Disclaimer: I'm not J. K. Rowling. Nor am I Ian Fleming, Maxwell Grant (Walter B. Gibson), Hal Fimberg, or Mike Meyers, or anyone else I stole characters or ideas from. No organizations with nefarious plans for world domination were harmed in the making of this story.
Harry Potter and the Evil Summer Vacation
"Harry James Potter!"
"Hello Hermione." Harry had no idea what he did wrong, but he knew that look.
"What is the meaning of this?" she huffed, throwing a magazine down on the table: Evil Monthly.
"Well, it wasn't my fault! Dumbledore insisted that the Dursleys treat me better this past summer and take me on vacations and everything, but they got him to accept me being sent to camp for a week. So I get off the plane in Geneva and there's a guy with a car holding a card with my name on it. I don't know who screwed up, but it wasn't his fault. It said H. Potter but it should have been Porter, as in Heinrich Porter. . . ."
"Wait a minute, that name sounds familiar. . . ." Hermione screwed up her face trying to remember.
"You probably know him as the Red Wolf."
"That's it! He's that terrorist!"
"Exactly. So I arrive at this resort at the top of a mountain owned by this really creepy guy named Blofeld, and I find I'm at a retreat for Masterminds, Super Criminals, and Dark Lords."
"And no one knew you were there?"
"No, and there was no communication out, either. They're very paranoid. I suppose you don't get to be a Super Criminal if you let your guard down.
"So anyway, I get signed up for a some seminars for aspiring Dark Lords. There were a number of young people there -- lots of these Masterminds are really good parents. Makes me mad whenever I think about how the Dursleys, supposedly "good, normal people" treat me.
"But anyway, we had classes in the morning and often had field trips in the afternoon. They took away my emergency portkey -- it didn't work at the resort, and the field trips didn't allow it because it would reduce the feeling of danger that we were supposed to experience.
"I don't know what they wrote about in there," he indicated the magazine, "but I'm sure it's an exaggeration. Unless it's about when Porter showed up."
"Uh, I was going to ask about that. Tell me you didn't use that sort of language."
"I just lost fifty galleons at poker, and I was a little, er -- upset, and he came out on the balcony yelling at me, and I sort of lost my head. I kind of, er, disparaged his, uh, equipment."
"And you threw him off the mountain?"
"That's a bit of an exaggeration. He came running at me, and knocked me on my back, but I managed to get my feet on his stomach, and pushed. That, plus his momentum, knocked him into the railing which gave way. He was really overweight; I have no idea how he could have been as stealthy as his reputation! He only fell a story, so you see, the magazine is exaggerating what I did."
"But he died!"
"Yes. And Blofeld was furious at first because killing people is was a strictly enforced rule. However, after the other guests told him what really happened and how Red Wolf was yelling that he was going to kill me, he let me off the hook and said he wasn't going to refund Porter's deposit. But if he hadn't been so heavy, I don't think the railing would have given way, and he might have been able to control his landing. He really abused his body. "
"Is that why you run and work out now?"
"Exactly. As Red Grant, our martial arts teacher said, our body is our weapon of last resort; a well trained body is as good as a hidden Semerling."
"What's a Semerling?"
"Worlds smallest .45 pistole," Harry answered, pulling one out of his robes.
"HARRY! You can't have weapons here! This is a school!"
"What do you think a wand is, Hermione? Every child in the wizarding world is armed with a deadly weapon. I just have an extra one."
"But anyway, none of this is what I wanted to talk to you about."
"I wanted to know about this!" She angrily opened the magazine and pointed at a paragraph.
"Harry James Potter! I. Am. Not. Your. Moll!"
"So tell me about the convention, Harry," Hermione insisted.
"Well. . . . "
- - - -
Harry got out of the limousine and followed the driver, who was carrying his bags, to a platform where people were boarding a large gondola for a trip up the mountain. The driver put the bags in the luggage compartment, and smiled at Harry as he directed him into the gondola. They were outside of a quaint little town, deep in the Swiss Alps. There was no snow on the ground here, but a lot of the nearby mountains were still snow capped. The gondola was mostly full, and after a few more people followed Harry in, it started moving.
He had spent the ride up talking with a boy a few years older than himself, Scott Evil. His father had been involved in what sounded like a bragging contest with several other guests. Something about who had threatened the most important city with a thermo-nuclear weapon, which seemed to give way to a expert discussion of which country's nukes were better and was that offset by the ease of stealing them from this other country, and so on and on. They sounded exactly like his Uncle Vernon discussing the merits of various football teams with his co-workers.
"I'll concede the American's triggers, but for durability, you can't beat the Indian jobs. Sure you've got to do a major over hall of the electronics, but they're built so heavy, you can accidentally drop one and they keep on ticking," Scott's father, Mr. -- no wait, he was insistent about this -- Dr. Evil said.
Scott rolled his eyes. "He can talk about them for hours! It's like he expects everyone else to love his hobby."
Harry nodded. "My Uncle Vernon will sometimes go on and on about the drill business at dinner. He'll talk the whole dinner through, and no one else will pay any more attention than to know when to nod or give a verbal agreement."
"Well, at least you eat with your family. Mr. Which-Country-Do-We-Blackmail-Today is usually too busy to eat with me."
"It's not so great when they let me eat with them. They make sure I know they resent every bite I eat."
"Is that why you're turning evil?"
Harry wondered if he had given off evil vibes or what, but he leaned close and spoke quietly, "I'm not really. . . ." He stopped as he noticed no one else in the gondola was speaking, they all seemed to be looking elsewhere, but all had an ear in his direction.
"Word of advice," Scott said. "Lowering your voice is like waving a red flag in front of a bull. It gets everyone's attention. If you don't want to be listened to, just talk at a normal volume."
"Oh, thanks. That's good advice," Harry replied in his normal voice. Everyone went back to their own conversations. Harry continued with what he was going to say before, "I'm not really turning evil, but I do have a Dark Lord after me. Does that count?"
"Smart thinking. Know your enemy, and all that. And it's not as if you need to make a decision today. You can always change careers later." Harry was confused a bit by this answer, as he was by the crowd. The Dursleys said that they were sending him to a camp where he'd have to sleep outside, dig his own toilet, and maybe even find his own food. He was told he would be picked up at the airport. He never expected a limousine, but what did he know? It was his first airplane flight (he preferred brooms), and his first time going to camp. He was expecting more people his own age, not all these overweight men who all seem to have seven foot tall bodyguards. Except for that very old looking oriental man; Fu Manchu, Harry remembered his name. His bodyguard was a small oriental with a very big knife in his belt. And that guy with the gold lighter, Mr. Scaramanga. His bodyguard was a dwarf.
"So, what got you into evil?" He figured if Scott could ask it of him, he could ask it of Scott.
"Trying to connect with my dad. He was gone for most of my life, and now he acts like I'm not there. I hoped if we both were evil we'd have something in common."
Harry nodded. "I gave up on trying to be accepted in my own home a long time ago. Nothing I do will ever be good enough for them. But you know, even after giving up, every now and then, it still hurts." His voice had dropped as he spoke. He suddenly realized that no one else was speaking, and everyone was leaning towards him again.
"I'm just talking about my personal life here. Nothing to be interested in!" Harry said, loudly. One or two of the others seemed to be a bit embarrassed about being caught eavesdropping, but most just went back to their conversations without giving him a glance.
They reached the terminal and Harry exited the gondola with the other passengers. They were literally on the top of a mountain. The sun was warm, and if the wind didn't blow the air was, too. But when the wind did blow, it was cold coming off the snow that still covered most of the mountain. Harry followed the other guests into lobby. A huge banner hung from the ceiling proclaiming
Welcome to the 4th Bi-annual Convention of
Masterminds, Super-Criminals, and Dark Lords
Hosted by Ernst Stavros Blofeld and SPECTRE
Harry understood Scott's comments now. He went to the desk with the sign that said "P-T". He got in line behind a group of masked people in red, hooded robes. The receptionist said, "Name?"
"The Silent Seven."
She looked through the list in front of her. "Ah, here you are. Misters and Mzes Sevens. Please place all weapons on the table so they can be registered. And it says here that Silent Seven Number Four needs a playpen and babysitting, is that correct?"
Harry noticed a four year old holding the hand of one of the robed figures. "That is correct" a woman's voice answered from behind the red cloth mask.
The rest were busy putting a large collection of equipment on the table. Some of it Harry recognized -- things that looked like over sized pistols that would take two hands to hold, a rifle that seemed to have it's barrel cut off, knives, a club. Some he didn't recognize, like the box with all the buttons on the side, and the red sticks tied up in bundles of seven.
"Can you please step over here while we catalog this, and I'll check in the next guest. Thank you. And you are?"
Harry stepped up to the desk and gave his name. The receptionist looked through the list twice and shook her head. "I'm sorry, Mr. Potter, but your name isn't on here. Let me get Mr. Blofeld over here to straighten this out." One of the many hotel employees disappeared into the crowd, and returned a moment later followed by the man Harry would describe as "creepy."
"What seems to be the problem?" the bald man asked. He had a scar running from his forehead to his cheek. Harry thought he must have been lucky to not have lost his eye.
"Mr. Potter doesn't seem to be on the list."
"Do you have any explanation why you're not on the list, Mr. Potter?"
"No, sir. My uncle arranged this trip. The car was waiting at the airport for me, and everything, so I'm at a complete loss as to why I'm not on the list."
The events of the next few seconds sound orderly and logical when related, but please remember that to the people involved the threat of imminent death, the chaos of moment, and the crying of a four year old as the bomb was pulled out of his hands certainly made the reality much more confusion and nerve racking.
"Joey's activated the bomb! We only have seconds to live!"
Instinctively, Harry whipped out his wand, and began casting a banishing charm on the afore mentioned box with buttons, that now had an LED timer counting down from 004.
He was interrupted, partially, by a shout, "HARRY POTTER!"
As he looked in the direction of the soprano voice that called his name, he would have to admit that his spell casting was a bit distracted. It was more distracted as he recognized the person who called.
In retrospect, he couldn't find anything wrong with the outcome and often wondered if his subconscious mind had directed his spell, but the result was the bomb was not banished out a window, but towards his "fan". Luckily, no one else was very close to her. She and the wall behind her were blown up real good.
"Mr. Potter, do you know who you just killed?"
"Yes, of course. That was Bellatrix Lestrange."
"The rules specifically say you cannot kill the other guests!"
"I'm sorry, sir. I wasn't trying to kill her. I was going to throw the bomb out the window, and she called my name at that exact moment."
"It's true, sir," said Silent Seven Number Four. "Joey accidentally activated the timer. If it weren't for his quick action, us, him, and you would be dead."
"Very well, we'll accept this as an accident. But no more killing or you will be ejected, is that understood?"
"Frau Bunt, what organization did Mrs. Lestrange belong to?"
Harry answered, trying to be helpful, "She was one of Voldemort's Death Eaters."
"That is correct. That's the Dark Lord Voldemort, Herr Blofeld. He couldn't make it himself, zo he sent Mrs. Lestrange," the short, and Harry had to admit, ugly, woman replied.
"And you know that how?" Blofeld asked Harry.
"I've been involved with Voldemort all my life. And Bella is, er, was, one of his inner circle."
He looked at Bunt, and she nodded, "That is alzo correct, she vas von of hiz inner circle."
Blofeld gave a Harry a look that he was sure would have put even Snape in his place.
"I'll accept you for now. But if you give me any reason to doubt that you are here legitimately, I'll have you killed, do you understand?" Harry nodded. "And I expect a letter of apology from you to Lord Voldemort for killing his minion. No matter what your previous relationship with Lord Voldemort, you may have just gained a powerful enemy, Mr. Potter. And you will be charged for the repair."
Suddenly he leaned in and whispered to Harry, "And if I find that you either engineered this or just took advantage of the situation to move up in your hierarchy, I'll ban you from any future conventions! You understand?" Harry nodded, noticing all the people in the immediate area had stopped talking and were leaning an ear towards them.
Blofeld spun on his heel and stalked away muttering to Blunt, "I told you it was a mistake to have the youth here."
"Ve vould not have had the turnout if ve did not accept them, Herr Blofeld. The group from Fabulous Face vould be about half as large if ve excluded the children. And you know vhat a dead time the summer is for business at the resort. . . ."
Harry got registered quickly. Before going to his room he went to examine the destruction he had inadvertently caused. The body parts had been removed already. He looked at the wall, waved his wand and cast a Reparo spell. The wall, window, and ceiling returned to their pre-exploded state.
Another guest in red robes, but wearing a rubber skull mask, came up to him.
"If you could reverse your repair ray, it would make an excellent weapon! I know I would pay handsomely for it."
"I don't know if I could do that, Mr. . . ."
The man's voice deepened a bit, "I am the Crimson Ghost!" His voice then returned to normal. "Well, if you need help, contact me. I have a ray that will destroy electronic equipment. If we join together, we could probably come up with something that could blow open a safe without using explosives. And then, we can go on to rule the world!"
"Uh, I'll keep you in mind," Harry answered, and went off to find his room.
- - - -
As he finished telling her about his entrance to the world of super criminals, a thought struck him.
"Hermione! What are you doing with that magazine? They're very careful about who can get it, you know." He pointed at the issue of Evil Monthly.
"Oh, that. I'm sure you know that both my parents are dentists," she replied.
As Harry finished telling Hermione the story about his arrival at the evil masterminds convention, Luna Lovegood walked over to the Gryffindor table in the Great Hall. Hermione had waited until after the lunch crowd had left before confronting Harry in the empty hall. Now there was a third person, however, and Hermione thought, with some irritation, that she wouldn't get the rest of the story from Harry for a while.
"Hullo, Harry, Hermione," Luna said. "Harry, what did you do to my father this summer?"
"Uh, what do you mean, Luna?"
"Well, since he met you while on assignment, he's been sort of . . . ." She stopped and her mouth seemed to try out several words before she continued. "He's been sort of crazy whenever he talks about you."
Hermione's brain re-booted after it tried to process the idea of Luna considering someone crazy. "What does he do, Luna?" she asked.
"Half the time he tells me to never talk to you again because you tried to kill him, and the other half he wants me to thank you for saving his life."
"Oh. Well, I had to try to kill him, or I would have been kicked out of the convention."
Hermione, in a Hermione way, leaped to a conclusion and expressed her opinion immediately. "Harry Potter! How could you consider staying at a convention more important than someone's life!"
"But I was pretty sure I knew what I was doing. . . ."
- - -
Had he been in the auditorium for the talk, "Hostage negotiation -- How to get out Alive with the Money" he would have missed the excitement; and Mr. Lovegood probably would have ended up dead. He felt he was learning a lot that would be useful, if not for defeating Voldemort, at least for staying alive, but using hostages for money didn't seem to fit into either category. He was relaxing in the lounge with Domino Petachi a dancer a few years older than him, who was with her guardian, Maximilian Largo (who was with the sponsoring organization, SPECTRE) when a commotion broke out at the bar. They glanced over and saw security converging on a rotund man dressed in Chinese robes, sporting a thin Manchu mustache, and squinting. His skin was pale, definitely not Oriental, and the dark mustache didn't match his graying hair. He spoke English with a very bad Chinese accent imposed over his southern English accent.
"But I am Ying Ko! Leader of the Hatchet Tong in London's Chinatown!" he was insisting.
Two of the burly security guards each had an arm, and another was patting him down. They pulled out the man's wallet, and rolled up his left sleeve and found a wand strapped in a leather holster.
One of the guards pulled out the wand and looked at it quizzically. "What's this?" he asked.
Harry was going to keep his mouth shut (not that he told Luna and Hermione that) but another guard read from a card he pulled from the wallet, "Larry Pendragon Lovegood. Editor in Chief, The Quibbler. 'All the news that's fit to print and some that isn't.' Looks like we got ourselves a reporter!"
Harry knew that if they had to fight their way out that he would want Mr. Lovegood to have his wand, so he tried to come up with some excuse to get a hold of it.
"That looks like a sheath for a stiletto or a very long, thin dirk. I suppose that a wooden one wouldn't set off a metal detector."
The guard holding the wand looked at it shook his head. "It's not even sharp."
Harry laughed (practicing the evil laugh that he learned in "Knowledge is Power -- Intimidation, Torture, and Threats as Ways to Reach Your Goals")
"He's not very sharp if he thinks squinting will make you think he's Chinese." That got a chuckle out of the guards and other bystanders. Harry innocently asked the guard to see the stick, and looked it over, slipping it into his pocket when no one was looking.
Blofeld soon showed up.
"How did you find out about this convention?"
"My dentist left a copy of Evil Monthly in his office, and I made note of the date and location."
"You made a mistake, my friend. No dentist would leave that magazine around. Kill him."
"Wait! When I said left a copy, I meant in the office safe!"
"What were you doing in your dentist's safe?"
"Looking for clues to the Rotfang Conspiracy!"
Blofeld considered this for a moment, and nodded. "Frau Bunt, send a friendly note to the leader of the Rotfangs and warn them that at least one newspaperman has heard of them." She nodded, and made a note of his request. "Meanwhile, kill him."
Mr. Lovegood looked surprised. "I cooperated. You aren't supposed to kill me when I cooperate."
"What part of Evil in Evil Mastermind didn't you understand?"
"I thought that was just, you know, advertising to attract attention."
"Then you thought wrong. Kill him."
As the guards pulled out guns, Harry knew he had to do something, quickly. He raised his hand and started waving it; rather like Hermione does in class.
"Mr. Blofeld? Can we do it?" Harry asked, putting as much enthusiasm into it as he could.
"Can we kill him?"
"Who is we?"
"Those of us who were in this mornings session 'Death Traps -- A Historical Overview.'"
There was a laugh from another spectator. "Why not let him, Blofeld. It's good to see the younger generation taking an interest in traditions like that."
"That may be, Goldfinger, but we have no shark tanks, vats of acid, or killer ants available."
Scott Evil, who had followed the crowd and maneuvered next to Harry, said quietly, "Harry, why don't you just shoot him and be done with it?"
"But Scott, you don't understand. If you had been at the seminar this morning, you'd know that the goal of a well designed death trap isn't to kill someone, but to have fun doing it. And Mr. Blofeld, I won't need any of those things. One of the things handed out this morning was a diagram of a death trap from the '20's." Harry went back to his table and looked through the thick folder of information he had been collecting. He pulled out the diagram. "We'll need some wood, pipe, a sword -- that's the killing instrument -- some rope, a cat, an alarm clock, a bowling ball. . . ."
"Boy, there are no footed tubs available, and I am not going to get one just for your games."
"Of course not, sir. I figure a large bucket would work just as well; and we can substitute any weight for the anvil."
"Oh, very well. But I want it finished by breakfast tomorrow, or I'll have the reporter taken care of the quick way."
"Yes sir! Come on, Scott, Domino. Let's get working on this."
"What's this?" Domino asked.
"That's the name of the designer. Rube Goldberg."
- - -
Things actually went faster after Scott and Domino gave up helping and went to bed. Harry no longer had to leave the room to conjure up missing pieces of the contraption. He had looked over the available rooms and made sure he picked one with a western view. That would keep Mr. Lovegood alive at least until the evening when the sun (A) would shine through the magnifying glass (B) igniting the match (C) and starting the whole process that would eventually cause the sword (X) to drop on the neck (Y) of the victim (Z). Now, all he needed to do was find some time to help Mr. Lovegood (Z) escape from the trap.
Harry got a lot of congratulations the next day when he showed off his work. He shared credit with Scott and Domino and watched as they strapped Mr. Lovegood (Z) to the plank (M). He then went to have breakfast and went to his all day seminar "How Not to Be Seen -- Part 2, Moving targets." He had been warned away from part 1, but this one came highly recommended. It was all about moving stealthily, trailing people, detecting when you're being trailed, and getting away once you've been made.
The class wasn't very full; the Lieutenants thought they were above this sort of thing, and the Masterminds felt that "sneaking about" was too undignified. Scott took the class with Harry, and after several hours lectures punctuated with demos, they broke for lunch. After lunch they would go down the mountain to the town and do some practicing.
Harry checked before and after lunch, but there was no time when Mr. Lovegood was alone. He hoped there would be some time that evening, but if worst came to worst, he would get Mr. Lovegood his wand and hope the two of them could fight their way down the mountain.
In town, Scott and Harry were paired up with an English gentleman named Malcolm Rodney. Scott was the "target" first. Harry spent an hour following him, while Rodney went between the two of them giving pointers on how to not be noticed not only by the target you're trailing but by bystanders and how to spot the tail. Then they switched rolls and Harry got to see how well he could do avoiding Scott. Then they met back at the central square and were told that they had five minutes head start then a group of agents they hadn't met before would try to spot them and trail them. The students scattered.
Harry headed away from the shopping district and slipped into the little zoo that the town hosted. He carefully watched for tails, and slipped into the reptile house. No one was there, so he struck up a conversation with a python. He stopped when the door opened, and Harry saw reflected in the snake tanks' glass, a tall, square jawed man enter the building. He made his way around the displays until he was looking at the python and standing next to Harry.
"Don't stop on my account," he said with an American accent.
"Ever consider writing a Snake/English dictionary?"
"I don't. . . . " Harry was off guard and confused. Was this guy one of the trackers? Or some random person.
"If you need help, contact me. I wrote the definitive English/Dolphin dictionary." He handed Harry a business card.
"At your service." He held out a hand to Harry. Harry shook it automatically. He was still confused. Flint's next words didn't help matters.
"The Dursleys think you're at some sort of Boy Scout camp. Why are you at a convention of Evil Masterminds."
"You know the Dursleys?"
"We're keeping as close an eye on this thing as possible. When a boy shows up unescorted, well, once we made sure you weren't Artemus Fowl, we did a little research and found that you are probably H. Potter who is attending instead of H. Porter. I think Mr. Porter might be a bit upset with you if he gets here."
"Who are you?"
"Derrik Flint, as the card says."
"But who do you work for?"
"I remember that -- it's tops in the poll of silliest name for a spy organization, followed by UNCLE. It's Fourth in the list of most annoying organizations."
"Only fourth? Who's number one?"
"Didn't make sense, but it was something called Universal Export."
"Oh, them. But kid. . .Harry. . .why are you at a convention of evil masterminds? You're not trying to take over the world, are you?"
"I ended up there by mistake, but I've learned a lot that I hope will keep me alive."
"What do you mean?"
"I've got a Dark Lord after me. The things I'm learning are the first useful things I've learned since I found out that I'm his target."
"Harry, if that's really why you're there, I can get you some training from the good guys. I even know the top agent for Universal Export -- guy named Bond. I can't let you go back there. It's too dangerous." The American put his hand on Harry's shoulder.
"Oh, look!" Harry said, and as Flint looked behind him, Harry followed up with "Stupify!" his wand in his hand. Harry was about to go when Rodney entered the building.
"Good job, Potter! You successfully hid from the searchers. However, you didn't get any practical experience spotting them."
"How did you find me, then?"
Rodney held up a device with a little screen. "Tracking bug. Put it on you while we were meeting in the . . . .Oh, my God! That's Flint! How did you ever capture Flint?"
"Um. . . I caught him by surprise?"
"Excellent! Hang on," he pulled out a miniature walkie-talkie and called for help. Soon a group of security guards were in the building with them, and Flint was tied up, tossed in a bag, and carried away.
"Really excellent work, Potter! Once he's in the resort, there will be no escape for him. I doubt they'd even wait to use your death trap another time. Shall we go?"
"Yes sir," Harry replied. He didn't want anything bad to happen to Flint -- he was one of the "good guys", after all -- but his top priority would have to be saving Mr. Lovegood. He followed the goons and received permission to go back to the convention with the prisoner.
Harry gave the "caught him by surprise" explanation a number of times after they were back on the mountain top. The guards carried Flint into the same room as the Death Trap that Harry had put together.
"Oh no," he thought to himself. "There's no way I'm going to get a chance to just let Lovegood go. Not with this crowd."
Flint was still tied up well, and was being watched by a half dozen guards with more right outside the door. More people were showing up, gaping at Flint.
"All we need is Bond and we'd have a great pair of matching bookends, " someone said.
Scott came into the room, and got next to Harry.
"Good thing you hit him so hard," Scott said. "From what I've heard, if he were awake now, he'd still be able to get out of here alive."
"You mean even tied up like that?"
"Yup! That's what I've heard."
Harry shook his right arm and his wand fell into his hand from the holster strapped on his wrist. He cast a quiet Ennervate on Flint from across the room. Then he cast the first part of a spell that the twins had shown him -- the whole thing would cause someone's shoes to be tied together, but the first part just untied things, in this case the ropes.
Harry was watching but even he was never sure how Flint overpowered the six armed guards in the room with him. As the fight moved out to the hall, along with any other spectators still standing in the room, Harry quickly untied Mr. Lovegood. He handed him his wand, and whispered, "Get out of here! Use the fight as a diversion."
"Who are you?" Mr. Lovegood asked.
"I'm Harry Potter. Please don't ever tell that I was here." Lovegood's eyes widened at that. Scott took that moment to return to the room.
"What are you doing? You're letting him get away."
"Scott, trust me on this. . . ."
"Give me one good reason."
"He's the father of a friend of mine. If I ever ask her out it would be really awkward if I were the one who killed her father."
"I can see that," he said slowly as Mr. Lovegood, breaking virtually every rule they had learned that day about moving unobtrusively, left the building. If there wasn't a huge battle going on at the same time, he wouldn't have made it.
"There's another reason, too," Harry said.
"Oh, what's that?"
"I know you weren't in the seminar on death traps the other morning, but did you know that no one's ever been killed by a death trap?"
"I knew the odds were bad, but nobody?"
Harry shook his head, "Nobody. Ever. I just couldn't let his incompetence ruin a record like that."
Scott nodded. "That's why I hate death traps."
"Don't knock 'em. If Voldemort were less a drama queen and hadn't spent a whole year trapping me in one, I would be dead."
"I can see where that might influence your opinion of them." They looked out the window as Flint disappeared down the mountain. "Where do you suppose he found the snow board?"
- - -
"Oh," said Luna. "No wonder you made him crazy."
Hermione nodded, "First you build a machine to kill him, leave him in it all day long, then you rescue him. I can understand, too."
Luna looked at Hermione as if Hermione had lost her mind. "That's not it at all. It was Harry's comment about going out with me. A comment like that would cause any parent to act crazy.
"And Harry, I accept your invitation to go with you on the next Hogsmeade weekend. I'm glad you didn't kill Daddy. That would have made it very awkward." She wondered out of the great hall, leaving a pair of stunned Gryffindors in her wake.
"Luna? What are you doing here?"
Hermione looked at the blond haired girl with a confused expression on her face. They were in an unused classroom not too far from the entrance to the Gryffindor tower where Harry had asked to meet her. After some accusations of being slipped a love potion by Ginny, Harry had started going out with Luna. So it wasn't too unexpected to find them together. But she was here alone when Hermione was expecting Harry
"I'm here in an official capacity," she answered while taking out a notepad and a self inking quill.
"Official capacity? What official capacity?"
"I'm getting an exclusive for the Quibbler. Do you have any comment on the story that's going to be in today's Quibbler? We can either focus on you as a representative Hogwarts student, or as a Muggle born, or we can concentrate on you being a close personal friend of Harry Potter."
"How can I have a comment on the story? The paper hasn't even been delivered yet!"
Luna looked thoughtful, and nodded. "That would make it difficult to comment on it. So I think you should read it before you comment. Otherwise, I'd have to reject your comment as being uninformed."
Before Hermione could decide if Luna was trying to annoy her on purpose, or just being herself, Harry interrupted them.
"Oh, good, you're here. Are you ready?"
Luna and Hermione answered at the same time.
"Yes, Harry," the cub reporter said.
"Ready for what?" the interviewee responded.
"You didn't tell her?" Harry asked Luna. "How are you going to get an useful quote?"
"We just reached that point in our conversation," Luna answered.
"Harry! Just tell me what's going on?"
"No time now. You'll just have to give an eyewitness account," Harry answered.
"OOOO! That's even better. I can get a representative student's comment later," Luna squealed with excitement.
While they were talking, Harry walked up to the girls and put an arm around each of their waists.
"HARRY!" Hermione protested.
"Fawkes!" Harry responded. The phoenix appeared in the room with a burst of fire. It hovered for a moment, then landed on Harry's shoulder. There was another flash, and the students felt a warm tingle all over their bodies for the moment they were magically between here and there. It stopped as soon as they were "there."
"There" turned out to be a graveyard at the base of a hill. The hill was bare and looked like it was missing something. Harry pulled the girls down behind a gravestone, so they were mostly out of sight of the hill.
"Harry, we're not allowed to be off Hogwart's grounds. We're going to get in so much trouble!" Hermione was looking around, trying to get a handle on what was happening.
"Shouldn't be long now. It's almost nine-thirty. Your father won't get the time wrong, will he?" Harry asked Luna.
"No, Harry. He's very excited about this whole plan and he's going to be as punctual as possible."
"Harry James Potter, if you do not tell me this instant what is going on, I will hex you to pieces, put the pieces into little boxes, and mail them to my pen pals around the world. They'll never get you back together! Now tell me what's going on!"
"SHHHH" Harry hissed. "We're next to a secret hide out."
"Whose secret hide out?" Hermione asked.
"I can't tell you. It's a secret and it's protected by a Fidelius charm. But this is the graveyard where Voldemort was resurrected, and Death Eaters have disappeared walking towards the top of that hill. You can probably make your own conclusions."
"What are we doing here?"
"It's a plan I came up with. Luna, do you have a copy of today's Quibbler?" She nodded, staring at the empty hill. "Then give it to Hermione so she can see what we're doing."
Luna handed over the paper, but never took her eyes off the hill.
"WHA..." Hermione started shouting, but Harry's hand covered her mouth.
"If you alert them, it could destroy the whole plan. Keep it down!"
She nodded, and Harry took his hand away.
Hermione went back to reading the paper. In 28 point font across the top it said
Boy-Who-Lived Destroys He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named's Lair
"In an astonishing and unexpected turn in the two year old terror campaign of the re-embodied You-Know-Who, Harry Potter, sixth year Gryffindor student at Hogwarts School of Magic destroyed one of his secret bases. The base was protected by a Fidelius charm, so it's exact location cannot be reported, but it is located near a cemetery in Little Hangleton on a hill. All available Aurors were assigned to monitor the situation and capture any escaping Death Eaters.
"At the time of this publication, the casualties are unknown, as is the fate of You-Know-Who."
"Harry!" Hermione whispered, "You better have a better explanation than this!"
"I got the idea after that convention I went to last summer. . . ."
- - - -
Harry grabbed the phone and grunted, "Yes?"
"Good morning, Mr. Potter. This is your wake up call."
"What time is it? I don't remember asking for a wake up call."
"It's four-thirty-six, sir. And this call is because you have to be at the final presentation at five. Please have your luggage packed and with you, as you will be leaving during the presentation. Rolls and coffee will be available in the conference room." He heard the click as the operator hung up the phone. Harry dragged himself out of bed and washed up. Fifteen minutes later there was a knock on the door. Harry opened it as wide as the chain allowed, and saw one of the resort employees in the hall.
"Ten minutes, sir. If you need help with your luggage, we'll have plenty of porters in the hallways waiting to help you."
"Er, thanks. I'll be ready to go in just a few minutes."
"Very good, sir, but don't be late."
Harry hurriedly packed his things, grabbed his folder filled with the handouts from the various seminars he had attended, gave the room a good bye glance, and headed out. The seminar was held in the theater. Outside it were a group of porters who were checking in the luggage. The one who took Harry's made a note of the flight he would be taking and assured Harry that it would get on the correct plane and be waiting for him at Heathrow.
Harry grabbed a cup of tea (passable) and a jelly roll, and saw Scott Evil sitting near his father about half way down the rows of seats. And it was "down," as the theater had stadium seating. Harry picked up the handouts and carefully made his way to Scott while holding everything. There was a small pull out tray attached to the arm of the chair, and Scott helpfully got it set up for Harry.
"Thanks, Scott. I don't remember signing up for a seminar this morning." He checked the handouts. "Secret Lairs, part 3 -- Defenses, Escapes, and Self Destructs. I don't even remember this on the sign up board."
"It's not there because it's a required seminar. Might as well sit back and enjoy. Or sit back and ignore it. Either one. I wonder how much they'll get in this time?"
Before Harry could ask what Scott meant, Frau Bunt took the podium, and introduced the presenter.
"Velcome guests to the last seminar ov the Convention ov Masterminds, Zuper-Criminals, and Dark Lords. Giving today's presentation is SPECTRE's own chief architect, Number 27, just back from building a secret facility for Drax Industries in the Amazon. He is also the award winning architect who designed the spacecraft launch facility in an extinct volcano in Japan several years ago.
"Und remember during the practical demonstration to remain calm and orderly. Number 27."
By this time, Harry was used to SPECTRE's use of numbers instead of names. It wasn't too different than Voldemort's method of using masks to hide the identity of his minions. He didn't think that the caffeine from his tea had kicked in yet as he couldn't make heads or tails of that last bit. He settled into his seat, and just followed along.
While he had skipped the second seminar on lairs (" Secret Lairs, part 2 -- Hiding your Legions of Doom on a Budget") he wasn't too impressed with the first one ("Secret Lairs, part 1 -- Comfort and Aesthetics while Taking Over the World"). It was like looking at those magazines that Aunt Petunia sometimes bought that were filled with pictures of mansions and houses the Dursleys would never be able to afford. So the sharks on Largo's island had a pool all to themselves. So Scaramanga had an elaborate shooting range in his hide out. So Dr. Evil had a Laté Bar. So the Rotfang's had an astronomy tower (Harry thought it looked very familiar). It wasn't like Harry would ever own a lair. So he had taken his name off the second part, and would have skipped the third, too.
But he was here, and Number 27 was a pretty interesting speaker. He talked about the tradition of setting up a new lair for every scheme. How to protect it (eg, the anti-aircraft guns hidden on the roof of the resort), the standard methods of escape (Harry never did find out why monorails were so popular), and the importance of making sure the self destruct takes care of destroying all the evidence and taking out your opponents. After all, if you have to sacrifice your lair, you might as well get something for the sacrifice.
Number 27 was just saying, "There is no such thing as a too large self destruct mechanism," when the explosions started.
"And here we come to the practical demonstration. As these live feeds show, the resort is under attack from a fleet of helicopters. The anti-aircraft guns aren't expected to last too long -- and there goes one now, if you were looking at the lower left of the picture. Please gather your personal belongings, and make sure you aren't leaving anything behind. Parents, keep track of your children. No one will be allowed to return to theater to retrieve anything."
As he was speaking the huge, white screen that he had been using for projections during his speech and where the supposedly live camera feed had been displayed disappeared into the ceiling. A curtain behind the screen opened revealing a large stage with a brick wall at the back. The brick wall disappeared into the floor, exposing a monorail track with a train waiting.
"Please allow the rows ahead of you to empty before you move into the aisle. There's plenty of room for everyone, and we have plenty of time before the helicopters land."
Harry listed to more muffled gunfire and wondered about that last statement. Everyone else seemed to be taking it in stride, though. Harry saw the red robed Silent Seven (with Joey) board the monorail. A large section near the stage was filled with women and children that Harry had come to know belonged to a group called Fabulous Face. Some dentists he had lunched with and Auric Goldfinger and his huge, Asian guard (still wearing his bowler hat as he had been every time Harry had seen him) got up from the aisle ahead of them.
"Our turn," Scott said.
"I hope you learned something, Scott," his father said.
"But Dad, I still don't see why , if you know the secret base will be attacked, you don't plan to evacuate more equipment? Wouldn't that be more cost effective?"
"Scott, you just don't understand. . . ." Harry had heard similar arguments before between Scott and his father. Harry felt that if Scott grew up with his teenage rebellion intact and ever took over his father's organization, he'd have a real shot at taking over the world. It seemed that most of the participants at the various seminars felt that their plans wouldn't succeed, and planned accordingly.
As the monorail pulled away from the "station," Harry saw the back wall of the theater blow up. While he was saying good bye to Scott and they promised to keep in touch that Harry came up with the big plan. But he wasn't going to tell Hermione about that. At least not for a while.
- - -
"So the monorail deposited me at the base of the mountain, I took a limo that was waiting for me back to the airport and spent a boring day waiting for my flight to take off. My relatives were still at their vacation, so I made my own way home using public transportation, and you know the rest of my summer and most of the school year."
"But what has that got to do with the newspaper report?"
"What you don't know is I've been busy on extra-curricular activities this whole year. I've contacted virtually every magical construction company to find out who worked on Voldemort's secret base. . . ."
"And they just told you?"
"Yes, but you have to ask correctly. I told them I was interested in building my own secret base and asked for information on their experience doing such work. Turns out that Sleive-na-mon Construction listed Voldemort as one of their satisfied customers. I then started a long correspondence with them about turning Godric's Hollow into a secret base, and during one of our meetings I got a good look at the plans to Voldemort's lair. "
"When did you meet with their representatives?"
"During Hogsmeade weekends."
"So that's how you know it's here?"
"No. I used a tracking bug I put on Snape. With a little help from Fawkes and Dobby I was able to follow the beacon here. Since he had to Apparate outside the wards, we just kept honing the location until we knew it was on that hill. And, since it wasn't a magical tracking charm, Voldemort never detected it."
"But the explosion the article talked about?"
"That's in a few minutes."
"How do you know?"
"Did you know that house elves can bypass the Fidelius? Dobby was able to go inside and and hide a bomb on the huge vat of explosive potion that Voldemort set up as the lair's doomsday device."
"How do you know how to set a bomb?"
"Didn't I mention that I went to the plastique seminar: "Boom tomorrow -- when you absolutely have to make it go away"? Very informative. I couldn't use any electronics for the timer, though, so I improvised. A blasting hex with a time delay will trigger the plasticine, which will blow the vat."
Further conversation was interrupted by a large number of cracks as the woods were filled with apparating Aurors. Larry Lovegood and Madam Bones, director of the Deparment of Magical Law Enforcement.
"Potter, what's going on? Why is it of 'vital importance' that all available Aurors be here?"
"You have to spread them around the hill to capture any escaping Death Eaters."
A short conversation later, punctuated by Harry's repeatedly looking at his watch and urging the DMLE director to hurry, the Aurors were surrounding the hill.
"Fine," Madam Bones said, "They're all in place. Why are Death Eaters going to be escaping?"
"Because in about twenty seconds . . . ."
His further comments were interrupted by a massive explosion.
As explosions go, it had to be among the more unique in the history of demolitions. Parts of it weren't visible at first. At various places part balls of flame appeared out of thin air. Smoke billowed, and wood and other bits of flotsam and jetsam went flying away from nothing. At some point the object of the explosion no longer was "The hideout of the Dark Lord" and the Fidelius no longer applied. Either that or the spell itself was destroyed by the explosion.
It turned out that there were no survivors except the house elves, who had all been warned by Dobby to be away from the base doing other jobs at this time. The only bodies that received positive identification were Peter Pettigrew, by his mostly melted silver hand and Fenrir Greyback; whose lycanthropic regeneration had tried unsuccessfully to heal him. It did, however, leave enough of him to be identified.
After being interviewed by Madam Bones herself, the three students made their way back to Hogswart by way of side along Apparation from some helpful Aurors. Madam Bones came along and was present at the meeting Harry, Luna, and Hermione had with the Headmaster. They were hardly seated when Snape came running in.
"Headmaster! Something's happened! The dark mark has faded, just like it did fifteen years ago!"
Harry said, "Madam Bones, I think that answers the question of whether Voldemort was in the building."
Luna was rapidly taking notes. She either ignored the glare that Dumbledore and Snape directed her way, or was completely oblivious to them.
"Harry," Dumbledore began, "What did you do?"
"I used Voldemort's own tools against him. When he hired a construction company to refurbish his hide out, he let them put in the usual self destruct mechanisms. I just set it off before he had a chance to use the escape tunnels, and blow up the Aurors who would be attacking. He was hoist on his own petard."
"But Harry! You killed the Death Eaters without warning them!"
Madam Bones looked at the headmaster, "You think they give warnings to the people they kill?"
Dumbledore backed down, and Luna spoke up, "So are you saying that Harry should have let the Death Eaters escape?"
"He should have given them a chance to surrender."
"But wouldn't the practical outcome have been they would have escaped?"
"We don't know that for sure. . . ."
"Headmaster seemed to be divorced from the reality of the danger of Death Eaters," Luna mumbled as she wrote in her notebook.
"What are you doing?" Snape snarled at her.
"Writing an article for tomorrow's special edition of the Quibbler."
"But the Quibbler is a weekly," Bones said.
"For events this momentous, we're putting out an extra edition."
"Madam Bones," Harry said, "you can probably get a pretty good partial list of Death Eaters from Professor Snape."
"You little . . . ." Snape snarled, and threw a wordless hex at Harry. Both Madam Bones and Hermione threw up shields and protected Harry. That was followed by a full body bind, and a statement that he was under arrest from Madam Bones.
"Harry! You know why you shouldn't talk about Professor Snape!" Dumbledore exclaimed.
"But Voldemort has been vanquished again," Hermione said. "Why should it matter if people know he's a spy? Why can't he help convict the Death Eaters who weren't at the Dark Lord's headquarters?"
"Harry knows why. . . ."
"Mr. Potter?" Madam Bones asked.
"Harry! You can't tell her!" Dumbledore said in a panic.
"Why not, Headmaster? Why shouldn't the head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement know what needs to be done to stop Voldemort from returning? It's horcruxes, Madam Bones. A Dark method Voldemort used to keep his soul on earth."
"I know of it, Mr. Potter. Why wasn't this information provided to the proper authorities, Dumbledore?"
"The Ministry has always been rife with Death Eaters. I couldn't afford to allow this information to reach Voldemort's ears. He would have made the horcruxes even harder to find."
"But now, with the help of your spy, we will be able to find the rest of the Death Eaters, and we'll know what to ask them when we interrogate them. I expect more cooperation from you Dumbledore."
"Very well, Madam Director. Now if there's nothing else?"
"Actually, I have something I want to ask, and I want someone who's from outside the school to be present when I ask." All eyes were on Harry. Except Luna's, whose were on the notepad as she made exacting notes in shorthand. Bones and Hermione looked curious; Dumbledore looked worried; Snape looked like he wanted to kill. But as that was his normal expression when he looked at Potter no one paid him any attention.
"I was talking to Professor McGonagall about Umbridge's use of a blood quill last year." He ignored the indignant sounds from Bones and denial of knowledge by Dumbledore, and continued. "She said that the Hogwarts wards should have detected the Dark Magic of the pen, and should have told you. . . ."
"I assure you, Harry. . . ."
"Quiet, please, Headmaster. Except for the lawsuit against Umbridge and Fudge, I'm not going to do anything to you about that. But it got me thinking -- those same wards should have warned you about Quarrel in my first year, and the basilisk in my second, and probably Barty Couch Jr. or at least that his father was under the Imperious in my fourth. Do you have anything to say, Headmaster?"
"Everything I did, I did for the Greater Good. You have to believe me, Harry."
"I don't have to believe you. And I don't have to come back to Hogwarts."
"But you have to finish your education! You still have the prophecy to fulfill."
"I've vanquished Voldemort twice. Admittedly, the first time could probably be said to have been the actions of my mother; but the second was definitely me. Goodbye Headmaster, I don't expect to see you again after we leave tomorrow."
"We'll talk again when you have calmed down, Harry."
"We'll never talk again, Headmaster."
"Mr. Potter, do you wish to press charges?"
"I don't think that's necessary, Madam Bones. But I'll let you know in a week."
They filed out of the Headmaster's office. Bones levitated Snape ahead of her.
"Are you sure you won't press charges? I could arrest Dumbledore now, too."
"These things have a way of working themselves out, Director. I'll be in contact."
"Well, I have to get this turned into an article and sent into the Quibbler right away."
"See you at least on the train tomorrow, Luna."
"Congratulations again, Harry," the Ravenclaw said as she headed off.
"Harry, just because you said you might date her when you were asking Mr. Lovegood to keep your name out of the paper about your trip last summer, doesn't mean you had to date her."
"I know that. But we did date, and I found we enjoy each other's company. But no more questions today. I'm emotionally exhausted, and don't want to answer any more questions today. I'll probably show up at the party later. . . ."
"The ones the house elves will be holding in the Great Hall when news of Voldemort's downfall spreads. But other than that, I'm going to pack, and rest."
- - -
Harry and a frustrated Hermione were getting on the train. Harry had just said his goodbyes to Hagrid, handing over a large package.
"Better get that to Grawp right away, Hagrid!"
"Yer right, Harry, he likes it fresh. I'll head out there right now."
Once settled in the train, Hermione asked for the fifteenth time that day, "May I ask questions now?"
"Alright, " Harry answered. But before she could ask, though, an owl brought Luna the special edition of the Quibbler. The headlines proclaimed Voldemort Vanquished! Half way down the page another headline stated Headmaster Dumbledore's Illegal, Immoral, and Fattening Decisions. Harry scanned it and handed it back to Luna with a smile. "Good job!" he said.
"Thank you. We've never put out three issues in two days before."
"Harry," Hermione wasn't going to be put off any more. "Are you really not coming back to Hogwarts next year?"
"What?" Ron exclaimed.
"I'm really not coming back. And I suggest that none of you come back either. It turned out that the headmaster's treatment of me was just the beginning."
"He's part of the Rotfang Conspiracy," Luna explained.
"Oh, good grief!" Hermione exclaimed, exasperated.
"Hey! Your parents are the ones who get Evil Monthly. I talked to some dentists at the convention, and Blofeld confirmed it's existence. Ever wonder why Dumbledore is always pushing candy?"
"You can't be serious!" Ron put his two cents in.
"We did some investigating Ron, and . . . ." But Harry was cut off by the appearance of Dobby.
"Hello, Harry Potter sir! Dobby just letting you know that so much mess and so much food was eaten that all the house elfs has left Hogwarts."
"And the teachers?" Harry asked.
"All the teachers except the ones going to the meeting are gone, too."
"Excellent, Dobby. I'll see you back at headquarters." Dobby smiled at Harry's praise, and popped away.
"Headquarters?" Hermione asked. "You mean Grimauld Place?"
"No, not Grimmauld Place. You remember when I told you I was working with Sleive-na-mon Construction?"
"But I thought that was to find out about Voldemort's headquarters."
"That was part of it, but I also hired them to build me a lair. I had to pay extra so they wouldn't "accidentally" let anyone see the plans to my headquarters. I also had to pay extra so they wouldn't put a self destruct mechanism in it. Crazy!
"Kreacher!" Harry's yell start\led everyone (except Luna, who was engrossed in the Rune puzzle). The decrepit elf appeared, muttering obscenities against the people in the car. Harry reached in his pocket and took out a metal box. Opening it he removed a brick. It appeared to be pliable like clay, but didn't look like clay. He handed the brick to Kreacher. He also took a tiny hammer out of his pocket. A touch of his wand, and it grew to an elf sized mallet. Harry handed the tool to the elf, and touching the head with his wand, lit it on fire.
"Take those where I showed you, put down the brick and hit it with the burning hammer. Do not hit it with the hammer until you are where I showed you. Do not stop until the brick is destroyed. Do it now." The train started moving as the elf disappeared.
"Harry? What was that all about?" Hermione wasn't sure she wanted to know the answer to that question.
Luna answered, "That's what the special late edition of the Quibbler is all about." She reached in her robe and pulled out a different copy of the Quibbler.
Hermione heard a loud boom as she read the headlines out loud.
"Leadership of Rotfang Conspiracy killed in Hogwarts Explosion. Headmaster implicated in plot to take over the World."
"So Harry wants me to become his Lieutenant of his Legion of Doom?"
"That's right," Luna answered.
"And what position do you have?"
"I'm Harry's moll."
- - -
Notes: Dumbledore being the head of the Rotfang conspiracy was from a One Shot that I have lost the connection to. To the unknown author - I'm not claiming this idea is mine; it's a good idea and I salute you.
The putting pieces of someone into little boxes came from Lucinda's Counts of Blood at www dot tthfanfic dot com slash Story-10737/Lucinda+Counts+of+Blood dot htm