Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Harry Potter and the Aftermath

A Foggy Day In London Town

by RyanJenkins 0 reviews

After the battle, Ryan moves into an astonishing hotel, and goes to meet his new assistant at Heathrow airport -- accompanied by three Weasleys.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: G - Genres: Humor - Characters: Arthur Weasley,Kingsley,Ron - Published: 2016-07-20 - 4111 words - Complete



We were still there when the sun really did rise.

When I turned off the playback and brought the Level Ten display back up on the screen, the basilisk's icon was not moving, not flashing, and showed as a pale orange with a grey border. “Harry!” My voice sounded hoarse. “It's stopped. And I think – it's dead,” I tapped the icon with my wand, and the dialog box now read Basilisk (deceased) – Danger: Venom. “Oh, yeah. It's dead.” After two or three breaths I said “Harry! You there?”

“Yeah, I'm here,” he sounded annoyed. “I'm still here. I still can't Apparate.” Make that frustrated. Everybody exhaled at once and, except for Kingsley, joined Neville by flopping in chairs. My eyes unfocused for a little while.

“What was that, Ryan?” asked Bill. “The song with the sunrise?”

“It's a music video. I took it from MTV – that's a Muggle thing – just testing a video capture spell, you understand!” I blinked a couple of times. “A band my parents liked – a British band, actually...”

“The Animals.” Kingsley managed a half smile. “Some of my best friends are serious music freaks. But that's enough musicology for the moment. We still have work to do.”

“Kingsley, sit down, won't you?” Hermione was honestly concerned. “You had a long day before any of this even started.”

“I don't dare. I'm older than you lot.” He shook himself, stretched, and took a couple of deep breaths. “Now. The first thing is to get Harry and Abner out, and get Abner unPetrified. Then – then...” He stopped, and looked at me. “Ryan – I hate to ask you to do more than you have – we...”

“We need to finish scanning the Ministry before people come back in the morning.” By this time, I knew enough about Brits in general, and Kingsley Shacklebolt in particular, to know when he wanted to be interrupted. “Yes, of course. No telling what other little nifty gifties Voldemort might have tucked away around here. But I would like a couple of things first.”

“Name them.”

“A cup of coffee.”

“Brilliant!” Elliott levered himself out of his chair and headed for the door to the outer office. “Coffee for everyone. I can take care of that!”

“And – when we can get there – I'd like to have a look at the basilisk. I've never seen one.” Getting there, however, seemed like a long process.

“Kingsley,” said Bill, “you and I had better start getting the stairway to Nine cleared out.” He started to rise, fell back, and added “After we've had a coffee.”

Hermione was behind Ron's chair, dabbing at the blood on his head with a handkerchief. “If only Dumbledore had written down the counterspell!” This caused Ron to say “Ouch!” and then “Dumbledore what? Where does he come in?” That's when he and Neville heard for the first time about the scroll Kingsley had found. When they examined it, Neville looked up with creases in his brow.

“This doesn't make sense,” he said. “It looks like Dumbledore enchanted this to appear in the Minister's desk if those spells were ever activated – right?” We all made noises of assent, except Ron, who said “Ow!” and Hermione, who said “Sorry.” Neville continued, “So there must be a reason for it. Dumbledore didn't do things without a reason. And he didn't do it just to claim credit, he never did that.”

Harry's voice came. “Read it to me, will you? I'd like to hear exactly what it says.”

“Right!” Neville read it off: “'Magic Block and Anti-DisApparition Jinx, triggered by Unforgiveable Curse, level ten and below, third January 1997. Counterspell, Master of Elder Wand, Albus Dumbledore.'”

“That is weird,” said Ron, “because nobody knew he had the Elder Wand back then.”

“That's right!” agreed Hermione, “We didn't even hear about the Hallows until months and months later. Why did that wonderful man always have to be so cryptic?”

“Maybe he wasn't. Maybe it's his name.” I just threw it out, off-hand, but it got a much bigger reaction than I expected. Everyone stared at me.

“Albus Dumbledore!” Harry's voice was still somewhat muffled; he hadn't bothered to dig open the door yet. “Nothing!”

“Was Dumbledore always the Master of the Elder Wand?” I asked.

“Since he took it from Grindelwald in 1945 he was – until Draco Malfoy disarmed him,” said Ron, “but Draco never realized what he had! Isn't that great, though? Draco Malfoy, Master of the Deathstick! And he didn't know it! And then of course Harry took it when...” He stopped abruptly. There was a moment of silence.

“Harry Potter!” came over the transducers, and a moment later – CRACK! - Harry was standing in the room.

“Harry!” Hermione flew at him and tried her best to smother him.

“Coffee's up!” Elliott was standing in the doorway with a tray of steaming mugs. We all stood up, patted Harry on the back or shook his hand, and grabbed one. Somehow there were enough for all. We were drinking gratefully – it was much better coffee than Admiral Blackstone's, although I don't want to damn it with faint praise – when the sound of the lift came, and we heard Arthur's voice calling for Harry, who raised his voice. “In here, Arthur!”

A moment later Arthur appeared in the office doorway with still another red-haired young Wizard I hadn't met. He was powerfully built, with a broad strong face and lots of crow's feet around his eyes. Arthur was voluble. “Ah! Kingsley! We went up to your office and the whole level is deserted – the whole building is empty, for that matter. What in the world is going on? Ron and Neville came tearing through the house – Molly found spots of blood – terribly worried – Charlie just got in this evening, so he and I came to see if something was wrong...”

“We've had a bit of trouble this evening, Arthur, but it's all right now. You and Charlie are very welcome, however, as we can certainly use your help.” It took another cup and a half of coffee to fill them in, show them the Sniffer program, and catch everybody up to date. Neville and Ron had had a really frustrating time – not to mention a painful one – trying to catch the rooster, and if we all weren't so tired it would have been a sidesplitting story. At Harry's suggestion, with Kingsley's strong agreement, Hermione took them off to St. Mungo's to get their wounds taken care of. Abner Proudfoot would be all right where he was for now; it was not an urgent emergency, and it was safer to have them bring back a team from the Magical Hospital than to try and revive him ourselves.

Charlie and I were introduced. “Glad to meet you!” he said, shaking my hand firmly; his was strong and callused. “Dad's been telling me a bit about what's been happening. And it looks like you've been busy tonight – honestly, we don't usually work our guests this hard – not right at first, anyway!” He ducked out to take the rooster back to the Burrow and reassure Molly. The rest of us went down to Level Nine and started clearing the stairway.

Before long, Charlie returned, and when he pitched in the work went faster. Just as we got down to Level Ten, Hermione brought our walking wounded back (wounded no longer) with a young Healer, Dr. Caractacus Conway, who had been on call in the ER, and two burly orderly Wizards with a stretcher. “Just as well you didn't have to move him by side-along Apparition,” he remarked as the orderlies maneuvered him carefully into the lift. “Might have been all right, but you never know. We'll have him up and around quickly enough, though. He should probably have a day's rest before he comes back to work.” Harry told him to tell Abner that was an order from his boss, if he objected.

After the medics left I remembered about the basilisk, and Harry, Ron, Charlie and I went in to the anteroom to have a look at it. It was about fifteen feet long (“Rather less than half the size of the one in the Chamber of Secrets,” estimated Harry) and maybe two feet thick, and its fangs, still dripping venom, were long, sharp, and evil-looking.

That's when I got a nasty surprise: I recognized its skin. It was green, with a pattern that was unexpectedly familiar; with a coat of grey shoe polish it could make a pair of cowboy boots just like the ones I had seen in Dulles International Airport. When we all gathered back in Harry's office, I told them about that, and about the figure I saw in Diagon Alley.

“Now that's strange, mate.” Ron shook his head. “Definitely dodgy, I think.”

“It might be perfectly legitimate,” said Kingsley with a frown. “There's nothing illegal about a Wizard traveling here as a Muggle, and there's no reason why he should reveal himself to you, even if he had recognized you as a fellow Wizard.”

“Which he didn't, so far as we know,” agreed Harry. “And when you saw him in Diagon Alley – if it was him – you said he had his face turned away; he might not have noticed you.”

“Yeah, maybe,” put in Charlie, “but Ryan was standing in front of Weasleys' Wheezes, wasn't he? Tends to draw the eye, doesn't it? Mostly, though, what I'm wondering is, what sort of Wizard wears basilisk-skin boots? And where do you get 'em?”

Nobody had an answer for those questions, so it was agreed we'd all keep an eye out for tall Americans with long square chins wearing cowboy boots. I checked my Wemail, and found a message from Blackstone: Meet BA Flight 1981 due at Heathrow 4 pm your time. That was all. “Must be sending somebody I know, or at least who knows me,” I concluded. “But we better get going on this survey, if we're going to finish by morning rush hour.”

At Kingsley's request, I did the scan from the top down this time. The top two floors were clear – a few items stored or on exhibit in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement showed menacing colors but were quickly examined and passed as harmless – and, thankfully, there were no more major surprises anywhere. We did find a boggart holed up in an old credenza in the Magical Games And Sports office, and a jar of pixies in the Control of Magical Creatures department, and a selection of things that were regarded as Frowned Upon, but not really dangerous, here and there.

Ron, Hermione, and Neville went on home to get some sleep, and Harry sent Elliot home as well. “You'll have to get back early, I'm afraid, what with Abner out for the day. I'm going to have a good long lie down myself after we've made sure the Ministry's safe.” Now that Charlie was back, Kingsley arranged a room for me in the Wizarding Wing at Claridge's, and Charlie very kindly went home and got my bags moved over there. I didn't follow until just after six in the morning.

Claridge's Wizarding, as it's known, actually makes the Ministry look like an abandoned farmhouse. The design, décor, and atmosphere is what is called “Restoration,” which was popular in the late 17th century, and hasn't been changed since. The world-famous Muggle side next door dates from 1898, and the staff on the Wizarding side thinks it's so vulgar they don't even try to find an adjective. They just call it “the new part.”

Because I was an Important Foreign Official Visitor (and my bill could be sent straight to the Ministry of Magic), I got what I'd call the full “B” treatment – “A” treatment being reserved for Heads of State, Royalty in any condition, and Bill and Melinda Gates. (I've always believed he must have known she was a Witch when he married her; he's a pretty smart guy.) When I emerged from the solid gold fireplace, Footwizards in purple-and-gold uniforms stepped forward on each side to brush me off. Purple and gold are the hotel colors, and they are everywhere. The famous checkerboard floor is made of alternating squares (or diamonds, depending on where you stand) of polished amethyst and pure gold. Great carved spiral columns of polished Amaranth heartwood inlaid with threads of gold hold up massive lintels, elaborately carved with scenes from Wizard history and Magical myths.

As I started forward, an American flag unfurled itself over the front desk, and a dozen Wizards in purple robes holding golden trumpets lined up on either side of the direct path, and played “My Country 'Tis Of Thee,” which I thought was a nice touch. The manager, in magnificently embroidered robes, met me in front of the desk, flanked by various staff members. I was welcomed formally and very graciously, but when they noticed I was falling-over tired, the ceremonies were concluded with dispatch and I very soon found myself in a small parade (half a dozen Wizards and Witches in purple robes with golden emblems, carrying golden candelabras, towels, and what looked like a cooking utensil but was called a “warming pan”) heading down a splendid hallway – carvings and gilt and ornately framed pictures everywhere. The people in the pictures mostly wore huge wigs and voluminous costumes. Ladies often showed very interesting necklines, and men must have been sloppy eaters in those days; they all wore fancy bibs under their chins. They mostly acknowledged me with bows and curtsies, and I nodded back as pleasantly as I could, but more than once I spotted some of the gals talking excitedly behind a spread fan, and then breaking off to smile at me as I passed.

My room was unbelievable. A fabulous Persian carpet (done in purple and gold), golden fixtures, splendid tapestries; the ceiling was one enormous mural of the night sky with a smiling full moon; and there was a four-poster bed with carved spiral woodwork that looked big enough to play Quidditch on. After making sure they understood when I needed to be called, and insisting at some length that I did not need any help undressing, the parade marched out the door and I hit the hay. Sorry if that last phrase has a flavor of lèse majesté; I was too tired to care.

I was awoken by Dawn, breaking in a gorgeous, glorious, classical way at 2 pm. I was gently lifted out of dreamland by an orchestra which began with an almost inaudible violin note and slowly built up to a glorious sweeping melody full of hunting horns (I found out later it was the opening movement of Mahler's First Symphony). I noticed the ceiling showed beautiful fluffy clouds, songbirds, and the sun, just peeping over the crown molding above the sideboard – on which steamed a pot of coffee, which smelled heavenly and fresh. It was superb. Didn't even need sugar.

Sunlight streamed in the windows, although they showed dense fog outside. The water in the shower was the perfect temperature instantly. My robes were clean and pressed, contents of pockets neatly laid out on the writing desk, which had carvings on every inch except for a square of burgundy leather on the top, and a little gold plaque saying it had been a birthday gift to Louis XIV. My luggage was stowed and clothing hanging neatly in a closet somewhat larger than most New York City apartments, also elaborately carved, tapestried, and hung with art.

Freaked me right out.

I wished I was back at The Burrow.

Then I pulled myself together and told myself firmly that duty was duty, and this was a sacrifice I would have to make for my country. I set up my computer and checked the flight information at Heathrow. BA 1981 was still expected on time, but there were some delays due to fog.

Dressed (in my Muggle clothes), coffeed and downstairs, the Manager materialized from somewhere and suggested breakfast, giving the strong impression that he would be crushed, perhaps even suicidal, if I refused. It was an egg dish with a French name I couldn't pronounce, fit for the gods; what I'd call biscuits but they probably call something else, which were, with all the fresh butter, to die for; and endless rashers of crispy bacon. Afterwards, he came out from behind the desk when I approached, and I asked him about the best way to get to Heathrow. He explained that few Wizards and Witches used the airport, but Claridge's maintained a relationship with a small Bed-And-Breakfast hotel nearby; I could take the floo network there, and get a cab – missing all the Muggle traffic. When I told him that another USDM official was coming in and would need accommodations, at least for a while, he beamed at me so joyously I thought he might levitate.

I had him send an owl to the Ministry. It was a little disconcerting to discover I had to write the note in pure gold on purple parchment, but I wrote “Kingsley – Claridge's Wizarding is incredible. I'm going directly from here out to meet British Airways Flight 1981 at Heathrow. Not sure about the timing, as flights may be delayed by fog. I have asked for a room here for whoever they send, and would like to make introductions promptly. Please let me know when would be convenient for us to come to the Ministry. Tomorrow morning, perhaps? Ryan

When I got to Heathrow, there was another surprise. Standing in the lobby looking up at a flight-status board, I heard a voice behind me. “Ryan! There you are. I hope we aren't late?” Turning, I found three familiar red-haired figures, dressed most astonishingly in sportcoats, bluejeans, white shirts, and extremely aggressive neckties. I must have looked amazed, because Arthur, Charlie, and Ron Weasley all grinned and struck poses.

“How d'you like it?” asked Ron. “Hermione helped us dress. Had to overrule her on the neckties, though – no color sense.”

“Do we look proper Muggles?” asked Arthur a bit anxiously. I assured them they looked fine, although the neckties might attract attention, especially Ron's which had a stallion embroidered on it – pawing the air, tossing its head, lighting up and changing color. When he looked disappointed, I told him not to take it off, just don't flash it around; people would probably just think he was an American. They had been waiting at the Ministry, expecting me to come there first, and when my owl arrived they went to Claridge's and followed me by the same route.

Flight 1981 was now expected at 4:15, so we had a little time to wait. The fog was clearing, and we strolled over to the vast windows to look at the airplanes. They had seen airplanes flying high above, but only now grasped the scale of the machines when they saw people next to them. I tried to explain how the wings provided the lift, once the aircraft was moving fast enough, but they were skeptical. “So if it were to stop in mid-air, it would simply fall?” asked Arthur. When I nodded he said “Terrifying!” and shuddered, without taking his eyes off a 747 that was taxiing toward the runway. We looked at the shops – Boots alone could have easily kept Arthur enthralled for a week or more, and we practically had to drag him away from an ATM machine – and Ron figured out that people had wheels on their suitcases because Muggles couldn't simply levitate them.

“This is an amazing place, though,” said Charlie.

“Amazing, right enough,” agreed Ron. Arthur was silent. Clearly he had so many questions that they'd caused a traffic jam in his brain. Charlie had to remind him twice to close his mouth. I learned that Kingsley had planned to send Arthur with me to the airport, but forgot to mention it yesterday; Ron and Charlie came along to see the sights – and, I suspect, to keep Arthur from complete paralysis in a Muggle technological paradise.

As we walked through the terminal, I told them about the secured gates. We wouldn't try to pass security (I had to convince Ron that just confunding them would not be a good idea at all) but would wait at the exit from Customs. “Whoever it is will have a Diplomatic passport, like me, which gets you straight through ahead of the rest.” After the status board displayed “ARRIVED” beside Flight 1981, we sat on a row of chairs, watching the Customs exit.

I was watching for someone I knew, or at least someone who was looking around for a reception committee. A young man emerged from Customs, and my eyebrows must have rocketed upward. He was a couple of inches shorter than me, had an athletic build, a long black pony tail, and a backpack. His skin was darker than mine, and his face was handsome, with high cheekbones, a prominent nose, piercing black eyes, and lines that could only be produced by laughter. He wore moccasins, jeans, a shirt with a multicolored pattern, a string tie, and a very familiar tan corduroy sportcoat.

“Holy mackerel! Jamie!”

I jumped up and headed for him, and he broke into a grin as he saw me. He stopped and raised his right hand, palm out.


“Easy, I just put it in – now wait a minute!” This was no time for schoolboy fun. I wanted to hug him, but I knew better; the People of the First Nations are not very demonstrative that way, especially in public. But I did take his hand in both of mine as we shook, and he thumped me on the shoulder.

“How are you? What are you doing here? I'm supposed to be meeting – ”


I could only gabble incoherent syllables. Then I saw his eyes narrow and remembered who would be coming up behind me. “It's OK, they're Wizards,” I said quietly. Turning, I beckoned the Weasleys forward, and then had to wait for a group of Muggle businessmen to pass out of earshot. “Arthur, allow me to present Doctor James Two Eagles Cogburn of the Cherokee Nation, a certified Healer of the American Magical Medical Association, and currently serving as–” I stopped and looked at Jamie “What are you, anyway?”

“Mr. Undersecretary,” he began, with a grin and raised eyebrows, “I am the new Chief of International Medical Liaison, Bureau of Foreign Wizarding Relations...” He paused as two Muggle ladies went past, pulling flowered rollie-cases. “...United States Department of Magic, on special assignment to re-establish and maintain the London Liaison Bureau, pending the arrival of permanent staff.”

“Well, I'll be a blue-nosed gopher.” (Back in school, Jamie would have responded to that by taking out his wand and saying “Certainly. What size would you like to be?” but this time he let it pass.) I shook my head hard enough to rattle my brains back to semi-normal, and it began to dawn on me that he was my subordinate. I began to smile beatifically, and he screwed up his face because he knew what was coming.

“Just call me...Chief.”

“I knew you were going to say that!” And we both broke up. Ron and Charlie laughed too, and Arthur grinned broadly. I wiped my eye and chuckled down to seriousness.

“It's really good to see you, Jamie. Especially because I only met these people a couple of days ago, but it feels like I've known them forever. I'm really glad I can introduce you.” Jamie looked at them with new interest. “This is Arthur Weasley, special assistant to the Minister for Magic.” Jamie stuck out his hand, and Arthur, who had started to raise his in imitation of Jamie's gesture, grasped it with a look of relief. “And these are two of his many sons, Charlie Weasley and Ron Weasley,” I finished, nodding at each in turn.

Greetings performed, Charlie observed “You know, the middle of Heathrow Airport isn't really the best place for a private conversation, is it?” We all agreed at once, and as Jamie had checked a bag, we headed down to Baggage Claim. Arthur was amazed afresh by the escalator (“...and without any Magic at all! It's hard to believe.”) and Jamie's large leather suitcase was one of the first to appear.

On the way out to the taxicab stand, I asked him if he'd had a good flight. “Very nice, actually. First Class seats are really comfortable, and the food was really pretty good.” I made a face, and a mental note to pick up some more Canary Creams for Loretta.
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