Title: In the Shadows
Summary: When Hermione transferred to America she didn’t know that anything would have turned out quite like this. Now she wonders if she should have stayed in bed, back in England . . .
Spoilers: All AB books up to Incubus Dreams, and all HP books up to Order of the Phoenix. Set after both books so spoilers for both may be mentioned.
Disclaimer: I own neither of these series. They both own to their own writers. Sadly.
Note: I made Hermione be a bit more adult in this, since she is 25 here. And I’m trying my best to stay in character for the AB people. But if I screw up, I screw up. I’m bound to get better at one point in time.
Nothing ever seemed to matter. Layers of different papers were strewn around the desk, all with little notes attached to hurry the process up. As long as I’ve been here, that’s all I’ve done. Sit in this damn room, with no view to speak of, and write out paperwork.
If that’s what I was needed so bad for, I really need to leave this place. Sighing I leaned back in my chair to stretch out my tired arms. When I glanced upwards I noticed the clock on the wall next to me said it was almost 5pm. Just the thought of staying in this place made my eyes tear as if I had yawned.
Footsteps still crossed outside my door, people were a bit busier at the end of the day, trying to get everything done so they could just go home. I used to be like that, but what would I be rushing home to now?
I was in a foreign country, with a problem I was recruited to deal with. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t such a know-it-all. Then maybe the Minister Bones wouldn’t have asked me to come here. Not to mention that the problem that I had to deal with was affecting me as well.
There was something wrong with the magical fields of this area. Wicca’s were able to tap into the flow of Wizarding magic. Normally this wasn’t possible. There were so few American wizards even around. Only for the fact that in the states and the areas around it, magic flowed a bit differently in people.
Or rather it drained them, and took it back into the earth, leaving the Wicca’s to take magic from their surrounding areas and not themselves. Some kept their magic; it was the reason why there were only two main magic schools in North America. South America didn’t have this problem for some odd reason; I need to look in on that.
Anyway, one was Salem Institute of Magic, in of course where the famous witch trials were held. I found what really happened from the library, no real surprise there. The American’s Ministry of Magic library anyway, what happened was a dark wizard with similar intentions as Tom once held, set a spell on some of the muggle girls, causing them to see the witches. Fueled by hate and jealousy.
It was a chain reaction, only a quarter of those burned were wizards, I didn’t know if any were Wicca’s because of the spell. The nature of this area confused me a great deal. I had learned a great deal about magic, yes, but my magic.
It didn’t matter; all I was here to do was to find out the cause of this little magic problem. It wasn’t like I had much reason to stay back at home. Remus has been fine for the last few years at Hogwarts, and I wasn’t needed to teach. I had taught for a few years before Harry had helped me convince Remus to come back to teach.
The Ministry, mine anyway, couldn’t do a thing about it. Not even if the parents complained or not. Wolfsbane was proven to be effective on werewolves on the night of the full moon. I didn’t mind teaching, but it was a love Remus held. And after the war, Harry and I tried everything to get him to be happy again. After a while, it worked.
He became content with life, and sometimes happy. Not something we thought would have happened after the death of Sirius. He loved all his students, and he now even got along with Snape. Something I still didn’t get.
After I had worked at Hogwarts, I left and joined the Ministry. I needed something to do in life, after all. Mr. Weasley was promoted as head of Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Office. He hired me, knowing I would do my share of work. He also knew my fascination with knowledge, and gave me other assignments that lead to my transfer to the Muggle Affairs office. That dealt more with problems concerning magical reactions to muggles themselves.
I’d been there for almost two years now. I taught for three years before that, and yet in my twenty-five years of being, I somehow felt a bit useless. After being in the war for almost three years even after I had completed school, I had a purpose. Now all I seem to do is meaningless paperwork.
Hopefully, I can find out what is going on here. If not for my sake, then all the other wizards and witches in the area that were being affected. Thankfully it wasn’t that big of an area, but large enough to cause concern. It swept from south of St. Louis, to the middle of the city.
The American branch had almost no say when it came to magical affairs. Most of the power went to the Master of the City, oddly enough. I knew of vampires to held legal power, but none when it came to magic. The British Ministry had fought to hard to reclaim all power, they weren’t about to let it go to the vampires. We held numbers against them. The Americans weren’t as lucky.
They had made an agreement of sorts. Personally I didn’t trust them as far as she could throw them. And members of the ministry were too afraid to confront the master themselves. I needed to see him, this Master of the City.
Without full power, as I would have gotten if I were home, what I needed someone who did to help. I could try to play at his honor, if he held any. I had once read that the Master of the City was responsible for all those under his territory, magically anyway.
That meant that I would have too go and personally see the son of a bitch. I really didn’t like playing peacemaker but I had to do it. No one here would. I guess after my time in the war, not a lot of things scared me anymore. I sighed and stood up from my chair.
The sooner I got this done, the sooner I went to bed.
Oh you have got to be kidding me. I was standing outside where Alice, a ministry worker at the building I work at, told me. She looked a little jittery when I asked about any sort of vampires. She would have to get over it, her country, as well as mine, made them legal.
Getting back to why I was so surprised was what the outside of this building looked liked. Or maybe there was a little amusement there as well. I wasn’t to sure at the moment. Ok, who put fangs on a clown? Those things were creepy without it. Though that could just be my fears of the movie ‘It’ when I was a little girl. I am muggleborn after all.
What I needed to do was ignore all the creepy things and talk to the head leech. I sighed as I walked to the entrance and flashed my badge to get in. Anyone with magic would see it as a Ministry badge, anyone else would see it as a FBI badge. We had a similar spell on the ones back home.
The doorman just stepped aside, with a bit of interest on him face. He was one of the few people that I had met that wasn’t surprised to see something like this. Did they get many officials here? Oh well, another thing to look into when I got back into the office.
The one thing I was worried about was having the master trying to pull some jurisdictional crap. Magic and blah, blah, blah, and the usual stints they try to pull. I wasn’t really in the mood, and if one of them pissed me off I was going to set those sons of bitches on fire.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not normally this violent, I’ve just had a crappy week. And I think I became a bit more towards anger after all the fighting I had to do since I went to Hogwarts. Merlin knows if I had never been a witch I would probably be some little meek bookworm working in a library or something.
Or maybe it was an after-effect of spending so much time around Harry and Draco. Somehow during the seventh year of school Draco had become one of the good guys. Oh, he was still a cold hearted bastard and used everything to his advantage, but he traded sides. It must have been when both his parents tried to kill him. Or when his friends were being slaughtered by other Death Eaters, but that didn’t matter. After a few years of those two working together, they kind of clicked with each other.
That situation took me a while to adjust, Ron is still freaking out about it. They fit together. At times Draco can be soft, and Harry has his dark moments as well. They’ve been together romantically for almost four years now. The only couple I know from my year to be together for so long. Ron can’t seem to hold a girl for more than a couple of months. And I don’t date, not really.
I rolled my eyes at my thoughts. I was purposely trying to stall myself, without even thinking about it. I pulled out the piece of paper that Alice had given me. There were words that were a bit shaky; when she wrote her hands were all over the place. Why they would have to do this was beyond me.
Were the Americans dramatic? Or was it the influence of the vampires? Who made this contact method? Gah, headache, headache. I frowned and looked around for a somewhat darkened area. One without not to many people, my eyes traveled over vendors and groups of people smiling and some looking annoyed. I smiled at that, at least I wasn’t the only one here who didn’t want to be here.
My eyes continued as they were and found a somewhat deserted area. It was near one of the emergency exits. There was a column that cast a shadow towards the wall. It was the best I could come up with. Why I couldn’t just ask for some help irked me, but I was told to do this, or else. Nothing was ever simple in this country, was it? Say the spell and wait for the head vampire to feel the spell, and make contact.
Sometimes I felt like I belonged to a spy movie, or maybe a really bad cop show. I think I said something to that effect to Alice. Though she’s from Russia herself and a pureblood, she didn’t get it.
Sighing I walked over towards the shadows and read the paper with the little light that I had. In a bored voice I stated what was written. “Secundum malus pe . . .” Well I tried to. A slightly cool hand shot out to my wrist with my wand in it. All right, now what?
“What are you doing, witch?”
I frowned. I can’t get a break can I? “I was in the middle of doing a spell. If I speaking were Latin and waving around a wand were any indication.” I tried to pull my wrist free, didn’t even budge. “I need to see the Master of the City, on behalf of the Ministry of Magic.”
“For what purpose?”
“To check duck patterns on the nursery, what do you think I’m here for? If you would be so kind as too let go of me?” The man in front of me relaxed his hand and I yanked my arm away from him. He held a small smile on his face, great now I amused him. “I’m here on urgent Ministry business. Now, be a good little boy and let me finish this damn spell.”
“That won’t be necessary.”
I rubbed my face with my left hand. Why can’t things ever go normally for me? Who the hell was this guy? I looked back up to him and noticed that he had bright blue eyes and dark hair, longish hair that is. There was a note to his voice that reminded me of Snape when he spoke softly.
“Why don’t I need to finish the spell?”
“It was made to get the attention of my kind was it not? I will see about getting you an audience with the master.” He tipped his head very slightly in my direction once and walked off in where he had come from. Not that I was paying attention since I let my eyes slid shut as I leaned back on the wall.
I stood like that, for minutes before I had gotten a crick in my left foot. Shaking it with some feeling I opened my eyes. They scanned the area again. Who in their right mind comes here for fun? I could sense dozens of shifters in the area, and some vampires. All the meshed up signals was making me a bit queasy to be honest.
It seemed like another ten minutes had flown by so I had taken up my previous position on the wall. My eyes fluttered shut. After a moment or two my watched beeped, as it usually did every hour. So right now, it was 10pm, and I was standing in some creepy circus waiting for admission to see the master himself. I think I would have gotten an easier time trying to see Tom, or rather Voldemort if he were still alive.
A rather sharp poke in my shoulder took me out of my slight daze. I didn’t even hear footsteps approach me; I must have been deeper in my musings than I thought. I slightly opened my eyes to a man a bit shorter than myself. He was kind of cute, with blonde hair, with gel through it. Though I couldn’t tell if his eyes were a shade of blue or green with the lighting.
With the look he was half giving me, I might have thought he was a bit like Draco when he was leering at me. Of course that was to bother me at the time, but I grew used to him. My mind refocused to the short blonde in front of me. Mind you I’m only around 5’8 myself. Well I think that’s how tall I am using the American system.
He just smiled.
“Alright, why did you poke me?”
“Because it seemed like the thing to do, of course. I was sent by the master to bring you here. Sorry I was a little late, but Requiem only gave me a brief description of your looks, and he said you were near one of the exits, and there a few of those.” He slightly snorted to himself and looked at the cotton candy vender a little ways off. “He could have said you were near the candy-maker, but no . . .” Ah, the vampire held a name.
I think I blinked. Who the hell was he? He vaguely reminded me of Seamus for a moment. “Well? Can we go? I want to get this over with.”
“Oh! Sure. I’m Jason by the way.” He said with a smirk. Sorry pal, I spent most of my time with some pretty boys since I was 11, you were going to have to try harder than that.
“Pleasure, of course. And I’m annoyed.” His smile got bigger. He slowly started to walk and I got my cue to follow. He took us twisting through the swarm of people and towards a closed off area. The curtains that hung down to the floor were a dark color, and the area itself had little light.
“Go through there, it’s sectioned off and others are there with him. Enjoy yourself.” He slightly opened the curtains to reveal a little from behind it. I rolled my eyes and parted the rest myself. I heard the slight swish behind me, but I continued forward. There was a small table, with a set of people at it.
There was one empty seat so I took it. Not that anyone was complaining as I did. There were five others besides myself. Four men and one other woman, the table was a semi-large circle. Three of the men seemed to look like vampire, one I recognized as the vamp I met earlier. The other two were dressed in old muggle styles. The fourth man’s aura reminded me to much of Remus to have been a vampire, and the woman; well I didn’t know what she was.
The man next to me tilted his head and started to talk. “I was told you were here on behalf of the Ministry of Magic. What concerns do they hold for me?” Wait, this guy was the feared Master of the City? What is it with all the evil/bad guys and being really good looking? Well at one point Voldie had been as well, when he was still human at least.
“Not with you per say. There’s a problem within your territory. And as head of this area, you are responsible for anything of that nature, are you not?” He didn’t say anything and I frowned. I reached into my pocket looking for the bottle of water I carried around.
My movement made the woman jumpy because she slightly moved in her seat and seemed to grab something under the table. I shrugged and brought the bottle up to plain sight, unscrewing the cap I took a sip and replaced it. So I didn’t have to keep going to my pocket I left the bottle on the table.
“Look, I don’t want to be here. I’m not sure why I care so much, but I need to get this damn job done. I want out of this bloody country, but I can’t until I figure out what’s causing this problem.”
“You said that already. That there’s a problem, what seems to be this big worry of yours?” A man towards my right spoke. He had long blonde hair and half of his face was covered.
I turned to look back to the master. “Of the magical kind, I don’t know what it is. The flow of magic is different somehow and slowly hurting the wizarding population of this area. The Ministry gave you power over the area so it’s really your job to take care of it. But because you and your people are so inept at handling the situation I was called in.”
The jerk merely raised his eyebrows. Before he could say anything the woman interrupted. “Excuse me? Inept? There is no situation that concerns us.”
Oh joy, who the hell was she again. “Calm down, Ma Petite, she is correct. Although it seems none of us were affected by what ever concerns our friend.” He turned his attention back to me. “You never did give your name, little witch.”
I slowly looked between everyone at the table and back to the master. “That’s right, but neither did you. I’m Hermione Granger.”
“Ah, I have heard mention of you. A great mind held at the hands of the powerful Albus Dumbledore, during the last war of light and dark magic. I am Jean-Claude, Master of the City.” I just propped my head on my hands. The way this guy said it made me want to punch him, very hard.
“I didn’t come to talk about any of that. I need to know what’s going on. If this continues any further it’ll start to affect your people. First it’s the wizards, next will be the wicca’s, then the shifters and other magical people, and lastly, your kind. The undead will feel themselves becoming weak, their power destroyed. I’m that’s something you really don’t want.” Hell, at least I had somewhat of a handle on this guy. He sounded like a slytherin when he talked. Maybe power is how you get to him.
He seemed to be thinking on what I said with a blank look on his face. The woman didn’t seem as agitated as before, the blonde didn’t seem to move and what’s his face, Requiem was it, hadn’t said a word. The other man looked interested in what I had to say. He was also quite the looker, but I didn’t want to wind up drooling.
“I will think on this. Perhaps there is a way for us to get a hold of you Ms. Granger?”
I shrugged and took my small notebook out. I reached for the quill and mini-jar of ink and jotted down the number to the cell I had gotten for while I was here. I tore out the paper and handed it to him. It also contained my office number. The Ministry took a few levels of the local FBI building, so the phones were connected to certain offices.
“These are my numbers. If this helps me solve whatever is happening, any of you feel free to call.” He looked somewhat surprised. “I am a muggleborn after all, the concept of a phone doesn’t allude me Mr. Jean-Claude.”
Without waiting I stood to take my leave. Looking at my watch it was almost 10:40pm. Who knew it took so long to get out so little. And at the end she was where she started. With nothing to help further her to create a solution to the problem.