Rose sat at her mother’s desk at the Ministry. Lily and Kenny were each perched on couches, silently staring at her, as if waiting for the ok to speak. Rose had been quiet all night. They had stayed at George and Angelina’s for dinner, but after the revelation of that afternoon, she wasn’t quite up to talking. She had refused to go home, and Lily and Kenny followed her to the Ministry. Now, sitting in silence in Hermione’s large leather chair, she was able to mull the whole thing over in her mind, and she had come to one unmistakable conclusion.
“It was her idea,” she stated to no one in particular. Lily and Kenny were almost startled by her voice, she had been quiet for so long.
“What was whose idea?” Kenny carefully asked back. Both he and Lily rose and slowly walked toward the desk. They sat down in the two chairs facing Rose.
“That charm, it was my mother’s idea,” Rose looked up at the two of them. Lily couldn’t read the emotion on her face, something she had been rather good at in the past.
“You don’t know that,” Lily responded.
Rose raised her eyebrows, “Who else has the incessant need to control everybody? So much so that she would put a spell on her own family,”
“Rose,” Lily tried to make her voice sound as rational as possible. She wasn’t used to being the voice of reason in their friendship. “That doesn’t sound like what it was about.”
“Of course that’s what it was about,” Rose was getting upset again, “Not only did she magically hinder other people from saying something, she made it so nobody could say anything she didn’t want said. Why else would they have the rule that all three of them have to tell it together? She’s not happy unless everyone is doing exactly what she wants, exactly when she wants it!”
“Rose Weasley! That is not true and you know it!” Lily shot right back at her. The two of them sat in a tense silence for a moment. Kenny tentatively tried to break it.
“I still don’t see why we think it was your mom that did it,” he offered weakly.
Lily shot daggers at Rose, “He has a point,”
Rose let out a frustrated sigh and rolled her eyes, “Who else would be able to do a charm like that, my dad? I don’t think so.”
Afraid to cause Rose to snap, Kenny glanced questioningly at Lily. Lily sighed, “She does also have a point. Magic that controls what people do, or don’t do in this case, is usually pretty complicated stuff. Not just any wizard can just pull it out of nowhere. Aunt Hermione is the most powerful witch I know. She would be the only person we know who could safely perform a spell like that, and she would certainly be the only person our family would trust to do it,”
“Exactly,” Rose pushed her chair back forcefully and stood up, “Even when she’s unconscious she’s controlling me! This is absurd!” She stomped over to the sofa and plopped herself down in frustration. She started messing with the books and papers on the table in front of her for no other reason than that she needed something to do. Mumbling to herself, she got particularly frustrated and threw one of the smaller books at the wall. Kenny gave Lily a frightened look, but got up and went to try and calm Rose down anyway. Lily stayed put, staring intently at the wood of the desk in front of her.
Never had she been so mad at Rose.
It was almost as if she was determined to find a reason to hate her mother. Lily had been around while Rose was gone. Being about the same age, she had always hung around with Hugo and considered Hermione her favorite aunt. She saw how upset Hermione would get when her and Rose fought. It killed her. It killed her even more when Rose left, she felt as if it was her fault Rose moved thousands of miles away. Rose simply refused to see that her mother loved her, and it was starting to make Lily angry.
“The bottom drawer on the right hand side,” there was a whisper above her. She glanced up and saw Dumbledore had appeared in his frame. She shot a glimpse at Kenny and Rose and saw that they were too occupied by whatever they were talking about to notice.
“How much of that did you see?” Lily whispered back as she made her way to the other side of the desk.
“Enough,” Dumbledore replied simply, “The bottom drawer on the right hand side,”
Lily looked at him quizzically and he pointed a long finger toward the desk, “You want me to look there?”
“The bottom drawer on the right hand side,” Dumbledore replied in the same even tone.
“Ok, ok,” Lily turned and faced the desk. She crouched down so the large desk would hide her from Rose’s view. Slowly, as to not make noise, she pulled open the bottom drawer on the right hand side. The drawer was filled with loose pieces of parchment, some had paragraphs of writing on them, others simply a line or two. All of them were written in her aunt’s small, neat handwriting. She glanced back up at Dumbledore, who just nodded.
Lily took the pile of parchment and placed it on the top of the desk. As she started reading, her eyes widened in amazement of what she had found. She looked back at Dumbledore who gave a simple nod in Rose’s direction. Lily knew exactly what she was supposed to do.
“Um Rose?” she called across the room uncertainly. She didn’t want Rose to lash out at her like she had at that poor book.
“What?” Rose snapped without even looking at her cousin.
“I found something you might want to see,” she had a little more edge to her voice this time, responding to Rose’s harsh tone.
“I don’t want to see anything right now,” Rose spat, “I’m done with this. I’m going back to school tomorrow,”
Lily temporarily forgot what she wanted to show her cousin as a feeling of rage came over her, “What? You’re just going to up and leave, just like that. You don’t even know what’s going to happen to her!”
“She obviously didn’t care enough about me to tell me the truth! She wouldn’t want me here now! I’m better off in America anyway!” Rose yelled across the room.
Lily was desperate. She knew if Rose left again, she probably wouldn’t come back. She also knew that if Rose left now, she would regret it. She did the only thing she could think of and started to read from the parchment she had found.
“Dear Rose,” she read loud enough for her cousin to hear, “I feel terrible about the fight we had when you were home. I was out of line with some of the things I said. For some reason, I can never seem to express what I actually want to say to you when we talk. Our conversations always deteriorate into arguments, and I hate it. Hopefully you can find it in your heart to forgive me for the hurtful things I said and the horrible way in which I said them. I want you to know that I am very proud of everything you are doing in America and that I love you very much. Love, Mom,” Lily put down that piece of parchment and picked up another, “Dear Rosie, Your father told me about how well you are doing at school. I knew you would excel over there, I am so proud…” she put that unfinished letter on top of the last one and picked up another, “Dear Rosie, We have to stop these arguments we have when we see each other. I always end up saying things I do not mean, and I fear that they are becoming the only things I can say to you…” she picked up another, “Dear Rose, Happy Birthday! I can’t believe my little girl is already 21 years old! I wish you were here so we could celebrate as a family, but I am sure you have big plans with your friends…” Lily looked up from the parchment at the shocked expression on Rose’s face, “This one just says ‘Dear Rosie, I’m sorry’,” she let yet another piece of parchment fall back on the desk.
Rose slowly walked over to where Lily was standing and picked up one of the letters and read it silently. “Where did you find these?” Rose whispered.
“In the desk,” Lily matched Rose’s whisper and neither of them looked up.
Rose slowly began to shake her head as she stared at the pile of parchment. “But why didn’t she send them?” Lily noticed that her voice was getting that edge to it again.
“Maybe she thought you wouldn’t read them,” Lily glared across the desk.
“Yeah, right,” Rose snorted.
At Rose’s seeming indifference to her discovery, Lily snapped. “You know what Weasley, maybe you should go back to America! Because you’re the one who doesn’t care! Do you even know what you leaving did to her! She was devastated! You ran the fuck away and what did she do? She was proud of you! You run around whining about how your mom doesn’t love you enough, when it’s really you who doesn’t love her enough!” tears started spilling out of her eyes, “And now, she’s lying in the hospital, and we don’t know whether she’s going to live or die and all you can think about is some stupid charm she cast 20 YEARS AGO! She loves you Rose, she loves you and you know it! You’re just too stubborn to admit that you were wrong! So go back to fucking America, see if I care! Because you know what, you don’t deserve her,” the last part came out as a growl. With tears continuing to flow, Lily stormed out of the office and slammed the large doors behind her, resulting in a resounding crash throughout the first floor.
Rose stood motionless, unable to believe Lily’s outburst. After a minute, Kenny, who had watched the whole exchange from the other side of the room, came up behind her and placed a gentle hand on her shoulder, “Rosie?”
She didn’t look at him. “Can you just go, please,” her voice was softer and calmer now, and Kenny didn’t take it as being brushed off. He knew she needed some time by herself.
“Yeah,” he whispered and kissed her on the side of the head. She didn’t respond, and it wasn’t until the door had closed behind him that she moved at all. When she was alone, she made her way to the other side of the desk, sat herself in the leather chair, and began to read Hermione’s letters.
She was in tears before she finished to first one.
Albus sat at his desk with his eyes drooping. He was exhausted. He had spent hours in Hogsmeade, looking for evidence the first two teams had missed. They hadn’t missed anything. Now he was back at the Ministry, scouring evidence files and continuing to come up empty.
Everyone had gone home for the day, but Al was determined to find something. He couldn’t believe his father had made him point on this investigation. It made him the youngest lead investigator the Auror Department had ever seen. That and the fact that his father was the Head of the Department didn’t win him any fans among his colleagues. Draper, the Senior Auror who had been the lead before Al, had been extremely upset when he was taken off the case.
Al leaned back in his chair and rubbed his eyes. ‘This is my chance,’ he thought, ‘There has to be something here,’ He looked back down at the files in front of him. On top of the pile was a list of all the original suspects, and their alibis. He read it over for what felt like the thousandth time. Maybe it was the thousandth times the charm, maybe his tired eyes gave him a new perspective, whatever it was, he suddenly realized what he was missing. As the pieces started to fall together in his head, he got up from his seat and started towards Harry’s office, still rereading the list. He opened the door to find his father with his head on his desk, completely asleep.
“Dad!” he hit Harry on the head with the file he had been reading. Harry jumped at the impact, taking a second to take in where he was.
“W-what?” his eyes fell on Al, “I wasn’t sleeping. I was reviewing the case.”
“Whatever, Dad,” Al replied hurriedly, “I think I found something,”
At this, Harry immediately perked up. “What did you find?”
“Alibis,” Al stated, “The Malfoys, the Goyles, the Notts, they all had alibis. But look at them,” he passed the list to his father, “Greg Goyle was renewing his apparation certification at the Department of Magical Transportation, his tester, Audrey Weasley. His son, Bryan, was at a job interview, with the Tutshill Tornados. His meeting was with James. Theo Nott was in a staff meeting at The Daily Prophet, probably with Mom. His son, Curtis, was buying a birthday gift for his girlfriend, at Veela, which is Aunt Fleur’s shop, both her and Victoire were there. This is my favorite one, Draco Malfoy, was with Uncle Ron. They had a meeting that went over, something about collaborating or something. Uncle Ron didn’t get to Hogsmeade until after Aunt Hermione was attacked. And his son, Scorpius, was in America, with Rose. Her story about seeing him on the day Hugo came to get her lines up perfectly with when the attack took place. Yeah, all these guys had alibis, they were all with one of us,”
Harry looked the paper over again and again, and couldn’t help but see what his son saw.
“Dad, that’s too much of a coincidence for me. I bet if we look deeper, Bryan Goyle requested a meeting with James. He doesn’t usually interview people for regular staff positions. And I’m sure Theo Nott made sure that meeting was at that time, same with Draco Malfoy,”
Harry looked at Al, he couldn’t have been prouder. “Well then, it’s your job to find those things out, isn’t it?”
“Got it,” an excited Albus made to leave the room.
“And Albus,” Harry stopped him, “Good work,”
Al smiled and left eager to start investigating his case.
As always thanks a million for reading, and you know I will love you forever if you leave me a review. :)
Right now I'm alternating between posting new chapters and editing the earlier ones. So hopefully I can get all my stupid mistakes from before and make them all better :)
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