Moving from the theatre to the Isle Of Dogs as a group had proven difficult, especially with both wolves being nothing but negative about the tube travel and the vampires quietly arguing about whether or not they should respond to one particularly overconfident human belittling them while the rest of the group suffered with embarrassment, but it was managed... Eventually. The ghosts seemed to naturally lead the pack with Ian scanning his immediate area with an air of scrutiny. It was vaguely recognisable but something was different, although he couldn't put his finger on the reason why it felt so different. Maybe when this "case" had played out, he could regain some memories and make sense of it all?
"Are you sure you know where you're going?" Ed piped up when they came to yet another crossroads and were forced to pause.
"Well, no." Ian replied. "I don't really remember where anything is."
"To be fair, the entirety of London has changed in the last thirty-odd years so I'm not surprised nothing is jogging your memory." Ralph added, pulling his phone out to open Google Maps. "Do you remember what the cemetery was called?"
The ghost's face warped into a deep frown as he desperately tried to remember even a part of the name. "Our Lady's?" Came the eventual guess as he turned to Ralph and tried to look at the phone screen while the vampire fiddled with it.
"Nothing's coming up apart from Saint Matthias' Churchyard which... Y'know isn't a crematorium for one, and East London Crematorium which isn't specific to here." Ralph told him having assessed the nearest toggle spots and switched between them a few times.
"Don't blame me! All I remember is Isle of Dogs!" Ian exclaimed, aggressively throwing his hands around in frustration.
"It's okay, Ian, it's alright we'll figure it out." Ed told him, putting a hand on his peer's shoulder.
"I hate this! I wish I could just remember!" Snapped the elder ghost, smacking the side of his head. "How come you remember everything, Eddy? Eh? How the fuck can you remember and I can't?"
"Hey, take it easy, mate, calm down!" The younger ghost whined, fighting with the elder's strength as he tried to pry his arm down. "I don't remember how I died but everything else I remember because of Charlie being around... I can't help that Amber left you behind."
The last part had stung Ian because Ed gained a dark glare as a response.
"Don't." A low growl of an order; one that rivalled even the more experienced wolf of the group.
"S-Sorry... I didn't mean anything by it-" Began Ed.
"How far is the crematorium, beardy?" Ian interrupted, deciding that now was probably the best ending for the previous discussion before he ended up working in some self-inflicted pain followed by Spartan rage.
A little thrown aback by the switch in atmosphere, Ralph blinked a few times at the ghosts, glanced at the rest of the group, took a sharp inhale then returned his attention to the block in his hand for a few seconds.
"About ten minutes if we hopped on the tube again or about half an hour if we walked." He eventually replied with a quiet sigh, shoving his phone back into the pocket of his jeans.
Woody cleared his throat at that. "I'm not going back on that bloody thing." He growled.
"Agreed. It's fucking awful trying to maintain my equilibrium standing up in a stupid tin can." James nodded, grimacing at the very idea of fighting with his body in an underground train a second time.
"Ah so you really are more dog than man, now?" Dan quipped, a sly grin materialising onto his face.
"Shut it, you mite!" James snapped.
"Oh for fuck's sake he's not doing any harm, I make jokes like that about us all the time." Woody sighed. Newer wolves were always so... Over the top when it came to the dog comparisons and he had never understood that. It bothered him, somewhat, that someone so intelligent would lose the ability to take a joke the second a claw tore into their bodies. Saying that, though, in this instance a part of Woody found himself agreeing with James a little bit... Losing the ability to stand up straight when a train or a bus was moving was like experiencing an entire circle of Hell all to himself and anyone who was not a werewolf would never understand the utterly ineffable sensation.
"Woody's right, I was joking... I would prefer to walk too." Said Dan, raising his hands defensively. "It's a nice day and besides, it might help Ed, uhm, no, Ian's memory."
"... I can help with that a bit." Charlie said quietly, shuffling a little.
"How?" Ian was still sceptical of the magic-possessing beings, even if he had been impressed by their work with the phoard earlier that day. For some reason, the idea of one person having that much power frightened him. Perhaps it was because he was relatively new to this entire cultural world of supernaturals, given the fact that he was a plain ol' human in life? Or was he? Memory loss was a frustrating side-effect of death.
"Well, uhm, the spellbook Emma lent me had something about giving ghosts pre-death memories in it... Maybe we could use that spell to help you out?" Charlie elaborated, digging through a brown leather messenger bag that had been slung over his shoulder.
Emma gasped. "Of course! Why didn't I think of that earlier?" She carefully took a battered purple book from Charlie and skimmed through it until she came a marked page. "I saved it a while ago because of a premonition dream I had a few months ago... I knew it would come in handy!"
The spider on her shoulder scrambled from one side to another and excitedly moved it's pedipalps, like it was sharing its witch's sudden excitement, making Ian uncomfortable for the second time that day. He preferred the dragon companion but it seemed to have taken a liking to Dan's feeder over anyone else. Nesbitt, as it was named, was clinging to Kyle's shoulders for dear life as though it feared falling off at any given moment. It was cute, in an odd sort of way.
"Right okay, I think we've got this... We have a demon, we have the ghost," Emma's voice brought him back to reality, "Rich just needs to borrow a wand."
"Do demons not have wands?" As soon as it escaped the ghost, he realised it was a stupid question. The air around him had him feeling it in his ghostly gut.
Rich was the one to show him the most kindness in response. "Well, we don't really need them." He explained, rotating a hand to show how quickly he could manifest and evaporate his magic. "We're born powerful, witches need training to control the power."
"We can use pure magic for basic stuff, but everything else kind of needs a wand." Emma elaborated, nodding some.
"Demons are technically, well, for lack of a better description, angel witches." Rich expanded, deciding to make it a little easier to understand.
"Hm, that's kind of cool." Murmured Ian, pushing out his lower lip. "Right so, let's do this before I get antsy again."
x x x x x x x x x x x x
After Ian had regained the memory of life before death, he found himself confused and scared of everything around him. Nothing was recognisable, everything had completely changed. Or at least, everything that wasn't a house had completely changed - even if some of the council houses had suddenly disappeared too in the last thirty-odd years. He was lost in a new city without a map and that absolutely terrified him.
"That there with the purple door used to be Old Grady's house which means... The cemetery my plaque's at is close." He said when he had mustered up enough courage to finally speak again. "Straight ahead until the lights then left and then across the road." This was about as much confidence as he would allow himself without actually seeing the place or, even better, his black marble plaque in front of his face.
Sure enough, after only two accidental wrong turns, there it was in all of it's faded grey glory; an imposing gloom of a gated archway that lead up to a series of polished walls decorated with flowers and hung knickknacks in various states of decay.
"It's locked." Mumbled Dan, fiddling with the gate.
"Of course it is you muppet, it's almost eleven at night. Who goes to visit someone's graveside at this hour?" Snipped Kyle.
"Right now?" Emma interrupted, using her wand to make a pointed strike at the lock making it spark, bang and unceremoniously fall to the ground with a clank. "Us."
The gang followed the ghosts through the decades of dead, the magic inclined using their powers to light the way, trying to get to the correct name before someone found them sneaking around.
"Ere! It's Mystery Inc!" A fat ghost with greyed hair flimsily attached to the side of his head appeared at the end of one wall and cackled at the sight before him.
"Piss off you old gout." Replied Ian, giving the geezer two fingers.
"It's you lot who should piss off, sneakin' about like that." Retorted the other ghost.
"Sorry, we're just looking for something and once we find it, we'll leave." Ed stumbled, trying to quickly diffuse a situation before it occurred. The last thing they needed was Arlen giving them grief for breaking the law in order to find Ian's killer. He could already hear the angry tones of the Irishman's spectral being echoing around his head and that was more than enough to encourage him to keep things copacetic between all parties.
"Oh aye? What's it you're looking for, then?"
"Tell me your name and I'll show you where you are." Well, that was easy... Too easy. "Oh an' your YOD... There might be a fuckin' load of people with the same name as you and I really don't want Scooby and the gang hangin' about 'ere too much longer." There was the hostility.
"Ian Edward Dudfield. 1985." He replied, scuffing his foot against the concrete ground.
"Ah yeah, next aisle, third row down on the left." Said the nosy geezer, pointing to his left. "Don't be too long now, hear? I'll keep ol' Mac busy while you kids snoop."
"... Thank you." It came reluctantly but it was still genuine gratitude from the Marty McFly lookalike and that had earned him a cheeky sort of grin and a wink that reminded him of his father. Or was it his brother? Never mind that, he knew where to look for his plaque now.
As they passed the geezer, the rest of the group gave their equivalence of thanks to him and followed Ian in a snaking sort of line until they eventually gathered at the right spot.
It was a sad affair, really, seeing his plaque bare of flowers while everyone else's were brightly decorated or abandoned with decaying remains of some kind of plant or wind-chime set. Then again, Amber hadn't ever returned to London after leaving and it shouldn't have hurt him so much to see his name looking so bland and lonely. He sighed, a deep, sad sort of noise expelling from his form. Even the gold paint that made his name stand out had started peeling and it made him feel so heart-breakingly sad.
"... So," he sighed, "if I put my hand on the stone it'll link me to my body, right?" An anxious glance over his shoulder at the rest of the group, with only Emma nodding in response to his question. "Okay, uhm... Here goes."
He raised a shaky hand and slowly put it as close to the stone as he could, just stopping short of actually touching it.
A beat then; Dan's voice.
"Go on, then."
Followed by Woody's. "Yeah, what're you waiting for, mate?"
And Will's gentler tones. "Go ahead, Ian, we're not going anywhere."
Before, finally, Kyle's body suddenly stood beside him. "Are you okay?"
"I'm..." An anxious pause. "I'm scared."
Ed the younger straightened up in realisation and put a hand on Ed the elder's shoulder.
"It's alright, take your time." He said gently. "Take a deep breath, count to three then do it."
Ian made brief eye contact and nodded. "Okay."
One, a deep inhale.
Two, a low, long exhale.
Three... Sudden contact with cold stone and a mass of bright light that consisted of spiritual string exploded from the stone, wrapped itself around Ian then clawed into him without so much as a scratch of pain, taking less than a moment to settle before a single, thick line shot out of his breast and punched its way through any obstacle until the tip of it was unseen by the naked eye.
"... Fucking hell." Whispered the ghost, finding himself tempted to touch the light now. "That's... Wicked."