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Law and Aurors, act 2 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Law and Aurors, act 2
Okay. Body of a teenage girl found in Grand Central, after someone hears "Avada Kedavra." Lennie Briscoe and Rey Curtis are called to the scene. They follow clues to a gaming convention and talk to teenage gamers who say the dead girl was in their school. Meanwhile, the autopsy has turned out that there is no cause of death, and Kingsley Shacklebolt, who is in NYC tracking Yaxley, learns that he's not free to just obliviate crowds. Because, um, well, that makes it easier to make him work with Muggles. ;p Rey and Lennie track the school's records to an apartment house, where the girl is identified as Delia Dearborn. Her father arrives and sees the picture and says, "They found us."

Teaser
Act One




The teabags were kept in an unused drawer underneath the coffee maker at the precinct, and Lennie had to dig for them to bring Dearborn the cup of tea he'd asked for. Under other circumstances, Lennie might have made a crack about cultural stereotypes, but Dearborn was pale and shaking, unable to draw his stare away from the picture of his dead daughter, except to brush tears away from his eyes.

By the time he got to the interview room, Rey and Van Buren had gotten the guy talking about his daughter.

"She's, she was... so bright. Got straight A's in school. Like her mum."

"Where is her mother?" Rey asked gently.

Dearborn covered his face with his hands. "She died when Delia was a baby. We were in Washington, D.C. then. I hoped getting us over here would keep us safe, but they took Judith, and now they've taken Delia."

Lennie sat down and handed Dearborn his tea. "Who's 'they'?"

"You wouldn't understand."

"Try us," Van Buren said, reaching out to cover his hand with hers. "We've heard a lot."

"You haven't heard this."

The voice came from the door, and Lennie looked up, half expecting to see a defense attorney, though Dearborn hadn't called for one. Instead, he saw the man from Grand Central, still in his loud red suit--Shacklebolt, he remembered--now accompanied by a short, shabby-looking man wearing khakis and a tee shirt.

"Can I help you?" Van Buren asked, raising her eyebrows in a way that strongly suggested that help was the furthest thing from her mind.

"Actually," the shabby guy said, "we can help you. I think. But everything we say stays in this room, and you won't remember it later anyway."

"I beg your--" Van Buren started, but was interrupted by Dearborn suddenly diving from his seat, heading for a window.

"Impedimenta!" Shacklebolt shouted, pulling out a shined wooden conductor's baton.

Dearborn stopped cold, in mid-move.

The chair shot back out with nothing propelling it, and Dearborn floated back to it.

"Do you mean to stay still?" Shacklebolt asked.

"Yes," Dearborn said, though it came out through clenched teeth, more as, "esh."

"No Apparating." Shacklebolt waved his wand, then waved it again and said, "Finite incantatem."

"All right," Van Buren said. "Who are you, what are you doing in my precinct, and what in the hell was that?"

"I'm Antonio DiNucci." The shabby guy held out his badge, and Van Buren took it. "Let's say I'm the C.O. at Precinct Thirteen and a Half."

Lennie was about to say something, but Van Buren wordlessly passed the badge to him. It identified DiNucci's department as the Bureau of Magical Law Enforcement.

"Look," Rey said, "this man just lost his daughter. It's not a time for practical jokes."

"No joke," Dearborn said quietly. "They found me."

"The question," Kingsley said, "is who, exactly, we've found."

Dearborn looked surprised. "I thought you'd know. Caradoc Dearborn. Who are you?"

"Kingsley Shacklebolt. Auror Division." He frowned. "Did you say Caradoc Dearborn? Did you leave..." He glanced nervously at DiNucci. "You were allied with Dumbledore. You disappeared."

Lennie decided to stay out of it.

Dearborn looked at Shacklebolt for a long time, then nodded. "He had me undercover, and I met a lovely Muggle girl called Judith Shaw. I tried not to fall in love her. It was a mad time to fall in love with anyone, let alone... well. I married her in the end. I never told Dumbledore, or any of the others. I never had a chance. As soon as I told her, they showed up. They tried to kill her right then and there. I pulled her out by Apparition. And I just kept going, as far as we could."

"And you didn't contact anyone, even after You-Know-Who fell?"

Rey raised an eyebrow in Lennie's direction and mouthed, You-Know-Who? Lennie rolled his eyes extravagantly.

"I thought about it. But it was after that when they killed Judith. They caught her on the Mall in D.C. Killed her in plain sight. The Muggles called it heart failure. I moved north."

Shacklebolt sat on the windowsill, not looking particularly sympathetic. "James and Lily Potter both died," he said. "Sirius Black--"

"Betrayed them, I heard. I still can't believe it."

"If you don't mind," Van Buren said, "you can catch up on your gossip somewhere else. Right now, I want to know what this has to do with what happened to your daughter, and if you know anything about who's responsible."

DiNucci shook his head. "I think we can safely say this is our jurisdiction."

"Last I knew, I ran the homicide division." Van Buren turned away from DiNucci and talked directly to Dearborn. "What do you know, Mr. Dearborn?"

"We'll take it to the Bureau," DiNucci said, standing up.

"No." Dearborn held up his hand, and looked at Van Buren. "I'll talk to them."

"Do I need to remind you about the International Statute of--"

"I went through legal immigration as a Muggle," Dearborn said. "I want Delia to have their idea of justice, not the twisted business we've taken to."

"That's not your choice."

"No," Van Buren said, "it's mine. I don't know your department, and I do know this happened on my turf."

"I'll appeal this," DiNucci said, starting to leave.

Van Buren didn't look after him. "Go ahead."

Shacklebolt remained.

"Do you mean to Obliviate them and take me anyway?" Dearborn asked. "Is that still standard procedure?"

"Yes," Shacklebolt said, then sighed. "But I've been somewhat remiss about following standard procedure this year. Instead, I believe I will offer my help. It's quite likely that the people you're seeking aren't people who you'll be able to control."

Van Buren looked at him skeptically. "As long as you remember who's in charge."

"Madam, I believe I would find it rather difficult to forget."




Antonio was sure Kingsley was with him right up until he Apparated out of the men's room and ended up back in the lobby by himself.

Or not, as the case happened to be. Sophie Liebowitz, the chief prosecutor for the wizarding institution known only as The Court, was waiting for him, tapping her foot impatiently.

"Great," he muttered. "Just perfect."

"Where's the victim?" she asked.

"At the morgue. Downtown."

"Oh. That's good. I thought maybe we were going to worry about that irritating international statute business. I'm sure glad that's not binding on New York City detectives."

Antonio led her into his office and pointed at a chair. "Sit down, Sophie. You know exactly how many times the Council has voted on how much we can do to interfere with Muggles. International law doesn't actually trump local law, last time I checked."

"Fine. You explain it to the allies."

"I'm appealing it to Adam Schiff. Hopefully, he'll give it back to us, we'll get the two-seven and that M.E. Obliviated--again--and there won't be anything to explain to anyone."

"Yeah," Sophie said. "That'll work. Schiff just loves handing me cases. Especially when the body was in a public place. And why do you have the Brits working with you?"

"British vic. Well, the father is, anyway. Nationalized, but I guess he brought it all over with him. Probably a British perp. Probably something to do with that moron that's been causing trouble over there." He shrugged. "Shacklebolt chased one of them over here, and he just happened to be on the scene. He could be useful, and if the guy's one of theirs, maybe they get jurisdiction, and we don't have to worry about the bleeding hearts on the council embarassing you in front of the rest of the signatories. It's all good."

"You may not have to deal with elections, but I do. I have to work with international law, but I also have to work with a council that's been having conniption fits for the last fourteen years about Bartemius Crouch and civil rights. And Crouch hasn't been in power for years. Not to mention that he's dead. But oh, no, we can't ship people off to the Wizengamot's 'kangaroo court.'" Sophie ground her teeth. "Instead--with no help from Washington--I'm supposed to explain to Cornelius Fudge or that Umbridge woman that we decided on a Muggle trial. I just had a Floo call from Fudge's secretary... the Weasley kid?" Antonio nodded; he'd gotten a stuffy sounding owl from the kid last year, when he worked for Crouch, looking for one of their bad boys, an escaped convict named Black. "Anyway," Sophie went on, "he said we've done good work, and they'll 'have Shacklebolt thank us.' Apparently, they consider it a done deal."

"Well, I'm convinced."

Sophie frowned. "I don't like it, either, but... what are you doing?"

Antonio picked up his Muggle cell phone. "I'm calling Schiff. We can both go in. I'll get chewed out. You get to see exactly which headache you get to have."




Once Rey got used to the idea that Shacklebolt was actually waving a wand around, and Dearborn was actually paying attention to it, the interview turned into the same sort of thing they did every day. Had anyone been following Delia? Did Dearborn have any contact with his old friends or enemies? Any threats? No, no, and certainly not.

"What's Delia been up to?" Rey asked. "Do you know who she's been hanging around with?"

He shook his head. "I work a lot. Two shifts as a teller in a bank. Delia comes home and does her homework."

"Sure she does," Lennie said. "Who could we talk to?"

After a great deal of back and forth, Dearborn decided that his daughter most frequently talked to the girl next door, Tasha Wayne. Lennie asked if he wanted to go back to his own apartment, and Kingsley promised to put magical security on it if he did, so the four of them headed straight back across town. It took some doing to get Dearborn back in his apartment, and Rey had a feeling that, in the end, it wasn't entirely free will that kept him in there with the door closed. They knocked at the Wayne apartment.

Tasha's mother opened the door and shook her head. "No, I don't think so. Tasha's been crying since you left earlier. She needs time."

"It's just a few minutes, Mrs. Wayne," Rey said. "It's to help us find out what happened."

"No, I don't--"

But Tasha herself came out, red-eyed and sniffling. "I can talk to 'em, Mama," she said, then looked at the gathered men. "What do you need?"

Rey crouched down to look her in the eye. "Could you tell us why Delia was at Grand Central?"

Tasha nodded. "She was going to go play that stupid game. I told her those guys were nerds, but she really liked that one with blue eyes. He had a cloak, and she said her dad had one just like it, from back in England. She wasn't supposed to wear it. He had a bunch of things she wasn't supposed to touch. But she really wanted to go. Was it that guy?"

"Which g--" Lennie started, but Shacklebolt stepped forward.

"Where did you talk about this cloak, and the things Delia wasn't meant to touch?"

Tasha shrugged. "School, mostly. Study hall. Sometimes in the library."

"Did anyone listen?"

"I don't know. No one said anything. I think I saw the librarian looking a little bit." She bit her lip. "She talks a little like you do," she said. "The librarian, I mean. Not exactly. I think she sounds like Delia's dad, too, but Delia laughed and said they're totally different."

"English, though," Shacklebolt said.

Lennie smiled. "Honey, what's the librarian's name?"




The door was locked. It was always locked. Lennie crouched beside it with his gun drawn, not knowing what earthly good it would do. "Malvina Burke?" he called. "Police."

He heard the door crack only an instant before it shattered outward. There wasn't time to get out of the way, and he was blown into the wall.

When the dust settled, he was looking at a tall, middle-aged woman, smiling madly, a wand above her head.

"Avada..." she said, then a flash of red light knocked her over. Kingsley Shacklebolt strode over, moved his wand in a decisive way, and ropes bound her tightly.

"Muggle-loving filth!" she said.

Kingsley pointed his wand at her mouth and said, calmly, "Shut up."

Lennie looked at Rey. "I gotta get one of those things. Useful."

"'Til her defense lawyer hits him with an excessive force charge," Rey said, dusting himself off and standing up. "Come on," he said, going to the place where Burke was looking up with hate in her eyes. "Malvina Burke," he said, "you have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law..."
18 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
sreya From: sreya Date: December 5th, 2006 05:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow, this is coming along really well. I'd say the cops sure settled into the magic idea too easily... but then, this is New York City. :~p
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 5th, 2006 06:39 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, it's not going to be a long piece, so I didn't want to waste too much time on the "gosh-wow" part, and, thankfully, the setting makes it more than possible for people to go, "Yeah, sure, whatever." ;p
izhilzha From: izhilzha Date: December 5th, 2006 05:58 am (UTC) (Link)
I continue to enjoy this. You've really nailed Van Buren's voice, which makes me happy. And I like the way the detectives don't flip out over the fact that there's magic going on...they're so used to seeing weird stuff, this is just something a little bit weirder. From Lennie, in particular, that strikes me as a very plausible reaction.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 5th, 2006 06:40 am (UTC) (Link)
I was surprised--I like Van Buren, but she's never been my favorite... but when she started talking, I knew what she'd say to people who stride into her house and try to take over an interview!
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 5th, 2006 05:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Fern, did you just give us an evil librarian?

Gotta say, I love the way this is all sliding together in normal, Law and Order fashion, but it's weird to see one of your stories moving along so fast.

Ellen
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 5th, 2006 06:42 am (UTC) (Link)
I did give us an evil librarian. But she's not going to be evil in a stereotypical evil librarian manner. Really. :nods sagely:

It's weird to write so far up from the inner lives. Really makes you think about plot!
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: December 5th, 2006 06:35 am (UTC) (Link)
This is intense amounts of awesome. Can someone refresh me on Caradoc Dearborn's backstory?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 5th, 2006 06:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks!

Caradoc's sole mention was when Moody was showing Harry the old photo. He disappeared six months after it was taken and was never seen again. He's actually presumed dead, but hey, no body, no limits, right?
gryffin23 From: gryffin23 Date: December 5th, 2006 08:36 am (UTC) (Link)
This is absolutely wonderful. I'd been looking for something new to read and you have provided it. I can't wait for the next installment.
ladyelaine From: ladyelaine Date: December 5th, 2006 01:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm not a big fan of HP fanfic, but you've got me, hook, line, and sinker!
timesink From: timesink Date: December 5th, 2006 03:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
I am the only woman in the L&O demographic who has never seen the show, and I am really enjoying this. Great title, too.
dreamer_marie From: dreamer_marie Date: December 5th, 2006 04:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's getting good! I'm really looking forward to the next chapter.
I've been meaning to tell you, but there's actually a Raymond Lewis in my lab. He's a member of the disgusting-coffee club. Every time I see the list, I have to think of you.
leeflower From: leeflower Date: December 5th, 2006 07:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
I can totally see Lenny wanting a wand. For some reason I can't see him actually using it, but I can definitely see him playing with it. Or threatening suspects with it. You know, politely.
stephantom From: stephantom Date: December 5th, 2006 09:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hee, awesome. I love the cops' reactions.
From: lianna_blanca Date: December 5th, 2006 09:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, how fun! I like this. And though I completely understand that you don't want to linger on the "gosh-wow" part, it does feel a bit like they've accepted it too fast. Just a bit. I wouldn't have any suggestions on how to do it better, though, not knowing L&O characters.
lherelenfeline From: lherelenfeline Date: December 6th, 2006 04:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Lennie looked at Rey. "I gotta get one of those things. Useful."

"'Til her defense lawyer hits him with an excessive force charge,"

Brilliant!
dalf From: dalf Date: December 6th, 2006 04:27 am (UTC) (Link)
I tried not to fall in love her.

with her???

dalf From: dalf Date: December 6th, 2006 04:32 am (UTC) (Link)
BTW as a Law & Order fan and a HP fan I LOVE this on both counts. :)
18 comments or Leave a comment