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Harry Potter and the Winters After the War by Mrs_Granger
Chapter 65 : New Work for the AMASS
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 16


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“Will the second meeting of the AMASS come to order.” Harry captured the attention of everyone in the room. The group was smaller this time. Harry had thought it best to restrict this particular meeting to only those who would actively be involved. Which meant from the ministry side that only himself, Ron, Dean, Justin and Hermione were there. On the muggle side they had included everybody, including Dr. Summerby who was with them only to discuss the map.



 

 

“We all know why we’re here. We have a special guest. Dr. Summerby is here at Esme’s request to talk to us about how to interpret the map. Then we’re going to discuss strategy and have a practical session to test some new equipment my team has developed,” Harry said as he reviewed the plan for the evening. Heads nodded. The plan had already been reviewed with each of them individually, either by Harry on the Auror side or by Dudley and Rupert on the muggle side. “Dr. Summerby, if you would?”



 

 

Hermione projected the image magically, hiding its parchment source in a box configured to look electronic on the center of the table, and she could tell from his expression that Dr. Summerby never suspected it wasn’t a normal sort of projector.



 

 

The map was reviewed once again and Harry was happy that his own understanding of how to read it was confirmed. Next they began to discuss placement for those who would infiltrate the cavern.



 

 

Rupert stood at his place at the table as soon as Dr. Summerby’s explanation was complete.



 

 

“Thank you Dr. Summerby. That should help us considerably. Why don’t we take a break while one of our colleagues takes you home?” Rupert suggested looking meaningfully at Harry.



 

 

“Ah, err … right,” Harry said. “Good thought. Dudley, you want to come along?”



 

 

“Should I?” Dudley asked.



 

 

“Yeah. Please,” Harry insisted and together they allowed Dr. Summerby to say his goodbye’s before escorting him from the house. Behind him Harry could hear Hermione and Rupert coordinating the serving of refreshments in their absence. No one would even notice they were gone.



 

 

“Hang on please,” Harry instructed, looking at Dr. Summerby who gazed at him wide eyed when they reached the square in front of Harry’s house and Harry withdrew his wand.



 

 

“Look at me,” Dudley suggested.



 

 

Harry nodded thankfully at his cousin and began his turn. They landed on the Isle of Mann as they usually did, only this time instead of arriving in the lea of the hill, they were in the blind alley way near the inn on the Isle of Mann, the same place Dudley had seen Harry go once before just before he disappeared. Dudley glanced in surprise at his cousin as a predictably dizzy Dr. Summerby grasped his arm all that much harder. He did his best to hold the scientist up as Harry released them, and the wizard took a step away as though to hide himself in the deeper night shadows of the structures near by. Before his mind could properly form the question, Dudley watched Harry furrow his brow concentrating, then flicked the hand holding his wand. To Dudley’s amazement Dr. Summerby straightened immediately, and totally ignoring Harry he turned to face Dudley instead.



 

 

“Thank you so much for your discretion Constable Dursley. I’m so embarrassed…it’s not usual for me to lose myself like that by drinking so much at the pub. Please, make your excuses to Esme for me for not coming in, but I think…I think I’d better go lie down.”



 

 

“Yes of course,” Dudley answered automatically, his professionalism kicking in immediately, though the puzzled look on his brow was not completely gone. “Shall I help you to the inn? You seem a bit shaky still…after being ill.”



 

 

“Yes please…just to the gate.”



 

 

Harry followed quietly, watching as Dudley led the scientist to the nearby gate of the inn and hurried back.



 

 

“What was that?” Dudley asked surreptitiously in a low tone as he hurried back.



 

 

“Memory management,” Harry replied without hesitation. “Now instead of being at our meeting, Dr. Summerby believes he spent some time with you at the pub…a little too much time, which is why he’s feeling ill.”



 

 

Dudley pursed his lips together but Harry just shrugged.



 

 

“Sorry Dud. It’s the best I could do. Those who need to know can, but Dr. Summerby…” Harry sighed feeling slightly guilty, not for what he had done, but for letting Dudley see it in action so blatantly.



 

 

“Is that what you’ll have to do to us too?” Dudley asked. “Invent a plausible cover story to keep us from remembering?”



 

 

“Eventually…probably,” Harry admitted. “Not everything…but some things yeah, I wish I didn’t have to…honestly,” he added quickly.



 

 

            “No Harry, it’s okay. Really. I get it now,” Dudley assured him unexpectedly.
            “Yeah?” Harry answered in surprise.



 

 

            “Yeah. This magic stuff…it’s hard to take sometimes. It’s good to know how it works though, what you have to do and why.”



 

 

            Harry grinned. “Thanks Dud. I appreciate that. I hate doing it…but sometimes...”



 

 

“It’s probably better,” Dudley assured him. “Sometimes, I wish we could do that for some of our witnesses. It would keep them safer in the long run.”



 

 

“That’s the idea,” Harry agreed. ”We should probably get back though. We’ll have missed tea by this time.”



 

 

            The two cousins grinned as Dudley gripped Harry’s arm. A moment later they were back, stepping through the front door of Number Twelve Grimmauld Place.



 

 

            “So why’d you have to go?” Rupert asked as Dudley grabbed the last of the biscuits from the plate Hermys was passing around.



 

 

            “Cover story,” Dudley mumbled and Rupert nodded covertly.



 

 

            “Right, good. Thank you Harry. I was wondering how safe it was for Dr. Summerby to know too much about all of that,” Rupert answered in a similar tone.



 

 

“They’ve got it covered,” Dudley assured his partner and Harry grinned, more surprised than ever just how thoroughly Dudley and Rupert had adapted to working with them.



 

 

Rupert smiled back then turned back to the table. “Back to work though,” he announced in a louder tone.



 

 

“Harry, I feel we should place teams two at a time,” Rupert began as everyone gathered round the meeting table, their attention turning once again to discussing the strategy for placing the muggle officers into the cave. “None of my people should be sent in alone.”



 

 

“I think we can get two in. I would worry about sending in more than that at first though. Remember, we are relying on the Death Eaters not knowing from moment to moment how many muggles are expected to be there. We want our numbers small to reduce the likely-hood that you’ll be noticed,” Harry reminded them.



 

 

“That makes sense,” Dudley told his partner and friend.



 

 

“Yeah, unfortunately it does, but it also puts us at a distinct disadvantage in the event they do notice. I mean, what sort of protection are we going to have if they decide to direct one of those controller spells at us?” Marcus asked.



 

 

“I’m glad you asked that,” Harry said and he nodded at Hermione who pulled the crystal covered shirt from a bag. “You will each wear one of these under your clothes.”



 

 

“What is it Harry? Some sort of bullet proof vest?” Beth asked.



 

 

“Yes exactly, only it will protect you from spells rather than projectiles. It won’t eliminate the effect of the spell completely, but it should diffuse it making it much less effective. We think that between this and a strengthening potion Hermione has, we can reduce the spell’s effects and the power it has over you considerably,” Harry explained.



 

 

“How have you tested it Harry?” Dudley asked.



 

 

“We haven’t. In fact, that’s one of the things we wanted to do this evening, in a controlled environment where we know everybody will stay safe. We want to make sure these work, and if there is anybody they don’t work for…we want to know that as well,” Harry said.



 

 

            Low levels of discussion broke out from around the room.



 

 

            “How are you going to do that Harry?” Dean asked.



 

 

            “We have permission from the Minister to use the imperius curse to test them, like we did in our classroom our fourth year,” Harry explained. “If the shirts work, we’ll use them. If they don’t, we’ll have to come up with some other way.”



 

 

            Again discussion broke out.



 

 

            “Who wants to go first?” Harry asked.



 

 

“I will Harry,” Ron answered getting to his feet.



 

 

“You? Why you?” Harry asked.



 

 

“Because…I never could throw off that curse…and I want them to see what it will do first. And because I trust you,” Ron told him. “We’ll try it without the shirt first, then with. Let’s see if it makes any difference for us as well. Then we can try it on this lot.”



 

 

Harry watched as the faces of the muggles in the room began to relax. They had all become rather tense at Harry’s original suggestion, but they seemed much more comfortable with the idea when it became clear that Harry would be using this spell on his best friend and a fellow wizard first.



 

 

Harry got to his feet too. “Alright then. I suppose a demonstration would be in order. Hermione, get rid of this table. Let’s make some room.”



 

 

They all pushed back from the table and exited their chairs. The muggles all watched in amazement as Hermione shrunk the table and most of the chairs so that they were the size of doll house furniture. Then she picked them up and set them on the landing in the hall. Harry held back one chair and a padded footstool, which he placed in the center of the room.



 

 

“Alright Ron. Are you ready?” Harry asked.



 

 

“You’re going to do it Harry?” Dean asked warily.



 

 

“Yeah I am Dean. Kingsley gave me clearance, just for tonight, so we could test these,” Harry repeated. Apparently everyone was nervous about his test.



 

 

“Ready Harry,” Ron told him and he stood in the center of the room, waiting for the sense of relaxed euphoria to come.



 

 

Harry waved his wand, said the curse silently and it did. With very little effort, he made Ron stand on the chair, jump to the stool, and do a pirouette on the floor before letting him go.



 

 

“Ron, try to resist this time okay?” Harry urged.
            “I was trying Harry,” Ron told him.



 

 

“Well try harder this time, okay?”



 

 

This time when the spell hit, Ron began to sing, stuttering slightly, the only indication that he was trying to resist what Harry was making him do.



 

 

“That’s it,” Harry told them. “Normally, that’s about as much resistance the average person can muster against whoever is controlling them. Now let’s try it with the shirt.”



 

 

Ron stripped off his robes and put the shirt on over the t-shirt he wore underneath. “Shall I put my robes over it?” he asked.



 

 

“Let’s try it without first,” Harry suggested.



 

 

“Okay.”



 

 

“You ready?”



 

 

“Yeah. Go.”



 

 

This time when the spell hit, though Ron opened his mouth to sing, he managed to close it again, looking at Harry curiously.



 

 

“What?” Harry asked as he released him.



 

 

“It worked,” Ron said simply. “It’s not like I was resisting all that much harder…it’s like after the first bit of it touched me, it sort of faded and went around me instead. It’s like I could feel it was there, but it didn’t affect me. Is that what we want it to do?”



 

 

“Try doing something completely different from what Harry is making you do,” Dean suggested. “Let’s find out if you can not only resist, but continue to act independently.”



 

 

“Yeah okay.”



 

 

Once again they repeated the test. This time, though Ron’s mouth was open, he managed to pick up a magazine and sit in the chair in an attempt to read it.



 

 

“Well?” Harry asked.



 

 

“I couldn’t take in what I was reading, but I could do it,” Ron reported.



 

 

“Like that’s any different from usual,” Hermione said with a smirk.



 

 

“Yeah well,” Ron conceded with a shrug, mostly ignoring Hermione’s little barb.



 

 

“Who’s next?” Harry asked. “We really need to know if this is going to work with you lot.”



 

 

“I’ll go next Harry,” Dudley said stepping forward. “Just don’t make me do anything completely stupid, okay?”



 

 

Harry smirked, though he could also appreciate that the level of trust his cousin was placing in him was enormous. After all they’d been through together as kids, for Dudley to allow Harry to exercise that degree of control over him, even for a moment, was huge.



 

 

“I’ll try,” he assured him as Dudley stepped to the center of the room. “Are you ready?”



 

 

“Okay. Without first, right?”



 

 

“Right,” Harry said.



 

 

Again he cast the spell, only this time at his cousin. Dudley went up on his toes, tiptoed across the room, then bowed gracefully to Hermione and Beth, the only two women there, before turning to Rupert and performing a perfectly executed curtsy before Harry lifted the spell.



 

 

“Harry!” Dudley growled.



 

 

“Sorry Dud. I couldn’t resist,” Harry answered while the others laughed.



 

 

“What did it feel like Dudley?” Rupert asked.



 

 

“Good actually. That’s not what I expected at all. I’d assumed it would be some form of torture since they say it’s illegal to do it, but it’s not. It’s actually quite pleasant.”



 

 

“Which is why it has such power. It’s usually much more uncomfortable to resist,” Justin told him.



 

 

“Yeah it is,” Harry agreed. “Back in fourth year when we were learning to do it, I remember the teacher wanted me to jump onto my desk, but when I resisted I only sort of half jumped and ended up jamming my knee caps against the edge of it. That was really painful.”



 

 

“But just the act of resisting…even when it doesn’t make your actions go wrong, can be uncomfortable too,” Dean said. “That’s why I could never do it. Harry could though.”



 

 

Dudley nodded as he studied his cousin. “Hand me the shirt Harry. Let’s see if it works for me.”



 

 

Dudley pulled the garment over his head, readied himself and Harry shot the spell. Dudley stood there looking at him, as though waiting for Harry to begin. After a few moments, Harry lifted the spell.



 

 

“Did you feel anything?” he asked.



 

 

“My feet felt really comfortable like I was suddenly wearing a pair of my favorite slippers, and I felt like you wanted me to walk around the room. But it felt more like a suggestion than the urge to do it like it did before,” Dudley reported.



 

 

“Try doing something else instead,” Rupert suggested. “Repeat what Ron did.”



 

 

Dudley nodded. “Go again Harry. Let’s see how far I can push this.”



 

 

Harry tried it again. At first Dudley seemed to be ignoring him, until he went over to Beth and started talking to her about how he had helped Harry in the remodeling of this room. Harry lifted the spell and Dudley turned back to them.



 

 

“What were you trying to make him do Harry?” Ron asked.



 

 

“Sing. He was supposed to sit down in that chair and sing.”



 

 

“Instead he managed to walk away from the chair and talk to someone else,” Hermione observed. “What did you feel Dudley? Were you even aware of what Harry wanted you to do?”



 

 

“Yeah I was, but it was really easy to ignore it. It was sort of like…you know when you get a song stuck in your head. It’s there, you can hear it, but you can ignore it to a certain extent too. I’d say it works Harry, definitely,” Dudley said.



 

 

“Let me try it,” Rupert said.



 

 

Harry repeated the test with each of the muggles. Each expressed surprise at the agreeable sensation created by the curse, and except Robbie it seemed all were able to use the shirt to throw off the spell. It was the same pattern they had noticed in using Harry’s cloak.



 

 

“I wonder why?” Harry wondered.



 

 

“I think it’s because I was adopted Harry,” Robbie told them. “We went into hiding, our entire family because my cousin is a witch … the same story as for most of you, but I was adopted into my family. There is no blood relation.”



 

 

“Suggesting that there is something to this blood thing after all,” Rupert told Hermione. “It really would be interesting to understand the genetics behind this.”



 

 

“Yes it would,” Hermione agreed. “The genes for magic must be really recessive though,” she commented thoughtfully.



 

 

“Probably,” Rupert answered. “I think we’re ready Harry. We know what to expect. We can understand the suggestion well enough that we know what they’re trying to make us do. We may need to go along with it sometimes just so we don’t blow our cover when we’re in there. From your perspective, is there anything else you’d like us to do?”



 

 

“What about the strengthening potion?” Harry suggested. “It should improve your ability to resist.”



 

 

“I don’t think I need it,” Rupert said. “Of course I’m only speaking for myself though. Does anybody else?”



 

 

“I’ll take it,” Marcus said stepping forward. “I saw the condition of those detainees when they came back last summer. I don’t want to end up like one of them.”



 

 

“We don’t want you to either,” Harry assured him. “Hermione will make it for you. You should take one full vial approximately one hour before you report in for you shift.”



 

 

“Okay,” Marcus agreed.



 

 

“What about me Harry? You say there are only men down there,” Beth commented.



 

 

“Actually there are women too, but we don’t know where they’re being held yet. I’d like to get our scouts further in, try to take a better look around before we send you in Beth,” Harry said.



 

 

“What do you mean so you can look around,” Dudley said with a frown. “I thought it was us going in.”



 

 

“It is Dudley, but if you are willing, we can take a look at your memories when you come back. It will enable us to see whatever you saw when you were down there. We may be able to recognize something that you can’t.”



 

 

“Is this another form of magic Harry?” Rupert asked. “Is it how you make us forget?”



 

 

“It is related to that, but it’s different. We can return them to you after viewing them, so you won’t forget,” Harry promised. “At least not until we’re done.”



 

 

The muggle officers nodded grimly. Loosing parts of their memories wasn’t something any of them were looking forward to…but on the other hand, it was a small price to pay for what they were trying to do.



 

 

------------------



 

 

Finally they were ready. Unwilling to delay any longer, Harry, Ron, and Hermione met Dudley and Rupert out in front of Harry’s place early the following evening, directly after supper. Hermione had the shirts in her bag and allowed Rupert to take her arm while Dudley took Harry’s, and soon the five of them were once again in the lea of the boulders on the far side of the burial mound. It was early enough that not all the scientists had left for the day, so it wasn’t until Dr. Summerby and Esme spotted them that they were allowed to come anywhere near the site.



 

 

“Come on in, come on in. Join me for some late tea?” Dr. Summerby invited.



 

 

“Charles, I think they are here to do a job,” Esme reminded her superior.



 

 

“Yes well, if my associates believe you are here for tea, they will ignore the lot of us. So for the fifteen minutes it will take to serve you please sit down,” Dr. Summerby said lightly.



 

 

Harry smiled at his tone. He may have the appearance of a doddering old scientist, but Dr. Summerby was actually very sharp. You had to look beyond your first impressions of the man to realize that despite Harry’s use of the memory charms, he knew exactly what was going on … not all the implications of it completely, but he knew there were lives at stake and something dark happening deep within the mound.



 

 

“I think tea is a very good idea,” Harry agreed and he followed Dr. Summerby meekly to the portable office.



 

 

As Dr. Summerby had suggested, his colleagues fairly fled at the mention he was serving tea and soon they had the office space entirely to themselves.



 

 

“That’s better, don’t you think?” Dr. Summerby said as he began to pour out.



 

 

“I expect it is,” Dudley said, nervously accepting the tea. He made a show of sipping it, but actually didn’t drink all that much.



 

 

Esme kept checking the door. Once the way was clear, she nodded to Dudley. Hermione pulled out the spell proof shirts passing one to each constable. The two constables slipped them on over the top of the bullet proof vests they were already wearing before sliding their own shirts back on over the top of the spell proof shirts. Dudley and Rupert then began checking their side arms as though this was a regular assignment.



 

 

“Do think that’s wise Dud?” Harry asked as he watched their muggle counterparts finish checking their equipment and tuck them into the waistband of their trousers before pulling their shirts down to cover the guns.



 

 

“I’m not going down there unarmed Harry,” Dudley said firmly.



 

 

“Yeah but a simple shield charm would deflect the bullets so the only one’s left to hit would be the muggles. Wouldn’t that just put them at higher risk in that tight a space?” Harry asked.



 

 

“We’re aware of the risks Harry,” Rupert said firmly “and we are trained to use them appropriately. We wouldn’t ask you to go into a potentially dangerous situation without your wand.”



 

 

“Yeah okay,” Harry agreed. Rupert was right. Cooperation had to go both ways. “Just be careful.”



 

 

“We will be,” they assured him.



 

 

“So the plan is to go in here,” Rupert began checking over the map on the computer screen one last time. “Stash the cloak near this sensor here, then drop in behind the blokes on the six thirty-five transport when they walk by. Then just follow them in.”



 

 

“Yes. That’s it exactly. Dudley, you have your dove?”



 

 

“Yeah Harry, I’ve got him. I can’t say as he likes the crystals much though. Normally I keep him inside my shirt, but I guess for the time being I’ll try the pocket,”



 

 

“He’ll settle down in it if the shirt is loose.”



 

 

“Well this one isn’t, especially over this vest,” Dudley complained.



 

 

Harry flicked his wrist focusing solely on Dudley’s shirt. Suddenly the strain around the buttons eased and the bottom edge flapped loosely again neatly concealing Dudley’s gun, and there was plenty of space in the depths of the flap pocket in front for the dove.



 

 

“Thanks Harry,” Dudley grinned. “How come that worked though? I though the point of these spell-proof shirts was to bounce the spells off us.”



 

 

“They do. I was aiming for your shirt outside the vest not you,” Harry reminded him.



 

 

“Oh yeah. Well he seems a lot more comfortable now,” Dudley commented as he fastened the flap over the pocket with the dove.



 

 

“Are you ready?” Harry asked looking at the two of them.



 

 

“Ready,” Rupert confirmed.



 

 

“Yeah, me too. I’ll send the dove at the first sign of trouble,” Dudley said as Harry handed him the cloak.



 

 

Harry nodded. “We’ll be monitoring you from here,” he reminded him.



 

 

“Right. See you in eight hours, more or less.”



 

 

Esme walked the two constables out while Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Dr. Summerby watched their progress from the monitor. Esme returned just as the sensor points passed through the mound then started to go down. Hermione borrowed the large crystal again so that the wizards could all gather round to watch the monitor together as the points of light traced the familiar path down through the cavern.



 

 

“That’s the chamber with the unprocessed glass beads,” Harry commented as they came to the turn.



 

 

“Look. They’re going really far east,” Ron remarked at one point.



 

 

“Down again,” Hermione said. “They’re still moving, slowing down some, but moving. I wonder what they’ve seen.”



 

 

The movements of the points did suggest they were reacting to something.



 

 

Down and down they went until the points suddenly stopped at a junction with the tunnel that lead towards where a second team of Aurors was watching in the chamber beneath the dragon’s cave.



 

 

Harry glanced at his watch. “The transport is due any minute.”



 

 

He pulled the tapestry backed mirror from his pocket, tapped it with his wand to show Dudley’s name, and propped it up tapestry side out beside the monitor.



 

 

“Do you really expect that to tell you something?” Hermione asked. “They’re in danger the whole time they’re down there Harry.”



 

 

“Yeah I suppose,” Harry agreed but still he didn’t put the mirror away. He watched the tapestry pattern and the monitor for another thirty minutes more before either of the devices registered any change. The dark mark showed on the tapestry two minutes before either of the dots on the screen moved.



 

 

“They should be there any moment now,” Harry commented. “Wait for it…there!” he exclaimed. “They’re in and moving. The symbol hasn’t changed though. I wonder if the Death Eaters suspect any thing.”



 

 

The next seven hours were incredibly anxious ones for all of them, but especially for Harry. The collaboration behind this mission was entirely his own idea and he felt personally responsible for the men below. He paced the tiny office and watched the monitor and the tapestry-backed mirror, on which the symbol never changed. Dudley and Rupert were clearly in danger the entire time. Together their dots moved much deeper into the caverns than any of them had dared to go before, entering the enormous chamber their sensors had detected several thousand feet down. There apparently the two were stationed, for their dots remained there, only moving about slightly the entire time. Finally after six hours, they began to move again, side by side and at a steady rate, as though they were being marched that way. Harry watched as each of the dots made a sudden turn though the boundaries of a concealment charm. They seemed to hover there for a moment before moving much more slowly back out into the main tunnel and back a short ways in the direction they had been traveling before…out in the direction towards the coast.



 

 

“Don’t go there,” Harry said half to himself. “Go back…please Dudley, go back!” His face tensed and he was sweating bullets as he watched.



 

 

Suddenly the dark mark beside Dudley’s name glowed blindingly white and the points of light moved quickly back through the main tunnel to the concealed side tunnel again. Harry watched as the dots paused briefly, then began the steady climb back up towards the surface again. Harry exhaled, leaning back with a groan.



 

 

“I’m going outside for some air. Let me know if anything changes Hermione, okay?”



 

 

“Sure Harry,” the bushy haired witch agreed.



 

 

Harry staggered out into the cool night air trying to clear his head. As he’d expected, Ron was right behind him, slamming the door to the Digg Hut as he came out.



 

 

            “What was that about?” Ron asked earnestly as he joined his friend.



 

 

            “Think Ron. What have we been saying for months is in the mouth of that cave?”



 

 

            Ron’s eyes grew wide as the realization of what the two muggles had probably encountered came to him.



 

 

            “Blimey Harry. Those dragons live in that cave.”



 

 

            “Exactly. I was hoping they wouldn’t find out what was there,” Harry said as he picked up a leaf from the ground and absently began tearing to bits. “I’m going to have to make them forget.” He scowled at the thought.



 

 

            Ron shrugged at Harry’s response. “They probably would rather forget about that to be honest.”



 

 

            “Probably. It’s just that I hate to be the one to do it,” Harry told him. “I hate having to do it to my own family.”



 

 

            “Better you than some other bloke Harry. At least that way you can control it, make sure they don’t forget more than is needed,” Ron pointed out.



 

 

            Harry glared at him slightly.



 

 

            “Look, I know you don’t like doing it to muggles…” Ron began.



 

 

            “I don’t mind it really…as long as it doesn’t hurt anything, but this…It’s going to take a lot to keep him from remembering,” Harry predicted. “I may have to implant a false one as well, just to keep him from going that way again. I hate that,” he commented as he strode off.



 

 

            Hermione came out to check on them just as Harry walked away.



 

 

            “Is he okay?” she asked Ron anxiously.



 

 

            “Yeah. You know Harry though; dealing with muggle stuff upsets him sometimes.”



 

 

            Hermione nodded as she brushed his shoulder lightly with her hand, then went to stand by Harry where he was waiting for Dudley and Rupert to emerge.



 

 

            “I know you don’t like it Harry, but this is minor compared to what could have happened.”



 

 

            Harry glanced at Hermione in a distracted fashion.



 

 

            “I know that Hermione. I knew the risks and they did too. I was just hoping we wouldn’t have to do this quite so soon. I was hoping…”



 

 

            But Harry was cut off by voices coming from inside the mound. Despite the distance they had come, the eyes of both muggle men were white with fear.



 

 

            “Harry?!” was all Dudley managed to blurt out.



 

 

“Was there something you forgot to tell us about that cave?” Rupert asked rhetorically.



 

 

            “Just a bit. Hold still Dud,” Harry admonished.



 

 

            “What are you going to do Harry?” Dudley asked fearfully.



 

 

            “We’re going to shrink down what you saw… Hold on.”



 

 

            Harry concentrated with all his might, flicked his wrist slightly, and the terror on Dudley’s face started to fade.



 

 

            “Are you going to do me too?” Rupert asked eyeing the wizard warily.



 

 

            “Eventually yeah…but if you’re okay for the moment, it can wait.”



 

 

            Rupert glanced at his partner who instead of being hysterical had started to calm down.



 

 

            “So that actually was…”



 

 

            “A dragon, yeah,” Harry told him. “They do exist and they are really, really dangerous.” He glanced at Dudley. “Better now Dud?” he asked.



 

 

            Dudley frowned. “I still remember it…but wait…what did you do?”



 

 

            “I modified your memory so it was farther away,” Harry told him. “I need you to remember what you saw at least for a little while.”



 

 

            Dudley’s eyes grew wide again but he nodded. “Then that body we examined in January...those bite and burn marks on Lolita’s body…”



 

 

“They were from the dragon Dudley. Apparently she managed to regain control of herself and tried to get out, but she got caught by the dragon,” Harry confirmed. “I didn’t tell you about them because you’re not supposed to know.”



 

 

“Them? We only saw one. Are there more?” Rupert asked with a start.



 

 

“Yes. They have a mated pair here with a young one. They go out fishing in the evening, so that’s probably why there was only one there just now.”



 

 

Rupert stared at Harry. “So you knew they were there.”



 

 

“Yeah I did. I’ve seen them, the first time I went in with my partner Wendy. I’m going to need you to concentrate on what else you saw, then we can go into the office to talk about it,” Harry told them.



 

 

“You need to capture our memories, like you told us about,” Rupert said.



 

 

“Yes exactly. Who wants to go first?” Harry asked.



 

 

“Ah Harry, shouldn’t we go inside to do this?” Dudley asked.



 

 

“Not yet Dud. We don’t want Esme to see this or we’ll have to do her too,” Harry cautioned.



 

 

“Yeah okay. I’ll go first Harry. What do you want me to do?”



 

 

“First tell me what you saw, what happened. Then I’ll duplicate the high points for us to study more closely later,” Harry explained.



 

 

Dudley nodded then he began to tell Harry about their evening. Ron watched in fascination as when Dudley reached key points in his story, Harry coaxed the gossamer thread containing the memory out of his cousin’s head, duplicated it, capturing one in a vial and returning the other to it’s owner again. By the time Dudley was finished, Harry had collected four separate vials for them to view later.



 

 

“Those are memories?” Rupert asked looking at the swirling strands of light in the vial.



 

 

“Yes they are. When I view it, I’ll be able to see it the same as if I were there,” Harry explained.



 

 

Rupert nodded. “Good. That will work better than me trying to describe it to you. I think the most significant part for me was that large chamber we were in.”



 

 

“The one with the lake?” Dudley said.



 

 

“And that wall that was reflected in it. It looked like a palace Harry. A palace made out of glass and entirely underground,” Rupert said and he launched into his own version of what had taken place. Harry had twice as many vials by the time he had finished.



 

 

“So what’s the deal with the dragons?” Rupert asked when it looked like they were close to finishing for the evening.



 

 

Harry sighed. “I’m not supposed to let you remember them, but it’s probably better that you know that they’re there, at least until this is finished. “



 

 

“You know that even if we were to say anything, no one would believe us about them anyways,” Rupert said.



 

 

“I know, but it’s sort of a rule…”



 

 

“A law actually,” Hermione interjected.



 

 

“Well yeah, it is a law. They really frown on it when muggles know about that.”



 

 

“The law doesn’t say when we have to do it though,” Ron pointed out.



 

 

“No, I don’t suppose it does,” Harry agreed. “We could just leave it for now. Do it afterwards? Would that work?”



 

 

Rupert grinned. “It does for me. You can be assured that we will not be going into that part of the tunnel again.”



 

 

“I didn’t think you would,” Harry said with a smirk. “So are you ready to call it a night?”



 

 

“Yeah. Just let me say good bye to Esme,” Dudley said.



 

 

“Don’t take all night Dudley!” Rupert called after him.



 

 

Dudley’s response was to make an obscene gesture before disappearing into the office for a time. More quickly than he had expected though, his cousin was back, walking arm in arm with his fiancée.



 

 

“When are you coming back Harry?” Esme asked.



 

 

“Not until we have a chance to do some analysis Esme. Give us a couple of days,” Harry said.



 

 

“I’ll send you a dove,” Dudley told her with a kiss.



 

 

“You’re going to send her a dove?” Harry asked as they walked around to the far side of the mound.



 

 

“Yeah. We just got ourselves a pair. Neville helped us,” Dudley was saying as Harry began his spin with his large cousin holding on.



 

 

Harry just shook his head for a moment as they landed, before waving to Dudley and Rupert who walked the rest of the way home.



 

 

 


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