|Summary:||In which love is found in all the wrong places.|
|Source:||"Cosmic Love" by Izzie Jackson.|
|Continua:||Twilight and Harry Potter.|
|Timeline:||Mid-2011; shortly after "The Misadventures of Phobos, Part One – Bad Slash."|
|Published:||January 26, 2012.|
|Rating:||PG-13/T - MPreg, swearing, and more closet jokes than is healthy.|
The Lichen was not accustomed to having agents in his office shouting at him. He was not the Sunflower Official; he was not nearly so well known, and hadn't nearly so many people working for him. For that reason, he didn't even have a place on the Board of Department Heads anymore. And, if he said so himself, he was far more genial than his peers. He really didn't deserve this.
Are you quite finished? he asked when Nume finally seemed to have exhausted his laundry list of grievances. Or possibly his lung capacity. Lungs were overrated, and oxygen, too. Would you like a cool beverage, perhaps? I understand these things help.
Nume glared. "Don't condescend to me. I don't care if you do sound like John Cleese; it's not cute. I want to know why you're trying to ruin my partner. It's been one thing after another for the last few years, and I've had it. First Sues, then all these damned co-missions, and now sending him off with a Yeerk, for Christ's sake. What's next, dammit?"
The Lichen was silent while he considered the question. What sort of answer would be least likely to result in further bollocking? Perhaps I misjudged, he said at last.
Perhaps granting you some time apart from Agent Ilraen to relax and recuperate yourself was not the right idea after all.
Nume's expression quickly flipped from outrage to what can only be described as "oh, shit." Very good.
The Queen Anne's Lace tells me one of her agents has been in need of a partner for some time now, the Lichen went on, blithely talking over the protests that sprang from Nume's mouth at the mention of the Bad Slash director. Perhaps a change of pace is just what you need. Yes, I think so. I believe Agent Decima is in the Department of Fictional Psychology. I will make sure a mission is sent to her console. Now, bugger off like a good lad.
" . . . and I don't know what happened. The wraith broke out of the circle that I drew around Ginny and Hermione. That's never happened before." The agent on the couch took a moment to run her fingers through her short, red hair. Her gaze traveled around the room, anything to not look at her therapist. "I mean, it isn't like I don't know what I'm doing. I've done exorcisms before. Even the idiot they sent for backup wasn't totally useless. It should have gone off without a hitch. It's the 'ritual'," she spat the word out in disgust, "that's the problem. It's too complicated. Why do you need the candles and the circle? What's the point of the noise? It makes no sense. There has to be a better way. A few words, the right flick of the wand and it's done. This archaic crap has to go. I wanna know what bonehead thought all of that up, anyway." It took her a moment to realize what she had just said. She hastily added, "No offense."
"None taken, I assure you," said Nurse Mirrad in his usual calm manner. "I endeavor to not take anything my patients say personally. I believe that would be counterproductive."
"Well, I'm sorry anyway," mumbled Agent Decima.
"Accepted," said Mirrad in the same serene way. He put his notebook down to give her a Minbari bow, his hands forming a triangle at chest level. "Now, I believe I may have something for you to think about between sessions. Consider the fact that exorcisms happen in the PPC on a daily basis. The methods that we employ are well tested. I suggest that, perhaps, it is not a failing of the ritual, but a failing of faith that caused the incident during your last mission. You say you are sure there is a better way, a simpler way. I think that you should find a method of exorcising wraiths that you can believe in. You come from a world where magic is more academic than in others; perhaps a more scientific approach would be more appropriate?"
Agent Decima was embarrassed. She spent the whole time that Mirrad was talking looking at a sandal that he kept on his desk. She was a witch, dammit! Faith shouldn't even factor in to it.
This inner monologue would have continued, but Mirrad's voice had changed. "Agent Decima, are you feeling well?"
Decima looked at him. His face betrayed nothing, but his voice had an edge of worry. She wondered what he was so worried about. Then she realized that her cheeks were tacky. Had she been crying? She didn't remember crying. What in Merlin's name was wrong with her today?
"I'm fine." She started rubbing at her cheeks, giving away the lie. "Just a little frustrated, I suppose. Are we done?"
"For the moment," replied the Minbari. "I will expect you to stop in for another session when you have the time."
Decima got up from the couch and moved to the door. "I will," she lied again. "It might be a while, though. You know how these things go."
"I do. Which is why I will remind you that the Queen Anne's Lace receives my reports and may begin to wonder if she only gets one."
"Fine! I'll come back after my next mission." That should give her some time. She didn't even have a partner. They wouldn't send her out again before they fixed that . . . would they?
"Very well. I will walk you out. It is almost time for my shift to start at the front desk."
Finally! Decima opened the door and headed into the hallway. She strode purposefully down the halls and Mirrad followed, a short distance behind her. The two passed through the unit in silence except for the click of Decima's boots on the generic surface and the swishing of their robes.
As they neared the front desk, and Decima's blessed freedom, they were met by the voice of an innocent in distress.
"Listen, Agent Supernumerary, I'm sorry, but I really don't know. It's not the same here—I predicted tantaflaf night in the Cafeteria yesterday, but last week I predicted the Assimilation Crisis right in front of Nurse Dewstan. I don't remember what I said to you, but it's probably meaningless." The voice belonged to the young blond man behind the desk, and while its essence was calm and dreamy, full of genuine regret at being unable to help, it was scattered with nightmarish notes of panic. Sixteen-year-old Alex Bjørnsen hadn't been a nurses' assistant for very long, and he was unaccustomed to facing the kind of impatience that could be brought to bear by an agent trying to act like it was his idea to be someplace he'd been ordered by a Flower.
"How can you not—" Nume cut himself off and pressed his lips together before starting over. "I don't have time for this. Who's supposed to be here? Last I heard, they didn't leave interns in charge of the nurses' station."
"That would be me," said Mirrad, coming to the rescue of the hapless assistant. "I am glad to see you again, Agent Supernumerary. Have you come for an appointment?"
Decima took the opportunity to sidle toward the door. She didn't want any part of whatever was going on.
"Huh," Nume scoffed. He turned to face the Minbari. "No. I'm looking for Agent Decima. I was told she'd be here, but this kid was no help."
Decima froze at the sound of her name and then slowly turned to face everyone. "Why are you looking for her?" she inquired. She didn't know this man from Adam and was definitely not a fan of the attitude he had displayed so far.
Before Nume could answer with more than a raised eyebrow, Mirrad interjected, "As I am sure you are aware, Agent Supernumerary, we are not permitted to disclose patient information. That includes such things as who is currently in session. It would impede progress if you were to barge in on them."
Nume sighed. "The only privacy around here comes from keeping your damn mouth shut. I didn't say she was a patient, just that she was here. And I know she's been short a partner. Lucky day, today it's me. The Flowers are showing us how much they care about our progress again, isn't that nice?" Sar-Plasm™ started to ooze from the walls.
The Minbari looked at the goo on the walls. "Intern Bjørnsen, please inform Janitorial that Agent Supernumerary has been to visit. They will want to clean this up before it dries." He turned back to Nume. "I regret to inform you that your new partner is no longer here. She ran out the door while we were talking. If you leave now, you may catch her. Have a pleasant day, Agent Supernumerary." The last sentence was directed at Nume's back as he cursed and sprinted through the doors.
Decima ran through the halls. She wasn't ready for a new mission, and they couldn't make her go on one if she didn't have a partner. So, she reasoned, they couldn't make her go if her new partner couldn't catch her. She could hear him behind her, yelling for her to stop. She cursed her short legs and lack of athletic ability. He was going to catch her if she didn't do something. She dodged other agents, looking for anything she could use. She saw a female agent from the archives, carrying a thick folder full of papers. Decima took aim with her shoulder and slammed through the folder, sending it, along with far more papers than it should have held, flying. She stumbled and yelled an apology over her shoulder to the now disheveled agent. Decima looked back long enough to see Nume charge through the cloud of papers, one arm held up to protect his face, the other windmilling for balance. The man had longer legs than could possibly be legal and he was quickly catching up.
When Decima turned to look where she was going, she found herself staring at a fruit cart that had rolled out of a connecting hallway. She was barely able to avoid slamming into it, and her robes caught a wooden pin that was, apparently, holding one side in place. Various citrus fruits cascaded from the cart. Why do we have a fruit cart? What possible purpose could that serve? she thought as she ran on.
It served to trip up Nume, at any rate: he was right behind her and got caught in the cascade, stumbling to one knee when his foot came down on a lime. He picked himself up again, hissing curses through his teeth, and lunged after the escaping woman. In four paces, he was close enough to reach out and grab her by the shoulder.
"Just stop, will you?" he said in a ragged breath as he spun her around.
His vision exploded into whiteness. He staggered back a step and shook his head, and the whiteness filled with black specks. Taking off his glasses didn't help. More calmly than he would have believed possible after being slapped, he said, "You bitch. What the hell?"
"Oh my god," she said, shocked at her own reaction. "I'm so sorry. Did I hurt you?"
"Yes, it frelling hurt! Christ!" There, there was the anger. Good. He blinked furiously, trying to get his sight back to normal, and probed the side of his face. He could still feel the sting.
"Well . . . you shouldn't grab people like that, then!"
"Well, you shouldn't have run!"
"You were chasing me!"
"You ran away first!"
"Because you were so damned pissed off in FicPsych! Pissed-off people looking for you is generally a good sign that running should happen!"
"I'm not pissed at you, I'm pissed at the Lichen for sending me on a mission with some stranger out of spite. I'm not happy."
"Oh . . . ." She wasn't quite sure how to respond to that. It hadn't occurred to her that someone else might be a victim here.
"Yeah." Nume could see again, more or less, and he slipped his green-framed glasses back on so he could focus on the woman without squinting. "So. You're Agent Decima. Of Bad Slash," he added grimly.
"Yes," she said. "And you are . . . ?" It had only now occurred to her to find out who she had slapped.
"Agent Supernumerary, Implausible Crossovers." He pointed to the Flying Pig flash patch on his shoulder. "The Lichen told me it'd get a mission sent to your console." He raised an eyebrow meaningfully.
"Of course he did," she said with a sigh. "My RC is a mess at the moment; my old partner used to do the cleaning. Follow me." She headed off, trying to distract herself enough to make it a short trip. If this was going to happen, then it was going to happen quickly. "So . . . any clue where that fruit cart came from?"
Nume shrugged. "There's always a fruit cart in chase scenes. Also, citrus prevents scurvy."
RC 9¾ was about average, as far as response centers go. It had bunk beds that folded up against the wall, to give extra space to move in the tiny room. It also had a bathroom in which you could likely use the shower, sink, and toilet at the same time, without moving. It wasn't much, but Rockheart, the mini-Aragog, called it home. He had built himself a lovely guitar-shaped web in one corner and even allowed a human to use the rest of the space. He was idly strumming the stings of his web when his human returned.
"Forgive the mess," said Decima as she led the way into the room. "Can you check on the mission while I grab a few things?"
Nume supposed the unstowed and unmade lower bunk coupled with a green-and-black striped sock in the middle of the floor counted for mess, though even by his standards it wasn't much. Without commenting, he hit the button under the flashing green light on the console and peered at the Intelligence report that came up.
He peered a little more.
"God dammit," he said to himself. Then, louder, "Do you know anything about Twilight?"
Decima stopped digging through her closet and looked at Nume for a moment. She blushed, looked away, and said, "I . . . mumble mutter . . . ."
"I see." He sighed and massaged the spot between his eyebrows. "Should we be packing Anti-Lustin?"
"NO!" she exclaimed, flushing an even deeper shade of red. "I said I've seen the movies, and I think the background characters are kind of interesting, but there's no reason to bring Anti-Lustin into this."
Nume put a hand up defensively. "Okay, fine." He changed the subject, curling his lip at what he had to report. "Intel says pretty much everyone is in bed with everyone else, and there's MPreg" —he shuddered— "so that's your ballgame. In mine . . . it's post–Battle of Hogwarts, and Harry Potter characters end up in Forks for some reason. I'll get them back to England once you've exorcised them. My partner has all my equipment, though, so I'll have to borrow yours."
"A crossover? I've never actually worked one of those. Are the standard CAD and remote activator good enough, or do you need something more specialized?"
"I'll make up my mind when I get there," Nume said. "The Despatch kit isn't always necessary—it's not like anyone is going to be poisoned by eating food from the other 'verse in this case. Let's go."
"If we need anything else, we can always just portal back, right?" She pulled her bag on and adjusted the single strap. That done, she punched in the co-ordinates and opened the portal. "Shall we?" Without waiting for his reply, she strode through.
They hadn't set disguises, so Nume got to step into a badfic in his own skin for the first time since Ilraen had broken their disguise generator four years ago. According to the Words, the sun had just gone down, and it was dark in Malfoy Manor. There wasn't much to see until something moved in the middle of the floor.
Nume pulled his notebook out of his pocket. "Coffins in Malfoy Manor. Never a good sign," he whispered.
"You've obviously never been to one of their parties," commented Decima with a grin. The grin was short-lived, however.
A coffin opened, releasing Luna Lovegood.
Decima's jaw dropped. What, in the name of all that was magical, was Luna doing in a coffin, let alone a coffin in Malfoy Manor? Then she noticed the dark eyes and fangs. "They . . . turned Luna into a vampire?" she whispered. "They turned Luna Lovegood into a vampire?" She wasn't whispering anymore and her face was growing red again.
"Shh." Nume shot her a reproachful look. Not that either of them could see very well. "Calm down, it's only the first paragraph. Are you a spaz or something?"
Decima regained her composure, with some difficulty. "I'm just . . . " she tried to explain. "She's so innocent and care-free. She'd be a terrible vampire." Time for a change of subject, before she started babbling. "And the coffin thing. Twilight vampires don't sleep in coffins. Hell, they don't sleep at all. They aren't the classic Dracula-types. That's a charge."
"Maybe. We don't know very much about vampires in Potterverse. It might be passable with their rules, though it would be nice if the narrative specified which ones are in effect." He frowned, tapping his pen against the pad. "Well, come on, she's moving."
They followed Luna out of the room and stopped short.
"That's exceedingly odd," Nume said, looking the hallway up one way and down the other. "It's got to be a quarter of a mile in either direction, at least."
"The Words say this is 'the hallway of the Manor'," noted Decima. "I guess every room in Malfoy Manor opens onto this hallway now. I imagine it would make it really easy to find your way around. Just have to know that the bathroom is the four-hundred seventh door on the left."
Nume grunted a laugh and led the way after Luna again. The agents had plenty of time to catch up before she reached her destination. This was never described in detail, but it was at the extreme end of the hallway and had a door to the outside in it, so it was probably some sort of front room.
Luna found Harry Potter in Draco Malfoy's lap. Harry rushed to her and, after asking how she'd slept, ran his fingers over three scars on her neck.
Decima squinted and asked, "Do those scars look like Mick Jagger to you?"
"What?" Nume looked at the scars, blinked, and looked at the Words. "'Three jaggar-like gashes', it says, given to her by Death Eaters. Guess that was the best the universe could do with it. Must've been some torture."
"Rockheart would get a kick out of that. The little guy loves the Rolling Stones."
Draco snorted from his seat. Harry, faster than a human could blink an eye, was straddling his lover, fangs bare and eyes a bright shade of green. Draco only smirked and captured his lips in a searing kiss.
Luna and Nume both turned away from the display of affection. Decima didn't even bat an eye.
"What's the matter?" she asked her temporary partner. "This isn't even that bad."
Nume gave her a sneer for her mocking tone. "There's a reason I'm in the DIC. Nobody should be writing this, let alone putting it out in public. It's indecent."
"Indecent? There is nothing indecent about two men kissing, in private or in public. That kind of mentality went out of fashion in the seventies." She glared at him.
He raised an eyebrow. "I was born in nineteen fifty. I'm from the seventies. Also, I don't care one whit whether it's two men, a man and a woman, or the Giant Squid and Hogwarts Castle: I don't want to know about it. Okay?"
Decima was a little stunned at being so dead on with her accusations. Things like that just didn't happen. "So, what you're telling me is that you're not interested in seeing anything like this? Like, ever?" Nume didn't respond. She shook her head. "I can't believe they sent me a prude."
The disentangler curled his lip. "I told you, the Lichen has it in for me. Blame the mutant plant thing."
"I believed you the first time. I wanna know what I did to the Lichen to deserve this."
Just then, a sound reverberated through the room.
"Was that a gong?" Nume looked around for the instrument, happily dropping the conversation. "What the hell is a gong—" He checked the Words. "Oh. 'The door rang'. Classy."
"It's the Malfoys' house. Class is what they do." She smirked and watched as Luna opened the door.
Ron, an obviously pregnant Hermione, George, and, most surprisingly, Fred walked in. Ron enthusiastically greeted Luna while the agents tilted their heads.
"I thought this was after the war," Nume said, scanning through the Words.
He didn't get very far: a voice announced, vox dei, that "yes Fred is alive in this," saving him the trouble. He was not grateful.
The agents took in this new information as Ron and Luna hugged. Nume, keeping one eye on the Words, picked up an interesting line: "She hugged him back, careful of his neck. She didn't want Hermione to raise their child alone."
"Wait, what?" the agent said. "That's completely ambiguous! Is Ron the father, or just a surrogate?"
"Reads to me like we might have some Femme-Preg going on here," commented Decima.
Nume sputtered before finally spitting out, "You have a word for that?"
"Doesn't everyone?" she said with as straight a face as possible.
Nume opened his mouth to protest, caught her expression, and pulled out his Bleepka flask instead.
Meanwhile, the room resolved itself into a parlor and the characters sat down for a round of pointless exposition. Ron made small talk, Ginny went ballistic, and only one of the twins ever did anything.
"What was the point of having both of them if you're just going to ignore one?" asked Decima of the disembodied announcer. She never did get an answer.
"So Harry, Draco, and Luna are going to America. Because Luna feels like it," Nume said, picking the pertinent information out of the dross. "Whoopie. Scene change ahead."
Decima took the RA out of her bag and was about to activate it when Draco did something completely unexpected.
Ginny's back hit the wall before anyone could intervene. Draco's eyes were a bright gray, like starlight, but with a tint of blood to them, his fangs bare and his hand clamped around her neck, crushing down on her windpipe.
"Say it again you filthy little blood traitor!" he hissed out. "Say that my mate has gone delusional because he is in love with another man."
"I'm impressed," said Decima. "Despite the starlight-and-blood eyes, Draco actually seems to be in character."
Nume nodded. "Close, anyway. Draco was never that physical—he had cronies for that. Of course, he was never a vampire, either. . . . Do we know why they're vampires?"
"It hasn't been covered yet. Shall we portal?" She used the RA to open a portal to Forks, and the second half of the chapter.
They stepped into a bedroom filled with a man's "loud painful screams of agony," and Nume immediately flushed bright red and turned around to face the wall. "Jacob Black is in labor," he grated out, taking the Obvious Statement Award for the day.
"Probably due to him having some hot man-sex," remarked Decima with as much nonchalance as she could manage. "This is going to be interesting, though. You rarely get to see an actual MPreg birth. You're gonna want to remember this."
"Fuck you." Nume pointedly took a deep gulp from his hip flask—as pointedly as possible while being very careful not to look in any direction that might bring the miraculous event into his field of vision.
"What? This is fascinating. I wish I'd thought to bring my camera." She was watching the scene with genuine interest when Bella and Edward entered the room. She grabbed Nume and pushed him into a nearby closet. Nume quickly shook her off of him.
"YOU BASTARD!" Jacob yelled. "THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT! I AM NOT LETTING YOU TOUCH ME EVER AGAIN! YOU SON OF A-" A rogue hyphen cut his rant short.
"Why," Nume growled, "is Jacob Black pregnant with Edward Cullen's baby?"
"I have no idea," said Decima. "Vampires and werewolves are natural enemies, and these two are supposed to hate each other with a passion that even their racial hatred doesn't account for." She thought about it for a moment. "I guess if they didn't have to fight over Bella anymore . . . ?"
"The Words don't say anything about it," the disentangler complained. "Just that Bella thinks of Edward as a brother-figure now. Why, dammit?"
"We can always hope that it will be explained later," said Decima, "though this makes two major changes that have gone unexplained. I wouldn't count on getting any answers."
The agents were trapped in the closet with nothing to do but listen to Jacob scream for the next fifteen minutes. At that point, Carlisle arrived, which caused Bella and Edward to run to the woods for no apparent reason. Thirty seconds later, the baby was born and gave its first cry. Edward and Bella tried to re-enter, only to be stopped by Rosalie, who hadn't been there a minute ago. The agents couldn't see very well through the wooden slats in the closet door, but they could hear Rosalie:
"One dog is enough," she snapped, "but not two. Get out of this house!"
"Wait a minute," whispered Decima, "isn't this Jacob and Edward's bedroom? And Bella was definitely sleeping in this house. Why does Rosalie have a problem with her being here now? It isn't like this is Rosalie's house."
"More to the point," Nume responded, checking the Words against what he thought he was hearing, "why the fuck is Bella a werewolf? Explain, story! Explain!"
"Dude, chill out," whispered the Bad Slasher. "Do you really want a room full of vampires and werewolves to hear you right now?"
He shook his head, breathing deeply, and went back to the Words. He squinted. "Hey. You better look at this paragraph, right after Jasper talks. Never mind where he came from—does this seem right to you?"
Decima read the paragraph in question. "Wait, so . . . Alice is with Laurent? She's supposed to be with Jasper, and Laurent is supposed to be with Irina." She read further. "Irina is with Felix of the Volturi now? And Jasper is with Kate? How does that make any sense? Kate is supposed to be with Garrett. It's like they're playing Musical Relationships."
Nume watched her confusion with some pleasure, and finally a laugh. "Apparently the only one left out was werewolf!Bella. Speaking of freaks of nature, you want to do something about that abomination now, or later?"
He gestured into the bedroom, where Edward was just showing off his shiny new assbaby to Bella. It was apparently a "pale skinned, copper haired, chocolate eyed baby girl" that "looked more like Edward than Jacob but still had some of Jake to her, with high cheekbones and a smile that just screamed her maternal father."
The agents took a moment to recover from the eerie un-sound of the screaming smile and the existence of the phrase "maternal father."
"Merlin's beard," said Decima, when she had gotten her senses back. She heard Edward talking in the room and did a double-take. "They named Edward and Jacob's baby after Edward's parents and Bella's adoptive parents? Bella wasn't adopted and the naming makes no sense."
"Yes, but what are you going to do with it?" Nume rubbed at one ear. "We're not taking it back to Headquarters, I'll tell you that."
"I don't know," admitted Decima. "Something about this just isn't right."
"What, like everything?"
"No," said Decima as she reached into her bag. "Something more specific than that. The description of the baby is almost exactly what I would expect for Renesmee Cullen." She pulled a CAD out and pointed it at the baby.
[Renesmee Carlie Sarah(?) Cullen. Half-vampire, half- … analyzing … analyzing … human. Jacob, you are not the father ... mother ... whatever. Canon. OOC 0.00%]
"I knew it." Decima looked up from the readout. "They stole Bella's baby and stuck it up Jacob's ass."
"Well, at least we didn't have to watch Edward rip it out of there with his teeth."
"Yeah. I mean, I don't mind a little biting, but there's a limit, right?"
Nume stared at her. "I'm glad. I'm really glad we're not partners."
"Eh . . . you're not my type, anyway. On to chapter two?" She opened a portal.
"Thank Christ." He took a deep, brain-cleansing swig of Bleepka and went through.
Bella had driven her truck "home to her fathers," and the agents found themselves crouching under a staircase in their two-story house. Bella rushed in through the front door and was greeted by Teddy Lupin, sporting blue hair and neon-green eyes.
"Bella!" he called spotting his older sister standing there in the doorway. "There's a shifter from La Push here. He wanted to speak to Pop and Padfoot."
"She's Lupin's daughter?" asked Decima. "How is she Lupin's daughter? Tonks had a terrible time trying to get him to have Teddy; it doesn't make sense that he would have had a kid before that. I guess this is our explanation for Bella being a werewolf, though."
Nume shook his head. "That's a stupid explanation. I did Magical Heredity at HFA—it's not entirely clear whether lycanthropy is genetic in Potterverse, but there's more evidence against than for. Look at Teddy."
"That's true. Though I would rather not look at Teddy right now. His hair gives me headaches and by the Dark Lord's undershorts do you see what she just pulled out of her sleeve?"
It was a wand.
"Dibs," Nume said. "That's going on my wall. What do you think's in it, werewolf hair? Vampire sparkles?"
"Does it not bother you that Bella Swan has an instrument of magic in her hand? I almost soiled my robes over here."
"Not half so much as Jacob's transplanted assbaby. Fair's fair." He smirked mirthlessly.
"I swear, you make less and less sense the longer I know you." She shook her head. "Come on, then."
The agents followed Bella upstairs, where she talked with Sirius Black, who was alive and working for the Ministry of Magic. Nume and Decima were unsurprised both that this happened and that it went unexplained. Sam Uley was talking to Lupin about the vampires that would be arriving and how he didn't want them anywhere near La Push. Sam eventually stormed out and Lupin had a short talk with Bella about Harry, Draco, and Luna.
The agents were surprised about one thing that happened. Bella made a comment about the people of Forks calling Van Helsing if they ever found out how many vampires, werewolves, and wizards were living there.
Decima stifled a laugh as the canons headed for the stairs. "You have to admit," she said to Nume, "that was kind of funny."
"Not enough to save this fic," he said, but he was nodding.
Downstairs, the doorbell—thankfully not the whole door this time—rang, and the agents trailed down the stairs just enough to get a view of the proceedings. Their good vantage point didn't avail them much, though. At first, all they could see was "a blur of black and white" and "another blur" standing in the doorway.
Nume took his glasses off and put them back on a few times, squinting. "Huh. Harry and Draco are all—oh, there they go," he amended as they resolved. "Weird description. It's not like they were moving."
"No idea. It almost looks like they Apparated, but why ring the doorbell, wait for an answer, and then Apparate into the house?" She was puzzled. Then she looked out the door and saw Luna. Decima made a small noise in her throat at the sight of the blonde vampire, which was good. It kept the agent from laughing. Luna was wearing burgundy tights, a bright blue skirt that came to her knees, and an emerald green blouse that "[added] a bush to her small breasts." It was ridiculous, even for her.
"Well." Nume's jaw muscles flexed as he worked to keep a straight face. "I think we can add fashion crimes to the charge list."
"We should alert the Knights Who Say Ni," suggested Decima.
"Yes, they'll want their shrubbery back."
Decima was about to respond when Luna skipped over to Bella.
"And you must be Bella. I'm very pleased to meet you."
Then she kissed her.
Decima had time to make a strangled noise before an unforeseen chapter break rippled through the scene, throwing everything into shadow until the chapter three header passed over. The agents grabbed onto the stair railing, and Decima did not immediately blow their cover in shock and outrage.
When things had settled back to normal, Decima pulled her wand out of her robes. She had the look of someone about to do something really dumb. Nume was very familiar with this look, so he quickly put out a hand and grabbed her by the wrist.
"What the hell are you doing?" he demanded through clenched teeth.
Decima turned to him and said, simply, "I am going to kill that werewolf bitch." There were tears in her eyes.
Nume stared, thinking uncharitable thoughts about the Lichen, Decima, agents in general, and Ilraen in particular for leaving him to get stuck in this mess, before what was actually going on clicked into place. "Oh, Jesus. No. I knew we should've packed Anti-Lustin. No, dammit, you're not killing anyone because your Lust Object is snogging another woman. Just forget about it, hear me?"
Decima tried to pull her wrist from his grasp. This might have worked if not for the fact that they were standing on stairs. Her foot went out behind her to hold her weight and provide leverage, only to make her overbalance and begin to fall. The only thing that prevented her untimely demise was Nume's grip, for which she was now very thankful. The shock was enough to snap her out of her rage. When she finally took stock of herself, she was clinging to Nume's waist with her heart pounding.
Nume carefully plucked her arms away from him, wearing a look associated with removing an old banana peel that hadn't quite made it into the trash the first time. "If you're done now, Draco just hauled Luna outside. He looked pissed."
"I'm so sorry. I don't usually have this problem when she's around. The kiss just came out of nowhere, is all." Decima was babbling in her attempts to explain. She would have continued to do so, if not for Draco's voice coming from outside.
"What in the seven gates of hell were you thinking Luna? You just snogged someone you don't even know! Are you mental?"
Then he screamed.
The agents shared a puzzled look and turned in unison to the Words.
"She developed a 'hellfire backbone'?" asked Decima in shocked disbelief. "She'll kill in cold blood? That is not my Luna!"
Nume grimaced. "I should start a misspelled curses collection. 'Curcio'?" He shook his head. "Also, apparently she's a Seer and Bella has been haunting her dreams. Would've been nice to get a hint of this plot device before now. Oh, and feel free to kill her—she's definitely a replacement and we're running out of fic."
"First we need to hide. Everyone is headed back this way." She took a moment to scan the Words. "Upstairs, find the teenage girl's room and get in the closet."
"Oh, the irony," Nume mumbled, retreating up the stairs. It wasn't too hard to determine which room belonged to Bella: the miasma of angst and hormones was unmistakable. They managed to cram themselves into the closet just before Luna entered and went to the bed. Bella was quick to follow, closing the door and joining her vampire crush. Bella cuddled up close, their hands intertwined, and Luna sang quietly.
"What do we do?" asked Decima, who was having trouble focusing on the job with Luna singing like that. "I don't fancy trying to exorcise two witches right now. Especially when one of them is . . . a werewolf, too." That last bit hadn't been what she set out to say.
"I don't care," Nume whispered. "Stun them, anything."
"Right. Stun them. On three? Yeah, three's good." She took a deep breath to steady herself and drew her wand. "Three!" She kicked the door of the closet open. Luna and Bella both jumped. Luna was quick to reach for her wand. Decima cast a Full Body-Bind Curse on her. She followed it up by casting the curse a second time at Bella. In the few seconds that had elapsed, the two girls had gone from lying down to sitting up and back to lying down, in quick succession.
Nume stepped up from behind Decima, who was breathing heavily, black notebook in hand. He bent to reach up Bella's sleeve and take her wand away, then straightened and cleared his throat. "Right, I'll make this quick. Doppelgänger, alias Luna Lovegood, you are hereby charged with crimes against the Harry Potter and Twilight continua, to wit: the wrongful and utterly failed impersonation of a canon character; being a party to an implausible crossover; being a party to illogical romantic pairings; employing bad plot devices; causing Malfoy Manor to only contain a single hallway and other counts of bad description; committing fashion crimes; attempting to use an Unforgivable Curse; being a vampire for no good reason; and not ever explaining a damn thing. For these crimes, your punishment is death, and I don't think you can actually speak through a Body-Bind, so—!" He cut off what he was about to say when Luna's arm shot up, wand in hand.
"Avada Kedavra!" A green bolt shot from the end of Luna's wand straight at Decima. The agent didn't have time to react. The spell struck Decima, who flew back and slammed into the wall. She lay face down, unmoving.
"Shit!" At the speed of thought, Nume brought Bella's wand to bear and fired off a return curse at the impostor. "Avada Kedavra!" It worked, and a bolt with far too many sparkles in it sprang forth and hit her in the chest. She collapsed and lay still. Nume turned the wand on Bella. "You're not trying anything, are you? ARE YOU?"
Bella still couldn't move, so she couldn't shake her head, and her wide, frightened eyes said she wouldn't try.
Nume spun around and knelt over Decima. "Shit, shit, shit . . . ." He turned her over. She groaned as he moved her. He heaved a sigh. "Shit. Okay, come on now. You're okay." He gave her shoulder a shake.
Decima's eyes fluttered open and she brought a hand to the back of her head. "Ow."
"Here." He pulled his flask out of its holster and unscrewed the top. "This'll help."
Decima took a small mouthful, with his help. She swallowed and coughed. "Ugh. That is terrible. Who would willingly drink that?"
Nume raised an eyebrow. "It's Bleepka. Lots of people drink it. Anyway, who are you to complain?"
"Point taken. What happened with Luna?"
"Taken care of. Lucky for me, this wand works, though I doubt I'll try it again. Too sparkly."
Decima levered herself up onto her elbows. "Help me up. We've got a lot to do before I can get to Medical."
"We can start by exorcising Bella." He pulled Decima to her feet.
Decima looked over at the pair on the bed. Her breath caught in her throat as she looked at Luna, lying dead in the bed. Tears welled up. "I can't do this," she said. "I've had enough problems with exorcisms recently. I don't think I can do this with her lying there."
With respect for her close shave with death, Nume bit back a cynical remark about emotions. "Fine. Gimme your bag."
Decima handed the bag over and he got to work. He started with Bella, and then the pair moved on to rounding up the rest of the cast. Nume had a hard time exorcising in the name of Meyer, but he managed. After he had exorcised Harry and Draco, he and Decima wiped off the white make-up that their faces had been caked in, as well as removing the colored contact lenses and fake vampire teeth. Lupin and Sirius were nowhere to be found, which likely meant that they were dead again.
When all and sundry had been returned to their rightful states, the agents had to get the Harry Potter characters back to their native England.
Decima reached into her bag and pulled out the RA. When she went to put in coordinates, she noticed that the casing was a little blackened. When she read the screen, she called Nume over. Burned into it were the words "He's dead, Jim."
"Well," Nume said. "Well." He licked his lips. "Fuck."
"This explains why I'm not dead," said Decima. "Not that I really cared why." She sat down heavily on the staircase's bottom step.
Nume paced in front of her and raked a hand through his hair, its light coating of hardened gel holding it askew afterward. "Why do we only ever carry one RA? That's insane. I don't want to die in Twilight!" With nothing better to do, he finally dropped down beside Decima. "I don't want to be stuck with you, either."
"I am so sad to hear that," she said, with as much sarcasm as she could muster. "Here I was thinking we could start a life together in Forks. Since that doesn't seem likely, would you mind helping me think of a way out of this?"
"Yeah, yeah, I—hey! You lot get back here!" Nume jumped to his feet again and chased after Harry, Draco, and Teddy, who were making a break for the front door now that the Body-Binds holding them were wearing off. He pointed his souvenir wand at them, which at least looked threatening enough to those without one. "Just take a seat, all right? We're trying to figure out how to get you three home."
"Why not just Apparate?" asked Draco, sounding like it was something a first year could have figured out. "You've got your wands. I'm disappointed that the Slytherin hasn't thought of that yet."
Decima was disappointed that she hadn't thought of it, too. That didn't stop her from thinking of Draco as a snobbish little shit, but some Slytherins would consider that a compliment. "Right. Nume, you ever done that before?"
"No," he answered, glaring a warning against looking too smug at the boy. "It never came up."
Decima thought for a moment before saying, "Give your wand to Draco. Draco, take them to Diagon Alley and you can all be on your way." That last was said over Nume's protesting.
"Why don't you just take us all Side-Along?" the agent demanded. "Not only do I not trust this kid, splitting the party at this juncture strikes me as a really stupid idea."
"This kid was the only one of us smart enough to think of Apparating," said Decima. "He'll get you where you need to go. Then you can get your wand back and wait for me at the Leaky Cauldron. I have a stop to make."
Nume attempted to stare her down, but finally relented. He wasn't going to win this one. "Fine. Make it quick." He handed the wand hilt-first to Draco. "Be careful, it's not exactly standard issue."
Harry was not happy about Draco being the only one of them with a wand, but there wasn't much he could do except direct Teddy to hold Draco's hand and then put his own hand on Draco's shoulder. Nume took the other shoulder and had just enough time to give Decima one more look of resentment before they all turned on the spot and were gone.
It took Decima almost half an hour to make it to Diagon Alley. She Apparated just outside of Olivander's and headed for the Leaky Cauldron. She was glad to be back in the Wizarding community. Headquarters was nice on occasion, but it just wasn't the same.
When she entered the Cauldron, she didn't have to look very hard to find Agent Supernumerary. He was sitting in a corner, not talking to anyone, and trying his hardest to make sure the room knew that he was not happy. Well . . . maybe not his hardest. She thought it might be in her best interest to have a drink before she went to collect her partner.
Nume watched her with a scowl as she went up to the bar—as if he hadn't already been left here waiting long enough. He kept it up as she approached and sat down with her firewhiskey. "It's about time," he said. "Did you get lost?"
Sufficiently insulted by the implication that she didn't know her way around her home continuum, Decima almost spilled some of her drink when she used it to gesture. "I will remind you that I have had a hard day. When you have nearly been killed by your . . . ." She hesitated, took a swallow of her firewhiskey, and continued. "Well, when you have nearly died, then you can complain."
Nume, who had nearly died once or twice, just grunted at that. "Whatever. Where did you go, anyway?"
Decima stared into her glass and said, "Let us just say that her skeleton will lie in the Chamber forever."
He nodded. "Fine. I sent Draco, Harry, and Teddy off by the Floo Network, so they ought to be all right. I also had plenty of time to think," he said pointedly, "and I have some ideas about how to get out of the pickle we've landed in."
"Ideas are good," said Decima. "Can't say that I've come up with anything. Let's hear what you've got."
"First of all, we're not done until we find the real Luna and make sure she's neuralyzed and put back where she belongs. I figure we should look in Malfoy Manor. There has to be a plothole around there, and once we get Luna out of it, that's our ticket home."
"Right, Luna comes first. I'm not sure I follow you on the plothole being our ticket home. We don't have the technology to stabilize it."
The man shook his head. "Don't need it. Plotholes work because you want them to. All you need is sufficient willpower, though a little magical boost wouldn't hurt. Apparate us through the plothole to your RC." He gave her a level look, waiting to see how she would handle the idea.
Decima considered it. "You know this is insane, right? I mean, who knows what an unstable plothole would do with the magic involved? We could end up anywhere. And that's only if we're recognizable when we come out the other end. This isn't something we should even be considering." She downed the rest of her firewhiskey. "Why the hell not? It's not like this day can get any worse."
They left the pub and Disapparated from the courtyard out back, reappearing with a crack in the half-mile-long hallway of Malfoy Manor. It was quiet, not even a House-elf moving around within earshot. Nume led the way to the room full of coffins.
"This is the one she was in," he said, picking it out from memory. "Ready?"
"Let's do this." She pointed her wand and cast the Hover Charm. The lid floated off the coffin and moved to the side.
Nume reached into the apparently empty space and, after some feeling around, his arm sank through the bottom up to his shoulder. "Found it. Now . . . hey in there! Luna Lovegood! Take my hand and I'll pull you out!" After a moment, he braced himself and pulled, and the silvery-haired girl popped out of the plothole.
Luna took in her surroundings with her usual dreamy air. "Thank you for pulling me out, but if you'll excuse me, I believe there was a Crumple-Horned Snorkack in there. I'll only be a moment." She turned to reenter the coffin.
"No!" Decima grabbed Luna's shoulders and pulled her back. A moment later, she realized that she was touching Luna Lovegood and let go as if she'd been shocked. The agent's face turned as red as her hair.
Nume shook his head and sighed as he pulled Decima's neuralyzer and sunglasses out of his pocket and slipped the latter onto his face. They weren't a good fit, but they worked. "Miss Lovegood, if you would please look here before you go, I believe you'll find this interesting." His heart wasn't in it, but the ever-curious Luna looked eagerly. One flash later, and she looked exactly the same as she always did. "Okay, Luna, you were looking for signs of the Crumple-Horned Snorkack and took a wrong turn. You're going to go use the front room fireplace to go home and then forget you were ever here. Off you go." He gave her a light push to set her walking out of the room.
Decima took her hand from in front of her eyes and watched Luna go. She heard the familiar whoosh of the Floo Powder and a moment later she was hit with the feeling that a huge weight had been lifted off of the world. Malfoy Manor rippled and the agents found themselves standing in a sitting room that was charming, if lacking in coffins.
Nume dropped to his knees and felt around hurriedly, then almost faceplanted when he succeeded in finding the plothole again. "Thank God. All right, better make it quick if we're going to do this."
Decima took Nume's hand and a breath to steady her nerves, and turned on the spot.
We would like to thank the Twilight wiki for making this mission possible. We've only seen the first two movies, and those are scary enough.
So! What has Ilraen been up to all this time, and will Nume and Decima make it back to HQ in one piece? Go to "Secret Agents" to find out one thing and on to the end to find out the other!
Phobos' Notes: Nume and Decima are a match made in . . . somewhere that doesn't make very good matches. They sure are fun to watch, though. Also, despite Nume's explanation, I still don't know why there was a fruit cart.
Many thanks to July for being our beta. It is much appreciated.