Title: Confused Memories (26/29)
Category: Drama, Romance, Crossover (JAG/Harry Potter)
Spoilers: Through "The One That Got Away" (JAG); Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter)
Disclaimer: I own none of these characters. The JAG universe belongs to DPB and his gang, and the Harry Potter universe belongs to the goddess, JKR.
Chapter 26: In which explanations are made
Hermione Granger finished her dinner. "Thank you, Botty." She handed the House-Elf her tray.
"Professor Hermione is most welcome!" Botty replied in a high, squeaky voice. "Anything the Professor wants, Botty will get!"
"I just need my robes, Botty. But I can get them... myself," she finished just as a brand-new set of robes appeared in Botty's arms.
"Professor must get ready for meeting!" The House-Elf disappeared with the tray of food.
Hermione shook her head. She had given up her crusade for House-Elf rights years ago, but their subservience still grated on her nerves. She slipped her robe on over her nightgown and stood. The feeling was back in her arms and legs, but she still felt a bit woozy. She stood still for a moment, and the dizzy feeling left. She slipped out of the Hospital Wing.
Hermione stopped. The halls were eerily silent. The silence only magnified the sounds of orders being shouted and followed outside the castle walls. Hermione made her way down the corridor. As she walked further, the noises began to increase. She walked quickly and quietly, hoping to avoid any curious onlookers.
As she approached the Headmaster's office, Hermione realized that she had no idea what the password was. She began to think of any possible sweets that the Headmaster had not used for the password over the years.
"The password is 'ocelot'," a dry voice said. Hermione turned to find Severus watching her.
"Let me guess; Minerva set the password today?" Hermione smiled.
"Yes," Severus answered, gesturing for Hermione to lead the way. She stepped onto the staircase, which began to rise. Hermione was confused. Why was Snape being so... well, she supposed 'nice' would never be a word to describe him, but... civil?
They stepped off the stairs at the top of the tower. Dumbledore's office was packed with people. AJ, Sarah, and Remus sat by the fireplace... and was that Clayton Webb's ghost with them? Harry and... Draco Malfoy? What in the world? ...Stood beneath the portrait of Nigellus Phineas, one of the least popular Headmasters Hogwarts had ever had. Minerva sat primly before the large desk. Albus himself sat in his usual chair, looking every day of his 164 years. He was pale and exhausted, but still managed to keep that damned twinkle in his eyes as he gazed around his office. Hermione gave herself a mental shake. She was beginning to sound like Severus. Poppy Pomfrey clucked over Dumbledore like a mother hen. She obviously disapproved of this entire affair.
"Hermione, Severus, welcome!" Albus exclaimed. "Please, have a seat. Would you like some tea?"
"No, thank you, Albus," Hermione declined politely, sitting beside Minerva. Severus just grunted.
"Well, it seems that everyone is here. I would like to open this meeting by saying thank you. You have all done a wonderful job in protecting our dear school. I would especially like to thank you, Mr. Webb. You made the ultimate sacrifice--"
"Sacrifice?" Clay exclaimed incredulously. "It's my fault they were able to attack in the first place!"
"My dear boy, do you truly believe that was your fault? The Death Eaters would have found a way in no matter what. I am just sorry that it had to be with your life." Albus turned to Remus, who was staring at his hands guiltily. "Nor is it your fault, Remus. You must never be ashamed of love."
Albus continued, "I have called you all here to get a full account of the battle. Clayton, Remus, would you please begin?"
The werewolf and the ghost looked at each other, then began their story. Both men were obviously skilled at giving reports, leaving no detail out. When they finished, Hermione picked up the story. They went around the room, a Quick-Quotes Quill catching every word.
Finally, the report was finished. The group gave a collective sigh. "I believe there are still a few more matters to discuss," Albus said. "First, Sarah's prophecy. I am sure we remember what it was?"
Hermione quoted, "'The noble one will rescue the princess from the tower. The queen will find a savior in one she least expects. The mighty one will be slain. The angel of darkness will be overcome by his own. By the time of the summer's end, these things will be.'"
"Very good, Professor. It's a shame you're not still a student, or I'd give five points to Gryffindor," Albus smiled. "Has the prophecy been fulfilled?"
There was silence for a moment. "I believe so, Headmaster," AJ spoke from his position by the fireplace.
"Ah, Albert," Dumbledore said. "How so?" It was obvious the wizard already knew. Hermione exchanged a sardonic glance with Harry. They were all too used to the man's evasiveness.
AJ raised an eyebrow as dozens of pairs of eyes settled on him. "It's obviously all just a play on names, wrapped up in medieval imagery. 'The noble one will rescue the princess from the tower.' That could have been you or myself, Headmaster. Both Albert and Albus have the same root--which means 'noble'. Sarah, of course, means 'princess'." He gave Sarah a fleeting tender glance. If Hermione hadn't been watching the interaction between the two, she would have missed it. "When we were warned about the attack, I went to the Divination Tower to make sure Sarah was safe. She had been cornered by two Death Eaters. In fact, I believe they're still up there."
Harry's green eyes widened behind his glasses. "What were their names?" he demanded.
"I think they were Nott and Avery; correct, sir?" Sarah volunteered.
"That's what I heard, Mac," AJ agreed.
Harry smirked in satisfaction. "I'll tell a couple of my men to go apprehend them... after the meeting."
Draco raised one perfectly-arched eyebrow. "I thought you Gryffindors were supposed to be kind to your enemies?" he asked. Harry rolled his eyes at him.
AJ continued, glaring at the two young men, "'The queen will find a savior in one which she least expects.' Professor Granger," he said, turning toward Hermione, "You never expected Professor Snape to come to your aid, did you?"
"Not in the least," Hermione replied. Severus gave her a scathing glance.
"Hermione, of course, is the name of the queen in Shakespeare's 'The Winter's Tale'."
"Ah, William Shakespeare," Albus said. "Yet another example of a botched Memory Charm."
AJ frowned. "'The mighty one will be slain.'" They all looked at the ghost.
"What's everyone looking at me for?" Clay asked. "I wasn't anywhere near mighty."
"Yes, you were, Clay," Remus said quietly. "What other people think of you is what you are. Perception is power." Clay turned bright silver.
Harry picked up the explanation. "'The angel of darkness will be overcome by his own.'" He gave Draco a meaningful look. "I suppose you were meant to kill Lucius after all, Malfoy."
Draco snorted. "Please, Potter. Don't make me out to be some high-and-mighty hero like yourself. My father was utterly insane. He would have wiped out half the wizarding world. Besides, I'm his only heir."
"Wait... am I missing something here?" Sarah asked. She paused, then said, "Oh. 'Bringer of light.' I get it."
Harry finished, "'By the time of the summer's end, these things will be.'" I guess we'll never find out if it meant Samhain or the equinox. But it doesn't really matter."
"Wow. Sarah, have anything else to share?" Clay joked. They all laughed, easing the tension.
Dumbledore gestured for quiet. "Next on the list. Quite a few Unforgivables were cast today. Were any of them from our side?" His piercing blue gaze swept the room.
"Not that I am aware, Headmaster," Severus replied blandly. He, Draco, and Harry each held perfectly straight faces. Albus nodded, as if confirming his suspicions.
"Very well. Now, for our guests." Albus turned to the three Americans. "Sarah, have you recalled anything about your previous life?"
She nodded, glancing at AJ. "Yes, Headmaster. Everything." The group watched her expectantly. Even the portraits were giving her their undivided attention. She licked her lips. "My name is Sarah MacKenzie, as you all know. When I left the Aurory, my uncle, Matthew O'Hara, pulled some strings for me to join the Marine Corps. I am currently a lieutenant colonel. I am also a lawyer working out of JAG Headquarters. In fact, I am Admiral Chegwidden's Chief of Staff," she said, looking at her commanding officer.
"Colonel MacKenzie? Admiral Chegwidden?" Harry said in disbelief.
"That's right," AJ said, smiling humorlessly. "When the Colonel went missing, I was about to write her up as UA, until Agent Webb came to my office and told me she was somewhere in the wizarding world. I hadn't had any contact with that world since my brother ran away from home and was killed. When Webb said that the Secretary of the Navy and the Secretary of Magic had given their permission, I arranged work so that I could come here and find her."
"But how did you end up here, Mac?" Clay asked.
"I had been kidnapped while touring London. I was taken to a warehouse and held captive. My kidnapper was going to... going to rape me," Mac forced out. "I panicked. Without realizing it, I Disapparated. I'm just glad I didn't splinch myself," she said wryly.
"When Sarah arrived here, I didn't know what to think," Hermione continued. "So I Stunned her and brought her up to the castle."
"When we found out that Colonel MacKenzie had studied at Salem," Minerva said, "I Flooed my sister--who is currently the American Secretary of Magic. She remembered teaching a Sarah MacKenzie, but said she dropped out of sight about fifteen years ago. So she contacted some people, and found out a Colonel MacKenzie had disappeared a few weeks before--around the same time you came here, Colonel. She arranged a meeting with Secretary... Sheffield, I believe his name was. You know the rest of the story."
"So... what happens now?" Hermione asked. "I'm sure you want to go home."
Sarah smiled sadly. "I love this job, but... I have a life back in Washington. And I have a duty to report back as soon as possible."
"We'll miss you, Sarah," Hermione said quietly.
"Yes, Colonel, we will," Albus agreed. "The students say you are a wonderful Divination instructor. And you are quite good at Wizard Chess," he smiled. Sarah laughed. "I have friends at a few Muggle hospitals in London. I'll arrange for the records to show an unknown woman with amnesia was admitted a month ago."
"Thank you, Headmaster. For everything," Sarah said.
"Please, call me Albus," he replied. "Oh, and one more thing..." He held out his arm, and a bird with bright red plumage alighted there. He stared into the bird's eyes, and the bird tilted his head to the side. "What do you think, Fawkes?" The phoenix let out a ringing cry. "I agree wholeheartedly." Dumbledore turned to the three still by the fireplace. "Sarah, Albert, would you please stand before my desk?"
The two officers looked at each other, granted the strange request. The room fell silent. Dumbledore drew his wand. "Sarah MacKenzie, Albert Chegwidden, you have sacrificed yourselves for the good of your friends and your allies. You have proven yourselves to be brave, noble, and loyal. I hereby declare you both honorary members of the Order of the Phoenix." The air crackled with electricity. A stream of energy shot from Dumbledore's wand, enveloping them both. They glowed an intense shade of red for a moment. The aura faded, leaving them both tingling and energized.
Dumbledore slumped in his chair, obviously exhausted. "Albus Dumbledore!" Poppy cried. "You promised you wouldn't overexert yourself! You should be ashamed!"
"It was worth it, Poppy. But I believe I could use a bit of a nap." He suppressed a yawn. "Minerva? If you would take care of those arrangements for me?"
"Of course, Albus," Minerva agreed, frowning at Dumbledore's actions.
Albus stood, indicating that the meeting was over. "If I do not see you before you leave, I will send you an owl with your earnings," he said to Sarah.
"Oh, no, Albus--I couldn't accept any money from you," she objected.
"Are you sure? You will be a difficult teacher to replace."
"I am sure," she insisted.
Albus smiled. "Very well."
Fawkes, the phoenix, hopped from Albus' shoulder to Sarah's. He stared into her eyes for a moment, then chirped. The sound made Sarah feel much better. She reached up to pet the bird. He made a sound of pleasure deep in his throat, then fluttered away. Sarah looked down. In her hand was a single perfect tail feather.
"It appears Fawkes believes you deserve a gift," Albus said amusedly. "Godspeed, Sarah MacKenzie." He disappeared into his private chambers.