Content Harry Potter
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The curtain draws back to find Hermione Granger, dressed in a string bikini, dancing around a bound Severus Snape.

Harry walks on stage and pulls a lever, which caused the roof to pull away from the building. Then he gently stands a still bound Severus upright.

"Say the words, Professor, and I’ll be able to set you free," Harry said solemnly.

"Damn you, Potter, one billion points from Gryffindor!" snapped Snape.

Harry sighed and shook his head. "This isn’t Hogwarts, Professor," Harry reminded him gently. "Just say the words and you’ll be out of here."

"The authors of this story, Bob and Alyx, wish to make sure you morons understand that they don’t own the Potterverse. JK Rowling owns everything and they own nothing. And if you can’t understand that, you don’t deserve to be reading this!" snarled Snape.

"Thank you, Professor. Wingardium Leviosa!" Harry said, pointing his staff at Snape.

Hermione continued to dance and hum, ‘Fly me to the Moon’ as Snape rocketed out of the building at a fantastic speed.

Alyx turned to Bob. "Did you have to let Snape insult our readers? And what’s with Hermione in the bikini anyway?"

Bob shrugged. "I like bikinis. And I didn’t tell Snape to insult anyone. He’s Snape, not Alan Rickman, who I understand is a nice fellow."

Alyx crossed her arms and glared at Bob. "Your not going to let that go, are you?"

Bob snickered. "Nope. Just be thankful I don’t tell our readers about the time you tied up the dog to the trailer that wasn’t there."

"Be my guest," Alyx said, smiling evilly.   "I’ll just have to tell them about the time you set the stove on fire."

The authors glared at each other, while Hermione and Harry looked on in amusement.

Sunset Over Britain
Chapter 25

Padfoot Manor (April 18th)…

Hermione was in a thoughtful mood since leaving the hospital. Katie and Narcissa’s words echoed in her head. Does everyone really think I’d let Harry go? Or he’d let me go? It makes no sense, she thought to herself.

She walked slowly up the path and considered their relationship and Harry’s qualities. He was so gentle it surprised her again and again. He treated her like she was some precious gift. She paused mid-stride. That could be a problem, couldn’t it? What if he sees me not as a person, but as something precious to treasure? Would that really be a problem? She shook her head and decided that perhaps she should talk to Harry to try and figure out exactly what his feelings were for her.

Quickening her pace, she covered the ground from the Hospital to the Manor in record time for her. In the foyer she met up with Winky, who told her Harry was upstairs in his private study. She thanked the elf and went upstairs. Opening the door she peeked in and found the room empty. She stepped into the room and paused by Harry’s desk. The desktop was covered with parchments of equations and books on charms and Arithmancy, as well as several ancient rune references.

Spotting something of interest, she bent over the desk to examine Harry’s writing. It was an Arithmancy equation that he had crossed out rather violently with his quill. Frowning, she sat down on his chair and looked over the equations. She couldn’t quite put her finger on what he was working on, but the equations seemed to be right despite his crossing them out.

She felt her hair being moved and lips gently kissing her neck.   An arm snaked around her slowly pulled her against the back of the chair. She moaned softly, and then shook her head.

"Harry," she said firmly. "I think we need to talk."

Harry released his hold on her and slipped into a chair next to the desk. "Ok, what do you want to talk about?" he said with a sigh. He knew the tone. This was one of those girl things they did every so often where they sat you down and made you ‘express’ your feelings, no matter how uncomfortable it made you.

"Don’t get angry with me, but I’d really like to know how you feel about me."

Harry looked at her for a moment in surprise. "You know I love you, don’t you?"

Hermione nodded. "Yes I know. But sometimes it almost seems like you want to lock me up someplace safe where I can never get hurt."

Harry twisted his hands together nervously. "I’m not sure what to tell you. You’re precious to me and I don’t want to lose you. When I realized how I felt about you I also realized that love is the only gift we can truly give a person. I’m the richest wizard in Europe, Hermione, and yet the happiness you give me can’t be bought in any store. You’ve given me something priceless. I never meant for you to feel like I objectify you, but yes, I do want you safe. Is that so very wrong of me?" he asked plaintively.

Hermione blinked and looked at him carefully before mentally kicking herself. She had given him the wrong impression. She stood and walked over to him. Kneeling, she placed her hands on his knees.

"I didn’t mean to hurt you, Harry, or make you think you were doing something wrong. It’s just that lately everyone seems to be telling either one of us not to let the other get away. And it got me wondering if others were seeing something we were missing," she told him softly.

Harry smiled and caressed her cheek. "You’re not getting rid of me until you’re tired of me, Hermione. And if that never happens then we’re together for life," he replied, losing himself in her gaze. He lifted her hand and kissed her palm.

"It’s hard for me to put what I feel into words. They always seem so inadequate and silly. How do I feel about you? I’d fight a thousand Dark Lords; give up my life, if it meant you would be safe and happy. I look at you and it makes me happy. Your smiles are brighter than the sun and they shine light into the darkest places within me. I want to spend my life with you. I wish Voldemort were dead and we were married. And yes, I want to spend a lot of time practicing making babies with you before we make some real ones. I know it’s corny and silly sounding, Hermione. But I don’t know any other way of telling you how I feel, except when I touch your aura."

Hermione blinked in surprise. Then she smiled shyly. "I like it when you touch my aura," she offered softly.

"So do I, Hermione, but every time I have, I’ve had trouble breaking the connection. It’s like you don’t want to let go of me," he replied quietly. "I’d like to teach you aura magic, but I’m afraid I’ll connect one day and not be able to sever it."

"Would that be a bad thing?" she asked him, staring into his eyes. His expression grew troubled.

"I don’t know. And that makes me cautious. Come on," he said cheekily, "you can help me with our wedding preparations."

"Wedding preparations?" she exclaimed.

"Right. Step one - kill Voldemort. Step two - marry Hermione. Right now I’m working on step one," he replied with an infectious grin.

"You still haven’t asked me to marry you," she said archly, though she suppressed a hint of a smile.

"Oh, I know. I just haven’t figured out the right way to go about it. Then there’s the whole problem with the ring. I think I’ve fixed that, but only time will tell. Shall we get back to the matter at hand though? I had something I wanted to show you."

Hermione stared at him in frustration. She was so close! Sighing, she nodded, though she wondered if Harry ever would ask her to marry her.

He looked at her for a moment. "Have I ever broken a promise to you?" he asked gently.

Numbed she shook her head. Harry stood and pulled her to her feet, then he wrapped his arms around her. "Soon," he whispered in her ear, "very soon, I will ask you to marry me. I’m just waiting for the right time. Believe that, sweetheart, believe that we’ll have a life and a family together."

Hermione wrapped her arms around him in return and held him for a long while. The two stood silent for several moments before a knock on the door caused Hermione to sigh with regret for the interruption.

Harry looked up and smiled, seeing Remus at the door. Harry waved him in, then led Hermione to a chair next to the desk, before taking his own.

"Remus, I’m glad you’re here. I had something I wanted to show you and Hermione," Harry said.

Remus and Hermione both nodded and Harry pulled out piece of parchment.

"This is a passage I copied from a book concerning the Salem witches in the States. The book was written by Bridget Bishop in 1685, only seven years before she was hung for being a witch in the witch trials," Harry said, frowning, as he passed the parchment to Remus. Hermione leaned back to read over Remus’ shoulder.

Jan 1st, 1685.

Janet attended our coven tonight. She came with a friend who was apparently a muggle who had married a wizard. Several of the coven members were upset at seeing a stranger, but calmed once they learned she was married to one of our kind.   Camilla asked for a coven ritual to help nearby Salem Town, which was beset with Pox.

We formed the circle and, by sheer chance, we included Janet’s muggle friend. To our surprise and amazement it was one of the most successful coven rites we have ever held. I have documented the experience and have sent it via owl to Elphrick Everard, the current Headmaster of Hogwarts in Scotland.

"There you have it. Admittedly it’s brief, but it suggests that there’s something more than just magic happening within the confines of a coven ritual. That’s where all this comes in," Harry said, waving at the desk full of parchments.

Both Remus and Hermione glanced at the parchments covered in arithmantic equations.

"I’ve been trying to deconstruct exactly what goes on in a coven rite and I’ve come to suspect that an emotive context in the ritual would be highly beneficial to the rite," Harry said, then he paused for a moment before dropping his bombshell on them. "And because of that emotive context, I asked myself if there are any non-magical people that I’m very close to here and came up with two names."

Hermione gaped at him and Remus chuckled. "He’s got a point, Hermione. The emotive context is very important. The more people who participate, even if all they do is think happy thoughts about the ritual, the better off we’ll be. It certainly can’t hurt."

"B-B-But as much as I love my parents, they’re muggles," Hermione began. Then she faltered, seeing the disappointed look in Harry’s expression. She suddenly looked at her feet, ashamed with her own reaction.

"Hermione," Harry started to say. She looked up at him sharply.

"No, you don’t have to say it. I will tell my parents about it myself at dinner tonight. I guess I’m just ashamed to see that even I can fall into that trap," she said softly.

Remus reached over and put a hand on her arm in sympathy and she shot him a grateful glance. Then he turned back to Harry.

"Have you picked everyone you need for the rite?" he asked.

"Mostly, but I do have one important question, and it’s aimed directly at you, Remus. Can you participate in a blood rite? Can you share your blood with others and not transmit your Lycanthropy?" Harry asked pointedly.

"Yes, I can, as long as we’re not within four days of my transformation, or four days after, which we aren’t. Why?"

"We can’t just hold a coven rite and hope it works, Remus. I’ve been looking into this. We need to initiate the coven before we can hold the rite, and it will take a blood sharing ceremony," Harry replied quietly.

Remus looked at him for a moment and nodded. "I’m safe if we do the initiation anytime within the next three days," he said after a moments thought.

"Right then, we’re going to have a total of sixteen in the coven then. Thirteen general coven members, myself as the focus for the rite, and the Grangers for emotional support," he said, passing Hermione a piece of parchment with his list of names on it.

Hermione took the list and read.

Harry Potter - Elder
Hermione Granger — Elder
Remus Lupin — Elder
Nymphadora Tonks — Elder
Draco Black — Adept.
Luna Lovegood — Adept.
Ginevra Weasley — Adept.
Neville Longbottom — Adept.
Susan Bones — Adept.
Terry Boot — Adept.
Fred Weasley — Adept.
George Weasley — Adept.
Bill Weasley — Adept.
Narcissa Black   — Adept.
Dan Granger — Associate
Emma Granger — Associate

"The status of elder is derived by power and abilities. The four of us have either the highest power levels or the most refined abilities. I thought about making Luna an elder, but her abilities are still developing and, from what I understand, will continue well into her twenties," Harry said seriously.

Hermione handed the list to Remus.

"We’ll need to get them all together tomorrow, and someone will have to alert Minerva. Hermione? How many of the Outcasts are continuing school?" Harry asked.

Hermione looked at him with a broad grin. "Except for Ginny and Luna, none of them."

Harry sat up in his chair and stared at her. "They’re all quitting?"

Remus laughed. "You’re a bad example, Harry. More importantly however, you’re a fine leader. Every one of them will walk into the fires of hell for you, myself included."

Harry glanced over at Hermione and she nodded.

"Alright then. Let’s plan on getting every one together after the ritual so we can knock around training issues. I also have some research projects we need to address."

Harry grinned as Remus and Hermione both sat up straighter in their seats, their eyes alight. He then leaned back and laughed at them, much to their annoyance.


Reinforcing the Secret…

The President of the United States put on his best, I’m-Going-to-Screw-You-and-You’ll-Enjoy-It political smile and waited for the ambassador of France to enter the room. He stood and made ready to shake hands when the door to the Oval Office opened and men entered the room. Secret Service agents took up positions and tried to pretend they weren’t there.

The French were here in regard to the British Crisis. The French had sent a notice to the United States that they would look very unfavorably on any further US intervention in Britain. The notice warned that France would oppose any US Military intervention with force, if necessary.

"Gentlemen! Come in. Please, take a seat," said the President, his smile false.

A moment later everyone was seated, and served a cup of coffee or tea. The President waited until the butler had left the room before speaking.

"Mr. Ambassador, I will be blunt, since we do not have time to dance around each other. The people of this country look at Britain with a certain degree of fondness. Sure, we have our differences and we’ve had to kick old Mum in the pants a few times before she realized that we had grown up and thrown off the apron strings. But the United States of America will not stand by and allow what is happening in Britain to continue."

Then the President frowned and his voice took a sterner note.

"Nor, sir, do we agree with your position that France should decide what happens in Britain. Therefore, I have ordered the Joint Chiefs to begin working up operational plans for the purpose of relieving Britain. I have also ordered that our Nuclear Forces be retargeted." The President paused for a moment, met the Ambassador’s eyes and smiled thinly. "According to my sources, France doesn’t have the ability to reach the continental United States with her nuclear missiles. Our range, however, is more than adequate."

There was a moment of shocked silence. It wasn’t often that the US issued ultimatums, and yet here it was, clearly on the table with no euphemistic double talk.

Before the French ambassador could respond another voice, this one clearly with a Brooklyn accent, broken in.

"No, I forbid this," the man said. Then the lighting in the room dimmed despite it being bright and sunny outside. The four Secret Service men who had been watching the meeting collapsed soundlessly to the carpet and four other men appeared, having removed silvery cloaks.

"Who the hell are you?" growled the President. The French Ambassador blinked in surprise and looked suddenly afraid.

"Louis Jefferson Paletto, call me Lou or Louie. I am your Secretary of Magic, sir, and I cannot allow you to begin a war when you don’t understand all the facts."

The President blinked in surprise. "You mean that bullshit they gave me in the initial briefing was true? There’s a Department of Magic? A sub-society?"

Louie nodded and beamed a smile at the man. "Now sir, if you sit down, I will explain what’s really happening in Britain to both you and the Ambassador. And what is being done about it."

The President looked around the room, noting the collapsed Secret Service men, the strange dim lighting and the frozen appearance of everything outside. With a sense of wonder he hasn’t felt since he was a boy, he sat and turned to listen to his Secretary of Magic.

"Well sir, it sorta goes like this…"

Several hours later, the Secretary of Magic was concluding his explanation. "…So there you have it, Sir, Mr. Ambassador. Right now my counterparts in nearly every country in the world are talking to their Presidents, Kings or Prime Ministers, explaining the situation. The Magical Governments are working together at the request of the Irish Ministry of Magic."

"The Irish," protested the President. "How the hell did they get involved?"

Louie smiled. "There is a British Ministry of Magic in exile forming in Ireland under the auspices of several former Ministry Managers. And, of course, that is where the Boy-Who-Lived is currently resting after single handedly rescuing over three thousand British Wizards. We’re not entirely sure but, from all indications, the Boy-Who-Lived is forming up a British Wizarding Military unit to return to Britain and fight for their country. It’s even said that the Boy-Who-Lived and his girlfriend faced Voldemort for three hours and fought him to a draw. And before that, he destroyed the corrupt British Ministry that had been supporting Voldemort. It’s even said he took and survive multiple killing curses in the Ministry fight," the Secretary said with reverence.

The President shook his head and tried to get a grip on what was happening. One moment he had been the leader of the most powerful nation on Earth, the next moment he was learning that there really was a sub-society that was capable of destroying civilization as he knew it. And there was some boy who apparently lived in Ireland who was acting as a rallying point to fight the evil Voldemort who had taken over Britain. Sighing heavily, he realized this had suddenly become much more complex.

"So, Mr. Secretary, let me see if I understand this correctly. What you’re asking is that no one do anything until you’ve first taken out this Voldemort. At which point you expect…muggle, is it?" When the Secretary nodded, the President continued.   "At which point you expect muggle conditions to collapse into total anarchy. Then you want us to move in with rescue teams and military forces to help Prime Minister Blair’s government in exile to retake the country."

Louie nodded, watching his President carefully.

The President ran a hand through his thinning gray hair and finally nodded in agreement. Even the French ambassador nodded in relief.

"Mr. Secretary, I will do as you ask. But I warn you; I expect every government to stay out of the conflict. I expect the Wizarding world to keep a tight reign on their muggle counterparts. Furthermore, from now on, and until this is crisis is resolved, I want weekly briefings. I want to know what is happening both there and here at home."

Louie smiled. "Of course, Mr. President."


Overflow Camp Number One, near Leeds…

A bitter wind swept through the camp. The bright lights burned twenty four hours a day, yet offered no heat to the miserable mass of Wizarding humanity who resided behind its hellish barb wire walls.

At any given time there were only a small number of wizards on duty outside the fence. Mostly the guard force consisted of Dementors. Once per day, a group of wizards entered the camp carrying a large cauldron containing thin soup. The only advantage of the daily food riot was that, for a short while, the inmates were warmed by the activity.

Camp One wasn’t the end of the line. One could bail one’s self out of the camp easily enough, just by promising to join forces with Voldemort. It was an option that more and more inmates were taking in their desperation. It was said that one only had to pass a test, give a blood oath and accept the dark mark and one would be fed hot food, clothed, and given a job as a trusted member of the new order.

Some took the offer and were led away from the camp, never to be seen again. Others were forbidden even that avenue of escape, such as former members of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement or the Department of Mysteries. Prominent personages, scholars and war heroes were also excluded.

Everyday new inmates arrived. Sickness hadn’t set in yet, but it soon would. Parents clutched at their children and fear gnawed at their souls as the Dementors glided overhead.

Armagh, Northern Ireland…

Antonin Dolohov watched the last of his men appear. It had taken longer than he had expected to get Lucius to make the portkeys for his estate in Ireland. It had finally taken a threat from the Master to get them made at all.

Now he looked at the ‘estate’ and snorted in disgust. It was a ramshackle three story building set on a farm. Somehow he had to find room for himself and the one hundred men he had brought with him.

His mission was two fold, but his resources were limited. He had two thousand galleons and a very short list of people sympathetic to the cause that he could approach. With it, he was supposed to recruit new Death Eaters for the Master, and try to track down any of the fugitives who might have escaped to this land. His stooges back in London had pointed to the existence of some sort of organized escape effort to Ireland. He had to find the receiving end and shut it down.

Padfoot Manor, the evening of April 18th…

Harry led his friends to a specially prepared room after their dinner. He had researched this carefully and had to explain away some of the myths people had before they could begin.  

He led everyone into a large, empty room. To one side were simple stools for everyone to sit on. In the center of the room was an ornate pattern drawn into the floor. The pattern started with the common pentagram and became more complex as it radiated outward.

Next to Harry in the center of the room was a small, low table with a dagger, a large bowl and a goblet. The bowl contained a deep red liquid.

Harry examined the room for a moment, then turned to face his friends. His abilities had slowed in their progression but he had reached the point where his sight was always enhanced. In fact, he had to consciously turn it off these days. He smiled at his friends and laughed inwardly. If only they could see how colorful they were with their auras flaring nervously.

Hermione sat next to her parents and she glowed with her powerful aura. Her parents sat next to her, excited but unsure. They were the most interesting people in the group.

"Thank you all for coming tonight. Before we begin, let me explain exactly what we’re doing here," Harry said, smiling at them. He paused while a murmur rippled through the group.

"A long time ago," he began, "a group of witches and wizards noticed that, by working together, they could accomplish what they could not do singly. How this was discovered, we do not know. The first coven has been lost to history. Western Civilization, and in particular Western Muggle Civilization, has corrupted the concept of coven to mean a group of witches, usually for evil purposes.

"Works of literature, like MacBeth or Faust have twisted the concept almost beyond recognition. But a coven isn’t like literature. Coming from the Latin word convenire, a coven means ‘to come together or to gather’, usually for the purposes of working together, sometimes to celebrate or worship. In two days time we shall initiate the Rite of the Gen and I shall use the power you will loan me to seal Voldemort inside Britain.

"Now the ritual will work with the basic thirteen, but we’re not limited to that number. Nor are we limited to only those with power. I’ve asked the Grangers to attend and join the coven, despite their lack of power, because of certain feelings I have for them and hopefully they have for me," Harry said, ending on a shy note. He wasn’t about to tell them the full truth until he was certain of his suspicions, though what he had just told them was true enough.

Emma beamed a smile back at Harry and Dan shot him a thumbs up. He nodded back gratefully.

"The Rite of the Gen is best performed by a coven, which I’ve described as a gathering. But to witches and wizards, it’s that, and so much more. Covens are families. Just like I consider each of you to be part of my family, despite the lack of blood we share, coven members consider each other family.

"So, tonight, we will perform the rite of initiating a coven. It is a simple ritual. One by one each of you will come up, use the dagger to place a drop of blood into the bowel. Once you put a drop of   blood in the bowl, lift the bowl above your head and say the incantation, ‘beatus nostrum gelamen planto nos prosapia’, then place the bowl back on the table for the next person. When everyone has done so, I will complete the rite, then I will pass around the goblet and everyone will take a sip," Harry concluded, and then he folded his arms across his chest and waited for questions.

"Harry, is it true that we’ll experience a power boost after the Rite of the Gen?" asked Ginny eagerly.

"And your bat bogey isn’t powerful enough as it is?" asked Harry dryly. Everyone chuckled, though Ginny blushed.

"Alright then, let’s address that issue. Yes, you will experience a power boost. How much of one? As best as Hermione and Remus have been able to determine, not much, maybe twenty to twenty five percent. Will it be permanent? As far as we can tell, yes it will be. The down side of the Rite of the Gen is that, at the end of it, expect us all to keel over, unconscious from magical exhaustion. Now, are there any other questions?" asked Harry.

After a moment of silence, Harry nodded and signaled for people to come forward one at a time. To make matters a little easier, he had a small parchment with the incantation written on it next to the bowl.

Narcissa stepped forward and took up the dagger, cutting one finger she let a drop fall into the crimson liquid of the bowl. Then she healed the cut and lifted the bowl above her head.

"Beatus nostrum gelamen planto nos prosapia" she incanted, then lowered the bowl back to the table again. The liquid began to change from a rusty red to a red-gold color and seemed to swirl in the bowl.

One by one they all came forward, repeating the process. Harry stood ready to heal the cuts for Dan and Emma and smiled at the pair as they added their own blood to the ritual bowl. By now the liquid was pulsating with a reddish glow and boiling within the bowl.

He picked up the dagger and sliced his finger, and then he moved to block the bowl from view and let sixteen drops of his blood fall into it, one for each member of the coven. Healing himself, he lifted the bowl above his head. He hissed in pain as the bowl turned too hot to hold and he said the incantation. Releasing the bowl, it hovered above his head and his magic flared as he prepared for the final part of the rite.

Dan and Emma gasped as Harry burst into a coruscating glow. The colors were blinding in the dimly lit room. He took one step back and spread his hands out over his head. The bowl lowered to hover between his outstretched hands.

"Vox meus prosapia consecro quod beatus nostrum iugum," he said in a voice rippling with power. The pentagram on the floor flared to life and the whole room shimmered. A series of pure bell like tones sounded in the room. When the light faded, Harry stood next to the bowl, now resting on the table.

He picked up the goblet and dipped it into the now cool golden liquid. Once he filled the goblet, he conjured a flask and filled it with the remaining liquid from the bowl. Turning, he walked to Dan and handed him the goblet.

"Just a sip, Dan," Harry murmured encouragingly.

Dan took his sip and Harry took back the goblet while Dan sat back down in his chair. He had an expression of wonder on his face. Harry turned with the goblet and was about to hand it to Emma when he impulsively kissed her on the cheek first. A moment later Emma sat back on her chair, as bemused as her husband. Harry hoped his plan worked and that they wouldn’t hate him too much if it did.

Turning to Hermione, he placed the goblet to her lips. They exchanged a look, filled with emotions. She took her sip, her eyes widening in surprise at the potency of the potion. She sat heavily on her stool as he walked to the next person.

One by one Harry worked his way through the group, his coven. When he finished, there was a small mouthful of the potion remaining.

Returning to the table, he swallowed the remaining potion, then walked to a cabinet by the wall and placed the goblet and the flask into it. Then he turned back to the rest of them.

"According to western literature, the coven would probably engage in an orgy at this point," he said with a wink. "And while I hate to disappoint people, that’s not going to happen here. Instead, I’ve asked Dobby to prepare us a bit of desert in the dinning room. It will take a while for the potion to work its way through our systems, but I don’t expect anyone will suffer any severe aftereffects. And so, my friends, our coven is initiated and I am very grateful for your help. Now, let’s go see what chocolate surprises Dobby has waiting for us."

Harry opened the door and held it open as everyone shuffled through. The mood among the group was extraordinarily upbeat.


Haven Operations Center…

Bertrand Lovegood was deep in conversation with Miles Pickerton.

"Alright, I get the idea Mr. Lovegood, the presses are enchanted machines and no one knows how to make them anymore. Now the question is, how many of them would you need to run at least ten thousand copies of a two to three parchment newsletter on a daily basis?" asked Miles.

Bertrand looked up for a moment, thinking hard. "Three, at the minimum, but four would be better, Mr. Pickerton.

Miles jotted down the information on a sheet. "Good, now we know what we have to get…"

"No, no, no." interrupted Bertrand. "It’s not sufficient to just sneak back and steal three or four printing presses, Mr. Pickerton. You must also ensure that no one else can use the remaining four that you’re not taking. You want me to publish a newspaper for Haven and for distribution to England? Fine, but we need to make sure we hurt their ability to print their own magical paper. Forcing them to use muggle methods will slow them down."

Miles’ expression grew thoughtful. Then he nodded in agreement. "Alright, then. We’ll arrange to send a team in to get the equipment you need."

Bertrand shook Pickerton’s hand and then turned to walk to the exit. Mr. Lovegood shook his head and chuckled to himself. A week ago he was a publisher in fear for his life, yesterday he became the official Director of Propaganda and Media for the Ministry of Magic. It was unbelievable in his opinion.

He had been greatly pleased and relieved to see that Luna and his future son-in-law, Draco, were safe. The events of the last week had shocked him to the core and he was greatly relieved that his wife had not lived to see them.

He had personally debriefed some of the refugees who had arrived in the last two days and he was appalled at the stories he was hearing. Summary executions, imprisonment for the slightest sign of dissension. And Harry Potter! Merlin must be watching over that boy, he thought. He had stood up to Voldemort with his girlfriend cheering him on for hours!  

Bertrand paused and watched as a group of twenty ex-Aurors prepared for an extraction mission in Britain. Little was said as the group blackened their faces and checked their gear. Since the evacuation of Hogwarts, extraction teams had been working non-stop, around-the-clock missions, saving the families of Hogwarts students.

Students, he mused, then he shuddered. Earlier this morning he had personally sat in with Minerva McGonagall, Amelia Bones, Constance Longbottom, Remus Lupin and Harry Potter while they heard the case of the five Slytherin students who had opposed the evacuation.

Three of the students had offered to sign blood oaths under the pain of their magic and their lives that they would never support Voldemort. They asked to be allowed to accept whatever punishment Professor McGonagall wanted to mete out to them and be allowed to continue in school. Bertrand was surprised when Harry withheld judgment and allowed them to return to the school.

The two remaining students were an entirely different matter.

Again Harry kept silent throughout the questioning of the pair, both seventh years. In both cases, the boys knew that Harry had probably killed their parents at the Ministry of Magic and neither was willing to admit to any errors or change their ways. Finally Harry had them sent from the room and he addressed the other adults on the panel.

"We are faced with a cruel choice that I do not want us to make. On the one hand, we have more than twenty five hundred souls who look to us, and myself in particular, for protection. On the other hand, we have two people here who would gladly turn us in to Voldemort," Harry said heavily.

"What are you suggesting, Harry?" asked Amelia.

"I don’t want to advocate killing them, Amelia, but we need to neutralize them," Harry replied evenly.

"Surely we can come up with a better solution than killing them," replied Minerva in a shocked voice.

"Harry makes a valid point," said Bertrand Lovegood in a hushed tone. Everyone turned to look at him in surprise and he chuckled mildly.

"I know, most think I’m just the bumbling publisher of a paper with crazy ideas, but Harry makes a valid point. If you send them back, even obliviated, they will merely accept their mark and become one of Voldemort’s lackeys. And eventually we’ll face them again, next week, or next month, or next year. No, we must find another way."

"Then don’t send them back. In my day as an Auror we used to have capstan nullifiers, which would render a wizard or witch powerless. Can we get them? If we could fit them into a collar, we could keep them here and just lock them up until we can convince the Irish to take them off our hands," said Constance Longbottom, Neville’s grandmother.

Amelia frowned. "Yes, they are easy to make, but we stopped using them shortly before you retired, Connie. I suppose we could make more," she said thoughtfully.

Harry breathed a sigh of relief and looked at the adults sitting at the table. "Thank you all. I thought I was going to be forced into hurting them," he said softly. "Let’s use the nullifiers. If that doesn’t work, we’ll revisit the issue then."

Harry stood and his shoulders straightened a little before walking from the room.

Bertrand watched the back of the retreating youth for a moment longer, then he turned to his companions. "That man is carrying a lot of weight on his shoulders."

"He does it because no one else wants the burden," Remus replied. "The weight of the world rests on his shoulders and I, for one, will do whatever I can do to help him carry that burden."

"Aye, as will I," murmured Minerva.

Bertrand trudged back to the manor, enjoying the brisk night air. He knew his daughter was, right now, involved in a coven initiation ritual run by the same man who held the world’s weight on his shoulders and his stride quickened. If anyone was capable of that burden, it was Harry.


Haven Manor, The Grangers…

Emma sat on the loveseat in their bedroom and flipped through a copy of a Dublin newspaper, trying to judge the mood of the Irish in regards to the events unfolding in Britain. All standard communications had been lost with Britain several days earlier. British Telecom had shut down all circuits for no apparent reason, and just hours later, all radio and television broadcasts from Britain had ceased. The only source of information from Britain now came from a network of loyal Army transmitters, amateur Ham operators and flyovers by friendly nations, using surveillance aircraft.

Dan stepped out of their bathroom, dressed in pajamas and a robe, and stoked up the fire in the fireplace.

Emma gave her husband a curious look when he sat down next to her. He snuggled down into his thick robe and sneezed four times in rapid succession.

"Are you feeling alright?" asked Emma.

"I think so. I just seem to have a chill tonight and I can’t seem to get warm," he replied shakily.

Emma frowned. "I know what you mean. I feel that way as well. I hope there’s nothing going around Haven. It would be horrible if we all got sick. Why don’t we have Dobby bring us a cup of tea, then we’ll go to bed?"

"Hmmm, warm tea would be welcome right now. Or maybe a hot toddy?"

She nodded and Dan called Dobby.

A moment later the little elf appeared, all decked out in his uniform. Spotting Dan, he snapped off a salute. Dan laughingly returned it. He had been showing Dobby old World War Two movies and they were developing an interesting relationship.

"Dobby, the misses and I are feeling a little under the weather. Would you bring us two hot toddies, please?"

Dobby nodded, saluted and vanished. A moment later he was back, handing them both heavy mugs. Then he was gone again.

The Grangers settled into their bed, shivering and sneezing occasionally. Lulled by the hot drinks, they quickly fell asleep.


Haven Manor, Harry and Hermione…

Harry sat at the small table reading, while Hermione lay in their bed doing the same. She looked up when she heard Dobby appear in front of Harry and hand him a cup of tea, then he and Dobby conversed quietly for a moment before he vanished again. That in it self would not have caused her any concern, but Harry’s expression tipped her off that something was up.

"Alright you. Give it up and tell me what you’ve planned?" she asked playfully.

"Planned?" Harry replied innocently.

"Yes, planned. You have that look on your face, as if you’ve just pulled a prank on Remus or the twins. I know you, Harry, you’re up to something."

He smiled and nodded, his expression smug. "You are one hundred percent right, but I’m not going to tell you what I’m up to. At least, not yet anyway."

"Why not?" she asked.

"Why spoil the surprise? Besides, I’m still not positive it’s going to work, sweetheart. But if it does, I promise you’ll be happy about it. Maybe even impressed."

Harry packed up his papers and peeled out of his robe before joining Hermione, who lay on the bed, fuming at him.

"Just tell me who you are pranking, Harry." she asked.

Harry’s expression grew more innocent. "I’m not pranking anyone."

She was about to retort when she heard a popping sound again and Dobby stood at Harry’s side of the bed. "I did like you asked, sir," Dobby said, snapping off another salute.

Harry rolled his eyes and returned the salute, otherwise Dobby would hold it all night long. "Very well, Dobby. Keep an eye on them for me tonight."

"Sir, yes sir!" Dobby said, then vanished again.

Harry rolled onto his back and Hermione pounced on him. He grunted, not expecting her to jump on him.

"You’re pranking the twins, aren’t you?" she accused him.

"You know a master prankster can’t reveal any surprises before hand. All I’ll say is, if it works, you’ll be pleasantly surprised," he replied, and then he rolled so they were lying side by side. With a quick wave of his hand, the lights dimmed.

"That ritual took a lot out of me, Hermione. I know it gave everyone else a kick, but you didn’t perform the magic at the end of that ritual," he murmured, then he yawned.

Hermione looked at him suspiciously, but his eyes were already closed and he was absently playing with her hair, a gesture that often relaxed him, as well as her. Snuggling in his arms, she smiled to herself as she listened to his breathing slow.

Irish Ministry of Magic (April 19th)…

Michael O’Dalley was ushered into the Minister of Magic’s office. He stood respectfully while the Minister used a muggle telephone to hold a conversation. Finally he placed the phone down and waved O’Dalley to a seat.

"You sent for me, Minister?" asked O’Dalley respectfully.

The Minister eyed his Auror for a moment. Brogan Mallory had been Minister of Magic for fifteen years now and, while he was an effective leader, he was also a consummate politician, meaning he was proficient at all the skills a politician needed in order to survive.

"Michael, how is your family? Margo and three boys, right?" asked the Minister congenially.

O’Dalley smiled and nodded enthusiastically. "They’re fine, Minister. Thank you for asking. My boys are growing and doing well, although my youngest has been pestering me to get an autograph of Harry Potter for him."

Mallory smiled and nodded knowingly. "Yes, the little ones need their heroes. Now tell me, Michael, what is your opinion of Mr. Potter? I’ve not met the man myself, but I intend to correct that mistake as soon as I can. Your impressions will help me."

O’Dalley leaned back in his chair and thought for a moment. "I’ve only had one meeting with him myself, Minister. Lord Potter-Black is a series of contradictions. He’s young, and he looks it from afar, but when you see his eyes? He has old eyes, sir, eyes that have looked upon more than their share of misery. My first impression of him was that he was a young boy and that people were rallying around a myth. But I couldn’t have been more mistaken.

"He’s got a power to him, Minister, a magnetism, if you will. There is a sense of untapped power to him. It’s like he could move mountains, if he truly desired it. I tried hard to get a sense of the man and I have to admit to coming away very impressed and more than a little intimated. You know my record, Minister, and yet I will honestly say I would not want to find myself in a duel with Mr. Potter."

When Mallory frowned, O’Dalley continued quickly. "Don’t get me wrong, Minister. Mr. Potter has asked me to call him Harry several times, but I find myself unable to. He commands respect without trying. It’s visible in all the people he’s surrounded himself with. From the woman he loves, to the werewolf and metamorph who he treats like parents.

"I think Mr. Potter would be a dangerous opponent and I for one am grateful that he doesn’t consider us to be his enemy," O’Dalley said in conclusion.

Mallory nodded and thought about what O’Dalley had said. Legally, his government did not have to support Harry and his effort. Public opinion on the issue of Britain was unclear. Many Irish were ambivalent to their plight, but on the other hand they didn’t want Voldemort to come to their country. On that issue, they were clear. They didn’t want Voldemort here. Supporting Harry could prevent that from happening.

Sighing, he muttered under his breath, then he pulled a file folder out of a desk drawer and passed it to O’Dalley.

"Michael, we’ve already told several nations that we would recognize a British Ministry of Magic in exile. And while we didn’t come out and say it, we implied it would be a Ministry set up under Mr. Potter.

"We’re stuck in the cross fire here, Michael, and I hope you realize that all of us supporting Mr. Potter are on thin ice. Our public isn’t really too upset about Britain. However, they don’t want Voldemort here. But that is exactly what will happen if Mr. Potter fails. Therefore, it’s up to us, and Mr. Potter of course, to sell the idea of supporting him to our public.

"The file contains our latest intelligence information. Some of our boys north of the border have spotted several of Voldemort’s thugs. We suspect a cell has moved to our side of the Irish Sea. Also, I don’t know why, but we’ve had some disturbing magical flares in Cork as well. I know that’s not too far from Mr. Potter and his Haven.

"I want you to share this information with Mr. Potter, and then request that he and I have a private meeting in the coming weeks. Right now, I know he’s probably too busy, but a private meeting would be to both our advantages."

O’Dalley clutched the precious file and nodded. "We’re doing the right thing, Minister. I’m sure of it."

Mallory looked up at O’Dalley as he stood. "I hope so, Michael, now off you go. That information would be best used if placed in Mr. Potter’s hands as soon as possible."

Mallory watched O’Dalley’s retreating back for a moment longer, then he went back to his telephone. He had more Ministers and Secretaries to talk to today.

Hogwarts Castle (April 19th)…

Harry appeared in the Chamber of Secrets and looked around carefully. He arrived fully shielded and ready to apparate out if necessary. Extending his senses, he carefully felt around the castle and it’s surrounding spaces. Voldemort was nearby, but seemed to be sleeping. Groups of Death Eaters were busy laying down new wards on the castle. Examining the aura of the new wards, he slowly and carefully adjusted them until they excluded all of the spaces from under the castle, including the Chamber.

Once he had completed that task, he began pulling boxes out of his pockets and expanding them. When he was done he had nearly ten large crates of material.

"Peeves!" Harry said loudly and then he waited.

After a five-minute wait, he called for Peeves again.

He smiled when he heard a familiar voice replying to his call. "Look nasty snotty Potty, leaves Peeves and the ghosts behind with the red-eyed man and his black robes. They are no fun, they aren’t like ickle firsties," whined the pesky poltergeist.

"Peeves, would you like some toys to play pranks on old red-eyes and his black robes?"

"Potty brings pranks for Peeves to play?" asked Peeves incredulously.

"Look what I brought you, Peeves," Harry said, pulling the top off the crates and revealing some of the more dangerous of Weasley Wizarding Wheezes stock. Peeve’s lower lip trembled and he looked at Harry with a mixture of awe and undying gratitude.

Peeves rushed forward to examine the cache of goodies, but Harry stopped him with a shield.

"Peeves, I want a promise from you. You will only use these on the black robes and red-eyes. Give me that promise and I will bring you more of this when you run low."

Peeves nodded eagerly at Harry’s request. "Alright, Peeves. One more thing, then this is all yours. Can you find Sir Nicholas and ask him to meet me down here, please?"

Peeves nodded and vanished through a wall.

Harry leaned against the wall and chuckled to himself. Voldemort was about to discover the castle wasn’t all that peaceful a place after all.

"I say, Harry Potter! What are you doing down here? Don’t you know how dangerous it is for you?" said Sir Nicholas De Mimsy-Porpington.

"Hello, Sir Nick," said Harry smiling at his house ghost. "We’re pretty safe in here as long as I don’t attract attention to us. The Fidelius charm on the chamber doesn’t affect you ghosts or Peeves, since it considers you a part of Hogwarts. Anyway, I’m here for a reason." He turned then and chuckled, spotting Peeves rooting through the boxes and stuffing his pockets with pranks.

"Oh, Mr. Potter? What reason would that be?" asked Sir Nick, interested.

"First off, sir, I want you to know that everyone managed to evacuate the castle to safety. I wish we could of brought you and the other ghosts but, being dead, we figured you weren’t in much danger," Harry offered as an apology.

Sir Nick nodded and motioned for him to continue. "Professor McGonagall instructed me to tell you that, ‘the Lion’s Pride is roaring’," Harry said on an inquisitive note.

Sir Nick’s expression grew determined. "Very well, Harry. What would you have us do?"

"I need to find out what’s happening here at the castle, Sir Nick. We are planning on taking back our school and our country, but it’s going to take time and information. I can set up a special portkey here that Peeves can activate. It won’t bring him to us, but it will alert us that you have information and someone will come to talk to you."

Sir Nick looked thoughtful. "I don’t know much about spying, Harry, but we’ll do what ever…"

An unfamiliar and very chilling voice cut Sir Nick off in mid sentence. "We will do it."

Harry felt the hair on the back of his neck raise up and he was suddenly covered in goose bumps. He whirled to see the Bloody Baron floating a few feet away. Behind him were the Fat Friar and the Grey Lady, Moaning Myrtle and, surprisingly, Professor Binns.

Myrtle smiled at Harry and giggled, but his attention was focused on the Bloody Baron.

Harry bowed to the Baron whom, to his knowledge, had not spoken at all during his time at the school.

"Thank you, my Lord Baron. The house of Potter-Black recognizes that we owe you a debt for your aid," Harry said formally.

The Baron looked surprised at Harry’s formal actions, but instinctively returned the bow.

Harry left the portkey for Peeves on the floor, and then turned to the group. "I hate leaving you here, my friends. I do not know when or how we’ll be able to take back our country and our school, but I vow I will do this."

The Baron bowed again. "Go now, Lord Potter. Let us be about out duties, so that we may hasten the day of deliverance."

Harry nodded, then activated his own portkey. For a moment there was a silence in the chamber, then the Baron floated out to the center of the chamber. "Call in the other ghosts. We must discuss this new information, and how best to go about our task."

The five other ghosts shimmered and vanished to find the others. High above in the castle there was the sound of an explosion and a scream, and then the sound of Peeves’ laughter.

The Bloody Baron sighed, pinched the bridge of his nose, and reminded himself that Peeves, too, had duties to perform.   If those duties were no different than the poltergeists’ usual antics, who was he to complain?

Padfoot Manor Evening (April 19th)…

Harry relaxed in his tub. It wasn’t late, but he had done enough walking and other work during the day that his leg was quite sore tonight. He chuckled to himself when he recalled the day.

Peeves would make quite a nuisance of himself at Hogwarts. And here in Padfoot, they had an outbreak that made many suspect they had inherited a poltergeist as well.

It all started at Breakfast. Dan and Emma came down late and were still groggy from the night before. Both were complaining of aches and pains. Emma sat down and snatched the last muffin on the platter. Dan frowned and the windows in the dinning room exploded outward.

Hermione and Remus both looked at Harry like he was to blame. He tried to protest his innocence, but neither of them was convinced by his protests.

No one but Harry had figured it out yet. He vowed that if they didn’t figure it out he’d tell them after the Rite of the Gen when things had calmed down a little.

There was a popping noise and Harry looked up to see Dobby staring at him in apology. Then he saluted.

"Sir, Harry Potter, sir! Master Remus wants you to know the Irish Ministry Man is back again, sir!"

Harry shook his head. He was going to have to find time to talk to Dobby about the saluting business, but not tonight.

"Very well, Dobby. Inform Remus that I will join him shortly. Is the ritual room prepared?"

"Yes, sir! Exactly as you ordered, Harry Potter sir!"

Harry nodded and the little elf left to speak with Remus. Harry sighed, climbed out of the tub and threw on his robe.

Five minutes later, Harry was heading downstairs, wearing his finest family robes. The Rite of the Gen would start at midnight, so the manor house was abuzz with activity. Stepping into the first floor study, he smiled as he approached O’Dalley.

"Mr. O’Dalley! I hadn’t expected to see you so soon, but perhaps it is good that you are here."

"Harry, Mr. O’Dalley has brought us some valuable intelligence concerning Voldemort’s involvement in Ireland," Remus said, waving a folder at him.

Harry smiled in reply and waved Remus and O’Dalley to seats before taking one himself.

"My Lord, my Minister would like to arrange a meeting as soon as would be convenient for you. Something away from the eyes of the press. He has some concerns involving the opinion of the Irish people and he’d like to share them with you, perhaps asking for your aid in dealing with them."

Harry frowned. "Yes, I can see where he might have that problem. But I think we already have a solution in the works. Mr. O’Dalley, I would like to invite you to witness a ritual that we will be performing tonight. If it goes as planned, it will confine Voldemort and his forces to the island of Britain," Harry said in a serious tone.

O’Dalley’s expression grew shocked and his hands trembled. "Sir, you’re basically guaranteeing the safety of every Wizarding Nation on the planet. With that done, I don’t think there would be any country that wouldn’t support your cause," he exclaimed.

"Tell me, Mr. O’Dalley, what do you know of the practice of Voodoo?" asked Harry.

O’Dalley blinked at the non sequitur and frowned. "N-N-Nothing, my lord," he stammered.

"Fascinating art form, Mr. O’Dalley. Oh, most of the magic would be considered dark because of its intent to cause harm, but they have this truly unique similarity principle. For example, I can cast a spell on a doll and, if that doll were properly prepared to resemble you, you would feel that spell being cast. The principle covers anything; dolls, portraits, photographs and maps," Harry said, carefully watching his guest who was showing signs of intense interest.

O’Dalley leaned forward in his chair.

"Tonight we shall hold a ritual in which a coven will loan me their power and I shall enchant a map of Britain such that a line of death isolates the island. No man, woman or child bearing the dark lord’s mark will survive crossing that line. If you’d like, you can join us this evening and witness the casting."

O’Dalley nodded eagerly and Harry smiled at the man, and then turned to address Remus. "Let me know if there’s anything I should know about in the information Mr. O’Dalley has brought us, then turn it over to Amelia. I need to check the ritual room before everyone arrives."

Remus nodded and waved Harry to go about his business then he turned back to O’Dalley who was shaking his head.

"He doesn’t sit still for long, does he?"

"The past few days have been busy. I understand he snuck back into Hogwarts today to arrange for the ghosts there to provide him with information. I admit I wasn’t pleased when I heard about it, but by then it was too late. And the section he apparated to is fully hidden from prying eyes," Remus said in an annoyed tone.

"Perhaps he’ll relax once he’s locked Voldemort in Britain?" offered O’Dalley hopefully.

Remus snorted in amusement. "Oh, he’ll relax alright, Mr. O’Dalley. The ritual will leave him and all the participants magically exhausted."

"It’s that dangerous?" asked the astounded Irish Auror.

"It’s not dangerous, it’s just exhausting. The coven will be loaning power to someone who already has tremendous power. Think about it, Mr. O’Dalley, he’s not warding a building, or even a town like Haven. He’s warding an entire island."

O’Dalley shook his head, and then pointed to the file Remus held. "We’re concerned about the reports from up north, Mr. Lupin. We could be looking at as many as one hundred and fifty Death Eaters in Ireland at this point. We have operatives trying to track down their base of operations, but we haven’t had any luck so far."

Padfoot Manor, Ritual Room (Night of April 19th/20th)…

With just half an hour to go before midnight, Harry stood nervously, waiting outside the room they had designated for rituals. He smiled as each member of the coven appeared and gave each of them a white robe to wear over their clothing, and then directed them into the room. The witnesses were directed to an adjoining area where chairs had been set up.

Then Harry nodded to Arthur and Amelia.

Amelia snapped off a word to one of her former Aurors and he ran back up the stairs to the Aurors waiting above. They fanned out to secure the building.

Harry nodded his thanks to Amelia, then put on his own robe and turned towards the door. He leaned heavily on his staff as he entered and surveyed the room. The beneficial effects of the earlier bath had long worn off.

Turning to the coven, he bowed to them once. Neville laughed nervously, but everyone returned the bow. They then moved to their prearranged spots and Harry turned to the spectators.

"Tonight we will invoke the Rite of the Gen. It will be a power sharing ritual that will enable me to cast a voodoo ward. The ward is cast on a map, which represents Britain. I will be placing a shield between the witnesses and those of the coven. This is for your protection but you can assume that once the shield drops, the ritual is concluded," said Harry, then he turned back to the coven members.

"Do you all remember your phrasing?" he asked quietly. Nodding, each member then went to his or her appropriate position.

The house elves had prepared the floor precisely to Harry’s instructions. The interior pentagram was encircled by two outer rings. Between the rings were two layers of runes. Harry had meticulously checked the runes earlier to ensure they were accurate. Around the outer ring were fifteen positions marked by double rings and more runes between the rings. Inside the inner ring of each position was a rune designed to represent each person.

Harry stepped into the center of the pentagram and took the large map offered by Dobby. He carefully laid the map on the floor for now. Then he smiled and looked at his friends.

"We’ll begin in just a minute. Midnight is nearly here," he said gently, then he looked at Hermione and winked at her.

He watched Amelia and she gave a nod.

Harry smiled and raised his staff in both hands. Turning so he faced one point of the star he waited for every one to turn in the same direction as he faced. Harry’s magic flared and the crystal on his staff shone brilliantly. With a sharp crack, he brought the end of the staff down in contact with the point of the pentagram.

In unison everyone bowed and chanted. "In diligo quod fides nos partis vox pro verum quod justicia." Then they bowed again. As they did, the point drawn on the floor began to pulsate in time with Harry’s staff. Turning clockwise, they repeated the process for every point on the star until all five star points were pulsating.

The room groaned and dust fell from the ceiling. Harry was dazzled by the light and couldn’t see the coven. He was surrounded in a ring of power, but it had not yet begun to transfer.

The coven then turned inward to faced Harry, bowed and repeated the incantation once more.   The circles that they stood in flared to life and now people could see those separate circles were really connected to the inner circle by a line. Light flashed from the outer circled in a rhythmic fashion as it flowed inwards.

From within the central pentagram they could hear Harry yell.

"Ego recipero vestri vox meus prosapia. Tribuo mihi sapientia utor is sapienter."

The light faded from the center pentagram and Harry became visible. His body broke out into a coruscating aura of light as the power continued to feed from the outer circles down the lines in the floor and up into Harry’s body.

The map at Harry’s feet rose in the air and rotated until it was in front of him. The room groaned and shook from the power and a wind whipped at the robes of the coven members.

Harry took his staff and traced a transparent green line on the map. The line looked sickly and evil, and it widened until it was an inch thick. When he had reached the halfway point in his circuit around the map, his complexion had paled. The longer the line, the harder it seemed for Harry to move his staff. By the time he was three quarters around, people started dropping out of the Rite.

First to go was Terry Boot. Then, surprisingly, Bill Weasley and Neville Longbottom fell. When they collapsed, the circles they had been standing in flared one last time and then went dark.

After ten long, difficult minutes, Harry finally completed the circuit with a cry of, "Nos precor versus of nex pro malum!"

The line drawn around the map arched up to form a dome over Britain, and there was a bright flash of light. When the light cleared, the entire coven, including Harry, had collapsed, and the map floated gently above the pentagram. Amelia and Danni were among the first to move. Harry’s shield had dropped with the last flash of light. Danni was checking each person and administering a dose of Pepper Up potion. It wasn’t enough to wake them, but it was enough to allow them to sleep off the exhaustion safely.

"I’m doing this sort of thing far too often for this boy," Danni grumbled to Amelia as she checked on Harry.

"I know, Danni, but would you trust this to anyone else? Harry’s the only one who can do it," replied Amelia softly.

Arthur opened the door to the ritual room and instructed the house elves to levitate the coven members and move them to their beds.

Padfoot Manor (April 23rd)…

Harry slowly woke and took stock of his surroundings. He was alone, in his bed and the sunlight streaming into the window suggested it was mid morning. Someone had left the window open and a cool breeze wafted into the room. The day’s temperature was mild enough to leave the window open. From somewhere outside he could here birds singing.

He debated going back to sleep, but his back was sore from laying in one position too long. His leg felt severely cramped, which meant a bath first thing. Mother nature was knocking on his bladder quite strongly, which only increased his urgency of visiting the bathroom as quickly as possible.

Harry threw off the covers and he couldn’t help but groan as he sat up and swung his legs off the edge of the bed. The door to the bedroom opened and he smiled, seeing Hermione enter the room.

"Oh, you’re up finally. You’re not going to believe what’s been going on around here while you slept," she said in a rush.

"Hermione," Harry began.

"It’s been crazy, Harry. First the muggle media reported massive auroras over the North Sea. They’re calling it a localized solar flare, exciting the earth’s magnetic field. Half of Europe experienced power black outs…"


She looked up at him and frowned. "What?"

"Love, I’ll spend all day listening to you, I promise, but right now I need the loo… badly! And my leg has pulled up lame on me," Harry said through his gritted teeth.

"Oh? OH! I’m sorry, Harry. Let’s get you into the bathroom and then I’ll tell you what’s been going on," she said contritely.

He shot her a grateful glance and wrapped an arm around her shoulder. She helped ease him into the bathroom. When he had finished his business, she came back into the bathroom, ran a bath for him and helped him into it.

With a sigh of relief, he sank into the tub and waved a hand to start the water whirling. "Alright, now that Mother Nature is leaving me alone, tell me what’s going on. No, wait. First, what day is it?" he asked.

"It’s the twenty-third, Harry. You’ve been asleep for nearly four days. Most of us were up by the twenty-first. Remus and I were the last to waken early on the twenty-second. Everyone slept for at least twenty four hours."

"Everyone, Hermione? Every one of us?" Harry pressed.

Hermione frowned at his questioning and nodded at him. "It wasn’t until we began waking up that things started happening, Harry. At first people thought we might have a poltergeist like we did at Hogwarts. Some even went so far as to suggest a leprechaun had moved into the manor.

"We’ve had windows shatter, pots go flying through the manor house and fireplaces explode. The library has had every book removed from the shelves twice now. The house elves are sure the rite invoked a curse and they’re working themselves ragged to keep the damage to a minimum," Hermione said with a frown.

"Remus thought at first it was magic bleeding off you, but we ruled you out very quickly. Then we thought it might be accidental magic from Ginny or Draco; they both seemed to get the most power boost from the rite. But then Ginny went back to school and the disturbances didn’t move with her. Of course that said poltergeist to people."

Hermione stopped her description of this truly intriguing mystery. Harry had grabbed a washcloth, wadded it up and was currently biting down on it…hard. She arched an eyebrow and put her hands on her hips when she realized he was laughing.   And not just laughing, but laughing at her!

Harry was holding onto the edge of the deep tub to keep from slipping under and his body was rippling the surface of the water as he laughed. Hermione huffed a few times and whipped out her wand. The next moment Harry was sputtering as she dowsed him with a bucket of ice water. He moved to the other side of the tub, away from Hermione and glared at her.

"Well? Are you going to continue laughing at me or will you share the joke?" she asked in an angry tone.

"Oh Hermione, I do love you, but sometimes you can’t see what’s under your own nose," Harry said, still chuckling to himself. "Tell you what. Ask Dobby to serve us an early lunch, I’m starving. Invite Minerva and your parents to have lunch with us and I’ll be happy to explain it all, and solve your mystery. If necessary, tell them it’s an emergency, but get the three of them here."

Hermione counted to ten, then realized she wasn’t going to get any information out of him, so she went and did as he asked. Harry came out of the bath a few minutes later, though he hadn’t been in there long enough for the heat to help his leg. Hermione watched him limp to the bed and dress himself. She felt guilty for cutting his bath short before it could help him.

Harry limped to the table that Dobby was setting up and sat down heavily on one of the chairs. Twenty minutes later, Minerva, Dan and Emma walked into his room. He waved them over to the table. Hermione sat between Harry and her mother.

"Forgive me for not getting up, but the leg isn’t letting me today," Harry said in an annoyed tone.

After a few minutes of polite conversation and commiseration about his leg, Harry decided to cut to the chase.

"I’m sure you’re all wondering why I wanted you here, and in such haste. The answer is, we have an emergency. And professor, you’re an expert in dealing with this type of problem." Harry leaned back in his chair and hissed in pain. He looked at the four of them and their blank expressions told him that they still hadn’t figured it out.

Harry sighed. "Alright, let me show you."

He held up his hand and summoned his staff. "Deprehensio veneficus," he murmured, then he handed the staff to Hermione.

"Hermione, what spell is on the staff?" he asked.

"Detect magic. That’s why the crystal is glowing…because I’m holding it," she replied instantly.

"Excellent, ten points, Hermione." When she glared daggers at him, he coughed and quickly moved on. "Now, pass the staff to your mother please."

Hermione looked like she had been kicked in the stomach. With a trembling hand, she passed the staff to Emma. The crystal dimmed somewhat, but stayed lit.

Hermione and McGonagall gasped in surprise. Emma looked as if she was holding a snake and it was telling her that Christmas had come early for her.

"Emma, pass the staff to Dan if you would please?" Harry asked.

Dan took the staff in an eager hand. When Emma released it, the crystal dimmed a little more but it was still brightly lit.

"Harry, what… when…. how…" breathed Hermione.

"One moment, Hermione. Dan, what happens when you let too much gasoline into an engine and try to start it?"

Dan leaned forward, his brows knitted by Harry’s strange question. "Why, the engine tries to start, but can’t. It’s flooded."

Harry nodded. " Yes. Magic is a little like an engine. Once it’s running, it runs for the life of the wizard or witch. Now, after the holiday, I noticed something strange about the two of you. At first I thought it was a mistake, maybe even something wrong with me. I can see auras. Normally, a wizard has a strong aura, a squib has a very small, weak aura, and a muggle has none. You both had none… most of the time. But every so often an aura would flicker into existence, then vanish again.

"This got me to thinking and I’m afraid I owe you both an apology. But it occurred to me that if I could somehow start your engines, so to speak, you’d be able to do magic. You two weren’t squibs, and you weren’t muggles. I don’t understand it myself, it almost seemed like there was a block on your core," Harry said, frowning in thought.

Minerva started and then nodded. "Yes, that would make sense, Harry. During the worst of the witch-hunts, some families used a block on their magic, and that would have been passed down through the generations. The convergence of the two blocked lines was strong enough to give us Miss Granger. But I don’t understand how you managed to start their cores."

Harry looked at the table and blushed. "That’s why I apologized earlier. You see, I didn’t know if it would work. But I wanted to try it, for Hermione’s sake."

"Morgana, Harry! Try what?" Hermione exclaimed in exasperation.

"During the Rite of Initiation, I put more of my blood in than I should have. I felt that the direct infusion of my magic might sustain their core and burn out the block. The equations said it might work, but I wasn’t sure."

Hermione’s expression softened, and she reached over to touch his hand. He refused to look at any of them. "What else did you do, Harry?"

Harry swallowed nervously. "I had Dobby dose them with a sleeping potion so they would sleep through their Matura Magicus," he said, and then he pulled out a piece of parchment.   "Dobby said Emma’s Matura lasted nearly four hours. Dan’s was a little shorter than that," he whispered.

He looked up then at the shocked Grangers. "I’m sorry. I know it’s a terrible thing to do to you, to turn you into a wizard and a witch. But the more I thought about it, the less I liked the idea of Hermione being unhappy."

"Unhappy how? Why would she be unhappy?" asked Dan in a hard tone.

"When you die," Harry replied in a whisper. This was not going the way he thought it would. Dan and Emma seemed mad, Hermione looked dumbfounded and Professor McGonagall seemed to alternate between approval and shocked anger.

"When we die?" asked Emma.

Harry nodded. "You’re a witch now, Mrs. Granger. You’ll live as long as witches do. The same goes for Mr. Granger."

McGonagall’s expression suddenly softened in understanding. "Of course! By activating your cores, Harry has more than doubled your life spans. Hermione could have expected to live to one hundred and fifty; some of us have lived to one hundred and ninety. I don’t approve of everything you’ve done, Harry, but your motives are pure. By giving you magic, and barring any accidents, you and your daughter will have many more years together than you could normally expected to have."

Emma reached over and gently took the staff from Dan. "Slumos," she whispered. The staff bucked in her hand, there was a buzzing sound and Harry’s bed exploded.

Dan stared at Emma in astonishment for a moment, and then he frowned. "It’s not ‘slumos’, it’s ‘slumus’!" he exclaimed into the shocked silence.

Emma lifted the staff again and Hermione snatched it out of her grasp. "I think that will be enough for today! That was my bed also," she said archly. Then she turned to Harry. "I’m not overly upset with you, Harry, but I’m not entirely pleased…"

She stopped because her mother was clutching at her husband and they were both giggling like children. Emma finally stopped and looked at Dan. "You know what this means?"

"Yeah, we can do magic!" he replied and the two collapsed into laughter again. Hermione groaned and buried her head in her hands.

Harry looked at the wreckage of his bed and repaired with a wave of a hand. He glanced around at the other four who were now deep in a discussion about tutoring and selecting their own wands. Harry excused himself from the table and limped over to the bed. He sat against the headboard, pulled his bad leg onto the bed with both hands and started to massage it.

He must have dozed off at some point because he woke up to find Hermione sitting next to him.

"Nice nap?"

"Somewhat. Where did everyone go?"

"They left when they noticed you dropping off. My parents went into town to see Mr. Ollivander. I don’t know who is more excited, my mother or my father."

He gave her a tired smile and she pouted at him.

"You’re not off the hook here, Harry. You caused this little mess, so you get to be one of their tutors, along with myself."

"I’m sorry, Hermione. I know it was underhanded to slip your parents a sleeping potion, but I really thought it would be best if they slept through their Matura."

Hermione smiled gently at him. "I’m not upset with you doing that, Harry. Oh, all right, maybe I am a little. But I can think of a few occasions when I would have gleefully slipped them a sleeping potion myself. I’m annoyed that you didn’t tell me. I went back and checked your Arithmantic equations. They didn’t make sense to me the first time I looked at them, but now they do. Harry… you really need to have some confidence in yourself and start sharing things with me. There was nothing wrong with your equations, yet you recalculated them eleven times and still didn’t believe in the results. And you could have asked me to check them for you."

Harry nodded, and then he shivered. Hermione eyed him with concern. "Is your leg bothering you?"

Harry shivered again and he reached for the covers. "Yeah, hurts a lot today and I seem to have a chill."

She felt his forehead then leaned back frowning. "You’ve got a fever. I’m going to send for Danni. I think you’ve exhausted yourself into illness."

In short order Danni was there. She checked him out and started pouring potions down his gullet. Frowning at her patient, she finally stood up and faced a worried Remus and Hermione.

"He’s got touch of wizard’s flu, which we can deal with. Mostly it’s exhaustion. In less than 10 days time, he’s been hit with a killing curse and magically exhausted twice. When he woke up today, he immediately began drawing on his magic to make up for what his body was lacking. Now, I want him in bed for no less than five days. He’s going to be fine if he just has the chance to rest and rebuild his reserves.

"I’ll speak to Dobby about some changes to his diet for a while. In the meantime, no magic! Are we all clear about that?" she asked

Harry scowled, but the other two nodded their heads and promised they’d make sure he behaved. He just knew they were going to be a pain in the arse about this.

Padfoot Manor (April 28th)…

Remus padded barefoot across the floor of the library. He and Hermione had had their hands full trying to keep Harry in bed. The first two days hadn’t been bad. Harry had been genuinely sick and had no interest in leaving bed. But after the fever broke and he started to feel better, things had changed.

Harry had managed to convince them both that he was fine and then nearly relapsed again from exertion. Danni threatened to have him moved to Haven Hospital, but it was   Hermione who came up with the solution that worked. She put her foot down in a most novel way. With the help of Dobby, they removed all the clothing in the bedroom, except for Harry’s boxer shorts and Hermione’s clothing. Then she charmed all of the remaining clothing to prevent it from being transfigured.

Harry woke up from his extended sleep and found himself confronted with Danni, Narcissa, who had been accepted as a healer-in-training, Remus and Hermione. The four of them made it patently clear that, for the next four days, he would remain in bed. To add insult to injury, they also informed him that, unless he behaved himself, he would receive no visitors. Harry was annoyed to discover that his little trip around the manor had earned him more time in bed.

Hermione also told him that if he didn’t behave, she’d move back into her old room. Harry quickly changed his tune.

Remus chuckled at the memory of Hermione. Her comment and handling of Harry was so much like Lily’s handing of James that he had to turn away and wipe the tears from his eyes.

Shaking the memories away, he leaned over and cracked open a case. He had received a shipment of rare books on his ongoing research project. Most of the books were spell books. He moved them aside to look at later. At the bottom of the crate was a large red tome with no label on the cover.

He pulled the book out of the crate, flipped it open and frowned. Latin, which was the language for most ancient books, he could read, but this wasn’t Latin. It was Gaelic. Casting a translation spell, he began to read.

Harken unto my words stranger and hear the tale I tell. I am Cathal Crobderg of Tullamoore and I am the last of my line. I am the last, for all my brothers and sisters have gone on. The last remaining Holy Knight of the Druidic Brotherhood.

I lay upon my death bed and know the end is quite near, and yet I can feel the guiding spirits sustaining me long enough to finish this accounting. And thus my beloved Brotherhood may not die with me.

Our beloved Master, Eocho mac Tairdelbaig, now gone these past two score years, had charged me with keeping the Brotherhood alive. Despair with me reader, bow thy head and weep, for in the past two score of years I have not found a single worthy candidate. The blight has touched this land with its evil symbols and its people are changing. I have walked the face of this earth and found the world changed. Everywhere the hand of Rome can be seen and the cursed gauls.

Now I lay, frail and dying. I have seen eight scores and twelve of years and my beloved Brotherhood stands on the brink. Within this book, I shall inscribe the Rite of Summoning. It is the basis of our Brotherhood, and without it, there can be no Brotherhood. Should thou, gentle reader, survive the judgment of the Summoning, the rewards of Brotherhood will be thine, and they are immense.

But take heed and harken unto this warning. Let none that hold fear and darkness in them partake in this Rite. To do so would mean thy death…

Remus continued to read further, the words of Cathal drew him on. He spoke of his years combating evil wizards and of the joys of the Brotherhood. Remus became more and more excited. Finally he came to the Rite of the Summoning and he frowned as he read. The Rite was clearly detailed and he knew they could do this. But the risk of the trial would require it to be completely voluntary.

"It’s real! We can bring them back!" he whispered in amazement, then he gently closed the book and placed it reverently off to one side where it would be safe.


The Queen was dead, the victim of a killing curse.   Her husband, the Duke, suffered a similar fate. Balmoral Castle was a smoking ruin, as was the surrounding area.   There had been no defense against the Death Eater attack.

The scene was repeated throughout England and Scotland.   Many fled, escaping to France first, then scattering to the Commonwealth Nations. Many more were left behind, either not believing the reports until it was too late, or having not the means to escape the coming storm.   Regardless of their reason, those left behind quickly found themselves caught within the chaos. Those who survived the flames became slaves to the new, brutal regime.   Locked away in holding camps, they were used for labor and sport.

In separate camps were those unfortunate witches and wizards unable to escape in time.   Many had fled, only to be caught, their wands snapped and forced into ‘re-education camps’, where they would later be given the choice to join the new order, or perish.

As the winds of change swept through the land, the Emerald Isle remained mostly untouched, though here, too, Voldemort’s power was being felt. The Irish Ministry of Magic, alerted to the possibility of Death Eaters in their country, looked to Northern Ireland with fear. Being part of the United Kingdom, it was thought that it, too, would soon fall to the flames, leaving the Republic of Ireland to stand alone against Voldemort’s infectious madness.

The muggle governments had been informed of the real situation and told to deal with their own populations, while the Wizarding World dealt with the problem of Voldemort.   Voldemort’s ambitions could drag the world into darkness if the United Kingdom’s allies chose to involve themselves in the struggle, and that could not be allowed.

Their one hope rested on the shoulders of a man too young and inexperienced to face such a powerful wizard, and yet…

And yet, that young man had managed to do more in the struggle against Voldemort than any wizard or witch twice his age.   Known as the Boy-Who-Lived, he had now become their last, best chance to end the reign of terror and destroy the darkness that now threatened their very existence.   The legend of Harry Potter grew with each passing day. And with him, came hope.

The sun had set over the smoking ruins of Britain and Scotland, plunging the land into darkness so evil that many felt it would be everlasting. But in a small, little known town in Ireland, a young man stood, looking towards the Irish Sea and the island beyond.

Beside him stood a beautiful young woman, her hand clasped tightly in his.   Behind him were witches and wizards of all ages and colors, so different from each other in many ways.   Their commonality, their binding strength, was a single shared vow:

The darkness would be beaten back.   The light would return.   The sun would rise once more over their homeland.


Author’s Notes:

And so we have come to the close of Sunset Over Britain and we hope you’ve enjoyed reading our story. We will pick up with our band of heroes in Sunrise Over Britain.

Normally we make witty comments here, but not this time. Sunset started as an attempt to write a dark, AU fiction in the weeks before the release of Half Blood Prince, and we think we’ve done a halfway decent job of it. It’s hard to write witty comments when one’s being retrospective about a seven hundred and fifty plus page novel.

It’s been a hell of a trip for us. We hope it has been for you, too.

Bob and Alyx.

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