This is a series of one-shots with the central theme of Harry becoming Adam's next door neighbour. The main cross-over is, of course, Harry Potter and Good Omens, but it will also be crossed with Supernatural (and maybe some others, though I haven't yet decided). They won't be all in chronological order and though most of them will focus on Harry, not all will. Enjoy!
Having consulted the Good Omens lexicon (because I really can't be bothered to scan through the text looking for geographical references to where Lower Tadfield could be when someone else has done it for me) I have placed Lower Tadfield on a place called 'Nettlebed'. Tadfield would therefore be 'Walingford' and this is in South Oxfordshire. Just to clear up any confusion before it occurs.
Harry heaved a sigh of relief and collapsed into a newly unloaded chair. Taking a handkerchief out of his pocket he wiped his sweaty forehead. Looking around at the boxes strewn everywhere the eye could see, he felt like groaning.
When Ron and Hermione had decided to go to Tadfield for their summer holiday, it hadn't even crossed Harry's mind that he might decide to move there a couple of months later. Well, not there precisely. Lower Tadfield, a place a bit nearer London. However, Ron's complaints about there being a lack of decent reporters – apparently they seemed more interested in heroic rescues of cats out of trees than real heros (Ron's words) – and the phenomenally low population of witches and wizards in the area made his decision for him. And so, the boy-who-lived-to-defeat-Voldemort-and-was-thereafter-never-left-in-peace had sold his flat, bought a nice little cottage, and moved.
Of course, due to it being a muggle area, he had had to do things the muggle way. That meant boxes. And a removals van. And loading the boxes. And unloading the boxes. The latter activity was what had led to his current position. How did muggles do it? Harry had at least had magic, and his friends, to pack up his house. A nifty little charm enabled a magic-user to pack up a whole house if joined with a couple of other magically similar wizards. After all they had been through together, magically similar was the least of what the trio were.
How Harry wished that there was an equally nifty charm to unpack all the boxes. Unfortunately, apart from the one that could unpack clothes, there wasn't. But that was a start. Harry had just got up to start unpacking when a knocking sound came from his door. When he opened it, a smiling, red-headed, thirty-year old woman met his eyes.
"Hi, I'm Pepper Young. I live next door." Harry smiled and held out his hand.
"Nice to meet you…er…Mrs Young?"
"Oh, yes, I'm married," she hurried to reassure him and Harry relaxed a bit, reasonably sure he wasn't about to get slapped.
"My name's Harry Potter," he said and was thankful when she had no reaction to his name. With any luck the lack of recognition would continue with everyone he met.
"Well, Mr Potter, would you like to come round for some tea? I have a lovely home-baked cake." Harry glanced over his shoulder at the chaos that was his sitting room and reflected that he would be lucky to find where his wallet was, let alone his food.
"I would love to, Mrs Young. And do call me Harry, please." She smiled at him again, a hint of mischief in her eyes.
"Only if you call me Pepper. And no jokes about the name," she remonstrated him sternly. He promised he wouldn't dare to crack a joke and followed her out of his garden and into the next door one.
His neighbour's house was cosy and quite similar to his own. Painted in a somewhat neutral cream, it nonetheless gave off a definite impression of being lived in. Harry saw several pictures adorning the walls. Some with Pepper in through various stages of life. Sometimes she was with a man who he guessed was her husband. Other times with another couple who were probably her parents. Then there were some other pictures who could be friends or family members, Harry couldn't be sure.
They settled down in a nice sitting room that looked out onto a typical English back garden. A well-mowed lawn, a couple of trees burgeoning with fruit, a small vegetable patch and a garden shed. Harry squinted. There might even be a little pond beyond the vegetable patch, or that might just be a darker patch of grass.
"Here you go." A cup of milky tea appeared over his shoulder. He thanked his hostess and took it and the saucer of chocolate cake she handed him. While the tea was far too milky for his tastes, the cake was delicious. Moist and rich, it was everything Harry liked chocolate cake to be. Trying to devour it in a way that remained polite, Harry still managed to finish the slab in a few moments. Pepper's eyebrows went up.
"You liked it then?" Harry nodded vigorously, still finishing a mouthful.
"It's wonderful! Could you give me the recipe, please?" Pepper laughed. I'll ask my husband when he comes home." Now it was Harry's eyebrows' turn to rise.
"Your husband cooked this?"
"He's a very good cook. It makes up for me being able to burn a salad. And I did." Harry chuckled a bit.
"How did you manage that?" She looked sheepish.
"Well, no one ever told me that when making Ceasar salad, it was a good idea to take the chicken out of the pan before adding the rest of the leaves and bits." She reflected for a moment. "Probably having the gas on high was a bad mistake, too." Harry laughed. "So what about you? Any culinary disasters in your history?" Harry shook his head.
"No, not culinary disasters. Though, when I was younger, I had a habit of trying to make magic potions with sometimes dangerous results." Pepper grinned.
"Oh yes, I know the type. Mix together leaves, berries, mud and half a dead mouse. Forget about it for a few days and then almost get slain by the stink when you check on it later." They laughed together. "Now you've decided not to embark on a career as a potion-making warlock, what do you do?"
"Free-lance detective. When the police are puzzled about what's causing something, they call on me."
"Any interesting cases lately?" Harry smirked and his eyes glinted.
"If I tell you, I'll have to kill you." Pepper chuckled and smacked him on the arm.
"OK James Bond. I bet most of your cases involve hypnotised cats or disappearing wallets." Harry smiled but said nothing, not quite sure how to de-magify the cases he took on.
"So what do you do? I mean, you obviously don't cook so that's out."
"I'm not cut out to be a housewife," she said without shame. "Can't cook, can't clean, haven't got kids. No, I'm a part time electrician, plumber, gardener and roofer. Just little jobs, but ones that people don't want to call in a workman for."
"A handy-man then?" Harry was surprised when she started glaring at him.
"Handy-woman. Just because I'm a woman does not mean I can't do the job properly." Harry put up his hands in surrender.
"Sorry, I didn't know you were so vehement about it. Handy-woman." She glared at him for a few more moments and he felt a bit as though he was facing something scary that could attack at the slightest provocation. Finally she relaxed and so did he along with her.
"I'm a bit touchy about that sort of thing, I suppose," she admitted with a little laugh. "I also work as the head of this district's feminist division. That's why I'm at home today." Harry nodded.
"And your husband?"
"Adam? He's a lawyer in London. He commutes."
"A lawyer?" Harry tried to keep his expression and tone neutral, but Pepper must have seen some of his doubt. He hadn't had the best experience with lawyers. In the Wizarding world, even though it was changing, a pureblood with bags of money would usually get off charges even if it was pretty obvious he or she had done it. Look at Aphrodite Zabini. Everyone knew she killed off her husbands, hence never getting around to changing everything to her husband's name, yet she had never even been charged.
"He's a good one. He refuses to ever take on a client who he thinks has committed the crime. And he's good at judging," she added.
"I see," Harry said, still slightly dubious. Pepper huffed.
"Fine. He's staying over at a friend's tonight, but he'll be home tomorrow. Why don't you come to dinner with us?"
"I wouldn't like to impose…." Harry prepared to decline but Pepper kept insisting until he had to accept. He left with 'I'll send Adam round to tell you when to come' ringing in his ears.
The next day Ron and Hermione came around with Charlie, George, Neville and Luna to ward the property. Seven was a good number for warding and, of course, Charlie had had experience with protecting properties in his dragon work. Unfortunately, Bill was busy on a big job in Ireland with Gringotts otherwise he would have been there.
They put down the usual wards: anti-burglary; notice-me-not to disguise works of magic; a framework for further custom wards; a couple of anti-creature wards to keep out the more dangerous pests; anti-malicious-owl wards; some others that Harry didn't really know about. Then there were the privacy wards which were necessary for the boy-who-lived and a few more protection ones. When they had done, Harry went inside and got out a couple of beers. Luckily he had managed to find the food storage boxes. Handing one out to everyone, he was intrigued to see what Luna was doing.
She seemed to be digging little holes around the boundary of the garden and putting bags in them. She then went to the porch and started fixing a strange contraption to the railing. Harry wandered over to her, sipping his beer.
"What's this for," he asked curiously. Luna looked up at him, big blue eyes very serious.
"Harry, if this ever starts rattling really fast, don't leave the porch. It's an anti-wrackspurt device." She started fixing up something that looked like an old horse-shoe to the lintel above the front door. "The younger wrackspurts really don't like pure iron horse-shoes inscribed with runes of the Mal'akh." There was a scoffing sound behind them and they turned to meet a familiar sight of a disbelieving Hermione. The others started to gather, grinning, as they realised one of the famous – or infamous – Luna/Hermione debates was about to commence.
"Oh Luna, the runes of the Mal'akh are a myth. Nothing more." Luna blinked at her innocently.
"But how could they be a myth if that horse-shoe is inscribed with them?"
"Whatever is written there isn't some sort of 'angel' language. Most likely it's just some forgotten form of writing that someone decided could be by angels." Hermione's tone was very condescending.
"Then why would it keep away wrackspurts?" Luna countered with serenity. She did it very well.
"Wrackspurts don't exist, ergo, they cannot be kept away, but neither can they not be kept away."
"Then being safe is better than being sorry." Hermione threw up her hands and went inside. Disappointed, the others started to drift away, feeling slightly cheated. They had been hoping for a repeat of an argument a few years ago when it had actually devolved into a proper catfight, wands abandoned, scratching and hair-pulling heartily embraced.
When Harry's friends left they took some of Harry's cheer with them. Left to an empty house with loads of remaining boxes – despite his friends' help. Well, Hermione and Neville's help. Luna had spent her time putting more stuff in the walls of his new place, Ron had been snoring on the newly unearthed couch and he really didn't want to know what George had been up to – he felt slightly lonely. Just then, he caught a glimpse of a man starting to come up his garden path.
Suddenly remembering his dinner date, he rushed to the door. About to call out, he stopped as he realised Luna's wrackspurt device was spinning furiously. Frowning, he stepped closer to it. As he left the house, he heard a sizzling noise above his head. Looking up he saw the horseshoe was now glowing a cherry red and burning the paint it rested on. He lifted his hand. It was hot enough to feel from several inches away. Huh.
The man, in the meantime, had reached his porch. Harry inspected him. Blonde hair. Blue eyes. Quite handsome. He had the strangest energies coming off him. Almost as if he was a wizard, but not.
"Hi," the man said in a friendly way. "I'm Adam Young. I think you met my wife yesterday."
"Yes," Harry affirmed cautiously. "I'm Harry Potter." The man nodded.
"Good to know. Are you ready for dinner?"
"Just let me quickly get changed." Adam waved it aside.
"Don't worry. We don't stand on ceremony much. Come as you are."
Back in the next door house and sitting at the table, Harry was contentedly sniffing the air.
"Smells delicious," he said appreciatively as Adam brought in the plates. Adam smiled and gestured for him to tuck in. At first the table was silent as they enjoyed the lovely cheesy chicken and caramelised carrots, along with new potatoes and garden beans.
"So Harry, what made you move here?" asked Pepper, wiping her mouth. Harry shrugged.
"I needed a change in scenery. Why else?" Harry noticed Adam had a slightly enigmatic smile on his face. "Have you lived here long?"
"Grew up here. Not this house, of course, but one just down the road. Adam's parents live a couple of lanes away." Harry raised his eyebrows.
"You never wanted to move?"
"Why would we?" Adam had joined the conversation. "Lower Tadfield suits us."
"It certainly seems agreeable so far," Harry agreed.
"Unfortunately there isn't much of a magical community to speak of." Harry froze as the words registered. From the confused look Pepper sent to Adam, she didn't know what he was talking about. Maybe he could bluff it out. He forced a laugh, hoping it wasn't really as fake as it sounded to his ears.
"Not to worry, I don't think I would fit into some magical community." Adam sighed.
"Don't worry about pretending around us. You might find it useful to have neighbours who know what you are." The fear within Harry turned to anger.
"How the hell do you know?" he hissed.
"Exactly," Adam replied calmly. Harry frowned.
"You asked 'how the hell do you know'. That's exactly how I know."
"So what?" Harry started slowly. "You're some kind of demon?"
"Not a demon, no. The Antichrist." Harry's brain ground to a halt. No way. That couldn't be true. Finally, he started laughing, a hysterical note threading its way through the chuckles.
"You know, I'd say you were lying, but this is exactly my luck. Only I could move to a country village near London and end up living next to the Antichrist." He shook his head, still amused. "I guess this is where I ask you whether I'm on your hit list or if you're intending to bring the apocalypse any time soon. I might as well spend my wealth if you are." Adam smiled.
"No, you're not on my 'hit list'. I don't have one, anyway. As for the apocalypse, been there, done that, decided I actually liked this world as it is when I was eleven." Harry shook his head again.
"How in…on Earth did you two get together?" Harry directed his question at Pepper. "Hell's annual tea party?" They both grinned.
"Nah, I was part of Them when I was younger. Adam was the ringleader."
"It was the only name that stuck." Adam shrugged depreciatively.
"Being the Antichrist, I can see why you became a lawyer," Harry said darkly. "If ever there were forces of Hell on Earth, they would be them."
"Actually it's a bone of contention between my father and I," Adam corrected. "He was pleased I became a lawyer, after he got over being annoyed I didn't want to bring down the apocalypse on humanity, but keeps on at me to get the criminals off charges."
"I…see," Harry said slowly, trying to reconcile all he had heard about the Devil with the picture Adam seemed to be painting.
"So, Pepper tells me you're a detective. Magical cases, I presume?" On firmer ground, Harry figured it wouldn't be of any harm to talk in plain terms. Heaven help any obliviators who tried to do their job with the Antichrist!
"Yes. I usually work alongside the Auror department. That's the magical form of policemen, by the way. They are quite busy and, to be honest, their deduction skills tend to be limited to run of the mill dark wizard cases. They're very good at those, don't get me wrong, but present them with a slightly odd murder or series of murders which couldn't have been humans, werewolves or vampires, and they're at sea."
"So that's where you come in," murmured Adam. Harry nodded.
"Me and a couple of others. Malicious spirits, zombies, demons, mythical creatures, unusual werewolves and vampires, you name it. Most legends are based in fact and I've met a good number of them. Of course, seeing as werewolves and vampires are mostly considered part of the magical community, those cases I just tend to send a report in and then the Aurors deal with the actual perpetrator." Catching a glimpse of Pepper's glazed expression, he blushed. "Sorry, I know I can get quite boring about my job."
"No, no, no," she assured him. "It's not that at all. It's just that even after over twenty years, I still haven't quite got to grip with all the surprises being near Adam brings." Harry frowned.
"So you didn't know about the Magical world?" She shook her head.
"Not before tonight, at any rate."
"Oh." Harry considered it but finally shrugged. Technically it had been Adam who had dropped the bomb so Harry couldn't even really be blamed for it. Not that he thought he would ever be charged with something as little as breaking the Statute of Secrecy with his neighbours, much as he hated the principle of the special treatment.
"So, any good stories about any of your cases?" Pepper said finally when the silence was getting a bit awkward. Harry smiled and leaned forwards.
"Well, there was this time when…"
Three hours later he left the Young's house, slightly tipsy from the strong after dinner whiskey, and very happy with his new neighbours. Adam was weird, but a good kind of weird. By all accounts, he attracted strange happenings as much as Harry himself did, so there was a kindred feeling immediately. Pepper was great fun as long as she didn't feel he was casting aspersions on her capabilities as a woman. Harry wondered how Adam put up with the rabid feminism, but then realised he probably just tuned it out.
Fumbling with the key, he opened the door and almost tripped over a box. He realised with dismay that his bed wasn't actually accessible at that time due to the large amount of stuff piled on it. Not to mention he had no idea where all the sheets were. He then tried to conjure a bed but the alcohol disrupted his focus and he ended up with a baby's cot instead. Giving it up as a bad job, he flopped onto the sofa.
Yes, he thought, staring contentedly at the ceiling as his eyelids flagged. I'm going to be happy here.