Chapter 26: Arlington
January 10th, 2008.
It had been three days since the muggles had arrived. James was going absolutely insane trying to keep himself busy. The sad truth was that there was really nothing to do. Shawn Spencer had kept things interesting as he 'read' people. The magical folk found this particularly entertaining. It also led to a problem.
"Albus," Minerva said quite calmly at dinner the third night. "Where is Sybil?"
Dumbledore's fork clattered against his plate as he sat straight up. Much to everyone's surprise, all he said was, "Damn!"
Jim and Sirius Potter cracked up and laughed hysterically. "You forgot Trelawney!" they chanted.
Lily Potter, who, like her mother, disliked the fraudulent fortune teller, said, "She should have Seen this coming."
"Albus Dumbledore!" Minerva snapped, hitting his arm. "How could you? That woman is trapped in the North Tower! If the Death Eaters attack, she'll be the first victim!"
James, who was at a table with Melinda Warner, Doc Robbins, Donald 'Ducky' Mallard, and Jimmy Palmer, every person in the room that made a living out of cutting open dead people, felt he should point out that attacking the North Tower would be strategically unwise for the Death Eaters, as it would split their forces unnecessarily.
With all of the troops, students, muggles, and teachers, there were over seven hundred people in the room. This led to needing over a hundred round tables to fit them all. The troops did not mingle with the rest; instead, they took all of the tables closest to the main doors.
The students that had been found Marked were seated together, under the close supervision of Drake and Sergeant Major Giles Morten. Between the two men, there was no way for anything except perfect behavior to occur.
Some of the students seemed reluctant to be around the muggles. In only three days, however, this had lessened somewhat. It seemed that as the muggles spoke, and showed normal intelligence, the reluctant witches and wizards warmed up to them a bit. It didn't hurt that a few of the students felt rather ignorant as the muggles spoke of their various sciences.
It was hard to believe muggles were stupid when one was faced with a muggle such as Charlie Eppes.
It was also revealed, much to the dismay of the Hogwarts staff, that the students of the esteemed Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry were, in fact, teenagers. Trapped inside a room with over three hundred peers led to friction and explosions more than once.
One memorable moment included a third year Ravenclaw, and occurred two days into their forced 'vacation'.
"What do you mean, you don't even like me? We've been dating for six months!" the boy yelled. The object of his attention was another third year, a Hufflepuff girl.
"Jesus, Arnold, you're such a loser! Get over yourself!" the girl snapped.
"Oh, really? 'Loser' wasn't quite how you put it when we did it on your kitchen table, was it?" the boy demanded.
Andron, who reveled in such drama, was adding sound effects throughout the whole fight, such as, "Oh no she didn't!" and "Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!"
"Oh, way to bring that up!" thundered the girl. "You know, you weren't even that good! Ben was better!"
A blond boy next to the Ravenclaw reddened. Apparently he was Ben. "Ben?" the first Ravenclaw boy demanded. "Ben? My best friend? That Ben? Ben, what the fuck?"
"Sorry, Dave. She was hot, though. How could I say no? She was all over me."
"I don't care if she jumped on you starkers! You're my best mate! How dare you sleep with my girlfriend!"
"I think you're taking this way too seriously, mate," Ben said. Dave looked flabbergasted.
"That's enough, boys," Dumbledore said calmly.
"Like hell it is!" snapped Dave. He decked Ben right in the nose. Professors Snape and Flitwick broke up the fight, scolding the two boys endlessly.
James had found that pretty funny, all in all. Alas, it had not been the last time a Hogwarts student let out a dirty little secret. Since then, it had been revealed that Pansy Parkinson had gotten an abortion the previous summer, several Ravenclaws had experimented with spark, an illegal potion with effects similar to speed, and Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle had cheated on their OWLs.
"Dude!" Andron said at dinner that night, interrupting James' conversation with Dr. Mallard. "I love this place! It's like a soap opera and reality show all rolled into one! I am so pitching this idea to a network when I get back to work."
"Weren't you already supposed to be at work, Andy?" James asked.
"Well, yeah. But they don't pay me enough to compensate for missing this kind of drama."
"Oh, of course. I would cut off my left arm to get to work, and you couldn't be bothered to miss the melodramatic teen angst. Figures."
"Hey, Potter, suck a lemon!" Andron yelled.
After dinner, most everyone remained at their tables and drank coffee and talked. "So, James," Dr. Mallard (James refused to call him Ducky) said conversationally. "Would you like to explain a 'Time-Turner' to me?"
"Alright. So, my watch," James started. He went through the principles of time travel.
"What medical repercussions would that have?" Melinda Warner asked. She was a fairly attractive middle aged woman with a skin tone close to caramel.
James suddenly felt a bit uncomfortable. He had, in fact, been feeling the effects of his constant time travel. "Muscle fatigue, exhaustion, heart strain, nausea, increased heart rate, irritability," listed James. "A few others. It shouldn't be used in excess, of course."
"So, it adds hours to a day?" Doc Robbins asked thoughtfully. "So, how many hours are in your day?"
"Between thirty-six and seventy-two," replied James. "I am very productive, though. This is the first time in a long time that I've only been in one place. It's…really odd."
Albus found himself sitting at a table with several doctors from a teaching hospital. Doctors Miranda Bailey, Meredith Grey, George O'Malley, and Cristina Yang.
Albus felt as if he had walked in on a family reunion; a family he had never met before. "So," Cristina said, taking a bite of salad, "am I a pedophile for being totally turned on by that surgery we just saw?"
"Yes," Meredith said. "He's seventeen."
"Sure, but that was hot. Did you see the way he clamped that artery?"
"Yang," Bailey said drily, "stop speaking. A few months ago, it was the trauma surgeon that did a tracheotomy with a pen, and stapled himself."
"James stapled himself," O'Malley said with a small smile.
"That was hot," Yang said with a self-assured nod.
"Perv," muttered Meredith.
"Pardon me," Albus said calmly. The surgeons looked at him expectantly. "A few weeks ago, James removed his kidney and relocated it into his friend, Drake. Is this normal?"
They continued to stare at him, before Cristina sat straight up, dropping her fork in the process. "He removed his own kidney?"
"Yes?" Dumbledore replied.
"That. . ." Cristina trailed off. "That is so bad ass. He should come work with us."
"What the hell would he do, stand around and look impressive?" Bailey asked.
"You're just upset because you don't like his attitude. And," Meredith said, her eyes sparkling, "he performed a really cool brain surgery in a parking lot."
"Shut up, Grey. That's not why I don't like him. I don't like him because he is seventeen, and he has no business in an OR. There's no way he started college at eleven, went to medical school, and did a six year residency. No way."
"James is exceptionally smart," Meredith said. "Very driven."
"He has always been that way," acknowledged Albus.
"Have you known him long?" George O'Malley asked quietly. "We usually only see glimpses of him, hopping from surgery to surgery."
"James is my oldest grandson; my heir," Albus calmly said. Their eyebrows raised. "James began reading when he was a year old. He was reading Advanced Transfiguration and Magical Theory before he could actually speak most of the words. I was quite proud."
"That's very odd," Bailey said.
"James is, quite frankly, and odd person. Nothing as I imagined he'd turn out."
A yell cut off Meredith. "Will you shut up, you dim-witted bigot!" one of Andron's older sisters yelled. "I am sick of your magic-supremacist drivel! Get over yourself, and grow up!"
"Well," Pansy Parkinson sneered haughtily. "You sound like a m-muggleborn. Well? Are you?"
"Bitch," another sister said, in a tone that said she was just getting started, "Shut up before I fuck you up. Maybe you didn't notice, perhaps your head was too far up your ass, but my family doesn't exactly like ignorant, bigoted people."
"We noticed," another Slytherin girl said. "Around the time the psycho murdered that poor man."
"Ha," Andron said, throwing a baked potato at James, "you've been demoted to 'the psycho'." James caught the potato and bit it.
"It was decided that I did not murder that. . ." James grimaced. "I can not bring myself to call him a 'poor man'."
"You did kinda, you know," Andron said with a vague motion, "plunge a knife into his chest without much warning. Not that I'm complaining."
"I refuse to share my air with people such as that fruitcake."
"You know, he was exactly like you, except opposite," Andron said. "He was arrogant, felt superior, hated anybody that wasn't like him. Sound familiar?"
"He was a white-supremacist, a magical-supremacist, and an idiot. He was everything I hate. I worked damn hard to get where I am. I don't try to get by on things handed to me at birth, such as skin color, magical ability, or name."
"You, James, are freaking weird."
"I like James," Lars Schwartz said. "Exactly the kind of kid my father would have hated."
"Andy is someone your father would have hated, dear," Ida May said shrewdly. "Your father was, after all, the liaison between Grindelwald and Hitler."
"Thanks. I had forgotten," Lars said, rolling his eyes. "Nazi prick," he muttered.
"Cheers to that," Malaki said. "Andy, I'm going to need some Hennessey to toast with."
"James' department. He covers everything including but not limited to violence, vices, murder, illicit activities, civil rights activism, and abstinence," Andron recited. "I cover record keeping, bill paying, and taxes. Fuck, I'm boring. James, how did that happen?"
"You took a right at sanity, whereas I took a sharp left," James replied without hesitation.
James was leaned back in his chair with a foot on the table, looking through a thick stack of papers. "I'll drink to that," Andron muttered. "Crazy bastard."
"Andron, the theory you came up with when were twelve-"
"Oh, the theory?" snarked Andron. "Because there was only the one?"
"Besides me being from the planet Korriban," James said, glancing at Andron for a brief moment. "The one about werewolves? I was just reading… I think it could work. . ."
Without further notice, Warner, Mallard, House, Fleinhardt, and Sciuto were once again gathered around James, Andron, and a blackboard. "This is the oddest thing I've ever done," Melinda Warner said.
Abby Sciuto bit her lip. "No, I've done weirder. Do you have any caffeine?" Abby asked James.
"Um, yeah," James said. He summoned a Caf-Pow! from Washington DC, expending quite a bit of magical energy. The forensic scientist, however, was ecstatic when the exceptionally large, highly caffeinated drink appeared in her hand from nowhere. "Now, finding the cure for lycanthropy will eradicate a huge portion of Voldemort's supporters. This, coupled with the possibility of discovering a vaccine, could bring much peace to the world."
"No pressure, then," Donald Mallard said dryly.
James smiled at him briefly. "Do any of you have anything to say about the material you were given to read?" he asked.
Greg House, who was persnickety at the best of times, nodded. "This," he said holding up the large stack of paper, "rules out the possibility of the… disease… being an infection."
"An infection?" Warner asked, as she tossed a glance at the grumpy diagnostician. "It seems to me to be a virus, much like HIV."
"Both are viable," James acknowledged with a nod. "The trouble with this research is that we only have three test subjects. Most people in the magical community refuse to give up their blood, even for the best of causes. Werewolves, as it is, are even more wary of such inquiries, having been oppressed all of their lives."
"Understandable, if inconvenient," Abby said with a professional nod. "It does have all the markings of a virus."
The next few hours went by in a whirlwind of action. The seven worked endlessly on a cure. Several times, it led to explosive confrontations. Abby, it seemed, was possessive about her personal work area. However, Greg House was a bit nosy and intrusive. He back off, however, when he was kicked in the nuts.
The 501st trained endlessly, and, in the opinion of most, quite viciously. The magical people, especially the adults who knew a bit about Auror training, thought it was excessive. Bones broke every few moments, blood spurted, and people shouted obscenities that even exceptionally poor-mouthed sailors would be horrified by. Considering that a fourth of the 501st were sailors, from the USMN, that was quite the accomplishment.
There was a good reason that the company James had called in was one of the most feared in the whole military. Most of the soldiers were absolutely crazy. Off their rocker. Mad. Insane. Eight of them had been charged with murder before they were sixteen. James and Drake had hand-picked the most vicious men and women to join the company, after Drake had taken charge nine years prior.
Dumbledore gathered with his group, the Order of the Phoenix, in a corner secluded from all others. Jim Potter was making wild hand motions. It was obvious from the atmosphere surrounding them that Voldemort's attack was imminent.
Observing all this, James hummed a bit and turned back to the group he was working with. "James," Warner said calmly, looking down at a piece of paper. "Did you consider that the virus affects the brain? Perhaps even alters brain chemistry?"
James raised an eyebrow, thinking. "It is a possibility."
"We don't happen to have a way to do an MRI, do we?" Warner asked without much hope. She looked around, and it was obvious that she did not like the medieval tone of the room.
James looked around, cussing quietly. "The one thing I don't keep in my truck," he said angrily. He gave a few more expressive words before he said, "This means-"
"Spellcraft!" Andron said excitedly, bouncing up and down with a huge smile on his face. Andron loved creating spells. It made his feel a bit god-like. James found it tedious.
"Hooray," James muttered. Dark thoughts of throwing Andron off of a really tall building flashed through his mind, but he ignored those. He did, however, trip his best friend as the other man walked by. Petty and childish, for sure, but satisfying.
It took six hours for Andron to come up with a spell that could reliably reproduce the effects of an MRI. In that time, he had accidentally set James' hair on fire, turned James into a table, and caused James to speak in Ancient Greek for twenty minutes. By the time the spell was ready, James was, in polite terms, absolutely incensed.
"So," Andron said cheerily, slapping James' back, ignoring the ferocious growl he received, "ready to start testing?" He didn't wait for James to reply. "Jamal, Jamil, come here, we're scanning your brain."
"Last time you said something like that," Jamal said, "I ended up with a third arm sticking out of my chest."
"I promise this won't hurt you," Andron said with a note of pleading in his voice.
"Last time you said something like that," Jamil said, "I broke a leg."
"Just shut up and get over here," James snapped. The twin boys walked over to Andron, eyeing him suspiciously.
James ordered Remus Lupin, both Sirius Black and Sirius Potter, Fred and George Weasley, Richard "Dickie" Stabler, his twin sister Lizzie Stabler, Olivia Benson, Meredith Grey, Gil Grissom, Shawn Spencer, Charlie Eppes, and Derrick Shepherd.
"Four sets of twins," Andron said with a nod. "Cool. Three of them identical? Now, that's weird. Half muggle, half magical. Good mix. Ready?"
"It's two in the morning," James said, still upset about being turned into a table. "Shouldn't this wait till morning?"
"Hell no. I'm on a roll."
It took Andron three hours to scan everybody, and compute the results. James, still sore over the table thing, let him plow through it himself. When the results were in, Andron looked a bit… confused.
"Well, contrary to what I would have thought, there was no difference in a muggle brain, and a wizard's brain. Except for, you know, you, because you have and exceptionally well developed frontal lobe. Now, the difference in the brain of the werewolf, and a non-werewolf was very minute. I would be able to come up with better data, if I had a larger test group. Now, my findings conclude that… there is no significant difference in the brain of a werewolf, than in the brain of a non-werewolf. At least, not enough to cause such a dramatic change. The good news is, however, we now have a spell to imitate the muggle technology of magnetic resonance imagining."
"Hooray," James muttered, rolling his eyes. He went back to the chalkboard and made some adjustments to an equation. "I think. . ."
"Cognito ergo sum," Andron said boisterously.
James got that feeling in his stomach, the one he got hen he was just about to make a revelation, and he knew e was, but it just wasn't happening, and then all of the sudden HE HAD IT!
Elation filled James' entire being. He wanted to dance.
Then, quick as it had come, the feeling left. James was in discovery mode. No time for dancing. In a flurry of movement, James wrote on the chalkboard in a scrawl even Andron could hardly decipher. He filled every nook and cranny of the board, before he turned to his best friend.
"You look like you've thought of something," Andron said dryly.
"I have." James grabbed the front of Andron's shirt and pulled the other man toward him, and whispered fiercely for two minutes.
When he was done speaking, James took a step back. Andron's jaw had dropped and he let out a short shriek, very reminiscent of something Shawn Spencer would do. "Holy shit, how did we not see this sooner?"
The two men set out on a mission. They did not eat or sleep for eighteen hours. At eleven, on the fourth night of their captivity, James and Andron stepped away from the table where they had been working with several dangerous chemicals and such.
Andron picked up the cup that their solution was sitting in. "What the hell did we just make?"
"Well," James said, "it's either a cure for lycanthropy, or… a poison that smells of raspberries."
"Lupin! Come here!" Andron thundered, manic excitement visible in his eyes.
"I don't think-"
James cut the haggard man off with a flick of his wrist. Lupin was pulled toward them by an invisible force, flying over the tables where several hundred interested people sat. When Lupin landed next to him, James slammed the older man onto the table. "Unluckily for you, what you think does not matter. For two reasons, actually. You signed a legally binding contract. Secondly, the Minister of Magic himself would compel you to do this; remember, you are a magical creature, not afforded the rights of humans."
"You little-" James, once more, cut Lupin off. He poured the concoction down the werewolf's throat, using a charm to make sure it wasn't spit back in his face.
"So…" Andron said, taking a step back, "what's going to happen?"
"Well, once I get him knocked out, we're cutting open his brain. That slight difference you noticed… it wouldn't be a problem, but it is located in the amygdala, and this is unacceptable," James answered. "It was, in essence, a small growth. Much like a tumor in the frontal lobe removes impulse control, a growth in the amygdala can cause irrational anger and violence."
"That would be all bad," Andron said. "But wouldn't he be irrationally angry and violent now?"
"Not at all. I think the only reason you were able to see the growth was because it is so close to the full moon's passing. I would guess that the growth is largest during the full moon, and smallest the day two weeks after one moon, and two weeks before the next."
"So, right in the middle of the cycle?" Andron asked.
"So, we're cutting him open? Awesome."
"I object to this," Jim Potter said, standing up. Leave it to him to say stuff at exactly the wrong time. "Just because he is a werewolf-"
"Precisely," James said, looked up at Jim, but just barely. "What is the problem with killing one creature, for the betterment of mankind? Would you let your… emotions stop you from curing a vicious, deadly disease? Pathetic."
"Would you cut open your friends brain to cure a disease?" Jim demanded, approaching slowly, knowing that even though he was angry, James did have Lupin and could hurt him if provoked.
"What? Hell no, that's inhumane," James snapped. Jim stopped, dumbfounded.
"Are… What?" he asked. "How is this not inhumane?" Jim demanded, pointing to Remus, who was completely knocked out.
"I'm fairly certain that 'human' is the root word to humane," James blandly said.
"I- You! . . . You're doing this just to rile me up, aren't you?" Jim said, realization erupting across his face.
"Then why are you cutting him open? Isn't there a better way to do this?" Jim questioned, coming to a stop next to James and Andron. He looked wary of the scalpel in James' hand.
James smirked. "Well, I could feed him a potion, hope it works, and then find out that whatever it was we just gave him reacts to the potion, and end up with a dead wolf. Your choice."
"Dude, you're vicious," Andron said, shaking his head. "You haven't slept in like, twenty years. Take a nap before you do this."
James stabbed the unconscious Remus in the head with the scalpel. Jim gasped and lunged forward. Andron grabbed him and held him back.
"What the bloody hell are you doing?" the enraged man snarled.
"I guess it just became really important for me to operate. Have you made a decision? Because I think bleeding from the general brain region… well, that's a bad thing."
"Fix him!" snapped Jim.
James smirked as he cut Lupin open. "See, the brain feels no pain at all. This would not be overly painful, even if he were awake. Now, Doctor Shepherd, could you assist me with this surgery? Doctor Torres, he has an ill-healed compound fracture in his right leg. Could you rebrake that and fix it? Doctor Bailey, Doctor Webber- Lupin is about three days from his left kidney failing. Could you remove that?"
The group of surgeons got to work quickly. Callie Torres put up her hair, and then wrapped it in a light blue surgical cap, to match light blue scrubs. She did this in the few seconds it took her to move toward them, with a practiced ease of having done it many times. Doctor Miranda Bailey did the same. Doctors Derrick Shepherd and Richard Webber used dark blue caps and scrubs.
Lupin was laid out on a metal table that Andron conjured, and he was cut open. Jim and Lily looked like they were in pain, but Sirius Black looked like he wanted to poke Remus' brain.
James closed his eyes as he continued the surgery. Lily was not quite excited. "If you're cutting open his brain, you could at least have the courtesy to open your bloody eyes!" the angry red head snapped.
Smirking inwardly, James conjured a large hunk of brain-looking substance in his hand. He held it up to examine it, before he tossed it to the side, toward Lily, as he said, "He doesn't need this."
Lily shrieked. Jim grimaced. Sirius poked it.
James continued for another hour. He was suturing when he felt it. His chest tightened, his breath became ragged. "James," Andron said, noticing. His voice held both warning and worry. "You are touching a man's brain. If you pass out, I assume you'll have the good sense to release him."
"I am not going to pass out," James said, his teeth gritted. "There's five minutes left of this surgery."
"Of course." Andron obviously worked hard to keep the derision out of his voice. "Four minutes."
"Mmhmm," James said. He repressed a cough that tried to force its way out.
"Want me to take over?" Andron asked as he saw the odd jerk.
"Nope," replied James. It came out choked. His vision began to blur as it became exceptionally difficult to breathe.
"James, you're wheezing," Andron said conversationally. "Three minutes. No pressure."
"Shut up," he snapped.
"What's wrong with him?" demanded Jim. He apparently didn't like the thought that a partially incapacitated man was holding a sharp object directly next to the brain of one of his best friends.
"Well," Andron said, partially turning to face the older man, "James' heart is failing."
"What?" Lily demanded. "How is his heart failing?"
"Some time ago, James encountered a rare form of magic during a period of intensely high stress that caused a massive myocardial infarction, commonly known as a heart attack. Since then, he has suffered from a severely weakened heart, exacerbated by excessive drinking, smoking, sleep deprivation, and time travel. A few moments ago, he endured another heart attack. This has led to cardiac arrest. His heart has stopped beating," Andron explained in a bored tone. "And he's turning a bit blue. Two minutes. Think you'll make it?"
"Andron, I'm going to kill you," James said, his voice constricted.
"That's the pulmonary arrest setting in," Andron told his captive audience. "No blood is being circulated, cutting off his brain and his lungs. I assure you, he is in immense pain right now. I do believe his is alive out of sheer stubbornness."
Lily and Jim looked at each other and blankly said, "He gets that from you."
"One minute, James," Andron said.
James didn't dignify that with a response. Mostly because he couldn't.
James finished and took a step back. He looked at Andron and managed to give a fairly hardy "Oorah!" before he fell to the ground.
"Is he…?" Dumbledore asked quietly, though it carried throughout the silent hall. The other surgeons continued working on Remus, but they were obviously distressed.
"Dead?" Andron finished. He was bent down next to his friend, using magic to scan his vitals. "Hmm. No pulse, no heart beat, he's not breathing, and there is no brain function."
"He's dead," Dumbledore said faintly.
Andron looked up at him. "What makes you say that? You happen to be looking at Andron 'Miracle Worker' Schwartz, buddy, and don't you forget it." Andron conjured a table under James. "If I had a dollar for every time this guy has flatlined on me. . . Doctor Yang, Doctor Grey, Doctor O'Malley, Doctor Stevens, Doctor Karev, would you be so kind as to assist me? Thank you."
Andron used magic to induce breathing and heartbeat, which was as close to stable as he would get for a while.
They worked on him for several hours. "This is the liver of a seventy year old alcoholic," Cristina Yang said as she inspected said liver. "What has he been drinking?"
"People seem to repay James' favors with bottles of expensive alcohol. He goes through about a bottle of tequila and a bottle of whiskey every day." Andron blinked. "Moving on. I think his heart can be fixed."
"Oh, good news," Meredith said. There was more than a hint of sarcasm in her voice. "I'm elbow deep in organ failure… and you might be able to save the heart."
"When will you just admit that he's dead?" an older teen sitting at the Slytherin table asked. "He's not exactly worth it, is he? He's psychotic and narcissistic."
Andron turned to face the girl without moving his hands away from James' heart. He felt rage coursing through him. "You know, I won't accept that bullshit from you. James is neither psychotic, nor narcissistic. I will listen to that vile spewed in jest, but to seriously say that about my. . ." Andron looked down at James.
"Bestie?" suggested Lindsey Willows, Andron's girlfriend.
"What?" Andron asked as his eyes snapped to his girlfriend's.
"Bestie," she repeated as if she was speaking to a rather slow third grader. "It means your best-best friend. It means you're really close."
"Uh, sure," Andron said, turning back to the target of his rage. "I've seen James at his absolute worst… worse than this. He's seen me in mine. Four years ago, I was on the brink of an amazing discovery. When I finished what I was working on, the brewing of several dangerous potions was made easier and safer for the brewer. It took me nine months. I went long stretches of time without eating, and ten days at a time without sleep. After a long period of insomnia, I nearly murdered a salesman that came to my door. James showed up, brought the guy back to life, dumped him somewhere after wiping his memory, and then saved my life just as I was about to die of exhaustion. This was the same day he got out of a hospital after a two week stint in a coma. Psychotic, narcissistic people wouldn't have bothered. So the next person that says something like that about James…"
"He has two kidneys," Doctor Yang said. "Didn't he remove one of them?"
"Yes, but there is a potion to restore missing kidneys. You really think James was going to walk around with just one?" Andron went back to fixing James' heart, but then he looked up at the other surgeons. "Look… this is going to be one surgery that you shouldn't brag about… you know, around James."
"Why?" George O'Malley asked. Andron's eyes flicked up to him.
"Your naiveté is sweet, it is, but it might get you killed. James is going to be pissed when he wakes up. You know how they say doctors make the worst patients? Well, James, being the best of the best doctors, is the worst of the worst patients. Last time I knocked him out for surgery… well, let's just say that it was horrible."
The surgeons working on Lupin finished and cleaned him up. They stood around James' table and assisted. "What are you doing?" Lily asked, trying to see.
"Why do you care?" Andron snapped.
"Despite what he thinks, I am his mother," Lily replied sharply.
Doctor Miranda Bailey stepped forward. "Listen, I don't care if you're the mother or the Queen. You're interrupting his surgery, and that can lead to complications. So back up," the short surgeon snapped. When neither of the Potter's listened, Bailey took another step forward and gave them her patented 'Angry Bailey' look –the one that could send any hardened surgeon scurrying- and they took a few steps back. "And be quiet," she said, pointing a gloved finger at them.
It was a while later that the surgical residents stepped back. "Done," they said. James' chest and abdomen was closed up and bandaged.
"So, now we let him sleep that one off for a bit," said Andron, looking down at his friend. "He should wake in about an hour."
"Great, just in time for dinner," James' twin said. "He's such a cheery bloke; great dinner guest. It's almost like dining with Attila the Hun."
"James is not that bad," Andron said aggressively.
"Are you kidding?" the young Sirius demanded. "He's frightening. He's the extreme of an extreme personality."
"I'm not going to reply to that."
A half hour later, James woke up. He sat up and swung his legs over the side of the operating table. He found himself facing the doors of the hall, with his back to the students. He had no shirt on, and he looked down the stitches on his chest. "Nice suturing, Andron," James said. He stretched his spine and pulled a cigarette out of his pocket, stuck it in his mouth, and lit it. "Tempus," he muttered. Smoke in front of him told him it was 6:23 PM.
He heard Andron somewhere behind him say hesitantly, "How are you feeling, James?"
"Quite fine, in fact," James replied.
From James, 'quite fine' meant 'splendid'. At least, that is how Andron took it.
"Good to hear… I think," Andron said. James turned and saw that his friend was sitting at the far end of the hall, between Charlie Eppes and Gil Grissom. "Yes James, I'm hiding. I figured these two are the ones you're least likely to hurt."
"Andron, you are the biggest coward I've ever met in my life," James said with a smile. Andron wasn't the only one that was concerned by the smile. Drake actually took a few steps back. "What?" James asked him.
"Are you sure you're okay? You're acting strangely," Drake said.
"As the much unappreciated Doctor Bailey once said, I am rising above. I am angry, but I am rising above. I am surrounded by cruel, vindictive people, but I am rising above."
"I'm cruel and vindictive?" demanded Andron, stunned. "You are pathologically angry, you know that? How's your heart rate?"
"Fifty beats a minute," replied James.
"You are inhuman," Andron said dryly. "I swear, all the wrong planets were aligned at the moment of your birth. What will it take to kill you?"
"Voldemort," Dumbledore said calmly. Andron shifted to raise an eyebrow at the old man. "The prophecy made about Harry stated, "The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches...Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies...and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not...and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives....."
"What a load of bullsh-" Dumbledore cut Andron off.
"Yes, so it sounds. However, every other part of the prophecy still holds true," the venerable Headmaster calmly stated. "James was born to parents who, at the time, had thrice defied Voldemort, he was born as the seventh month, July, died at eleven fifty nine at night, and Voldemort marked him as his equal."
"Bullshit," Andron said, his eyes snapping to James. "What does that mean?"
"Of the two children that the prophecy could pertain to, Harry James Potter and Neville Francis Longbottom, Voldemort chose to kill Harry, thinking him the bigger threat."
"Funny," James said with a whimsical air, "I would have thought it was because Longbottom's parents didn't entrust their entire family to a weak minded, cowardly simpleton. But we'll go with your guess," James said with his patented sarcasm. He was still looking at the door.
"Peter Pettigrew did not know which of the Potter boys was born in July and which in August," Dumbledore stated. "Voldemort chose you, James, from a family picture."
"Damn, James," Andron said with a laugh, "you must have been one threatening looking toddler!"
"I'm sure I was quite vicious," James said distractedly.
"Then why were you so panicked a minute ago," Andron questioned Dumbledore, "when you thought he was dead?"
"I had not proof that the prophecy would render James virtually immortal. All of the evidence that has recently been presented to me, however, has led me to believe that this prophecy is very specific when it says, 'Either must die at the hand of the other'."
Everybody looked to James, considering this. They thought back to the time they had known him. They had all seen him survive what they had believed to be fatal. He had been shot, stabbed, blown up, had heart attacks, cardiac arrest, several surgeries, and countless more horrific things.
The teenage prodigy, oblivious to the scrutiny, stood from the table and walked forward toward the door. He stopped about three feet away and continued staring. In one sudden, swift moment, James put all of his considerable muscle and weight behind a kick to the door. The heavy wood doors flew open into the Entrance Hall.
"Honestly, James!" Dumbledore said shortly. "I just replaced those doors!"
"My apologies," James said without sincerity, "next time, I'll leave your employee panicking in the North Tower." The short-tempered teen disappeared around the corner, presumably up the stairs.
It was obvious to everyone in the hall that Albus Dumbledore, reputed to be the best wizard of the age… was counting to ten. Repeatedly.
He stood and waved his hand, changing the five long tables in the hall to several dozen round tables. When he sat down again, the seating arrangement had changed. On his right was Severus Snape. On his left was a man that introduced himself as Jethro Gibbs, Special Agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Services. To that man's left was Detective Elliot Stabler, with the Manhattan Special Victims Unit. On Severus' right was Henry Spencer, retired Santa Barbara Police Sergeant.
"So, Mr. Stabler, what is it that you do?" Albus asked. Albus skimmed his surface thoughts without thinking. They screamed the word 'Detective!', quite noticeably. "I'm sorry, is it Detective Stabler?"
The man nodded and gave a small smile. "Yes, it is. What do I do? I specialize in special victims, such people who have been raped, sexually assaulted, children who have been abused and molested."
"Is it a common crime?" Albus asked, quite intrigued. "To devote a whole department to it…"
"Unfortunately, it is quite common," Elliot said. "With the rate of people getting out of jail and reoffending, sometimes it seems there're more criminals than good guys."
"Pardon me… reoffending?" Albus asked. He was absolutely baffled. "Why would you let such a criminals out on the streets?"
"Well, rapists are rarely convicted for life, unless it is an extreme circumstance of many rapes committed," Elliot answered.
Albus blinked. "Oh. Oh, dear. In the Wizarding world, committing a rape is one of the ultimate no-no's. If a prisoner gets life in prison after committing rape, it is a light sentence. On several occasions, I have sentenced men to the Dementor's Kiss."
Three men stared at him. "We have no idea what that is," Henry Spencer said. He was much more straight-forward and serious than his son, Shawn, was.
"Forgive me, I am quite old and tend to forget things. A Dementor is a creature that feeds off of positive emotions; it drains the happiness out of a person. These creatures guard our prison, and keep the prisoners in a state of extreme depression; most of them go insane. When a Kiss is administered, a Dementor sucks the soul out of the prisoner, leaving them a shell."
"Harsh," Henry said without much conviction.
"Does a rapist not do the same to their victim?" Albus asked.
"Well, I don't disagree with the practice," Elliot said. "Less than ten years for that kind of a crime?" He shook his head in disgust.
Conversation progressed for several minutes, until Albus asked the men if they had any children. "Just Shawn," Henry answered. His eyes automatically sought out his son, and when they caught sight of him, Albus was sure he saw a glimmer of amusement in the man's otherwise stern face.
"I have five kids," Elliot said.
"Only four are here, though?" Albus questioned.
"Our oldest daughter, Maureen, is at college. James has never met her before. Our four youngest are here with us; Kathleen, Dickie, Lizzie, and Eli," said Elliot. Albus could tell that the man was very proud of his family.
"And you?" Albus asked, nodding to Gibbs.
"No kids. Three ex-wives, though," Gibbs said.
"You're lying," Severus said in his usual dark tone. He had a small smirk playing about his lips. "So, just how many bastard children do you have? Did you bed a woman below your stature, and wake up with post-coital regret?"
Gibbs stared at the sallow skinned man for a moment before, in a flash, he reached his left arm across Albus, grabbed the front of Severus' robes, and hauled him across the table. With Severus as good as lying on the table, Gibbs punched him square in the face.
"Lying, am I?" Gibbs demanded. "I had a daughter. Eighteen years ago, I was deployed in Desert Storm. I left behind my wife and eight-year-old daughter, Kelly. While I was deployed, a Mexican drug cartel killed my wife and daughter. He blew them up; there was not enough left of them for me to bury. So no, I do not have any children," Gibbs said coldly.
"Gibbs!" James' strong voice rang out as he suddenly appeared at the door. "I have a job for you. You were a sniper, right? Well, come on, gunny, I haven't got all day!"
"What do you need me to do?" Gibbs asked, his fist still cocked for a second punch.
"First, punch him again, because he's a prick. Second, I need your sniper expertise, in that I think I see some people that need sniping," James replied.
"I don't have a gun," refuted Gibbs.
James raised his hands, and a rifle appeared. "Marine M-40A1 Sniper Rifle with hand-loaded Lapua 308 boat tail, full metal jacket, and moly-coated rounds?" James asked in a bored tone. "Holy crap, I happen to have one right here. Now, for the love of justice, hurry up!" James tossed the gun to Gibbs, who caught it deftly.
"Who, exactly, needs sniping?" Gibbs asked as he approached James.
"Some Death Eaters trying to bust down the gates to the school," James casually replied.
"What is a Death Eater?" asked Gibbs.
A few of the magical children snickered. James replied, "Terrorists that torture muggles and children for fun." He knew that would catch Gibbs' attention.
Gibbs said nothing as he followed James to the Astronomy Tower. The students in the hall watched as, a few moments later, Sybil Trelawney walked in, glaring at Albus Dumbledore. "How dare you!" she howled. "I was trapped up there for days! I was so distraught, I lost touch with the Inner Eye!"
For the briefest moment, Dumbledore looked like he wanted to cry.
James and Gibbs were on the Astronomy Tower, looking down at the gates of Hogwarts. James was telling Gibbs everything he knew of Death Eaters, starting with the story of Frank and Alice Longbottom. "In the Wizarding world, the Army, Marines, FBI, CIA, and NSA are all rolled into one division called the Aurors. They are the elite. It takes top grades and three additional years of schooling to become an Auror. Now, several years ago, three Death Eaters tortured two Aurors into insanity."
"What?" Gibbs asked.
"They used a spell that caused so much pain, and they used it for so long, that the minds of the two Aurors completely unraveled. The Aurors were a married couple; their son, Neville, is in the Hall."
"Why do they do this?" Gibbs asked.
"They are blood supremacists," answered James. "They think Muggles, such as yourself, are below them. They think that people with magic should rule over muggles." James explained about muggleborns, halfbloods, bloodtraitors, and purebloods. He gave a brief history of the war that was being fought.
"So, it's not true that purebloods are more powerful?" the Marine sniper asked.
"Definitely not," replied James. "The most powerful wizard alive right now is Albus Dumbledore, and his mother was muggleborn. These people are just extremists."
"What do we do?" Gibbs asked. James aimed, fired, and scored a headshot. One of the Death Eaters hit the ground with a spray of blood. The others looked around, frantic.
Gibbs followed suit. Within a minute, all eight Death Eaters lay dead on the ground. They returned to the great hall, talking quite amiably.
Andron greeted them with, "You do know that you two hate each other, right?"
"Hunting is a strong bonding experience," James deadpanned.
"What happened?" asked Andron.
"Eight dead Death Eaters and a partridge in a pear tree," said James.
"You're in an excessively good mood," Andron said, a bit concerned.
"That is explained by the fact that for the last several weeks, I've had a deep feeling of dread… and now it is gone. I mean, come on man, lighten up! We just cured a deadly disease!" James said with an actual, genuine smile.
"Dude, you are freaking me out!" Andron complained. "For the last eight months you've been nothing but a curmudgeon!"
"Wait, you mean, he's not always like that?" Sirius Potter demanded. "He's not always mentally unstable?"
Gil Grissom jumped in with, "I've always known James to be a bit withdrawn, but otherwise kind and genial." The scientist continued, "Actually, he is a lot like Greg." He turned to Greg Sanders, who sat between Nick Stokes and Warrick Brown. Everyone looked at the young man with a tight band tee and wildly unruly light brown hair. He smiled charmingly.
James' brother wasn't convinced. "That's absolutely frightening."
Andron looked to James. "When is Lupin supposed to wake up, you think?" James glanced at his watch, then at the charmed sky, then at the man lying unconscious on a table in the corner. "This is not reassuring."
"Oh, I was just trying to decide if he was going to wake up. This is an experimental procedure, you know," James said vaguely. Jim threw a potato at him, hitting him in the chest. "Fine. We should be able to wake him up in about an hour."
Cots were arranged in the hall later that night. Lupin had been woken up and been tested thoroughly. After that, he was given a sleeping potion and sent to bed.
James stayed up late into the night talking with several members of the 501st. They agreed on several important pre-battle things such as positions and command.
Jan. 12, 2008.
The atmosphere of the Hall during breakfast was a bit tense. "What do we do with the students?" Andron asked across the hall to James, who was drinking coffee.
"Lock them in a big room with the staff," the dark haired teen replied. "Keep them out of the way. None of them die."
"Sounds good. Which room? Is there one big enough?" Andron asked. Both ignored the furious protests of the students around them.
"The Chamber of Secrets," Dumbledore said suddenly. He was sipping tea, and to those around him, it had looked as though he had barely been paying attention. It was a method he had perfected over a hundred years.
"Please tell me that you just made up that name," deadpanned Andron. "That's almost as bad as the 'Great Hall'."
Dumbledore smiled. "A thousand years ago, one of the founders of the school, Salazar Slytherin, built a secret chamber far below the school. It was a place where he could perform experiments he did not think the other three would approve of. It is where he left his basilisk. Five years ago, the creature was unleashed on the school. A miraculous series of fortunate events led to the slaying of the basilisk and closing of the chamber."
"Yeah, great idea, Grandpa," Sirius said sarcastically. "It only takes a parselmouth to open the chamber."
"Where is it?" Andron demanded.
"The second floor girl's loo," Sirius replied with an eye roll. "The entrance is one of the faucets, the one with a snake on the side."
James and Andron looked at each other, before they bolted out the door. They left confusion in their wake. "What was that?" several people asked.
Meanwhile, the two smartest men in the castle were on their way into the Chamber of Secrets. Andron used a cleaning charm instantly upon hitting the bottom. "This is disgusting," he said. "Could at least clean up a bit. Disgraceful."
They spent several hours cleaning up the mess of rat carcasses and filth. It was exceptionally easy to do so with magic. They found the decaying body of the basilisk and used a portkey to send it to a private lab that they leased together.
Mildly exhausted, they ascended the treacherous slope back to the second floor of the castle. They strode back to the Great Hall, on the ground floor, and right up to Dumbledore, who remained seated at the center of the Staff Table. James got the odd feeling that Albus Dumbledore would be there in that seat until the end of time, just sitting there, watching over the students of Hogwarts.
James pressed his knuckles on the table and leaned just slightly toward the old man. "Well," he said, "we've got the place cleaned up and sparkly. I would suggest moving the students there soon. You do not want to wait until Voldemort is storming the school."
Dumbledore nodded, looking James in the eye. He smiled just slightly. "Right after dinner. Are you joining us?" Albus asked calmly.
Albus stood and waved a hand. Once more, several round tables were situated around the room, and people were randomly placed in seating assignments only the Headmaster could decipher. As always, the professional soldiers were kept together, in a bunch to the right of the door, on the side where the Slytherins usually sat.
James was seated with Nate Ford, Michael Weston, Fiona Glenanne, Ziva David, and Colby Granger. They introduced themselves casually. The odd circumstances brought out the truth, where otherwise it would have been hidden.
"I'm Michael Weston. I was a spy, until I was blacklisted," the man said. He was of average height and weight, with dark hair and a cynical look.
"Fiona Glenanne," the woman to Michael's left stated. "Former IRA operative. Explosives expert," she said. She was exceptionally skinny. Not yet forty, though years of a high-stress career had taken its toll.
To her left, a man with short, dirty blond hair and a thick, powerful body sat looking contemplative. "Agent Colby Granger, FBI. Former Army. Former triple agent, Chinese spy."
The slender Israeli woman to Colby's left looked around at them and said, "Officer Ziva David, Mossad Liaison Officer to NCIS."
To her left sat a man that had somewhat messy hair and a rather unkempt appearance. "Nathan Ford. I was an insurance fraud investigator. Now my team and I pull cons to expose criminals," he said.
James, between Michael Weston and Nathan Ford, looked around at them. "Which is good. I have an idea. I need help from all of you. Tell me, Ford… have you ever impersonated a wizard?"
The man tilted his head a bit. "I impersonated a magician. Does that count?"
After dinner, and a very interesting discussion, James organized moving the students to the Chamber of Secrets. Ten students at a time, accompanied by ten soldiers. Slytherin first years went first. Then Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and finishing with Gryffindor. Then the second years left.
It took two hours to get all of the students out. The seventh years were allowed to choose to remain. Most did. The muggles that could not, or would not, fight were moved to the Chamber of Secrets. That group included Stabler's family, Charlie and Alan Eppes (who was a conscientious objector during Vietnam), Abby Scuito, and the doctors.
The room was set up as best as possible to accommodate the hundred or so people that remained, bar the soldiers. They lined up around the walls, and played cards, drank, and talked.
The others sat around and waited for Dumbledore to say something. The old man looked around, and nodded to James. "James has devised a plan. We expect Voldemort to show up here in person in the next week."
"Good," Malaki said, "because if I'm here during Super Bowl, this whole damn castle is going down."
James chose to ignore him. "Voldemort is going to try to contact us. He will do it to scare us. But we need not worry. We have Gregory Knudsen, internationally ranked Master Duelist from Germany, fifteen time champion of the World Classic Dueling Tournament."
"We do?" Minerva McGonagall asked, as she looked around.
"Yes," Ford said, standing up with a bow. He gave everyone a dangerous look.
"You're a muggle," Jim said dumbly, staring between Nate and James. "He's a muggle."
"Voldemort does not know that," James said briskly. He went on, "We also have Maneek Zan, Master Warder from an undisclosed location. He is reputed to have warded more than four dozen top secret government buildings around the world."
Alec Hardison, a young dark-skinned man, stood and gave a slight nod before he sat down again. In reality, he was a computer specialist, and an expert hacker.
"And we have Anje Novik, a Russian intelligence expert, and her muscle, Jon." Sophie Devereaux and Eliot Spencer stood. She was middle aged and olive-skinned, with medium length dark hair. He was big-muscled, with shoulder length hair tied back. He looked dangerous.
"On top of that, we have Annette Rosa, British Hit Wizard of great fame," James finished. Parker, who went by her surname only, stood with an intense look. She glanced around, and sat stiffly.
"James," Jim said slowly. "How are you going to convince Voldemort that these people are who you say they are? What about the people they're impersonating?"
"I chose the people I did, because I know these people. A few months ago, they each sent me a sample of their hair in case I needed it. I will alert them that I am using it, and they will go into hiding until further notice."
"So," Sirius Potter said, "You just store hair from various people, until you need to use it?"
"Yes," James said without hesitation. "It is useful. Now, Voldemort will see these people, and the soldiers, and know that we are not going to be frightened of him."
"Speak for yourself," Fred Weasley said. "Voldemort is terrifying. He's all snakey and hissy and murdery."
"Stop speaking," James snapped. He looked around and continued, "The muggles do not have the power of magic, obviously. They are going to stay back, and use guns. There is a charm to stop physical projectiles, but it takes concentration. And it does not protect against spell damage. Now, the ultimate plan is to kill Voldemort."
"Duh," James' brother said. "What are you, new? Jeez! That's what we've been doing for years!"
"Shut up," James said sharply. "As I was saying, the ultimate goal is to kill Voldemort. The secondary goal is to kill every Death Eater we can find."
"No," Albus said firmly. "We capture, we do not kill them. Voldemort is the only murder I approve of."
James gave him a look. He and Andron stood up, along with Drake. James pointed his wand at Drake. "Avada-"
"Stupefy," Drake said, dropping James.
"Enervate," Andron said. James sprang up, wand pointed at Drake.
"Avada-" Drake stunned him again. Once more, Andron revived him. They did this twice more.
"Obviously," James said as they sat down, "stunning your enemy is useless. A live enemy is a dangerous enemy."
"It's called necessary use of lethal force," Carlton Lassiter said seriously.
"It's called immoral," Albus rebutted. "Killing is killing."
"They are murderers, and rapists, and dog killers!" thundered James. "Half of the criminals that are going to show up here have already been in prison, and were broken out! They've done the legal system thing! Now, I'm all for justice. I've taken more than my share of criminal justice classes. As it is, when somebody is shooting at me, I'm sure as hell going to shoot back!"
"I second that," Lassiter said firmly.
"Me too," Colby Granger said.
"Yep," Jim said.
Albus looked pained. "Fine! Fine. I want everyone to make absolute certain that the person you murder is a Death Eater."
"Kill, Old Man," James said sternly. "Murder is the unlawful killing of one human by another, especially with premeditated malice. Killing is causing death. Now, you always kill when you murder, but you do not always murder when you kill. Do not try that backhanded guilt trick. Killing Death Eaters is completely lawful."
"This is going to take a lot of use of force paperwork," deadpanned Elliot Stabler.
The Next Morning
As everyone was waking up and drinking coffee, Hagrid the half giant entered the hall. He was wearing a moth-eaten coat and held a deadly looking cross bow.
He explained that Voldemort was at the gate with a ton of Death Eaters.
A few of the wizards began to panic, but James yelled for silence. "Running around like a bunch of headless chickens," he muttered, disgusted. "Old Man, you've got some aurors that report to you, right? Well, call them in. We might need them," the younger man said.
Chatter rose to the point of uncontrollable. Andron said something to quiet everyone, and most people either looked to James or Albus. It was very odd to see who looked to which leader. Most of the Gryffindors in the room looked to Dumbledore, while most of the Slytherins looked to James. The muggles all looked at Andron, being the only ones to realize that he had called everyone 'blueberry wazzlewacks'.
"What the. . .?" Gus asked. Shawn Spencer looked at his best friend with a raised eyebrow. "Sounded like something you would say."
James spoke before Dumbledore. "So, the boogeyman has decided to show up. Awesome. Everybody know what they're doing?" James asked. He looked around and saw nods of confirmation and blank stares.
"We're all dead," Andron said.
An hour later, everything had been explained to the slower of the group.
Everybody was put into place. Sirius Potter, who had lobbied and whined to be allowed to stay, was arguing that he should be allowed to fight at the front lines. James shut him up with swift denial.
The anticipation filled the hall. No one could sit still. That wasn't saying much for James, who rarely ever sat still. Some people paced, some fidgeted, some broke into arguments.
As James had predicted, Voldemort made contact through an owled letter. It was addressed to James, much to the surprise of Dumbledore. The missive contained veiled threats and a direct declaration of war, should James refuse to surrender.
"Bitch, what do I care?" James asked, crumpling the letter. "These aren't my people, and this isn't my home." He looked to the anxious soldiers. "Assemble the marked students. Butch… ready to play?"
The students bearing the Dark Mark were dragged back into the hall. James used an experimental method of communication to contact Voldemort. Some geeks in Nowhere, Nebraska, or something had gotten the idea from Star Wars.
A 'holographic' image of Voldemort appeared before James, just as an image of James appeared before Voldemort. The red-eyed dark lord looked somewhat surprised for a moment. "What is this?" Voldemort demanded.
"A… negotiation," James said. "You have a few followers with you, it's cute, really. Now, I have the children of many of those followers here in this castle, bound and gagged and ready to die. You back off, or we kill them, one by one."
Voldemort smirked. "Dumbledore would condone no such thing," he said.
"Butch! Bring that squirrelly one here!" Butch, a six-foot-four man of huge musculature, dragged a Hufflepuff toward James. James adjusted the spell so that Voldemort could see the additional two men… and so could all of his followers. "Kill him."
Butch threw the boy down on his knees. He raised a butchers knife and brought it down to the back of the teens head, splitting his skull and separating the two hemispheres of his brain. Squirrelly Boy didn't have time to scream. The burly Marine dragged him away.
"That was Butch, born Alan Boon. At sixteen, he murdered his entire family; twelve people. Middle of the night, just said 'fuck this shit' and killed them all. He did some time in prison, sure. No justice system is perfect, however," James said with a smirk. "He got out at twenty-one. Likes killing people. Next!"
Butch dragged another teen forward. Voldemort watched impassively. "What is the point of this?" the man asked.
"Not even concerned we're killing your followers?" James asked.
"I have more."
"As you say." The next kid got his head split in two; that one went all the way into the spine.
Two more kids were killed, and then Draco Malfoy was dragged forward. However, the blond was not scared silent. "Master! Will you not help?" he demanded. When Voldemort simply stared at him, the boy looked enraged. "How dare you! I served you faithfully! I am a Malfoy!"
"Butch!" ordered James.
"No!" Lucius Malfoy had stepped forward into the range of the spell.
"Malfoy!" barked Voldemort. "You will desist!"
"That is my son!" argued the aristocratic blond.
"I do not care."
James smirked and ended the spell. "James, I told you I would try not to interfere, but there are four dead bodies on my floor," Dumbledore said.
"No there isn't."
"James, I'm looking at them!"
"Marvins," answered James. The four 'bodies' turned into identical mannequins. 'Malfoy' did the same.
Andron freaked out. "Holy shit, man! Holy shit! You just- fuck, how the fuck- what the fuck- who the fuck- fuck."
"After all this time, you all still think me capable of cold-blooded murder?" asked James.
"Stop messing with us!" Andron snapped. "Do it, or don't! Enough of this 'I killed him, psych- no I didn't' bullshit! Where are the kids you didn't just kill?"
"Right here," James said. He waved his hand and the students became visible, huddled on their knees by the door. They were gagged, but it was obvious that they were trying to yell. "Right as rain. Now, on to business, now that Voldemort thinks we've totally lost it. Right, Marines," James barked. "Move out." Twenty-five men and women in full battle gear surged out of the room, led by Butch. They were wearing camouflage and black face paint.
"Air Force," yelled Drake as he stepped forward. "To the turrets!" Twenty-five men and women filed out quickly.
"Army Special Forces," called James. Four men and one woman stood at attention. "Search and destroy." They left at a jog; the only group not wearing helmets.
"Navy SEALs!" Drake's yell brought five men to attention. "Search and destroy."
"Army Rangers! Why don't you go give the Death Eaters a taste of war?" James ordered. Six men left the room, shouting something or other.
"Navy! That's a mighty fine lake out there!" thundered Drake. The remaining twenty men and women of the Navy filed out.
"Army!" The fourteen men and women that remained snapped to attention. "Flank them." They filed out at James' command.
James turned to Andron's family. "You people are going to play sentry."
"What the fuck is a sentry?" Malaki asked.
"A door guard. Take this map, and each of you cover one entrance to the castle." They left, looking at the map speculatively. "Colby, you know what to do." Colby Granger put on a pair of sunglasses as he left the hall. James also directed Michael Weston and Fiona Glenanne out the door to set up explosives.
Nate Ford's group was assembled and took their respective potions. James figured that Voldemort would make one more attempt at contact.
He was right. Fifteen minutes later, the self-styled Dark Lord did make contact once more. James initiated the same spell as before, and this time included Nate, Sophie, Parker, Hardinson, and Elliot in the field of view.
After introducing his cohorts, James found negotiations to be non-existent. Voldemort was somewhat cowed, but went to great lengths to not show it. The man had no way to know that the Hogwarts forces numbered at more than two hundred.
James smirked as Voldemort walked away, out of the radius of the spell.
The young mastermind opened communication with all the units via specialized radio. "So, anyone got words?" James asked.
A thick voice replied, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever."
Another voice intoned, "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for you are with me."
James grinned and said, "I guess that says it all. Is everybody ready?"
He received several variations of, "OORAH," and "HOORAH".
"Well, let's go kill them all. Attack on three. Butch?"
"Onetwothree!" Butch yelled. "Mess with the best, die like the rest!"
"OORAH!" several other voices thundered.
James turned to his people. "Stabler, Gibbs, you know what you're doing?" he asked.
The two Marines nodded. They left the hall with determination.
Ziva David walked toward James with her usual understated menacing look in her eyes. "You have failed to assign me something to do," she said matter-of-factly. Her stance told James that he was going to be hurt if he did not rectify the situation.
He gave her his most disarming smile. "Officer David, I had to let all the tough guys out of here so they did not hear your part of the plan. It would do us no good if I destroyed their sensitive male egos before a fight."
"Sensible. What am I to do?" Ziva asked.
"At this moment, three Death Eaters are attempting to gain entrance through that tunnel I happened to show you the other day. I need you to kill them," James said simply.
"How are they armed?" the Mossad Officer asked.
"Only with wands," James replied with a smirk.
Ziva gave a confident nod, and in her slight accent said, "Then they are already dead." As she walked out of the hall, the Israeli woman tied up her hair.
Sirius Potter spoke up next. "So, this is cool and all, but when do we get to fight?"
James put on a thoughtful look and tapped his chin. "Oh, dear. How about when all of the Death Eaters are dead?"
Andron threw his arms in the air. "Amen to that, my brother. The last thing we need is to explain to the ministry how we got all of their people killed."
James walked toward Drake, muttering, "Last thing I need is people asking why I killed them on purpose…"
"Is everything set, James?" Drake asked.
"I will call out," the young man said. "Roll call!" he bellowed, startling many people.
"Two wounded!" Butch answered immediately. "But we are all in place."
"One man down, no fatalities. We're in place," another said.
All in all, everyone was in place. "Good," James said, "Attack."
As planned, the attack of the Death Eaters occurred from all sides. The men and women of the armed forces had surrounded them, invisibly, and attacked with killing curses. It took the Death Eaters several precious moments to figure out what was going on, and by then, many were dead. The remaining minions fled; the more loyal among them charged the castle itself.
Those that managed to avoid the claymores and the snipers made it to the front door. Most of them would wish a sniper had gotten them.
Waiting at the front door was Jethro Gibbs and Elliot Stabler.
The few that managed to slip by them, in hopes of finding the Headmaster, or one of their Lord's other targets, instead found the Headmaster, and ALL of their Lord's targets. And many others, as well.
The one they had only heard stories of, the one that had humiliated their Lord, was standing on front of all of them.
It was then that these Death Eaters, lost misguided men that they were, knew true fear. Their Lord's wrath had been a poor facsimile in comparison to the outright rage in the teenager's eyes.
Which was not at all lessened when the young adult said, "Ello, Cupcake!"
Stanley Beck was not usually a fighter. Before he had practically been conscripted by the Dark Lord, he had owned a bookstore in a small village. His companion, who was also not a fighter, was persistently hitting Stan's chest with the back of his hand. "Stan, Stan, Stan! That's James Potter!"
"I know that, idiot!"
"We're going to die! We're going to die!"
More of their comrades gathered behind them, having escaped the two crazy men at the door with most of their limbs intact.
Stan and his friend dropped their wands and raised their hands. "We surrender!"
James watched several people gather in front of him, and he watched as the first two to reach him panicked. They dropped their wands in surrender. James then smirked as he raised his hand. "Avada Kedavra." Drake felled the other man in the front with the same curse.
"I give no quarter," snarled Drake, starting on the remaining men.
A bit earlier, Ziva David was busy stalking her pray. Or, following three men silently as she waited to viciously kill them one-by-one. The former sounded less grisly, however.
As each fell a bit behind, she approached. The first man, she plunged a knife into his back, through his lung, and into his heart. The second's neck was snapped. When the third turned to find what had happened to his companions, she shot him in the heart.
Satisfied her task was done, Ziva carefully made her way back to the large room. When she got to the staircase that let to the dining hall, she saw a group of men, enemies, standing there. Two green lights flashed from the hall, and two of the men fell dead.
As the enemy began firing back, Ziva took cover at the top of the stairs and fired. She managed four head-shots before she was out of bullets. She somewhat regretted having fired several shots toward Tony earlier that week.
James saw several enemy combatants taken out by bullets fired from the stairs, and smirked. Ziva was near, then.
Ziva, Gibbs, and Stabler reentered the hall with grim looks. "A second wave just appeared at the gates, Potter, but it seems that the Marines were waiting for them. There was quite the fight out there."
"Now our only problem," Andron said, "is where Voldemort got off to."
James used a charm to move the three muggles behind him, toward Dumbledore, when he felt the approach of the aforementioned Dark Wizard.
Voldemort, flanked by Lucius Malfoy, Walden McNair, Theodore Nott, and a few others, swept into the room as if he owned it, and considering his lineage, he probably thought he did. "So, this is the lauded Light Side," sneered Voldemort. "Muggles, mudbloods, bloodtraitors, and you." Voldemort indicated James with contempt.
"Halfblood," supplied James, unnecessarily.
"Delightful. I will enjoy breaking you. I have waited a long time to kill you and your family-"
"Bitch, what is with this long drawn out pre-victory speech?" demanded Andron. "Don't you know that, just like in all the bad movies, you're giving us the time we need to kill you? Hubris, asshole."
Voldemort looked completely taken aback. "Who are you to speak to me like this?"
"Who are you to speak to me at all?" demanded Andron.
Voldemort raised his wand and spoke, "Avada Kedavra!"
Lars Schwartz grabbed Andron and pulled his son behind him. The killing curse hit him square in the chest. He fell to the ground, as his sons that remained in the hall charged forward. They were stopped by a shield that did not allow them to get within fifteen feet of Voldemort.
"You see now what it means to oppose me. Now see how bad it will be." Voldemort moved swiftly from the room, waving his arm as he left.
A hundred more Death Eaters appeared in the room, as the dozens of men and women of the armed forces entered. The Death Eaters were surrounded, but they had not been fighting at all. Butch and his men were close to exhausted. It had only been an hour or two, but they had expended quite a bit of magic.
The fighting began in earnest. Sirius Potter was ecstatic. Until, of course, he was sent to the ground by the cruciatus curse.
Lucius Malfoy shocked everyone by turning his wand on his fellow Death Eaters. He dropped three of them as he roared, "He was going to let them murder my son!"
Lucius was slammed into a wall by a blasting curse, though he was still breathing.
It took a surprisingly long time to get through even most of the Death Eaters.
When there were only three left, Voldemort swept back in with a few dozen more.
"Where the fuck do these things come from? Are you cloning them?" James yelled. He could not figure out where Voldemort had found more than fifteen hundred supporters.
Dumbledore was faring well, at least. He was fending off four Death Eaters and had only minor injuries.
The muggles were doing surprisingly well. Many of them had some degree of hand-to-hand combat training, of which the Death Eaters had none. As soon as the dark wizards were wandless, the muggles had the upper hand. Elliot Stabler, who had been a football player in high school, tackled most of his opponents to the ground, nearly crushing them.
Eliot Spencer was quite killed in mixed martial arts, and therefore left his opponents unconscious, if not dead.
Shawn Spencer, who had been missed in their removal of all liabilities, was by far the most entertaining thing in the hall. Every time a Death Eater approached him, Shawn screamed like a girl and ran away. At one point, he had eight unarmed Death Eaters chasing him, but Stabler and Gibbs had taken most of them down. Then, Shawn ran right into somebody, and started the most unreal catfight James had ever seen. What made it better was that the Death Eater participated.
James attacked Voldemort with reckless abandon. He thought of Lars, and his dogs, and the fact that the Dark Lord was the reason his family had given him up. James, who was muscle and blood glued together with anger and hate, used every dirty trick he'd ever even heard of as he attacked.
He gained the upper hand as he bombarded Voldemort. The Dark Lord went crashing to the ground as he was struck by a spell like a concussion grenade. James pulled out a hunting knife (mentioning 'from where' might be indecent), and went to town.
Andron finished off the Death Eater he had been dueling with a single shot to the forehead. He looked over and saw his best friend in his element. He was flaying Voldemort alive.
Kinda cool, though.
He looked around again and saw several men and women of James' company fallen. They were distinctive because of the American flags that covered their bodies. After involvement in the Vietnam war, the American Magical government began issuing miniscule flags to each soldier, to be affixed to their dog tags. At the moment of death, the flag would enlarge to full size and cover the body. It could only be moved by someone who knew the proper spell, so American soldiers could not be buried and lost. The flag also had tracking spells on them, so their activation would alert the base.
About a dozen such flags were spread around the room.
As action quieted down, several military chaplains moved to the fallen soldiers and spoke over them.
Several muggles had been badly wounded, but it did not appear that they had suffered any fatalities. Shawn Spencer was nursing a severe slap wound. A few others had burns and gashes.
Sirius Potter and Sirius Black had both been subjected to the cruciatus curse, and were recovering slowly. Jim Potter was bleeding heavily from his abdomen, but would live. Lily Potter was a large bruise on the side of her face, but was otherwise fine.
Andron looked to his own family. His mother was by his father's side, not weeping, but tears were falling down her face. His brothers were scattered about. Maleek was kicking a dying Death Eater without remorse, and Malaki was attempting to comfort their mother. Malaki was not so great at the comfort thing, however. He was awkwardly patting her back and saying things such as, "He's, uh, in a better place," and "You get all his money now." One of his sisters pushed him away and took his place.
The chaplains removed the flags that covered the bodies, and Andron nearly fell over when he saw Drake under one of them. James would be distraught, not that he would show it, but at least they could be comforted knowing Drake had gone out how he had always wanted.
Seriously, he had told them that he wanted to be blasted apart by enemy fighters while defending people that could not defend themselves. Odd man. Good man, of course, but very odd.
Two days after the fall of Voldemort (who's head was on a spike outside of Hogwarts, sans skin), all of the muggles had been sent home. James refused to allow them to have their memories modified, unless they specifically requested in, which none did. He felt that since they had risked their lives to save people they had never met, they deserved to remember it, at least.
James and Andron made enough of the werewolf cure to cure all of the werewolves in Great Britain, and they refused to allow the Ministry to profit, and they refused to charge the werewolves. The Ministry wished to charge a fee to the werewolves, something about expenses. It was all James could do not to slap them. They also gave some of the credit to Severus Snape, who had died in the final showdown.
The two men were cleaning out their quarters when a soft sound at the door caused them both to look up. Dumbledore was standing there, his hand bandaged, with a sad look. Andron excused himself to another room, but James and Dumbledore barely noticed.
"So, you're leaving," the old man said.
James smiled. "Very perceptive. Work that out by yourself?"
Dumbledore ignored his comment and continued without looking at James. "Will you be, ah, are you going to…"
"I'll see you again, of course," James said, cottoning on. "I mean, how else am I going to get the fifteen years worth of birthday and Christmas presents you owe me?"
The older man laughed and pulled James into a hug. "I was sorry to hear about the loss of your friend," Dumbledore said. "He and I never got along, but he meant a lot to you."
James shrugged a bit. "I knew Drake's time was coming. He was an old man, and completely reckless. It was one of the reasons I did not want you fighting. Losing both of you would have been devastating."
"You knew that he was going to pass in that fight?" asked the Headmaster.
The scientist shook his head. "No. He and I both had a feeling, though. We discussed it the day before the fight. I loved the man dearly, and I will miss him, but I will move on."
"It eases my mind to know that he was there for you." Left unsaid was, while I was not. James knew what he meant, though.
As the two teenagers were leaving the castle, James' parents approached him and asked to talk. Once more, Andron left them alone. He really did not want to talk to them, but he figured he could soldier through it for them. Call it his good deed for the day.
"James," Lily said quietly as they sat down at one of the tables in the Great hall, with James on one side and them on the other, "We just wanted you to know that…" she looked to her husband, who looked petrified. Figuring he wouldn't be any help, the redhead continued, "Well, we know you don't like us that much. But, if you ever need anything, anything at all, research funding or a safe house if you're on the run from the law, we're here for you. No questions asked. We want you to know that we love you."
James couldn't help the small derisive chuckle that bubbled up.
"Yeah," Jim said, "we weren't there for you. We'll never forgive ourselves for that. But these last few months we've been around you, you've grown on us. Sure, you're a little mean, a bit rude, and you drink a lot. Lily has terrible morning-breath. We all have our prob- OW!" Lily had punched Jim in the arm. He mock glared at her as he continued. "We may not be your parents as the term is usually defined, but we still want to get to know you better. What do you say? Could you give us that chance?"
As he looked at them, James knew he had two options. He could say no, leave then, and never speak to them again.
But was that what he wanted? As a small child, James had wanted a family. At least someone to come home to at the end of a day, that would be there with a smile. He had given up on that hope by the time he was five, and forgotten it by seven. Yet, what if he could have it? At least have people to talk to, that cared about him. Sure, he had Andron, but Andron was too much like him to be much help.
He took a deep breath and said, "I'll try. Don't expect the Brady Bunch, but I work on not hating you two as much." He checked his watch. "I have to go. I'll be in touch."
James and Andron departed Hogwarts later that day. James spent a long time closing up Drake's estate, and then went back to his apartment in Las Vegas.
He walked in the door and dropped his bag and looked around at the room he had hardly seen the previous six months. "I need a beer."
I want to thank everyone who took the time to read this ridiculous, implausible, odd, warped fic. Posting this is so hard. It's like sending my baby off to college. I started this in my freshman year of highschool, in 2006, posted it in 2007, and have finally finished in 2010 as a senior about to graduate. I don't know whether to feel accomplished or pathetic, really ;)
Just want to let you know that this chapter topped off at more than 14,000 words. It's a good forty-six pages long.
I might write an epilogue of sorts to this, ten years in the future. (19 is too odd of a number). I have already partially written several stories that are AU of this one, such as 'what if Dumbledore had gotten custody', 'what if James had ended up with the Numb3rs team', 'what if James and Andron went to Hogwarts at 11', and (because of my evil, evil beta) 'what if James and Andron joined SG-1'. These can be blamed for chapters of Prodigy taking so long, I suppose.
Once more, thank you all for reading, and I hope you all win the lottery. Unless you live in California, because that shit is mine, bitches! : )