AN: So I have been trying desperately to string the events that need to happen before 4th year starts into a cohesive year-long plot line. It ain't gunna happen. What follows will be a few chapters to get through third year quickly and hopefully then the story will flow again. There will be some time skips and the events that I gloss over will be addressed with one or two sentences.
I don't remember whether or not I have introduced the 'Portkey Hook' concept yet or not, but I had intended to by now.
Also, be warned, there is a lot of not funny happening in this chapter.
Albus sighed in frustration as he sat back in his chair. He had just watched the memory that Harry gave him for the umpteenth time. The proof that Harry could apparate through the wards was not surprising but unfortunate. There wasn't enough evidence on the memory to divine the mechanism through which G.N.I.C.C. managed to achieve this feat.
The surprising moment came when Severus cast the Killing Curse. It wasn't surprising that he cast it but the man was still alive. He'd never known Harry to willingly allow something that tried to kill him to continue existing. It was a troubling deviation from character.
Being left mostly dead wouldn't have inspired such a change of heart in Severus, if anything it would have made him bitterer. Something had to have happened during Harry's retaliation or after the conflict resolved that affected Severus on a very deep level.
Which lead to the frustration; Harry stopped the memory moments after the Killing Curse struck him. Dumbledore had no idea what happened, none of the spells that there was evidence of could have affected his mind; Dumbledore had even checked him for the Imperius. Then something convinced Harry to spare Severus' life.
Unless of course, Harry was the cause of Severus' change, in which case it would make more sense.
That brought up a few new questions though. Dumbledore talked to the ghosts and the portraits, Harry left the Potions room within five minutes of the end of the memory, and that was the extreme end of the margin of error. There wasn't enough time for Harry to have just talked to him.
Whatever Harry did, it was fast, undetectable and laid more guilt on Severus than Albus thought possible. That was one thing Albus should know better than anyone, he'd been laying guilt on Severus for twelve years. Albus would have been impressed if he hadn't just been robbed.
Now who am I going to have dingo the dirty work, Filch? Albus thought cynically. I need a drink.
Harry blinked. Then he rubbed his eyes. Then be blinked again. "Am I hallucinating?"
"If so, whatever got you got me too." Tonks replied.
It was Snape's first day back teaching and he apparently timed it so this particular group was the first class. He had gotten a haircut, and not a very good one. It was all uneven and choppy, it looked like he'd done it himself and didn't have any practice at it. The shower and shave were good touches, but what really had him wondering if the eggs had gone off were Snape's robes.
They were bright blue and he didn't seem upset about it.
"Good morning and welcome to potions class. I am Severus Snape and I will be taking over as the professor. According to the notes I have, the last professor left a few alarming gaps in the basic skills." Snape reintroduced himself and waved his wand at the blackboard which caused diagrams and writing to show up. "Today we will be talking about knife safety and handling."
September slipped into October with little of note happening. Hermione's birthday came, Harry got her an extra dimensional backpack and she loved it.
As the weeks slipped by Ron Weasley continued to brag about his prophecy and spent all of his time pretending to predict the future. Just like the other time Lavender and Parvati had indeed gone gaga over divination and latched on to Ron as predicted. Neville found himself quietly slipping away from the group more and more frequently and Draco's barely contained cynicism had him walking away in exasperation on a regular basis.
According to the Twins, the firsties were eating it up. The second years already knew Ron and didn't buy it for the most part. The upper classmen were at various stages of fantasizing about causing physical harm to the youngest Weasley boy. When confronted by the older students Ron just smiled smugly and told them that they would feel differently once his prophecy came true.
And then all of a sudden it was Halloween morning.
"So explain this logic of yours to me again one more time." Harry requested as he stood with Hermione and Tonks in line to ride the carriages to Hogsmeade. While he did so he scanned them both for mind control, possession, concealing charms and polyjuice. He even called Hande out of the dungeons to hide under his shirt and watch behind him.
"As a rule bad things happen on Halloween. It is Halloween therefore something bad will happen. Staying in the castle would not change the fact that it is Halloween. Something bad would still happen." Tonks stated.
"Furthermore, one cannot conclude that being in the castle would provide any protection from the bad thing. If anything the castle adds to the danger since the only times the bad thing has involved myself and Tonks were these last two years when said bad thing happened inside the castle itself." Hermione continued. "Therefore I have concluded that staying in the castle gains us nothing."
"And finally, if you don't take us out the bad thing will be two angry girlfriends!" Tonks finished.
"Oh! Good point!" Hermione nodded while Harry flinched. "Why didn't we think of that the first time we went through this?"
"Fine, but you have all of your supplies right?" Harry prompted. "Emergency portkey, essence of dittany, pepper up potion, the special potion that Nick told you to not even look at unless it was a dire emergency?"
"Yes, we have everything." Tonks smiled good-naturedly as she and Hermione checked their bags again.
"Hey Potter!" Ron called out as he walked towards the group with his tagalongs tagging along.
"What's up?" Harry asked evenly.
"You should be careful today. The fates have seen fit to show me a cloud of negative energies around you today. Something bad is probably going to happen." Ron warned quietly when he got close.
"Yea, no shit Sherlock." Harry retorted.
"Um, what?" Ron expected acceptance or denial; he wasn't sure what to make of what Harry said.
"We know, we're prepared and we thank you for your concern." Hermione smiled politely. "You will never need to warn us about Halloween though."
"Oh, okay." Ron frowned and walked away.
Several hours later Harry and the girls were at the bar enjoying a few butterbeers. Businesses were moving around as Hogsmeade changed. The area around the statue had buildings springing up left and right and the old premises were all going on the market. Harry had already sent an owl to Sirius and he was working on buying the Honey Dukes storefront.
"I gotta pee." Tonks said and stood up from their table.
Hermione took one look at Harry before speaking up. "I'll go with you as back up."
"I should go too." Harry said.
"No." Tonks glared. "I appreciate you trying to keep us safe, but there is a line, and that line is the door to the ladies room."
"Fine." Harry nodded.
The girls walked into the bathroom and neither of them noticed the disillusioned figure hidden in a shadow. The door closed with a click behind them and all of the noise from the busy room outside was suddenly cut off. Then the room was filled with red lights.
Four invisible figures collected the girls and the fifth took down the charms outside that ensured their privacy.
"Wakey wakey." A menacing chuckle met Hermione as she woke up.
Hermione looked around; she was in a prison cell of some sort. The building she was in was obviously not meant for this application, it look more like a normal house to her. Her hands were bound in front of her with what appeared to be regular handcuffs. Her wand and bag were gone.
"Do you know how long we had been tailing you today, just waiting for you two bitches to step away from Potter?" The voice said, drawing Hermione's attention. "I've seen paranoia but that kid is serious about it."
"I know you." She said when she saw the huge man. "You're that jerk Chip, from the station."
"In the flesh." Chip gloated with a bow. "Now here's what's—"
"Where's Tonks?" Hermione demanded.
"Don't you know it is rude to interrupt people?" Chip asked sarcastically.
"That's nice. Where's my girlfriend?" Hermione replied testily.
"She didn't go down as fast as you and fought back." Chip said sheepishly. "We had planned to capture both of you, but once she attacked we had to put her down."
"You're lying!" Hermione shouted.
"If I was lying why wouldn't she be here? Does this look like the kind of place that has extra cells?" Chip laughed. "You should be more worried about yourself. Once we kill your boyfriend I'm going to have you chained to the ground at dawn before a full moon and let the pack play with you all day and all night. Bye."
Chip walked out the door and left her with her thoughts and a single guard. There was only one thought on her mind. What would Harry do?
Tonks slowly opened her eyes. There was a large man pointing a wand at her. "Who are you?"
"What, don't you remember from the station?" A deep voice asked mockingly.
"Oh wait, are you that stupid werewolf that Harry told off?" Tonks asked. "Taking me and Hermione was a dumb move. You probably won't make it to bed tonight."
"Tough talk from a prisoner." Chip rolled his eyes while Tonks looked around.
"Speaking of prisoners, where's Hermione?"
"I gutted her and left her bleeding out on the floor of the bathroom as a warning to your boyfriend." Chip smirked.
"No you didn't." Tonks stated calmly.
"What, does this look like a place that has extra cells?" Chip smirked.
"Doesn't matter, she's not dead, but you and your friends will be soon."
"I'm going to enjoy telling Potter about how I killed the mudblood filth while wearing your face." Chip held up a bottle of potion, Tonks didn't take long to get that it was polyjuice.
As Chip walked out laughing Tonks only had one thought on her mind. What would Harry do?
"You ready?" Chip asked his second in command as they charged two vials of polyjuice potion. "And what's with the purses?"
"Girls wouldn't be caught dead without their bags." The smaller wily werewolf replied. He didn't think this was a good idea but Chip would flatten him if he objected more than he already had. He drank his potion quickly and transfigured his robes once he finished turning into Tonks. "As ready as I'll ever be."
"Girls! Is something wrong?" Harry called through the bathroom door once they had been gone for several minutes longer than normal.
There was no response from inside.
"Hey you!" Harry shouted at the closest girl he could see and hauled her over to the bathroom. "Go in there and see if my girlfriends are alright!"
"There's no one in here!" The girl called from inside.
"What!" Harry shouted and burst in.
"Hey!" The girl objected.
Harry ignored her to scan the room. When he found what he was looking for he growled. "Portkey. Why am I not carrying around portkey hooks yet?"
"Potter!" The girl's date called from the hall. "I just saw them outside."
Harry sprinted out of the bathroom and to the front of the bar where he saw Hermione and Tonks outside looking around without a care in the world. Without sparing a moment he cast his scanning spells for mind control, possession, glamors and polyjuice. There was a red flag.
Hermione's plan took several minutes to come together, but once she spotted her wand on the other side of the room she knew what to do.
She stood there staring at the guard. He asked her what she wanted and she just stared. He told her to look away and she just stared. He threatened her with violence, and she just stared. Then he looked away for a second.
A second was all it took for her to shift into a fly. She was out of her cell before the cuffs clattered to the floor. That drew the guard's attention back to her cell where he immediately noticed her absence. "Shit! Shit! Oh Shit!"
Step 1: Pacify the enemy in a way that ensures they won't be a continued threat. Hermione thought as she landed next to her wand. If her current form had lungs she would take a few deep breaths. Be quick, be precise and be definitive, this isn't a duel.
In a few quick motions she turned back into a human, grabbed her wand, turned towards the werewolf and fired off the strongest cutting curse she could. She stood there watching in silent horror as the curse struck him before he could even react. It wasn't supposed to happen like that.
In the books and the movies the fights were always drawn out. He should have coincidentally moved at the last moment or something. He was supposed to fight back. He was supposed to be a direct threat to her life first. It was over too quick.
Hermione's wand slipped from her fingers as she discovered that the books were wrong about something else too. In the books once someone took a fatal wound they were dead. They never went into the grizzly details that Hermione was now witnessing first hand. The smell was awful, but Harry had warned her about that. The sound would haunt her for years though.
She stood, transfixed by horror, with tears silently pouring down her cheeks unable to look away and unable to stop listening. The man's breaths were shallow and gurgled, the logical part of Hermione's brain wondered if he would drown before he could bleed out. He started choking and gasping for air through his ruined chest. Then there was silence.
She turned away and threw up.
Okay Granger, if you want to get out of this alive you need to keep it together. So what's next? Hermione forced herself to focus as she retrieved her wand from the floor. Step 2: Manufacture and escape.
She took another look around. There were no windows and only the one door. She tested the knob and found it locked. She had rattled off all of the unlocking charms and counter charms to locking charms that she knew to no avail.
Her frown only lasted for a second before she thought back to the first defense lesson they had with Unspeakable Croaker. She looked down at her feet, then turned into a fly and crawled under the door.
She emerged into a short hallway and could see a man reading at the end. She was flying down the hallway when the wall opposite from the room she was in flashed white. She knew that effect.
A few moments later the wall exploded.
If they thought Tonks was going to take this passively they had another thing coming. Harry had trained her and she wasn't about to let him down. They took her bag, which was annoying. Her wand was on the other side of the room just taunting her. She would not stand for it.
Instead she moved over to the chair that was provided and sat down.
She heard there were handcuffs that had been enchanted to prevent metamorphs from being able to make their hands smaller. She also knew that they were very expensive and this group didn't seem to have excessive amounts of gold. Sitting down gave her a lap to work in and she quietly slipped her hands out of the cuffs and positioned them so they looked like they were still locked.
"So were you left as a guard because you're incompetent or because you're not trusted?" She asked with an arched eyebrow. Unsurprisingly the guard ignored her. "I'd bet on incompetent. I mean, if they're going to go screw with Harry they would want to take everyone they could. What does it say that instead of taking you to fight the most dangerous foe they have they instead left you here to keep the restrained imprisoned little girl in line? Honestly it's rather pathetic."
"Guard duty requires a lot of trust." The werewolf growled.
"How hard is it to trust someone to not open a door?" Tonks scoffed. "No, there is some reason they didn't think you would be any help in a fight. I can't imagine what; even the weakest of wizards could still cast shield spells." The werewolf flinched visibly. Tonks knew where this was going, as distasteful as it was.
"OH GROSS! You're a squib aren't you?" Tonks shrieked and started scrubbing her hands on her clothes as much as she could while maintaining the charade of being manacled. "I hope it didn't touch me." She grumbled to herself loudly enough to be heard. He was definitely getting angry though. "I can't say I blame them for not taking such a miserable excuse of a life-form but I'd think that I would warrant at least a flobberworm for a guard, something in the realm of real magical creatures at least."
That was enough.
Tonks had ventured into arm's reach from the bars and the werewolf lunged towards her with a yell. She hopped back as he reached through the bars to throttle her. She didn't waste the chance that she had set up and with a quick motion she cuffed him.
"Bad wolf! I can't believe you actually fell for that." Tonks remarked as she reshaped her skeleton, allowing her to slip through the bars as he tried to free his hands and, by extension, himself. Tonks rushed over to her wand and turned back to the werewolf. "I can't help but wonder, why did you leave my wand here?"
She silenced him before he could answer, not that he would have anyway, but this way he couldn't call for help. She checked the door and found it locked. She only knew one unlocking charm, and that didn't work. "Right, well, a door can't be locked if there is no lock." She said to herself and cast the Gambit Charm on the door knob and took cover behind a shield charm.
There was no flash of light and no explosion came when the time ran out. Tonks frowned then tore a piece of her robes off and cast the spell again. Right on schedule there was a loud pop as the spell detonated. Having spent a lot of time practicing this spell to various magnitudes left little chance that she would have cast it incorrectly, but she had to confirm.
"Right, well a lock isn't much good if there's no door." Tonks reasoned and attempted to cast the spell on the door, once again to no avail. "Doors are only doors if they're in a wall."
Her third attempt being successful actually caught her by surprise, almost dangerously so. She barely got back behind the desk and her shield before the spell detonated. Her ears rang as the dust settled and she couldn't help but giggle.
"Tonks! Was that you?" Hermione called out through the dust.
"Yea! That's was crazy! You okay?" Tonks called back as she moved to check on the guard. She cast a field diagnostic spell, unconscious, alive and not in immediate danger.
"Physically I'm fine." Hermione said as she approached, blue armor glimmering through the dust. "I'm really glad I got the hang of this armor last month."
"Well, all that time you spent practicing while no one was paying attention had to pay off sooner or later." Tonks replied casually. "We should probably get out of here. Do you have your mirror or portkey? They took mine."
"Mine too. They really laid down a strange array of security. I honestly don't know how I would rate them over all." Hermione frowned. "I mean, who takes everything but the wand?"
"Maybe it would make sense if we knew the whole plan." Tonks shrugged. "They told me that you were bleeding out on the bathroom floor so we can't exactly assume anything they said was even remotely true."
"Anyway, this hallway only goes that way." Hermione pointed down the hall. "There might be an exit over there."
"Sounds as good as any idea." Tonks agreed and the two of them started down the hallway.
They found a third werewolf guard stuck with several large splinters and many small ones. He wasn't in any shape to move around but Tonks' charm said he wasn't going to die either. They stunned him anyway, just to be safe. A short search later and the two of them walked out the front door, neither noticing the quiet hiss of propane leaking out of a pierced tank.
"There you two are!" Harry said boisterously as he strolled out of the Three Broomsticks and slung his arms over the impersonators' shoulders. "I'm in the mood for some boyfriend time, so how about the three of us find someplace nice and private?"
Chip could hardly believe his luck; he had several plans to get Potter out of public sight ready for various circumstances. He covered everything he could think of, but apparently just using polyjuice was enough. He smiled coyly. Teens and their rampaging hormones.
Yikes! Harry thought as he directed them down an alley. I never thought I would think Hermione could look creepy.
"We were just talking about you." The fake Tonks smiled.
"I bet you were. This looks private enough." Harry said as he glanced around. As he was talking he flicked his wrist and drew his wand. Fake Tonks was under his right arm and dropped immediately to a stunner while his left arm tightened around Fake Hermione's neck.
Chip just discovered a situation he hadn't planned for. He was quite put out with being placed in a headlock by a kid that weighed at most of third of what he did; sadly this body he was in wasn't as physically adept as his own.
He did have a rather extensive amount of experience in fights to fall back on though. Two twists and a quick sideways lunge freed him from Potter's arm, just in time to fall to the second stunner.
Harry stunned them both a second time before grabbing them and warping out of Hogsmeade.
"Where are we?" Tonks asked as she and Hermione looked around the frozen landscape, they were in the middle of a mountain range.
"Point Me Hogwarts!" Hermione incanted and her wand pointed almost due north. "Point Me London!" This time the wand pointed easy by southeast. A third casting for Ireland resulted in due west. "I think we're somewhere in Wales."
"Well, at least we're not as lost anymore. Did Harry ever get around to teaching you that message charm that he uses with Gnicc?" Tonks asked.
"No, we'll have to bug him about that when we get back." Hermione grumbled. "Next year, we're applying tracking charms the night before and don't remove them until the morning after."
"Agreed." Tonks nodded. "Too bad we don't have an owl, we could just send a letter then."
Hermione blinked twice, and then opened her mouth to say something. Before she spoke though she thought of something and just watched Tonks quizzically.
"What's that look for?" Tonks asked innocently a second before she made the connection. "Oh yeah! I'm an owl! I could totally fly us home."
"You could fly you home, I'd be too heavy." Hermione pointed out.
"You could turn into a fly and crawl into my feathers. The weight of a fly wouldn't even be noticeable." Tonks grinned.
"Okay, better than standing around here waiting for reinforcements." Hermione nodded.
The two transformed and got situated. Within two minutes of deciding on their course of action Tonks was in the air, Hermione safely tucked under her feathers. Tonks was so caught up in her desire to reunite the three of them as quickly as she could that she never noticed more and more magic pouring out of her feet. She didn't even notice herself speeding up or the rushing of the air over her body. She did however notice the sonic boom.
Many miles behind them the cloud of propane met a pilot light that hadn't gone out in the explosion.
"Sir! I have a bogie over Wales!" A panicking radar operator shouted out in the room full of quiet military personnel. "It just went supersonic!"
He lifted his head groggily as conscious returned, he was in a basement by the looks of it. He was standing up but seemed to be strapped to a table of some sort. Chip was strapped to another table ten feet in front of him so that they could see each other. Potter was waking him up. It would be a while before he noticed that they were no longer under the effects of polyjuice.
"Great plan, Alpha." He drawled. Greyback made him second in command because of his brains, and Greyback listened to him. Chip was still establishing his dominance; he wouldn't start listening for another year or two. Although somehow he didn't think Chip would last that long.
"Yea yea, you told me so." Chip admitted.
"Where are they?" Potter demanded.
"Pfft. Emergency go go go." Chip scoffed and vanished as his portkey swept him to the safety of the middle of their pack.
"Where the hell did he have that hidden?" Potter asked in astonishment while summoning a portkey hook. "Never mind, I don't want to know."
If he knew what a portkey hook was he would have known what was about to happen, but the technology hadn't been invented yet. While originally designed as a tool to help Aurors pursue fleeing criminals the portkey hook had several critical flaws that left it only useful as a teaching instrument since it could follow the student to exactly where they went no matter how off target.
Potter fiddled with the device he summoned for a few seconds before he disappeared too. Potter wasn't gone for more than five seconds before his return with Chip in tow.
"I'm not done with you yet!" Potter bellowed as Chip was restrained by a dozen house elves that just showed up. As Chip struggled against the invisible bonds Potter walked away. Potter stepped out of view and returned with a sword that smelled strongly of silver. Potter walked right up to Chip. "Last chance, where are they?"
"There's a cabin in Wales!" He called to Potter, hoping to spare the life of his idiot Alpha.
This drew Potter's attention away from Chip and the boy quickly crossed the short distance to stand right in front of him. The two of them glared at each other for a few long seconds before Potter spoke. "Don't think about the rest of Chip's plan."
Not many people were brave enough to try to use Legilimency on a werewolf. Potter was one of them. The aspect of the wolf was their first and last line of defense and it normally shredded any intruder in short order. He could sense the fight between Potter and the wolf even as his thoughts spun out of his control. Somehow Potter was attacking both him and the wolf at the same time. This was unprecedented. Then, just as suddenly, Potter was gone from his mind.
Potter turned away from him and walked up to Chip. Then he pressed the flat of his sword against Chip's face and held it there while Chip writhed in agony. Potter removed his sword after two or three seconds and stepped back. Chip laughed mockingly. "That's it? I thought you liked those girls."
"I don't care for torture." Harry replied coldly. "But you should know that this blade is coated in basilisk venom. The smallest of scratches would be lethal. Normally I try to kill quickly, but you can enjoy knowing what's coming as you feel the effects of the venom destroying you."
He broke into a nervous sweat as Potter turned to him. Chip started twitching uncontrollably and frothing from the mouth as Potter walked towards the Beta. Potter just stood in front of him watching his face as Chip finally expired and fell limp against his restraints.
"What's your name? Actually I don't care, you're Pongo now. Congratulations Pongo on your promotion to the new Alpha of Greypack. I'm going to send you home but there is something you should know first." Potter said as a house elf took the sword and handed him a silver butter knife. "First there was Greyback who tried to kill me, I killed him instead. Don't flinch or I may do irreparable harm to your eyes."
Pongo didn't have to wonder what that meant for long as Potter brought the butter knife to his face and quickly drew a line from the corner of his eye to the corner of his mouth. Silver was poison to werewolves and the slightest touch would melt skin and flesh like fire. The pain of exposure was immense and every adult member of the Greypack bore a small scar from exposure during their initiation rites.
"That was strike one." Potter said as the knife was moved to the other side of Pongo's face and drew a matching line. "Chip over there is strike two. You've got the chance to be strike three, but if you are the line will be drawn across the necks of your entire pack. There will be no chance for a strike four. Do yourself a favor and don't act against me ever again."
Potter dropped the knife to the floor and drew his wand. With a quick gesture Chip's corpse was floating over to them. Potter prodded Chip with his wand and turned him into a portkey. "I don't know what the funeral customs are in your culture but you should take your dead when you can. Have a nice day." With that Potter moved Chip so that Pongo made contact and the two of them disappeared.
Harry had drawn enough information from Pongo to warp directly to the cabin. He arrived a short distance away and immediately noticed that he was surrounded by the muggle military. He swore and ducked behind a tree. Once out of direct view he disillusioned himself and moved from his position. None too soon too as two guards were walking towards the tree he had been hiding behind.
"I swear I saw someone over here Jim." One of the guards said as they searched around the tree.
"Then where is he?" Jim retorted.
"I don't know, he appeared out of nothing, maybe he disappeared into nothing too." The first guard whined.
"Or maybe you're just seeing things." Jim sighed. "It's nothing to be embarrassed about, we're investigating a group that blew up a building while launching some sort of supersonic stealth aircraft, you should be paranoid and jumpy."
Harry's first impulse was to obliviate both of them, but then he figured they would just dismiss it as nothing as time went by, just like Jim suggested. Once the two moved on Harry moved and came into view of the cabin, or rather the ruins of what was recently a cabin. The building had been blasted apart and muggles were swarming all over the site, there was nothing for Harry to do here.
"Point Me Hermione Granger, Point Me Nymphadora Tonks." Harry cast twice, both times pointing almost due north. He warped several miles east and repeated the test, confirming that they were very far away and much closer to Hogwart's than they were.
They must have found transportation. Harry thought and warped back to Hogsmeade and repeated the test again. Due west. He quickly sent a message charm to both of them letting them know to head east then sat back to wait for them to return home.
AN: I have been waiting so long to unveil the supersonic snowy owl.
Next chapter, winter holiday and Harry meets the Delacours.