Author's note: Our most loyal reader, RK_Striker_JK_5, needed something to make him smile. (Before any of you claim that title, no, really, he's our walking Wikipedia.) Somehow, this evolved into a group of half a dozen Mormons discussing things like the difference between "high" and "stoned," along with a group discussion of occult practices. Pink Floyd was on-topic somehow.
Also, this collaboration is Eowyn's first crossover fic. She has officially been brought over to the Dark Side by her collaborators, and it's true, they do have cookies - oatmeal-raisin, to be exact. :)
Diagon Alley had seen its fair share of odd happenings. In fact, a day without something worth a double-take was quite rare. However, October 30, 2009 took the proverbial cake.
It all began with a fight between siblings, as so many cataclysms do. Johnny Lord was bored, but he didn't just poke or pinch his younger sister Jen like most bored brothers. No, Johnny was a half-and-half, the son of a wizard and a bank teller. This was his second visit to Diagon Ally which meant he had the rare opportunity to use magic to torment his Muggle sister.
They were waiting in line at Gringotts, and the goblins were taking their own sweet time. Mrs. Lord (uncomfortable with being in both a magical place and a bank that wasn't her own domain) hushed them for the eighth time and added the threat that whoever made the next sound would be grounded from Weasley's Wizard Wheezes.
Three minutes of complete silence followed, which to any disinterested person would have felt ominous. (Mrs. Lord was too self-conscious to count and was far from disinterested anyway.) Johnny didn't have a large repertoire of spells at his disposal, so two minutes was all it took to review them, and the third minute was spent figuring out how to put one of them to his nefarious purposes. Accio was his most recently-acquired spell (contraband learned from Theseus Thorndike, who had learned it from his fourth-year cousin) and it had the benefit of being one of the most versatile spells.
Jen had one major weakness that provided infallible results: she was terrified of bees. Just the sound of a fly buzzing was enough to provoke shudders. The sight of a bee made her shriek. A bee within arm's reach produced a flailing panic attack that was enough to leave an entire room full twelve-year-old boys in stitches.
Theseus always said the key to Accio was focus and, as much as Jen was a distraction, he could picture just the thing to petrify her. A wasp the size of her nose would be bad enough, but there were bees out there bigger than her eye and her reaction would be better than an afternoon at Fortescue's.
So, he clenched his teeth, reached for his walnut wand and hissed, "Accio mega-bumblebee."
The world seemed to blow up. He would have shouted out, but there was no air left in his lungs. No sooner had the words left his mouth than he found himself pinned beneath the wheel of...a car. A car in Gringotts. A Muggle car in Gringotts. Beyond the bumper, he could see dazed goblins scrambling away from a monster they'd probably never even heard of.
"STOP! STOP! STOP!"
A man tumbled out of the passenger-side door and grabbed onto the wing mirror, pulling on the car as if it were a badly-behaved dog.
The car's tires screeched as it backed off and tried in vain to find somewhere else to park. To Johnny's astonishment, it reared back on its hind wheels and in a flourish of moving parts became what looked like a large metal man.
Jen shrieked even louder than if a real bee had just appeared out of thin air. She'd taken cover against her mum's side as soon as the glass started falling from the shattered skylight and seemed more scared of the man than the car.
The man rounded on the car thingy, ranting in an American accent, "What is wrong with you, 'Bee? I told you to stay out of the casino!" He looked up at the broken skylight and muttered under his breath, "No way is NEST going to cover that one." He glared again at the metal monster. "I don't care what Sideswipe told you! One-arm bandits are not real, and even if they were, they aren't Decepticons!"
The car seemed to droop at its driver's rebuke.
It finally occurred to the young man to look around at the rest of the room, and for a surreal moment, he and Johnny locked eyes. Then the American was looking at Mr. Lord and the wand he was brandishing at him and his car. Another glance took in the cowering goblins and the women in witches' robes. "I'm not in Atlantic City, am I?" he finally ventured.
"No," Mr. Lord boldly declared, inching in front of his family and flicking his wrist menacingly. "You are, however, in deep, deep trouble."
"Yeah, what else is new," the American grumbled. As an aside, he asked his car, "Where are we, 'Bee? Tell me it's still Earth."
The car's wings moved in a motion that might have been a shrug. "Canna' tell you, cap'n...can't get a fix!"
Diego Garcia had seen its fair share of odd happenings. In fact, a day without something worth a double-take was quite rare. However, October 30, 2009 took the proverbial cake.
Will Lennox was in the Autobot hangar, waiting for his monthly vid conference with the JCS, which was due to start in ten minutes. It had taken some effort, but he'd finally gotten the hangar under control enough that he wouldn't be embarrassed to talk his superiors. With Will's discreet encouragement, Ratchet had followed through with his threat to mute the twins' vocal processors. In the absence of Bumblebee, Arcee had taken to tormenting Ironhide and the two had been snarking at each other since dawn. Graham had finally banished them to Boomtown and told them to not come back until they could be civil to each other.
"It's like running a primary school," Graham had muttered to Will.
Lennox would have smirked in agreement if he hadn't been the one who had to answer for his immature, ancient Autobots.
In a tone that made his hair stand on end, Optimus Prime interrupted his musings. "Major Lennox, I must speak with you immediately."
The leader of the Autobots no doubt was trying to sound reassuring, but if Optimus needed to cushion whatever he was going to say, then Lennox really didn't want to hear it. But you didn't get into NEST by being a coward, and he turned toward Optimus with grim calm. "Yes?"
"Bumblebee failed to report in at the appointed time, he's not answering hails, and we cannot detect his spark signature."
'Slag' was the first thought came into his mind, quickly followed by 'What are they up to now?' "He and Sam were in New Jersey at last report, right?"
"Any chance he's just...being a knucklehead and playing possum?"
Optimus blinked as he looked up the idioms. "Possible but unlikely. Bumblebee is an Autobot warrior."
"So are Ironhide and Arcee," Will pointed out. He sighed. "Any sign of Decepticons in the area?"
Optimus hesitated and Will mentally cringed. "None at this time. I felt you ought to be made aware before your meeting with the JCS."
'Great,' Will thought. 'So now I can worry about something I can't do anything about.' "Thank you, Prime."
Two minutes before his meeting with the JCS was due to start, Johnston scrambled up the stairs to the communications scaffold. "Sir, I need to speak with you."
Will looked impatiently at his watch. "It'll have to wait."
"I'm sorry, sir, I need to speak with you now. It's about Bumblebee and Sam, sir."
Lennox gave him a stern look. "What about them?"
"Well, sir..." Johnston shifted his weight nervously. "They're...Unplottable at the moment. In Diagon Alley, to be specific. And remember Ratchet and the power-lines?"
"Slag," he muttered.