Snow black with soot. New York at night was a labyrinth of glaring streetlights and private alleyways. Pop. For an instant you could have seen a wizard with a leg carved out of wood and a face carved out of scars. Then he was gone, vanished down the maw of Cappit Alley.
Mad-Eye Moody lurched along with the grace of a three-legged tree. He half-leaned half-slammed into the iron front door of his nemesis François Bourbon. Moody let go of his walking stick. It stood at attention. With his now free non-wand hand, Moody unfolded a scrap of parchment. He slapped the password against the door. The parchment disintegrated into grey ash. The door opened with a creak.
Bourbon's entry hall was a tangle of golden gilding and dirty mirrors. Guilded chandeliers lit themselves, burning away bits of the dusty spiderwebs. Having given away his position, Moody rushed to the end of the hall, slammed open a second door with his shoulder and landed in the sitting room on his knee in assault stance.
Bourbon's body slumpt over the pool table. Moody's wand aimed at the heart of the one-armed witch standing at the bar.
"Hello my dear Bella," said Moody.
"Are you here to take me back?" said Bellatrix Black. Her wand dangled nonchalantly at her side.
"Not yet," said Moody, "Not today."
"With that kind of attitude you might make a witch feel unwanted," said Black.
"You're the most wanted witch in the Western world," growled Moody. He stood up.
"Can I get you a drink?" Bellatrix strolled over to the bar. She tapped a bottle of vermouth. The cork bounced off the ceiling. She drank directly from the bottle, holding it and her wand in her hand at the same time.
Moody's wand never left her heart.
"I always had a thing for fighting older men. How do you feel about a quickie?" She tapped a bottle of tequila. It poured itself into a cocktail glass.
"I am too old for this crap," said Moody.
"And yet you came all the way from Britain just to see me," said Bellatrix. She raised the cocktail glass to her lips.
"I'm just here for that," said Moody. He pointed at Bourbon's left foot or, more precisely, the Left Foot of Vance.
"I'll fight you for it," teased Bellatrix. She raised the cocktail glass again, this time leaving her wand on the bar.
Moody twitched his wand. Bellatrix dropped the cocktail glass and picked up her wand. By the time her drink shattered on the bar's marble countertop she had already taken cover behind it. Moody had charmed the pool table into jumping in front of him and then transfigured the pool balls into mice.
Squeak. Sixteen mice crawled off of Moody's pool table, around him and out the entry hall. Moody sat down on a stool at the bar and took a swig from his hip flask.
"I have never shared this with anyone before," Moody took a swig from his hip flask, "but sometimes I miss the Second Wizarding War."
"We missed a lot of things," said Bellatrix, "Sectumsempra." She took Bourbon's right arm and Disapparated.
If you hosted a club for long enough Hogwarts would grow a room for it. SPHEW's headquarters was filled with big fluffy couches.
"Have you ever wanted a unicorn?" said Tracey as she combed Hermione's hair.
"A what?" said Hermione as she nibbled on a bit of sweetgrass.
"I sometimes forget how much you Muggle-borns don't know about," said Tracey.
"I know what a unicorn is," said Hermione testily.
"Have you ever wanted one?" said Tracey, "Do you want one?"
"Um," said Hermione.
"I wish I had a unicorn," said Tracey, "I could comb her mane and feed her hay and ride around on her back…."
"Can we talk about literally anything else?" said Hermione. She placed the sweetgrass far away.
"What kinds of girls is Harry Potter into?" said Tracey.
"Excuse me?" said Hermione.
"You're his best friend," said Tracey, "Surely you know his preferences. Is he into sheltered princesses of Noble Houses? Or Dark Ladies? Ooh maybe he's into naughty girls who cut class to smoke Lala Leaves."
"Certainly not," said Hermione, "He likes smart witches."
"Boys say that," said Tracey, "But how do you know?"
"I'm his best friend," said Hermione.
"A best friend and a girlfriend are different things," said Tracey.
"What makes you so interested?" said Hermione.
"I'm going to make him my husband," said Tracey, "Tracey Davis Potter-Evans-Verres. How does that sound?"
"On the other hand, what if there was someone really smart who Harry was doing science with and had fights with all the time even though they really like each other?" said Tracey, "Like, say, someone Harry commanded armies against in the first year?"
"I like that idea better," said Hermione.
"Well if Harry Potter is in love with Draco Malfoy then obviously I'll have to marry Draco Malfoy too," said Tracey.
"Where do you get your ideas?" said Hermione.
"I read books," said Tracey.
"Evidently the wrong ones," Hermione stuck her nose back into Voyages with Vampires.
"I don't care if you cast Unforgivable Curses in front of students. I don't care if we have to break Gellert Grindelwald out of Nurmengard. We need a Defense Professor," said Headmistress McGonagall.
"You're not going to like my conditions," said Moody.
"Does it endanger students?" said Headmistress McGonagall.
"No but—" said Moody.
"Then I accept," said Headmistress McGonagall.
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