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Chapter 1: With The Devil On Your Back
Rolf walked into the Atrium and wrinkled his nose in distaste. He hated it in here. He hated the crowds of suited men and women carrying briefcases. He hated the dank, dark walls that held up the building.
A sense of urgency surrounded Rolf as he patiently made his way through the hordes of employees. What was the rush anyway, he thought.
He reached the grilled lift and stepped inside. Rolf sighed at the amount of people crowded into the small space. This is why he worked for himself. No horrible amounts of people, no fluorescent lighting –which attracts Nargles like honey to a bee- and no pompous prats like that Ernie McMillan who had met him at his home earlier that evening.
Rolf looked back on it, perplexed. He had arrived on his doorstep at nine o’clock, thinking deeply about the upcoming family holiday. He, Luna and the two boys; Lysander and Lorcan were travelling to Sweden in a week’s time. They were going to be tracking Crumple-Horned Snorkacks and observing them in their natural habitats. Rolf was excited to say the least. He had turned the door handle but instead of being greeted by his loving wife and children, he was met with shouts of “put your hands up!”
After being unceremoniously thrown to the ground and patted down by Auror Ernie McMillan, he was then escorted to the Ministry of Magic without an explanation as to why his family were absent.
“We’re getting out now.” McMillan said bossily. He gripped Rolf’s shoulder and roughly steered him forwards.
“I’m going, I’m going.” Rolf muttered. “You’d think I was a criminal the way I’m being treated.” He said loudly. Rolf wasn’t usually one to complain, he was a very laid-back person. But there was something about this place that irked him to no end. It put him on edge and made him wary. Rolf glanced at the two Aurors flanking him, anxiously.
“H-hurry up.” McMillan commanded but his voice wavered. To cover his stumble, the grave Auror walked faster and cleared his throat loudly. Rolf would have chuckled at McMillan’s bizarre behaviour but he felt this was not the appropriate time.
He was led down a long corridor and after a good deal of walking in silence they reached a door. There was a sign on it, which read Auror Offices. McMillan pushed open the door and Rolf followed. Inside there was a desk with a female witch sitting behind it. Many corridors led off from the room in different directions. Rolf realized that they probably led to the Auror offices and cubicles.
McMillan walked over to the woman
“Is he in?” He asked. The blonde nodded gravely.
“Yeah go right through.” She replied, resuming her writing. McMillan motioned for Rolf to follow him. He led him down a labyrinth of passageways. Rolf looked curiously at the anxious Aurors and Trainees, rushing from cubicle to cubicle and dashing in and out of offices, or apparating with a small pop. Everyone looked so helpless. Like a fish out of water.
Then McMillan stopped at an oak door, with a shiny plaque that read:
Head Auror- Harry Potter
Rolf’s mouth opened slightly. Why was he being brought before the Head of the Auror Division?
McMillan knocked on the door, and a weary voice replied.
They entered to see Harry Potter standing behind his desk. He appeared to be reading reports, hundreds of paper airplanes were flying in every few minutes.
“Please sit.” He said politely, gesturing for Rolf to sit on the chair opposite his desk. Rolf sat.
“What’s going on?” He asked, cutting straight to the point. Potter’s face was expressionless.
“Your family have been kidnapped.” He answered, looking Rolf in the eyes. He stood up so abruptly that the chair fell on its back with a resounding thud. Rolf stepped closer to the desk.
“What do you mean, kidnapped?” He demanded.
“As in they were taken from your home today by force.” Potter replied factually. “There are signs of a struggle, but as far as we know your wife and two sons are fine.” Rolf slammed his fist down on the desk causing several Aurors to jump forward, but Potter waved them off.
“Now I understand you’re upset-”
“That’s a bloody understatement!”
“-But we must remain rational. We will get your family back Mr Scamander but you must be patient.” He continued calmly.
“Who did it?” Rolf asked, keeping his voice controlled. Potter’s stoic face twitched.
“Class- CLASSIFIED?” Rolf spluttered. “MY FAMILY HAVE BEEN TAKEN! THEY COULD BE DEAD!”
“Now Mr Scamander that’s not true, and we’re doing all we can-”
“IT’S NOT ENOUGH!” He screamed. “WHO TOOK THEM?” Potter sighed.
“Theodore Nott.” The name echoed around the now silent room. Rolf’s mouth opened slightly. He knew that name. He knew that name very well.
After the war there wasn’t enough Aurors to gather up the remaining Death Eaters so people started volunteering. Rolf managed; after extensive hunting, to track down and capture Theodore Nott, but not after half of Trafalgar Square was publically destroyed. The Ministry had a field day modifying memories.
“He’s out for revenge.” Rolf muttered.
“Excuse me?” Potter asked, not having caught it. Rolf shook his head distractedly.
“Nothing. How did he escape?”
“We’re not entirely sure at this point in time.” Was his reply. Suddenly a pink paper plane flew through the slightly ajar door and landed on Potter’s desk. He hastily grabbed it and unfolded the paper, before quickly scanning the message.
“Damn!” He muttered. “Mr Scamander feel free to make yourself at home in my office, I have to go somewhere.” Without any further explanation Potter grabbed his cloak and hurried out of his office, accompanied by six of the seven Aurors. Rolf was left sitting in the hard wood chair, confused at Potters abrupt departure. Was there something he should know about, concerning his family?
The remaining Auror stepped forward.
“Is there anything I can get you Mr Scamander to make you more comfortable?” Rolf thought quickly. Maybe if he could get rid of the Auror he would be able to go through Potter’s things and find out where Nott was keeping his family.
“Could I get a coffee please?” He asked hastily. The Auror eyed him suspiciously and edged out of the room. Once he had disappeared from sight and the door had closed, Rolf hurried to Potters’ desk. He flicked through the reports and searched for the pink one. Once he had established that it wasn’t mixed in with the other notes he tried the drawers.
“Damn.” He muttered when the drawer wouldn’t budge. He pulled his wand from his cloak. “Alohomora!” The drawer flew open and a few pages fluttered out. What kind of ‘Ministry Official’ would use a simple charm like Alohomora to unlock their drawers Rolf thought incredulously?
He glanced at the clock on the wall. Eleven o’clock. Rolf’s family had been missing for 2 hours. He hastened his search, pushing the horrible images of his family to the back of his mind. Rolf bent down to pick up the scattered papers and sighed in relief as he found the pink slip. Scrawled in messy handwriting were five words.
One dead. Shrieking Shack. Hurry.
Rolf felt his stomach drop, and his heart seemed to stop. Time slowed down and he felt numb. The words imprinted in his mind.
Who? Was it is his wife? Sweet, naïve, trusting Luna? Or his boys, oh Merlin his boys. Was it animal-loving, caring Lysander? Or was it boisterous, sporty Lorcan?
The door banged open. Rolf jumped, dropping the note as he did so. The Auror stood in the doorway with a polystyrene cup of coffee.
“Sir you’re not allowed ther- Sir! What are you do- no!” Rolf turned on the spot three times and apparated to The Shrieking Shack.
Rolf landed in front of the large gates to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He assumed that the Aurors would have gone through Hogsmeade but he guessed that one or two of them would be stationed at the Whomping Willow, the entrance to the Shrieking Shack via Hogwarts. He also assumed that they would be outside the shack but would not have tried to get in, in case Nott did something drastic.
Rolf walked through the slightly ajar gates and hurried through the wet grounds. He looked around at the familiar surroundings, taking in the black lake, the distant silhouette of the castle, and the faint outline of the Quidditch pitch. It was drizzling and very foggy, making it hard to see where he was going. Rolf made his way over to what looked like the Whomping Willow and when close enough, crouched behind a rock.
Over the large boulder he could make out two figures standing near the base of the Willow, obviously not wanting to get too close. A scream punctuated the still, cold air and thinking quickly Rolf silently shot a spell at each of the Aurors, knocking them clean out.
Once he saw them fall he magically poked the knot on the old, knarled tree with a stick and ran inside the tunnel. Because of his long legs Rolf was forced to crawl along the dark and dismal passage but he didn’t care. The cold, chilling damp that was seeping into his bones was worth it if he could save his family.
Suddenly there was a light at the end of the tunnel and he sped up. Sticking his head out first he saw there was no one in the dark room so he extracted the rest of his body and straightened up. Rolf tightened his grip on his wand as he crept through room by room, checking for any signs of life. He realized there was no one downstairs so he tried to creep up the rickety stairs as quietly as possible.
Rolf reached the top and flattened himself against the wall, ears pricked for any trace of sound. Then he heard it. A faint sobbing. Rolf recognized it as one of his boys and his heart broke. Then he heard shouting.
“Shut up! Shut the hell up! I can’t think with all this noise!” A panicked male voice screeched. The sobbing ceased immediately.
Rolf sent a patronus to Potter, explaining that he was in the house and he might need help. Rolf took a deep breath, and burst through the door.
The scene before him caused a sharp intake of breath. Lorcan and Lysander were both alive and bound by glowing ropes. Tears streamed down their beaten and slightly bloodied faces. He saw Luna bound by the same rope only she was at Nott’s feet. And Nott. He looked wild and panicked. His long, matted hair hung around his face in clumps, and he wore ragged clothing. Rolf looked into his eyes and knew from the wild look there, that this man was crazy.
“Step away from my family Nott.” Rolf ordered, his face alight with fury. Nott grinned, showing off his yellowed jagged teeth.
“I don’t think I shall.” He cackled. “Your wife is real pretty.” He whispered, pulling Luna up slightly by her hair. She grimaced, but didn’t make any noise. Her eye was swollen shut, and her lip and nose were bleeding.
“Nott, they don’t have anything to do with this. I’m the one that caught you.” Rolf said calmly.
“Ah, but I knew that to get to you, I have to get to the things you love the most.” Nott replied.
“Nott let them go, take me instead!” Rolf pleaded, tears trickling down his face.
“But that just wouldn’t work. No, I’m going to kill them one by one, and watch you suffer.”
“NO! Ten years I’ve been stuck in Azkaban, thinking about this moment! Ten years!” He yelled. “So, I think we’ll start with you,” Nott hauled Luna to her feet and smiled. “Say goodbye. AVADA KE-”
“AVADA KEDAVRA!” Potter shouted from behind. Rolf watched Nott crumple, and land with a thud. He lay still, his mouth slightly open. Rolf rushed to Luna and embraced her before banishing her ropes and doing the same to his children. He hugged them all, tears flowing freely down his face. The he straightened up and turned to Potter.
“Thank you.” He whispered. Potter shook his head.
“Don’t worry about it.” He answered.
“Where will he go?” Luna asked shakily, grabbing the boys’ hands.
“Back to Azkaban. The Dementors will bury him outside the fortress.” Luna’s face hardened. Rolf had never seen her look so worn and down to earth.
“Good. I hope he rots.”