Chapter 8 : You Must Not Tell Lies
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Oh yeah, and I am not JK Rowling nor do I intend on stealing her characters for personal gain. I'm just along for the ride on her genius train.
As the look of realization dawned across Harry and Ron’s faces, Umbridge laughed her annoying little giggle. “Surprised?” she asked. “Thought I was out of your hair forever did you?” Harry and Ron could only stare as she began to point her wand at the two “children.” They had completely forgotten the mission at this point, but luckily Maria and Wilson had not. Both pulled their wands at exactly the same moment and simultaneously disarmed and stunned Umbridge.
“Thanks for that,” Ron said sheepishly to the miniature Aurors. “I don’t think we were expecting to hear her from behind the mask.” Harry and Ron worked quickly to magically bind Umbridge according to ministry procedure. Harry sent a patronous to Kingsley to let him know they had captured one of the suspects. Harry was confused though. Umbridge was never a confirmed member of the death eaters. She just supported the concept of pure bloods being the only true witches and wizards. Then there was the point that she appeared to be working alone. All their research on those doing the muggle-attacks pointed to a group of four or five death eaters working together.
The four aurors quickly conducted a search of the rest of the potions store, finding only the shop keeper, stunned with a body-bind curse in the back room. Obviously Umbridge had wanted to keep him out of the way. Her only accomplice had to be the muggle relations woman. Harry sent another patronous to Kingsley this time asking that a team of aurors be dispatched to question the muggle relations clerk. Within moments members of the magical law enforcement squad were there to take Umbridge to the ministry for questioning. Harry was glad she was going back behind bars (she had only received three years during her sentencing after the war because she had made a deal with the Wizengamot). But he was disappointed that this arrest did not seem to solve the mystery of the muggle attacks. It was possible she was a member of the group, but had acted alone on this instance to get revenge on Harry and Ron, rather than to direct her attack on the children.
What concerned Harry the most was that she had known straight of that Hubert was in fact Harry. She did not, however, realize the children had been switched out, which had allowed them to capture her in a moment of surprise. The ministry still had a leak in it somewhere. If they didn’t find it soon the entire mission would be a waste and the death eaters would never be caught.
After the law enforcement squad left with Umbridge in tow, Harry and Ron returned to the street with Maria and Wilson. The latter two aurors had returned to their natural states. Harry and Ron, however, still looked like Hubert and Zander due to the extra-strength power of their potions. At least it meant they would not draw stares as they walked back into the post office to meet with Kingsley. Harry glanced down the street to see a couple of aurors talking to a rather defensive woman at the muggle-relations stand. A large group of people had gathered around to watch, which posed potential problems.
“Maria, Wilson,” Harry said addressing the two aurors. “I know you’re supposed to return to talk to Kingsley, but the squad down there needs help with crowd control so they can get the answers they need. Could you please go down there and assist? I’ll tell Kingsley where I sent you and if he needs you, we’ll send a replacement team to come get you.”
Maria gave Harry a curt nod and motioned for Wilson to follow her brisk pace down the walk toward the end of the road. After they were out of ear shot, Ron turned to Harry looking flabbergasted. “Blimey Harry,” he said. “I never thought it would be Umbridge behind the mask. Good thing Wilson and Maria followed protocol.” Harry nodded. They had definitely been caught off guard. He would have to be honest with Kingsley and tell him how it went down. He wasn’t looking forward to telling the minister and friend he respected so much that he had screwed up. “Who do you reckon she’s working with?” Ron asked. “I mean obviously she was nuts to do this alone today, but she’s got to have someone on the inside at least. She may even be working for the same group we’ve been tracking this whole time.”
“I’m not sure Ron,” Harry said. “I think she may well be part of a larger operation, but this attack today was not the plan of the death eaters. They are going to be furious to find out she did this with a death eater mask on. It will look bad for them all around and we both know it’s hard for them to recruit members since you-know-who went down.”
Harry didn’t usually refer to Voldemort in such an ambiguous fashion, but considering they were still in disguise and the fact that a large portion of the wizarding community still did not use Voldemort’s name, he thought it would be best to keep his tone light.
Harry and Ron went inside the post office to find a sea of aurors and ministry officials. Harry sighed. If the press caught wind of this, it would be a political nightmare for the ministry and the auoror department. They would ask about the arrest and then want to know if all the death eaters had been caught. If all Kingsley could tell them was that Umbridge was insane and wanted to kill Harry, the magical newspapers around the world would have a field day.
“So much for keeping this quiet huh?” Ron muttered. The two made their way back to Marvin’s office to find the minister. When they reached the office, Harry spotted Kingsley sitting behind Marvin’s desk. He was dictating to a quill which was moving furiously across the page of parchment. “The ministry is pleased to announce it has made an arrest in a possible attack against two aurors and the people they were charged with protecting,” he said in his deep strong voice to the quill. “Unfortunately the majority of the people responsible for the recent attacks on muggle-borns and their families remain at large. The arrest of Delores Umbridge is just the first of many the ministry will make to ensure the wizarding community’s safety. The Ministry of Magic will try its hardest to make sure the world is safe for all those who practice magic and those who don’t.”
Kingsley finished dictating the press release and then turned his attention on his two young aurors. “Well done you two,” he said kindly. “I’m glad we have Umbridge behind bars again, this time probably for the rest of her natural life. Even if she does try to make a deal, I don’t see the Wizengamot letting her off easy again.”
Harry nodded, while he wanted to see Umbridge rot in Azkaban forever, he knew that she probably had invaluable information about the rogue death eaters still causing mayhem in the years after the war. Harry was anxious to put the whole Voldemort experience behind him. He knew there would always be dark and evil wizards in the world, and that he could handle, but he wanted to put this particular brand of dark, evil wizards to bed. Harry’s attention snapped back to the minister and the tasks at hand when he heard Ron ask the question that had been burning in Harry’s mind since Umbridge had pulled off her mask.
“What does this mean for our mission Kingsley?” Ron asked. “Are the kids going to be able to go to Hogwarts after all? Wouldn’t it be letting the death eaters win a small victory if we kept the two muggle-borns in hiding? They deserve to go to Hogwarts. They haven’t stopped asking us questions since we were assigned to protect them.”
Kingsley looked thoughtful. “Well the children will be safe once they are within the walls of Hogwarts, so I don’t see why we can’t allow them to go. We will have to escort them personally, of course. Not only is it not safe for them to board the train at King’s Cross, but now that the mission has been compromised, we can’t let them be seen with you or their fathers.”
“Will Hubert and Zander have to remain at the safe houses?” Harry asked. Kingsley nodded. “At least for now Harry,” he said. “While their children will be safe at the school, their parents are still muggles, who are being hunted by death eaters. For the moment we have no choice but to keep them hidden.”
Harry was disappointed. He and Ron had spent days away from their wives, without any contact, for virtually nothing. Sure, the kids were safe, but at the end of the day, the two families were not able to go back to their daily lives. Not to mention the fact that they were still without a solid lead on the identities of the other death eaters. The disappointment must have been evident on Harry’s face because Kingsley addressed him. “Harry,” he said, placing a hand on the young man’s shoulder. “I know this is not the outcome we wanted, but you knew as well as I did that there was a leak in the ministry. There was always a high chance of this mission failing. It did not fail, however, we apprehended an attacker and kept the children safe. We will just now also be on the lookout for our ministry leak. We know at least they had to have contact with Dolores. That should make it easier to nail down the traitor.”
“He’s right mate,” Ron said. “I bet we know who did this by Christmas time. In the mean time we should be able to return home and see the girls. Right Kingsley?” Ron posed the last part as a hopeful question to his boss. He was pleased with Kingsely’s response.
“Of course!” Kingsley said with a broad grin. “The mission was compromised, but you two should be safe to go home to see your wives. Take a few days off, in fact. You’re going to need your rest because we will have to come up with other plans to catch all the offenders.”
Harry and Ron nodded and made their way over to the fireplace. Kingsley had approved of a one-time connection between that one and the one in Harry’s house. Ron would then Floo home from Grimwauld Place. They each stepped into the green flames in turn, and watched as Kingsley disappeared through the smoke and flickering firelight.
Ron appeared in the fireplace first and nearly fell back into the flames when the sound of his sister Ginny screaming scared him. “Ron, what are you doing here?” she screeched. She leapt up fro the sofa to give him a hug. “Where’s Harry? Is he all right? Are you all right? What happened?” Tears were brimming in her eyes and she was shaking with fear. It was obvious that she feared the worst.
“Ginny, everything is OK,” Ron said. “Sit down, Harry will be here in a second, I promise.” Right on cue, Harry appeared through the flames and stepped out onto the hearth. Ginny pounced on him immediately, wrapping him up in a tight hug, tears rolling down here face. “Oh Harry I’m so glad you are OK,” she said. “I was so worried when Ron showed up unannounced, without you. I thought for sure something had happened on the mission. I’m just so glad you’re home.”
Harry smiled as Ginny wiped the tears from her reddening cheeks. She looked like a tomato with red hair and a flushed face. He loved how animated she became. “I’m all right, I swear,” he said, wrapping an arm around her shoulder. “I’ll tell you everything in a while, but first Ron has to get back to Hermione.”
“Oh yes!” Ginny said. “Hermione has been worried sick. She keeps having nightmares. Maybe you better send her a note first.” Ron thought for a minute. “Or maybe you could go through the fireplace first Ginny,” he said. “Would she be expecting you this afternoon?” Ginny nodded. “I go to check on her every day. That sounds good, I’ll go first and tell her you’re on your way. That way she doesn’t lose it like I did.” Ginny laughed at this, sounding more like herself. “Harry you can come after Ron if you’d like. We could all visit for a while and you two could tell us what happened on your mission and why you’re home so early. I didn’t expect you until at least tomorrow night.”
Ginny grabbed a pinch of floo powder from the mantle and threw it into the embers. The flames grew and turned bright green. She waved as she hopped into the flames and disappeared in a whirl of dust. Harry then watched as Ron paced the floor, waiting a few minutes before following his sister. “Ron, mate,” Harry said. “Calm down. You’ll be back with Hermione in a few minutes. Why are you so nervous?” Ron looked sheepish. “I just wonder if she’s showing or anything since I left.” Harry laughed. “It’s only been a week, she may be getting a little bigger, but nothing super noticeable. Don’t worry.”
Ron nodded and took a deep breath. With a toss of floo powder, Ron too disappeared into the flames. Harry sighed. He would come along in a few minutes time. He needed a few minutes to think. He sat down upon the sofa and looked at the faded scars on the back of his right hand. I must not tell lies, they said. He wondered how many lies Umridge would tell to worm her way out of this situation. He only hoped her answers held enough truth to solve the muggle-attacks. Harry was ready to put this all behind him and build his life with Ginny and his son.
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