Disclaimer: I do not own Harry potter and nor the characters in it except for the original characters created by me.
Chapter 8: Departure
"Are you sure he's on the verge of the flash?" Snape asked Dumbledore skeptically. To become an occlumens at fourteen was simply ridiculous.
"He got the feeling," Dumbledore said with a sigh. Snape's eyes widened. "But he's just fourteen!"
"He'll be fifteen next month," Sirius said proudly. "Why did you call just us and not a full meeting Albus?"
Dumbledore steepled his fingers and looked at the men and woman in front of him. He had wondered whom should he discuss the Harry and Lillian situation and had finally decided on Sirius, for obvious reasons; Sarah, who had become surprisingly close to the two in the sort time that they knew each other; and after a lot of thought, the General and Severus were in the party of four. The General was there, because he was going to co-ordinate the missions when he was gone looking for some very dangerous dragons and Severus was present to give a biased evaluation of Harry's occlumency.
"I'm sending Harry on an assassination mission," Dumbledore said, deciding to be blunt.
"WHAT?!" Sirius burst out jumping out of his chair.
There were identical looks of shock on Sarah and Casey's faces as well. Snape, as always, was perfectly composed.
"Are you out of your mind Mr. Dumbledore?" Sarah said disbelievingly. "Harry's barely fifteen and I know you all say he's powerful but assassination?!"
"Are you fit to lead this resistance Albus?" Casey growled.
"Albus no! You can't let him do this," Sirius pleaded.
"It is necessary," Dumbledore said regretfully. "And please tell me what have you heard about Mr. Potter; General, Miss Walker," he asked turning to the two muggles.
"Just what you've told us," Casey said icily. "Very powerful and gifted kid and I don't think any of us have forgotten that story he told us. The entire result of this war hinges upon him."
"That doesn't mean we have to send him on a mission to murder people," Sarah said angrily. She was the CIA's best assassin and she could not believe these people were considering sending a fifteen year old on such a mission!
Dumbledore sighed. "You shouldn't worry about that," he said. "Harry Potter slaughtered over fifty death eaters when London was attacked."
Stunned silence greeted him. Except for Sirius who was staring at his hands miserably and Snape, well he was Snape.
"Mercilessly," Dumbledore added.
"Tha-that's not possible," Sarah said, shocked. "I mean he looks so…" She trailed off. She couldn't believe this.
Casey on the other hand looked very impressed. "So that's why you allow him to sit in on our meetings and hold him in such high regard. Everything makes sense now."
"This is nothing to be impressed about General," Sirius said hotly. "He shouldn't be put such a position. I mean he's recovering so bloody well!"
"Recovering? Recovering from what?"
"Isolation," Harry's godfather said coldly. "He's finally connecting with people and this will only serve to erase whatever empathy he has left!"
"Harry is not who I'm concerned about Sirius," Dumbledore said.
"He intends to go on this mission with Ms Austin alone."
"Is he out of his bloody mind?!" Sirius roared. "Does Donald know about this?"
"Am I hearing this correctly?" Sarah said skeptically. "Now it's not just one homicidal teenager going on an assassination mission but a non homicidal teenager is going along with him? Oh, and might I add, they are two hormonal teenagers!"
"That is why I want you all to try to change their minds," Dumbledore sighed.
Sirius sank into his chair looking thoroughly depressed. "What is wrong with this day?" he groaned.
"Where is Potter?" Snape asked quietly.
"Probably somewhere getting ready for his flash," Dumbledore said.
Snape nodded and gracefully turned around, leaving the room.
"Where are you going Severus?" Sirius asked loudly before the man would step out of the door.
"I'm going to meet Ms. Austin's father and inform him of the decision his daughter has made. He is responsible for her and I'm sure he'll have a few words to say about this."
"I had hoped to resolve this without having to traumatize the man," Dumbledore said frowning. "Step inside Severus."
Snape hesitated for a moment. "You can't keep her father in the dark like this," he said unsympathetically. "Potter might be killer but she is not." That said he slammed the wooden door shut and left.
"Are they going to be the only ones going on this mission?" Casey asked frowning.
"Of course not," Dumbledore replied. "I have five teams in mind but if Lillian joins Harry then we have six."
"Great!" Casey said. "The more the merrier."
"General!" Sarah said indignantly. "You can't be seriously thinking about sending them into the field! They're kids for god's sake!"
"And this is the apocalypse agent Walker," Casey said. "Don't forget that and don't forget how you became an agent and how old were you when the agency took you in," he added. "Now tell me about the teams Albus."
Dumbledore summoned the file Warlow had compiled. "Our first target is Abraham Lopez," he began.
Lillian couldn't take this anymore. She didn't know what had happened to the day which had started out so brightly. It had suddenly descended into madness.
She was standing in one corner of her father's room intently focused on her breathing and the interesting vibrations that it made in her throat to drown out the voices of her father, Ron and Hermione. One minute she was literally skipping to the great hall, her stomach rumbling and mood soaring but then she was ambushed by Ron and Hermione who bombarded her with questions about Harry and her.
She didn't even have time to express her shock at them knowing before her father and Severus bloody Snape came thundering towards her looking absolutely furious. He had dragged her to his room and began to yell about her not caring about anyone and being selfish and thinking war is just a big joke to her. She had initially tried to protest and argue but gave up when she realized it was fruitless.
Now it was just a cacophony that she was drowning in. She wanted Harry desperately; she wanted to disappear to his side but he was in the middle of something important. She could not disturb him so she thought about their kiss and smiled.
That just seemed to infuriate her tormenters and the decibel level grew even higher. When were they going to stop? She was so tempted to scream and rage right back at them for being selfish themselves and not looking at the bigger picture but she restrained herself. It was hard but she somehow managed it and credited her admirable resistance to her new relationship.
Wait, she thought suddenly. Why was there silence?
She looked up and saw them glaring at her. Well, it was her father and Ron who were glaring at her and Hermione looked ready to kill Ron.
Now when did that happen? She wondered. Wasn't Hermione yelling at her?
"Do I make myself clear Lillian Mary Austin?" her father growled at her.
"Absolutely," she said nodding her head vigorously. "Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go and eat something. I was really hungry before you unceremoniously dragged me in front of a million people. Now I'm famished and I'd like to eat."
"Potter's bad news Mary!" Ron said. His face was redder than ever.
"What?" Mr. Austin barked.
"Will you shut your mouth, you insensitive prick!" Hermione screamed. "Sorry Mr. Austin!" she added apologetically.
"What did you just mean about Potter?" Mr. Austin asked, narrowing his eyes.
Uh oh, time to go, Lillian thought quickly. She'd deal with her friends later.
"You wait right there young lady!"
"Shut up!" Lillian screamed. "I hate you all!"
That said she stalked out the room and roughly shoved Ron out of her way when he tried to stop her. After she was a good distance away and she was sure no one was following her, she grinned broadly. She was a little surprised that all that drama hadn't really bothered her. Her little bout of screaming had just been an act. Maybe now they'd approach her with a little caution instead of with all guns blazing.
She felt bad about leaving her father like that though. He just didn't want to see her get hurt and she knew that but that didn't mean he could treat her like that! She wasn't six anymore, she thought glumly. Treating her friends and father in such a fashion didn't make her feel good at all.
"Now which way was the kitchen," she mumbled. Maybe some bacon would cheer her up.
Harry stumbled out of his room and nearly crashed into the suit of armor at the opposite side of the mermaid statue. He was finding it difficult to control his occlumency. He felt like he was watching two pictures at the same time. One: the present and two: his memories.
"How am I supposed to turn this thing off!" he grumbled. Taking support of the wall, he closed his eyes and imagined a bubble around his mind. A bubble that only he could slip through and access at will.
He blinked in surprise when the headache he was having receded almost instantaneously and his double vision disappeared.
It was close to midnight Harry realized. It would be fun to burst into Dumbledore's office now, he thought snickering. "I'll bet that old man never expected me to progress!"
"Got to send a patronus to Freckles too," he said to himself. Summoning one of his happy memories, he raised his wand and said, "Expecto Patronum!"
A silver polar bear majestically burst out of his wand and stopped when it noticed that there was no danger. It turned around and floated towards its master; it's eyes boring into Harry's. Harry smiled and ran his fingers through its body. "Go to Lillian and tell her to meet me at the entrance to Dumbledore's office."
The big animal nodded and disappeared in a wisp, leaving a silver trail behind.
Lillian was sitting on the railing of the astronomy tower. She had been avoiding contact all through the day and was beginning to get very annoyed with Harry. How long was he going to take? She thought irritably.
Her thought process was rudely interrupted when a gigantic polar bear materialized right next to her and nearly scared her into falling off the tower.
"Meet me at the entrance to Dumbledore's office," it spoke in Harry's voice and then the patronus disappeared. Excitement bubbled inside her. Had Harry done it? She jumped off the railing and hurried towards the gargoyle hiding the entrance.
She ran all the way and was glad she didn't run into anyone unwanted. She was understandably out of breath when she reached the gargoyle and a smirking Harry was calmly waiting for her.
"You look like you ran all the way," Harry commented unnecessarily.
"I was getting tired of waiting," she said. Harry sensed he annoyance in her voice but didn't push the matter. "Did you do it?"
His grin said it all.
"Sugar plums," Harry said, turning to the gargoyle. "Correct," the ancient gargoyle rumbled and leaped aside.
The two were startled when, at the same time, three people stepped out.
"Harry, Lillian!" Sirius exclaimed. "Just the retards we were looking for."
Harry narrowed his eyes, "Retards?" he said dangerously.
Sirius just grinned unrepentantly. There was more emotion lurking behind his eyes and Harry could see he was barely holding back the urge to start screaming his head off.
"The General's expecting you Harry," Sarah said. "Lillian you're coming with us."
"Wait why?" she asked apprehensively.
"Come on girl," Croaker said impatiently. "We haven't got all night. Potter, you can go upstairs."
Harry looked at the three adults suspiciously. He then exchanged a glance with Lillian and they silently agreed to listen…. for now.
"See you in a bit," Harry said.
When Harry entered the office, it was just the General sitting behind the mahogany desk. Dumbledore was nowhere to be seen and naturally that was the first question that came to the forefront of his mind.
"Professor or Mister Dumbledore," Casey corrected. "That man more than a century older than you kid. A little respect wouldn't go amiss."
"Fine, where's professor Dumbledore," Harry deadpanned.
"On some mythical quest," Casey replied rolling his eyes. "I tend to ignore the details when it comes to fantasy."
Casey pulled out one of the many cigars sticking out of his front pocket and expertly lit it.
Few of the portraits coughed loudly.
"Shut it you morons," Casey snapped. "Paintings can't smell smoke!"
"We can pretend can't we?!" one of the past headmistress squawked indignantly.
"I don't know how Albus put up with these talking pictures," Casey said to the silent Harry. "They're as annoying as a bunch of mosquitoes buzzing around my head."
"I'd imagine you'd have to be a little crazy to endure their nonsensical prattling," Harry said taking a seat. Rude gestures and loud protests followed that little comment.
Casey grunted in agreement and tossed a file at Harry.
"Nicolai Wanbosi," he said. "Potions master and mastermind behind the Montova disaster."
"He's the man responsible for Montova?" Harry said, inhaling sharply.
"Apparently," Casey said. "There are things in these file that I can't wrap my head around and even begin to understand but there's one thing I understand perfectly," he said and puffed on his cigar. "This man needs to be killed."
Harry flicked through the file impassively. "There's no known location," he said frowning.
"He's hiding out somewhere in Ireland," Casey grunted. "It's your job to find him; kill him; and put an end to whatever warped project Voldemort has him working on."
"And what is he working on?"
"Doesn't matter," Casey said. "Whatever it is, it can't be good if it something Voldemort cooked up in that twisted mind of his. Add Nicolai's own brand of twistedness and you get a very dangerous cocktail."
Harry nodded. His eyes spied several dozen more files similar to the one he was holding next to the general.
"Different missions for different teams," Casey said following Harry's gaze.
"When do I leave?" Harry asked.
Casey smiled and leaned back into his chair. "You know, everyone is every against your idea of taking a girl, who for all intent and purpose is immature, inexperienced in battle and is, well, is a little girl."
"You don't know her at all then. Her skills make her prefect for battle," Harry said defensively.
"I agree," Casey said surprising Harry. "Mr. Dumbledore told us about how you two combined your powers to take down a dragon and how you sliced through the enemy just after that."
Harry stilled. He had figured Dumbledore would not want the story of his cold bloodedness spread.
"And while I do have many questions as would anyone who has just been introduced to this freak world and freak Armageddon; I just have one for you."
"What is it?"
"When was the first time you killed a man?"
The question hit Harry like a hammer on an anvil and now thanks to his occlumency, his memory of that night was too easy to recall and with a little effort he pulled himself of it and looked into the knowing eyes of the general.
"Nobody can kill so many men without having done it before," Casey said. "So when did you get accustomed to the sight of death and blood."
"Perenelle Flamel," Harry said hoarsely. The memory still haunted him from time to time. "She brought five convicted murderers and killed the first by slitting his throat without the slightest hesitation."
Casey calmly watched Harry and listened carefully. The first was always the worst.
"She then handed me the knife and told me the rest four were mine to dispose and I wasn't allowed to leave until all of them were dead."
Harry went silent and Casey continued to smoke.
"It took me an hour to find the strength to drive the knife through the first one's heart. It was woman and I missed and punctured her lung instead."
Casey's eyebrows shot up and he winced internally. It would have taken hours for the woman to die.
"The second convict, a man, I stabbed him cleanly and he died quite fast. By the time I killed the fourth I no longer felt the revulsion I felt at first."
"What do you feel now, when you take a life? Is it guilt or pleasure?"
The look in Harry's eye told the general all he needed to know.
"I see," he said quietly. "Then I suppose there is nothing left for me to say except don't get caught."
"Why did Sirius and Sarah want with Lillian?" Harry asked.
"Oh, they found her already?" Casey said in surprise.
"She was with me and we ran into them downstairs."
"They're probably in that training room Walker set up, trying to change her mind and if that fails equipping her with things they feel she would need."
"Find out for yourself," Casey said shrugging. "Is your mission clear?"
"Find Nicolai; kill him; destroy his base; and try to extract more information if possible."
"Snape has, what you call it," he said frowning, "Ah, a portkey to take you to Dublin. Once there you're going to have to find his base on your own. We don't have any clues to its location except that it's in Ireland and it's supposedly somewhere to the north-west of the city."
Before Harry went to the training room, he went to his own and filled up a bottomless backpack with the things he felt would be important for the mission. A few books about wards, healing and runes that he had been reading; clothes obviously; several potions and of course, his invisibility cloak; were all packed inside. He was tempted to take Slytherin's pensive along but he decided against it.
Hedwig was visible from the window. She was gracefully gliding in the sky above the beautiful valley, her white feathers almost glowing under the light of the full moon and Harry couldn't help but smile. He watched her for some time, enjoying the sight that brought him a little peace of mind before slinging the bag on his shoulder and leaving.
When Harry entered the training room, there were more people than he expected to find. Donald, Lillian's father was sullenly glaring at his daughter from one end of the room. Croaker and a curly-haired, thin, tall lanky man, were explaining something to Lillian. Severus, Sirius and Sarah were watching the proceedings idly.
As soon as Donald laid eyes on Harry, rage entered them. "This is all your fault!" he burst out furiously. "If it weren't for you Lillian wouldn't be involved in this god forsaken war!"
"Dad shut up!" Lillian yelled. "We've had this conversation already haven't we?!"
Mr. Austin stared at his daughter and Harry murderously before huffing and storming out of the room.
Harry was bemused at the man's reaction but didn't dwell on it. People blaming him for something he wasn't responsible for? That was old news now. "Are you ready?" he asked Lillian.
Harry felt something enter his mind and almost carelessly slip past the bubble he had put up around his mind before Lillian could reply and immediately he focused on his occlumency to see what the alien magic was after. It seemed to be focusing on the Flamel's and Harry began to bring forth unimportant memories like classes with McGonagall, Snape and so on but kept pushing the memories of the Flamel's as far away from the probe as possible.
A few seconds later the magic vanished and Harry met Snape's eyes.
"Not bad," Snape admitted grudgingly. "Had I been more forceful and more lethal I would have gotten to those memories. Your skill as a beginner is admirable but you still have a long way to go in perfecting the art."
Harry grinned. Snape complimenting him meant he had done it right and done it well.
"You were supposed to say he sucks and he can't go Snape," Sirius exclaimed.
"I'm not a liar like you dog," Snape retorted.
"Anyway!" Lillian interrupted before the two childhood enemies got going. "Do you have one for Harry too?" she asked the curly haired man.
"The new DOMS 1000," the man said proudly, removing a gun from the big pockets on his white lab coat.
"Not just any gun but a magical gun. A gun made of the stuff dreams are made of. A gun…" the man said, smiling broadly. He looked like a child presenting the world's coolest toy… and it was.
"Get on with it Chuck," Sarah snapped, irritably.
Behind him Lillian grinned, waving her new weapon at him.
"It has a wooden core covered in silver metal allowing a normal pistol to be charmed with magic. This baby can magically reproduce over a thousand bullets before requiring at least a day to recharge. You experience no recoil and the shot is as silent as a scream of terror beyond our atmosphere. Your enemies won't know what hit them and all they will see is the life escaping their bodies. All that matters is your ability to hit the target and your level of tolerance to see the blood spurting out the enemy's body," he said dramatically.
"Nice," Harry said impressed and held out his hand. Chuck handed the gun to him and turned to Sarah. "Listen Sarah, I know we didn't leave things in the best possible ways but do you think we could…"
"Save it Chuck," she said coldly. "I don't want to hear it. Let's see how good you are with that Harry," she said instead.
Harry's eyes swiveled between the crestfallen Chuck and the stoic Sarah and shrugged while he marveled at how light the gun was. "What to make it a contest?" he asked Lillian twirling the gun between his fingers.
"Aim and shoot. That's it, right?" Lillian confirmed with Croaker. The man nodded.
They began almost at the same time. The wooden practice dummies were the targets and they unloaded as many shots as they could into them.
They only sound that came from the weapons was a slight spit and apart from that it was still and silent.
"This is amazing!" Lillian gushed.
Harry too, was impressed. "A perfect weapon for an assassination," he said.
"Glad you like it," Croaker said eyeing the bulk of holes that had appeared in the middle of the dummies. Both the teens were almost equal in skill. "You have no idea what kind of hell my team went through to make that thing."
"The concept wasn't hard," Chuck interjected. "It was the implementation that was near impossible. It's a perfect blend of magic and technology."
"How'd you do it?" Harry asked.
Chuck was ready to reply but one glare from Croaker shut him up. "It's a secret," Chuck muttered. "Can't risk the magopaths finding out." Croaker scowled at the shortened word his scientists had come for magical psychopaths and he didn't find it amusing at all.
"What about the portkey?" Harry asked Sirius. Chuck's head dropped when he realized no one paying attention to him anymore.
Sirius hesitated. "Are you sure about this Harry?"
Harry narrowed his eyes.
Sirius sighed and tossed a toy soldier to his godson. "The activation code is your target's name. You're free to leave whenever you want. You will not have any contact with us for fear of alerting the enemy to your location. Once you complete your mission come back immediately and do not under any circumstances stray away from your designated task."
Harry and Lillian nodded.
"You two nerds can beat it," Sarah said, glaring at Chuck which made everyone wonder what could that weak looking man have done to make the hot blond look like she wanted to gut him. "Severus, you can report to Casey that Harry was successful," she added.
"Sarah please listen, I just want to say…."
Chuck's face white with fear as a bullet missed his foot by a centimeter.
"I don't want to hear it!" she spat. "Come on Lillian," she said, her voice turning soft. "Let me show you how exactly a woman hides a gun."
Lillian blushed but followed the assassin to the other room leaving the males behind.
"What did you do to her?" Sirius asked wide-eyed.
"Don't ask," he said glumly and then trudged out of the room following Snape and Croaker.
That left Harry and Sirius alone.
"Nice shooting," Sirius said.
"Perenelle made sure of it," Harry muttered. "Unfortunately her method was more painful that Nicolas's."
"Don't ask," Harry added.
"Have you taken the necessary supplies?" his godfather asked instead.
"Catch," Sirius said and threw a small pouch at him.
"Canned food; enough to last for a year and if you're any good at transfiguring or charming food, you can change those bland nutrients to taste like pot roast or whatever your heart desires."
"Huh, nice," Harry said raising his eyebrows. He made a mental note to master the transfiguration of eatables. It was definitely a useful skill to have.
"Lastly be careful. This is your first mission on your own. Don't use magic too often or else you might alert the enemy. There are certain wards that can detect magic from a distance."
"You already said that," Harry reminded.
Sirius ignored him and continued. "You might come across muggle survivors but do not attempt to help them until your mission is over. The elimination of your target is more important the saving the lives of a few muggles."
Harry's eyes moved to the door behind which Sarah was almost definitely embarrassing Lillian.
"You're the leader on this mission irrespective of your feelings," Sirius said quietly, noticing where Harry was looking. "Don't forget that."
Far up North
Dumbledore trudged through the deep snow in the midst of what he was sure was an unnatural magical blizzard. Even through the multitude of heating charms he had placed on his body, the cold still managed to make its way to down to his bones. Warming charms weren't enough to prevent frostbite. He had to literally increase his body temperature to way beyond normal and it was only because of magic he hadn't collapsed.
He stopped; drew his wand and focused on the tracking charm. "Point me," he whispered and once again the wand pointed straight ahead and Dumbledore sighed. He had been walking for hours now and according to the magic of the locator charm, the dragon that had escaped from London was still a kilometer in front of him.
Was the dragon aware of his presence and was expertly keeping up the distance between them? Dumbledore wrapped the thick robes around him tighter and continued his journey amidst the nail biting cold.
He wondered where was. Was it Siberia? Was it the Arctic? Or was it a place hidden by magic, only revealed because of the tracking charm? How did Voldemort manage to find the free dragons?
The last location he was certain of was the Alps but that had changed a few hours ago when he entered this magical blizzard. And ever since he had entered this zone he was unable to apparate and the landscape was flat and white. The reason he knew he had left the Alps was the peaks that were supposed to be all around him had suddenly disappeared. No, he wasn't in any mountain range he knew of.
Dumbledore was sure that the dragon was now aware of his presence and kept his wand at the ready. Now that he was aware of its powers, he would not be taken down like he was during the London attacks.
A few more torturous hours later he was proven right.
A ferocious roar drowned the noise of the blizzard and four massive dragons crashed into the ground around him.
Scaled bodies, curved horns, and disturbingly sharp teeth; four pair of reptilian eyes stared at him menacing and Dumbledore was slightly intimidated; Just a bit.
"State your purpose or be eliminated," the dragon in front of him roared. Dumbledore held his ground despite the incredible force that had rammed into his body when the dragon spoke.
"I wish to speak with the dwarves," Dumbledore said calmly.
The dragons huge eyes widened and immediately the other three took to the air. Dumbledore's curiosity at their actions quickly disappeared when the leader of the pack opened his mouth, ready to blast the wizard to oblivion.
Strings of red light crackled around its body and Dumbledore summoned his magic, ready to counter anything the dragons threw at him.
The negotiations were over before they had even begun.
"Would it be too much to ask for a peaceful discussion?" Dumbledore mocked.
The destructive beam of blood red condensed magic that burst out towards him was answer enough.
"Guess not!" Dumbledore shouted and with a roar of his own he deflected the dangerous magic towards the dragons in the air.
The magic did not dissipate like Dumbledore expected and the dragon stood on its haunches and roared again. Dumbledore was shocked to see the beam mold itself into a ball and like a meteor it hurled towards him once more.
"This is not going to be as easy as I thought," Dumbledore joked.
Unfortunately for him, he was the only one who thought that was funny.
"They left," Sirius sighed.
"Now time to worry about them," Sarah said. "We more things to worry about now."
"That's right," Casey said gruffly. "The new city of New York is growing at an alarming rate. Our Navy is reporting a big boost in the magical population there and they have confirmed the onset of a nuclear winter."
"Even over the city?"
"No, apparently the sky above is city has been cleared but the rest the country is darkening as we speak."
"So what can we do about it?"
"Infiltrate the city and find out how they're doing it," Casey said.
"Maybe we should just let them continue what they're doing and keep expanding their city," Diggle joked.
"That is not funny," Moody growled. "A nuclear winter means our ozone will be ravaged until there is nothing left. While so far those with magic haven't been affected by radiation, I doubt anything will be spared if the ozone is gone."
"Europe too, is seeing the beginnings of a nuclear winter," Casey added ignoring the now ashamed Diggle.
"What about Paris?" Sarah asked.
"Voldemort's monster army protects it and everything to its east. New York is still considerably unguarded which is why it is an easier target," Croaker said. "We sent Potter to Ireland because there has been no indication of the construction of a new city which means there is something else going on over there and Warlow's intelligence proves it."
"What about the south?" Casey asked Patil.
"We've already disarmed three dirty bombs. The situation is becoming more and more perilous and it won't be long before we miss one. What's worse, a part of Voldemort's army comprising of werewolves and inferi are sweeping across Afghanistan and are almost at the border of Pakistan. An army of vampires and mountain trolls are entering China through Mongolia and Goblins are swarming all over Africa and the Arab nations."
"All the nations have combined their armies and have dispatched units to both sides to cull the monsters but their strength and resilience is far superior to our own," Patil added wearily.
"Croaker?" Snape called out.
"We have a batch of a hundred weapons ready and we're ready to portkey them to your armies," he said.
"How is the construction of the safe haven in Australia coming along?" Casey asked Kingsley.
"Flitwick and his team have been working hard on establishing the multi fidelius," he said in his deep strong voice. "It's a bit more difficult than they thought because of the magical discharges each one produces."
Casey turned to Croaker for a better explanation.
"It's not possible for the fidelius charm, which hides a location permanently, to cover vast areas like the one we've planned. Therefore we are trying to apply the charm in smaller areas one by one to ultimately cover the entire area. The problem is that the magic is very powerful and when such powerful wards are in close proximity to another one similar to it, it breaks down both wards."
"Well I'll leave it in your hands then," Casey grunted. "On the other hand, have you decided who you want in your team Moody?"
"Sirius and Vance," Moody growled.
"Walker shall join you too," Casey said. "She is highly specialized in stealth."
Moody just grunted.
"Kingsley, ask the professors to hurry up and start transporting the survivors to the desert. Find something to keep them busy when they get there."
"Who is on the ground at the borders?" Casey asked.
"Tonks and Remus, both have their teams assisting the army heading to the border in Afghanistan and the Chinese magical authority have mobilized their own squads to counter the vamps and the trolls," Patil said. "So far, they have managed to counter the muggle air strikes."
"What about the goblins?" Sirius asked.
"Too many and stronger than your average goblin," Croaker sighed. "General Smith has near about a dozen warships near the coasts but the goblins magic has been very effective in stopping their bombardment. They have a unit on the ground along with Warlow's team but they have been ordered not to advance and only to defend the muggles who have not yet been affected."
"Alright," Casey said standing up, looking his intimidating best. "Croaker, get your geeks to work harder. Kingsley, get your professors to charm faster and Moody, get that recipe for countering the nuclear winter!" he barked.
The burly general sat down with a sigh, after the office was empty, staring at the papers in front of him. They needed more men, he thought glumly. Fifteen teams comprising of three men or women off on assassination missions. He was sure not all of them would succeed and some might not even come back.
Fifty capable wizards fighting in the South, four valuable assets off to the remains of the US and the remaining thousand wizards and witches were mostly domesticated or children. The non-magicals were pretty much useless around Hogwarts which is why he wanted them to go to Australia as soon as possible and build a city to live in.
He decided to call on Captain Morgan and get him to select men and women capable of handling the new weapons and dispatch them to the war zones. McGonagall could start selecting the wizards she felt were now capable of fighting and send them to fight too. The decision might make him hated among the families but they needed more men!
A multicoloured portal opened up a few feet above the Dublin port and two tangled up teens were spit out of it.
"Oww," Lillian groaned, her world spinning out of control. That was the worst portkey ride she had ever experienced. It was worse than the one to Beauxbaton.
"Freckles, not that I mind but do you mind getting off?"
Lillian heard Harry and blinked rapidly trying to stop the spinning. Her eyes adjusted to the sudden brightness and her lips cracked into a wide grin when she realized that they were in the same position that they had been in on their first portkey ride together.
And this time around she liked it.
"Oh I don't know," she teased. "I kinda like it this way. You pinned under me, completely helpless."
Harry raised an eyebrow and before Lillian knew what had happened Harry had locked his leg around hers, wrapped an arm around her waist and reversed their positions.
"I find this way much better," he said huskily.
Lillian's breath quickened in anticipation but the call of a sea-gull startled them and reminded them where exactly they were and what they were supposed to be doing!
They quickly scrambled to their feet and the intimate energy that was building up between them died down almost instantaneously.
They were in an abandoned port.
Boats and ships tied to the jetty rocked on the water gently exuding a calm that wasn't really there. Massive shipping containers were lying around haphazardly with their contents spread all over the place. Empty buildings stood some distance away with their windows broken and furniture lying in bits around it.
In another time, the silence might have been pleasant but this silence sang a different tune. A tune that described the horrors that had befallen this city by the will of Lord Voldemort. The two elementals could hear the sound of death screaming in the silence.
"Let's explore the city," Harry said quietly.
Lillian nodded, her face grim. They removed their brooms from their respective bags and kicked off, flying a few feet off the ground.
The first sign that the city had, in fact, been ravaged by werewolves and vampires was the sight of the bodies at the entrance to the port.
"Sucked dry," Harry informed Lillian.
"How can you tell?" Lillian asked looking disgusted.
"Those puncture wounds all over should be clue enough," Harry said dryly. "You can imagine yourself just how many young vampires, driven by their thirst, held these men down and drank their blood until there was nothing left."
Lillian just grimaced.
The city was beautiful, she realized as they continued their flight in silence. There was colour and character to every structure they came across and the architecture was very pleasing to the eye. However they also came across innumerable dead bodies of all shapes and sizes and in various stages of decomposition which made the city revolting to look at. Some of the bodies that were mangled beyond recognition but they were in better condition than the other corpses.
"We should set up camp in one the buildings. The sun is setting and we shouldn't travel at night," Harry said as they travelled deeper and deeper into the city. "Those bodies are a clear sign that there could be survivors and there is still something hunting them."
"Werewolves tend to turn their targets instead of killing them. The victims die because their body cannot handle the virus. These bodies on the other hand," Harry said pointing down, "Have been literally torn apart. It's most likely some kind of an animal which has been let loose in the city. I'm putting my money on it being a magical creature."
"I feel like I'm in a horror movie," Lillian muttered and she kept her eyes focused on looking for any movement that was suspicious. "Do we have any clue as to where this Nicolai might be holed up?"
"North west of Dublin is the only clue we got."
"Well that sucks," Lillian deadpanned. "Anyway the sun is almost gone. Let's hope we're lucky enough to find a non rotting apartment somewhere."
Harry grinned wryly and together they landed and hopped of their brooms. Now that the wind was no longer blowing in their faces, they felt incredibly alone in the empty city.
"Urg, something stinks!" Lillian said scrunching her nose.
"Dead bodies Freckles. The ones you saw in the nuclear plant were just killed so they hadn't putrefied. These however…," They turned around the corner of the street and saw dozens of rotting corpses. Crows were pecking at the maggots half the size of his little finger and there were dogs and cats eagerly tearing into the flesh of the corpses. "These are dead bodies barely a few days old," he said looking absolutely unaffected by the sight.
Lillian on the other hand had gone green and clapped her hands to her mouth and nose. "Let's get the hell away from this street!" she groaned, desperately holding back the nausea.
Harry just laughed and took her hand, guiding her around the bodies. "You'll get used to it," he said, feeling a tad guilty when he saw her eyes tearing up, not because of sadness or revulsion, but because of the smell and the gases the corpses were releasing.
She didn't dare breath for the seconds that it took to navigate around the bodies and make it to the other side. "How can you stand that!" she gasped, once they had gone a little further up the street and away from the pile.
Harry shrugged. "Before we shifted from Grimmauld place to Beauxbaton I learnt how to endure that smell and sight. London was worse than this because not even the infrastructure was spared in the death eaters assault. You should be glad we're able to walk on the streets here."
Lillian felt a wave of regret fill her heart at the mention of London. But there was no time to worry about the past because Harry had suddenly gone very stiff.
Lillian didn't question what was wrong and swiftly slid her wand from her arm holster into her awaiting hand.
Harry thought he had heard something move inside the building beside them and immediately froze; expanding his magic to sense for anything living inside the building.
This time his magic felt the moment and he summoned his wand, ready for battle. Beside him Lillian tensed, waiting for some sort of monster to attack them at any moment.
A small figure burst out the building realizing it had been discovered and sprinted towards them screaming out loud.
Harry and Lillian just blinked in shock.
A kid, no older than eight was running towards them with a knife raised above his head, ready to kill.
Lillian reacted before Harry could curse the kid. She moved smoothly, grabbed the back of the child's shirt and knocked the knife out of his hand. She lifted him by his collar and stared into his screaming face incredulously.
"LET ME GO YA FREAKS!" the boy screamed. "I'LL KILL YOU! LET ME GO! AAAHHHH!"
Harry flicked his wand silencing the boy and looked at Lillian, bewildered. "Is there something wrong with this picture?"
Lillian smacked the boy on his head making him stop squirming. The disappearance of his voice had made him swing around more violently in Lillian's grasp. Lillian raised him to her eye level and very menacingly she said to him, "Make one wrong move and I'll eat you for dinner."
The boy just stared at her, now horrified.