A/N: This is a one-shot extension of thehappy's Travelling the Multiverse, and it's main storybase Dragon of the COG. Great stories, I love them, and I highly suggest all Fairy Tail fans who appreciate Gears of War to read them. And even if you don't play, like, or know anything about GOW (like me!), I still suggest reading it. Great story.
Anyhow, this was written with full knowledge of thehappy and with his permission. I pray I remembered to have him read over it before I post it to disparage any inconsistencies in character traits from his FT AU. As for the characters I'm introducing for this one-shot crossover, they're my versions of them, and I took as many liberties as I felt like. Cause, well, I can. :p
I will admit it may seem a bit overwhelming. Idk if I'll ever flesh out my characters, so I may have inadvertently put too much information into this story.
I apologize now for any translation issues. I used Google Translate, so… yeah, take it with a pinch of salt.
And finally, sadly, I don't own FT, GOW, or...well, you'll figure out who I'm talking about. Sad Panda…
Piazzo Ferretto, Venice, Italy. 2018.
July 15. 1930 Hours. CET
"Havoc Leader! Fin! Fin! Where the fuck are you! We have incoming!" a man calls out, two fingers to his left ear as he peaks over his barricade, watching the enemy move forward in a large group. His squad doing the same, hands on their weapons, waiting for orders.
"Roger dat Dragon Leader, we're ready for dem. Dem bastads won' know what hit em" was the reply, his heavy Irish accent carrying through.
"Brilliant. On my mark, light em up. Dragon Two, Dragon Five, Fin's in position. Make sure y'all have your shields ready when I give the signal."
"'Y'all'? Really luv?" a sweet voice replies over the communications channel, a slight laugh in her answer.
"Americans rubbin' off on me. Hold fire 'til Havoc blows, then move in for clean-up."
"You got it, babes" Two answers, chuckling slightly.
"Oracle to Dragon Leader, come in" a new, lilting voice chimes in over the radio.
"This is Dragon Leader, what is it?"
"We're about to get visitors. Some really fun people."
"You mean more than the ones in front of me?" he snarkily answers, shaking his head.
"Yes. Try not to hurt them when they get here."
"No promises, but I'll try. Ravens, anything to support that?"
"We have energy readings in your area. Potentially new contacts, keep your eyes open."
"Roger Oracle, Ravens. Keep me informed. Dragon Two and Five, eyes peeled. Fresh blood incoming."
"Numbers? Friendlies?" a new, demanding voice echos over the comms.
"Unknown Five. Oracle says 'Don't hurt them' so I presume friendly. As for numbers, no idea."
"Lot of help, she is" Five grumbles.
"She's saved our asses more than once. No reason to doubt her now" Two adds in.
"Yeah, well doesn't mean…" Five begins, before being cut off.
"Clear comms, enemy nearly in position" Dragon interrupts, raising his weapons as he does, his squadmates doing the same.
"DRAGON! This is Raven Three! You have new contacts! Six tall boys and a crawler, 500 yards from your position!" another female's voice fills the comms before a sudden roar calls all attention. A half dozen massive, armed bipedals make themselves known behind enemy lines, with an even larger creature behind them, all coming into visual range for the first time.
"Shit! Havoc! Do you have anything larger?"
"Nothing for them, mate! Intel didn't say anything about them. Fin trying to throw together something real quick" a new male's voice answers, slight panic in his voice.
"Fuck! Thanks Dean. Turtle Leader, this is Dragon Leader. Prepare your… INCOMING PORTAL!" The man suddenly calls out as a shimmering blue and purple vortex appears in front of them, six people exiting, all armed and facing the incoming threat.
"Dragneel, Parks, McGarden, take that side. Knightwalker, Scarlett, with me. McGarden, Walker, focus fire the Corpser and...whatever those things are! The rest of you, start mowing them down!" The brunette calls out as the group separates, the sounds of gunfire filling the air as they take aim.
"What the fuck do y'all think you're doing!?" the man cries out, the pink-haired man and brunette turning to face him.
"We're saving your sorry asses, that's what!" the brunette woman answers, before turning back.
"Get your asses out of there, you're in the hot box!" Seeing the six ignoring him, the man smashes his fingers to his ear. "FUCK! Dragons, take the fresh blood out, pull them out of the way! Turtle Leader, this is Dragon Leader! We have six tall boys and a crawler. My position plus 500 and moving fast, will be marked. Be aware: Danger close, fire when ready!"
"Roger Dragon, awaiting markers. ETA 2 minutes. Turtle out" came the quick, deep voiced reply.
"Havoc! Light em up! Mark the 7 for Turtle shot! Danger close, make the shots count!"
"Levy! Use the launcher! Wipe the…" the brunette's voice is suddenly cut off as she collapses, the sudden silence startling the other five as they all look over.
"SAM! Nani ga fakku!" The two redheads next to her also collapse to the surprise of the other three across the roadway, who each quickly turn back to the oncoming enemy, their guns firing. Their comrade's bodies then are yanked backwards towards the hidden Dragons, who catch them and drop them behind their barricade. The other three see this, and before they can react, multiple explosions erupt amongst the approaching enemy, spinning them back around.
The six large bipeds enrage at the explosions, seeing all those around them burning and start charging. The three line up their weapons, the bluenette aiming her launcher before also collapsing along with the other man in their group. Picking up the launcher, Dragneel lines it up with the approaching walkers before he too is yanked backwards, his death grip on the launcher tightening as he collides into a pair of bodies.
He fights them off, elbowing one in the face before lining up another shot, only for a rifle's barrel impacts him in the temple. Dazed, he looks towards the approaching walkers, before he is surprised yet again: there are no more walkers. At least, none in one piece, as the legs of two of them are still, somehow, upright. The remaining corpser charges at the line of men before another surprise happen: it's entire body explodes in a shower of blood.
"This is Dragon Leader, Dragon 2 and 5 take your squads and move in for cleanup. I have the so-called friendlies and will move them to base. Havoc, good work. Pack up and move back to base. Turtle, thanks for support. Dragon out." The man turns to the other seven members of his squad, five with various weapons trained on a different one of the newcomers, the other two holding the dazed pink haired man up between them.
"I really should just kill you. The six of you nearly fucked up this mission. But Oracle says you're friendly. Well..." He bobs his head back and forth slightly as he reconsiders his word choice. "...'says' is a strong word, but she's not often wrong, so I'll take my chances." Pulling his helmet off and displaying his untamed, black hair, he puts his fingers to his ear again. "Ravens, this is Dragon Leader. Keep eyes for more portals. I don't know where the new bloods came from, and we don't need more following. We'll set a lockdown of the area before heading back." He pulls out a short, foot-long rod from his arm sleeve and points it at the man.
Bunker. Carpathian Mountains. Northern Romania.
July 16. 1600 Hours. EET
"What do we do with them?" is the first thing the man hears, a female's voice filling the air as the man stirs slightly, his eyes still closed as he tries to move.
"We'll figure that out later, 'Mione. First, we need to find out who they are" a man's voice responds kindly, his voice just as garbled and distant as the first.
"I still think you should've just killed them and been done with it" another female's voice pipes up, this one a bit more forceful than the first.
"Daph's right, we don't know them. Not to mention nearly fucking up the operation" a third woman's voice supplies, hers with a hint of anger in them.
"Gin, we can't just go and kill everyone we don't know. No matter how stupid they might seem" the another woman retorts, her voice softer and more caring.
Opening his eyes slightly, the groggy man attempts to move his arms and discovers, frustratingly, that he can't. With as little movement as possible, he discerns his arms are tied to the arms of the chair he's in. Not recognizing the feeling, he peers down and sees some sort of black cord around his wrists and elbows.
While attempting to move his feet and legs, he feels the same thing around his ankles and below his knee. Keeping his calm, he thinks of trying to burn his bindings away, and tries lighting his extremities on fire… only to find out he can't do that either.
Now thoroughly frustrated, and slightly panicked, the man tries to think of another way out of his bindings as the voices become clearer.
"I don't see why not, Susan. Six people come out of a portal, one of THEIR portals, right in the middle of a trap set up for THEM, and you don't think we should kill them?" The angry girl, now known as 'Gin', retaliates, pointing at the six tied up figures before them.
"No, I agree. I almost did kill them after finishing off the crawler and giants. I was tempted to." Shrugging his shoulders, the man continued. "But Luna said not to hurt them, so here we are."
"'Luna said', ugh" 'Daph' responds, rolling her eyes as she does.
"Speaking of, where is Luna? I'm surprised she isn't here" the man asks, looking around.
"I'm right here, Harry" another voice sounds off behind the tied up sextet, the groggy man doing his best not to react to the sudden sound. "I've been watching them sleep. You can learn a lot from watching people sleep, y'know" she continues, stepping past the group, fingers dragging along the unmoving man's shoulder. "Like this one, he is pretending to be asleep but he's been listening to you all talk for awhile now. I don't why he'd pretend to be asleep when he could just join the conversation. Sleeping is so boring when there are people to talk to you" she continues, stepping towards the others, who are now moving towards the tied up ensemble.
Realizing his game is up, the man opens his eyes further. Looking about the room, he sees his companions tied up in chairs next to him, with the Erzas both to his left, Sam on his immediate right, Glen next to her, and Levy on the far end near the concrete wall. He follows the wall to the back, where half a dozen armed men and women all stood, their weapons in hand and watching their charges, both standing and sitting.
After taking a measure of each guard's position, he turns his gaze to the gathered group of six in the center, in various levels of armed and armored. He continues looking over his captors, before locking onto a pair of emerald green eyes staring back at him. Said green eyes step forward and crouches before him, never leaving the seated man's gaze. Feeling what feels like a headache coming on, he ignores it as he stares unflinchingly into the man's eyes, before the headache suddenly spikes. Closing his eyes and shaking his head, the headache suddenly stops as he opens them, the green eyes now looking over the others tied up, before returning to him.
"His name is Natsu Dragneel" Harry begins, smirking at the now named-man's surprise. "He is a member of a guild called Fairy Tail. Whatever that means. That's their symbol he has on his shoulder" he continues, pointing at Natsu's right arm. "Apparently, he's a wizard. In fact, five of these six here are wizards. Except this one" he adds, pointing at the second tied up man. "Where they come from, Wizards and No-Majes all work and live together."
"Really? They're wizards? Where are their wands?" the first woman, 'Mione, asks incredulously.
"Yeah. They're wizards, but apparently they don't use wands where they come from. Their magics are voice-activated. Kind of like our incantations, but all of their magic is wandless."
"If they're so powerful, why are they carrying guns?" Daph asks scornfully, staring down the tied up group.
"Much the same reason we do, I imagine" Harry answers casually, standing back up.
"Theirs aren't modified, though" she retorts, holding up one of the lancers. "They're different, sure, but ours are modified to be amplified by our magic, and utility of spells with them. Theirs… they're just guns. Nothing special about them."
"They don't want to run out of magic and be defenseless, so they use guns and other weapons to do most of the work for them. Maybe magical modification is beyond them, or simply unavailable. We can discuss that later, though" He takes one last look at the tied-up pinkette before turning back to the girls. "There's more. They've fought these creatures as well" he adds to no reaction, before concluding, "They have also been to their home world." All eyes widen except the airy blonde, who is still walking around the seated six like a one-sided duck duck goose game.
Recovering quickly, the bushy brunette voices her opinion. "Well, that makes sense. They DID come out of one of THEIR portals. Where else would they have gotten the technology to do so?"
"Well...actually, that's her doing" Harry points at the still-unconscious bluenette. "She invented the method they're using to travel from world to world."
The brunette's eyebrows shoot into her hairline, mouth opening into an 'O' as the two redheads and second blonde turn to anger. "IT'S HER FAULT THAT WE'VE BEEN FIGHTING THESE GODDAMN THINGS FOR THE PAST FIVE YEARS?!" The shortest member screams out, stepping towards the girl with fists balled up before being stopped by the raven-haired man.
"No, I said she's the one that invented their method of travel. The portals existed before them" he corrects, holding the girl's arms to her side. "I can dig for more, but it might be best if we let them try explaining some things before we go and break into their minds some more. I got what I could from a simple scan, but a stronger Legilimency might do more harm than good. Let's give them a chance, first, to do this the easy way. And if we think they're lying, then we'll do it the hard way. Okay, Gin?"
Still struggling, the small girl fights against his grasp half-heartedly before looking up into his eyes. Sighing deeply, she leans into him and stops fighting. "Fine. But if they try fighting their way out, I get to hurt them. Got it?"
Chuckling, he kisses the top of her head. "You got it. Wake them up, will ya, Suze?"
Several ennervates later, the remaining five stir slowly, their eyes blinking to adjust to the light as they look around, some struggling against their bonds, some looking over their captors.
"Morning sleeping beauties, enjoy your nap?" Daphne remarks, smirking as all six pairs of eyes lock onto her.
"What is the meaning of this?" the short-cropped brunette demands, her eyes burning holes into the blonde, who returns the stare.
"This" he sweeps his hand at their bonds, "is what happens to people who show up to a party uninvited, crashing said party, then attempts to fuck it up with some cock-and-bull scheme to do who-knows-what against a crawler, six giants, and a hundred or so of those gun-toating minions. I mean really, six of you against a hundred of them? Not exactly the smartest of plans" he states, his face emotionless as he watches their reactions. Of which, he notes internally with surprise, there was mostly anger.
"The 'plan' was to nuke the bastards and save your sorry asses" the girl alleges, scoffing at the black-haired man.
"And you didn't think to check to make sure there wasn't anyone within the blast radius?" the angry blonde vocalizes, still fuming.
"We didn't have time to check the area. We saw a hundred drones, the corpser and those 'giants', original name by the way, and portalled over to vaporize them before they overran your positions."
"How would you have 'checked the area' anyways? Are you saying the method you used to get here can be used to provide a visualization of a place before you go through?" the brunette fires off, her mind running a mile a minute.
"Sore wa, jigen-kan shikaku sochi to yoba rete imasu. Matawa IVD o yosuru" the bluenette piped up, all eyes turning towards her, and over half a dozen wands or weapons now trained on her.
"FUCK! SHE'S A JAP!" the angry redhead spits out, the tip of her wand glowing, the desired spell on the tip of her tongue.
"I thought they were wiped out!" the equally angry blonde snaps, a modified Spanish Ameli LMG in her arms, barrel pointing at the now appraising blue-haired girl.
"Relax, guys" the raven-haired man admonishes, putting his hand on the barrel of Daphne's gun, lowering it. "They're tied up, they can't do anything, Japs or not."
"Of course she's a Jap, look at the hair! Who the fuck wears blue hair while carrying guns around and running into a goddamn warzone" Gin snaps back, now glaring at each of the others, before pointing at the still silent pinkette. "Him too, I'd bet. Pink hair? For real? Even Teddy knows better than that, AND HE'S 10!" She is now glaring at the two redheads, also silent and returning the glare equally in turn. "Their hair… it's too bright. They look like bloody comic book characters. And it's freaking me out how much they look like Scarlet and I" she confesses, her glare not diminishing one bit, though the two tied up redheads are shocked slightly at the statement, now looking over the glowering girl before them with interest.
"Their hair colors are very pretty, aren't they" the unarmed blonde airily comments, now coming to a stop before the seated six, smiling brightly. "They won't hurt us, and not just because they're tied up. They came to help, remember?"
"Your definition of 'help' needs some work, Luna" her fellow blonde snorts, slinging the strap of her weapon around her shoulder again. "Whatever, we still need someone to translate if we're gonna get anything out of them."
"I'm not so sure about that" Harry mutters, now looking over the brunette. "She was speaking English when they arrived. I understood her giving them orders, and they were following them" he points his chin at her fellow team members. I think they understand us fine, but for some reason we can't understand them. At least…" he trails off, looking at the ones Ginny pointed out, then glances at Hermione, seeing her coming to the same conclusion.
"At least the ones with bright hair, that Ginny pointed out" the brunette finishes for him, the calculating mile-a-minute look in her eye, before waving her wand and muttering a spell.
"Hmm… that's strange" she whispers, casting it again with the same results, before turning to her onlookers. "They're all from different places" she explains, glancing at each of the prisoners. "Well...three different places, that is…" she trails off, now looking at Harry intently.
Realizing where the girl was going with it, he glanced at the two redheads again, this time more analytical and calculating. "You mean… just like her?" he asks, turning back to the genius and leaning in.
"Yeah… just like her. Though… I don't think from the same place, exactly" she murmurs in return, their foreheads nearly touching. "And I don't just mean because she's from Eastern Europe… I mean somewhere else altogether."
"Well… what I did understand from her was something that sounded like 'IVD'. I reckon she was explaining it before Gin's flip-out" he chuckles out, ignoring the daggered glare said woman threw at him.
"That's likely, but unless we can understand her, it doesn't do us any good, Harry" Hermione provides, tapping her finger to her lip. "And while it's possible we could just talk with her" she points at the English-speaking brunette who had done most of the talking, "we can't really trust anything she translates to be accurate, correct or truthful. I'll go and see where Su Li is. I don't think she speaks Japanese, but she may know someone who does. Unless Susan knows the translation spell" she says this part louder, looking over at the redhead expectantly.
"Not for Japanese, no. Sorry, Hermione" the buxom girl shakes her head.
"It's alright. It's not something we've ever needed here, and after what happened to Japan, it was likely never to be needed again." He shook his head at the memory. "Go find Li, 'Mione. Suze, could you go with her? Bring back another vial of veritaserum, please. Just in case. And if y'all see Hannah, could you ask her to bring us some food?"
"She's probably already working on it, distracting herself while waiting for Neville no doubt" the redhead giggles at her friend's expense as she leaves with Hermione.
"So… now what?" the man mutters, rubbing his chin thoughtfully as he looks over the six. "Can all of you understand me? A simple nod will do" he asks, receiving five nods in return, the brunette the only one not, only staring at him questioningly. "What are your names?" he asks them, focusing on the woman first.
"What? Couldn't get that information from your little mind-game earlier?" the woman taunts, sneering at the green-eyed man.
"Oh I could, if I forced you to. But, in the interest of benefit of the doubt, humor me, will ya?"
Pondering the question, the woman reluctantly answers. "Sergeant Samantha Bryne of Echo Squad" she replies, her gaze ever as steady.
"Corporal Natsu Dragneel of Echo Squad" the pinkette next to her followed up.
"Private Erza Scarlet of Echo Squad" the redhead immediately to his right added, ignoring Ginny's and Daphne's mildly shocked expressions.
"Erza Knightwalker" the second woman provides, also ignoring the glance the two standing woman shared.
"Private Glenn Parks of Echo Squad" the man on the other side of the brunette voices, before all eyes land on the bluenette.
"Levy McGarden" she cooly finishes, a familiar calculating look in her eyes reminding the raven-haired man of another woman's same look, one he's intimately familiar with.
"That's strange" the man muses as the two other women step up next to him.
"What's strange?" his own redhead asks, looking the seated over with a bit more calm expression.
"Except him" he points at Glenn, "they don't have accents. At least, none that are really noticeable. And his is more of a twang than anything Oriental. None of theirs are."
"All they said was their names, Harry" Daphne points out.
"Exactly. Saying your own name would've brought out your accent the most. Like when Ella and Li would talk about their families, their French and Chinese accents come out in droves, as opposed to their normal speech patterns.
"Ok, so they come here looking like Japanese comic book characters, start speaking Japanese, but don't sound Japanese…" Ginny begins, before trailing off and looking over the one named Natsu. Eyes furrowing, she steps forward and starts walking around him, deep in thought. Except for Levy, no one notices a certain blonde's smile getting even larger, as if she knows something the others don't. But, given who she is, that was likely true, though the blue-haired girl didn't know that.
Coming to a stop before the man, Ginny gives him one last look over before looking over Harry, as if seeing him for the first time. Wondering what she was doing, the other blonde mimics her, looking over Natsu and Harry as well, before her eyebrows shoot up into her forehead, matching the redhead as they share astonished looks.
"Ok… now it's gotten really creepy" the petite, freckled girl voices, now staring at the others tied up, looking for recognition.
"What's creepy?" Harry asks, not following what she was doing.
"How much he looks like you" Daphne provides instead, staring intently at the two cherry heads, with occasional glances at her partner.
"Like me? What are you talking about? We don't look anything alike."
"Yes and no" the blonde replies cryptically, her head now cocked as she and the bluenette analyze each other, Levy's eyes now matching the two women's, apparently making the same connection as her jaw drops.
"That's helpful" the green-eyed man mutters, shaking his head and sharing a bemused look with the seated pink haired man, before both turn to a giggling blonde.
"What is it, Luna?"
"Have you ever wondered which side of a mirror you were actually on, Harry? Are you the image? Or the reflection? I've always wanted to meet my reflection. I think we'd have a lot to talk about" she adds, before humming a tune and swaying slightly.
"Y'know… for once… I'm wondering the same thing" Ginny's voice interrupts the awkward silence, as she stands before the two Erzas, all three exchanging various looks.
"Me too, Ginny" the second blonde agrees distractedly, now stopped in front of the brunette, a pensive look on both faces.
"Wow… both of you agreed with Luna. This really is a special day in history" came a voice from behind them, the three turning around and seeing Hermione's return with Susan and another woman Ginny's height but with long, sleek black hair trailing behind her. Hermione's smirking face bringing a scowl to the two caught women.
"I'll certainly be remembering it" the unknown woman vocalizes with a titter, deepening the respective smirk and scowls, before stepping up to the raven-haired man and giving him a chaste kiss on the lips and a quick hug. "Hermione said you needed a Japanese translation. I don't speak it, but I know a translation spell for it. Why though? I thought the Japanese were wiped out?"
"Well… one of our guests here" he turns and indicates Levy, "is only speaking Japanese and we don't understand her. Gin thinks those three" he points out Natsu and both Erzas, "are also Japanese-speaking. They haven't actually said anything other than their names yet, so we don't know for certain. But we do know she is" pointing back at Levy. "So, instead of using their Sergeant here to translate and then question everything she says, we'd rather just know for ourselves.
"What's strange about it, though, is they all understand English. Will the spell affect their hearing as well?"
"No, it won't. Just affects how we hear it. How long are they going to be visiting? So I know how long we need it to last."
"Just start with a week. If we need longer, we'll just cast it again. Between the veritaserum and Legilimency, we'll get answers one way or another" he answers, his entire demeanor changing, giving whiplash to the seated members of the group.
"You could just ask nicely, y'know" Sam snarks, inwardly admiring the 180 the standing man just pulled.
"Oh, we will. Those are just in case you try lying to us" Harry pronounces, tilting his head at the short girl to use the spell.
"Laponica Lingua Interpretari." A purple rope of light leaves the raised wand and hits Levy in the face, purple beams of light connecting the girl's ears to her mouth, cycling through them like a worm through an apple before ceasing altogether.
Sputtering, the blue-haired girl snarls at the caster. "What's the big idea!? What the fuck did you hit me with!? My mouth tastes like chewing on a rusty nail, and my ears are ringing. FUCK!"
"Welp, I'd say that was successful" Hermione snickers, the others joining in as the sleek-haired woman steps back.
"Yeah, no need to test it. Not that I ever doubted you" he adds, hugging the girl. "Thanks, Li-Li" Harry kisses her forehead as he moves forward. "Now that the language barrier is solved, what were you saying before my lovely Spitfire here went off? Something about 'IVD'?" he asks, pointedly ignoring the dangerous glare from the short volcano.
"It's called an Interdimensional Viewing Device, hence IVD" she began slowly, wary of another eruption. Seeing none, she continued on. "We use it to view and travel to different universes. We have a couple different versions of it, but…" her eyes suddenly widen as she looks down at her body, searching for something. "Where are our weapons and gear?" The others but the pinkette suddenly look down themselves, realizing their missing equipment and armor.
Pulling out her wand, the bushy brunette points it at a pair of tables, which levitate over in front of the encircled group. "They're right here" she says at the table lowers, half the crowd scanning their equipment for anything missing, the other half looking them over with various levels of interest. The brunette picks up the most unusual of the grouping and holds it up to the previously speaking girl. "Is this the one you're talking about?"
"Yes, that's a Dimensional Portal Gun" she agrees, nodding her head.
"A portable variation of a device capable of interdimensional travel" the bushy brunette repeats, turning it over, analyzing it. "It's a traversable wormhole!" She exclaims, still examining the device, now held as if it were a baby. "The mechanics behind such a thing were considered theoretically possible but practically unavailable due to limited technology and understand of quantum mechanics. Not to mention the problematic Wormhole Theory and…" Her ramblings ended as she abruptly looks up at the bluenette, eyes widened. "How did you stabilize it? The risk of radiation and dark matter, not to mention implosion from mass exertion would've caused it to implode. Unless…" her eyes seem to vibrate as she stares off into nothing, her mind racing through thoughts as a couple from each party stare at her in surprise, the others smirking in shared amusement at a genius working her brain. "No… it can't be. This is not a wormhole…She's created an Einstein-Rosen Bridge!"
"Isn't that the same thing?" The studious blonde Daphne asks, one of the few following along the girl's rant.
"Sort of, but not necessarily. Wormholes are considered passages through space, but they're wild and uncontrollable. The Einstein-Rosen Bridge, and the Schwarzchild Wormhole, are known as Eternal Wormholes. Exactly as they sound, they're permanent wormholes that could, theoretically, be travelled in either direction. The difference between an ER-Bridge and a Schwarz is the ER-Bridge could be aimed" she adds excitedly, before biting her lip and returning to her thinking pose. "Well, 'aimed' isn't so much correct, as 'flung out.' Kind of like fishing, you just throw it into the water and then it builds a connection from there. But this..." she holds up the device in front of her friends, "...this does even more than that, if I'm understanding her correctly." Looking it over, she holds up the side with the keypad. "Yeah, see here? They can enter in the coordinates they want, to wherever they're going, and… well, from what they've said, they can view that area or just come on through."
Looking over the bluenette again, head cocked, she seems to consider the slightly smaller woman. "This is truly impressive. How did you come up with this? What are the coordinates for our world? How about where those creatures come from? How do you build it?" Her questions fire off before the girl can answer. She looked to ask a few more before a strong hand grips her shoulder.
"Let her answer one of them first before asking another, 'Mione" he admonishes softly, chuckling, again changing his demeanor as he kisses her forehead.. "I know you're excited, but remember, we still don't know anything about them yet. Let's find out first, shall we?"
"Yeah but…" she started, before he raised his hand.
"'Who they are' first, then 'what they know', okay?"
Thinking of dozens of questions she had, she sighs and nods her head. "Fine...but I'm holding onto this" she says, holding up the device.
"Gemino" Harry mutters with a wave of his right hand, a second device appearing in his left hand, as six seated eyes widen in partial shock and amazement. "Here, look over this one. No need to risk breaking theirs. Although…" he mutters, comparing the two. "...it doesn't appear all of it copied. That's strange… looks like another puzzle for you to figure out" he adds with a smile, handing the excited woman the duplicate, taking the original and setting it on the table in front of all.
"So… Interdimensional Travelling, Portal Guns, and you know what our other visitors are and come well-armed. Sounds like 'Stargate' meets 'Quantum Leap'" he chortles, the only agreement coming from the smiling blonde by way of a giggle, as most of the others roll their eyes. The exception being the brown-eyed girl now tearing apart the duplicate portal gun at a free table like a kid unwrapping presents. Albeit with much more care, but no less enthusiasm.
"'Stargate'? As in 'Stargate SG-1' and 'Stargate: Atlantis'?" The blue-haired girl asks excitedly, as wide green eyes turn to her in glee and shock.
"You know it? You have 'Stargate' where you're from?" he asks incredulously, not believing his ears.
"No, but I picked it up when we were in Florida a while back" she quickly answers, again shocking the standing occupants. Except the spacey blonde still humming to herself and the excitable brunette currently ignorant of everything but the gun. "I'm guessing we're on Earth then, right? You've mentioned Japan, France, China, Eastern Europe. The only places we've been that have had all of those locations have been Earth, so I presume Florida in the United States is still a thing here, right?" she asks, looking amongst them expectedly.
"Florida? Why were you in Florida? Never mind, I don't care. Well, actually I do, but more importantly. You watch 'Stargate'!?" the raven-haired man screeches out as Levy fights back a laugh.
"Yeah! I love that show! Colonel Carter is my favorite character, obviously. The genius of the group who happens to be a bad-ass and travels to different planets? That's practically my life right there!" she gets out, as Harry now fights a laugh in return.
"My favorite character would probably be John Sheppard. He's much more collected than O'Neill is, and decided that one galaxy wasn't good enough so he went to another one instead. Of course, hooking up with all the hottest girls except his best friend helps too" he adds with a chuckle, as a blonde and redhead smack him upside the head.
"Oww, what's that for?"
"Because we can" the two answer simultaneously, then giggling like school girls at each other.
"Besides, I'm pretty sure you burst the 'best friend' bubble a while ago" Daphne adds, looking over at the brunette now examining each piece with a conjured microscope.
"Yeah, and a few other bubbles while you were at it" Ginny added in with a smile, exchanging looks with the other gathered girls.
"I don't hear you complaining" the man says to the woman, before kissing her gently, pulling back before she can deepen it, only to receive a punch in the chest.
"Keep doing that, and you'll hear a lot more than complaints, my husband" the woman whispers, pulling him in for another quick kiss before pushing him away.
"Yes, dear" he laughs, receiving several chuckles from the gathered girls, including the ones tied up.
"So... " he turns back to the tied up team, all traces of his smile and laughter suddenly gone. "Where are y'all from?" he asks, looking between the brunette and the bluenette as he crosses his arms.
"Why should we tell you?" the brunette snaps out.
"Because I'm asking nicely" the casual response came.
"Not until you untie us" she retorts, struggling against her bonds to emphasize her statement.
"Not gonna happen" Harry answers, not moving from his spot. "Your friends here have done an impeccable job of keeping their mouths shut. With the hexes and runes we've put on those chairs, most people would've been singing their hearts out by now for anything we wanted to know. Yet, besides your lovely, blue-haired genius over here, none of you are talking. Which tells us you're used to pain, torture, and various levels of general discomfort. Which tells us you're soldiers."
"Wow, you really are quite the genius. As if the guns and armor didn't already kind of give that away" the blonde snarks back, shaking her head.
"Any bloke can put on armor and pick up a gun" the calm response came as green eyes lower themselves and level with her brown. "But not just anyone can use them. On top of that" he raises his hand and pokes her between the eyes, "you have a focused look in your eyes. You aren't distracted easily, and are wary of all movement we are making." Inclining his head at the pinkette, Harry continues. "Plus, your boyfriend here already did a threat assessment of us when he thought no one was looking. He marked each of the guard's locations, their weapons, distance, etc… Simply, planning his escape" he comments as he stands up. "That is, if he could ever get out of those cords."
Looking at each of their faces again, he sighs and runs his hand through his hair. "Each of you has a dead look in your eyes. A look each of us have as well. You've seen death, blood, war. Since you've all been to where these creatures come from, I'm not surprised." Sniffing loudly, he turns a curious look at the four girls. "'Your man' was more literal than I thought" he chuckles, shaking his head. "His scent is all over the four of you" he indicates the four tied up girls, who each widen their eyes yet again, as the pink-haired man cocks his head, looking at the green-eyed man with a strange look. "In fact, I would go so far as to wager that the two of you" pointing at the redheads, "were with him right before coming here."
"Dō yatte sore o shiru koto ga dekimasu ka?" one of the Erzas asked, getting everyone's attention.
"Li, her too. Might as well just use it on all of them to be safe" Harry tells his fellow raven head.
Several repeats of the spell later, five people sputter and dry spit while shaking their heads. "Damn it! You already knew I was speaking English, why'd you use it on me?" Sam shrieks out, trying to wipe her tongue on her lips.
"I just wanted to see your reaction, that's all" the girl giggles, not even trying to hide her amusement.
"Fucking hell Levy, you weren't kidding. My mouth tastes disgusting" the second Erza comments, smacking her lips.
"Goddamn ringing in my ears won't stop either" the second man, Parks, voices, shaking his head, trying to dispel the sound.
All these outbursts and more are ignored by Natsu and Harry, each staring the other down, both with strange looks in their eyes. The occupants of the room slowly take notice, until all are watching the soundless and motionless encounter.
Time seems to drag on as the two face each other, both with cool and calculating looks assessing the other, until Luna interjects. "How about we get back to First Contact, shall we?" Both look over at the girl, both with amusement on their faces at the remark, before Sam calls their attention.
"First Contact? Seriously? Please tell me you're not a 'Star Trek' fan."
"Of course! You'd be a 'Star Wars' fan, then" the quirky blonde replies with a smile, as the brunette huffs at her, and mutters under her breath, "Bloody Trekkies."
The tension now broken yet again, eyes turned back to the redhead who'd spoken up earlier.
"What are you all looking at?" she asks of the standing group.
"Before we used that spell on you, what did you say?"
"I asked 'How the fuck did you know that'? That we were with Natsu before coming here."
"Like I said, his scent is all over you. ALL over you" he emphasizes, ignoring Susan's blush behind him.
"That doesn't tell us how you know that."
"And you haven't told us where you're all from. If you've forgotten, you are not in charge here" the man adds, his tone of voice changing into authoritative yet again as looks amongst the seated members. "One of you WILL answer me, or I WILL force it out of you" he commands, his eyes boring into each of them.
"We're from Earthland" Levy provides from the side, as he turns and faces her. "Use the IVD, and type in 137-C. You'll see our guildhall where we operate out of."
Considering her words, he calls out to the brunette. "Hermione, is it safe to use?"
Without looking up, she answers quickly. "Yeah, I haven't found any sort of self-destruct on it, or anything that would hurt the user, so it should be safe."
"Thanks, 'Mione." He turns to the two girls at his sides. "Daph, grab their portal gun. Do as she says. Gin, just in case, shield her. Hermione, inform your team of an outbound energy reading. Don't want them freaking out on us. My two Suzie Q's, breach the shielding for this room only. I'll suppress any inbound attempts. Detail, to arms. You're to start firing on anyone that may, however unlikely, succeed in portalling in."
"Yes sir!" the six chorus, shouldering their weapons.
As everyone completed their assignments, Harry pulls out his wand. A shimmering, rippling shudder is seen along the walls as the two girls lower the shield. Once that happened, a static-filled mist spills out of the man's wand, filling the room, but, to the surprise of those seated, doesn't shock anyone. Satisfied, he returns his wand to his arm holster, and turns towards Daphne and Ginny, who were waiting on him.
The blonde picks up the gun and types in the coordinates on the keypad, and before activating it, points it at the bluenette. "Just in case" she sneers, as Ginny mutters "protego" and a shield appears between her body and the object.
Activating it, another purple and blue shimmer appears in the air before it changes, a large image forming of the inside of a building. A dozen people are seen in it, all looking frantic as a couple sit around another device, fingers from one typing quickly as they appear to be searching for something. Others are seen checking weapons and armor, a few others with drinks in their hand and watching the going-ons with worry on their faces.
Finding the zoom feature and using it, Daphne zeroes in on the device being used. Or, more accurately, the image above it. Several recognize it as the Piazzo where the ambush had occurred, the bodies of the giants and corpser still littering the ground.
Turning it off, Daphne puts the gun back on the table with care as Ginny deactivates her shield, both turning and looking at Harry, who had his hand on his chin, his eyes distant. "Okay, put the shield back up Sue's" he tells the two, dispensing the mist with a wave of his hand as the field is raised, pulsing once as it completes, the armed detail lowering their weapons and resuming their positions along the wall.
Looking each of them in the eye, gauging their thoughts, he steps over to a phone on the wall near the door. Picking up the receiver and pushing a couple buttons, he puts it to his ear. "Get me Raven Three" he orders into the phone without waiting for a response, waiting a few seconds before a female's voice picks up. "This is Raven Three."
"Padma, it's Harry. Have you been getting energy readings in or around the Piazzo since the operation?"
"Yeah, Harry, how'd you know? We've had at least 50 of them, lasting about 10-20 minutes each before cutting out and popping up somewhere else. They've all been focused in Venice though, no more than about 20 miles from the Piazzo."
"How about right now? Is it focused on the Piazzo itself?"
"Okay, seriously, how do you know that? We've been monitoring it for about 10 minutes now. Does this have to do with the heads up Hermione just gave us?"
"Yes. She'll tell ya later, Padma. Hermione is playing with a new toy. When she's finished, or at least comes back up for air, I'll have her contact you and explain it."
"Of course she is. Is it something from our guests?"
"Yeah. I'll let her explain, but the skinny is it's how them bastards are getting here."
A low whistle is heard by those closest. "Well then, that'll certainly be helpful if she can figure out how they work."
"Got that right. One last thing, any attempts at opening a portal?"
"No, not since your friends arrived. At least, not there. We had an enemy portal open in Athens at 2300 hours last night. Turtles 2 and 4 are currently cleaning that up, with Dragon 3 and 4 to assist. No report on casualties yet, but Athens was mostly abandoned a while ago, and with a reported 5 Walkers, structural damage will certainly be the worst of it."
"Any word from Nev?"
"Yeah, he and his squadron portkeyed back to dock about two hours ago. They're still checking their boats over, but I'll send word to have him see you when he's finished."
"That'll work. Tell him to hurry up, Suze says Hannah's going spare over her man."
Laughter is heard in the background, various catcalls are heard from the receiver behind a cute giggle. "Of course she is. The guy has the safest job in the fleet and gets the girl that worries the most. How appropriate."
Matching the laughter with a chuckle and a smile, Harry agrees with her. "Yeah, it really is. He's lucky Tracey isn't the same way. I'm not sure he'd be able to handle the both of them like that."
"Speaking of, she's called in twice looking for Su Li. Have you seen her?"
"Yeah, she's here with me. Any idea what about?"
"You know how Ghosts are, they don't tell us anything."
"True enough. Once Nev checks in, send him and Mikolai here to room 5. Thanks Padma. Let me know if anyone tries or succeeds in opening another portal there."
"Room 5? Magical visitors? Interesting. Sure thing, Harry. Raven out."
He puts the receiver back and looks over the tied up group, before stepping to his comrades. "Nev's back, Athens is burning, and their friends are actively looking for them" he adds, tilting his head at the visitors. "No attempts to come through, yet, but I wouldn't put it past them to send in a rescue party."
"If they're smart, they won't until they find them" Daphne comments, also looking at said peoples.
"IF they find them" her freckled friend adds. "We are over a thousand kilometers from where they came in. Unless that device of theirs can scan such a large area, they won't find them here."
"That's what we're waiting on 'Mione to tell us."
"'Mione won't have that answer unless she can figure out how to power the damn thing" said woman's voice breaks over them. Turning, they see said woman looking frustrated as she observes all the pieces on the table in front of her, longingly glancing multiple times at the original one on the table full of weapons.
"What do you mean?" Susan asks, her worried demeanor creeping through.
"I mean that Harry was right. Not everything copied. I think the part that's missing is the power source."
Tapping his lip, Harry steps toward the bushy girl, also looking over the pieces. "Can you put it all back together?"
Looking insulted, the girl waves her wand over the pieces, which slowly but meticulously replace themselves, forming the initial copy once again. "Does that answer your question?"
Leaning in an kissing her scowling face, the man smiles and looks the device over. "Does that?"
"Jerk" she says as she swats his arm, smiling all the same, though.
"Guilty as charged" he replies, putting the device back down and looking at the blue haired girl thoughtfully, he picks up the original device and holds it between them. "Before we destroy this, want to show us which piece is the power source?"
"Why would you destroy it?" the girl asks curiously, no sense of panic visible.
Shrugging, the man turns it over in his hands. "How else do you figure out how to fix something unless you break it first?"
"By asking someone?"
"I thought I just had. So, how about it?"
"You'll have to untie my hands first" she comments, shaking her wrists in demonstration.
"Of course, no problem" he remarks, waving his hand over hers, the cords retreating.
Rubbing her wrists, the girl begins leaning forward before she is tugged back by the neck as another cord wraps around it, holding her in her place. Pulling at her bond, she quickly realizes the cord stopped tightening itself, giving her plenty of room to breathe without restriction, but tight enough to prevent movement.
Ignoring the shouts of the others, she lowers her hands and looks at the standing man apprehensively. "I must say, you certainly know how to tie someone up."
"I get lots of practice" he remarks offhandedly, shrugging a shoulder as he does.
Looking at the women in the room, two with light blushes, the rest smirking outright, the woman looks back up into bright green eyes. "I bet" she smirks, getting a grin in return as she reaches for the device.
Pulling some of it apart and setting it in her lap, she pulls out a glowing, yellow crystal. "We call this a Quantum Crystal." A light cough from two of her comrades had her rolling her eyes before correcting herself. "Okay, I call it a Quantum Crystal. Mostly because we don't actually know what they are, but they are found in just about every version of Earthland we're aware of. And they power the IVD, so it sounded appropriate."
"Fair enough" the man mutters, turning it over before handing it to Hermione, who had stepped up next to him. Her impatience catching up, she snatched it out of the man's hand and starts flipping it over as if it were a Rubik's cube, her fingers touching every possible molecule, much to the amusement of the others. Her eyes wide the whole time, she pulls out her wand and begins muttering spells, clearly getting mixed results if her array of facial expressions were anything to go by.
"Well?" the still chuckling man asks, snapping the woman's attention to him.
"To my knowledge, we don't have anything like this here. At least, not naturally" the woman begins tentatively, still rolling it in her fingers, albeit much slower. "To put it in your SciFi terms that we've been discussing, it's not much different than those Point Zero Modules from that show you both like."
"Zero Point Modules" the green-eyed man and blue-haired girl immediately correct. "Or ZPMs for short" the both again chorus, now chuckling at each other.
"Yeah, those. Theoretically, the existence of such things are possible…" she mutters, her hand stilling as she holds it up before her. "If I'm being honest, I think theory was just proven true by this right here. I mean, zero-point energy… Zero Point Module, zero-point energy, how did I not put those together sooner?" she mutters in realization, before shaking her head clear. "Anyways, zero-point energy is already practically proven. But harnessing it as an energy source was supposed to be theoretical at best" she trails off, still looking over the crystal.
"In a vast, infinite multiverse, every possible theory or idea is practically possible in another" a sweet voice airs out, all eyes turning towards the blonde now stepping towards the trio.
"Oh no, not the Multiverse theory again" the other blonde mutters, palming her eyes in agitation.
"Daph… we've both already agreed with Luna's 'mirror' comment. Is this really that much different?" her foreshortened friend asks.
"Fuck… damn it, yeah I guess not" the blonde concedes dejectedly.
"Yeah, you two still didn't explain that to me."
After exchanging a look with each other and having a silent argument, the apparent loser, Daphne sighs before answering. "If we were to take the multiverse theory as true, which…" she waves her hand at the visitors, "...it's becoming more and more difficult to argue against, then there are an infinite number of versions of each of us out there."
"Yeah, I get that part."
"Well, with there being an infinite number of different versions, there are bound to be differences between each of the versions. It could be hair color, skin color, who you're dating, etcetera etcetera. And those are the simplest examples."
"The less simple examples sit before you" she finishes, stepping towards the red heads.
"So you're saying they're us, but not us."
Considering the response, she bobs her head in acknowledgement with a thoughtful expression. "Yeah, pretty much. Look at these two" she says, stepping behind the two red heads, turning and putting a hand on a shoulder of each, looking at the watching crowd. "How much do they look like Ginny and Wanda? Hell, look at how much Wanda and Ginny look like each other? There may be a height difference between all of them, certainly, but other than that? They could pass as sisters. Shit, these two already pass as twins" she finishes, squeezing their shoulders before stepping back towards her group.
"We already knew Scarlet was from another Earth's reality, Harry" the busty redhead supplies, putting her two cents in.
"Very true, Suze. Very true… still, different versions of us… phew. It's a lot to take in. One thing to see it in a movie or show, another to actually be experiencing it."
"It's really not all that different than when we used the time turner back in 3rd Year, Harry" the genius of the group inserted, bringing a chuckle to the raven-head.
"Ha ok yeah you've got me there. That was pretty weird, I won't lie. Going back in time and seeing yourself...talk about strange experiences" he adds with a shiver and shake of the head before turning towards the watchful, sitting persons. "Okay, so we'll run with that theory that you all are us…" he glances at the blonde, brunette and redhead who'd been doing most of the teaching thus far. "...Or at least, copies of someone in this universe."
Looking them over again from this new perspective, he carefully looks over the females in the group first, much to the ire of five of them, the bluenette smirking as he does.
Taking a leaflet out of Luna's book, he starts walking around them, biting his thumb in concentration, spending most of his time around the two men and the brunette.
Shaking his head in disbelief, before sighing in acceptance and running his fingers through his hair, he steps back towards the center, still staring at the floor as he collects his thoughts.
"Alright. So three of them are pretty easy to figure out, she…" he points at the still smirking girl while glancing at his own bushy brunette. "She is you, Hermione. I admit, when she said her name earlier, she made the same face you do when you're figuring out a puzzle. Just, without the biting lip."
"I don't bite my lip!"
"Yes you do, and it's adorable" he steps over, pinching her lower lip as she crosses her arms defiantly, scowling back at him.
Chuckling, he turns back to the red heads. "I admit, Gin, when you said they looked like you, I wasn't really thinking too much on it." Taking the position Daphne had moments earlier, he bends lower so his mouth is directly between their ears. "While you two may look like her and Wanda, I wonder if your pasts are like them. Tell me" he adds with a squeeze on their shoulders, his vice grip digging in as they grimace slightly, his voice that of a madman. "Tell me, if I were to dig through your minds, what would I find inside?"
Looking between them, his gaze settles on Erza K. "A young girl trapped by the evils of the world, only to be betrayed by a man that professed to care for her?" Erza S twitches at that, remembering her time in the Tower. Feeling it and looking at her, a dark look on his face, a mad grin on his face, the man continues on with a hiss. "Or a child taken advantage of by a man who hates her father, forced to do battle in body and mind?" Erza K shutters at that, remembering her own troubled youth.
The smile disappearing and a sympathetic look on his face, he squeezes their shoulders again, this time more affectionately. Harry then steps back to his centered spot. "It seems I hit on the money with their pasts, if in the wrong order. Without knowing the details, Walker here was like you, Gin. And Scarlet here is like our own Scarlet. But anyways, physically speaking, yes, they do look a lot like you. I'm not sure if that's creepy, but definitely annoying."
"I know what you mean, Harry" Daphne complies, ignoring the two scowling women.
"What are you two talking about?" Su Li queries, looking between the four.
Tapping his nose, he reiterates his previous comments. "Their scent. Pinky here is all over both of them, and vice versa. Smelling Gin on another man, and another man on her, doubles or not, is not doing me any favors."
"You still haven't told us how you know that" Erza K pursues, having shaken off the bad memories he brought back to light.
"I haven't? Dearest me, that is a shame" the man japes, a faux shocked expression on his face, before turning away from the reddening duo and looking at the team leader. "And you… you're a bit tougher to pinpoint" Harry begins, biting his lip a moment before continuing. "If I had to wager a guess, I'd say you were Black Widow. What do y'all think?" he asks of his girls, who each ponder the woman's looks.
"She does resemble Zabini a bit" Ginny states hesitantly.
"She's a bit younger than Sam, and different skin tone, but yeah, fairly close" Su Li stipulates, comparing the woman with her fellow Ghost.
"This one though" Harry trudges on, stepping in front of Parks. "He's even more difficult."
"He sorta reminds me of…" Daph starts, before turning and looking at the six armed guards, eyes locking on the one to the right of the door. "Sergeant Campbell! Step forward, stand behind Mr Parks here and remove your headgear."
Without hesitation, the man moves to the designated spot and pulls his headgear off. The gathered group compare the two visually, before nodding to each other in silent agreement.
"Hmm. Sergeant, state your credentials" Harry commands of the man.
"Sergeant Brian Campbell, No-Maj, Volunteer from the State of Texas in the American Imperium" he rambled off, the southern accent weighing through heavily.
"Thank you Sergeant, put on your headgear and return to your post" the blonde orders, the man complying without a second thought.
"Kinda sounds like him, too. Accent's a bit thicker, but probably as close as we're going to get" the Dragon leader thinks aloud, now standing in front of the pinkette.
"And you two girls think Pinky, here, and I are the same person." It was not a question, but the repeated comment was new to Su Li, Susan and Hermione who had not been present when Daphne and Ginny had said it.
Having heard that, the three step forward, their faces masked in concentration, looking between the two as they mimic the other two girls' actions. "Huh… well I'll be damned" Hermione speaks first, exchanging a look with her double, who only nods in confirmation.
"Really? You think he looks like me?"
"Not just looks like you, he IS you, Harry. Or you're him. Or both."
"As I'm pretty sure I'm older than him, wouldn't that make him the double?"
"What came first: the image or the reflection?" the all-but-forgotten second blonde queries, startling most in the room.
"What kind of question is that? You can't have a reflection without an image" Su Li quickly retorts, also not a fan of the woman's ravings.
"You also can't have an image without a reflection" the girl casually corrects, not at all dissuaded by the aggressive response.
"How does that make sense?" the shorter girl demands.
"They're complimentary opposites, of course" the taller blonde answers plainly, as if it was the most obvious thing in existence. Turning towards her, she continues on. "Like black and white: one cannot exist without the other. But which came first? Black, or white? Image, or reflection? Does your reflection simply disappear if there isn't a mirror? Or does it continue on unseen? Does a shadow simply disappear because there isn't a light, or is the absence of light it's own shadow?
"Which side of the mirror are we really on?"
With the exception of the bluenette, the seated five just gawk at the woman in various levels of confusion and astonishment, some processing her words, some looking at her as if she has two heads. The bluenette, however, was seriously considering her words, the strange questions answering some of her own unanswered questions, and yet, leading to more at the same time. Needless to say she was utterly fascinated by the woman.
"Ya know, a mirror effect would actually explain quite a bit" Levy began, her still-untied hands laced together, index fingers to her lips in a thinking pose. "Maybe not a perfect mirror, but one slightly off-centered, or those fun-house ones that are warped and what-not" she rattled off, thinking it through. "Actually, I take that back" the girl corrects. Attempting to lean forward, she is harshly reminded there is a cord around her neck. "FUCK! I forgot this was here. Can you untie us now? We're not gonna do anything."
"No can do, buckaroo" the green-eyed man denies with a poor attempt at an accent. Although, it did succeed in getting a giggle from his buxom redhead, while his petite one merely rolls her eyes. "Those cords are what are draining each of y'alls magic cores. They'll keep y'all neutralized until the other commanders come down to see you." With that pronouncement, the four women stiffen with a start, each closing their eyes as they search inwards for their centers.
"So that's why I can't feel my magic" the pinkette vocalizes for the first time outside of stating his name.
"Yeah, that's why, Pinky" the ebony man repeats, emphasizing the moniker.
"It's salmon, Scarface" Natsu retorts, matching the smirk.
With a shark, barking laugh at the cognomen, he shakes his head and turns towards his girls, half of which having snorted themselves. "My so-called double comes here from a different universe and I STILL can't get a better first nickname than something relating to my scar. Unbelievable."
Turning back to the questioning looks, Harry explains. "In school I had this...we'll call him my rival. He called me 'Scarhead.' He thought it was clever, the 'Boy-Who-Lived' with his lightning bolt scar being called 'Scarhead'. Real genius, I tell you."
"'Boy-Who-Lived'?" Sam scoffs with Harry's agreed chuckle.
"Yeah... The wizarding community of the former British Isles was not known for its cleverness in nom de guerres. Hell, it wasn't very imaginative in most names, period. My godfather's name was Sirius Orion Black. Big Space Stars. Super clever. My uncle was Remus Lupin. Wolfie McWerewolf. And then he went and was turned into a werewolf, which just adds to the hilarity of the name."
Turning to the freckled red head, he marched on. "Gin here, her whole family, the Weasleys, were named after the Arthurian Legend, almost all with direct ties to King Arthur's Roundtable. Her eldest brother even married someone whose name means 'flower of the court'. It's hilarious. I'm almost surprised they didn't name anyone 'Merlin' just because they could."
"Had I been a boy they probably would have" Ginny divulges as Harry grunts in response.
"Shocker. But yeah, the Wizarding community of the former British Isles was not all the creative."
"'Former'? What happened to it?" Levy queries.
"Gone. All of Britain is gone" her double answers sadly.
"What do you mean 'gone'?"
"Britain is where those creatures invaded first."
"They're called locust" Natsu and Sam provide, Hermione waving them off.
"Whatever they're called, that's where they struck first. We were in the middle of another World War when they arrived."
"'Another' World War?"
"Yeah, World War Three had been going on for about four and half years when your locust first arrived. That was about five and a half years ago. We'd just defeated Voldemort in the Wizarding World War, Britain was getting back to normal, when suddenly the muggles… excuse me, no-majes, suddenly declared war on us. Imagine our surprise when the millions of witches and wizards around the world who had thought ourselves hidden were suddenly exposed."
"Wizarding World War?"
"Yeah, the second one actually" Harry interjected, much to Hermione's chagrine. "Voldemort's the guy who gave me this scar. I became the 'Boy-Who-Lived' cause he tried killing me as a baby back in '91. As you probably figured out, I survived, he didn't, not entirely, thus ending the first Wizarding World War."
"'Not entirely'?" Sam points out, trying to follow along the strange story.
"Long story and explanation, but the simple answer is he became a wraith, floated around for 13 years, then got himself a new body and came back, sparking the second WWW. That lasted three years before I finally killed him permanently."
Doing the math in her head, Levy's eyes widen in amazement. "So wait, you've been at war for what, 13 years now?"
"Pretty much. Wizarding World War Two, World War Three, and now this Locust War or whatever. War after war after fucking war. Goddamn never-ending nightmare is what it is."
The weight of the truth visibly hits Harry like a truck, his shoulders slumping, his first sign of open frustration since their waking up. His shoulders sagging, Susan steps up to him, rubbing his back and whispering words in his ear as he relaxes, nodding at whatever she's saying. Hugging her then kissing her softly, he thanks her quietly before turning back to the questioning girls with an emotionless look, startling the two with the abrupt change.
"We've gotten off topic. Maybe we'll get back to the history lesson later. You were discussing the 'mirror' theory. You had mentioned imperfect mirrors and had just changed your mind."
"What? Oh! Yeah, sorry. I had realized that some of the mirrors would be nearly perfect. Erza Knightwalker over there" she points to the one on the end, "is from a reverse version of Earthland called Edolas. Was basically the same as Earthland, except their magics weren't innate. As you've said, Scarlet and Knightwalker could pass as twins, because essentially they are twins, just from different worlds."
"Mirror mirror in the wall…"
"It's 'on the wall', Luna."
"Not this time, Ginevra."
"In all fairness…" a new voice speaks up, the six seated looking around for the source. "This time it is not so much a mirror as a prism"
"Well, you are our resident expert on the subject" Harry responds, completely nonchalant speaking to no one. "Why don't you come out and educate us."
"I am wondering if that is still the case" the woman's voice responds, coming into view, a silky cloak hanging off her arm. Stepping up to her and taking the cloak, Harry gives her a chaste kiss and a hug before questioning her.
"How long have you been here?"
"Since you dropped the shield. I snuck in before you got your barrier up."
Chuckling, he kisses her forehead again. "Never did like doors, did you?"
Smirking, she swats his arm before turning from him. "Of course not. Doors are for normal people." She moves in front of the bluenette, whose observant look was bouncing between the cloak and the woman, whose red hair and remarkable likeness to three others in the room gave away her identity.
"How...how did you do that?" She finally manages, her eyes now locked on the cloak.
"Invisibility cloak" Harry answers instead, putting it on and disappearing from view. A few seconds later, his voice is heard behind her, causing Levy to jump. "Pretty nifty, ain't it?" Pulling the cloak off, he steps past her again, her eyes locked on it.
"How do I make one of those?"
Laughing, the man shakes his head and stuffs the cloak into a previously unseen pouch hanging from his neck. The answer to her question, though, came from her double, who had huffed and crossed her arms. "Unfortunately, we don't. Regular invisibility cloaks are easy, but ones like that? I've been trying to duplicate it for 15 years and still haven't succeeded" she finishes with a pout.
"If anyone could, it would be you, 'Mione" he affirms, pulling on her pouted lip, then kissing her before she could retort.
Chuckling at her flushed face, he turns back to the newcomer. "So, a prism you say?"
"A void prism, to be more precise. But yes. A prism is, in not-so-simple terms, a series of mirrors." Seeing the two geniuses about to object, he holds up her hand to silence them. "Let me explain, ok?" After two curt nods, she continued on. "The generally accepted 'normal' prism is a glass, elongated triangle: each end are rectilinear triangles, the middle consisting of three parrallelograms, correct?" After both women nod, she looks around the room, receiving more nods in return.
"Each segment of the glass acts as a mirror, yes? Does it change your appearance? No, it doesn't. But if you were to shine a light through it, it comes out differently. Harry and Natsu here are the light waves. Maybe one is the original and the other a separation. Maybe they're both separations. My money is on the latter."
"If they're just light waves, where does the void prism come from?"
"A void prism is the opposite of a prism. Whereas a prism is a solid piece of glass in a geometric formation, a void prism is the opposite: hollow. A series of mirrors reflecting, or refracting, at every which angle upon another. The multiverse is like that: your fun-house mirrors, combined with normal mirrors, all forming a void prism."
"But that would negate the theory of an infinite universe!" Hermione exclaims, beating out her double by a moment.
"Does it?" the red head turns towards them, an eyebrow raised. "Say each of these walls were mirrors. How many lightwaves would be bouncing off of them?" The girls look around, pondering her question. The lightbulbs forming almost simultaneously, they exchange a look of understanding.
Nodding at their recognition, she continued on for those less inclined. "As these two have figured out, each universe is not a mirror, but a lightwave. In a simple, geometric void prism of only five sides, there are an infinite number of lightwaves bouncing around endlessly. Now add some more sides. Add one refraction there, a prismic mirror there, all in an inverted kaleidoscopic fashion, and you get infinite upon infinite lightwaves across all spectrums."
Pointedly looking at her three doppelgangers, she carries on. "Look at the four of us. In appearance only, we could pass as quadruplets. There's your reflection. Physically, though, only those two and I would pass as triplets, as Ginny is shorter than us. There's a refraction. Then you have our pasts. Ginny and Walker there have similar pasts, if her flinching was anything to go by. Scarlet and I have similar pasts, same deal. Two more reflections, two more refractions. The examples go on and on."
"So the multiverse is this void prism, then?" Susan queries, trying to make sense of it.
Her disclaimer threw nearly everyone for a loop, except the two brainiacs who were now whispering to each other in heated discussion.
"What do you mean, 'no'?" Daphne demands, speaking for the group.
"I said in THIS case it's like a void prism. A combination of mirrors creating a similar reality with much different results." Waving her hand at the weapons table, she glides the portal gun over to her. "You all saw what their reality looked like. It looks nothing like this one. And yet, some of them DO look like us. What does that say? One mirror? Or several? They resemble us, but are different, yet the same, but changed. They're from universe 137-C, right? What do you think 137-D is like? 137-B? 137-BDAG? I would almost wager my magic they're all like theirs, but with some minor changes.
"Now how about 138-C? The alphanumeric coding is key here, because each number could be the mirror, then each letter the lightwave. Or vice-versa. Maybe both at the same time. How vastly different is 137 from 138? Hell, what number are we even?"
"101,844-H" Levy yelled out before returning to her discussion.
"101,844-H" the woman repeated. "My point exactly. We are over 100,000 universal codes, plus several letters, away from them. Does that mean that every number in-between is only minutely different? No. Hell, 101,843-H might be one of your Sci-Fi films for all we know. Shit, 85,874-A could be my world, I don't know. And I don't want to know, but that's not important. What is important is that while it is also Earth, I'm one of very few who use magic. I was born a mutant, but I use witchcraft. An outcast from the humans and mutants both. Yet I look exactly like these three, who each use magic, but is also very different from my own."
"I'm starting to feel like we've gotten way off topic here" Harry announces, rubbing his head.
"You're right, we have. The full explanation can be saved for another time, but to answer you simply Susan, imagine a room of mirrors with numerous prisms in it. A beautiful light show to be sure, but one image will be simply reflected on one side, but completely distorted and changed on another, and so on and so forth infinitely. THAT is about as simple as I can describe the multiverse without understating it too much."
"Fucking shit, how do you know all that?" Sam asks, speaking for the first time during her instruction.
"My mutant power, my 'witchcraft', is the ability to warp reality" the woman answers simply, dangling the portal gun in front of her, a red floating energy connecting it to her hand. "Between that and my red hair, they called me the Scarlet Witch."
"Very original. Are you British too? You don't have an accent."
Chortling with a shake of her head, Wanda replies. "No, I'm not British. I'm from Eastern Europe. The country doesn't exist here, so where exactly is difficult to answer. As for the accent, I couldn't tell ya. Something about coming to this reality changed the way I sounded."
"That happened to us too" Natsu provided, nodding at the two on his left. "Both Erzas, Levy and I apparently were speaking Japanese when we got here, yet Sam and I'm guessing Glen were both speaking English."
"Strange. Japanese is on the endangered language list here."
"Why is that? Wasn't there an entire country speaking it?"
"Not anymore" Harry interjects, stepping forward. "The history lesson will have to wait. Nev and McKayla should be here soon."
"You know I hate it when you intentionally fuck up my name" a stern woman's voice growls out from the doorway, all occupants of the room turning and looking at her.
Shrugging off the intentional malapropism, he smirks. "Would you prefer I just call you Mike or Mikey?" he asks cheekily, the woman's scowl deepening.
"I fucking hate you, Potter."
"Nah you don't, you love me" the man waves off her accusation before shaking hands with the male next to her. "How's it going Nev, Nessie still doing alright?"
"Not bad, Harry. Yeah, she's still humming. Gotta hand it to the dwarves, their railgun designs were ingenious."
"Careful Admiral, can't be giving away our trade secrets to our visitors, now can we?"
"Thought Luna said they were allies."
"She did. But most of us aren't convinced just yet."
Scanning the room, the tall man sees a familiar bush-haired woman chatting animatedly with one of the guests. "Don't tell me: one of our visitors happened to be a fellow genius."
"Right in one, skipper. You are looking at Levy McGarden, Hermione's doppelganger."
"Doppelganger? They don't look anything alike. Like what, failed polyjuice potion?"
"Nope. To put it simply, they're from another universe, much like Wanda is. Well, three different ones, actually. I'll explain later. Anywho, Ms McGarden there and our resident Einstein are each other's universal doubles."
Pinching the bridge of her nose, the stern woman sighs deeply. "Great, because we don't have enough visitors from other universes. At least they haven't tried killing us."
"One of their few supporting actions. Granted, they were only here for about 2 minutes before we stunned them and brought them here. Their cores are currently depleted and will remain so until we decide otherwise."
"Have they tried lying to you?"
"No, they haven't. Everything they've said thus far matches what we got from the Legilimency readings before they woke up. It also matched what we got from their storage drive there, the yellow crystal there? They call it a lacrima. Contains the history of all their battles against what they call the Locust, what we've been calling the Horde. The only conflicting, well anything, was that for some reason four of them were speaking Japanese when they woke up. Yet, when I read their thoughts, they were all in English."
"Wait. You watched our lacrima and read our thoughts before we woke up? So what was this whole fucking charade for!?" the short-cropped brunette exclaims, now violently fighting against her bonds. "You knew we were here to help! Is this how you treat your friends?!"
The exchange now had everyone's attention. The bluenette's excited demeanor towards her counterpart now changed, giving her a look of mistrust and betrayal. The black-haired man, his face now one of thunder, steps forward towards the shouting one. "You are NOT our friends" he angrily declares. "You came here fully armed, uninvited, and without warning. Just because we have a common enemy does NOT make you our ally. The fact you have this ability to portal jump at will is absolutely terrifying."
Taken aback at the sudden accusation, the woman's countenance returns to their hardened state as the man continues on. "What's to stop you from abusing it, opening a portal into someone's bedroom and killing them in their sleep? Robbing them of everything? What's to stop you from robbing banks? Bombing a hospital? Your man here has built a damn Jupiter Tank. Thanks for that, by the way. We'll be putting those to use real quick."
Pulling a vial out of his pocket filled with a silvery-blue mist, he walks back to the woman who had entered. "Here's the memory of the plans for Jupiter Tanks. He's a grease monkey for land-based vehicles. Built this one from scratch. New toy for you, love" he finishes, handing the now giddy woman the vial, who holds it reverently.
"I do love toys" she mutters, pocketing the vial as the man turned his fierce gaze back on the six tied up persons.
"Back to what I was saying, he's built a damn tank in his garage. What's to stop him from rolling it through a portal and causing mayhem wherever the fuck he wants? Not to mention, both you and your allies on Seran have permanent portals set up. What's to stop either of you from invading somewhere else on a whim? Your memories already show that you've encountered plenty of places that don't have magic. And several more whose technology are still in the medieval ages. Easy pickings for people like y'all to just swoop in and take over. Wouldn't you say?"
"You've read our minds! You should know that's not something we'd do! We HELP people!"
Turning towards the bluenette, his own countenance darkens even further. "You play GOD with these people! You go wherever you want, do what the hell you want, then leave! Who are you to decide someone else's fate? What gives you the right?!"
"So helping those that need help is a crime?!" the redhead closest to Natsu screeches out.
Walking over to the woman, he glares daggers at her. "You altered their destinies. How much damage did you do, by your actions? You save one person, at the expense of a thousand. Hell, you went to one world, didn't like what you saw, had a temper tantrum and wiped out a million people."
"THEY WERE SEX SLAVES! THEIR WOMEN WERE WHORES, AND HAD BEEN FOR CENTURIES!"
"And that gave you the right to interfere? That gave you the right to wipe out much of the male population of a whole country?"
Now slackjawed, the women had gone mute in astonishment at what the man before them was implying. Taking up the conversation, the pinkette angrily retorts.
"So what, they should have let themselves be whores for the rest of their lives? What kind of man are you? Is that how you treat your women here?"
Scoffing, the raven-head shakes his head. "First off, they're not MY women. Just because they're married, dating or sleeping with me does NOT give me any claim to them. Get THAT through your thick skull" he adds, flicking the man's forehead. "Second off, I'm a man who thinks things through. Am I against the liberation of the women of whatever country that was? No. What I'm against is that by their DIRECT actions, they have now opened up an ENTIRE country to invasion. What's to stop their neighboring countries from moving against them? One like, say, Bosco?"
The name strikes home with those from Earthland, the actual implications sinking in. "Yes, I see you catch my meaning now. A country that is renowned in your home world to advocate slave trafficking. A country much, MUCH larger if y'alls geography is correct. One that could EASILY move in with their enormous military and crush a now army-less country of untrained women who had been slaves for most of their lives.
"Will they fight back? I would hope so. The five or six of you gave them a reason to fight, the will to fight. But just because they are willing to fight for their freedom, just because they have the desire to remain free, does not mean they will succeed in doing so. How much worse of a fate did you just condemn the female population to? You morons, by your thoughtless actions, just freed the sheep from the dogs, only to turn them over to the lions of the world."
"They're not sheep anymore!" Levy admonishes, breaking the silence. "They're being educated, they're being trained, we didn't just let a bunch of children take over a country!"
"You are missing the point! Centuries of doctrine does NOT disappear overnight! It will take YEARS for them to establish a respectable lifestyle. And YOU are letting others clean up YOUR messes! It doesn't matter how willing they are, YOU are responsible, yet YOU are doing NOTHING!"
Now pacing before the members of the group, who each are deep in thought, albeit still sending the man occasional glares, his voice lowers to a less aggressive, but not less accusatory tone as he runs his fingers through his already messy hair. "We are not judging your intentions. We know from your memories that you chose to help the side that you perceived as to be the ones in the right. But that's the problem: perception. You don't know the whole story. Thus far, I would wager you have made the correct decisions and choices regarding which side was the correct one to help.
"But one of these days, if you keep charging in like you are, you're going to choose wrong. Zombies vs Non-Zombies, yeah, that's a safe bet. Creatures vs humans, though? Not so safe. We have those here, and they suck." Ignoring the quick questioning glances turned his way, he barrelled on. "But one day, you're going to come up on a fight between people or peoples, and start helping the side that is supposedly being oppressed, and find out they were the ones in the wrong.
"Here's a question for you: you come upon a world. In it, there are two factions: Side A and B, let's not put names to them just yet. Side B is a small group in comparison to A. B is outnumber a thousand to one. The two sides are fighting against each other, A vs B. B is elusive though, and numbers-wise, kills a hundred members of A for every one of B. However, B doesn't have the numbers to keep up the fight, and is losing. Which side do you choose? Remember, you are entering this fight without ANY foreknowledge."
"I...I don't know" the bluenette hesitantly answers.
"Yes you do. Your first instincts, collectively, are to help side B because they are outnumbered. You want to help the oppressed. Here's some more information. You've made yourselves known and a member of one group contacts you. Now, you don't know which side they're on, A or B. You talk with them, discuss things, get to know each other and make friends. Great! Your curiosity and concerns lead you to discussing the conflict. The person or people you're with tell you about the issue between them and their enemy. They explain how the two sides lived peacefully together until the other side started attacking them.
"You're told that the enemy has been ruthlessly killing their people because they're evil. That they are spawn of the devil who live to cause mayhem. You are shown some of the results of that: buildings blown apart in devastating ways, bodies ripped to shreds, etc. The horror goes on. On the flip side, you're shown families and friends of your new friend, people living hard lives, all blamed on their enemy. And while this is going on, the area you're in is attacked. What do you do?"
"We defend them, of course" Erza Scarlet immediately answered, almost regretting it seeing the dark looks on the people standing in the room. Then she frowns at the man's derogatory laugh.
"Congratulations, you've just declared war on the Wizarding People of Earth."
"WHAT!?" All six had various levels of surprise, no one reacting to what would've been a comical sight had it not been such a serious conversation.
"Yep. While we never had an exact total, the magical population of Earth might, and I emphasize MIGHT, have made it to 10 million across the globe as of 2008. Whereas the no-majes surpassed seven billion. You just heard the beginnings of how World War Three started. We, as a people, were accused of being the spawn of the devil. My own aunt and uncle were amongst the forefront of that effort in Britain. We were accused of everything that had gone wrong in the previous century. Every catastrophe, every accident, every unknown death, we were blamed for. So, as a people, we were declared enemies of the state worldwide, and hunted down with extreme prejudice. Now, a decade later, I would be surprised if there are half a million of us left."
Not knowing what to say, the six remained silent, thinking over everything the man before them had just accused them of.
Looking each of them over, seeing no fight left in any of them, Harry turns and looks at the two newcomers. After a silent discussion, both nod in his direction. He returns the nod, then waves his hand in a wide arc. All the bonds of the six slacken and untie, hanging off their chairs.
"Since you're obviously enemies of the Locust, as you call them, we can all safely say we're on the same side. But know this, none of us trust you. And we would be thoroughly surprised if any of you trust us. So, in our agreed sense of mutual distrust, allow me to be the first to say, welcome to Earth."
Despite everything, the six find themselves snorting at the sudden greeting, the succeeding light ripples of laughter breaking the gloomy atmosphere.
"Yeah. Thanks. So far it's been peachy" Natsu drawls, slowly standing up, rubbing his wrists.
"I thought you said it was salmon?" his counterpart jokes, receiving another snort.
"Right, so now that you know who we are, who are all of you?" Sam asks, standing next to her man.
"I do suppose that introductions are in order. Company, atten...TION!"
When no one but the six in the back moved, some even rolling their eyes, Harry doubles over in laughter. "Eh, worth a shot. Anyways, yes, introductions. Over here we have Hermione Weasley nee Granger, head of our intelligence department, The Ravens."
The woman in question casually waves, turning a hopeful smile towards the bluenette, who returns it in kind.
"This is Luna Lovegood, call sign Oracle. She has some seer abilities, and an affinity for lost magics. She's the one who warned us of your arrival."
The blonde curtsies, her ever present smile not once faltering.
"This here is Susan Bones. She's a member of logistics, as well as being a Healer. Next to her is Su Li, one of our Ghost operatives."
While the black-haired woman merely nodded, the busty red head also gave a small wave.
"This trouble maker here is Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch as you already know. She pretty much does whatever she wants, but she mostly helps Luna." She simply smirks at the comment, not responding.
"These two hellions are Lady Ginevra Potter, and Lady Daphne Black. My wives. They both serve under me in Dragon Company." Without a reaction, the two simply stand there as their husband chuckles at their stubborness. "Be warned, both are hot heads. You'd be hard pressed to find someone faster on the draw than Gin, or with a twitchier trigger finger than Daph." Turning and glaring at their husband, who answers each with a kiss to the forehead before moving on.
"This here is Admiral Lord Neville Longbottom. He is the fleet commander, and captain of the Doctrine-class battleship HMS Loch Ness." Upon the end of his title, he tilts his head in a light bow.
"This temperamental woman here is General Mikalai Kowalski. She's the sole leader here who isn't a mage, but no less deadly for it. She's the head of all our ground forces." Also tilting her head in a small bow, her lips purse as she fights back a retort to the man's introduction.
"And I am Lord Harry James Potter-Black, The Dragon General of Dragon Company, our Air Force and special forces. Together, our rag-tag groups form The Machine. As in The Machine of War. Corny, I know. You can thank my old friend Ron for that one. Anyways, the three of us, 'Mione and Luna are The Cogs."
The appellation familiar to the six, Sam voices the thought they all had. "Cogs...as in gears?"
"Yep. We five are The Cogs. The various officers under us three are called Gears, and those like the six behind us" he jabs a thumb over his shoulder, "and the six behind you" he points, the six turning as six more armored bodies deactivate their disillusionments, "are the teeth. Together we form The Machine.
"Where you are is one of our HQs. We have several around Europe, which is our theater."
"What about the rest of the world?" Levy asks.
"Every region has their own battle groups, except the American Imperium. So far they're the only ones who haven't been attacked by these Locust, likely because of the oceans. That's not to say they aren't involved, as Campbell there is from Texas, as you heard. They occasionally send aid to various regions, but mostly are keeping to themselves and taking in refugees. No one really blames them for not getting involved, cause these locust could pop up anywhere. It's just hilarious, considering their history."
"You know that corpsers can tunnel, right? Being underground isn't exactly a safe location" Sam admonishes, looking around.
"What makes you think you're underground? We're currently in the center of a mountain. Crawlers, your corpsers, can't dig through the solid rock very well. And when they try, we detect it on seismographs, and eliminate them. Despite their size, they're actually pretty easy to kill. Thankfully, they're not as resistant as some of their companions."
"'Easy to kill'?" Erza questions incredulously.
"Yeah….why? They're just giant spiders. That's nothing new, granted they're bigger than acromantulas, but they die just the same way. Bit of fire and a few well-placed anti-spider spells and poof, no more crawler. Crazy easy if we can hit them in the eyes. Or if you are crazy enough like Gin and Daph here to get on one and ride it like an eight-legged bronco."
"Hey! You got on that walker first, remember! Don't deny it!"
"You know them as Brumaks, I believe" Hermione interprets for her redheaded friend.
Erza, Natsu and Sam all laugh at that, remembering their own times riding a brumak. "Pretty crazy, huh? Was definitely a lot of fun!"
"Yeah, except my dumb ass forgot to bring someone with me to fire, so I just wandered around alone on the thing and trampled everything I could. Next time, though. Next time…" he trailed off with a wistful look on his face.
"There better not BE a next time! You couldn't drive that thing for shit!" Daphne turns on him.
"Hey! That was my first time! Everyone's first time behind the wheel is a bit rough."
"You were on there for four hours! That's more than enough time to learn!"
"Eh, well, I prefer flying anyways. Give me a bird or jet any day and I can do the waltz mid-air. Put me on the ground and I can't even park a car."
"Natsu's the opposite" Levy jumps in. "He can drive better than anyone we know, but can't fly for shit."
"Hey! I'm not THAT bad!"
"The last time you tried flying a helicopter you nearly crashed into the control tower" Sam admonishes stone-faced.
"It was a windy day!"
"You hadn't even taken off yet!"
The last remark broke another round of laughter at the salmon-haired man's expense, who merely frowned and crossed his arms, muttering uncharacteristically about backstabbing girlfriends.
"It's alright, you're not alone. The first, last and only time I drove a tank, I drove it over three other tanks. Needless to say, I'm not allowed near tanks anymore."
Fighting back a smirk, the Natsu screws his face up before failing, giving in to the deep chuckle. "Yeah, that's pretty bad."
"What did you mean about the 'Creatures vs Humans' not being a safe bet?" Knightwalker suddenly asks, the segue catching everyone off-guard.
"What do you determine is a creature? Anything non-human, right?" Tentative nods answer him. "Then by that definition, your boyfriend here is a creature. And I'm not referring to his prowess in the sack, either."
"What do you mean?" Erza S asks, ignoring the last comment.
Pulling out his wand, he turns towards an empty space and utters Expecto Patronum. A solid, blue and white wolf the size of a lion steps forward, the six gathered becoming less and less surprised by the different things he can do. "Go find Ella and ask her to come down to Room 5. Then go to Hannah and ask her to prepare us a few extra party platters." The wolf bowed its head once then took off through the wall.
Holstering his wand, he turned back towards the woman who'd asked him the question. "I mean that he isn't completely human. That makes him a creature. Same as the other two like him."
"What are they, Harry? Are they like Gabby?" Susan asks, her curiosity getting the better of her.
"No. Not yet. He hasn't reached that level of control. I don't think any of them have. But he's close."
"That's informative" Daphne drawls, cocking her hip out, eyebrow raised expectantly.
"He's actually more like me, than Ella. As in what he could turn into."
A couple astonished gasps filled the silence, from both sides. "Wait, you mean he could turn into a…"
Cutting her off, the raven-haired man shakes his head. "I don't think so. I doubt it. But what he can do is reach a level that would give him that sort of power, though. His body would resemble one, but not completely change into one. No, he's not an Animagus, but he's not NOT one, if that makes any sense whatsoever."
"About as much sense as you usually do, Harry" Ginny cheekily answers, a "Hey!" making her laugh, as well as several others in the room.
"My point being that your man Natsu here isn't completely human. That's where the argument of 'creature vs humans' gets dicey. Here, we have, well had, a number of creatures that are compatible to mate with humans, thus creating half-blood hybrids. How many creatures have you fought that were once human? Or, here's one for your consciences, how many were still human that you killed thinking a mindless monster?"
Without waiting for an answer, he turned and looked his counterpart in the eyes. "So, 10 women huh? Never gets boring, I wager."
"Yeah, rarely a dull day with them around."
"And a rulebook, huh? Clever."
"What rulebook?" Gin asks, stepping up to them.
"We created a list of rules for when we visit other worlds, and some of the women want to sleep with him" Levy answers nonchalantly.
"You pimp out your boyfriend? Damn, why didn't we think of that?"
"You DID think of that" Harry corrects, turning towards her. "You sold me to those dwarven blacksmiths for a week, in exchange for their help creating the railguns."
"I don't remember hearing you complain" Daphne smirks. "Besides, you were lucky they were all women and we made sure it stayed that way. So really you should be thanking us."
"THAT'S how we got those so quickly?" Neville asks from where he'd been standing. "They told us that you had assisted in the negotiations in getting them sooner."
"Pfft, the 'negotiations' lasted about 5 minutes" Hermione interjected. "One of them wasn't paying attention and knocked Harry into one of the open forges. While he didn't get hurt, his clothes were burnt off as a result. They liked what they saw and demanded his hands-on attention in exchange for priority work. We agreed and that was that."
Now openly laughing, the two red heads were leaning on each other for support, Sam losing feeling in her lips fighting her own reaction. Glen gave up and had turned around, his back shaking hard.
Levy, much to Hermione's amusement, looked like she was planning to duplicate the scenario somehow, before blushing upon realizing she was being watched.
"Anyways" Natsu began as the laughter died down. "The girls here have a list of rules that they created together for when such scenarios happen. To avoid my being the cause of relationships ending, and to avoid accidental impregnation."
"That's a good idea. We'll have to make one of those ourselves" Luna voices. "I still think we should make t-shirts, as well."
"For the last time, Luna, we are NOT wearing shirts that say 'Potter's Pet' on them" Daphne argues, almost snarling at the woman.
"You too, huh?" Sam asks her, getting the blonde's attention.
"Yes! Ever since she joined our coven she's been trying to get us to wear some shit like that."
"Reminds me of Mira" the brunette snarks. "I don't remember the last time she DIDN'T wear one of those shirts."
"What's hers say?" the airy blonde queries.
"'Property of Natsu Dragneel'" Erza K spits out, the taste sour.
"Hmm. 'Property of Harry Potter'. Effective, but not as catchy as 'Potter's Pet', don't you think?"
"I agree!" another new voice called out from the doorway, all turning to see a silvery-blonde haired girl entering. "That's why I went and made these. Here's yours, Luna." She holds out a black t-shirt, with jagged, green wording that said 'Potter's Pet' on it. Looking closer, the ends of the capital letters, and the entirety of the 't's look like lightning bolts. The girl in question was already wearing hers, holding out the second to the now bouncing blonde.
"Oooh! Thank you Gabby! I like it!" Without hesitation, she rips her shirt off, showing her fair skin and lacy, green bra holding her surprisingly ample bosom. Pulling the new shirt one, she tugs it down, then runs her fingers lightly over the lettering.
Giggling, she kisses the new girl full on the mouth, then bounces to the man of her affections. "Now I'm irrevocably yours, Master."
The amusement evident on his face, he kisses her softly before replying. "I'm glad you're happy, Moonchild." Almost purring at the nickname, she kissed him again before stepping back so the smaller girl can greet him.
"Hey Harry" she gave him a chaste kiss and a hug. "What'd you need?"
"Would you be so kind and show them your Veela form, please? I'm making a point."
A little apprehensive, she looks around at the girls hoping for an explanation. "What point would that be?"
"I'm explaining how the argument of 'creatures vs humans' is a bit complex."
Her look darkening, she looks at Daphne and Ginny. "Why don't you have them two show them? Or yourself even?"
"I was already going to have Daphne show them hers. But first they need to see yours for a better comparison."
"You know I hate showing it to anyone."
"I know. That's why I'm asking you, not telling. If you don't want to, I understand. I won't make you."
Thinking it over, she turns and looks over the six. Finally nodding at him, she turns and concentrates. To Natsu and co's mild surprise, feathers start sprouting from the woman's arms, legs, practically everywhere. Her hands and feet morph into talons, her face also changing, becoming more pointed. And if all of this wasn't enough, fireballs slowly formed in her hands.
Standing there for a minute while everyone had a good look, she slowly changes back, before returning to her normal self, Harry catching her as she stumbles a bit after her feet change back.
Recovering first, Erza S is the first to voice her opinions. "That's not much different than Lisanna's take-over. She can turn into a bird as well."
"Harpy, actually. And it's very different, Miss Scarlet" Harry corrected. "See, unlike your friends who can acquire new animals or creatures to change into, Ella here was born this way. She has been able to do that since birth. It's not an acquired skill.
"What we have that is closer to your Take-over is Animagus transformations. Daph, show them." The woman in question didn't hesitate. As she crouched down, her body started growing hair everywhere. To be more precise, the onlookers mentally corrected themselves, it wasn't hair, but fur.
And even fur wasn't technically correct either, they soon learned. What they mistook for hair and fur were actually thorn-like spikes covering her body. Each of these spikes were a brilliant white against the nearly solid black body, creating an almost reverse-dalmatian appearance, except each spot was deadly.
What they quickly mistook as a panther, or maybe a lioness, was unlike any feline they'd ever seen. This one had the facial similarities, but also had two, white horns where her eyebrows once were. Her canines much like a sabertooth's, and her pitch-black skin was almost reptilian. Each leg had thorns running down to their knees, before ending with two to three-inch claws.
Her tail took on the appearance of a thick nine-tail, to those who had ever used one. With the appearance of a long, thick rope, it ended with at least 20 individual elongated thorns, all with the same base.
Then, if the visual wasn't terrifying enough, what would be her mane blew up like a balloon, and equally deflated a few moments later.
"What you see before you is one of the deadliest creatures to ever have walked this planet. It's called a Nundu." He caressed her head, petting the tops and sides. To the surprise of all, the female purred, reinforcing the feline characteristics. "She is amongst the apex of predators. You see, all the mages you see here can change into a certain animal or creature, except Ella. It conflicts with her Veela heritage. The difference is that we can only change into one."
"How do you choose which one to turn into?" Levy queries, not taking her eyes off the magnificent creature before her.
"You don't. It chooses you. That's where it's different. From what I gathered of your friends' Take-over magics is they pick their changes. They become their animals, or creatures, or whatever. In our case, we don't become them. The creatures become us, they take US over."
"So she's no longer human, just a creature? How does she change back?" Knightwalker asks of him, receiving a dangerous look from the Nundu that unconsciously had her checking for her missing weapons.
Shaking his head again, Harry pinched his nose with his eyes closed, stalling a moment before answering. "No no, that's what I'm trying to explain. This is still Daphne. We can each address her as such and she can respond, as an animal, though. You ever have a pet dog? Ever teach it commands? Think of it like that, except she's not a pet and never needs the training. She is a human in an animal's body, or an animal with a human controlling her. It's rather difficult to explain, but the creature and the human become one."
"That is so cool" Sam utters out, receiving what she believed to be a smile from the Nundu, grotesque as it was, before transforming back into her normal body.
"So you see how picking a side between creatures and humans isn't as simple as black and white? I wonder how many places you've been to have had people there able to do the same thing? In mythology there were various races able to do it at will, called skinchangers, or skinwalkers. Shapeshifters, is another name. You've just seen two different forms of transformation. Who's to say the next creature you fight wasn't a human just defending their family in the only way they have the ability to?
"There is a saying that Scarlet here taught me. She brought it from her home universe. It's a bit cheesy, but also true. 'With great power comes great responsibility.' This…" he waves his hand at the portal gun, levitating it from its table for all to see. "This is great power. Most of the ones you've helped would likely say you HAVE used it responsibly. You helped them correct the wrongs. You went in and defended those who needed defending. But what you haven't done is considered the, forgive the pun, fallout of such actions. There are some things you've prevented that very, VERY much needed to be stopped. We're not going to condemn you for saving people from being killed, abused or enslaved, that would be hypocritical of us. What we ARE saying is that you each need to take responsibility for those you've saved.
"Returning to the previous argument about the universe of enslaved women, you've left tens to hundres of thousands of defenseless, uneducated women to the runnings of a whole country. Everything that happens to them, both the good...and certainly the bad… from here on out, is on your heads. Maybe they'll prove us all wrong and become the Amazons of legend. Or maybe they'll be sheep before the wolfpacks without their dogs to protect them.
"We can't stop you from your journeys and interferences." He thinks that over for a moment before correcting himself. "Okay, that's a lie, we COULD stop you, but we won't. It's not our place to do so."
"How would you stop us, anyways? Not that we believe you could, but how would you?" Sam asks for her crowd.
Smirking, it was actually Ginny who answered. "We'd wipe your memories, of course."
Frowning at her, albeit mildly worried, the brunette presses on. "You can do that?"
Scoffing, the red head answers a bit contemptuously. "Of course we can. We can read your minds. We can pull memories out of your heads for our own purposes. It's really not that big of a leap to presume we could delete them altogether."
"So what, you'd just delete every memory we have an turn us into vegetables?"
"Well… we could, sure. But then WE would be responsible for YOU. No no no, it's much simpler than that" Daphne interjects while Harry chuckles nearby.
"There are a few different ways, but the simplest for five of you would be to delete the memory of Natsu here."
"How is that the simplest way?" Levy asks.
"Why did you build the IVD in the first place?"
"To save him from Seran…" she slowly answers, trying to figure out his point.
"Exactly." It was Hermione that spoke this time, stepping forward. "The IVD would not exist if what happened to Natsu didn't occur. Therefore, everything that has happened since then involving the IVD is directly tied to Natsu. Not just all the times you've gone with him, or seen him go, EVERY usage of the IVD is directly tied to its existence in the first place, which is directly tied to Natsu. These two, Glen and Sam, a number of their memories happened before their knowledge of the IVD. But even then, all of their memories of using it also go back to the fact that it existed because of Natsu."
"Knightwalker here" Harry picked up the story, "is with you because of the IVD. Hilarious fight, by the way Natsu. The whole sniffing her, that was inspired. I gotta try that sometime." Said mage snorted at that with smile, while the woman rolled her eyes at the memory. "Anyways, y'all went and got her because of another universe already having her, etc etc. You see where we're going with this? The five of you, all of your adventures involving the IVD, every piece of knowledge you've obtained through use of the IVD, or tied to IVD in any way. ALL of it would be gone were we to erase the memory of Natsu Dragneel from your minds."
"And Natsu himself?" Erza S asked, fearing the answer.
"Easy. We kill him. Simple as that." With the exception of Natsu, the other five flinched at the casual admission. As if synchronised, all five look over at the pinkette, as if checking to be sure he was still there and alive.
"And what about our guildmates back home? They'd still remember him. So would the other worlds we've met." Erza S presses, inching closer to her boyfriend.
"We have your portal gun. We have the designs from your memories, and I would bet my life Hermione's already thought of an improvement to it. It would be an easy thing for us to simply pop in, wipe your guild's memories, and pop out. Your friends in other universes you have frequent contact with, uh… what number was that 'Mione?"
"200-AB, according to logs" Daphne answered instead, Hermione nodding, before adding, "551-G seems to be a popular one as well."
"200-AB, 551-G. Popular places to go. Then home is 137-C…" the raven haired man repeats, before his eyes light up. "Holy shit! It's a DHD!"
Seeing mostly blank faces and eyerolls, with the exception of Levy, whose eyes lit up as well at the proclamation, Harry gave a brief explanation. "In all 'Stargate' shows, the way the stargates themselves are used is by what the protagonists call the Dial Home Device, or DHD. That's what McGarden built, here, is a portable DHD! HA HA that's awesome. Totally keeping that."
His laughter was short-lived, though, before he turned back to his lecturees, his countenance yet another 180 as he stares them all down once again. "As I was saying before getting side-tracked: 200-AB and 551-G. Two more universes, pop in, wipe their minds of this Natsu Dragneel, and pop out. Memory wipes don't take all that long. A simple flash bomb laced with a sleep and paralysis spells, knocks them all out. In and out in less than 20 minutes, give or take the number of members needing to be wiped."
"And what about Seran? Too many people would remember him there."
"We wouldn't have to wipe theirs. They don't go traipsing through multiple universes. Telling them that Dragneel died fighting Locust is very believable, and that it would be respectful to not mention his name to anyone from your universe. A few viral compulsion charms during the conversation, and Natsu Dragneel would never be spoken of again from 137-C. Of course, losing their best mage to the known evil would deflate most guilds, so your reluctance to traipse the unknown would be completely understandable to everyone else."
The gravity of their threats notwithstanding, a certain genius couldn't help but ask questions. "'Viral compulsion charms'?" Levy threw out before she realized it..
"Yep. A spell in biological form that is airborne. One of the nastiest creations of the past 10 years. The city of Athens is a ghost town because of it. 10 million people infected, compelled to kill everyone and anything. And of course, each other was their easiest prey."
'10 million people because of one spell' was the shared thought. 'Unbelievable.'
"I think this particular conversation has gone on long enough, wouldn't you all agree?" The stern-faced woman from the doorway interrupts, bringing all out of their thoughts. Not waiting for an answer, she turned towards a squeaking sound coming up behind her. "Good thing to, because lunch has arrived" Mikalai succinctly announced, stepping to the side as three people step in pushing carts loaded with food, one smiling brightly at Neville as she does. The two men with her unload the trays of food before taking the carts, one dragging the third behind him as they leave.
The mood of the room changing almost instantly for most, Harry waved his hand towards the newest blonde. "For those of you who don't know, this is Lady Hannah Longbottom, Healer and one of the chefs."
The woman waved with her free hand, the other wrapped around her husband.
Placing a hand on the shoulder of the shorter woman wearing the 'Potter's Pet' shirt, he squeezed it affectionately before introducing her. "And this little firecracker is Gabrielle Delacour."
"Wow, she looks a lot like Wendy" Erza Knightwalker comments, coming out of the subdued environment surround her and her friends and actually looking over the short girl.
Sam, nodding in agreement, also comments. "Yeah she does. Turn her hair blue and they'd be twins. Same size, too. How old are you?"
Turning with a questioning and suspicious look, she glances at Harry, who nods once, before answering. "I don't see why that's any of your business, but I'm 22."
"You're pretty small for 22."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Ginny demands, stepping next to the girl, who was the same height. Shortly after, Su Li steps to her other side, only a fraction taller.
"I'm 28, she's 26. If that age makes us small, then what are you, 50?" Su Li snarls at the taller brunette, her two partners doing the same at the two taller red heads.
Synchronizing their movements, both Harry and Natsu pinch their noses at the confrontation, both Levy and Hermione face-palm, Daphne and Wanda exchange looks before turning away in laughter, Glen and Neville doing the same.
"Ella, Gin, Li-Li, behave yourselves. The big, bad taller visitors don't know any better."
As one, the three turn slowly, their ire completely focused on the man behind them, who met their anger with a highly bemused face.
"As much as I'd be happy to take you three on, let's save it for somewhere more private."
"Awww but I was hoping to see all of you get naked!" Luna pouts from behind him, three daggers meeting her unflinching smile.
Stepping over the to table of food and picking up a sandwich, Harry turns towards the rest. "Dig in" he adds, taking a bite before moving to the drinks.
Eyeing the food quizzically, the six visitors watch as the others move in first and take their shares.
Seeing that a little of everything had been taken, Natsu steps forward and tentatively grabs one of the sandwiches. Sneaking a glance over to Harry, who merely nods at him before taking another bite, he takes his own.
The others watching him closely for any reaction, he turns and nods at them, taking another bite before moving out of the way.
While everyone else is mingling, Natsu moves over to his double, who is leaning against the wall, watching the proceedings.
"If we wanted to poison you, there are much cleverer ways to do so than food" Harry began slowly, not looking at his double, still eyeing the groupings. "Or your drinks, for that matter" he adds, noticing Natsu eyeing his drink from the corner of his eye.
"Yes, I imagine so" Natsu responds slowly, taking a swig. "With the various magics you've already used, I would not be surprised there are some here that would assist with that."
"You would be correct with that notion" the green-eyed man replies with a glance before returning his eyes forward. "But even without magic, there are other ways. For example: look at how many of you have licked your fingers. Smacked your lips. It would have been simple to have put a few droplets on them while you were asleep, ones that were water-activated.
"We could have done it intravenously, or could've just shoved it down your throat, both time-delayed. Maybe on your clothes. The possibilities are numerous. And those are just what I can think of off the top of my head. Gin and Daph there are experts at interrogations. 'Mione's a genius, Luna is one of the most unpredictable people you'll ever meet. They can and do come up with ideas that I likely never would."
"Yeah, I got the sense you'd done this a few times. First rule of interrogations: keep your victims off-guard. Second rule: control the pace."
"Slightly different wording, but yes. Learned it from my childhood enemy, Voldemort. And his right-hand Bellatrix."
"'Voldemort'? That's a stupid name."
"It really is. In French it translates literally to 'flight from death'. So...basically, a coward. Which he was. Lord Coward. While he mostly was repetitive, when he got angry, which was often, one didn't know what he was going to do. Bellatrix, however, was always like that. She took 'crazy' to a new level. The only time she succeeded in capturing me she tried seducing me. When I turned her down she took it out on 'Mione there. Which was strange because 'Mione and I weren't even together, then, and hadn't ever planned to be. She was with my best friend Ron."
"Ron. They got married shortly after WW3 started, just in case y'know? Well, they were married for about six years when he and their daughter were killed. Long story short, couple of our allies turned on us, one jealous of Hermione, one jealous of Ron. One wanted him out of the way, the other decided if she couldn't have him no one could. They used a couple of the guns we'd gotten from dead drones. Tried making it look like an infiltration."
"Drones don't infiltrate, though."
"Yeah, we know. Even in school no one ever gave Brown or McLaggen credit for brains. But they were smart enough to almost get away with it."
"How'd you catch them."
"Ron. He and Hermione, well mostly Hermione but it was his idea, had developed a spell so they could secretly communicate with each other. Mostly they did it for cutesy stuff, love notes and the like, y'know? But before dying he got one off naming them. It's undetectable unless specifically looking for it, and Hermione was."
"What'd she do."
"Sparing the details, it involved an apple peeler, 10 types of salt, and lots of regeneration potions."
"That's a lot of salt" Cringing a little, Natsu even rubbed his arms at the imagined pain. "How long did it last?"
"Three weeks. Her favorite was the Himalayan Green. Unlike its non-magical counterpart, Himalayan Pink, which is argued to be the purest, the magical form is volatile. A spoonful can do as much explosive damage as a brick of C-4 if it comes into contact with water." Natsu whistled at that, before remembering it was being used on open skin, and shuddered, rubbing his arms, imagining his blood exploding. Nodding the agreement to his reactions, Harry continued on. "Somehow, she kept them alive for almost 3 weeks before running out of ideas."
The shock, a mix of both impressed and revolted, evident on his face, neither said a word as they watched their respective girls chatting with each other, Glen slowly making his way through, occasionally throwing his two knuts in various conversations.
Thinking over the conversation he'd just had, Natsu began wondering about the former lover of Levy's double. "This Ron guy, what was he like?"
"Why do you want to know?" the man looked at him questioningly.
"Levy had a couple friends, Jet and Droy, that were head over heels for her. They both died a while back as well. Wondering if he was the same way."
"Oh, embarrassingly so. Depending on who you ask, he had it for her since our first year of school. I'm not sure about that, but I am sure at least since Christmas of our 4th year. They used to argue relentlessly all the time. About anything and everything. But there was a dance that year, and she was asked before he worked up the courage to. Even all the times he'd gotten jealous of me I'd never seen him that mad before. And then when he finally found out who the date was, it was even worse."
"Who was the guy?"
"A visitor from another school. We were hosting a competition, two other schools were there. She got asked by the leader of one school, and of course agreed cause Ron, nor I for that matter, thought to do so. Nothing really came of it."
"What was Ron like?"
"Tall, skinny redhead. Gin's immediately elder brother, actually. Same color of hair. Ate more than all of us here combined though. Guy was a black hole. Ate when he was bored, at when he was sad, ate if it was just there. And of course, never missed a meal if he could help it. Never gained an ounce, though. Must've been all that running he used to do."
Thinking on how he sounded like both Jet AND Droy, Natsu asked about the last part. "Ran a lot, huh?"
"Oh yeah. Not for fun, mind you. Usually from 'Mione, or Gin, cause he did or said something stupid. Or pretty much most of the women here for one reason or another, if I'm being completely honest."
"Not one for brains, eh?"
"Not on your life. But strategy?" Shaking his head, Harry smiled at various memories before completing. "He had no rival in strategy. Anywhere. He was the world's youngest Chess Grandmaster at age 10, before I met him. He didn't play internationally much during school, due to time, but he never lost his edge. During the wars, both world wars and the beginning of this one, he was our Grandmaster. I may be the de facto leader of this band of misfits, but he was our Operator. He was the only person I ever trusted enough to use me as a pawn, because I knew he would never do so recklessly."
"That's a lot of faith in one person."
"He earned it. School was rough, I won't lie. He had major jealousy and anger issues, and at times I didn't think I could trust him enough to tie my shoes. But towards the end of the Wizarding War, he finally snapped out of it. And from there all he did was go up. He may not know everything about most things, but give him a mission, and he could throw together a plan completely MacGyver style and it almost always worked."
"Another TV show. Give him a rubber band, a toothpick and a battery and he'd build you a bomb. Super corny, but you get the gist."
His bark of laughter drawing some attention, he wiped his eyes at the idea. "Definitely sounds like an interesting person. Besides the strategy part, seems a lot like Jet and Droy were."
"Either of them ever succeed in getting the girl?"
"'Fraid not. I think she liked them both, but was afraid to pick either of them for fear of hurting the other. So she picked neither. They were good guys, definitely entertaining. They died to the Locust when they invaded our world."
"Sorry to hear that. How many have you lost?"
"From Fairy Tail? I think seven. Jet, Droy, Laki, Bickslow, Nab, Vejeeter and Alzack."
"And your world?"
"A few hundred thousand. Most of which in one invasion. I ended up calling down and Etherion strike to destroy practically an entire city."
"Yeah, I saw that memory. Etherion, eh? And Seran has the Hammer of Dawn? Pretty powerful weapons there."
"If you want the schematics of them, you're out of luck, I don't know them."
Chuckling humorlessly, Harry waves him off. "No no, it's just mildly amusing, the names. 'Etherion' is the last name of the Dwarven Forgemaster. She was responsible for the designs of our railguns, and headed the team that built them."
"And 'Hammer of Dawn'?"
"That was the project code-name for the guns. Well, actually it was 'Dawnhammer' but, close enough."
"Hah. Yeah, that's pretty crazy. Using them as defensive weapons, or what?"
"Some, yeah. We've got about a dozen around the complex here. They were designed and intended for our newest battleships, actually."
"You mentioned Longbottom there was captain of a ship, yeah?"
"Yeah. HMS Loch Ness. Doctrine-class, first of its kind."
"You didn't have battleships before?"
"Oh we did. WWI and WWII were both fought with battleships, but they were decommissioned world-wide back in the '60s. Became obsolute as aircraft carriers took over, and jets became faster and more deadly."
"Then what's so great about this one?"
"It's a dreadnaught, is what. The largest battleships known to exist was a Jap boat called Musashi and her sister Yamato. 263 meters long, 72k tons fully loaded. I'm lax on the details, but it had nine guns that could fire upwards of 30miles.
"Nessie, though, is twice the size, and the railguns can hit with 0.1% margin of error, from 10x that far."
If it had been possible, Natsu's eyebrows would've flown through the roof at that claim.
"You're shitting me, right?"
"Nope. Not one bit. Here, I'll even show you." He steps towards the door, stopping only realizing Natsu wasn't following.
"You're just gonna show me your biggest ship, just like that?"
"Why not? It's not as if I'm showing you the blueprints. And believe me, without them, duplicating anything but it's exterior is impossible. The Russians already tried, and failed. Epically."
Looking around the room, he finds his man and calls him out. "Hey Nev, I'm showing the new guy your baby. Wanna come with?"
"Yeah, I better. Don't want you breaking anything."
Not bothering to respond except with an eyeroll, the three step into the corridor, and disappear down the darkened hallway.
Half an hour Later:
Port of Constanta, Eastern Romania, Black Sea.
17:45 Hours, July 16. EET
With a crack, three figures appear out of nowhere into a small room, one stumbling a moment before getting his feet.
"Okay, I don't like that very much" the man with pink hair, now upright, admits while holding his stomach. "That's as bad as my motion sickness used to be."
"You used to have motion sickness? That would suck" the raven-haired man adds.
"Yeah, had to do with my type of magic. Vehicles and I didn't get along very well."
"What changed?" the third man, who had his brown hair in a bowl cut, Natsu realizes, asks of the pinkette taking deep breaths.
"The IVD. Something about travelling through it removed my motion sickness."
"Removes motion sickness, changes people's language, gave your friends magic, I wonder what else travelling the multiverse can do" Harry ponders, the three exiting the room, stepping out into a large parlor, where dozens of people are seen going about their business.
"ADMIRAL ON DECK!" one calls out, all coming to attention at the sight of Neville.
"As you were" the man placates, not stopping his trek towards the doors as the room returns to its bustling.
"Where are we, anyways?" Natsu asks of the two men beside him.
"The Black Sea. Port of Constanta. About 500 clicks SE of where we were" the tallest of them, Neville, answered.
"We just teleported 500 kilometers?"
"Apparated. We just apparated 500 kilometers."
"That's pretty useful. Is that how we got from where we met you to where we were?"
Harry answered this time. "No, we used portkeys for that. I can apparate a small group about a thousand miles, or 1500+ clicks, maybe more. I've never really tried to see how far. But most people can't go that far. So we have these devices called portkeys that do it for us. They can apparate or 'teleport', to use your term, large groups of people anywhere on Earth."
"Anywhere? Goodness. What about other things, like vehicles?"
This time Neville answered. "Ah, good question, but we won't answer that. Not just yet. Spoilers."
The three kept moving, stepping from behind a wall and coming to the top of a set of stairs. Looking down, Natsu was treated to a fantastic view of the Black Sea: rippling waves, open ocean, and a monstrous ship dominating the harbor.
Stopped in awe, Natsu gawked at the sheer size of it, Harry and Neville chuckling next to him.
"Impressive, isn't it?" Neville asks, only receiving a nod in return. "That's my baby, the HMS Lock Ness. Technically it isn't permitted the HMS designation, as the British Monarchy doesn't exist anymore. But uh… who's gonna stop me?" Chuckling at his own joke, he began moving down the stairs, his green-eyed friend and the gaping pinkette behind him.
"How did you build a ship that large? How is it not bottoming out? How is its own weight not breaking it in half?"
"All good questions, and it's simple: we invented… discovered?... created? … whichever. We made a new type of alloy that is five times stronger than anything else we've came across, and lighter than steel."
"How the fuck did you do that?"
"Between dwarven forges, wizarding fire and no-maj ingenuity. Dwarves have the forges designed to withstand the heat of the sun. Wizards, with our magic, can manipulate heat to both solar and arctic temperatures. Because of that, we were able to create weapons and ships that could handle much more taxing payloads. Nessie, for example, is almost 450 meters long, yet only 100k tons fully loaded. Over twice the size, yet only 50% heavier because of it. In open ocean it can reach speeds of 70 knots in calm seas."
"Wait, heat that reaches arctic temperatures? Arctic, as in cold?" the pinkette clarifies, not sure he heard the taller man correctly.
"Yep" Harry answered instead. "Before the war, no-majes had this theory for a type of nuclear reaction called Cold Fusion. Basically, a nuclear reaction at room temperatures."
"Hermione is still pissed we didn't put her on the research team for that" Neville interjected as Harry snorts.
"Yeah, well, she'll get over it. We needed her more than the research team did."
"True, but you know how she is."
"I should. She's only been my best friend for 17 years."
"While I'd love to hear about your friend's frustrations, can we get back to you explaining Cold Fusion to me?"
"Right, yeah, sorry about that" Harry apologized half-heartedly as they reached the ground level of the dock. "Like I said, Cold Fusion is room temperature nukes. Besides wanting to make that a reality, our joint research team wanted to take it one step further. With the joint collusion, they achieved cold fusion in under a year. Being able to manipulate molecules is apparently pretty fucking sweet to no-maj scientists, and being able to do it without magic was the same for our Unspeakables. Before you ask, they're exactly what their name suggests.
"Anyways, putting their respective knowledges together, Cold Fusion was a synch in comparison. So they went colder, and have been ever since. Last number I heard was 175 Kelvin, or about -100 degrees. And they're still going."
"-100 degrees Celcius?" the astonished pinkette asked.
"Yeppers. Don't ask me how cause that is FAR beyond me, but once they hit the negatives for centigrade, work on the new alloy was able to begin. Apparently, being able to have 10,000 K and sub-273 K temperatures simultaneously was important. And since we're wizards, our no-maj counterparts presumed we could do it."
"And whoda thunk, they were right" Neville proclaimed, getting a chuckle out of his raven-haired counterpart. "All those years of us wizards thinking muggles wouldn't understand magic, and in less than 10 years have pushed our boundaries to limits we'd never have dreamed of, let alone thought of trying."
"Sorry, that's what we Brits called No-majes."
"Anyways, all that summed up to having a metal that can survive both extreme heat and cold at the same time, and able to withstand any blast under 10 megatons" Harry finished off the explanation to an impressed Natsu.
A long whistle escaped Natsu's lips at that claim. While not knowing the specifics, anything in the 'megaton' department is a big deal, and being able to survive it unharmed moreso. "How many of these ships do you have?"
"Under the EU's control, only five in service, another being built. The Americans have 15, Russians have 10, the Chinese also 10."
"Why so few? And I thought you said Russia failed in stealing the plans."
"They did. They didn't build their own. None of them did. We built them. Iceland is practically one, massive dry-dock these days. With how many hidden runes and enchantments put into them, duplicating a dreadnaught is impossible. As for the numbers, because we don't need the numbers. Ours are the largest of them, though. The others rely on their speed to get from place to place."
"And you don't?"
Failing in his attempt to hold back a snort, Neville's reaction turned into a short comedy skit at the combination of coughing, swearing and cleaning himself back up of whatever escaped his orifices. "No, not in the least" he managed out, his mile-wide smile still evident. "That's not to say we don't use their speed, but we don't rely on it."
Exchanging looks and having a silent discussion, the two wizards came to a mutual agreement. Speaking for them both, Harry turned to his double. "Family magic. Longbottom, here, and Susan Bones, the quietest redhead, their families developed, centuries ago, ways of moving ships long distances by magic."
"Is this what the admiral here mentioned about being 'spoilers'?"
"Right in one. Come, let's go up top so you can drool over the railguns while we explain."
Moving together towards a lift (Natsu presumed it was powered by magic as he couldn't see any harnesses, cables or support beams), the three were quickly on-deck of the monstrous battleship.
"As we'd mentioned before, portkeys are used to transport large groups of people long distances. To answer your question, yes, they can also be used to transport vehicles, but only if they're linked."
"'Linked'?" Natsu asked of the green-eyed man, before the taller brunette answered.
"Yes. The short history of my family and the Bones family is we made our money centuries ago through cargo transport. In a time of pirates roaming the oceans freely, we needed a way to not only escape attacks, but hide our transport ships when not in use. So we developed the portkey."
"Portkey. Let me guess, it was literally a key to access ports."
"Glad to see you're as astute as Harry here."
"HEY!" was the chorused response, neither sure if it was a dig or a compliment.
"But yes, you are correct. 'Port. Key.' Portkey. When first developed all those years ago, it only allowed small groups of people and cargo to be transported, so we used it to hide our cargo in inaccessible coves to be safe from privateers and other greedy, less reputable fellows. But they were still losing ships, so they went further. Eventually, figured out how to link portkeys together to get to the same destination, ultimately doing so with the largest of ships.
"By doing so, our two families became extremely wealthy, because we were able to escape pirate attacks without harm."
"Why not just use them from the get-go? Avoid the attacks altogether?"
"There are a number of reasons, but the simplest was to avoid being targeted for witch-hunts."
"Yep. Long story short, we were hunted and killed at every opportunity. Whether there was proof or not, true or not, anyone pointed out to be a witch was killed." the man finished, shaking his head.
"That's stupid" Natsu utters, shaking his head before taking on a pensive expression. "If they were so worried about that, why not just use their magic to fight back against the pirates instead of running? Easier to kill them all, wouldn't you think?"
"Maybe. But pirates weren't just a no-maj concept. Sometimes there would be mages with them, or all-mage crews. Fighting fire with fire, y'know? Much simpler to just run and be done with it. Besides, what self-respecting pirate would ever admit to losing their quarry? Let alone explain how it just vanished into thin air? While the perfect defense, portkeys were also the best offense by silencing anyone who went against them."
Laughing at the thought, Natsu found no fault in the argument. Indeed, it would be embarrassing if his target suddenly disappeared while he was attacking them. Who'd ever trust his credibility after such an incident. Yes, it would be much better to stay silent than admit to it.
Now approaching a massive cannon, the pinkette realized it wasn't just one cannon but two, side-by-side. Nor were they enclosed like you'd imagine a turret to be. No, both beams were hollow semi-circles facing each other, appearing as if one cannon was split in two and separated.
As it was his boat, Neville began the explanations. "The booms are 25 meters long. The hollow canals would be the equivalent of 20-inch, 508mm turrets. They are self-loading, reducing the size of required gun crews. As Harry mentioned earlier, it can fire upwards of 250 miles with less than a percentage of error on an unmoving or slow-moving target. Obviously, much closer distances increase our ability to hit moving targets, like the giants and the crawler that you both encountered in Venice. We were only about 20 miles away for those."
"How large are the projectiles?"
"Anywhere from a hundred kilos to a couple thousand. Anything smaller and accuracy drops. Anything larger might as well just be a bomb or a cruise missile. Depends on what we're shooting at. The giants and crawler we used modified HEAT rounds. Basically a missile that acts like a tank round, or vice versa. Anyways, they're about 300 kilos, and as you probably saw, takes out crawlers with ease."
"Too bad walkers don't die that easily" Harry muttered.
"No, but it never takes more than a half dozen shots to finish them, so it's not overly problematic. And even then, cannonballs are enough at that range."
"Cannonballs? Like medieval style?"
"Yeah, but bigger and magically reinforced. The ones we use are hollow balls of tungsten, filled with an explosive potion and an impact-triggering bombardment spell. Those weigh about a ton and a half, but any walker short of the largest and toughest usually die after being hit by one."
"Fucking hell that's nuts."
"Not really" the man corrects, getting a questionable look. "The no-maj battleships had turret mounts that used ammo weighing about that much. Granted, they had about 200 sailors per gun turret, but the point still stands. We just eliminated the need for such large crews by adding magic and making them bigger, deadlier and more efficient."
"That's fucking ridiculous" Natsu exclaimed again, processing it all. Even on Seran he knew their navies had big ships and big guns, but this was something else. Something out of a dream or a nightmare, depending on which side you were on.
Bringing them all out of their respective thoughts was twin beepings, the two wizards instantly going to their hips, grabbing their communication devices.
"This is Dragon" "This is Turtle" rang through the air, both listening to whomever was on the other side. "Understood" they both answered simultaneously, nodding to each other before Neville moved towards his bridge, calling out orders.
"Let's go, Locust incursion in Madrid. I need to get you back to base before heading over there" he orders, pushing the pinkette towards the lift.
"What're you gonna do, tie us up and leave us there? My magic is almost fully recharged so you won't get the drop on me again, I promise you that. And I'll bet you anything my team has said the same thing."
"Your 'team' is already geared up and on their way to the airfield" the raven haired man responds, pushing the pinkette towards the stairs again, taking off at a run.
"Why don't we just use one of your portkeys to get over there?"
"Because apparently more than a dozen Ravagers are there, as well as three Silencers that we know of" he answered, entering the building at a run, ignoring the salutes.
"Silencers? Creepy eight-legged things that fuck up communications?"
"Yeah, and for some bloody reason they fuck with our portkeys and apparations too. And Ravagers are fliers have an arsenal on their backs and sometimes walk, sometimes fly."
"Fuck, Seeders and Reavers. We gonna fly all the way there?"
"Oh yeah. Wasn't planning on it, but you get to see both our air forces."
"'Both'? Why do you have two?"
"You'll see" the man answered with a smirk as they entered the room, grabbed the pinkette's arm and disapparated with another crack.
Bird's Nest, south of Vatra Dornei, Romania
18:45 Hours. EET
25 Minutes since Incursion began.
"Where the fuck is Natsu" Erza S snapped out as her team and the home team all approach the airfield.
"He and Harry are on their way" Ginny answered for her group with a roll of her eyes for what seemed to be the hundredth time in the past five minutes.
"They did have to come from the other side of the country" Susan tried placating her fellow redhead, with little success.
"I swear, if you've done something to him" the woman began, only to be cut off from a voice behind them.
"While I appreciate you being worried about me, I'm right here" Natsu supplied walking up as five heads snap around, relief evident on their faces.
"Enjoy your time comparing each other's dicks?" Sam ribbed as he walked up.
"We've scheduled that for later" Harry answered in his stead, he and Natsu taking the lead down the final tunnel to the airfield as engines can be heard firing up.
"Why? Afraid of the competition?" Knightwalker taunted, joining in.
"What competition? Think your boyfriend can measure up to a real man?" Daphne retorted, receiving snorts from the four women.
"Honey, if you think anyone can match up to Natsu, you're sorely mistaken" Sam declared, still smirking.
"You need to get out more if you think he's the best there is" Ginny answered, receiving scowls in response.
Before any further trade-offs can be made, their front-man cuts them off. "While we'd be happy to listen to y'all bicker like a bunch of school-girls, we have work to do." Neither man bothered looking back at the eight scowling women promising death at their backs, only Glen and Wanda staying safely in the back out of the line of fire, both refraining from laughing.
Coming to the exit of the tunnel, the visitors get a first-look at the airfield, seeing the mixture of various helicopters and jet-looking aircraft lined up. The jets caught their eye first. Or, more accurately, the propulsion systems that were currently pointing at the ground on most of them.
"Welcome to the Bird's Nest. 4 of 5 air regiments are here."
"Where does the fifth take roost?" Sam asks, getting a smirk at the word choice.
"Up in the mountains" the green-eyed man answered simply, pointing in the direction of a dozen peaks on the horizon.
"Why up there? There doesn't appear to be any room for aircraft there" Levy asked, squinting in the distance.
"I didn't say the fifth was made of aircraft, did I?"
"What the hell are those?" Levy piped up, pointing at the jets, changing the topic of conversation.
"Hover jets. Can break Mach 2, then hover mid-air like a chopper. Excellent combination of speed and maneuverability."
"How does that work?"
"No-majes already had a type of jet that worked like that, but not as efficient. We simply added a few hundred runic enchantments we use for broomsticks and magic carpets, and got those."
"Broomsticks and magic carpets? You FLEW on those?"
"Yep. Most popular wizarding sport in the world was played on brooms."
"What? Don't tell me you've got people on your magic carpets and broomsticks up there?" Knightwalker asks skeptically, pointing at the mountains, returning to the previously unfinished conversation.
"Don't be daft. Of course not. Fucking hell, what do you take us for, kids?" Ginny retaliates.
"Then what, if it's not aircraft or morons flying on whatever they feel like enchanting."
Before any more angry accusations can be made, Harry once again cuts them off. "You'll see soon enough, we're taking them with us. Some of us will be going with them, the rest in a couple choppers."
As if answering his comment, a number of roars are heard across the airfield, mixing in with the aircraft engines.
"What was that?" Erza S asked, aware the new sound did not resemble any aircraft at all.
"Ah, excellent. Our fifth regiment is inbound. Be warned, they don't startle easily, but they WILL defend themselves if they think they're under attack. So whatever you do, do NOT raise your weapons towards them."
"Raise them towards what, exactly?" Natsu questioned warily, his enhanced hearing picking up the dozen individual sounds quickly approaching them.
"I'll give you two guesses, Pinky. But I would wager that you would only need one" his counterpart answered mysteriously. "And whatever YOU do, Mr Dragneel, do NOT use your magic on them. Whatsoever. I don't know who would win, but I do NOT want to find out. Not today, and certainly not right now."
Listening and watching the exchange, Natsu's five companions look on with very confused expressions, before the bluenette's eyes widen, connecting the dots why Natsu would be singled out.
Not having her counterpart there to collaborate, her eyes meet Daphne's and Ginny's, who both curtly nod with smirks on their faces.
Her eyes are drawn forward by another series of roars, this time much closer as a dozen figures are seen flying through the sky, wings flapping as they come right for the airfield.
Tensing up, Echo squad and co all tighten their grips on their weapons, barely restraining themselves from reacting to what they can clearly see now.
Raising his hand to his mouth in a fist, Harry rolled his fingers a few times before letting out a size-defying roar that had the six newcomers, the pinkette especially, covering their ears.
One large, unified primal response answered the roar, before a second one from the leader called out to its followers, as 11 of the 12 figures came to a halt, flapping their wings and hovering mid-air. The last one made a large circle before landing, its wings sending dust flying, causing most of the group to cover their eyes.
"Is that… is that really…" Levy's voice cuts off in surprise, not entirely believing that she's seeing the massive, reptilian-like creature in front of her.
"It is indeed. That's a dragon. They're all dragons. It is my very great pleasure to introduce you to Norberta, a Norwegian Ridgeback. I've known her since she was an egg. And now she serves as my second. Come here, Betty" he calls out to the dragon, who steps forward before lowering her head, growling lightly at the man who was now rubbing her snout.
"Wait, did you say your 'second'? You can control her?" Sam asked incredulously. And to her surprise, Norberta, or "Betty", snorted a hot stream of air in her direction as if in answer to her accusation.
Laughing at her antics, Harry patted her nose before answering the woman. "No one controls a dragon, sweet pea. She, and her kin, follow us willingly. Be careful what you say around them, most dragons are a lot smarter than they appear. Ridgebacks are amongst the smartest, and, after the Horntail and Ironbelly's, amongst the most vicious. And Betty here is towards top of the tier on both accounts. She once took on two walkers by herself and won with only a bit of bruising to herself."
That got the reaction he was hoping for, as six people subconsciously take a step back, a new respect for the beast very much evident, though their fingers admittedly itching at the triggers.
"Much as I'd like to see them piss themselves, we've got to get moving" Gabby admonishes, stepping up to the dragon and patting her before walking towards a waiting chopper.
"She's right, let's go." Repeating his previous actions, Harry calls out to the hovering dragons, 9 of which, after answering, take off higher into the air as several choppers join them. The remaining two circle the group and land, moving next to their leader.
"It's a three-hour flight by dragon to Madrid. Those of you newbies not willing to be strapped in and go for a ride, step to the side, now." While all seemed to hesitate, only McGarden and Parks stepped to the side, the idea of flying in open air not exactly endearing to them.
"Natsu, you ride with me on Betty here. More than enough room for us both without either riding bitch, so no worries. Daph, take Brynes and Knightwalker and take Thelma" he adds, pointing at the Ironbelly to Betty's right. "Gin, you and the Scarlets ride Louise" he orders, pointing at the Shortsnout on Betty's left.
"'Thelma and Louise'. Really?" Levy asks, trying not to laugh at the names.
"Not my choice, blame Gin's brother Charlie for that" he adds, shaking his head as the women mount their rides, the two visitors albeit hesitantly. "The two of you," he turns towards McGarden and Parks standing next to Susan and Su Li. "Follow Gabby" he points at the blonde still headed for the choppers. "She'll put you two on your chopper before she gets into her jet. Susie Qs, you know your jobs. Meet up with Hannah and Tracey. I have a feeling you two will be busy. Be careful."
Climbing on Norberta's neck, showing Natsu how to do so without hurting her, Harry shared one last, meaningful look with his girls before calling out another roar from his hand. Without answering, the three dragons took flight, joining the rest of their squadron in the air. To Natsu and co's mild surprise, all 9 of the other dragons had 2 or three people on them as well.
Putting his finger to his ear, Harry barked a few more orders. "Talon Group, this is Dragon, you have go for lift-off. Dragon Wing is skyward and moving fast. You are to full sprint to Madrid. When you have air contacts in sight, engage with extreme prejudice. If any Ravagers are still alive, grounded or airborne, by the time I arrive, mission will be deemed failure.
"Command says there are at least three Silencers in the area. Seek them out and eliminate them. Talon Leader will designate your respective targets. Vultures, you'll be portkeying to Andorra. Get a full sit-rep by the time we get there. Good luck. Dragon out."
And with that, bright blue flashes appear as choppers begin disappearing, as dozens of jet engines start whining as takeoffs commence, clouding the airspace previously occupied by the dragons and their riders, who are now speeding into the distant horizon.
SW of Zaragoza, Spain.
3:00 Hours since beginning of incursion, 2:35 since mobilization
"Talon, this is Dragon Leader, we are less than 20 minutes out. Come in Talon."
"Dragon Leader this is Talon Two, do you copy?"
"Talon Two this is Dragon Leader, I copy. What do you have, Ella?"
"Talon Leader and all but one of his squadron are down. We have new enemy contacts, small bat-like creatures swarming out of another portal."
"Come again, Talon Two. Did you say 'another' portal?"
"Correct, Dragon. We have confirmed two portals. First contact portal directly north of Madrid by El Pardo. El Pardo is gone, the district overrun. Spanish forces and Vultures holding them at the highways A-6 and M-40. Second portal has the bats streaming out of it by what was the casino off A-6."
"Roger Talon Two. Vulture Leader, this is Dragon Leader, give me a sit-rep."
"This is Vulture 5, Vulture Leader's comms went down about an hour ago. He's still in the air but talking ain't hapnin."
"Roger V-5, give me the info."
"The Talons did their job, 17 Ravagers and 3 Silencers destroyed. However, with how much communication problems we're having, another Silencer is still in the area, but we don't know where."
"And these bats that Talon Two reported?"
"Small, size of pigeons, maybe. Hundreds of them. They die to gun fire easily, but they're fast and tear through everything. They didn't even show up 'til about 10 minutes ago."
"They don't like the light!" Natsu yelled at his riding partner, who turned back towards them. "They're called Kryll, and they hate sunlight! They burst into flames when exposed to UV light!"
Nodding to the man, Harry jams his finger to his ear again. "All call-signs this is Dragon, be advised, call-out for new contacts is 'Kryll'. New info says they are highly sensitive to light in general, explosively so to UV light. Flares, lumos solems, and the like are advised for counter.
"Dragon ETA 15 minutes and coming hot. Will be coming from the north side for pincer. Talons, if not on perimeter patrol do so now. Two squads focus on second portal. Keep them contained. Vultures, once we arrive, half of you go after the bats. If you have searchlights use them. Do we have any walkers or crawlers?"
"Dragon, this is Vulture 3. Two crawlers confirmed. One tunneled immediately after exiting before locked, the other is wounded but still managed to get underground. Second unlikely to have made it further than A-6, but other unknown. No walkers as of yet."
"Roger, 10 mins ETA. Talon Two, where'd you put our two guests?"
"This is Vulture Two, I'm heavy with two passengers. About time you show up, Blue here hasn't shut up for the past hour."
"Roger that, V-2. Location?"
"Right in the damn middle, Dragon. Junction of A-6 and M-40, gotta be 20,000 of these bastards. Follow the gun-fire and look for the bonfires, you'll see us."
"Roger that, Dragon out." Leaning forward, Harry cups his hand towards Norberta's ear. 'The enemy has new creatures. Small, bird-like beings in great numbers. Warn our pride of the danger, so they are not pulled down by this new menace' Harry roared at her, receiving a snarling nod in return, before repeating his words for the pride as Harry repeated it for the riders.
"Dragon Company, this is Dragon Leader. Be aware of new contacts, call-sign Kryll. Small, pigeon-like bats with sharp talons. Norberta has made the pride aware. Be warned, dragon wings susceptible to talon tears."
"Roger Dragon" was echoed through the comms, Harry making out concerned faces on his girls and their passengers.
Coming over a hill, the massive spread of gunfire can be heard in the distance, whirs of helicopter and jet engines flying around joining the cacophony, the darkening skies interrupted by flashes and streams of gun fire. "Lock and load! Dragon Company, move in, burn them all!"
Roars from the weyr, both dragons and riders, answers him. The dragons, as if a mid-air roller coaster ride, suddenly bank straight down towards the ground before levelling out about 50 feet above it. 11 Dragons tear through the skies, lining up next to each other. The moment they came across the portal, they instantly started spewing out their flames, a wave of fire ripping through the ranks of Locust freshly entering the new world.
The final dragon and her two riders, circle around above the action as the raven-haired man gets on his comms again. "Turtle Leader, this is Dragon Leader. Are you in position?"
"Roger Dragon, awaiting coordinates."
"40.538236,-3.784985. Portal contact."
"Negative, you are clear for missile."
"Roger Dragon, Cruise missile hot and firing in 30 seconds. Turtle out."
With the last, Harry urged on Norberta and the threesome took off after their comrades, following the trail of flames until coming up on the battleground between attackers and defenders.
Their element of surprise gone, the weyr began avoidance maneuvers as more and more drones turn their guns their direction, gun fire raining on the ground forces.
To Harry's dismay, one of the dragons suddenly spirals out of control, the right wing completely shredded as it and riders crash into the midst of the drones.
In retaliation, he sees Sam's hands light up bright red as he neared her. "LASER LIGHT!" Exactly as its name suggested, a solid beam of red light impacts a congestion of the drones, as dozens of them explode. The sounds of a mulcher heard following it up as more and more become little better than shredded meat.
"FIRE DRAGON KING'S ROAR!" His riding partner fires off the monstrous red funnel, enveloping another few hundred, catching the attention of the bulk of the gathered drones firing on the defenders.
"Ignis Vitae!" A flurry of golden flames explode from Harry's wand like a firehose, as Ginny and Daphne repeat the incantation. While to Natsu they were initially unimpressive, he was surprised to see the fire seeming to grow in intensity the more bodies it comes in contact with.
"What the fuck was what!?" He called out to his counterpart.
"Life Fire! Explain later, kill now!"
While initially ignoring the flames, more and more drones became aware that touching the flames was deadly, and putting it out impossible. While not the panicking sort, the disruption caused by thousands avoiding their comrades was enough to put a lull in their firing on the defenders.
Taking advantage of the distraction, the defending forces rip into them anew as more and more bodies cease to move, many indiscernible from their fellows.
"This is too easy!" Parks can be heard over comms for the first time, the dragons flying crossing patterns over the now pinched drones. The distance behind them is lit up in an explosion as the cruise missile makes its entrance, closing the portal.
"Way too easy! They've never bunched up like this before! What are they playing at?!" Natsu agreed, still firing at the remaining drones.
"No idea! We gotta find those crawlers and close that other portal! All these explosions are probably fucking with the seismographs!" Harry shouted back, before pulling his mount up skyward again.
Taking an assessment of the so-called battle, he calls out to Thelma and Louise and has them follow him towards the second portal before getting on comms.
"Vulture Two, Vulture Three, this is Dragon Leader. Meet me at second portal contact. Need to close it."
"Roger Dragon, inbound."
"Turtle Leader, this is Dragon. Prepare second cruiser for second portal contact. ETA on coordinates, 3 minutes."
"Roger Dragon, missile ready to fire when coordinates received."
"Dragon Leader, this is Talon 5. Be advised, 3rd portal has appeared. I repeat, a 3rd portal has appeared. Location due north of San Sebastian. Multiple walkers have breached. Fleshhounds and Riders accompany, as well as minions, shredders and… OH SHIT!"
The comms cut out, but not before an explosion is heard.
"Dragon Leader, this is Talon 12! We have shriekers! Dozens are pouring out of the portal! All Talons take evasive action!"
"FUCK! This was their plan, running us around in circles. Damn it!" Harry screams at no one in particular as the casino comes in sight. "Turtle, this is dragon. Coordinates, 40.566277,-3.914181. Danger close, fire when ready!"
"Roger Dragon, firing now."
"All units around 2nd portal, missile hot. Make your distance 500 meters from point of impact."
"Dragon Leader, this is Dragon 2. First wave minus missing crawlers has been neutralized. Heading over to assist Talons."
"Roger 2, take the rest of Dragon with you and your remaining Vultures. Be advised, shriekers in play."
"Copy, Dragon. Raven Two made us aware."
"Dolohov? What the fuck is she doing here? Raven Two, do you copy?"
"Copy, Dragon Leader, this is Raven Two. Crawlers located, currently under Valverde, but have turned north to their friendlies."
The newest missile launch screams to impact, wiping out the second portal and most of the kryll that remained.
"FUCK! All units, move to Valverde, crawlers located moving north. Talon Wing, contact Turtle Leader with coordinates for third portal. Get that closed, now!"
"Roger Dragon, Turtle being advised."
"What's the plan, Potter?" Natsu yelled at the man as their group turns towards the newest portal.
"Feel like going for a ride, Dragneel?" Potter turned and grinned at his counterpart, who smirked back.
"Fuck yeah, but I'm driving!"
"I prefer shooting anyways, let's do it!" He leans towards Norberta's face and relays the information. 'Many shriekers have entered our world. Both myself and my partner will be leaving you. Be careful.'
'You be careful' the dragon roared back, and if possible, even smirked at him.
"How the fuck are you talking to the dragon? I can't understand anything you're saying!"
"And you call yourself a dragon slayer, that's just sad!" the green-eyed mad retorted, causing both to laugh despite the situation as they speed towards the newest enemies.
The radio crackles again, this time with a lot of static. "Dragon Le-er, this is T-n Five, do y- copy? Si-ers on f-" is all that is heard before going dead.
"Repeat Five, come again?" When no response came, Harry immediately and correctly assumes the worst. "Silencers!" he calls out to his fellow dragon riders that are within hearing distance. "We have more Silencers! We have to find them and make sure that launch is called!"
"What's the plan!" Ginny calls back as the three dragons come upon the newest battleground, the massive brumaks seen in the distance causing havoc.
"Dragneel and I will look for them! You and Daph meet up with the rest of Dragon and start wiping them out! Watch out for the fucking Shriekers!" He called out, turning Norberta into a wide arc to circle the battle.
"No shit, Sherlock!" the redhead snapped at his back as her dragon literally opened fire on the first group of bloodmounts she came across. Or fleshhounds, as she knew them.
"Bombarda Maxima!" The spell was repeated several times by Ginny and Daphne at a couple grinders, or shredders as she knew them. All of which had their heads blown off by the perfectly aimed spells.
"Phoenix Fire!" Sam slams her hands together, palms out as another of her laser attacks strikes a cluster of drones setting up a few mortars. The dozen or so vaporize under the attack's power, even melting the mortars they were holding.
A few flying drones catches their attention, as their eyes widen at a dozen creatures charging through their allies, tossing aside any in their way.
"BERSERKERS!" Erza S and Sam scream out, focusing their fire on the charging creatures.
"Hold your fire! These are mine! Ginny, call out the other dragons! I'm feeding them!" Wanda cries out as Ginny grins and calls out the orders.
Standing up on Louise, the Scarlet Witch begins gathering the red energy around her arms, waiting for the charging berserkers to get within range.
Right on time, the remaining 8 dragons minus Norberta show up as she unleashes her power on them, picking up all twelve berserkers and raising them in the air.
As one, the dragons all fire on their offerings, flames colliding in a brilliant ball of fire, torching their skin before each swoop in and snatch a separate one out of the air, powerful jaws tearing through the fresh-cooked hides. Several halves of berserkers crash to the ground, twitching a few times before stilling, the rest resisting only momentarily before jaws complete their closure with repeated snaps.
Still hanging mid-air, the remaining two are torn to shreds by gunfire from the dozens of riders on their dragons, making quick work of the softened skin.
"That… that was fucking disgusting to watch" Sam called out to the freckled redhead, who only smirks at her before casting a few more spells at the enemy troops on the ground.
"Shriekers at two o'clock!" both Scarlets call out, turning their weapons towards the hovering, swarming mass. As their fellow dragon riders do the same, shield spells are raised to deflect incoming fire.
"FUCK THIS SHIT!" Knightwalker calls out, her hands charging with purple electricity. "OZONE BURNER!" The home team members passively watch in various levels of interest as the purple lightning jumps amongst a couple dozen of them, instantly blowing them up as it lances between them.
"Good call, Knightwalker!" Jamming her finger into her comms, she shouts out to her fellow dragon riders. "Dragon Mages, lightning strikes on the shriekers! Five, Four, Three, Two, One… FULGUR FERITE!" Ten lightning bolts strike the nearest shriekers, and mimicking the first, dance across the swarming clusters as more take their place, only to meet the same fate.
A few minutes, and the loss of another dragon later, all the known shriekers are disposed of as multiple Vultures and Talons join in on the extermination. Revelling only momentarily in their success, all fliers turned towards the locust swarm still pouring out of the portal. All the dragon riders wonder what's taking their leader so long, right as a large section of Earth collapses, the long legs of a crawler emerging, as even more drones previously unaccounted for swarm out of it.
Meanwhile, with Potter and Dragneel
"Fucking hell, how many damn Silencers are there?" the black-haired man yells out with frustration as they circle an area east of the fighting.
"I'm smelling at least three of them, two of them nearby" the pinkette answers, eyes searching the buildings below.
"Fucking hell, this is getting ridiculous. We're not finding them from the sky. Not these two at least. I'll bet you anything one is in that mall over there" Harry says, pointing towards the MegaPark Madrid Shopping Mall.
"It's a good place for it, lots of cover, lots of places to hide" Natsu agrees, not happy in the least.
'Do you sense the location of the creature?' Harry asked of Betty, who growled back.
'No. I can smell it, but there are so many creatures it is difficult to locate one specifically' she answers frustratedly, huffing her annoyance.
"She can't find them either. I'm tempted to just blow up the whole damn building… actually, more than tempted" Harry informs the man, who considers the option.
"This is your world, your call. But we don't know for certain that it's there."
"No, but we also don't know it's not there. GAH! Fuck it, I'm blowing it. Enough shit's been destroyed 'cause of these guys anyways."
"What about that Life Fire thing you did earlier? Would that work?"
"Possibly. If there is anything close enough. But if the Silencer is in one of the shops, which I imagine it would be, then using the spell from up here won't do anything but char the roof, or the front of a building."
"Usually Seeders are guarded by others" Natsu argues, still scanning the shopping center. "But I don't see anything else down there. No movement whatsoever. If it is there, it is either alone, likely only because there are three others. Or, everything is well hidden, which is even more dangerous for us if we get closer."
"That mini-nuke thing you tried using when you arrived, do you have one on you? Or did your blue-haired girlfriend take it with her?"
"It's Levy's so I would imagine she has it. I don't have anything with me that would take out a whole building."
Pondering his options, Harry sighs in frustration...preparing to destroy the whole thing before smacking himself in the forehead. "Damn it, Potter. You moron." Before Natsu can ask, Harry waves his hand over the building. "Vitae Revelio!" A few moments later, Natsu is surprised that hundreds of purple lights pop up around the shopping complex, some moving only slightly, most standing almost perfectly still.
One in particular got his attention, physically larger than the others, fainter than the rest due to, what he presumed, it being further down.
"Welp, we found one of them. Fucking Silencers. I hate using this spell." Potter stands up on Norberta's head, and pulls out two wands, one from each arm. He begins waving them in countering motions. Ending by pointing directly at the ground, Dragneel is surprised by the magical pressure suddenly given off by the man. "MORTEM ANIMAM VIVENTEM!"
Though it was nighttime, the black wave that emitted from the wands stood out vividly as it grew, falling on the unsuspecting locust holing up in the shopping complex.
Moments after passing through the roof, screams of pain and death are heard from their high altitude. This continued on for several minutes before a final death scream is heard, then silence reigned. Recasting his detection spell, Harry smiles at the lack of results. Cancelling his spell, he calls to Norberta and they take off, seeking their second target.
"Well… that was interesting" Natsu began, coming off his surprise.
"Living Death. Hate using that spell, but it works much like Life Fire does. The more life it comes in contact with, the stronger it gets. This way we spare the building, but kill everything else."
"Why not use it on the swarms, then? You could kill everything?" Natsu asks in confusion.
"Because of the amount of magic it uses to do so. The more targets, the more it drains. I could take out a few thousand at once with it, but even with my power I'd eventually burn out."
"And the Life Fire you used?"
"It fuels itself, thankfully. But, if it gets too big, it becomes uncontrollable. What we did to that first group, we didn't need to control it. Our forces were far enough away not to be at risk. It'll burn itself out after an hour or so, so long as it doesn't get another fuel source."
"But it's fire, won't it just burn everything in its path?"
"Life Fire feeds off of life. Yes, it acts like regular fire when burning, but it doesn't spread unless its directed, or a fuel source pulls it that way. It'll burn everything in its path, then. But won't spread on its own otherwise."
"That is fucking weird fire" Natsu remarked, Harry only grunting in agreement as they wing wide behind the newest portal.
"Y'know, maybe we don't need the missiles" Harry mused, pulling up on Norberta as the three look onto the spilling locust horde.
"What do you have in mind?" Natsu asked the man, turning to see a pointed look at him. "What?"
"How big can you make your Pillar?"
Eyebrows raising, he looks back at the swarming creatures, musing on his past exploits. "I'm not sure. I can destroy a 40k town fairly easily, so, I don't know, 20-30 square miles, maybe?"
"Think you can focus it into a single square mile?"
"Possibly, but that's not enough to close a portal. Even a Fire King's Roar didn't do it back in Woodsworth."
"What if we did one of those unison raid things?"
"Dunno if it'll work but we can give it a go. But we'd have to go on foot. I don't know how much punishment this dragon can take, but I don't want to find out."
"Good point. I'll get us there instead." Ignoring the questioning look, Harry tells Norberta his plan. 'We're going to leave you now. The two of us are going to stop the enemy from bringing more creatures. Keep your distance and watch our backs.'
'Understood. I shall wait for you to finish your mission.' With powerful flaps of her wings, she carries the duo higher into the sky.
"Get ready to jump!" Harry calls to his pink-haired partner, who looks between the departing ground and the man with a curious look.
"Are you out of your fucking mind!?" Natsu called out to him as they enter the clouds.
"YEAH! I AM! JUMP!" Without waiting for another answer, the green-eyed man pulls on his companion as Norberta inverts, both men now free-falling to the Earth.
"WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING!?" Dragneel screams at him, his voice barely heard over the rushing wind.
"Dragon Leader this is Raven Leader, do you copy?"
"NOT NOW, HERMIONE!" the man calls out, fingers to his ears.
"What is that noise? Are you doing your suicide jump again? You know I hate it when you do that!"
"GET TO THE POINT HERMIONE, WHAT IS IT?"
"A portal has open in San Marino. Four contacts have entered. Ghost Two and Ghost Four are shadowing them. They're headed towards Venice. I think they're from our guests' homeworld."
"AND THAT WAS WORTH CONTACTING ME IN THE MIDDLE OF A BATTLE? KEEP AN EYE ON THEM! DRAGON OUT!" he screams into his comms as the ground grows larger below the two falling men.
"WHATEVER YOU'RE PLANNING YOU BETTER DO IT QUICK!" the second man screams, knowing he has no chance of surviving this otherwise. Not receiving an answer, he looks up to where the other man is, only to not see the first man at all.
In his stead is yet another dragon, one he hadn't seen yet. Jet black, it had dozens of spikes on its head and halfway down its spine. The only part of it recognizable were the two brilliant green eyes staring back at him that were, to his surprise, mocking him? A change in temperature brings the pinkette out of his staring as he realizes the battle is nearing far too quickly for his tastes, only to be jolted horizontally as the dragon swoops under him, perfectly placing him between two rows of spikes as they speed off towards the portal.
When they were a few dozen meters behind it, he is bucked into the air as the dragon transforms, as not just one but two men hit the ground. The momentum of both carries them into frontal rolls before returning upright and taking cover behind an Outlet store near the portal.
"You can turn into a fucking dragon? YOU COULDN'T HAVE WARNED ME?" Natsu yelled at the man who started laughing.
"I would've thought our conversations in the buner had given that part away. Apparently I was mistaken" he answered before looking around the corner at the portal 20 meters away, more drones pouring out of it. "Well, haven't been this close to a portal in I don't know how long. Let's do the Unison here. They're not bothering to watch the area behind the portal so we might as well take advantage of it.
A loud roar in the distance is heard, as both peak around and see the corpser exiting the tunnel. "And there's the crawler, now's definitely a good time. Let's do this" he declares, the two men grasping the other's forearm, putting all their efforts into the fusion.
As if a jolt of electricity went through them, both release the other's arm and double over, heaving their guts out. A few dry heaves later, both throw up a liquid, molten blob, which plops on the ground with a sickening *splat*. Clucking their tongues, swears in a few different languages emit from each of them, coughing up the rest of the vile.
"Oh ta ma de fucking merde hurensohn scheibkerl!" Harry spewed out in quick succession, still gagging on the sickening taste.
"You said it, whatever the fuck that was. That was disgusting" Natsu agreed, standing upright taking deep breaths.
"What the hell happened?"
"I don't know. Maybe our magics are incompatible? Maybe it's because we don't trust each other? Where I'm from, Unison Raids are only done between people who trust each other inexplicably. And we don't."
Another gag later, Harry pulls out a thing of water from a hidden pocket. Taking a swig, he hands it over while pondering the man's words. "That makes sense. Both ideas, actually. I'm a dragon, you're a dragon slayer. They're practically opposites."
Taking his own swig before handing it back to the man, Natsu shakes his head. "I don't think it's that. I was thinking more because we're from different worlds. And not just that, but different types of worlds. My magic works just fine with other Natsu's, males and females. I've never tried with other versions of me not named Natsu."
"Female versions, huh? That's interesting. Missed that part of your memories. Tell me about it later. For now, though…" he trails off, putting the water back into his pocket.
"We still need to destroy that portal. You mentioned dumping your magic into me. Wanna see if that's still possible?" Natsu asked, wondering himself it even was.
"Might as well. If nothing else, then we'll have to head back and get Betty's attention."
"You couldn't just fly us back?"
"I could, but I would draw a lot of firepower if I did. Betty would too, but she's a full-fledge dragon and could survive a few moments of it. I am powerful, but not yet to a full-blood dragon's level yet. I'd rather not test my durability to thousands of drones."
"Fair enough. Let's do this" Natsu declared, preparing himself for the attack.
"Wait, let's go up top for better effect" Harry objected, before apparating the two of them to the buildings surprisingly intact roof. "Alright, here goes" he sighs, and with a deep breathe, claps his hand on the man's shoulder.
Almost instantly, Natsu began to glow a bright white. At first partially worried, his eyes began glowing in amazement as he realizes the light is the heat he's pumping out. "HOLY SHIT THIS IS GONNA BE FUCKING AWESOME!" he cried out, feeling the combined magics running through his veins.
"Dragneel! What the fuck are you doing?" Levy's voice cracks over the pinkette's communications, as another comes over Harry's.
"Dragon, this is Talon Two. There's something going on by the third portal. A bright light, like a magnesium flare is shining next to it."
"Heh, comms are working. Weird. Someone must've found the other Silencers. Not to worry Two, that's myself and Dragneel. We're about to nuke the portal."
"What the fuck do you mean you're nuking the portal, Dragneel?!" Levy screeches as gunfire and roars echoes in the background.
"Fuck nuking it, I'M GOING SUPERNOVA!" He announces excitedly, the white fire growing, shedding light on the surrounding area for miles.
"All units, make your distance from portal 10 miles. That is one zero miles. Portal going down in 60 seconds. Ground forces, if unable to make distance, find something to hide behind. Good luck" the Dragon General cuts off comms as the white fire begins swirling around them, pulsing as it does. With each pulse, a larger area is encompassed, unlucky drones freshly exiting the portal get incinerated instantly as the silent wave of white death catches up to marching troops.
Many of the enemy try firing on the duo, only to either be blinded by the light and disrupting their aim, or their weapons having no effect as the projectiles are vaporized from the sheer heat before getting close.
As if a timer on a bomb, the swirling mass of light seems to implode, as two voices cry out from its center. "HELLFIRE APOCALYPSE!" The two bodies brighten to solar proportions, then explode in a white and blue wave of fire that careens in every direction for miles.
0800 Hours CET. July 17.
3 Hours since Supernova.
"Alright, what's the butcher's bill?" A raven-haired man asks as a tall blonde woman and short, black-haired woman step out of the converted gymnasium now infirmary.
The shorter of the two spoke first. "We lost about half our forces in total, both Spanish and Machine. Half of Talon KIA or MIA, another quarter will recover within the next few months" the Chinese woman answers before the Brit took over.
"You lost four dragons, one of which got caught in your blast. A fifth one also got caught and it's uncertain if his wing can be healed or not. The remaining seven are healthy and accounted for."
"Who did we lose, Tracy? And who is injured?"
"Natasha, Tai Li, Yasmin, and Miranda are all down, riders too. Leopold is hurt. Alive, but may never fly again. Everyone else is well and accounted for."
"Fuck, Leopold. And Viktor?"
"Krum and his team are alive. Bruised, but alive. That's how Leo got hurt in the first place, protecting them from the blast.
"Better that than the alternative, I suppose. What about the Vultures?"
"Except Vulture 1, surprisingly, they're all accounted for" the shorter woman answered. "His bird was found near the casino. Well, what's left of it. It looks like it initially went down from Kryll, then was finished off by the missile."
"That's what happens when comms crash in a fight. Fucking Silencers. Thanks Li-Li."
"No problem, Harry" the woman answered before stepping back into the room.
The two remaining people stare at the door, observing the healers as they move from patient to patient, checking on those stable, assisting with those not. It was a long while before either spoke.
"What the fuck happened, Potter? I mean, three portals I understand. Fuck them, but I understand. But how did you close the third one?"
Sighing deeply, the man shrugged and glanced at the blonde. "Long story short, me and a visitor from another world combined our magics and nuked the shit out of it."
"Why didn't you just call for a missile strike?"
"By the time we realized comms were back up, we were already committed. I'd feel bad, but it did more in a couple minutes than all our attacks had done the previous couple hours."
"And killed a few hundred of our men in the process" the woman stated matter-of-factly.
"Yes, we did. And we're not proud of it. I made the call, I will have to answer for it. But a few hundred men for over 46,000 drones? That's a trade-off I can live with."
"If I didn't know you as well as I do, I'd probably be kicking your ass for saying something like that."
Snorting, the ebony-haired man turned fully towards the woman. "Ghost or not, you'd still never beat me, Trace."
Before she can retort, they are interrupted by another tall blonde joining them. "I've got news, good news, and bad news, which do you want first?"
"You know I like my dessert first" the man answers, smirking at the woman's snort.
"Final tally, we killed over 87,000 of these newly-minted Locust" the woman supplied, bringing only a ghost of a smile to the man. "On top of that, we found the second crawler. It died of its wounds in that tunnel the first opened up."
"That is good news, any stragglers?"
"A few hundred. A few kryll are still around, but they're being hunted down. A fleshhound was captured still alive, as was a shrieker and a shredder. They're already en route to The Cage to be dissected. The rest were wiped out, no casualties."
"Alright, now the veggies."
"Over half a million of Madrid were killed in the attack. The Spanish weren't entirely forthcoming initially. You were alerted to the first portal breach at 18:20 EET. Well, that wasn't actually the case. The first one had opened about an hour before that. I wasn't made aware of that as I was stuck in a meeting with the Governor here. It wasn't until we concluded that anyone saw fit to alert us that Madrid was under attack."
"Where was the first?"
"Both of the first two were south of Madrid: one just past Alcorcon, the other by Arganda. It was when the third one opened up north that they finally alerted The Machine. That was also when I stepped in and took command until your arrival."
"So much for the 'Union' part of the EU huh?" Harry scoffed as Tracy snorted. Neither were overly impressed with their hosts' actions.
"Alright, now the chaser."
"Ghosts Two and Four report that our newest visitors have been searching Venice for the past hour or so. There are now eight of them, a second set of four portalled in about two hours ago. They're requesting orders."
"Might as well go and say hi" Harry drawled, this time causing Dolohov to snort as Tracy rolled her eyes. "Tracy, contact Gin and have her meet me here. Then check in with your partner, and when she has a break, both of you go see y'alls husband. He's probably freaking out about you two, now."
Smirking at the truth of that, she stepped back inside, seeking out Hannah. Once the door closed, the man pulled the remaining woman in for a long, steamy kiss.
As they broke apart, the blonde smiled at the man before wrapping her arms around him, laying her head on his shoulder. "You've really gotta stop doing stupid shit like that, Harry. Mixing two different magics, let alone trusting a stranger to do so, and being at the focal point of a nuclear explosion? Hermione's already filled me in on what happened at the Nest. To be honest, I'm surprised you bothered bringing them at all."
"That's what I've been wondering" another woman's voice announced as the two, still holding each other, look at the newcomer. "Seriously, Harry, that was even stupider than your normal antics."
"And like my normal antics, Gin, it was exceptionally effective. So, not all that stupid now, was it?"
Stepping towards the smirking man, she jabs her finger especially hard into a tender part of his ribs. "Just because it worked doesn't make it any less stupid, Mr Potter. You need to keep in mind how many people depend on you."
"Yes, Mrs Potter, I'll be sure to remember that next time" he answered, partially chastised, partially amused.
"GAAHHH! You know how maddening you are!?" the freckled woman all but screams, tearing at her hair.
Chuckling, he draws her in for a kiss. "Why yes, I'm quite aware of that, my love" he answers afterwards, receiving a punch in the shoulder from her.
"Prat. What am I going to do with you?"
A devilish grin on his face, he pulls the blonde forward in one arm while wrapping his other around the redhead. "Oh, I'm certain we can come up with a few things between the three of us, don't you?"
"As much as I would love to agree with you, Harry, Tracy said you sent for me for a reason" the shortest one admonished, only half-heartedly pushing away from her husband.
"Who's to say this isn't the reason why, darling?" He sweet-talked her with little success if her tapping foot was any indication. "Oh, fine. Party-pooper. We have a few more unwelcome visitors poking around in Venice. We're gonna go give them a warm welcome."
Her smile turning feral, she pounced at the opportunity like a schoolgirl. "Can we bring Daph? Please please please! We can make it a real party!"
Smiling as he kisses her forehead, the man succumbs to her enthusiasm. "I wouldn't have it any other way, my little Spitfire. Go get your sister, we'll make a date of it."
Transforming into her phoenix animagus, she disappears in a fiery flash, to reappear moments later with a surprised blonde in the middle of cleaning her gun.
"What's going on? Why is Ginevra popping me around places?"
"More guests, gonna go say hi, wanna come?"
Thinking it over, she puts the cleaning materials back into her charmed back pocket and shoulders her weapon. "Why not, let's go."
The trilling phoenix above them lowers herself as the three humans each grab a tailfeather, and the four disappear in a fiery burst.
Venice, Italy. July 17th. 2018
"Where the fuck are they? I swear to every deity in existence if anything's happened to Natsu, I'll rip this whole fucking planet apart" a familiar pinkette snarled, sniffing the air for clues as the group enters what's left of the piazzo.
"Flame-brain's probably busy fucking half the women here by now" the ice mage declared unconcerned, though internally was worried they hadn't heard from him in a while, let alone find them.
"If so, why wouldn't one of the others have contacted us by now?" the gun-mage asked, eyes scanning the abandoned buildings.
"Probably because…*sniff sniff* wait, I think I smell something" the black-haired mage suddenly declares as the scene of battle comes into sight. "Oh yeah, he was here, all right. Can you smell him, Natsumi?"
"Yeah, I can smell him. But not anywhere else? Only in this small area" she agrees, wandering between where the man had portalled in to where he was captured.
"This place looks like where they came through" Mira announces, taking note of the surroundings, before taking wing and getting an overview. "It is! There are over a hundred drones and the remains of a corpser over there!" she calls down, pointing in the direction of the slain bodies.
From a rooftop across the way, four disillusioned people watch the group inspect the battle sight.
"That woman looks awfully familiar" Daphne states, Ginny nodding in agreement.
"She looks like a female Dragneel. Maybe his twin sister?"
"No, not his twin" the man counters, the three women looking at him questioningly. "His double. A female double."
Taking this in, the three women turn back towards the group as one of them suddenly sprouts wings and takes to the sky.
"Well well, another of Dragneel's girlfriends" Natsu smirks, pointing his chin at the woman. "If memory serves, that's Mira, one of the take-over users we had talked about."
"Hmm, it really is different from Animagi. Or Veela transformations" the gun-toting blonde muses aloud.
"I'm actually a bit jealous" the other blonde remarks, staring at the now-landing woman. "I'd love to be able to just sprout wings without having to change my whole body. Would make getting around a lot easier."
Deciding it was better if he didn't comment, the raven-haired man takes note of each of the mages below, before closing his eyes and searching his borrowed memories. "The tallest blonde there is a lightning magic user. Lexus, Laxus, something like that" he comments, eyes still closed as he siphons through it all. "The black-haired man is Gajeel. Both he and Laxus are Dragon Slayers, but only Gajeel and Pinky, there are like our pal Dragneel."
"What do you mean by that, Harry?"
"I mean, they're the only two that are currently looking in our direction, 'cause they can hear us" he comments, as the three women snap their heads around. Sure enough, the female Natsu and black-haired slayer had both spun around and were both searching the rooftops intently, looking for the source of the conversation.
"Bisca, Mira, search the rooftops. Especially towards the park. We're being watched" Natsumi all but ordered the two, eyes seeking out the voices.
At that comment, the other four spun around, guns raised as they search the buildings and rooftops for any movement. "What did you hear?" Laxus asked of the two, eyes still moving.
"Four people, talking about us. They recognized Natsumi, Mira, you, and me" Gajeel answered with a snarl. "Including our magics. Even so much as to know that your type of magic is similar but still different to ours" he continued. "One of them, the male, knew that Natsumi is a double, and Dragneel's female double at that."
"Either they already know about the multiverse, or they've gotten the information from them. Either way, they're hiding from us for some reason."
As if on cue, a massive, scaley, feline-like creature bounded down from the east-side building behind them, catching even the acute senses of the dragon slayers off-guard. Spinning around to meet this threat, the 9 face off against each other, fingers on triggers, magics being summoned as they stared each other down.
A flash of light later, and a flame-covered bird appears from the west side they were just facing. Not particularly large in size, the mere presence of it caused seven of them to hesitate, only the fire dragon slayer not backing down.
A large splash draws them to the north, as what looks like a drowned woman with long, blonde hair dragons towards them. A hauntingly soothing song emitting from her lips. As she moves closer, the eight are treated to the astonishing sight of her bleached white eyes that seem to see nothing and everything as a trail of water continues unabated from her long, silky hair, covering most of her translucent skin.
Measuring each of these threats, the eight back-up to each other, preparing to defend themselves.
"What the fuck are these things?" Gray asks of the group, his frosty hands swirling as he faces down the water creature.
"This one is a phoenix, I'm pretty sure" Natsumi mutters, hands clenching and unclenching.
"And this one?" Laxus snarls, raising his lancer at the Nundu.
"No fucking idea" Gajeel answers for the group, waiting for the first attack.
As one, the two most attuned slayers' heads pop up. "No…" they both admonish, searching the skies as their ears hear familiar wing flaps.
"What is it?" Mira asks, her head threatening to pop off with how much she's snapping her attention between the three creatures.
"DRAGON!" The two slayers scream out as said creature lands only a few meters from them on the open south side, its wings kicking up dust as it does, before leaning towards the encircled group.
"Holy. Shit. We are so dead" Gray announces, staring wide-eyed at the dragon.
"Juvia is now very afraid" she declares, turning her head between the water creature and the dragon.
"Bisca...open a portal...now" Laxus mutters out the side of his mouth to the gun mage, looking down the sights of his gun, aiming for the dragon's eyes.
With as little movement as possible, the woman fumbles with the portal gun, dialing in the coordinates. Activating it, she is startled by the static-like response. Dialing again, the same thing happens.
Now panicking, she dials another code, only to receive the same result.
"It's not working. I can't open it" she whispers as she keeps trying. "I don't think it's broken, I think they've done something to this area to prevent them from working."
"Then we'll have to fight our way out" Natsumi mutters, smirking between the dragon and the phoenix.
In response to this declaration, the feline lets out a cackling sound that belies its appearance, sounding like a mix between a jackal and a hyena. Joining in, the phoenix lets out a shrilling shriek, the flames surrounding it going through all the colors of the spectrum, pulsing with each trill.
Even the strange water creature began shaking, her hair splaying out in an umbrella-esque fashion, water streaming off the now cone-shaped 'do as her shoulders bounce in apparent laughter.
"It would seem we've said something funny" Laxus growls, still staring down the dragon, who, to his annoyance, seemed to be grinning at him.
"That's because you did" a mature female's voice calls down the top of a still-standing building. Several eyes turn towards the woman, weapons and magics still prepared to attack in an instant.
"What, pray tell, was so amusing?" Mira's satanic voice demands of the woman who had a striking resemblance to Sam, if not a bit older..
Unfazed, the woman spins and appears right next to the dragon's head, the crack surprising those who weren't paying attention, making them spin around.
"What the…" Bisca began, before another crack spun them around again, as a short, stocky man appeared between the phoenix and the unknown water creature.
"It's amusing" he began, slowly and deeply, "that the eight of you think you can escape the Dragon." He waves a hand to his right. "Let alone a phoenix, who can find anyone, anywhere, at any time." Waving to his left, he continued. "Or a Rusalka, who, if she wished, could put you all to sleep with her song."
"Or the Nundu" the elder woman finished, indicating the feline. "Who is amongst the fastest land animals on the planet, and most certainly the stealthiest" she concluded as the now identified Nundu's body turned to mist before their eyes, then reverts back to her solid form.
"Call off your hounds" Laxus orders, turning his weapon towards the woman.
This time the dragon did laugh, his whole head bobbing in a low grumble, much to the surprise of the trapped group.
"If you want to point at who is in charge here, young man, I suggest you point it at this guy" the woman admonishes, patting the side of the dragon's jaw.
"All of us here answer to him" another woman's voice sounds out from behind the group. They turn and, instead of the dripping water-woman they'd seen before, a tall, broad-shouldered blonde was in her place.
"So lower your weapons" a more demanding voice instructs them, as the nundu stands up on its hind legs, turning back into a statuesque blonde.
"And none of you will get hurt" another, more aggressive woman's voice proclaims, the phoenix enlarging, its talons becoming legs as the flames form into her hair, settling on her shoulders.
"And if we refuse?" Gray arrogantly asks, his bravado masking his fear and wonder fighting for control.
"Then none of you will leave here alive" a very deep voice echoes, one that sounded eerily like Smaug's to those who were aware of such character. The group slowly turns toward the dragon, fear now dominating six of their faces, the two dragon slayers' canines in full view with their feral smiles.
"I'd like to see you try, Scarface" Natsumi snarls, having noticed a strange cut above the dragon's right eye. To her surprise, the dragon just throws back his head and laughs a deep, bellowing, roaring laugh.
"Even as a dragon, I cannot get a better insult than something with my scar. You truly are a double of Dragneel. He said the same thing" the dragon chuckles. At least, they thought he was chuckling.
"What do you mean, 'as a dragon'?" Mira questions. Turning and glancing at the three women, she turned wide-eyed back to the black dragon, who merely nods, then slowly reverts back to his human form.
To their surprise, a green-eyed, black-haired man steps forward, hands clasped behind him. Looking them all over, he smirked before nodding his head at the three women and the man. Except the redhead, who turn back into a phoenix and vanished, they move beside their leader, hands on various items including, to the eight's confusion, a couple of stick-like objects.
With another flash, this time a large, blue one, ten people appear behind the group, six of which they recognized as their own getting up from the ground where they'd stumbled.
"NATSU!" the pinkette dashes forward, tackling her double in a leaping tackle as both crash to the ground.
"Love rival will share Juvia's boyfriend" the bluenette admonishes, hugging the pinkette tightly.
"Hi guys, what are you all doing here?" the man asked of the group, having managed to stand up, despite two women clinging tightly to him.
"Looking for you, silly" Mira answered, hugging her boyfriend, displaying her 'Property of Natsu Dragneel' shirt proudly.
"You would be Mira" the one of the two blondes from the three newcomers declares, her 'Potter's Pet' shirt on display proudly.
Looking over the shirt with a smile, the take-over mage steps up to the two blondes. "That's right, and who might you be?"
"I'm Gabby, this is Luna" the shorter of the two introduces them, shaking the woman's hand. "And that one is Wanda" she points at the tall redhead that had come with them.
"Pleased to meet you. I like your shirt. Is the good looking man back there this 'Potter'?" Mira asked the two, indicating their shirts.
"He sure is! We'd offer you a shirt, too, but it looks like you're already claimed" Gabby laughs, pointing at the woman's own shirt.
Giggling, she just nods as Sam and Knightwalker roll their eyes before walking over and greeting the rest of their rescue party.
However, Levy, after talking for a moment with the group, just eyed Harry and co, a confused look on her face as she stepped up towards the man. "Y'know, you are entirely too trusting" she says, waving at the eight newcomers. "None of you even had your weapons trained on them. The moment you all turned back to humans, they could have killed you right then and there and escaped."
"You think so?" the man casually asks, as all six just smirk.
"I know so" she counters immediately.
Without responding, Harry forms a gun-like shape with his fingers, points it into the sky, and mimics pulling a trigger. A green light blasts off into the sky, before exploding like a flare gun.
The sound draws everyone's attention, then jaws drop as a dozen helicopters and hover jets appear out of thin air as concealment and disillusionment charms are deactivated, gun turrets targeting the group below.
"Still think I am too trusting?" the raven-haired man asks, his voice heavy with sarcasm and amusement as the accompanying sounds of aircraft fill the air with the cancelling of silencing charms.
Eyeing the now circling aircraft with a smirk, she shakes her head at the man before turning back to her group.
As one of the choppers lands, another blue flash brings another redhead accompanied by a short, silky, black haired woman.
"Seems like the whole gang's here" Harry mutters right before a bushy-haired missile careens into him, somehow managing to stay upright.
"DAMN IT HARRY DON'T DO THAT!" The woman screams into his chest.
"It's ok, 'Mione. It's ok. I'm still here" he cooed, running his fingers through her hair.
"We're gonna return back to base, if there's nothing else, Potter" Lindgren told the man, as he and the woman eye the growing group apprehensively.
"Sure thing. Good work Lindgren, Zabini. We'll be back after we see our visitors off."
"Luna already told everyone that before she portkeyed to Madrid" the mass of hair said into his chest.
"Doesn't hurt to remind them, 'Mione" he chortles, before glancing over and seeing the woman's counterpart eyeing the scene with a mixture of emotions. "It seems your new best friend is having an emotional crisis" he whispers, as the woman's face turns toward the bluenette.
"She wants to be with Dragneel, but is afraid to commit to it" Hermione speculates as the woman in question turns her back.
"Maybe you should go talk to her. You would be the best one to get through to her, wouldn't you say?"
"Yeah, you're probably right" the genius admits, before letting go. "What do I say, though?"
"Just talk to her. Maybe give her a nudge. You don't need to force it, just open her eyes a bit."
Not knowing what else to say, Hermione just nods before walking over the the woman. Whispering to her and getting a questioning look and nod back, the two go for a walk, as Knightwalker and Maximoff shadow them, having their own conversation while keeping an eye on the duo.
"Well, Potter, I gotta say, you certainly have it pretty well here" Dragneel comments, stepping up to the man, both looking over the large group mingling.
"Yeah, it's not bad. If you don't count the constant war over our heads, that is" the man cracks up, getting a snort in return.
"Yeah, I know what you mean. I've spent so much time at war, I forget sometimes what it's like to NOT be fighting" the pinkette conveys. "That's one of the reasons we like exploring the multiverse: to find those worlds without war, and just enjoy ourselves."
"That's not a bad thing, if I'm being completely honest" Harry relents. "I don't even remember the last time we just took some time for ourselves."
"Well… now that you have your own IVD, you can start finding your own paradises."
"True, we could. I'm not sure that we will, but you're right, we could."
The two stand in silence, thinking over the events of the past 48 hours, watching their groups chatting amicably with each other, the hovering aircraft all but ignored.
"You know… I can't help but wonder which of us is stronger" Harry divulges, glancing at the man, who merely smirks back. "Before you all go, wanna find out?"
Now openly smiling, the second man moves a couple meters away and releases a powerful surge of magic that had many stepping back as he covers himself in flames. "I thought you'd never ask" he answers, grinning as his opponent's arms start scaling over.
"I'm all fired up" the pinkette declares, before both men charge each other, fists meeting in the middle.
The Bunker, Carpathian Mountains, Northern Romania
July 22nd, 1700 hours EET.
A woman stalks down the corridor, ignoring the voices coming out of the various room she passes, her right arm cradling a stack of books, searching out her man.
Coming to the room at the end, she lets herself in without knocking, and drops the stack of books on the desk without preamble.
The man sitting behind said desk casually looks up, rotating his arm as if stretching it. "Well hello to you too, Gin. What's this you've brought me?"
"Shoulder still sore from your fight with Dragneel?" she asks, moving around to the rotating arm.
"Yeah. Guy has a killer hook. Still can't believe it was a draw."
"I can't believe you two thought it was a good idea to fight where buildings could fall on you" Ginny abrasively comments, though gently massaging the shoulder.
"Yeah, well, it was a spur-of-the-moment fight. I don't think either of us thought it would drag on for six hours" he retorts, enjoying the wifely treatment.
"Were either of you thinking at all during that fight?" she cackles, ignoring the man's protest by kissing the back of his neck.
"Ok, no, probably not" he relents, taking his arm back and pulling her onto his lap, kissing her soundly.
"I didn't think so" she giggles after coming up for air.
"My ill-advised fight aside, what did you need, love?"
"Remember how I said they seemed like comic book characters?" Ginny asked, receiving a nod in return. "Well… you won't believe what I found in The Archive." She leaned forward and pulled one of the books back.
Handing it to her husband, he stares at it for a few minutes before barking out in laughter. "You have got to be shitting me!"
"Nope! I told you! They were Japanese characters" she giggles. The man shakes his head and drops the book on the table, one fronted by a picture of a grinning, pink-haired man standing foremost of a number of people. The title saying Fairy Tail Volume 63 on it.