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Amidst the Ashes by TheHeirOfSlytherin
Chapter 6: Ability to Change
They ran to the sound of screaming, all the while dread formed in the pit of Harry’s stomach and filled him, rising upwards like bile, and he had to swallow and breathe to keep it down. He didn’t know whether to wish it were someone else or hope it was the same man who had done whatever had happened; he didn’t want there to be two murderers to find, but each death in this case had gotten worse and Harry didn’t want another innocent to go through that. He often wished no innocent person would be hurt this way, but he knew evil existed and would never leave the world; he’d faced it. And it was his job to catch them.
David got there first; he was standing over the body, checking for a pulse when Harry came up from behind. The poor man’s face was disfigured, like he’d had a severe reaction to something or had been hit with a nasty stinging hex, and there was blood all around him, flowing down the street. But what Harry noticed first was the new message for him; he tapped David on the shoulder and pointed to the front door of his building.
Do you miss him?
“Now that one is written in blood,” David whispered, his face filled with fear, remorse and rage; his eyes were red, his hands, covered in the dead man’s blood, were shaking terribly, like he was still part of a nightmare, despite waking up. It was a state he’d never seen the man in before. Harry called for the rest of his team and for the coroner to come, his eyes never straying from his partner. “I’m going to kill him,” he said softly, moving away from Harry and the body. David ran his blood-soaked hands through his hair and kicked at the line of bins that were in the corner of the owners of the flats. “I’m going to kill him!”
Harry moved out of the way as a bin passed him and grabbed hold of his arms. “You have to calm down, before you hurt yourself or someone else.” Harry glance from David to the body. “Do you – do you know this person?”
David nodded slowly, his eyes glazed over as he stared at the body in front of him. Then he seemed to snap out of it and looked panicked, like he knew something and was terrified to say. He pulled himself out of Harry’s arms and stepped back. “I have to go.”
“What do you mean you have to go?” Harry demanded. “You can’t leave, we have a crime scene!”
“I have to leave, I have to go now, I can’t stay, and I have to go.” He continued to ramble on, walking backwards, away from Harry, until he reached the corner. Then he turned and ran, ignoring Harry’s shouts, and disappeared into the dark.
He left Harry confused and angry and worried: What the hell was that all about?
He ran. He ran and he didn’t dare stop or look back, not until he was as far away from that place as possible. He had figured it out; the bastard had figured it all out. And that man lying on the cold concrete in the street, the man he had promised would stay safe, was dead because of it. It wasn’t fair; it shouldn’t have happened, he wasn’t meant to come back so soon. He had meant to wait for the call, so why was he in England now? Why did it have to be now?
He stopped running finally, his chest rising and falling rapidly, and he leaned against the wall. He wobbled slightly and almost fell to his knees, but he managed to steady himself and pull himself up. Slowly, he felt the magic work, his ability to change melted away the Auror’s features; his hair lightened to a light brown, his eyes changed to a bright blue, he felt himself grow a little taller and, as he wrapped his arms around his waist, his body seemed to grow out, until he was bulkier, muscle beginning to show.
David Malloy disappeared. Theo Moon took his place.
Tears fell freely down his cheeks and Theo wiped them away slowly. He let his hand stop in front of his face and watched; he was still shaking. Theo didn’t move from the wall until he felt relaxed enough to move without the fear of his legs giving out from under him, this time from his body’s previously uncontrollable quivering, not from exhaustion. He pushed himself away from the wall and continued walking into the street. He kept his head down, his chin almost hidden in his jacket, and his hands in his pockets as he walked; he knew Theo was in London, he knew he knew he’d been impersonating David and helping with the case, he knew he knew the messages on the wall for Potter had been from him. Theo knew that man was watching, maybe even right now; he couldn’t take any chances, the risk was already too big.
Theo kept to back alleys, corners and the shadows, his pace quickening with each footstep he heard, until he made to his secondary location; an old, unkempt apartment in Knockturn Alley. It wasn’t ideal, but it had a bed, a working shower and clean water, so it would do, and the rent had been a good price, considering no one had wanted it. He had hoped he would never have to use it, that he’d been able to use the Ministry resources to find him before it got to this, but evidently time had not been on his side and now here he was, in a dingy little flat, staring out the window into the alley from behind the ripped curtain, for fear of being seen, and figuring out his next move.
It was almost over, that much he knew. Harry would figure everything out soon enough; who he really was, why he’d been disappearing, the file in his – David’s – office. Everything would make sense to him. It was after that Theo couldn’t get his head around. Would Harry find him straight away or wait? Would he go after the evil bastard?
Theo squeezed his eyes shut and leant his head against the wall. “This is so messed up.”
Harry sat alone in the conference room and swivelled his chair from left to right, his mind preoccupied with David’s reaction at the crime scene. He understood the man’s reasons for running away; he’d seen too many people he’d known die in his lifetime. But David knew he could talk to him. Maybe he should have gone after him, tried to get him to stay. But he hadn’t been able to just leave the body unattended; especially when he had seen a crowd begin to form. Now he just hoped David would come back safe.
Harry didn’t even look up when someone knocked on the door; only Ron and his assistant knew he was in the room and she had left over an hour ago, only leaving one person. “Yes?”
Ron opened the door, stepped in hesitantly and Harry immediately noticed the guilty look on his face. “What’s the matter, Ron?”
“I’m sorry I haven’t been here for you,” he muttered. “I know losing Teddy was devastating and you hate this holiday. I won’t push you to go to the party; I know I would do the same if it had been Rose or Hugo. And I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to say this, I just tried too hard to make it okay for you again.”
Harry smiled softly, ignoring the nagging feeling that he had spoken to Hermione first; that didn’t matter. “It’s okay, Ron. Don’t worry about it anymore. I can’t change what happened, but I can make now better, and it starts now. I mean it this time.” Harry’s smile was still small, but he felt like grinning like an idiot; he was actually taking David’s advice. “So, what else, Ron? Because something tells me that’s not all you came to say.”
Nodding a little, Ron agreed that that wasn’t all. “Tim Graham, the healer on the case, just called; he wants to see you and it didn’t sound good.”
A/N: I know I said Harry would figure it out in this chapter; it didn't really go exactly to plan. You'll have to wait another chapter. :P
Reviews would be greatly appreciated. :)