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Chapter 2: Every Breath You Take
Every breath you take, every move you make,
Every bond you break, every step you take,
I'll be watching you
Every Breath You Take – The Police
Gideon swept into his cubicle the next morning to find Araminta already sat at the chair she had occupied the previous day, her legs propped up on his desk. He knocked them off as he rounded the desk to sit down.
“Feet off the desk,” he ordered.
“You do it,” she countered.
“My desk.” He smirked at her; she glared back. “Why were you homeschooled?”
She raised an eyebrow. “Have you always been this nosy or does it come with age?”
“I’m just intrigued as to why your parents decided to keep you at home.”
“Only child, they didn’t work, they wanted me at home. Why did you get sent to Hogwarts?”
“My parents wanted me out of the house.” He grinned; her face remained cold and emotionless. “Did your parents teach you themselves?”
“My mother was one of the best around at Potions,” Araminta replied. “And my father was remarkably gifted at wandwork. They didn’t see the need to send me off to be taught by strangers when they could do the job just as efficiently.”
“You should have come to Hogwarts; you’d have had a great time. You’d have been in my year. You’d have been enjoyed that.” He winked.
Even this procured no emotion. Gideon sighed, irritated at her unwillingness to talk.
He reached across to his in-tray and slapped the contents down in front of him on the desk. He flicked through the parchment, frustrated at the amount of office work that being an Auror brought. Aurors spent one week in three based in the office, followed by a week of patrols and another helping to train the apprentices. Gideon liked being out there in the battlefield, duelling with Death Eaters. He liked the feeling of actually doing something useful. This was why he had chosen Dark wizard-catching as a career, but he seemed to do more of this in his role as an Order member.
Gideon looked up; Araminta was looking at him expectantly. He suddenly realised he’d been sitting in silence for a good few minutes.
“Hope you’re not looking for a battle a day in this profession,” he said dryly, flicking through the parchment a second time. “Death Eater sightings enough for you?” He waved a sheet of parchment airily, before making to tuck it back into the pile; Araminta, however, reached out for it.
“May I look at it?” she asked politely.
Gideon frowned in surprise, but handed the parchment to her; Bellatrix Lestrange’s sightings, he observed as she took it from him. He then turned his attention back to the other documents, wondering for the umpteenth time what good their locations three months ago were when trying to catch them now.
“They’re only of use if you have a fucking Timeturner to hand,” he murmured out loud.
Gideon raised his head sharply at the sound of Araminta’s voice.
“Excuse me?” he said, not attempting to hide his shock. “Is the Ice Queen finally willingly entering into a conversation with somebody? Merlin’s left buttock, you do surprise me.”
Araminta remained emotionless.
“You can see patterns in their locations,” she said, slapping Bellatrix’s sightings back onto the desk. “For example, somewhere that they may go every two weeks. You can trace their movements and catch them unawares.”
He raised an eyebrow, mentally kicking himself for not having the nous to work that out himself.
“Well, aren’t you a clever one,” he commented casually, trying to cover his shame. He pulled the parchment towards him.
“There’s nothing there,” she chipped in as he began to scan the dates and places. “I was just making a generic point.”
Gideon turned his attention to the other sightings. He pulled them out of the pile and slid them across the desk to her.
“Have a look through them, then. Make yourself useful,” he said.
She scowled, but took the parchment.
Gideon sighed. He buried his head in his hands and massaged his temples. He had never been good at the paperwork side of things. That had always been-
No, he refused to let his mind drift like that. He turned his attention back to the paperwork in front of him, and, with a large sigh, began to make his way through it.
About ten minutes later, Araminta pushed a sheet of parchment under his nose. He frowned and picked it up. A list of times and places were written on it in large loopy writing.
“There are a few patterns to get you started,” she said, getting to her feet. “Don’t mind if I get a drink, do you?”
He waved a hand airily, intent on reading her list. He was still berating himself for his oversight. Some Auror he was turning out to be...
The rest of the day passed just as monotonously as Gideon had come to expect over the last few months. After her surprising moment of pleasantness, Araminta had withdrawn back into her icy shell, with little to say other than biting remarks. He had sent her home after two hours, bored with her presence and short of work for her to do.
What Moody expected her to pick up from this, I have no fucking clue, Gideon mused to himself.
It crossed his mind that maybe Moody was just trying to annoy him.
Wouldn’t surprise me, he thought to himself, scowling as he shrugged his cloak on.
A few minutes later, he Apparated into his flat, the prospect of another lonely evening facing him, as appealing as spending the night with a dozen Acromantula.
Would certainly add a bit of spice to my life though, he thought, before deciding that the risks weren’t worth it. He was probably best attempting to appease himself with the drab company of An Anthology of Eighteenth Century Charms instead.
Oh, to be a wizard, he thought to himself sarcastically.
The next few days passed in a blur, full merely of more paperwork, occasional visits from the pretty but irritating secretary from the Hit Wizard department, Ivy, and the rude frostiness of Araminta.
“She’s awful,” he moaned to James at the end of the week, frustrated that all his efforts to find out more about her had proved fruitless. “I still only know what it says in the folder about her; she won’t tell me a thing herself. She’s completely emotionless. It’s infuriating, I’ll tell you that for a fact.”
James cocked his head.
“But she’s still good-looking, right?”
“Makes no odds when she’s as responsive as a flobberworm,” Gideon scowled. “Mind, she has been helpful for one thing...”
He pulled the parchment she had written on out of his pocket; he had added to it with his own untidy scrawl.
“I’ve been looking through Death Eater sightings for patterns – her idea – and look what I’ve found.”
He handed the parchment to James, who frowned, scrutinising it.
He turned in his chair; Sirius, who was standing at the other side of the room, deep in conversation with Dorcas, looked up. James beckoned him over.
“What do you make of this?” he asked, handing the parchment over.
“Wimbourne...” Sirius glanced up at James. “That’s just round the coast from here.”
“I grew up here, Sirius, I think I know my local geography,” James replied dryly. “What’s at Wimbourne though?”
“Well, the West Country has always been the traditional area for wizarding families, hasn’t it?” Sirius pointed out. “We’ve just spread along the south coast. Dorset is ridden with old pureblood families, most of which you’ll find are Death Eaters, or at least sympathetic to Voldemort. I’d wager that a Death Eater lives in Wimbourne, and they’re using the house as one of their meeting places. Seems a bit obvious, though.”
“Yes, well, Death Eaters aren’t always the sharpest tools in the box,” James observed.
Sirius nodded, eyes back on the parchment. After a few seconds, he looked up at Gideon.
“You’ve collected this? Which Death Eaters?”
“The Lestrange brothers, Dolohov, Avery, the Carrows, Malfoy, the Travers brothers-”
“The entire inner circle,” Sirius murmured. He looked back down at the list again. “If this is accurate, and they meet there every two weeks ... they should be there next on the twelfth.” He looked back up at Gideon. “I’d say this is worth pursuing.”
Gideon nodded stiffly.
“Order or Ministry?” he asked.
“I’d say Order.” Sirius drummed his fingers on the back of James’s chair. “We know the Ministry is being infiltrated; we just don’t know who by. The Auror Department could be saturated with Death Eaters; they’d get wind of an attempted raid and bugger off, or, worse, call for back-up and take us on.”
“But we don’t know that we can trust anyone anymore,” James interjected sombrely.
Gideon and Sirius both knew exactly what James was hinting at; several of the Order’s recent missions had been foiled by the Death Eaters. It was almost as though they knew what the Order’s plans were. The only explanation was that there was a traitor in their midst. People had their suspicions, but nobody knew for sure who they could trust any longer.
“We can work our way around that, Prongs; you know that.”
James and Sirius shared a look, before the former sighed.
“Very well,” he said. He turned to Gideon. “Tell Dumbledore at the meeting later. He’ll know what to do.”
She hurries down the moonlit road, darting into the shadows wherever possible. Her hood slips, but she pulls it up tighter. Her eyes scout her surroundings cautiously, in search of any other presence.
Suddenly, somebody grips her arm and pulls her into an alleyway. She gasps and her right hand flies to her wand.
“Have you got anything yet?” a male voice hisses.
She relaxes slightly at the familiar voice.
“Why the hell not?” he demands.
“Give me time!” she cries indignantly. “Though you need to change your meeting place; they’ve got their eyes on your movements and they’re getting suspicious-”
“And you need to do your fucking job!”
“You want information, don’t you? Well, I’m telling you what I know-”
“That’s not what I want!”
“I’ve not had long, give me a chance -”
“Try harder,” he spits. “We need to know now; we can’t just hang about until you decide to get your act together-”
“I’m fucking trying!” she interjects, frustrated.
“Well you’re not trying hard enough,” he hisses in her ear. “You get the information we need, tell me all their movements, or you’ll pay. And don’t think you can hide from me either. I know where to find you.”
He Disapparates with a pop.
She sinks to the ground, breathing shakily, and buries her head in her hands.