Author's Note: (1) I posted this story a few years ago under my old pen name, but later deleted it. Now I'm posting it again. (2) This epilogue is set nineteen years later in 2012.
"This is not how I wanted to spend my first year in office," Minister Potter said as she pinched the bridge of her nose. "Hermione, please tell us you have some good news."
It was obvious the Unspeakable had recently been crying, but she pulled herself together for this meeting. "I'm sorry Minister Potter, but the situation looks even worse than we originally feared. I brought my parents here to the Ministry of Magic at the first sign of trouble, but they and the other muggle we've been observing have the exact same symptoms. All the organs in their bodies are deteriorating at a progressive rate. Even if magical medicine worked well on muggles—and in most cases it doesn't—they would still be nothing we could do to save them."
The short report had taken everything out of Hermione, and she collapsed into the arms of her husband. All Cedric could do was hold her as she began to cry again.
"What about the muggleborn students at Hogwarts?" Headmaster Potter quietly asked the group. Harry had only been appointed to the position last year when Horace Slughorn died of a massive heart attack. Too many crystallized pineapples can do that, even to a wizard. "They will want to go home to be with their parents."
"Harry, you must keep them at Hogwarts. By force if necessary," Dora answered. "If any students leave the safety of the castle and enter the muggle world who knows what would happen to them. It is total chaos out there, and it is only going to get worse in the coming weeks."
"I agree, mon cher," Fleur Delacour said in a tender voice. "Gabrielle just told me over the Floo that Headmistress Maxime has already sealed the wards around Beauxbatons. We can not allow the children to come to any harm."
It was a common topic of debate in the pubs of magical world as to which Potter brother was the luckier bastard. Normally the one married to a Metamorphmagus would be the clear winner, but some argued that Harry had that beat. Not only was he married to Daphne Potter—the most attractive Minister of Magic in centuries—but his mistress was a Veela.
The trio had been inseparable since the year Vito won the Triwizard Tournament. Dora maintained that the two witches were really in love with each other, and were only using Harry as a sperm donor. Vito agreed, but didn't see the problem. Fleur had kept her maiden name, and gave her happy father five Delacour heirs. The trio had eight children in total, and all of them were beautiful. Of course young Tom and Merope Potter were both skilled Metamorphmagi like their mother, so Vito wasn't jealous of his brother on that score.
"This won't do," Daphne declared. "We can't deal with a situation like this on an ad hoc basis. We must to go to the Wizengamot, and have them declare Martial Law. What does my Chief Warlock think about that idea?"
Harry let out a deep sigh. He loved being the Chief Warlock almost as much as he loved being the Headmaster of Hogwarts, and he was a natural at both jobs. "The Wizengamot is terrified that this muggle disease will cross-over into the magical world, so if we present them a decisive plan of action they'll go along with it."
"Bill, how are things going in shops of Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade?" Daphne asked. "I'm guessing that maintaining a secure food supply will be our biggest problem."
Although Bill Weasley and his wife Cho were not technically part of the Ministry of Magic, Daphne had invited them to this emergency meeting anyway. After a war had mysteriously broken-out between the Goblins of Gringotts and the Gnomes of Switzerland, the wizards had finally decided to open their own bank. It had been a smart move, since both magical races were now extinct. The husband and wife team of Bill and Cho Weasley were the Co-CEOs of the First Magus Bank, and no one in Europe knew more about the magically economy than they did.
"Eighteen months ago you would have been right, but since the passage of the Agricultural Reform Act our food supply is now totally separate from the muggles." Bill replied.
"I'm perfectly aware of what the Agricultural Reform Act does since I'm the one who actually wrote it," Daphne said through clenched teeth. "I just thought that we were still having problems with the bloody black market."
"I dealt with the black marketers myself," Vito said.
Everyone in the room leaned back in their chairs in an effort to get farther away from him. Even Harry and Dora. Vito had won the World Dueling Championship for seven straight years before retiring from official competition in his early twenties. And as the Director of Magical Law Enforcement he had personally slaughtered magical criminals on six continents. There was only one thing better than being a Dark Lord: being a Dark Lord with a badge. It made eliminating the competition so much easier.
"Cho, have you heard anything new from your sources in Asia?"
"No, I'm afraid not. The outbreak of this disease is affecting every part of the muggle world in roughly the same way. It's just as bad in China, Japan, and Indonesia as it is here in Europe."
"I don't understand any of this," Cedric remarked. "I thought when the muggles started using Alkahest they had solved all of their medical problems."
The discovery of Alkahest had been hailed the most important medical advance in human history when it shown up under mysterious circumstances two years ago. Ads on the muggle internet guaranteed that it could cure any health problem, and it had worked as promised. Several governments tried to ban the new drug until it could undergo proper clinical trials, but it had been impossible to contain.
Around one-hundred and fifty thousand people die around the world each day, and a patient facing death isn't going to wait months or even years for the approval of someone in white lab coat when there is a chance to stay alive. From the hospitals Alkahest had quickly spread to the general population thanks to its cheap price. Why suffer through something as unpleasant as the common cold when you didn't have to?
"Oh Cedric, I knew that this was going to happen. I knew it," Hermione wailed. "This disease must be an unanticipated side-effect of Alkahest. That is the only explanation that makes sense to me and the other Unspeakables."
"But I've personally seen dozens of wizards and witches take the stuff, and none of them have gotten sick," Cedric said.
"Our research suggests that Alkahest only has this effect on the muggles," Hermione explained. "For some unknown reason our magic protects our bodies from any harm."
"That is the same conclusion I am hearing from my friends in the Chinese Ministry of Magic," Cho added softly. The two gifted witches and their husbands had become very close friends over the years.
Very close, Vito thought with a mental smirk.
"Dora, you seem nervous for some reason," Daphne said. A witch didn't become the Minister of Magic at her age without razor-sharp political instincts.
"Last night we carried out the Omega Protocol here in the United Kingdom," his wife blurted out. "So have all the other magical governments around the world."
The entire room froze, and for good reason. The Omega Protocol was a relic of the Cold War. Finding out that the Muggles had the atomic bomb in 1945 was bad enough, but during the Cuban Missile Crisis the two superpowers had almost destroyed the world. In response the ICW had developed a plan to seize control of all the world's nuclear weapons in case of an emergency. The Omega Protocol included the use of all three of the Unforgivable Curses on a global scale.
"And on whose authority did you take such a drastic action?" Daphne asked in a cold voice.
"On my authority as both the Director of the DMLE, and as the Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards," Vito replied.
While he had been willing to settle for a secondary position here in the United Kingdom for political reasons, the ICW was another matter. There Vito had insisted on having the top job, and no other wizard in the international organization was willing to dispute the awesome power of the new Elder Wand.
"Daphne! Vito! Will you both just calm down," Harry pleaded. "I am sure that my brother has a perfectly reasonable explanation for his actions. Don't you?"
"As Hermione just pointed out, this sickness is only affecting the muggles. When they find out that wizards and witches are immune they are going to want to capture us for study. Or maybe they will just attack us out of pure spite. Either way, depriving them of their nuclear weapons seems like a sensible precaution to me. They can't really hurt us with their more conventional forces."
"You made the right decision," Daphne snapped. "Just don't make a habit out of ignoring the chain of command."
"Of course not, Minister Potter."
Vito was content to play the humble servant for now, because in a few days the chain of command was going to undergo a major reorganization. The Alkahest Crisis required strong, centralized leadership. The ICW and its young Supreme Mugwump would provide that leadership—whether Daphne and her foreign colleagues liked it or not.
As more muggles died from the side-effects of Alkahest, the struggle for the remaining resources would lead to riots and then to wars. These wars would produce mass casualties, and outbreaks of virulent diseases would soon follow. In desperation they would turn to Alkahest again despite the known risks, and the vicious cycle would start over. According to his calculations the muggle population would drop below a hundred million in less than five years.
By that point the survivors would be reduced to steam-powered technology, which would allow the ICW to openly seize power with minimal risk to its own Aurors. The newly conquered muggles would be treated well. Vito had developed a quick and painless spell that would sterilize the males. The females would act as surrogates for fertilized zygotes donated by carefully selected magical couples. If all went according to plan the magical population of the world would climb from its current two million to over forty million by the end of the twenty-first century. This rapid population growth would be greatly aided by the mass production of the Elixir of Life.
Or Alkahest, if you preferred its more poetic muggle name.
As for Harry Potter and the Power the Dark Lord Knows Not? Over the years Vito had continued to study his brother, but to no avail. However the day he discovered Harry's ultimate secret... that would be the day Harry died.
Until then there was much work to be done.