A/N: A request or few was made to see the infiltrators punished, and well… who am I to argue with a little… (sniff)... retribution?
Beta Love: The Dragon and the (Wily) Rose
A/N (Random): Arby's has switched to Coke products and no longer offers Brisk juicy peach green tea. I refuse to go there again, curly fries or no, due to this travesty.
In Space No One Can Hear You Cast Fiendfyre: Epilogue
If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge?
Justice done, Ronald Weasley decided that he'd never felt better before in his life. Finally, he was at the very peak of popularity. His career with the Aurors in combination with a side job playing Keeper for his favourite Quidditch team, the Chudley Cannons, gave him as much as he ever wanted to eat, young lusty witches that vied for his attentions, and of course loads of lovely golden galleons were piling up in his vault. Without a doubt, this was the posh life that Ronald Bilius Weasley had always been destined for.
Harry suspected something when Hermione disappeared suddenly, missing her weekly Sunday brunch gathering with Harry and his little sister. The Raven and the Lyrebird Apothecary had closed down under suspicious circumstances, and Harry asked a great many annoying questions.
Thankfully, the contacts that had taken care of Ron's extra-special contract job hadn't left any magical evidence behind at all, thanks to them all being Muggle.
It was all Hermione's fault, anyway. She should have fought for him instead of just letting things happen as they would. Then Hermione would have "won" him, and Lavender would blame Hermione and not him, and he could have still had Lavender on the side too.
But that stupid girl had to go and muck things up.
Their loss, though. Now he could have any girl he wanted.
He was popular. He didn't have to be poor and unpopular like his parents. He didn't have to work for his brother, George. He got plenty of money all on his own, making wanted criminals disappear off the face of the Earth. It was all win-win. Well, except for the poor bastards themselves. But hey, that wasn't his problem anymore, was it?
Harry seemed to think it was pretty odd that the people they wanted to bring in for questioning kept vanishing into thin air— but thankfully no one shared his concerns for the disappearance of supposed Death Eaters and Dark wizards and witches.
There had only been one, slight miscalculation when he'd tried to send out a distress Patronus targeted to Hermione and Snape to lure them out of the Leaky. He'd meant for it to appear like an Order distress call, but instead if called every Order member in the vicinity—
Hermione, Snape, McGonagall— even Lavender had come.
He had had high hopes that he and Lavender could have come to an understanding of sorts, but it was really her fault for not having more faith in him. There was more than enough of him to share. He could quite happily lay down a few times a day and satisfy even more than just two!
He did wonder what had happened to George though. He was supposed to be off negotiating financial backing for a WWW chain in the States— he wasn't even supposed to be around that night. His mother was utterly despondent, as usual, still far too preoccupied with Fred's death to even contemplate George being gone too. She didn't even seem to care that he was actually doing well, for once.
As he let himself into his luxurious Diagon Alley flat, he promptly threw off his Auror uniform and left it in a pile by the door, not even bothering to hand it up. The head house elf would get it. He finally had a few now, unlike growing up when his family only had a sodding useless ghoul in the attic.
Oh, sure, it passed for HIM when the Ministry came looking for him when he was out with Harry and Hermione to find the Horcruxes, but that didn't really count. Psh.
He grabbed the bottle of firewhisky on the side table and just drank directly from the bottle, letting the burn warm him up. A flicker of parchment caught his eye, and he turned his head to see an envelope sealed— well, he wasn't quite sure what it was sealed with, to be perfectly honest. It looked kind of like dried tree sap. "Ronniekins" was written in George's familiar highly ornate, over-the-top scrawl that tried really hard to be properly formal penmanship.
"About fucking time you wrote, Georgie," Ron spat, taking another swig. "I hope you went and told mum where your sorry arse has been all this time. She done thought you went and died on her like Fred."
Ron wrinkled his nose and reached for the envelope.
A knock came at his door.
Ron sighed. "It had better be a girl," he said, standing up. He walked over to the door and opened it.
Harry walked in without saying anything.
"Well, come right the fuck on in, mate," Ron grunted.
Harry said nothing, doing that pacing motion he had perfected since he'd been promoted to head Auror. He clasped his hands behind his back as he walked around the flat, stopping at the window to peer out to the street below.
"Ron," Harry's voice said.
Harry turned from the window and looked at him. "Where were you the night Hermione disappeared?"
"Me?" Ron sputtered. "I was the one who sent the distress signal when I was ambushed."
"I didn't see them."
"So you sent out an Order distress call without knowing for sure who it was."
Ron glared at his childhood friend. "I knew I was in danger. Isn't that enough?"
"We lost Hermione, Severus, McGonagall, Lavender, and George on that night, Ron," Harry said sharply. "In the blink of an eye. No trace. Nothing. Just your word that you had been attacked."
"I was attacked!"
"Yet you had no injuries, Ron. None at all. Not even a scratch."
"A bloke can't dodge?"
Harry rubbed his beard— something he had started to grow when he first married Ginny. He closed his eyes, shaking his head. "These attackers attack you first, then take five other people— two of whom who survived two wars, and Hermione was as hair-triggered as a Niffler shiny things falling from the sky. George was no slouching idiot, and Lavender was not exactly a lazy caster after what she did cursing you after…"
"What are you trying to say, Harry? You think I can't take care of myself?"
Harry shook his head. "I'm saying, I think you took care of yourself all too well."
"Wot?" Ron blurted. "What are you talking about, Harry?"
"I know how much this flat costs, Ron," Harry said.
"You spying on me, mate?"
"Matter of public record, Ron," Harry said coolly. "I know exactly what this place costs. And whenever you're not working, you're constantly partying and living the high life. I know how much an Auror makes. I know what a Quidditch player makes, even if they're like a major star like Viktor Krum, who plays full-time. I'm saying you're living way beyond your means, even with your Auror and part-time Quidditch pay combined." Harry looked him squarely in the eye. "Every single assignment I gave you, the subjects you were supposed to bring in for interrogation always vanished into thin air."
"So, I'm supposed to catch someone all the time?"
"Vanished without even a trace. Even Dark witches and wizards leave traces of their inherent magic, Ron. And there is only one thing that doesn't leave a trace whenever a magical disappears."
"Someone really clever," Ron snorted.
"Muggles. The one thing we don't ever bother to trace for," Harry said. "We're so confident in our magic that we don't even bother thinking that a mere Muggle could take one of us out, let alone many. We trace for magic. For Dark magic. For light magic. Not Muggle technology."
"You think a bunch of non-magical people subdued a bunch of—"
"I sent photographs of the scene to a friend in Scotland Yard," Harry's hard voice seemed to echo in the room. "I figured they might see something I missed. They're SOCO, afterall. They've seen this stuff happening all over London. People disappearing. Usually caught on CCTV being stuffed into unmarked vehicles that are found stripped of all identification and burned. Imagine my dismay, Ron, when they gave me this picture."
Harry threw the photo in question down on the table.
Ron's eyes widened in horror as he saw a photo of a few obviously unconscious people being shoved into a nondescript white van as a large sack of quid were being passed over to Ron himself— a frozen frame taken from a Muggle surveillance camera.
"That's some kind of neat trick," Ron said rather shakily as he stared at the picture.
"I'd tend to agree, had that scene not been repeated in images taken from five other cameras from the very same area," Harry snapped. "What the hell were you thinking, Ron? You're a sodding Auror for Merlin's sake!"
"It's a trick, Harry," Ron said desperately. "Look, that letter there proves George is still around. Not stuffed in some Muggle car!"
Harry narrowed his eyes. "I didn't show you the photo of George being put in a automobile, Ron."
Ron hastily reached for the envelope from George— his final hope to save himself from the massive pile of lies he had built around himself. If George was okay, surely everything else would go away. He could pawn it off as a sick but harmless joke.
Ron was yanked hard by the navel into a crazily twisting vortex— an eerie ghostly hourglass turning forward over and over before it swirled in on itself and disappeared with a final pop.
Harry pulled out a folded parchment from his robes and opened it, his face filled with grief and torment. "Take care of yourself, Hermione."
If you get this, and I really hope you do— then everything went as it should have— but it also means that I am gone. I don't know where, exactly, at this point, but I want you to know that you can't do anything about it. You can't find me because some major changes have happened to me and the others, in a place where you'll never find us.
Harry, this will be very hard for you to read, to believe, so I have enclosed a vial of memories— well, this letter itself is the vial— and when you are done reading it, just say the words "Weyland Yutani" and it will turn to a vial of my memories. The memories will show you that we were stolen away by an evil we couldn't even being to understand. The terror of Voldemort was nothing compared to ordinary human greed. Pure, unadulterated, corporate greed.
We're far into the future, Harry. Sealed in suspended animation for upwards of four hundred years, Harry. It took all of our combined magic to craft a very special letter.
George wrote it for his little brother, "thanking" Ron for his betrayal.
He betrayed us all, Harry.
He lured us to our fate with a fake Order distress call, and we were systematically taken out by a Muggle militarised kidnapping squad armed with hypodermics.
He sold us out for money and vengeance, pettiness and greed.
They did terrible, unspeakable things to us, Harry. Things that changed us forever. Something about our magic kept us alive when so many others died. Lavender didn't make it— her magic wasn't strong enough to protect her life. Or, perhaps the experiment they used on her was somehow different. I don't know for sure. All I know is that Ron killed her, Harry. His actions led directly to her death, and in the vial you will see every horrific detail of her sacrifice.
You will see what humanity does in its desire to fast-track evolution.
You will see it fail— and yet succeed.
But it not a pretty thing, Harry. It is what normal people would call nightmares. It is life at its most brutal. It is pure survival— and I and the others, we cannot return home, ever. You will understand when you see the memories.
We could return, but we would only destroy the world we loved. We wouldn't be able to help ourselves. We are genetically strong survivors, and the greed of the majority of Earth— people who want power at any cost— would try to seek us out and attempt to tame us, but we cannot be tamed. We cannot be reasoned with on their terms.
The survivors here are all victims, Harry.
Many were tampered with. Were experimented on. Many are considered failures. None of us can return.
Here, we can live as we are now. We can survive together. We will, and we will thrive, Harry.
But there is one last thing I must ask of you, Harry.
Please let karma have its due.
There are 7,466 people that were taken to be experimented on, and a score of them were people we knew. I will list the ones that were from our magical world, Harry. Give their families peace in whatever way you can, but assure them that the one who did it to them will be— has been— dealt with. I promise you this, Harry.
There were a great many women and children— and most of them are dead. Those that survived cannot ever return. Our genetics have been too drastically altered— too dangerous, even dormant.
Here, I can keep them from killing. There, they would happily, emotionlessly murder you and even their own loved ones.
Here— they have a chance to live out a somewhat normal life, yes, harboring the potential to become a monster, but hopefully not. I cannot risk any of them ever returning to you, Harry. It would only take one— a single flip of a genetic switch— and even a lifelong friend would become murderer, assassin, and the dark evil that lurks in the heart of the unknown.
I will take care of them, Harry. I, Severus, and Minerva— we will temper the hounds of hell in the hopes that the innocent will remain so.
Please, tell my parents that I love them, and that I— have to leave for a very long time, and I don't know when I will be able to come back. Take whatever you want from my flat and my vaults, and help the families that I will list for you. It is all I can do, now.
Let karma tend to karma, Harry.
I love you, my dear brother.
P.S. Tell Draco he was right. I am a monster. The queen of all monsters, in fact, and I am happy.
Ron landed hard in a humid, dark place that smelled of an organic otherness that he couldn't quite place. He hastily pulled out his wand and cast a Lumos to find himself in an expansive cavern covered in something so far from normal that his brain refused to even place it in a category.
It looked somehow… alive. It looked like skeletons had mated with a ruddy nightmare, and whatever it had thrown up was plastered all over the walls.
"Bloody hell," he said, his freckled nose wrinkling in distaste.
"George!" Ron yelled. "What the hell?"
The shadows around him moved, but no answer came.
"Hello, little brother," came a very familiar voice from above.
George's red hair shone bright against the back walls— even as the slime dripped from every surface in a disgustingly unnatural manner. He was— bound by some thick black cords, dangling above him like a marionette.
"The hell, George?" Ron said, pointing his wand at him.
"Oh, don't mind the accomodations," George said easily. "I'm here just in case I change."
"Yeah, baby brother, change. Thanks to you."
"What kind of change?" Ron said blankly.
"Oh, you know, the kind that involves me leaping down on you and shoving a secondary mouth into your skull," George said with a decidedly evil grin. "See, we all react differently to the experiments we were used in, and Hermione was worried I might change for a different reason than she or the others did. She thought I needed a special trigger."
"Yeah— like you, for instance."
"Hermione is here?"
"Of course she's here. She's everywhere. She knows everything her most terrible children know."
"What the hell are you talking about George; you're making no sense at all. Have you gone bloody daft?"
"She saved us," George said. "We owe her everything. And you— we owe you a very… special, thank you."
"She regrets that she cannot come to thank you in person," George said, almost whimsically. "Severus is busy fertilising, and we all know better than to interrupt that."
"The FUCK, Snape?" Ron blurted.
"Oh, I wouldn't worry about him. I expect they'll be coupling for at least a good week. There are lot of eggs, after all. She gets so self-conscious about the ovipositor." George's face was twisted into a nigh-maniacal grin.
Ron started to tremble, but he had no idea why. He was terrified, but had nothing to connect it to. George was up there, talking complete nonsense, and yet—
Something deep in his gut was telling Ron that he should not stick around any longer, that it would not be a good thing for his continued health and well-being. Not at all. He stumbled and ran— blindly into the connecting tunnel.
George frowned. "Aw, now why do you have to be like that, little brother— it just," he trailed off as his body shook and he let out a low moan. "It just gets me all… excited."
His jaw cracked as clear drool poured from his mouth andx his tongue hardened as it lashed, the shape twisting into an inner mouth filled with secondary fangs even as his human teeth fell out and were replaced by jutting, crystalline fangs.
His body twitched behind the resin as he cried out in partial human and more and more alien screechings. His body seemed to swell, pulse, splits forming in his pink, human skin.
George screamed as his mutated body burst from his old one like a warped cocoon. His elongated head tilted back as he gave an inhuman screech signaling the hunt. His new body landed on the floor as deftly as a cat, and his lips pulled back from his bared, glistening teeth.
Here Ronnie, Ronnie, Ronnie-kins.
George tore off down the corridor, caught up in the thrill of the hunt. His body moved quickly and fluidly, his claws gaining purchase where his old, human body would have slipped, tripped, and fallen. He smelled Ron's terror, and he liked it. He wanted to bathe in it with his blood.
Gone were any lingering feelings of familial loyalty—
The only family that mattered to him now was the hive and She-Who-Saved-Us-All. Especially She-Who-Saved-Us-All.
Her voice was the song.
The song was life.
Her caress was the wondrous bliss of absolute belonging.
He would gladly throw himself into danger to preserve her precious life. He would gladly hunt for her, guard her, bring back whatever she so desired, if only she would allow him to rub up against her and confirm the glory of that unending bliss. The part of him that had been George Weasley gladly gave up his will to his newfound alien instincts as the rapture of the hunt completely intoxicated him.
Had he still been human, he would have said it was better than sex, better than any potion, better than any drug.
He lunged after his once-brother, sensing his terrified screams, and homing in on his body heat— the every exhaling of his putrid, human breath. His quarry had tripped again, this time in the middle of the next chamber ahead. He was screaming at the top of his lungs. He could smell his shite— the stench of his bowels having been involuntarily loosed in his pants. George's jaws lowered as his secondary mouth cocked to make the strike.
George instantly dropped to the ground in mid-leap, groveling on the ground as the queen's sharp command thrummed throughout the entire hive. He crawled to her, abasing himself against her to placate her anger.
He never meant to anger her.
He would never disobey her.
He clattered his inner mouth, extending it in placation.
He-Who-Watches rose up beside She-Who-Saved-Us-All, his low, rumbling hiss joining his mate's. George groveled to him as well, clattering his mouth and rubbing against his body like a cat.
The queen's head touched his head, her drool dripping over his carapace. Immediately, the cloud of instinctual hunting rage faded away— and George finally remembered George. The clarion call of the hunt finally eased, and the drive dissipated.
Hermione? He remembered the words, forming them in his mind.
George, her voice was calm and yet like ice. Please introduce our guest to one of my children.
George smiled, his fangs exposed completely in a malicious, alien grin. He caressed one of the nearby eggs and it unfolded as the facehugger inside was pumped full of fueling acid blood.
George reached into the egg, pulling out the facehugger.
Give me a kiss, little brother, he projected into Ron's terrified mind, seeing that he heard him when Ron jerked his head up, his eyes very wide and even more fearful. I promise, you will never, ever, forget it.
Ron's scream was cut off by the resounding SCCHHHHHHLUCK! of a facehugger's enthusiastic latch onto a human face as it shoved its proboscis down his throat, wrapped its tail around his neck and squeezed.
As Ron's body twitched fitfully on the floor, the praetorian purred at his mate, resuming his courtship and worship of his beloved queen's most gloriously sexy body. She hissed her eager approval as they resumed their entwined pleasure as if nothing had ever happened— even as George quickly bowed his way back out of the egg chamber before He-Who-Watches took off his head for being too close to his queen during their enthusiastic mating.
"Do you think all the screaming is getting too old?"
Hermione nestled into her mate, purring softly, both sets of her arms working to entice her mate's attention. "Did you plan for that potion we drank before our coupling to produce healing and nutritive potions to come from our highly enthusiastic, facehugging children?"
"Pity it only works on organisms with no mutations," Severus replied, giving a heavy, mental sigh.
"Oh, I'm sure you are so unhappy, Severus," Hermione nudged him.
"I will keep working on the original intention to protect the villagers from our children," he said.
Hermione nuzzled him. "I would expect no less of you, my love. You are… a most wonderful mate. And you smell really fantastic right now."
Severus hissed in clear approval. "Shall we make a few more test batches, love? We seem to have a conveniently indisposed test subject waiting with bated breath for our children's loving facial embrace."
Hermione snuggled up to him. "Yes, please."
The nearby drones and warriors quickly scampered out of the royal chamber, obeying their queen's silent command to vacate the premises.
"Yes, my most glorious queen?"
"What did you name your new potion?"
Severus gave her a many-fanged grin. "Karma's a Bitch."
Hermione let out a piercing shriek of alien laughter as she accepted her mate's coupling, drowning out the continual piteous, whimpering screams of He-Who-Was-Karma's-Bitch.
(Really, I mean it this time.)
Facehuggers dressed as plush spiders:
Yay! Happy ending!
Well… for most of them, anyway.
Not for Ron.
Yeah, definitely not for Ron.
Mummy says our hugs are the best!
We should go hug his face some more.
He really looks like he needs a hug, doesn't he?
Oh, me first!
Hey, I wanted to go first!
Get in line!
Oi, wait for me!
Damn, now we all have to wait our turn.
Watch your language. Mummy doesn't like us cursing.
Let's go prank Uncle George.
The facehuggers scurry off into the depths of the hive.