Chapter 24 : Chapter 24: Simple To Deceive
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Dawlish walked in and glanced around the room hastily. “Sir, there has been another sighting of Malfoy.” He gave them a small smile. “We learned about it from a Muggle who reported him to the local officials. I’m glad we released his mug to the Muggle authorities.”
Everyone got hastily to their feet. Kingsley began issuing orders immediately. “Ginny, Harry, I want you two to stay here and try to locate Baddock and find out who that Tracey woman was. We will go and check out the situation and if he is indeed there, you will be notified immediately. The rest of us will go and investigate.”
“You are coming, sir?” Tonks asked hesitantly.
Kingsley nodded. “We need to get him and quickly. If I am forbidding two of our best from going, then I should at least go myself.” He spared a small smile for Ginny and Harry before the rest left.
“Right.” Harry sighed and casually took her left hand in his, twisting her wedding band around. “So… I suppose we should go down to the census office.”
“Yes,” Ginny agreed readily. “The witch that works down there knows everyone. She should be able to tell us where Baddock is.”
The two exited the conference room and walked towards the lifts to go down to level four and walked past the Office for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures before heading to the small census room. Ginny opened the door and grinned happily at the woman sitting behind the small desk in a room full of thousands of filing cabinets. “Aunt Bea!” She exclaimed as the older woman stood to embrace her.
“Ginny! I was wondering when I would see you next.” Her lined face was awash with delight. “How’s your mother? I haven’t spoken to her in weeks.”
“Oh, Mum’s fine.” Ginny replied easily as she studied the slight woman that had been her mother’s friend since Hogwarts.
Harry let out a small cough and both women turned to face him. “Hello.” He stuck out his hand. “Harry Potter.”
She smiled widely at him and shook his proffered hand. “Of course. I’m Beatrice Goldman.”
“Aunt Bea is my godmother.” Ginny said before she held out a hand to take Harry’s. She looked back at the other woman. “Harry and I eloped a few days ago.”
Bea’s small frame let out an enormous squeal. “I hadn’t heard! Congratulations you two!” She hugged them both before back off and sitting gingerly on the edge of her desk. “It’s odd that I didn’t receive a note saying that you were married!” She shook her head. “Ah well, that matters little. I’m sure I’ll receive something soon since I am usually notified immediately. Now, I doubt that two busy Aurors, such as yourselves, would come down here just to tell me that you married.”
“Aunt Bea…” Ginny began, feeling extremely guilty.
“No, no!” She held up a hand. “I know that you two are quite busy right now with catching a certain Death Eater.” Ginny and Harry exchanged horrified looks. How had she known? “I hear everything!” She answered airily to their unspoken question. “Tell me how I can help.”
“We need to know where Malcolm Baddock is and we need to try and locate a woman named Tracey.” Ginny informed her.
“Baddock works for his father at their research labs in York. He is a potions genius, Baddock Sr., I mean and not the Jr. who is reportedly horrible at potions.” Bea’s voice held a hint of amusement as she told them about him. “Do you need to know anything else on him?”
“No.” Ginny said slowly. “I think we can track him down through his father.”
“Excellent.” Bea beamed at Ginny. “Now, about this Tracey woman. There are two Tracey’s at Hogwarts right now but I doubt you are looking for schoolgirls. There are several male Tracey’s but aside from Tracey Davis, there are no women younger than sixty that go by that name. It just isn’t a name that witches are using to name their daughters anymore, I’m afraid. The two at Hogwarts are both Muggle born.”
“It has to be Tracey Davis then.” Harry rejoined in confusion. “She’s a half-blood?”
“Yes but I can’t tell you where she is.” Bea went over to a cabinet and pulled out a file. She brought it over to the desk and opened it. “About four years ago her last name disappeared, so I had assumed that she was married but I never was never notified that it was the case. She has not been heard from since then although this is what I find interesting.” She pointed to a notation on the status sheet for Tracey.
“A son?” Harry looked up at Bea for confirmation.
“Mm.” She agreed readily. “Three years ago, he showed up on here but I don’t have a name for him either, not even a first name. She clearly did not birth him with help.”
“Have you looked at Hogwarts? Doesn’t the magical registry there record all of the births?”
Bea gave Ginny a wan smile. “I went out there to check personally but the boy did not appear. There were no children registered for that day.”
“So her son is a squib then?” Ginny asked.
Bea nodded. “It would appear that way. I’ve tried searching for him through other methods but because he is non-magical, there is no record of him in our world, except for the small note in here that said that Tracey birthed him.”
“What about Tracey’s parents?”
Bea shook her head. “They reported her missing four years ago and have not heard from her since. They came to see me about two years ago and were surprised to learn that Tracey had a son.”
“Well, this is not going to help us much.” Harry mumbled. “Is there no way to locate the father of her child?”
Bea shrugged. “I can start a search through all of the wizards but because the fathers do not have to list their progeny, it does not usually get noted in their files. The father would have to report it to me.”
“Thanks, Aunt Bea. If you could get us anything, that would be helpful.” Ginny sighed and hugged her. “We’ll check back in later.”
“I’ll get right on it.” She assured Ginny. “If I find something, then I’ll come up to see you.”
“Thank you again.” Harry told her earnestly and he was pulled into a hug.
Bea looked up at him sternly. “Take care of my goddaughter, you hear?”
“I will.” Harry assured her.
“He’s there!” Ron’s excited voice floated through the charmed mirror that he had taken with him to alert Ginny and Harry if they were needed. In his sixth year Harry had charmed mirrors for the four of them, Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny, to keep with them in case they needed each other. “We’re sure and Kingsley says to get your arses here as soon as possible.”
“We’ll be there shortly.” Ginny exclaimed as she spoke into the mirror. She and Harry grabbed their cloaks and were about to Apparate out when Harry grabbed her arm.
“You shouldn’t Apparate.” He whispered.
“Right.” Ginny whispered. She had flooed to work this morning, just in case she was actually pregnant. It was dangerous to Apparate because if you were not concentrating completely, something that was hard to do while pregnant, then you could leave the baby behind. Most women who were trying to conceive just stopped Apparating altogether. Although, theoretically it was possible to still travel that way, most women didn’t risk it. “So… what will I do?”
Harry looked around before winking at her and grabbing a quill. “Portus.” He whispered as he pointed his wand at the quill. It glowed blue for a moment before returning back to normal. “Here.” He handed it to her and kissed her cheek. “I’ll see you soon.” She felt the jerk from behind her navel and found herself landing behind the large group of Aurors.
Ron had been facing towards her and caught her arm as she landed. He gave her a strange look. “Why did you use a portkey? Wait, where did you get a portkey?”
Ginny reached up and pulled his ear so that he was dragged down to face her. “Why does Hermione not Apparate?” His mouth dropped open at her whispered words and understanding filled his eyes. “It is possible so I am just being careful.” She let a small sigh. They had decided not to tell any of the family until she could confirm the pregnancy with a Healer and that would not be for another week, at least. “Harry never did follow the rules.” She waved the quill around for a moment before stuffing it into the pocket of her robes.
Ron chuckled and glanced up at Harry who had appeared with a small ‘pop’. “Nice one mate.”
Harry grinned. “So where is he?”
“That house.” Ron pointed to a large house that was across the street. “It belongs to Malcolm Baddock.”
“This can’t be a coincidence.” Harry looked around the house. “I wish Moody had not retired again. We could really use that magical eye right now.”
Ron let out a snort of laughter. “I know what you mean.”
“Well, shall we go then?” Ginny asked.
Kingsley’s head turned towards her. “We were waiting for you.”
“Disillusionment Charms everyone.” Harry ordered and soon they were all blending into the background. “Let’s go.”
The large group of Aurors began to move towards the house and quickly had it surrounded. “We’re going in.” Harry muttered and he, Ginny, Kingsley, Tonks and Dawlish all moved through the front door.
“Alohomora!” Ginny shot the spell at the door and they moved into the house, preparing to search it for Lucius Malfoy. They did not have to look hard. He was sitting on a settee just staring off into space. “Stupefy!” The red light hit him and he slumped over and fell on the floor.
“That’s it?” Ginny turned around to face Harry who shrugged but kept searching the house with his eyes as he moved towards her and put an arm protectively around her middle.
“I want you two to get out of here and we’ll bring him in.” Kingsley bit out.
Ginny rounded on her boss. “Sir, I really think that…”
“No!” His face was set. “You were here and you even took him down. Life does not always have to be dramatic but if this is a trap then I want you out of here.” Kingsley looked over at Harry. “Make another portkey for her and take her back to the Ministry. We’ll meet you two down in the dungeons to question him.”
“Yes sir.” Harry answered and he took Ginny’s hand to lead her out of the house. Ginny started to protest but Harry shook his head slightly so she bit her lip.
Before they had reached the door, Kingsley’s voice caused them to halt. “Oh, and could you stop by and get Veritaserum from your sister-in-law?” His dark eyes twinkled with mirth. “When she asks, tell her that I already have clearance from Madam Bones.” They nodded and left the house.
“What was that?” Ginny demanded suddenly. “I can take care of my…” Her words were cut off as he pulled her into his arms.
Harry shook slightly as he spoke. “It didn’t seem right, Gin. They never go down like that, it’s never that easy.”
“It could be.” She argued feebly. “Why can’t you just say, ‘I want the bad guy dead’ and then he dies?”
“I wish.” He chuckled softly before tucking a stray piece of her fiery hair behind her ear. “Have you still got that quill I used before?”
“What is your full name?” Ginny asked the man who was chained to a chair in the dungeons of the Ministry.
“Lucius Cassius Malfoy.” He replied slowly.
“Where is the sword of Gryffindor?” Harry had been pacing around the room but had stopped to question him.
His face remained impassive. “I do not know.”
“That can’t be right!” Ginny turned to Harry who looked stunned. “He has to know where it is if he has been using it to control…” She stopped.
“It wasn’t him.” Harry muttered. “Damn!”
“What are you two on about?” Ron glanced between them.
Hermione, who had been sitting in the same chair, observing the interrogation, stood suddenly and moved over to Malfoy. “How did you get out of Azkaban?”
“Portkey.” He replied smoothly. “One of the guards gave it to me accidentally when he brought my supper.”
“Where have you been hiding since you escaped?” Hermione stared hard at the pale man, waiting for his response.
“I arrived in that house and I have been there ever since.” His answer caused the occupants of the room to all exclaim at once.
“You have been killing people since you escaped.” Tonks yelled. “Why would you just stay in that house?”
Malfoy’s dead eyes did not change. “No. I have not killed anyone since the Dark Lord’s fall. I have not been allowed to leave.”
This statement did not seem to really surprise Hermione. “Have you seen anyone since you escaped?” Hermione probed.
“I have seen Baddock Jr. He has come to cut my hair. I have also seen Blaise Zabini. He would drop off food and ask me questions. A woman that I do not know has been feeding me recently. She comes with her child.”
“What did Zabini ask you?” Ginny moved over to lean against Harry. Suddenly, she was extremely tired.
Malfoy took a long breath before answering. “He wanted to know how the dark mark worked. I was the one who invented the spell that created the dark mark for my Lord. I explained it to Zabini.”
“How does it work?” Kingsley asked him.
“It is part of a mixture of a Protean Charm and a few dark curses that incorporate the Imperius Curse and the Fiduciae Charm. It marked the Dark Lord’s followers but also gave him a measure of control over them and required their loyal service. Any of his followers who were not loyal died when he did.”
“That is what happened to Professor Snape.” Hermione informed them softly before Malfoy continued.
“After his rebirth, he used several rituals to ensure that his essence would go on forever and that his servants would always be tied to him.” Malfoy’s words caused Hermione to gasp.
“Oh my.” She turned to Harry and Ginny. “I know exactly how you were being controlled now and I have a theory for why Niggs killed himself.”
“Go on, luv.” Ron said reassuringly.
“Whoever has the sword has the essence of Voldemort. Because Voldemort used the Fiduciae Charm and the Imperius Curse in the dark marks, he is able to control those who have the dark mark or in your case, are housing him.” Hermione said resolutely.
“What is the Fiduciae Charm?” Tonks asked her.
“It is a charm that requires the deepest fidelity from those who use it. In ancient times it was used between clans and different families to form connections. It is part of what goes into a bonding as well. If you are under the charm, then you are unable to betray the others under the charm without suffering serious consequences. Muggles would call them blood brothers but instead of simply trusting that they will follow through, the charm magically binds them into following through with it. They are obliged, in other words.”
Kingsley began to pace. “What about the rest of the rituals that Voldemort performed?”
Hermione beamed at him. “There we lucked out.” She turned back to Ginny. “If your dream is accurate then when you cast the curse, it was enough to separate part of his spirit and it possessed the sword. It was similar to the diary that he used to preserve himself. This time I doubt that it worked completely and we are lucky that it didn’t.”
“This is still my fault.” Ginny muttered.
“No, actually, it isn’t.” Hermione told her. “If you had not used the curse on him and if what Malfoy says is true, then you saved us all from his entire spirit taking up residence in the sword. I know the ritual that Malfoy is talking about and it is the charm that he placed on the diary to preserve himself, in case something happened to him.” She took a deep, steadying breath, before going on. “He placed the charm on himself, didn’t he Malfoy? He used to same charm on himself as he used on that diary you gave Ginny ten years ago.”
“Yes.” Malfoy answered blandly and the occupants of the room all froze.
Harry broke the silence first. “What does this mean?”
“It means that Voldemort’s spirit would have been able to leave his body, unharmed and go into the first object that it could find.” Hermione ran a hand through her hair, tugging at a loose curl as she thought. “He would have been able to take control of another soul and be reborn.”
“Oh shit.” Tonks swore and her hands went up to her mouth.
“So you’re saying that if Ginny had not fractured his spirit right before I killed him that Tom would have been able to come back?” Harry asked incredulously.
“Yes, that is exactly what I am saying.” Hermione replied. “You could kill his body but not his spirit. He had found a way of ensuring that.”
“But the prophecy…” Ron’s voice trailed off.
“Yes, that troubles me as well.” Hermione nodded.
“I thought I had to kill him.” Harry looked at her for confirmation.
“You did kill him, Harry.” Hermione replied hastily. “He was most certainly dead.”
“But he wasn’t, not if he is living in a sword!” He argued back.
Hermione shook her head. “He was dead. This isn’t like the last time, when you were a baby and his essence was still floating around, thinking and plotting. Whatever was in that sword was not him, just his magic.” She sat heavily in a chair before continuing. “When you killed him this time, you killed him for good.”
“But you just said his essence or whatever was still around.” Tonks reminded her.
“Yes, but that isn’t him. His essence can’t think or feel. It would be like a… like a,” Hermione seemed to struggle to find the right words. “It would be like your scent on something you’ve worn or your finger print on something you’ve touched. It’s a small part of you but it is not who you are. The essence must have also been split into thirds when Harry killed him. However, since the bonding, most of Voldemort is now gone for good. The problem is that a small part of his magic is around, in that sword.” She stood suddenly and moved off towards the door.
“Where are you going?” Ron said hurriedly.
Hermione turned to face them. “I have to prepare a way to destroy that sword when you find it.” She opened the door and froze. “May I help you?”
Ginny looked over at the door. “Aunt Bea?”
“I need to speak with you, Ginny.” She came in and stopped short at the sight of Lucius Malfoy but she recovered quickly. “I tried to look up your marriage.”
“You did?” Harry’s voice was strained.
“I did.” She held a file to them. They all gathered around to watch Ginny open it. Her first and middle names were still present but her last name was gone. She was now officially just Ginevra Molly.
“Why doesn’t it say Potter?” Ginny looked over at Hermione.
“It is part of the process; you lose your identity. You technically belong to Harry now. That is what the official records will say. You are now listed in his file but your file becomes secondary.” Hermione informed her softly. “This is why it is never done but it was the only way that we could help you. You don’t really belong to him but…” She sighed heavily.
“Tracey is bonded.” Harry muttered suddenly.
“Bonded?” Bea looked between them. “Yes, that would make sense. I can’t believe it didn’t occur to me sooner… but when I saw that your file matched hers, I had to come and find you.”
“Could her husband be controlling Tracey through the bond?” Harry asked Hermione.
“Oh yes. Whoever he is, he can definitely control her.” Hermione bit out. “They depend on each other for their lives.”
“Daddy won’t control you, Mummy. He loves you.” The small boy smiled up at her.
“I know.” She sat beside the river with him as they talked.
He leaned his small head against her side and she put her arm around him. “I think it’s almost over.”
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