Chapter 6 : Grim Discoveries
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Gawain Robards was the first wizard on the scene at Privet Drive. He appeared with the smallest pop and looked around in astonishment at the destruction that took place in minutes. His nose wrinkled at the stench of burnt wood and melted plastic. It wasn’t a surprise to see that the street was deserted or that none of the Muggles were to be seen. He suspected they were hiding in their houses as they tried to figure out what had happened. Glancing in the sky to see how much more light they would have, he heard several faint pops behind him as well as heard their gasps as they saw the ruined neighborhood.
After having seen the extent of the spells in the report that the Under-aged Magic Department had run, he had called for at least five Magical Reversal squads in addition to every available Auror. Even as he looked at the neighborhood and saw the scorch marks on nearly every house and burned out homes which might not be attributed to magic, he saw many more odd things that could have only been achieved through magical means. Trees were uprooted or upside down, mail boxes were perched on top of roof tops and the grass was no longer green but many other violently garish shades of blue or orange. Perhaps five squads wouldn’t be enough; maybe he should call in a few more teams.
“Auror Robards?” the Magical Reversal Leader, Thaddeus McQuillen, approached him as he looked around at Privet Drive, not wanting to believe what his eyes were seeing. It took a lot to shake Thaddeus, but it appeared the surrounding destruction was doing just that.
“You know what you need to do,” Gawain replied heavily. “Just make sure that you get all the information from the Muggles before erasing all of this.” He waved his arm about him.
Thaddeus nodded grimly before turning to his squads and issuing commands.
Gawain watched as the squads split up into pairs and began covering the damaged area and was relieved when a wand flick here and there caused trees to stand upright once more and the cars to right themselves instead of sitting on their hoods or bumpers.
“I thought that you and I might speak with Mr. Potter’s relatives,” Thaddeus nodded towards Number Four.
Gawain knew that while the house might not appear obviously damaged that there had to be some injury even if not seen – the heartbreak of losing a relative to Voldemort. He expected that Mr. Potter’s relatives would be grief-stricken. “Why do you think that they left the house alone?”
Thaddeus considered the question and one that was odd given that Mr. Potter had been killed, but people reacted differently to death. “Perhaps the wards protected it. We know that Professor Dumbledore placed wards on the house even if we don’t know which ones he used.”
Gawain nodded slowly. “That makes sense. Very well, we’d best get a move on then.” They made their way carefully through the debris to the front door. He knocked and waited until a woman opened the door slightly to eye them warily. “Mrs. Dursley?”
“What do you want?” she demanded harshly, not missing the wands that they were carrying in plain view. Pain flickered in her eyes before she glared at them.
“To speak about what happened here,” Gawain held up his hand when she started to shut the door. “We can make it so that your neighbors don’t remember anything odd happened today.”
“What about me?” she demanded in a bleak voice. “What about my husband and son?”
The two wizards exchanged a troubled look. “Very well, we can arrange it so that you, your husband and your son won’t have a memory of what happened here today either.”
“I meant,” she snapped at them with impatience, “that my family doesn’t want to know about that boy or his freakishness.”
Gawain and Thaddeus nearly stepped back at the vehemence in her voice. “You don’t wish to know about magic?” Thaddeus blinked, surprised by her request and unable to comprehend why anyone wouldn’t want to know about magic.
Mrs. Dursley shook her head. “I ask you, what has it brought me? I’ll tell you what it’s brought me,” she continued without waiting for their reply, “an unwanted nephew and now this!” she motioned pointedly at the destruction, pain flashing in her eyes once again. “So no, I can safely say that none of us want to know about that boy or any freakishness.”
Gawain nodded slowly, sadly understanding her point of view. “Very well, we can also arrange that, but before we do, may we discuss what happened today?”
She opened the door to them very reluctantly to let them inside.
Gawain waited to speak until after she had taken a seat in one of the chairs in the living room. He cleared his throat. “If you tell us everything that happened here today, we can arrange for you to remember only that your nephew left home and have no knowledge of his talents.” He purposely refrained from using the ‘magic’ or ‘wizardry’ given the way she had reacted at the front door.
“You’re certain about that?” she demanded, not believing them. The look on her face told a different story, that she was torn between not wanting to speak about what had happened and not ever having to worry about dealing with unnaturalness in her house again. Her heart ached to think about what her husband and son had had to endure because of him and he was now gone or dead.
Gawain nodded grimly. “I’m very sure. Mr. McQuillen is a very accomplished Obliviator, which mean,” he hurriedly assured her when her face twisted into a look of terror, “that he can change what you remember concerning Mr. Potter.”
“Alright,” she finally decided when the lure was too much for her to remain quiet. She quickly told them about what had occurred after several loud explosions that had rocked the house. “Not one of them lifted a finger to stop any of that freakishness.” She concluded sourly.
“So there were several explosions?” Thaddeus asked as he tried to see the events as they happened.
“Yes, not that they were helpful when it came down to it,” she looked aggrieved.
“Did they draw their wand at any point?” Gawain asked, knowing this would help him understand what the Trio was intending to do instead of relying completely on Mr. Potter’s aunt’s declarations, especially since she wanted nothing to do with magic. She remained silent, giving him his answer, but he needed to hear it from her. “Remember our agreement, Mrs. Dursley.”
With an exasperated sigh, she finally nodded. “Yes, they had their sticks out as they ran out the door, but they only did that after Vernon yelled at them.”
“Your husband yelled at them?” Thaddeus exchanged a frown with Gawain, both men wondering what she meant. “Was he yelling at them to hurry up or…”
“No, he was telling them to stop doing magic.” She didn’t look at them.
Gawain couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “So your husband told them to stop using magic and then they run outside with their wands drawn and…” he trailed off at the look of unhappiness on her face as well as Thaddeus’s hand on his arm. There was definitely more to the situation that one visit could explain. The only problem was that they only had this visit. There would be no second trip to this house to verify any of the information or to gain clarification if they ran into a confusing statement.
Thaddeus continued the question. “What happened next?”
Her lips pressed together, obviously finding what took place next as untenable but she answered them. “They froze and Harry…” she trailed off, not able to finish. No, she didn’t want to remember magic, but she couldn’t forget the look that he had given her before the man who had killed her sister sent green light rushing at him. Neither Vernon nor Dudley watched as Harry stood tall, knowing that death was only moments away. He had known. After the way they had treated him since he had been left on their doorstep, he had stood up for them. She made herself finish her statement. “He waved his stick and green light hit Harry…”
Both of the men were troubled by her account, the most disturbing of it being that she had seen Harry being hit with a spell that was a green light. “Do you happen to remember if he said any words?”
She didn’t want to answer, but the memory of Harry standing there shamed her. “He said something that sounded like ‘Avowing Era’ and then the green light hit Harry… He just stood there…”
“Why didn’t he do anything?” Gawain asked softly. It was troubling to hear that just as he had read, the Killing Curse had been used. Neither of them knew what would have made Harry disappear in a moment, but there was still so much being learned about magic. It would be irresponsible to say that they knew everything about it.
She hid her face in her hands. “So we wouldn’t get hurt.”
“Will you show us where this happened?” Thaddeus asked gently.
She took them to the backyard where she pointed out where the people stood and covered the events again. Thaddeus marked off from the tree to where she said the frightening man in the robes had stood. Both of them were startled at her description of the intruder. “You-Know-Who!” he exclaimed with horror, “he was here?”
“As well as a bunch of other robed people,” Mrs. Dursley nodded bitterly. “Nasty people, I wouldn’t trust them to wipe their shoes when coming inside my house.”
Gawain shook his head in amazement at what she considered important. Her nephew had been killed in front of her and she was worried about his killers wiping their shoes. He touched the tree which was most assuredly dead now. Then he looked at the spot where Mr. Potter had been last seen after being hit by the Killing Curse. “Mr. McQuillen? I believe we have enough information.” He remained where he was while Thaddeus Obliviated Mrs. Dursley’s memories. He knelt down and touched what could very well be the last spot where Harry Potter, The-Boy-Who-Lived, had stood.
“Done,” Thaddeus said hollowly, “she told me that her husband and son are at the hospital. I’ll head straight there and take care of them also.” It still hurt when Muggle relatives denounced their wizarding relatives, but she had been adamant. “You do know that they never wanted him and never wanted to deal with him because of his wizarding abilities?” He shook his head sadly. “You’d think they’d have thought about him a bit nicer, considering.” He turned to look at the spot where Harry Potter had died.
Gawain had his own suspicion as to why Mrs. Dursley had wanted her memory of her nephew changed, but it would change nothing. He cleared his throat. “One would have thought.” He jerked his head towards the area where the squads were forming. Their work was finished at Privet Drive.
Arthur appeared outside of the Burrow. He stood outside for a moment. He wasn’t relishing the idea of explaining what had happened at the Ministry. There would be questions about what the Ministry had to say and what was the Ministry going to do. Then there would be what Gawain and he had found out at the Under-Aged Magic department. He grimaced at the parchment in his hand. He could only hope that he didn’t have to answer questions right away. He wanted to consider what he’d learned and figure out how to say it without making a muddle of it, but his slight hope was dashed as soon as he stepped into the house.
“Dad, what happened at the Ministry?” Ron demanded before the door was even shut.
“Something happened,” Hermione pointed out, “that’s obvious.”
Arthur sighed. Everyone came into the room and waited impatiently for him to tell them what happened at the Ministry. “I spoke with Gawain Robards…”
“The Head Auror,” Hermione nodded, “we know.”
“How would you… I see.” Arthur remembered the talks that Minister Scrimgeour had had with Harry the previous year. “Yes, the Head Auror. I felt he should know what you both told me.”
“You told them about Harry missing?” Molly demanded.
“Of course, dear, and about the attack on Privet Drive,” Arthur replied as he took his seat. “Gawain was rather surprised to learn of my, our, suspicions. We went to find out if under-aged magic had been done…”
“But he didn’t do any magic!” Hermione protested. “We were there and he definitely didn’t do any magic!”
“But none had been registered at all this summer,” Arthur ignored Hermione’s interruption and looked at the ceiling as he considered his next words carefully. Only after he collected his thoughts did he look at everyone. “Gawain noticed several dozen Unforgivable curses all along Privet Drive without counting specifically. After a final Killing Curse, there was no more magic registered in the area.”
“What else did Mr. Robards have to say?” Bill asked.
“That he will be looking into this situation personally,” Arthur said gravely, “and he was going to Privet Drive with Magical Reversal squads to find out what happened. I’m certain he’ll inform us of his findings soon enough.”
Molly sat down hard. Her sobs were only punctuated by Hermione’s wails. Ron didn’t look as if he was too far away from crying himself and was spending every ounce of strength he had to save face. Fred and George glared at everyone before storming outside. Arthur pulled Molly towards him without saying a word. There had been enough of that in the house recently - words that should never have been used.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this chapter.
Thank you very much for your constructive criticism!
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