Disclaimer: I don't own anything you'll recognize.
A/N: Well, this is the last chapter. I completely made up the military scene. So if any one with real knowledge of how it should play out knows how to make it more real, feel free to tell me. Any suggestion on how to improve the story are welcome. Anyhow, I hope you have enjoyed this small story.
Chapter 4: A Squib Worth
Harry leant back in his chair, watching the three screens showing the battle taking place on the Hogwarts' grounds.
The battle of Hogwarts was finally taking place.
He was currently sitting in the commanding room at the base that had been built at the edge of the Hogwarts' wards.
For the past months they had been gathering their troops their and sending them on small hit and run missions in the nearby area, mainly targeting the smaller Death Eater camps.
His attention was drawn to the left screen showing a view from Hogwarts' Astronomy tower. They had a team set up that drone there two days before. The wizards were so blind as far as Muggle were concerned that they had never thought of adjusting their wards to them.
The two sides had been battling for about an hour already and both sides had sustained some casualties but not enough to tilt the balance in favour of one of them.
Voldemort had also yet to appear, but Dementors had arrived. That seemed to give an advantage to the Dark side until a Patronus ward was erected causing them to flee.
Harry turned to Carrington.
"Are all the teams ready?"
The older man nodded.
"They are and are waiting for your signal."
Harry looked back at the screen and shook his head.
"Not yet. We still don't know where the Vampires and Werewolves are." He paused, going over their plan while looking at the right screen what showed an aerial view of the area, Dumbledore's forces appearing in blue dots while Voldemort's follower were in red.
That had been a clever piece of magic coupled to complete overhaul of a satellite and computer program.
Finally the Werewolves and Vampires attacked as did the Centaurs.
Harry turned to the telecommunication officers.
"Let the Snitches out"
Immediately, the two men started to talk.
"Snitch 1, Snitch 2, status report."
"Snitch 1 ready."
"Snitch 2 ready."
"Merlin to Snitches, permission to take off, orders will follow.
"Roger Merlin. Snitch 1 taking off."
"Roger Merlin. Snitch 2 taking off."
Harry looked at Hermione.
"Send them the orders and targets."
They heard the twelve fighters pass above them and reported their attention back to the screens.
"Have the Dragons and Badgers ready to go."
Five minutes the fighters made a first sweep over the battle ground.
"Have the Snitches fire."
The officers immediately transmitted the orders and the planes dove for the ground.
Harry watched on the screen as the werewolves were decimated by the silver laden bullets and small bombs. The Vampires did not fare much better. Hermione and the other searcher had managed to come up with semi intelligent missiles that would lock on the rather unique magical signature of a Vampire and explode in flames upon impact. They were also impervious to magical shields. Death Eaters started to aim for the planes to no avail thanks to the shields that had been created for that occasion.
The fighters rose in the air before diving once more only to be met with Dementors. Ten of them launched themselves on one of the aircraft.
"Harvis, permission to Fergusson for Patronus 1 and 2" He peered at the right screen then the middle one that was made of ten little screens showing different views of the grounds.
"Bailey, get the Badgers and Dragons moving."
Meanwhile the pilot had tried to shake the Dementors off to no avail and was starting to feel the effects of those blasted creatures. As his flight was getting more and more erratic, Harry could only hope that he would hold on.
Two detonations were heard followed by two louder one and their three screens went white for several seconds.
"It worked!" squealed Hermione as her fellow scientists and the wizards sitting next to her pumped their fists in the air and high-fived each other.
"Have the Snitches report."
A few seconds passed as the two officers received information from the twelve fighters.
"Snitch 2.3 needs repairs, all the others have used about tree fourth of the vampire munitions," stated Harvis
"All Snitches 1 are accounted for, about two thirds of the munitions used," added Bailey.
Harry looked back at the screen, biting his lip.
"Have Snitch 2.3 land on Helga's Base and have Ramirez go to the medics. All the other Snitches carry on."
Harvis and Bailey immediately started to speak.
Carrington smiled at Harry.
"So how are you feeling?"
"Like that man is going to pummel me," answered Harry, motioning to a tall man behind them.
"Don't mind Goeffrey. As a Commanding Officer he's just sore his troops are being directed by a civilian."
Harry rolled his eyes.
"As if I had any choice. I'll like to see him refuse an order from the Queen."
"You must agree that it's the only way we can fulfil that Prophecy."
"Come on, Matthew! You have to agree that the muggle army being the power Voldemort knows not is funny."
Carrington's smile widened.
"I find it fitting."
They both turned their attention back to the screens.
The transporters and helicopters arrived at the battle area and their troops engaged the Death Eaters.
After several minutes of stupor, Dumbledore and the Ministry's fighters joined them as the Death Eaters grew more and more aggressive as they felt the tide of the battle turn against them.
Harry was looking closely to the screens, having left the management of the battle to the Commanding Officer. He was looking for any signs of the Dark Lord's presence, trying not to wince as some of their men cried out in pain or shouted for medical assistance as their comrades were wounded.
Orders were shouted left and right as the fight intensified
"Sir! Powerful Magical signal approaching!" signalled a man.
"Zoom on it."
The middle screen shifted to show blurry black shape approaching quickly from the forest. Whoever it was, it was followed by four other wizards.
"Is it him? Hermione?"
She was typing like mad on her computer.
The figure started to fire spells around and wreaking havoc, forcing their troops in the defensive.
She shot him an exasperated look.
"It's not that easy to get a clear Magical signature in Magic saturated atmosphere you know!" She typed a few more keys. "Got you!" she cried out as a series of coloured waves appeared on her screen.
"Hermione, is it him?!" Harry was growing more and more anxious as the figure in black seemed to galvanize the Death Eaters by its mere presence. He had little doubts but needed to be sure.
She clicked a few times.
"Positive match at ninety-nine percents."
Harry immediately walked to a microphone.
"Raise the wards. Open a line to the Bolts," he barked.
He waited a few seconds for the line to open.
"Merlin to Bolts, status report."
"Bolt 1 in position."
"Bolt 2 in position."
"Bolt 3 in position."
"Target has appeared, permission given to terminate the target by all means. Code 311081. Coordinates and magical signature are being sent."
"Roger that Merlin, target localized, Bolt 1 out."
Bolt 2 and 3 followed.
"Merlin to Phoenix. Code 311081. Permission to strike."
"Roger that Merlin, Phoenix out."
Harry shifted to a broad radio channel.
"To all units, Operation Lightning starting. Activate protective equipment."
Meanwhile Carrington had their protections raised.
They all waited with batted breath as seven missiles came into view and exploded above the battle ground, letting out a complex magnetic wave and blinding the screen for several seconds.
They heard shootings and a high pitched scream before the image came back.
The black figure was on the ground, apparently convulsing. All the wizards around were down, knocked out.
"Bolt 1 to Merlin, Target hit."
"Bolt 2 to Merlin, Target missed."
"Bolt 3 to Merlin, Target hit."
Harry motioned to the Commanding Officer to take the commands back; something the man hurried to do."
The young man went to sit down. It seemed quite an anti-climatic end to the battle.
All it had taken to fell one of the most feared Dark Lord had been three snipers and magic nullifying bullets… Carrington had walked to him.
"Come on, Potter, you need to finish this."
Harry walked to microphone.
"To all the Units. Operation Lightning is closed and succeeded. Gather every wounded and casualties for transport. Round all Death Eaters for transfer to the detainment cells and permission to fold back to base. Congratulations all of you. Merlin out."
The young man stretched and looked at the Commanding Officer.
"Thank you for your cooperation, Commanding Officer Grant. I'll leave the situation in your capable hands. No contact is to be permitted with the prisoners and their wands are to be confiscated. One of the wizards working with us will have to check them for shape shifting abilities before detention."
"Yes, Judge Potter. Doctor Granger gave us detailed instruction as to how the prisoners would have to be handled and all our men were thoroughly briefed."
"Good. Thank you again."
They all shook hands before the civilians left the military to the clean up.
As they left the area to reach the jet that would take them back to London, Harry couldn't help but look back.
"Something wrong, Harry?" asked Hermione.
He shook his head.
"No, it's just hard to believe it's over now."
"But it is."
Harry returned her smile.
"Indeed. It'll be strange to go back to a normal life."
Hermione squeezed his hand and kissed his cheek.
"I'm sure we'll manage."
Harry stretched lazily and tried to work out a kink in his neck.
He nearly moaned in delight when he felt someone massaged his neck and stiff shoulders.
"Whoever you are, don't stop."
"Should I be worried, Harry?" the person behind breathed in his ear.
Smiling he turned to face her and gave her a light kiss on her lips.
"Never Hermione…" He kissed her once more, this time a bit more heatedly.
They both turned sharply towards the door, feeling both like teenagers caught snogging in a cupboard.
Upon seeing Carrington and William they both relaxed.
"Don't scare us like this, Matthew…" said Harry, motioning them to sit down as Hermione went to perch herself on the corner of his desk.
William eyed the stacks of papers on his desk.
"Is it the Lestrange's case?"
Harry nodded with a sigh.
"Yes, that was the last trial. She really was a twisted bitch. I wouldn't have wanted to be her lawyer…"
"What did he plead?"
"Insanity. Not that far from the truth when you think about it." He rubbed his eyes. "I gave the verdict an hour ago. Life sentence in High Security quarters without right of parole. The Lestrange estate will be divided between her victims as compensations."
He looked at Carrington.
"By the way, I've been wondering where you're putting all the sentenced Death Eaters… I don't think a simple cell will stop them."
Carrington raked a hand in his hair.
"Don't remind me. You can't imagine the shouting that went on when we debated this issue… Some were all for reinstating the Death Penalty. Others wanted to chuck them in a warded dungeon cell and throw away the key, only coming once a day with stale bread and murky water…" He rolled his eyes before carrying on his explanations.
"The Ministry of Magic kindly offered the use of the Azkaban prison and of their Dementors. But first we didn't trust them to keep them locked up for good; and second that prison is breaking every laws or treaties regarding the handling of prisoners."
"The things I heard were the stuff of nightmares indeed."
"It is. In the end, we have built a specialized wing in several prisons as to not gather them all in the same place. Their wands were broken. Their cells and the whole prisons are warded against all magical travel and possess the necessary facilities. They are fed three times a day, clothed and given the necessities. They're even taken out one at a time for a one hour walk once a week."
"Better than what they deserve," muttered Hermione.
"Maybe Hermione, but we won't stoop to their level."
Harry smiled a little and turned to Carrington.
"How is it going with the wizards?"
"Dumbledore and Scrimgeour are giving me headaches but they can't do much with those shields. So they're resorting to the age old manipulations, blackmail techniques and bribes."
"I think it's high time the Wizarding World leaves the Middle Ages, even if I don't think either world is ready to accept the other. But you know what, I don't care. After all of this, I'll be glad to never hear of the Wizarding World."
"You did your part and then more. Leave the rest to politicians. But you know that there's a high probability that any children you got might be magical."
Harry nodded and took Hermione's hand
"We know. Hermione has accepted the proposition from the Prime Minister and is quietly working with the Education Department to create a whole curriculum for those with Magical abilities that will offer a double education. Should we have a child with such abilities, he or she will attend that school."
Hermione squeezed his hand back.
"True, but we are still young."
"It might come sooner than you thought it would. By the way have you finally decided on a date?"
Harry simply handed them a creamy envelope each.
"You're cordially invited to the wedding of Harry James Potter and Hermione Jane Granger on the 13th of June…" read out loud Matthew Carrington.
"You and your family are invited of course and we're keeping our fingers crossed that the sun will be with us."
"Speaking of ceremony I hope you got some formal clothing ready."
"You didn't think the Queen wouldn't honour us?" He laughed at Harry, seeing his dumbfounded expression. "You can expect an invitation to an award Ceremony at the Palace in the coming week."
Harry looked at Hermione, panic rising in him.
"But… I-She-We… I've nothing to wear!" he stuttered.
Hermione rolled her eyes.
"One word, Harry. Shopping"
Hermione tightened his hold on Hermione as he twirled her around the waxed floor of the Palace's ballroom.
She chuckled and leant forwards.
"You're doing fine, Harry."
He rolled his eyes, trying not to lose count of his steps. From the corner of his eye, he could see William Hordane and his wife as well as the Carringtons waltzing too.
The music came to an end and Harry made Hermione on the side before bowing to her as she curtsied.
He took the hand that carried her engagement ring and kissed it before leading her to the sides where they were met with the other members of their Department.
The award ceremony had taken place earlier in the evening. Harry remembered walking up to the Queen, his heart beating wildly. His memory was a little fuzzy of the speech that followed until he walked back to Hermione's side amidst a loud clapping from the crowd and flashes from cameras nearly blinding him. A grand dinner had then been organized. There had been so many knives, forks and spoon that Harry had had trouble remembering which to use and had finally relied on Hermione to spare himself from embarrassment.
They had then been ushered to a magnificent ballroom where a small orchestra was playing. The royal family had opened the Ball, quickly joined by other couples.
Hermione smiled at him as he brought her a cup of champagne. Harry to say she looked gorgeous in the lavender gown, and from the looks she had drawn, he wasn't the only thinking so.
They both stood up and mingled through the crowd, stopping to talk with a few people.
"Miss Granger, Mr. Potter."
Harry sighed, recognizing the voice as he turned around.
"Yes, Mr. Dumbledore?"
The old man had obviously been dressed. Harry had to admit that seeing him in a grey costume with a simple blue dress shirt was strange, though easier on the eyes. He was accompanied by a woman dressed in traditional Scottish garb, her tartan shawl covering her shoulder. If Harry remembered correctly it was McGonagall, his Deputy at Hogwarts. Scrimgeour was also with them, his assistant whose name Harry had never bothered to learn standing behind them.
"You seem in good health."
"Indeed, I hope the same can be said for yours."
"It can, Mr. Potter, but I must congratulate you and Miss Granger on your awards."
Harry and Hermione shared a smile.
"Thank you, Mr. Dumbledore. However what is truly important is that Voldemort can no longer hurt any of our worlds."
He didn't miss the shuddering of the two others. He had always loved to shake the wizards by saying his name…
"True, true…" stated Dumbledore. He looked straight in Harry's eyes until Hermione got her fiancé's attention back by squeezing his arm. "I'm sure you have many plans now the threat to our world has been dealt with."
Dumbledore waited for him to elaborate but Harry wasn't going to make things easy for him.
Scrimgeour was the first one to break the silence.
"We came to offer you a place at the Ministry, Mr. Potter."
Harry raised an eyebrow.
"Why would you offer a Squib such a position? I'm sure they are quantity of far more… worthy people."
Scrimgeour's jaw tightened.
"We are going through difficult times. A lot of changes are…"
Hermione cut him.
"Those changes are ones that are needed."
Scrimgeour's eyes narrowed.
"You are speaking of changes to a centuries-old institution that was working perfectly well, Miss Granger. An institution you have absolutely no knowledge of." He paused and obviously tried to control his temper. "What I mean is that the Ministry could use the support of the one to defeat You-know-who."
"In not as many word you need a poster boy, Minister." He shook his head. "I'll have to refuse your kind offer, Minister. I have no interest in the magical world and its citizens."
Scrimgeour's face coloured a little.
"You should think a bit more about this, Mr. Potter. After all you wouldn't want to deprive your future children of your legacy because of a hasty decision."
Harry's face hardened.
"You will find it unwise to threaten me, minister."
Dumbledore spoke up trying to diffuse the situation.
"I'm sure Minister Scrimgeour meant no offence."
Harry made an unbelieving face at the man.
"I'm sure he did, Mr. Dumbledore. Now, if that will be all…"
"You should rethink your decision, Mr. Potter. There are a lot of people in the magical world that knew your parents really well and would love to meet and learn to know you."
Harry's face closed immediately.
"They had more than twenty years to do so, Mr. Dumbledore. You'll forgive me if I think that this sudden change of heart if nothing but interested."
Harry raised his hand.
"That… man lost any right over me a long time ago."
"He made some hasty choices… Surely you can understand his position and forgive him. Family should always prevail."
"Of course, but he was never family."
"I can assure you he's been regretting this deeply."
The young man shook his head.
"It's too little, too late." He straightened himself. "Now, I don't think we have anything else to talk about, Mr. Dumbledore."
Harry took Hermione's arm and started to lead her away from the two men.
They ignored him and walked away, Harry's arm around her waist. Dumbledore sighed, regrets filling him as he watched the young couple.
The old man closed his eyes. He wondered what might have been had he made a different choice that day, years ago and believed in a Squib's worth.