Disclaimer : I don't own Harry Potter.
Warnings: Violence, language, sexual references
It was a cold December night. One of those winter nights when the every noise was strangely muted by the rapid fall of snowflakes and when the lights of the lampposts bathed the streets in a serene golden hue.
For a minute, everything stood still. The ground was an alien landscape of immaculate mounds and valleys of diamond powder.
Then, the sounds of breathing expelled in harsh pants broke the silence and the untouched beauty of the scene was carelessly defiled by the panicked footsteps of a man running for his freedom, for his life.
Nature got its revenge, for a moment, when the man slipped on a hidden patch of ice and fell down with a grunt of pain. He picked himself up and ran anew, stumbling and throwing fearful glances over his shoulder where he could see the outline of his pursuer through the snowfall.
He swore for the thousandth time that night, damning his luck. Nobody would have dared to fly on a broom during a blizzard. No one sensible, that is, and it was just his luck that his pursuer was the most reckless of all Aurors in the Ministry. Harry bloody Potter, Saviour extraordinaire and notorious genius on a broom, was precisely the type to disregard any caution and chase him until he was caught, at all costs.
The fugitive ran as fast as he could, throwing Warming charms ahead to melt the snow and ice and avoid another slip. His attention was so focused on the ground that he didn't see the signs indicating the change of a zone. He leapt over a low barrier with the same single-minded concentration and it's only when he suddenly felt oppressive wards weighting down on him that he lifted his head and looked around.
He had entered a Muggle zone. He shivered in disgust and threw distrustful glances around, as if he expected guards to materialise from behind a snow-covered vehicle or from around a street corner. Reassured by the lack of activity, he turned to his pursuer with a new confidence. Now considerably closer, Potter hovered uncertainly on the other side of the barrier. He looked quite ridiculous like that, suspended in the air, his face mostly covered with a thick scarf and a large woollen hat that had probably been gifts from the Weasley family.
Oh yes, he knew all about the "Saviour" and his pathetic life. Everyone knew everything, from the disastrous marriage, to the castrating hex that a former Death Eater had sent him during a mission. The British Wizarding world had cried for the misfortune of their beloved hero while what remained of the Dark sect had hollered in delighted laughter. The irony had been too sweet not to. "Potter the impotent," he had been called since then by the ones who wanted to taunt him.
He grinned in remembrance and theatrically bowed at his enemy. He felt strangely safe here, protected by the Segregation Law that prevented anyone from casting Magic in the zone. Theoretically, he had violated the decrees by entering it, but surely, even those scums had better to do on a Solstice night than to monitor the borders obsessively. One small fry on the radar probably didn't warrant an alert to the national guard, he reckoned.
Potter, however, if he dared break the law, would make the sirens bellow the minute he toed the separation line. With a certified Auror badge and his amount of magical powers, he would trigger an alarm likely to send all the Muggles running in disarray and threatening them of breaking off their shaky peace treaty.
So, yes, he was feeling quite bold now. Potter was watching him with a frown, glancing periodically at the barrier and at the signs, obviously thinking over what he could do to reach him and capture him while avoiding setting off the Muggles.
He wondered what the Auror was going to do. Better provoke him to prevent him from working out some sort of solution, he thought with another grin.
Let's see how you'll like that, Potter.
Harry Potter looked at the Dark wizard making obscene gestures at him with his hand. It was absurd that the wards and barriers had let his target pass, but prevented him from giving him chase. It wasn't as if the Muggle zones wanted to become refuges for the criminals of their world, after all. It must have been some sort of glitch, a temporary weakness that allowed this one to slip in.
Harry clenched his jaw in frustration. He was blocked out and he desperately needed to catch the other wizard. Innocents were dying and that...mongrel was one step short from rubbing one out in front of him. He knew what Davies was trying to do. To most Dark wizards and holders of the old traditions, losing the ability to procreate was the ultimate humiliation, especially if one hadn't managed to produce an heir beforehand. But, as frustrating and irritating those insults were, they didn't affect him anymore. He had come to terms with the consequences of the hex and had found a way to make the most of it by diverting his energies into his orphanage project. It was still far from being ready and in the current conditions, it might never be realised, but Harry hoped to have the establishment running within a year or two, or as soon as this curse problem was settled, at least.
Really, Harry thought as he lowered to the ground and got off his broom, the immaturity of certain wizards never ceases to amaze me.
Davies, who was, at 34, barely three years younger than him, was now shaking his ass tauntingly at him. He had even stopped looking at him completely, as if he was convinced that Harry would remain there and watch the Pureblood make a spectacle of himself as long as the other continued.
In normal circumstances, he might have. He could have found some humour in the situation. Now, however, he wanted answers. It might have been too late for Hermione, but Hugo and Rose were still fighting for their lives in the hospital and what that joke of a wizard could tell him might just save them.
Harry took a steadying breath and looked cautiously at the blaring signs surrounding the entrance gate to the Muggle zone one last time. What he was about to do wasn't strictly illegal, but it was skirting around the borders of it.
He had a reckless shrug and a small smile, then. Since when did he let the law stop him from doing the necessary? The Muggles would understand that his hand was forced.
Harry changed his grip on his wand, discreetly, even if Davis still wasn't paying him any attention. He cast a Sticking charm on the ground and pointed his wand at the other.
"Accio, Robert Davies," he cast.
The Pureblood was heavier than him, so the Summoning charm was not supposed to work in this situation. However, since he was stuck on the ground, the balance of the forces was between the combination of his weight and the strength of the charm, and the weight of the other.
With a surprised shout, Davies was abruptly yanked from his position and propelled in Harry's direction. Harry unstuck himself and moved aside, letting the Pureblood fly past him and collapse on the ground a meter further, under the momentum of the spell. He cast an over-powered Expelliarmus on the prone form and looked on in satisfaction as a wand, various blades and a few Potions floated to him. He directed them neatly into his evidence pouch and sent an Incarcerous at Davies.
The Pureblood shouted in distress and squirmed on the ground pathetically. Harry allowed himself a satisfied smile, more to distress the other than to express any joy he might have gotten from defeating such an easy enemy.
He wanted to mock him as a payback for the fun the other had at his expense earlier, but a quick glance above his shoulder told him that Muggles had felt the magical intrusion and would come to investigate. Knowing them, they would probably insist on taking custody of the prisoner once they learnt that he had trespassed in their zone. Harry needed the answers Davies could provide, and he didn't want to wait until he got permission to interrogate him in a Muggle jail. He also couldn't Apparate him away, because that would be a failure to comply with the Muggle authorities on their jurisdiction and would cause all sorts of mess.
That left him with very little time.
Harry stepped over the balloted prisoner and sat on him. That shut him up, at least.
He let his magical aura grow thicker and more imposing. Purebloods only respected two things: family legacies and power, and Harry had the latter, even if he didn't like to make a show of it.
He hissed lowly, as if he would slip into Parseltongue, because it never failed to agitate the darker lot.
Davies started squirming again, this time in fear and not just in discomfort.
"Tell me everything you know about the White Wave," he ordered firmly.
Davies froze for a second, before a smug smile spread on his face.
"That's all you want to know? I could have told you that even without our friendly little chase. We are all quite proud of it, after all," he said.
Harry gripped the collar of the Pureblood's robes and tightened them around his throat.
"I'm not interested in hearing you sprout your eugenic agenda. What is the counter-curse?" he urged the other.
Davies hesitated a moment, so Harry tightened his chokehold warningly. Davies spluttered and wheezed out:
"Come on! Don't strangle the life out me when I can't answer a question that doesn't have an answer!"
Harry suddenly felt the cold air seep in his clothes and cut to his bones as dread settled in his stomach.
Not one to give up so easily, he shook the other one around a bit to loosen his tongue.
"What do you mean, no counter-curse? As we speak, there are hundreds of Muggleborns and Half-Bloods dying in St. Mungo's and even more out there without proper care. Stop lying and tell me the counter-curse!" he shouted in agitation.
Behind him, he could hear the Muggles gathering at the border of their zones. It wouldn't be long before they intervened, Harry knew. He didn't have time to dally longer.
"Who knows? Who created the curse? They must know a counter," he pressed.
Davies frowned and looked behind Harry, at the Muggles, before he looked back at him.
"I'll tell you if you bring me to the Ministry of Magic and not to the Muggles. I prefer dying among my peers than ending in their cells, with their filthy hands crawling all over me," he answered quickly.
Harry shook his head.
"That's out of my hands. Except for if I can convince them that you know important information about the White Wave. So far, you haven't really told me anything I didn't know," he commented.
He felt the Muggles shuffle into ranks and knew an officer had probably arrived. He mentally urged Davies on. Miraculously, the criminal spoke up at last.
"We don't know who create the curse. It's supposed to be someone in the Dark Lord ranks, or at least a sympathiser from the first Wizarding War. We think the curse took so long to get out there because the creator was imprisoned, but maybe he was killed, and it took a while for someone to find the research they did. I don't think whoever did it is still alive today, though; because they'd have taken credit for the great purge it brought. It showed the world that we were right, that the Mudbloods were really contaminating our Magic, tainting it with their filth..."
"Shut up! I told you I don't want to hear you sprouting your baseless theories. I'm just interested in how to solve this problem," interrupted Harry.
"Oh, oh, oh!" laughed Davies, looking much too smug for someone lying on the frozen ground. "I think you're just getting nervous because you're just a Halfblood and it's just a matter of time before you're infected too."
Harry sighed in frustration and tore off his sweaty hat to bury his hands in his hair for a moment, trying to think of what he could do. It had taken him way too long to catch Davies, and now the Pureblood didn't seem to have anything satisfying to tell him about the curse. Another dead-end, then. The only interesting thing that came out of it was the theory on its origin, but, as the other said, the creator was probably long dead, like most, if not all the old Death Eaters. They had already interrogated all the ones under Ministry custody and the ones with knows locations, like the Malfoys, but it still wasn't clear how that curse was created and why it surfaced now, twenty years after Voldemort's fall, of all times.
"Auror," called a gruff voice from behind him. "He penetrated in our zone, so he's ours. I don't care that you did your mumbo jumbo to catch him and bring him back to your side, he's still going to come with us."
Harry barely refrained from sighing. He got up from the bound Pureblood and faced the Muggle soldiers.
"He is implicated in one of our investigations. He might have vital information concerning an epidemic in the Wizarding World. It's imperative that I am given the time to interrogate him properly," he explained calmly in a voice that he hoped was firm and authoritative. Displays of magical power left Muggles completely indifferent and, even if they were given a summary of the events of the last war, most did not care much about Harry or his accomplishments. Usually, it was one of the only things he liked in interacting with Muggles. Now that he was judged as a relatively young, and therefore probably low-ranked Auror, for their standards, he would have liked to be able to drop a few names and get to keep his prisoner. But being Harry Potter had always meant to have the disadvantages that went with his fame without gaining anything to compensate somewhat for the trouble. Merlin forbid it was actually useful sometimes.
He checked the Muggle officer's rank. According to his uniform, he was a Colonel. He must have tripped the border alarms severely if such a high-ranking officer showed up to check out the threat.
"Auror, the rules are simple. The trespasser is coming with us and he will be interrogated by us. And keep your magic stick where we can see it. I don't want to receive another vegetable-brained captive because you lot like to keep your little secrets. Is that clear?" asked the Colonel.
By experience, Harry knew that the higher the rank, the less likely they'd negotiate with him. However, he wasn't done interrogating Davies. He withheld a sigh at the thought of what he'd need to do to get his information. Now, that wasn't legal in the slightest, but the skill wasn't well-known enough for anyone to recognise what he was doing. In fact, in this day and age, he was practically the only one in Britain who knew of it, let alone who could use it. He would try his luck at it, but first, placate the Muggle.
"Of course, Colonel. I was hoping we could make an exception considering the circumstances, but I can see that it won't be possible. Let me just ask him a small question in front of you, just in case he knows anything that could help us. You know, the White Wave so far has only touched Magicals, but who knows if it won't start spreading to Muggle afterwards," he pointed out to make them worried. Hopefully, it would steer the Muggle research in the direction of finding a cure for it too if they were worried enough.
The Colonel frowned distrustfully at him, but gave a sharp nod in the direction of the captive. Harry took it as an agreement and turned back to Davies.
He looked the latter in the eye and prepared mentally for his spell.
"What would it take to stop the White Wave from spreading further?" he asked in a loud, firm voice before he whispered in a barely audible voice:
Davies' eyes widened suddenly in fright, but it was too late, Harry was already in his mind, searching for what his question had evoked in his prisoner.
The onslaught of memories was chaotic, but they mostly centered around a younger Davies who listened captivatingly to his father, Roger Davies, talk with associates during the Second Wizarding War.
Snippets of conversations reached Harry's mind:
"The Mudblood have a different Magic. They can't be allowed to pollute ours..." argued a woman he never saw as her face flashed in his mind for a moment.
"Stop being so sensitive. The White Wave is a purge. There is no choice. Pure Magic won't survive if we don't act. It's our responsibility, as holders of the old..." the face of the speaker was blurry, as if caught in a whirlwind and Harry couldn't hear the rest of the sentence before he was caught in the next flash of memory.
"But she's a Half-Blood! She will die!" pleaded a man in a richly decorated parlour.
"Is she is strong enough to survive, then it means she overcame the plight of her birth. If not, she doesn't deserve your compassion," sentenced his older companion, before the room vanished.
The smoke cleared and Harry saw a group of men whispering in the Atrium of the Ministry of Magic, looking on as the previous Muggle Prime Minister emerged from the phone booth and entered in strictly magical ground for the first time. Harry had been at that ceremony as security detail and remembered seeing the group of Purebloods, but he hadn't heard what they were saying.
"I heard that the Muggles want to impose mandatory magic donations to power their machines. How low have we sunk to allow this calamity," hissed Theodore Nott Jr., whom Harry recognised from his time at Hogwarts. Draco Malfoy stood next to him and shot him a warning glare, clearly angry at the condition for the peace treaty, but refusing to pronounce himself on the matter in public.
The scene changed again, this time it looked like it was in a cave, or a darkened basement. Harry couldn't distinguish much, however, as Davies was looking pointedly at the ground.
"The White Wave has been triggered. There is no going back now," proclaimed the voice of a man. Harry pushed his Magic to remain in this memory, to wait until Davies lifted his head. When that failed, he tried to search for memories triggered by the identity of the speaker, but his first try didn't work and, before he could search for more clues, Davies released a pained groan and his eyes rolled to the back of his head. Harry bent down and Re-ennervated him discreetly. His prisoner blinked a few times and jolted when he heard the Colonel bark at him from his side of the barrier:
"Well, didn't you hear the question, magical swine?"
Harry had nearly forgotten about his own question, but he had seen as much as he could without arousing the Muggles' suspicions of what he did. He hauled Davies up and started to pull him to the barrier when Davies answered in a mocking tone:
"Nothing can stop the purging tide of the White Wave now. Unless you can go back in time to prevent it from being created at all, that is."
Davies shot him an arrogant smile that quickly morphed into a sneer of disgust when the Muggle soldiers seized him and began pulling him away.
Harry followed his progression until Davies was put in a vehicle and disappeared from his sight. The Muggles soldiers were dismissed, except for two, who now stood on their side of the barrier and eyed him distrustfully.
Going back in time, hum? How simple. I'll have to ask Teddy why his beloved Time Room team hasn't thought of that solution yet, he thought sarcastically.
A gust of icy wind bit in his exposed skin and shook him from his thoughts. Harry cast one last look at the snowy ground that had already partly covered the evidence of Davies' struggle and Disapparated back to the Ministry to write his report.
As he waited for the elevator to bring him to his office, he tried to imagine Teddy's face when he'd tell him the suggestion.
Ha! As if time-travel would ever work like that, he scoffed to himself, shaking his head. The tall witch with whom he was sharing the elevator stared. Harry fought the urge to smooth down his fringe on his scar. That had become useless since the war, as now most Magicals recognised him on sight.
He repressed a sigh, put the thought of time-travel away for a later conversation with his godson and started to formulate his report in his head.
Little did he know that a few floors below, the Unspeakables had gathered to discuss the finer details of how their latest invention would be used and that his name was at the very top of a short list of potential candidates for an unprecedented journey through time.
Hi everyone! I hope you enjoyed the first chapter of my new story! Thank you in advance for letting me know what you thought of it, and of the idea for the story in general, if you have the time or the interest. :)