“Initial encounters were scattered and indecisive. On the fourth day at 1400 hours, the opposing force occupied the tree line directly northwest of our forward positions. During the following six hours, repeated artillery strikes were directed at the enemy in the hope of creating gaps to exploit. These proved ineffective at dislodging them, and enemy casualties appeared light.
At 2100 hours the order was given to attack and force the opposition out of their entrenched line. We advanced that night under the cover of smoke.”
— Excerpt from POR, Operation Lucid Javelin, U:1118907/Palgarvin Decanus Scott Kharan reporting, regarding Talbot’s Field (Field 187), 670-1122lts (pg. 24)
Scott Kharan sat on the edge of a bed and listened. The discussion occurring downstairs was very animated.
The time had come for Harry Potter to leave the protections his mother had left him at the house on Privet Drive, and the Order of the Phoenix had arrived to oversee the transition. However, whatever they had planned was obviously not to Harry’s liking, if his raised voice was anything to judge by.
Scott couldn’t say he was surprised. The Order had no doubt come fully prepared to put themselves in the line of fire to protect the all-important Chosen One. And if there was one thing Harry simply could not abide (made all the worse by the loss of his godfather, Scott conjectured) it was others dying for his cause. A cause he hadn’t even chosen, it had chosen him.
Scott knew that was how the multiverse worked. He had seen and dealt with it before. Harry was much less accepting of such invisible machinations. Scott understood that, as well. He would be interested to see if Harry could convince whoever was downstairs with him (Scott recognised a few of the signatures pulsing in the shape, but not all) that they would be better off letting Harry go it alone.
A small smile played around Scott’s lips. He very much doubted that.
Either way, there were rapid footsteps on the stairs. Scott could tell it was Harry, so the truth would soon be apparent. One way or the other, they were leaving. The question was simply how.
When Harry burst through the door with panic writ large on his face, Scott knew exactly what was going to happen.
“We’re leaving,” Harry said shortly. “Now. Out the window.”
Scott didn’t bother asking why. “Leave them a note, and let’s go.”
While Harry scribbled frantically away at a piece of parchment, Scott quietly opened the window and dropped to the ground. He dragged his equipment bag out from under the bush which had so helpfully concealed it. Through the small side window in the kitchen he could see shadows playing on the dining room walls. It looked like quite a crowd in there.
“Help,” Harry whispered from up above. Once again, Scott assisted in his descent.
“Your stuff?” Scott asked in a low voice, noting that Harry wasn’t carrying anything.
Harry was pale in the moonlight. “They’ll take it. But we can’t just leave them, we have to… draw attention, to ourselves.
Scott immediately began walking towards the street. “How long until they find your note?”
“Probably seconds,” Harry said grimly.
“Get in the car,” Scott said, starting to run.
They raced for the vehicle, which Scott had unlocked by remote. As they ran, Scott dug into his duffel bag and pulled out one of the white phosphorous grenades he had been saving for just this occasion. The black metal casing was stamped with yellow letters:
Once in the driver’s seat, he threw the bag into the back seat and thrust the grenade at Harry.
“The plastic dial on the face, it has red lines at intervals — turn it one to the right. Ignore the little clicks, move it one red bar to the right,” Scott instructed, starting the car as he did so. “Then pull the pin out of the top, that ring.”
Harry fumbled with the grenade for a moment, but figured it out quickly. “Okay, one bar to the right.” He pulled the pin and the catch snapped open. “I think that’s got it.”
“Good. Have your protections broken yet?”
“My… On the house?” Harry looked backwards as they drove down the street, the house that had been his home and hell rapidly disappearing. “I don’t know. I didn’t think about it until you said that.”
“Then we can assume they are.” Scott glanced up at the rear-view mirror but didn’t see anyone following. “You see this intersection coming up?”
Harry turned back around. “Yes, I see it.”
“Throw that sucker out the window right in the middle.”
“But there’s glass, how do I—” Harry started, though Scott quickly rolled the window down. “All right, here goes…”
Harry threw the phosphorous grenade out into the empty street, where it rolled before coming to rest in the recession of a drain.
While Harry had done as instructed, he was not satisfied that the Order members left behind would be any safer. “So what’s that going to do? Scott, we have to go back. If the others get caught coming out of the house—”
The grenade ignited with a blinding flash. It was not the natural light of fire but a scorching, pure white chemical burn that flickered with a painful brightness. A thick cloud of smoke roiled from the drain, creating a dense cover that rapidly obscured the street behind them from view, suffused with an incredible glare that made it seem as if the entire intersection was blanketed with condensed light.
“Like kicking over an anthill,” Scott murmured, checking his mirrors again. Any Death Eaters in the area would flock to that display, finding nothing but smoke and night blindness.
“They’ll see that for sure,” Harry said, echoing Scott’s thoughts. “God, that actually hurts!”
“Don’t look directly at it. And yeah, everyone will see it.” Scott settled back into his seat, but kept a sharp eye on his mirrors. “There’s a hat in the glove compartment, put it on. And take off your glasses, there’s a different pair in there as well.”
Harry tugged at the latch and found the cap inside, the front of it emblazoned with a cartoon fox striking an enthusiastic pose. The back of it proclaimed, ‘LIKE A FOX’. He also found the case containing a pair of grey-rimmed rectangular glasses. “I get it,” he said thoughtfully as he put them on. “What about my scar?”
“Nobody’s going to see that from outside. And speaking of which, we aren’t in the clear yet, so keep your guard up. Lila is waiting up ahead at a waystation. She has another car, and we’ll switch out there.”
“You think the Death Eaters would recognise one car from another?”
Scott shrugged. “Let’s not take that chance.”
His precautions were admittedly more like the ones he might take for a Muggle opponent. He was switching lanes frequently, taking less obvious routes and occasionally doubling back when the roads permitted it. If Harry noticed, he didn’t say anything; his eyes were firmly fixed on the sky.
“The protections should have broken once you left for good,” Scott reasoned. There wasn’t any need to state these things out loud, but sometimes it was easier to think that way. Harry’s opinion was also often useful. “If they didn’t attack us when we crossed the street, it’s because they couldn’t see us. The protections were still working.”
“Or they wanted to see what we were doing. Or wait for Voldemort to get there,” Harry countered pessimistically.
“I don’t buy it. They had us dead to rights, out in the open. And they couldn’t have known that we had possible reinforcements in the dining room. They had no reason to hesitate; even if they were looking to capture you, they still would have tried to kill me.”
“Moody said that they didn’t know it was tonight, that the move was tonight,” Harry said slowly. “That was the secret. Apparently they’ve gotten to some bloke in the Ministry who made it hard to ge