It was a week until the platoon found their first true breakthrough in their operations. For the entire week Harry had been scouting out the country, ensuring he knew everything and anything more than the country residences themselves.
Natalie's suggestion of teaching everyone Bulgarian was an exceptionally successful task, enabling various members of the platoon to charm their way into various high profile families, as well as simple citizens. While they were also able to begin obtaining jobs within government departments and local businesses in the heart of the city.
Harry spent his days surrounded by maps and folders of paperwork with nothing more than his wand to help navigate through the country's long history. It wasn't long before he had mastered all he need to know about the enemy territory.
The platoon were situated in the lounge area, all waiting for Harry's daily communication with them and for their next day objectives. They were all close now, a tight team who were fluent in understanding each individually.
"News from Britain," announced Harry, standing before the platoon with a piece of parchment in his hands. "Our progress in Bulgaria has been slower than anticipated but better than hoped for in terms of the effective ability to continue long term infiltration. The British forces are at full strength and are ready for deployment in all battle zones."
"The Minister requests for a detailed report on areas of British interest and for a set date on immediate entry of alien forces to Bulgaria," continued Harry, a small smirk on his face. "As you can see, our country are in their most advanced and strategic position for a long time. We are on the ball and we are running with it. Our scouts have ensured that the north west is an excellent location to enter and claim as a base for our operations. We have two people in high ranking positions or the ability to be within the government and I implore that anyone who can, to try and bribe or convert as many people as possible, even by the Imperius curse if all fails. I will let the Minister know that commencing the weekend, we are ready for installing our forces."
It wasn't long until the platoon had obtained vast amounts of information on sections of the country and individuals key to the fight. They had infiltrated the government and had no less than ten informants from within various sections of the government.
"What news, Colonel?" asked Harry gently, sitting down with the rest of the platoon in the lounge. "What is our course of action?"
"The Minister is ready for deploying the troops, they are mobilised and just need your approval for arrival. He also wishes for you to take the declaration of war personally, directly to the Minister of this government," replied Moody, holding a black sealed envelope with the British seal clearly highlighted in red. "How would you like to proceed, General?"
"I will personally take the declaration into the heart of the government, at the same time of my arrival I want the forces to land in Bulgaria and commence their war," replied Harry, grabbing the envelope and leaving the tent instantly.
"Colonel, will the General be ok?" asked Natasha gently.
"He will be fine," barked Moody briefly. "I want all of us to be in the base we have created for the forces and be ready to ensure that the area is secured and sufficient for the volume of forces we have incoming."
Harry strolled through the streets of the city, his robes billowing loosely around him with his magical energy pulsing from him. He had personally never entered the public eye due to being unable to pretend to be someone else and always stuck behind his command post.
He could feel the tension around him as he arrived at the government compound and was greeted by vast amounts of security personnel.
"I am Lord Harry Potter acting as messenger for Great Britain," he said clearly, before strolling past the security and heading to the Minister's office, which he knew from blueprints.
The security followed him closely, their wands aimed on him but allowing him to progress into the deep depths of the government. Harry found himself facing a large double door office, waiting patiently for the doors to be opened from which he strolled in, stood before the Minister and placed the letter on the desk.
"Lord Potter ..."
"I am here to officially declare war on Bulgaria on behalf of the government of Great Britain," said Harry clearly and formally. "This declaration is due to corrupt allegiances with a terrorist and thus we have invaded your country and will remain until the government has been purged."
Harry did not wait for a reply before turning on the spot and leaving abruptly, leaving the security personnel in shock and the Minister in fear.
The Minister was sat, speechless. He stared down upon the deathly black letter and turned his gaze to his surrounding council for any advice after the world's most powerful wizard had declared complete and total war.
"What are we to do?" he asked helplessly. "He has delivered this personally, he is in on the war."
"We were aware of the risks when we signed allegiance. Our war was against Britain and we were naive to think that Potter would be excluded from that," replied a war General simply. "This changes nothing except that our enemies are aware of our intentions and have gone on the immediate offensive. We have lost the element of surprise and no longer have an upper hand. We are now not only waging war on an enemy to gain power but also defending our homeland from direct attack."
"Grindelwald did not inform us of Potter's stance," replied the Minister, feebly reading the letter which declared unconditionally that the war has now commenced. "What are our forces like?"
"They are not completed," replied the Minister of War cautiously. "We have sufficient forces to sustain an attack for a while, but we must call on our allies in this time of need. Britain's power is superior to all but on our own territory it could prove unstoppable without sufficient aid."
"I propose an immediate frontline force to meet the British as early as possible to prevent them from gaining complete comfort in their base while creating minor front lines at other sections of the country to prevent their continued expansion into our country," said the war General immediately, accepting a report from his assistant. "The British forces are currently assumed at one million soldiers with around two thousand creatures, the largest collection of those being seven hundred dragons."
"I fear we have doomed ourselves and this fight for power will not be as easy as first anticipated. General, assemble the forces."
Upon Harry's arrival into their secured new base, he was blown away at the sight of such a large, dangerous force. The vast amount of soldiers were all doing their duties and finding their suitable accommodation and settling in, while animal handlers were placing creatures into their own suitable living quarters, while assigning some to certain forces and security positions.
Harry was strolling through the vast piece of land, entirely filled with tents or tents being made, with huge buildings and sanctioned sections for the training creatures that were now a part of the British armed forces. Oddly enough, Harry felt tiny amidst the huge amount of people, ranging in power but all being amazing soldiers.
To the very centre of the base was a large tent which seemed to have multiple stories and many tents joined onto it for additional rooms. This was the command headquarters and was presently filled with all levels of commanders awaiting their briefing.
Harry spotted a long table with reserved seats for those of highest command to sit for the briefing of their war and to the right of one of the chairs were Harry's own squad leaders positioned quietly, awaiting Harry to sit in front of them.
"I've never seen anything like this before," growling Moody, his tone cheerful at the sight of such a huge force amassed before him. "All of the wars I've been in have been covert at best, this though is something else."
"It is quite something," commented Harry honestly, taking his seat at the council's head table. "We will see what our next mission is."
Dumbledore entered the room and sat beside Harry, shaking his hand immediately and silently congratulating him on the progress mass thus far. He waited until the room was silenced before proceeding.
"General Potter has successfully gained intelligence on our enemy and has made it possible for our entire forces to enter Bulgaria. We have an immense upper hand, bringing the war to them before they were ready to declare against us," announced Dumbledore, receiving some cheers of celebration. "The information we have gathered thus far is that Bulgaria were amassing a large amount of forces to go on a total war assault on Britain's mainland. We have thus far prevented this from happening but we must be wary of what they have created as our enemy is not blind to our strength."
"The Bulgarian forces are not completed but they are threatening and are designed for maximum destruction and complete co-operational abilities with their allies. We have been able to make the transition of General Potters spies to our care successfully and we have our soldiers replacing General Potters as we speak, some through the use of Polyjuice potion."
"The forces we had here have proven excellent in gaining secure positions within all levels of Bulgaria, most significantly within the high governmental positions granting, effectively, British control from within. I predict that this war will be of a swift resolution but we must consider their allies in this matter, I am sure they have contacted them immediately in request of emergency aid," ended Harry formally. "My troops and I would like to progress into one of the other four enemy states to repeat the same progress and monitor their response to this invasion. We believe that Greece would be the best location to start due to the nature of their country - being exceptionally old as we are and thus powerful historically."
"That is of course the best course of action. However you and your platoon are subjected to a minimum of two weeks leave, where you will all return home. It is up to you, General Potter, to decide the length of this leave. Thank you so much for the work you have done thus far and we will of course keep you entirely informed of the progress in the time you are absent and I shall brief you on your new mission when we see it appropriate."
Harry stood, saluted and left the headquarters, followed by his platoon. They all made their way to their own tent, which had been moved within the protection of the British encampment for them. They all entered and took seats around the living room.
"Alright everyone. We have been granted some leave time, I advise we take it as much as we can. A time may come where our time in enemy territory is long without possibility of visiting home. I propose a month of leave. I advise that you all enjoy yourself but remember, you are representing the best of the best so please ensure all activities are appropriate," ordered Harry happily. "I will contact you all when the time comes to regroup. I shall send you each an owl which will contain a Portkey to our new base. Enjoy yourself and I will see you all soon."
The entire room stood immediately and saluted Harry before smiling and hugging everyone farewell. It took a while but eventually the entire platoon except for one had left. Harry did not notice the last one remaining until his senses told him otherwise.
"Is there anything I can help you with Private Hayworth?"
"Yes sir," said Natalie immediately. "I was hoping for your permission to remain here with the army to help wherever I can until your return."
"Why would you want to do that?"
"I do not wish to return to my mother and sister. I fear the sight of them would force me to not aid my country. Besides, I do not know where they are."
"That is not the truth now is it, Private Hayworth?" asked Harry, turning to face the young soldier. "You left your family to join the forces against their judgement, resulting in you being banished from your family. Therefore you have no home to go to, am I correct?"
Natalie stared back at Harry incredulously, wondering how he could have known. She had left but with her mother's support as she had told him, but the family did not deem her fit to make such decisions and had banished her the moment she left.
"You may come with me and stay at my home, I promise you, it's suitable enough for you. You may mingle with my family and I or you are free to go about your own business. I offer you food and shelter until we return to the war," said Harry caringly. "If you insist on helping with the war effort then we can ensure there are plenty of tasks you can perform at home."
Harry and Natalie apparated immediately to the courtyard of his magnificent house. Harry smiled broadly, breathing in deeply ... he was home.
Harry slowly made his way up his courtyard, to his steps and finally to his doorway. He glided the door open silently, pressing a finger to his lips for Natalie to follow quietly.
As he entered he could smell the dinner for that evening in the air and the faint chatter of multiple people conversing. Harry made his way discreetly to the sound of the noise, leading to their dining room.
He took a quick, military style, glance into a mirror to see who was there, before retreating. He smiled once more ... everyone he cared for was there. There was Hermione, his beautiful wife, his two amazing children, Samantha, Cho and Ginny, all looking as heavily pregnant as Hermione. There was also Remus, his Godfather, Tonks his Godmother, James his Godson, Ron his best friend who was the only one not talking but instead with his face in a folder as he chewed in a chicken leg and finally there was Luna, Ron's wife.
Hermione, Samantha, Cho and Ginny were all talking together, for the first time in a completely happy way. Harry could hear snippets of their conversation: babies. Remus and Luna were talking happily with Bradley and Jessica about various education related subjects. Tonks was talking to James, who was growing rapidly, eager to join in with the talks of duelling and magic.
Harry had enough of listening to them and motioned for Natalie to follow him into the room. For a very breath moment, no one realised Harry entering the room but it wasn't long before they all lurched up from their chairs and moved forward, all trying to hug Harry first.
"DAD!" yelled Bradley, stood up on his chair with his wand drawn. "STUPEFY!"
Harry laughed and ducked the spell, twirling his wand immediately to force Bradley to pin to the ceiling of the room.
"Nice try, son. The power of that spell was strong though!" chuckled Harry, in between kissing Hermione passionately. "Next time, try someone other than me."
"Oh he has, I've been unconscious more times today than my entire life. He's following after his father for sure. About his father, how are you and what are you doing here?" said Remus, embracing Harry warmly. "We didn't expect you to be here for a couple of weeks, when the babies are due."
"Ah you know, I told you all I'd be stopping by and here I am, for a month."
There was a gasp and then a cheer as Harry was dragged here and there, everyone wanting his attention. He was eventually put into his vacant chair at the head of the table.
"And who might this be?" asked Tonks politely, gesturing to Natalie who was looking uncomfortable in the family environment, wearing full military kit. "Brought one home with you?"
"Ah forgive me, I am so sorry Natalie. This is Private Natalie Hayworth, part of my squadron and the only one without a home to go to. She is my guest until we have to go back," replied Harry, moving to Natalie and inviting her further into the room. "Take a seat next to Ron, he seems to be divulged in something or another to do with the war, that's what you wanted."
"Here honey, have some food," said Luna, filling a plate in front of Natalie with the magnificent meal prepared for them all. "There's plenty to go around so don't be shy."
"Harry, how is it over there?" asked Ron curiously, looking up from his folders for the first time since Harry got there. "Congratulations on your success, it spread through the Ministry like wildfire .. controlled of course."
"That is the first thing you have to say to me?" said Harry, in astonishment. "Look at the state of you. The bags under your eyes look like they have bags of their own. Put that folder away and talk no more of the war at my table."
Ron stared at Harry, not sure how to react. He slowly closed his folder and placed it to one side, his hand still positioned on the top. He eventually cracked a smile and clapped a hand on Harry's shoulder.
"Now Harry is here, I can eat."
"You've been eating all day, Ron," said Hermione, rolling her eyes as she rubbed Harry's hand. "As always. I'm glad you're home, love."
"I'm glad to be home. Let's eat and then you can all update me on what has been going on," said Harry, picking up his knife and fork. The talk on the table was as though there wasn't a war but that the entire family had joined together for dinner.
Eventually everyone had finished eating and Harry finally agreed to speak to them all individually on whatever they wished to talk about, even the war if they desired, Bradley at the table still eating since his recent release from the ceiling. They all cleared the table and made their way to the living room.
"Natalie, you may join us if you like or you may go to your room. It's perfectly fine, feel free to do as you like," said Harry gently, turning and taking his seat by the fire. "The second floor has a rather developed library you might be interested in and beside the library there's a guest room, you may have that if it's to your liking."
"Thank you all for the food and I will leave you all to your time together. Good day all," said Natalie politely and leaving the room.
"What's her deal?"
"Nothing is her deal, Ron. She hasn't got a family to return to and actually preferred to stay at war for her country," responded Harry sharply. "She's truly going to be amazing. If it wasn't for her I'd likely not be here to spend Christmas with you all and Britain would most likely not be positioned in the enemy's territory. With that being said, let us get the war out of the way. Ron, what do you want to know?"
"I heard that the war has started, all of our forces are in place and secured. Do you know how Bulgaria have reacted to it?"
"How do you think they have reacted to it? Badly," replied Harry. "I personally delivered the declaration of war and I could sense they were surprised, let alone unprepared for such an assault. We have a lot of spies or men in place within the government and other important places. Bulgaria do not have long before they will be defeated, though their allies are a massive threat at this time."
"Slovakia are already mobilising to join Bulgaria but are worried, like the other countries, where you and your team have moved onto. They believe you've gone onto another country to do as you have with Bulgaria and so they are reluctant to spare too many troops," said Ron, handing Harry a folder with the details they knew about the other four countries. "Have you been briefed on your next objective? If not, I can do so now."
"Excuse me?" snapped Hermione angrily. "From what I understood, Harry had no superior other than Dumbledore and to be quite frank, you have no right to brief Harry on anything he should do. He can do as he likes, it will always benefit Britain."
"I am Dumbledore's main advisor and Ministry Official, I have the ability to represent him at home when the time calls for it," replied Ron immediately, not looking once at Hermione. "Please, with all respect, you're not a part of this in anyway."
"Ron, if you do not relax and quit with the attitude I will decommission you as a Ministry employee. As Hermione said, Dumbledore is my only superior. Unless I am given an order from him, I shall make my own decisions. Remus, talk to me!"
Remus turned to Harry, the tension immediately cut. He smiled and took a sip of his drink before beginning his breakdown of the Potter Empire.
"As expected, the current businesses are developing amazingly. They are now leaders in their section and are doing immensely well. For starters, Ginny and Cho have gone far and beyond in their contracts to exert their businesses into a further six magical locations across the globe," explained Remus, handing Harry another folder which he could reference to from time to time. "The one in Africa has worked out amazingly, especially since its exclusive and far better than the gentlemen let on."
"He was a strange one, but apparently completely genuine. That's great to know. How about the rest?"
"Ron's has slowed in progression but is holding strong. The slowdown is due to its war efforts so it is understandable. I am currently in talks with Ron to discuss me taking complete management of it to help it continue to grow in his absence. Neville and Hannah are doing spectacular as well, they are thinking of building something closer to London to cover a majority of the UK but their trip to Belgium has made them want to move to Europe,"
"Fred and George are, of course, doing amazing and their expansion to the world stage is near completed. They hit the States recently and oh boy they've hit it. Molly is expanding her shop, she has been employing people and is venturing to schools and medical institutions. She was wondering if an optional class could be incorporated into Hogwarts, you can look at that later. Finally, Samantha and Ludo are doing exceptionally well also. Samantha is managing well with her Hogwarts duties and I believe Bradley has become somewhat a loyal customer for her duelling classes."
"It all sounds amazing. How is the growth of Hogsmeade and our Lab?"
"Hogsmeade is now fully complete to the specifications you made and so students are now free to go down there any time they like, within curfew hours of course. The lab now has almost twenty scientists in various fields researching further developments while I have also taken up a research of my own with Luna here," hinted Remus. "Please don't pry or use magic, if it develops I want it to be a surprise for you."
The room discussed their various things, ranging from their teaching at Hogwarts to their personal developments. Harry loved it, hearing all those close to him truly living life to the full and relishing in every moment of it.
"So, when are these beauty babies due?" asked Harry, eyeing the four pregnant women around him. "I believe it is any day now, one or two weeks?"
"They are due around Christmas, we're all very excited. We have all taken leave from work and installed substitutes through it all. I am so glad you are here to see the births," said Hermione, kissing Harry once more while allowing him to rub her stomach.
"I wouldn't have missed it for the world."
Everyone eventually dispersed from the living room and headed to their homes. Harry and Hermione made their way to bed, holding each other gently, leading each other on to what was to become an extremely passion filled night.
As Harry passed the library, he could see the faint shadow of a small figure in a corner, buried in a pile of books with nothing but a lamp to help her. Harry frowned slightly but could not resist the luring temptations of the slowly stripping Hermione, framed elegantly in their bedroom doorframe.
"Oh yes ... now this I have missed."
Hey all, thanks for the patience in this. It has been a looooong time! Please let me know what you think of the path this story is taking. In effect - war is going to happen and in a very large and detailed way! Happy reading and thanks for continuing to read.
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