Disclaimer: Don't own anything, not even the OC (she exists in JKR's universe, after all). No infringement intended, no money being made.

Summary: Voldemort flexes his power across the Atlantic, and Snape is sent to assist the U.S. Department of Magic. Features an original character, who isn't terribly Mary Sue-ish, but I thought I should warn you (I usually don't care for them, myself). Might become a romance, but then, it might not. This story exists so I can explore what the wizarding world in America might be like.

Inspiration for this story came from "I Never Forget A Face" by Strega Brava. She brought Severus Snape to Canada; I want to bring him to the American south.

Rating: R for language. It might get violent at some point. If there's sex, I'll give you another heads up.

Ship: None yet.

An Ocean Away

by Auror Borealis

An Appraisal of Magical Education In America does not describe The Black Bayou Academy of Magic, located outside of New Orleans, as a school for the Dark Arts; not in so many words. But rumors have a way getting around, and when Elspeth Cavanaugh's parents received the letter from the U.S. Department of Magic when she was eleven, they investigated the choices they were presented with as closely as it was possible. This would have been easier had they not been Muggles. An obliging Department wizard provided them with the addresses of several wizarding families, and subsequent correspondence gave them insight into the various schools a young witch might attend.

Distance made them disregard the California Institute of Enchantment. This was mildly disappointing to Elspeth, who thought the surfing program sounded cool. The Highbury School for Young Wizards and Witches, located in Manhattan, also sounded exciting. Upperclassmen were treated to occasional outings in Greenwich Village, and the school's theater program was said to be unrivaled in the wizarding world.

A much closer option was available, so it was to the Blue Ridge School of Magical Arts and Sciences that Elspeth applied. It was boringly close to home, only ninety minutes by car from the Cavanaugh home in suburban Atlanta. Her parents had nearly agreed to Black Bayou, but refused in the end. They would tell her only that Blue Ridge had a more desirable reputation.

Her disappointment did not last. It was still a wizarding school, after all, and it didn't take her long to fall in love with the place. She earned a spot as a Chaser on her school's Quidditch team in her second year, and was able to travel for away games. The team and those attending the matches as spectators were portkeyed to the hosting school, giving her the chance to see what she had passed up. As exciting as these other schools had once seemed, she could no longer imagine choosing one of them over her school in the north Georgia mountains.

After graduation, Elspeth spent four years at Ravenclaw College in Virginia. She attended on a Quidditch scholarship, and majored in Magical Criminology. The college was founded by an alumna of Hogwarts, the wizarding school in Britain, more than three hundred years earlier. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was perhaps the most famous magical school in the world. It was said that Harry Potter himself was a student there.

Upon graduation from Ravenclaw, Elspeth took a job with the Department of Magic's Muggle Law Enforcement Liaison Office. She worked in the Atlanta office with agents from the FBI, the U.S. Marshal's office, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Illegal immigration of wizards and witches didn't happen often, but when it did, it usually got messy. Elspeth was licensed to perform Obliviation, up to Class Three Modifications. She wondered often how she could ever have thought that working as a Federal Magical Enforcement agent would be interesting and rewarding. It seemed as though she never did anything besides Obliviate Muggle civilians and coddle stressed Muggle officers who couldn't deal with contact with the magical world.


"There's a scroll on your desk I want you to take a look at, Elspeth. When you've read it, come to my office." Agent Nick O'Donnell, her boss and on/again, off/again boyfriend, currently off, looked harassed.

The scroll was ragged from being read and re-read many times. It originated with the British Ministry of Magic, she saw with interest. Notes had been added to it, in the columns and between the lines. It made it hard to decipher, but when she did, she understood why Nick looked a bit green.

Ministry sources believed that Voldemort, the British dark wizard who was causing terror in Europe, wanted to widen the scope of his operations. The Ministry had heard rumors, so far unsubstantiated, of Voldemort supporters in positions of authority at the wizarding school in Louisiana. The Atlanta office was the headquarters for magical law enforcement for all of the southeastern United States, so Black Bayou was in their jurisdiction.

She took the scroll with her to Nick's office, and he waved her to a chair while he spoke on the Muggle phone, a necessary piece of equipment with which all the offices were furnished. She waited politely, but with growing impatience, for him to finish.

At last he hung up. "That was the FBI's New Orleans bureau chief. He says a bomb went off on Bourbon Street at about one o'clock last night. Six Muggles were killed."

"That's awful," said Elspeth. The sentiment was sincere, but she did wonder what this had to do with Voldemort.

"Only they don't think it was a bomb. Witnesses, prior to being Obliviated, reported seeing a greenish glow in the sky overhead. None of them got a good look at it, there was too much panic. But the descriptions make it sound like the Dark Mark."

"Holy shit. Death Eaters in the U.S.?"

Nick nodded grimly.

"What has forensics come up with?"

"Nothing. Zilch. No magical residue whatsoever. But the Muggles haven't found any traces of a bomb, either. No blast marks, just damage."

"In other words, if it was magic…"

"It has to be. They'd have found something from a bomb. There's nothing," Nick cut in.

"It takes powerful magic to remove any traces of magic having been used."

"Yep. Definitely Dark Arts stuff. That's where you come in."

"I'm not a field operative, Nick," she sighed. "I do Muggle hand-holding."

"Actually, this time, you're going to be doing wizard hand-holding. Although from what I hear, this guy won't need much of that. You're just going to make sure he gets whatever he needs from us, and keep the Muggles away from him. You're also going to keep tabs on him for us."

"Who is it? And why does he need watching?"

"We're not sure he does. But he's a former Death Eater." Elspeth gasped at this. "Precisely. I'm told he's completely reliable, but still, with a history like that…"

She nodded. "Here's his file," he said, handing her another scroll, this one marked "confidential." She opened it, and it was of course blank. She tapped it with her wand, and subvocalized her password. Words and pictures appeared, and she began to read.

"This guy's a teacher? If we need a consultant from the Brits, why not an Auror?" She shuddered slightly; the sallow, sour-looking man in the first photo scowled back at her. "Not exactly James Bond, is he?" Nick grinned at her observation.

"No, he's not pretty. And his role isn't to consult. He's got authorization to take any action necessary against any agents of Voldemort that he finds. That's another reason you're going to tag along with him. And he might be a teacher, but then, how many Aurors are former Death Eaters? That's an advantage, if a scary one. And like you, he's a Dark Arts specialist."

"Well, that would figure, I guess. But it says here he teaches Potions."

Nick shrugged. "Ask him about that when he gets here, if you want. Which should be in about an hour."

"An hour? Jeez, Nick, I've got to go!" She jumped up and shoved the file scroll into her robes. There was so much research to do before the British agent arrived. She headed to the top floor to requisition a Time-Turner. An hour wouldn't be nearly long enough.