Betad by HowlnMadHowie
"We must all face the choice between what is right, and what is easy."
-Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore
He was there again, back in the Great Hall dressed in his Slytherin house colors dodging spells thrown by both sides, moving towards the cackling, curly haired monster. Blood poured from the cut above his right eye clouding his vision, the poison in the werewolves toxin made it burn even more so, but he didn't stop. If the Old Man taught him one thing it was to complete the job at whatever the cost, and he owed her that much. Bellatrix didn't notice him; she was too busy torturing Auror Tonks to death. He pulled his wand out and aimed at her waist, "Incendio". He heard Lily Potter scream.
Harry shot up, pulling his wand from under his pillow aiming it in the direction of the screeching noise. There was vibrant red howler hovering over him, with a twist of his wrist the letter burst into flames. He was sweating. He could feel his blood rush through his head, it was rather nauseating. running a hand through his hair and back until his fingers met the edge of one his scar. The memory of pain was fresh in his mind, a reminder constant reminder to be constantly vigilant of his immediate surroundings, he traced it down and across his face; it had become a ritual since the day he awoke with them. He looked around room, cold floors, grey walls, black drapes, he remembered Sirius calling it a grim old place. As Lord Black, Grimmauld was one of the few properties he had under the name. He spotted Hedwig on her perch looking worried, it wasn't long before the snowy owl flew over to the bed and began on his left hand, her feathers were slightly wet. He smiled before caressing her side and managing something that sounded like "Morning, girl" Harry hadn't managed to sleep well, opting his time to filling out the paperwork to bring his snowy goddess (as she liked to be called) with him on his trip to America.
Harry hated coming back here, back into a world that desperately worked to fuck him over at every other turn. His world was better, filled with themed freaks in masks and caped heroes. He sat back against the ebony headbored trying to relax.
The gentle sounds of rain hitting the glass window proved to be relaxing; too relaxing as he found himself needing to relieve himself. A quick visit to the john and ridiculously cold shower made him wide awake. He made himself breakfast as quickly as wizardly possible; a simple omelet with cooked sausage on the side. He dressed in a black suit, made with some type of alien micro-fiber weave, and a black trench coat, gun tucked neatly on his hip, and finally he slipped on to golden metal gauntlets that reached under the wrist, goblin smithed. Giving the house a quick once over, Harry grabbed his credentials off the table and put on his old newsboy cap. Once outside his eyes were drawn to silvery blonde hair neatly combed to the side with acromantula silk robes. He knew only one person who would dress in a very expensive suit and stand in the middle of the pouring rain, especially after spending nearly eight years sleeping in the same room as the bloody idiot. "Wotcher Malfoy." He greeted with little enthusiasm. Harry could already feel the headache the following conversation was going to induce.
"Black." He hissed. "Do you have any idea how long I've been waiting for you?"
"Not in the slightest."
"Why didn't you knock then?"
"I'd have to find the bloody place."
"Right, Fidelus charm, forgot about that, sorry." He wasn't particularly sorry, more in between amused and bored. 'He' a tit, nothing else Can be said. "What do you want?"
"Your brother has been pestering me for the weeks, showing up unannounced when I'm in the middle of my experiments! He's under some type of delusion, he thinks we're close, Black!"He whined
"He's a Gryffindor." Brash and persistent creatures, Charles especially, he had marked him as an enemy the moment he accepted the hat's offer. He never really understood the consequences of his almost constant alienations. "What do you expect?" The two ducked into Black Friars Underground station.
"I expect him to have the courage to confront you and leave me out of your spat."
They came upon tube just as it was arriving.
"Yeah well, the Potters usually break with expectations."
"No, no, no, no. Not this again, I already dealt with this while in Hogwarts, for seven bleeding years I'm not doing it again." An amused smile crossed Harry's face. "Just talk to him."
"Don't worry, chances are I'll see her in the next twenty or so minutes."
"Work related stuff."
"Wait…" Malfoy said stopping suddenly."You have a job?"
"Well we can't all be rich bastards, now can we?"
The train slowed as it approached Whitehall. The apparent shock threw Draco off balance enough that his face soon made contact with the handle bar in front of him. Hitching an eyebrow, Harry helped steady Draco. "Bloody hell, man. Why is that surprising?"
"You're a Millwall fan, and if understand muggles correctly they are all supposed to be unemployed hooligans."
"Not really, you're just a jackass." The doors opened with a hiss, prompting both men to stop off and onto the platform. "And since when have you paid attention to anything involving muggles?"
"Astoria finds them fascinating."
"Huh." Frankly Harry was rather surprised by the fact. Astoria was never really fascinated with anything back when they were back at Hogwarts., she was always his best friend's little sister that liked to stare at him when she thought no one else was looking. Okay looking back, she probably thought that he was pretty fascinating, Harry couldn't really blame her; he was rather attractive back then. "Well too each his own." The ride up the escalator was rather comical in its own way with Draco sneering at every muggle that walked passed him all the while clutching the rubber belt for dear life. When they finally reached the street Draco just apparated away without so much as a goodbye. "Git." Harry muttered non too loudly. Stepping once again into the October rain Harry made his way to the bright red abandoned call box three streets down. Dripping wet he entered and dialed 62442. The dial whirled smoothly back into place, a cool female voice sounded inside the telephone box, not from the receiver in his hand. It was as loud and clear as if the woman was there.
"Welcome to the Ministry of Magic Please state your name and business."
This being Harry's first time using the visitors entrance he briefly wondered if he should talk into the receiver or just state it to the air, he compromised by speaking into the mouthpiece.
"Special Agent Harry Black, Department of Extranormal Operations." A light smirk graced his lips. "Capture and Interrogation of-"
"Thank You." said the cool female voice. "Visitor, please take the badge and attach it to the front of your robes."
There was a click and a rattle as it produced the tiny square silver badge that said: Harry Black, Capture & Interrogation. He pinned it to the front of his coat, not really seeing a point to it.
"Visitor to the Ministry, you are required to submit to a search and present your wand for registration at the security desk, which is located at the far end of the Atrium."
The floor of the telephone box shuddered, as it began sinking slowly into the ground. Harry watched apprehensively as the pavement rose up the glass windows of the telephone box until the darkness closed over his head. Then he could see nothing at all; he could only hear a dull grinding noise as the telephone made its way into the earth. After about a minute, it felt much longer for Harry his discomfort for closed spaces hadn't really left him, a chink of golden light illuminated his feet and, widening, rose up his body until it hit him in the face forcing him to blink, stopping his eyes from watering. "The Ministry of Magic wishes you a pleasant stay."
The Atrium was for lack of a better word, gaudy. Especially after replacing the old gold statues with statues that depicted fallen heroes from across the ages like Merlin, Dumbledore, and Morgana la Fay. The water crashed at their feet making the sight even more awe inspiring. The noise of the water touching stone drowned out most of people in the Atrium. Harry followed the mass off wizards and witches towards a golden gate. To the left of the gate there was a desk with a wooden plaque the read SECURITY hung over it, sitting behind it was Hannah Abbot; her golden hair clashed slightly with the light blue robes. Harry remembered her from the Dumbledore's Army list, Umbridge liked rubbing her victories in Harry's face; she was under some delusion that he was associated with Dumbledore in some plot orchestrated to corrupt noble pureblood families. He laughed to her face, not one of his wisest moments. "Hello." He greeted, half smiling
"Hi, please step over here." She beckoned him closer. She passed a long golden rod, thin and flexible as a car aerial, over his front and back. "Wand." Harry nodded, drawing it from the holster on the sleeve. Hannah took it and dropped it onto a machine that looked like a scale but with one dish. It began vibrating and shortly after a slip of paper slipped out. "Twelve and a half inches, Ash, thestral hair core, been in use for sixteen year. Is that correct?"
"I keep this." She said impaling the slip onto a small brass pike. "You get this back." She said handing Harry his wand back. "Have a nice day."
Harry wasn't really surprised that she didn't recognize him, they share two classes and never talked to each other outside of them. So Harry tipped his cap at her and went on his with his life.
Once situated inside an elevator he gently tapped the button that would take him to the eighth floor. It went back and the shot up at a high velocity. He enjoyed the relative silence, not much else to do, except drift into thought. Those thoughts circulated mostly on his brother, the famous Boy-Who-Lived. Personally he thought he was an idiot. Not much could be said about Charles really; he had a fiery temper and tended to act before he thought. He looked like their mother with their fathers eyes. The first time they met he had purposely bumped into him after the sorting, and things gradually got worse from there on. He chuckled slightly pulling out a silver coin from his pants pocket, the only reason they even talked was because Sirius, bless his soul, locked them in a room during the summer before the fifth year.
Harry missed Sirius, why wouldn't he? The man was the closest thing to a father figure Harry had. Of course, it drove James Potter mad that his son would prefer his godparent over his actual parent; maybe it had something to do with Sirius visiting Privet Drive regularly, striking fear into Petunia and Vernon, or it had to do with him just being there for him despite what Dumbledore ordered. Hell, by the time he was in his third year he spent more time in Grimmauld Place than he did at Privet Drive. Sirius even taught him how to fly a broom. Honestly if it hadn't been for Sirius Harry would probably be a very, very angsty bastard. There were six dings before he reached the second floor.
Once he stepped out of the elevator Harry let the coin drop and in an instant he was surrounded by seven individual dressed in black full tactical gear. They wore riot masks and the only ounce of color was a single red armband they wore on their dominant arm, DEO printed in large black letters. He didn't know their names and that was alright; they were there to do a job just like he was. Harry pulled an arrest warrants signed by the head of the ICW and the Prime Minister from his coat pocket along with his identification. Harry took a deep breath before shoving the heavy set oak doors. The auror office froze as the doors flew open; Harry entered with a blank expression the other agents pulled up behind him weapons aimed at different points of the room. Harry opened the warrants. "I am Special Agent Black. I am with the Department of Extranormal Operations. Now if the following two individuals would be kind enough to step forward, it would be largely appreciated. Albert Runcorn and Gawain Robards."
Runcorn made his way to the door with an air of superiority befitting the man everybody knew as the "Inquisitor". Harry smiled conjuring a pair of handcuffs. "Albert Runcorn, I am placing you under arrest for the open violation of the statute of secrecy and aiding and abetting known criminal Jonathan Crane. You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defense if you do not mention when questioned about something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence." Truth be told the statute of secrecy was an outdated law that mostly affected Europe and really wasn't applicable, but nothing silenced Ministry officials quite like it. Before Runcorn could get a word out edge wise, Robards burst out of his office wand out ready.
"What is the meaning of this?"
"Well, well, so you're the Head Auror." Harry tilted his head. "You, my unlucky friend, have been implicated in some rather lucrative dealing across the pond." Robards' face took on a mask of confusion and quickly shifted to rage which Harry ignored. "Now I find it you have three options: the first, you leave in cuffs with some semblance of pride, the second, I disarm you and drag you out by the hair, the third, you become a rather religious man." With the enforcers leveling rifles at his person, it didn't take long for him to catch Harry's drift.
"I doubt the Minister Shacklebolt signed off on this." As a matter of fact Shacklebolt had no idea that Harry was in the Ministry, the ICW just wanted him to make the arrest with minimal expenses.
"I respond to a higher power. Now; you do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defense if you do not mention when questioned about something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence." The old war hawk seemed like he was going to shoot him with a curse, but was stopped when another auror, a grisly man Harry had seen at Hogwarts during fifth year, twisted his arm until he released his wand. Say what you want about aurors, most of them are loyal bastards until you betray them, then they're rather vindictive and to be honest no one likes a dirty authority figure. "Thank you for your assistance." Harry smiled, the auror had given him a rather useful tool for the coming interrogation. Harry was not gentle when it came to restraining the former head auror, twisting the already wounded arm to his back then shoving him towards the armed escort. Harry expected one of them to run, which would have made his visit to this world all the more interesting, maybe even worth it. "Alright gents, time to leave."
Apparently in lieu of running they just couldn't shut up.
"I have the right to face my accuser!"
"I'm sure you do." Harry said pocketing while his credentials. "Right now though, these boys will be taking you into custody." Harry looked up locking eyes with Hermione Granger, Deputy Director of the DMLE, and beside her stood the stony faced star of the auror office Charles Potter. Granger in Harry's opinion was a decent sort of Gryffindor, she punched Malfoy which made her alright in his book. She wasn't really antagonistic during the years at Hogwarts and actually helped him with his schoolwork. "Can I help you, ma'am?" Ignoring Charles' presence wasn't difficult, it was a skill he had sharpened over the years.
Hermione raised an eyebrow. "Yes. You can tell me what you're doing with my aurors and under who's authority?" she asked hotly.
"Well the first one is rather simple." Harry said. "I'm arresting them. The second is rather complicated. I work for the DEO, I'm not sure that you've heard of us. No? That's alright, not many people have. Simply put we stop the paranormal, your normal, from negatively affecting the mundane populace. And those two have helped cause some of the greatest tragedies of our time." Lie, there were contributing but that was the extent of their involvement. "As to who authorized this operation…that would be Director Bones and the chairman of the ICW. "
"Why wasn't I informed?"
"You'll have to take it up with them, I'm just a footman." Fact: in the eyes of the ICW Britain's Auror Office was considered compromised since 1971. Of course, when surrounded by said aurors Harry found it rather prudent not to mention it. "Now if that's all-"
"Where the hell have you been!" Charles asked, barely holding his anger back. Harry heard the tale tell whooshing sound of a portkey being activated; he clearly appreciated the good sense those men had leaving him to deal with his brother…really he did, they had a time frame and they needed to extract the information as soon as possible. Sadly, Harry was sure he'd miss the interrogation.
"Last week…Munich, arresting a deranged vampire; Next Venice, tracking Killer Croc and arresting him. Yesterday, catching up with an old friend." Harry smiled. "Brilliant exorcist, by the way, name's Const-."
"Mum's been worried about you." Charles interrupted.
"Yeah, got that from the howler this morning."
"She hasn't seen you in over a year, Harry." He hadn't been in the United Kingdom in over a year so that made sense.
"I have work, Potter. Can't take breaks when none are there to take."
"Then make some time! Dad's busy most of the bloody year teaching and he finds a way. I'm a decorated auror and I have plenty of time to visit."
"Well that's fine and dandy, but I don't." Harry was starting to get annoyed.
"What the bloody hell's wrong with you?!"
"Ask your father or maybe just ask yourself." Harry turned to Hermione and handed her a copy of the warrants. He forced a smile. "Ma'am, if you excuse me I have to talk with your Minister." He turned to Charles. "Tell them to stop pestering me, Potter. If we meet on the street, fine, outside of that I have a decent amount of shit to do." Harry walked calmly away; walking past a rather shocked Tonks and a blistering Ron Weasley. He stepped onto the lift and hit the button marked 1st floor. He glared ever so slightly at Charles as it ascended,
The sky hadn't cleared up by the time Harry exited the Ministry but the rain had stopped, which was a shame nothing felt better than a cold pint of butterbeer on a rainy day. Harry flashed down a cab. "Time in a Bottle, please." Harry rested his head on the glass. His eyes felt heavy, arguing with Charles, Kingsley, and Hermione just zapped the energy away from him. "Maybe…just for a second." He closed his them as the echoes of memory haunted him.
Harry made his way slowly to the front of the line as Professor McGonagall called his name. Fear coursed through his spine as the possibility that he wouldn't be sorted into any of the Houses circulated in his mind. It was an irrational fear; Sirius had already reassured him that the hat would sort him where he would grow best. He trusted the man; sure Harry knew him for little under a year but he trusted him. He nearly tripped over himself as he passed a boy with brown eyes and vibrant red hair. When he finally sat down he was stock still. He could feel his heart pounding through his ears as the hat came closer to his head.
"Hmm, difficult. VERY difficult. Plenty of courage, I see. Not a bad mind, either. There's talent, oh yes. And a thirst to prove yourself. But where to put you?" it asked. To Harry it honestly didn't matter.
"Eh? Are you sure? You could be great, you know. It's all here in your head. And Slytherin will help you on the way to greatness, there's no doubt about that. How about it?"
"Well if you're sure, better be…. SLYTHERIN!" Harry could feel a smile split his face as the table cheered. He made his way to the end of the table where a girl with straight brown hair and a welcoming smile sat and a girl with blonde hair and cold eyes sat.
The welcoming girl extended her hand and introduced herself. "Tracy Davis."
"Harry Potter." Harry took it slightly unsure
She then pointed to the blonde. "That's Daphne. I have a feeling, like we're going to be great friends." Harry couldn't stop smiling at the thought. Little did young Harry know that he would lose it soon after.
Professor McGonagall cleared her throat before calling the next name. "Charles Potter."
Harry's eyes slowly opened just as the cab came to a stop. 'Why can't I dream like everyone else?' He pondered, not for the first time. Then he remembered what Mad-Eye had answered him once: 'Because nothing is as cruel as memory, lad.' Harry chuckled. He was too naïve to truly understand it back then. Harry paid the driver his due and exited. The old pub was rumored to have been enchanted by Merlin himself so that enemies and friends could find themselves in true neutral ground; no man could harm another once inside, but that was impossible considering it was built in the sixteenth century. The truce magic prevents tailings and fighting, and when a person leaves it drops people in different parts of the city to avoid conflict where one or both parties are thoroughly shit-faced. The first time he came to the pub it was his fifteenth birthday, that night's highlight was good snog with Squire. It didn't last the night, but they were still good friends.
It was the first Thursday of the month, so most of the old crowd was there. The heroes, the villains, the legacies, and a few new rogues. Milkman was already harassing a few newcomers, Knight was conversing with British Joker, Squire was hanging around the bar staring at the dent left by Aleister Crowley's 'bonce' as she liked to call it. Harry hung his coat and placed his cap on the rack leaving him with a vest and a tie. No one worried about the gun, everybody knew he couldn't use it; hell Blind Fury blew him a kiss. He ignored the taunt in favor sneaking in next to Squire. Harry slid up next to her and leaned in. "So I was thinking if the DEO thing doesn't work out what do you think of taking the Nite Owl cowl for a spin?" Squire nearly jumped out her seat. Knight politely laughed; in Harry's opinion the man was too posh for his own good.
"Bloody hell, Harry you scared me half to death, you tosser." She glared behind her mask. "You're lucky we're in here or your balls would be so sorry."
"Oi, don't blame me. If I've told you once I've told you a thousand and one times: Constant Vigilance." He mock defended, a small smile adorned his face.
"Oh, shut up and give me a hug you." Harry complied, resisting the urge to give her a twirl. "Anyway where have you been?"
"Around the world, twice over." He said casually. "The department's kept me busy."
"Right, Extranomal Operations, has anyone told you it's a stupid name?"
"Well Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense is trademarked, bloody comics and their copyrights." Harry responded hotly, raising his fist for added enfaces. That got a laugh from a few eavesdroppers. "Anyway, you've heard from Lennox?"
"Not really. Last time I saw him he kept talking about the winds or some such."
Harry chuckled. "I just know that's code for more work, or me."
"Probably." Squire shot a look at Knight and slowly guided Harry to a corner booth, Knight was retelling stories from his time as Squire to his so called nemesis; he didn't notice. "Any news on You-Know-Who?"
"Voldemort? He's been dead a few years now." Squire crossed her arms and glared. The barman dropped a glass of firewhiskey for him and pint for Squire. "Jack's been keeping his head down after a stint in Gotham, Batwoman hit him hard, but he escaped into Slaughter Swamp…there's a good chance he's dead, either Grundy squashed his skull or a banshee killed him. Whichever came first really." He downed his drink in one practiced gulp; he opened his mouth wide feeling the burn coming back up and locked up a small jet of fire erupted from his mouth. "But I wouldn't put it past him if he somehow got away."
"Right." She let out a breath of disappointment. Her eyes looked beyond Harry and widened ever so slightly. "An older you just came in and he's coming this way."
"Want to try snogging until he goes away?" Harry wagged his brows suggestively.
"That never works."
"So you have tried it." Harry teased in an attempt to soak up the remainder of his good mood while he still could. "In that case you better leave, Lord Potter and I are gonna share some words, a few shouldn't be said in the presence of a lady like yourself."
"Don't get all posh with me now, Harry. If you want me to buzz off for a bit you just had to say it." She left the booth as James Potter sat down. Harry and James had a history, words were exchanged, blame was placed, curses were flung, and not exactly in that order. Squire waved at Harry from across the bar, a reassurance if there ever was one.
"James." Harry greeted curtly.
"Harry." He greeted in return, a smile on his face.
"What do you want, James?" Harry closed his eyes feeling the headache Kingsley gave him coming back with a vengeance.
"Just talk, to ease Lily a bit."
Harry forced a smile. "We've already said what had to be said, James." It was a jab, plain and simple.
"No, I don't think we did."
"Really? I explicitly remember you accusing me of being a Death Eater and having a role in my GODFATHER'S murder." Harry said pleasantly, with that overly sweet tone that oozed loathing. A Cheshire cat grin plastered on his face.
"Harry…I was in a dark place."
"So was I, for about a decade." Harry shot back. "And then came the war, which my association to you and being a Slytherin painted me as target for both sides, took two of the most important people in my life. So tell me James: where were you in this darkness?"
"That's unfair Harry. What your mother and I did was to protect both of your brother and you; and we had no say in which House you were sorted into."
"It shouldn't have mattered what house I was sorted into." Harry was plainly irritated, though he tried to maintain a mask of civility since he was in public and as an agent of the DEO he had an image to maintain. "You and yours painted me as a traitor since Voldemort's resurrection, but that just showed me the type of wizard you are; a prideful tit. You couldn't stand Sirius being the father figure so you lashed out at him; you couldn't stand failing so you blamed it on someone else. So, in my book there's nothing left to say." Harry stood up not wanting to stick around for the reply.
"That does tend to happen when you have sex." Harry replied, putting on his coat. He honestly didn't see how that affected him in the slightest, when he told Charles that he was too busy to visit it wasn't just to piss him the fuck off; there weren't that many agents in the DEO left; a hundred or so field agents, and twice as many trained response units.
"She's been doubting herself, Harry. Because of you, because she feels like she drove you away." James sighed tiredly, his hand moves to cover his eyes. "God knows it wasn't her doing, but there are so many if's they're driving her mad." He drops his hand, and looked at Harry with pleading eyes. "I know you don't think that we have any right to ask anything of you. But please, talk to her."
For a long while Harry stood still. Squire seemed ready to act, but waited for any indication that he needed help. "How'd you find me?" He finally asked.
"How did you find me?" he asked a tad bit more forcefully.
"This used to be one of Sirius' usual haunts, back in the day." He accepted the response, so Harry walked over to the barman and put a galleon on the counter. HE then walked over to Squire and handed his card over to her.
"Next time I see you better have been Knighted or Dame in your case." He looked at James one more time as he put on his cap and coat. The man was staring at the booth's table disappointment clear. "Make sure he gets home, or I won't hear the end of it…" Fucking Archie, a Great Gray Owl with an attitude, could find him roaming through Hades if the case ever came. No doubt Charles was already writing a myriad of howlers and that finger biting bastard, with his smug ass look, was ready to deliver them, ready to steal Hedwig's hard earned treats. Alright, maybe he was exaggerating a tad bit but he was certain that owl derived some measure of pleasure from his misery.
Anyway, Harry made his way to the door and stepped outside, in a poof of magic he found himself on Westcombe Avenue, not far from where he really needed to go.
The moon was full that night and the wind had a bit more bite to it than usual, but it didn't bother Harry. He kneeled in front of a close friend's grave. She was tan years dead, but he still remembered her to the smallest detail. Her straight brown hair, her cheesy jokes and especially the crappy soap she washed herself with, made her smell like a pumpkin, but she loved it. Harry traced the letters slowly. "Sorry I haven't been around for while Tracy. You know, that promise I made to you? I'm keeping it the best I can, love, but it's hard." He smiled sadly. "Wish you were here to see it though, new heroes popping up every other day, it's actually sort of fun."
He stopped. He could feel something watching him and chances were whoever it was watching him wasn't entirely friendly. This is where the gauntlets come into play, they drew magic from Harry, creating an invisible bubble like sphere. Harry continued to chat with the headstone. The air shifted it direction and he caught a whiff of wet dog. Harry spun in its direction pulling out his gun and fired two bullets. There was a yelp of pain before the figure stepped into the light; its name was once Fenir Greyback but it had lost its humanity long ago. The wolf stood a head taller than Harry, and was missing most of its hair allowing one to see the scars that marred its skin. Harry got off two more shots before the beast crashed against the shield. The shield could only hold so much force before it gave in The scarred agent pulled out his wand and leveled it at the creature's head. "Incendio!" It ducked his head, but the spell singed its back. "Confringo!" Greyback managed to evade, but was disoriented by the following explosion. "Defodio!" a bolt of white light shot into Greyback's arm and an instant later, pieces of muscle decorated the graveyard. "You're not getting away, Mutt!" The Beast howled once before retreating into the darkness, Harry gave instantly gave chase, fearing that it would infect some poor member of the populace.
Greyback was definitely one of the reasons he hated coming home to the UK. Ever since the creature mauled his face it just showed up during the most inopportune times. It had to be a bloody wolf thing, it just had to. Greyback ducked into the trees with a resounding howl it disappeared into the brush. Harry followed but when he came upon a street the beast was long gone. "Fuck!" Harry cursed. It wasn't long before he heard the feint sound of apparition coming from the cemetery. The aurors would be swarming the place soon, and Harry was certain he didn't want deal with his brother twice in one day. Harry closed his eyes and quickly apparated away.
Harry apparated ten miles away on Mitre square. The square was empty except for the odd Ripperologist examining the southwest corner of the square searching for some clue that the police missed a hundred and nineteen years ago. Harry chuckled lightly at the sight. "Human obsession, is such a wonderful thing."
Harry disappeared into a nearby alley. He stopped at the second trashcan. Harry tapped the wall with his wand. There was a shimmer before the wall began to split into the shape of a door. An easy trick that helped when it came to security, unlike the entrance to Diagon Alley this one was keyed into the core of his wand. Harry stepped into the dark corridor and slowly made his way through the darkness. An impressively sized man stood next to the main elevator; he was four inches taller than Harry, who was approximately 5'9. No matter how intimidating he looked William Crow was possibly more terrifying when he spoke, deep growly sounding voice, but the man himself…nice enough…as long as he had a tabloid in his hand, sadly the tabloid was nowhere in sight. "Evening, William." He completely ignored Harry, instead focused his vision at the far wall. Harry gave him an odd look as he entered the elevator, usually there was a growl in response. After a short elevator ride Harry came face to face with a grey haired woman with bloodshot eyes and a blue scarf hiding some seriously disturbing scars. They called her the Morrigan; she was one of many unsung heroes of the World War Two, since she was the head of the Europe branch, none of the agents had the pleasure of knowing her name.
"There has been a development that requires your immediate attention, follow me." Normally, another agent would pass the mission down the grapevine; the fact the head of the branch was coming to him directly worried Harry a bit. The director guided him into her office; she shut the door behind him with a gentle wave of her hand. "Earlier today, the Delacour family was attacked while visiting one Jacob Kane. The perpetrator was easily identified by the local law enforcement as Jervis Tech, more commonly known as the Mad Hatter." She pulled a file from her desk and handed it to Harry. "Jervis is a preferential offender, sadly young Gabrielle Delacour, twenty-one, and her niece Victoire Weasley, seven, seem fit his fantasy." Harry opened the file and grimaced at the sheer brutality, the victims suffered disembowelment and by the expressions on their faces they were very much alive and very much awake when they were gutted, weapon, a long serrated knife. "He holds onto them for at least three days before killing them." She opened her top drawer, she rummaged through for half a minute before she finally found what she was looking for. She placed the object on the desk, a gold pen. "This is your portkey, it will take you directly to Gotham International. It activates in an hour, be ready."
Harry couldn't argue with her, no one could really argue with the Morrigan, when she ordered something done it was done; or Harry would be buried so deep he wouldn't see the light of day for the next decade.
Harry nodded and made his way over to the bullpen, there was one other agent in it, Miranda something or another. Harry went over to his desk and grabbed his leather satchel, from the outside it was thin and looked rather empty this was part of a simple expanding charm he learned at Hogwarts, with Hermione's help of course. It held a number of books, changes of clothing for all occasions, and two swords for the odd duel, not that he actually knew how to duel…nor would he use those swords if ever had to duel. Sin and Salvation were two very nasty things and tended to do as much damage to him as it did his enemies. Harry gave one more look around his desk for anything he could use and found nothing; he hadn't had the time to get comfortable with the Whitechapel. He missed Germany…they at least had great food. He sighed, he got breaks in Germany. Harry apparated away.
He apparated inside number 12 Grimmauld Place, happily intact. "Kreacher!" he called and the mangy house elf pop in front of him. Sneering at him like he always did.
What can Kreacher do for Master?"
"Pack my trunk. I'll be leaving in exactly forty five minutes." Harry made to raid the pantry for a few potions, but stopped. "And Kreacher throw in some books with tracking spells." Harry ran up to the master bedroom, Harry ordered Hedwig to her cage, she barked at him and nipped at his fingers before complying. Harry started adding extra security. "Salvio Hexi, Protego totalum, Repello Muggletum." He knew he was being paranoid, but on the off chance that Daphne accidentally mentions the location of his home, he wanted them to be greeted with a few damaging spells if nothing else. The charms took half an hour to complete, when he was finally done he heard a rasping sound coming from the window. He opened it to find a small brown Indian Scops owl with two letters attached to its leg. "Why, hello there Nemo." Harry said carefully stroking his head. Nemo, named after the famous pirate who lived in the nineteenth century not the animated fish, belonged to his closest living friend Daphne Greengrass. He took both letters the first had the seal of House Greengrass and was in papyrus, the other was rather standard issue wizarding mail variety. Deciding to open Daphne's first, Harry opened her letter with caution, papyrus was the preferred parchment for important documents for the simple reason that it could carry a number of hexes should the wrong, and in some rare cases right, people opened them. After a while of nothing significant happening harry pulled the letter out from the envelope.
I hope this letter finds you in good health, if not I hope you recuperate enough that you will finally grace us with your esteemed presence the following meeting. Your goddaughter is turning four next month. I expect you to bring a date or face my very disappointed mother.
Now that that's over with; news on the home front, your stunt at the Ministry caused a rather large ripple in the Wizengamot! I had to listen to that old crone Longbottom screech about you audacity for nearly an hour! What were you thinking?! You're lucky Angelica loves you or I would have cursed your face into oblivion! Marietta Edgecombe would look better than you! That being said she still hasn't been able to remove those zits, it's disgusting. Heard from Lord Potter that his wife's pregnant and that your brother and Weasley have managed to conceive! My poor Angel will have to go to Hogwarts with their spawn!
Owl me back, as soon as possible.
P.S. Do you have any idea why werewolves' blood was found near Tracy's grave?
Harry chuckled slightly. Angelica was Daphne's only daughter before becoming a widow at the age of twenty-two, she looked exactly like her mother and seemed to inherit nothing from poor departed Philip. He was tragically declared the first known victim of the Crumpled Horned Snorlak, on a lighter note Luna dutifully resumed searching for the creature after losing hope in its existence.
Sorry for the short letter. I wouldn't miss it for the world.
I'll be in the US for a while.
Give Angelica my love,
He tied the letter to Nemo's leg and shooed him away. Harry pocketed the second letter without much forethought. He proceeded to lock every entryway possible and closed all the doors. He wouldn't have this sanctuary defiled by some idiot out to get him. Harry made his way back to the front door where the ancient house elf had left his trunk.
'13…10…7…4…1' He counted down silently; it was an irrational fear he knew, portkeys had a seven percent mortality rate, low to some but it was there. There was that feeling of weightlessness before the spinning came, he felt like a ragdoll in a whirlwind. A few minutes passed before Gotham International Airport came into view as well as it fast approaching side walk. Muggles, as Harry had learned at a young age never paid much attention to anything that didn't affect them, and so Harry was glad when he wasn't noticed, at least by the civilian population. The Detective on the other hand, Harry certain that the Bat already knew was in Gotham.
What could Harry say? They had different views when it came to the world and the Bat was too territorial for his own good. Harry found a clean bench while he waited for whoever the Morrigan sent to pick him up, he sifted through the paper until he found transcripts between Tetch and Doctor Hugo Strange, currently on the run after evidence was discovered of his involvement in the murders of several patients during his years at the Asylum.
Strange: Patient interview one. Subject's name, Jervis Tetch A.K.A. The Mad Hatter. Brought to Arkham Asylum by Batman six months ago. Patient exhibits signs of obsessive compulsion and paranoid schitzophrenia. Sit down Mr. Tetch.
Tetch: No time to sit. I need Alice. Where is my Alice?
Tetch: No time to sit, no time to chat. I'm searching for Alice and I've lost my hat.
Strange: Guard. Restrain Mr. Tetch.
Tetch: (struggling) Get off me! I'm late. I'm running out of time, Alice. Where are you?
Strange: Alice isn't here yet. Just relax, Jervis. She will be here soon.
Tetch: But-(starts gibbering)
Strange: (over Tetch's gibbering) I promise. Now. Would you like some tea?
The mind, man's greatest weapon in the hands of an a moral sociopath like Strange was always a dangerous thing. Harry flipped pages until he found the second part of the interview.
Tetch: Is Alice here yet?
Strange: No, I'm afraid not. Let us talk while we wait. You and I have much in common, Jervis.
Tetch: Really? Do you know Alice too?
Strange: Unfortunately not. You and I share an interest in the mind, do we not? I studied your papers, Jervis. You were quite brilliant. Truly, an extraordinary mind.
Tetch: Oh, it doesn't matter. It's all just chemicals, and synapses and rabbits and (voice breaks) oh, where is Alice?
Strange: You need to focus. Think about your work for a minute. You theorized that there is no such thing as free will. That you can change a man's allegiances, his motives, emotions, all what we believe makes a man, with formula was really quite brilliant. That's why I used it.
Tetch: (stammers) How did you get it? Did Alice give it to you? Wicked girl! Nasty little thing! Is she here yet?
Strange: Soon, Jervis. Soon.
Tetch: Where is she? Oh, you told me that Alice would be here.
Strange: She is, Jervis. She's right here.
Tetch: Alice? (sings) Alice come out. Don't pout. Don't make me shout. Alice come out. Where are you?
Strange: (takes out photos) Take a look at the pictures, Jervis.
Tetch: (stammers) Who are these people?
Strange: Look again.
Tetch: I don't know who they are! Oh, please, is Alice here or not?
Strange: Look at the first picture. Look at the dress she's wearing. Look at the hair. It's Alice isn't it?
Tetch: No, no, no, it can't be Alice. Alice has nice yellow hair and...(starts crying) and isn't covered in blood.
Strange: I think you know exactly who this is, Mr. Tetch. I think you remember the night you lured Stephanie Williams back to your research lab. How you offered her tea. What happened to her then?
Tetch: No, no. No!
Strange: (over Hatter's babbling) You killed her, didn't you? She was the first. It's okay, Jervis. It's alright to remember. How many Alices were there?
Tetch: (crying) I can't remember.
Jervis Tetch was a creature habit, he wouldn't risk going far with two Veela and risk gbeing spotted by the wrong people, so he wouldn't be going far, he wouldn't risk Alice's safety by going into the Underground, he wouldn't survive there let alone with a kid and a full grown Veela. He sighed ever so deeply. He'd have to talk to the Delacours as well as the Brood, and maybe even his brother if he was unlucky enough.
Harry felt a presence directly in front of him it was a woman with rather regal barring with her blonde hair cut short Her hands rested on her hips as she scrutinized Harry. Her tired blue eyes spoke of long nights and horrors she witnessed inside them. The woman Harry knew through reputation alone, her exploits in Metropolis as well as Gotham had made her into a legend in the law enforcement community. "Captain Margaret Sawyer, to what do I owe the pleasure?"
"I wouldn't call it a pleasure, your colleague 'asked' me to pick you up and take you to the Royal."
"Agent Chase." Just when he thought things couldn't get more difficult. Cameron Chase was a good agent, there wasn't a doubt in his mind about that. She was, however, a shit human being. She lived by an absolute code; the ends justify the means. Which is great when you want something done fast and don't care who you end up pissing off, unfortunately Cameron had an eighty nine percent success rate when it came to leaving sour memories with the local law. Bones liked her, and he doesn't really like anyone. She led him to a black and white squad car, the familiar scent of old coffee radiated from its upholstery.
"Ah, sorry about that."
"No problem," She said dismissively. "I already have my hands full with another case. Ever heard of a Weeping Woman?"
"Latin American legend about a woman that drowned her kids." Harry remarked absently as he put the Hatter's file away in his satchel. "She can't get into heaven without her children. So she takes other people's children, as a substitute."
"Legend depicts a banshee, you have witnesses. Doesn't add up, but if the kids are the target…"
Harry thought it over for a second. "I can name a few organizations that could summon something like that…but I haven't heard of any operating out of Gotham. Monsters like it are only as powerful as the fear people have for them." The car pulled onto the Pioneer's Bridge heading south towards the Gotham Royal. "Think of them as symbol, like your Batman, they inspire a paralyzing level of skill that is used to exploit weakness."
"You said you could name a few organizations?"
"Sure, could name a number, but I know people, and judging by your excellent reputation, you and I are very much alike, we're a rare breed of hunting dogs, if we find a scent that tickles our fancy we don't stop, we can not stop until we have captured our quarry." The following silence deafened the car for a few minutes until finally reaching Royal. The captain parked in front of one of the cities more premier establishments. Building of said monument to the founding families began as joint venture between the Kane family, who built the East tower, and the Wayne family, who built the west. Harry had learned this from his beloved goddaughter, who dreams to be the greatest of architects. Harry looked over at Sawyer and weighed his options. Technically he wasn't endangering any investigations if he off handedly mentioned groups with enough magical power to summon a banshee that does not kill, but the Morrigan would be rightly pissed, and Merlin knows what the woman would do to him. Either way, Harry found himself rightly pinched between a rock and a fireball. "You didn't hear it from me." Harry started, in the long run he found a few favors owed would balance out whatever his boss could and would do to him. "Off the top of my head I can think of two that could have an interest in Gotham. The Church of Blood and the Religion of Crime have made moves in the past, but they've been quiet for a long time, but you know cults. They like playing from the shadows and catch us unawares." He paused, contemplating if he should get into the ins and outs of summoning with a muggle, but ultimately decided against it. "The how and why, I can't answer, maybe your Bat has more answers." The cold air hit him like quaffle thrown by Alicia Spinnet after one of Malfoy's in-game quips, There wasn't much else to say, Sawyer like Harry, had an impressive level of stubbornness about; she would never ask for help…but she wouldn't reject it if it were offered. Harry tipped his cap to Sawyer and made his way to the front desk. Amazingly enough the media hadn't caught wind of the kidnappings, if they had a sea of reporters from Witch Weekly to the Gotham Herald would be swamping the lobby. The lobby was divided into two floors, gargoyles watched perched from the darkened corners. Normally the hotel hosted a large number of rich and high ranking people that wished to expand into the war zone known as Gotham, and from past experience he knew well that most of them enjoyed flaunting their wealth in the lobby. The fact that it was barren except for the odd police officer or staff spoke volumes of the sheer level of fear they were experiencing. Harry walked silently but purposely across the lobby towards the elevator, according to the file the family had been moved to the penthouse for their protection.
Just as he entered the lift Harry found himself tackling a yawn. There was always something that would drag him away from sleep, he made sure of it. With sleep came dreams and dreams tended to lead him down the trail of memories. Harry leaned against the wall and stared at his reflection with bored eyes. He kept his hair short and his body fit, he had kept his round glasses, but what really caught his attention were his eyes, they always did. Dumbledore had once told Harry how the eyes were a window to the soul, and Harry knew that it was true, he claimed that inside of Harry there was a special kind darkness; the type of darkness that he had seen in men and women much older than Harry, men and women that stared into the abyss, found the courage to jump into it and managed to scrape the bottom. Back then Harry thought the man mad, but in the present he could only think how Dumbledore was wrong. Working for the DEO had taught him something; No matter how dark or how depraved the abyss around the person is only breaching the surface.
Harry's silent contemplation was interrupted when the elevator came to a stop. The door opened to reveal a black marble hallway, at the end of it was a large golden door. There were a few decorative and most likely endangered plants in large white pots. There were noises coming from behind the door, which gave Harry good idea how many people were behind the door. Part of him wanted to press the button that would take him back to the lobby and get his answers from a more reliable source like Cobblepot, but procedure dictated he talk with potential witnesses. With a sigh, he made his way to the door, his right hand twirling his wand leisurely. He raised his right fist preparing to knock, but the door flew open and a teary eyed Fleur Delacure shot past him, while an angered Bill Weasley was shouting at it his mother. Ginny sat with her arm wrapped around Charles. It was actually Ron who spotted him, his face still covered in blisters, but that didn't stop him from launching himself across the room. Oh, the memories. Ron had always assumed Harry was a Death Eater and to the day he still hated him, Lavander Brown had used harry to brake things off, and by use he meant grabbing Harry while he was discussing brooms with Cho Chang and snogging him while Ronald was in the hall. She tasted like butterbeer.
Harry for all didn't consider himself a violent man, he only employed it when necessary, and so he found no qualms with smashing his free hand against Ron's skull. In retrospect; A) Ron probably thought Harry was there because he somehow, magically had something to do with it, and, B) Punching Ron in a room of highly volatile people was not a good idea. Harry put his left foot on Ron's dense skull and turned to smile at the actual two witnesses. Alexander Delacure and Apolline. "Hello, I'm Agent Black, and I'm with the DEO"
Charles was quick to disentangle himself from Ginny. "What are you doing here?" He demanded. Clearly still affronted from their early morning spat.
"Isn't it obvious?" Harry responded. "I'm working."