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Chapter 4: New Leads
Mr. Weasley looked up at the sound of the gentle knocking on his office door. “Come in" hee said promptly.
A middle-aged man with a full grown mustache appeared in the doorway.
“Mr. Weasley, I have news for you regarding---"
“Please, shut the door first.” Arthur requested, standing up at once. “Have a seat.”
The man obeyed at once.
“Would you like some tea or anything at all?”
“No, I’m fine.”
“Well, then. Let’s get down to business, shall we?” Mr. Weasley sat down in his seat and sighed with anxiousness. “What is it you would like to tell me Mr. Feinbecker?”
“Your prisoner, Mr. Lucius Malfoy, is in critical condition.”
“What does that mean?”
The man’s mustache furrowed up in a frown. “My dear sir, you should know what that means. Mr. Malfoy cannot be released for interrogation at any cost. He has entered the trauma state which is unsuitable for communication.”
Mr. Weasley sighed heavily and leaned back in his cushioned chair. “How long?”
“I’m sorry, but I cannot say.”
“I need answers. Mr. Malfoy is a notorious murderer who claimed death to his own flesh and blood.”
“What? He told you that?”
“No, not himself. We had to get it out of him by force. We used Vert---"
“Excuse me, Mr. Weasley, sir?” A woman’s voice asked politely, opening the door slightly.
“Yes, Miss. Brown?”
“You have a message that came in by owl.”
“Bring it to me, please.”
The woman shut the door and reappeared seconds later. Her long chestnut hair braided behind her slender back. She wore a plaid skirt that was past her knees and a white blouse that made her look professional. She handed Mr. Weasley a brown envelope.
“Thank you Miss Brown.”
“You’re welcome sir.” She said at once and turned heel out the door, shutting it.
Mr. Weasley spent no time in ripping open the envelope and scanning the letter with eagerness. When he was done, his face scrunched in mixed confusion.
“What is it?” Mr. Feinbecker asked worriedly.
“I have to go.” He stood up and grabbed his cloak.
“But wh—where? Is everything alright?”
“I’m not sure.” He opened the door and looked back at his stricken face accomplice. “But I have to go to the Leaky Cauldron to find out for sure.”
Ronald Weasley couldn’t concentrate much after Hermione’s absence. He was constantly thinking about her.
He finally surrendered to his thoughts by dropping his quill onto his desk. He leaned back in his leather chair, folding his hands in a dreamful way behind his head.
“Ronald! You’re going to walk me into something!” Hermione complained, trying to peel her best friend's hands away from her eyes while managing to walk at the same time. “We’ve been going like this for hours! Where are you taking me to?”
“Shh…” Ron whispered in her ear. “I’ve got a surprise for you.”
“A surprise? Now’s not the perfect time Ron.” Hermione took a few hesitant steps forward, holding her hands out just in case. After climbing out on some stairs, finally, the pair came to a halt.
“Ready?” Ron whispered again.
Hermione nodded her head.
Ron pulled his hands away from Hermione’s eyes and said, “Surprise.”
Hermione gasped at the scenery. They were inside the Hogsmead Sweet Shop. In middle of the store of sweets was a single table with a vase full of roses. There were about fifty candles floating around the shop.
Ron held out his hand to Hermione, gesturing to the table. “May I?”
Hermione took his hand, but her mouth was slightly opened as if she wanted to say something, but she couldn’t.
“What are--flowers---but here--this---is---in a shop---after school hours---we could get in trouble--oh, how lovely---but---but---still---” Hermione stuttered, staring unbelievably at her surroundings.
“Hermione, please.” Ron said, taking his seat across from her. “These last two years have been crazy and I just wanted to spend some time with you…alone.” Ron blushed.
Hermione stared at him for a moment.
His eyes were pleading. The look on his face said ‘just enjoy tonight and please don’t tell anyone’.
Hermione sighed and smiled. “Okay. Two friends spending time together. Sure, but just don‘t do this again without permission next time.”
Ron turned as red as his hair. “Would you like some butterbeer?”
Hermione nodded her head. “So…” As she held out her glass that Ron poured her drink in. “You made dinner then?”
Ron croaked and nearly dropped his glass. “No, actually…I didn’t.”
Hermione’s eyebrows narrowed. “Then who did?”
Ron felt it coming before he even answered.
“Don’t tell me those poor house-elves did all this!” Hermione argued.
“I---I didn’t ask them---”
But Ron’s reply was interrupted by a jingling of bells. Hermione looked around, searching the room for the noise, but Ron was already ahead of her. He went back down to the cellar, opening it.
“What is it Winky?” He asked the little dirty house-elf.
“Someone coming sir!” She said in a squeaky voice.
“Is it Filch?” Ron asked at once.
Winky shook her head that the hat Hermione made her fell off her ear. “Trouble! Big trouble!”
A scream stopped Ron, making him go pale. He left the cellar and ran back up stairs to Hermione. “Hermione! Are you okay?”
Hermione stood by one of the windows of the shop. Her eyes were wide and terrified. She pointed to the Hogwarts castle.
From where they were standing, Ron could see that the beautiful castle was on fire. Right above the castle, there was a horrifying symbol lighting the night sky. A skull with a snake emerging from its mouth. The dark mark.
There was a knock on the door that caused Ron to come back to reality. “Who is it?”
“It’s me, Annie, sir.” A squeaky voice replied.
“Come on in Annie.”
The door opened and a tiny woman, about in her middle twenties’ came rushing in. Avoiding eye contact, she spoke to Ron. “A witch was found dead in the alley behind the Leaky Cauldron by a muggle.”
“Thank you for letting me know Annie.”
The woman turned scarlet and left the room, a smile appearing on her bony face.
Ron heaved a sigh and wrapped his cloak around his neck, heading out to the Leaky Cauldron.
Mr. Weasley walked back and forth outside the Leaky Cauldron in the alley. A witch and a wizard accompanied him.
The wizard was a murder specialist from Zurich who studied the body that lay among the garbage bags.
The witch was a healer that arrived before anyone else for she lived only a few blocks away and noticed muggles huddled around the body and informed the Ministry at once. She was the one who sent Mr. Weasley a letter right away.
As they stood in the deserted alley, a surprise pop nearly frightened them.
Ronald Weasley stood before them now, observing the scene. When he saw the body of Pansy Parkinson lying among the bags, he looked at his father for some explanation.
“Parkinson?” Ron gasped as he joined his father and the other two. “Who would have wanted to murder her?”
“That’s what we’re trying to find out son.” Arthur replied, scratching his head.
“Were there any witnesses?”
“Not as far as we know.”
“I--I can tell you the tr-truth.” A hoarse voice whispered behind them.
Everyone turned around to see an aging man about in his late sixties shaking in his cloak. His face was pale and his lips were turning blue from shivering so much.
Mr. Weasley came forward first. “What’s your name? What do you know? Who killed Miss Parkinson?”
The man shook his head at once. “Not out here!” He gasped. He looked around horrifyingly. He pointed to the Leaky Cauldron. “Inside! Follow me.”
Mr. Weasley and Ron followed. The witch and wizard stayed back and decided to send the body to a safe place for later burial.
The elderly man led Ron and Arthur inside the pub, to a back room with a single chair and window.
He immediately started pacing the room.
“What’s your name?” Mr. Weasley asked at once.
“You claim to know that you know the truth. What did you see?”
“Two people…a man and a woman.” He stopped now as if he tried to remember. “Millicent Bultrode and Blaise Zabini. Millicent came to me first. She paid me gold coins to---” The man stopped mid sentence. His eyes bulged out momentarily, before falling face down to the floor.
Ron rushed to the body first. He quickly felt for a pulse. “He’s dead.”
Mr. Weasley quickly spotted a hooded figure running away from the window. “Locomotor Mortis!” But the mysterious person dodged the curse.
Mr. Weasley, along with Ron, ran outside the pub, trying to chase the hooded figure, but whoever it was, was long gone.
“He must have apparated.” Ron breathed.
“Well…how do we really know it was a he?”
Miles away in Birmingham, a witch and a wizard drank joyfully in a wizarding bar.
“Here’s to Parkinson’s death.” The toady woman said, holding up her glass in victory.
“Cheers.” The chubby man replied, clinking his glass with the woman’s.
The chucked down their drinks in one gulp.
“I still can’t believe it happened this way Millicent.” The man hiccupped, motioning the bartender for another refill.
“It couldn't happen in a better way than this Goyle." She exclaimed, burping loudly without excusing herself. "I'm glad she's gone."
Gregory laughed cheekily. “Me, too..” He chugged down another glass full. This time he went for the full bottle.
"Pansy was bound to come after me anyway, but...” Millicent paused and burped again, “…instead of getting her revenge, she got her death.”
“That bitch deserved it after slapping me like that!.” Gregory started laughing out loudly that many wizards shot annoyed glances at him. “Damn whore! Wish I could have killed her myself!" He slammed the empty bottle on the table shattering it in many pieces. He chuckled. “Give me another Willy.”
The old bartender looked uneasily at Goyle. “I think you’ve had enough.”
Gregory pulled out his wand and tried to aim it at Willy. “I said give me another drink…not another excuse you pathetic mud blood!”
Three wizards stood up at this remark, as well as Millicent. She tugged on Goyle’s shirt collar. “You’ve had enough Goyle. Let’s go.”
The wizards didn’t sit down until Goyle and Millicent were out of the bar and out of sight.
Outside Millicent accidentally ran into a hooded man rushing towards them.
“Hey! Watch where you’re going!” Millicent barked.
“Bultrode! It’s me.” The hooded figure whispered.
“Blaise?” Millicent asked, trying to make out his face but he kept pulling the hood further down.
“What’s wrong with you?”
“We’ve got to hide. Now!”
“Why? What happened?” Millicent slowly released a heavy Goyle to the floor.
“That bartender you paid! He talked! He was telling the Weasleys’ what happened! He told them our names!”
“What?” Millicent hissed. “I knew I shouldn’t have trusted that old bastard!”
“I took care of him. That’s the main reason I’m here. We’ve got to hide because now that he spilled our names the Weasleys will be searching for us two.” Blaise stopped and scanned the area. It was clean.
“Where should we go?”
“Anywhere. But we need to hide. Now!” He grabbed onto Millicent’s arm trying to apparate, but she pulled away.
“What about him?” She said pointing to a drunk Goyle on the floor.
“Leave him there. No one’s after him. Besides he’ll slow us down. Let’s go.” Within seconds they disappeared arm in arm.
Lucius Malfoy sat rocking back and forth in an empty room with only a door that had a window on it to see through.
A uniformed nurse opened the door and came through, helping Lucius to his feet.
“Come on now. Time for lunch.” He said, finally balancing Malfoy.
Lucius didn’t say anything, but followed. His arms were chained together and so were his legs so he couldn’t run. Behind him, an armed guard followed. Mr. Weasley sent him. When they were informed that Mr. Malfoy was a prisoner at Azkaban prison, guards had to be with Lucius twenty-four seven.
The nurse held open a door with tables that many witches and wizards were already eating food at.
When Lucius entered, the door slammed shut behind him. He took a seat at the nearest table and waited until a plate of food appeared magically before him.
He looked at his fellow acquaintances trapped inside with him. None of them looked familiar.
There was one that claimed that he was the dark lord with evil power, but he also claimed that flobberworms were muggleborns in disguise.
Lucius quietly dabbed at his food with a plastic fork.
“Why hello there!” A voice chimed. “Mind if I sit here?” He asked Lucius.
Without looking up, Malfoy nodded his head. The man hurriedly took his seat as if someone else would have taken the opportunity.
Lucius noticed that the man was about his age, with blonde hair and a smile plastered on his face. He kept grinning at the woman across from him.
“Hullo there. Would you like an autograph? Don’t be shy now.” He quickly took out a picture and a quill. He signed it and handed it to the lazy eye woman across from him. “Take it. There’s more of where that came from.” When the eccentric man saw Lucius stare him, he excitedly pulled out another picture from inside his shirt. “Would you like one as well? Not to worry! Not to worry! I have plenty for all of my fans!”
He signed the picture and handed it to Lucius, slapping him on the back. “Tell your friends they’re welcome to ask. I’ll be happy to sign my autograph for all of them.”
Lucius looked at the picture. The blonde man was grinning at him and winking nevertheless. On the bottom of the page it read “To my favorite fan. Best wishes, Gilderoy Lockhart.”
“Ah, I can see you want one too, don’t you lovely?” Gilderoy continued, pulling out three pictures at a time.
Lucius saw that the first woman he gave the picture to, spit on it and threw it to the ground with annoyance.
“I thought I told you no pictures and quills here Mr. Lockhart!” A shrill voice commanded.
Gilderoy looked frightened. He hurriedly tried to collect the pictures back into his shirt, along with his quill, but he wasn’t quick enough.
An old woman with a nurse’s cloak retrieved the items from Gilderoy, marching away with them.
Everyone continued eating, not paying attention. Lucius guessed that Gilderoy tried to hide pictures in his clothes all the time wherever he went. This wasn’t something new to them.
Malfoy didn’t feel very hungry at the moment. He got up and made his way to the restroom. He went inside and poured cool water on his face. He stared in the mirror. His image was horrible. His face was weary and tired. His eyes were droopy. And his hair…long, gorgeous blonde hair…was now tangled and flying in all directions. He tried to undo the tangles, but it was no luck.
“Here. This will help.” A man’s voice said from behind him.
Lucius turned around and saw to his amazement that the dark haired man had exactly what he was wishing for: a comb.
He quickly grabbed it and combed down his hair with such excitement. His eyes were gleaming with hope. When he was done, he smiled at his image in the mirror. He stood up tall and felt pride grow within him again.
Lucius handed the comb back to the built man.
He stared at Lucius for a moment. “Aren’t you Lucius Malfoy?”
Malfoy swallowed noticeably and nodded slowly. He tried to leave, but the scrawny man held out a long hand.
“Fredrick Wilson is the name.”
Lucius shook his hand hesitantly.
“What is a rich man like yourself doing in an asylum?” Fredrick asked folding his muscular arms across his chest.
Lucius bit his bottom lip and averted his eyes around slowly, but didn't speak.
The man laughed heartily by Malfoy's reaction.
Lucius already figured out why Fredrick was there. He was just as mental as him; a psycho path who enjoyed torturing and murdering people for entertainment.
“Listen friend, they all think we‘re mental, but we‘re not are we?” He stepped a bit closer now. “I’m only in here because I’m a wanted criminal in Scotland. I murdered three mudbloods at a shop during broad daylight. I used the Imperius Curse on a wizard just for fun. I tortured a witch when she refused to date me.” Fredrick’s black eyes shinned with excitement. “I’m better off in here than out there. But soon…” He inched closer towards Lucius, “I will escape out of here, too. I’m just waiting for the right time. I’m half blood so I ain’t too good with escaping places like this. With a little help from an accomplice…maybe I can escape.”
Lucius had turned stone cold and blankly stared at the man before him. What he was asking of him was so big and great, (freedom) but…it was a risk as well. He was already a prisoner in Azkaban. Guards stuck with him like frosting on cake.
“You’re not mental either are you?” Fredrick asked slyly. It was as if he was reading Malfoy’s mind.
Lucius pushed his way out of there, his eyes widening by each second.
“I know how you purebloods work! You can’t hide forever!” Fredrick said. “I can be your ticket out of here!”
Lucius rushed out of the bathroom being closely followed by his guard back to his locked room.
**A/N: Sorry I didn’t bring Hermione and Draco in this chapter, but I had to build all this up first. They all have important parts in the story as well…except for Lockhart. I just added him in there for fun! I promise the next chapter will be about Draco and Hermione.