Written for Slodwick's "Worst Case Scenario Challenge." A Due South/Harry Potter crossover.
HOW TO SPOT A RABID ANIMAL
#1. Avoid raccoons, skunks, and bats.
Ray Kowalski leaned back against the door of the GTO, arms crossed over his chest.
"No way, Fraser," he said, shaking his head. "No way am I going into a cave in the middle of the night."
"It's hardly a real cave, Ray, although it does have some fascinating calcium carbonate cave formations. The stalactites, in particular, are quite impressive, and..."
"Stalactites? Stalactites are in caves. I rest my case."
"Ray, the so-called caves at the Randolph Street Station are entirely man-made. Are you certain you were raised in Chicago?"
Ray glared at his partner.
"I'm still not going in."
"For heaven's sake, why not?"
"I got one word for you. Bats."
"Bats. You know...flying rats that get caught in your hair and suck out your blood and give you rabies."
"That's a common misconception, actually."
"Yeah? Which part?"
"All of it. In the first place, recent studies have suggested that bats are closer to primates than they are to rodents, although what possible objection you could have to rats is a complete mystery to me. Furthermore, the superbly developed echolocation that bats possess make them excellent navigators; stories about bats getting caught in people's hair is a convention of the horror genre of films, nothing more. And the only bats which drink blood are vampire bats, which are not found as far north as Chicago."
"I notice you didn't have anything to say about rabies, which - if you'd been watching the news - you'd have known there's an epidemic of, here in Chicago."
"Ray," Fraser said, exasperation plain in his voice. "I'd hardly call the scare-tactics used by the Fox network to increase ratings 'news.' In any case, you have a greater chance of falling victim to a rogue power mower than you have of being bitten by a rabid bat. However, if you want to stay in the car while I look for Diefenbaker, then feel free."
"What the hell would Dief be doing here anyway?" Ray grumbled, as he locked the car and followed after Fraser.
"This was one of the first tourist attractions we encountered when we came to Chicago, and Diefenbaker has been known to re-visit it on occasion, possibly due to his highly developed sense of nostalgia."
"You got a weird wolf, Fraser."
Fraser nodded. "I'm afraid I must concur." He opened the door and stood aside. "After you, Ray."
Ray stepped through the doorway, and instantly felt something in his hair.
"Get it off me! Get it off me!" he yelled. "Dammit, Fraser, get the bat out of my hair!"
"Ray," Fraser said. "It's not a bat."
"Oh yeah, it's a bat, all right. I swear, Fraser, if it gives me rabies, I'm going to bite you myself, for getting me..."
"It's a piece of string."
Ray squinted in the dark room as Fraser held the evidence up before his eyes.
"Fine," Ray said sullenly, his heart still pounding furiously. "It's a piece of string now."
Fraser snorted. "Are you suggesting it was a bat, and I transformed it into a length of string with my heretofore unknown magical powers?"
"Shut up, Fraser."
"Of course, Ray."
#2. If the animal is foaming at the mouth or appears to have a locked jaw, stay away.
Fraser hung up the phone.
"It appears that animal control does, in fact, have a pair of canines loosely matching Diefenbaker's description."
"So what's the problem? We'll go over and pick him up."
"It's not that simple. It appears that you are not the only person in Chicago to have succumbed to fear over the recent reports about an outbreak of rabies in the city, and Diefenbaker is being held as a suspect."
"Huh? He got his rabies shots, didn't he?"
"Of course. However, as you know, he objects to wearing immunization tags as a matter of principle, and it's possible that he found a way to remove them, as he's done in the past."
Ray grinned. "Yeah, that's Dief. Okay, so we'll just take his paperwork down to animal control and get him sprung."
"I'm afraid that's not going to be possible, since the paperwork was lost along with everything else in the apartment fire. The report says that one of the animals was foaming at the mouth and the other was behaving in a dangerously aggressive manner when they were captured. Both have been sedated, and they're currently in quarantine, awaiting testing first thing in the morning."
"Okay, so after the testing then."
"Ray, the kind of testing they're talking about requires that the animal first be euthanized."
#3. If you are bitten by any animal, wash the bite with soap and water.
"Hey, slow down, Fraser," whispered Ray. "I can't see where I'm going."
"Ah, sorry Ray." Fraser turned around and handed Ray a flashlight.
Ray frowned. "Where did this flashlight come from?"
"That's not important. What is important is that we locate Diefenbaker before Animal Control opens for the day."
"You don't suppose...what if Dief really does have rabies?"
"Yeah, but...didn't you say the report said that one of the dogs was foaming at the mouth?"
Fraser nodded. "Yes. However before we left, I found half a package of Turnbull's cinnamon scented shaving soap on the Consulate steps, and Diefenbaker would naturally be attracted to that."
"Dief wants to shave?"
"He's never expressed any dissatisfaction with his admittedly hirsute appearance, no. However, Diefenbaker's favorite doughnut flavor is cinnamon, and the temptation was too great for him to ignore."
"I thought he liked powdered sugar?"
"That was last week, Ray. Ah, here we are. One sleeping wolf, as advertised, I'll just lift this cage and we can...hmm."
"What are you hmm'ing about?"
"Even allowing for the weight of the cage itself, this seems to be far heavier than I was expecting."
"Do you need a hand?"
"No, Ray. Remember what Archimedes said."
"Was it something about getting a hernia because he didn't think he needed help lifting a ton of cage and dog?"
"A place to stand and a lever, Ray. That's all I'll need." Fraser looked around for a moment, then smiled. "Yes, that broom will do nicely."
Fraser reached for the broom, but as his fingers neared it, the broom seemed to jump back away from his hand.
"What the hell's going on, Fraser?"
"I...I have no idea, Ray. Perhaps a bit of assistance wouldn't go amiss. If you'll just lift that end of the cage, we'll be out of here in no...."
"I'm afraid we can't allow you gentlemen to leave with that cage," said a strange voice from behind them.
#4. Call animal control authorities to report the incident.
"Okay," Ray said, pulling out his badge. "Ray Vecchio, Chicago P.D. Both of you drop your...um...sticks."
Neither of them did as Ray said. The closer of the two, a tall Black man, just smiled at Ray, then turned to his pink-haired companion. "Do you get the feeling this isn't exactly part of his jurisdiction, Tonks?"
The young woman grinned back "Yep."
"If I may, Ray?" Fraser took a step forward. "My name is Constable Benton Fraser. I first came to Chicago on the trail of the killers of my father, and for reasons that don't need exploring at this juncture I have remained, attached as liaison with the Canadian Consulate."
"Good to meet you, Constable," the tall man said, extending his arm in greeting. "I'm Kingsley Shacklebolt, Senior Auror in Britain and temporarily on assignment with the American Auror's Department, and this is my associate, Nymphadora Tonks."
'A pleasure, Miss Tonks."
"Okay," Ray said. "Now that we've got the polite stuff out of the way, maybe one of you two who's working with the imaginary American department wants to tell me what the hell you're doing sneaking around here in the dark."
"Possibly the same thing you're doing sneaking around here in the dark. We're here to retrieve one of our colleagues."
Ray snorted. "Right, like there's another one of you hiding in here."
Shacklebolt smiled. "Not hiding, no. He's in that cage you're holding onto."
Ray looked down, then dropped his end of the cage and took a step backward. There was a wolf in the cage, and it was just beginning to wake up, but it sure as hell wasn't Dief.
"You work with this...wolf?"
"Werewolf," Tonks said matter-of-factly. "We'd introduce you, but I think he needs to be gone from here before he changes back."
The big amber-eyed werewolf in the cage slowly nodded his head, then curled up again in the bottom of the cage and closed his eyes.
Tonks grinned, then muttered something that sounded like "Aloha." As soon as she did, the doors on both wolves' cages sprang open.
"Thank you, Miss Tonks," Fraser said. "Diefenbaker, if you will!"
The half-wolf jumped out of the cage and down onto the floor. Fraser knelt down beside him, and sniffed at the wolf's mouth. "As I suspected." He held Diefenbaker's head and turned him until he was certain the animal had a good view of his mouth. "I hope this has taught you a lesson about eating things that don't belong to you."
"No, I don't care if Turnbull did say 'mi casa es su casa' - that has nothing whatsoever to do with trying to eat his shaving soap."
Ray rolled his eyes. This could go on all day, and all six of them had to get out of there before...
"...hey, Fraser," he said, looking around the room in confusion. "Where did those guys go?"
"I really couldn't say, Ray. Why don't you go get the car, and I'll make sure everything's cleaned up in here."
Ray got halfway down the hall before he thought maybe he should go back and help Fraser so they'd be sure to get out of the building before anyone showed up to work, but when he opened the door, Fraser wasn't alone. Standing next to him was a guy who looked to be somewhere in his twenties.
"Man, I hate being stuck like that all night," the young man said, stretching his arms over his head.
"It's your own fault," Fraser said.. "Honestly, Steve...shaving soap?"
"Yeah, like it's news to you that when I transform I really am a half-wolf."
"Fraser?" Ray said. "What the fuck is going on here?"
"Oh dear. Steve, if you would?"
Before Ray's eyes, the young man disappeared, and in his place was the familiar form of Dief.
'Fraser, you'd better start...."
Ray frowned, then shook his head and leaned down to pat Dief. "You doing okay, buddy?"
Dief barked once, then licked Ray's hand.
"Perhaps we should be on our way before anything...unexpected happens."
"Yeah," Ray said. "You take care of the paperwork?"
"Everything's just as it should be, Ray."
Comments, critiques, chit chat: beth-h @ mrks.org