Prince of The Dark Triangle

Details, descriptions, items and characters of the Harry Potter series are the sole property of J. , et al and used only within the context of this story and my not be otherwise reprinted, sold, or used for any other purpose. Original characters and plot are mine and my not be used in any other {for profit} form without permission…

Chapter 12

As Hermione made her way slowly into the Muggle's room she kept her eyes fixed on him for any sign of sudden movement or violent behavior.

She wasn't expecting any because Greta, the Healer's assistant told her he had been nothing but quiet, calm and a perfect gentleman…but she wasn't going to take any un-necessary risks. Tobias was already upset with her for going in alone.

He was sitting on the edge of his bed. He looked so lost and forlorn it made Hermione's heart pinch hard.

This all must be so confusing for him.

His hair was mussed and his pajamas wrinkled much as he had been when she came in and checked on him earlier that day and it still gave him the look of a lost and lonely little boy.

When he looked up his eyes went wide as saucers and he flinched back against his bed with a violent start.

"You?" He said, "It's…I thought…"

He reached out with one hand as if he was trying to touch her but withdrew it quickly not certain she was real or just made up in his mind.

The look in his bewildered gaze completely shocked Hermione, frozen where she stood for just a few heartbeats. It was a strange mixture of confusion, fear, relief and an utter longing desire that was as potent as a physical blow.

"I thought you were dead," He whispered, "I couldn't save you, my gun jammed, I couldn't save you!" he started shaking with silent sobs as tears slid down his cheeks.

Hermione was stunned beyond words for a moment and she had no idea what to say to him but then mentally shook herself back to some semblance of coherency. This young man seemed horribly distracting to her and she wasn't comfortable with that at all.

"As you can see Mr. Humbolt I'm very much alive," she said softly, "Please try to calm yourself, ok and I will try to make things a bit clearer for you if I can."

"Where am I," he asked, looking around the room. He seemed completely out of sorts.

"Suffice it to say you are quite safe Mr. Humbolt and we shall leave it at that for now alright."

He nodded and seemed to relax a little. When his eyes met hers again she couldn't help but feel the blunt-force intensity of his gaze like tractor beams.

"How do you know my name?"

"I know almost everything there is to know about you Mr. Humbolt. My name is Hermione Granger. I am the Director of a Special Operations Unit of a rather secret law enforcement agency that exists here in London and that is all I can tell you for now so please don't ask for more details."

She was trying to be as pleasant as she could as she edged closer to his bed slowly.

Again he nodded saying nothing but letting her words absorb into his mind.

"Mr. Humbolt I need to ask you some questions," she inquired, "I know you've been through a rather strange and confusing ordeal and if it's too soon…"

"No," he said, glancing around appearing very frightened but then he swallowed hard, "I…I'm fine…Ask your questions."

"Very well," Hermione replied then pulled a chair up close to his bed but just out of arm's reach, "Thank you and I think it would be better if you relaxed. Make yourself comfortable Mr. Humbolt. I assure you this won't take long."

He nodded again and leaned back on his bed. Hermione could tell his breathing was still a bit labored but there were things she needed to know.

"Mr. Humbolt, as I said I need some information from you so please be as honest with me as you can ok."

"Of course," he replied, "I have no reason to lie to you Ms. Granger."

"Excellent, thank you Mr. Humbolt…"

"Please call me Byron," he requested quietly.

"Erm," Hermione replied a bit tersely, "I think you and I should keep things on a professional level Mr. Humbolt. I mean no disrespect but I think that best for now."

He nodded again.

Oh well, he thought, So much for trying to get to know her better…

But he realized this woman, as completely physically gorgeous as she was probably had a whole stable of men just begging to fulfill her every whim and wish.

If he only knew the truth he would have quickly realized what a stupid thought that was and he had completely missed the – for now – part.

"What can you recall about the incident as it happened from your perspective Mr. Humbolt? Please realize I need you to be as specific and as detailed as possible even if it seems unimportant or insignificant to you, alright?"

"Umm," he stammered, "alright," he took a deep breath, tried to relax and let his mind go back. He recounted everything he could remember. When he got to the part where he was describing the black billowing clouds descending from the sky she thought his comparison to military ordinance was quite clever and resourceful.

"You were in the Mu…" she had almost let the word Muggle slip and she mentally slapped herself, "err…Military for four years, yes? I suppose you know a lot about ordinance and how it works?"

"Yes," he replied, "Way more than I would like to."

"I see," she asked intrigued, "Why is that? Please explain."

He told her about his convoy being hit with bombs planted in the dirt beside the road. He described what affect they had on vehicles and personnel and how heinously dangerous they were. He also told her about ground-fired mortar shells, shoulder-fired rocket propelled grenades that could wipe out a tank as well as other ordinance he had encountered.

Hermione was horrified and she felt like crying but she swallowed hard telling herself she had asked so there was no reason for her to be squeamish. She realized this man sitting on the bed must have gone through hell…the real hell, not just an affectation.

When he got to the part where the strange sticks and even stranger jets of light came into play he began asking his own questions.

What was curious to Hermione was that he seemed not to remember the car at all. The fact that he used his latent magic energy to throw a three-thousand pound car more than one hundred meters, five meters off the ground and smash it to bits against a building was utterly remarkable but she had never encountered a Latent before so she was in completely uncharted territory.

"I know there is much you don't understand yet Mr. Humbolt and all I will say at this point is I think it best to take things one step at a time, agreed?"

He said nothing.

"I realize that's not a very satisfactory response but I'm going to have to ask you to trust me for a while, at least on that. What's most important is that you get to full strength before we delve into any…strangeness surrounding this incident. I'm afraid it's the best I can offer for now. I have my reasons."

"Alright," he said a bit aggravated. He didn't like being kept in the dark, "I suppose I don't have much of a choice do I. Am I being held prisoner or something?"

That was like a cold slap across the cheek for her. Her immediate reaction was indignant but then she tried to see things through his eyes and it quelled her ire to a lesser degree.

"Of course not," she said rather stiffer than she wanted but she knew that was how he perceived all this so she decided to fib a little to calm his concerns, "When the attack occurred we thought there had been only the five but I'm almost certain there were more lurking about and unfortunately they escaped."

"While I'm not certain and have no evidence to prove it we suspect the ones who escaped went back and told their superiors what transpired. As a result we speculate they know about you and by now it wouldn't surprise me if they knew as much about you as we do Mr. Humbolt so while you are not officially being held against your will we felt it in your best interest and safety to keep you here in…protective custody if you will, understand what I'm saying?"

"Yes," he replied feeling a bit stupid, "Thank you."

"Not at all," she said offering her little smirk.

What she had just told him was a complete work of fiction but she justified herself by attempting to keep the peace and try to reduce the stress he was feeling. Little did she know she was absolutely correct in her supposed assumptions about someone watching what had happened.

"While I'm not going to pretend that what you did wasn't horribly irresponsible and excessively dangerous I feel responsible for not removing you from the scene immediately."

He sat up and glared at her for a moment. He couldn't seem to quell the anger that suddenly swelled inside his chest. Hermione quickly held up her hand to try and calm him.

Before he could calm himself the candles on his bed-side table flared brightly as the flames shot up like flamethrowers but in the next moment settled back to normal, the candles a little warped.

Oh Dear!

"Please," she implored, acting like nothing untoward had happened, "You must admit taking on five armed assailants alone with no cover was a bit…risky, yes?"

Byron said nothing but blushed to the roots of his hairline folding his arms across his chest defiantly.

Hermione grinned. She was half expecting him to stick out his bottom lip and begin to pout.

It was one thing to pick at your own scabs but to have someone else stick their finger in your open wound was just humiliating. Byron raised his hands to his face and pulled them down in frustration.

"Ok, so it wasn't the smartest thing I've ever done but…"

"Oh, believe me Mr. Humbolt," Hermione stated matter-of-factly, "I know why you did what you did." She glanced at him sideways for a moment as their eyes met briefly, "It's one of the things that separates the men from the boys."

The way she said that and the look in her eyes made him tingle all over. He couldn't help it.

"May I ask a few more questions Mr. Humbolt?"

He nodded pulling his knees up to his chest crossing his arms over them.

"Have you ever had strange things happen to you, things you could not explain, things that made no sense?"

His head snapped toward her pinning her with his intense gaze again. This time his eyes were full of suspicion. Hermione just sat quietly waiting. After a long moment he responded more than a bit guarded.

"Yes," he said, "How did you…"

"I cannot offer you details at present Mr. Humbolt please try to understand and try to rest assured that we possess some rather unique knowledge."

He nodded not feeling at all rested or assured of anything at the moment. He was beginning to feel he had fallen head first into a really bad episode of the Twilight Zone.

"Can you describe one of those strange incidents for me please," she asked putting her pen to her note pad. She thought it better not to use her usual quill and parchment in front of him just yet.

Baby steps Granger. She had told herself while planning her interview.

Byron told her about the incident on his 15th birthday when he found himself on the roof. When he looked at her she didn't seemed surprised or shocked at all and he found himself a bit shocked by that.

She just nodded her head listening intently scribbling on her notepad. When he was finished she asked the next question without looking up.

"And how did you feel right after the event occurred, any more pain or fever?"

"Umm, no actually," he replied getting even more uneasy, "I felt better, much better."

Again, she didn't seem at all surprised.

"One more question if you please Mr. Humbolt and I'll let you get some much needed food and rest, alright?"

He nodded.

"After you woke up here after this most recent incident how did you feel?"

He searched himself for a moment. There was no pain or pressure at all and he had reveled in the relief of it even though he had no idea what the hell was going on. It was better than he had felt in many years.

"I feel…relieved," he responded wearily, "better than I have in a long time."

Hermione smiled. It was one of the things she was hoping to hear. She got to her feet and looked down at him for a moment.

"As I'm sure you are clever enough to surmise for yourself I know what's causing the pressure and blinding headaches you suffer from Mr. Humbolt and part of what I'm attempting to ascertain right now is the…feasibility of telling you more."

"I must decide if I should bring you into our confidence or simply make sure you're fully healed and send you on your way. I'm not certain which direction I will go yet and I request you not press any of the other staff for details if you please."

"I know this will probably not set well with you Mr. Humbolt but there is a method to my madness as they say. I must ask something of you even though I don't feel I have the right but I believe it is necessary going forward no matter what decision is reached."

"What is that Ms. Granger?" he asked feeling even more confused and agitated.

"Please try and keep an open mind Mr. Humbolt," she said as she made her way to the door of his room, "That's all I ask."

"Since you are not a prisoner Mr. Humbolt I don't want you to feel you are confined to these quarters. You may have access to whatever part of the compound you wish. We have a very well designed weight training area in what we call out practice room as well as full kitchen amenities, television room with cable as well as a rather complete library of films on DVD, music and even a computer or two. You are most welcome to use them at your leisure but I must ask you to refrain from entering the living quarters where the other members of my staff reside and…" she turned to look at him for a moment, "I wouldn't try to leave the compound Mr. Humbolt. That would not be wise."

"It's not that we are forcing you to stay it's just that there are safeguards in place to keep the undesirables out and these safety measures cannot distinguish between malicious intent and an innocent error in judgment…understand?"

He nodded saying nothing. As Hermione reached for the doorknob he spoke in a very soft voice that was difficult to hear.

"I'm really glad you survived Ms. Granger. I think it would have been a horrible tragedy if you didn't."

"You know nothing about me Mr. Humbolt but thank you all the same."

"I know you're the…" but he stopped.

"I'm the what Mr. Humbolt," She turned looking at him with eyebrows raised. She was definitely intrigued.

"Nothing," he said looking away, "I'm…just nothing. Never mind. I'm sorry I didn't mean to say anything."

But Hermione saw that he had blushed red hot to the roots again. She turned and let herself out of his room wondering what he was thinking. She was almost afraid to speculate.

^..^

"Well," Tobias asked as the team sat assembled in the situation room once again.

She had called for the impromptu meeting shortly after her interview. She wanted to see what her team thought and let them offer their input on the matter of the Muggle.

"There's no question the information the Unspeakable gave you about Latents was accurate, at least, for this case," Hermione stated. "The Muggle's history revealed he's been suffering from the effects of his magic since the age of twelve. I suspect it started before that but the first physician's reports and records begin at that age."

"What's more my investigation revealed a significant reduction in pain, stress and pressure after certain anomalous events occurred throughout his life, this latest occurrence one of the most significant."

She leaned forward on her folded arms looking around at all her people.

"I have an idea and I wish to hear your assessment of it before I make any decision about what to do with the subject."

Part of Hermione was uncomfortable referring to this man as the Muggle or the subject because he was a human being with feelings and a life but there was another part of her that was almost sure if she allowed herself to begin to see him that way she would find herself becoming attached in ways she wasn't certain were safe or healthy for her right now.

There was a definite attraction between them, weather physical or emotional she had no clue nor did she want to actively pursue it. She needed to stay focused…

"It is my assessment he should be trained…"

A cacophony of voices erupted around the table both for and against the idea. Hermione simply held up her hands and the noise came to an abrupt halt.

"Please, let's go about this in a dignified manner if you please. I'll hear from all of you but not all at once. Number One, let's start with you."

Tobias leaned forward with hands clasped together in front of his face for a moment.

"If the reason for training this Muggle is to keep him from blowing up, for the lack of a better description, then I'm all for that however, it will mean exposing him to our world. That will also mean he will no longer be able to go back to his previous life as a Muggle."

"Yes, that is true and I have given that much thought. We know he was somewhat of a loner in his Muggle life due to his physical condition. That being said I'm not sure the transition to our world would be that detrimental to him in that regard. It will be a rather monumental task to remove him from the Muggle world without raising suspicion but not impossible."

"How do we know he would even want to make the transition," Brandy Honeywell asked, she was next.

"At this point," Hermione replied, "We don't but if he was educated with the means to keep the headaches away something tells me he would have little problem making the change but of course we can't have a Muggle running around loose in the Muggle world with a wand without the knowledge of the Statute of Secrecy now can we?" She smirked.

Chuckles could be heard all around.

"Who's going to train him," Marcus Pilchard asked.

"That's a very good question Marcus and one I wanted to present to you all," Hermione said, "The correct procedure, not that there is an official one I could find about dealing with this sort of thing, would probably be to hand him over to the Ministry and let them deal with him…"

"I agree," Tobias cut in. Hermione flashed him a very annoyed look before continuing.

"But I have my reasons why I think we should be the ones to train this man."

"But Director," Rychart Listell interjected, "It takes years to train to be competent at magic. Are we prepared to invest that kind of time with a completely untrained Muggle?"

"No," Hermione urged, "Of course not. What we will teach him will be mostly the basics and instruct him on how to control and focus his power. How far he chooses to go after that will be completely up to him."

Agent Listell nodded.

"Mr. Sizemore," Hermione acknowledged. Daniel was leaning back with arms crossed in deep thought.

"If it's just a question of getting him up to scratch on magic to keep the bloke's head from exploding I find myself agreeing with Tobias. I think this should be something the Ministry should deal with. While I realize Hogwarts no longer exists at the moment there are those at the Ministry who are much better equipped to handle something like this. We've got a war to fight."

Hermione leaned back in her seat crossing one leg over the other wrapping her hands around one knee.

"You are, of course, right about everything you just said Mr. Sizemore and under normal circumstances that's exactly the course of action I would take but let me ask you a few questions if I may."

"Of course Director," Daniel said sitting up straight.

"What does it take to fight a war?"

Daniel thought for a moment.

"Well," he replied, "It takes resources…" Hermione nodded in agreement, "and people willing to fight…"

"Yes, Mr. Sizemore," Hermione said pointing a finger at him grinning, "It takes soldiers and where do soldiers come from Mr. Sizemore?"

"Why they're trained, of course," he quipped, "I mean soldiers aren't exactly conjured from thin air now are they?"

Hermione smiled even wider.

"And if you want to train a soldier who is competent, loyal and completely trustworthy how would you do it Mr. Sizemore?"

"Erm…yourself?" He responded a bit sheepishly.

"I think we're on the same page now Agent Sizemore," Hermione winked at him.

"Yes but can we trust someone we know nothing about?" Saphron Warringham asked.

Hermione shifted in her seat.

"I would like those of you who knew me and trusted me completely before you began your specialist training to raise your hands please."

She looked around and didn't see a single hand in the air. She had made that point quite clearly.

"Trust is earned Agent Warringham," Hermione stated matter-of-factly. Everyone nodded I agreement.

"So who's going to train him?" Thaddeus Hudson asked.

"All of us," she replied, "You are all specialists in your own fields as well as highly cross-trained in just about every discipline there is to be known in the magical world.

Good gracious if we can't train one Muggle in the basic elements of magic then what chance do we stand against an army of crafty devious murderers and cut-throats?"

Most started turning a bit pink in the cheeks.

"This group is the best of the best and I know I've said it time and time again," Hermione pressed, "You wouldn't be here if you weren't. I think we can handle this little distraction without coming apart at the seams don't you think?"

"So you plan to make him one of us," Tobias asked.

"That's a fair question Number One and my answer is…not exactly," Hermione responded cryptically. The others looked a bit confused. She held up a hand as she got up and began pacing behind her chair with hands clasped behind her back.

"The Commander has been trying to find a way to infiltrate the C.D.T. and get an agent on the inside to get better and more accurate intel than all the second hand nonsense we've been getting up till now yes?"

Nods all around.

"And I have emphatically stated that I would not risk any of you because you're too well known to many of the C.D.T. members so we need someone completely unknown to the C.D.T…. someone they couldn't possibly know…"

She paused letting her words sink into her clever people's minds.

"So you want to teach this bloke magic then train him how to be our spy," Marcus Pilchard finished for her, "That's…that's bloody brilliant! Why the hell didn't we see that coming?"

"Because our minds aren't wired like the Directors," Tobias said chuckling shaking his head slightly, "No-one's is!"

"Director," Brandy said raising her hand slightly, "I don't mean to be a spoil sport here but isn't that going to be awful dangerous? I mean do you think he'll want to risk his life for a bunch of people he doesn't know?"

Hermione stopped glancing at Agent Honeywell for a moment.

"That's a fair point Brandy and not a question I'm in position to answer at this time but here's what I know about our Muggle. Just out of school he voluntarily enlisted into the Muggle Military. From what I could gather from his records he was a real live hero. He was wounded in combat…badly, bad enough to end his military career if he was planning one. After he healed from his wounds he attempted to enter into Muggle law enforcement but his headaches were the only thing that kept him from being accepted."

"Furthermore, as nothing more than an armed security guard we all watched him face down five," she held up a hand with fingers spread, "armed members of the C.D.T. alone without fear or hesitation in an attempt to foil a bank robbery in broad day light. Now I know I don't have all the answers but I see a clear pattern to this young man's life. Do you see it Agent Honeywell?"

Brandy sat back thinking for a moment then a look of realization crossed her pretty features.

"Yes ma'am," Brandy smiled, "I certainly do now!"

"So," Hermione asked leaning on the conference table looking around the room, "Show of hands. How many agree the Muggle should be trained?"

All hands came up in the air.

"And do you agree it would be best if we trained him ourselves?"

This time all hands came up but one.

Tobias wasn't certain it was something they should be involved in but part of him understood the Director's thinking. He had to admit it could be a good plan if it worked.

He also felt there was more to her desire to keep this Muggle around then she was letting on but he would never expose that kind of thing in front of her people, that would not only get him tossed out it would probably get him hurt…badly so as much as it went against his intuition…his hand slowly came up in agreement.

Hermione nodded and looked at Tobias for a moment, her expression even.

"You're reservations are duly noted Number One and I appreciate your honesty on this matter but I need to know if you will be willing to assist us in his training. I need to know if you're on board with this because we can't do this without you."

Tobias sighed, and then nodded.

"Yes director," he said looking her square in the eyes, "I do have reservations but I also know since we began this operation you've never led us astray so you've got my full co-operation. I'll do whatever it takes to get him up to scratch even if I've got to drag his arse kicking and screaming into the magical world."

Hermione smirked as the rest of the team laughed.

"I promise I won't let it come to that Agent Fox," she quipped, "If he's going to be that much trouble then we will toss him into the lion's den and be shed of him. We're not going to baby sit or hold hands. If he can not be trained or resists…he's out. It's that simple. Everyone agreed?"

Again there was unanimous consent from the entire staff.

"Excellent," she concluded, "So I'll expect accurate and impartial evaluations of his progress. We need to know if he is capable. Now…you all have your assignments for the day..."

"Excuse me, Director," Daniel Sizemore said holding up a hand.

"Yes Mr. Sizemore," Hermione glanced up at him.

"Thaddeus and I noticed something while we were in our cover formation while you guys were mixing it up. I'm fairly sure we were being watched. I think another member of the CDT might have seen what happened yesterday morning."

"Is that so," his report shocked Hermione because of what she had told Mr. Humbolt. She had just made that up, "Are you absolutely certain?"

"Like he said Director," Thaddeus Hudson replied scratching his head, "We can't be sure but there had been a young woman, a Muggle by the look of her dress, standing near the eastern corner of the bank building. Daniel had pointed her out because she seemed quite interested in what was going on and having cast our misdirection charms all over the place I thought that kind of odd. When I looked back she was gone…just like that. The anti-apparition wards were in place as well so I'm not sure how she could have got away so fast."

"Portkey, I suspect," Hermione replied seriously, "Ok…so what does that mean?"

Most of her people just looked at her a bit quizzically. It was Saphron who spoke up first.

"It means that if that girl was with the CDT they know their little play for the bank failed yesterday, that four members of the CDT are ten toes up cooling down in the morgue with one on the hook and they got spanked by the SOU's finest."

All the members of the Special Operations Unit smiled widely at her response and Hermione let them have their moment.

"You all did very well out there yesterday but there's something else we just might want to consider. It's really nothing more than a glimmer of hope but here's what I think," Hermione shifted in her chair, "If the CDT does know about our involvement in foiling their daring daylight raid yesterday then it stands to reason they will think they have a traitor in their midst. There is no possible way we could have known before hand about this plan unless someone had leaked the information so this lucky break…this gift we received… may just buy us a small reprieve from the attacks and raids for a while."

"Up until now we've been mostly a reactionary force unless we manage to spot something going on while we patrol but the CDT's strikes in the Muggle world are so random it's almost impossible. If they think we just might know where they're going to hit next they just might pause for a while to try and flush out the traitor."

"You've all been doing an outstanding job of frustrating much of their subversive activity and saving lives but it won't be long until they start pressing harder. They've been recruiting heavily. We know this so it stands to reason it won't be long until they plan something big. I can feel it coming – I just don't know when."

"I think if this small advantage gives us some breathing room it will give Kingsley a chance to prepare and train some more specialist but we need to remain as watchful as ever regardless of what the next few weeks bring."

"Won't that make placing a spy inside the CDT even harder if they do think there is already one there," Bridgett asked.

"Actually," Tobias said pinching his bottom lip for a moment lost in thought, "No. If they think a spy already exists then someone coming in shouldn't be cause for concern. They'll look at possible recruits a bit closer but when you're dealing with a bunch of thieves and cut-throats how selective can you be?"

"Good point that," Marcus Pilchard replied.

"Very well then," Hermione said with a sigh, "Tobias…"

Hermione turned the briefing over to her next in charge to set the day's patrol agendas and assignments and excused herself back to her office. She wanted to complete the training schedule she thought would be appropriate for Mr. Humboldt's introduction into the wizarding world. She just hoped she had not outsmarted herself this time.

She knew how inconsistent people could be sometimes and how she had missed the mark in her assessment of personalities more than once but something told her she had pegged this Muggle right…she had no idea how she knew but she was willing to take the risk.