Summary: An owl with a letter, an invitation and the question how to explain a Sentinel in Hogwarts...
#1 A big THANK YOU to all people who send us feedback and asked for more. We never expected that so many people would actually like what we write. It is more than appreciated and we are happy to comply.
#2 For all who are a bit confused about the title: "The Wizard and the Sentinel" is actually some kind of prologue to the "A Sentinel at Hogwarts"- series. There will be some other stories taking place between it and "Owlpost", but they aren't written yet…
#3 Have fun and tell us what you think!
A Sentinel at Hogwarts
Part I: Owlpost
by Meanthis and Lime-chan
Blair and Jim currently sat in Simon's office and suffered through one of their captain's famous rants. Even if Blair would have never admitted it, he had stopped listening to Simon after about ten minutes. So he used a talent gained in countless boring lectures and tuned the big police captain out. Instead he studied the beautiful sunny weather outside.
It was simple injustice. For weeks only rain and cold weather and the day the semester was finally over, the sun started shining and the temperatures rose. And what was he doing? Sitting in the bullpen, while the air-condition died of old age and the case load was lighter than in years. Most likely even the criminals in Cascade had decided for a vacation. So what was he doing here?
Suddenly Blair registered a movement on the other side of the window. No, this couldn't be, could it? Without caring about Simon and Jim, who were still very engaged in a discussion of an unknown topic, Blair went towards the window. Curiously he looked out and immediately spotted the source of the movement. A beautiful large owl was sitting on the flagpole just outside the window, a letter in her beak, and was looking expectantly at Blair. A grin spread on the face of the young man, and before he knew what he was doing, he had opened the window, and the owl slid into the room gracefully. She let the letter fall on Blair's chair, before she sat down on the backrest looking every bit as if she had always belonged here.
This had finally captured the attention of Jim and foremost Simon. Simon stared at the animal and you could practically see the fury building up in him.
"SANDBURG!? What is THIS?!"
"It's an owl, Simon!" Blair retorted, completely unimpressed by the volume of Simon's voice, while he took the envelope to look at it more closely. Okay, this looked suspiciously official. Emerald ink and… the seal of Hogwarts on the back. Interesting.
"I can see THAT! The question is, what the hell is this thing doing here?"
The volume of Simon's voice had continued to raise, until Blair was sure that the whole department could hear him. A short glance towards Jim showed that the detective wasn't exactly uninterested either, but probably for another reason. After all, Jim knew the significance of owls bearing letters.
"Umm, you see Simon, a friend of mine at the U decided on a little experiment. He wanted to prove that not only doves are able to deliver letters. I sort of agreed to be one of the addressees for his letters…"
Okay, this explanation was probably one of the worst he had ever thought of. Blair sent a silent prayer to every god he knew about that Simon would buy it. The captain was staring at the young police observer with a look of pure venom.
"Get this… this beast out of here! NOW! And tell your friend he should use your home-address! OUT!"
Blair didn't waste any time with discussions, but hurried to shoo the owl back out of the window and then deserted the office himself, the letter still firmly in his hand.
"Hey, Hairboy! What did you do this time? We could hear Simon screaming out here."
Blair tried to look angry, but he wasn't in form today, so he settled for a grin instead:
"Oh, the usual attempt to determine who's in charge. He got a bit incensed, but I'm still training him."
H laughed out loud. All of Jim's colleagues knew about the continued, and until today fruitless, attempt of their captain to get their police observer to follow orders. Blair grinned back and sat down at Jim's desk. He was curious what this letter was about, but now he was a bit afraid to open it. It had been a long time since he had gotten mail on this way. The last one had been approximately a year ago, a short notice that Sirius Black had managed to flee from Azkaban. Before this nothing for fourteen years. Why now? And why Hogwarts?
"Don't you want to open it?"
Startled Blair spun around. He hadn't noticed Jim coming up behind him. Perhaps his heart would manage to settle down again in the near future.
"Man, do you have to scare me like this? Some of us can't hear people approaching from two miles away!"
Jim grinned sheepishly while Blair glared at him for a moment longer, but then turned his attention back to the still unopened letter in his hands.
"Who is so important that you would risk Simon's wrath with mail-delivery like this?"
"It's from Hogwarts, my old school."
Jim's eyebrows climbed up. He maybe knew about Blair relations to the supernatural world, but still thought it was weird. About as weird as having five hyperactive senses…
"By the way, what else did Simon tell you? Did he ask you again, if you couldn't control me better?"
"That's about it. And he mentioned something about vacation. I still have saved some up from last year, but…"
"But you workaholic just can't part from your work, can you? Jim, even you need a bit of relaxation once in a while!"
"I know, Chief, but at the moment I just have too much to do."
Blair gave his friend a long, doubting look. He knew that his Sentinel thought of himself as indispensable. Sometimes Blair had the impression that Jim's sense of responsibility was also heightened and this generally meant that he worked way too much.
"Why don't you open your letter?" Jim asked in an obvious attempt to divide Blair's attention. "Perhaps it's an invitation for a class reunion."
Blair again turned the letter over in his hands. It would have really helped if this thing hadn't looked so… so damn official!
After one last look, he broke the seal and unfolded the pages. The letter itself was written in emerald ink, too. Blair's eyes were drawn towards the signature: Dumbledore. Slowly and thoroughly he started to read. Jim beside him had a hard time containing his own curiosity. He could hear how Blair's heartbeat raised again and the surprise on his friend's face was evident even for somebody who wasn't a Sentinel.
Blair still stared at the paper in his hand. Without taking his eyes from it he whispered just loud enough for Jim to hear:
"They want me to teach for one or two months. As a substitute until the actual teacher can take over."
The way Blair said this told Jim that this was a great honor, but he was interested in something else:
"As a teacher? What subject?"
Blair looked at the letter again, then said calmly:
"Defense against dark arts."
"I heard you the first time, Chief. But what does this mean?"
Blair still hadn't raised his look from the sheet of paper. Something about this invitation had to be damn fascinating.
"It's something like self-defense for wizards."
"Dark Arts, Chief?"
"This sounds way more dramatic than it is, believe me. It's completely harmless."
"Dark Arts, like in Black Magic?"
"Against what else should a wizard need defense, Jim?"
"Man, is there a way to stop this recording? It's getting monotonous!"
"Just for the case that I missed something: you're supposed to travel around half the world to teach in a school that strictly speaking doesn't even exists. All this just to teach some wannabe-witches how they can defend themselves against black magic? And since I know you, I take it that you have already decided that you're going. Am I correct?"
"Yesss…" Blair retorted carefully. He had absolutely no clue what his friend was trying to say.
"I come with you!"
Jim stated this with his No-further-discussion tone of voice, something that indicated, that he was going to be very thickheaded. It was the same tone of voice he used when he tried to get Blair to the hospital after another (minor) injury. Normally no one was able to talk him out of anything, when he had his mind set like this. Blair tried it nevertheless
"Jim, you can't come with me! You're a Muggle. It's forbidden to bring a Muggle to Hogwarts!"
"I won't let you go alone, Chief. I know you too well. You, on the other side of the Atlantic-ocean, close to potential dangerous things? I'm coming with you!"
"Thanks for the trust, man. Damn it, JIM! You might have missed it man, but I'm no child anymore! I'm closer to thirty than I like to admit and I'm perfectly capable to take care of myself!"
All around the bullpen, people looked very nervous. Ellison's rage was feared, but when Sandburg lost it, everyone looked for cover. And it was worse when Sandburg and Ellison got at each others throat.
"You just have a talent to find trouble wherever you go."
Blair glared at Jim with all menace he could muster. You simply couldn't discuss something with Jim, when he was like this. Damn, stubborn Sentinel…
Blair's train of thoughts came to an abrupt halt. This could be a way to get Jim into Hogwarts after all, he just wasn't sure that Jim wold like it. A small grin started to blossom on Blair's face, a grin that Jim didn't like at all. This expression meant that Blair had an idea and that wasn't always a good thing for the Sentinel. It was even more dangerous when it happened like now in the middle of a fight. Blair had the tendencies to come up with particular nasty tests for Sentinel-senses during such situations.
"What's up, Chief?"
"You really want to come, don't you? I warn you, this will be much weirder than the Sentinel thing could ever be."
"I don't care. I want to come with you."
Blessed protector strikes again! Blair thought still smiling which made his Sentinel more nervous every second.
"Okay, Jim, I think I have a way for you to come with me, I just have to persuade the responsible people, that Sentinels belong to the wizard-world."
"You mean, you want to tell them about me?"
"Of course, man. A Sentinel isn't a strange thing for the wizard world, just damn rare. At Hogwarts I first found valid information about Sentinels, much better researched than Burton's monograph."
"I don't like it, Chief."
Why, oh great Sentinel, did I think so?
"It's the only way, Jim. Either this, or you stay at home."
Jim thought about it for a long moment, then said:
"I ask Simon about the leave. When do we have to start?"
Blair looked back at the letter for confirmation, then said:
"In two weeks. Jim do you think Simon is going to let you on vacation for over six weeks?"
"And didn't you just say something about too much to do for a holiday?"
"He was the one complaining that I should take a vacation. I have enough leave saved up to stay away even longer."
Without further word, Jim stood up and disappeared inside the captain's office. Blair looked after him, while trying to think of the best way to explain Jim to the ministry.
"You're really sure that you want to pull this one off, aren't you Jim?" Blair asked when they where on their way back to the Loft. He could understand Jim's behavior, but this didn't mean it was any less annoying. Okay, the first directive for a Sentinel was to protect his guide, but in the last couple of weeks it had become a bit extreme. Blair was perfectly capable to look out for himself, he had even survived in the wizard-world which hadn't been overly safe back then either. It was a good thing, that Jim didn't know about Voldemort or his followers or his Protector-Instincts would have definitely gone into overdrive.
Thinking about it, they already are!
On the other hand, Blair was happy about Jim's insistence to come with him. He had his own Protector-Instincts after all, not as primal as Jim's, but bad enough. Guide and Sentinel protect each other. That sentence, which he had found in a book in Hogwarts' library long ago, had proved true time and time again. Problem was, Jim probably never realized that Blair's interest had never been only because of his dissertation, but personal. So he was somewhat happy to have an excuse to keep an eye on his Sentinel. It was just damn stressing to deal with said Sentinel when he was in full, overblown and usually completely unnecessary Blessed-Protector-Mode!
"Simon already granted the leave. In fact he seemed rather relieved…"
The last bit Jim added with a thoughtfulness that made Blair laugh. Jim winked at his friend, before he said:
"And then, you are a trouble magnet. And if the trouble doesn't find you, you set out to find it on your own…"
"Protector-instincts running wild!" Blair muttered barley loud enough for a Sentinel to hear and then continued louder:
"Jim, unlike you I know the wizard-world. I lived there after all. I think you're about to experience the culture-shock of your live!"
"Oh, come on Chief, it can't be so bad!"
Blair couldn't suppress a knowing smile. He wouldn't tell Jim. Most certainly not. His friend should find his own answer. Perhaps he would wish eventually to have listened to his guide
"Okay the plan looks like this," Blair announced after three hours of non-stop telephone-calls and some other strange ways of communication Jim just didn't want to dwell on. It seemed the younger man had finally managed to come to a conclusion.
Jim had stayed clear of his roommate and guide, while he was contacting the wizard-ministry, a certain Professor Dumbledore and every authority that seemed necessary. Jim really didn't want to know how half of this communication had gone, it was just too weird.
"That you come with me goes okay so far. The ministry wasn't exactly happy about it, but they accepted. Dumbledore, that's the head of Hogwarts, also agreed to you tagging along. I think the easiest way to get there would be if we take a plane to London, I make the necessary purchases there and then we take the Hogwarts-Express…"
"Hogwarts-Express?" Jim asked, not sure if he wanted to know the answer.
"It's the special train, which brings the pupils to the school after holidays. Since you don't trust my sense of direction and I won't use the direct way it's the simplest way to get there. And the benefit is that you have some time to get used to the Wizard-world."
Blair's smile got a bit wider when he thought about how Jim would react to the sweets sold in the train.
Note to self: keep Jim away from Berty-Botts-Beans! No telling how his senses would react to this.
"Necessary purchases, Chief?"
"Man Jim, is it just me, or are you mistrusting today? I'll need lots of stuff when we come to Hogwarts. Alone the books for the lessons, man! I have absolutely no idea where my old school books have disappeared to. And then I could use some other stuff…"
Blair stopped, looking at Jim, while an image formed in his head. How would Jim look in the robes of the wizard-world? The next minute Blair started laughing uncontrollable. Alone this picture of Jim, Mr. Military, in a wizard cape was something you just had to laugh about. Only after about ten minutes he had calmed down enough to realize that Jim was looking at him with a hard look in his eyes.
"Would you please let me in to what is so funny?!"
"Ahhh, better not. After all, I'd like to stay alive a little while longer.
"Jim, it's really nothing. I'm just trying to connect you and Hogwarts in one thought. Believe me, it is not easy!"
Jim didn't believe him, so much was clear, but Blair didn't plan to tell the truth. Jim would figure it out soon enough.
"Very funny, Chief. Something I should know about, other that I will embarrass myself for sure?"
"Oh, there are many things, but I think it will be better if I explain it to you as we go along. It would take too long to explain everything now."
Blair was smirking and Jim started to realize, that he maybe made a mistake by insisting to come along. What the hell had he stumbled into?
On to next part.
Comments,criticism, suggestions? Please e-mail the authors.
Back to Meanthis and Lime-chan's page.