maybourne rose from his bunk. “I was wondering when you would get around to visiting me. I was afraid you forgot about me.”
“I can’t get that lucky. You’re like a black cat, every time I think I’ve gotten rid of you, you come back,” Jack admitted. “So, you were at my cabin.”
“And it looked like someone had a hell of a party. Crashed your jeep. Drank your beer. Messed up your cabin,” Harry replied.
“Local teens,” Jack admitted with a shrug of his shoulder.
“Damn kids today. That’s something we would never do,” Harry muttered.
Jack raised an eyebrow at the comment.
“Well, the trashing the house and stealing and wrecking someone’s car, is something we would never do,” Maybourne clarified.
Jack snorted. “Mom would have tanned my hide and then given me to dad to deal with if I did something like that.”
“My dad would be trying to figure out what to do with the body after mom was done with me,” Harry admitted.
“Pretty sure the sheriff is going to keep an eye on the kids to make sure that doesn’t happen,” Jack stated.
“Want to bet on how many join the military to escape their parents?” Maybourne asked.
Jack let out a snort. “So why were you at my cabin, Harry.”
Maybourne shrugged his shoulders as he sat down on his cot. “The higher ups wanted to know what you retained from your misadventure.”
“And they couldn’t read the report one of your agents stole from SGC?” Jack asked.
Maybourne snorted. “We both know that there is ‘what happened’ and then there is what is fit for those higher up to know. And unfortunately, some of them remember that.”
“And sometime what’s in the report is exactly what happened,” Jack countered.
Maybourne shrugged his shoulders. “Agreed but they’ll never believe that. You know how they are. They want control and knowledge is first line in controlling everything.”
“The problem with that is that the tighter you hold on to things the more of it squeezes through your fingers,” Jack replied with a smirk
“The same could be said about secrets,” Maybourne commented. “Something like the teenage boy who was with you.”
Jack chuckled. “No secret there. I inherited him. Parents died when he was a baby and his guardian passed away recently.”
“And he left him with you?” Maybourne asked in disbelief.
“Well I’m hardly a pack of starving wolves,” Jack replied.
“Didn’t mean it that way,” Maybourne apologized. “Half the time, you’re more like a mother wolf with a litter of puppies and the rest of time you’re like a big bad wolf with a nice juicy steak.”
“Does that make you one of the three little pigs?” Jack suggested. “Of course, I mean one of the first two pigs, not the third one.”
“Funny,” Maybourne scoffed. “So how you going to work it out? Raising a kid while doing all of this?” Waved his hand around the room to indicate the whole complex. “Let alone keep people like me from him?”
“Besides the fact that I can kind of tolerate you, I was figuring on shooting anyone who bothers him and then dropping the corpse through the Stargate or just zat-ing it three times,” Jack threatened.
Maybourne looked at Jack in surprise. “Never thought of disposing the body through the Stargate. Of course, you’d have a problem of getting the body here, witnesses, the cost of powering up the gate…”
Jack rolled his eyes. “I’m sure that Carter would come up with a way get around that or Daniel would talk to them long enough to make anyone forget anything.”
A thoughtful look appeared on Maybourne’s face, “That would probably work. So, does the kid have a name.”
“Yeah, Harry,” Jack answered with a slight glimmer in his eyes.
Maybourne waited a moment before say, “So what is it?”
“What’s what?” Jack asked.
“The kid’s name,” Maybourne stated.
“I told you what it was. Harry,” Jack stated.
“No, you didn’t,” Maybourne growled.
“Yes, I did. Harry,” Jack replied.
Maybourne pinched the bridge of his nose. “Jack?”
“Yes, Harry?” Jack said calmly.
“Does the kid have a name?” Maybourne asked.
“Yes. Harry,” Jack replied.
“Can you tell me the kid’s name?” Maybourne asked.
“Yes. Harry,” Jack answered.
“So, what is the kid’s name?” Maybourne growled.
An evil grin appeared on Jack’s face. “Third base,” he answered before turning and walking away.
“What! What kind of name is that? Jack! Jack, get back here! Jack!”
“And what about this one?” Daniel said as he handed Harry another scroll.
Harry sighed as he unrolled the scroll and started to read it over. “6 units of flour, 1 unit of water… looks like a bread recipe.”
“Like the last one?” Daniel asked.
Harry sighed as he glanced at the scroll again. “No, this one seems more like a sourdough recipe while the last one was more of a white bread.”
“Interesting,” Daniel said as he wrote down the information.
“Finding someone’s recipe scrolls is interesting,” Harry said dryly.
Daniel glanced over at Harry. “Yes,” he replied in a tone of voice one often hears with fanatics or scholars. We’re learning about the people of PX7226. These scrolls are just a minute peak into their way of life; their society. We’re learning what they eat. What they drank. What crops they grew. What animal they raised. We’re learning about them.”
Having had several years of experience with Hermione, Harry just nodded his head in acceptance.
“And how about this scroll,” Daniel handed Harry a thicker scroll than the previous one. “I doubt it’s a simple recipe given how thick it is.”
“It will probably be multiple recipes. Probably something for a feast,” Harry grumbled.
Daniel looked bright eyes at that though. “Perhaps religious,” he mumbled to himself as he turned away to jot some things down.
Time passed as the two continued their work. Daniel jotting down stray thoughts while trying to organize the scrolls and trying to develop a method of translating them, which didn’t require Harry and Harry reading the scroll quietly. The two were so involved in their work they never noticed Colonel O’Neil walk into the room and sit down next to Harry.
“What’cha reading?” Jack asked.
“I’m trying to figure out why a guy would want to lick a woman’s…” Harry mumbled as he continued to read the scroll, never fully realizing that O’Neil was there or what he’d just said.
“A woman’s?” Jack echoed back.
Harry looked over at Jack and realizing who was there and what he’d just said, his face started to turn red.
“A woman’s what, Harry?” Jack said again.
“Ummm… down there,” Harry stammered as he pointed at his crotch.
“You gave my godson porn, Daniel!” Jack growled.
Daniel head snapped up and he looked at Jack in confusion. “What?”
“Porn,” Jack snapped as he tried to take the scroll from Harry. “You gave my godson porn.”
“Well it started out as a romance. He bought her from the slave market and she was calling him master and bathing him and feeding him. It just got to that point,” Harry explained in Daniel’s defense.
“You gave my 14 year old…”
“…godson porn. I haven’t even given him the talk yet and I doubt anyone over there has ever done that either,” Jack growled.
“It’s not like I haven’t see photos or read the articles. Seamus and Dean had had a few of those magazines that got passed around,” Harry spoke up. “But I can’t figure out the point of the dog in this story.”
Daniel almost teleported over to Harry and snatched the scroll from his hand. “I’ll have you translate this one later… like in 50 years,” he said as Jack growled like a dog. “Ummm… I think I’ll go talk to Sam about… something.”
Harry and Jack watched Daniel escape the room and the door swing shut behind him. “You’re late,” Harry growled after a moment. “You promised that you would save me from Daniel almost 2 hours ago. He had me reading recipes. Biscuit recipes. Cake recipes. Bread recipes.”
“Sorry,” Jack replied. “I was coming to rescue you when the General kidnapped me to discuss some issues concerning the base.”
Harry sighed. “And since he’s the General, you couldn’t come to rescue me.”
“Unfortunately, sometimes my duty to the base has to come first but if you were in serious danger, you would have been my first priority. Death, from Daniel’s lecture on the value of wheat harvest reports, is something we’ve all had to suffer from.” Jack replied with a haunted look in his eyes. “The lecture on the difference between a rock and an artifact is worse than having a cavity filled.”
“So, you use Daniel as punishment when someone is misbehaving,” Harry commented.
“Or Carter. She can lecture them for hours on the workings of the StarGate or some other little bobble,” Jack admitted. “Either one of them is worse than polishing silver in the trophy room or cleaning out bedpans in the hospital wing… both of which your father and I did quite a bit.”
“Polishing the silver is right boring,” Harry agreed. “Or scrubbing cauldrons.”
“Never had to do that. I think Slughorn was afraid I would nick some potions ingredient but Moony was the one who usually did that,” Jack admitted.
“That was Hermione,” Harry commented.
“So, am I forgiven?” Jack asked bumping shoulders with Harry.
Harry sighed wearily. “Yeah. I guess. Just try not to let it happen again. I really don’t want to read ancient recipes or harvest reports.”
Jack nodded his head. “I’ll do my best. I’ll see about roping Lou into the rescue if I get shanghaied again.”
“So, you expect someone to knock you across the head or slip you a mickey and then kidnap you so you can work as a sailor?” Harry asked with mirth in his eyes.
With a snort, Jack said, “It wouldn’t be the first time. Granted most of the time it’s Carter. Daniel uses the puppy eyes of doom to make you do his bidding.”
Harry shrives. “Any way to defeat it?”
“New artifact,” Jack answered. “New scroll. New culture. And so on and so on. Surprisingly, it works on Carter too but that’s usually a new alien thingy ma bob.”
“New book for Hermione,” Harry added in.
“Yeah that was Remus’ weakness too. A new spell was your father’s weakness. The harder and more complex it was, the happier he was. That and Chocolate Frog cards,” Jack stated.
“And my mum? What was her weakness?” Harry asked.
“Charms. And being angry at your father… at least early on. Later their weakness became finding time to explore empty room, or broom closets,” Jack answered.
“No one even told me much about my parent except that mum was good at Charms and dad was on the Quidditch team, was good at transfiguration and like playing pranks,” Harry grumbled.
Jack nodded his head. “Each person handles that stuff differently. Some people can talk about… those who died easily. They still hurt from their loss but they find it easy to talk about the good and bad. Other people are afraid to talk about it. They don’t want to talk about it in case they hurt others by talking about it or get hurt from talking about it. And then there are people who take it all and shove it in a box and don’t talk about. They lock it a way until the grief get so distant that they can start to take things out of the box, bit by bit… but we’re talking decades before they can start to tackle it.”
“So, you’re saying everyone is the lock it away type?” Harry asked.
Jack shook his head. “Some are. Snape would be one. He did love your mother in his own way. Others don’t want to hurt you but of course they’re hurting you by not talking about it. And then there are those who just don’t think. They never think that you would want to know about your parents since they are your parents and you should already know everything about them.”
“That doesn’t make any sense,” Harry stated with a shake of his head.
“That’s one of the first rules about humans, we don’t make sense whether we’re magical, or normal. Women make no sense to men and men… well women can figure us out about 80 percent of the time. The rest of the time we make no sense,” Jack explained.
“And the wizard world makes even less sense,” Harry snorted.
“After seeing both sides, I blame pumpkin juice for the insanity,” Jack stated.
“Pumpkin juice?” Harry said in disbelief. “You’re blaming pumpkin juice and not magic?”
“Magic is logical. It’s a strange, twisted logic but then so is the string theory,” Jack stated, “but pumpkin juice makes no sense. Pumpkins are for pumpkin cookies, pumpkin pies, pumpkin bread, pumpkin seeds, not for pumpkin juice. Why try to even juice a pumpkin when they’re not even juicy.”
Harry stared at Jack for a moment before saying, “I think it’s a bit like carrot juice. They say it’s healthy so…”
“Wizard logic… it’s orange so it’s good for you. Orange juice and carrot juice are orange and good for you. Pumpkin is orange so they must be good for you,” Jack comment.
Harry snorted. “That reminds me of a cooking show I saw, they talked about how organic, wild food was good for you. That nothing bad comes for nature. I was left thinking they might want some water hemlock in their salad.”
“Ah the future winners of the Darwin Awards. They forget Mother Nature is a woman which means she has PMS and a cruel streak a mile wide.” Jack explained. “Granted she has a wicked sense of humor after all giraffes can pick their nose with their tongue.”
Harry made a face that expressed how gross that was. “But I guess that explains magic since I’ve heard magic being referred as a lady before.”
“So are Chance, Fate, Destiny and especially Luck,” Jack stated with a grimace. “Luck can be a royal bitch at time.”
“Tell me about it but aren’t Fate and Destiny the same thing?” Harry asked.
“Nope,” Jack said as he popped the P in the word. “We’re all fated to die. Destiny is the way we do it.”
“Lovely,” Harry replied.
“And sometimes Fate will bring us back so we can die again and again and again. You really need to talk to Daniel about that,” Jack suggested.
“I’m sure Daniel would say the same thing about you. Beside you’re the one who fell through the veil and ended up as you,” Harry comments.
“And doesn’t that just mess with your head,” Jack said before clearing his throat. “Time to change the topic… the scroll. The one you were reading when I came in, what was it really about?” Jack asked in order to change the topic.
“Porn,” Harry replied with a straight face.
Jack looks at Harry with an eyebrow raised.
“Not really. It was basically a bodice ripper,” Harry admitted.
“Bodice ripper,” Jack echoes back. “I’m surprise you know what that is.”
Harry rolled his eyes. “You went to Hogwarts. Do you remember how many fun books there were in the library?”
“Yeah, that Jason Ashcroft fault,” Jack stated. “He is a first during our fifth year when he was exposed to the Gryffindor book collection. I guess the idea of reading for fun was such an alien idea to his that he objected to it, so he told his grandmother about all the horrible Muggle books that were there. She raised a stink about it and all non-educational books were removed from the whole school.”
“Even the books that people brought in?” Harry asked.
Jack shook his head. “No but if you didn’t want a book any longer and couldn’t find someone to take it, puff, it was gone. Of course, the first years didn’t know this so they don’t bring any reading material with them. And upper year reading materials wasn’t fit for the younger student.”
Jack rolled his eyes. “Well we know what stage of life you’re at and no, it wasn’t porn… at least not all of it. Your mother was a hard-core Stephen King fan and she got most of the upper years hooked onto his work. She got Alice Stewart, who was Neville’s mother addicted to Agatha Christie. Remus was anything that was American Western. Your father was anything at hand.”
“And you?” Harry asked. “What did you read?”
“Spider Robinson and Harry Harrison,” Jack answered.
Harry shook his head. “Never heard of them.”
“Don’t worry about it. When we get a chance, we’ll hit a book store and get you some books to read,” Jack stated.
Harry nodded his head; a slight smile graced his lips.
General Hammond looked up from his desk at the knock of his door. “Enter,” he commanded as he closed the file he had been reading.
His assistant opened the door and said, “Sir, Dame Helen McKnight is here to see you.”
“Please show her in.” Hammond instructed his assistant.
“Yes, sir,” he said as she stepped out the way. “Dame McKnight.”
Dame McKnight walked into the room. Her back straight, a steely look in her eyes as she took in the room.
“I’m afraid you won’t find any frogs hiding in coat pockets,” Hammond said teasing his former school teacher.
“Steven was the one who like to bring the frogs into school. You were the one who liked spit balls,” Helen commented.
Hammond’s assistant cleared his throat. “Sir, would you or Dame McKnight like any refreshments?”
“Coffee. Blacker than my soul and strong enough to remove rust,” McKnight ordered.
“My usual,” Hammond ordered.
The assistant nodded his head. “Two regular coffees,” he repeated the order before leaving the room; closing the door behind him.
Helen raised an eyebrow at Hammond in a questioning manner.
“And you won’t have to fish out the eggs shells out of your cup before you can drink it,” Hammond commented.
Helen snorted. “Mr. Winslow. I nearly forgot about him and his irritating habit. I could never understand his need to add eggshells to the coffee.”
“They claim the eggshells help take the bitterness from the coffee when you’re using the grounds for the second or third pot. Not that I believe them,” Hammond explained, “but I do understand your frustration now.”
“More than once, I came close to hexing that man. He ruined more pots of coffee than you can imagine,” Helen stated. “I’m surprise you remember that.”
Hammond laughed. “I learned some of the best swear words from you each time Mr. Winslow made coffee for the school.”
“Mrs. Melat would add salt to the coffee grounds before brewing. Unfortunately, she would always over salt it, so it tasted like coffee make with sea water,” Dame McKnight explained.
“During my first tour of duty, I had a sergeant who insisted that we had to add cayenne to every pot of coffee we brewed at night,” Hammond put in.
Dame McKnight cringed at the thought. “Oh, that is a cruel and horrible thing to do to the poor defenseless people who had night duty.”
“The day he left for his new duty station, practically everyone celebrated,” Hammond chuckled.
“I can’t image why. I’m surprised he wasn’t ordered to stop doing that,” Helen stated.
“Probably because it worked. The men were more alert after drinking a cup of his coffee than they would be after drinking regular coffee,” Hammond comments. “Besides they got used to the taste after a while.”
“I might have to start doing that with our night shift,” Helen stated with a smirk.
“Just don’t let them know were you got it from,” Hammond stated. “I really don’t want to spend the rest of my life as frog.”
Dame McKnight laughed. “You would make a better bull dog than a frog.”
Before the General could reply there was a knock on his door. “The coffee,” Hammond announced before calling out to the Airman to enter.
The Airman carried in a tray loaded with a coffee carafe, cups, sugar and cream. He quickly set the tray down and poured the coffee. “Ma’am, how would you like your coffee?”
“Black, please,” Helen replied.
“Yes, Ma’am,” the Airman said before presenting the cup to the General’s guest. He then quickly poured the General a cup and handed it to him. “Would there be anything else you, Ma’am or you, General need at this time?”
“No, thank you.” Helen said before taking a sip of her coffee.
“Not at this time,” Hammond answered in a tone that said he was dismissed.
Once the Airman had left the room, and firmly closed the door, Dame McKnight said, “I’m going to steal him before I leave.”
Hammond chuckled. “Many people have tried and failed. It seems as if he enjoys the insanity of this place.”
“I don’t blame him. StarGate. Aliens. Laser beams. It’s a bit like something out of a science fiction novel or movie,” Helen stated.
“Magic wand. Flying on brooms. And evil wizards. Your life is like something out of a fantasy book,” Hammond replied.
“Thankfully neither of our lives are like a romantic comedy or worse a teenage drama,” McKnight comment.
Hammond sighed wearily. “Some days, this place is like that or something from the Three Stooges.”
“It’s better than the Keystone Cops, which I have to deal with,” Helen admitted. “And then there are the French.”
Hammond open this mouth to reply then shut it. After a second, he said, “I know I shouldn’t ask but what is wrong with the French… magical people?”
“You know of the tales that the French are the best lovers in the world?” Helen said.
“Yes,” Hammond said, drawing out the word.
“They believe it,” Helen stated simply. “And they insist on trying to demonstrate it every chance they get, whether or not you want them to.”
“At which point in time you curse them with something like jock itch, crabs or blue balls,” Hammond said jokingly.
Helen stared at Hammond for a moment for exclaiming, “Fuck!”
“I’m taking it that you never thought of that,” Hammond said with a smirk.
Helen glared at Hammond in reply.
Hammond hid his grin behind his cup of coffee. Sighing to indicate he was changing the topic to something more serious. “While its need nice to reminisce about my time as your student and your issue with the French. I’m sure you’re here about some other matter aside from the artifacts that Dr Jackson and Major Carter are no doubt investigating at this very moment.”
Helen sat silently for a moment before saying, “Due to my position, I have a number of contacts around the world that sometimes supply me information.”
“And I’m assuming this information is concern Mr. Potter,” Hammond suggested.
Helen nodded her head. “Best estimate is that Dumbledore will know Harry’s location in a day or two. Three at the most.”
Hammond nodded his head. “This base or Colonel O’Neill’s residence?”
“Residence at first but I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that he will search the minds of Jack’s neighbors for any information he can find,” Helen admitted.
“Do you believe that Dumbledore and his followers would attempt to infiltrate this base?” Hammond asked.
“In a heartbeat,” Helen stated.
“And what does your department plan on doing about it?” General Hammond asked.
An evil grin appeared on Helen’s face. “Arrest them when they try to break in to O’Neill’s home then drop them into a deep dark hole and forget about them.”
“Until the British Magical government starts asking for their return,” Hammond commented with a sigh.
“Which will never happen,” Dame McKnight replied with a knowing smile.
Hammond raised an eyebrow at that statement. “I think you’ll need to explain that statement further.”
“First off, Dumbledore little group isn’t something that the British government would like to admit exists within their own border. Granted they don’t want to admit to their Dark Lord and his followers either,” Helen explain. “So, the disappearance of any of the member will in general be ignored.”
“Even the disappearance of Dumbledore?” Hammond asked.
Helen shook her head. “That’s where we get to the next part. How they arrived here. You have to understand that on average the British magic population are idiots. They have almost no concept of modern transportation. They still think on the order of coal fired steam trains and horseless carriages and I don’t mean the ones they use at Hogwarts. So, for them the only logical way to come to America is by portkey.”
“Which I would guess is government controlled,” Hammond injected.
Helen nodded her head. “Every magical government in the world has agreed to direct portkey to foreign counties to that country’s Visitor and Immigration centers.”
“Which would mean he would need to take an illegal portkey to enter the States,” Hammond stated.
Helen grin grew wider. “Exactly. There will be no record of Dumbledore or his followers entering this country legally and of course our sensors didn’t detect an illegal portkey either. Of course, a man like Dumbledore would never use an illegal portkey.”
“And butter doesn’t melt in your mouth,” Hammond stated.
Helen snorted. “It’s requirement of the job.”
“And what if they escape capture?” Hammond asks.
Helen look down at her coffee cup for a moment as if searching for answers or forgiveness in the dark liquid. “We kill them. If they set a foot on this base, my agents will kill them. We can not let them get hold of Mr. Potter or learn about the StarGate.”