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Chapter 6 : Memory (real chapter)
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Hermione woke up in her apartment on the couch in the living room, Crookshanks purring beside her. She tried to remember how she had gotten there. Why was she sleeping on the couch? She stood up, feeling a terrible ache in her stomach as she did so.
“Ouch,” she murmured, opening her robes to look. There was a large bruise covering most of her stomach that looked very recent. A jolt of fear shot through her as she realized that she had no recollection of how she had gotten that injury. She aimed her wand at her stomach and murmured the bruise-reduction spell. In moments, her stomach looked almost normal except for a slight yellowing place where the bruise had been.
“Why aren’t I at work?” she exclaimed, looking at the clock. With a loud crack, she disapparated.
“Harry!” cried Hermione, running into his office. “I’m so sorry I’m late—I don’t know what happened, but—” She stopped talking as she saw the look on Harry’s face. He was looking at her as if she was crazy. “What?” she asked defensively.
“You said you were going home to rest,” Harry said slowly, glancing at the clock on the wall. “That was about eight hours ago. Why did you come back?”
Hermione froze, thinking hard. She suddenly remembered having promised Harry that she would go to rest, but why had she needed to rest? “Why would I need to rest?”
Harry stood up quickly. “Are you okay, Hermione?” he asked with concern. “This is one of the reasons that I didn’t want you to have a field assignment! Ever since Ron was—”
“Don’t you dare bring that up,” Hermione cut him off, her voice deadly and her eyes blazing. “Watching Ron die was the worst thing that has ever happened to me—yes it still hurts, but Harry, don’t you dare use him as a reason for things I do.”
Harry knew that he had gone too far. “Sorry,” he muttered.
“I went home to rest because I had trouble with one of my contacts,” Hermione went on, trying to remember who she had had trouble with. “But who?”
“You honestly don’t remember?” Harry asked, looking carefully at her face with concern.
“No, I remember,” she snapped at him, not wanting to admit anything was wrong. “I’m going to my desk. I’ll talk to you later.”
Hermione didn’t wait for Harry to respond to her. She went quickly to her desk, trying to figure out what had happened. She remembered telling Harry that she’d had trouble with one of her contacts, but she had been lying when she told him that. What had she been covering up? Why did she not remember?
Unanswered questions swirled through her head, but before she could try to figure out the answers, Gary trotted into view, nearly vibrating with excitement.
“Harry’s put me on the case with you,” he announced sitting casually on the edge of her desk. “Do we have any leads yet?”
Hermione sighed—Harry really didn’t trust her, did he? “Not yet,” she divulged, handing Gary a copy of the file she had begun. “I’ve interviewed most of the prisoners that the Hunters have brought in, but so far, I’ve had no luck.”
“Okay…so what’s next?” asked Gary, his blue eyes alight with the enthusiasm that was always present with him.
“I guess we should put surveillance on—”
“Granger, this goes to you,” a voice interrupted. Hayden Ractor, an Auror about eight years her senior, leaned over her cubicle and tossed a file onto her desk. “Try not to screw it up.”
“Sod off,” snapped Hermione in reply.
She and Ractor had disliked each other since she had bested him in a training duel in front of their superiors earlier in the year. Ractor had told anyone who would listen that she’d cheated, but even spreading rumors hadn’t been able to save his reputation.
He was a tall, lithe man with fair skin, large hazel eyes, and ash-blonde hair. He might have been handsome but for the expression of scorn that he focused on nearly all those he met.
Ractor sneered and sat down at his desk, which was right on the other side of Hermione’s cubicle.
“That guy is such an ass,” Gary said quietly, glaring at the wall separating them from Ractor.
“He’s a jealous ass,” Hermione corrected, opening the file she’d been given.
A bloody face looked up at her from inside the file. Hermione fought back the urge to gag as she rifled through the pictures inside. They were all shots of a dead body, one that had been beaten and slashed with various curses before slowly bleeding to death. Written in Harry’s familiar messy scrawl on a post-it note attached to the cover was the message: “Thought to be a victim of the Hunters. Though we usually get them alive, he was placed there in the same manner as those brought in by them.”
Hermione showed the file to Gary, whose nose wrinkled in distaste as he, too, looked at the pictures. Once they had both looked at the photos, they leaned together over the identification part of the file.
Name: Rynell Fynn
Weight: 225 lbs
Age: 30 years
Cause of Death: Exsanguination
Time of Death: 2:00 pm on April 22
Spell Damage: Cruciatus Curse, Stinging Hex, Incendio, Sectumsempra
Handwritten below this was:
Reason given by Hunters for his death were: ‘sexual assault, physical assault, murder, using the Unforgivable Curse on multiple occasions.’
“He was killed earlier today,” said Gary, dismayed.
Hermione stared at the name on the file. The name of the murdered man looked familiar to her, but she couldn’t quite place it. Where had she heard this name before? She turned to the small, shiny black box on her desk, aimed her wand at it, and said firmly, “Rynell Fynn.”
The box glowed silver and spat out several pieces of paper with information written neatly on them.
“Did Criminal Info have anything on him?” Gary asked, leaning over her shoulder to read the papers.
“Yeah,” Hermione answered, reading much faster than him. “He does have an extensive criminal history, but that doesn’t explain…”
“Doesn’t explain what?”
“Nothing,” she muttered, still racking her brain. Where had she heard his name before?
An interdepartmental memo fluttered through the office and landed on her desk.
It has come to our attention that you have requested information about the same criminal twice in one day. Even though one request came from your residence, we would like to direct you to Resource Code 8.9 regarding the policies about paper conservation. Thank you for your compliance.
Dept. Of Conservation
Reading over her shoulder, Gary looked at her in confusion. “What does that mean?”
Just as confused as he was, Hermione replied slowly, “It means that I used Crim Info already once today on Fynn. That violates the Department of Conservation’s code 8.9, which basically says that you can’t print out information on the same criminal more often than once a week. It’s to save paper.”
“Wait—I’m confused,” Gary admitted. “You knew Fynn was dead before you got the file?”
“No, of course not,” she snapped. Gary lowered his eyes, looking crushed. “I’m sorry—I’m just as confused as you are. Maybe it’s a mistake on Conservation’s part.”
Part of her memory was missing, she realized. She remembered going talking to Harry and promising him that she would go home. Then she had been taking a shower, but she remembered nothing after that. Plus, why had she looked up information on Rynell Fynn, a man she had never seen before in her life, hours before he appeared, dead, at the Ministry of Magic?
“So what’s our next step towards catching the Hunters?” Gary asked tentatively, clearly trying not to set her off again.
“We’ll set up a trap in Knockturn Alley,” decided Hermione, pushing away the feeling of déjŕ vu that came when she mentioned Knockturn Alley. “Put out a news bulletin that Macnair is being released for good behavior. We’ll set him loose in Knockturn and tell him that he’s to kidnap someone. He’ll be watched very carefully so he doesn’t actually hurt somebody, but the Hunters are sure to go after him. And when they do…”
“We’ll arrest them and find out who their leader is!” finished Gary, smiling brightly.
The two of them spent a few minutes writing the order to have Macnair brought to them, ignoring Ractor when he ran by them to leave the room.
“Hermione, can I see you for a second?” asked Harry, approaching them. Ractor bumped into him on his way out and mumbled his apologies.
Hermione followed Harry back to his office.
“Along with Gary Saunders, you’ll be taking Ractor, Neville, and Shacklebolt,” ordered Harry, sitting on the edge of his desk. “I don’t want to take the chance of something happening to you. It’s late, and you really need to get some rest, so go home. I’ll take care of the article in the Daily Prophet as well as the false release order for Macnair.”
“Fine,” said Hermione, disgruntled about Harry’s overprotection. She disapparated from his office without saying goodbye.
Once back in her apartment, she fed Crookshanks and sat down on the sofa to think. It was evident that her memory had been tampered with.
She walked absently to her bookshelf and pulled out a book on Memory. She needed to know if she had been affected with a memory-forgetting spell, potion, or jinx. A counterspell wouldn’t be difficult for her to cast, but she had to know the medium of the memory-affecting magic to know which one to use.
Flipping through the book, Hermione came across a page on detecting the presence of a memory altering device on a person. She quickly read through the spell.
“Memorius!” she said firmly, aiming her wand at her chest. A silver wisp of cloud flowed around her body before disappearing. After consulting the book, she determined that she had been affected with a potion.
Furious at whoever had done this to her, she said carefully, her voice steady, “Finite Memoria Medicamentum!”
A loud whooshing sound filled the room—Crookshanks meowed angrily and fled to the bedroom. Bright golden light swirled in and around Hermione, who closed her eyes tightly against the uncomfortable sensation in her head. It was over in a few seconds, and memories flooded back into her brain.
“Draco Malfoy,” she said grimly minutes later, “you’re dead.”
She took a few moments to arm herself with potions from her stores, and, with a hastily-penned note sent to Harry with her owl, prepared to disapparate.
A wave of dizziness swept through her, reminding her suddenly of how very late at night it was. Angry as she was, however, her tiredness would not prevent her from marching to Malfoy Manor that moment.
Once more approaching her potion cabinet, she pulled out a sparkling black potion labeled “Invigoration Draught.” She downed it in one gulp and sighed as electric tingles of energy raced through her bloodstream, erasing the exhaustion.
Outside black wrought-iron gates of the ominous-looking Malfoy Manor, she tapped herself on the head with her wand and muttered the Disillusionment Charm. The characteristic coldness trickled through her body.
Taking a few breaths to slow her heart and relax her muscles, she slipped between the bars of the gate—her slender body only just fit—and crept towards the Manor itself.
Sorry for the lame half-chapter, I posted yesterday. I would never intentionally cut off the end of a chapter! Please review!
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