A VISIT TO ST. LOUIS

Chapter 1: A Brit in America

"What the hell am I doing here? I should have let one of those younger snots from the order do this but nooo...I had to put my two knuts worth in and Dumbledore called me on it. Sometimes, Sirius, you are your own worst enemy," a black haired, tall man with a straggly black mustache and rakish good looks, wearing clothing that barely looked appropriate for modern times, chastised himself, as he moved rapidly along a busy sidewalk an hour or so before dark.

Despite his grousing, he had to admit this place was fascinating and definitely his kind of hangout. If it weren't for that bleeding war, he'd love to stay here for a while and check things out.

But he was here on business. They had word a death eater by the name of Yeager Monksworth (what a name to be stuck with) had come here on a special mission for the Dark Lord. No one was sure what he was supposed to be looking for or getting here but anything Voldemort was interested in, the order needed to investigate and stop.

Sighing, Sirius Black hurried without seeming to, as he followed the person he'd been tailing for the past two weeks now. He had to keep a low profile so the man wouldn't know he was being shadowed. This wasn't too hard a task as the streets were filled with people going about their business.

He'd received the usual warnings about this part of St. Louis from contacts that lived in both worlds. It had been an eye opening learning experience to learn vampires, werewolves and other preternatural creatures were out in the open and living among the muggles more or less peacefully. (Of course, there were still those that killed what they hated and feared so it wasn't all that safe around here.) One had to be very circumspect about revealing what they were despite the openness that was professed to exist.

He didn't need a warning to be cautious despite his usual nature of recklessness. He could plainly feel the suspicion and nervousness of the muggles he passed despite their outward eagerness to partake of the scary and dangerous.

'Guess muggles just like being frightened for the hell of it,' he mused.

Still, despite the need to be alert to danger, Sirius couldn't deny the exhilaration of being in a place that was modern, exciting and allowed the supernatural to walk among them just like anyone else.

While staying in the house of a squib, the one who had been monitoring Monksworth for them until he could get here, he could clearly see why muggle students had so much trouble adjusting to the magical world.. He'd been introduced to all the cool modern conveniences and toys: washer and dryers, microwaves, computers, TVs, movie houses, video games (now those would be so useful during those dreadfully long meetings and stakeouts), CD players, cell phones, Ipods, cool looking clothes and fast food (he could get fat on that but oh how he loved french fries and fat juicy burgers. He'd never ate so well before.) and found it all fantastic and fun but if he was forced to make a choice between the modern muggle world and the magical one, he would choose magic.

Shaking off his musings, he realized his quarry had entered an area with the highest concentration of preternaturals he'd ever felt since arriving in St. Louis. He could feel their heat energy easily as they walked past him, making the hair on his neck rise.

Before coming here, he had no idea there were so many different types of Weres and hadn't believed his informant, but after being here for more than two weeks, he was forced to believe him. He'd already detected a rat, leopard, wolves (of course), and OMG was that a lion that just went into that store?

'Wow! Remus would just love it here. Poor bugger could finally feel at home and maybe find acceptance and peace at last. Hey, maybe these guys could help him control his beast...worth asking.' His ruminating ended when he saw his target enter an eatery called the Lunatic Café ... strange name.

He lingered on the street a few minutes before entering the place himself. Keeping himself inconspicuous, he discovered immediately why it was called such a name...the place fairly bristled with lycanthrope energy. 'Woah! Must be their local hangout. What the heck does Monksworth want here?'

Frowning to himself, Sirius casually took a seat at the long curving bar and pulled a menu out of the holder in front of him, pretending to read it while watching his target meet someone in a back corner of the café.

The person his target walked up to was sitting at a small table and was nothing special, except for being a werewolf, of course. He was dark complected with brown hair, slim body and dressed in dark blue tee and black jeans. He didn't shake Monksworth's hand, just gestured for the man to sit down.

Sirius chewed his lip as he tried to figure out how he could listen in on their conversation when his attention was forcibly dragged away by an energy that was so much stronger than anyone in here that he nearly came out of his seat to defend himself, his hand on his hidden wand.

Turning his head carefully, he saw a big man with wavy brown hair and brown eyes in a very handsome face and broad through the chest showing he worked out, entering the café and pass behind him. The man was more than six feet tall, taller than Sirius and the energy pouring off him was like a halo that Sirius could almost touch. He could see the man did have it tightly controlled which meant he was even more powerful than what Sirius was able to feel.

Gulping in shock, he realized this had to be an alpha wolf, maybe even the damn leader of the local pack here. Wow! Was he something! Sirius nearly drooled. He was bisexual and that piece of beefcake was to die for. He sighed. 'Get your mind back to work, Siri,' he scolded himself. 'Maybe hook up later...if he's willing.'

Mister tall, powerful, and oh so handsome went to sit with a large group that already sat around a corner table. Two other really big guys, one black and the other Asian, had followed him in and took seats on either side of him. Oh yes, the leader for sure because if those two weren't guards, he'd eat his wand.

A sudden, loud altercation in the corner where his target was, jerked his attention back to why he was here in the first place. Frowning, he saw the dark complected man holding Monksworth's coat collar, had pulled him over the table top so he could shout in the man's face.

"I won't be threatened by some worthless foreigner like you," he snarled hotly then stood up still holding Monksworth, shook him hard then tossed the man into another table filled with people who shouted and growled, literally, at the offender.

'Aw crap!' Sirius thought, trying to decide if he should leave or stay to find out if he could get any information from Monksworth's angry response to the attack.

Before he could make up his mind, Monksworth did a truly stupid thing...he pulled his wand.

"Die muggle scum! The Dark Lord has no need of sniveling creatures like you! Avada Kedavra!"

Out flashed that sickly green light, Sirius knew far too well, striking the werewolf, extinguishing his life instantly. The fool! He must be totally insane and arrogant to pull such a stunt in here with all these lycanthropes surrounding him. It reminded him of his sick cousin, Bellatrix.

Whatever his mind set, Sirius couldn't allow him to attack anyone else since he could tell there were no other magic users here to stop him and preternaturals weren't immune to the Killing Curse, obviously, not even mister powerful who was already on his feet, surrounded by other wolves.

Though fast and deadly in their own right, werewolves simply couldn't stop Monksworth's next spell fast enough before it killed a great many of them. Naturally, since they outnumbered him, eventually they would succeed but not before the altercation brought the local police and aurors down on them. No, this needed to end immediately and since he was the only one here who could do it...he pulled his wand, pushed his way through the blocking on lookers to reach the wizard.

"Experiallams!" he shouted, pointing his wand at his enemy.

Though startled to see another wizard, Monksworth was, unfortunately, a seasoned fighter. He quickly blocked Sirius' spell and followed up with a nasty hex which Sirius blocked easily. The battle was on.

Sirius barely noticed when the lycanthropes moved out of his way, giving the floor to the two of them. Over the next nerve-wracking minutes, the two traded spells and curses, neither gaining over the other until Sirius managed to finally disarm his opponent.

"Evanesco!" he barked...Monksworth's wand flew from his hand and Sirius quickly followed up with a "Crucio!" Sending the man writhing in agony to the floor.

Heaving for breath, Sirius kept a close eye on his prisoner. All around him a silent crowd watched and waited, silently. When he went to Monksworth side and leaned down to collect the man's wand, only then did the tableau break with everyone muttering and asking questions about what was going on.

Straightening up, Sirius blinked in surprise when the big man's guards pushed past him and picked up Monksworth, holding him between them, awaiting further orders. Despite the man still writhing and jerking in pain, they held him easily.

Before Sirius could object, explain, or do anything, the leader stepped to his side and eyed him coldly, sending a thrill of fear up his spine.

"So, are you a good guy or do we need to do something about you?" he asked coolly, his voice a pleasant tenor.

"Good guy actually."

The leader's eyes rose in surprise. "Is that a British accent I'm hearing?"

"Yes, it is. I'm Sirius Black, at your service, sir!" Sirius gave a brief nod of his head, no reason not to be polite and it could keep his hide intact as the situation was really hairy (no pun intended).

Frowning, the leader looked around a moment then spoke in a strong, firm voice, "no word of this gets to the authorities. Just say it was a minor altercation, handled by ejecting the parties involved." Heads nodded obediently.

'Oh yes, he's the leader alright,' Sirius thought, relieved the man had the authority to sweep the incident under the rug as he didn't want this brought to the attention of the American Wizarding Society either.

"Let's you and your...uh...prisoner...go somewhere more private. I would like some answers," the leader told him...Sirius clearly knew it wasn't a request as he and Monksworth were quickly and quietly hustled out of the Café and taken to an SUV in the parking lot.

He was instructed to sit in the middle seat while the Asian and another wolf went to bracket the other wizard in the seat in the rear of the SUV. The black guy took the driver's seat and yet another wolf sat beside him while the leader sat next to Sirius.

Within minutes they were on the road. No one said anything except for the moans of the prisoner. The drive took about thirty minutes and at its end, he found them pulling into a rather nice looking house with a carefully tended yard. It was situated at the end of a dead end street and set some distance from other homes.

They off loaded and headed to the front door. Inside the home was just as nice and comfortable as the outside had promised, though it was fairly obvious it was a bachelor pad as there were no feminine touches anywhere about. Interesting.

When they were assembled in the living room and the guards had spread out except for the two managing the prisoner, the leader turned to face Sirius.

"Any particular dangers we need to be aware of to contain this guy," he asked, pointing at Monksworth.

Sirius shook his head. "Not really. Without his wand he's pretty much an ordinary person but just to be on the safe side..." he pulled his wand out and barked, "Confundus!" The prisoner sighed in relief but had a very confused look on his face. "There that should hold him."

"What did you do?"

"I placed a spell of confusion on him. He won't be able to think well enough to try to escape. It'll hold for several hours before it wears off but some sturdy ropes would be a wise precaution as well," Sirius said, disarmingly.

The leader nodded. "Take him down to the basement, rear room, tie him up and you take first watch Blaine." The two guards left and hauled the prisoner out of sight.

"Would you like something to drink? My name is Richard, by the way." Richard turned away and made for the kitchen forcing Sirius to follow him. The black man and Asian were close on his heels.

"I'd love an American beer if you have one. I find I've developed a taste for a variety of them since I got here," Sirius answered, admiring the firm ass as it walked ahead of him.

"Sure, no problem." Richard went to the fridge and pulled out a Millers turning to hand it to Sirius, gesturing for the man to sit at the kitchen table. "Let's sit and talk." The black man took up a post in the doorway while the Asian went to lean against a nearby counter.

Richard sprawled in his chair appearing at ease but Sirius wasn't fooled. He could feel the tension in all those powerful bodies surrounding him. The leader's eyes were alert and watchful.

He took a seat across from the wolf and downed a huge swallow of his beer. 'Okay, how much do I tell him?' he wondered, worriedly.