The Sugar Quill
Author: B. Nonymous (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Oversexed, Overpaid, and Over Here (book 7 edition)  Chapter: Excitement
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Oversexed, Overpaid, and Over Here (book 7 edition) - B. Nonymous

Oversexed, Overpaid, and Over Here (book 7 edition).

Thanks again to Mrs. Nonymous (aka. Herm-own-ninny) for alpha reading. Enjoy!

Excitement

March 10th, 1944

Dominic was, quite simply, annoyed. He was annoyed because his processing in Liverpool consisted of being handed a Rank-View Ring (charmed by his best friend Herschel) and then being immediately shuffled onto a London-bound train. He was annoyed that he was going to miss the welcoming festivities the rest of the battalion would enjoy (including a performance by a floating band, something Colonel Ryerson seemed very keen on). He was annoyed by the portly young bureaucrat who was escorting him, and that his newly charmed ring showed said bureaucrat to be of equivalent rank to a Captain.

Most of all, however, he was annoyed by the additional presence of none other than Captain Uriah Grubbly, carrying on a lighthearted conversation with the same bureaucrat about how much more stuffy British wizardry was.

"Many of your ancestors' ideas about bringing the Muggle-born into the fold were embraced over here, you know. Now this Hughes fellow on the other hand... mixing freely with Muggles? Definitely the wrong sort, if you ask me."

"I wouldn't go that far, Cornelius... after all, he did keep up the Secrecy Agreements when the radicals wanted to expose everything to the Muggles! You read about the Vermont Secrecy Rebellion in your History of Magic class, right?"

The bureaucrat laughed in a manner that shook his whole body. Dominic doubted he could laugh at all without doing so.

"Unfortunately our History of Magic teacher was quite boring. I probably slept through it, or confused it with Goblin rebellions, or Giant rebellions." Cornelius looked angry when mentioning Goblins.

Dominic briefly thought about the early 19th Century, when America's wizard founding father, Carlisle Hughes, ordered a brutal crackdown on a magical group in Vermont in 1802. This group wanted to expose wizards and witches to the general population for what they claimed were reasons of "equality for all." Hughes justified his stance based on the Hogsmeade Treaty signed three years earlier. That treaty had Britain's Wizarding Council (the forerunner to the modern Ministry and Wizengamot) recognize an independent United States so long as it held to the International Statute of Secrecy. Hughes valued American indepedence more than per-state autonomy, which also lead to the appearance of a strong central wizarding government over a half-century before the Muggles would follow suit.

Another product of the early 19th century (or so Dominic recalled) was the his own Salem School, and its feisty female founder.

"So Siobhan O'Shaughnessy, was she the wrong sort too?" interjected Dominic.

Cornelius Fudge looked at Dominic for the first time, as if he had just appeared in the train's spartan compartment.

"Who?"

Uriah broke down laughing. This only added to Dominic's frustration. He angrily looked at Fudge. The ghostly Captain's bars floating on his shoulder (thanks to the Ring) were the only thing keeping Dominic from pummeling him like a storekeeper who forgot to pay his protection money.

That this creampuff Limey did not know who the founder of O'Shaughnessy School was should not have surprised Dominic. Neither should have the blue-blooded Grubbly's guffaws. Dominic stood up and stormed out.

"Sergeant Salvaggio, please stay in the compartment. We do not wish to reveal ourselves to the Muggles."

Dominic ignored Fudge, and walked out. His US Army uniform would only get him noticed for being a foreigner, not for being a wizard. Fudge can go stick it, and so can Grubbly, he thought to himself. Dominic's departure, though, inspired a more interesting turn in the conversation.

"He'll blend in fine, the uniform and all," said Uriah, breathing to ask a question he did not want the Muggle-born Dominic hearing.

"I'm shocked the Ministry didn't send an Auror with us. I knew Britain was on a defensive posture, but I'm getting the impression that.. well... we'd be better off staying with our own Muggle soldiers than with our own kind here. Is Magical Britain... dare I say, isolationist in this whole affair?"

Fudge shifted, with Snitch-like speed, from jolly to uncomfortable. "Ummm, Grindelwald espouses many contradictory views."

"Contradictory? He wants us to put the Muggles under our thumbs!"

"He also has NO qualms about who he enlists to help him! Muggles, and Muggle-borns... To be honest, it's a wonder the Minister allowed your people to come here at all!"
. . .

Dominic's second train ride frustrated him far less than his first. He virtually had the whole run of the car to himself. This train, the "Hogwarts Express", was normally used to transport students from London to Britain's legendary school of witchcraft and wizardry. Both Uriah and the annoying bureaucrat from the British Ministry remained on the same train as Dominic. The addition of a few other passengers and the wide expanse of the train, however, mitigated their annoying presence.

Dominic peered over the shoulder of a young witch sitting to his right. Earlier - thanks to his Rank-View Ring, he saw sergeant's stripes floating over her shoulder - he had introduced himself. She had a scrapbook of some sort open to a full-page wizarding group photo. Spelled out in neat script underneath was, "1942-1943 - Head Boy, Head Girl, and Prefects". Dominic focussed on the Head Girl. She wore glasses, and had her dark hair pulled straight back. Her expression switched from stern, admonishing the other subjects for not being serious, to a fascinated twinkle when looking at her male counterpart, to slightly mischievous while looking straight into the camera.

The young witch, who was the Head Girl, sighed, and then spoke after Dominic obviously found her in the photo.

"Yes, he's the Head Boy," she said while slightly blushing.

"Look at him... look at you! I wouldn't need a wizarding snapshot to tell me you're crazy for each other. And you're both working in the same unit, Minnie?"

"It's MINERVA, you Yankee git. Only Alan gets to call me Minnie. And I cannot say whether or not we are working in the same unit... I might as well ask why a loud, brash American is being assigned to Hogsmeade!"

Dominic nodded his head in agreement. Minerva Burns, who planned on becoming Minerva McGonagall after the war was over, was not about to divulge anything else to him on that particular subject. Dominic quickly changed the subject when he spotted a prefect holding a particularly large trophy.

"Who's the guy with the shield?" asked Dominic, pointing to a dark-haired boy who either looked humble or suspicious, depending on who else in the picture was looking at him.

Minerva sighed before answering. "That's Tom Riddle. That shield is an award for special services to the school."

"Special services?" asked Dominic.

Minerva looked slightly cross as she continued. "He ... found someone who had unleashed a monster in the school."

Dominic was not going to let her slip go unchallenged. "What were you going to say? He didn't FIND someone. He..."

She glanced quickly around before explaining. "A few of us think that Tom was not entirely honest about who had unleashed the monster. We have, of course, nothing to substantiate such a claim. It's just... well... the boy they expelled could NOT have done it."

"Really? Who got expelled?"

"His name was Rubeus Hagrid. He was in my house," Dominic recognized the sort of pride he had when mentioning his own O'Shaughnessy School.

Minerva continued, "He was a clumsy boy, half-giant too. But he would not unleash something that would leave one student dead."

Dominic's jaw was slack. "Half-giant?!" he asked, fixating on the concept, foreign to a Muggle city kid.

After a ten-second pause, Minerva closed her book with a smile, and jumped back to a previous topic of conversation - her engagement.

"You know, Dominic, what I'll miss most about marrying Alan is that my name will no longer be a complete sentence."

. . .

Dominic felt as if he had returned to Salem. He was sitting, alone, in the front row of a classroom. From its appearances, it was a Transfiguration classroom. Its walls were decorated with several drawings of objects in mid-transformation, or before-and-after shots. One picture was animated, showing an orange blossom changing into an orange sherbet.

At least it's my favorite subject, thought Dominic.

Coincidental to his thought, a greying, auburn-haired wizard walked briskly into the room. Following him were Minerva, a black-haired wizard who looked to be middle-aged, and a balding wizard wearing very thick wire-rimmed glasses. Dominic's Rank-View Ring pegged the middle-aged wizard as a fellow sergeant and the spectacled one as a Colonel.

Dominic did a double-take at the auburn-haired wizard, who had a long beard which made his appearance fit the stereotype of the wise old wizard. He saw a single star over each shoulder. That placed him as a Brigadier General (or just plain Brigadier, since he was British), which meant he was a peer of General Tucker.

The auburn-haired wizard spoke in a commanding mixture of firm and gentle tones. "Before we begin, I would like to introduce our newest agent. From the American Wizarding Volunteers, Sergeant Dominic Salvaggio. He comes to us from the Muggle section of New York, and his Animagus form is a rat. Until Alan returns, Dominic here will be assuming some of his duties here on grounds."

Dominic's mind jumped back to his conversation with Minerva. Alan was obviously out on a mission of some sort. Minerva must miss him. I hope the old man doesn't mean those duties!, he thought. He was jarred out of his thoughts by being directly addressed.

"Now Dominic, we try to be on a first-name basis here. Except for Alan and me, all of us here are Animagi - I feel that your common gift allows a more informal relationship. I know you see us as fellow soldiers, or perhaps some as superior officers, thanks to that ring you are wearing, but I will have none of that here. We are to provide intelligence to the Ministry, and," he briefly addressed the group, "to our new friends from America.

"I am Albus Dumbledore. I am a Transfiguration Professor at this school, and I... help however I can with the fight against Grindelwald. Would the rest of you please introduce yourselves to Dominic?"

The wizard with glasses started. "I'm Hermes Lovegood, and when Albus isn't here, I'll be handing you assignments and debriefing you." He paused, and then mentioned as an afterthought, "I'm an owl."

Minerva spoke to her peers more than Dominic. "I'm Minerva Burns, and we've already spoken with each other on the train. And I'm a cat."

The middle-aged wizard walked over and shook Dominic's hand. "Ernie Hawking. Despite my name... I'm actually a canary."

Dominic was glad he was on the same side as these people. Apart from Ernie, he was prey to Minerva's and Hermes's predators.

. . .

Dominic enjoyed his first British butterbeer in Hogmeade's "The Three Broomsticks". He was sitting at the bar, surveying a half-eaten steak-and-mushroom pie, and wishing he had anything his mother cooked instead. Like on the Muggle front, the Italian wizarding community had either gone in with Grindelwald, or were too scared to oppose him. Also like on the Muggle front, Italy had been liberated. That meant he would not be visiting there on any missions. The consequence of all of those events was Dominic would have to deal without any real food until he returned to the States. The lack of suitable cuisine did not put Dominic in the best of tempers.

The icing on Dominic's bland-tasting cake was the wand that suddenly touched his back.

"You... Mudblood. And don't tell me you're not... you're a damned Yankee bastard. Think you're here to save our necks from Grindelwald, and his Muggle puppet?"

Dominic stood up, turned around and saw a stocky wizard, hardly taller than himself, but twice as thick. The British purist had a much taller and much thinner friend standing on his left, and he looked equally malevolent.

Before Dominic could speak a word, another voice, this time very familiar, rang out on top of rapid footsteps.

"How dare you pontificate on the so-called purity of blood, you arrogant ass."

It was Captain Uriah Grubbly - also in full uniform, and full of the sort of indignation he normally saved for anyone who had announced their intentions of moving back into Muggle society after graduation from Salem.

"I come from one of the ten wizarding families that came to America in 1632," he began. Dominic had heard Uriah utter this phrase at least a hundred times during his seven years at Salem. Unlike every other time, however, Dominic actually paid attention to him this time after he said it.

"My magical heritage is the result of learning, tradition, and strong roots in the magical community. It has NOTHING to do with blood or ancestry. My own mother is Muggle-born, yet is proud to call herself a witch. She has embraced her gifts fully, and is a role model to any of us we find among the Muggles."

Dominic had met Uriah's parents during Salem's graduation. Mrs. Grubbly looked Greek - not unlike someone he would have met in any Greek section of New York or Boston. She acted like anyone's mother, Dominic supposed. He never knew that she was Muggle-born. Uriah was being his normal long-winded self, but his words seemed to have won over some of the crowd.

The stocky purist rejoined the exchange. "Then your father continues to be a blood-traitor, and you're mother is..."

Dominic drew his wand, pointed it at the short lout, and uttered the first nasty spell that came to his mind - Incendio.

His Incendio was deflected by simultaneously-cast Protego charm. The red beam struck an empty table, and set it aflame.

Uriah pointed his wand at the table, quickly extinguishing the flame. He also ducked as the white-flash of a Stunner flew near his shoulder. Dominic, remembering his training, turned into a rat, scurried underneath between the feet of the stocky pure-blood, and turned back into a human. Dominic was now behind the pure-blood's back, and with a clear shot he cast his own Stupefy, which knocked out his first opponent.

He had no time to dodge an Impedimenta fired by the taller pure-blood. Dominic slowed down to one-quarter his normal speed. Only his training ("You're only useful as a speedy rat, Salvaggio! I could've squashed you like a bug!" rung in his ears) kept him from changing back into a rat and running away.

The last spell he heard cast before he regained full movement was Petrificus Totalus, which caused the tall pure-blood to fall face-first into another table. The table collapsed, as did the tall wizard. The three pints on the table spilled all over the floor, soaking the two defeated purebloods.

Dominic looked at Uriah in amazement. Someone who had been nothing but a source of put-downs, condescension, and wizardlier-than-thou platitudes was now a fellow soldier, who had defended not only his comrade-in-arms, but his country, and his way of life. The feeling of amazement was short-lived, however, when three wizards in the uniform of the Magical Law-Enforcement Squad (MLES) arrived and put Dominic and Uriah into Upper-Body-Binds. They did the same to the two provoking wizards.

. . .

"YOU TWO ARE THE WORST... I MEAN THAT! THE WORST EXAMPLE OF PUBLIC BEHAVIOR I HAVE EVER SEEN!"

Colonel J. Ryerson's skin was a bright shade of red. Dominic had heard rumors that General Tucker's eyes glowed when he was angry or gearing up to use a particularly powerful spell. Dominic wondered if Colonel Ryerson's whole body was capable of such incandescence. Ryerson's angry gaze kept alternating between Dominic and Uriah as they stood at attention.

"I DO NOT CARE that you were being taunted. I DO NOT CARE that they called you Mudblood," his gaze turned to Uriah, "or Blood-traitor. I DO NOT CARE that your family is one of the original ten, and that you've known General Tucker since before your first year at Salem."

Ryerson paused only long enough to breathe. "If this were a regular Army unit, I'd have both of you thrown in the stockade. As it is, you two are following me, now!"

They left Ryerson's office at Awvee headquarters, and took a right turn out to go down to a door at the end of the hallway. A placard on the door read, "Brig. Gen. S. P. Tucker, CINC AWV", and Dominic felt the pit in his stomach grow even bigger.

Ryerson knocked on the door, and a gruff "Come in!" echoed out.

General Tucker was standing behind his desk looking skeptically at a long-haired man sitting in a visitor's chair. The man was leaning toward Tucker, exuding an intensity the three arriving Awvees felt immediately.

"One year, Simon. That's the most I will need."

"I hope you're right, Albus. See you Monday."

Dumbledore quickly stood up, turned around, and raced out of the office, his eyes avoiding everyone else. All three visitors stood at attention as Tucker scribbled something briefly on some parchment.

"At ease, Colonel," said General Tucker after setting down his quill. Uriah took this as a sign to relax his stance.

"I did NOT tell you to break from attention, Captain," said Tucker. His eyes glowed ever-so-slightly when he clarified things to Uriah. He then stood up and joined the glowering Battalion commander for his dressing down.

"Captain Grubbly and Sergeant Salvaggio. Professor Dumbledore and I have discussed your situation with the MLES," he pronounced every letter crisply, "and we now have a full and detailed account of the incident from last night.

"Since you are both stationed at Hogwarts, your punishment will be to aid Messrs. Pringle and Filch in whatever cleaning duties they assign you. And you will not be allowed your wands while serving your punishment, which will last for two weeks. Colonel Ryerson is correct - if this were a regular Army unit, you'd be thrown in the stockade. Professor Dumbledore, however, seems to think that the men you assaulted were poor examples of British wizardry, and suggested I go light on you. For now, I am agreement with him. Don't make me regret my decision.

"Colonel, you may finish with your men as you see fit. Dismissed!"

"Yes sir!" saluted Ryerson. Tucker saluted him back, and sat back down on his desk. Ryerson glanced toward the door and he lead Dominic and Uriah back to his own office.

"You two are the luckiest sons of bitches I know." Dominic and Uriah agreed with their superior officer silently as they walked back.

"There are only a handful of wizards in the world who could possibly survive a duel with Grindelwald himself, and you both just caught a break from TWO of them. Dismissed!"


Stay tuned for the next chapter - Excursion. Keep those comments coming! I thrive on them! I also reply to them...
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