Chapter 5 : Instructions
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23 June 2024
Rose’s room was a complete mess. There were clothes everywhere. She had laid all her photography equipment on her bed, next to an open suitcase. Rose was running around trying to choose the clothes she would put inside the bag.
She huffed when she looked at the suitcase, it was still empty. The problem was that she had no idea what weather was in Moscow this time of year. She decided to forget the clothes and focus on packing her photography gear. Rose didn’t know if she would need it, but she was taking it nonetheless. It could come in handy, even if it was to take pictures of the city.
Rose thought about the previous night. When her parents got home from work, she had told them about the interview. What followed was chaos. Hermione couldn’t believe that a journal, like the Daily Prophet would hire a teenager and send her to Russia, without her parents’ consent. After a frantic letter to the Daily Prophet’s Editor-in-Chief, Olivia Stone, Hermione set a meeting for the next day to discuss it. Ron was shocked and tried to convince Rose from going. He couldn’t stand the thought of his baby girl being thousands of miles away, without him to protect her. Hugo on the other hand, was absolutely delighted.
When she was almost finished packing her equipment there was a knock on the door.
“Yes,” Rose said, still concentrated in the packing.
The door opened and Albus came in with a big grin on his face. His green eyes glistening and his hair disheveled. When he was serious he looked a lot like his father, but when he had that mischievous grin on his face, he looked like a Weasley.
“Guess what,” he said, without even noticing the clothes he had just sat on when he sat on the bed. “My parents agreed that I take the year off.”
“Hey, get off my clothes,” Rose pushed Albus off her bed and started gathering all her clothes.
“Going somewhere?” Albus asked, looking at the mess that was in her room.
“Russia,” Rose decided to take a break and sit on her bed. “On work”
Albus looked at Rose waiting for her to say it was just a joke. Rose wasn’t the one to go ‘on work’ anywhere. She despised the word ‘work’.
“I know, right?” Rose asked reading Albus’s thoughts. She got up and took the folder Olivia had given her in the interview.
“Remember the Doctor that was killed? I’m writing about his murder,” she gave Albus the folder and lay back on her bed, looking at the ceiling. “I’m scared Albus”
“Rose Weasley, scared of something?” Albus chuckled, but stopped when Rose gave him a warning look. “I understand why you would be afraid. After all, you’re going to a country you’ve never been in. I would be scared.”
Rose smiled. Albus was not just her cousin; he was also her best friend. She couldn’t help but remember the years they spent at Hogwarts. In Rose’s first year, she had tried to stand up to the standards of being the daughter of Hermione Granger. She had to be smart and always have top grades. But that all changed when James gave Albus the Marauders’ Map, in their third year. From then forward she stopped being known as the daughter of Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, and started making a name for herself.
“You were saying that your parents agreed with you taking a year off,” Rose changed the subject and looked at Albus, smiling.
“Can you believe it? I could actually convince them,” Albus started grinning again.
Albus always wanted to be a Quidditch player, but his parents said they wanted him to think about an alternative to Quidditch. Not every player that played in Hogwarts made it to a professional team. But Albus was an optimist; he believed that if someone tried very hard, they could make it. He had been talking about asking his parents to take a year off, to try out for all the teams he could.
“That’s so good, Al. I’m happy for you.” Rose gave Albus a little punch in the arm and got up again to restart packing. “So what’s the first team you’re trying out for?”
“Chuddley Cannons” Albus replied, trying to hold the laughter. “We have to start somewhere!”
Rose laughed and sat on the bed again, folding her clothes and putting some inside the suitcase.
Albus lay on the bed and opened the Daily Prophet’s folder. There were some pictures labeled “Dr. Grigory Solovyov,” a parchment with two addresses, and a letter directed to Rose. Albus took out the letter and weighed it, as if trying to know what was inside it.
“Rose, this is for you. It was inside the folder,” Albus said after a couple of seconds of examining the letter.
Rose looked at the letter, with a questioning look. She opened it. Inside there was another envelope and a little piece of parchment attached to it, saying “Find this!”
Outside Moscow, Russia
23 June 2024
There were three men that were on the inside of a storage building. It was full of big wooden boxes. It was getting dark inside, but the light that was coming from one of the open dirty windows was enough for the three men.
One of the men was tall and handsome; he had blue eyes and dark blonde hair. The scar he had on his right eyebrow and the other he had on his left cheek, that his five o'clock shadow couldn't cover, gave him a menacing look. His uncovered arms were full of tattoos.
He open the wooden box that had the Russian word "хрупкий" stamped on top of it, and took out a small flask with a silver liquid.
"You can taste it for yourself," he said with a thick Russian accent. "I would do it, but I prefer to live how I am living now, to having a cursed life."
"No need, Slavik," the other man said, looking suspiciously at the flask. He had an Australian accent. "I know your merchandise is always of quality."
The tattooed man named Slavik put the flask back inside the box. He examined the Australian man and crossed his arms.
"Then you know I never accept less than the price I ask," Slavik said, with his deep voice echoing through the building's walls.
"Of course. One thousand galleons ain't it?" the Australian man asked. He signaled the third man that was next to him.
The man took out a sack full of golden coins and threw it on top of the wooden box. The sudden loud noise it made didn't disturb the three men at all.
Slavik grabbed the sack and opened it, taking a look inside, to see if the money was real.
"Everything is in there, Slavik," the Australian man said with a crooked smile.
"You can never be too careful," Slavik said, closing the sack and putting it inside the back pocket of his jeans.
Suddenly a white owl flew through the open window and landed on top of the wooden box. It bared a letter with the name "Slavik Ivankov" scribbled in black letters. The owl dropped the letter, and flew again out the window without even a tweet.
The three men looked at the letter suspiciously. Slavik took the letter and opened it. Taking out the piece of parchment from inside the envelope, the first thing he noticed was the signature. He had seen the signature before, on one of his many trips to England. He knew this man wasn't one to be messing around with. He also knew he was rich and whatever job he was asking to do, Slavik knew he would be getting a lot of money for it.
"Leave!" he shouted at the two men in front of him, without looking at them.
"It was a pleasure doing business with you, once again, Slavik. Until a next time," said the Australian man, before Disapparating along with his partner and the wooden box.
Slavik read the letter carefully. It had two Moscow addresses, and a simple note.
"Destroy everything. 2500 galleons now and another 2500 when the job is done."
The Daily Prophet Building, Diagon Alley, London, UK
23 June 2024
Olivia Stone was in her office reading a book. She was leaned back in her chair, absorbed in her reading when someone knocked on the door, startling her.
"Come in," she said, straightening herself up and looking at the woman that had just entered her office.
"Hello Olivia," said Hermione Granger, stretching her hand to Olivia.
"How have you been, Hermione?" Olivia closed her book, and shook Hermione's hand. "So, this visit is about Rose, I suppose.”
"Of course it is, Olivia!" Hermione sat on one of the chairs, in front of the Daily Prophet's Editor-in-Chief. "How could you send her to Russia?"
"If I remember correctly, you were the one that asked me to hire Rose," Olivia crossed her arms and leaned on her chair again.
"Yes, but I thought you would give her a job as a trainee or something, not send her on a random trip to Russia. She's only eighteen years old. She's just a child, for Merlin's sake!" Hermione was getting red, and frustrated.
"Exactly, she's eighteen years old, but she's not a child anymore. Weren't you the one that said that she needed to grow up? This will be the perfect opportunity for it." Olivia levitated two cups of tea from the other side of the office and gave one to Hermione.
"But Russia? I'm sure there are more experienced and mature journalists in here that could do what you asked her to do. Why would you send a girl fresh out of Hogwarts?" Hermione took a sip of her tea to calm down.
"That is exactly why I gave her that job. She's young and still has values."
Hermione looked at Olivia puzzled. Olivia chuckled and took off her glasses.
"Hermione, she's not going to Russia as a journalist." Olivia took a deep breath and closed her eyes. "On June 19th I received a very strange letter from Dr. Grigory Solovyov-"
"The one that was researching the origin of Muggleborn's magic," Hermione interrupted Olivia, even more puzzled.
"Yes. In that letter he asked if we could meet. He wrote that he needed to redeem himself, and that he had documents and information he wanted to turn to the public, here in the UK." Olivia rubbed her eyes and took another deep breath. "Unfortunately, he was killed the very same day I received his letter."
"To redeem himself?" Hermione was now listening closely to what Olivia was telling her.
"Yes, I still don't know what he meant by it. But I think that whatever information or documents he had, he was killed because of it." Olivia drank a bit of her tea and looked at Hermione.
"And, what does it have to do with my daughter?" Hermione was still at a loss.
"I want her to find those documents and also, the book Dr. Solovyov wrote about his research. His colleagues say that after he was murdered, all of his documents couldn't be found." Olivia thought that that explanation would calm Hermione.
"Why can't you send someone else to do it? Better yet, why don't you do it yourself?" Hermione argued.
"Unfortunately, I have to say that I don't trust any of my journalists. They lost their passion, their values, and their heart. I'm afraid that the thing that made them want to become journalists vanished a long time ago. And second," Olivia slid her chair around her desk and stood next to Hermione.
Hermione looked at Olivia in shock. Every time they had met, it had been inside that same office. Olivia would always be behind her beautifully carved desk, leaning on her chair. Nothing could prepare her for the sight she was seeing. Olivia was sat on a wheelchair, looking at Hermione expectantly.
Hermione gaped for a few seconds, and then looked at Olivia with a sympathetic look.
"Oh don't look at me like that," Olivia slid her chair back behind the desk and looked at Hermione. "I've been like this since I was seventeen. I'm used to my good old wheels."
“I’m sorry, I didn’t know,” Hermione stuttered.
Olivia smiled, and nodded. “Don’t worry. I gave Rose all the information she needs. She will be safe.”
“What if the person that killed the doctor comes after my daughter?” Hermione argued back. “He was killed for a reason, what makes you think the man won’t go after her?”
“Hermione, I know you want the best for Rose. But from what you told me about her, I believe that she is going no matter what you say or do.” Olivia tried to say that in the most polite manner she could find. “You faced bigger and more dangerous threats. If she’s anything like you said, she will be fine.”
Hermione looked at Olivia without words. She hated what the Daily Prophet’s Editor was saying to her, she wanted to argue back, to stop this nonsense. But she didn’t know what to say. Olivia was right, and Hermione knew it. She knew that Rose already had her mind set on this and arguing with her was like arguing to a brick wall.
St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, London, UK
23 June 2024
Scorpius emerged from the green flames at the St. Mungo's floo point. In the fireplaces surrounding all around him, there were witches and wizards flooing in and out of the building in a hurry. He walked pass all the people, and into the lobby where there were three witches behind a desk, organizing files and giving them to the busy Healers and medi-witches.
"Excuse me," Scorpius said when he reached the desk.
"How can I help you?" said one of the witches with a soft voice, not even looking at him. She was busy looking through files, and producing little white paper planes.
"I'm here to visit Draco Malfoy, he's my father," Scorpius said shyly.
The woman looked through some files, until she found Draco's file.
"Sorry, love. It says here that this patient is with code white, that means he can't have visitors," the woman, with a badge saying Billie Tyler, looked up at Scorpius.
"Why? What does ‘code white’ mean?" Scorpius asked, starting to panic.
"It means that, whatever your father's malady is, it is contagious," Billie explained, getting back to her work.
"Is-is he going to be okay?" Scorpius asked.
"I don't know, love. I'm not a Healer. I'm sorry," Billie said, before turning her back to him and starting to talk with another Healer.
Scorpius took that opportunity to steal his father's file and to see in which room he was in. He then quickly walked away, leaving the file where it was before.
"Room ninety...room ninety...room ninety," Scorpius kept murmuring to himself, while looking for the room.
He passed corridors and corridors, always ignoring the puzzled looks of the busy Healers and Medi-Witches that passed by him. All of them knew him. He was the son of Astoria Malfoy, their colleague, and Draco Malfoy, the rich ex-Death-Eater but now philanthropist, Pureblood. The bastard that wanted to redeem himself, and his family name, by giving money to every organization in the Wizarding existence.
After half an hour, Scorpius finally found room ninety. He took a deep breath and waited until there was no one in the corridor before he entered.
Inside the room was a hooded and masked man staring back at Scorpius, his wand pointed at Draco's comatose body.
A/N: "хрупкий" means fragile in russian. =)
I would like to thank Ilyralen, Blissbug, Joanne K and Sammy23 at eHPF and the forums for helping me in the creation of the Russian character Slavik. Thanks to you, I believe he will be an amazing character =D
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