Magical Mystery Tour de Force
Awaiting new Harry Potter content (a.k.a., the last two films) and watching new Psych episodes equals fanfic crossover silliness. When a Death Eater has alluded capture for six years and clues point to Santa Barbara, aurors extraordinaire Harry Potter and Ron Weasley find help from a couple of muggle detectives, one of whom claims to be psychic. I'm basing characters' ages from the HP universe based upon the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in 1997, which means if Harry was 11 that year, he'd be 24 after his birthday in 2010. I don't own anything from either Psych or Harry Potter, it's just for fun, so please don't sue! Positive feedback and polite constructive criticism are welcome. Many thanks to all of you who have read or given me positive reviews from my other fanfics! Bonus points for whoever can spot the all the food references from each "universe"!
The good thing about London in January is that it isn't overrun by tourists. The bad things, however, outweigh the good: the average temperature ranges from 1 -6 degrees Celsius (33-43 degrees Fahrenheit), half of the days are rainy, and the average daily amount of sunshine is 1.75 hours. The post-holiday blues had set in a week ago, and Harry Potter was reading at his desk in the aurors' office at the Ministry of Magic. When his fellow auror and best mate Ron Weasley caught sight of what Harry was reading, curiosity compelled him to cross the room.
"Harry . . . why do you have a laptop in the Ministry of Magic? Did Dad seize it in a raid?"
"No . . . I couldn't sleep last night 'cause Ginny is still playing away matches with the Holyhead Harpies, so I watched a documentary on telly about hunting war criminals."
"Sounds fascinating," Ron said while trying to stifle a yawn.
"It gave me an idea. I'm just testing a theory."
Harry continued to point and click like crazy, making Ron even more intrigued.
"Well, you going to share this brilliant idea or keep me in suspense?"
Harry took his hands off of the keyboard, leaned back in his chair, and looked up at Ron.
"Remember what we did when we left Bill and Fleur's wedding?"
"Yeah. We apparated into London and tried to blend in with Muggles at a coffee shop."
"What if some of the ministry's most wanted have done the same thing?"
"But that doesn't make sense," Ron protested. "Death Eaters hate Muggles. Why would they want to mingle with them?"
"Well, for starters, they may figure we'd never think to look among Muggles. Secondly, if we did track them down and engage them in battle, they'd use the Muggles as human shields. They wouldn't care if they killed innocent Muggles, but they know WE wouldn't cross that line."
"True. But Harry, that means they could be anywhere in the world! It's an awful lot of territory to cover, mate."
"It can be narrowed down if you know where to look – or, should I say, how to look."
"Ah-ha," Ron said as understanding dawned upon him. "You're using that Interweb thing Hermione goes on twice a day."
"Actually, it's called the Internet," Harry corrected, "and it's bloody useful. There's loads of information, and it's updated constantly. I did several searches, and this one caught my eye. Check it out."
Harry turned the screen so Ron could also see it. Ron read the headline from the Santa Barbara News-Press's website.
" 'Police stumped by poison-wielding serial killer' – umm, I hate to break it to you, but don't Muggles often use poison to murder people?"
"Keep reading, Ron."
"Santa Barbara Police Det. Carlton Lassiter said what makes this case so difficult to crack is the elusive nature of the culprit, the lack of connections between the victims, and the nearly non-existent evidence. 'This killer knows how to make poisons from scratch, administers them in such lethal doses that the victim hardly has time to dial 9-1-1, and enters and exits without notice. The public should be careful about from whom they accept food and drink, and report all suspicious activity or persons to the SBPD.' Harry, what's 9-1-1?"
"It's what 9-9-9 is here – the number Muggles call when they need police, fire or ambulance services. There's more to the story – keep going."
"Santa Barbara Police Psychic Shawn Spencer believes whoever is responsible for the murders is an expert in botany because of the nature of the poisons. 'Obviously, I can't tell you what exactly is in the poisons – don't want to give any disgruntled kids out there any ideas – but I believe that the perpetrator is an expert in growing lethal plants and creating compounds that serve only one purpose – to kill. My partner, Burton Guster, is a pharmaceutical sales representative and from the psychic readings I took from the victims' bodies, he has informed me that these combinations of chemicals at these levels aren't in any prescription medications or over-the-counter meds.' Wait, this guy is claiming to be a psychic?"
"And he's getting paid by a police department!" Harry added. "He's either the real thing and he's breaking all kinds of international laws that govern those of us with magical gifts or he's a fraud. But put aside the Shawn bloke for a minute – who does the suspect sound like to you?"
Ron thought about the unusual method that had been used on the Muggles, and could only think of one name.
"Exactly. Fancy a trip stateside?"
"I don't see why not. Obviously, we'll have to go through the normal chain of command, come up with alternate identities and corresponding documents, and then pack, but he's on our ten most wanted Death Eaters list, so I think that gives us jurisdiction."
"I don't think Ginny will like the idea of you travelling abroad without her."
"And you think Hermione's going to be thrilled about you leaving? It's the job – it's what we signed on for. They need to accept it."
"I suppose. We'd better do a little more research and put our pitch together so we can go after Nightshade."
Meanwhile, eight time zones to the west . . . .
"There has to be a connection. Let's go over the victims' autopsies and police reports one more time."
"I think better on a full stomach, Shawn. Let's get dinner first."
As Shawn began to leaf through take-out menus, it hit him.
"That's it!" Shawn exclaimed.
"All of the victims had eaten out right before they died! They either died at a restaurant or just after leaving one. Gus, the killer is putting poisons onto or into unsuspecting patrons' food."
"Looks like we'll need to go through the police and autopsy reports again," Gus said. "We should mark on a map where the victims ate so we can see if there's a pattern."
"It also means, sadly, we should avoid eating out until we close this case," Shawn said. "So I suppose we'd better stock up on frozen entrees. Time to hit Safeway."
"I'll start the car," Gus said while jumping from the couch.
"Glad I had that convection oven installed last year," Shawn muttered to himself. "And to think I got it just to get that cute redhead's number."
After polishing off two Freschetta pizzas (Shawn originally wanted the Stouffer's lasagna, but even with the convection oven it was going to take 35 minutes) and two liters of root beer, Shawn and Gus began to put flag pins into the Santa Barbara map posted on the large bulletin board.
"The first victim, Javier Martinez, went down into what remained of his nachos grande at Many Flavors of Manny Mexican Restaurant on Monday."
"Nice alliteration, Gus!"
"Thank you. Now, the second victim, Corrine Bayliss, keeled over on the sidewalk 50 feet away from the restaurant she'd just eaten at, Grillas of Manilla, on Wednesday."
"So much for the victim name-restaurant alliteration-correlation theory," Shawn said while pushing another pin into the board.
"Our last victim from yesterday, Jason Dooley, passed out after eating coconut cream pie at Moderne Burger-"
"Okay, now he's gone too far!"
"What, two bodies wasn't enough for you?"
"I mean, he's now sullied the reputation of our favorite pie spot! What's next? Is he going to sprinkle death onto Jap Dogs? Slip something into our favorite smoothies? When will the madness stop?"
"When WE stop him. Now focus, Shawn."
"Sorry, Gus . . . got my priorities confused for a minute there. All we've got here is a triangle. Let's go over the times . . . any patterns there?"
"They all died at dinner time."
"Hmm . . . either someone who works different shifts at different eateries or we've got a killer with a day job. Let's hit these places in the morning and see if they have any employees in common."
"We should also see if any of them have security cameras," Gus added.
"The restaurants might give us employee names, but I think security footage comes under Lassie and Jules's job descriptions. We'll have to think of a way to get them to get the footage,then let us see it. In the meantime, what would YOU do for a Klondike bar?" Shawn asked as he opened the freezer, only to find it empty.
"I think the question should be 'What would YOU do for a Klondike bar?'" Gus asked as he slid a six-pack of Neapolitan flavor bars out from behind his back and sprinted out the door.
"Oh no, you didn't!" Shawn shouted as he pursued the thief of the tri-flavored frozen treats.
Back in London four hours later, another cute redhead – though not Shawn's type – was getting home from work.
" 'Mione, I'm home," Ron shouted as he tossed keys on the kitchen counter.
"I'm on the couch," Hermione yelled. Hermione had kicked off her shoes with uncharacteristic abandon, with her right shoe near the front door and her left shoe near the window, looking down on their narrow street. They agreed to live in a Muggle neighborhood for two reasons: Hermione wanted the amenities she had grown up with (telly, electricity, Internet access, etc.) and she felt Ron needed to learn more about the Muggle lifestyle so their children would have a balanced view of the world.
"You're always on the couch these days," Ron teased while making his way to kiss his reclined wife. She gave him a more passionate after-work kiss than usual, which he was only too happy to receive.
"You want me to rub your feet again, don't you?"
"This is the fifth day in a row. How about you rub my feet?"
"How about you haul around the equivalent of a large cast-iron cauldron around your middle for the remaining trimester?"
"Fair enough," Ron conceded. He lifted his wife's legs so he could sit on the end of the couch and have her feet in his lap.
"So, how was your day?"
"Miserable. I'm having a devil of a time getting the votes I need in the Wizengamot to pass the anti-blood status act. The senior undersecretary to the minister is being obstructionist, claiming the ministry needs to be able to track blood status for studies on the correlation between heredity and magical ability! I mean, it's absolutely absurd!"
"Definitely. I mean, take you for example. You're Muggle-born, but you're the most gifted witch I know," Ron said.
Hermione first tried to reach to stroke Ron's cheek, but her swollen belly would only allow her to reach far enough to pat his forearm.
"Marrying you was the smartest thing I ever did," Hermione smiled. Ron's ears turned scarlet. "What did you and Harry do today?"
Ron was worried about Hermione's possible reaction to traveling overseas to track down a highly-sought Death Eater. Garrett Nightshade was one of the few remaining of Voldemort's followers who had managed to elude both capture and death.
"Well, we think we may have narrowed down the location of Nightshade using the World Wide Net-"
"World Wide Web or Internet, dear," Hermione corrected as gently as she could.
"Right. Well, anyway, we think he's in Santa Barbara. There's been a string of poisonings of unsuspecting Muggles and we think he might be testing a new killing potion on them."
"Why do you think it's Nightshade and not some Muggle who happens to be a homicidal maniac?"
"Hmm . . . I suppose it could be. But right now, it's the closest thing we've got to a lead, so we need to look into it."
"By 'we,' you mean other Aurors, right?"
Ron shifted uncomfortably in his seat.
"Ronald Bilius Weasley, you wouldn't . . . leave me, in my current condition . . . to go one-third of the way around the globe to go chasing after some murderer who MIGHT be a Death Eater-"
"Well, we can't take you with us, can we? The healer said you can't apparate with your center of gravity shifted, and your gyne—gyne-"
"Yeah, that's it – she said you can't fly on an airplane, so I have to leave you."
Hermione wasn't given to crying at the drop of a hat, but her pregnancy had made her much more emotional than either of them had expected. She started to sob almost uncontrollably, which prompted Ron to get up off the end of the couch and sit on the edge of the middle cushion so he could hug his wife.
"Shh . . . there, there, it won't be long. It'll probably only be a week!"
"A week!" Hermione cried.
"Okay, maybe only a few days," Ron said while rubbing her back. "I promise, we'll get back as soon as possible. I'm trying to make the world safer for our little witch or wizard."
Hermione sniffled through her tears. "But what if it's not a witch or wizard?"
"Well, last I checked, babies are either boys or girls, so it has to be-"
"No, I mean . . . with all of this blood-status stuff I've been working on, it occurred to me our child might be a Squib."
Ron thought about how his family rarely talked about the Squib in their family, a distant cousin who is an accountant. He also knew that Squibs who inter-married with Muggles passed on the magical trait that often didn't surface for generations, and he realized it might work the other way.
"As long as it's as bright as you, has ten fingers, ten toes, and the rest of the body is in good working order, I'll be a happy man. I want our baby to be healthy – anything else is just icing on the cake."
This assurance gave Hermione a much-needed boost, and she hugged her husband almost to the point of breathlessness.
"Hermione . . . need . . . air," Ron gasped.
"Oh, sorry dear," Hermione said while releasing her husband. Ron decided he needed some water and got a glass for his wife as well from the faucet. I'd better start doing things the Muggle way so I can blend in California, he thought.
"I feel like I've got an ocean in each leg," Hermione groaned. "I hate to add to it."
"The healer and the gynecologist both told you to hydrate regularly," Ron said. Hermione grinned at her husband's concern and downed one-third of the glass in one go.
"So, how are you going to get there?"
"Floo Network. We're going to stay at a Squib couple's bed and breakfast just outside of the city. Harry is working on getting our cover stories together – passports, other Muggle identification, etc."
"Legends," Hermione said.
"That's what Muggles call undercover identities in law enforcement and espionage – legends. What will you be posing as?"
"Harry said something like MI-5, MI-6-"
"Probably MI-6, if you're going overseas," Hermione said. "How much time do you have to get ready?"
"We're supposed to leave Monday morning," Ron said matter-of-factly while collecting their empty glasses and putting them in the kitchen sink.
"Ronald, it's Friday night."
"Yeah . . . so?"
"Ron, that gives you hardly any time! You need to get a couple of Muggle suits, get up to speed on the terminology, understand how to work with Muggle law enforcement – in another country, no less –you're going to have to cram like crazy! Thank heavens you don't need to learn a foreign language . . . although there are some American terms you might not know, but I suppose they'll expect that . . . ."
"Okay, now you're scaring me," Ron said, feeling the panic migrate from his feet to his chest. He was frozen in the kitchen almost as much as if he had been struck by petrificus totalus.
Hermione grasped Ron's shoulders and forced him to look her in the eyes.
"Ron, it's going to be all right," Hermione said calmly. "I've got a plan to prep you for this assignment."
"You've got a plan? I just told you about it."
"Well, more like the beginnings of a plan, but still . . . go to Harry and Ginny's and bring back Harry with an overnight bag. I'm giving you a crash course in Muggle crime and international intrigue."
"And how, my love, are you going to do that?"
"We're going to have a DVD marathon of cop and spy shows and movies." Ron saw that Hermione was set on this plan of action, and remembered one thing he'd learned from his brothers: don't argue with a pregnant woman.
"Okay. I'll be back soon," Ron said before giving his wife a quick kiss and apparating.
"And bring back some Chinese take-away! And strawberry ice cream!" she shouted as he spun into the void.
"I hope he heard me," Hermione said to herself. "Now where did I put those DVDs . . . let's see, I need Spooks, Wire in the Blood, Life On Mars, Cracker, Law and Order, Burn Notice, White Collar . . . ."