Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
- City of Angels -
Tonks was in a right panic. Harry had run off, again, somewhere in Los Angeles and was somehow causing more mayhem and chaos than had a right to exist outside of Muggle movies. Oddly enough, the locals seemed to be taking everything in stride - no doubt thanks to Hollywood's influence.
"Where the hell does he get all the energy?"
Having retained her disguise as Nikki Fraser, but discarding her robes, just in case Harry decided to come looking for her. Tonks was currently running down what must have been a main street. She was trying as best she could to catch up (or even catch sight of) with her wayward charge.
That Harry was so far ahead of her that she couldn't even see him, did not worry her. It was not as if she could lose his trail. The swath of chaos Harry was leaving in his wake made that impossible.
Much to her amazement, nothing had exploded yet (though she was sure it was only a matter of time). In fact, Tonks would have welcomed some explosions right then. Listening to random strangers suddenly burst into song was just plain... disturbing. One more off-key rendition of "I'm A Little Teapot" and Tonks was going to start throwing a liberal amount of Silencing Charms around.
Tonks had always considered herself to be, in general, a non-violent sort of person. Baring circumstances where someone was trying to hurt her or her loved ones, Tonks was more than happy to live and let live.
Right now she was reconsidering that policy.
"I'm a little teapot, short and stout..."
"...here is my handle, here is my spout..."
"Silencio! Silencio! Silencio!"
"Tip me over and pour me out--"
"Damn it, will you SHUT UP!"
"I'm a little teapot--"
"Excuse me, ma'am."
"--short and stout--"
"Miss? Excuse me?"
"--here is my handle, here is my spout!"
"AAAARGGH!!! Shut the hell up!"
"WHAT?!" Tonks rounded on whoever it was that was trying to get her attention.
Harry was having so - much - fun! In fact, he could not remember ever having even half as much fun as he was having right now. Except, perhaps, when he had recently presided over Ron and Luna's wedding. He had enjoyed finally getting his friends together like they so desperately wanted to be, even if Ron (joker that he was) pretended otherwise.
But now, now he was having so much more fun than he had ever thought possible.
Hollywood was amazing! Simply amazing! There was so much to see, so much to do. And everyone was so friendly as well, so willing to join him in song and dance.
The only downside was that he had lost track of Niks again. Honestly.
He decided, thinking about the cute witch that had accompanied him, that it was time to abandon his current playmates. It was a pity to leave these wonderfully enchanted cars. They were spinning gracefully around the plaza he was standing in - doing the most amazing ballet (to the Blue Danube, of course), but he felt that finding Niks was more important.
After all, he had heard and seen countless times in the few movies (which he had stolen glimpses of while staying at the Dursleys) that Los Angeles was one of the most dangerous cities in the world. The only place that seemed to have half as many troubles was New York, but that was an entirely different kettle of fish.
There were always armies of shadowy government agencies lurking about, broods of thirsty vampires, packs of rabid werewolves, invading alien creatures, rampaging mutant monsters and all manner of violent criminal elements running rampant through Los Angeles and its surrounds. He couldn't sit back, so to speak, and leave Niks to brave these dangers on her own.
Twouldn't be British, after all, eh, what!
Besides which, she had such a magnificent arse. He simply would not risk running the chance of anyone, other than himself of course, having a go at that wonderful rear. If some upstart were to so much as lay a hand on his dear Niks' delightful buttocks, well, Harry would simply have to thrash the miscreant to within an inch of his life.
Saying goodbye to his new friends, in particular a very enthusiastic steamroller that was trying valiantly to pirouette, Harry began to retrace his steps. Niks had to be behind him, after all, probably too busy enjoying sights to keep up with his energetic pace. He'd have to see about giving her a Pepperup Potion, and maybe some Fire-whiskey, so that she would have enough vigour not to fall behind anymore.
It was then, as he turned, that something caught Harry's eye. All thoughts of finding the missing Nikki Fraser, not to mention her charming backside, fled from his mind.
This was going to be so - much - fun!
Contrary to popular belief, there did indeed exist an organisation known as the Men In Black.
These individuals would frequently appear soon after anything peculiar happened. They were known for acting rather strangely by ordinary people's standards. They were only ever seen wearing black suits (hence the name). They had a tendency of flashing bright lights in people's faces and thus rewriting their memories.
Naturally the Muggles got the completely wrong impression.
For some reason they thought it was something to do with an alien cover up.
They were almost right.
The Men In Black were, in fact, employees of the American Ministry of Magic, specifically the Bureau of Muggle Memory Modification, often described as counterpart to the British Obliviator Squads.
It was an easy job, at least compared to what the Obliviators had to put up with. Muggles, in this day and age, were more willing to entertain the idea that it was aliens in their flying saucers that left the crop circle in the middle of the wheat field. Science and rational explanations did not cover incompetent warlocks and their rogue dervishes.
Though nobody really understood how scientific and rational explanations could account for why the supposed aliens bothered to cross the gulf between stars and then waste time drawing crop circles. Then again, Muggles were prone to believe just about anything that caught their fancy.
Of course, compared to Britain, America had a great many more witches and wizards running around and causing trouble for the overworked and underpaid Men In Black. Just this morning, since coming on duty, Agent Smith and his partner, Agent Jones, had found themselves casting one Memory Charm after another with hardly a moment's rest in between.
Apparently somebody had decided to try a hand at Muggle baiting.
First there had been an outbreak of what Smith decided to call the Twister Dog Syndrome. Dozens of two foot high twisters had sprung up from out of nowhere, causing incredible amounts of collateral damage to the trousers of anyone they encountered. It wasn't until one of the twisters came to an abrupt halt that anyone realised the cursed things were actually alive.
Once they stopped spinning the twisters were revealed to be magically conjured dogs of some sort. Oddly enough the creatures jumped around on their back legs, slobbering, drooling and gibbering incomprehensibly. It almost sounded as though they were trying to talk, but that seemed unlikely.
The biggest problem, however, was that the voracious little critters seemed to have bottomless pits for stomachs. They devoured just about everything in their paths (but fortunately not any of the people), seemingly quite partial to trousers and entire hotdog stands.
The Muggles, for some unknown reason, seemed more disturbed by these encounters than was warranted. Admittedly, most Muggles did not react well to their first encounter with rogue magic, but Smith did not understand their reactions. There were many great, not to mention high pitched, screams of "Taz!" whenever one of the twisters paused long enough for anyone to get a clear look. It was almost as if they recognised the creatures, though that was impossible.
In any case, Smith and Jones had worked their magical memory modification and soon had all the Muggles involved (including those who had only witnessed the outbreak) convinced that it was a result of a runaway lawnmower. Dealing with the twisters was more difficult, mostly the part when the Men In Black had to chase them down, but simple Vanishing Charms were enough to dispel the them.
Unfortunately, it hadn't stopped there.
After the Twister Dog Syndrome had been dealt with, the two Men In Black had almost immediately found themselves facing another problem. This, Smith thought, could only be described as the Dirty Harry Syndrome. To put it simply, every police officer in the area had started impersonating Clint Eastwood.
"Do you feel lucky... punk?" seemed to be the phrase of the day, not to mention long winded dissertations on the merits of whatever handgun the officer in question happened to be carrying.
Smith felt the situation was utterly hilarious and, at the same time, potentially lethal. This was because the various would-be Dirty Harry's began chasing after any potential criminal elements with almost rabid fanaticism. Luckily nobody had been shot, but there had been several close calls.
Now the troublemaker, whoever it might be, had started cursing random strangers to burst into horribly off-key renditions of "I'm A Little Teapot." Quite frankly, at this point, Smith was beginning to wonder what manner of Aquila the cause of all this singing had consumed. Nobody could think up things like this unless they were high.
Having just Obliviated a pair of Muggle businessmen, one of whom had been cursed, the other merely watching, Smith rounded a corner just in time to see a cute young girl start screaming invectives at another singing teapot.
"Tip me over and pour me out--"
"Damn it, will you SHUT UP!"
"I'm a little teapot--"
Smith, wondering if this day would ever end, walked up behind the girl. She was so engrossed in yelling at the object of her frustration that she completely failed to notice his approach. Speaking up, so that she could hear him over the singing, he tried to catch her attention, "Excuse me, ma'am."
"--short and stout--"
SHUT UP!!!" the girl yelled, stomping her feet.
"Miss? Excuse me?" Smith tentatively tried.
"--here is my handle, here is my spout!"
"AAAARGGH!!!" the girl was all but tearing her hair out. "Shut the hell up!"
Smith was worried that he might have to intervene before she became violent. It would not do for the Muggles to start hurting each other because some joker of a wizard couldn't control himself. He reached out and placed a hand on the girl's shoulder and tried to turn her around to face him, "Miss..."
The young woman, she looked about sixteen or so, rounded to face him. Smith immediately forgot his concern for the singing Muggle and began to worry about his own safety. Frankly, the girl was looking homicidal.
"Could you look at this for a second, please?" he asked, holding up his wand in preparation to cast another Memory Charm. He hoped that would calm her down, otherwise there'd be tonnes of paperwork for him to fill out later.
The girl glanced at his wand and, to Smith's surprise, the blood drained out of her face. It was not the kind of reaction he was used to seeing from the Muggles he worked on. Usually they stared at the wand with blank incomprehension, or occasionally worried apprehension.
A moment later the blood drained out of his own face, most likely in response to the instep of her foot impacting between his legs.
Harry was panting slightly after climbing the steps. Not from any feelings of exertion or exhaustion, but rather from sheer excitement. He was outside an honest to goodness police station! Just like he had seen on the telly, when the Dursleys left him alone in the house.
He hurried inside, eagerly taking in the sight of everything before him. It was different from what he had been expecting, but that was probably because this was Los Angeles and not merry ol' England. It was hot, humid, stifling and there were a great many unhappy people shouting back and forth.
The cause of everyone's displease, from what he could make out, was the fact that only three police officers were working the front desk. There were nearly two dozen people waiting to be attended to, so things were progressing rather slowly.
Stepping up and taking a place at the back of the shortest line, Harry impatiently waited his turn. He tried, very hard, to restrain his eagerness, but could not stop himself from humming a perky tune and practically bouncing in place. His grin, he felt, would have lit up the room if it were not the middle of the day.
"Next!" called one policeman, sounding very bored with his job.
Harry began rocking on his heels, still grinning happily as he buried his hands in his trouser pockets. He found that twiddling his thumbs was rather boring after several minutes. Unable to help himself, he began to whistle, recalling the catchy tune that had proved to popular at Hogwarts the previous year.
Unfortunately the other people in line with him were not very appreciative of his rendition of "Weasley is our king". Most of them settled for glaring angrily at him, while several others muttered under their breathes. One wizen old crone, however, jabbed her walking stick in his direction and told him to shut his gob.
Of course, she did use bigger words, and more of them as well, but that was the gist of her demand. Feeling a little sad, especially when everyone else nodded in agreement, Harry ceased his whistling and feigned a pout.
Quickly growing bored of staring at his shoes, not to mention growing bored of the feeling of sticking his lower lip out in a pout, Harry decided to display the famed stoicism of the British. Lifting his head up, he stuck his nose in the air to emphasise his stiff upper lip.
Once staring up at the ceiling, it was a natural progression for Harry to begin counting the many tiles there. He had just reached two hundred and fifty six when he decided to start again, this time classifying the tiles according to their shape and texture as he went.
He managed to get as far as one hundred and twenty eight before growing bored again. He dropped his head, ceasing his examination of the ceiling and began searching for something else to occupy his time as he waited.
He contemplated the idea of playing dominoes with those standing in front of him in the queue, but that idea fell short when he realised that he was next in line. Moving on, he then emersed himself in the fantasy of all the fun he would be having once the police let him inside the station's firing range.
He was busy enough the part where he charmed all the targets to look like Malfoy, Snape, Fudge, Umbridge and several other people he didn't like all that much, when the person in front of him turned and walked away.
As eager as Hagrid presented with a dragon egg, Harry bounded to the counter.
Tonks stared down in alarm at the wizard currently curled into a ball at her feet. It had been an instinctive reaction, completely unplanned, in response to his attempt to Obliviate her. She had recognised who, or rather what, he was when he had asked her to look at his wand. It was hard not to, considering the suit. It was only when she saw the wand itself that she realized what he planned to do.
So she kicked him.
She only hoped the other Men In Black would understand the necessity of what she had done. She was in the middle of chasing after her charge, who was openly defying half the laws of magic, and could not afford to have her memory of what was happening restructed. Besides which, she was a witch, not a Muggle.
"What's going on here?"
Tonks looked up and found herself face to face with another Men In Black agent. This one was older, easily twice the younger one's age, and was gazing at her in a stern, uncompromising manner.
"I'm a witch! He was going to Obliviate me!" she blurted, wanting to explain everything before the new agent also tried to modify her memory. "I panicked. Sorry."
"You're not from around here," the man said, bending down to help his slowly recovering partner to his feet. The younger man was wheezing and occasionally gasping out pleas for mercy.
"I'm from England."
"Here on holiday?"
Tonks shook her head and began to explain. "Business, actually. I'm an Auror."
The agent glanced up at her, an evaluating look, and then went back to helping his comrade. "What's your business here in L.A.?" he asked. "You'd better not be the one responsible for all this trouble."
"I'm not! In fact, I'm trying to find the cause of it all!"
"It's kind of complicated," she began, kneeling down to help. Fortunately the first agent was still in too much pain to recognised her, otherwise he would have likely run away from her. "Have you ever heard of Harry Potter?"
The agent nodded thoughtfully. "Yeah, some kind of folk hero to you British. Killed a dark wizard when he was a baby, 'bout fifteen years ago?"
Tonks sighed in relief. At least she wouldn't have to explain everything - which would take up time she simply didn't have. No telling what havoc Harry might wreak if she didn't catch up to him. She decided to get straight to the point, not bothering to fill in any of the blanks. That she could do if they had the time.
"Unfortunately he didn't kill the Dark Lord, but only defeated him. Now the nutcase and his followers are back and out looking for revenge. Naturally, Harry's the first on the list," she told him, speaking in a brisk tone. "I was assigned to watch over him during the school term, thanks to my metamorph abilities."
"You're a metamorphmagus?" the younger agent wheezed, apparently having mostly recovered her attack. His face was still a bit pale, but he appeared coherent enough to follow the conversation.
Tonks nodded and shifted her features back to what she normally looked like, as well aging forward to her correct age. She grabbed the man's hand and helped hoist him to his feet. She stepped back, giving them enough time to take in her adult appearance, before returning to her Nikki Fraser persona.
The older agent nodded briskly and asked, "So what went wrong?"
"Unfortunately a Death Eater slipped some Black Lotus into Harry's drink while we were at the local pub," she explained with a deep sigh. "Now he's higher than a kite."
"Wait a sec," protested the younger agent. "You're telling us that all this," he waved his free hand to encompass the street they were standing on, "all this trouble is being caused by one, one, tanked up schoolboy?"
"That about sums it up," she confirmed.
"I gotta tell you, partner," the younger agent looked at the older man, "this rates about a nine point nine on my weird shit-o-meter."
The older agent ignored the comment and focused on Tonks. "What's your name, young lady?"
"Tonks, but I'm currently going by Nikki Fraser. Use that."
"Got you. I'm Agent Jones and this," he indicated his partner, "is Agent Smith."
"Pleased to meet you," Tonks acknowledged, shaking the agent's outstretched hand. She looked at Smith, who was still clutching his abused privates, and apologised, "Sorry about earlier."
Smith gave a pained smile and shook his head, "No problem. Happens all the time."
Jones interposed, "So, what can you tell us about Mister Potter?"
Harry looked unhappily at the police officer. This was not fun. Not at all. He narrowed his eyes and glared at the man, deciding that he was going to have to punish him for this. The stodgy oaf was being unaccountably rude and refused him entrance to the inner works of the station. Said he was too young. That he should be in school.
Of course, Harry couldn't just go ahead and cave the idiot's skull in. He would probably get into a wee bit of trouble if he did. Besides which, if he did that, the other coppers (Harry had seen enough on the telly to know the proper way to address American police) would likely be less than thrilled.
Which left the frustrated and disappointed Boy-Who-Lived without any means of expressing his displeasure and no way to get where he wanted to go - inside the police station.
Then, like the proverbial light bulb going off, a solution presented itself.
"I'll be back," he said calmly.
The policeman stared at him blankly, perhaps a bit incredulously, as Harry turned on a heel and briskly exited the building. He calmly descended the steps that he had so hurriedly climbed earlier, focusing his magic in on himself as he walked.
Why should he get into trouble for doing something he wanted? After everything he had done, not to mention everything that had been done to him, Harry felt that he deserved to have his wishes catered to. Not all the time of course, he wasn't a stuck up aristocratic ponce like Malfoy, but it would be nice to get what he wanted once or twice.
And since Malfoy was the spoilt brat that always got what he wanted, then Harry would simply borrow the little snot's face for the time being. After all, what better way to get what you want, than be becoming someone who always got what he wanted?
Reaching the bottom of the stairs leading to the station, Harry again turned on his heel, marching right back up the steps he had just descended. His magic wove the effect he wanted around him with each step he took, the illusion so complete that not even Dumbledore would be able to penetrate the disguise.
Besides which, taking on the appearance of his school nemesis, Draco would allow Harry the chance to do something he had always wanted to try. He could, for once, get to play the part of the "bad guy". That always looked so much more fun on the telly than being the hero.
Heroes had to obey the rules. Harry was tired of obeying the rules. Not that he always did, but you get the idea. The chance to do what he wanted, with all the repercussions falling, not on Harry's head for once, but rather on Draco's, was too good an opportunity to pass up. He should have done this years ago.
He strode into the station, entering with a flourish that drew all eyes to him. He walked straight to the counter and shouldered the person standing there out of his way. The man protested, but was easily silenced with a glare. Harry turned to regard the officer that had denied him entrance earlier.
"Get in line, kid," the man snapped in annoyance.
Harry raised an elegant, aristocratic, blonde eyebrow, his steel grey eyes focused on the man, and gave the most disdainful sneer he could manage. He adjusted his expensive, elegantly tailored clothes and waited. If he had to pretend to be Draco for this, then he'd damn well play the part to the full.
The officer scowled and leaned forward to berate him. Harry lashed out with a short right cross that snapped the policeman's head back with a resounding crack.
Cradling his bruised knuckles, Harry watched with delighted satisfaction as the policeman blinked once, apparently in surprise, and the rolled his eyes up into his head. The man then slumped bonelessly to the floor, a bruise already forming on his broken jaw, completely dead to the world.
Smiling grimly, Harry regarded the stunned witnesses.
"You sure you didn't have any of that aquila yourself?"
Tonks resisted the urge to kick Agent Smith in the bollocks again. She might have been able to talk her way out of it the first time, but she doubted Agent Jones would forgive her if she did it again - despite however satisfying it would feel.
She had just finished giving the two Men In Black an abridged summary of her day. Starting from when Harry had unwittingly consumed a Black Lotus butterbeer, the wild chase through Hogsmeade, the little incident of being Apparated halfway around the world, almost being eaten by some dinosaurs and now, finally, their arrival in Los Angeles.
If she hadn't experienced it herself, she wouldn't believe a word of it.
Apparently, neither did Agent Smith.
"He's that powerful?" asked Jones.
"More," Tonks replied with a gusty sigh. They had been following the trail of chaos Harry had been leaving, the Men In Black abandoning their attempts at containment until after Harry had been brought to heel. Unfortunately, Harry had been moving at a brisk clip and covered quite a lot of ground in the time since Tonks had lost track of him.
"More?" asked Smith, incredulously, "According to you, he managed to Apparate the both of you clear across the Atlantic as easily as most people would cross a room. How could he possibly be even more powerful?"
Tonks gave the man a level stare and said, "Because right now, he's only playing."
"Playing?" he repeated dumbly.
"Yes, playing around. Having fun. Enjoying himself," she reitterated.
"You mean to say," Smith spoke slowly, "that this kid you're after, is just goofing off? That he's caused more trouble in two hours than five dark wizards could do in two weeks - and he's not even trying hard?"
"That sounds about right," agreed Jones blandly. He glanced back at his partner, who was staring at Tonks in open disbelief, and motioned with his head. "Come on, slick, pick up your jaw and let's get moving."
Smith managed to gather his wits about him and hurried a little to make up the ground he had lost, as Tonks and Jones had not stopped walking. As he caught up, Tonks could hear him mutter, "Thank God the kid's a nice guy."
"Don't assume too much," she grumbled under her breath.
"What do you mean by that, Miss?" asked Jones, who had apparently overheard.
"Harry's... a bit tempermental at times," she said, choosing her words carefully. No need to unduly worry the Men In Black. "Fortunately the aquila seems to have put him in a playful mood."
"Tempermental?" Jones prompted, too much of a professional to let the matter drop.
Tonks repressed a wince and tried to explain. "Remember when I told you how Harry blew out every window in the entire street? Ever since You-Know-Who was resurrected, Harry's been under a lot of stress. Sometimes it bubbles over."
"Is he dangerous?"
"Only to his enemies."
"Hey, you guys!" called Smith, unexpectedly. Tonks and Jones looked at him and saw that he had stopped and was pointing at something to one side. "Look at that!"
Looking in the direction he was pointing at, Tonks saw what appeared to be a dozen or so of Muggle police cars laying seige to a nearby building. Behind the cars were dozens of policemen, firearms drawn and carefully aimed at the doors and windows facing them.
A sudden gust of wind and a loud thrum signalled the arrival of not one but two police helicopters, which began to circle about the building. Looking around her, Tonks could see what looked like sharpshooters taking up positions on the rooftops of several nearby buildings, all overlooking the central building that seemed to be the focus of all this frantic activity.
"What's going on?" she asked nobody in particular.
"Haven't you heard?" asked somebody from behind her. She started and twisted to see a rather old Muggle that had come up behind her and the Men In Black, apparently intent on watching the spectacle.
"Heard what?" asked Jones, his eyes never leaving the scene.
"It's on all the channels," the man said, pointing to several nearby storefronts. Tonks could see that all the televisions on display seemed to be showing the same thing. From the look of things, it appeared to be an aerial shot of the building in front of them - probably shot from another helicopter.
Jones only glanced over the televisions before returning his gaze forward and saying, "We've been otherwise occupied. What's going on over there?"
The old man stepped past them and slowly made his way over to a nearby bench, which sat overlooking the plaza where all the police were arrayed. He sank down, panting slightly, and said, "From what I've heard, it seems like somebody walked into the police station there," he gestured at the besieged building, "and took it and everyone inside hostage."
A terrifying suspicion bloomed within Tonk's chest when she heard this.
"They say it's some crazy kid," the man continued, not noticing her blanch.
"Oh, God," Tonks groaned, suspicion confirmed.
"What's wrong?" the old man asked, looking at her. Jones and Smith were also looking her way, having noticed her pale expression. "Why should you be worried if someone took a police station, of all things, hostage? You don't know someone inside, do you?"
Putting on a fake smile, Tonks shook her head and quickly walked away. The following conversation was not something she wanted a Muggle to overhear. She grabbed both Jones and Smith by their arms as dragged them after her. Once she was sure they were out of earshot, near one of the window displays showing the crisis, she relaxed her hold on them.
Jones looked at her narrowly and stated, "You know something."
Tonks held up a finger and told him to shush for a moment. She was staring at one of the televisions, the words "breaking news" glowing bright red at the top of the screen. Apparently this station was given a minute-by-minute report on the hostage drama that was unfolding not a hundred metres way from where she stood.
She had not lead them this way by accident. Before dragging the two Men In Black over here, Tonks had caught a glimpse of what looked like the black and white footage produced by security cameras. She waited impatiently, desperately hoping her suspicion would prove false, waiting until the security camera footage was repeated.
"You have to be joking," she groaned, as a low quality image of one particular, blonde wizard appeared.
"That's Mister Potter, isn't it?" asked Jones.
Tonks shook her head, not in disagreement, but rather in disbelief. It had to be Harry. She knew it was Harry. Why he was disguised as Draco Malfoy, she did not know, but there was no doubt in her mind that it was her charge standing there on the telly.
"I can't believe Harry's holding a police station hostage," she muttered.