HOC IN HORA
Previously: Conversations With God
Themesong: Going Under by Evanescence
Sometimes the past comes back to haunt us… sometimes we come back to haunt the past. I took in a deep breath and sighed. This wasn’t World 50… this was World 5, all over again. Welcome back Mr. Potter. I shuddered softly. I’d planned to return here… someday. Someday when I was ready to face what I’d left behind, left undone.
The first time I’d been here, back when I was still less than a century old, I’d taken a Drawback that created a dark prophecy that I would be the next Dark Lord… then I’d been instrumental in bringing down the old one, oh he of no nose. They’d called me “The Winter Witch”.
I’d found it amusing, played up the role, laughed it off and did things my own way. I’d even, in my youthful way, had a child in this world, a child I’d left behind with adopted parents. I’d left this world on the 24th of July, 2000… It was now Monday, October 30th of 2006 according to the newspapers being read in the cafe’s I past…. We’d returned, it seemed, moments after we left. None of my companions were responding to my calls, some serious shit was going down. I needed… help… and, with Victoria AWOL, I needed a wand. Bugger. Still, I knew where to find a wand, a good one, and all I needed was to rob a grave.
I considered going there first, but I didn’t know how my companions had been taken down, or why… and that meant I needed help first. All I knew was that Mini had been the last to make contact of group 3. Group 4 had never made contact at all. Fuck it… there’s no bloody way it should work, so I whistled aimlessly, walking up one street and down another until I heard someone mention the name of a pub. I found the pub simply by flipping a coin randomly at every intersection I came to, so I figured I was on the right track, sat down, ordered 6 pints, and waited.
The fellow at the next table was reading a book called “The Struggle for Purity” and he had the most disagreeable mind-state, so I tuned him out and drank my beer. 22 minutes, and 2 pints later, in walked the man himself. I motioned him over. “Hello John.” I said, pushing a pint towards him. “You’re late.”
“You’re her.” he said, taking the stout and finishing half of it in a long pull. It wasn’t a question.
“No shit. And You’re him. Where are they?”
He opened his mouth, then shut it again, eyes narrowing. “They who?”
I chuckled drily. “Fine. Fine. You don’t know. Instead, tell me what’s happened the last 6 years… magically speaking.”
“Why do you want to know that?”
“Because I’m buying the beer.”
He studied me long and hard, then pulled out a cigarette and lit up, ignoring the just recently passed public smoking ban.
“Well… let’s see… On September 11th of 2001, your followers used dragons to attack the White House, The Pentagon, and the World Trade Center,” he began.
Inside, I twitched… violently. So much for killing Osama Bin Laden in 1996. Outside I was, forgive the expression, cold as ice. “Go on.”
“What more do you want to know? The names of the muggle leaders your One World Order lunatics have assassinated? Sure, they weren’t nice people, but the civil wars, the massive disruption? And they weren’t subtle about it either. Did you think it was funny to destroy Kim-Jong Il’s palace in front of the entire army on his birthday?”
I considered it, then shrugged. I hadn’t done, or ordered, any such thing… but yes, I would have considered it hilarious… assuming I’d evacuated the innocent civilians first.
“So… you’re saying I’m the most wanted figure in the world?”
“The muggles think you’re a terrorist madwoman hiding out in Afghanistan and the various Wizarding communities are helping keep your more extreme actions under control. There’s magical martial law in practically every major nation, has been for half a decade, and you just stroll into… how’d you even know I’d be here?”
“I didn’t. I knew you’d ride Synchronicity to where you needed to be… and I manipulated fate enough to guarantee that where you needed to be was here.” I studied him carefully, then said “I have no idea who’s been using my name… and I’m not pleased at the apparently ham handed way they’ve been operating… but, believe me or don’t, I had nothing to do with this nonsense. I’ve been on, you’ll forgive me for the pun, on Ice, for the last 6 years. I woke up to discover that every one of my contacts and agents have vanished. And you’re going to tell me how, and where, and why.”
“I said. Martial Law. Anyone magical without proper documentation gets scooped up by the goonsquad. It’s getting so you can barely swing a wand in England without Potter and his fast reaction squad swooping in. And that’s if you’re lucky.”
“What happens if you’re unlucky?”
“Potter’s a good guy, but he’s only the head field Auror. The Ministry has their new “Taskforce Opposing Terror and Espionage Networking” Commandos. They’ll… as the Americans call it, “Rendition” your ass if they think you’re working with… um… well.. You. That got away from me a bit.”
“Riiiight. So the Ministry of Magic has, literally, made Totenkopf Commandos to hunt down dissidents, agitators, and… who the hell is Minister of Magic?”
“Dolores Umbridge… also Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.”
I did twitch at that. “WHAT?!” I hissed. “That horrible… after all she did to support You know who?”
“They’re calling you that, now… you know?”
I grimaced. “Let me guess… she rode in on a platform of national security and a lot of hateful rhetoric.”
“You do know her better than I do.”
“I do. Yes. She and I are going to have… phrases.”
“Oh, yes? I’m sure that will go wonderfully. The Winter Witch assaults 10 Downing Street. Film at 11.”
“Imagine the scariest thing, demon, fairy, what have you, that you’ve ever seen. Are you doing it?”
“They ain’t got nothing on me. But I’ve recently decided to embrace my humanity, so I’m not going to go in all wands blazing. Not the least because I’m certain that these TOTENCommandos have been literally Avada Kedavra’ing their way through my faithful minions. No. I’m going to find the bastards who’ve been using my good name for naughtiness, and I’m going to make them pay… And please… don’t try and help.”
“Wasn’t planning to. Kinda came here to see if I could put a stop to all this.”
“I know you did, Johnny Boy. I know you did. But there’s something you don’t know.”
“There’s always something I don’t know. What don’t I know?”
“I stole your wand 3 minutes ago.”
“Oh, and your shoelaces are tied together.”
He glanced down… I tapped him on the head and whispered “Somnos.” He was asleep before his head bonked off the table.
I stepped out into the pouring rain and waited. If I had a watch, I’d have checked the time. It was after dark. I glanced around, sensing for lifesigns, then started blowing up cars as I walked along the street, whistling the 1812 overture as I pointed the stolen wand again and again. Inside my head I was counting.
A disturbance in the local fabric brushed against my consciousness and I slowed time, looking around myself as half a dozen Aurors appeared to box me in. They were good; well trained, coordinated. It would have worked on a normal foe, one who didn’t know exactly what they were about to do. With all the time in the world, I waved John’s wand in a slow arc, flipping five of the wands out of five of those hands and sending them tumbling into the dark. The sixth, Harry, I used “Stupify” instead of Expelliarmus, and caught him as he began to fall. We apparated across town to my safehouse and, with a pop, fell into my warehouse, the portal irising shut to a degree that the Atom would have found it a tight squeeze.
I put Harry on the couch and grabbed some cold water from the fridge and some tea from the replicator. “Wake up, Potter.” I said, splashing him with the cold then handing him the hot as he snapped awake. “We need to talk.”
“Sylvia.” He snarled.
“As I live and… “ I shrugged “breathe… more or less.”
“I don’t know if everything that happened at Hogwarts was some kind of plan of yours to get Voldemort out of the way, or if you actually were serious about all the things you said, but this madness has to stop. People are dying.”
“They are. But then, they always do. I’m not who I once was. I’m not that girl. I’ve changed. It was… for me… lifetimes ago. More lifetimes than you can imagine. But I’m going to tell you something, and you’re going to believe me because it’s the truth. I had, to the best of my knowledge, no involvement in what happened on 9-11, nor with any of One World Order’s operations that followed. Now drink your tea, you look terrible.”
“You blanketed the British Isles in a meter and a half of snow… in summer.”
“That was an accident.”
“That was also an accident. I was trying to fix global warming. I think I succeeded… for a time at least.”
“Yes. Mount Sylvia. Very subtle.”
“Is it really called that?”
“In as far as anyone will admit it exists, yes. Though some people are calling it the Mountain of Madness. Or the Plateau of Leng.”
“Ah… well. They would, yes. No Shoggoths in there, though. At least none I put in there.”
“I’m reassured.” he drawled sardonically.
“I’m sure.” I responded in kind.
“What, then, is going on?”
“I think your Ministry… or other agencies like it, have either captured or killed my companions. I want to know which, and, honestly… how. Some of my companions can break cities without trying.”
“The giant monsters were yours then.” He looked angry again.
“If they were in those forms, then someone was attacking them. How much damage did they do?”
“Killed a couple of dragons, injured 16 members of the T-Com squad.”
“T-Com… oh. Hah. You mean the Totenkopfs.”
“Don’t call them that! They aren’t…”
“Aren’t jackbooted thugs? Aren’t a secret police that rounds up anyone who doesn’t toe Umbridge’s party line? Does she have her own party? Norsefire, perhaps? Has she thrown around the term Brexit, or said Make Britain Great Again?”
He flinched. “It’s not like that. It’s…”
“Harry. We both know what that woman is like. Why the hell are you working for her?”
“She’s the Prime Minister. We’ve only had two previous Prime Ministers and…”
“Yeah. well, she’s still a bitch. And you… well, you’re loyal. You’ve always been loyal. How are… how’s your family?”
“They’re good. Scared, but good. Hermione’s at Hogwarts, teaching. Neville too.”
I nodded. “I know. And I’ll try and make sure no-one gets hurt. But you’re going to be out of this. I’ll not go up against you.”
“Potter. I’m always scared. Being scared keeps others alive. When I’m not scared, it means one of two things. In the first case, it means Innocents are about to die and there’s nothing I can do about it.”
“And the second?”
“All the innocents are already dead… and I’m about to do something about it.”
“Oh.” It was a small ‘oh’, barely more than a whisper, and I realized I was looking him dead in the eyes for the first time in millennia.
“I will find out what’s going on. I will put an end to it. And, I’m going to have words with Umbridge. But first, you’re going to tell me everything you know about One World Order.”
“Potter… you’re an absolutely terrible Occulemencer. I, on the other hand, don’t need anything as crude as Veritaserum or Legilimency. You will tell me everything. It wasn’t a question or a request.”
He’d gotten better, I’ll give him that. He might…. Might have been able to stop Snape. I glided past his defenses as if they were cottage cheese and I was on a diet. It was… grim. The list of crimes was… extensive. Extremely extensive. Multiple Weaponsgrade Potions factories in Iraq (though the US Government had gone in claiming they were WMD’s and then acted like they’d found nothing… the public didn’t need to know about the horrors of misused magic), assassinations across the globe, taking down an entire litany of despots and warlords, but leaving entire regions destabilized as power vacuums led to civil wars that spilled into neighboring regions. The UN was stretched thin, with 16 different regional wars bubbling away, and the US and Nato dug in deep on five fronts.
Even where OWO had been helpful, there were titanic problems. Korea was unified again, but the economic and social divide between north and south was staggering. The people of the North could barely function in the modern world and the Northern Infrastructure was a huge and largely unsolvable mess. The Korean Economy had tanked, right along with the rest of the world in the Global Economic Crisis, and then practically flatlined with reunification. The Stans were a clusterfuck, with 4 leaders dead and wars raging across the landscape, and Central Africa was imploding.
President Bush had barely survived the four attacks on him, thanks to the Secret Service Wizards who’d been put on scene to protect him… and I flinched inside as I recognized two of the assassins as Velma and Uriel. What in the name of… Why would they… I totalled up the numbers… I was missing… everyone… I wondered how many of my companions had been somehow used as weapons in this war. I searched Harry’s memory for familiar faces, then gasped.
So many images of Draco Malfoy… Draco on TV, Draco on wanted posters, Draco Malfoy, Spokesman for OWO and Interpol’s second most wanted… after your’s truly. This was not happening.
I sat down opposite Harry, watching him drink his tea. “I thought you were going to ask me questions.” he asked… then eyed the tea “This is really good. What is it?”
“It’s from Redwall, originally. Soothing. It’ll make you sleep for a while.”
“Ah. Good to know. Questions?”
“Asked and answered. I’m very good at this. But I thank you. And, I’m sorry for what I’m going to have to do. I’ll drop you off at Saint Mungo’s. You’ll wake up in a week or so.”
“You really didn’t do this?”
“No. And I don’t know why it happened, either.”
He slipped sideways and I caught him and the tumbler. It was Magi, older than human civilization, fine and bright, undimmed by ages, and I had to breath deeply to keep from crushing the priceless relic I’d picked up from an antiques shop on Jurai itself. “You’re too nice a boy to be caught up in all this, Mr. Potter.” I whispered, kissing the place the scar had been.
After dropping him off, My form rippled and I became a snowy owl, flapping my way northward towards Hogwarts. I landed at Hogsmead station, or just outside it, and wrapped myself in the cloak. One down, two to go. Harry had meant for the ring to remain lost forever, but I knew roughly where to find it and I did after less than fifteen minutes. A mending spell far more powerful than anything that could have been done in this world and it would be right as rain again, but I had one more stop before I dared use any but the most subtle of magics.
I looked down at the sarcophagus and sighed “You should have come with me, old man.” I said sadly, brushing my hand over the stonework as ice columns lifted it from the base. Within, the husk of Albus Dumbledore clutched the Elder Wand, and I plucked it up, hoping that no one had defeated Harry in a duel in all the years since. Three for three. I shook my head, then, gritting my teeth, strode into the ancient castle.
“Hello Minerva,” I said, looking down at the sleeping headmaster. She looked much the same, a little older, but as stately as ever. “I’m sorry to wake you, but I need your help.” She gasped as she came awake, clutching for her wand, but I’d already moved it out of her reach. “Gently, Headmaster. I’m not here to bring you harm.” I summoned light and stepped back.
She eyed me, then gasped “Miss Jade? Is that you? You shouldn’t be here! And give me my wand, child.”
“It’s me.” I tossed her the wand. “I need you to help me find… you.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“In another time and place, an alien race called the Neuroi attacked Earth in the 1930s. That world too had a Minerva McGonagall and she too used her magic to fight against great evil. Now she has skipped through time and space to arrive here, on this world… and I need you to help me find her.”
“You’re not going to get out of the trouble you’re in by pretending to be crazy, young lady.”
“Ah… well, I love you too, Professor. Though not as much as I love that version of you, I’m afraid. You’re a little young for my tastes.” I chuckled dryly. “But no. I am completely serious. I’m going to find her, I’m going to find Draco, I’m going to find out what the hell’s going on… and, I swear on the name of Albus Dumbledore, I’m going to bring down Umbridge, because there is no way on God’s Green Earth that she earned her current position fairly. Toten-Commandos… Christ.”
“You should have stayed in Afghanistan.”
“I haven’t been to Afghanistan in decades, Professor. Not since… it doesn’t matter… I’m not associated with OWO. Now, get up and hold out your hand.”
She flinched at the command in my voice, but levered herself up, gasping as I dropped a picture into her hand “That’s my Mini. The other girl is Franky… you’ll recognize the third as me… yes we’re wearing fitted uniform tops and panties. Don’t ask. Very strange customs on that world. You will note that I am younger in that picture than I was when I graduated, and yet you look like you did when you were a student here as well?”
She nodded, dumbstruck. “How?”
“I am very, very old, Professor. I am so old that even Methuselah would gape and stare. Between the time I left here and now, for me, 130 centuries have passed. Perhaps more. I have been a Queen, a Saint, a Killer, a God. I have seen more sunsets than you’ve had cups of tea. I have presided over the deaths of millions and laid waste to civilizations… I have done terrible and glorious and unforgivable things. I could, without boasting or praising myself, say that, were I so desirous, I could proclaim myself ruler of the Earth and force every living man, woman, and child to kneel before me in supplication. I could do this thing, and so many others that Voldemort could have only dreamed of… and I tell you that such power is meaningless in the face of the inability to save a single human life. Something I’ve failed at more times than you’ve days in your life.”
“You’ve got a point you’re trying to get at?”
“Through all my journeys, there are though who have joined me, never my equals, but always my friends… well… eventually in a couple cases. They are loyal to me, they are mine. Someone has… inconvenienced some of them, imprisoned or banished them from this realm. I would know why. What’s more, I left something of inconceivable value here, long long ago, not a horcrux I assure you, and, though I am uncertain if I ever planned to reclaim it, I left it here because I believed it the safest place for it. It is my duty to ensure that safety is restored. I’d thought I’d left this world a better place. Now… I am uncertain.”
“You’ve gotten long winded in your old age,” she grumped “Could have just asked for help.”
I chuckled “Love you too. Now, focus on the image,” I commanded, then wove my spell around the Professor. I tugged a line of white light out of her chest and, guiding it carefully, moved it to the Headmaster’s globe. Like a plasma line, it jerked, twitching, pulsing in time with her heartbeat, the globe end crawling across the metal like a spider with a dozen glowing legs. It crawled across Europe, flickered up to London for a time, then drifted across the Hebrides towards the tiny mass of Summerisle. I ground my teeth and growled.
“Professor… tell me everything you know about Summerisle.”
“It’s a tiny wizarding community, a few hundred. You sound angry.”
“Because, Summerisle, in another place and time, is the home of a pagan cult that believes, strongly… in human sacrifice… and (I glanced at the Headmaster’s clock) it is now Halloween.”
She gasped. “They wouldn’t…”
“Oh. I suspect, very much, that they would. This has now become a rescue mission. I’m afraid I shall have to take my leave of you now.”
“You’re going to do something I wouldn’t approve of, aren’t you?”
“You’re muggleborn, Professor… born before World War II. I know you were only a little girl at the time, but you must remember the Nazi’s. Umbridge’s people… they’re no different. I’m not the Dark Lord of this tale… Dark Lady. I’m not that fond of pink.”
“You said you loved that other me.”
“I did. She and I have been together for generations. I would lay waste to legions to get her back.”
“Well… that’s nice, isn’t it.” She patted my hand. “If you decide to stay longer this time, we could always use a new Charms teacher.”
I laughed. “Well, don’t hire John Constantine for the job. He’s like a walking jinx.”
She made a face “I was thinking of you.”
“Maybe once everything’s been cleaned up.” I kissed her cheek, then transformed into an owl and flew out the window. As I rolled north and west, I gathered the force of the storm behind me, a rolling wave of thunderheads 300 miles wide, following in my wingbeats as I crashed down to Summerisle, the storm breaking behind me to lash the island’s defenses with a torrential downpour that would have made the Monsoons of India seem mild. I felt the wards flare and pop as the magical storm fried them one by one and I began my march inland.
Whoever had placed the security and cloaking spells over the installations of this island had been good. Very good. Even through the disruptive havok surging through, around, and over the island, locking onto Mini wasn’t easy. But I had other ways of getting the information I wanted.
As I walked inland, the resistance I faced grew stronger, armed soldiers appearing from their barracks covered in protective charms and packing both wands and guns. It was an interesting combo, but I was more interested in the contents of their minds and hearts. I judged them all. Every living soul on that island met the Silent Judge that night. Of the 561 adults… 2 were not found wanting. Of the 83 children and teens… more than half did not make the cut… but I simply erased their memories… maybe they’d do better next time.
I found Mini, alone, shackled to two pillars in the middle of a triple ringed binding circle. She looked… fourteen… and terrible. I didn’t have to read her mind to know she’d been tortured with the Cruciatus Curse. I snarled, shattering the circles in a dozen places each as I approached her, easing the weight on her wrists as I gathered her into my arms, the locks melting to vapor as I cradled her. I didn’t know which tack to take, but settled on firmness. “Report, airman.” I commanded softly, stroking her hair as she tried to focus on my face.
“B.. Be…” she moaned softly, teeth chattering from fatigue and pain. I nodded, “I know. I can sense them.” I whispered, “they can’t sneak up on-” then I realized she wasn’t trying to say Behind… but Betrayed. I caught the massive psychic attack on my shields, grunting from the effort. Nothing in this world should have been capable of generating a psychic assault, certainly nothing in that threat-range. But there it was. It was titanic, crushing, a huge overpressure combined with hundreds or thousands of lightning fast jabs, and from all sides a crushing grip held me… as tendrils of thought tried to snake into my mind… and that’s when I realized who was attacking me… and why.
Before the attacks could harm her, I sent Mini into the Warehouse and locked access out from all my companions besides Yuzuha. “So, that’s how you’re going to play it, is it?” I growled, then allowed my physical form to turn to water as I slid into my spiritual form. “I’m sorry about this,” I said, then lashed out with my blade, cutting down the four robbed figures in the darkness around me. They fell without a sound and I shook my head “Ghost Type. Super Effective.”
I summoned light and looked down at my fallen companions. I’d never deliberately killed one of them before. Sure, I knew they’d be recovered the next day… and after a bit of de-brainwashing, they’d understand why I’d done it… and after a much longer period, they’d forgive themselves… but it wasn’t going to be easy. They looked so small, AJ, Francine, Dyna, and Petra… Rocky… I hadn’t known this was a Harry Potter world… but it made sense… Psychic Types are notoriously vulnerable to the Dark Arts. They must have recognized AJ and taken him first… Broken him… used him to get information, used him to get the others… With Francine, the best Dominator in the collective, they’d have been able to scoop up the others one by one. I had no idea who was still alive, or where, but now at least I knew what had happened to teams 1-3… which raised the question of where Zane and Kendra were… and what had happened to team 4.
Zane and Kendra were unlikely to be dead. That had been all but promised by the Vending Machine of Destiny. But they could still be in trouble, or suffering, or have been broken somehow… if they were even on this world… That was a thing. What if they’d been sent to the other Hellblazer world entirely?
Had the same thing happened to Team 4, the team that contained those entities least likely to fall prey to the traps of mortals? Somehow I doubted it. In their mortal forms, Washu and Tsunami were both vulnerable. The same was almost certainly true of Tokimi. And magic could be used to bind Yuzuha, assuming she was taken off guard. Not Dark magic, most likely, as she’d eat that for lunch, but Light Magic might have worked… a variation of the Patronus Charm? Most frustrating.
I looked around the lab, cursing wizards for not using computers, then began walking the island, scouring it for every document I could find, and cursing myself for not keeping the adults alive to torture for information… not that it would have done much good, considering I found reference to secure lockups protected by Fidelius… Couldn’t force a Fidelius to give up that information so easily. Who would they trust?
There wasn’t really any way to tell… so I’d have to go after someone in a position of Authority. Always did like starting at the top. And that meant one of three people. Umbridge… Runcorn (who I’d learned was the Head of TOTEN)… or Draco. Umbridge had defenses… plenty of them… Runcorn would have, if anything, more. Draco… was in hiding. This wasn’t looking promising. So, who, besides Potter, did I know at the Ministry?
“Hello Colin,” I said, as he stepped into Diagon Alley, bright and early on Tuesday the 31st of October. He blinked at me. “Do… Do I know you?” He asked, not recognizing me in my male guise. “I’ve got a message for-” I scanned his thoughts… he worked in the Muggle Liason office, no help there. “Mr Runcorn. Tell him the fella said it was regarding Summerisle.” I handed over the letter, then appeared to vanish. Instead, I turned into a springer spaniel puppy, falling into the box I’d been standing in, leaving Colin with a memory of having bought me for his girlfriend (a lovely muggle girl who worked in banking) that morning. He told me to hold the note as he headed towards the Ministry.
People pay attention to puppies… but not in the “It’s a spy!” way. How to get past security, even paranoid security? Be incredibly cute… and also use mind control. The number of animagus detectors wasn’t high, but the Ministry had them. Good thing I wasn’t using magic like any in this world. Colin dropped the letter off with security, then headed to his office. Runcorn and one of his goons came in about 40 minutes later to investigate and interrogate. They left with a Rottweiler that neither of them had come in with, but that’s okay, because they thought they had.
Once Runcorn was alone again, I waited patiently for him to finish yelling into his telephone, then pulled him inside my mind. “Hello Albert, you festering gobshite. I’m going to kill you, just so you know… but first, you’re going to tell me how to find Draco Malfoy, where my friends are, and… stop flailing around like that, none of your magic will work here… this is my mind, only the rules I want to work, work.”
I didn’t, in fact, kill him. Albert Runcorn was too highly placed to just kill like that. He’d done too much damage, destroyed too many lives. He had to go out in a blaze of glory. I made sure he’d do as he was told, then released him from my mind. I doubted it would work, but… he’d already made the plans. It would have been a shame not to let him try. I merely tweaked them, adding in a faildeadly deadman’s switch. If he didn’t survive, his private papers would hit the papers in 16 hours.
Meanwhile, I was heading, not to Afghanistan… but to Belgrade.
“Hello Reynard…” I drawled in my most sultry tone. “Or should I say… Hello Lover.” I draped my leg over the edge of the bathtub, I’d really missed taking warm baths… granted, I was still made of living ice, but I wasn’t going to melt at a mere 88 degrees Centigrade. I was impressed with the speed at which he pulled his wand. He’d gotten faster… Faster even than Potter, I think.
“Oh, put that away, silly boy. I’m not here to harm you. See, no sleeves to have anything under.” I rose, dripping, naked, from the bath. There is, in my experience, no such thing as an unarmed naked attractive woman in the presence of a healthy heterosexual male. I’ve gotten a lot prettier since I was Sylvia Jade… and I doubt Draco had forgotten his first. His jaw (and wand tip) dropped, and that moment of distraction, I requipped the Elder Wand and whispered “Imperius!”
Draco stiffened, then just blinked at me, as I approached him and, leaning into him, whispered “Come back to me.” In that moment, he crumpled to the ground, as my words freed him from Umbridge’s previous use of the Imperius. “I…” he gulped, as memories of all the things he’d been forced to do came crashing in on him.
“That… bitch.” He muttered. I nodded. “Oh, very much so. Good to see you again, though.” “Sylvia… I… I thought… she made me think… could you put on some clothing?” he stared at me, distracted from his guilt by the curve of my breast. “What happened to you? How… how are you… where’d you go?”
“Everywhere. Nowhere. I am, as I have ever been… the Winter Witch. This…” I motioned toward my face, “is, I believe, temporary. Sorry I vanished for so long. I’ve been… busy. I didn’t know. But I’m going to straighten things out. And you’re going to help me.”
“I am? How?”
“Well, as I see it, there’s an idiot in charge in the States, a sociopath in charge in the UK, and wars all around the world. The States will get settled most likely in the next election. Umbridge will get hers in the next 16 hours… and, like it or not, we’re going to have to come forward and explain how we were being used by Umbridge. Well, you will. I’m not going to explain a damned thing. These idiots will just have to wonder why I’m the new Minister of Magic.”
“How do you figure that will happen.”
“Oh, sweetie… because I say so.”
Runcorn was, as it turns out, not successful. Viktor Krum intercepted the Imperius Curse aimed at the Prime Minister and Runcorn’s hand picked team was taken out by some of my old school chums before they could even dream of harming the Bitch in Pink. Of course, that put them in position for me to, in turn, liberate them once the fecal matter hit the press.
“British PM uses Mind Control, Black Bag Squads. Secret Police Chief killed in Aborted Coup reveals All in Dying Declaration. OWO vindicated, first victims of MC Op. Sylvia Jade actually prisoner for 6 years, fall girl… see pinup, page 3.”
I visited Umbridge on the fifth of November, as the crowd outside 10 Downing Street was baying for her blood. I’d smashed all her magical wards and reclaimed all that was mine. Most of them had been killed outright, but I got their bodies back. The rest had been imprisoned or bound. More than a couple had been used as sacrifices to forge dark pacts. Caine had been drained… multiple times.
As she looked away from the window, glaring at the crowd, she snapped “Yes, what is it. I’m busy here!” before she even registered my face. She went pale, fumbling for her wand. I shattered it without a word then pointed at her across the desk of state and said, “Sic Semper Tyrannis… bitch.”
Next: World 51 – Into The Long Dark