Disclaimer: I didn't do it, nobody saw me do it, and you can't prove a thing.

Mercy Doesn't Live Here

Note: Part III – Part I (Odd Ideas 165), Part II (Odd Ideas 166)

They landed badly. Sprawled on a thick red Persian carpet, arms tangled together. Mercy was on her feet in a flash, eyes taking in her surroundings. The walls were made of a stained oak and covered with brass dials and knobs of no apparent purpose. The center of the room was dominated by a large ebony desk behind which was a comfortable looking leather chair.

"What can we do for you today?"

Mercy spun and found what appeared to be a half sized man standing in a doorway she'd have sworn hadn't existed a half second before.

"Forgive me." The man snapped his fingers a he walked past her to the desk. "Please, have a seat." He waved, drawing her attention to two chairs that now stood facing the desk.

'Tell him you wish to draw a bit of gold and that you will need a letter of credit.'

Mercy dutifully repeated the voice's instructions.

'Tell him that you shall require a set of apartments in Geneva.'

"Did you have a place in mind?" the small man asked.

'It will have to be close to an academy of self-defense owned by Pierre Vigny. Tell him that you understand that the bank holds titles to three suitable properties.'

IIIIIIIIII

Amelia awoke redoubtably when the door to her, now private, room opened to admit her former training officer.

"You've moved up in the world," the scarred man commented with a grin. "Had you in a double room when you were a mere watch commander and look at you now."

"Blame the head of my new security detail for that," Amelia replied. "Or I suppose I could skip the middle-man and go straight to blaming you since I know you were the one who appointed her."

"Hand picked each one," Moody agreed cheerfully. "Got the take from Malfoy if you want to hear the highlights."

"I assume you've secured this room?" Amelia asked dryly.

"And I've got three I trust in the room below you, to each side of you, behind, and above," the man agreed.

"That good?"

"Fudge's life is likely over," Moody replied. "Might be able to squeak through without spending time in Azkaban, but we've got enough to force the bastard into resigning."

"Couldn't happen to a nicer guy," Amelia said with a grin.

"That's the good news," Moody said cheerfully. "You want the bad."

"Go ahead."

"Bagnold's passing wasn't as natural as we'd assumed. She was removed to cover several things up including the fact that she'd been paid to ensure Sirius Black never got a trial."

"What?" Amelia frowned. "Why in the hell would Malfoy care about that?"

"Lucius was trying to maneuver it so his boy would inherit and was concerned about what would come out in court," Moody explained. "He and several others were also worried about our former Minister staying bought. Fudge seemed a safer choice, corruptible, stupid, and ignorant. Bagnold knew where every skeleton was buried because she'd been the one to burry them."

"Get Black out of Azkaban and into a holding cell. I want to know what Lucius was afraid of," Amelia ordered. "Come to think of it, I want every Death Eater questioned under verataserium to get every bit of information they've got."

"Sent a couple to bring Black back. I'll have them bring back another when we take him back."

"Any other bombshells?"

"The names of a dozen we never identified the last time." Moody's grin was a terrifying thing to behold. "I'm thinking since they never got trials of any sort, it might be time to rectify that."

"Wait till after we've gotten everything we can from the ones we have hands on and make a mass arrest," Amelia ordered. "Anyone leaks a thing and their life is over."

"I'll handle it," Moody agreed happily. "See if I can get enough to file new charges against the ones that bought acquittals too."

"Any other bombshells?"

"Nothing much, we've got the locations of a couple caches of illegal dark artifacts and we know about a couple hidey holes in his mansion."

"Good work." The woman sagged. "What a bloody mess," she sighed. "We have anything on the fate of Harry Potter?"

"No body, for what that's worth. We've been picking through the hag's hut. Plenty of signs that she'd been preying on the local population and holiday makers, no sign that any of her victims had been magical."

"Guess that's something." Amelia pinched the bridge of her nose. "I want the bastards who did this, Alastor, I want them so badly I can taste it."

IIIIIIIIII

Amelia felt a familiar pang when she saw Sirius Black sitting outside her office door, just as she had every day for the six years since the man's innocence had been revealed to a shocked wizarding world.

"Any news, Madame Bones?" the gaunt man asked, the barest spark of hope in his eye.

"Not yet," she said, trying to force herself to sound cheerful. "But maybe today'll be the day."

"Maybe," he agreed. The man seemed to collapse in on himself. "Thank you, Madame Bones."

"Just remember not to give up hope," she replied.

"I'll just stay here and wait in case any news comes," Sirius said. "Wouldn't want to waste time having to come here if you're right."

"Stay as long as you like," she said, mouthing the same words she did every day.

He looks worse, she thought to herself. Released from prison only to build himself another. For six years the man had come to the Department the second the doors opened to the public, for six years the man had waited outside her door hoping to hear some news, any news about his missing godson. For six years he'd been disappointed and lost another piece of his will to live.

She stepped past the man and into her office. "Flint," she said, a second after she'd keyed the intercom. "Have someone take some tea and sandwiches to Sirius, make sure he eats them."

"Yes, boss," her aide's tinny voice replied. "Should I have another word with one of his cousins?"

"I'll do it," she said, unwilling to delegate the task. She un-keyed the mike. "Damn it." Six years and not one bloody lead, six years to kill any hope she'd one had of finding the boy alive.

She tossed a pinch of floo into the fire. "Home of the Pure."

"What can the Black house do for the Department of Magical Law Enforcement today, Madame Bones?" Narcissa Black asked calmly.

"Andy's girl have time to take her Head of House out to lunch today?"

"I do not believe so," Narcissa replied calmly. "I'm afraid she'd spending the day with her father, learning the family business."

"Is anyone available?" Amelia asked desperately. "He's . . . he's not doing very good today."

"His godson's birthday was yesterday," Narcissa stated. "He'd be entering his fourth year if-" The woman's lips pursed. "I shall give my son thirty galleons with the instructions that he is to spend at least half of it at Zonko's."

"Thank you, Narcissa."

"It is the duty of every member of the house to look after the head in difficult times," the woman stated, cutting the connection.

IIIIIIIIII

The Man of Steel's eyes cracked open. Instantly, his lightening quick mind identified the cause; an ultrasonic alarm in the city museum. It was a common, if unpublicized, component installed by several of the city's more prominent buildings. The fact that it was not accompanied but an alarm audible to the average citizen or the sounds he associated with a police response indicated a higher class of villain, one that merited his direct involvement.

In a flash, the city's mighty defender was out of his apartment and flying towards the disturbance. Slowing to a hover, he used his X-Ray vision to reconnoiter the situation.

There were two of them. Children, a boy and a girl. Interestingly, something blocked his vision from seeing through their skin and clothing.

The first, the girl wore a red dress that wouldn't have been out of place on a flapper during the prohibition era, her face obscured by a black domino mask. The second, the boy was dressed a black three piece suit with matching bowler hat, his face obscured by what appeared to be a large green apple. Nice to see that someone involved had a sense of humor, he hoped they didn't choose to express it the same way as the rogues of Gotham.

Silently, he opened the skylight and allowed himself to sink slowly to hover before the two. "Now would be the best time to give yourselves up," he said calmly. "I don't want to have to hurt either one of you."

The boy's head tilted for a moment. "Your sort of thing, I think, my dear," he said with south-east English accent.

"There's no need for this," Superman said firmly, not liking the idea of fighting a child. "We can still talk about things."

"I'd take you up on that offer if not for two things," the boy stated. He held up a finger. "The first is that I suspect our conversation would end with the two of us in handcuffs."

"The second?" the last son of Krypton asked.

"I don't like talking," the girl stated with a north eastern American accent as she slipped on a pair of brass knuckles.

The power held in the first punch came as a surprise. The girl's speed was far beyond human, her strength approached his own. The fight raged through the room, until the tide began to turn. The girl's technique was amazing, but she was unable to make compensate for his greater natural abilities.

"Give it up," he commanded. "You can't win this."

"Nope," she agreed cheerfully. "But I had to try."

The hero wasn't sure what happened next. One moment, he was sure his victory would allow him to bring the two to justice. The next he was on the ground wrapped in ropes that not even his monumental strength could break.

"Bout time you decided to step in," the girl said, sounding amused.

"Wanted to make sure you had as much fun as we had time for," the boy stated. "Did you?"

"I did," the girl replied. "His technique is fairly good for a beginner. Flight also added something to the experience."

"Perhaps you'll get another chance after you've both had a chance to improve," the male voice said calmly. "Please understand that this is nothing personal. Good night."

The world went dark.

IIIIIIIIII

"We need to go back to England," Mercy said suddenly. "There's a man we need to kill."

"Alright," Harry agreed. "Anything else we can take care of while we're there?"

"There's an item you should buy." She pursed her lips. "I'll let you know what it is when we get there."

Harry offered Mercy his arm. "Best be about it, then."

IIIIIIIIII

Superman awoke to the concerned faces of a dozen museum guards and police. The ropes were gone and his head felt a bit fuzzy.

"What'd they get?" the Man of Steel groaned.

"Nothing so far as we can tell," the lead guard stated. "It'll take some time to go through all the displays to be sure, but it doesn't look like anything is missing."

"Are you alright?" one of the uniformed policemen blurted. '

"I believe so." He rose to his feet. "Just embarrassed I made such a rookie mistake."

"What mistake?"

"Didn't the security tapes get everything?" Superman asked.

"We haven't checked them yet, sir. Had our hands full trying to figure out how to get you some help."

"Has the league been notified?"

"It has, Superman," the officer replied. "They said they'd have someone here in-" he checked his watch. "Two more minutes."

"Would it be possible to get a copy of the security tapes?" Metropolis' protector asked.

IIIIIIIIII

'It felt odd to be alone.' Harry reflected to himself as he walked down Diagon Alley. 'Odd to be back in his home country as well. Still.' He entered the shop. 'Needs must.'

"Ah," the creepy old man said. "Mister-"

"Smyth," Harry interrupted. "At least while there's still a chance of doing things the easy way."

"The easy way?"

"You give me the wand you know is mine, I give you gold, I walk out of here, you continue breathing for the foreseeable future."

"Exactly what would the hard way entail, Mr. Smyth?" the creepy old man asked. "I ask only to satisfy my curiosity, you understand."

"I still walk out of here with my wand, but only after doing something unpleasant to you. You are no longer breathing when I walk out," Harry replied. "Well?"

"Just to be sure, the easy way has me keeping your name to myself?"

"At least until I've concluded my purchase and left your shop," Harry agreed. "Let's say you can sell any information you've managed to glean an hour and a half after that."

"One moment, please." The old man handed him a box. "I believe this is what you came here to buy, Mr. Smyth."

Harry took the box and glanced inside. "You believe wrong. Please do not do that again."

"Of course." The old man smiled. "One has to be sure, you understand."

"Once."

"Of course," the old man repeated himself. "I believe your wand is sitting on a red velvet pillow in the window display. Will you require anything else today?"

"The usual accessories, thank you."

"Of course, Mr. Smyth. Your total is fifteen Galleons plus a standard fee of five for scaring an old man and another five for ruining my fun."

"Here you are." Harry handed over a sack. "Good day, sir."

"Good day to you, Mr. Smyth."

IIIIIIIIII

Alastair awoke to darkness and screams. The last thing he remembered was leaving his house to check the perimeter and then he was here. Helpless and at the mercy of someone who likely had none.

"I am going to remove the hood for a split second," a girl's voice purred in his ear. "Do not try to move your head, do not try to move your eyes, do not open your eyes without permission. When permission is given, you are only to look straight ahead while I count to ten. There is a man, I want you to try to identify him. Do you understand?"

"Yes," he growled. "What happens if I don't follow your instructions?"

"I will kill you," she said bluntly. "As things are, you have a chance. You are not my target, you are someone who may or may not be able to provide me with a piece of information. Do you understand?"

"Yes."

"Good." The hood came off. "Open your eyes. One . . . two . . . three-" It took a moment to adjust to the change in light and another to recognize the figure before him. It wasn't possible, he was dead, it just wasn't.

Close your eyes," the female voice purred. The hood went back on, a good sign.

"You recognize him," the voice stated.

"I do," he agreed.

"His name."

"Barty Crouch Junior. A deadman."

"You are free to choose whether to answer any questions from this point. There is no penalty for refusing to answer a question but know that if you do, I will stop asking them."

"And I won't have a chance to learn more about you by hearing what you want to know," Moody snorted. "Ask."

"Do you know why he kidnapped you?" a second, softer, voice asked curiously.

"I didn't know he was the one who did it," Moody admitted. "Thought it was you lot."

"It was not. Why did you call him a deadman?"

"He was supposed to have died in prison years ago." Moody scowled. "His father is going to have to answer some questions on how his son came to be out and alive."

"Do you know what happened to the-boy-who-lived?"

"No. I know it's more than the official story, Unspeakables say that someone worked some very old magic with the poor kid after killing his aunt an uncle, boy's cousin who was also in the house didn't have a mark on him."

"You didn't get anything from Malfoy after the arrest?"

"Don't know that it was Lucius Malfoy, despite the fact he got the bloody kiss for it. Don't even know if he was involved."

"You framed an innocent man?"

"I presented every scrap of evidence I found and the Minister decided to make Lucius the fall guy. Couldn't have happened to anyone better."

There was the sound of footsteps followed by the unmistakeable sound of a neck being twisted until it snapped.

"The ropes should disappear in three hours, I'll be very disappointed if it takes you that long." Her laugh was like a waterfall made of ice. "It'll be very bad for you if it takes less than fifteen or so minutes.

"I'll just relax for a bit before freeing myself, shall I?" Moody asked dryly.

"It's always nice to work with professionals. Have a good retirement."

"You think I'm not getting recalled after this?" Moody snorted.

IIIIIIIIII

Batman stared at the League's premiere magic user.

"You know who they are," the Dark Knight stated.

"No one knows who they are," Zatana rebutted. "I've heard some rumors, that's all."

"Well?"

"Power and Perfection," Zatana stated. "Least that's what I've heard they sometimes call each other. They popped up in Mexico two years ago, said they were looking for an obsidian dagger."

"Like the ones used by the Aztecs to make sacrifices?"

"No, not like. They wanted an original." She frowned. "It's the sort of thing that sounds alarm bells, normally the sort of people who are after that sort of thing are-" She gave an involuntary shudder. "-local law enforcement was keeping a very close eye on them because of that."

The woman opened her mouth to say more and closed it. Then, with a deep breath she continued.

"I'm told they walked past a dozen fakes, didn't even glance down at them, to get to the one genuine. Power, the boy, picked it up and examined it for several seconds, paid, and broke it. Had the girl cut it in half with another knife and burned it to slag with a spell."

The woman's grin was a thing to behold.

"I'm told the Officers watching were so shocked they let them go, contact of mine said there was a curse on the blade wouldn't go into details, just that it was one of the mysteries of magic best left unplumbed, said the thing that scared him the most was that two kids not only knew what it was but how to destroy it. The Authorities did some checking, there are currently no known original daggers in Mexico. Each was replaced with a perfect fake."

"Any other stories?"

"I heard they've successfully raided several tombs in Egypt," Zatana said.

"Grave robbers," one of the other League members said in disgust.

"It's considered a noble profession in some magical cultures," Zatana explained with a shrug. "Thirty tombs in the same time it take a full team to do three. It's the sort of thing that gets you noticed, having possession of that much gold and knowledge is something that gets attention."

"What happened?"

"Thirty bandits attacked. None survived. It's said their teamwork is impeccable, you dodge a punch from her and run into one of his spells. You duck one of his spells and open yourself up for her to finish you."

IIIIIIIIII

Albus sprang out of the public floo in the Ministry Lobby and approached the elevator at a dead run.

"No time to get my wand checked," he called over his shoulder. "I have news that must be shared immediately."

The ride to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement was almost agonizingly long.

"Sirius!" the old man called out the second the doors cracked. "Sirius! He's alive!"

The man was at his customary seat by the Director's door, eyes intent.

"He's alive, Sirius! I just got the news from Olivander, he bought his wand today!"