Disclaimer; under no circumstances should you trust someone who "knows a guy" when it comes to business, stuff doesn't fall off trucks, and Bob is NOT your uncle.
Breaking out of the Hospital was more work than Harry expected. Evidently the nurses and healers had placed their own alarm spells on the hallway around his door because no sooner did he leave his room than two nurses whisked him off to the loo and tucked him back into bed with a warning that he should just use the bedpan next time unless he wanted to injure himself again. Eventually they just decided to ignore subterfuge and just leave even if they had to dodge half the hospital staff while they screamed about resting. That's about what happened too, the Wizarding world wanted to keep track of their boy hero now that they had him again, but eventually Harry and his men got out and after ditching the hospital gown and anything else that could be connected to the hospital in a alleyway before donning fresh clothes they returned to headquarters.
The scene that greeted them however was not what Harry expected to find. There was a shouting match going on between the two squads that had been on the raid that was clearly getting out of hand since their leaders were otherwise occupied. Harry could see Ivan and Pavil gearing up to tear into their troops but Harry raised his hand to stop them. He wanted to be a leader, so it was time he started acting like one. "SILENCE!"
The noise stopped at once and everyone straightened up quickly in something loosely resembling "attention."
"Just what is going on here?" Harry demanded firmly. "I'm gone for a few hours and I come back to find you tearing at each other's throats? You are a team, act like it! Now someone explain, quickly."
Seeing the officers behind Harry looking stern, one of the medics who hadn't been involved spoke for the group. "There was just a minor disagreement about how to divide the captured assets. It's nothing to worry about, umm, sir."
"Then let me settle this right now. No one is getting anything that was taken last night. Some of it will be discreetly sold; half of the money will be set aside for the platoon as a whole. The other half will be distributed equally among the soldier who went out last night no matter what role they played. The rest of the captured stuff which cannot be sold openly will be used to help build a network of contacts and informants. Any money gained will be distributed the same way but it's more important to get to know who does what than it is to get the best price." Harry stopped himself when he noticed he was getting off track. "There will be no fighting here. I've put up with the competitive attitudes and games so far because it built teamwork, but if this going to become a problem I'll put my foot down. You've got a problem, come to me or your squad leaders. Let us handle it and you focus on your jobs. Am I clear?"
"Yes SIR!" barked the soldiers as one. Boot Camp trumped rational thought any day of the week. If it acted like an officer, salute it and try not to piss it off.
"Good now I want to see all the captured stuff on the table of the conference room in one hour." Harry pointed to two of the men who'd had their wands out when Harry entered the room. "You two, I want the main room clean enough to eat off of the floor. No magic."
As he stormed out of the room to get changed into something presentable, Harry was amused to hear his men come back to life.
"What the hell was that?" One asked.
"They take off his arm and it just pisses him off… He's the real deal." Another said proudly.
"Alright, everybody listen up because I'm only going to say this once." After a quick cleaning charm to get rid of the blood, Harry had donned the Captain's uniform he acquired after being shot in Afghanistan and was now looking over all his employees still in Britain. "Until further notice your schedules are worthless. I'm mixing thing up a bit so you won't be pulling the usual jobs. You boys in Med squad and the Dragon clan are taking over patrols. Work with your squad leaders and make up schedules to visit every client at least once a day. I'm sorry for the extra work but that's the way it is. Shadow Squad, I don't care how it happens but I'd like to see maps, locations, type, and preferred clientele of every Wizarding business in England and Wales by the end of the week. Moonlight I know you've got a full moon this week so you're pulling light duty. Go slumming, barhopping, whatever you want to call it. Take a bit of coin and listen to whatever people start babbling when they're drunk or greedy."
"At the end of next week, I'm going to start giving you all some time back home in a rotation. Visit your family, talk to your friends, and just relax. If you don't show up when your vacation is over, you'll get a check in the mail and a letter of recommendation. No hard feelings, no prejudice, I understand. If you know good men who will fit in, your word is enough, bring them for an interview. You know what skills we need better than I do so I will trust your judgment. In two weeks time we begin a slightly more proactive approach to ensuring our client's safety."
"Sir," Boris, one of the Dragon Clan, stood up. "With Nikola, Sergey, and Leroy still out in the field how do you plan to work them into the rotation once they return?"
"I will discuss recent developments with them quietly on their return. I have faith in their abilities to improvise and I doubt they will have many problems with the new arrangements. If it will cause problems for you to work them back into the rhythm, I'll give them other tasks. Any thing else?" Harry looked around.
One of the jokers called out from the back, "Yeah, if I can get Pavil to bite me do I get free booze too?"
Pavil just gave a toothy smile and licked his lips while everyone burst out laughing.
Meanwhile in foothills below the Peruvian Andes, Nikola, Sergey, and Leroy sat on a ridge overlooking a dragon's nest. The nest in question featured a coppery colored dragon as tall as a horse at the shoulder jealously guarding a clutch of football sized eggs. Two large jungle cats lay dead in the flattened grass before her. While Nikola sketched a rough plan in the dirt as his teammates watched from their brooms for any other animal life that could pose a threat.
"Alright she's clearly had some trouble with her eggs in the past. Do we need anything else while we're here or can we just grab it and get the hell out?"
"What was it you said we needed Leroy?" Sergey prompted.
"We'll need something from the mother to make some of the potions work. Either we need to grab some dead skin, or take a bit of blood." The black man supplied, "Hopefully we can mix up a big batch of scent potions so the newborn will impress on us as if we were it's parents."
"Yes, that would make the training easier. Attack dogs need to be raised with their handlers or else they won't submit. A dragon might not immediately submit to an animal it thought wasn't another dragon." Sergey was probably the going to do most of the actual training but Leroy was better with potions.
"Alright Leroy go low and fast before peeling off to the left. Sergey come in from the left but pull up before Leroy passes you. We don't want you to catch a face full of dragon fire, but the sudden change in direction should confuse the dragon. Trying to draw it away on your own is crazy so keep switching back and forth. Keep it confused and off balance while I rush in and grab the egg and skin. Once I've got it, let it chase me for a bit before you both feint towards the eggs. She'll return to the nest and you two can apperate out. Don't worry about me, Natasha will keep me safe." Nikola patted his motorcycle lovingly, resisting the urge to croon while his teammates could hear.
Sergey and Leroy huddled together for a minute to compare flying strategies so they wouldn't collide before moving off into position and waiting for the signal. Once everyone was in place, Nikola loudly revved his engine and pressed the button for some of his magical enhancements. Deep down in the carburetor, the butterfly valves began transfiguring a small part of the air that flowed through them into nitrous oxide and the engine shot blue flames out its exhaust pipes while it adjusted to the new gas mix. Pistons and rings that had been enchanted to resist the heat and pressure worked faster than ever before as Natasha screamed defiance into the cold mountain air.
Taking that as his signal, Leroy let out his own war cry and kicked his broom into high gear. Even considering the tall grass and occasional shrubbery between them, the Dragon had no trouble picking him out as he sailed inches above the ground. He zipped left and right at varying altitudes to prevent himself from getting fried the moment he came in range, ending in a sort of sideways Wronski feint that brought him closer to the dragon than he ever wanted to be.
Sergey meanwhile was certifiably insane. As he passed over the Dragon and Leroy, he inverted himself and smacked the dragon full on the snout. Naturally it took the dragon a second or two to figure that out, it had never happened before. Given his closer proximity to the eggs the dragon decided kicking off to follow Sergey was the right choice and in an instant two tons of angry reptile took to the skies.
Sergey soon learned a lesson most creatures with wings had known for millennia. When you are sharing airspace with an angry dragon, you know it. He discovered that he didn't need to look behind him to know where the dragon was. There was just a large malevolent presence behind him trying to shoot him out of the sky with jets of flame. He took off towards the forest moving erratically and without thought. If he thought about it, there would be a pattern. If there was a pattern to his flying, he'd be crispy when the dragon figured it out.
Right on time his partner zipped in perpendicular to his flight path and grabbed the dragon's tail, jerking it away from her meal. The chase began again, but Leroy either had a slower broom or believed in fair play because he didn't keep quite as much distance. Looking down he caught sight Nikola putting the egg in his side car. This distraction cost him however. With a roar of vengeance and triumph the Peruvian Vipertooth shot her largest blast of fire yet, enveloping Leroy in fires hot enough to melt steel. Just as the flames washed over him he heard Sergey screaming something in Russian and saw Nikola shooting away from the nest at close to two hundred miles per hour. Mission accomplished!
Two days after the fight Harry decided it was time to complete the other half of his deal and collect the bounty. He was still taking strengthening potions every hour to restore the lingering damage from the poisoned knife and pain potions at regular intervals to deal with the phantom pain from his missing hand and forearm, but this was not a time he could afford to look weak. He took the arm from a mannequin and used a sticking charm to attach it where his arm ended below his elbow. It was seven different kinds of uncomfortable and painful but with long sleeves and this gloves it was enough for to pass a quick glance.
Harry gathered his usual traveling supplies, (money, wand, emergency portkey, and taser) and picked up the pocket vault with all the stuff taken from the secret room under the Drawing Room floor. He didn't want too just release it back into his back yard while the war was going on but it was probably worth quite a bit. He'd sorted it all the previous day once he'd gotten the chance, both to make sure they had the book and to take an inventory of what was available. Despite what he had said to the men, several pieces of plunder were kept by various people or the group as a whole when they knew it would be more useful than the gold it would bring. One such item was an enchanted set of throwing knives that would not hold fingerprints and had a homing charm that was activated when one of the set drew blood allowing the rest to seek out their victim even around corners. Another was a pair of goblin crafted suits of armor that were elaborately engraved and inlaid with gold. They couldn't be sold because of the prominent Malfoy family crest on their breasts, but they looked nice on either side of the front door.
He'd called ahead to let the Don and Yuri know that they intended to collect on the bounty and that he would be bringing his right hand man. Pavil would be coming along both for security reasons since Harry was far from whole, and to get a bead on things. When Harry had mentioned that he was offering everyone a way out, Pavil grabbed him immediately after the meeting to assure him that the werewolves would all be staying. He treated them fairly, paid them well, and saw their disease as an asset instead of a liability. Add his suicidally stupid method of distracting the Dark Lord long enough to get them all out of that basement and they figured there was a life debt involved too.
After downing his usual barrage of potions to mask his identity and render his mind impervious, Harry called Pavil up so they could take the specially made portkey to Hollow Mountain.
"I trust these men so we shouldn't have any problems and the location is completely secure, but just the same keep your eyes open," Harry told his subordinate. "They're going to size you up a bit, let them but don't be aggressive. Above all, just go with the flow. I can't afford to offend these particular clients."
Pavil nodded, "I've done this kind of thing before but I'll let you lead. If I have any suggestions I'll let you know discreetly."
"Oh it's nothing sir, it's just that while we were in the Red Army I occasionally had to go through other channels to get anything that wasn't general issue gear. So if you're telling me that we're going to meet with people who would hire assassins to punish thieves, I'm just letting you know I'm prepared."
"I hadn't quite intended it to come off that way but that's good to know. Grab hold, we're expected." They activated the portkey and left moments before a klaxon started howling two floors below.
"Yoshia, it's good to see you again. You have my property?" Yuri asked a few minutes later.
"Good to see you too," Harry opted to thump his partner on the shoulder enthusiastically instead of take the handshake that would reveal his handicap. "This is Pavil Valesk, my right hand. I think you'll be happy to hear our news."
"I think we'd all be interested to hear it," Don Giovanni said as he and another vampire entered from the antechamber containing where the portkeys deposited them. "I've been hearing the most interesting rumblings coming out of England lately so it should be good to hear it from the horse's mouth as it were. For instance the last I heard there was a squib being reported as your right hand. Or is he Manus Sinister?"
"I guess that depends on how you interpret it. Evil Hand, Black Hand, Black's Hand, or just Left Hand, you could make arguments for any of them but then I might think you knew things you shouldn't," Harry smirked at the vampire who was old enough to know Latin as a living tongue. "My initial suspicions proved correct. After I was invited to the Malfoy family home on business I had some of my men investigate a few things. I'd heard whispers from a reliable source that they had a hidden cache of particularly rare and illegal goods so while I distracted our hosts one of my men checked it out. It turns out that the book was with this cache. We also discovered two holes in their warding that we could exploit and made note of them for later."
"Which leads us to the events of three days ago," the Don prompted.
"Once we determined they were a valid target we made preparations to take care of them. There was a slight hiccough when we arrived but overall everything went well." Harry slid the book across the table.
"And the retaliation part of the contract?"
"The Dark Lord was holding a meeting of his minions at the time. They understandably tried to stop us and a minor skirmish ensued. By our dress, actions, targets, and words we made it pretty clear that it was retaliation but we made sure to make it directly traceable to us. Who was it we blamed?" Harry asked.
"Горение Петухов, the Burning Cocks, a Moscow street gang focused on anarchy and chaos." Pavil supplied. Yuri nodded, approving the choice, and motioned to continue the story.
"They lost a lot of priceless artwork and their entire library, were thoroughly vandalized, and a lot of structural damage to the manor itself from firebombs. We estimate it at several million galleons in damages or theft and seven dead Inner Circle. It's just a pity we couldn't raze the whole estate." Harry grinned viciously.
" Seven Inner Circle?" Yuri asked since he wasn't very up to date on the troubles in England. The Don had just nodded thoughtfully and whispered something to the other vampire who made a note on a pad.
"I've explained about the Dark Lord and his followers disrupting everything they can?" Harry asked rhetorically. "The Inner Circle are the top lieutenants to the Dark Lord, with them gone it's likely that things will quiet down for a while until he can find replacements. In particular, Potions Master Severus Snape will be a costly loss since he was both England's top potion brewer and the most valuable spy among the ranks of the Light. On the whole we punished not only those directly responsible for the theft, but the support structure behind it as well."
"Well done, I've actually heard more colorful accounts of the incident so I'm certain that the point about "not pissing off those crazy Ruskies" has been made," The Don snapped his fingers and a small wooden chest hit the floor beside him. "Your payment as promised, do give your men my thanks. Is there any other business for us to discuss gentlemen?"
"Actually there is," Harry pulled out the pocket vault, still in it's parchment form, and a small crystal phial containing a silvery memory. "I have a large collection of Dark Arts related material that I was hoping someone in your network could move for me. I'd have someone take care of it locally, but I'd rather not see it back in hands that want me dead. Does sixty/fourty sound reasonable?"
"I'll have Hans Brenner take care of it, and the other?" He pointed to the phial.
"It's partly an offering and partly a job. Two years ago the spirit of the Dark Lord Voldemort was given a new body in a ritual that took place at the end of the Tri-Wizard Tournament. Doubtless how this was achieved would be worth quite a lot of money to the right people. That same evening another curious thing happened. A man who had his hand cut off saw it re-grown from living metal stronger than it ever was before. The client who gave me this memory witnessed both events being done. He has a score to settle with the man with the silver hand and wants to know how it was made and how to unmake it."
"He wants to know both parts of the process? How very interesting…"
"Can we count on your discretion?" Harry asked carefully.
"Always, I'm just trying to decide how much to charge him and who to assign to the task." The Don acted affected, but Harry could see a slight sparkle indicating he was actually pleased about something. "Tell him it will cost twenty thousand galleons or two thousand per week of research needed, whichever is more."
"I'll tell him. That spell may be worth something to hospitals or the Auror corps if it were discovered." Harry slid the memory of what happened in the Graveyard and the pocket vault across the table. "The instructions for the Dark stuff is on the parchment."
"I'll let you know if we find anything useful. The deposit on your client's job will come out of the other. Let us know if you need the Firm's help, summer conclave will take place on the 21st of June." The Don shook everyone's hands as he stood to leave. "Mr. Valesk, Yoshia, always a pleasure."