(a/n): Beena while and I was surprised to see how long. Extra hours are good for the wallet, but bad for writing.
My Lily-from-the-future was inspired by a couple of sources. A Dr Who scene and A Christmas Carol, and a Star Trek Book.
The play on Susan's name was too fun to ignore. And there's no defense like a good offense.
What about "The power the Dark Lord knows not"? Asked one review. It does not have to be something magical, or even obvious. In school I did an essay about Star Trek on why some people like 'think' episodes vs 'action' ones. Nothing wrong with either, and the series needs both.
37 – Wizards at Privet Drive
The ten days between Graduation and the attack on Metacarpus Mansion were busy indeed for Harry and… he definitely would not call them all his friends. The whole thing started inauspiciously enough.
"Don't see what we need Lardbottom for." Draco sneered "At least the Dursleys have good taste."
Ginny found the second statement amusing "A Malfoy agreeing with a Muggle?"
"Quiet Ginny." Harry ordered, curtly "Well, at least it makes figuring out who works with who easier."
Hermione had to put in "Actually, it's whom."
"Save it for someone who cares." He shot back "Malfoy, you're with Dudley. You know nothing about computers, so learn. Granger, you and Ginny are going to Hogwarts. That way you can be near Ron. But I want you in the Library and the Restricted Section especially the Restricted Section."
Draco frowned at that "What good is putting a book into a Muggle machine going to do? Never had any problems there before."
"Much as it sickens me" Neville muttered "hafta agree with the arsehole."
The portrait of Salazar Slytherin looked horrified "This is the way all young lords speak to each other. I am well and truly appalled."
"Shut up or I'll burn you to ash!" Neville threatened "It's YOUR fault all this is going on!"
The greying, but still youthful, Founder nodded his head in acceptance "I freely admit my faults, Young Master. Blame, however, travels down through the centuries between our eras. Earl Potter has discussed his several times, and publicly. Duke Malfoy has seen what his and father's cost his House. And is fighting for the future. What, Lord Longbottom, are the dirty secrets in your line?"
"He's only doing it because Who-Know-Who would kill him." Neville sneered.
Harry pushed the clashing wizards apart with little effort "Stop it! Both of you!" he ordered, glaring at each in turn "Now! Bottom line is I need you both to beat Voldemort! You think a kid just out of Hogwarts can fight that thing alone? Better! And all I know about computers is what I managed to get peaks at over the years. So, first, the THREE of us will get some lessons from my cousin."
"Don't know everything, Potter?" from Dudley, though it was not really a question. More a taunt "Great bunch of friends you got."
The portrait was shaking his head "THIS is the kind of Muggle I wanted excluded. And in my day they were the vast majority. Now, I see, my own ideas infected Wizard society with the exact same attitude. Earl Potter, perhaps I should be destroyed."
"No, Salazar, that wouldn't do any good either." Said Harry "And, worse, you could count on Draco to spread the word that a Gryffindor destroyed the ONLY known painting of Slytherin himself. Sorry, but I'm hoping on surviving this war."
The painting gave a graceful bow, asking pointedly "Who taught you so well?"
"Potter wasn't this clever when I met him." Draco commented.
Over the next several days, Ginny and Hermione had scanned huge volumes from Hogwarts' Library. Dudley and his girlfriend wrote software that could turn those scanned images into searchable documents. The massive books became files that could be searched as easily as how he taught the wizards to work with the Internet. They were not especially skilled with the process, but it was so much better than hunting through rows and rows of shelves and shelves of books. And there was information that no one had looked at in even the long Wizard lifetimes.
Harry attentively followed those lessons. Trained further, in private, with Slytherin. He had days that could be classed in two categories; Good Susan and bad Susan ones. She sent a couple of brief letters and one came from Hannah Abbott saying she was sick. But some times it boiled over. Those days, he would practice himself to exhaustion. One morning, unable to sleep, he ran flat out the three miles to his favorite McDonald's. It was still dark when he finished the fast food breakfast and started his run back. Scarcely a third of the way, he stopped, every sense tingling. Wand in sleeve, he challenged "I know you're there. And I'm armed."
"A properly worded challenge." Said a woman's voice "Completely in accord with the Statutes."
That only made Harry crouch further, and fully display his wand. "If you know who I am. Then I think I have the same right." He demanded.
"Of course, Mr. Potter." She came out of the shadows with an easily recognizable male companion "I believe you know each other."
Harry glared "Here to deliver on your threat, Charlie?"
"Here to apologize, if it matters." The Weasley brother replied.
Not wavering more than an inch, Harry demanded "Not really. Should it? And how'd you break your oath?"
"Unbreakables do not cover a forced violation." The woman who he recognized as Chinese replied "Such as, in Charlie's case, a kidnapping. By - it so happens - me."
Harry gave a disbelieving look to the elderly woman, commented "You don't look like much of a threat."
"You, of all people, should know not all is as it appears." She replied, and now the voice did not fit the apparent age. "Better. Question everything you see or hear. My organization has an interest in helping you prevail."
That did not impress Harry. In fact, rather than keeping his wand on Charlie, he re-aimed it at the woman and sneered "Oh and people like you do that out of the goodness of your hearts?"
"Not at all." She replied. "And I do not need you to trust me as our mighty Chief Warlock always wants you to."
At that, Harry emitted an amused snort "I'll give you half a point there."
"I expected no more." She said, approvingly "Your acts and thoughts have shown you to have grown much recently. I have explained your current mission regarding Horcruxes to Mr. Weasley, here, and I believe he has a method and the ability to assist you in that effort. As a symbol of our faith in you, I am willing to disclose that you've a spy in your midst. Properly handled, you could benefit me almost as much as I am aiding you."
Harry's mind ran through this new situation, then while not lowering his wand, he did straighten out of the duelist's crouch. "Alright." He granted "I'll accept Charlie's help. Especially since we haven't locked down how best to destroy the Horcruxes. And your information. I trust it's good?"
"Of course." Acknowledged the Chinese woman "The Government of India has long maintained a spy ring in Britain. Tell me, what is your reaction to the fact that two important members of the conspiracy to kill Amelia Bones are still at large?"
In the time it took his eyes to blink, Harry's fury sent his blood pressure to dangerous levels. A breath brought him down to a seething rage "Not possible!" he denied "Lupin smelled out everyone in that office that night!"
"These two never participated in the attack." She explained "However, at her father's instructions, the girl passed Bones' office plans to the Diggorys. Who then obeyed Amelia's orders to do as was-"
Harry cut her off "I remember. Who are they?"
"Your word to not act precipitously on this information?" she insisted.
He shoved down his wrath and nodded "Amelia would not just want your word. She'd want me to obtain the proof for myself. Names?"
"You will find it causes problems for you." The words may have been sympathetic, the tone was not "Rajiv Patil and one of his daughters. As they are twins I cannot prove which."
Harry tried to think through the situation coolly and rationally. But 'problems' did not begin to cover it. "Right." He said after two full minutes "I accept your terms. But since I'm benefiting you, I'm going to want something from you personally, later."
"So be it." She agreed, handed over a thick folder of papers and vanished.
When she was gone, Harry addressed the exiled man "That whole thing at the wedding was your fault. But if you can really help, I'll ask for your amnesty. You'll need House Bones' OK, too."
"Lovers' quarrel, Harry?" Charlie asked, lightly.
Harry ignored the question, called out "Tonks?"
"Here." The metamoph threw off an Invisibility Cloak and came to stand beside him "Guess I got me a new job."
He nodded "And definitely TS. Very. Do everything you can to disprove what's in here."
"Huh?" asked Charlie.
Harry didn't answer that either "You have a method for destroying Horcruxes?"
"What? Oh, yes. I take it you remember Norbert?" replied Charlie "Dragon breath can destroy anything I know of. And if it takes more than one shot, I don't see a problem. I'd like to visit The Burrow."
Harry refused "No. You can see Ginny, at Hogwarts, for a bit. Then Tonks will get you to my Horcrux hunters. Sirius is handling that. Once that's done you can have a family reunion."
"A little petty vengeance?" growled Charlie.
The response was a shrug "Call it 'testing your commitment' Make sure Norbert can deliver one superhot fireball. Then get to it. The longer Voldemort is at large, the more people he'll kill."
Charlie growled "You're sounding more and more like him."
"Two things worth thinking about, Charlie." Said Harry, using icy tones "You can just go back into exile. Second, where Voldemort would be content killing everyone on this island just to get me, I'd die gladly if doing so guaranteed his death. Could you do the same?"
Before he could formulate a response, Charlie was looking at the young man's back.
"Would one of you explain why I was not told about that Invisibility Cloak?" May demanded of her English Command Center. They were deep in her country's embassy. A dozen floors below street level and behind at least as many magical barriers.
A fearful silence engulfed the Chinese operatives "The error was mine." Admitted a cowed boy, younger than Harry (perhaps Luna's age) "There were footsteps nearby that I ignored."
"Honesty I appreciate" said May, who was now in her natural form. Blue lightning lashed from her fingers, all but cooking not the youngster, but his superior "Further training is needed. You will complete it."
There was a faint sigh of relief all around the Center as everyone knew the worst was over.
"Thank you so much Harry!" an enthusiastic Ginny Weasley appeared, compliments of Dobby, in Dudley's room and flung herself into his rather surprised arms.
Almost as one, the other occupants of the room asked "What for?"
"Shh!" he hissed in her ear. He pulled her out of the technology packed room and into the only place that was private. The Dursley bathroom. "You saw your brother?"
She nodded "Tonks brought him to the stacks. Do I really have to keep it a secret?"
"Until the Horcruxes are destroyed" he answered "Charlie could be the most important part of this scheme I've got. Ron, he's my best friend, but – he's not any better is he?"
Ginny shrugged "Getting better, so Madam Pomfrey says. Whatever that means. He rambles a lot."
"Damn I miss him!" Harry complained "He's better at this strategy garbage than I am!"
She eyed him shrewdly and smiled "Not the only reason, by far, Oh Mighty Head of House."
"Don't look at me like that." he grumbled and slumped down onto the closed toilet "Like I'm some kind of hero… or something. I'm just some scared kid who's in way over his head and faking it."
Ginny only hesitated a moment before smoothing fingers through his hair "Don't be stupid!" she scolded him and lifted his chin until she could see his eyes. "Oh Harry. You really believe that? Don't you? Well I don't!" She kissed his forehead in a rather motherly way.
"Thanks Gin." He replied weakly, then rested a hand on her hip. With his other, he clutched her hand and kissed her knuckles.
She shivered right down to her toes. Gone was any of that motherly feeling. And before Ginny even knew what she was doing, her lips were on his. Nor did Harry discourage it, Instead, he pulled her onto his lap and deepened the kiss. Only the feeling of his hands groping for her breasts snapped reality back into place. "Whoa!" she exclaimed "That's enough of that!"
"OH Merlin!" a stunned Harry gasped "I AM SO SORRY! I didn't hurt you did I?"
Ginny fought with her own emotions, and more, her arousal "NO damage done." She panted "That was intense! I have got to get back to Hogwarts. See ya later H- err - BYE!"
Harry had just let her go without a word and it was only when Dudley needed to use the bathroom that he moved again, some minutes later. He sat at a computer and went to work. Not at all well. And it was this confused, guilt-ridden, Harry who would, after a week and a half, encounter his fiancé.
Ironic it was, but true, that Muggle-hating Draco Malfoy was the only Wizard that magic-hating Dursleys would allow to open their door. Thus it was, he would answer when Susan and Hannah, each half-carrying the other, staggered against the door to #4 Privet Dr.
Hannah had a bloody hole in her shoulder that Susan had pulled a Bones rib out of. A victim of friendly fire. Her sleepwear was ripped and bloodstained. Susan, meanwhile, was holding her side, displaying a swollen lip and walking with a severe limp.
Draco levitated both of them "I have them, Mrs. Dursley." He said in a polite aside "Please heat some water and bring it upstairs."
"Such a polite young man." Petunia gushed "Is he not, Vernon?"
Harry's uncle did not even spare a look from his morning London Times "Hazy Hot and Humid today, dear." He slurped his coffee.
"Your girlfriend's here, Potter." announced Dudley as they were floated in.
Harry bit his cheek. Forcing a cool reply "I'm busy."
"You really should turn around." said Dudley.
There had been a measure of … if not forgiveness … at least understanding between the cousins, but the comment pushed Harry, callously he retorted "Butt out Dursley! I am quite aware of her appearance."
"You have no idea what I've been through!" an exhausted Susan shouted with more energy than she really had. A burst of accidental magic shattered Draco's spell. She gritted her teeth against the pain of weight on her injured ankle, forced Harry's chair around and before she knew what she was doing, slapped him. But, even as her arm was recoiling for a second stroke, she regained her senses and was pulling back "Oh Harry I-"
All of the last few weeks bubbled up and exploded as he reacted. Like lightning, Harry struck, blocking Susan's half retracted arm harshly. And with the same motion, his fist connected under her chin. Harry gasped as she went flying out into the hallway and slamming into the far wall. A line of blood streaked down, following her fallen form.
It was an unknown length of time later that Susan heard her first words again. It was Hermione "You're not doing yourself, the cause, or her any good not getting any sleep."
"Is that order of importance, Granger?" was Harry's quiet response.
Half conscious, Susan mumbled "Guess the feud's back on."
"Beat it." Harry ordered, although it was only with his eyes. He'd fought with Hannah for the chance to make things right… or at least try to. To his fiancée he asked quietly "How do you feel? What do you want?"
Susan opened her eyes and smiled weakly "Fire Whiskey. But my head tells me it better be water. I feel like a hippogriff ran over me. What happened?"
"Madam Pomfrey said you'd probably ask." He replied as he put a straw to her mouth "Sip slowly. It's almost freezing, 1C, like I know you like it. She also said to ask you what you remember. It's important to see if you're alright."
She grinned "Yes, Healer Potter. Well, let's see… I was dreaming… it was about you, well sort of anyway. Then I woke up. The mansion was attacked. Death Eaters, Pr- Snape was there. They wanted me, not dead. Harry! Did you pull us out? IS that why I'm here? Is Hannah… where's she?! There's a lot of other..."
"Slow down. Take another drink." He whispered "Hannah's fine. Some scratches. She went back with Moody and some of my other people so check it out. Do you remember anything else?" From the way she was acting, Harry could tell she did not remember their incident and he hated to bring that back, but it would have felt dishonest.
Her face twisted in concentration "You didn't get us away?" then she repeated it more firmly "We are at Privet Dr? Me and Hannah got here …ummmm… You did …uh… hit me?"
"Yeah, I did." He admitted readily enough "But you swung first."
She nodded guiltily "So I did. What are the damages?"
"Here. Have some more water." He lifted her head gently again and she drank "You don't seem as mad as you were."
She emitted a mildly annoyed sigh "You didn't answer my question."
"Madam Pomfrey had to reset three of my teeth and I broke my thumb blocking your second swing." He answered, then paused.
She shook her head "And, since you're the one helping me. I assume I lost."
"Not like I feel like I won." He grumbled "But if you want to know, a broken jaw and a cracked skull."
She whistled unmelodiously and replied "I think I'm flattered. Guess I'm up there with Voldemort and Michelle Granger now, huh?"
"Don't even joke about that!" he growled at her. But instantly added a choked-up "Please."
Susan gave a nod of understanding and said "Sorry about that. Oh Harry, what did we do to ourselves?"
"I heard the Gryffindors did to you about the same I got back in Fi—err… Sixth Year." He commented.
She abruptly flared "Did you tell them to do that!?"
"What about-" he began, but cut himself off "Not gonna fight with you. Madam Pomfrey said after you were awake for about an hour, you should get a regular natural rest. Call on Dobby if you need anything. Here, something I was reading while waiting for you to wake up."
She did not protest when he kissed her forehead. What left her rather confused was the heavy scroll he'd been reading was their marriage contract. How was she supposed to take that? And him leaving it with her? She unrolled the scroll all the way to the beginning. It was lonnnnnng.
"The Bones mansion is truly fortified, Potter." Mad-Eye Moody reported. He showed deep awe "Twenty dead. Another dozen left body parts behind. Most importantly, I think—"
Hannah jumped up from her cuddlesome pose with her Grandfather. Who would have thought that of the grizzled, scarred, Auror? But never mind that. "Sue!" she squealed "All better?"
"Yeah I'm fine." Susan hugged her friend "Not even a headache. What's going on?"
Harry shifted in his seat. A semi-hopeful gesture. Her action surprised and greatly pleased him.
"You don't mind?" she asked in a very husky voice. Susan bypassed the open spot and slid onto his lap, adding "Do you?"
Harry just shook his head quickly, with a faint blush. He placed his hands squarely on her knee. "A quick update for Susan, Mad-Eye?" he gave her a quizzical look, but also had to wrestle with the kiss between he and Ginny. Being Harry Potter wasn't easy, though this problem was strictly his own fault. Talking about girls, women now, was a male tradition since the beginning of time. Perhaps even cheating, one would do so with one's best friend. Considering that particular woman being said best friend's sister changed the situation, though he smiled at the thought of Ron getting out of bed to hit him.
"Woolgathering!" Mad-Eye snapped at him "What did I just say!?"
"Uhh?" was the monosyllabic response.
The Auror clop-stomped over to his young leader and growled "The IMPORTANT part of this whole affair! PRISONERS! Three to be exact. Two of little importance."
"Well Grandpa. Don't keep us in suspense!" this from Hannah.
Few had ever seen the old Auror smile. Dudley had practically peed his pants at the sight of him. But at the moment, Alastor Moody did a gleeful dance "We got Severus Snape! Or, rather, Amelia has him!"
"Th-that's in-credible!" Harry stuttered, half surging from his seat. Then bashfully apologizing "Sorry, Sue. I want very much to have a chat with him."
Susan shook her head "I've got more reason-"
"AHH!" exclaimed Hannah as she saw Harry begin to tense "This is where it all started! Listen to me, both of you! I think it's about time you both hear what the other has to say. Grandfather, Dudley, lets leave them alone."
Though much changed, physically and emotionally, Dudley was fascinated by the mystery surrounding trouble between his cousin and the quite beautiful witch "No, I think I'll stay. Lots to do on searching out superweapons you know."
"Don't think she was making a request, boy." Moody snarled. And Dudley moved.
They looked at each other and simultaneously said "You first. No, you." Susan won out and offered "Hannah's been insisting something happened to you. Hermione said the same. I value both opinions."
"Second time Granger's been on my side." He commented sourly "Getting scary. Well, I guess you've gone through it, too. Snape attacked my home too. The whole place was gutted. That's part of why we're here instead of there."
All the pieces fell together. She did not know if she was even allowed to discuss the visitation she experienced "It makes sense now. I'm so sorry Harry." She laid her head on his shoulder and left it there and was quiet for a while, then "Was anything saved?"
"Nine paintings." His voice muffled by her hair "Out of… I'm not even sure now many. A hundred? More?"
She nodded "Probably. And, Harry, I have something to tell you that's probably only going to make you feel worse. I swear I've been trying to tell you ever since the Quidditch match. Merlin! This is harder than I thought. I don't even know how to say it now. Do you remember when I stayed in hospital that day?"
"Not really. Sorry, no." he said. Emotions warred behind that calmly delivered reply. What could possibly be worse? Didn't she remember Ron STILL unable to walk?
Susan needed to shove down an outburst of her own. But she found herself suddenly able to deliver the news "Harry, that day, I found out I was pregnant!"
"Wha? Wow? Err… how?" he stammered, looking and sounding completely stunned.
That completely disarmed Susan. She burst into fits of giggles "Oh… hahaha…I'm hehehe… sorry Harry. Last time I … HAHAHAH … thought you knew how! HAHAHAHHA!"
"Funny." He grumbled at her, and then "Wait. Was?"
Her humor ended instantly "Yeah. When Ron pushed us over to save us from Justin. I fell onto some rocks. A couple of bruises I hardly felt. And I was feeling sick. Hannah brought up the possibility. Madam Pomfrey confirmed it. I was about six weeks along."
"Ron didn't…. I mean, he couldn't - it was" Harry understood what she was saying.
Susan covered his mouth to silence him and explained "I didn't believe it for a second, Harry. Ron's only intent was preventing harm to you, and me. And we still don't know if he'll live. NO! The one to blame is Justin."
"When I saw him trying to slip you that potion…" he said "Sue, I could have killed him. If I'd known…"
She gave a sad smile, brushed at a tear of her own, then one that ran unfelt down his cheek "This isn't a time for revenge, Harry." She quoted from somewhere "This is a time for mourning."
"I'm sorry." He muffled his face in her shoulder "I love you."
Susan clutched at the back of his head and began crying. But a part of her was smiling.
Ginny Weasley had spent three days at The Burrow, and another solid day back in the Hogwarts Library's Restricted Section. Her Mum's advice was classic Mum advice. In other words, under the circumstances, nothing that would really do her no good. Discussing this particular problem with her sister-in-law was NOT an option, so it was all about what they were doing. No small talk between the pair. When yet another row of shelves had been reduced to images on a computer disk and was ready for delivery to Privet Dr. Ginny, unable to offer a reason not to go, called on Dobby to deliver her. "What's going on?" she asked.
"In a word, a lot." replied Hannah "Sit down and I'll tell you about it." That telling took no little time.
Dudley, and his girlfriend, spun their chairs around "This should be good." And there were some minor interruptions to translate Magical terms into Muggle ones.
"Harry's going to want to kill them both." Ginny, referring to the former Potions Professor and their ex-classmate, commented when the Hufflepuff concluded. She felt she'd done an admirable job of hiding her own feelings. "And honestly I-"
Hannah interrupted "You know, I think the biggest mistake we all made was getting in the way. Me… back when Harry first got out of Azkaban. And the Gryffs after the Match."
"And what were you going to do when Harry defended, Ron?" countered Ginny, with a touch of heat.
Hannah glared "We didn't know it was Justin. Everyone was fooled by the Polyjuice."
"Except Harry." Ginny fired back. She was quickly growing irritated with this conversation as she really had a need to speak with him, privately. "And no. I do not owe you any of Harry's secrets."
The Hufflepuff smirked "I have no need for Harry's secrets. Just my friend's happiness. Which, apparently, is over your disappointment. Still nursing a crush?"
"I don't have all day to wait." Ginny answered. She handed her a disk and walked away from Hannah "More Restricted Section stuff. Dobby! Back to Hogwarts, please." With a twisting in the air both were gone.
Unaware, as of yet, of the crushing defeat of his minions Lord Voldemort was engaged in a task of his own. Sometimes overwhelming force was the best tactic, but for this he required privacy "Good morning, Professor Slughorn."
"Wha? Who?" the startled man jumped, nearly dropping his mug of steaming tea.
Sweeping into the room, uninvited and gracefully sitting at the kitchen table, the Dark Lord managed an amused comment "Surely you remember your favorite student, Professor?"
"Tom? No!" the Potions Professor froze "What have you done to yourself, my boy?"
Grinning, Voldemort waved an arm. A chair slid out from the table "Please, Professor, sit down. It is long past time for us to renew old acquaintances. There is no need for you to stand in my presence."
"You are, of course, the guest." Slughorn said in an effort at courage "It has indeed been a long time. Almost fifty years, in fact. I was just starting my morning ritual. Would you care for some tea?"
Having spent several weeks locating his erstwhile teacher, Voldemort was more than willing to have a pleasant chat. It would put the man at ease, hopefully reveal more than he might even under torture. He settled into a chair of his own and nodded easily "Please, old friend. And fear me not. Remember it is you who set me on the path to immortality."
"But I never thought you would take it this far." Replied Slughorn, he held his mug tightly as his hands shook "Tom, you were such a polite lad. Surely you realize murder is wrong."
The Dark Lord smiled, not pleasantly, and replied "I have never forgotten a quote from a Muggle book. It goes "I don't love bloodshed for its own sweet sake. Any amount of killing which would, or might, advance my cause is acceptable." I have never killed anyone who did not stand in my way. Surely you can see the logic in that."
"You have murdered people for no other reason than to further your own efforts at immortality." The not particularly brave professor scolded his former student "What right do you have to do that?"
Voldemort ignored that question, asked one of his own "I need to know, Horace, have you shared your knowledge of that discussion we had so long ago with anyone?"
"No, Tom. I do not believe so." He answered "No reason to discuss such a thing. You must understand-"
The Dark Lord cut him off "No, Horace, what is most important to me is that I be definitely sure no one has an inkling of the idea of Horcruxes. I remember your fondness for your famous students, being one myself. Did you never discuss the subject with that most famous lad, Harry Potter?"
"Definitely not Harry." Replied the Potions Professor with a sad expression "We seemed to have gotten off on the wrong foot and never found our way."
Voldemort refrained from laughing and offered a commiserating nod "Children these day, they just don't know their place. Now, professor, no disrespect intended, but I must know for certain. It would be a great help if you opened your mind to mine."
"I shall do no such thing!" anger overrode any tinge of fear "If my word does not satisfy you! Well then-"
Sighing, Voldemort's wand came out and he struck with blinding speed "Legilimens!" Having planned the entire conversation in advance, he had hoped it would pull any related topics to his erstwhile professor's surface thoughts. And the spell did its job all too well. Soon, he was standing over a twitching body and uttered a fairly truthful "My apologies, Professor. But even you see the necessity. AVADA KEDAVRA!"
A meeting between the three superpowers was taking place about the same time. And there was a significant change noted at once. "Greetings, friends." said the newcomer "I am the new Director of the US Magical Bureau of Investigations. My name is Bob."
"And your predecessor?" asked the other two, almost simultaneously.
Within the hood 'Bob' replied "Is retired. That is all you need know. There has been a revision of US policy with regard to Britain."
"Oh?" demanded May, the Chinese representative, as she also wordlessly launched a mental probe. Barely was the one syllable question out of her mouth, than she screamed and crumpled to the floor in agony. Clutching at her temples. She barely had the control to maintain the hood that kept her identity secret.
Utterly unfeeling, the American newcomer replied "Let's make it clear. I am easily your equal in ability. And this obviously shows me rather better. Never pull a stunt like that again. Regardless, moving the meeting along, the President has laid down orders for the MBI to follow. The UK is a friend and ally. We will no longer interfere in its internal affairs."
"You'll regret that." the mentally wrecked chief snarled as 'she' crawled back into her seat.
The others could practically see 'Bob' smile "I'm sure. Now, the President has ordered me to take full cognizance of the Grindelwald Project. Report!"
"When last I checked, Bob, we were partners in L'Affair Brittainia" hooded Indira remarked coolly "Your country does NOT issue orders to mine. You may request, or suggest, but you are not my superior."
Bob's hood turned, not towards the Indian, but the still weakened Chinese spymaster. Out came a wand not seen for decades and "Avada Kedavra! Lord Grindelwald serves no one's cause but his own! That said, I do owe you for my release from Azkaban."
"What, then, have you done with the American leader?" asked Indira.
A revitalized dark wizard tossed aside his hood and smiled, almost kindly, and replied "Not a thing my friend, not a thing. It is unwise to take on too many enemies at once. That is a mistake Napoleon made I admit I repeated. In the short term, it is best that America simply not interest itself in European affairs. Voldemort and Dumbledore simply must die. They have both mistreated my bloodline. I will protect Severus by befriending young Harry Potter. After all, we shall be on the same side in this war. And what's more, he and I were both manipulated by the Chinese."
"You mentioned the short term." Indira said "I wonder about your long term objectives."
Grindelwald smiled even more broadly, answering "I accept that I am not long for this life. The only true immortality is in one's progeny. I envision a united and peaceful Europe with no other imperialistic aims. With Serverus, or perhaps his child, governing that Empire as royalty."
"It is a program that India would not object to." The only superpower spymaster in Britain granted "And I am willing to support your efforts."
At this, the smile became a sneer "Out of the goodness of your heart, of course?" Grindelwald asked.
"Not even out of gratitude for your killing my greatest rival." Indira rejoined "Simply because, at the moment, you and I happen to agree on what is best for Britain … and the continent as a whole. You can rest assured that the instant I can no longer say that, you die."
The pair locked eyes for a timeless moment. Both were tempted to start a duel, but neither was ready to square off. Grindelwald needed substantial support for his undeveloped power base. And Indira did not know how the freed wizard managed to escape his 'training camp' that was much off-program. Plus, without Grindelwald, there was no one to take the fall if something went wrong. They vanished simultaneously. The body of the Chinese spymaster would hopefully be discovered by the British MLE.