Chapter 1 : From London to Bucharest
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Dropped into favourite hole-in-the-wall cafe. Briefly wondered why was so quiet, then remembered was Friday morning and nearly all else at work. Life of a Curse Breaker pretty much where it’s at. Obviously not for the lowly ones straight out of Hogwarts, seeing as they actually had to work and similar. Best bit about being as good as self is able to do pretty much entirely own thing.
Walked towards counter, trying to see who was working. Saw curly black hair. Marco. Worst. Seemingly heard footsteps, although unsure how as was virtually silent on feet.
While had to give him points for enthusiasm and accent, had absolutely no interest in the Italian, much as he refused to recognise it.
“What can I get you huh? No, I know it, decaf cap am I right?”
While this was technically correct as ordered said coffee at least 95 percent of time, had a look at the presumptuously knowing smile and felt lip curl.
“Actually I’m after some tea. Do you have Lady Grey?”
“Lady Grey? Sure, sure, I get for you.”
Slid into booth, enjoying the worn leather seating. Soft, supple, comfortingly familiar. Slipped coat from shoulder and pulled laptop from bag. Best part of Muggle world, complete lack of magical interference. That and wireless internet. As opened up mail and began typing, realised school year had just started and Teddy would be back teaching. Pouted. Clearly would have to do this the old-fashioned way. Left laptop where was, but subtly drew wand from pocket and with flick of wrist conjured pen and parchment. Realised when attempting to shove wand back into pocket, that jeans just silly levels of tight. Clearly need magically enlarged pockets. Unfortunately rubbish at such spells, Dom’s mate Annah pretty decent however. Would get her to sort them out.
Had no particular reason to be writing to the fiance, save wanting to gloat about swanning around the globe while he was stuck teaching Transfiguration to minors. At Hogwarts granted, but still, own job clearly superior.
Took pen and began writing
You should seriously do something about that whole magic-electric thing at Hogwarts you know. This handwriting thing is pretty much the worst. Heading off to Peru this Tuesday, stars have finally lined up. After this staff called tapac-yauri, was carried by Manco Capac, who created the Incan civilisation. Their Muggles reckon he’s a god, most likely just a wizard though. Guess he’s a bit like our Merlin? This staff’s going to have so much power, think I’d quite like to be the one who gets there first. It’s buried underneath the Temple of the Sun, 99% sure the one by Lake Titicaca.
Was interrupted from letter by Marco with the tea.
“Victoire, to who do you write?”
“Teddy.” The first few days without him tended to make self miserable. Well, not so much miserable as bitter and resentful. Long-distance clearly terrible idea. Would make him quit next year. Far too talented to be teaching Transfiguration.
“Teddy? He is the… boyfriend?” Tone of consternation creeping into previously enthusiastic voice.
“Fiance. Close though. Now, thanks for the tea, but I really do have to finish this letter.”
He set the tea down and slunk off. Felt mildly guilty for a second, then got over it.
Shouldn’t take longer than a week, there’s only going to be a couple of hours opening so’s to be able to get to the Temple, right around sundown on the Friday. Bloody hard to know for sure because they didn’t actually keep written records, but everything I’ve found points to that. Anyway, I have to go now. Hope everything’s going okay, say hi to Neville, give Roxy a detention for me - you know, the usual. I love you,
Sat back and scanned over letter, admired penmanship. Just the right side of legible.
Folded, then slipped into bag. Would send off when got home.
Basic explanation given to Teddy possibly oversimplified. Things slightly complicated by the fact that Peruvian government had expressly banned self from entering their country. That and the potential of other Curse Breakers. None from Gringotts obviously, however couldn’t entirely discount other organisations. Most every Wizarding bank had Curse Breakers working for them, also plenty of privateers and even a few amateurs just in it for the ride. Odds are at least one other person had been following the same trail as self.
Mail pinged through. From Lou, personal assistant at work. He didn’t usually email, so likely important. While occasionally awkward having Lou as assistant while Louis as brother, somehow managed to struggle through.
Don’t think will ever get over being addressed by title. Kept reading.
Gorkil wants to know how much you need for the job. Don’t think I’ve ever seen him this excited, practically bouncing up and now. I reckon you can pretty much get what you want. If you’re leaving on Tuesday that gives you until Monday to sort everything out. Get back to me as soon as you can, he’s not looking in a patient mood.
Stared at email for a second, realise was biting lip, desisted. Was virtually unheard of for an open money-bag to be given. Mission budgets traditionally useless. Needed next-to-no equipment, nothing new anyway. Had wand, silver knife, cloak, boots, bag. Realised didn’t, in fact, have tent. Did have tent on prior mission, unfortunately got washed down the Nile. While could theoretically take Muggle one, then fix by self, didn’t entirely trust skills. While unusually brilliant at charms, really quite mediocre at transfiguration. Sort of job best left to the experts. Expert meaning Charlie. Weasley. Rugged outdoorsman extraordinare and the like. Problem with Charlie always that living in Romania makes it downright difficult to visit him. Clearly a mission for tomorrow.
Picked the tea up, pressing the delicate china to lips, nice and warm. Took a sip - lovely flavour, properly delicate, properly proper. Before long whole thing had vanished. Realised was spectacularly bored. Decided to visit Louis at work. Hadn’t seen him for rather too long, and always rather good value if overly scared of self. Am really not that bad. At all. Really.
Spun out of roaring green fire into gigantic Ministry atrium. Really wish they’d take down those Anti-Apparition wards. Bloody annoying. Harry says worth it, and would really be height of arrogance to question the Word of Harry.
Stalked/prowled/similar towards the stupid lifts. Unbelievable that better system not yet invented. Stood with arms crossed, toe tapping, stupid thing not even moving. Remembered that stupid thing needed instructions. “Level Five.”
With distinctly mutinous sounding clanks and grinding of gears, lift got itself in motion. Eventually got to required level and emerged into a relatively nice landing. Nice by Ministry standards, less than nice by anything or anywhere else.
Walked down hallway until reached open-plan office area thing, where spotted a head of artfully mussed blonde hair seated at a rather large desk. “Louis!”
Artfully mussed blonde hair turned around to reveal brother’s startled face.
“Oh, hey Victoire, what are you doing here?”
“Not allowed to visit you at work?”
“What do you want?”
Really is unreasonably perceptive, not to mention paranoid, although given he does live with Dominique, probably not a bad way to be. Annoying for self though. Swiped seat and sat down next to him.
“Nothing much, just kind of need you to get me into Peru on Tuesday.”
“And you can’t do this yourself because…”
“Small chance they might have blacklisted me last time I was there. Something about cursing one of their Ministers. I don’t even know man, it was completely unreasonable, massive overreaction. So can you get me in?”
“Well, yeah. Basically those blacklists work by blocking your magical trace from entering the country from outside. Means you can’t Apparate or grab an ordinary Portkey in, pretty much impossible to get around.”
“So why’d you say you can get me in then?”
“Oh, right. I can put the Ministry signal on it, we use it for ambassadors, diplomats, that sort of thing. Means it can’t get blocked, can’t be traced, anything like that.”
Pretty sure what he was suggesting pretty much completely illegal.
“Not going to get you fired?”
“It will if they find out, so please don’t do anything too stupid. What are you even going for?”
“The staff of the guy who founded the Incan civilisation.”
Louis put head in hands. Mutters of ‘Oh Merlin,’ heard repeatedly. Suddenly stopped. “Any chance you could go on say… Monday?”
“Why would I want to do something like that?”
Thing about Louis is that he’s pretty much completely incapable of keeping secrets. While he seemed torn for a moment, went through a successfully angsty lip chewing period, gave it up almost immediately.
“Don’t know why I bother, bloody…” more mutterings ensued.
“Louis. Focus. Why?”
“You know how Dom and Lily have been writing to each other?”
Didn’t at all, but groaned apprehensively. Those two together was not a good combination. Fortunately, it was something rarely seen. “And?”
“Basically Lily’s always hated the whole Prefect system, got offered it in last year but turned it down. This year she’s decided she wants to do something about it, which luckily for us all just happened to coincide with Dom deciding she wanted to talk to her again.”
Did a very good tone of bitter irony, Louis.
“And so, our darling sister has somehow convinced Lily to lead some massive student protest against the system. Problem is, Lily’s bloody popular so things are going to happen if she wants them to. That and she’s Harry’s daughter, I mean, this is going to get insane. I think they were even talking about student strikes until the Prefects and Heads were gone.”
Couldn’t help but laugh. Idea utterly ridiculous. “They’re not actually serious right? They can’t be. I mean, no one has ever actually wanted to be at school. How can you even strike from school? Stay in the Common Rooms? Stupidest idea I’ve ever heard.”
Louis’ eyes widened. “No, seriously, that’s actually what they’re thinking. Just completely reject the teachers authority, Common Rooms barricaded, all sorts! Anyway, that’s going to be Monday, so if you could leave then, would be kind of handy. Lily will get this thing going, and when she does the media are going to be all over it, and all over us. Much less chance I’m spotted breaking all kinds of treaties.”
Shook head. Dominique clearly mad. Only possible explanation to try and bring down Hogwarts. Although, if Hogwarts shut down, possibly could get Teddy to come…
Sighed. “Oh well, should be fun to watch anyway. Last thing, any chance you can get me a Portkey to Romania?”
Shot distinctly unimpressed look. “Why can’t you do it?”
“Well, I mean, technically they are illegal for us citizens to make. So if you could just set one up for me so’s I can go visit Charlie?”
“It’s unbelievable how nice I am to you. I mean, really, you know that right? Unprecedented levels of nice.”
“True. Definitely nicer than me.” Best to keep him on side. “Now can you do it?”
More surly looks shot at self. Clearly Louis not having a great day, obviously nothing to do with me. Am obviously awesome, totally the best big sister ever. He reached into his desk and grabbed a pen. Picked up wand and made a rather violent stabbing motion towards aforementioned pen.
“Portus! There, that’ll take you straight to Charlie’s house. Well, I’d say he’s got barriers around up around it, but close enough anyway. Now, can you, like, go? I’ve got work to do.”
“You never have work to do!”
“Umm I so do. Like now. See the papers? Me working.”
“Fine I’m going, whatever.”
Snatched pen from the desk, felt the familiar feeling of the skyhooks dragging self away and realised was headed off to Romania rather sooner that expected. Worst.
A/N: So yes. Another MM spin-off. Can’t seem to help myself. This is rather a different direction though. Just going to be a little action novella. Always felt Curse Breaking was a terrible unexplored area, so this is me just having a little whack at it. Hope you enjoy it, please do let me know if you do, and even if you don’t. So, that makes like three updates/new stories/whatever in like a month? Am clearly on a roll!