This ain't no self-insert fic.
This ain't no slash fic neither.
This is the Book of Dobby.
"It is generally said that the British are often better at the last. They do not expect to move from crisis to crisis; they do not always expect that each day will bring up some noble chance of war; but when they very slowly make up their minds that the thing has to be done and the job put through and finished, then, even if it takes months - if it takes years - they do it."
Prime Minister Winston Churchill,
October 29th 1941.
Remus John Lupin, who often wondered whether his parents had been a touch precognitive, was currently a very confused and worried werewolf.
Three days had passed since his best friend and his other best friend's son had vanished, and he still hadn't heard a squeak.
The squeak finally came while he was once again trying to distract himself with the little magic mirror project Sirius had set him before disappearing, though admittedly it wasn't working very well; he was too worried to really concentrate on anything else, and when a certain house-elf appeared, squatted on his desk with one foot in the inkwell, what he'd been doing went flying right out his head.
"Dobby is saying hello, Mr Reemyis Moony Lupyin sir."
The mad house-elf who followed Harry around had changed since last Remus saw him, primarily by being smartly dressed – a neatly-pressed olive green jacket and trousers with intricate detailing round the collar and lapels, a weird sort of brown leather belt that went over the shoulders as well as around the middle, brightly polished boots, and a hat with a peak at the front and a very shiny brim; he also had a peculiar and somehow threatening assemblage of metal pipes and curvy bits slung across his back on a drab green canvas strap.
"Hello, Dobby." Remus replied.
"The Great Wizard Mr Harry Potter Sir is sends Dobby on most importyant classificated Top Secrymost mission to be brings Mr Reemyis Moony Lupyin to be seeing the Great Wizard Mr Harry Potter Sir." the house-elf continued, and grabbed Remus by the finger.
The next thing Remus knew was a weird rushing feeling accompanied by blurring in his eyes and his ears popping, and then he was falling flat on his backside.
"EEK! Oh, my poor heart – I swear I'll never get used to that!" a nasal-sounding woman complained.
"Er, Dobby." said a very welcome voice. Harry's voice.
"Yes, Mr Harry Potter Sir?" the mad elf said, saluting with both hands.
"Just, you know, for future reference, it's best to wait till people are standing up before you bring them here." Remus pushed himself half upright, and found that the last living Potter was standing beside a bench positively covered in assorted gizmos and gadgets, arm in arm with Hermione Granger; a middle-aged blonde-haired and plain as a slice of bread woman Remus vaguely recognised as Harry's aunt was the other side of the table, apparently having just put down a tray of steaming coffee mugs, and fanning herself while looking a bit faint.
"Dobby is apologyiserateses, Mr Harry Potter Sir! Dobby is not makes this very silly mistake again, Mr Harry Potter Sir! SIR!" Salute salute salute.
"... thankyou, Dobby."
"It is being Dobby's pleaserimost, SIR!" Salute.
"... Harry?" Remus asked, rubbing at his abused posterior as he sat up and found James Potter's son stood there looking at him. "Ow, ow, ow – think I landed on my tail bone."
"Tough it out, Moony." Said another very welcome voice, and quickly glancing thataway he found Sirius Black standing there. The dog animagus was leaning against an assemblage of metal slats and unidentifiable (at least, unidentifiable-to-Remus) mechanical gubbins in the vague shape of a muggle aeroplane.
"Padfoot? What's going on? Where are we?"
"Wes is not being able to be telling youse where we is being because it is being Classifycated Top Secrymost and you is not having the Clearyence to be knowing it." Dobby said, wagging a finger at Remus.
"Dobby means that where we are is need-to-know information and we're not sure if you need to know." Harry helpfully elaborated. "It depends which side you're really on."
"Harry, I'm on the side of the Light!" Remus gasped, going a bit pale and getting that horrible sinking feeling.
The next question out of Harry's mouth stopped him dead in his tracks:
"My side, or Dumbledore's side?"
"... aren't those the same thing?"
"Dumbledore's senile." Sirius said.
"You heard me. You know those lemon drops he's always popping? They're laced with anti-senility potions. They have been since at least the year after we got out of Hogwarts, Moony. And we both know senility can't be stopped."
"... oh, hell."
"That's what I thought." Sirius said, nodding. "And... look, either he's senile or he's almost worse than You-Know-Who. Think back, Moony. All the bad decisions he's made since before James and Lily died. Talking James into not trusting you was just the start."
"... Bad decisions?"
"If it wasn't for this Dumnuts bloke, me da would still be alive." a new voice remarked; turning that way, Remus found a heavily overweight young man carefully wheeling a cement mixer their way.
"Talking Dad into not trusting you wasn't even the start." Harry said. "He should have stopped Voldemort – oh for fuck sake, stop flinching already Hermione – before the bastard got powerful. He never should have let Hagrid take the fall for that business with the Chamber of Secrets; what kind of idiot believes a low-powered half-giant Hufflepuff is the 'True Heir of Slytherin'? He should have talked Dad into checking you two and Wormtail under Veritaserum instead of bad-mouthing someone for having an incurable disease. He shouldn't have sent me to Privet Drive, and not just because me being there got Dudley's father killed – or he should have at least checked up on me once in a while. And that's before I even got to Hogwarts. He should have guessed that someone raised as a muggle wouldn't know how to owl someone, and after the first dozen letters that didn't get a reply he should have sent someone to check – and while I'm at it, the fact that the first letter was addressed to the cupboard under the stairs should have been a hint that something wasn't quite right."
"Actually, that one's fair enough." Hermione said. "Mine was addressed to Mum's wardrobe – I was, um, dressing up in Mum's clothes."
"... what?" Harry asked, his rant derailed.
"Kids hide in cupboards from time to time." Hermione said. "And, you know, when those letters were sent we were kids and being somewhere weird is something kids do."
"I usta well like sneaking around in the attic." Dudley mused. "Me an' Piers pretended it was our space base, right, and there were aliens and stuff."
"Hermione's got a point." Sirius remarked. "Mine was addressed to 'under the kitchen table'. James's was addressed to his treehouse. They're just addressed to wherever the student is at the moment the letter's addressed – it's done by the same enchanted quill that generates the letters, right? It's been done that way for centuries. I gather they're checked over for anything alarming, but someplace a child playing hide-and-seek might be isn't counted as alarming."
"Yeah well, all that aside it took a couple hundred letters before they got a reply from me, shouldn't that have got them to take notice?" Harry snapped. "And anyway after that should he really have hid the Philosopher's Stone in a SCHOOL? Never mind that he let that twat Quirrel wander around Hogwarts for the best part of a year with Voldemort stuck on the back of his sodding head! And maybe, just maybe, he should have made sure any of the staff would take a student who managed to find out what was down there and said it was gonna be pinched SERIOUSLY, or at least, you know, find out how we knew it was there and why we thought it was gonna be pinched! Then there's second year, don't tell me that old git had no way of finding out there was a frikin' diary with a reflection of the frikin' Dark Lord in it knocking around the school, and never mind all that mess with the basilisk – and why exactly in the fuck did it take a phoenix, the Sorting Hat and a sodding twelve-year-old me to stop that sodding snake? Third year! Why in the Hell did he let the fucking Dementors board the fucking train and go around trying to smooch me? Why the fucking Hell did he LET the goddamned Dementors barge onto the sodding Quidditch pitch? Why the fucking Hell didn't he force Fudge to give Sirius the FUCKING TRIAL he never sodding had? Last year, how the Hell didn't he notice a fucking Death Eater was pretending to be one of his old friends for most of a bloody year, why the hell did he let Rita sodding Skeeter onto the sodding school grounds, why the hell didn't he notice the fucking trophy was a fucking portkey and why the hell did he force me to fucking compete when I never even fucking entered that fucking tournament anyway? FUCK!"
There was a long silence as everyone tried to digest all that; Petunia and Dudley gave each other several bemused looks, one of which clearly said that Petunia knew Harry had learned that sort of language from Dudley and there was going to be finger-wagging later.
Harry just stood there glaring at the floor and repeatedly clenching his fists.
"Hey, uh, cuz, feeling better?" Dudley suddenly asked.
"... what?" Harry asked, giving the overweight boy a sharp look.
"Y'know, letting off some steam, right? Feeling any better?"
"... actually, yeah." Harry admitted, having spent a moment considering that.
"Good." Dudley said, nodding. "It's something me coach told me, right, you don't wanna ever go into a fight angry, right, because it makes you do dumb stuff and doing dumb stuff in a fight is a good way to get the shit kicked outta you."
"And you get into a lot of fights?" Remus asked.
"Well, yeah, if you count heavyweight boxing, man. It's great stuff, like I told Harry the other day I ain't much good at stuff that ain't hitting things, and boxing means I can hit things without getting the fuzz on me. I had a go at it a while back and I really dig it, man. Been thinking about going pro, once all this is over I guess." Dudley turned back to Harry. "Look, Harr. I reckon if we're gonna be fighting a war we don't wanna go into it with you steamin' mad, right, coz we don't wanna risk you getting sloppy, right? I'm wanting to get a punchbag set up so I can keep in practise and I guess it might be an idea if you have a shot with it from time to time, it's great for working your aggro out. Hey, maybe we could make it look like this Dumbo-door dude if you like."
"That makes a lot of sense." Sirius said.
Dudley grinned, pleased at the praise, understated as it was.
"Weren't my idea, man, I'm just parroting me coach, sometimes when I'm real skelpin' mad before a match I tape a photo of whoever I'm mad at to me punchbag. It helps."
"I don't think I really should have exploded like that." Harry muttered.
"Are you nutters?" Dudley boggled. "Look, if half that stuff you were saying is what it sounds like I'm surprised you hadn't flipped your lid way back!"
"Dobby is not being suprisded that the Great Wizard Mr Harry Potter Sir is being a bit rageacious about how Mr Dumbly-Dore Sir is being very silly and naughty, Sir." Dobby put in, sounding thoughtful – a weird effect considering his squeaky voice.
"You don't have anything to apologise for, Harry." Remus agreed. "We can probably work out rational explanations for a few of those points, but, when you stack it all up together, it doesn't paint a very pretty picture."
"No; it doesn't, does it?" Harry said, sighing, "One day I'd like to ask Dumbledore all those questions, but I guess we'll deal with that when the time comes." He sighed again. "Um, Professor Lupin, so, which side are you on?"
"Yours, Harry. And, y'know, call me Remus."
"Sorry; force of habit, right?"
"So, what're we needing to get done the rest of today?" Hermione asked, turning to have a look over the half-built aeroplane; Remus noticed that the more she looked at it the more distracted and glassy-eyed she got.
"Well, for starters we need to get in touch with Fred and George." Harry said. "And I think we need to get some better way for you to get here, Hermione, than borrowing the Finch-Fletchley's floo connection all the time."
"I've got a suggestion for that." Sirius said. "Moony knows enough about runes to make a simple wardstone, and we can put an illegal floo connection between a fireplace in Hermione's house and here then cast a Fidelius over the fireplace at Hermione's."
"Hmm, a Fidelius over just a fireplace... that shouldn't be too difficult. I'll need some ward-quality granite, I know a place in Diagon Alley that sells offcuts." Remus helpfully provided. "So, what's the big plan anyway?"
Harry angled a thumb over his shoulder at the airframe. "That's a half-built Stuka dive-bomber." he said. "We're going to introduce Voldemort to twentieth century air power."
"Hey Sirius, is it possible to ward a lock against unlocking charms?" Hermione suddenly said, bringing everyone's trains of thought to a screeching halt.
"Um, I dunno, Moony?" Sirius said, looking at Remus.
"Well, yeah. But, well, why?" Remus asked Hermione.
"Because I think this end of the floo connection to my house should be inside somewhere armoured and locked." she said. "If we bury one of those containers and build a cage frame into the back of it, then have this end's floo connection inside... can we make it so you can floo here without knowing the secret of where here is?"
"Easily." Remus told her. "Me and Padfoot would have to do a bit of work on the wardstone – modify it to accept tributary stones, set up a tributary stone in the exception area, and build a ley-line to connect the two – but what you're describing is one of the oldest tricks in the book. It's usually used as a trap – it's possible to build a one-way Floo connection."
"We wouldn't need to modify the keystone." Sirius said. "It's an M-1896."
"M-1896?" Hermione pounced. "What's that mean?"
"That's Gringotts' deluxe-model heavy-duty wardstone." Remus said. "Where in Merlin's name did you get a hold of one? Those things cost a small fortune!"
"We got it at Godric's Hollow." Sirius told him. "It's the one James took as spoils after the raid on LeStrange Manor in '79."
"So, what does 'deluxe-model heavy-duty' mean where applied to wardstones?"
"Well, since it's the deluxe model it can take all seven circles of ward and will accept seven times seven tributary stones without a secondary hubstone, and heavy-duty is why it can ward such a large area without any booster stones." Sirius told her.
"... books!" Hermione declared, and rushed off towards the office caravan.
"Huh; looks like we've lost Hermione for the next few hours." Harry said. "Anyway, Dudley, we're gonna need those footings filled with concrete and I'm afraid we haven't got a way of getting a truck-mixer up here."
"So I'm on concrete-mixing and wheelbarrow-wheeling duty, gotcha cuz." Dudley said, nodding.
"If Mr Dudsey Sir is knows how to be being the polites, Dobby is being able to be has some elfses be helps Mr Dudsey Sir." Dobby helpfully provided.
"That'd be cool, and your mates don't gotta worry, I ain't gonna sit on me bum, I wanna convert some gut into muscle, right?" Dudley enthusiastically told the mad elf, with whom he'd become quite familiar over the last few days.
"Wait a minute." Harry said. "Dobby... just how many elves are on our side?"
Dobby spent a moment doing finger arithmetic, then popped a salute.
"There is being twuntunty-twunty-sun, ah, Dobby is being sorry for not Bigger-counts, two of the hundredses and twenty-six, elfses who is takes Mr Harry Potter Sir's Shillering and they is knowing how to be the saluting and they is has thems uniformerations and thems Stenses with Sunderatious Ammunaterions and thems is being ready to be Workses Very Hard to be Contribererteatering to the War Effortses, Mr Harry Potter Sir, SIR!" Salute.
Harry spent a long moment staring bug-eyed at Dobby, and then muttered, "... aw, man. I'm gonna have to do a speech or something."
"Sir, Yes Sir, Mr Harry Potter Sir, SIR!" Dobby declared, saluting with both hands. "Dobby is arangerating the Paradeses and Drill at once, Sir, Mr Harry Potter Sir, SIR!"
Dudley spent a moment looking at the expression Harry was now wearing, and then creased up laughing.
Disclaimer: Careless Wordses they is Costs Lifeses.
The Holy Testament of Dobby.
Per Arcana ad Astra
A Doghead13 fanfic
Written & produced by Calum J 'Doghead13' Wallace
Preread by the CaerAzkaban Yahoo group.
Brought to you by Hairy Scottish Git Productions, GMBH
Dedicated to those incredible people who spent the best part of the 1940's saving the world – and to everyone who's followed in their footsteps since.
This is not a drill.
Chapter 4: Dawn of the Eagle
(In which war is declared.)
As he looked out at the sea of overly-solemn little faces, Harry couldn't help but make a mental note-to-self that he should never, ever, fail to take Dobby seriously again, and the same went for any other house-elves he ever met. Their pointed heads, droopy ears, squeaky voices, bowdy-legged gait and overly-long arms might seem comical, but the last few minutes had unquestionably proven to Harry, Sirius, Remus, Hermione, Dudley, Petunia and Millicent just how serious the elves were about this stuff.
Sure, the elves looked like ever so many khaki monkeys when marching in formation, courtesy of their weird gait and the simple fact that they weren't exactly brilliant in maintaining step or rank, but when they'd put on a display with those Sten guns, even Hermione had lost the slight air of condescension she'd always used to have when talking to or about house-elves.
A couple hundred pointy-eared little chaps teleporting into cover and proceeding to utterly shred the rotten trailer they'd scrounged for a practise target had rammed home just how dangerous house elves with guns could really be.
Now here he was, looking at two hundred and twenty-seven (counting Dobby) expectant little faces, all of whom thought he was going to be giving them some massively inspiring speech, and he didn't know what to say.
So he just started talking anyway, and as he opened his mouth, everything clicked.
"In this crisis, I hope I may be pardoned if I do not address you at any length today." he said. "I would say to you, as a man a lot wiser than me once said: I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat."
"We have before us an ordeal of the most wretched kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our plan? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that any God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our plan. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory. Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival."
"I do not know where this road will lead us. But I do know one thing for certain, and that is, that upon this battle depends the survival of our civilization."
"Upon it depend our own lives, and the long continuity of everything we have ever held dear. The whole fury and might of the enemy will very soon be turned on us; Voldemort knows that he will have to break us or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, our world may be freed and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted magic. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if Wizarding Britain is to last for a hundred thousand years, it will still be said that this was their finest hour."
Harry glanced around for a moment, smiling slightly.
"Let's get this show on the road."
There was a crash of booted feet as the horde of elves came to a vaguely sloppy sort of attention and, saluting wildly, chorused "Yes Sir, Mr Harry Potter Sir! Sir!"
Dobby then whirled round and fixed the elves with a firm glare.
"We is has very lots and lots and lots of work to be doing, we is needs to be being the busy elfses!" he declared. "Youse is seperateses into youse platoonses now! Wunst Platoonses, youse is helps Mr Dudsey Sir with concreteses and mixeration! Twunst Platoonses, Thrunst Platoonses, we is has the airyplane that is needs it's skinses on, youse is helpses Mr Harry Potter Sir's Miss Grangy Ma'am with the airyplane skinses because it is not being able to be drops the bombses when it is not has it's skinses on! Funst Platoonses, youse is helps Mr Seerius Padfeets Black Sir and Mr Reemyis Moony Lupyin Sir preperating the Very Importyant Defencerations of the Great Wizard Mr Harry Potter Sir's most Importyant and Classifycated Airbaseration! Finst Platoonses and Sinst Platoonses, youse is helps Mrs Dursdey Ma'am with the houseworkses and the heftses and carrieses and youse is makes this an Airbaseration that is being fit to be bears the Great Wizard Mr Harry Potter Sir's most awesome Bomberaters! Sunst Platoonses, youse is makes the bulletses for the Great Wizard Mr Harry Potter Sir's Stenses! Unst Platoonses, youse is patrollses the Diagonally Place for the Nartserys and youse is reporterates all Naughty Persons Trooperation Moverments to Winky! Ninst Platoonses, youse is with Dobby! And Wuntyest Platoonses, youse is Recruiterationing and Propergander! Youse is jumps to it now, we is not has excessivatious timeses! HUT HUT HUT!"
"We is doing these Very Importyant thingses, Dobby!" the elves all bellowed, and the whole lot vanished with a crackling string of elf-pops.
Shortly thereafter, Hermione found herself being waited for attentively by four dozen tin-hatted elves, all clustered round the half-built Stuka, while Dudley was joined in the region of the cement mixer by another forty-odd.
As for Harry, as everyone else headed off to get stuck into what they'd discussed before the Dobby-arranged parade and demonstration, he found himself alone outside the hanger.
Alone, that is, aside from Millicent, Dobby and another twenty-six elves.
"... wow." he said. "You're pretty good at organising stuff, Dobby."
Dobby saluted a couple times and declared, "Thankyou sir, Mr Harry Potter Sir, SIR!"
"So, I guess it's a matter of what all else needs done... We need to finish bulldozing the runway and taxiways, we need to get in touch with Fred and George, and, oh hell, after that I guess it's time for a buttload of research."
"Oi can work tha dozer." Millicent offered. "But markee word, it'll take more'n just dirt ter support t'bombers."
"Aw man, we're gonna need a boatload of concrete."
"Elfses is being able to arrangifies for the concreteses, Mr Harry Potter Sir. Mr Harry Potter Sir's Miss Bulstyrode Ma'am is just needs to be tells Noodle where the concreteses they is needs to be going and Noodle is has it being dealed with."
One of the other house elves stepped forwards, saluted Millicent with both hands, and declared, "Noodle is arrangifies for the concreteses, Miss Bulstyrode Ma'am!"
"Wonky, Twinky, youse is with Dobby." Dobby said. "Youse otherses youse is being with Noodle. Youse is makes with hurry now!"
"... okay, Millie – here's the bulldozer's keys." Harry said, passing them over. "And, uh, yeah, if you sort it out so the runways and everything are the same place as they were during the war, right?"
"Oi'm on it." Millie said, accepting the keys. "Orroight, lads. Ye heard tha boss, let's get on wif what's t'be done."
"Yes ma'am, Miss Bulstyrode Ma'am!" came the chorus, and the elf called Noodle was barking orders as he or she followed Millicent towards the bulldozer with a couple dozen elves trailing along behind.
"Mr Harry Potter Sir is takes noteses from the mighty Mr Rime Prinister Churcherill Sir, yes?" Dobby checked, looking thoughtful.
"Well, yeah, bits and pieces – he was good at this stuff and I'm not." Harry admitted.
"It is not mattering, they is being good words even if Mr Harry Potter Sir is not being the first who is uses them." Dobby said, shrugging.
"... I guess." Harry said, nodding distractedly.
"Maybe Mr Harry Potter Sir is writes the Communiceration for Mr Gred Wheezy Sir and Mr Forge Wheezy Sir and then Dobby is makes sure it is being deliverated and Mr Harry Potter Sir is being able to be doing stuffs with his Miss Grangy Ma'am, yes?" Dobby slyly suggested, with an if-you-know-what-I-mean elbow-nudge that Harry completely failed to understand.
"OK, hang on." Harry rooted his pad and pencil out, wrote a brief note, handed it over, and headed for the hanger.
Dobby sighed and shook his head.
"Biggers they is so silly sometimes." he muttered. "Why is the Great Wizard Mr Harry Potter Sir not sees that the Great Wizard Mr Harry Potter Sir and his Miss Grangy Ma'am they is both wants to be makes the beast what is has two backs?"
"Elfses they is not being weird enough to be tries to be works out what is goes on in headses of the Biggers." Twinky gloomily agreed, giving Dobby a commiserating clout on the shoulder.
Neither Fred nor George Weasley was worried.
Worrying was something that happened to other people, for the main part, at least since the very few people they actually gave a damn about had come out the other end of that bloody retarded Tournament in one piece.
Sorta a shame about Cedric, right, but hell, he wasn't someone they really cared about. Just a face in the crowd, right?
Then their great and good and fuckawesome friend Harry Potter had come up and shoved a whole bundle of money in their faces with the understanding that they'd spend the bulk of it on figuring out how to blow shit up real good, and, hell, what was an honest prankster to say to that?
Okay, so most of their jokes weren't quite so lethal to the butt. But hell, the idea of a Death Eater going, 'I am a Death Eater, fear me' and then exploding was pretty damn funny, and when Harry said that chances were anyone associated with him would be a target, real soon, well, he had a point.
Enough of a point that both Gred and Forge were pretty certain that the Dork Lard would be coming after Clan Weasley real soon, and no way in or out of Hell was anyone going to pull unfunny stunts on Fred and George's family, no sir.
No fucking way.
That was why their dropping-out letters were already on McGonnagal's desk. That was why the prior occupant of the muggle half of their newly-leased shop had been a gunsmith, and they'd made certain to deploy carefully-targeted memory charms to the task of making sure every muggle in a position of authority was certain that Weasley & Weasley Weapons Co Ltd was properly licensed to deal in customising firearms and other things that went bang with extreme prejudice.
They'd spent the smattering of days since their slightly weird-and-scary sort-of-extra-brother hired them researching all the muggle ways of making things very dead, and so far they were unanimously impressed.
At the present moment in time, Fred was painstakingly casting a severing charm on the barrel of a gun they'd been hired to shorten, while George finished a batch of Canary Creams. Both were critically important to the reputation of their establishment; a very serious man with a moustache and a beret with a winged-sword badge had brought the gun in and remarked that depending on the quality of their work 'the regiment' might have many future jobs for them, while the batch of Canary Creams were to be distributed via Zonko's in Hogsmeade and would potentially turn one hundred Hogwarts students temporarily into squawking yellow birdies.
It was fortunate that Fred had just finished levitating out the plug of metal that had once occupied the space for the screw that would retain the shortened G3's fore-sight, and equally fortunate that George had just set the cauldron to cool, when a house-elf in odd apparel appeared with a pop in the middle of their workshop. It meant that, when both brothers Weasley jumped out their skins, it didn't damage the work.
"Hey, Dobster, is that a gun?" George asked, recovering first.
Dobby blinked a couple of times, then started nodding wildly.
"Why yes Mr Forge Wheezy Sir, it is being Dobby's Sten Mr Forge Wheezy Sir, is that going to be of the probleration Mr Forge Wheezy Sir?"
"Nah, it's cool, especially if you use it to do something funny to someone unfunny." Fred said, waving that off and momentarily distracted by the way Dobby could (unlike everyone of the not-a-house-elf persuasion) tell which twin was which.
"Such as Lucius bloody Malfoy, he needs his head inverted for what he tried to do to Gin-Gin." George added, obviously also briefly contemplating the same important question.
"So anyway," Fred put in.
"What's the what?" George asked.
"The Great Wizard Mr Harry Potter Sir is needs someones to be builds the bombses what is rains down the fury and explodey wraths on the headses of the very naughty persons what is tries to make the Great Wizard Mr Harry Potter Sir very very very sad." Dobby stated, nodding firmly,
"Well, yeah." George said.
"We'd got that much." Fred added.
"But we can't find Harry." George put in.
"And we need to know sizes and so on." Fred provided.
"Because a too-small explosion isn't funny enough." George concluded.
"Dobby is having a Very Importyant Communicerification for Mr Gred Wheezy Sir and Mr Forge Wheezy Sir." Dobby said, producing an envelope and sounding very solemn. "It is being from the Great Wizard Mr Harry Potter Sir, and peoples who is not being Mr Gred Wheezy Sir and Mr Forge Wheezy Sir is not being allowed to be reading it because it is being Classificatered Top Secreymost."
"OK." the two brothers chorused, simultaneously accepting the letter; they then simultaneously opened it, one from each end, pulled it out, unfolded it, and began to read.
"Dear Fred and George..." George said.
"Egroeg nad Derf Raid..." Fred added.
"Sorry about the unusual way you received this," George read,
"Shit deviser buoy yaw lasagne et tuba yarrows," Fred put in,
"Oh shut up Fred."
"Derf pun thus ho... wait a minute, it doesn't say that!"
By dinner time, the Stuka was looking very Stuka-like; there was still a lot of work to be done around tuning the engine and controls, and the wheels were still bare rims sitting on axle stands, and the cannons were yawning holes in the old plane's wings, but all the heavy stuff was done – only the fiddly bits were left, and Hermione was adamant that they didn't have the parts to finish those fiddly bits. She'd gone oddly intense over it all, even more so than usual, and Harry had regarded it as a joy to behold; he hadn't seen her get so intent on a task since second year when she was brewing that polyjuice potion.
She'd undertaken a twelve-minute rant about the benefits of cladding an aircraft's frame in dragon-hide. The rant had contained a lot of terms Harry didn't quite get the meaning of, things about drag coefficient and radar profile and durability and aetheric conjunctionality, all sorts of important-sounding stuff that rather went over his head, but he knew Hermione and he knew that if Hermione thought it was important she likely had a damn good reason for it; they were as far as they could get without the supplies she was adamant they must have.
Elsewhere on the airbase, Dudley had proudly declared the concrete slab for the replacement hanger fully poured, shored off from rain getting into it, and just waiting for the concrete to cure, while Petunia had found to her immense surprise that she enjoyed the assistance of a dozen helpful, skilful and attentive house elves. Remus and Sirius had finished up the preparation work for the installation of the private Floo to Hermione's house, a part of which involved Remus having to be told the secret of where the airbase was – in the process causing both he and Hermione to take careful note that he hadn't realised the fact he was inside of a Fidelius until he saw it's control patterns illuminated in the ward-stone's rune clusters – and were now just needing some supplies from Gringotts, while Millicent had the runway up to scratch and ready to dispatch aircraft.
This, they decided over steaming platefulls of shepherd's pie laid on by a broadly smiling Mrs Bulstrode, led to one obvious conclusion, especially when Hermione started muttering something about the aerodynamic performance of dragonhide; before much of any of the work could go any further, a visit to Diagon Alley was paramount, and not just to get some cash out the bank; according to Hermione they needed enough square metreage of dragonhide to cover the entire exterior of the Stuka, and Remus and Sirius needed a cubic foot of ward-quality granite in four-cubic-inch segments before they'd be able to go any further with the ward-configuration, and that'd not mentioning the portal-quality grey-green brimstone needed to set up the Floo connections OR the spell-proof iron bars needed to partition the container Millie had spent a good part of the afternoon burying.
"So, Mr Harry Potter Sir, what is the Great Wizard Mr Harry Potter Sir needs everyones to be being does?" Dobby asked, having carefully licked the latest forkful clean – he didn't want to waste a single molecule of this wonderful foodses.
"Well, we're about as far as we can get without getting hold of money." Harry said, then spent a moment rooting around in his trouser pockets, from which he eventually withdrew his Gringotts key; this he deposited on the table right beside Hermione. "You're going to need to head through to Diagon Alley, Hermione – I mean, pity's sake, you keep rejecting parts that I thought were fine, and when we ran that ultrasonic thingy over them they turned out to be full of tiny cracks, so I guess you'll be a better judge of if materials are the best we can get, right? And from what Professor Lupin said earlier, there's people out looking for me all over the Wizarding World so I guess I'd better stay holed up here – hey, talking of which, maybe you should go to Diagon Alley too, Professor Lupin, seeing as how you're the best we've got at wards and stuff."
"That's Remus, Harry." Remus said. "And shouldn't you be going with Hermione, let us old codgers mind the farm? It'd do you good to get off the base for a while."
"Nah, I'm good – hey, it's not like I'm cooped up in a cupboard, is it?" Harry said, causing Petunia to wince; he gave her an apologetic look, leaving her highly confused. "I mean, I get easily enough time out and about when we're going to the museums and such – we've got plenty more planes I reckon we need a look at, and we need a way to get over to America, there's stuff at the National Aerospace Museum I want a look at and, y'know, I reckon we could learn something by having a look over the biggest aeroplane ever."
Hermione's eyes started gleaming weirdly. "The Hughes H-4, right?"
"Yeah, the Spruce Goose." Harry confirmed.
"Don't call her that! Howard Hughes was a genius and he deserves respect!" Hermione snapped, sounding almost like she'd been physically struck. "If he'd know all the figures – if he'd known about magic – that plane would have flown perfectly! It's only because the engine technology of the day wasn't up to the task that she couldn't really fly!"
"Sheesh, sorry, didn't know it meant so much to you..."
"... s'okay. I just, you know, it doesn't feel right calling the creations of such a genius by such a... I dunno, such a demeaning name."
"OK, so it's the H-4. Anyway, if you head over to Diagon Alley with Pr- with Remus and get the supplies we're needing, I'll see if I can get those control wires sorted out – I'm sure I've worked out what's up."
"What about the rest of us, Harry?" Sirius asked, sounding amused.
"Well, um, until we've got more supplies in I'm not sure what needs done yet. Maybe you guys could start getting set up to frame the new hanger, and maybe start looking at ways to hang more bombs off the Stuka?"
"Harry, are you sure you don't want to come to Diagon Alley? I mean, it's your money."
"Nah, it's cool Hermione – I mean, I trust you, right?" Harry's attention drifted off of the subject of Diagon Alley. "Aw, man. We're going to need someone who can fly a Stuka."
"Dobby is being able to be fixes that, Mr Harry Potter Sir, Sir!" the elf chirped up.
"How so?" Hermione asked.
"Dobby is reads about the Simlyuraterors in the bookses, Miss Grangy Ma'am." Dobby told her. "And Dobby is thinks that elfses is being able to be uses the Come-And-Go-Room as the Simlyurateror, yes?"
"Remus, it would be better if Harry went himself," Hermione grumbled as she paused to check the coast was clear. "It's his money after all. And he needs to get away from the base from time to time, and not just to go trawling through museums for designs. We could just disguise him."
Remus smiled slightly at the way Hermione kept fretting about Harry – ahh, young love and all that. "Well, considering how he kept over-riding every argument you came up with, I doubt I'd be able to change his mind; you know the way he gets. Besides, it's just a short trip to Gringotts."
"I don't like Gringotts," Hermione grumbled, "I was there with Mum and Dad just a couple times and the goblins always looked at me like ... like I don't know what." She paused and added with a grimace, "And they all keep sniffing at me."
"Well, goblins have a superb sense of smell, they knew I was a werewolf as soon as I was within about a hundred yards upwind of them. Maybe they just don't like your soap?"
"I guess, but... look, I got the idea that goblins are usually pretty rude so how come as soon as they'd got done sniffing at me and giving me weird looks they came over all polite? And, y'know, I think just about every goblin in Gringotts must've eyeballed me." They came onto the broad steps that led up to the bank's door, and Hermione clammed up. The goblin guards at the doors were by this time looking straight at her with large eyes and unreadable expression.
"See!" she hissed.
Remus didn't reply, instead nodding once as the doors closed behind them. He couldn't say he'd ever seen goblins react to someone like that before.
"Dot's de gurl again, de vun dot schmells verra nize. Do ve tell de Serzhant?" one of the guards asked the other, sotto voiced.
"Nah. He say dey vill know vitout us."
"Dot's goot. Generals say dere be big fightink soon... Ve need to gets out uf diz guardink doty. Hyu tink if ve keel a coople uf vizards dey pot us in de fightink units?"
"Dot's de kind uf plan dot ends op vit de vhole bank in flames, everyvun dead und hyu loose hyur hat, hyu eediot! Vot hef Hy told hyu about makink dot sort uf plan?"
"... henny plan vere hyu loose hyur hat iz a bad plan?"
"Yas! A verra bad plan!"
Millicent Bulstrode sighed to herself and glanced at her watch. It was a pretty battered old thing, but it still kept time so she'd probably keep using it until it didn't.
She'd been waiting outside the farmhouse in one of the farm Land-Rovers since Hermione and Remus (who she still found herself thinking of as Professor Lupin) left for Diagon Alley, so as to be able to give them and their purchases a lift back up to the airbase. They'd left nearly two hours ago; she wasn't worried, they wouldn't be overdue for another hour, but she was most definitely bored.
Just as she was thinking she should have found something in the kitchen to occupy herself until they got back, they emerged from the house, locked in an animated discussion.
"... tertiary rune set. I think it'd be do-able." Remus said, depositing his armload of shopping in the back of the Land-Rover.
"Isn't there any way of making it, I dunno, more user-friendly than just a mess of runes that might or might not glow?" Hermione asked.
"... like what?"
"Well, when you come over to my house to install that Floo I'll show you my computer. It's only an Atari ST, but it works just fine and it'll give you an idea what I'm talking about. I mean, from your description a ward-stone is very like a magical computer, right? Only there's no way available of making it easy to use."
"I'll take your word for it." Remus said, chuckling and shaking his head.
"Well, it's about the closest comparison I can think of." Hermione told him as they scrambled into the Landy's front bench seat. "I mean, a computer can't affect the real world so directly – well, apart from when you use it to control a robot, I guess."
"Hermione, I have absolutely no idea what these muggle terms you keep coming out with mean." Remus admitted.
"Of course not, nobody ever taught you." Hermione said with a shrug.
"It's not like that stuff was ever really important." Remus said.
"Muggles is bludy important, y'know." Millicent remarked.
"In what ways?" Hermione asked.
"Where'd ye think wizards get most o' their eats?" Millicent asked.
"... I, well, hadn't really thought about it." Remus admitted.
"I suppose that makes sense; there aren't many wizards who'd 'deign' to, you know, do a real day's work." Hermione mused.
"Tis kinda disconcertin' sometimes, when ye stop an' think, an' ye know they'd barely notice iff'n we all vanished, but we'd be stufft iff'n they were to go." Millicent said, nodding gloomily. "T' 'Ogwarts Express, t'rails it runs on, them's t'same rails t'muggles run their trains on an' t'aint t'wizards who maintain 'em. T'food we eat, t'drinks we drink, t'parchment we write ann, t'cloth fer our clothes, t'candles we read by – 'tis all muggle-made. Time was, we were t'ones doin' t'inventin', twas wizards first made t'bow an' t'sword, but that time's many's t'year gone. Twas t'gunpowder that did it, aye, and t'flintlock. Time was, t'only muggles what could stand aginst us were t'archers; t'crossbow begun t'change an' t'gun finished it. A fine archer must train longer'n we train our magic; a fine gunner can train in months. Twas t'gun that made this world t'muggles' world, an' twas t'gun that made us hide in t'shadows. Tis why t'troubles with t'Dark Lords only begin in countries like this an' Japan, countries that won't let t'citizens carry t'guns. Here in Britain, a street full o' t'muggles is defenceless if t'wizards show up; in places lak Africa or Switzerland, t'wizard what done same as Ye-Know-Who'd be blown to bits."
"Harry believes the time for division between the muggle world and the Wizarding World is over." Hermione said.
"What do ye believe, then?" Millicent asked, addressing it to both of them.
"I don't know what I believe... yet." Hermione said. "But, if what you're saying is true, and wizards get all their food and such-like from muggles... shouldn't we be giving something back?"
"Tis what my grand-da says." she said. "T'question is... what?"
"Good question." Remus muttered.
Hermione didn't reply.
Instead, she looked up at the evening sky, to where the moon was visible and beyond, out to the first stars of the gathering night – and she dared to dream.
The next morning, Remus and Sirius having sat up half the night putting the necessary minor ward-stones together, the greying-haired werewolf headed down to the farm so as to floo over to the Finch-Fletchleys and, via that household, make his way to the Grangers'.
An hour and a half later, Harry was just getting set up to mark out the sections of dragon-hide that would eventually cover the Stuka's entire frame when Hermione came zooming into the hanger in a state of high excitement, accompanied by a somewhat frazzled Remus, who at once diverted to the caravan they'd taken to referring to as the mess, partially because it was used as a mess in the dining facility sense and partially because the interior was threatening to become, simply put, an incredible mess.
"Morning, Hermione." Harry said.
"I was right, Harry, a ward-stone IS a magical computer and I think I've worked out how to give it a proper display and a better interface and Remus thinks it'll work but I'm going to need lots and lots of parts and I think I'll have to make most of them!" Hermione declared, in a tone of high excitement.
"Hermione. Morning." Harry repeated, somewhat taken aback. In response to this, Hermione went entertainingly pink.
"Morning, Harry." she squeaked, decidedly embarrassed, and then went even pinker as he started laughing at her. "Stop laughing at me, Harry James Potter!"
"Sorry, sorry, it's just it's fun making you go pink like that." Harry said, immediately causing her to go bright pink again.
"That's not fair!" she complained, ineffectually slapping at his chest.
"Hermione," he caught her wrists, "C'mon, Hermione, I'm just..."
"Just trying to embarrass me?" she snapped, trying to pull her hands free, only to make him lose balance.
A crash and squeak later, she was flat on her back on the pile of dragon-hide with him on top of her and their noses nearly touching.
Hermione was then treated to the sight of Harry going luridly red and, gabbling apologies, jumping off her as if she'd been hot enough to scorch him.
"Man, he's gone on her and he ain't even figured it out." Dudley said, shaking his head as he leant on his shovel.
"Why is Mr Harry Potter Sir not realises, Mr Dudsey Sir?" Wonky asked, pausing, his shovel piled with sand.
"Aw, it's always the people who're gone on each other who take longest to figure it out." Dudley explained, shrugging. "I dunno why, I guess it's coz that's the sort of stuff what only looks simple from the outside."
"Uh, Wonky is not wants to be sounds disrespectreferl," the hunch-backed elf said, sotto voiced, "But it is being a bit, well, patheteric really."
"Kinda, yeah, but they'll figure it out sooner or later." Dudley told him. "I mean, I reckon the best thing we can do to help is keep our gobs shut and not screw it up for 'em, I ain't much good at that boy-girl stuff and, y'know, from the stuff you've said I guess it's different for you elves, right?"
"Well yes, Mr Dudsey Sir, elfses is being pretty operan about when elfses is wants to be makes the beast what is has two backs." Wonky admitted, heaving the shovelful of sand into the cement mixer. "Youse Biggers, youse is makes a thing what is meant to be being very simple most complycerated."
"That's us humans for ya, Wonky. You elves might make mistakes now and then, but to really fuck things up you need a human." Dudley said, adding a slosh of water. "I guess it's even more complicated for my cousin and that Hermione bird, right, because they're best mates and neither of them wanna risk losing their best friend over this stuff, right? I mean, you'd be better asking Sirius this stuff because he's good at it and I ain't – Mr Never Been Kissed, that's me – but I've heard there's all sorts of ways people can get hurt over that stuff, I'm not meaning bleeding or bruises type hurt, I'm meaning hurt in the brain."
"So it is being sykerlodgikeral, yes?"
"Yeah, somethin' like that."
"Wonky is not wants to be sounds direspecterferl, but youse Biggers is being crazy."
Dudley burst out laughing.
"We think that too, Wonky. We think that too."
Putting the tyre on the Stuka's tail-wheel was almost a ceremonial moment, or it would have been if Harry hadn't found himself and Hermione lowering the plane's tail off the jack, sitting back, and suddenly realising there was nothing left to do.
"... wow." Harry finally said.
"Yeah." Hermione said, taking a step back to survey the Stuka. "I... it's finished, Harry."
"Yeah. Finished." Harry agreed, taking a step back to stand beside her. "I... wow. It's finished."
"Yeah, finished." Hermione told him.
Suddenly, Harry was running hell-for-leather out of the hanger, Hermione only half a stride behind him, both of them yelling, "HEY! YOU LOT COME AND LOOK! THE STUKA'S FINISHED!" at the top of their lungs.
The Junkers Ju-87 'Stuka' dive-bomber is not the most attractive machine ever to fly.
A crank-winged brute with weird spatted undercarriage, a square tail, a peculiar maw-like appendage under the nose and a malproportioned canopy, it is, in fact, plug-ugly.
The Stuka standing in the rickety aircraft hanger on the airbase at the back of Long Wall Farm wasn't made any prettier by the pair of 37mm-calibre BK 3.7 guns in bulbous pods underneath it's wings – a configuration originally adopted by the Luftwaffe for anti-tank use – or the somewhat mismatched RAF-style bomb shackles inboard of the cannons.
But the old plane didn't need to be beautiful and it didn't need to be in original configuration. Just by sitting there with it's hunched-up posture, it told the seven humans (and over two hundred elves) who were considering it that yes, they really could do this.
In a little under a week, they had turned a bare idea into a fully-functional warplane, waiting to unleash a heaping helping of death and destruction on their enemies.
"Wow." Dudley said, breaking the silence as he strode forwards and spent a moment poking at the Stuka, as if checking it was real, which in fact he was. "This is awesome."
"Isn't it just?" Hermione agreed, joining the overweight lad by the Stuka's port wing. "Oh wow – we've really done it..."
"Y'know, Harry, you were right – this out-awesomes motorbikes." Sirius said, peering quizzically into the Stuka's air intake. "I'd love to be a fly on the wall when this baby shoots up Voldie's hideout."
"Well, we've got a few bits and pieces to cover before we can do that." Harry said, spending a moment stroking the Stuka's spinner. "We're going to need a whole shedload of bullets for the Flak 18's and those machine guns, and a bomb for each wing. And I think we'd be better to have Dobby practise a few times before he actually bombs something for real."
Dobby nodded thoughtfully and, having paused to swallow the lump in his throat, chimed in with his agreement. "Dobby is not wants to be wastes Mr Harry Potter Sir's bombses."
"So... want to try taking this ugly brute up then, Dobby?"
"... Oh yes Sir, Mr Harry Potter Sir! Dobby is wants to be takes Mr Harry Potter Sir's most magnifycent and gloryactious Stuka up lots and lots and lots, Mr Harry Potter Sir, Sir!"
"Okay. Well, once you're confident you can fly her and land her okay, and once the concrete we filled the practise bombs with sets, you can start practise bombing – we'll get a practise target set up somewhere up on the top of the dale." Harry gestured vaguely in the direction of the hills behind the farm. "In the meantime, we need avgas. Lots of avgas."
"Dobby is being able to be arrangerates the aviateron gasolerine, Mr Harry Potter Sir, Sir!"
"As for the rest of us... Hermione, Sirius, Remus... we have the plans. We can get the parts and the materials. I think we should build ourselves a Hawker Hurricane."
"Why not a Spitfire?" Hermione immediately wanted to know.
"Oh come on, Hermione. You heard that lovely old man – the Hurricane's the plane that really won the Battle of Britain, and I think we should have one. And besides," he gave her a conspiratorial wink, "When we try for a Spit, we'll be putting a Griffon engine into her – and we need to practise at making Merlins for the Lancasters, don't we?"
That immediately put the gleam back in Hermione's eyes.
"Oh yes..." she said, gleefully rubbing her hands together and stifling a slightly maniacal-sounding giggle. "Oh yes, practise, we need lots and lots of practise, oh yes..."
AN – Well, especially considering that the only scene I had pre-written following the one with Hermione and Remus outside Gringotts was the sequence with Millie talking about what the 'muggle world' does for wizards, that took a lot less time than I thought. Thanks as per usual to the denizens of the Caer Azkaban Yahoo group for aiding and abetting.
'Serzheant' lack a little thingy above the A, but it's roughly-Russian for 'Sergeant'. Oh, and in case you haven't been keeping up, The Book of Dobby is now officially a Girl Genius crossover.
Jaeger-speak produced by tweaking output from the Jaegermonster Translator at /~
Note that the usage of 'square metreage' and 'cubic foot' within the same paragraph is entirely intentional – within this fic, Wizarding Britain primarily uses the Imperial system, but most of Wizarding Europe used the metric system. Dragon-hide, a material cultivated primarily in Romania, is sold by the square metre; ward-granite, a material mined primarily in Britain, is sold by the cubic inch.
The system of platoon numbers Dobby used is based on a gibberish method of counting I came up with a hell a long time ago because I was annoyed with the inconsistent way one, two, three etc works especially around that whole 'eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen' thing and the whole switch to 'twenty-one, twenty-two' etc; why isn't ten onety? Wouldn't that make more sense?
Anyway, it was designed to be entirely consistent throughout while sounding very silly and screwing with people's heads by being carefully-structured incoherent gibberish.
From 0-9 it goes: Nun, wun, twun, thrun, fun, fin, sin, sun, un, nin.
'Tun' and 'Wunty' both mean 10, but tun is only used as part of a compound such as tunty (100) or wuntytunty (1000) because it sounds more convincing (and less confusing) than wuntywunty or wuntywuntywunty.
From 10-20 it goes: Wunty, wunty-wun, wunty-twun, wunty-thrun, wunty-fun, wunty-fin, wunty-sin, wunty-sun, wunty-un, wunty-nin, twunty. Note that tun-wun etc sound wrong.
The pattern then repeats;
30 is thrunty
40 is funty.
50 is finty
60 is sinty
70 is sunty
80 is unty
90 is ninty
And 100 is tunty.
110 is tunty-wunty
111 is tunty-wunty-wun.
120 is tunty-twunty
200 becomes twuntunty.
210 is twuntunty-wunty
1000 becomes wuntytunty
10,000 is wuntytuntunty. Wuntywuntytunty and tuntuntunty are technically correct but don't sound right.
There is a specific word for 1,000,000,000; this is fuckloads. 2,000,000,000 is twunfuckloads.
... and so on.
Multiple zeros can be said by a number word followed by nun; for example, 000 become thrun-nun.
If you're talking year numbers, the compiled words are never used beyond 2-digit; for example, 1863 is wunty-un sunty-thrun, and 2009 is twunty nun-nin; 2020 will be twunty twunty, and 1146 was wunty-wun funty-sin. The year ten thousand will be wun nun nun nun nun, which can also be said wun fun-nun, a lame pun that partially inspired this entire system of counting.
Note that this system includes a number that is more nothing than zero; this number is Nunty, meaning VERY nothing. Any normal number prefaced with 'Nunty' becomes a negative number; for examply, nunty-twunwuntytunty-nintunty-wunty-twun is negative 2912. Nunty itself, however, can be used in conversation as a very emphatic way of saying 'Nothing'; for example,
"Bob, what are you doing?"
means Bob's denying doing anything more emphatically than if he'd said, 'Nothing' or even 'Fuck all'
Yes, it is very very silly indeed. In my defence, I was drunk.
Motherfucker is this late. I finished this chapter in October '09 and thought I'd uploaded it on the spot.
Apparently, I hadn't. Fuck up I did.
So yeah, better late than never.