AN: Sup. New chapter, how wild. At this rate the story will be done by 2042, but alas. I do this for fun and deadlines are just a suggestion.
Atlas was getting old. Hell, that was a lie. He was old. And as an active Field Operative with boots still on the ground, he was practically ancient. Forty-nine was much too old to be running around with witches and wizards half his age. His lovely wife of over twenty years had been dropping hints for the past few years that he should finally retire. That he had served honorably and longer than anyone should have ever expected out of him. That he should spend more time with her and the kids. Reconnect with his aging mother and younger sisters. That he should finally relax.
Soon. He'd retire soon. Maybe.
Perhaps he'd finally take that promotion Nick had been trying to force on him for the past decade. Group Commander still had a significant workload, but it was different from being 'on the line'. Less danger. Better work hours. More administrative work, manning, training plans. Paperwork…
Maybe retirement would be a better option.
Still. Leaving the life was something that frightened the wizard far more than any death eater or their ilk ever could. What was he to do after spending a lifetime dedicated to magical combat? It had been an awfully long time since he had been an auror. And unlike some of his half-remembered classmates of old, he was not content to lounge in luxury waiting to inherit the titles and responsibilities of his family name. His father, rest his soul, had long since passed. His mother, on the other hand, was still a spritely little thing at the tender age of ninety-one, and he was confident there was still plenty of time before matters of titles and inheritance became an issue.
Atlas was a man of action. The thought of leaving Sigma during such dark times did not sit well with him. But it was hard to avoid the gaze of the basilisk looming in front of his face. Too many years of hard conflict and stress. He was past his prime. It was not an easy concept to confront for someone with a long and illustrious history like himself.
The squad's newest addition was a stark reminder of that. Ares. To be perfectly honest, he had no idea where the young Unspeakable had come from. The Field Operative branch was a small, tight-knit community. Their numbers had never been exceptionally numerous, even during wartime. It was large enough to accomplish a wide array of missions and tasks across the world, but still small enough to know or be aware of most of their members. Reputation was important. But no one had ever seen or heard of him before.
The Unspeakable had no doubts in his mind that Ares was Field Operative trained. It was in the way he moved and fought. The way he spoke and carried himself. He could see the subtle influences of those specially trained in the ways of the department. Those were simply impossible to fake.
The rumor mill had been on full production ever since his public appearance. That Ares was part of some secret division within the department that operated on an even higher tier than regular field operatives. Other rumors said he was the Dragon's secret apprentice, being groomed to take over the department. One even said he was Nicholas's son of all things!
Atlas chuckled to himself softly as he continued to fill out the supply request forms in front of him. Now wouldn't that be a shock to the Wizarding World? An heir to the Flamel line. Alas, in regards to that rumor, he was at least relatively confident it to be false. His public persona was that of a waiter for Merlin's sake!
Still. Questionable parentage or not, it was undeniable that he was exceptionally talented. His skill wasn't something that could have been trained in secret either. No, it could only be forged in the fires of real-life experience. Twice Sigma had fought the mysterious Unspeakable, and twice Ares had come out on top. The first loss could be attributed to surprise and trickery. Unacceptable of course, but understandable that a lone operative could hold his own in those circumstances.
But the second time? There were no excuses.
A normal wizard should not be able to hold off the might of Sigma, no matter how talented. And yet… Atlas itched the newly regrown skin that stretched across his collarbone and down his left pectoral. The phantom pain of burning and bubbling skin, popping like a roast in the oven brought a grimace to the Captain's face. Ugh. He was definitely getting slow.
The Unspeakable arched back, stretching out his spine. Audible cracks filled the silence of the team room as he sighed in momentary relief. In retrospect, he was glad for the distraction that Ares caused. There was an Order meeting tonight. His minor injuries were a significant enough excuse to waive off his attendance for the night. The Unspeakable would rather not listen to yet another fruitless meeting discussing the real identity of the Hero of Diagon Alley.
He'd already spent a good amount of his time wondering the same damn thing.
"Intern, Rookie. Rookie, Intern. I hope you two become great friends," introduced Harry motioning between the two witches at each other.
"Fuck off you wanker," snarled the very hostile Valkyrie, her annoyance palpable.
"Wipe that smug grin off your face. This stupid callsign is all your fault," Amelia snapped back at the same time as Valkyrie.
The time traveler grinned at the expected reaction from the two. More often than not, he just couldn't resist. Ron used to complain for hours on end about how his best friend had become a sarcastic jackass who was too clever with words and that it just wasn't fair he had to deal with it.
Harry raised his hands in mock surrender to the two witches. "At least you ladies are bonding? Please don't curse me."
Valkyrie snorted in anger. "Don't tempt me."
Turning towards Amelia, the female Unspeakable hooked a thumb and pointed it at the wizard in the room. "You have my sympathies if that bastard is your handler. I am Valkyrie of Sigma squad."
Amelia nodded her head in greeting and replied. "Pleasure to meet you Valkyrie, I'm…"
Harry watched in amusement as he could see Amelia visibly grapple with her pride for a brief moment.
"Agent Intern…" groaned the Auror in embarrassment, sinking her face into both of her open palms.
"Seriously?" answered Valkyrie, shock evident in her cultured voice. "As in that's actually your callsign? How in Merlin did that happen?"
"It's all his fault," replied Amy, shifting the blame entirely onto the wizard.
Valkyrie paused momentarily before she nodded serenely. "I understand."
"However; if you'll excuse me, I'll take my leave. I imagine Ares is here to test you," continued Valkyrie, motioning to the elongated chamber they were standing within.
A raised platform bisected the angular walls of the room leading to what looked like an underground firing range. A single target was raised to the side, its distance a mere twenty-five meters from the platform. Farther out, the room stretched a hundred meters with man-shaped targets spread out at varying intervals.
"Right, that's my cue," responded Harry, digging through his robes. "Ah-ha!"
From the depths of his silver robes, the wizard pulled out a small pentagonal badge and tossed it at the auror. "Catch!"
Amelia snagged it out of the air and stared at the multi-colored badge, her callsign engraved upon it in confusion. "What's this?"
Harry nodded at Valkyrie, "Wanna take this one Rookie?"
The other Unspeakable snapped her gaze back at the wizard, her annoyed gaze palpable despite the facial concealment charms hiding her face from view. "Fine. Look here."
Valkyrie pulled out a similar badge from her robes and brought it next to Amelia's. "This is a Department identification and skill badge. Depending on your rank and clearance it allows you access to different portions of the department. There are five colors, and each represents a different skill proficiency for Field Operatives. Each color has seven bars that represent your level of mastery. It means little in the grand scheme of operations, but in order to progress and take higher responsibilities within the organization, certain skill requirements must be met."
Amelia nodded in understanding, "So what does each color represent?"
"The red and blue represent your offensive and defensive magic skills, respectively. This is determined by a senior Unspeakable in a combat test. You have three bars in red and blue, which is typical of a new operative."
In comparison, Valkyries had five red bars and three blue.
"Yellow is healing magic ability, while green is a measure of your magical power output," continued Valkyrie, her dulcet tone clear and precise with her explanations. Valkyrie pointed at her own badge as she spoke. The two bars on yellow and five on green were significantly higher than Amelia's one yellow and blank green. "Finally, there is black, which represents your skill with the dark arts. It mostly represents your use and resistance to the Unforgivables, but it is not limited to the big three. Fiendfyre for example."
Valkyrie paused at this, giving Harry a noticeable look. Harry shrugged. He remembered the fiasco in the room of requirements as well as she did. Fiendfyre was one of those spells even the most advanced dark practitioners were hesitant to use. It bordered on wild magic and was equally as unpredictable as it was dangerous. The form the fiendfyre took in the room of requirements after he burned one of Voldemort's horcruxes was unsettling. It wasn't supposed to do that. Then again, time travel as far he had gone was supposedly impossible too, so he had no idea. Hermione would have loved the challenge.
Harry could sense the frown beneath Amelia's cloak, despite not seeing it. Which reminded him, he needed to key his and her cloaks to their respective magical signatures. He forgot how annoying it was to not be keyed into nearly every Unspeakable in the department. Sure, most held some form of permanent glamour regardless, but it was annoying to not have a face to interact with.
"Dark arts huh?" responded Amelia, looking down at the badges between them. Hers held a measly two bars while Valkyrie's held a staggering six.
Valkyrie huffed in displeasure, "It is incredibly difficult to max out in that category. Most stagnate at either five or six."
Harry nodded in agreement. Of all the possible skill proficiencies, power and the dark arts were the two that most operatives would never fully master. Only one person in the history of the department had ever fully mastered the entire skillset. But then again, Nicholas was the one to create the whole system, so it was to be expected.
"What's yours look like H-ares?" stumbled Amelia, the magical oaths she'd taken earlier forcibly preventing her from accidentally revealing his name in public.
"How about a bet instead?" replied Harry easily, pointing towards the large target closest to them. "We test your spell power output and if you manage to beat me, I'll show you what my badge looks like."
"Scared to show weakness Ares?" scoffed Valkyrie scathingly.
Harry chuckled raising his chin pretentiously, "Does that mean you wish to challenge me also Miss Valerie? How presumptuous."
"Let's go Intern," growled the Rookie, grabbing the uplifted auror by the arm and dragging her bodily to the firing range. "Time to put this prick in his place."
Following the two witches to the platform, Harry watched as Valkyrie started setting up the power register for usage. Harry smiled under his hood, a mischievous glint to his eyes. He knew annoying Valkyrie would be enough to get her to set up the tedious ritual on her own. The firecracker of an Unspeakable was spiteful like that.
And easily manipulated. It was a black mark on what would otherwise be a promising young rookie in the department. Too quick to anger. Emotionally driven. All traits that had marked the deaths of many talented operatives in the future, rookie and veteran alike. Hopefully, she'd grow out of it before it came that.
"Done. Let us begin."
Valkyrie stepped up to the platform and aimed her wand at the glowing target. "The testing is simple. Simply choose an offensive spell and fire it at the target. Generally, you would choose the spell you are most proficient at. In my case."
A flick of her wrist sent a wordless reducto smashing into the target. A ripple of blue waves flowed across the bullseye before a white light burst from the shield and flew into a blank parchment hanging on the range. The numbers six and four materialized before fading out of existence.
"The system scales out of one hundred and is scored off of how much power is within your spell as it hits the target. It is a test of both efficiency and strength. All the power in the world is useless if you lack the ability to properly harness it."
Valkyrie turned back towards the target again, "Reducto!"
This time a significantly larger and much brighter version of the spell barreled through space before it collided with the target, shaking the chamber with its strength as it sent massive waves across its surface.
Again, white light burst forth and a shimmering script appeared on the parchment.
An eight and a five.
Harry whistled, an eighty-five was nothing to scoff at. One more point would have upgraded the witch into the next tier of power ability. From the muttered curses, it seemed Valkyrie had also realized that fact.
"You're up Intern. Let's see what you got."
Harry watched as the auror took an even stance and aimed her wand downrange. "Stupefy!"
A brilliant ray of scarlet light shot out of her wand and blitzed towards the target in a flash.
Six and a nine. Nice.
Harry frowned. "Relax, give it another shot."
Again, a scarlet light burst forth and hit the glowing target.
"One more time."
Amelia rolled her shoulders back and let out a deep breath. Harry watched as the witch shifted into an attack stance, her body turned sideways toward the target, her wand held up and behind prepared to slash.
"Stupefy!" roared the witch, whipping her wand down across her body and stepping into the attack like a muggle pitcher.
A ray of crimson power crackled through the air as it shot like a bullet and smashed into the target in an instant. Blue waves rippled angrily across the surface before the familiar white light shot up and out into the grading parchment.
"Merlin. That's not half bad for a recruit," whistled Harry again, staring at the shimmering eight and zero. Moving towards the witch the Unspeakable tapped her badge, causing five green bars to appear. "Why didn't you do that the first time?"
"Oh, shut up."
Even Valkyrie seemed somewhat impressed. Most didn't break out of the seventies power range until they had a year or on a team to hone their skills. And that was only if that already had the requisite power in order to do so. It seemed the future Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and Bone Family Matriarch had strength to spare. Fitting, considering future Amelia was deemed worthy of a personal visit by Lord Voldemort during the second war.
Harry winced at the thought. He'd forgotten that little tidbit. If nothing changed, his auror friend had less than two decades left on the earth. A sobering thought.
"Well, go on then," motioned Amelia, her voice cheery and upbeat, "Let's see what Mr. Humble brings to the table."
Harry stepped up to the platform, his good mood all but gone as he stood silently at the precipice. The target seemingly swayed in front of him despite being stationary as the sound of blood pumping roared in his ears. Everything really did all lead back to him. He'd thought he had finally put that demon to rest all those years ago when he dropped that bastard into the dirt.
It was so unbelievably hard to stay on track. To remember the harsh reality of his situation. Nearly all the people he interacted with in this time were long dead. Footnotes and statistics in the history books. Killed in the First Wizarding War. Tortured to insanity in the Second Wizarding War. His grandparents. The Dumbledores. Amy. Dead.
Harry's eyes narrowed as he raised his wand and aimed at the target. A familiar snakelike visage with glimmering crimson orbs flashed across his vision, superimposing itself across the human-shaped silhouette.
An incredibly tight beam of scarlet light blazed forward and crossed the expanse of the room impossibly fast. Purple light flared as the spell collided with the protective blue magic humming across the face of the target.
Three pairs of eyes followed the white recording magic as it raced across the room from the target and into the hanging parchment.
Well, that was lucky. Expelliaramus was not exactly a spell known for being particularly powerful.
"Oooohhh, gotcha beat by one. Looks like I win yeah?" said Harry, a fake smile plastered within his hood as he turned towards a fuming Valkyrie.
The volatile young Unspeakable glared at the time traveler, "Expelliaramus? Really? That's the spell you chose?"
Harry cocked his head ever so slightly in confusion, "Yes?"
Valkyrie looked back at the target and then at Harry and shook her head in disgust.
"I don't understand you," spat the young Unspeakable. "I've seen your power in action, that thing you manifested. You have such magical strength and ability and yet you treat everything like a joke! Expelliaramus? Really? I respect strength, power, skill! I've dedicated my entire life to becoming strong! I do not take kindly to my life's work been made a mockery."
The female Unspeakable paused a moment's rest before adding acidly. "With all due respect. Sir."
Harry stood silent after Valkyrie finished her rant, her chest heaving with indignant anger. Amelia stood awkwardly in between, outside of her comfort zone.
Respect was important. Harry understood that. Respect was the unwritten currency of human interaction. Mutual, one-sided, antagonistic. It formed the basis for how people, muggle and magical alike, formed relationships.
Valkyrie was a so-called Pure-blood. It was blatantly and inherently obvious to tell. A probable member of an Ancient and Noble Family if her mannerisms were any indication. Aristocracy emanated from her presence easily and without thought.
The noble caste was proud, ancient, and mired in tradition. Family, blood, and honoring their ancestors. Those were the institutional pillars in their community, their culture, their lifestyle. It had taken Harry multiple years and a lifetime of interaction to understand that the noble families were a product of generational tradition. That their cultural identity and family traditions were so important and ingrained, that it was the rare breed of individual that ever decided to peer outside the bubble of their society. That their children were raised with the same values and beliefs as their father's father, and their father's ancestors above him.
Respect. It is what they demanded. For many, Harry did not believe they deserved it. Respect was earned with blood, sweat, and deeds, not freely given due to a family name. Valkyrie, however? He could respect her. She was young and abrasive, and most probably had some problematic viewpoints that he'd probably have to ignore if they ever had a departmental potluck but…
But she was also an Unspeakable. And a member of Sigma, a powerful one to boot. And for all her professional and personality flaws, she hadn't done anything to be deserving of any sort of disrespect.
Well. Besides, try to kidnap him. But that was just work, so Harry tried not to take it personally.
Harry had a team once. Men and women who lived, fought, and died with him. Muggleborn, Half-blood, and Pure-blood. They were people with vastly different views on anything and everything. Respect and loyalty held them together despite it all.
Harry took a deep calming breath and then nodded.
"Forgive my insult. My disrespect was not intentional, and I dishonor you, myself, and the Department of Mysteries."
Both women froze at the intensity of the wizard's apology. An air of nobility and seriousness that felt completely unnatural in comparison to the normal demeanor of the Unspeakable was enough to still the room.
"I-yes-well," stuttered Valkyrie momentarily before regaining her composure. "The Ancient and Most Noble House of B-mine accepts your apology, with the understanding that you will prove here and now your strength. Honestly this time."
Valkyrie still radiated her perpetual aura of anger, but a hint of curiosity was unmistakable as she glanced between the other Unspeakable and the platform next to her.
"As you wish my lady," nodded Harry again, the barest hint of playful sarcasm in his voice.
The two witches watched as the wizard marched up the steps and stood silently on the platform.
Harry paused for a moment, raising the familiar holly wood and phoenix core wand that he used his entire life, and put it away.
Reaching behind his back, he grasped the emergency wand holster that remained semi-permanently attached and disillusioned and activated it.
A wand made of elder wood with the tail hair of a thestral shot into his palm.
An all-encompassing cold shot up his arm to his very core, while a sense of dark detachment blasted through his occulmency barriers and settled in as if it was always there.
Harry rolled his shoulders back and cracked his neck, his vision narrowing into a dark tunnel of focus onto the target before him.
A detached part of his mind was saying that this whole endeavor was a wasteful display of power. A dangerous and unnecessary revelation of skill for the sake of impressing a witch or two. That the smart thing to do was to do just enough and let bygones be bygones.
But the darker side of him said otherwise. To prove his worth. His power. The side of him that spent his entire life on the razors edge of death. The side that refused to be defeated, that demanded he fight with all his being. The side of him that was the Master of Death.
And there really was only one spell the Master of Death needed.
"Welcome to the Three Broomsticks, my name is Harry and I'll be serving you today." The aforementioned Harry gave a wry grin, a small notepad and muggle pen spinning between his fingers. " What can I get you started with?"
Lily Evans was many things. Gryffindor. Head Girl. Muggleborn. The brightest witch of her generation.
When she had been introduced to the wonderful, brilliant world of magic, it had seemed an ethereal dream. Magic was real.
Magic was real.
And she could do magic. It was a wondrous feeling. A sensation that even after seven long years at Hogwarts, never failed to fill her with awe and excitement.
But humans were inherently human, magical or not. And that meant for all the beautiful, marvelous, and spectacular things magic could accomplish, there were just as many, dark despicable things that were possible.
Some days all Lily wanted to do was run away. Away from Hogwarts, from magic, from the Dark Lord. From everything.
She was supposed to be an adult now! Eighteen years old. A year older than most of her classmates. Head Girl. So many people looked up to her at Hogwarts. Witches, muggleborns, even some of the so called purebloods couldn't help but respect her for sheer determined talent. But all she felt was scared. Alone.
She should be worrying about normal things! Her N.E.W.T exams! Winning the house cup! Planning on how she was going to become the youngest potion mistress in a century! Boys even!
Unshed tears blurred her vision and her fists tightened in frustration as she sat alone in the dark corner of the Three Broomsticks. It felt like every day was worse than the last. Like a never-ending nightmare that she just couldn't wake from. People were dying and fighting and dying and-
The clanking of glass and a sudden mug of butterbeer appearing before caused her to jump, her heart leaping from her chest, shaking her suddenly from her morose musings.
Lily flinched before glancing up at the dull green eyes of the waiter giving her a sad smile. The black-haired addition to Rosmerta's staff slid a much smaller shot glass filled with swirling crimson liquid, a hint of cinnamon wafting through the air, and placed it next to the bubbling mug of butterbeer.
"Technically, I'm not supposed to serve Firewhiskey to Hogwarts students. But you look like you need a pick me up, miss." The wizard replaced his sad smile with a wry grin. "Just don't tell the Headmaster yeah? Can't have him thinking I'm corrupting his Head Girl. Compliments of the house."
The muggleborn witch hesitated before stammering, "I-I shouldn't. It's against the rules."
The older man smiled softly. The wizard snagged a chair from behind him and spun it in front of him before straddling it backward. The waiter then raised her shot glass of fire whiskey between two fingers in front of her. A sudden pop and Lily's eyes widened as there were suddenly two glasses filled to the rim nestled between his fingers.
"How did you do that?" questioned Lily, her brilliant emerald eyes shooting from the shots of whiskey to the dull green eyes of the waiter. "Gamp's law states-"
"Ah-ah!" the waiter raised a single finger to cut her off. "Tell you what. I'll tell you how I broke Gamp's law of transfiguration for a party trick if you share a drink with me."
Lily scrunched her nose in minor annoyance at the sweet-smelling drink in front of her before she took a deep calming breath and knocked the shot glass back.
Fiery warmth spread quickly throughout her belly and she hiccupped as a puff of smoke escaped her lips.
Her companion raised his glass in a silent salute before tapping it softly on the table and drained it seemingly effortlessly. A contented sigh escaped his lips as he unconsciously flipped the glass and placed it rim down back on the table.
"Not quite one of Poppy's infamous Calming Draughts but Odgen's Finest is a decent enough runner up in a pinch." The older wizard shrugged.
The waiter awkwardly ran one of his palms through his jet black hair, a sudden realization jerking throughout his body.
"Uhh not that I'm encouraging you to use Firewhiskey as a coping mechanism. That would be highly irresponsible of me a-and it shouldn't become something you rely on because early-onset alcoholism is a really serious matter and-uh do as I say and not as I-"
Lily interrupted his rambling with a bubbly belly laugh that shook her small frame almost violently. Small tears of laughter leaked from the corner of her eyes as she hiccupped and examined the man beside her.
"You're not the smoothest of talkers are you Mister?"
A mixture of horror and indignation splashed across the wizard's face as he sputtered out a reply.
"I-wha-no! You misunderstand me, I…" the waiter paused and sucked in a deep breath before shooting a somewhat evil glare at the girl. "I'll have you know I'm a very smooth talker when I want to be. Next time I see a witch in distress see if I bother."
The waiter harrumphed grumpily and started muttering under his breath.
"—tupid, saying I'm not. I wasn't even-so inappropriate-"
Lily laughed out loud again at the handsome wizards' antics, her mood exponentially lighter as the pool of warmth from the alcohol reddened her cheeks and curled her toes.
"Thank you for the drink…?"
"Thank you for the drink, Harry. My name's Lily, it's actually a pleasure to meet you." The redhead raised an eyebrow up at Harry, an odd expression on her face. "My mother always said to be wary of strange men offering free drinks y'know. Is that something you make a habit of? Giving alcohol to Hogwarts girls?"
Pure abject horror shot across Harry's face again, his eyes widening comically before he shot back from his seated position, standing abruptly.
"Wait don't go!" Lily leapt from her seat her hand catching and tugging on the sleeve of his robe. "Please… don't."
Harry froze at her delicate fingers clamped around his robe, her soft skin briefly brushing across his forearm. An indescribable look of sadness flashed across his face before a grumpy pout quickly replaced it. "You done mocking my good Samaritan act for the day?"
Lily smiled softly as she sat back down, the wizard doing the same. "Yes. I'm sorry. That was very rude of me."
Harry harrumphed in agreement.
"A deals a deal though good sir. How'd you do that trick with the whiskey?" Lily rested her chin on her fist, her eyes staring intently at Harry.
"Ah yes well," started the wizard awkwardly before catching his groove. "It really is just a party trick. Conjuring alcohol is actually one of the lesser-known exemptions to Gamp's Law of transfiguration. It's still an outright pain to get the taste right via conjuration though, Odgen's finest is famous for a reason you know. Still, it's much easier to just duplicate the liquid in the first shot glass and conjure a second glass at the same time to fill it with simultaneously."
Lily nodded in understanding at the mechanics behind his party trick. Another small detail however crossed her analytic mind.
"That was wordless and wandless conjuration and duplication. That's some seriously advanced transfiguration."
Harry gave a cocky grin, spinning a muggle pen gracefully between his fingers. "Yes well, what can I say? It impresses the ladies."
Lily snorted, rolling her eyes, "Yeah okay, keep telling yourself that."
"I will, thank you," nodded Harry in agreement, his nose raised to the air with mocking nobility.
The muggleborn witch smiled at the wizard's antics. The older wizard was surprisingly entertaining company. Almost like an older, more mature James Potter or Sirius Black.
Lily paused at the thought, cocking an eyebrow up and examining the wizard more closely. He actually kind of looked like Potter. His shoulders were a bit broader, and his hair and nose were almost a perfect match. Handsome, in a rugged, almost worldly sense. His eyes didn't match but they were pretty in their own sort of way.
She always had loved the color green.
She took a long sip from her mug of butterbeer, savoring the bubbly drink as it popped and crackled across her tongue. It contrasted nicely with the warmth within her gut and a small smile slowly materialized across her face.
"Oi! Harry! Stop flirting with the pretty redhead and get your arse back to work!"
A soapy washcloth came flying across the room and wetly smacked the wizard upside his head sending him crashing off the edge of his seat with a thunderous boom.
Harry leapt to his feet his eyes flashing as the few patrons in the Three Broomsticks laughed uproariously at the sight of Rosmerta floating more wet washcloths menacingly and her waiter dripping soapy water down his face.
"Oh you're in for it now Rosie," growled Harry, his wand flashing into his open palm. A trio of nearby dining tables and chairs shuddered briefly before crashing together into a miniature furniture golem. A mop came flying across the room and smashed into the furniture monster's hand, its body shaped into a rough shape of a knight.
The magical creation slashed in the direction of the owner/barmaid with the tip of its mop, deflecting a second washcloth projectile away from its master.
Scattered cheers and clapping filled the restaurant, with some of the establishment's regulars already placing bets into who'd win the latest fight between employee and employer.
Rosmerta cackled as she duplicated her flying projectiles around her, her soapy weapons spinning around in a trio of circles, their velocity going faster and faster.
"You've slacked off for the last time Harry!"
"I demand a raise! This is a dictatorship!"
Lily's sides shook as she laughed so hard her ribs started to hurt. The crash and clash of the conflict encompassed the room as the witch and wizard dueled in the middle of the dining area. Someone had conjured a black chalkboard onto the wall where a previous series of wins versus losses could be seen scrawled out beneath the names of Rosmerta and Harry.
Most of the patrons clapped and cheered as if this was a normal Saturday evening while a select few newcomers seemed shocked at the random magical fight happening amongst them.
Lily smiled brightly leaning back in her seat as she watched her waiter leap onto the back of his creation and rapid-fire a series of throw pillows at his boss.
Magic was amazing.
"It does not please me to do this. It is unbecoming of a leader to raise his hand upon those who follow him. A leader must be firm, yet fair."
A firm, yet powerful voice echoed softly. Oppressive power filled the air, while every word spoken felt like a jolt of electricity to all that were listening.
"Understanding and empathy, those are the keys to leadership. Duty. Respect. Selflessness and Courage. And above all."
Angry brown eyes flashed dangerously, changing a brilliant crimson for just a moment.
"Loyalty," the Dark Lord Voldemort hissed menacingly. "Crucio."
Guttural screams pierced the torch-lit chambers as a masked wizard squirmed and twisted in agony upon the floor. The stench of ammonia, fear, and burnt flesh permeated the room as a veritable army of masked figures did their very best to impersonate kneeling statues.
Gut-wrenching sobs emanated from the crying figure as the wizard in question curled up into a ball as the torture curse finally let up.
"Loyalty. That is all that I ask of each and every one of you. We are meant to be a family! A force to be reckoned with!" the dark Lord swept forward beckoning at his kneeling followers. "We are the heralds of the future, the witches and wizards who will bring balance to our society! To root out the oppressive taint of the muggleborn that threaten our very way of life!"
Low murmurs of assent slowly rose in volume as the Dark Lord went on. The oppressive nature of the room rapidly shifted from overwhelming fear to a sense of zealous fervor.
"We are the oppressed no more! We are fighting for our very way of life! Not just for ourselves, no!"
Electricity crackled through the air as lightning formed on the tip of the Dark Lords' wand, it held outstretched over his head like a vengeful God.
"We fight for our Blood! For magic! Rise, my brothers and sisters!"
The assembled Death Eaters leapt to their feet, roaring in approval. The chambers that they were in shook as their cheers rose to deafening levels.
"Death to the traitor!"
"Kill the coward!"
"It is our right! Our destiny! We will take what has always been ours!"
Tom Marvolo Riddle narrowed his eyes as a chilling smile graced his lips. His hand flashed down and electrical power exploded from his wand, brilliant white light blazed forward, a powerful beacon that filled the darkest corners of the chamber. The prone death eater crumpled lifelessly to the stone floor as electricity caused his body to twitch and move unnaturally.
The roar of approval from his death eaters was deafening as much as it was thunderous.
"And no one. No one. Will stand in our way."
AN: A lot has happened since we last saw each other, I've bought a house, got another dog, tore my quad. So if you see a guy at your local gym limping around in a thigh high brace grumbling at himself that he can't lift anything heavy then pop over and say hi. I'll pretend I've got no idea what you're talking about.
Story wise, doubt it's worth the wait but I like it. Little omage to Summer of Change by Lorddwar with the badges. It's an old fic from '06 that's basically just awkward Harry/Tonks smut but it's the story that planted the Unspeakable=Spec-ops wizards seed, so credit where credit is due.
Also, how this story is currently the 13th most followed HP fanfic is beyond me. There's much better products out there then this and I'm entirely undeserving. Until my next, very delayed, but probably only a year from now update. Peace.
Edit: I just had a WTT post pop up on my reddit recommendations and I am blown away at the amount of mentions this story has. Yo. You guys are making me feel bad for forgetting this exists 9 months out of the year. Lol