Chapter 3: The Real World

Albus Potter had arrived in New York City only 4 hours after leaving his house in London. He knew how to apparate, but had not been prepared for the discomfort he was now experiencing from such a long trip. But there was no turning back now. His stomach was churning and he was happy he had skipped breakfast for the first time today. Dad always did make the best breakfast on Diagon Alley day. At least the sunrise was less bright on the cloudy New York morning than it had been on Privet Drive.

The graveyard he had come to looked exactly as it had in the newspaper article: minus all the police vehicles. The entrance was taped off with yellow crime scene tape, but it didn't hide the fact that every grave in the place had been upturned two nights previous. The yard was full of dirt and mud, and now was full of the footprints of investigators. The muggle news had said it was the largest grave robbery in the history of the city, over 200 graves had been disturbed and there was no sign of the bodies. That is what had caught Albus' attention: the robber (or as the muggles believed robbers) had left the jewelry and treasures which had been buried with the people, but had taken the bodies. In his mind there was only one explanation: someone was creating an army of inferi.

He took his eyes off the graveyard and examined the street. Across from the graveyard was a string of 5 story apartment complexes, with different color blinds in the windows; an indication that they were lived in. Further, there had not been a minute since he had arrived where a car didn't pass him on the street. Albus smiled, at least his assumption had been correct. If muggles had robbed this graveyard in one night, they would have needed at least 50 pieces of large construction digging equipment. Those would have been heard and seen on this busy street. But no one had seen anything: which leaves only magic to have overturned the graves.

The only question now was where the army went off to. It was impossible to hide 200 zombies in the middle of New York City. Albus had expected to find woods around the graveyard where he then expected the zombie army to be hiding. But there were only buildings around the graveyard. There was only one entrance, and there appeared to be no damage to the fence surrounding the graves. The only explanation left was that the wizard had marched 200 zombies out the gate and down the streets of New York unseen. No, that was impossible, even for Hermione.

Albus' stomach growled. He had to think, but food first. He was related to the Weasleys after all. Albus walked a hundred yards down an alleyway before he turned and faced the graveyard. He opened his backpack and pulled out a cooking stand, a skillet and some meat. He grinned a little imagining what his mother would do when she found out the food was gone. He was glad he was 3000 miles away. Pulling out his wand he started a small cooking fire, replaced his wand and placed the meat on the skillet.

He looked up. Blocking the exit of the alley way were two, buff boys who looked about 18. They were wearing all black with cargo pants and identical t-shirts. The one on Albus' left was looking at the one on his right as if waiting for instructions. Albus addressed the leader, "Hello. Um did you happen to see the grave robbing?"

The leader laughed. "Lookie here boys. He's coming onto our turf and thinks he can ask US questions."

Albus scrambled to his feet. "I'm sorry, I didn't know. I thought this was an abandoned alley. I'll leave." He began packing his things back up.

"No, no, no. Let us help you with that." Albus found himself lifted from behind while the leader picked up a piece of meat and ate it. "That's pretty good. Why don't you try some?" He grabbed the skillet and threw it in Albus' face.

Albus drew his wand. Albus had made a wand holder in his second year. It rested on his upper arm. If he flexed his muscle, the wand would drop down to his hand. It proved to be the quickest draw in the school and had won him many duels before they even started.

As soon as he flexed, his captor threw him down. He hit the ground hard on his face, immediately feeling the blood trickle from his nose. Then the first kick came. Then the second. "That will do Smith." The one called Smith stepped back and let Albus get up. He looked up and found himself staring directly into the barrel of a gun. Vaguely he could make out two more boys with guns moving to surround him. He bet Smith had one behind him too. His Muggle Studies professor hadn't said much about guns, only that they were the preferred muggle method of killing. If he had his wand they would be no problem, but his wand had fallen harmlessly to the street and had been kicked away in the shuffle.

"You come onto our turf, assume you're better than us just because you're rich and then you attempt to fight. I think you need to learn a lesson. What do you think boys?"

"I'm sorry, I just came to learn about the grave robbery. I didn't know I was intruding. Please, please just let me go, I'll leave, I won't come back."

"Did you hear something boss?" Smith poked Albus' back as he said it and Albus got the feeling that he'd used a gun.

"Yea, actually, I think I did. I'm pretty sure he just said that rich boy here had never heard of us. Then he reminded us that there are quite a few freshly dug graves just right over there. I think if we put him in one, rich boys would know not to come by here." The boss backed away from Albus and he watched the gang move into a line in front of him. "Any last words, rich boy?"

Albus' mind was racing. If he could get to his wand, the gang would be no match for him. He knew hundreds of spells he could use to vanquish all of them, but his wand was somewhere in the shadows of the alley, and there was no way he could get there in time even if he knew where it was. Magic may be more powerful than technology, but a bullet kills wizard and muggle alike.

"No words? That's a shame. I like it better when they beg. Good bye, rich boy." The boss raised his weapon and leveled it at Albus. Albus stared into his eye: he was not going to die cowering. The four gang members where lined up, three with guns at their side, the boss with his leveled at Albus' chest. Suddenly a young girl appeared next to Albus' backpack behind the gang.

"I do have one word." Albus let a small grin loose as he saw the lights coming on in Ashley Wright's mind. She lifted her wand and shouted, "Expelliarmus!" just as Albus shouted, "Lumos!"

The boss' gun went flying one way as he went sprawling the other, but Albus had didn't stick around to watch. He scurried toward his now lit up wand. He heard Ashley disarm two others, but could tell that the gang had started to re-group. Further he could tell that Ashley could only disarm them, she couldn't actually defeat them. So much for Hogwarts' new duel training. The boss was back on his feet and yelling orders as Albus reached his wand and flipped around on the setting.

Ashley was on her hands and knees on the alley floor holding her jaw. Her wand was nowhere to be seen. Smith and one of the other gang members were towering over her and the boss had just reached his gun. He appeared to be deciding whether to kill Ashley or Albus first. The fourth member had hit his head on the wall when Ashley's spell sent him flying and was out cold. The boss turned his gun on Ashley just as Albus pointed his wand above them and shouted, "Somnus Omne." The world slowed down and gently the four people before him slouched into a deep sleep and then fell hard to the ground.

Albus rushed to Ashley and rolled her over onto her back. "Excito." Slowly, she opened her eyes. She gasped and sat up. "It's ok, it's over. You're safe." It took her several minutes to calm down and regain her breath enough to ask "What happened?"

"I was attacked, you saved me."

"But that man, he...he..." she paused. "He pulled a gun on you. He pulled a gun on me!" She motioned for her wand, but it wasn't there.

"Accio Wand." It flew gently to Albus' hand, who handed it back to her. "It's ok, it's over."

She looked around for the first time. "You didn't, you know..."

"Kill them? No. Just put them into a deep sleep. They should wake up in a couple days, maybe a week. Unless a wizard helps them of course."

Ashley nodded. "Albus, your dad's worried sick. You have to go home."

Albus helped her up. "Come, there's something I need to show you." Reluctantly she took his hand and followed to the end of the alley. She looked out over a city block sized field of dirt and mud. "This used to be a graveyard. It was magically robbed to create an army of inferi. I came to find the perpetrator and stop him. Only then can I return to my family. Only then can I go home."

"Al, James is a jerk. But no one else thinks you need to do anything to belong."

"Ashley, I appreciate what you're doing. But I guarantee you that my family didn't know I was missing until after breakfast. They all party and have a great time. I sit in my room and read. It's possible that James and Lily still haven't noticed I'm gone. I'm not a part of that family, not until I stop a dark wizard. Not until I can match dad." Ashley still looked unconvinced. Albus sighed. "I'll create a portkey to take you home."

"Oh no you won't. You may be acting incredibly stupid, but you're not going alone. You just almost died at the hands of a muggle gang. What are you going to do when you meet this wizard? You need me, whether you like it or not." Albus started to respond but stopped. He looked back down the alley.

"You're probably right. Only thing is I have no idea where to go next. There's no place around here to hide an army of inferi which means he had to march his army down the street unseen." He paused then added, "which is impossible."

Ashley's stomach growled. She chuckled. It felt good to laugh. She put her wand away, "You could take me to lunch."

A small metal arm appeared next to Albus' hand, and he placed his wand into it. Ashley watched as it retracted into his sleeve. "I'll get you one if we get back." He walked back down the alley, picked up his backpack and pulled out a wad of muggle money. Then they hailed a taxi.