Dumbledore's Army and the Summer of '98

Dumbledore's Army and the

Summer of '98

Chapter Eight: Irritating Ibiza

Chapter Eight: Irritating Ibiza

Full color line drawing of a deejay at his mixing board with psychedelic patterns in the background from the chapter irritating Ibiza in Dumbledore's Army and the Summer of '98
Ibiza, Spain. Sunday, 8 May, 1998. 12:25am.

Bedlam was what it was. The nightclub was jammed with writhing bodies that formed a dark mass as far as the eye could see. Above the crowd, a swirling, purplish fog was savagely sliced by relentless multicolored laser beams. The noise was a physical force unto its own that buffeted you to and fro. Seamus couldn’t think of a place he less wanted to be.

He’d talk to Bel and get out. Maybe he’d convince Serena to come back with him. But where were they? His wand could point to the Cali crew, but there was no safe place to let it spin; someone would surely knock it down. He was getting pretty good at Sifting, but not good enough to ensure he wouldn’t rematerialize on top of someone else, or worse, inside them.

He pulled the mobile Asmo had given him out of his pocket. There was no way to hear a call over the din, but this phone had a new feature: you could use the keypad to type messages and send them to other mobiles. Seamus checked the screen: nothing. Bel hadn’t texted him back. He dearly wished he could shoot “Serpetias — where the hell are you?” in the air with his wand. The Muggles around him would think it was part of the light show, but the Spanish Ministry would be on his arse about it anyway.

Someone knocked into him. “Hey, watch it!” snarled Seamus.

“Pardon,” said the man, and then appraising Seamus with an amused expression, he said in accented English, “You are somewhat overdressed, are you not?”

“Somewhat,” grumbled Seamus. He looked down at his clothes: black bespoke suit, black shirt, maroon tie. When he’d gotten the message from Bel summoning him to Ibiza, he’d just returned from Cedars-Sinai, still dressed in his barn clothes. He’d Scourgified himself, figured out where the nightclub lay in four dimensions, and grabbed the first thing in his closet that caught his eye. Seamus wasn’t sure why he’d chosen the suit; it just seemed right.

The mobile vibrated in his hand. It was a message from Serena. “What do u want dork?”

Great. She was still mad that he’d taken Asmo away without telling her what had happened.

He typed, “Where r u?”

“VIP. I c u”

Seamus looked around. Damn. He couldn’t see over the crowd. Why were these Europeans so tall?

The phone vibrated again. It was Bel.

“Sift over.”

“Cant 2 crowded”

“You can. Theres room. Picture me.”

What the hell. The Muggles wouldn’t notice a thing. Neither would the Ministry. He’d only just learned to Sift the other day, but he didn’t need a wand to do it.

Seamus concentrated hard on a vision of Bel. He dissolved into swirl of glassy black gravel, caught a glimpse of the Subterrenus as he passed through, and reappeared in a swirl of red sparks.

When his eyes refocused, he realized he was across the cavernous club, on a carpeted platform fitted with sofas and lounge chairs, flanked by a mirrored wall, and reserved with a velvet rope — and several bouncers. Seconds later he was surrounded by Serena’s cousins, Jessica, Nicole, and Stephanie, tanned hardbodies in painted-on hip-huggers. Belly-ring, belly-ring, belly-ring. He’d long since ceased to care.

“Hey, cutie!” purred Jessica, running her long nails through his hair. She towered over him in her stilettos. Seamus impatiently stepped away.

“Geez, Jessica, get someone your own age!” sneered Stephanie. She took Seamus’ arm and said conspiratorially, “No one’s mad, you know. In fact, we all think it’s totally awesome that your dad has magical DNA.”

That’s because you haven’t heard the whole story, thought Seamus grimly. They thought it was funny that Asmo had been accidentally blasted sky-high by a little Skipper who couldn’t control her powers. They didn’t know Asmo also took a stunner to the shoulder because his mam had gone mad as a bottle of chips.

“Well, here’s the man of hour!”

It was Bel, dark hair shining, perfect white teeth gleaming against the backdrop of the dark nightclub, his tanned face, his black suit. On his arm was a curvaceous beauty who threatened to burst out of her red sequined dress. In his other hand was a bottle of champagne.

“How do you reckon?” asked Seamus suspiciously.

Bel was amused. It didn’t seem possible to smile any wider, but he did. “You did a smart thing. That was thinking on your feet. I’m impressed.”

Stephanie kissed Seamus on the cheek, distracting him from wondering exactly what he had done that was so clever.

Bel turned serious, and pointed his champagne bottle at Seamus. “But I don’t want you to get caught with your pants down again.”

“With my what?

Bel didn’t notice Seamus’ confusion. He gestured at a white leather sofa and said, “Have a seat. I’ll be with you in a few minutes, and we’ll talk about giving you better access to communications.”

Bel led the starlet away, nuzzling her cascading auburn hair as he did so. Seamus felt vaguely repulsed. And you’d think he would ask after his cousin. Certainly he was getting updates from his uncle, but still — it was the normal thing to do.

“There’s Serena!” cried Stephanie.

Seamus looked where she was pointing. Serena was on the dance floor with Jessica and Nicole, the three of them pointedly ignoring the men who tried in vain to join their little circle. She looked nice in a loose-fitting, long-sleeved, shimmering gold dress that was fairly translucent and extremely short, giving the impression that she’d tossed it on as she left the beach.

“Dance with us!” said Stephanie.

“Naw, you go on,” said Seamus. “I’m to wait for Bel.” Plus he had no desire to go back out there. He shouted after Stephanie as she walked away, “But tell Serena to come up here!”

Stars, he was tired. Seamus collapsed on the white couch and closed his eyes. He wondered if he could transfigure some earplugs. You know what? He didn’t need them. He’s be asleep in a moment.

His day had started so pleasant, so happy. How the hell had it come to this?

Was it only a week ago that Harry Potter had killed Voldemort at Hogwarts? No, less.

Less than a fucking week.

It seemed a lifetime since he’d lain painfully in a hammock in the Room of Requirement, one eye swollen uselessly shut, each breath agony as Lavender tried to mend his cracked ribs with spells she remembered overhearing in the hospital wing. He’d been sure Dean was dead, he’d feared the Carrows were after his mam, and he’d doubted there were any possible way leave Hogwarts alive.

Now Lavender was in St. Mungo’s recuperating from multiple curses, Dean was teaching little Emma what it was like to be Muggle-born in the wizarding world, and his mam….

He didn’t understand why his mam was suddenly afraid of Asmo, and there hadn’t been time to find out. Seamus knew he had to get Asmo out of the barn before a Muggle saw him and called the Muggle medics.

He reckoned that the best person to heal Asmo was Serena’s father, Sidney Serpentia, so while his dad hustled his mam and Emma out of the barn, Seamus grabbed his mobile from his tack trunk and rang up the Serpentia’s beach house. An annoyed Mixie told him that Dr. Serpentia wasn’t there, and she didn’t know where he was. Seamus tried Dr. Serpentia’s mobile; no answer. He didn’t have Mrs. Serpentia’s number.

Hearing voices just outside the barn, Seamus realized he was out of time for calls. He had to move Asmo immediately.

Seamus knew all four of Dr. Serpentia’s offices: the fancy private one in Santa Monica where wealthy Muggles sought smaller noses and bigger jubblies; the serious one in the Cedars-Sinai Medical Towers where Muggles with real problems came for their exams; the disquieting one at the Hospitalis Magicae in Los Angeles, which disturbed the rest of the staff with its black-on-black decor and blatant displays of dark symbols; and the private Wizarding hospital he’d built on his estate in Wiltshire, England.

There was also one other place: the surgeons’ shared office in the operating room at Cedars-Sinai. Normally the surgeons’ office would be the riskiest in terms of being seen, but it was one in the morning there, and Cedars-Sinai, which had a secret magical floor, would be the best place for Asmo to heal.

Seamus wrapped his arms around Asmo’s chest, and with a huge effort, held the much bigger man semi-upright. Seconds later, they appeared in the plain grey-and-white office with all of their body parts intact. Seamus gracelessly dropped Asmo on the floor and waved his hand to lock the door. Then he searched the desks until he found a blessedly old-school hand-written phone list that contained Mrs. Serpentia’s mobile number.

Seamus hung about Asmo’s secret hospital room for the rest of the night — day, really — fielding messages from Serena (angry), Joe (concerned) Dean (confused) and his uncle Brian (Emma’s dad — overwhelmed). Mrs. Serpentia invited Seamus back to the house for breakfast — dinner, really.

Asmo finally regained consciousness and asked for Seamus, so it was back to the hospital, where Asmo and Seamus were mutually disappointed that neither knew what had set Eileen off.

Seamus finally went home, exhausted, and then came the call from Bel. Seamus almost ignored it, but the Presul matter had been weighing on his mind all week, and with Asmo in hospital, Seamus felt he had no choice but to take his case higher up the ladder to the newly-minted vice-president of the Serpentia family firm, the scheming and manipulative Belial.

Feet up, eyes closed, he was relaxing on the lush, red-walled terrace of the Jardin Escondido in Buenos Aires. There was the very faint scent of bougainvillea, and the muffled voices of people conversing as they walked up Gorriti street towards the Plaza. A cool breeze ruffled his hair. He wondered if he should head back to Club Newman and watch the Irish riders train for tomorrow’s Nations Cup. He was so tired, though, and it was so pleasant here….

But something was wrong. There was some kind of annoying rhythmic thumping noise in the street. The breeze was getting hotter, and the smell of the flowers stronger. A fly was buzzing around his face; he half-heartedly shooed it away. Why was the air suddenly so stale? And what was that infernal racket? Was someone laughing? Something pushed him. The hell….? His eyes flew open…..

Seamus woke with a start. For a moment he was completely disoriented; then the pieces started to fall into place. The thumping was DJ Miko. The flowers and laughter were Jessica and Nicole leaning over him. The fly: Nicole tickling his nose with a cocktail napkin. He snatched the napkin away and swiftly rose, almost colliding with Bel, who looked quite entertained.

“You know, most people find this place exciting.”

Seamus scowled. “Most people haven’t had my day.”

“We can do this tomorrow if you –”

“We’ll do it now! I need to talk to you!”

Bel looked a bit taken aback. He silently swept his arm toward a small table at the edge of the platform. There was something sarcastic in the gesture, but Seamus didn’t care. The two men sat across from each other, Bel tilted back, arms folded, and Seamus leaning forward.

“So…” asked Bel archly, “what’s so important?”

His question was nearly drowned out by a great roar from the dance floor as the deejay surfed the crowd. Seamus impatiently waved his hand and created a dome of privacy over the table, which muffled most of the noise.

“I’ll get straight to it,” said Seamus. “I’m not going to be Serena’s Praesul.

Bel appraised him thoughtfully, then said, “Now that I think about it, I’m not surprised you’re more ambitious than that. Asmo always said you had talent. But you have to understand: the only way to advance in our organization is from the ground up. Think of Serena as a first step.”

Merlin’s Beard, these people were single-minded! How could he explain himself clearly?

“Didja not get me now? I’m not going to be Praesul in Superficies for anyone, nor do anything else for you guys. I know that’ll sit badly with Serena, but it would help you weren’t filling her head with ideas.”

Bel raised his eyebrows, then smiled in a way that had nothing to do with amusement. “You say that as if you had a choice.”

Seamus felt his stomach turn to ice as he remembered the way the castle had frozen on Monday afternoon. He shoved his fear away, and hoped it didn’t show on his face. He said forcefully, “I have a life of my own!”

“And what do you imagine doing with this ‘life of your own’? Once you’re done playing stableboy, what do you think it’ll be like living in a wizard’s hovel, riding around on a broom and getting messages from a filthy bird?”

Seamus felt insulted. “That’s not a fair picture and you know it! And I won’t be ‘done playing stableboy’; that’s what I aim to do with my life — go into the field of Care of Magical Creatures.”

Bel laughed derisively. “And what kind of life is would that be?”

Now Seamus was truly angry, although he couldn’t pinpoint why he cared what Bel thought. “It may interest you to know that not everyone cares for fancy houses and flash cars and bespoke clothing and nightclubs and such. Some of us would prefer a quieter life, one where we spend our time outdoors and aren’t afraid of a bit of rain. My mam might be friends with Serena’s mam, but I’m not like you — any of you — at all!”

“You don’t think so?”

“I don’t!”

Bel leaned forward. “You don’t think you’re like us at all?”

“Not even a smidge.”

Bel leaned back again. Seamus did not like the smugness in his smile.

“And what is that you’re wearing, Mr. Finnegan? Did you choose it yourself?”

Seamus looked down at his suit. How had he come by it? From Serena? No, he and Dean had gone to Muggle London, to a tailor on Slone.

“I did,” he replied, “but I don’t see what that’s got to do with anything.”

“And how did you get across this room? Did you Apparate?”

“You know I Sifted!”

“And how did you get Asmodeus out of Ireland?”

Seamus was silent.

“I’ll assume the same. And when did you learn to do that?”

“Just the other day….”

His voice trailed off. Wednesday. He’d been taken along dozens of times, but he’d hadn’t a clue how to do it himself, and then suddenly on Wednesday, the day after he’d left Hogwarts… the day after the castle froze… the day after he’d told Serena he was protecting her… the day after that, it had come naturally.

“And when you cast your muffling spell, did you use a wand?”

“Of course I used my…” Seamus instinctively reached into his pocket. “…wand….”

It wasn’t there. He patted all his pockets. He didn’t have it. He’d never brought it. He had no idea where it was. Naas? Los Angeles?

He stared at Belial, who gestured at the platform’s reflective wall. Seamus turned and saw two stylish men, well-groomed, well-dressed, obviously rich. Other than height, there was no difference between them.

“Look in the mirror, Mr. Finnegan. What do you think you’ve become?”

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