Return to Hogwarts
AN: A couple of parts here are a bit rushed, but I think the end result is worth it; next chapter, the final battle will begin…
After getting back to Earth, everything was almost a blur to Daniel. With everything he'd seen since the Death Eaters attacked the SGC, it didn't take General Landry long to give the two teams permission to leave the facility and travel to Hogwarts, Sam, Mitchell and Teal'c being subjected to a few quick charms to render them immune to the school's usual anti-muggle defences as they changed into more casual attire for the journey before they found themselves being apparated away from the facility.
As they reappeared on the outskirts of Hogsmeade- they wouldn't even have been able to get in that close if it hadn't been for Hermione's authority as Minister; Hogwarts security had been improved after the events of Harry's time at school-, Daniel looked over at his current teammates, smiling as he saw the moment when the initial illusions faltered and his new friends saw where he had spent his formative years.
"Holy Hannah…" Sam said, her eyes wide as she took in Hogwarts off in the distance, the village of Hogsmeade spread out between their current location and the school. "That's just… I mean…"
"Indeed," Teal'c said, nodding in approval at the size of the castle. "It is a formidable structure; it will serve our purposes well."
"Assuming the guy we're here to stop doesn't just blow it up…" George said grimly.
"He won't," Daniel said firmly, feeling more like Harry Potter in that moment than he had felt even amid the chaos of the last few days. "He wants Hogwarts to survive as the home it always was to him; with Dumbledore gone and me dismissed as a threat to his elevated state, he's not going to do that unless he has to."
"Uh… question?" Fred asked. "We know he's coming, and we're pretty sure we know where he'll be going; couldn't we just… get one of your spaceships in position and shoot that thing down when it comes in too close?"
"Unfortunately, while that would be simpler, we have to consider collateral damage and the risks of exposure," Sam said, looking apologetically at the Weasley twin.
"Exposure?" Fred repeated.
we can assume that blowing up an alien spaceship near Earth wouldn't do their attempts to keep the Stargate program secret much good," Hermione pointed out, looking at Fred with a firm stare.
"Indeed," Teal'c said. "We were able to attribute the destruction of the Goa'uld ships used in their first thwarted invasion as a near-asteroid impact that destroyed itself, but that can only be used so many times, and should not be relied on."
"Besides," Sam continued grimly, "we have to take the cargo into account."
"The naquadria?" Mitchell asked, distracted from the immediate shock of seeing Hogwarts by this new information. "What's that have to do with anything?"
"Naquadria's unstable to use at the best of times," Sam explained as she turned to look at her team commander, appearing relieved at the chance to think about something she could more easily understand than the magic they were currently relying on. "The consequences of blowing up a ship carrying it would be dangerous enough under normal circumstances, but if Voldemort managed to figure out how to use naquadria to power his ship, we could trigger… well, if we blow it up when its power is being actively channelled, let's just say losing Hogwarts would be the least of our worries."
"In other words, all we can do is stick to the plan and hope the other guy's reasonably sane?" Mitchell said, swallowing slightly as he looked at the school. "Well, if worse comes to worse, at least we've got a load of wizards available…"
"They're not exactly fully qualified-" Tonks began.
"Neither were we, most of the time," Hermione pointed out, indicating herself and Daniel with a smile as she looked at the auror. "They might not be qualified, but they're not exactly helpless either; they just need the right incentive."
"But we're not putting them on the front lines unless we have to," Daniel said, looking firmly at Hermione.
"Harry-" his old friend began, looking pointedly at him.
"Hermione, half the time we got through everything we had to deal with because we either got lucky or nobody was expecting us to try something like that; we were unusual students even before I did all that additional training for the Tournament," Daniel said, his gaze still firm as he looked back at her; maybe he was being slightly hypocritical after everything they'd done with Ron as students, but the circumstances were still different. "Those students in there have never had to deal with the kind of thing we've had to deal with when we were at Hogwarts, and I'm not going to change that now unless I have to."
After a moment's silence, Hermione nodded at him in grim understanding.
"Well…" Lupin said, indicating the path that would lead to Hogwarts with an awkward shrug, clearly discomfited at the reminder of what was about to happen. "Let's go."
The subsequent walk through the village was relatively straightforward- the sight of so many unknown adults in Hogwarts attracted some attention, but it wasn't anything to be particularly worried about-, which was one thing Daniel was glad about; evidently, without his scar, he wasn't immediately identifiable.
As he reached the path leading up to the school, he paused for a moment to take in the sight of his old school up close once again; he had so many other memories since he'd been a student here, but, no matter what he experienced in reality or artificial memory, the school was the first place he'd ever really felt like he was somewhere he belonged…
"Daniel?" Sam said, looking curiously at him. "Are you all right?"
"I'm fine," he said, smiling at her before he looked back at the school. "It's just… it's like coming home after years away, you know?"
"Good memories?" Sam asked.
"More than the bad ones, anyway," Daniel said, staring thoughtfully at Hogwarts for a moment before he continued walking towards the school. After a few moments of silent progress, the group finally came to the main doors of the school, the rest of the team stepping aside to allow Daniel to open the doors before him. As he walked into the main hall, Daniel tried not to smile too much at the sight of the assembled students looking at him in confusion; in a strange way, after all the times he'd attracted stares just by being who he was at Hogwarts, he'd almost missed it when he moved into the muggle world full time.
"Miss- Minister Granger?" Professor McGonagall said, looking sharply at Hermione as the group walked up to the staff table (Harry noted a few familiar and unfamiliar faces mixed together, including Neville sitting where Professor Sprout had once been, but this wasn't time to mourn how Hogwarts had changed since his time there). "This is-"
"Irregular, I know," Hermione said, smiling apologetically at her old teacher. "However, I think you'll agree when you hear my reasons for coming here that this is a highly irregular situation, and you have to know that I would never have done something like this if I wasn't sure that I had to."
"What reasons would those be, precisely?" McGonagall asked, her expression becoming more inquiring as she looked at Hermione.
"Like my return," Daniel said, stepping forward and smiling slightly at the older woman. "Hello, Professor McGonagall."
"Who are…?" his former house head began, before she squinted at him for a moment and her eyes widened in recognition. "Harry Potter?"
"In the flesh," Daniel said, smiling back at her before his expression became grim once more. "I just wish it was for a better reason."
"Why?" McGonagall asked, looking at him with an uncertain smile, the surrounding staff joining her in looking at the returned Harry Potter with enthusiastic smiles. "What are you doing here?"
"He's back," Daniel said.
As with his initial reunion with Hermione, that statement was all he needed to inform the assembled teachers why he'd come back here; there was only one 'He' that he could be referring to.
"What?" McGonagall said, her face paling as she looked at her former student in shock, evidently speaking for the rest of her staff. "How-?"
"That's a long story, and we don't know how long we have until he gets here," Daniel said apologetically. "I'd fill you in if we had more time, but right now what I need to know is simple; can you relocate all the younger students to the dungeons for additional protection while we work on preparing the castle defences for a potential aerial assault?"
"Aerial assault?" McGonagall repeated in shock.
"It's a long and complicated story which ties into what I've been doing for the last decade or so," Daniel explained, as he indicated his current teammates. "Professor McGonagall, these are my friends, Lieutenant Colonel Samantha Carter, Lieutenant Colonel Cameron Mitchell, and Teal'c; for the last decade, I've been working as an archaeologist for an American military program that travels to other worlds through an elaborate portal designed by aliens in the distant past, fighting another group of aliens who came to Earth centuries ago and set themselves up in a position of power by posing as gods."
If he'd still been at school, Daniel thought that he would have been slightly amused to see McGonagall so obviously flustered at such a statement, clearly nothing she'd expected to hear, but this wasn't the time to enjoy that surprise.
"So," McGonagall said, standing up to look solemnly at Daniel after taking a moment to recuperate, "you wish for us to get the students to safety?"
"Unless there's another DA active in this year, I think it would be best," Daniel said grimly. "Trust me, Voldemort's learned a few new tricks since he was last here; I'm not going to put anyone in harm's way who hasn't experienced combat unless I absolutely have to."
"From what Jackson's told us, the dungeons should be safe enough-" Mitchell began.
"Jackson?" Flitwick said, looking at the lieutenant colonel curiously.
"That's me," Daniel said, smiling apologetically at the Charms professor. "Doctor Daniel Jackson, Ph.D; as I said, I'm an archaeologist these days, but I changed my name when I relocated."
"Ah," Flitwick said, nodding in understanding. "Well… it's good to know you've made something for yourself, Mr Potter."
"I try," Daniel said with a smile, before he turned to look at the rest of the staff. "And I'd normally be glad for the chance to talk about it, but we don't have the time for that now; we have to get these students to safety."
"Wouldn't evacuating them work-?" McGonagall asked.
"Do you have somewhere you could evacuate them to on where you could guarantee their safety on potentially short notice?" Daniel asked, looking pointedly at the headmistress. "I don't like it either, but Voldemort isn't going to want to explicitly destroy the school, and we don't have time to find somewhere secure enough for them to stay outside of the premises when we don't know when they'll get here; we're going to have to take a chance."
"You… you are certain it's him?" a younger teacher with stained fingers that Daniel guessed was the new Potions teacher said. "I mean, he's been-"
"It's a long and complicated story, but it's him," Daniel said, nodding in confirmation at the teacher. "And I wish I had the chance to tell you more about it, but like I said, we've got a lot to do and Voldemort could be here any minute; we're dealing with so many unknowns that I need to get these kids to safety as soon as possible."
"Very well," McGonagall said after a moment's thought, standing up and facing the students. "Attention students! We have reports of a dangerous assault that is about to be unleashed on our school. Until this situation has been resolved, I must ask that all students please retreat to the dungeons in an orderly manner for their own safety."
Looking at the students gathered around him, Daniel had to admit that these students were a lot more obedient than they had been in his time in Hogwarts; as soon as McGonagall gave the order, the students all immediately got to their feet and began to walk towards the door to the entrance hall, a few of the unfamiliar teachers getting up to show them to the dungeons. He supposed that it came from not having to operate on a war footing with a relatively incompetent government in power; unlike when he was at Hogwarts, these students knew
that they could count on their leaders to get the job done, whereas he had never managed to have that kind of faith in the Ministry since learning how they'd made such a mess of Sirius's role in his parents' deaths…
"OK," he said, nodding in approval as the students filed towards the door before he turned to the remaining staff. "Now that they're getting to safety, we need to coordinate our defence; Hermione's going to see who she can contact at the Ministry who can get here in the available time frame, but the rest of us need to work out the most defensible position possible for when he gets here."
"How are we going to do that?" Fred asked. "I mean, we're operating on limited numbers with no idea where he's going to appear-"
"Pick the areas that would be strongest and most vulnerable to an aerial assault and take it from there," Sam said. "If he's attacking with a ship, he'll be relying on his Goa'uld memories to plan the attack rather than his own if he never did something like this on his own, but we can't know if he'll try and trick us by doing what we'd expect him to do or doing what we wouldn't expect of him."
"Uh… right," George said, nodding uncertainly at the lieutenant colonel before he shrugged as he looked at the remaining teachers. "Hey, I just work with her; I can't be expected to understand everything she says, right?"
"You have been… working with these people, Minister?" one of the newer teachers said, looking curiously at Hermione.
"Yes, Professor Braxton, and it's part of a long story that Harry and I will be happy to fill you all in on once we're sure that Hogwarts isn't about to be blasted to bits by an alien spacecraft; please move
, will you?" Hermione said, looking impatiently at the new professor as she indicated the doors behind them. "Now, if you could please accompany some of my colleagues to the upper areas of the castle, we need to determine the most likely location for an attack soon
As he hurried along after the ridiculously short old guy who was showing him and the twins around the school, Mitchell had to admit that he could see how Jackson had become so attached to the place; it was bizarrely complicated to find his way around this place- he was fairly sure they'd doubled back on themselves at least twice- but the building was still fascinating, with a surprisingly comfortable atmosphere on top of an impressive structure…
"So," he said, after a few more minutes of movement came to an end as they reached the top of the school, looking curiously at the short man, "what was Jackson like as a student?"
"Jackson? Oh, you mean Mr Potter?" the short teacher said, smiling over at the lieutenant colonel. "Well, his theory was questionable, but he generally excelled at the practical side of preparing spells; he sometimes forgot some of the definitions of the spells in his exams, but he was such an exceptional natural spellcaster that he managed to teach a few interesting tricks even to students older than him when he was only in fifth year."
"He forget definitions?" Mitchell said, surprised at the idea that Jackson had ever been less than a brilliant academic; he knew that his friend wasn't a scientist, but magic seemed like the kind of thing that would pretty much always be fun to learn…
"Only a few times, and as I said, his practical spellwork was always good enough to make up for it," the old professor said, grinning at Mitchell as they slowed to a more leisurely place, evidently approaching the location that this man had selected as where they should mount their defence.
"He's come a long way since then, I'll give you that," Mitchell said, smiling at the shorter man. "Guy comes up with all kinds of interesting theories about what we're dealing with lately based on a few historical tit-bits that wouldn't have meant much to anyone else, and that's just what I've seen him do in the last couple of years; he's done a lot more over the years."
"It's always good to hear that a student's done well," Flitwick said, grinning at Mitchell before he turned his attention to the view before them. "Now then, this is one of the highest external points in the castle; the highest point is the Headmaster's office, but that's a bit more central, so I assume this would be a better location if we're preparing a potential defence…"
With Lupin and Tonks currently setting up the defensive spells after Teal'c had identified the best area to establish a defensive front, the Jaffa was left with little more to do than watch as his new allies did what they could, alternating between observing their spells and observing the building laid out below them with a thoughtful smile.
Teal'c had little experience with the Tau'ri's educational establishments, but he was fairly certain that the building they were currently preparing to defend was far from normal by any standards. He could understand how it had earned its reputation, of course- a thousand years or so maintaining a continuous presence was an impressive record for most things, and even the oldest Goa'uld had only a few territories that they had controlled for that long before Ra established a status quo- but the complexity of the structure made him wonder how modern students were able to find their way around, to say nothing of what he'd heard about its wider role in this secret world.
He had spent the last few weeks forced to adapt everything he thought he knew about Earth to accommodate the most recent discoveries about what Daniel Jackson and others were capable of, but while he knew that he still had much to learn, he was grateful for the opportunity that this presented him with; even the majority of Earth's inhabitants were ignorant of the wonders it could deliver.
He might resent the fact that circumstances had forced Daniel Jackson to relive such a painful period of his life by coming back here, but as he watched Remus Lupin and his wife prepare the last of the castle's defences, he knew that he would enjoy learning more about this new world when the current crisis had passed. Not only would an alliance between the SGC and the wizarding world be mutually beneficial for all concerned parties, but he had a strong feeling that Daniel Jackson would enjoy the chance to reunite with his old friends…
"That's that," Tonks said, stepping back from setting up the last protective spell in this area. "We've set up everything we can set up; add in Hogwarts' default defences, and we're as ready as we'll ever be… I think."
"How about you?" Lupin asked, looking curiously at Teal'c. "You know what kind of weapons we're up against; is there anything else we can do?"
"I feel that we have prepared for what Lord Voldemort may have to release against us as much as we can," Teal'c said, looking grimly at the werewolf; they had tested Goa'uld weapons against magic as much as they could, but never on this scale. "As for whether it will be enough…"
He didn't bother finishing that statement, knowing that Lupin would understand; as a soldier himself, they both knew that no battle plan could ever survive contact with the enemy, particularly not when dealing with stakes like this in such a complex situation.
They would do their best, and after that it would all come down to what their enemy decided to do in response…
"Well," Professor McGonagall said, looking round the Great Hall as the last of the staff's Patronuses finished delivering the messages that they were all in position, before her gaze fixed on Daniel, "I must say, Potter, your new associates are… most impressive."
"Trust me, you haven't even seen a fraction
of what they can do," Daniel said, smiling at her as he avoided the opportunity to correct her on his name; he probably wasn't going to see her after this for a while, so it wasn't worth worrying about something like that. "We've been doing this kind of thing for a while now; we may not have had to coordinate a defensive plan on this scale using magic, but they all know how to defend a location from this kind of aerial assault."
"You became involved in a new war?" McGonagall said, looking at him in surprise. "Minister Granger told us that you left to avoid war-"
"And I tried to stay out of future wars by going into an academic field that I thought would never be of value to anyone, but when I was hired for an assignment that revealed the existence of a race of parasites that use humans like they're nothing while demanding to be worshipped as gods…" Daniel explained, shrugging helplessly as his old Transfiguration teacher looked sceptically at him. "I didn't set out to go to war, but when I was there, I couldn't exactly reject their request when I knew I could do something."
"Always a Gryffindor, mmm?" McGonagall said, smiling at him in a thoughtful manner.
"I did what I could," Daniel replied, smiling back at her before he indicated the door to the Great Hall. "Anyway, we'd better be getting into position; we're not going to be defending anything from inside here."
That statement was slightly inaccurate, but he and McGonagall both knew what he meant; if they could only defend Hogwarts from inside the Great Hall, than the battle had reached a point where it was already far too dangerous for them.
"Can you even be certain we can damage anything?" McGonagall asked, looking uncertainly at Daniel even as she followed him to the door. "I confess that I have little understanding of what you say we are up against, but surely something that can make it to Hogwarts from such a distance-"
"Voldemort will be pushing it to its limits in more ways that he's willing to acknowledge right now, so I'm assuming that his arrogance is going to make him make some mistakes," Daniel explained. "He's acquired some new knowledge since he last attacked, but that doesn't mean he's up-to-date on everything he can do now; I'm hoping that his overconfidence will cause him to make a few important mistakes…"
Further discussion on that topic was ended as the sky above them began to ripple and glow in the manner that Daniel recognised as the sign that a hyperspace window was about to open; it seemed slightly darker than usual, but that could be a side-effect of it opening in atmosphere rather than in space as it usually did.Here we go
… Daniel thought grimly, his hand reaching into his jacket to pull out his wand as he stared at the source of the distortion.
As a hole suddenly seemed to tear into existence in the skies above Hogwarts, Daniel shuddered at the sight of a ha'tak appearing out of hyperspace inside a planet's atmosphere, the ship taking up position over the school with a foreboding aura greater than any Dementor that had ever been in the area.
Over two decades after he'd thought it was all over, the final battle was about to begin…