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


by RyanJenkins 0 reviews

Harry organizes British Ministry help for Ryan, trying to find out what happened to the former American Wizarding Liaison Office.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: G - Genres: Humor - Characters: George,Harry,Ron - Published: 2016-07-24 - 2690 words - Complete



In the morning, dawn came with the usual symphony, and as I stood in my bathrobe pouring a cup of that lovely coffee, I heard a knocking on the door, but when I looked out in the hall nobody was there. The knocking continued, and I finally realized it was coming from one of the pictures – a still-life oil painting of a bowl of flowers sitting on a table, with a door in the background. I said “come in!” and the door creaked open to reveal a 17th-Century page boy, who I'd noticed in one of the portraits hung in the hallway. He made a leg and bowed, and stood on tiptoe to see over the blossoms.

“Beg pardon, Your Excellency, but I am commanded by the Honorable Doctor Cogburn to discover if Your Grace has rejoined the living, and would welcome a visit from the Honorable Doctor.” He looked to be about 10 years old, and spoke nervously, as if he expected to be scolded, or even beaten. I tried to be reassuring.

“Ah – thank you for your courtesy, young man. What is your name?”

“I height Athelstan, your Excellency, Athelstan Priddy.” He looked at the flowers in front of him, and sneezed three times. “Beg poddon, Eggzellency! 'Tis springdime, and by dose wilt evah ahd adon betray bee...” He pulled a large lace handkerchief out of his sleeve and blew his nose loudly.

“Would it help you if I request this picture be changed to a bowl of fruit?” I asked.

“Yes, Your Excellency! I shall be greadly in your debt for such a kide blessing.”

“Very good. Please pass the request for me, would you? (He bowed very low.) What time is it?”

He hauled a watch the size of a lemon out of his pocket with some difficulty. “Close upon a quarter past sebben of the clock, Excellency.” He blew his nose again.

“And we have an appointment at nine. All right. Kindly go and tell the good Doctor that I shall receive him in half an hour, and if you will be so good as to inform the kitchen, we shall probably wish to break our fast at eight of the clock.” His speech pattern was getting to me. He bowed again and backed out, shutting the door in the painting with a creak and a bang. I heard three more muffled sneezes, each fainter than the last.

At five minutes past nine, we were on Level Two of the Ministry, walking in the door of the Auror Department. Mrs. Murdle looked up from a box of files at her desk, smiled a greeting, and said “Harry says go right on in!” So we did, to find a changed scene. Several filing cabinets had been brought in, and there were boxes of papers on top of them, and on the floor against the walls. Harry's desk was about seven or eight inches deep in files and stacks.

Harry looked up, blinking. “Good morning! Absolutely delighted to see you both. You're the perfect excuse to get shot of this lot for awhile and do some real work.” He took off his glasses, pinched his nose, leaned back, and yawned, before coming round the desk with outstretched hand.

Jamie and I looked at each other. “Harry,” I said, “it's probably undiplomatic of me, but, uh, did you get some sleep last night?”

“Oh, yeah, hours, don't worry about me – I'm fine.” He shook his head. “It's just that this business of rebuilding the department, nearly from scratch it seems, is turning out to be rather a bigger job than I'd thought.”

Harry put up the security shutters while I set up the computer and brought up the Sniffer display. It was the first time Jamie had seen it, so I demonstrated quickly. Then Harry said, “Right – so where is your Liaison Office?”

“I, ah – I don't actually...know.” By this time Elliott had joined us and met Jamie, and now everybody looked at me. “I think I know – there's an address on file at the Department – but Blackstone thought it might be a blind. For a long time, the Liaison Office was in the American Muggle Embassy, but back in the 1970s the Muggle security arrangements got so tight that it was too risky to leave it there, so it was moved...and the person who supervised the move was none other than our old friend, Slimy Parboil.”

I opened up a search box and typed in the address I'd been given: 96-B Mount Street. A small box highlighted in green, a couple of blocks east of Hyde Park. But a dialog box opened, saying Address Not Found. Elliott had brought in a printed map, and he spread it out on the desk, saying “Wait a bit – let me just check that.” He tapped the map with his wand, and the area ballooned. “Yes, it's odd – seems to be some alteration of the street numbers – but here's 96-A, in the old numbering – and there's no 'B' shown.”

“Might be there anyway,” observed Harry, “if it's unplottable, like my house. Can either of you turn up 12 Grimmauld Place?” We both checked, and it wasn't there. “Right. Ryan, is there any indication of magical objects in that Mount Street neighborhood?”

I set the display to show the entire street, from Hyde Park to Berkeley Square. “Nothing, apparently – wait, there are a few icons – nothing dangerous – showing up here, on the corner with's...the Brazilian Embassy. Probably the Brazilian Wizards have an office there, or perhaps it's antique things in a display, and the Muggles don't realize what they are. Let me go in as tight as I can on number 96...” I zoomed in all the way on the target, and the picture changed, subtly. “Wait a minute...wait just a minute! Here's something, it's just a line between the buildings, it's very thin, very faint, but it'”

“Could you get better resolution if we were closer?” asked Jamie.

I thought about it. “Maybe...but I dunno. This program-spell has a range of a hundred miles or more, and we're only a couple of miles away here. Worth a try, maybe.”

“At any rate, it looks like a personal visit is definitely indicated,” Harry said. “But we've got to be careful – this is a Muggle neighborhood, and rather a nice one too.”

“I'd vote for 'careful' if it was all alone in the middle of a cornfield.” I remarked, “We don't know what we're going to find.” Everyone nodded.

“Night job,” said Elliott. We all looked at him. “More Muggle security, but fewer people,” he pointed out. “Security guards we can handle. Locks and chains, cameras and alarms and such – we've done 'em all before. It's the odd Muggle popping up unexpected-like that'll be the problem.”

“This will change our schedule,” said Jamie, “But it is always good to scout the enemy before you attack. We need not wait to do that. Does the Ministry have cars available?”

“Yes!” Said Harry at once. “And drivers.”

“A van – delivery van or something with a closed back – would be ideal,” I offered, “but I could work from the backseat of a car. Best if it had dark windows, though.”

About an hour later, I was seated in the capacious back of a Ministry Bentley, which nosed along Mount Street until the driver found a parking spot. It was a street of old buildings, full of curious (and pretty ugly) ornamentation. The ground floors were shops and businesses for the most part, but there were obviously living quarters, as well as offices, above. We parked only a few doors down from an entrance door squeezed between two shops, marked “96-A.” I had the Sniffer going, cranked up and focused as much as I could. Harry, on the curb side, and Jamie, on the street side, were watching everything and everybody.

There wasn't much improvement. The orange line was maybe slightly thicker toward the top. Pulling off a screenshot and settling it onto a piece of parchment held out by Elliott, I reported that, and added, “Dialog boxes are coming up empty, too.” I studied the display for a couple of minutes. “OK,” I said finally, “drive slowly past the door, and I'll get a screenshot as we pass, and a couple more as we pull away.” This done, we headed back to the Ministry garage, the entrance to which was in the bottom floor of an underground parking facility, and looked like a blank wall at the end of a corner parking space. A red sign on the wall said, “Reserved Parking – Violators Towed Immediately – No Exceptions.” The sign wasn't quite accurate; the Ministry did not use tow trucks. Strictly speaking, it probably should have read “Violators' Cars Will Be Turned Into Hot Wheels” or something like that.

Aside from a general familiarity with the neighborhood, the reconnaissance was a bust. We decided to do the raid – excuse me, Official Inspection – at about 3 a.m., and would take a car to the site as a mobile base of operations. As we were leaving, Jamie looked into Harry's face and said, “Harry, both as a Healer and as a friend, I have a request: get some sleep. Please. I'm prescribing an after-dinner nap for Ryan and me as well.” His manner was effective: Harry looked rebellious for about five seconds, then snorted, grinned, and nodded. On our way out, Jamie spoke to Mrs. Murdle, who shot an affectionate glance toward Harry's door and gave us a reassuring nod as well.

We had a bite at the Leaky Cauldron, and spent the afternoon in Diagon Alley. After a stop at Gringotts, where Jamie changed his money and I replenished my supply, we strolled down the crowded street, browsing and window shopping. A look around inside the Apothecary shop proved to be fascinating, and Jamie couldn't resist buying several things. Of course, we ended up at number 93. Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes delighted Jamie every bit as much as I knew it would. Ron was there, and introduced Jamie (who already knew about Fred) to George. Business seemed pretty good, but during one lull we told them about the planned expedition.

Ron immediately asked if he could go along, and I replied, “Well...” I hesitated; of course the risk wouldn't be a factor for Ron, and he was 17 now, legally adult. After a moment's thought I decided to be diplomatic, so I faced the issue squarely, and in a forthright, decisive manner, passed the buck. “It's fine with me, but it's Harry's call, really.”

“Send him an owl,” suggested Jamie, “and tell him you hope he gets it before he takes his nap.” When he explained about Harry's tired look, Ron nodded worriedly; he'd seen it too. “And if he works all evening, I'll have to resort to Traditional medicine. My people know how to make someone sleep.”

“How do you do that?” Coming from George, I think it was professional interest.

Jamie looked solemn and fierce, glanced around, and said “Stake him out on a bed of goose-down, surrounded by poppies, with nothing to drink except warm milk and nothing to listen to except soothing music and the sound of the ocean. We can be a cruel people!” That cracked us all up, and Ron left to send the message. Then Jamie asked, “George, have you ever heard of Coyote?” (He pronounced it coy-OH-tay.)

George cocked his head and said, “Coyotes? Aren't they a sort of wild dog?”

“No – well, yes, they are – if you say 'ky-OH-tees', or 'KY-oats', as some do – but I was referring to Coyote, the Trickster. He is a very powerful spirit, and my people have known of him forever. Some say he created us. He can change the course of a river, or put a mountain in your path – or take it away. He's brilliant, mischievous, and sometimes infuriating. We have many stories about Coyote, and I think he would feel welcome here.”

A couple of boys in their mid-teens came into the shop at that point, and George went over to talk to them. One of them bought a Skiving Snackbox, and when they walked out the door the other one suddenly let out a howl as a crocodile skull, which had been sitting on a shelf, flew through the air and bit him squarely on the left buttock. George hurried forward, saying “All right, what is it this time?” and the skull answered in a slightly muffled voice (it was talking with its mouth full) “Dung bombs!”

“Thanks, Cheops!” George made the boys turn out their pockets, and charged them for a half dozen dung bombs and insisted they buy a small jar of Bruise Removal Paste. “Well at any rate, that'll do you some good! I'd appreciate it if you'd just pass the word, it's not safe to shoplift here. Off you go!” When he turned to us, he found Jamie stroking the crocodile skull right between where its ears would have been. “That's old Cheops, we found him when we went to Egypt. I think he likes having something to do. Amazing place, Egypt.”

George was telling us of the trip his family had taken a few years ago, on his father's winnings, and between customers we drew him out on some truly astonishing things they'd seen. Muggle archaeologists haven't even scratched the surface out there. Jamie and I were agreeing with total sincerity that we'd love to go there some day, when Ron came back. It was near closing time, and I asked if they had dinner plans. George did (with someone named Angelina – he let it slip but neither Jamie or I made any comment) and I said, “No problem, take a Rain Check.”

“Rain check?” he asked. Ron looked puzzled too.

“That's baseball talk,” said Jamie with a chuckle.

“What's baseball?” asked Ron.

“It's an American sport – Muggle game – that, unlike Quidditch, can't be played in the rain,” he explained.

“Huh – wimps,” George said disparagingly.

“Well, it's probably not your kind of thing,” I offered, “No magic, nobody flies – it's something like cricket, only slower.”

“I don't believe it!” said Ron with a shake of his head. “There's nothing slower than cricket.”

We all laughed, and I said, “Anyhow, if you go to a baseball game and it gets rained out, you can get a Rain Check, which gets you in for free when the game is rescheduled. So it's a promise to take you there, sometime later on.”

“Cool! Thanks.” George smiled, and went off to start shutting things up, but Ron stayed with us, saying he was going to meet Hermione and decide about dinner then.

Jamie and I looked at each other. “What was it you used to say?” he asked.

Carpe de old Diem, dere!”

“Latin in a Brooklyn accent. That's my kemo sabe!” He turned to Ron. “Why don't you go get Hermione and join us for dinner at Claridge's Wizarding?”

“Oh, wow, that place is...” Ron hesitated and I jumped in to reassure him.

“As our guests, on the Ministry – or the Department – we can let them fight about it. Perfectly legit. We're under instructions to learn as much as we can about your situation over here, and I did accept a personal suggestion from the Minister to talk to you two about it, among others.”

“And since we're all going to get to bed early tonight,” Jamie added pointedly, “It's an efficient use of our time.” He looked at me. “Were you introduced to Crassus Knickerbocker down in Accounting before you left?” I nodded, and rolled my eyes. Crassus was the hardest-eyed bean-counter I'd ever met, and completely unaffected by the Parboil and his cronies, it would seem. Office gossip maintained that was because he was so completely devoid of humanity already, they thought he was one of them.

“Well, come to think of it, what Hermione would say if I didn't at least put it up to her...” said Ron, rolling his eyes. “You're on, mate – and thanks!”
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