Richard receives a phone call from a werewolf in London who needs his help. Can he, Anita and Jean Claude help? Anita Blake / Harry Potter Cross
We went back to my place to wait for sunset. There were a few things that I wanted to take care of before I worried about the impending news, and basically get visions of airplanes and oceans out of my head. My first call was to Ronnie, I needed whatever information was available on this woman, and what she was doing this far from home.
Ronnie answered her phone on the second ring. I hadn't been calling her much lately, and she sounded surprised to hear my voice on the other end of the line.
"Anita?" She asked.
"Ronnie." I paused for a moment. I knew that she still had heavy things on her mind, and I honestly didn't know what to say to her. "I need your help." Well, it was better than tactfully avoiding saying something I would regret. When in doubt, talk shop.
"Sure. Working on a case?" She asked. Her voice has the slightest strain in it, anyone else wouldn't have heard it. I ignored it. I could hear her in the background, shuffling something, probably ready to take notes. Ronnie was good at what she did, I was sure she would dig up anything available on Mrs. Malfoy.
"Yes. It's an international job, I just need a background." I said, "Got a pen?"
"Yup. Give me what you know." She said.
"Narcissa Malfoy. Her surname was Black. She's from London, I don't know anything else." I said. I really wish I could have taken a glimpse of anything they had on file already.
"N-a-r-c-i-s-s-a?" Ronnie asked.
"I guess. That sounds right to me."
"Odd name. Black is pretty common, Malfoy not so much. I should be able to get back something. Anything in particular I'm looking for? And when did you take the plunge to international work?"
If only she knew the half of it. There was a time when I shared a lot of details of my life with Ronnie, but not now. We were on good terms, but the less she knew about what was going on in my life right now, the better for her. "I'm not. The body was found here, so we have to wrap up our end of the investigation and send a report. I just need to know if I should be looking for anything particular, out of the ordinary."
"So basically I'm going into this blind?" She asked.
"I guess that's what I was getting at." I said, sighing.
"Alright, I'll see what I can find." She said. There was one of those awkward silences, one that I just had to fill with words. The problem was, right now, I didn't know what to say.
"How are things?" She finally asked.
"The same. Nothing's changed here." I said, not sure of how much to indulge. Talking to Ronnie about my sex life was out of the question as far as I was concerned. And there wasn't much else going on in my life right now. Things had calmed, there wasn't a pressing need to control the ardeur, and it had seemed to cool over some time now that we knew when and what to feed it. Either that or we were getting used to it. But Ronnie wasn't the person to talk to about that anymore.
"I've been seeing that therapist." Ronnie said. I didn't say anything for a beat.
"That's good Ronnie. I'm glad to hear it." I know, standard textbook response. But let's face it, I was still pissed. Ronnie had said some things to Nathaniel that just didn't go well with me. She had treated him like a piece of meat. And it bugged me.
Ronnie sighed. I think she knew that I was still unhappy. Well, unhappy wasn't the word for it. Ronnie could take a hint when it came to me though, and she knew I wasn't ready to talk about much else other than work with her right now. She didn't push the issue. We hung up after a tight goodbye.
I had opted to call her from the bedroom, I wasn't sure I wanted to talk to her in front of Nathaniel. Micah and I agreed that he had stepped up and handled the situation better than either of us could have expected. Scratch that, he had handled it damned good. Putting Ronnie in her place and still managing to throw in the white flag and get her to get help. I was proud of how much he had grown, and I realized with a start that I didn't really have to worry about Nathaniel as much as I used to. That was a good thing, but why did I feel so bad about it? More questions.
I walked to the kitchen and sat at the table. Micah had checked the machine, no messages. Joe had been taking on some of the responsibilities from the coalition, and when Micah requested a day off, he could now take it without worry that something was going to go wrong.
The days were getting shorter, and we'd have to be getting on our way soon. I made a quick call to John Burke, asking him to page me when he got to the office. The sight of that eye rolling still bothered me, and I wanted to see if there was an element that we were missing.
After that, we were on our way again.
/Grimmauld Place, London/
Remus Lupin sat at the far end of the kitchen table, his face bruised, his shoulders slumped. He regarded the man at the other end of the table with a nearly sorry look. The other man ran his hand through what was left of his red hair and sighed. "Nothing more we can do then, you did well." He said, reassuring Remus.
"Not as well as I wanted." Remus paused. "This would be so much more easier if Dumbledore were here. Arthur, we can't do this alone anymore."
Arthur Weasley nodded. It was rare that they talked about what had happed to the old headmaster of Hogwarts, but now and again they had to bring it up. "I know. But we have to keep trying to do what we can. Tell me what happened when you called again." He was eager to change the subject. There was nothing that could be done by bringing up the man's death.
"I called her house. That man, Richard, he said I should try to call the coalition that they have there, Micah Something-or-other could have helped. I told Richard what had been going on in the werewolf community here, and he gave me a direct line to contact Micah if there was an emergency. So I called it." Remus said.
"On the felly-fone?" Arthur asked, an almost envious tone in his voice.
Remus spared him a humored glance. "Yes, on the telephone." It was these old habits that never went away that made Remus smile.
Arthur sighed, "I wonder. How do they get the voices to travel over a wire. No magic at all."
"If you're quite finished." Remus interjected. Arthur snapped his eyes back to the table. "I called, and someone answered. I explained who I was, but was interrupted." Remus trailed off, remembering the panic he felt as he heard the congested breathing behind him. He should have smelled the other wolf coming, but he had been too rushed. Everything had been too rushed. It was sloppy and Remus knew it.
He had to make the call when he did. The full moon was coming fast, and the plan that Fenrir Greyback had formulated was just too much. "I had been about to ask for her, but he grabbed the phone. Lucky thing, I can't imagine what he would do if he knew who I was calling."
"So what happened?" Arthur asked, leaning over to make sure the quill next to him was still scratching away at the parchment.
"Fenrir did something to the telephone. I suppose it's not the first time he's caught someone making a call that was out of the ordinary. I wonder who tipped him off though. Nevertheless, I assume whoever it was I had been speaking to hung up their end." Remus ran a hand through his touseled hair and let it drop to his side. "Sloppy."
Arthur gave him a pat on the back and nodded. "You tried. We'll just have to hope you impressed them."
"Oh, never a better show." Remus said. "A bumbling idiot they must think I am."
"I think they'll come." A voice said from the other side of the room. A red head looked up and gave her father a small smile. "Hermione sent me some information she managed to get on her, I think this is a case she wouldn't pass up for the world."
Ginny passed her father muggle newspaper clippings that she had tucked into her Hogwart's Transfiguration book. "I thought you told everyone you weren't getting involved." Remus said.
Ginny flushed. "I never said that. I just said I was going to finish my education. What I do in my free time is my own business."
Arthur gave her a skeptical look over the clipping. "Yes, well. If your mother catches wind of you snooping about..."
"Well, not snooping, but meddling..."
"How did you know where to contact Hermione?" Remus spoke up before Arthur could dig his hole deeper. The question silenced Ginny immediately.
"Yes, do tell, Ginevra." Arthur said.
Ginny scowled and went back to looking at her book. "You know I can't say a word, even if I wanted to." Remus and Arthur looked at one another. Arthur's eyes darkened.
"Why can't you?" He asked, nearly looking like Ron for a moment.
"I just can't." Ginny said, scooting down farther into her chair.
Before Arthur could ask her anything else, there was a knock at the door. They all stopped and looked at one another, pulling out their wands and looking back to the door. "Who is it?" Arthur called tentatively, aiming his wand at the door. Constant vigilance.