It Takes One to Divine One
A/N: This story is part of the Omniverse Event, a multi-writer crossover event which anyone can participate in. Details of the Event are on my profile if you want to find other stories or participate yourself.
I've also started to introduce a new mechanic into Omniverse Event stories which will hopefully make them more enjoyable to read: official Omniverse Event playlists! The idea is that at certain points in the story, I will provide cues to open the playlist and play a specific song as background music. I am not by any means a musician, so most of the tracks will be repurposed songs which are pretty much unrelated aside from sounding good in those places. I'd like to emphasize that this is entirely optional; it's just a fun little bonus for people who want something to listen to while reading the story. If the idea is well-received, I may expand it into other TOE stories. That said, I hope you enjoy this project regardless. The link to this playlist is /playlist?list=PLPVdK3hB1q2U78ypD7SrLerLd83Z8hbO6; just add that to the end of the YouTube homepage URL (since FF refused to let me post the full link).
A message to Command
The worst-case scenario has indeed come to pass. Rifts are spreading across the universes faster than we imagined. Tell Home Base to dispatch all available agents at once.
The Omniverse Event is under way.
The Headmaster's Office was in an uproar. Within the tall circular room, several people stood clustered around the desk. The small tables, which had once held intricate silvery instruments, were now piled high with books and stacks of papers. Most of the people in the room were teachers, but two students were also there: a second-year Hufflepuff girl with long blond hair and a pale complexion, and a muscular fourth-year Gryffindor boy with messy brown hair. The boy occasionally shot an angry look at the girl, who was crying quietly; the girl's right hand was wrapped in a white bandage.
Seated at the desk was Minerva McGonagall, former Transfigurations teacher and current headmistress. She looked to have been woken from a sound sleep and was trying her best to placate the terrified looking woman standing on the far side of the desk.
"Cassandra," McGonagall insisted, "you must calm down."
"Calm down?!" cried the woman, who indeed looked as if she were about to faint. "Headmistress, this is a matter of life and death! That girl right there tried to kill me!"
"I swear, I didn't do it!" cried the little girl, tears streaming down her face.
"Liar!" shouted the boy. "I saw you attack the teacher! The whole class can vouch for it!"
"But I didn't!" sobbed the girl.
"Quiet, mister Greer!" shouted McGonagall; the boy instantly fell silent. "Miss Jones, no one is blaming you for what happened. Now please try to calm down and tell us what you remember."
The girl sniffed and wiped her eyes with the sleeve of her robe. "I...I was just sitting in class listening to Professor Mills," she said, attempting to keep the words from coming out in a stammer. "I had been up all night working on my History of Magic report, and I just always feel so drowsy in that room. I tried my best to stay awake, really I did, but I just couldn't help it! The next thing I know I'm waking up on the carpet with a shard of broken glass in my hand and the whole class is running about, and Professor Mills was cowering in the corner saying I attacked her, but I know I couldn't have done it! Professor Mills is a wonderful teacher; I would never do anything to hurt her!"
"Very well," said McGonagall. "Now then, mister Greer, what did you see?"
"It was mental!" exclaimed the boy. "I was sitting on the cushion near Abigail, squinting into my crystal ball like Professor Mills said, and then suddenly I hear this sound of glass breaking. I look over and Abby's smashed her ball and grabbed a shard of it so hard blood starts dripping down onto the floor! She starts advancing on the professor, saying she was going to kill her! And then all of a sudden she just falls down and looks around all confused-like!"
"I'm telling you, I didn't do any of that!" protested the girl, Abby.
"There's a class full of kids who say otherwise!" shouted the boy.
"Enough!" exclaimed McGonagall; her voice had a way of instantly silencing an argument. "Miss Jones, is there anything else you know that might help us?"
For a moment the girl hesitated, as if debating whether or not to say something. "No, headmistress," she said finally. "Nothing else."
"Very well," said McGonagall. "Mister Filch, Professor Flitwick, please escort these students back to their common rooms."
Filch nodded, grabbed the boy by the arm, and led him forcefully down the spiral staircase which lead out of the office. Flitwick took Abby more gently by the shoulder and led her after the receding caretaker.
"There's something she's not telling us," said Professor Charleston. He was the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, tall and lanky with a perpetually suspicious look as if he expected every person he encountered to be carrying a concealed weapon. "We should have questioned her further."
"The girl has clearly been through an ordeal," said McGonagall. "If some new evidence comes to light that reinforces the Greer boy's claims, we can always call her back in. Innocent until proven guilty; that's what Professor Dumbledore always believed."
"Innocent?!" exclaimed Charleston. "That girl attacked a teacher in front of the entire class; you don't think that's evidence enough?"
"I'm afraid I must admit that Charleston has a point," admitted Professor Slughorn, the Potions master and head of Slytherin house. "Perhaps it would be best for me to whip up a batch of Veritaserum, just so we could be absolutely certain..."
"We are not using Veritaserum on a student without good reason," said McGonagall firmly. "If she says that she has no memory of the event, then I believe her. There is something else at work here, something...dark."
Professor Mills was working herself up again. She was about thirty years old, her naturally brown hair dyed a bright turquoise for the upcoming month of December. She was a successful palm reader who had come to Hogwarts three years agob after the last Divinations teacher had retired in a panic after claiming to have seen a death omen in her morning porridge.
"I tried to tell you!" she exclaimed. "Ever since term started I've noticed strange things going on around me! Shelves fall over as I walk up to them. My food at supper spoils on my plate. I had assumed they were pranks- the Divinations teacher always finds enemies among those without the Second Sight- but now I believe they may have been something more sinister." She suddenly gulped. "Headmistress," she whispered, "you don't think it could be...him, do you? It couldn't possibly be He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, could it?"
"Cassandra," said McGonagall, "the war ended seven years ago; we should all be perfectly comfortable calling him Voldemort."
A collective shudder ran through the room, although far less pronounced than it would have been a few years ago.
"In any event," said McGonagall, "I am quite certain that is not the case. Even if he were somehow alive, what could be gained by attacking you?"
"Then who could possibly have been behind it, if not the girl?" wondered Slughorn. "Someone using the Imperius Curse, perhaps?"
"Perhaps," said McGonagall, "but no student could have possibly used that curse. And if it wasn't a student, where would such a perpetrator hide in that room? And why would they target Cassandra to begin with?" She sighed. "No, I believe this is something very different, something we have never encountered before."
"Well, we can't just stand around and do nothing!" protested Charleston.
"And we won't," said McGonagall. "Cassandra, I strongly recommend that you take an extended leave of absence while we sort all this out."
Professor Mills nodded vigorously. "I always keep a trunk partially packed with supplies in case I need to travel in a hurry," she said. "I'm sure I can find lodging with my brother while you work out who is behind this."
"As for the rest of you," said McGonagall, "I want you all to carry on as if nothing has happened. You must not breathe a word of this outside of this office. If someone at Hogwarts is trying to get rid of Cassandra, we must make them believe that we are unaware of their plan. I will think on our next actions overnight and inform you all of what I have decided in this office tomorrow night. Until then, good evening to you all."
The other teachers all murmured "Good evening" and filed out of the room one at a time.
McGonagall sighed and leaned back in the high-backed chair. On the walls, the portraits for former Hogwarts headmasters and headmistresses, who until now had been listening the conversation with baited breath, began talking excitedly amongst themselves.
McGonagall closed her eyes and tried to think of what to do next. She had sensed that Abigail Jones was telling the truth- no one could fake being so utterly distraught- but she could also sense that there was something she hadn't told them, something she knew or suspected about what had happened. But how could she prove it? She refused to try to compel the girl through force, but it seemed there was no other option to find the truth.
If only Dumbledore were here, she thought for the thousandth time in the last several years. He would know precisely what to do.
But Dumbledore wasn't here. She was headmistress, and she had to decide on a course of action. Perhaps she should tell Slughorn to brew up that Veritaserum after all; she hated the idea, but it seemed there was no other way to clear the girl's name...was there?
McGonagall started slightly at the noise. Turning to the right, she quickly saw the source: an owl had slammed into the closed window, apparently thinking it would be able to get inside. A letter was clutched in its talons, closed with a strange wax seal.
McGonagall opened the window and took the letter from the grasp of the disoriented owl and examined it; the owl, dazed from the crash, took off back into the night, not even waiting to be thanked or see if it had delivered the letter to the proper recipient. The envelope was made of plain white paper, rather than the slightly faded off-white of parchment; McGonagall vaguely recognized it as the kind of envelope Muggles used to send mail. But what Muggle would be sending a letter by owl post? The letter was sealed both with standard Muggle adhesive and with the aforementioned elaborate red wax seal, bearing a strange symbol that looked like a C and B superimposed with one another.
Curiously, McGonagall laid the letter down on the desk and opened it with her wand. She removed the letter; like the envelope it appeared to be Muggle stationery, written in elaborate cursive on blank white paper. As she read the contents of the letter, her puzzled frown deepened. At the bottom of the envelope there was no signature; on the line provided, the writer had simply written the same symbol used for the wax seal.
This was a very unusual development. The letter seemed to be describing the perfect solution to the problem at hand...but could she really trust the message? The writer clearly wanted to conceal his or her identity; why else would they fail to include a name, hiding behind a symbol? Perhaps it was the one behind the attack, attempting to lure her into a trap. On the other hand, if the message was true, she could not afford to pass up the opportunity.
She decided to risk it. She would travel to London tomorrow to follow up on the letter's claims. One of the other teachers could be left in charge for the day it would take to investigate the lead; Professor Quartus, the new Transfigurations teacher, had been eager to take on more responsibilities, and this would be an excellent test for him. She would have to think up some cover story; it was vital that no one knew of her true purpose. After all, if the girl really had been under the Imperius Curse, she couldn't rule out the possibility that one of the other teachers was also being controlled...or worse, was the true perpetrator of these attacks. No, it was far better that she undertake this mission alone.
Quite a bit of effort for what may be little more than a prank or a trap, she thought. With all these precautions, this "Shawn Spencer" had better be worth the trip.
[Cue Track #1: "Psych Intro"]
A/N: So yeah, I did a thing again. Feel free to comment, favorite, and follow in no particular order if you want to.
Also, this is set in a slightly alternate version of the Harry Potter universe from the main one...maybe. I'll be honest, I'm not familiar with the "extended lore" of what happens after Book 7, and I don't much feel like looking it up. In this timeline, McGonagall became the new headmistress after book 7 and retains the position when this story takes place (about 7 years later). Also, this is set some time between Seasons 4 and 5 of Psych, because that's what I'm caught up to. I know that's going to disappoint some people who want stories where Shawn and Juliet are together; to those people, my response is that I'm not very good at writing romantic dialogue, and it wouldn't make a very big impact on the story either way.