The fallout from Alex's temper tantrum in the Great Hall that morning could have been a lot worse than it was. Dumbledore was still trying to calm Umbridge down while at the same time convince her that he couldn't send the Muggles away. The Minister of Magic himself had come into Dumbledore's office but the Headmaster had outright refused to meet with the wizard kid's parents.
Malfoy, Wolf recalled. Eagle was still angry with Alex for losing his cool and causing problems in a situation so riddled with problems that it didn't appear as if anyone had a firm grasp of the situation.
After all, Tom was still deaged, they were still relatively stuck in the Magical world, and now there was a bit of a scandal taking place. Wolf rubbed his temples, hoping to block out everyone and everything. He instead focused on the interesting looking bird in the corner by the door.
Dumbledore had called him a phoenix and Wolf thought he was the most beautiful bird he'd ever seen and Wolf hated birds. He wasn't a big fan of them pooping everywhere.
"Wolf," Dumbledore said, gently taking him from his inner thoughts about pigeons and white crud and shaking him back into reality. The Minister and Umbridge were both looking at him very intently. He thought about what Eagle had told him before he'd been dragged up to Dumbledore's office to sort out the latest incident.
"Keep them occupied for at least two hours," he had whispered. Wolf had not been able to question his teammate before he had to leave. Eagle was up to something and if the look he'd given Cub had been any indication, they were in on it together. He wondered what it was they had cooked up. However, he was willing to play along.
A few hours? He could stall for a few hours.
"Yes?" he questioned trying to make it clear with a single word that he was uninterested in speaking with them about anything and that he was only doing so now out of the kindness of his heart.
"Is there any particular reason that Cub tried to break young Mr. Malfoy's wrist?" the Minister questioned. He sounded as if he was trying to be fair but Wolf didn't fall for it. He had no reason to think that this man would be fair to them in any way. In fact, Wolf was quite certain that he was someone to be avoided at all costs.
Wolf would normally respond that they would have to ask Cub that question directly but Eagle and Cub needed at least another hour to finish whatever it was they were doing. So Wolf had to come up with another answer.
"Mr. Malfoy is a primary reason that Cub's friend was so grievously injured," he said surprised by his own smoothness but trying not show it. "In fact, Malfoy is the main reason that we are stranded in this world to begin with. Perhaps you should question him about the consequences of his actions and leave the rest of us alone."
"You are here because your actions are still under investigation," Fudge replied. Wolf was aware that he was referring to when Wolf had pistol whipped the Malfoy boy in the train station. Fudge didn't trust the Muggle government not to hide them from Wizarding justice and apparently Dumbledore was working his own angle with keeping them in easy reach.
The question of whether or not Tom might be related to a Dark Lord was ludicrous. Wolf didn't think it mattered in the slightest and he was quite determined that Dumbledore would never talk to the kid about it again. Wolf didn't care if it was true or not, this Voldemort person wasn't their problem. At least not until he was marching his army on Downing Street. Then Wolf would gladly pick up his gun and a grenade and go to work. Until then, the spats happening between these Wizards wasn't something he wished to concern himself with.
"Perhaps you should get control over your people," he spat at the Minister of Magic, trying with all his might to get rid of the smug look on his face. Wolf had shot people for less than what Fudge was doing. "If your wizards are going to start shooting Magic at each other in my world, you can expect a lot more dead wizards."
"Are you threatening me?" Fudge asked, incredulous that a Muggle such as Wolf would dare to tell him how to do anything.
"Yes," Wolf said bluntly and Fudge's mouth opened angrily.
"How dare you!" Umbridge screeched. "How dare you threaten the Minister of Magic!"
"I've been up against worse," Wolf replied. "A man in a suit-or whatever it is you're wearing-doesn't frighten me. Nor do I think you should be giving me a lecture about anything. If you don't want violence, don't think you can back violent people into a corner."
If Alex had heard how Wolf was describing him he would have been angry but Cub wasn't there and Wolf didn't much care about his opinion at the moment anyway. Because in the end Cub, Wolf, and the rest of K-Unit were violent people. They knew violence and they used violence. Fudge and his little lackey could only push them so far.
"I think there is a solution outside of violence," Dumbledore said calmly but firmly. "I would suggest that the boys simply stay away from each other. The castle is big enough to make that a feasible solution and meals can be sent to your rooms."
"So you're placing us on house arrest," Wolf remarked and was surprised when Dumbledore owned up to it.
"Unfortunately, yes," he said bluntly. "This world is not conducive to a Muggle presence. I suggest that-for safety-you and your group confine yourselves to your rooms and the immediate area surrounding it."
Wolf noted that Dumbledore was careful not to say for whose safety they would be on lockdown for. He had a feeling that it was mostly for the Malfoy boy who had been so humiliated that it only made common sense that he would try to get revenge. A bad idea indeed because even if he managed to hurt one of them he couldn't hurt all of them. And then Dumbledore would be dealing with people who knew how to kill, had killed before, and likely wouldn't have qualms to do so again.
Of course, Dumbledore was wrong on that count. Wolf had no intention of killing the Malfoy boy and he knew that no one in his own party had any desire to either. Not even Cub. There was just no reason for it and Cub wasn't a killer to begin with. However, Wolf didn't feel the need to correct anyone about the nature of his intentions.
"Fine," Wolf said. "We won't wander around anymore. But you people have to keep the students away from where we're staying. I won't apologize or hold back when it comes to self defense."
"No one will bother you," Dumbledore promised. Umbridge didn't look pleased with this agreement at all. Wolf glanced at his watch. There were still forty-five minutes to go before Eagle's deadline. He wondered how many fights he could pick before he got there. Probably quite a few knowing himself.
"Dumbledore there is still the matter of this 'Cub' boy," Fudge said. Wolf could tell that he wanted to prosecute Alex. He had met types like Fudge before in his career and he was certain the man was hoping to win political points by bringing to justice a Muggle boy attacking whatever a Pureblood was.
"Cub won't do anything," Wolf said knowing that Alex wouldn't be likely to seek out Malfoy to hurt him. All he'd really wanted was an apology and he had gotten one, however forced it had been. He had managed to get revenge. The one they really needed to watch out for was Tom who wasn't going to let anything go anytime soon. Wolf knew him too well to hope for anything else. He wasn't going to tell them that though.
"You can guarantee that?" Fudge asked.
"Regardless of what Wolf guarantees," Umbridge cut in, "Cub is still dangerous and should not be allowed to remain inside the castle walls."
"Cub isn't carrying a weapon from class to class," Wolf replied, reminding them of the danger their wands posed to Muggles. "And he won't leave the rooms. As long as Malfoy doesn't wander in through the door I sincerely doubt he'll find himself with a broken wrist or any other broken bones for that matter."
"That sounds plausible to me," Dumbledore said. "After all, there really isn't anywhere else where you can stay."
This last part was mostly said to Fudge who was eyeing Dumbledore suspiciously. Wolf didn't know what had happened between the two of them but it was clear that they were on opposite sides of whatever issue was playing itself out before them. However, they both seemed to think Hogwarts was the best place to keep them. Probably because Umbridge was capable of keeping an eye on them before Fudge tried to drag them into a criminal trial. He wondered how long it would be before Blunt or the SAS noticed that they were gone and come looking for them.
He knew from Tom that Blunt knew plenty about the Magical World and had probably been made aware of the incident at King's Crossing right after it had happened. He was relying on Blunt being able to recognize the signs of a Magical conflict and connect their disappearance to that very same Magical conflict. He was certain the man could make the connection, he just wasn't sure what Blunt would be able to do about it.
Glancing at his watch again, Wolf was annoyed to see that he was still under the time limit Eagle had asked for. Again he was caught up wondering what was happening and he didn't jolt out of it until a few minutes later when Fudge put his hat on his head in preparation of leaving. Eagle likely didn't care about Fudge's movements. It was Dumbledore and Umbridge that needed to be distracted.
"What should I expect with this investigation of yours?" he asked. Umbridge glared at him for interrupting whatever it was she had been saying. He didn't care.
"It is rare that the Ministry of Magic prosecutes Muggles for crimes against the Magical state," Dumbledore said, making it quite clear with his tone of voice that he thought it was all ridiculous. But then again, Wolf was quite certain that Dumbledore thought Fudge was an idiot. He was inclined to agree.
"The investigation is ongoing," Fudge replied. "We have asked that you stay in the Wizarding world due to your government connections in the Muggle world." Wolf was surprised by that. Dumbledore had said he wanted them in Hogwarts because they might be in danger which he believed was true. He wondered where they would be now if Dumbledore hadn't managed to get them to Hogwarts. Probably some sort of jail. This worried him. What exactly had they done that was so wrong? It had been Malfoy and Potter who had destroyed part of building to the point that rubble had nearly crushed the people below. And Wolf was the one being investigated for knocking the Malfoy boy unconscious in response.
He recalled what Dumbledore had told him about Magical politics in the hospital. They were clearly caught up in a fight that really had nothing to do them personally. They were just the unlikely people to be the easy targets.
"My government contacts are looking for us now," he said and Fudge stiffened. Wolf wondered who it was that Fudge dealt with when he had to deal with Muggles. Someone who clearly didn't care for him.
"They have no authority here," Umbridge told him and she was very obviously happy for that. Wolf snorted in amusement.
"They don't have a lot of authority in a lot of places," he said. "Never seemed to stop them before."
"The Auror office will contact your people in the Muggle World when the time comes," Fudge said. "Until then, you will remain at Hogwarts, in your rooms, and if there are any more incidents I will have all of you removed to some place that is much less comfortable."
"I doubt you have a place I haven't already seen before."
"I doubt you've ever experienced somewhere like Azkaban," Umbridge said and there was distinct note of gloating about her.
"Dolores!" Dumbledore exclaimed, horrified that she had brought up such a place. Umbridge, however, wasn't through with her baiting.
"Azkaban is unlike anything a Muggle could possibly understand."
"What is it?" Wolf asked, hoping to keep her talking for at least another five minutes. That should be more than enough time for Eagle and Alex to finish whatever it was they needed to do.
"The Wizarding Prison," Umbridge told him.
"Stop," Dumbledore ordered but Fudge jumped in.
"He wants to know," the Minister said and then turned to Umbridge. He gave her a nod to keep going and she took to the task with glee.
"Azkaban is where we in the Wizarding World imprison the most dangerous Dark Wizards of our time," she said. "It is guarded by creatures known only as the Dementors. These creatures bleed the happiness and hope from the very air. If you go too close to a Dementor you feel as if you will never be happy again. And if you stay too close you will eventually descend into madness. That is, if the Dementors don't suck out your soul through your mouth. I won't bother explaining what they look like; they are invisible to Muggles."
The room was dead silent as the Magical people left the lone Muggle to contemplate the horror of Azkaban prison. It sounded truly awful and Wolf was now certain that this was where Cub and Wolf likely would have ended up had it not been for Dumbledore. Despite the fact that Wolf didn't want Dumbledore talking to Tom ever again, he felt a huge surge of gratitude towards the Headmaster.
Wolf however was expected to respond to Umbridge. She wanted him to cower at the power of the Magical World. He wasn't willing to do so.
"I had a training officer just like that," he said, smirking at her as she descended into complete fury. And while she spat insults at him and Dumbledore tried to run interference and Fudge managed to slip away quietly, Eagle's deadline came and went.
When Wolf finally managed to get out of the Headmaster's office it was with a distinct sense of accomplishment for going above and beyond what Eagle had asked of him. He had been in there for at least three hours.
He expected accolades.
He didn't receive any accolades.
He did however receive an armful of faux-five-year-old the second he stepped into the room. Tom had taken a flying leap from the chandelier he'd been swinging from and Wolf was lucky that he had seen him and managed to catch him. Otherwise they both may have been hurt.
"Why the hell are you swinging from chandeliers?" Wolf asked holding Tom at arm length's by his armpits.
"I'm bored," was the squeaky answer. Wolf simply dropped him and then stepped over him, annoyed. Tom jumped up and immediately followed wanting to know what was about to be said.
"Well?" Wolf questioned looking directly at both Eagle and Alex.
"Well what?" Alex asked. Wolf suppressed the urge to draw his gun. Now that he was back with his friends his nerves were allowed to feel frayed and he was quickly losing the cool facade he had managed to keep in front of Umbridge and her anti-Muggle insults.
"Did you do what you needed to do?"
"What were you doing?" Fox asked, curious.
"Alex managed to get a letter to that Hermione girl," Eagle said. "She's sending it out by Owl Post."
"What the hell is Owl Post?" Jack asked, looking up from a magazine she had found somewhere. It was called Witch Weekly and Wolf had no desire to know what was inside.
"It's just how they send mail," Alex explained. "Like carrier pigeons except they use Owls."
"Really?" Jack asked, sardonically. "They have magic and the most efficient system they can come up with is birds?"
"Apparently," Alex shrugged, not particularly caring. "The letter leaves any minute now though."
"Where is it going?" Wolf asked. He rather liked the sound of this plan. Simple, effective. It felt like it could work.
"It's addressed to Tom's mother," Alex said. Tom nodded gleefully, having been let in on this plan at some point. "We figure Blunt is watching her in case Tom tries to make contact."
"Blunt knows about the Magical world," Tom supplied. "He'll know all about Owls and what to look for. It's only a matter of time before he gets a hold of the letter."
"It's coded?" Fox questioned. Eagle nodded.
"Yes," he said. "I had Tom write it himself to make sure it matched the code MI6 collected."
"Whose bird are you using?" Wolf asked.
"The other dueler?" Jack asked, surprised. "How'd you manage that?"
"I told Hermione I wanted to let Tom's mother know that he was alright," Alex said, picking at a cuticle. "She was very eager to help us. She said she would borrow Harry's bird and send it out immediately. Hopefully, she'll keep her word."
"More than likely," Wolf said. He was thinking about Dumbledore and his rather sneaky plan to keep them in Hogwarts. It happened to be a plan that Wolf thought was to their benefit which was the only reason he wasn't bringing it up now. He'd tell K-Unit about it later but the others didn't need to know about possibly having their souls sucked out through their mouths.
He wondered what the witch girl knew about it all. He doubted it was much, if anything at all. She had been assigned to help them about the castle but now that they were on house arrest it would appear that her job was finished. They had apparently gotten the letter out in the nick of time. Although, now that he thought about it, Eagle had probably known what the result of Alex's fight would have been. Smart man, Eagle.
"What happened with the Headmaster?" Snake asked, cutting into his thoughts and breaking the silence. Tom gave him a sharp look but didn't say anything.
Wolf gave them a brief rundown of what had happened. He didn't tell them about Azkaban. He wasn't going to help Umbridge spread her fear like that. She would have to do that on her own.
"I'm not entirely sure what political game we've landed ourselves in the middle of," he told them. At some point in his recounting of events Tom had managed to climb into his lap, thoroughly intent on milking this deaging thing for all it was worth. Wolf indulged him. "But we need to be careful. This is the type of thing someone in MI6 should be the one to handle. Not us. So everyone keep their heads down and stop threatening to break people's wrist."
"It wasn't a treat," Alex said. "I was going to do it."
"That's not helpful," Jack told him. "It's not polite to break people's body parts Alex."
Alex merely rolled his eyes while the others laughed at her true but rather goofy statement.
"Tom we shouldn't be doing this," Alex whispered but followed his deaged friend regardless. He had no interest in forcibly moving Tom back to the rooms and there was no talking him out of this either. So Alex followed him to make sure he could get out of whatever situation he was about to get himself into.
"Shh!" Tom hissed. Alex wondered when Tom had gotten so good at maneuvering the castle. HIs friend had finally told him about the information he'd stolen from the MI6 computers but he had never mentioned the existence of a floorplan. Alex immediately went quiet, not wanting to attract attention now. They weren't supposed to be out. Both Wolf and Umbridge would kill them if they were caught.
But they continued to move, Alex's ill ease completely disregarded in the face of Tom's project. Tom was determined to find the Hogwarts library. What he was going to get there Alex didn't know but he was determined nonetheless. Finally, on the third floor they found it.
And they apparently weren't the only ones with this idea either.
Alex could hear whispers coming from one of the huge aisles of books. He pushed Tom behind his legs and took the front leading the two of them cautiously towards the whispers. When he turned the corner he saw Potter, Hermione, and a redhead he didn't know but recognized from the train station.
"Hey," he said, his voice slightly quieter than normal. In the dead silence of the library, however, it sounded like a shout. All for three of them jumped nearly a foot in the air before spinning around to face him. Hermione visibly relaxed when she saw who it was.
"Oh, hello Alex," she greeted pleasantly. "What are you doing here?"
"Looking for information about this," he replied, pointing down at Tom who was still standing half behind Alex's legs.
"That's in a different section," Hermione told them. Alex saw the redhead roll his eyes.
"What are you guys doing?" Alex questioned. They had the distinct air of people who were doing something that they shouldn't have been doing but were going to do it anyway. Alex understood that quite easily as he was often doing something that he wasn't supposed to be doing.
"Well," Hermione started.
"Hermione!" the redhead hissed.
"Oh shut it Ron," Hermione snapped. "Who is he going to tell?"
The two of them squared off, glaring at each other with such force that Alex wondered when they were going to start kissing. The look between them was so charged that it was quite obvious that there was something going on there.
"It's just Defence Against the Dark Arts stuff," Potter burst out taking the decision right out of their hands. They both turned to give him a sharp look for doing so. He ignored them completely.
"Doesn't Umbridge teach that class?" Alex asked recalling some of the stuff he'd picked up about the nature of Hogwarts since they'd been there. Hermione snorted.
"Technically, yes," she said. "But she doesn't do a very good job." Alex nodded, not because he understood but because he believed her.
"So this is a super secret study group?" he asked.
"Looks like it," the redhead-Ron-said tightly. "Umbridge refuses to teach us anything useful."
"Learn it on your own then," Alex replied. "No harm in that. Not in the long run."
"That's what I said," Hermione told him. "Do you want me to show you to the right section?"
"Yes, thank you," Alex said and placing a hand on Tom's shoulder guided him back into the main aisle so that Hermione could take them to the right section in the library. As it turned out the girl was much more content to lead them from section to section over the course of an hour and pulled every book that she thought might be relevant.
Tom and Alex grabbed a table and sat down with all of their books prepared to stay until the sun came up if that was what it took. Dumbledore hadn't been very forthcoming when it had come to what had happened to Tom and therefore Hermione had very little to go on when it came to the material she was handing them. Harry, Ron, and Hermione joined them twenty minutes after they sat down with their own books about defensive spells and rituals.
It was probably the strangest study group he had ever been a part of but it was pleasant and helpful. When Alex came across something he didn't really understand one of the three wizards was able to explain it. Even if that question had nothing to do with Tom.
"Malfoy wants you thrown in Azkaban?" Ron asked, thunderstruck. "I guess that makes sense but that's a also new low for them."
"Have Muggles ever been thrown into Azkaban before?" he asked. Tom was asleep, his head resting on a leather bound book. Everyone looked over at Hermione who suddenly looked very uncomfortable. She shifted in her seat, trying to gather her thoughts. Alex simply waited her out.
"It's very rare," she replied. "But there is precedent and the Malfoys will attempt to use that precedent to their advantage."
"What did those other Muggles do?" Ron asked, his voice laced with horror.
"Most them targeted wizards for death," Hermione said. "Court records refer to them as Hunters. The worst I think managed to track down and kill dozens of wizards and witches in the late forties. He was the last to be taken to Azkaban."
"But Wolf and I haven't done anything close to that," Alex said. "How could they possibly hope to build a case against us?"
"Well, Wolf is a soldier isn't he?" Harry asked and Alex nodded knowing it was pointless to lie on that front.
"Maybe they want to use that against him?" Ron pondered.
"Possibly," Alex mumbled thinking about Wolf had told them about his meeting with Dumbledore, Umbridge, and Fudge. There was clearly a bigger game being played and Alex wondered if this was just a pissing match between the Ministry of Magic and someone of power in the Muggle World. Knowing that Blunt was spying on the Magical World led him to think that it was him that Fudge might be fighting with.
"DId you get the letter out Hermione?" Alex asked. She nodded.
"Yes," she said.
"What letter?" Harry asked.
"Alex asked me to send a letter to Tom's mother," Hermione replied. "Although I doubt the letter was meant for her in the first place. I tried to find you, Harry, to borrow Hedwig but after the whole incident with Malfoy I just went straight to the Owlery and used a school Owl."
Alex couldn't decide if her cleverness was creepy or fantastic. Either way, Alex resolved not to underestimate her intelligence again.
"So who's the letter really for?" Ron asked, apparently not surprised in the least that Hermione had been running around, out smarting people all day.
"A contact in the Muggle World," Alex replied vaguely.
"Good," Hermione said, flipping through a pamphlet she'd found tucked inside a book. "I hope you didn't waste your one letter on someone who won't be able to help you get out of here." Harry and Ron both gave him piercing looks but Hermione seemed content to not even bother.
"Of course not," Alex said. "Give me a little credit."
"Umbridge is going to be watching all of you like a hawk," Hermione advised him. "Any attempt to contact anyone will likely mean she'll pull you out of Hogwarts."
"And then you'll really be bloody screwed."
"Thanks, Ron," Alex said sarcastically. Ron gave him a nod of acknowledgement in return. "And thank you Hermione," he continued, this time with sincerity, "for getting that letter out when you did."
"Of course," she said, accepting his thanks and batting it away as if it wasn't necessary in the first place. "Anything to stick it to Umbridge." All three boys smiled affectionately at her and Harry and Ron hid snickers behind their hands.
Alex didn't know Hermione that well but he was almost entirely certain that she was not someone to be messed with. So he dropped the subject, made his excuses, and carried Tom back to their rooms. Everyone else was still asleep and while he hadn't gotten all the information he had set out to find he did believe that he'd at least made some interesting-and extremely reliable-allies.
"And what exactly did you find on your illegal nighttime wandering?"
It shouldn't have surprised Alex that Jack would immediately know that they had wandered off and would call him out on it the second he woke up and walked into the sitting room.
"Just that Hermione Granger is smarter than I originally thought," he replied not caring in the slightest that he had gone against Wolf's orders. Again. "Keep on her good side." Jack didn't blink and didn't change her mind.
"No nighttime walks," she said sternly. Alex nodded and sat down on the couch. Everyone was in the sitting room and despite the fact that it was pushing one in the afternoon Wolf was still drinking coffee. Tom was sandwiched between Wolf's side and the arm of the couch flipping through a book so large that hid his entire torso from view. He looked like a book with legs.
"Did you at least find something useful?" Snake asked, returning to the point at hand.
"Not concerning Tom," Alex said. Tom's toes flexed and relaxed; the only sign that he was listening to this conversation. "But Hermione told me that the last time they threw a Muggle into Azkaban was because he was a Witch Hunter."
"Seriously?" Eagle asked sarcastically. "Those exist?"
"Apparently," Fox replied.
"He killed dozens of people," Alex said. "I seriously doubt that they'll be able to throw Wolf in there because he pistol whipped a teenager. The kid didn't even have a concussion."
"So what's the point?" Jack asked.
"Politics," the entirety of K-Unit responded. Tom heaved his book off of his lap and into Wolf's.
"The Minister of Magic knows that Blunt has been spying on them," he said, his squeaky little voice dead serious. Alex tried not to snort with laughter.
"So this is a pissing match between Fudge and Blunt?" Snake asked.
"Great," Wolf seethed. "I'm dead."
"Hermione got the letter out," Alex said. "There's a good chance that Blunt already has it. Tom, what else did you see in those files?"
"Blunt managed to send someone into the Ministry of Magic," he said, relishing the attention everyone was giving him. It was rare that Tom had the upper hand when it came to spy stuff and this time he was the only source of information they had. "Some disgruntled Muggleborn that wanted to get back at the Ministry over something or other. I guess he managed to break into the Auror's office and found some interesting stuff."
"What about?" Wolf asked, interested. He was worried that he was about to hear more about this Voldemort character and he was certain that Tom had memorized everything he could about him in the short time he'd had access to the computers.
"Voldemort," Tom replied.
"They've been tracking his family line," Alex guessed believing he knew exactly where this was going. "Fudge knows you're distantly related doesn't he?"
"No," Tom replied. "Voldemort destroyed all the records concerning himself here in the Magical world. They wouldn't know where to go in the Muggle World to make the connection. They're flying blind when it comes to him."
"But the Auras or whatever," Snake said, "know that Blunt is spying on them."
"I think MI6 has been spying on them since it was created," Eagle said. "There's no way that Blunt was the first MI6 head to find out about the Magical World. I'm certain intelligence knew about them all along."
"DId you ever hear anything about any of this?" Wolf asked Fox who shook his head.
"I doubt it requires a certain level of clearance though," Fox said, thinking about his time at MI6. "We investigated conspiracy theories all time. Anybody that looked in the system would probably have considered it to be something like that."
"Anybody except Tom," Jack snarked and they all laughed. "So everybody's spying on each other and nobody's happy about it."
"Sounds like it," Eagle said. "Although it would be stupid not to. If Blunt didn't know about Voldemort we would all be in a whole lot of trouble."
"What do you think Blunt's going to do about this guy?" Alex asked. Voldemort seemed to be the shadow that loomed in every corner of this world. What would happen if that shadow spread to their world as well?
"Probably nothing until he comes to our world," Wolf said.
"Well, I guess the only thing to do now is wait for Blunt," Snake said, changing the subject back to their own situation.
"You don't think he'll take this as a reason to go to war do you?" Jack asked. She didn't know Blunt very well but she did know that he wouldn't hesitate to take an opportunity when it arose. He was cold and could read a situation without emotion.
"Maybe," Alex replied. He knew Blunt's ability to take what he wanted, when he wanted better than anyone. "It wouldn't surprise me if he tried to bomb the MInistry of Magic. Or he may just poison Fudge. Or he might stir up resentments and cause a riot. Any of those is a real possibility."
They all sat in general quiet, trying to figure out what Blunt might do when he received Alex's message. There were a million different things that Blunt was liable to do that were all within his capacity to do.
It all made Alex feel a little uneasy and that uneasy feeling didn't let up throughout the day as they piddled around the room, trying to find something to occupy themselves with. There was very little to occupy anyone's time and it didn't take long before Tom had gotten on everyone's nerves and Wolf had dragged him out of the room by his collar.
"You aren't supposed to go out!" Eagle had shouted after him.
"Kiss my ass!" was the only reply they got before the door slammed and Wolf and Tom were gone. Probably for a walk.
"But you said-"
"I know what I said," Wolf said, his hand wrapped around Tom's tiny one as he pulled him along one corridor after another. Wolf wasn't entirely certain where he was going but as his only true aim was 'up' it didn't seem to matter. He found a stairwell that led to a tower and he managed to get Tom all the way up and onto the roof.
He lifted the kid up so he could see over the wall and together, they looked out over the grounds and to the wild Scottish lands beyond. The sun was starting to set and the both of them ignored it for the beautiful sight in front of them.
"You said we weren't supposed to go out," Tom said, determined to get his answers despite everything.
"You were going to drive me crazy, with all that jumping around," Wolf told him. "Besides, you're with me. What could go wrong?"
"Do you really want to tempt fate?" Tom asked. Wolf snorted and set him down on his feet. Together they sat on the roof and looked up at the sky. There were Owls flying overhead and a few clouds here and there. It was currently pink but turning darker and darker by the minute. Wolf looked at Tom whose young face betrayed everything that Wolf thought he knew about him.
"Tom," he said. The kid looked over and Wolf almost froze but in the end managed to force it out. "Why would you want to deage yourself?"
"It was an accident," Tom squeaked.
"I know, but still," he persisted. "What the hell?" Tom laughed at him. It wasn't an entirely new thing, being laughed at by Tom but it still didn't mean that Wolf didn't get annoyed every time it happened.
"That's something I'll have to work out in therapy Wolf," Tom finally said and he decided he was going let it go.
"C'mon," he finally said, an hour later after the sky had almost darkened completely. There was a biting wind in the air that tore at Wolf when he stood up. Tom was so short that the wall pretty much blocked him from the worst of it. Regardless, the kid let out a sigh of relief when they were back in the stairwell.
The relief didn't last for long, however, for when they exited the tower and stepped into the main corridor near their rooms they were met by an absurd amount of pink.
"You were not to leave your rooms," Umbridge seethed. She was flanked by two students one of whom Wolf recognized. The Malfoy boy had a huge smirk on his face, as if he had accomplished something critical.
"Needed some fresh air," Wolf replied quietly. "Nothing wrong with that."
"You agreed not to leave your rooms," Umbridge said and Wolf shook his head as if he was speaking to a particularly dumb child.
"I said I wouldn't leave the immediate area of our rooms," he said and nodded at the direction of their door which was just a few feet away. As if he had heard them speaking, Fox opened the door and leaned casually on the frame, an amused expression on his face.
"Alright, Wolf?" he asked, his arms crossed and a knife blade visible in his hand. He must have brought it in his emergency bag for Wolf recognized it as a military grade weapon. It was Fox's favorite and he could imbed it between someone's shoulder blades from twenty feet. Wolf wondered if Fox planned to use it.
"Of course," he replied, congenially and pulled Tom towards the door. He shoved him across the threshold. "Just having a chat with the warden."
Fox eyed a sour looking Umbridge even after Wolf had taken a seat in the living room, Tom at his side. Umbridge opened her mouth to say something but Fox just shook his head at her and held up his blade. She snapped her mouth shut.
"Are you threatening us?" Malfoy snapped, glaring at Fox with indignation. Apparently, this boy just never learned.
"No," Fox replied. "Men like me don't make threats. We just do it."
"Do what exactly?" Umbridge asked but Fox just smiled at her. He knew entrapment when he heard it. After all, he had worked MI6.
"You know what," he replied, his tone of voice tempting her to rise to the bait. He was mocking her and she knew it. Her eyes narrowed and the grip on her wand tightened. "You're someone who knows what I'm talking about. The little blond mama's boy behind you doesn't know what could happen to him but you do. So I'm sure you can explain to him what I'll do if he steps foot in this corridor ever again."
And then he shut the door on her and left her to warn the Malfoy boy that if he tried to get them in trouble again, he would end up on the bad sad of Muggle perfectly capable of killing him. Umbridge was a high ranking member of Ministry of Magic. She would know exactly what a soldier like him was capable of.
The next morning, Alex woke up to the sound of something that was thoroughly familiar. The rotors of helicopters made it's way through the cracked window of the bedroom and he was up and out of his bed in flash. He darted to the window, flung it open, and stuck half his torso out.
Two Blackhawks were making their way towards Hogwarts, flying low, and steady. Alex recalled that Muggle electronics weren't supposed to work inside the Hogwarts grounds. That was what Burbage had told them in the Muggle Studies room. But clearly, Blunt had found a way around all of that.
"Get UP!" he shouted and everyone in the room sprung to attention. Wolf was clearly having flashbacks to training when being woken in such a fashion was by no means uncommon. It took Alex less than five minutes to pull on jeans and shoes, pull open the door to their rooms and dart out into the corridor, leaving everyone behind.
He was halfway to the Great Hall when Jack caught up with him. She didn't try to stop him but simply fell into step with him and together they went to the front doors of the castle. The Blackhawks were circling the castle trying to find the most ideal place to land and at the same time announcing their presence to the entire school.
A good portion of the student population had been at breakfast and as the helicopters roared over the enchanted ceiling, teachers and students alike came to join them in the doorway. No one was brave enough to step out onto the lawn. Alex felt a hand grip his shoulder and turned to see Eagle and the rest of K-Unit just behind him. Tom was in Jack's arms and they were all watching as the Blackhawks landed on the lawn.
Eagle, Snake, Fox, Wolf, and Cub were the only ones to take the steps down from the Entrance Hall and went to greet the people in the Blackhawks. Even from this distance, he could plainly see that it was Blunt who stepped out of the first Blackhawk, five MI6 agents on his heels. They were dressed in the typical uniform of formless suits, sunglasses, and guns in holsters so easily visible that there was little to no doubt of what they were.
No one left the second Blackhawk and Alex was quite certain it was empty except for the pilots. It was meant to carry them out.
"Cub," Blunt greeted pretty much ignoring everyone else. "I received your message." Alex resisted the urge to spout off a Well, duh! It would seem a little ungrateful after all. So instead he nodded. "Who exactly is this Pink Woman you spoke of?"
"Dolores Umbridge," Alex said curtly. He was very rarely anything but curt with Blunt.
"And Accomplice?" Blunt asked.
"Still deaged sir," Alex told him. Blunt glanced to the doorway, saw the crowd of students and teachers all staring at him, saw Jack and Tom, and nodded once. Then he brushed past them, his suited entourage following close behind.
Alex and K-Unit followed as well.
Dumbledore and Umbridge had both found their way to the doorway and Alex could see Harry, Ron, and Hermione in the front of the crowd. He nodded to them and they nodded or smiled back. Ron even managed to give a little wave.
"Professor Dumbledore," Blunt greeted when he'd made it to the top of the steps.
"Good morning," Dumbledore greeted politely. "I apologize but I do not know your name."
"You're not supposed to," replied Blunt. "That's the whole point."
"I suppose so," Dumbledore said. "Will I be allowed to know your name now?"
"Perhaps," Blunt said, glancing at all the curious students behind their Headmaster. "In a more private setting."
"Of course," Dumbledore said and stepped aside to let Blunt enter the castle. Blunt didn't move but instead dug his hand in his pocket and removed a piece parchment that Alex immediately recognized as the coded letter he had sent out.
"I would also like to speak to one Minister Fudge and the Malfoy family," he said, reading names off the parchment. "And no, that is not a polite request." He folded his hands in front of him and looked at Dumbledore as if daring him not to comply.
"Of course," Dumbledore complied. "I will see what I can do."
An hour later and they were still waiting for Draco Malfoy's parents to appear. Both Malfoy and Harry Potter had been told to come as well and were sitting in a corner not looking at each other. Tom was bouncing around from person to person, talking animatedly. Every few minutes he would pop back over to Dumbledore who would give him another lemon drop. K-Unit was standing in the opposite corner, arms crossed, silent, and in no way amused. Jack and Alex were having a perfectly pleasant conversation about the television shows they had missed while they'd been away.
Blunt was sitting in a chair in front of Dumbledore's desk his legs crossed and one hand tapping a beat on his knee. He looked as if he was in his own office and not the office of a Headmaster at a school of magic. He was ignoring everyone and everything, including the nosy portraits hanging above him.
Alex had no idea where Blunt's people had wandered off to.
Finally, Malfoy's parents were escorted in by Umbridge and Fudge who both looked like they had something sour in their mouths.
"You requested me?" Fudge asked, glaring down at Blunt who couldn't even be bothered to get up.
"And you are?" Blunt asked, looking up at him.
"I am Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge," Fudge sneered. "Who are you?" Blunt eyed him up and down as if trying to decide if he was worth speaking to. It angered Fudge quite thoroughly which was probably why Blunt had done it.
"I would tell you both my name and my title," Blunt said, "but you would not recognize either."
"Regardless," Fudge returned, angry. "I want to know your name."
"Blunt," he said simply and it was lost on no one that this was the only information he was prepared to give.
"Well, Blunt," Fudge continued. "What did you want to discuss?"
"I think the topic of choice is obvious," Blunt said, finally standing and straightening his suit coat. The room immediately became tense as Blunt squared off with the Minister of Magic in Dumbledore's office. K-Unit straightened and became tense; Tom withdrew to Alex and Jack; the Malfoys sneered; Dumbledore stood; Umbridge looked ready to draw her wand; the portraits leaned over for a closer look.
"That man," Fudge seethed, pointing at Wolf. "Attacked a Magical child." He pointed at the Malfoy kid. Blunt didn't bother to follow Fudge's movements but did raise an eyebrow at his lack of control. Alex knew that the only thing that Blunt respected was control. And Fudge seemingly had none.
"That 'child' was an accomplice to an act of destruction at King's Cross Station," Blunt replied coldly. "I have thirteen people still in hospital, thousands worth in damages, and no one to string up for the blame. Did you honestly expect there to be no consequences? You were warned-after what happened with the giants at St. Anthony's bridge-what would happen if anyone was caught using Magic in the Muggle World."
Alex was stunned.
So the Muggle government hadn't just been spying on the Ministry of Magic and on Hogwarts. They had been tracking them. He wondered how many people had disappeared for using Magic on the wrong street corner. And more importantly, what was that thing about the giants?
"Furthermore," Blunt continued, cutting the Minister off from whatever he was about to say. "It is an egregious violation of the Muggle-Wizarding treaty to imprison a Muggle in a Magical institution without first proving murder. There was no murder committed unless that whitewashed child in the corner is a zombie."
Tom snickered at the fact that Blunt had just used the word zombie. Alex sniggered over the descriptor 'whitewashed'. It was surprisingly accurate for Malfoy.
"You are stupid," Blunt said. Jack and Alex shot a look at each other and he saw K-Unit do the same. There was a lot of hate in that small sentence which Alex found odd seeing as these two men had never actually met.
"How dare you," Umbridge started, her hand bringing her wand up. Wolf's hand brought up his gun and aimed it before she could aim her wand. She must have known what a gun was and what it could do, for she froze when she caught sight of it.
"Thank you, Wolf," Blunt said. "That's quite alright."
Wolf lowered his arm but didn't re-holster his weapon.
"As I was saying," Blunt said, still sounding so infuriatingly calm that even Alex was getting annoyed. "You are stupid. I am well within my right to retaliate."
"Well, now," Dumbledore said, jumping in but the really tall Malfoy father interrupted.
"You have no right to do anything," he drawled. "And what damage could your weapons possibly do in the Magical World? After all, Muggle inventions do not work here."
"Really?" Snake asked, sarcastically. "Because I recall two Blackhawks passing your wards and landing on your lawn without any trouble at all."
Malfoy glared at him for daring to talk to him and Alex rolled his eyes.
"How did you manage that?" he asked Blunt who did deign to look at him. "We were told that Magic would interfere with everything."
"Magical interference is not an insurmountable problem. We managed it in the sixties. Secretly of course."
Dumbledore looked suitably impressed by this but didn't say anything.
"And what exactly would you-a Muggle-hope to retaliate with?" Fudge asked. "We upheld our end of the treaty to the best of our ability. That does not give your people the right to beat people up in the streets." Blunt looked straight at the Malfoy kid.
"He's fine," Harry spat, speaking up for the first time and looking thoroughly disgusted with the lot of them. "He's been fine since they discharged him from Saint Mungo's. The Wizengamot isn't allowed to prosecute Muggles unless in the event of murder. Anyone with access to a library would know that. You definitely should."
Alex was suitably impressed both with Harry's bravery in speaking up and for his knowledge. He and his friends clearly must have done some more research after their own conversation in the library.
"I believe that young gentleman is correct," Blunt said and Alex gave Harry a thumbs up. "It is well known that Muggle intelligence services keeps an eye on what happens in this World. We do so to prevent being blindsided in the event of attack and have done so for hundreds of years. And yet, you-Fudge-are the only one to consider it an intrusion."
"It is an intrusion," Umbridge said. "You have no right-"
"I have EVERY right," Blunt shouted with such ferocity that Alex jumped in surprise. Malfoy actually moved to hide behind his mother. "I have every right to protect my people."
"And we have every right to protect ours," Fudge shouted back.
"Not at the expense of the innocent," Dumbledore reminded him gently.
"I have every right to retaliate," Blunt repeated, this time much more calmly. "And I will if you ever violate the treaty again. I will burn this world to the ground without ever setting a Muggle boot on Magical land. And maybe then you will learn to respect the boundaries our ancestors agreed to."
The room fell into a cold silence and Blunt turned to the Malfoy family.
"You are playing with organizations you do not understand and have never heard of," he told them. "Should you continue this game I will be glad to play it with you and you will find yourself sorely unequipped to match us. I will send the Squibs, the Muggleborns, and the werewolves and vampires that turn up at my door with axes to grind and I will continue to send them until the only place you can walk safely is your own grand mansion. And yes, I know where that is as well. Do I make myself clear?"
The lack of answer was the only answer he was going to get but it was enough.
Even Alex was chilled to the bone and he had Blunt on his side.
"How much longer until Accomplice can be returned to normal?" he asked.
"It will be at least another week," Dumbledore replied.
"I will leave you directions on how to Owl the cure to me," Blunt replied. "I am taking my people and we are leaving. This matter is to be dropped and the Ministry of Magic is not approach any of them ever again."
"Understandable," Dumbledore replied, when it appeared that neither Fudge nor Umbridge were willing to say anything. Everything that Blunt had implied about the Muggleborns he knew and the Squibs he knew was sufficient enough to worry them into silence. For now, there was no way to tell who was loyal to whom. Alex was certain that the Ministry of Magic had wronged enough people in the past to have a long string of enemies willing to do Blunt's bidding.
For the first time in a long time, Alex was truly in awe of Blunt's ability to maneuver not only through the Muggle World but the Magical one as well. The man was honestly very gifted when it came to getting what he wanted and they were all incredibly lucky that what he wanted was for the country he'd been put in charge of to survive.
"Thank you, Headmaster Dumbledore," Blunt said. "For allowing K-Unit and their friends to stay in your school." So apparently Blunt knew that Dumbledore had basically prevented them being thrown into Azkaban. Dumbledore nodded and Blunt made a short motion for the group of people to follow him.
Everyone got up and left, Tom taking another lemon drop as he passed the desk on his way to the door.
"I hope this doesn't make you hate our world," Hermione told Alex as they prepared to say goodbye in the Entrance Hall. Blunt and Dumbledore were exchanging pleasantries as Blunt's agents kept eyeing all the curious students as if they were going to blow them up any minute. "We aren't all like the Malfoys."
"I know," Alex told her sincerely. K-Unit was loading their bags into the empty Blackhawk and Jack was saying goodbye to a Professor she'd met and gotten to know a little. Alex had no clue where Tom was. "It's alright. There's a Malfoy in every world I'm afraid."
"Unfortunately," Harry responded. "I-uh-I really am sorry for what happened at King's Cross. I just got so angry with Malfoy. I never would have done it if I'd known what would happen."
"Thanks," Alex said. "I know a bit about being angry. But you didn't kill anyone so no worries."
"Do you think we'll ever see you again?" Ron asked. Alex shook his head.
"It's doubtful. Fudge was pretty clear about the Magical world staying away from us. It's probably for the best though."
"What do you mean?" Hermione asked, her eyebrows crinkling as she tried to work out what he had meant.
"My life isn't really something you need to be apart of. From what I hear, you've got enough problems of your own." He nodded at Harry who reached up to try and make his fringe lay flat enough to hide his scar. Alex hugged Hermione and thanked her again for getting the letter out on time.
There was no more time for words however because at that moment Tom had made his move. A side door flung open and dozens of students-all in Slytherin colors-ran screaming from behind it. Some had their skin colored bright orange, others had feathers sticking out of their hair, and still others were so splattered in paint they were unrecognizable.
Malfoy streaked by, his hair ruffled, bright pink feathers sticking to his clothes, and a panicked look on his face.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry!" he kept shouting as he followed his fellows up the marble steps and to safety.
"What the hell?" Wolf shouted as he caught sight of Tom following the last of the Slytherins but at a much more sedated pace. There was a huge grin on his small face and his hands were orange. "What did you do?"
"Nothing," Tom squeaked and absolutely nobody believed him even after Snape dragged two orange haired twins by their ears into the hall.
"Headmaster," Snape snapped. "I require your assistance."
"Well, I guess this is as good a time as any to say farewell," Dumbledore told Blunt, who nodded. Tom was dragged to a Blackhawk by Wolf who was none too pleased by the chaos he had caused. Alex wondered when Tom had managed to put all this together.
Regardless he owed the deaged prankster thirty quid.
The last thing Alex remembered about Hogwarts was Harry and Ron laughing hysterically and Hermione desperately trying to maintain a semblance of composure and failing.
And a week later, after Tom had been restored to normal by a nasty looking Potion, Alex paid him and both were promptly grounded for making trouble. Alex didn't mind though. It had been worth it.