I own nothing.

Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

-Chapter Thirty-Five:

Harry's feet hit the dirt and he flopped on the ground, nearly braining himself on a headstone. He was taking cover. It had nothing to do with his aversion to every form of magical travel that didn't involve brook sticks. That was his story and he was sticking to it. Especially since his clever tactics allowed a flash of crimson light to sail over his head.

"Reducto!" Harry snarled; his eyes focused on the attacker's wand. To his adrenaline addled mind, the wand and the hand holding it were reduced to a shower of wood splinters and gore in slow motion. The man dropped the bundle in his other hand in order to grasp his shattered wrist. Harry was on his feet even as the man dropped to his knees and let out a horrific wail of pain.

Harry's wand flowed across the battlefield, hesitating slightly as he saw Cedric's terrifyingly still form. He ruthlessly pushed down his emotions before coming back to the keening figure.

"Fleur, check Cedric," he ordered. The blonde stared at the injured man in shock. "Fleur!"

"Oui!" the French witch squeaked. She fell to her knees next to the downed student. "He's alive." Harry let out a long breath he hadn't realized he had been holding. "I think he was stunned."

"No one move," he ordered.

"What?" Viktor asked.

"Don't move," Harry repeated. There was a ripple of pops like a burst from a machinegun and a devil's dozen of gray cloak clad figures appeared around them. Viktor let out a yelp of surprise, but remained still as a few wands jerked around to point at him.

"Perimeter!" one of the cloaked figures ordered. Eight of the figures moved out smoothly to form a defensive circle. "What the fuck Harry?" Sal demanded as he lowered his hood.

"Cedric's stunned," Harry stated

"R, check the kid," one of the remaining cloaked individuals immediately went to Cedric's side. The young man let out a shout of shock as the spell was ended.

"Did we win?"

"I won. You got cursed," Harry stated. "This is why you should have stayed."

"Why didn't all of them stay?" another of the remaining grey-clad figures demanded in a feminine voice. "Why is Viktor here?"

"Hermi. . ." Viktor began.

"No names," Hermione snapped. Her concealed face turned to Viktor and she quickly rested a hand on his shoulder in an apologetic gesture. "No names here," she repeated much more softly before turning back to snap at Harry. "Why is he here?"

"They," Harry emphasized, "are here because I wasn't sure that I could beat them all without crippling at least one of them and I didn't have any other options since they all decided they were coming."

"You are too nice," the woman growled at Viktor.

"Too bad my caring nature is one of the things you love about me," Viktor countered.

"Where is everyone?" Sal demanded. "I want Death Eaters!" He turned to the others on the perimeter. "Push out! Find me someone with a stupid tattoo to strenuously question." The perimeter immediately flowed outwards; wands raised to secure their surroundings.

Harry stared down at Peter. After a moment he took the man by the throat and slammed him flat on the ground. "Calm down Peter," he ordered as he dropped his armored right knee down into the inside of the man's upper arm. Peter shrieked and pawed at Harry's visor with his uninjured hand. "Calm down Peter," Harry repeated. "You're making this harder." The older man continued to writhe and Harry chuckled. "I hoped you'd say that." Harry's armored first rose and he slammed about a year's worth of pent-up rage and hatred into Peter's face. "There we go," Harry said calmly as the man flopped back limply, his nose a misshapen mass, snorting blood onto his face. "See how easy this is?" The tip of Harry's wand glowed and he planted it deeply into the spurting stump with a sizzle and the scent of searing meat. Peter's head jerked up and he let out a horrifying sound of pain that could only be described as primal.

"Okay," Sal grunted slowly. "Thank you for reminding me why I never piss of medics. They really know how to hurt people."

"Healing," Harry corrected as he rose to his feet. "See? He isn't bleeding anymore. I healed him. It might have hurt a lot, but he's better now. He'll live to suffer more later."

"Harry," one of the taller remaining figures began, "flask, now."

"I'm fine," Harry countered.

"Drink," Sal ordered. Harry grumbled and lifted his visor to take a long pull from his flask. He froze as he lowered the container. Next to Peter, the bundle of cloth he had been carrying stirred weakly. "What the fuck?"

"I don't know," Harry stated as he closed his visor again and knelt down. He glanced back to Sal and Ron. They nodded; their wands pointing at the bundle. Harry's hand grasped a part of the cloth and he pulled.

"What the fuck?" Ron gasped in horror, his legs twitching as the instinct to back away from horrific messes warred with his desire to keep his wand pointed at the threat. The fleshy, caricature of an infant flopped its oversized head over weakly.

"Potter!" it wheezed in a high-pitched voice as its eyes locked onto Harry's through the visor of his armor. Deep within his psyche, Harry felt a sensation that could only be described as a click when an unwelcomed presence in his head firmly set off the awaiting booby trap. In an instant, more than a decade of rage, terror, loneliness, resentment, depression, jealousy and hatred flowed through the both of them.

Emotions that Harry had lived through over and over again and Voldemort had spent most of his life avoiding by inflicting upon others.

Harry recovered first and smirked down at the misshapen thing, still partially clad in its blankets. Tears flowed down its flabby, misshapen face.

"Oh dear," Harry murmured. "Were you not ready to experience everything you've put me through?" Voldemort gaped up at him. "Some people can turn their minds into fortresses. I can't do that. The only thing I could do, was turn my head into a minefield and then step on every mine over and over and over again until it didn't bother me anymore."

"That's fucked up Harry," Sal stated.

"Yeah," Harry agreed with a mirthless chuckle. "Welcome to my life; at least, my life since I met him. Anyway, Lord Voldemort, I presume."

"Potter," the thing gasped, starting to recover from the vicious flow of negative emotions it had triggered.

"Well, I didn't think there was a step below being stuck to the back of a guy's head, but here we are," Harry noted as he climbed to his feet. "Care to explain where here is?" Voldemort stared at him in disbelief. "No? Yeah, I figured that was a long shot. Petrificus Totalus." He prodded the thing with his steel-clad toe, but it remained still. He pulled off his helmet and took Peter by the hair, forcing the whimpering man to look up at him.

"Harry?" he whispered in shock.

"Hi Peter," Harry returned. The older man's eyes darted between Harry and the blob at his feet. "Don't worry Peter, he can't hurt you anymore." Peter's shoulders seemed to slump in relief. "However, I can still hurt you and in ways he could never imagine."

"You have to understand!" Peter declared, pawing at Harry's armor. Heedless of his new stump. "I didn't have a choice! I'm so sorry Harry."

"You're sorry you got caught," Harry stated as he grabbed the front of the man's robes and hauled him to his feet. "You're not sorry for what you did to me, for what you did to your friends. I spent most of my life thinking I would die alone and unloved. My father and mother are dead. Sirius was tortured every second of every day for over a decade. You don't care about that."

"No!" Peter grasped.

"Yes," Harry corrected kindly as he brushed some filth from the man's robes. "That's okay though, Peter. You will care. I will make you care and when you do, you will be able to truly apologize for all that you have caused and I will forgive you."

"Harry?" Peter whimpered.

"Embrace me as your savior, Peter." Harry grabbed him by the head and hauled him forward until their noses almost brushed. "I am your God now!"

(:ii:)

"Morgana's misshapen tits, Sal," Eddie grumbled. "What the fuck have you been teaching these kids?"

"No," Sal said firmly, glancing at the mediwizard and former SPIE assistant team leader he had poached from St. Mungo's for this little unauthorized jaunt. "You are not blaming this on me."

"I don't see anyone else I could be blaming," Eddie stated. Sal pointed at the squishy dark lord on the ground. "Touché. I stand corrected."

"Well, I guess this is better than going kamikaze," Ron commented.

"Is it?" Hermione asked. "I don't think it is. Damn it, Sal, all we wanted was for you to calm him down and make him think."

"And I did," Sal argued. "This is apparently what happens when he's calm and thinking." They all flinched as the sound of an open palm striking a face rang out through the cemetery. Peter hit the ground and was quickly hauled back to his feet by the last Potter. Harry inspected the man's face tenderly and pulled him into a tight hug. He held the older man for a second, whispering something to him as they rocked back and forth before pushing him back out to arm's length. Peter stared at him in awe, tears running freely down his cheeks. He nodded eagerly and Harry slapped him again.

"What even is happening here?" Ron asked.

"Harry is breaking the spirit," Sal stated. "Its way harder than breaking the mind or the body. It takes inside knowledge and a level of vindictiveness I am not really comfortable with."

"What the fuck am I looking at?" Sal glanced over his shoulder to spot one of the men he had sent out into the graveyard.

"Well, it's a thing I had nothing to do with," he said firmly. "You find anything T?"

"Large cauldron over that hill," John reported, gesturing over his shoulder. "S is trying to figure out what it is, but that spell work is very advanced and S has always been more a sledge hammer than a scalpel."

"Hey, G and L. Go have a look," Sal ordered. Hermione and Luna nodded calmly and strolled off in the direction John had come from. Well, Hermione did. Sal was pretty sure Luna was skipping inside her cloak. Viktor followed after them.

"You think the kids are going to be able to figure it out?" the man asked.

"What can I say?" Sal wondered. They all winced as another slap rang out. "The kids are very advanced."

"What the fuck have you been teaching them?" John demanded.

"I know, right?" Eddie added.

"Again, that is not my fault," Sal argued, pointing at Harry. "That one is fundamentally broken and he was like that when I got him."

"You didn't exactly try to help," Ron countered.

"I'm a professional soldier, not a shrink!" Sal snapped. "We don't help. We do two things: kill the enemy and make more soldiers. That's it. I don't care what the recruiting commercials say. What Harry is doing is neither of those things. Speaking of killing though, there are no Death Eaters here?"

"None," John stated. "Pardon the pun, this cemetery is quiet as the grave."

"I came here to kill Death Eaters, ask pointed questions and have fun!" Sal growled. "I am disappointed on all counts."

"In that order?" Ron ventured.

"They're not mutually exclusive," Sal answered.

"Hey guys." The all jumped and turned to see that Harry had joined them, dragging the older man behind him. "I want you all to meet my Uncle Peter. He made some mistakes in his life, but he has finally accepted that and I've forgiven him."

"Hello," Peter stated, his expression dazed.

"Now, what was the plan here, Peter?" Harry asked.

"We were going to trick Harry and Cedric into coming here," Peter stated. "Then we were going to kill Cedric once we had Harry and use Harry's blood to resurrect Lord Voldemort and simultaneously destroy the protections that Lilly left on him. Cedric was an acceptable substitute, but his sacrifice wouldn't have destroyed the protections." Cedric made a high distressed noise as he realized that his life had been forfeit in the schemes of Harry's enemies.

"Peter," Harry began with a disappointed tone, "he's not your lord anymore. You don't have to call him that."

"Of course!" Peter replied.

"Is that what the cauldron over the hill is for?" John asked.

"Yes!" Peter chirped. "The only remaining ingredients were bone of the father, flesh of the servant and blood of the enemy."

"Flesh of the servant?" Harry demanded.

"I was going to cut off my hand!" Peter announced, staring down at his new stump. Harry let out a sigh and dragged the man around to stand in front of him by his shoulders.

"Peter, that is so stupid. A real master would never demand that," he said. "You need to take better care of yourself."

"Sorry," the man whispered, looking chagrinned.

"It's okay," Harry replied, drawing him into a quick hug. "So, bone of the father, his father is buried here?"

"Yes, in a grave next to the cauldron," Peter reported.

"Alright!" Harry announced with a clap that made everyone present jump. "Let's check that out." He knelt down and picked up the limp form of the Dark Lord by its throat. "Come on Uncle Peter."

"Right!" Peter chirped.

"I am very concerned about all of this," Eddie stated as they watched Harry strut off.

"Yup," John agreed.

"Welcome to our world," Ron replied.

"So, uh. . .Peter?" Sal ventured as they quickly caught up with the Last Potter. "Are there any other Death Eaters hanging around?" Peter glanced at Harry and the younger man nodded.

"No!" Peter announced. "Voldemort believed that if he called his servants here and they found him in a weakened state, they would kill him."

"Oh," Sal grunted. "What about Barty Crouch?"

"He's at Hogwarts," Peter answered.

"Hey, Iron Bart lives to fight again," Eddie commented.

"Oh, Crouch Senior," Peter said. "He's dead."

"Then who's at Hogwarts?" Sal demanded.

"Barty Crouch Junior," Peter answered happily.

"He's dead!" Sal snapped.

"So you say to a dead man," Harry grunted, a hand resting on Peter's shoulder comfortingly after he had flinched at Sal exclamation. "Death isn't a strict term around here."

"No, he's really dead," Sal corrected. "We make sure every Death Eater that dies at Azkaban has an escort to make sure there's a body in that grave. We were all there on behalf of Frank and Alice. I made sure that grave had that little shit in it. I stared into his face." He turned on Peter, but the dazed man just shrugged.

"Hey," Eddie interrupted. "Look on the bright side."

"What bright side?" Sal demanded.

"Nobody else knows he's alive, so he's totally free game for us," Eddie pointed out. "No aurors popping up to save him this time."

"Ooh," Sal hummed happily. He may have missed out on most of the free Death Eaters, but he had gotten one that really had it coming. "How is he hiding himself?"

"He's polyjuiced as Mad Eye Moody," Peter answered.

"Wha. . ." Sal began.

"Yes!" Ron roared, interrupting the older man and making them all jump. "Called it!"

"Oh my God," Harry groaned as he massaged his temples. "It really was the DADA professor again. Four for four! Next year, we curse first and ask questions second."

"What?" John asked.

"The DADA professor tries to kill Harry once a year," Sal explained. "Now about. . ."

"Excuse you," Harry interrupted. "My first year, the DADA professor tried to kill me multiple times."

"About Mad Eye!" Sal announced loudly, glancing at everyone as if to dare them to interrupt. "Polyjuice needs hair right, so he's probably alive, right?"

"Maybe!" Peter chirped.

"I've maintained hope on less then maybe."

(:ii:)

Harry crashed to halt before the giant cauldron and dropped his prisoner flat on its back. Luna, Hermione and a cloaked woman continued to argue animatedly as they debated the contents of the cauldron. "It's an incomplete resurrection potion," he stated, cutting all three of them off as he began poking around the nearby headstones.

"A resurrection potion?" Hermione demanded. "That's not possible." Harry glanced at Peter and nodded encouragingly.

"Technically a resurrection potion is impossible with what is known in conventional magic," the man reported. "However, with sufficient study of necromancy, resurrection is theoretically possible at a significant cost to retrieve a soul from beyond."

"This is theoretical necromancy?" Hermione demanded, taking a step back from the cauldron.

"Well, no," Peter admitted. "This is a restoration potion that would have used the medium of blood, bone and meat to recreate Lo. . ." he flinched as Harry glanced at him, "to recreate Voldemort's body. His soul is currently bound in that vessel."

"Then why are you calling it a resurrection potion?" Luna asked reasonably.

"Voldemort thought that resurrection was more lordly and awe inspiring than just restoration," Peter explained.

"That makes sense," Luna replied. Most present stared at her, while Ron just nodded sagely.

"Does it?" Hermione demanded.

"Of course, returning from death is unheard of outside of legend," Luna reported. "By telling everyone that he has returned from the dead, Voldemort can cast himself as an unkillable nightmare, instead of someone who managed to transfer their soul into an extra squishy baby that had to be carried everywhere."

"You have a way with words," Ron commented, causing the younger woman to preen for a moment before kicking at the ground bashfully.

"It does make sense when you put it like that," Hermione conceded sourly.

"This grave," Harry stated suddenly. "I need this open." Sal came over to stand next to him.

"Tom Riddle," he read. He glanced at Harry. "I know that name."

"He was some kind of wonderkid at Hogwarts," Eddie stated. "Excelled at everything. Slytherin still told stories about him when we were there, mostly unflattering things about his heritage. He claimed to be pure, but he had no proof. Supposedly, he disappeared somewhere without ever actually accomplishing anything. Became a talking point about how no matter how talented a muggle-born was, they were never really going to be someone. You were probably too busy with your connections and king making to pay attention." Eddie and Sal both looked at Harry.

"Tom Marvolo Riddle," Harry stated. "Mix it all around and you get: I am Lord Voldemort. Cute, huh?" They both turned to stare at the half-wrapped fleshy homunculus on the ground.

"I feel we should have known that," Sal admitted.

"To be fair," John commented, "we always demanded where is Voldemort and when is Voldemort, not what, why or who is Voldemort. . .or how is Voldemort."

"True," Sal admitted. With a wave of his wand, all the dirt in the grave leapt into the air and plopped itself in a neat pile before his brain came to a rather startling revelation. "Wait, the lord of the pure bloods had questionable heritage?" Sal demanded.

"There were no questions," Eddie stated. "He had no breeding. He was a half blood at best and from an unknown family at that."

"At best?" Hermione repeated calmly.

"At best. . .in the. . .uh. . .opinion of a bunch of assholes?" Eddie ventured, looking like he wasn't trying to shy away from a schoolgirl that was literally a quarter of his mass.

"Sounds good," Hermione said happily.

"A half-blood declaring himself lord of the purebloods," Sal grumbled. "Never going to let them live this one down. Anyway, so, bone of the father."

"Bone of the father," Harry agreed. "Anyone know how to destroy bones?"

"As a wise woman once said, fire cleanses all," Ron commented.

"Yup!" Luna chirped. Harry glanced over at Hermione and a halo of bluebell fire flickered to life around her cloaked head. She raised one hand and the entire grave burst into blue flame.

"What have you been teaching these kids, Sal?" Suzie demanded.

"Exactly," John stated. Eddie nodded emphatically.

"That's one she came up with," Sal grumbled. He was apparently getting sick of being blamed for every single one of their habits.

"Finite Incantatem," Harry stated, causing almost everyone to jump back and raise their wands.

"Potter!" the former dark lord squealed.

"Okay!" Sal snapped, talking right over the thing. "A little warning before unleashing the evil!"

"He's not going to do much without this," Harry stated, holding up a wand. "Peter gave it to me."

"Worm. . ." Voldemort was cut off as Harry rested his armored toe on his throat and leaned forward.

"Now, now. You don't have to worry about Peter. He's mine now." The thing managed to raise its thin, pale limbs to try to push the boot away. "Anyway!" Harry took the wand in both hands and snapped it clean in half before chucking them over his shoulder and into the flaming grave.

"You will die for that, Potter," Voldemort hissed, the moment Harry moved his boot.

"Oh, good. I'd hate for that to change anything between us," Harry replied. He scooped the things up by the throat. "Hope you all don't mind, but I'd like to have a little heart to heart."

"You're monologuing," Ron stated. "Just drop it on its head or give it a good shake and be done with it. Back me up Sal."

"Enemies should always be told when they're beat," Sal said.

"That doesn't sound like "kill it now, Harry," does it?" Ron demanded. Harry ignored them and plopped himself down at the grave, his armored feet dangling in the azure flames. He set the dark lord down and spent a few seconds futilely trying to make it sit up, before giving up and letting if flop over against his hip.

"So, Lord Voldemort," Harry began. "Actually, you know what? Ever since a friend of mine pointed it out, that's such a stupid name. Tom! Can I call you Tom? Would you prefer Mister Riddle. Tommy? Tammy?"

"I will never use that filthy creature's name!" Voldemort hissed.

"Look," Harry stated. "I am trying to have a serious conversation here and I can't do that if you insist on using the codename you came up with in secondary school."

"How did you. . ."

"The you in the diary," Harry interrupted. "He would not stop telling me everything. It was like a compulsion or something. I was already dying and he couldn't even let me do that in peace."

"It was you who destroyed my horcrux!" Voldemort snapped.

"Pin in that," Harry muttered as he dug out a notebook from the pouch on his belt and wrote the word down. "Does that start with a w or an h?" Voldemort managed to twist his head enough to glare at Harry. "You're right, doesn't matter." Harry tucked his notebook away. "Anyway. . ." He trailed off as he stared down at the thing blankly. "Wow. You know, we've never gotten a chance to talk. I mean, you've talked at me. . .a lot, but we've never just had a chance to sit down."

"I will kill you Potter," Voldemort hissed.

"How's that worked out for you so far?" Harry asked. "I mean, sure I don't have a family, but you somehow seem to have come out of this with even less. I guess, what I'm getting at is: why? Why me? Why my family?"

"Neither of us can survive as long as the other lives," Voldemort sneered.

"Well, I mean yeah, now," Harry replied, "but why in the first place?" For once, the dark lord remained silent. "I was a toddler. What could I have done? Well, I mean, I'll tell you what I could have done. I could've had a family. Hell, you could've still had a body."

"Ask you precious head master," Voldemort sneered again.

"Fair enough," Harry admitted, resting a hand on Voldemort's back. "Well, see you next time Tom."

"Wait!" Sal interrupted. "If you kill him, you'll be just like him."

"I'll be just like him," Harry repeated. "I'll be just like a mass murderer if I kill the man who killed my family and continues to try to kill me."

"Eh," Sal grunted with a shrug. "I don't get it either, but people always say something like that before your first kill. It's like a tradition."

"Let's be honest, I'm not killing him," Harry stated. "Though, if you do die and you see Her, give Her my best. Bye, Tom."

"Potter!" Harry ignored it and shoved it in the grave. With a horrific shriek, it turned to ash before it could even reach the bottom of the hole. Harry climbed back to his feet and brushed off his smoldering leg armor. "Well, that's that for now."

"Now for Mad Eye," Ron said.

"Yup," Harry agreed. There was a moment of tense silence, before Hermione broke it.

"Wait, what?" she demanded.

"Moody is a disguised Death Eater named Barty Crouch Junior," Ron explained.

"Crouch Junior is dead," Suzie snapped immediately. Harry just pointed at Peter. "No. I was there. I saw the body. I spat on him myself."

"We'll just have to ask him about that," Harry replied.

"God damned DADA professor again," Hermione moaned, her face in her palms. "Well, that settles it. Next year. . ."

"Oh, yeah," Harry agreed. "Next year is going to be fun."

-End

(:ii:)

-Author's drunken ramblings. Why does "theoretical necromancy" sound so worrying to me? Anyway, so, an anticlimax. Pretty much. I just kind of feel that one and a quarters guys squatting in a cemetery might not have been the best ambush, especially if they lost the element of surprise. Probably enough to deal with two kids that were taken by surprise, but only enough to deal with that. Especially since, in this story, Crouch Junior reported his concerns to them and they decided to meet the students at the port key insertion point.

Plus, that's funnier to me.

Big battle goooooo and it's over. Even the characters are disappointed.

So, as previously mentioned, my stories start with set pieces and then a story has to be written around it. Sometimes in the course of writing the story, those set pieces get changed, like Harry's panic attack. Harry and Voldemort's fireside chat was one of the scenes that really hasn't changed at all. I've always loved the comedy of a hero and a villain getting stuck together in a non-fighty situation. Just two people who hate each other verbally sniping and passive aggressively making each other miserable.

It's such a shame that America always seems to have abandoned intellectual heroes in favor of one note "street smart" "common sense" heroes against smart villains. How the fuck can a "street smart" hero not be able to figure out how to mock and insult someone? They just scream about how they're going to kill the villain and the villain just sits back because why bother?

Although, here I am taking about non-fighty stuff when my scenario ended up with someone being thrown into a fire.

Eh.

So, in other news, I have given up drinking on weeknights and holy shit does it suck. That's how I know I was drinking too much. A month of not drinking on weeknights and I don't think I've had a good night's sleep since. So, yeah. My body was way too used to just kanking out after I poisoned it too much. I mean, I sleep with my mouth open, so I wake up with dry mouth and exhaustion from not enough sleep. I literally have a hangover from not drinking.

Also, this is why you never try to change yourself for someone else. You change yourself for yourself. I told my mom that I wasn't drinking on the weeknights and the first time she saw me pour a drink on Friday night, her first words were, "you drink too much."

Yeah. I just cut out half my alcohol intake.

If I was doing it for her, that probably would have just pissed me off and led to me deciding to just keep drinking since I enjoy it and I was just going to keep getting the same shit for it.

So, change you for you.

Also, I got bounced by Jimbo from work. Christ, it is fucking hard to put up with his shit.

-Jimbo: So, I found out how Pfizer got approved so fast.

-Jack: Fast? You mean the emergency authorization in the face of a global pandemic? That's not exactly a normal approval.

-Jimbo: The FDA doesn't actually approve drugs.

-Jack: Yes, it does.

-Jimbo: Actually, it's an organization called the NIS.

-Jack: What?

Mistake! That was the bait. Out comes the phone with an already spooled up tiktok of a chick who looks like she just spent a week crying.

-Chick: The National Institute for Health-

-Jack: Wait, the National. . .the NIH? You meant the NIH?

-Jimbo who wants to be taken seriously but can't remember three letters: Same thing. Look here.

-Chick: The NIH is run by Fauchi's wife!

-Jack: You mean, two people working in similar fields at a high level managed to somehow meet each other and got married and that's part of your conspiracy?

Yep. Had to walk away from that one. I don't even know if Fauchi's wife even works for the NIH and I don't care. It doesn't matter.

Christ. Conspiracy theories have become the new Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. People manage to link politicians, rich industry leaders who "fundraise" for them and people working for the federal government and crow about it like it means anything.

My parents are both teachers. My teacher cousin married a teacher. My teacher aunt married a teacher. What does it mean? What a coincidence! How could this happen?

Maybe they just move in the same circles. You know, like rich politician, rich industry leaders that "contribute to their campaigns" and people who work for the government. How weird that they know each other. Right?

Look, I don't want to come off as mocking conspiracy theorists. I think they're cute. I love their happy little worlds where nothing bad happens by chance. Every bad thing has a reason.

Little Timmy didn't get leukemia because the dice roll came up fucked. He got it because the government is putting fluoride in the water to control the population numbers!

It sucks, but there is a reason, which means there is someone to blame. Blame is very important in the face of tragedy.

But, if you want to be a conspiracy theorist, put in the fucking effort and stop using kid's social media apps! Call me old fashion, but at least the cork board, pins and strings has some nostalgia factor and requires people to get off their asses.

Fuck!

Okay, okay, okay. So. Shooting times news has been oddly well received, so here's your update. As previously mentioned, I wanted to buy/build/steal an A2 model AR-15. It was for a range toy and nostalgia factor, and I was planning on using low to mid-tier manufacturers. Despite that, one of my favored websites popped up a Colt AR-15A4 for way lower than I have ever seen.

So, not I have a flat top AR-15 rifle from the OG manufacturer, even though I don't think they ever made M16A4 rifles. I mean, the one I carried was made by FN, a Belgium company, in America. Anyway, that's not what I really wanted. I wanted a carry handle AR rifle.

So, the only logical thing to do is make the factory upper into a M16A4 clone and buy/build/steal a second upper in A2 style.

I mean, I carried an M16A4 for, like, a year, and shot expert with it. So, it's still a nostalgia trip, even though I carried an A2 for five years and shot expert with it two times.

Yeah. You wonder why you hear about cops raiding people, usually not entirely legally, and finding a dozen AR rifles. Well, here's why. You buy one. You build one. You clone one. You end up with a box of parts and that box somehow multiplies into multiple rifles.

I kid you not. Years of owning ARs leads to a box of parts and you suddenly realize that if you buy, like, two more parts, you can build a new rifle. Then you can't sell that new rifle because nobody wants to pay for parts and manufacturing costs, so you end up keeping it.

The next thing you know, you have an arsenal.

Let's not even get into collecting different historical ARs or other countries' random MSR types.

Love you, fuck you, take care of yourselves and each other.

-Uncle Jack

P.S. So, my hips totally set off metal detectors now. I had jury duty (fourth fucking time, beating out my mom who is twice my age) and they had to wand me after I set the thing off. Oh, it's good I don't fly like I used to in the military, or me and the TSA would be on a real collision course.