Note: I've had some complaints about POV shifts. Get ready for some doo-zey's.
The Wizard War Affair
Xover: MFU/HP Universe
PG-13 (so far so good)
After the Return of the Man from UNCLE something evil in England is using what is left of THRUSH for its own ends.
Angst in places.
London, November 1985
Albus Dumbledore returned to his seat in the Leaky Cauldron to finish his drink and wonder about what had led Roxana back to England and Diagon Alley. He sensed a great deal of good around the American she had married. Albus also sensed a great deal of ability and power in the man, although he was still a novice in its uses. Odd that the American community would let that kind of ability go untrained. But then, Yanks were a strange lot, all intermarried with different heritages.
He lit a pipe and sucked on it thoughtfully, blowing smoke bubbles in pretty colors as he considered things. While he frowned on the somewhat undisciplined approach the American community showed in missing this man when his training would have been so simple, still, there was a lot to say for their egalitarian attitude about who should and should not be schooled. It was an attitude he admired and tended to emulate.
As for that young man with Roxana and her husband, he was odd. Albus could sense power, but it was locked away, inaccessible, as though the potential – no, not even that definite. It was as though someone had taken the man's abilities and shifted them away from him, into – some – one – else? He shook his head. No. That was not possible. You could strip a wizard of his mind, but not of his innate ability to do magic. Or could you? What if -
None of the "what if"s Albus considered were the sort of thing he could imagine any sane wizard doing to another wizard. He tapped out his pipe and sat for a time. How many wizards were there currently roaming England and the Continent that were not technically sane? How many wizards were there who understood the precarious balance between the magical world and the Muggle one? How many of them were dead because of those who believed that only the pure bloods should learn to use magic and that Muggles were only for the entertainment of wizards, and for servitude.
He pushed his glasses up his forehead so he could rub his eyes. This war was intensifying and it would get much, much worse before it got better. He only hoped that the rest of the world would not get involved in their fight, that it would stay safe from Voldemort's insanity. He relaxed with a sigh. If something didn't happen soon, all his hopes would be for naught as the rest of the world was slowly drawn into Voldemort's net. Just as the wizarding world had been drawn into Hitler's.
'Some are just born bad,' he thought and went out into the night.
Upcountry from London was a shadowed valley. In the valley stood the ancestral home of the Malfoys. Tonight, Lucius Malfoy returned knowing that it was finally his home, not his grandfather's, not his father's, but his. Here his new wife would come in a few weeks to take her place at his side. Narcissa was beautiful, talented, well versed in the various magics she had studied, and wealthy. It was a match much to be desired. Her family's wealth would add to his, if that old squanderer of a father of hers could be kept in rein. Well, he'd seen to his own inheritance, as any good Malfoy would, perhaps he'd turn his attention to hers, assuming the Master didn't have things that needed attention.
He strode into the entry hall shedding cloak, gloves and coat as he went. The loyal troop of house elves managed to catch everything before it hit the ground and swept it away for cleaning and hanging. Upstairs, Lucius went to his suite of rooms and changed for dinner. He was satisfied with his clothing, only throwing something heavy at his personal house elf attendant twice during the process of dressing for dinner.
He entered the drawing room and surveyed his guests. Most of them were his age, they had attended Hogwart's together taking the most OWLS this or any other age had seen in House Slytherin. There were three who were not of the same graduating class. Two he dismissed as hangers on, only there because Voldemort had a use for them. Then there was Severus Snape.
As though aware of Lucius' thoughts, the youth's black eyes found his host. An unbecoming sneer curled his lip as he lifted his glass in salute. What was the Master thinking when he admitted that one to his ranks? Admittedly, the more the merrier, but Snape?
Lucius took a breath and considered things as he allowed the doors to the room to close behind him. The Snape family was, admittedly, as old, if not older than the Malfoy line. Severus had entered Hogwart's knowing more hexes than most seventh year students did. He was a Potions Master before he left Hogwart's at 17. Now, only a few years later, he was still greasy haired, narrow-chested, snaggle-toothed and almost as deadly with his waspish tongue as he was with a well-brewed poison. Looks were not, unfortunately, everything.
The Master had a task for the difficult Snape. If he succeeded, Snape and Malfoy would move up in their Master's organization. If he did not, well, Lucius could always make another opening to move up. The dead did not matter.
Severus watched Malfoy enter the room. He could sense there was something up, something that concerned him. He ignored the usual sneer curling Malfoy's lip as their gazes met. What did he care for the man's shallow attitudes? What mattered was that the Snapes would rise as the Master did. Soon they would assume the mantle of power and control they had known in earlier centuries, and Severus, the unlooked for scion of the line, would wield that power. He would show them all.
The task the Master set him was not all he wished. "Muggles?"
"They are powerful, as Muggles go. They're using this new 'computer technology' to do many things we have accomplished with magic. The Master wants two things. One: Evaluate their potential as rivals or opponents. Two: If we can turn them into allies long enough to destroy them, do so."
Severus accepted with a curt nod and swept out, his black robe billowing out around his angular frame. Malfoy sat back in his chair, an evil smile curving his lips. He reached for his drink and raised it ever so slightly in salute to the vanished Snape. "Success," he mouthed and downed the wine. "Or not," he finished as he tossed the glass to the hovering house elf.
"Muggles," Severus said with disdain as he strode onto the grounds and then apparated home.
The moldering stone pile was dark. Good. He could –
Lights sprang up as he entered the kitchen. An ancient crone with a malevolent eye grabbed his arm and tossed him across the ancient room to fetch up painfully against a rough-hewn stonewall. He scrabbled for his wand as he landed, but the woman was faster, wrenching the slender, elegant stick out of his hand and tossing it aside before latching one gnarled hand around his throat and hauling him to his feet.
"Where have you been?" she demanded. "Out with your fancy friends? Can't stand t'bring 'em home, can you? Just can't handle that they might see your Granny? Can't handle being found out, that you're more Hag than Wizard, can you?"
The stench from her breath was just about enough to knock him unconscious, coupled with the open handed strikes she was landing on his face, whipping his head back and forth, grating it against the rock behind him.
"The Master told me to go. I can't turn him down, now can I?"
"Smart mouth me, will ye?"
The backhanded blow sent him flying into the nearest corner. He lay there in a tangle of robes and waited. There was no reasoning with Granny in this mood. None at all.
"So, ye've been t'see HIM, have ye?"
"No. The orders came through Malfoy. The Master is – busy."
She snorted. "Too busy for the likes of ye, boy. Well, don't just lie there, get ye going. The Master likes not lazy lay-abouts."
Cautiously, he pulled himself up off the floor, swallowing the blood from his cut lips. Blood or any sign of pain would just set the crazy old woman off again. Slowly, with what dignity he could muster, he left the room, sliding out of the light into the cold, dark corridors of Snape House.
Once safely in his room, the doors and windows spelled closed and locked, he sat down and shook for a few moments. Sooner or later, she'd kill him, just because he wasn't the ugly monster she was. He stripped out of his torn robe, then the black coat and black silk shirt that lay beneath. The mirror over the washstand frowned at him.
He felt rather than heard the sigh. "Nothing broken. Scrapes up and down your back, bruises on either cheek, cut upper and lower lip, cut right cheek. Nothing you can't drink a potion to cure."
"Good." He washed his face, ignoring the pain it caused. He opened a nearby cupboard and pulled out an assortment of potions to apply to his wounds. By morning, it would be as though nothing happened.
************THRUSH Central England
Demonique Lokisdatter looked around her office with satisfaction. It wasn't often that a woman rose to power inside THRUSH, especially under the current economic strain imposed by that debacle against UNCLE a couple of years earlier. She caught a glimpse of her elegantly coiffed head in the window glass. Hair the color of Lucifer's heart was pulled up into an elegant twist. Her face was flawless, Nefertiti with thinner eyebrows and hellfire burning in her eyes.
There was a knock, polite and respectful, at her office door.
"Enter," she called, her perfectly modulated contralto carrying across the room.
A really bored looking tow-headed blonde stepped into the room, closing the door behind her. "Commander Lokisdatter, we have a communication from the man calling himself Lord Voldemort. His representative should arrive tomorrow morning, about 11am. The man's name is Severus Snape."
"Excellent. You will process him as directed and we will see what, if anything, these delusional "wizards" can offer us."
The blonde nodded her understanding and left the office. If she
wondered whether the Commander was biting off more than she could handle, it was not her place to say so. Yet.
Severus located the THRUSH headquarters. He considered apparating into the compound, but thought better of it. After all, frightening Muggles, while enjoyable, could be risky if they were prepared for his arrival. He walked up to the gate, waited for the bulky guard to clear his entrance into the compound and walked into a nicely laid trap.
Black eyes snapping in anger, he was no match physically for the
quartet of men who waylaid him. His instinctive grab for his wand was aborted by a ham-sized hand clamping down on his wrist. The gorilla-like guard applied enough pressure to let him know that bone breaking was not a foreign concept. He remained tense. This did not seem to worry the people around him as they shepherded him into a small room and proceeded to strip search him.
Eventually, the exceptionally angry young wizard faced Demonique. She looked him over incuriously. Something about her kept his tongue between his teeth instead of striking out with his usual sarcastic utterances. She walked around him, taking in the excellent tailoring of his clothing, the quality of the cloth, the unbelievable oily-ness of his hair.
"Don't wizards bathe?" Silence greeted her. She met his black gaze directly. "I asked a question," she said softly.
"The answer seemed obvious," he shot back.
Her smile chilled him. "I do not ask questions to hear myself talk. Answer me," she directed with a feline smile, she brushed a finger across his hand.
Severus jerked away from the electric shock the woman inflicted on him. There was no obvious source, but the jolt hurt. "Yes, we bathe, Muggle." There was a world of disdain in his voice.
She flicked the back of his hand again. "Respect, wizard. It is
important. Take him."
This time he fought, to no avail. The Muggles were bigger, stronger and much better trained in physical combat than Snape was. He was overpowered and carted off to another room. There he was stripped of his coat and shirt before being strapped to a very cold metal table.
Demonique walked in as the guards left. She took in the angular frame of her victim. His skin was white with sallow undertones. He looked unhealthy. Soon he would be much more so than he was now. The woman removed her suit jacket, revealing fine wires running down the length of her sleeves and ending in open leads on her hands. Severus realized she was wearing some kind of transparent, form fitting glove as she moved to the table. There was a box clipped to the waist of her skirt. She touched a dark spot on the box and touched the table. Severus jerked with the shock.
"Electricity. So much fun. I can tingle your nerves," she touched the box again and brushed her hand along his arm. It raised the fine dark hairs on the back of his arms, but didn't do any harm. "Or I can fry you." Another adjustment, another touch. He yanked against the restraints holding him in a body- arching convulsion. She smiled and leaned on the table, careful not to let wires touch metal. "Now. I think you have a lot to talk about." She met the smoldering gaze. "No? Well, I think we can loosen your tongue. I just have to find the right setting. Not too light, not to strong." She brushed her hand over his thigh. The muscles jerked. "And apply it in just the right place."
Severus gritted his teeth and waited. He had survived the Cruciatus curse, he would survive this. Then he would make the Muggles pay. All of them. Voldemort was right, no Muggle could be allowed to live free.
Unaware of the true nature of her captive, Demonique set about
breaking the wizard. It was a long, fruitless session. The stubborn silence of her victim, except for occasional screams ripped from him, incensed her. She wanted to kill the ugly young man, but that would stymie her attempts to get more information on wizards and how she could use them.
She stalked out of the room, setting her electrical device to high and went looking for a problem. She found one. She fried it. As the body dropped from her hands, she ordered the guards to dispose of it.
"We have word that Solo and Kuryakin are on the move."
"What!" Demonique snatched the paper from her assistant's hands and dropped it as the paper began to blacken. She turned down her electrical field and rescued the note. "This is - no! I will not have this. Find them. Kill them. Now."
"Yes, Commander." The pale-eyed blonde watched her superior stalk away. A small, cold smile curved her lips as she went to arrange for the disposal of Solo and Kuryakin.
Morning came with bird song and noise in the corridors. Illya awoke, realized he was still fully dressed and shook his head. He really was getting too old for this. He looked around for a clock. It was early yet. He supposed Napoleon and his wife - wife - this was taking some work to accept.
He shook his head, shaking out his sleep-rumpled hair. Why was it so hard to accept? Napoleon had finally met a woman he could live with. He felt deflated. He considered what he had seen of Roxana. She was - She was really nothing like Napoleon's ladies. He couldn't put his finger on exactly what made her different.
He ticked off her attributes. She was intelligent, obvious to anyone who had dealt with her. She wasn't exactly beautiful, but she was attractive. Her figure was not robust, but it didn't lack. She didn't upset easily. He shook his head again, none of this explained anything.
There was a soft tap at his door.
"It's me. Hungry?" Napoleon's voice came through the door.
"Yes." He opened the door. "I fell asleep."
"The rumple is easily remedied." Napoleon retrieved his wand from his pocket, flicked it with a quiet word that sounded like Latin and Illya's clothing looked, felt and smelled fresh again.
Illya raised an eyebrow at that.
"Magic," Napoleon explained with something very close to his old
grin. "Come on, let's get something to eat."
Illya looked around the hallway. "Roxana?"
"Rough night. She's sleeping in."
Conversation ceased while the two men applied themselves to
breakfast. The food was excellent. Then Napoleon suggested they take a walk.
By day, Diagon Alley was more outrageous than it had seemed in the dusk. Illya tried very hard to take the clothing, the items for sale, even the names of the stores, in stride. Finally, he grabbed Napoleon's arm, stopping the two of them in front of Flourish and Bott's.
Illya's low, dangerous tone brought back memories. Napoleon grinned at him, then gestured to a nearby sweets emporium with a couple of benches and small cafe style tables in front of it. They sat. Silence. Where the hell to begin?
"I know. I owe you some explanation. I'm just not finding it very easy to start."
"We met. We fell in love. We married. We had a kid. We -"
"A kid?" Illya was - Illya didn't know what he was. For a moment, unreasoning outrage surged through him. How could Napoleon get married and have a child without telling him? He started to voice his anger, but something in the other man's face stopped him. There was sadness behind Napoleon's contentment.
Napoleon looked up from whatever distant vista he was contemplating to see Illya frowning at him. "I'm sorry. It's a lot to take in. I know. Roxana was so unexpected."
Was that a touch of bitterness in Illya's voice? "Yes. She was. She walked into my office to ask some questions about security. The questions were - off. They were - innocent and far too knowledgeable at the same time. The invitation to lunch was - " the corner of his mouth quirked up in a familiar, self deprecating smile. "Very normal for me."
Illya nodded his understanding. He did understand. Any personable female would get a lunch invitation out of Napoleon Solo. But Roxana got so much more.
"By the end of lunch I knew I wanted her in my life. Not as a
conquest. Not as some fleeting sexual encounter, but as a permanent part. It was like finding a piece of my life I didn't know was missing. I can't explain it even now."
"Marriage. Kid. Kid?"
"Not Josephine?" Illya asked, trying to lighten his mood.
That got a laugh. "No. Although Roxana suggested it. I don't think she was serious. Miry is turned one, as Roxana puts it."
"Where is she?"
"Home. We have some friends looking after her. The united front
godmother brigade. Pray you never have to try to cross them."
Since he considered his chances of meeting them slim, Illya just
nodded. "Why?" he finally asked the question that was preying on his mind. One of them, anyway.
"Why? Oh, why did we come? I told you. I needed to make certain you were all right. I didn't think we'd be pulling you into things." He shook his head. "I am sorry about yesterday. I didn't mean to precipitate things."
"You didn't? Blockhead. Why didn't you just call?" That question had been bugging at him all though breakfast.
"I did. Or, at least, I tried. I called a dozen times and kept
getting told `Vanya isn't taking calls this week.', or `I'm sorry, he's with a client.' When you didn't call back -" Napoleon scanned Illya's face. "You never got the messages."
"No. I did not." Someone in Vanya's had taken calls for him, from a name on the very short list of people who get to talk to Vanya unless there is a royal fitting going on, and he had heard nothing. No messages. Not even the hint that something was being kept from him. A coldness settled over him. "Napoleon," he said tonelessly. "I am sorry for some of the things I have thought in the past few hours. I know you better than that." The cold dropped. "Now, could I get briefed on what is happening? I do not believe ignorance is bliss, nor do I think I am going to get out of this without some understanding of what's going on."
Napoleon sighed. "War."
Illya blinked at him and raised both eyebrows for emphasis.
"I wasn't kidding when I said it was magic. For all those years while we were partnered there were comments about our phenomenal luck. And we had it. We survived and stopped THRUSH longer than any other team or single agent in the UNCLE's history."
Illya shrugged this away. "We were the best."
"Yes, we were. Really think about some of those exploits some time and look at how good and how lucky we were. Sometimes I think it was a form of madness that hid the reality from me."
Napoleon chuckled. "Sometimes, when the luck needed a nudge."
"Why didn't you tell me?" The question was deceptively soft voiced.
"I didn't know."
"Napoleon!" Illya exploded.
"I didn't. Roxana says my family must have hidden the talent and then forgotten about it or buried it or something in the quest to be military and political and bright lights in the non-magical world. I never knew until -"
Was that a blush? Napoleon looked away, made a couple of throat clearing noises and shook his head. "Roxana figured it out."
That left a world of conjecture available for his companion. "Just 'figured it out'?"
"Yeah. Anyway, she thought it would be a good idea for me to learn some of the basics, and I have." Again, there was that sadness.
Clarity struck. Illya's twinges of jealousy drained away with the realization that there was something was deeply hurting Napoleon in the midst of his happiness. "What's wrong with her?"
Napoleon blinked and shut off the deep hurt of his knowledge. "She won't live to see Miry grow up," he admitted. "She's already been touched by the evil here, the war brewing among the wizards. She lost all of her family to the leader of the opposition and isn't certain how she managed to survive, although she suspects it had more to do with her relative unimportance in the scheme of things than any unseen strength on her part."
He looked at Illya, wondering what was going on behind the bland facade of his face. "I'm losing her, and there's nothing I can do, nothing magic can do, to stop it." The smile quirked his mouth again. "Funny, she asked me some odd questions last night, but I think I see where she's going."
"Uh-huh. I'll tell you about it some time. I think the critical one had to do with - what?"
Illya's attention was diverted from what Napoleon was saying to a tall, blond haired figure disappearing down a darker alley off the street they were on. "That's one of the men from yesterday."
"There. Long blond hair, dark cloak, long stride. Distinctive looking."
Both men were on their feet and making their way toward the dark mouth of the other alley. Just as Illya eased into the shadows, Napoleon caught the street marker. Nocturn. Nocturn Alley?
"Illya!" he called softly, taking his wand in hand. In the gloom just off Diagon, he found it hard to see. The alley sloped downwards. There were steps here and there as it twisted around various walls. "Illya!" The pale head of his partner was nowhere to be seen. Napoleon was attracting the attention of the witches and wizards who were skulking up and down the alleyway. This was a bad place to be.
Illya, following the pale blob that was Lucius Malfoy's gleaming hair, hurried cautiously after the man. He overlooked the magical factor. A hand reached out of a very dark doorway as he passed it, grabbed him and before he could react, he was swooped into a mode of transport seemingly designed to make him giddily uncomfortable. Others have described it as feeling like a giant hook grabbing one just behind the belly button and the surging forward with one bringing up the rear. It was a sickening sensation.
The wind and movement stopped as suddenly as it had begun. Illya was catapulted onto the ground at the feet of a darkly sinister and elegantly clad man. There was a clear circle bordered by a number of dark cloaked men. Illya started to pick himself up off the ground, dusting off his sleeves when a pale, cold hand reached out and fastened on his throat, helping him come erect.
"Illya Kuryakin," the man intoned. His voice was dry and slithery, like the skin of a snake, like the skin of his hand.
Illya shuddered at the contact and the voice. Even his iron control could not keep him from reacting to the touch and the voice. He looked into the coldest, most alien eyes he had ever met in a human being.
Lord Voldemort smiled. He mouthed something softly, the sound like the dry movement of a snake across sand. He switched to English. "Yes. I think you will do nicely as bait." He released his hold, stepped back a few paces and pulled his wand. The subtle intonations of the Imperius Curse combined with wand motion and it was done.
Illya felt odd.
"Come here," Voldemort told him.
Illya was going to smile slightly as he stood unmoving. Panic. His body was paying no attention to his decision. He stepped over to the frightening man. He willed himself to stop, to turn, to run, anything. Instead he stood patiently waiting for Voldemort's next orders and praying that the man would stop smiling like that.
"You see. Everyone is subject to our will. Follow me." He turned and walked through an opening between two of his followers.
Illya walked behind him. His body was no longer his own. He wondered if his mind would remain much longer. How could he have been so foolish as to set out ahead of Napoleon? His partner knew what he was up against, what they were up against. For once, waiting for Napoleon made sense.
Voldemort stopped and turned to face his captive. He ran a long fingered hand over Illya's face and head. "Something - No, not Muggle. What are you? Where do you come from? I will find out. Oh, yes. I will find out."
Luckily, the questions were not aimed at Illya, so he did not answer. Not that he could have given the answers the still nameless man wanted. He waited with patience he did not feel for the man to command him again. For the moment, he did not test the boundaries of his enslavement.