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Chapter 4: Auror Headquarters
Snitch alarm clock, given as a birthday present from George, woke Harry in the morning of September 1. He stretched his arm and stopped the alarm floating in the air. He put on the new underwear Kreacher put for him and pulled over his favorite grey T-shirt which was not old, Ginny bought for him. It was her idea,
“New clothes will bring you good luck,” Ginny said.
It took him more time to find his socks. Then he shoved the palmtop mirror Hermione bought for him into the moleskin pouch Hagrid gave him, and pulled out the old golden watch Mrs. Weasley gave him last year on his seventeenth birthday, and put it on his right wrist. Then he dressed in a dark red robe Ministry sent him. And he put on the trainee Auror badge on his left chest. Then he came down the stairs into the kitchen. When he entered the kitchen, the smell of bacon made him hungry. Kreacher was busy serving English breakfast. Andromeda was feeding milk Teddy in her arm, and greeted Harry.
“Good morning, Harry. You look handsome in your Auror robes, but you should better comb your hair before leaving,” she put a baby bottle on the table.
“Yeah, I’ll do it,” he touched the top of his head and sat opposite Andromeda. He turned his gaze upon the Daily prophet and took it and read a head line:
AUROR HEADQUARTERS NEW RECRUIT
Comprises the Boy Who Saved the Wizarding World
and eleven trainees (see page 4)
The picture of the top page was Harry’s face. Harry in the picture frowned at him again and again. He wondered when they took his picture. Harry flipped the pages. There were lists of all trainee Aurors with their pictures and the information about their houses of Hogwarts. Harry was very glad to find familiar names of his mates.
Hannah Abbott Hufflepuff
Susan Bones Hufflepuff
Terry Boot Ravenclaw
Michael Corner Ravenclaw
Seamus Finnigan Gryffindor
Justin Finch-Fletchery Hufflepuff
Anthony Goldstein Ravenclaw
Harry Potter Gryffindor
Dean Thomas Gryffindor
Romilda Vain Gryffindor
Ronald Weasley Gryffindor
Blaise Zabini Slytherin
Most of them on the list came from D.A. except Blaise Zabini, and Romilda Vain.
Was she in the D.A. class? Harry wondered. And Zabini. He was obsessed with Pure-blood status, wasn’t he?
“Big news?” Andromeda asked holding Teddy and she patted his back gently to burp him.
“Yeah,” Harry put aside the newspaper, and buttered the toast. He ate bacon, eggs and tomatoes. He gulped down a cup of tea and got to his feet and said,“Well, see you then.”
“Oh, please wait,” Andromeda got to her feet holding Teddy. She took out her wand, swished and summoned a comb. She caught a comb and said,“Sit down, please, Harry.”
“Oh, O.K.,” Harry sat down on the chair again.
He realized that Andromeda was combing his hair and pressing hard on the top of his head.“It is hard to lay them flat,” sighed Andromeda. Teddy in her other arm started to cry. His hair was changing now from bright brown to vivid turquoise.
“Oh, I have a smoothing liquid,” said Harry.He pointed his wand to the entrance of the kitchen and casted a spell,“Accio the bottle.”
Then a slim bottle Ron gave Harry on his birthday hurtled into his spot. He opened the cap and sprinkled the liquid on the top of his head. He pressed his hair and said,“How do I look?”
“Oh, it worked. It lies flat,” Andromeda beamed at Harry.
“Thank you. Well, I have to go. See you later. Bye, Teddy.”
He went upstairs into the entrance hall and he apparated into the Atrium of the Ministry. He unrolled the parchment and checked the place:
At Gathering Hall: Level two
At nine a.m. September 1
Harry looked around the hallway expecting being jostled by the crowd but the Atrium was almost deserted. A group of golden statues was under construction, but a fountain was there like as before the war started. Harry took out one Galleons coin and put it in the pool which would go to St.Mungo’s praying for his luck on his first day. Then Harry walked through the golden gates into the hall where lifts stood.
“Oi, Potter!” Michael Corner, who marched in the hallway with his dark red robes fluttering, called to halt Harry behind.
Harry turned back and said,“Good morning, Michael.”
“Morning, Harry. Cho sends you her best regards,” Michael said.
“Oh, you two still are..,” said Harry.
“Yeah, I’m still going out with her,” said Michael.
The golden grille slid back and Harry and Michael stepped into the lift. Just then Ron dashed in. He panted and said,“Morning,mate. Morning, Michael.”
And he whispered Harry,“I got up late. George and me had stayed up late at night drinking fire whiskey. Gosh, I had a headache.”
The grilles slid shut with a crash and the lift ascended slowly.
“Have you drunk hang-over potion?” Harry asked.
“No. George was still sleeping. I had no time to find it. Do you have one?” said Ron.
“No. Did you drink firewhiskey the day before the enrollment ceremony?”said Harry.
“Oh, just a kind of celebration,” said Ron defensively.
“Pathetic,” Harry shook his head.
The grilles didn’t open until the lift reached the level five.
“Department of International Magical Co-operation, Incorporating the International Magical Trading Standards Body, the International Magical Office of Law and the International Confederation of Wizards, British Seats.” said the lustrous familiar female voice.
“ Is she..?”, Ron and Harry said at the same time.
“Lavender Brown,” said Michael. Just then the grilles opened and a tall wizard and a fat witch got in and several paper aeroplanes swooped into the lift. The grilles slid shut with a crash.
“She got out of St. Mungo's last month. I heard it from Cho. Cho is working there as a trainee healer,” said Michael. Harry remembered the feebly stirring body of Lavender Brown during the battle of Hogwarts. So she recovered. Harry and Ron exchanged their relieved looks and smiled.
“Level Two, Department of Magical Law Enforcement, including the Improper Use of Magic Office, Auror Headquarters and Winzengamot Administration Services,”
Lavender’s voice made her announcement then the doors opened. They followed the other tall wizard and the fat witch and they left the lift. They walked into a corridor lined with doors. At the corner there was a heavy oak door, on which they can read the sign ‘Gathering Hall’ on their right side. They walked through the door. They were the last three trainees to enter. The other familiar faces were looking back at them. Harry glanced at the golden watch on his right wrist. It was just nine o’clock. Then Minister Kingsley , Sturgis Podmore and Dawlish came in. They marched from the door and mounted the platform. Harry wondered how Podmore and Dawlish got back to their normal conditions after being casted Imperius Curse and Confundus Charm during the second Wizarding War.
“Good morning fellows. I declare the enrollment ceremony open. Now please give a speech, Minister,” said Dawlish.
Kingsley made a short speech to them in his deep familiar baritone voice.
“Welcome to Auror Headquarters. Taking all of you as trainees is our greatest pleasure. Our Wizarding World is getting back normal lives but I’m sorry to say there’re still some Death Eaters on the run. To capture them and to send them into Azkaban is an urgent need. I hope you to succeed to accomplish the task,” Kingsley finished his speech.
“Now I’ll tell you about pairing. And Sturgis will show you your cubicles,” said Dawlish briskly.
“Pairs are Hanna Abbot and Susan Bones.”
Hanna and Susan were cheering each other.
“Terry Boot and Michael Corner.”
Terry and Michael gave them a five each other.
“Seamus Finnigan and Dean Thomas.”
Seamus shouted “Yes!” , and Dean grinned widely.
“Justin Finch-Fletchery and Anthony Goldstein.”
Justin and Anthony were shaking their hands.
“Harry Potter and Ronald Weasley.”
Ron heaved a sigh of relief. Harry beamed at him.
“Romilda Vain and Blaise Zabini.”
Romilda Vain was battering her eyelashes. Blaise Zabini kept his poker face.
“Can we believe him?” Ron whispered as he signed with his eyes motion to Zabini.
“Dunno,” Harry said observing Zabini. Zabini noticed their staring and raised his brows.
“And Romilda Vain. I reckon she just wants to work with the boy who saved the Wizarding World,” Ron said. And he stared at the top of Harry’s head.
"Your hair is sleek. Did you try George's liquid?" said Ron.
"Oh, yeah. It worked. Thanks,"said Harry.
Romilda was now staring at Harry in her intense look. She was battering her eyelashes unnecessarily.
“ This way, please,” Sturgis left the gathering hall.
All trainee Aurors followed him. He opened a pair of heavy oak doors. A new brass plaque on the nearest cubicle read : Auror Headquarters.
Ron traced the plaque with his right hand and said,“Wow. We are in the real Auror Headquarters.”
Just then a middle-aged, sharp-eyed looking, short-haired wizard walked up to them. He shook hands with Kingsley and said,“Welcome to Auror Headquarters. I am a Head, Gawin Robards,” he grinned.
“He is my old colleague. He had slipped through the conspiracy by Death Eaters many times last year. He will always stand by you. Please consult him for advice about anything,” said Kingsley. “Now I have to go. Excuse me,” Kingsley smiled to Harry and left.
“Well, the most urgent task of yours is to capture Death Eaters on the run. Be sure to remember their faces, their profiles,” said Robards. Dawlish and Sturgis handed out sheaves of parchment in their hands.
“Sorry for not alphabetical order ‘cause we were short of hands. Hestia and Dedalus are on their duties guarding Hogwarts now. I’ll introduce Proudfoot, Williamson and Savage tomorrow. And Aberforth, he hasn’t gotten here yet,” said Gawin.
“Excuse me , sir. You mean Aberforth Dumbledore?” asked Harry in surprise.
“Yes, he is. He was a secret Hit Wizard before his retirement. He decided to come back for you, trainees,” Robards smiled. Dean Thomas whistled. Seamus Finnigan gave a shout of joy.
“Now check your cubicle which has a name plate and remember the profiles of fugitives into your brain. Drill in these information until you know it by heart.”
All trainees found their cubicles and sat at their desks. Harry skimmed through the parchments. There were twelve Death Eaters: Crabbe’s father, Goyle’s father, Mulciber, Nott, Rosier, Rowle, Selwynn, Travers, Rookwood, Macnair, Rodolphus & Rabastan Lestrange. And four Death Eaters Allies: Pius Thicknesse, Albert Runcorn, Mafalda Hopkirk and Dolores Umbridge.
“Bloody Hell, twelve Death Eaters haven’t been captured yet?” said Ron.
“And four Death Eaters Allies. Why is Lucius Malfoy not included in ?”asked Ron.
“’Cause his wife saved my life,” Harry answered.
“I can’t accept it. He should be sent to Azkaban. And Draco Malfoy, he tried to bring you to Voldemort!” grumbled Ron.
Dean Thomas and Justin came to them.
“I want to capture Umbridge soon. Many Muggle-born wizards and witches suffered because of her,” said Dean firmly looking up his face from the parchment.
“Right, Umbridge should be sent to Azkaban ,” said Justin biting his lip.
“Hey, girls, why did you choose to be Aurors?” Terry Boots said to Hanna and Susan.
Both of them kept silent. And Susan began to speak quietly,“My grandparents, uncle, aunts, and my cousins were murdered by Voldemort. He killed Hanna’s mother, too,” Susan stared at Terry Boots directly.
“Oh, sorry for that,” said Terry awkwardly.
Silence fell upon the whole trainees. Seamus broke the silence,
“Zabini, why are you here?”
Zabini became the center of the other all trainees. Harry watched Zabini as if he would not miss any suspicious movements. Blaise Zabini kept his poker face. Just then Robards stood up from the desk and took a step to them.
“Ms. Zabini,his mother,helped me last year. Without her information, I’m not here now. Trust him,” Robards smiled but his eyes were not smiling.
The other trainees stared at Zabini. Zabini noticed Harry’s intense stare and stared back. Just then a man with a long, stringy, wire-grey hair and beard came in with Cormac McLaggen.
“Aberforth,” Robards hugged Aberforth and said,“I’ll introduce Mr.Dumbledore to you. He was a prominent Hit Wizard. He worked until the end of first wizarding war.”
“He was the original member of Order of the Phoenix,” Harry whispered to Ron.
“It’s brilliant! But why is such a git as Cormac here?” Ron whispered back.
Harry observed Cormac whose body was the size of a troll, standing by Aberforth. He was one year above Harry and Ron. He was Ron’s rival in Gryffindor Quidditch team. And yes, he was a git in the Quidditch match in Harry’s sixth year at Hogwarts. But Harry couldn’t see his conceited attitude he had showed at Hogwarts from McLaggen’s tense face.
Aberforth opened his mouth,“Nice to see you again, all of you. Gawin dragged me out of my retreat. Dunno how much I can help him, I’ll do my best. This is Cormac McLaggen. He is a trainee Hit Wizard.”
Ron and Harry exchanged their surprised looks. Cormac stood still there quietly. He just nodded to notice Harry’s staring. He looked like quite another man. What made him change to a different person? Harry wondered.
“Now lunch time. Please be back here at one o’clock,” Robards dismissed the meeting.
“Where will we eat?” Ron asked.
“Well, Leaky Cauldron?” said Harry.
Susan opened her mouth,“Ministry has a tea room on level five. Shall we go downstairs?”
Harry, Ron, Susan and Hanna got on the lift. The lift started to descend with clattering sounds.
Then Lavender’s voice announced.“Level three. Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes, including the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad, Obliviator Headquarters and Muggle-Worthy Excuse Committee.”
Then three middle-aged wizards and two young witches stepped into the lift with several memos zooming in. They noticed their trainee Auror’s dark red robes and looked at them curiously. And they whispered Harry’s name like imitating Parselmouth around him. Harry looked at the floor with his face down. He regretted that he had approved of going to a tea room inside Ministry.
Lavender’s voice announced level five, Harry, Ron, Hanna and Susan stepped out of the lift jostled by other wizards and witches. They walked the corridor to the end of the corner.
“I saw only two other officials in the morning. The Atrium was deserted,” said Harry.
“’Cause the enrollment ceremony was held at nine. Working time usually starts at ten,” said Susan.
“Oh, I see,” said Harry. He thought he couldn't use the lift any more. He couldn't bear being stared and whispered his name.
“Can we apparate inside Ministry?” Harry asked Susan.
“No, you can't. I heard from my aunt that Ministry adopted Professor Dumbledore's tactic to prevent fugitives from disapparating away since he casted non apparition charm at the Department of Mystery three years ago. You must use the lift or Floo powder. I'm sorry for asking you to go to a tea room. We should have gone outside of Ministry,” said Susan gingerly.
“I don't think going out for lunch is a good idea. You are a celebrity, Harry. You'll be surrounded with wizards and witches in Diagon Alley,” said Ron.
“ You also are a celebrity, Ron,” said Hanna.
“Well then, we'll go out for lunch to Muggle town next time,” said Harry.
In a tea room they ordered a plate of sandwiches and a pot of tea. Wizards and witches at the other tables were staring at Harry and Ron. Some of them were beaming at them. The others were whispering each other. Harry felt so uneasy that he couldn’t taste sandwiches well. He felt like chewing carpets. Ron bit sandwiches and finished them quickly and ordered a plate of scones more.
“ Get used to being a celebrity, mate. This is where you work every day,” said Ron.
After lunch Robards announced their training schedules and duty. They would have three days training at Ministry and Harry and Ron were assigned to guard Hogwarts on weekends. They were happy to know that they could spend with Ginny and Hermione at Hogwarts on weekends.