A/N: I do not own Harry Potter or any of its fruits whether natural or artificial

A/N2: Thanks to rockhead2233 for taking some time to read through the draft.



Aboard HMS Vanquisher

Potter Island, British Indian Ocean Territory

The mighty hull of the two hundred forty-eight meter warship cut through the salty waters surrounding the island as her steam turbines croaked to a stop.

The force of the seawater pushed against her hull, bringing her to an almost complete stop at the same moment that the skipper of the battleship ordered her anchors dropped. Deck hands rushed to obey the order of their captain and within moments, the sound of the cast-iron anchor of the battleship hitting the surface of the water before rapidly sinking into the waves was heard.

A black flag hanging in half-mast fluttered as the air around the battleship made its presence known. Like an ominous sign heralding the coming of darker times, this wind carried with it the faintest twinge of despair and hopelessness, but like true sailors, the men and women aboard the battleship did their best to ignore the effects of the wind.

Standing on the bow of the proud battlewagon, fifteen year old Harry James Potter watched in silence as the garrison of the island that belonged to his family since the eighteenth century turned out in full strength in full mourning uniform. As the Potter heir stood at the bow, silent salty tears streaked from both of his deep green eyes, tears that came about as he reflected on the events that had led him to this day.

Hermione Jane Granger-Potter also cried silent tears, as she stood beside her husband and held his hand, offering her unwavering, silent support.

The two faces of one coin, the Lord and Lady Potter shared a soul-bond so powerful that both of them needed very few words in order to know what the other was feeling. In times like these – when what they were feeling was usually the same – this proved to be a boon as neither the Lord nor Lady Gryffindor were in any condition to tell anyone how they felt.

The loud sounds of seven fired rifles cut through the ominous wind. Twice more, seven rifles were fired with their muzzles pointed towards the air as the traditional twenty one gun salute was fired in preparation for the final ceremony that the body of Alvin Charles York, former commander of the Potter Family Guards, would go through.

The sound of a lone bugler playing taps followed the last shots fired by the honor guard as Harry and Hermione both reflected on the events that had led them to this sad event.

Less than a year ago, Harry was attacked by two dementors near his old home in England. Although he was able to drive away the attackers, it was Al York and Remus Lupin – Harry's old defense professor and honorary uncle – who had helped him. It was thanks to their help that the Potter heir was able to learn of the manipulations in his life and had provided him the assistance that he required in order to rise to his current position.

Turning his gaze toward his wife, Harry forced through a smile. Though sad, there was a hint of appreciation in that faint smile as the Potter heir remembered that it was also Al who was invaluable in helping to bring Harry and Hermione together. Hermione's grip on her husband's hand tightened as she, too, turned her gaze to him. No words passed between them, but both knew that the other was thinking about the part that Al had played in getting the two of them together.

The words of the vicar forced Harry and Hermione to turn their gaze away from one another and towards the starboard side of the battleship where the coffin containing the body of Al rested. The flag of the United Kingdom – symbolizing the past service of Al York to Her Majesty's Royal Navy – draped the coffin.

Both Harry and Hermione noticed the throng of people gathered around the coffin. With her eyes hidden by dark shades in order to hide the tears that were cascading down from her eyes, Irina Engels held a bouquet of white roses close to her chest. Stoic, but without a doubt, mourning, Sirius Black and Remus Lupin stood beside the woman who had stood at Al's deathbed. Wearing his old uniform and with a mourning cloth tied by his left arm, Dan Granger stood beside his wife Emma, who was crying buckets of tears. Fred and George Weasley, their smiles gone for the first time since Harry had known them, stood with their father. With their hands held together, Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood also wept in silence.

They all watched as four men approached Al's coffin. At some unspoken signal, the four men tipped the wooden platform where the coffin rested toward the sea and the coffin slid from its resting position toward the waters.

Like the anchor that stopped the ship but a few moments ago, the coffin bearing the final, mortal remains of Alvin Charles York slid into the sea as those aboard the mighty battleship watched. As soon as the coffin had slid into the deep waves, Irina dropped the bouquet of white roses that she was carrying at the same spot where the coffin of the man she loved, had sunk into.

Harry tightened his grip on his wife's hands. Unsurprised by this, Hermione returned the gesture and an unspoken message again passed between the Lord and Lady Gryffindor. Those that were responsible for the death of Alvin York would pay dearly.

Potter Manor

Potter Island, British Indian Ocean Territory

Their hands still held together – though this time, they were holding hands under the table – Harry and Hermione sat at the head of the table used for meetings.

Seated to their right, Hector Boone – Al's replacement – had just finished briefing Harry and Hermione about the status of their forces worldwide.

"The question is, what would the bastard do next," Hermione said as soon as their chief bodyguard had finished his report, she looked at Sirius and Remus – the former had recently begun teaching the newest recruits into their ranks, the latter had recently taken over the position of intelligence chief – and asked, "Do we have any indications that he had really planned on breaking his army during that encounter, or did we force his hand?"

Remus looked at the young girl who had once been his most brilliant student. As he did so, he considered the question that she had asked and was forced to concede that it was a valid concern. If Albus Dumbledore had planned for his military force to break their cover during that encounter, then chances were that his entire military force is already ready to move out. Intelligence estimates that should that have been the case, an alliance with the mundane government might be the only solution.

If, on the other hand, Dumbledore did not plan for his army to break their cover during that encounter, then chances were, his entire military force was not yet ready to move. Should that be the case, then there would be enough room to still wiggle around and possibly secure a small victory that would keep the lid on his military force for at least another few months. Needless to say, these were the ideal circumstance for those who oppose the Old Man.

"Given that most of his manpower is still in Eastern Europe, I am inclined to think that this was not as planned," Remus replied. He paused before he added, "However, we have no information to prove this, just as we have no information to prove otherwise."

"In other words, we are guessing," Dan Granger added his two cents worth. He turned toward his daughter and son-in-law and suggested, "Perhaps it is time to ally with Her Majesty"

"Al had warned us that it might be the only course left to take," Hector admitted with his head bowed. He looked toward Harry and explained the suggestion, "At the most, we can only field one thousand men and women with the most basic of firearms at their disposal, we lack artillery, unless you count on the Vanquisher, and even then, it would not be much help inland, no armor, no aircraft, a small support and logistics group."

Harry nodded, "That is something to consider for some other time, however," he said, he looked toward Remus and asked, "How about his plans, do we know what the bastard is planning?"

Remus shook his head, "Nothing solid in that," he admitted with a hanged head, "We, however, know that he intends to rule the magical world, I guess that the first step would be to make himself ruler in Magical Britain first"

"He was Chief Warlock, so he was the de facto leader of magical Britain," Hermione pointed out, "the question becomes, would he be able to regain his seat?"

"I do not think that regaining the seat would be necessary," Sirius replied, "Our investigations had proven that Cornelius Fudge is an incompetent corrupted bastard who knew nothing, the trust and confidence of the people to the minister had fallen, so I think that the Supreme Obliviator would be able to regain his seat, but why would he need to regain his seat if he simply take it with his army instead?"

"A valid point, one that we have failed to consider," Harry admitted, he looked at his godfather and asked, "How about the Ministry, would they be able to hold, or should we be saying goodbye to them as well?"

Sirius did not even hesitate to shake his head, "No, the Ministry would not be able to hold," he replied. He seemed shaken about his own admission as he added, "There are a few people in the Ministry that we can trust to become good Ministers for Magic, but in the face of what the Supreme Obliviator is doing, I doubt even a hundred Amelia Bones' would be able to do anything."

Harry nodded. He looked at his wife for a few moments before she nodded, and then he turned his attention back toward the others, "Then we can conclude that the Ministry is going to fall, sooner rather than later," he said. He sighed before he asked, "Do we evacuate?"

Nervous fidgeting was the reply of everyone at the table. None of the other four men at the table wanted to answer the question, but after a few moments, Dan told himself that they had better get this over with.

"I would recommend against an evacuation," the former naval dentist said, before his daughter or son-in-law could protest to what even he would agree to be a heartless decision, the dentist added, "I know that we are condemning thousands of people to die, but we do not have the capability to evacuate them in the first place, and even if we did, where should we put them? There is also the very real possibility of spies being introduced into our camp through this method."

Hermione looked ready to argue, but before she could say anything, she was silenced by Harry placing his other hand over hers. She looked at him with a furious expression that the Duke of Gryffindor had come to realize would be the face that she would put up whenever she was ready to launch into a tirade, but as soon as she looked at him, her face mellowed down and she decided to follow whatever her husband decided regarding the situation.

Harry turned toward the four men at the table with them. The Duke of Gryffindor sighed before he nodded and said, "I do not agree with leaving behind innocent people, but I agree with the very valid points that have been put up against the evacuation," he sighed again before he nodded toward his father-in-law and said, "We are agreed then, no evacuation."

The four men nodded, but what surprised Harry was that Hermione did not seem to exhibit any protest against his decision. He looked at her and she merely nodded, though she did so without a smile. It was the only indication that Harry needed in order to know that they would be having a much more serious conversation about this very topic later when they were alone.

"Sirius, how about our allies in the Ministry?" Harry asked.

Sirius considered the question before he replied, "We have several allies and a few more that we can consider sympathetic with our cause," he said, "what were you thinking?"

"Would they be able to help us?" Harry asked, "At the very least, would they be able to provide us with information?"

"I would have to consider that, pup," Sirius admitted, he frowned before he added, "Generally, I think that they would be able to help us, but you also need to consider what would happen should the Supreme Obliviator decided to come down on them. We might lose those avenues for intelligence, worse, we might even lose the men and women we have inside the Ministry."

Harry nodded but did not say anything for a few moments. Silence descended on the meeting until Hermione spoke up, "What about the mundane government?" she asked, "I know that we have not yet come to a concrete solution in regards to them, but they must have sources inside the ministry known only to them, could we ask for intelligence from them?"

"Should we ally with them, that would probably be a given," Hector admitted, "but as we are not yet allied with them…" he let the thought go unfinished.

"I suggest that we begin the process," Hermione said, "it would take some time."

"Agreed," Sirius replied, he looked at his godson and his wife and added, "The mundane prime minister knows me, I can request a meeting and brief him about what has happened, that should be a good start."

"He also knows Al," Hector added in a low voice. All heads turned toward the new chief bodyguard of the Potter Family and watched as the American said, "He sent his condolences," he looked at Sirius, "Should you brief him, I imagine that he would be asking about the death of Al," he shook his head and added, "You know that Al was a noble right?"

Sirius – and everyone else – nodded. Hector continued, "Al is the last of his line, so you can bet that there would be quite an inquiry as to his death," he said, "Her Majesty herself would probably request a briefing."

"Considering that he was killed by Dumbledore, would they take that as justification for war?" Dan asked, "I mean, I don't think she needs to ask Parliament to declare war against what is essentially just another part of her government right?"

"Truthfully, I have no idea," Hector replied.

"In any case," Harry said, he turned to his godfather and continued, "You should go and request that meeting and bring anyone that you think you would need when you brief the PM."

"Got it," Sirius said. The former prisoner stood and then said, "Wish me luck pup," before he turned and left the room.

"What about training?" Remus suddenly asked as soon as the other marauder had left the room, he looked at Harry and Hermione and said, "I know that the two of you require less of it, but the same cannot be said about the others, in particular, the two young ladies who have just joined us."

Harry and Hermione both knew that the marauder was talking about Susan and Hannah. Although neither Harry nor Hermione thought that the two girls would be able to contribute much, it was only fair that they be allowed the same opportunity as the others. Both the Lord and Lady knew that their other friends were going to continue their training in the island, so it should not prove troublesome to add the two young Hufflepuffs to the roster.

Thinking about the two young Hufflepuffs, however, brought about another problem to the table. Hermione turned to Remus and asked, "Do you know how their disappearance is being reported?"

Remus shook his head, "It is not being reported," he replied truthfully, at the shocked expression on the face of the two youngsters, Remus added, "What happened in Hogwarts last week is not common knowledge, we think that it was because the school has been closed to the outside world."

"'closed to the outside world'?" Harry asked, and turned toward Hermione but she shook her head indicating that she had no idea what Remus was talking about, so Harry turned his gaze back toward his former professor and asked outright, "What is that supposed to mean?"

"Exactly as it sounds," Remus replied with a rather somber grin, he sighed before he added, "It means that the Headmaster had ordered the wards surrounding the school at full strength, no mail is coming into or leaving the school, and certainly no one is entering or leaving the school."

"And the parents are taking this sitting down?" a shocked Hermione asked, "I would have expected them to be up in arms and marching to the school while demanding answers from anyone they could grab from the school."

Remus again smiled, "What makes you think that that is not what is happening out there right now?" he asked rhetorically. The werewolf added before Hermione could answer his question, "An angry mob is waiting at the borders of Hogsmeade, since the town is considered part of the school, complete with burning brands and pitchforks"

Harry smiled, but as his thoughts formed, the smile on his face disappeared. After a few moments, he asked, "And the bastard has no plans of lowering the wards?"

Remus shook his head, "We think that he would lower the wards when his army is fully prepared," he admitted, "Since we do not know when that would be…" he trailed off, but everyone understood.

Harry nodded. "Anything else?" he asked. The Duke knew that there were a lot of other things that they should be talking about, but at the same time, he knew that those other problems would not come up until a solution – permanent or otherwise – could be thought of. The Duke, therefore, was confident that his advisers would shake their head when he asked that question.

Harry and Hermione's Room, Potter Manor

Potter Island, British Indian Ocean Territory

Both Harry and Hermione were just about ready to collapse into their bed the moment that they walked into their room.

After the meeting with their closest advisors, the couple had decided to join some of the men in a firearms proficiency test being conducted in the barracks. Again proving that she was a better shooter than her husband, Hermione bagged first place in the impromptu tournament that sprung up when news of their arrival reached the rank and file.

In the celebration that followed, Harry and Hermione just about depleted the rest of their energy as they celebrated with people who were desperately clinging at anything that would push the memory of the death of their former commander away from the forefront of their minds.

It took some time, but Harry and Hermione were finally able to convince Hermione's father to let them sleep together. Although they were already married, – and Dan Granger had once made a deal with his daughter about sleeping with Harry – her parents were always seeking ways to prevent them from sharing a bed.

Harry flipped the switch to the lights in the room open the moment that he and his wife entered the room. The couple decided to continue their conversation in bed so they were ready to jump into their king-size mattress the first moment that they entered the room. When they entered, however, both felt the presence of a foreign energy source in the room and both adopted a battle ready stance.

Although assured of the security on the island, neither was willing to take the risk, especially when the safety of their spouse was on the line.

A few moments later, both Harry and Hermione relaxed as they realized that, not only had they not been taught how to feel for the magic and identify said magic, but also that they recognized the magic that was being projected around their room. What was more mysterious, however, was the fact that the owner of this magical signature was supposedly buried earlier this morning.

Extending his mage sight, Harry was easily able to trace the source of the Al's magical signature and found it on the end table at the right side of their bed. Harry motioned for Hermione to cover him while he drew his wand and crept towards the end table. Although the magical signature belonged to Al, Harry was not about to take chances.

A surprised Harry found the source of the magic. Lying on the table with the flap pointed towards him was a white envelope with his and Hermione's name written on it. Harry silently levitated the envelope as Hermione cast a scanning charm on the paper. When the charm came back negative, Harry opened the white envelope to find a letter and a gold keychain with an iron key inside.

"What do you think?" Harry asked as he showed his wife the contents of the envelope.

Hermione frowned, and Harry smiled as he realized that the reason that his wife was frowning was because she was not sure what to think and what to answer. The smile came as the Duke considered that no matter how much things had changed, the more things stayed the same.

"Read the letter already would you," Hermione said when she realized that her husband was staring at her. More to the point, she could hear exactly what he was thinking and she did not appreciate it.

Harry raised both of his hands in mock surrender but he quickly placed them down when he saw that the frown on his wife's face was deepening. With a faint smile, he gently unfolded the letter inside the white envelope and began to read.

Dear Harry and Hermione,

By the time that you read this, I am going to bet that not only am I already dead, I am also probably buried already.

I know, I am cheating since the charm on this letter would only activate the moment that my mortal body was resting on the depths of the oceans, so I know exactly that I was right.

In any case, no, this is not a sort of final will and testament, and no, I do not have any final instructions in this letter. This letter is just a reminder to the Lady Ravenclaw that my notes are already waiting for her in the family library. Hermione, I think that you would find them interesting.

That's it.

Alvin Charles York

Hermione frowned as she looked at her husband, "Well, at least we know now that he was not kidding when he told us that he'd leave us everything that he had ever learned," she said. Her frustration at not being able to locate those same notes that Al had promised her for the last week had nearly caused her to destroy the library, but because she was Hermione, she managed to refrain from doing so by reminding herself that there were books in the library. Strangely – or probably not – that was all that was needed to control her temper.

"Something interesting?" Harry asked rhetorically as he read the letter again. He looked at Hermione and asked, "Do you have any idea what he is talking about?"

"How the hell am I supposed to know if I have not even read any of it?" a cross Hermione asked as she crossed her arms over her chest. Realizing how she was speaking to her husband, she managed to control her temper and then added in a much more sedate tone, "I can't wait to read them though."

"Love, you cannot wait to read anything," Harry said as the both of them descended into laughter.

Ministry of Magic Atrium,

London, England, United Kingdom

Eric the security guard was bored out of his mind and this was obvious as the ministry security guard covered his mouth with his palm as he yawned.

The security guard glanced towards the massive magical clock that was mounted near his work station and noted that there was still twenty more minutes before his shift ended and though he was tempted to leave early – there appeared to be no visitors to the Ministry this morning – he was professional enough to remain at his post even when faced with such extreme boredom.

The next moment, however, he was blown out of his boredom – and his workstation. The floo fireplaces commonly utilized by the workers in the Ministry suddenly flared, signaling imminent arrival of wizards and witches. The most unusual thing about this, however, was the fact that the fireplaces suddenly began ejecting people in strange uniforms that Eric had never seen before at the exact same time.

"Hey…," the security guard began, but before he could push another word out of his mouth, he found himself flying in an arc. He briefly wondered how he was able to do that before he wondered no more.

The body of the security guard landed on the waters of the Fountain of Magical Brethren, forgotten.

"Secure the area quickly," the apparent leader of his uniformed wizards said, he looked at his compatriots and then added, "For the Order of the Phoenix."