Disclaimer: I do not own anything from Harry Potter or Avengers...
Another oneshot; takes place after The Letter but before Falling Skies. Like I said, my profile has the order of this series.
Yes, these oneshots are relatively important to the series overall so read them as well or you might not understand a few points in Falling Skies.
Summary: Oneshot in the Finding Home!verse. In a war, there are always sides, and choices must be made. Some choices are easy. Others, not so much.
When Pigwidgeon arrived at the Burrow, it was only coincidence that resulted in the entire Weasley clan being there.
There had been quite the stir in the Ministries of Magic all across the world when something, invisible and shadow-like, had broken into the most top-secret archives and departments each country had to offer, taking nothing save the information that magic existed and what it could do. The frenzy had reached an all-time high when they realized it couldn't possibly be a Muggle's doing and a wizard would have no need to gather intel. No one had any idea what it was, but they had managed to trace the disturbance's signature and match it to something very similar in New York. The signal there had been weak and only lasted for a brief moment, but they were convinced something would happen in that city very soon.
So the talks started, arguments and discussions and disputes taking place between several Ministries until the American Ministry finally, reluctantly, acquiesced to the death wards. The British had suggested it, reminding everyone that they were the ones to have survived two Dark Lords and three wars and that they knew what they were doing. The Muggles would put it down to a terrorist attack, a rumour that was already going around in that city, and they would contain New York until they were certain the threat was over.
One American official against this idea had desperately thrown out the fact that Harry Potter, Britain's Saviour, resided in New York, and could the British really leave him to a fate like that? This had caused an instant uproar and Minister Shacklebolt had immediately contacted Auror Ronald Weasley to contact Harry Potter and ask him to return to Britain.
But what if Harry Potter didn't want to leave, much less return? The British Ministry had replied that they could not sacrifice the world for one man, even if that man was the Man-Who-Conquered-the-Dark-Lord.
And so it was decided.
But at that moment, the Weasley family was assembled at the dinner table, just finishing up their supper.
Ginny was there, having recently been divorced by her rich husband, and had moved back into her parents' house temporarily. Ron and Hermione were there with their children as well, on their bi-weekly visits to the Burrow.
Fred and George had stopped by at their mother's request, interested in the latest news at the Ministry that their father could tell them and ended up staying for dinner. Neither of the twins had married, though Fred was dating a brunette, Hayley, who was currently out of town visiting family.
Percy had come home from the Ministry along with Arthur, still talking about the debates when the fireplace roared and out stepped his brothers.
Charlie had come home for a visit after several letters from Molly on how worried she was about the recent events, and Bill and Fleur had also arrived, Victoire, Dominique, and Louis in tow, for much the same reason as Charlie.
There was a great amount of noise when Pigwidgeon swooped in, twittering madly, and it took several minutes for Ron to calm his owl down enough to untie Harry's note.
"It looks like he was planning to leave anyway," Ron announced after scanning the letter. "He doesn't sound-"
"Let me see that," Hermione plucked the letter from his hands, ignoring the exasperated look her husband sent him as she looked at the note. "Ronald, he says he was thinking about it."
"Well yeah, but after our letter, he'll definitely leave," Ron protested.
Hermione released a deep sigh as she tossed the letter on the table. After a moment, George swiped it up, ignoring his mother's disapproving expression, and proceeded to look through it with Fred.
"Ron, Harry knows we're talking about the death wards," Hermione said, glancing over at Bill when he stiffened. "Don't you remember what happened last time? The whole letter is vague. He's just writing what he knows we want to hear. He's not going anywhere. You can be sure that when the wards go up, Harry's going to be right at the centre of it."
"Wait," Bill interrupted, leaning forward. "What happened last time?"
"Not in front of the children," Molly cut in sharply, and the kids were sent out of the room, the older ones complaining all the way.
"The Ministry decided to use the death wards again about six months after you returned to Egypt," Ron explained, frowning when Bill grimaced. "Oh come on, Bill. It was necessary. You can't possibly still be hung up on that."
"Ronniekins, why don't you just continue?" George asked pleasantly, idly tapping the letter against the table as Fleur pinned the youngest Weasley son with a cold glare.
Ron shrugged but hurried on. "Anyway, we got wind of the orders and Harry just snapped. He went mad, Apparating to the town and shouting at the officials who were setting up the wards. When they wouldn't listen to him, well, you know how powerful he's gotten, he tore all of them down, shattered them like they were nothing but glass before storming the Ministry. He stunned anyone who got tried to stop him and forced his way into the Department of Mysteries where the ward archives are kept. Looked up the section on death wards and set the entire room on fire. Burned every last rune and parchment to ashes before he walked right back out again," Ron released a strained chuckle. "'Course, being the Boy-Who-Lived and all, he got away with it of course, even though the Ministry was pissed with him."
Judging by the unimpressed looks the twins sent him, Ron had not succeeded in hiding the bitterness in his voice, but neither said anything as Bill demanded, "Why didn't anyone tell me about this? I thought the death wards were still actively being used by the Ministry."
Hermione answered this time, sounding displeased. "Well Harry humiliated the Ministry, didn't he? They didn't want it getting out that Harry disagreed with them so drastically that he decided to destroy a prototype that they've been working on for some time so anyone who knew about it was told not to say anything."
"And then he packed his bags the very next day and left," Ron finished. "Without a word to anyone, he just disappeared into Muggle London and started living with these Muggles."
A stilted silence followed before Bill reached out for the letter. Reading it, he asked quietly, "The Ministry is definitely going through with the death wards?"
Arthur and Percy both nodded. "It was decided this morning," Arthur revealed in a resigned tone as he shot Ron an unreadable look. "Most of the Aurors agreed and Kingsley will be assembling a team tomorrow to head over to America to coordinate the wards with them. They'll be set up two days from now, if that."
Bill nodded, put down the letter, and turned to Ron and Hermione. "What will you do?" He asked directly. "About Harry?"
Ron shrugged as Hermione shook her head. "What can we do? Harry's about as moveable as a mountain once he makes up his mind so there would be no point in going there to try to convince him to leave. But we need to contain this threat or magic could be revealed to the Muggles. He knows what death wards do and he should be smart enough to realize that we've upgraded these so he wouldn't be able to tear them down, so if he keeps his head down and stays away from the wards, he should be fine."
Nobody looked very surprised at their inaction. Once Harry had left and after the huge falling-out between them on the front lawn of that Muggle family he had been staying with, the Golden Trio had been divided. Neither Ron nor Hermione had so much as had a glimpse of Harry for almost nine years.
"Let's go home now, Bill," Fleur suddenly spoke up, having been studying her husband's expression for the past five minutes. Her English had gotten better and there were only traces of an accent as she spoke. "Thank you for ze dinner, Molly. Eet was delicious as usual."
Bill nodded in agreement, rising to his feet as well much to his mother's disappointment. Charlie followed suit, with Fred and George chorusing their goodbyes a moment later, and the family get-together was soon over as everyone made a hasty retreat.
"Are you guys really not going to bring Harry back here?" Ginny asked looking from Ron to Hermione.
Ron sighed as he sent his sister an annoyed look. "Gin, we already told you, Harry's not coming back to the Wizarding world. We knew that after our argument all those years ago. Now I'm not going to waste my time trying to convince you, again, that there is no hope of you marrying him either. Go to bed."
Ginny huffed angrily and stalked out of Ron's old bedroom where they had decided to stay for a night, the slam of the door only muffled by Hermione's quick hand so that the noise wouldn't wake up their children.
"Are we doing the right thing?" Hermione asked, leaning against her husband. "Leaving Harry to fend for himself like this?"
"He's not coming back, Mione," Ron said tersely. "And trying to convince him that that city isn't worth it will only make him mad. All we can do is hope he gets out of whatever he's gotten himself into alive."
"And we can't join him anyway," Hermione agreed. "We've got the children to think about now."
"Exactly," Ron said stoutly. "Besides, Harry always gets out of these things in one piece. He'll be fine."
"Are the death wards really necessary, father?" Percy asked, absently flipping through a book as he sat on the couch. He needed to go into the Ministry with his dad tomorrow anyway so a night in his old home wouldn't hurt.
"I'm afraid it doesn't really matter if they're necessary or not," Arthur said heavily. "The Ministry's made up their minds. You know how they can get when it comes to something they can't control. They don't want another You-Know-Who."
"And what about Harry?" Molly said sharply. "If he really does decide to stay in New York; I don't know how Ron and Hermione can just leave him there."
"Harry's an adult now, mother," Percy said stiffly, though the sudden tightness of his voice betrayed his anxiety. "He can make his own decisions. And anyway, Harry has always been good at fighting. This time won't be any different."
No one voiced the loud possibility that Harry might not make it this time.
Charlie flopped down on the bed Bill had lent him for his temporary stay at Shell Cottage. His brother hadn't sold the place even after he and Fleur had moved to Egypt.
He hadn't been as close to Harry as Ron and Hermione, but then again, look how that friendship had turned out.
Rolling onto his side, he eyed the closed door and thought he could hear Bill pacing back and forth in the sitting room. His brother had a tendency to do that when he was thinking deeply about something.
Bill had told him a few years back just who it was that had paid all the expenses to give him a place in Egypt again. Thinking back to the hollow expression following the first set of death wards, Charlie didn't think he had ever been so grateful to Harry, not even after the seventeen-year-old had offed Voldemort, although that was a close second.
He knew Bill considered himself in Harry's debt, and he wondered just what his brother would do now.
"I owe him, Fleur," Bill said in a low tone.
"And you theenk I do not?" Fleur's voice was sharp enough for Bill to look back at her. His wife was standing in the doorway, arms crossed and expression as fierce as it had been during the war. "I have 'Arry to thank for still having a husband after all. No one else even noticed what you were going through, and not only did 'Arry notice, he also saved you. You and I both know you would not have lasted long had you stayed. I would have paid for everything myself if my family hadn't lost so much during the war."
Bill stared at Fleur for a long second before heaving a sigh and sinking down on the couch, closing his eyes as he did so. After a moment, he felt Fleur sit down beside him, her hand finding his.
"If I had known that my family would just stop talking to Harry after he left the Wizarding world for good..." Bill trailed off, gently clasping his wife's hand in his own.
Fleur smiled wryly at him. "This eez what happens when we only visit them once every two years. We miss everything."
Bill chuckled weakly but he soon sobered, straightening with resolve. "I can't just leave Harry in New York while the wards go up around the city."
Fleur nodded briskly. "I will contact my sister and see if she can look after the children." She glared when Bill made to protest. "Do not theenk, for one moment, that I will let you go alone. I have conseedered 'Arry a friend ever since he saved Gabrielle. I am coming as well."
Bill sighed. He knew better than to argue with his wife once she had made up her mind. "You think Gabrielle can take the kids?" He asked instead.
"I will ask," Fleur assured. "Though I am sure-"
"I could look after them," A quiet voice offered from the doorway. They both turned and caught sight of Charlie standing there.
"If you want, I could look after them until you come back," Charlie clarified as he stepped into the room. "I'm taking a vacation of sorts from the reserve anyway so I wouldn't even have to spend half the day at work. I could take the kids full-time, back at your place in Egypt too."
Bill and Fleur looked at each other before smiling appreciatively at the dragon tamer.
"Thanks, bro," Bill said, getting to his feet. "You're sure?"
"'Course," Charlie nodded cheerfully but his eyes were serious. "The kids will be fine with me. You two just make sure to come home alive. And look out for Harry too."
"Definitely," Bill agreed as Fleur leaned forward to kiss Charlie on the cheek.
"I will start packing," Fleur said briskly. "The death wards go up in two days. We will need to be inside before that time."
Bill nodded and waved Charlie goodnight as his brother disappeared with a yawn. Alone now, he stared out at the night sky. Knowing what he did about Harry's personality, the younger wizard couldn't be expected to be overjoyed when they saw each other, but Bill didn't care. Harry would deny it, but he owed the man his life. Staying in Britain with all the meaningless deaths surrounding him and no room to breathe would've pushed him over the edge eventually and he was beyond grateful that Harry had stepped in when he did. If Bill had known of Harry's complete estrangement from his family sooner (and he hadn't known until five years after Ron and Hermione had stopped talking to Harry, and that was only because of a slip of the tongue from Ginny. By then, Bill had thought it would seem rather impolite to march up to the family that had taken Harry in and ask him to move to Egypt, so he had simply stopped by the Muggle house, caught a few glimpses of Harry working in the garage with a contented air about him, and left it at that.), he would've invited the wizard to Egypt earlier as well. He thought Harry might've liked it there, nothing but open sky and freedom, places where some people hadn't even heard of the Boy-Who-Lived.
But that hadn't happened and this had, and now Bill had to make sure Harry came out of whatever had spooked the Ministries enough to warrant death wards alive.
Even if it meant fighting the next apocalypse.
"Haley won't be pleased," George pointed out as he threw another pair of Extendable Ears into his bag.
Fred snorted, tossing a few Decoy Detonators in his bag. "Save it," He shot back. "Harry, dead, or Hayley, upset. That's not even worth thinking about. Besides, I was going to break up with her when she got back anyway."
George sighed but said nothing as he started sealing away the merchandise in their shop.
"We fight better together anyway," Fred continued as he flipped through the Muggle passports that would get them to America. They had never bothered with a continental floo license so they would have to go the Muggle way.
"Mum certainly won't be pleased," George remarked, not sounding very concerned.
"Well Ron and Hermione aren't going to do anything except help set up the death wards," Fred scoffed before cursing when his head hit the top of the cabinet he had been rifling through. "And she should expect someone to go after Harry. It might as well be us."
"Point taken," George grunted as he zipped up his own bag and then looked around. "Not that we wouldn't have gone anyway. Passports?"
"Right here," Fred tossed one to his brother. "I've never understood these things. Do Muggles think a picture and some facts about yourself on paper mean you aren't doing anything illegal?"
George shrugged, equally puzzled but not wanting to spend time mulling over it. "Let's go. Muggle transportation is a lot slower than flooing. And we still need to find Harry once we get to New York. There are five counties in the city."
"What'd they go and make five counties for?" Fred grumbled as they left their shop, locking it firmly behind them. "Americans."
That night saw four different people leaving Britain, two by floo and two by plane, all heading to the same destination.
They had made their choices, and regardless of the danger – another Dark Lord, a never-before-seen threat, the apocalypse – they were all determined to face it.
Finished! Another oneshot to keep you all entertained.