Cops and Wizards
Internal Summary/Disclaimer: After the events of If You Don't Believe, It Might Still Find You, the NYAO wizards find themselves in the middle of another mysterious murder and call in their new experts. While the successful resolution of their last case has gained more access to the wizarding world for Beckett's team, trying to solve a case where a lot of modern techniques just don't work remains a challenge. Again, I don't claim any ownership of Castle or Harry Potter.
Chapter One: Rick Castle and the Second Call
Rick Castle had been just a tiny bit dissatisfied that their first contact with the mysterious world of magic and wizards had ended in a fairly quick resolution with a relatively mundane motive. Not that he wasn't happy to stop a serial murderer, and of course passion was always one of the classics, along with greed and politics. He knew that better than anyone. Still – magic! Shouldn't that add some new variables and twists of its own? There had been excitement and fun because, well, magic!
Yet as much as Rick found both magic and the three representatives they'd worked with utterly fascinating, it had been frustrating that his team - well, Beckett's team - had been largely excluded from the magical portion of the investigation. So as much of a show as he made of being disappointed it was over to annoy Beckett, he wasn't really all that sorry to see them go.
Which was not to say that he wasn't interested when they called Beckett up again asking for help on another of their cases! Call him an optimist, but he didn't think it was so wildly improbable to hope they might actually get to see further into that world this time around. In fact, the call to Beckett resolved with plans for their team to be escorted to the NYAO's offices for this new case. Sure, offices weren't that exciting normally, but it was a wizard office! Not even to mention that he still wanted to know what the auror's story was. Every time anyone had brought up their origins in England, or the prejudices of wizards, all three of their new friends had gotten quiet and tense. He was pretty sure it also had to do with that dark wizard they'd mentioned, Vold-something. He had just enough pieces to be sure the rest of the story had to be pretty juicy.
The downside, of course, was that Beckett was supremely unhappy to be called back. She'd really hated that last case and all the roadblocks to her usual methods of investigation, and even if he hadn't been as good at reading her as he was, it was clear she was very displeased at the prospect of putting up with all that again. It took a good long chat in Montgomery's office after the phone call ended to bring the detective around to the conclusion that this was something they ought to do. Castle hadn't been invited in, but he suspected there had been a great deal of cajoling about how cooperation between departments maintained good relations with everybody and perhaps ended with a nudge about how unfortunate it would be if a murderer went free just because assisting on this case would be a hassle. In fact, he played a whole imaginary version of the conversation out in his head while he waited for Beckett.
He tried not to act too excited when she came back out, her expression showing she'd given in. The effort was in vain as his pretense clearly wasn't doing anything to fool Beckett. She rolled her eyes at him and told him to go home not too long after exiting Montgomery's office. The team had been finishing paperwork on a previous case, and though he didn't generally stick around for the desk work part of the job, he hadn't gotten around to leaving the precinct quite yet when the call came in.
Castle couldn't say he was completely certain he understood what Beckett was thinking or feeling about him at any given time, but he was pretty sure that a lot of her annoyance with him was feigned. Otherwise she'd have asked him to leave years ago, right? Still, if this case got her even half as irritated as the last one had, perhaps he was better off going home and letting her have the rest of the afternoon to herself. Give her some extra time to build up her tolerance levels before she had to deal with him and magic together again. He was sure she hadn't wanted him to know, but he'd noticed she'd been extra vigilant going over crime scenes lately, looking for anything magical now they all knew there was a whole other world out there. It was part of what made her such a good detective, but he was a bit disappointed that magic seemed to be little more than another way to kill people to Kate Beckett.
On the plus side, he had gotten some more ideas for the latest Nikki Heat since the last magically-linked case. Which wasn't to say that the idea of writing about magic was any less tempting than it had been. Aside from a few vague sketches he'd outlined, though, he simply didn't have enough knowledge of the wizarding world to write about it, and making up something wholesale without any research just wasn't his style. Between that realization and a particularly interesting case they'd had involving a group of college cheerleaders last week, his high-tech home murder board was full of juicy details for his next book and the writing of it was coming along pretty well. Getting some hours of writing in today would be a good thing, even if he wasn't officially behind yet.
Of course, part of the reason he'd been loitering around the precinct was because the loft would be empty - both his mother and Alexis had big plans for their evenings. Martha had some theater event to attend and would likely be out all night, while his daughter was at a sleepover birthday party. He hadn't wanted to spend the evening home alone. Now, it was kind of a good thing. They knew him too well not to notice how excited he got about certain cases, and since he normally shared details, it would be easier to avoid blurting out anything about the fact that tomorrow would be spent with wizards if his family weren't around. Not that he would, he'd managed to keep the last case a mystery, but the secret was still a hard one to keep. Although the fact that wizards were such an insular bunch and had sounded very serious about enforcing their secrecy laws did help some. Also, even knowing about magic now he still hadn't seen much of it, and that left less to get excited about. Which was just a real let down. Hopefully tomorrow that would start to change!
The next morning, Castle was up and at the precinct bright and early with Beckett's coffee in eagerness for their meeting with Potter. A little too early, perhaps, considering that Beckett's mood was just as bad as he'd expected it might be. The plainly unamused look on her face he could see stepping off the elevator left him spending the time waiting with Esposito and Ryan at their desk instead of in the usual spot by his detective's side.
When he arrived the boys were well into a heated discussion about the relative merits of a couple of the newest video games, so he was perfectly happy to join right in. It was all in good fun until a loud exchange about the costume on a particular character lead to Beckett making a crack about them being such a bunch of girls. After that, they moved things to the break room for a little while so she couldn't make fun. Beckett just didn't understand the importance of some things.
Potter finally made an appearance coming out of the elevator about two hours later, and the team began shutting down what they were doing (even if they were being temporarily reassigned for the next few days there was always paperwork, it seemed) and gathering up their coats to leave. The wizard greeted them cordially enough, and directed them all to get on the elevator. Once inside he produced a long, thin woman's scarf from one of his pockets which he directed them to take hold of. Castle immediately reached out, but the detectives all exchanged glances at the oddness of this first, before doing as they were asked.
Once they all had a grip on the material, the man muttered, "3...2...1...now" which had an immediate effect. It was a bizarre feeling that came over him then - it was as if someone had stuck a hook in his gut and jerked hard on it. The sensation wasn't quite painful but it was definitely unpleasant. It was also a bit of a shock to look up after searching for a physical cause for the pain and realize they were in a different place altogether. In the middle of being bemused by the change of location, he was knocked off his feet. Potter was still standing, but the rest of them had hit the floor from the disorientation of travel. Luckily they had more space around them than they'd begun with in the elevator.
Potter said, "Welcome to the New York Auror's Office," as they all picked themselves up off the floor. He was only smiling a little bit at their awkwardness.
"What the heck was that? And why did it look like a ladies' scarf?" Ryan asked.
"That was a portkey. They're pretty hard to create for the average wizard and are usually monitored closely, so they aren't used very often aside from big events and unusual circumstances. We just recently got a special dispensation for using them with our non-magical specialists, which has made things much easier on us. Not a lot of magical travel is muggle group-friendly. "
Since the office they were in was not too much different from any other office at first glance, even if it was a magic office, Castle felt his interest captured by what Potter had said. "What kind of big events?"
Harry motioned for them to follow him while he answered the question. "Oh, major sporting events, the occasional international conference, that sort of thing. Once we get business taken care of maybe I can get permission to take you out to a quidditch game – or quodpot, if it's all that's on offer. American wizards generally prefer quodpot, but for me it's just not the same."
"Those are sports, I'm guessing?" Esposito asked, sounding dubious.
"Played on broomsticks," the auror confirmed with a grin.
"Dude, seriously?" Potter just laughed at Esposito's disbelief.
As this conversation was taking place, they were walking through a fairly open area with cubicles – again, not unlike any regular office, except the desks lacked computers or any other evidence of modern technology. Aside from a few weirdly animate pieces of paper zooming by on their way somewhere else, the room contained nothing more interesting than a bunch of people writing reports – though to be fair they were dressed in robes. Castle was starting to worry that maybe they still wouldn't get to see any more of this overtly magical world than an office building, but wasn't about to let that dampen his enthusiasm quite yet. Finally, Potter led them into a side room, where Granger and Weasley were sitting at a table, waiting for them to arrive.
As the group of them took their seats around the table, Potter was given a sheaf of folders from Granger, which he then proceeded to hand out to each of them. Castle of course immediately flipped his open, and was astonished by the picture just inside.
The victim was a girl who looked a bit younger than Potter and his friends did, lying face down with a knife handle protruding from her back on the floor of what appeared to be a pet shop. That wasn't so extraordinary. The part that made it truly intriguing was how the animals in the cages on the wall behind the girl were visibly moving, most notably a big fluffy cat pacing back and forth immediately behind her head. There were further shots of the scene from different angles and they were just as fascinatingly mobile. Wizards might be less exciting than they had first seemed with their exclusionary way of life, but magic was still so cool.
Castle noticed that there were other papers in the folder – actually, the documents were more like parchment, even if they were typed – but by the time he had managed to pull his eyes away from the spectacle of the moving photos to start looking over them, Beckett had spoken up. "Why don't you go ahead and give us an overview?"
Granger was the one who took up the challenge. "Sara Klein was an assistant working at Wondrous Animals, the biggest magical pet store on Lumos Avenue – that's New York's magical shopping district. The owner worked with her through yesterday morning, until they closed down for lunch. Sara stayed at the shop and Mr. Fogle went out to meet with his wife, like he does every afternoon. When he came back a few hours later so he'd be around for the busier evening shift, the shop had been opened back up for business and he found her like that."
She paused for a moment, before starting again. "We mentioned before, there aren't usually a lot of murders in the wizarding world where it's not immediately obvious who did it. This seems to be one of the exceptions. We talked to Mr. Fogle and his other shop assistant, as well as Sara's family, her boyfriend, and her roommate. So far as any of them said, she had no quarrels with anyone, nor anyone that would obviously benefit from her death, and she wasn't killed with magic. Nothing seems to be missing from the shop so far as Fogle can tell, either."
"We could really use your help," Potter concluded.
A/N: I'm honestly not sure this is even as good as the last one, but I think it's about as finished as it's going to get. It's a matter of posting it or waffling indefinitely, so I've finally decided to go with posting it. There will be a total of ten short chapters. Reviews are awesome if you feel like leaving them whether they're good, bad, or indifferent.