By: Tellemicus Sundance
Chapter 3: An Unlikely Alliance
November 27, 1998
Arbroath, Scotland (Green Zone)
"Ahh, so good to be home!" Fred said as he entered the front door of their newest hideout.
"Too true, brother of mine!" George agreed happily, relief coloring his words as he slumped down onto the nearest cushioned chair in the living room.
Fleur didn't comment on it as she moved towards the shower to rinse herself clean of the filth that was sticking to her. In the bathroom, she quickly stripped herself and turned the water on, waiting patiently for it to warm up to her liking. Glancing out the window, she gazed out and down the long street of the town they were in. Visible from her viewpoint was the town fishing port and the coast of the North Sea.
Arbroath, like a majority of Scotland, had been largely spared from the worst of the Great Disaster and the dragons. However, the citizens quickly found themselves under the iron thumb of wizards, enslaving them to their bidding. For the most part, their lives had simply gone on like normal, but they were forced to pay a toll in food and manpower to their magical slavers. But, with that despicable King Arminger sniffing, poking, and prodding along their borders, it was only a matter of time before these people were forced to either put up with yet another sadistic overlord or start fighting back. Fleur had a pretty good idea she knew which choice they would pick.
Climbing into the shower, her idle thoughts turned to what her life had become in recent months. It was a sad, far-cry from what future she'd once imagined and hoped to have when she was younger. Fleur had always assumed that she'd marry into a high-society family back in France, her Veela genes alone guaranteed that she'd have her pick of a harem of suitors after all. That she'd live a life of politics, trading witty banter with other politicians and their spouses, all of them trying to outmaneuver one another for whatever reason. That she'd be eating exquisite foods and wines, languishing in some luxurious palace down on the Mediterranean coast, and wearing the latest fashion clothes to charity balls and Ministry events.
Then she came to England and met her dear William Weasley and her desires changed. She no longer wanted the high-society life. No, a quiet life as a housewife, raising her and Bill's children, making them all their meals, and speaking to Bill about his day after coming home from Gringotts. It was the exact opposite of all her childhood fantasies. And, ironically, that was what she discovered she wanted most in her life, after meeting him.
And then the unthinkable happened…
The overpopulated dragon preserves failed and the thousands of dragons contained within them escaped all over the world, torching human and magical societies with equal ferocity. Her dearly beloved Bill had been killed during a surprise Death Eater attack on them while they were performing some secret mission for the Order of the Phoenix. Bill's younger brother, Percy, ascended to the seat of Minister of Magic after Fudge was killed by dragons during the wizard's final escape from London. Percy, the rule-abiding and self-righteous prick, created a new magical police force for himself, arrested his parents, and issued bounties on his remaining family and Fleur herself when he didn't learn what he wanted to learn from them. She had been living on the run with Fred and George Weasley ever since.
They had mostly tried to stay off of the Ministry's radar by living their lives mostly like Muggles. And, after a bit of debate between them, it was decided that they'd mostly stick to Scotland since it had the fewest dragon attacks in a year, generally only one a month. That was much better odds than the poor people trapped in England had. Attacks there varied from two to three a month to two to three a day.
It was only in the past six months that they had started regularly robbing from the Ministry in a spiteful need and, admittedly, misguided attempt to get back at the Twin's Minister brother. Though they had been living apart from the magical society, they still kept regular tabs on it to see how things were progressing there and if there was ever a chance that they might one day be able to reclaim their lives in it. Needless to say, they were quite disgusted by what Percy was turning the Magical World into.
A loud knocking on the door quickly snapped Fleur out of her thoughts. Shutting of the shower and wrapping herself up in a towel as she climbed out, she grabbed her nearby wand and cautiously cracked the bathroom door open. There, at the end of the hall, she could see the front door to their apartment and watched as one of the Twins approached it, his wand hidden behind his pants leg.
Waving his wand around his head, the Twin cast a silent charm on himself to change his appearance. His red hair changed to a greying brown with a large bald spot. His face gained numerous age lines, a few burn scars, and most of his freckles disappeared. After a quick glance at a nearby mirror to quickly survey his appearance, he nodded in satisfaction and opened the door. Though she couldn't see a majority of their visitor, there was the faintest tensing in the Twin's body that alerted her to potential danger. As she was closing the bathroom door to hurriedly get herself dressed, she caught a quick glimpse at the dark hooded cloak that the visitor wore.
This is not gonna be good!
Crouched upon the rooftop, he watched as the people of Arbroath went about their lives. There was much activity on the streets this evening because of the earlier battle on the outskirts. Excited and fearful babble drifted up into his ears, a not-so-distant white noise that, like the heavy scents of wood and oil smoke, he ignored to the best of his ability.
Across the street below him, he watched as a group of black-cloaked people gathered outside one particular apartment building. He had been expecting them to come, sooner or later, after his hand in the battle. After all, tyrants rarely appreciated there being dangerous rogue elements that weren't on their payroll running about, usually mucking up their schemes. He wanted these mages to find him however, to answer some questions he had. He didn't expect many answers, if any, but it was still worth a try.
He'd been watching them ever since his magic-detector had sensed the arrival of seven different individuals. Glancing again at the small screen that was attached to his left forearm bracer, he smiled mirthlessly. The detector was a special American-made tool developed by their mages in an effort to locate potential magicals and give them the option to be trained, a priceless tool to be used and a final parting gift from his former guardian and mentor. The dragon hide gloves he wore were also quite priceless to him as well since they acted like a focus for his magic in the same manner that his old wand use to be.
These mages were certainly quite honor-less. Three of them were pounding on the door to distract the inhabitants, who were also mages. The three others were circling around the building, likely searching for other entry points to sneak in and attack from unexpected angles. And the seventh mage, likely the leader, was watching the whole scene from a far enough distance to not be caught up in stray spell-fire, but close enough to see the proceedings. The only reason he could surmise why these black mages were mounting an attack on these inside was because they knew as he did that they were magical as well.
Rubbing his hatchet in a yearning to feel its comforting weight in his hand, he waited for the right moment to attack. He had waited and trained for months for this war, he could wait a few more minutes before unleashing his wrath on these black hearted enforcers. Tapping on his detector, he zoomed in on the three mages inside the apartment. One of them, clearly marked as a female, was scurrying about in the bathroom. Hopefully she was getting herself dressed. Incidentally, one of the black mages was hiding beside the window to the bathroom was probably receiving a free peepshow. He would be likely be one of the first to enter and strike, probably trying to have his way with the lady if he managed to subdue her. One of the males was answering the door and trying to distract the three in front. Meanwhile the third male mage was hurriedly running about the bedrooms, packing their essentials to run if he was smart.
A loud slamming of the front door alerted him to the ending of the pleasantries and the start of the battle. Readying himself, he watched as the three mages in front backed away from the door, seemingly leaving the apartment in peace. Only for them to suddenly turn around and cast a power Blasting Hex into the front door. The entire front of the building seemed to implode on itself slightly as the sheer force of the hex reduced the door to splinters and deadly shrapnel. The blast was also the signal for the three surrounding mages to begin their assault. As this was happening, the oppressive weight of an anti-Apparation field settled upon the area, trapping all inside. The sound of the attack quickly alerted the local townsmen of the trouble and garnered a loud of cries of surprise and even more spectators, something that all of the mages ignored.
Fred was sweating slightly out of nervousness and fear as he waving his wand about the bedroom, shrinking their precious few valuables and clothes. As he was doing this, one frantic thought kept going through his mind: How did they manage to find them so soon?!
The three of them had gotten very accustomed to living on the run, especially since they'd become the magical Ministry's most renowned thieves and most wanted terrorists, second only to Harry Potter. But there generally a safe period of at least a week before they needed to flee their hideout and find a new one and they'd just scarcely finished unpacking this one!
As thought went through his mind, he both heard and felt a powerful explosion that shook the very foundations of the building. The attack caught him by surprise as disrupted his footing momentarily. Then he felt the weight of anti-Apparation wards descend upon him. Shit, these bastards were fast! If there was anything to be said about living on the run, it was that one developed a very acute sense of paranoia and quick reflexes. These skills came invaluable when reacting to unexpected ambushes. And it was thanks to these that when he spotted the light of an approaching spell casting shadows across the bedroom walls as the magic raced towards him that he was able to instinctively throw himself to the side, just missing the blazing green of the Killing Curse.
Spinning to face his opponent whilst still in mid-roll, he sent an instant retaliatory Blasting Hex. Unlike the Killing Curse, the Blasting Hex affected a much wider area, thus making it perfect for disrupting surroundings. The area he aimed for was the wall itself, blasting it outwards. Thanks to the newly-made window, he clearly saw the flailing body of a black cloaked figure being sent careening through the air.
Fred wasn't given the option to flee anything more than a brief moment of relief at surviving the surprise attack as a piercing scream cut the air from elsewhere in the apartment. Spinning around, he threw open the door and raced towards the scream's origins. "Fleur!" As he was entering the hallway, he found himself being the target of yet more spell fire.
As the sounds of fighting broke out inside the apartment, the observer finally leapt into action. Channeling his innate magic through the dragon hide of his gloves, he reached out and used his magic as telekinesis, grabbing hold of the three black mages in front of him and yanking them backwards, off their feet. The unexpected powerful force caught them completely unawares as they were slammed mercilessly into the ground, knocking the air from their lungs. All they could do was stare up in surprise and undisguised shock as white-clad figure silently descended upon them.
His booted feet smashed into the center one's chest, instantly breaking his ribs and crushing the vital organs within and sending a fountain of blood out of his mouth and nose. The other two were caught in the same attack by a descending hatchet and dagger, both burying themselves into their chests and puncturing their hearts and lungs. They'd both be dead within minutes, if they were lucky. In the split second moment after he attacked, there was a slight silence that had descended upon the area. He could hear that the fighting inside the apartment was dying down. Good, the last thing he wanted was to charge headlong into a full-blown magic fight, that a reckless choice he was no longer compelled to make. And, if it came down to it, he could still save the three mages inside if they'd been taken captive.
Yanking his weapons out of the soon-to-be corpses as he stood off his impromptu landing pad, the white assassin turned towards where the leader was hiding and held up a hand, silently beckoning the man to come and avenge his fallen underlings. All he got in response was the man's form vanishing away in Apparation as the anti- field died away.
"Who the bloody hell are you?!" a rough, angry voice demanded. Turning to the side, the white-cloaked assassin spotted a surprisingly familiar face. A face he'd not seen in almost three years, and it brought a smile to his face for the first time in weeks. Standing in the smashed doorway, holding his wand threateningly at the only standing man as he hurriedly searched for any more hidden attackers, was George Weasley.
"It's been a long time, George," he said, smiling lightly as he nodded his hooded head towards the confused redhead. "Or are you Fred? I never could tell you two apart."
Before the Twin could form a reply, a number of armored men quickly rushed forward from the surrounding crowd. Judging from the man's tone of voice and the way he held himself, he was clearly military trained. "What's going on here?!"
"Sorry about the disturbance, Sergeant," the white mage said, turning to face the Marine as his smile vanished. "We were just performing a public service and cleaning up some of the filth that's been running amok lately."
The Sergeant cast a quick look at the corpses at the white mage's feet and the blood stained weapons and clothing he wore and wisely decided that discretion was the better part of valor. He nodded as he turned his attention back to him and a sudden look of recognition lit up his face. "You're the guy from this morning, aren't you?" At the man's nod, he smirked as he continued. "Well, in that case, do you require any of our services right now? My men and I owe you a great debt."
Waving the offer away, the mage said, "Maybe later. I've still got business to attend to." Walking up to the Twin, he flicked his weapons and washed them of the blood before storing them on his double belts. Looking at his magic-detector, he breathed a sigh of relief. Of the original ten signals of magic, there were still five that remained, that meant that there were at least two captives. Perfect.
Entering the apartment, he focused his magic again. He summoned all the splinters of the former door, guided them back into position on the door frame, and used his magic to fuse them back into their original state, repairing the door within seconds. Once safely hidden from the numerous eyes of crowd, he turned to face the Twin who was still staring at him with his wand at the ready, trying to figure out who was hidden under the hood.
Smiling again as he reached up and lowered his cloak's hood, he said, "So, which one are you again? Fred or George?"
The Twin gawked, flinching in surprise as he stared at the unmasked man. "…Harry?!"
With a jolt, he was suddenly awakened. Time and training had taught him that the abruptness of his return to consciousness had been influenced by magic. Something that became even more apparent after he was immediately awash with sharp and severe pain in his left leg and a throbbing migraine. It was only his pride as a man that kept him from moaning out in pain.
"Wakey, wakey, little dragon boy!" a deep voice uttered in a seemingly-playful tone as a foot kicked somewhat roughly into his chest.
"That's enough, George," another, almost identical, voice said from somewhere nearby.
Lifting his head from the floor he was laying on, Draco found himself staring at a collection of figures he recognized. The first one to catch his eye was the staggeringly beautiful blonde Veela who he vaguely remembered from the Triwizard Tournament. The next two, one of whom was clearly the one to kick him, were a pair of nearly-identical redheads. But the fourth was the one who quickly garnered the most attention, a hooded white-cloaked man who had various fresh blood stains lining his otherwise clean clothing.
"So, are you going to answer our questions or are you going to take a bite from that little pill hidden in your tooth too?" one of the Twins demanded, his wand at the ready. It took Draco a moment to realize what he was talking about and, from the looks of the body at the other end of the room, it was obvious he wasn't the first one they'd tried to interrogate.
"Standard Black Watch anti-interrogation procedure, if the operative is in any captured by the enemy," Draco quoted in a neutral, almost robotic voice.
"And yet you haven't yet bitten down on it," the Veela pointed out from where she was standing over by the hooded man.
"Strange as it may seem," Draco said, biting back the urge to use a derisive tone against the half-breed. "I have plans don't involve my dying."
"Surprise, surprise," one of the Twins uttered in a clearly mocking tone.
"The little ferret doesn't wanna die," the other finished for his brother.
"Mocking me is pointless," Draco said, forcefully controlling his temper as he'd been trained to. Anger was useful, but only when it could be controlled and focused to finish one's mission. That was one of Black Watch's first lessons they'd taught their new recruits. "And this interrogation is useless. I'm only freshly employed into Black Watch, so I know next to nothing."
"How about what your mission here was?" one Twin probed, not at all believing the platinum blonde.
Draco closed his eyes, considering. If they continued this line of interrogation, the charms enacted on the suicide pill that'd been inserted into one of his molars would cause him to reflexively bite down on it. Call Draco what you will, but suicidal was not one of them, not anymore. And he knew of a possible way to circumvent the charms. He just hoped they'd work properly.
"Remove the pill," he commanded them as he opened his mouth widely, displaying the protruding object within.
His captors glanced between themselves momentarily, clearly not anticipating this and caught unsure of how to proceed. Just as Draco was about to snap at them again, the hooded man raised his arm towards him, clenching his fingers as though grabbing something, and yanking outwards slightly. Draco yelped reflexively from the pain of his molar being wrenched out of his jaw. In his pain, he ignored the floating poison pill as it drifted into the hooded man's outstretched hand. After a moment, the Veela moved forward, prying Draco's mouth open, and casting a quick healing charm into the bleeding cavity that the tooth had left behind.
Swallowing the blood still drenching his mouth and tentatively probing the healed wound, he glanced up at the Veela and reluctantly said, "Thank you." All he got in response was a cold nod before she moved away.
"You have no love for Black Watch, do you, Draco?" a hauntingly familiar voice asked from the hooded man. Draco's gaze snapped up to the man instantly, almost unwilling to believe his ears. After a moment, Draco regained control of himself as an angry frown crossed his face.
"Black Watch is nothing more than a private police force controlled by the bastard who ruined my family, Potter," Draco growled out, ignoring the shifting surprise of the other three who were clearly taken aback by his quick realization of who the hooded man's identity was and the vehemence of his response. "And all they care about is lining their own pockets with the gold of those who they imprison or ruin."
"I'm sorry about your loss," Harry acknowledged, nodding slightly towards him. "I had heard that the Malfoy family was found guilty of espionage by Black Watch, but none of the charges had ever been fully disclosed."
"That's because there were none!" Draco bit out. "I admit my family had dealings with Voldemort in the past. But that was the past! We have been nothing but supportive of this new ministry that 'Percy the Marvelous' has been building. But it would seem that he hasn't been able to completely sever all ties with his family."
"The Malfoy-Weasley blood feud?" one of the Twins asked, already knowing the answer.
"Yeah," Draco nodded. That blood feud had been an on-going rivalry for generations between their families. It was not something that could be so easily or completely let go of by any member of the two families. Weakened and ignored, but never truly forgotten.
Harry snorted slightly in amusement, earning questioning stares and glares from all present. "It would seem, Draco, that we share the same goal for once."
"The disbandment of Black Watch," Harry said, finally reaching up and lowering his hood, leaving his face visible for Draco to see at last. "And the end of Percy's rule as Minister."
While the Twins and the Veela were staring at Harry in honest surprise at his seemingly-impossible goal, Draco's eyes widened in surprise and then narrowed in consideration. "What are you proposing, Potter?"
"An alliance," Harry said simply. "Your team was sent here to capture or kill me, correct?" At Draco's nod, he continued, "I will continue to do such actions. I will draw the Ministry's attention and direct their fire at me. You can be the shadow that slips in while their distracted. With me out here and you inside, they will most definitely fall."
"…It will not be that easy," Draco pointed out. "and they will not fall to just a pair of wizards like us alone."
"Who said anything—?" "—about him being alone?" the Twins demanded immediately, cocking grins gracing their faces. "This matter is also—" "—a family dispute of the Weasleys—" "—and we will help settle it!"
"It's better than scurrying about in the mud, I guess," the Veela agreed, shrugging her shoulders in a slightly careless manner. "At least we'll finally be doing something."
For a moment, Harry looked uncertain that he wanted to include the three volunteers in his revolt and schemes. But, after a second of consideration, he just smiled slightly as he nodded. "Sounds like we've got a plan."
"Great, now untie me!" Draco barked, reminding everyone of that minor fact.
(Author's Note) Merry Christmas everyone! Here's my gift to all of you!
Whew, that's another done. Hope this one was enjoyable and telling of what's to come. I wonder how many of you saw this coming when you saw the chapter title? Yes, Draco is going to be playing big role in this story. And, looking at it's overall plotline, I can honestly say that Voldemort is going to be palying a comparatively small role. This story is going be about a revolution. If you don't like this, don't read.
So, who can guess what the Marauder's next move is going to be and why?