Warning: Major Character Death
Disclaimer: I’d love to say they were mine, but alas it is not so. Harry Potter and attendant characters belong to the lovely J. K. Rowling, her publishers and the movie guys with the rights to her books. I’m just playing.
Archive: Part of the From Dusk till Dawn Severus Snape/Harry Potter Fuh-Q-Fest at http://www.kardasi.com/HPSS/storyindex.htm
Challenge: ‘Not here, Not now! No magic?’
Reality twirled around him like a broken kaleidoscope; fragments of memory spilling in brightly-colored shards around a broken core.
“Welcome to the Humanitarian Oversight of General, Worldwide, And Regional Terrorist Societies central command, Dr. Snape. The director requests your presence as soon as we go through security.”
The tall, dark man sneered down at him, lank hair falling in stringy locks before his empty black eyes.
“Mr. Potter, I presume.”
A small smile had curled the corners of his mouth, hearing that well-known disdain.
“For my sins, Dr. Snape, I am indeed.” Neville had snorted quietly, activating a new security badge and placing it on the counter. “Thanks mate.”
He handed the badge over. “Wear this at all times within the Citadel.”
Snape scowled. “Such pretension.”
“I didn’t name it.” Harry shrugged. “Without it you’ll be immediately detained and questioned, which, I am told that you would rather not have occur.”
The man pinned the badge on. “Ridiculous.”
“Rather strong words for someone defecting from V. O. L. D. E. M. O. R. T., Dr. Snape. Seems to me that we could just chuck you into the street.”
“Please. Your great White Bumblebee will, no doubt, be grateful for what information I can give him about the Valiant Order of Luminaries Demanding the Evolution of Morally Objective and Righteous Truths.”
Harry stared at him. “Is that what it stands for? That’s even stupider than ours.”
“As you said, Mr. Potter. I didn’t name it.”
Harry led him past the desk and into an alcove off to the side of the main hallway. A soft chime belled into the silence and the oak paneling slid aside to reveal a tiny elevator.
“After you, Doctor.”
“If you insist.”
Harry led the taciturn man down to the director’s office. He could all but feel the puzzlement of the man next to him as they coiled ever farther in to the depths beneath the deceptively innocent restaurant that served as cover for H. O. G. W. A. R. T. S. headquarters.
“I would have thought that the great man himself would have chosen to have an office high up somewhere.”
Harry shook his head as they passed beneath the ubiquitous fluorescent lights. “Nah. He’s a vampire.”
The man following him choked.
“What was that?”
“Albus – he’s a vampire. A lemon sucking, tea huffing, fashion-impaired vampire, but he’s still a vampire. Don’t let him fool you.”
“Well, he doesn’t actually drink blood, but he certainly can suck the life out of people. Good thing he’s good at breathing it back into them, too.” Harry stopped after the last turn, wincing as he saw Minerva, the Director’s secretary, all tartaned up. “It seems someone is feeling Scottish today.”
“I feel Scottish every day, Mr. Potter,” she replied tartly, the burr in her voice mockingly pronounced. “Now, shoo. It seems to me Ms. Granger has something for you down in the Archives.”
Harry felt his lips curve into something that only vaguely resembled a smile. “Does she, now? Well then, I suppose I’ll be going. It was a pleasure to meet you, Doctor. I hope none of us regrets your decision to join us.”
Pain blossomed through him, overripe and deadly on his tongue. No, he thought. No, I don’t want to remember.
Another day, another detonation, Harry thought with restrained glee, watching explosions take out one of V. O. L. D. E. M. O. R. T.’s cells. Of all the things that Harry hated about the organization was its use of genetic manipulation and subtle biological warfare. This time they had thwarted an attempt to release a sterilization virus into the water supply of Los Angeles. Snape had been instrumental in identifying the unknown substance Ron Weasley had brought in, and his memories of V. O. L. D. E. M. O. R. T.’s lab locations had been nothing less than a godsend.
“Excellent!” Dean Thomas hissed under his breath, fingers pressed to the earpiece tucked into his ear. “Hermione says that she got the contents of the computers before it blew.”
“Nothing yet, but she thinks there might be some hints about Riddle’s location.”
Harry smiled darkly. “Well, now, isn’t that a shame for Mr. Riddle.”
Dean’s feral grin lit the night almost as well as the burning remnants of the lab. Tom Riddle, the current leader of V. O. L. D. E. M. O. R. T., had personally tortured Dean’s partner, Seamus, the year before, leaving the young Irishman to die on the docks of Shanghai.
“It is. I cede the final blow to you, though, Harry.”
“Generous of you.”
“Hey, he killed your parents.”
Harry grimaced faintly. He still remembered the sounds of the shots and his mother screaming – the taste of her blood and brain as they spattered on his lips. They had stood in Riddle’s way, his mother sitting in the House of Commons and his father wielding the not-inconsiderable might of Potter Industries. Harry’d gotten the last laugh in the end, though, his three-year-old eyes seeing the face of the murderer and remembering him well enough for a sketch artist. Riddle had been a prominent man, and when the picture hit the papers he’d had to flee Britain.
“Yes, he did.” Another explosion rocked the night. “Looks like we’re done here. Let’s go.”
“Eager to get home?”
Harry raised an eyebrow, relaxing slightly and letting go of the mission mindset as he climbed into the waiting car. “Severus is waiting for me.”
Harry writhed as memories collided in new patterns, that which was obscured suddenly so clear it hurt.
Long arms wrapped around his waist, a long nose burrowing behind his ear. “Welcome back.”
Harry leaned into the embrace. “It’s good to be home.”
“Did things go well?” Graceful, long-fingered hands flicked open the buttons of his shirt and Harry smiled.
“I don’t want to talk about work.”
“All right then,” thin lips snuck round his ear, tiny biting kisses left along his jaw. “Then perhaps we shall not speak of anything at all.”
Guilt wracked him. How easily he had been seduced by the sharp-tongued biochemist, how willingly he had turned a blind eye to the gentle interrogations held in the post-coital bliss of their shared bed.
The shrieking of the intruder alert caught Harry by surprise as he sat in the archives going over Hermione’s findings from the computer records hacked from V. O. L. D. E. M. O. R. T.’s cells.
“Death Eaters are in the building – execute Alpha, execute Alph—” Minerva’s voice was cut off by gunfire.
“Fuck! Hermione, go!” Harry did not stay to see the rage and frustration in her eyes. Years ago a stray bullet had clipped her spine, rendering her legs useless. He could only hope that she was able to make it to her emergency hatch and that V. O. L. D. E. M. O. R. T.’s elite – Riddle’s Death Eaters – did not know about it and have it covered.
It was a long and bitter fight to the central command of the Citadel. Minerva lay on the floor, bleeding heavily but alive as he and Ron burst into Albus’ office. Albus, his gentle smile somehow captured for eternity below the bloody mass that had once been his brain, lay crumpled by his chair.
“How the fuck –”
Harry whirled to see a cascade of black hair and elegant stride nip through the not-so-hidden door of Albus’ escape tunnel. “You bastard! Snape, you fucking –”
The door closed, immune to the bullets that ricocheted off its surface.
“We’ve got to get Minerva to Medical, Harry. You’ve got to issue the command codes to release the lockdown.” Ron’s voice echoed from so very far away. “Harry, help me. Issue the command codes, damn it.”
Harry’s voice responded on autopilot, even as he knelt in the pool of Minerva’s blood in order to try and save her life.
Screams ripped his throat bloody, and then…
…He woke up.
“Sorry about that Harry, we had to sedate you.” Ron looked rather apologetic, but determined.
“Have you –”
“The Citadel has been evacuated. We’ve taken up residence in the New York offices of U. N. C. L. E. for now – we’ve no idea if the backup locations have been compromised…”
“They haven’t been.” Harry smiled coldly. “The physical location was known only to Albus and one other.”
“Harry… you –”
“I was compromised, but you’ll be glad to know that I’m not the one who holds the secret. Has anyone retrieved Albus’ pet parrot?”
“Fawkes? Fawkes? How in hell did… Never mind, I’m not sure I want to know.”
“Fawkes is many things, Ron, and as my second you need to know that of all of them, a parrot is not included.”
“Not at all. Fawkes is probably the most complex and inconspicuous data storage and retrieval device on the planet…” Harry let the memory of thin, well-shaped lips ghost across his body and clenched his fist. “If V. O. L. D. E. M. O. R. T. and Severus Snape think that they’ve won, they’ve got another thing coming. We’re going to take them down.”
He stared at the red headed man calmly. “Tell Dean, he can have Riddle. Snape on the other hand…”
“As you wish.”