Since time immemorial, philosophers, scholars, wizards, and witches have studied Magick. They described it as energy, as a gift from the Gods, as a blessing, or as a curse. Before science became the epitome of mankind’s explanations for strange phenomena, Magick simply was. But, as rational thought and the need to quantify rose to prominence, Muggles regarded Magick as nothing more than superstition from an earlier age.
This didn’t stop witches and wizards from continuing to pursue the study of understanding just how Magick worked. And yet, they never could find an explanation that encompassed all examples of it. At last, the books simply said that a witch or a wizard had an internal core of Magick into which they could tap and then manipulate the energy via the use of incantations and wand movements. Some witches and wizards had a closer connection to Magick than others and that allowed for the great feats of Magick.
They had no explanations for why Magick would react to emotions. Why it would sometimes reach out and just act without any conscious direction from the witch or wizard. A miracle, some would call it; others insisted it resulted from a greater connection to Magick despite the lack of proof. They called it ‘accidental magic’ and left it as that.
Magick was not quantifiable. It simply was. It did not have emotions, not as humans understood it. Magick favored some and they went on to become some of the greatest witches and wizard in history, recognized and lauded as such. Even if they wanted to remain hidden, Magick would not allow them.
Something always broke through.
“Aren’t you glad you came in tonight?” Greg asked Harry with a grin as he handed the latest sample dropped off by one of the CSI’s to his intern.
“Delighted,” Harry replied with a slight smile. “Clearly, giving up my night off has proven quite rewarding.”
Greg laughed and turned his attention to the DNA sample he had started to process. “Not as glamorous as you once thought, huh?”
“Never thought it’d be glamorous,” Harry admitted as he bent his head in concentration. “I just like helping people.”
“How’d you do with the nail clippers” Grissom asked from the door to the lab.
“Right over here,” Greg said, gesturing to where the evidence bag sat. He looked confused at the request as he continued, “figured it wasn’t high priority since I’d already ID’ed the semen in the victim.”
Grissom sighed and looked at the DNA tech with an almost-frustrated expression. “That only proves that they had sex. The nail clippers can place Jason Kent at the murder scene. His nails, her DNA, traces of the booth, etc...”
“Killer, victim, location,” Greg nodded with sudden understanding.
“Holy trinity, Greg. I need that,” Grissom said and left the lab.
“Did you understand his reasoning?” Greg asked, his attention already on the nail clipper as he prepared it for testing.
“Yep,” Harry replied. He liked that his mentor didn’t feel the need to repeat something explained not more than ten feet from him just because he was not the person to whom it was being addressed.
The lab hummed with the process of the machines as the two men set about running samples and printing out reports. Harry’s nose twitched as he began to smell something... off.
“Do you smell--?” he began to ask, looking up to see Greg turning towards the fume hood with a puzzled look on his face.
Harry had mere moments to act as he apparated to Greg’s side and pushed him to the ground and hopefully safety. “Stay down!” he screamed as his magic reacted to his heightened emotions and put a protective encasing around the exploding fume hood.
Greg hadn’t expected the push given to him and fell to the ground. His knees ached from the impact. He shook his head, feeling off.
“Har--” he began and then stared numbly at what could only be described as a bubble surrounding a pulsing fire ball. He scrambled to his feet and blinked even as others came running at the sound of Harry’s shout.
Harry, for his part, looked like some kind of illustration from a comic: he held his hands outstretched before him, his face set in concentration and sweat starting to bead down his face.
“What the hell?” Nick asked as he stumbled to a stop at the entrance. His question remained unanswered as a ‘pop’ of dislocated air brought Detective Vega to the lab.
“What’s going on?” he demanded.
“A little help?” Harry gritted. Greg watched as Vega goggled before he passed Greg back to Nick and moved next to the intern. How the hell had the detective arrived here, at his lab?
“What are you doing?” Vega asked.
“Trying to contain this before it destroys the lab and hurts people,” Harry said, his jaw taut with tension.
“How are you doing that?” he asked, confusion clear in his voice. Greg just stared blankly at the tableau before him, vaguely aware of others at his back, of Nick’s strength holding him up. Knowing somehow that if not for Harry’s actions, he would be on the floor his lab destroyed, severely injured -- maybe even dead.
“Never mind that,” Harry snapped out. “I need my wand if I’m going to contain this with any sort of finesse and not completely exhaust myself.” The words didn’t make sense to Greg, but Vega must have understood.
“Where is it?” he asked.
“Forearm holster,” Harry said, nodding towards his right. “It’s disillusioned, but you should be able to feel it.”
Vega shoved Harry’s sleeves up and began to feel along what looked like a bare stretch of skin for something. Greg stared with continued disbelief as the other man presented Harry with a stick of wood, wondering if he had, perhaps, hit his head or inhaled hallucinogenic chemicals since absolutely nothing made sense. Greg numbly considered the possibility that this was some sort of twisted dream.
“Now what?” Vega asked as the bubble seemed to strengthen with the use of the wand and Harry looked a little more relaxed.
“Can you shield the others?” Harry asked, jerking his head towards the lab personnel who now crowded the hall, gaping at the phenomenon.
“Uh...” Vega looked unsure but nodded anyway. “Probably.”
“Good. I’m going to try and kill the fire and see if I can reverse the effects of the explosion. Let me know when you’re ready,” Harry ordered.
“I didn’t know you could do that,” Vega commented as he raised his own stick of wood and a visible flare flashed across Greg’s corneas before settling into a barely opaque wall.
“Wait, what about Harry?” Greg asked, tugging on Vega’s sleeve. He had no idea what was going on but he wasn’t about to let his intern die for it.
“I’ll be fine, Greg,” Harry answered. Whether that was truth or not, he didn’t know -- especially since the detective didn’t look as confident as the younger man.
“But...” Greg trailed off as Vega pushed him not so gently into the hall, letting Nick take hold of him more firmly so he couldn’t get into his lab.
“What’s going on here?” Grissom’s voice cleared the corridors faster than anything else, but no one answered. “Greg?”
He gave his boss a helpless look. “I have no idea,” he said.
“Harry’s going to try and diffuse the explosion. We’ll explain after,” Vega informed them, his voice more terse than normal, not that Greg had had much interaction with him in the past. He seemed tense and watched Harry’s actions, looking as if he was going to spring into action at the slightest hint of incompetency.
“What’s exploding?” Grissom asked.
“Something under the fume hood,” Greg answered. He leaned against Nick, letting his presence calm and focus him. The CSI didn’t seem to mind; one hand gently stroked his neck in a gesture of comfort. “I... I had begun to process the nail clippers when I noticed a noxious smell,” he said. He frowned. “I remember looking around, trying to see where it was coming from when Harry suddenly popped next to me and pushed me away. He told me to stay down and then, well...” He gestured weakly towards the scene the lab’s windows couldn’t hide.
“His magic must have sensed something and acted on its own,” Nick mused. Greg froze and pulled away slightly.
“Magic?” he asked. “But... wha?”
Vega snorted. “Magic is real,” he said bluntly. “And he,” gesturing towards Harry, “is one powerful son of a bitch if he can pull this off. I had no idea you could even do something like this.”
“I wasn’t aware Mister Potter Black was a magic user,” Grissom commented.
Nick and Vega snorted, leaving Greg to wonder if he was the only person to not know that magic was real. It only served to heighten his belief that none of this was real, but despite this he couldn’t help but focus on the events occurring in his lab, watching with bated breath as the fireball finally disappeared and how Harry carefully repaired everything that had broken in the explosion.
“How is he doing that?” Vega muttered, eyes narrowed with awe and curiosity and respect.
Harry staggered out, his wand no longer in his hand and Greg grabbed him for a hug. “Are you okay?” he asked, maneuvering him down the hall and into the break room, ignoring everyone else around them. He might not know about magic, might not even think any of this was real, but he could tell his friend was tired, that whatever he had done had taken a lot of energy from him and he wasn’t about to risk Harry’s well-being because of his own doubts.
“I’ll be alright,” Harry said and patted Greg awkwardly on the shoulder. “It just required a fair bit of finesse.” He turned his attention to the detective who was but one of many who had followed them. “Don’t suppose you have any pepper-up on you?” he inquired.
Vega looked at him, an incredulous look on his face for a moment before laughing. “Yeah, here you go, kid,” he said and handed Harry a vial with some sort of smoking liquid in it.
“What’s that?” Greg demanded, his natural curiosity emerging from the shock.
“Just a little something to get my energy levels back up,” Harry assured him, before emptying it into his mouth and draining it. Greg watched closely as his pale skin seemed to gain a bit of color and how he did look a bit more awake. He also noticed for the first time scars on some of his exposed skin and wanted very badly to ask about them, though he knew this wasn’t the time.
“You completely blew the Statute, you know,” Vega said with a casual air. Behind him, Nick snorted as he moved closer to the couch and took up a protective position behind Greg and Harry.
Harry, for his part, looked equal parts stubborn and embarrassed. “I wasn’t about to let anyone get blown up,” he argued.
“Lucky me, I’m the senior Auror here so I get to decide what we do,” Vega continued, as if Harry hadn’t even spoken. Greg’s mind whirled as he tried to interpret their words, feeling as if the two men were speaking a foreign language. It was clear that both Nick and Grissom understood judging by the lack of questions or scoffing at the idea of magic. He shifted a bit so that he could watch Nick out of the corner of his eye.
Grissom opened his mouth as if to comment, when Vega went on, “can you manage a secrecy web?”
Harry’s eyes sharpened and rubbed the bridge of his nose in thoughts. Greg just wished he understood what was causing both Grissom and Nick to tense up and then relax at Vega’s suggestion.
“Something to hold the secret within, only to discuss with those who know?” Harry said.
“Yeah,” Vega said. “Look, I’ll be honest,” he continued, his mouth quirking into a half-smile, “this is bad. Real bad. But obliviating the entire shift is also a bad idea. There’s no guarantee we’ll be able to grab everyone before they leave for one. If you can manage the web, at least no one will lose something important and if you do it now, we can get everyone before someone gets the bright idea to open their mouth.”
“Right,” Harry nodded and sighed. “I’m going to be wiped afterwards,” he warned. “It’ll take me at least two full days of rest to get my energy levels back up after this.”
“I’ll give you the time off,” Grissom offered, a tinge of relief in his voice. Clearly, he understood what Harry meant, something that made Greg pout as he still didn’t.
“Thanks,” Harry said and flicked his eyes over to where Greg sat, his hand still on Harry’s. “I promise to explain, later,” he told him and Greg sighed. He would have to be satisfied with that.
“Wait! This isn’t dangerous, right?” he asked. He didn’t want his friend to get hurt any further.
“I’ll be fine. Just really, really exhausted,” Harry assured him.
He released Greg’s hand and pulled out his wand again. Breathing deeply, he closed his eyes and... something began to happen. Greg watched with fascination as streams of light seemed to flow out of the wand and bathe the lab and everyone in it with some sort of energy. He gasped as something seemed to snap into place and he arched his back at the sensation, only relaxing when he recognized it as feeling like Harry. Several moments seemed to pass before Harry sighed, his wand drooping and his body sagging into the couch cushions as he finished whatever it was he had done.
“Great!” Vega enthused. “You can give me a report when you’re better.”
Harry didn’t look very happy but didn’t say anything. “Nick, can you drive Harry and Greg home?” Grissom suggested. “Neither of them should drive.”
Nick nodded and helped Harry stumble to his feet. The younger man swayed in place and clearly needed assistance. But why him? Why did Greg have to go home too?
Before he could ask, Grissom spoke, “Greg, you’ve had a bad shock. Take the rest of the night off to think about it and we’ll speak tomorrow.”
Greg nodded, knowing that he couldn’t exactly gainsay his boss and followed Nick and Harry to Nick’s truck.
He had so many questions (not the least why Nick was so solicitous towards him all of a sudden) and couldn’t wait until he got his answers.