Disclaimer: I do not own or Harry Potter or Anita Blake. They belong to J.K. Rowling and Laurel. K. Hamilton respectively. All I own is the plot.
A/N: This story is set after Incubus Dreams in Anita Blake and after Order of the Phoenix in Harry Potter. Sixth year hasn’t started yet. It’s still summer holidays. Sirius never died. Also, I don’t believe this will be a particularly lengthy story. The reason is because I want to write other HP/Anita Blake crossovers.
“Longbottom tuck that shirt in. Patil remove that ridiculous hair contraption. It is important that I have all your attentions please. Thank you. This is the very first time, aside from various triwizard tournaments, that Hogwarts has elected to send its students abroad―” the woman sniffed as if she didn’t much approve of this process “―and it is imperative that I go over the rules. No grumbling about it, and yes I saw that Finnigan.
“Firstly: any wandering away from the group will result in immediate suspension of this field trip. I will personally see to it that your bags are deported straight into the fireplace and sent back to Hogwarts. This rule is for your own safety as well as your parents’ and my peace of mind. You all know the dangers that lurk in this city. I needn’t go over them again. Suffice to say that what may seem tame and civilized is, in fact, not. You, as wizards, should know this instinctively ― even if it hasn’t been hammered into your heads for the past five years. I’m sure your Defence professors, however incompetent they might have been, pride themselves on that at least.”
The woman paused, peering x-ray-like at the group in front of her. They shuffled.
“Secondly,” she continued, her voice taking on even stricter tones, “there will be no foolish wand-waving or I will begin immediate confiscation and you will not see them again until we’re back at Hogwarts. Apart from the fact that it goes against Ministry regulations for an underage witch or wizard to practise magic on the school holidays, If I so much as spot a wand in a muggle area that isn’t pocketed you will be scrubbing floors along with the staff of this hotel.”
A collective groan seeped from the back of the group all the way up to the front, and someone yelled, “But what if we’re attacked?”
There were mumblings of agreement.
“You may notice that I said ‘no foolish wand-waving’, Weasley. Certainly you’re permitted to defend yourself, but only to defend. I really don’t want to explain to your parents or the headmaster why you ended up in the muggle newspaper for floating a car or other such base nonsense. The muggles here have very strict rules about witchcraft and you don’t want to end up in a muggle prison either. I don’t want to have to go about erasing memories. You are Hogwarts students, and you shall act like it. Are we clear?”
Seeing the nods the woman smiled in a very satisfied way. “Lastly,” she said, and in a much softer and more serious tone, “the Wizarding World, as you all know, is highly secretive. The magic-users here, whether they be supernatural or human, remain ignorant of us. That is the way it has always been. Everywhere. If you do find yourself in a situation where you absolutely must practise magic and someone or something sees you, you are to come straight to me. I will then obliviate that person,” she added softly, grimacing. “If I for some reason cannot be reached, you are to use your badges to alert The American Ministry for Magic and they will send a representative to fix the problem.”
She adjusted her own round silver badge that lay pinned to her conservative tweed jacket. “That is all,” she said, to the relief and amazement of everyone. “Remember you all signed up for this and if you cannot abide to follow the rules we have set I will be forced to take disciplinary action. Yes Miss Granger?”
The bushy-haired girl lowered her hand now that the deputy headmistress had finally taken notice. “I was just wondering, professor, if we can be permitted to view the sights on our own? After the tour, I mean. We all have loads of stuff we want to see—and, well, some of us really wanted to go to the circus . . .” she trailed off as the professor gave her a narrow-eyed look.
“The circus, Miss Granger, is one of our destinations. No need to get excited,” she added, frowning disapprovingly at the chattering students. “I wouldn’t have been so strict with the rules otherwise. And that reminds me ― quiet please ― I must caution you. Most dark or magical creatures can sense when a person has magic. Luckily for wizards, our magic comes from inside of us; but occasionally, when we’re angry or frightened our magical level can rise, sometimes to the point where spontaneous magic is the inevitable outcome. You all know what I’m talking about. Don’t let it happen to you.
“Now, if you please open your knapsacks you will find that I’ve put in each of them a red pamphlet.” There was shuffling as everyone removed the said pamphlet. The woman waited until the noises stopped before continuing. “As you can see it details a thorough map of the St Louis area as well as all the places we are going to be visiting. The museum is one. The university is another. A good friend of mine, a wizard in disguise, currently lectures there and has kindly offered to be our tour guide for a day. Specifically we’ll be sitting in on classes that deal with ‘Preternatural Biology’ as the muggles call Defence Against the Dark Arts. You will be taking notes for your essay so make certain you have plenty of paper, and also a pen. If I see a quill anywhere in sight it will be confiscated. If you don’t know what a pen is I’m sure any one of our muggleborn students will be happy to tell you. Or, you can come to me and I’ll transfigure one for you. You have a question Miss Bones?”
“Yes Professor McGonagall. I noticed in the pamphlet it says ‘graveyard’. I suppose I was wondering . . .”
“Settle down,” the professor said because the noise level had risen alarmingly at the mention of the word ‘graveyard’. “Of course you were wondering Miss Bones. It isn’t a word one usually equates with field trips after all and I shall explain it to you when you all be quiet!”
A pin could have dropped.
“Very good,” the professor murmured. “Now, earlier in the year when Headmaster Dumbledore and I were debating what places would best be suited for this trip we discovered, quite by accident — or rather because you’re headmaster has a particular fascination with muggle newspapers ― that there is currently a high concentration of ghouls in one of the graveyards located south west of here. Ghouls, as I’m sure you’re aware, are ordinarily quite harmless. Some wizarding families even keep them as pets. There are two types of ghoul, however, and the ones we will be visiting are not harmless. They are flesh eaters. And I assure you―” McGonagall yelled over the raised voices “―that every precaution will be taken to ensure our safety. Experts from the Dark Creature Field Work Observation Division have kindly offered us the use of their services.” She paused, looking them in the eye. “This ghoul trip, the appointment at the university, as well as the visit to the circus is all compulsory because you will use this time to take notes for the essay that is due when the new school year begins. Four feet of parchment.”
“. . . four feet?”
“. . . supposed to be a holiday!”
McGonagall waited patiently, hands folded in front of her stiff ankle-length business skirt. When the huffs of disbelief died away she spoke: “There will be no misbehaving of this sort, or any sort, while we are on foreign soil. We don’t want the American Ministry to think us barbarian infidels.”
“Please professor, but can we have a day to ourselves? I really want to see some muggle architecture. Like The Arch. Did you know it’s reputed to be―?”
“The Arch will be one of our stops, Miss Granger. As will the Zoo. As to having some free time, I’m afraid that will not be permitted.”
Groans of disbelief.
“That’s right,” said McGonagall, nodding firmly. “The rules are there for a reason. If I let you off on your own I would be completely disregarding most of them. However, if one of our volunteer parent’s manages to turn up by the end of this trip―” here the professor’s nostrils widened, as if she couldn’t imagine any parents to be turning up at all “―and if they’re willing to accompany you, I will permit small groups to venture wherever they choose to go, provided that you listen to that parent as you would me. Any misbehaving and you will be getting a T for your essay, regardless if it is good or not. Pack what ever essentials you need and I’ll meet you downstairs in the entrance hall in ten minutes. Today we go to the zoo.”
A/N: I’ve always wanted to write an AB/HP crossover.
Just some things I think you ought to know: 1) this won’t be the style of writing I’ll be using for the rest of the story. This is a prologue and I didn’t want it to be too personally written. 2) The rest of the story will be . . . well, you’ll see.