Chapter One: New Partner?
Author note: This story is part of the Magical Flashpoint Side Story series. It follows "Meeting Dean Parker" and comes before "Defying the Odds".
Although all original characters belong to me, I do not own Flashpoint, Harry Potter, Narnia, or Merlin.
"You want to do what?"
Auror Giles Onasi cringed, but held his ground. "I want to partner with Detective Roy Lane," he repeated, his voice almost, almost calm.
Madame Locksley stared at him as if he'd lost his mind – and maybe he had. After all, regardless of Team One's status and reputation, no wizard in the history of the Canadian Auror Division had ever partnered with a Mug…er, techie before. Nor had any wizard in history ever been permitted to legally carry and use a techie firearm.
When it became clear that she had, in fact, heard Giles correctly, Madame Locksley removed her monocle to rub her forehead, attempting to alleviate the headache she was already getting. "Let me get this straight," she began, pointedly not looking at her Auror. "I tell you to find a new partner and you pick someone just as screwed up as you are, only without a lick of magic?"
Giles fidgeted, but knew better than to move – or respond.
"Tell me, Auror Onasi, do you enjoy making things difficult? Do you relish attempting an end run around division policy?" Madame Locksley looked up, her eyes narrowing. "Surely you must know this can't possibly work; he's a Muggle, for crying out loud."
"So are the members of Team One," Giles replied simply, mentally digging his heels in. "And they've been working on our side of the fence for almost three years."
"Temporarily," Locksley countered. "They work primarily in the Muggle world and they are never called in for the day-to-day dealings of the Auror Division. Any partner of yours would be. He has no defense, no way to use our usual methods of investigation, and not a single citizen would trust an Auror without magic!"
Onasi tilted his chin up, a stubborn look crossing his face. "Then we outfit Roy just like we outfitted Team One. He can't use a wand to investigate, but he's trained to investigate the Muggle way anyway." The Auror hesitated an instant, then blurted, "Just because he doesn't have magic doesn't mean he's less capable."
Madame Locksley arched one slim, unimpressed brow. "The SRU has proven that point quite nicely, Auror Onasi, but I believe you are missing my point." She leaned forward, folding her hands under her chin as she regarded her subordinate. "The average citizen expects, even demands, that the majority of our Aurors possess the same or, preferably, better magical abilities than they do. Nor do I believe they are wrong to expect such. By definition, Detective Lane does not fit that requirement. I have little doubt that he is capable, Auror Onasi; for him to impress you guarantees that much; but he still does not have magic!"
Silence draped the small office and Onasi looked away from Locksley's piercing gray eyes. Softly, almost too softly for Locksley to hear, Onasi whispered, "He knows what it's like to lose your best friend."
The Auror Division Director paused at that, studying her Auror closely, examining the ever present shadows in his eyes…shadows that had been there almost as long as she'd known him. She hadn't been Director back when Onasi had been assigned a young rookie as his partner by her predecessor – she herself had been a Senior Auror on the Division's elite Auror Squad – but she'd heard any number of stories about Revan's never-ending quest to earn Giles Onasi's trust. At the time, she'd shaken her head in dismay; to put an eager-beaver rookie with a sarcastic, vengeful, grieving man whose greatest goal in life was taking Nick Watson down with him was just asking for trouble.
"Back off, rookie," Onasi snarled as he made to storm out of the Auror Division bullpen.
Revan Vao, who'd planted himself in his older partner's path, shook his head. "No, Giles," he countered gently. "You don't want to do this."
Giles Onasi loomed over the slightly shorter man, his face contorted in raw fury. "Say that again," he dared, his voice dropping to dangerously soft levels.
Senior Auror Anne Locksley descended towards the pair, her gray eyes flashing as she sought to get between Giles and his rookie partner before the former could unleash his infamous right hook. But she was too slow; Revan met Giles' eyes and insisted, "Don't do this, Giles. You'll always regret it; we can find another way…a better way to stop Watson."
Giles roared in outrage; his fist slammed into the side of Revan's head, sending the Junior Auror tumbling into a nearby desk. "Giles, stop!" Anne cried, drawing her wand to immobilize the out of control Auror.
A Stunner flashed towards her, forcing Anne to dive for cover. "Watson's gone too far this time," Giles hissed, oblivious to the irony of his statement. "I won't let him hurt anyone else!"
"You don't even know where he is!" Anne shot back from her position behind another Auror's desk; the Auror in question was trembling – he'd been unlucky enough to be Giles' last partner.
"Then I'll find him!" Onasi shouted, moving towards the door. "And none of you can stop me…not this time."
The next sound was an odd thump from Onasi's general location; Anne peered over the top of the desk and her eyes widened. Revan, sporting a bloody nose and the beginnings of a black eye, stood over a paralyzed Giles, his expression contemptuous. "You wanna try that again, partner?" the brunet wizard asked, his voice scathing. "I might be a rookie, but I am not your punching bag, understand? Next time you take a swing at me, that dragonhide jacket of yours is going to be sporting a new color or three."
After that incident, Locksley had lobbied – hard – for Auror Onasi to be removed from the Division and tossed in McKean for attacking his coworkers. Ironically, it was Revan who'd put paid to that idea; still sporting a black eye, he'd – with a straight face – claimed that he was the one who'd set Giles off, so if anyone should be punished, it was him. Both Aurors had been let off with a warning, something that left Locksley seething.
Anne looked up at the rookie Auror, scowling at his presumption, but she kept working, searching for the forms needed for a formal complaint. "I don't know why you covered for him, Revan, but he's dangerous. It's my job to keep people like that off the street."
Revan looked utterly unconcerned with her argument. "The only person he's a danger to is himself," the dark-haired Auror drawled, leaning against her desk.
"Try again once the black eye goes away and I might believe you," Anne sniped.
The rookie didn't even twitch, though he did sigh to himself, running one hand through his hair. "Someone has to believe in him, 'cause he sure doesn't believe in himself anymore," Revan mused. "He's better than this, ma'am; I know it, you know it, he knows it. I don't care how many black eyes he gives me or how many times he snarls at me, hoping I'll give up on him just like everyone else has; I. Am. Not. Giving. Up. On. Him."
The Senior Auror's movements slowed, the dark blonde woman pausing to study the grimly determined rookie. "He won't thank you," Anne warned.
"Today? No, he sure won't," Revan agreed. "But maybe someday he will…heck, maybe someday we'll be best friends." At Anne's shocked look, he grinned. "Hey, might as well aim high. You never know…"
Perhaps the saddest of ironies was that Revan hadn't lived long enough to hear Giles call him his best friend; it had been Revan and Revan alone who'd forced Giles to move past his loss and start to live again. If not for Revan, Madame Locksley had no doubt that Giles would be long dead – probably at his own hand, to boot.
And now, staring at her Auror, she realized that she'd made a grave miscalculation; arrogantly, she'd demanded that Giles choose a partner without considering that any new partner would have to fill Revan's shoes…live up to Revan's legacy. Giles was too jaded and scarred for just any partner; he needed a partner who understood him and was willing to work hard for his trust and loyalty. Loyalty and trust that was even harder to win in the wake of Revan's death…
"I don't care how you do it, just find them!" Senior Auror Locksley roared at her team. Giles and Revan had gone off on their own, to talk with one of Revan's informants…and they hadn't come back. "Track the bloody Portkey, if you have to!" she snarled, unconcerned with the fact that she was losing her temper – spectacularly – on some of her best men; they knew she was just worried.
Anne stalked out of the room, her temper still boiling; if Giles and Revan died, Nick Watson would have two more bodies to add to his already horrific body count and the Auror Division would be left hurting for months, maybe years. Three of their best undercover Aurors were already dead at Watson's hand without adding the Division's two rising stars.
A year ago, she'd been willing to write Giles Onasi off, but Revan had been right. Because of Revan's courage and persistence, Giles had recovered the steel and spirit of his early days – tempered by his junior partner and the tragedy he'd been through. And Anne didn't intend to lose either one of her friends to Watson.
Outside the room, Brian Wilkins was waiting for her and he had a look on his face that she recognized; he'd found something. "What do you have?" Anne barked, striding past; he whirled and fell into step next to her.
"I found where Revan was planning to meet with his informant," Brian replied. "Whoever it was, they weren't there, but Revan and Giles were ambushed."
Anne swore viciously under her breath, but Brian didn't even twitch. "Watson was waiting for them," she hissed, clenching her fists.
"It looks that way," Brian agreed solemnly.
"If ever we've needed one of your wild ideas, it's now, Brian," Locksley admitted, looking over at her best friend. "Please tell me you have something."
"I wish I did," the silver haired man remarked, running one hand through his hair. "At this point, I'd almost consider calling the Muggle please men in. If nothing else, it's extra bodies for the search."
"Would that we could, but even if we keep the Statute, Watson doesn't care," Locksley countered, regret in her voice. "We can't risk it, Brian."
"Then we'll just have to hope that either we find them before it's too late or they manage to escape," came the blunt assessment.
"Auror Locksley!" They both turned as a relatively new Auror raced up, panting. "The emergency Portkey Revan had, it's been activated!"
"You have them?"
A frantic nod. "Revan set the destination himself, ma'am; it's in an area of dense woodlands several kilometers outside of the city."
"Assemble the men and call in the Healers," Locksley ordered briskly. As the Auror raced away, she turned to Brian. "Get Nathan – he was Giles' training Auror – and meet us at the Apparition Point."
"Yes, ma'am!" Brian confirmed, tossing her a Muggle salute.
Anne Locksley tapped her desk, thinking over her options; Giles had gone completely still, able to tell that his superior wanted silence. In truth, Madame Locksley was strongly considering allowing Giles to continue on as he had – he'd lasted this long without a partner, after all. But she wasn't sure it was best for Giles to no longer have a partner…he had no one to rely on, no one to bounce ideas off of, and, perhaps most importantly, no one to pull him back when the weight of his past threatened to crush him.
At last, she spoke. "Consider yourself restricted to desk duty for the foreseeable future, Auror Onasi. I will inform you of my final decision regarding your request once I have made it."
"Yes, ma'am," Giles acknowledged, though the look on his face made it clear what he thought the decision would be.
Anne waited for her Auror to trudge out, then drew her wand and flicked it at the door, securing it against anyone eavesdropping or coming in while she was occupied. The Auror Division Director pulled out her magical phone and dialed a very specific number. When it was picked up, she drawled, "Auror Sergeant Parker, I would be much obliged if you could arrange for Auror Lane and his brother Detective Lane to come down to my office." Pause. "The sooner the better, Sergeant." She smiled at Parker's reply. "I look forward to your arrival, then."
And the die is cast…