The Ancient Curse Of Bast
by Victoria P.

"Napa was lovely, thank you, Carol," CJ said, breezing past her assistant, who attempted to hand her a pile of folders. "The wine, the food, the wine. It was fantastic. Did I mention the wine?"

"You did. Three times."

"Well, it's worth mentioning three times."

"If you say so."

"I do. Maybe I'll just keep the bottle I brought back for you, then. How would you like that?"

"I wouldn't."

"I didn't think so." She pushed her office door open to find a tall, red-haired man dressed as if he'd stepped out of an Indiana Jones movie standing behind her desk, staring out the window. "Carol, there's a man in my office."

He turned and smiled, showing white teeth and laughing blue eyes in a tanned, freckled face. He also wore a fang earring.

Carol poked her head in, surprised. "A very good-looking man," she said.

"Does that matter?" CJ replied.

"I think it does."

"I think you should go back to your desk and start working on the thing."


CJ turned to the stranger as Carol closed the door on her way out.

"I'm CJ Cregg. And you are?"

"Bill Weasley." He held out a hand and she took it, enjoying the frisson of warmth his touch sent up her arm.

"How can I help you, Mr. Weasley?"

"Please, call me Bill. Mr. Weasley is my father. And I'm here to help you."

She walked around her desk and he held the chair out for her. "Thank you." He gave a little bow and she cocked her head to look at him. He really was attractive, in an Indiana Jones as a rock star way.

"Are you with Lord John Marbury's office?"

"No, I'm not, actually. I'm with Gringott's bank."

She blinked. "I don't believe I've heard of them."

"No, as a Muggle, you wouldn't have."

"As a what?"

"American. I meant, American," he lied glibly.

She let it pass. "And you're here to help with--" She gestured vaguely.

"The ancient curse of Bast."

"The ancient curse of Bast."


"Okay." She rose forcefully, letting the chair roll back to the wall, and strode to the door, yanking it open. "Carol. Carol! Get Josh on the phone, now," she shouted.

Bill had risen as well, and though his smile was gone, his eyes still seemed to sparkle mischievously. "You're exceptionally tall for a woman," he said. "I wasn't expecting that."

"You're a real charmer."

"Actually, I'm a curse-breaker, which is why I'm here."


"Donna says he's on the Hill until eleven," Carol said.

"Dammit." CJ slammed the door shut again.

"Is he under the curse as well? They didn't tell me that."

"No, just me. I'm the one who broke the cat statuette."

"Yes, that would cause trouble. The statuette was never meant to actually leave Egypt, and while there are some people who believe Mu-- Americans get what they deserve for meddling, we felt it was not in anyone's best interest to have a senior aide to the American President under such a curse."

"Right. Because it makes me-- What does it make me, except incredibly gullible for believing you?" She looked at her hands. "I'm not going to start sprouting boils or horns, am I?"

"No, no boils or horns. You will, however, slowly be transformed into a cat."

"Are you serious?" Her voice rose at least an octave on the last word.

"Completely." He pulled a dark wood baton from somewhere in his clothes and flourished it like a cheap magician so it shot gold sparks from one end.

She nodded her head and pursed her lips. "Okay, Sparky, Josh and Sam gave you sparklers and sent you in here, and I almost fell for it. The British accent is a particularly nice touch. But it's over now. Go and tell them that my revenge shall be sweet."

"I don't know Josh and Sam, but I can assure you, I'm not joking. You're in very real danger--"

"Of turning into a cat."


"Would I at least be a talking cat? Because that would be kind of cool. And allow me to keep my job."

She could see his lips twitch, but he kept a straight face when he said, "No."

"Okay." She took a deep breath. "Hit me. Do you want money? A hundred dollars and you'll make the curse go away? Like the palm reader who told me there was a dark shadow over my life, but if I paid her several hundred dollars, she could contact the spirit world to find out how to make it go away?"

He took her hand again. He was slightly taller than she, which was a nice change, and she had to raise her eyes a bit to meet his warm, blue gaze. "No, CJ."

She had to swallow hard before she could speak again, because his fingers were long and strong and slightly callused, and his thumb was tracing lazy circles over the back of her hand.

"Then what?" Her voice was low, breathy.

"I'll need to see the statuette," he replied, and his voice had deepened as well.

"It's at home."

"Then let's go."

She swayed toward him, then blinked and pulled her hand away. He really was a charmer.

"I can't just leave. I have work to do."


"Look, Bill, or whatever your name really is--"

"My name really is Bill--"

"So you say."


"You're asking me to swallow quite a bit here, Sparky."

He held out a pen from her desk, touched the baton to it and murmured, "Portus."

"Is that supposed to be your magic wand?"


"Overcompensating for something?"

He laughed, a rich, deep sound that set heat uncurling low in her belly. "Not at all." He held the pen out and she took it--

And felt as though she'd been hooked around the middle and pulled through the eye of a needle.

She fell to her knees, nauseated, and when she opened her eyes, she was in the middle of her living room.

"CJ?" Bill held a hand out to help her up.

"Okay, now I'm officially freaked out."

"It's called a Portkey. It's--"



"I don't believe in magic."

"Of course you don't. No reasonable adults do."

"And yet, here we are."

He smiled. He had dimples. Dear God, it wasn't fair that the crazy man should be so attractive.


They stood staring at each other for a long moment, her hand still in his warm grasp.

Again she shook off the seductive languor that was invading her body and tugged her hand free.

"The statue," she said.


"It's in here." She went into the bedroom, and instead of waiting for her in the living room, he followed.

She now had a very attractive, very crazy man in her bedroom.

The cat statuette, which had been Krazy Glued together, sat on the dresser. Bill picked it up and turned it over, and CJ wondered how those hands would feel on her body.

"Well?" she prompted when he didn't say anything, just kept running his fingers over the figurine.

"Reparo," he murmured. Then he turned and smiled at her. "You see this, here?" He rubbed a finger along the base of the figurine, which was covered in hieroglyphics.


"This statue is a miniature of a larger one that used to guard Bast's temple at Bubastis. She was a warrior goddess, you know--"

"Yes, often depicted as a woman with the head of a lion, or a cat."

He smiled. "You've been studying."

"There's no such thing as useless knowledge in my job."

He nodded. "I can see that." He took a deep breath, murmured something that sounded like Latin, and tapped the statuette again with his wand. A soft gold glow enveloped the cat and CJ felt a tingling warmth spread beneath her skin, then swirl out her fingertips to join the gold light surrounding Bill and the statue. Another tap of his wand, and the light dissipated, leaving her breathless and dizzy.


Bill's hand on her elbow steadied her, and she found herself staring at the sculpted curve of his lips, the way the pink tip of his tongue slipped out to wet them.

"All right there, CJ?" he asked, his voice husky.

"Yeah, thanks," she answered, reaching out to run her thumb over his lips, which were as warm and soft as she'd expected. He placed a gentle kiss on the pad of her thumb, then cupped her cheek and kissed her fervently, hungrily, his tongue slipping between her parted lips. He tasted of tea and the summer wind, and she let her eyes flutter closed.

When she opened them, she was standing in her office, alone.


"No, it's Carol. Are you all right?"

CJ blinked, but she and Carol were the only ones in the room.

"Did you see a very attractive red-haired man in here this morning?"


"I take it that's a no, huh?"


"Okay." She pressed her fingers to her lips, which still tingled, and said, "Okay."

Carol went back to her desk, and CJ sat down, licking her lips. The taste of bergamot lingered in her mouth.


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