Chapter 2: Long Way Off
Five years ago…
The dark detector began to sound as Head Auror Vincent Urban and his deputy –a dark haired, tightlipped young woman by the name of Meg Tours– were investigating the South East London area.
“Sir, it’s a werewolf attack.” She informed him, peering into the looking glass that was supposed to depict what the dark detector tracked.
“Should I contact headquarters?” Meg looked at him expectantly
“No, I think we can handle it”
All of a sudden the dark detector began whirring louder than ever before –Urban and Meg both took a step back– and died out completely a couple moments later.
Urban also gazed into the looking glass. The werewolf had clearly fled the scene. A small girl sat huddled around the small victim. Then there were lights. Spinning swirls. A spell. What the hell was she doing?
His eyes widened. He took a step back from the looking glass.
“Sir? Should I call for backup…sir?”
“Err... that might not be such a bad idea after all.”
They rushed, arriving at the scene to find only a pool of blood and the small girl.
Urban walked over and angrily lifted her up by the shirt.
“Sir!” Meg cried, outraged at his behavior, but he held up a finger to silence her, turning his attention back to the child.
“What the hell did you do?!” He demanded of her furiously. She hung limply from his grasp, like a doll, torn and damaged at the seams, faded in color, hardly even fit to be called a girl. Her messy red hair covered her eyes as she stared downward, refusing to make a sound.
“Look at me, girl! Tell me what you did!” At last she lifted her gaze and Urban could see the fear in her swollen eyes, trembling on the edge of tears. A scared child. But more than that there was a kind of madness residing in them that told Urban better.
“I had to save him–” She stated quietly, returning her gaze toward the ground. “I’m sorry I had to…”
“No you’re not” Urban scoffed, “You’re not the least bit sorry. You don’t have a single idea about what you’ve done-“
“What?! Can't you wait for one bleeding sec– ”
He turned around expecting to see his impatient deputy but, rather, found himself face to face with bright yellow eyes glaring into his. His breath caught. Vicious claws. A dark torso covered in a mess of hair, and ears like the devil’s horns. He held his breath, never having been so close to a werewolf before in all his life. He dropped the girl, who fell soundlessly to the ground.
Urban stared at the werewolf, still and silent, not breaking eye contact, but at the same time inching his hand toward the wand in his back pocket–
“Stupefy!” But Meg beat him to it. The werewolf dodged her hex and leapt away from Urban, who noted its limping injured leg. It seemed as though the werewolf had suffered a far worse beating already. Urban found himself smirking at this.
Good, it would make things so much easier then.
He lifted his wand and aimed it right at the heart of the injured werewolf, ready to–
“No!” The girl grabbed his leg, knocking his spell off balance and shooting into the dark of the forest. “You can’t hurt him! He’s my brother!”
Her brother? The boy on the floor? But he’d been pulverized by the werewolf in the looking glass. He was bleeding to death there was no way he could’ve survived. How on earth had he…
He glanced at the girl.
“Meg, get her out of here!” Urban shouted, kicking her off him and gesturing to his deputy,
His deputy rushed to the girl’s side, trying to lift her up, but the girl struggled and fought against her.
“No! I won’t let you touch him!” Rose growled and began to shout out every hex, curse and jinx she knew at the man in the uniform, who was busy shooting traps in order to capture her brother. She was shocked to find nothing came out of the end of her wand.
She sat there, stunned, as the man’s assistant woman dragged her away from the fight scene.
How...how was that possible? Just moments ago, she’d performed a spell powerful enough to save Hugo’s life and now-
Why wasn’t her magic working?
She deadpanned. Was this the side effect of the dark spell? Had she lost her ability to perform magic? But how? How was that possible?
Her world crumbled as the man shot a whip out the end of his wand and stuck her brother down with a single blow.
“NO!” She screamed, angry tears flooding her eyes. She felt so useless, so meaningless, incapable of moving yet again. She tried to pull away, but found her legs incredibly limp and devoid of feeling. What was going on? The spell? Was that it? What had she done to herself?
Oh god, what had she done to her brother?
The woman, continued to assure her that she would be alright. That her brother was no longer her brother but a monster and dangerous to the safety of others so this was for the best for everyone–
Rose stopped listening.
At last the reinforcements, a group of a dozen aurors apparated in, only to find that their Head had already captured the werewolf single handedly.
“Well done, sir” Auror Seamus Finnegan praised Urban as they sat on a stump watching some of the other men drag the unconscious beast away.
“This one was only a child, Seamus” Urban commented taking a swig of firewhiskey. It burned going down the back of his throat, leaving a well deserved bitterness in his mouth.
“They always are, sir,” Seamus muttered, scribbling notes for the field report, “So…what do we make of the girl?”
Urban shrugged, staring stonily at his glass.
“Well it turns out they’re both orphans. Parents were killed a couple weeks ago. They’re Weasleys”
He blinked, surprised.
“You’re kidding. Ron and Hermione’s kids?”
“Who else?” Seamus gave a kind of hollow laugh, “But that’s not the problem. What do we do with her? The spell she used to save her brother’s life…well…it’s unheard of–I looked everywhere, there’s no record of any dark spell that can be used to save someone from a near dead situation. Might as well be able to bring someone back to life–”
“Well then we’d better add it to our list of dark spells to watch out for, shouldn’t we?”
“I think it’s more serious than that, sir. If word gets out about this sort of unheard magic –the ministry’s got no defense for it– “
“I know. I’ll take care of it.”
That very night Urban and his deputy, Meg, visited the Weasley’s former residence, which was now nothing more than a pile of rubble and dust. “Figures they’d burn the place down” Urban scoffed, “So where do you think their library must’ve been?”
Meg looked confused.
“How do you know they had a library?”
“You never met Hermione Weasley, did you?” Urban raised an eyebrow. Meg shook her head. “Never mind then. They must’ve taken it, of course. Why else would they have come?”
“Who? Taken what?”
But Urban paced around, muttering to himself.
“But the Weasley’s… must’ve known what was coming– why else would they have sent their children away? But the question is, of course, what were they trying to protect? What was it they were willing to die for?”
He thought of the unknown spell that had saved the young boy –Hugo Weasley’s life.
Had…had Ron and Hermione Weasley found a new form of magic? He thought of the young girl, Rose Weasley, who was now being hospitalized at St. Mungo’s for the recovery of her magical wounds from performing the spell. What kind of witchcraft was this?
Urban looked at the two dead bodies of Ron and Hermione Weasley under a pile of sheets in the corner, being studied and probed by a team of investigators. Though he had hardly known the two of them, only by name and reputation –as they had a rather large reputation in the auror department before they left– he’d make sure they got the proper hero’s funeral. Like their friend, Harry Potter.
He glanced over at his deputy, a funny look on his face.
“You ever get the feeling history tends to repeat itself?”
Meg looked more confused than ever.
Head Auror Vincent Urban sat in his office speeding through his pile of paperwork as fast as possible. He rubbed his eyes in distress.
With all the sudden Azkaban breakouts and criminal reports lately, it was hard to get a moment’s rest between the obnoxious banging on his office door day in and day out and the mounds of work that piled up. And it didn’t get easier when he got home either, as the paparazzi continued to follow him pressing uncomfortable questions down his throat about recent murders and killings.
It was no secret the Ministry was really losing its handle on things lately, but the constant badgering from his subordinates certainly didn’t make things easier. Couldn’t they see he was working as hard as he could to get things under control? The fact his hair was already graying from the sides made him feel older and more frustrated than he really was.
But then again, it might’ve also been the fact that his youngest and most difficult auror had returned with her brother last night from a failed mission. Which meant a hell of a lot more paperwork for him to fill out. And he had to make sure they were alright as well.
His work never seemed to end.
He was mildly surprised when the little pain came barging through his door with a broken arm in nothing but a hospital gown.
“Why Weasley, I wasn’t expecting you to have recovered so soon,” He remarked boredly, not looking up from his work. “Sure you’re supposed to be here right now?”
Rose grabbed a couple licorice sticks off his desk, stuffing them in her mouth and plopped down on the sofa across from his desk.
“No, sir. Happy?”
“Am I ever? You know, I saw a rather interesting picture in the tabloids today… I think I might like a poster size copy–” He chuckled as her cheeks went a bright red.
“It’s all a bunch of crap”
“I thought it was hilarious. That fact Skeeter’s made you two into a pair of underwear models is just the kind of publicity our department needs right now–”
“I didn’t come here like this just to discuss the Rita Skeeter’s stupid antics with you”
He put down his pen and looked up at her.
“All right, I’ll bite then. What gives?”
Rose rolled her eyes
“Well first I’m pretty pissed at you giving us a false lead again–”
“The mission!” She exclaimed, bits of licorice spraying everywhere, “You said we’d find the Nox Orchird out there! We searched for days– “
“I take it you didn’t get lost? Even once?” The corners of his mouth twitched in amusement. Rose narrowed her eyes.
“You’re mocking me.”
Urban held up his hand, chuckling.
“Calm down, Weasley. I didn’t know there was nothing out there. I only passed on what I heard from rumors. Honest! I told you that!”
Rose fumed silently, not liking that he was taking joy from her anger.
“And what was Malfoy doing out there anyway–”
“Malfoy?” His face fell devoid of all amusement, “What about Malfoy?”
Somehow, Rose had known this little tidbit from her mission would peak his interest. She leaned comfortably back in her seat, folding her legs.
“He was there again, following us. He attacked us, naturally. Gave me this” –She gestured to her broken arm-“Somehow he always has intel on our whereabouts which is funny, of course, seeing as the only person who’s supposed to know about them is you.”
She pointed at him with a piece of licorice. laying heavy emphasis on her last word. Urban raised an eyebrow.
“You clearly hit your head too hard out there if you think I’m having you followed, and by criminals no less–“
Rose shrugged, looking off to the side.
“Someone here’s got a big mouth, then. There’s been a breach in your security, sir. I reckon it’s Auror Seamus Finnegan down the hall, but you know, that’s just me–”
Urban held up a finger to silence her. Clearly there was more going on than she was letting him know.
“So about Malfoy again… what was he doing?”
“Trying to kill us, of course.” She snorted, as though it was the most obvious thing in the world, “He’s Malfoy. I’m the offspring of two of his greatest enemies –we’re not exactly going got be the best of mates, now are we?”
Urban looked skeptical.
“Yes, but why? This is the seventh time you and Hugo have had your little run in with him. And it’s always just you two. The rest of my guys don’t get a whiff of Malfoy.”
“I guess we’re just special then”
“You’re not that special, Weasley.” Urban snorted and grabbed a licorice stick for himself, taking a bite and chewing it over thoughtfully, “Hmm…Malfoy’s been under our radar for quite some time now. The fact that he’d blow his cover just to go looking for some meaningless vengeance is pretty pointless, so to speak”
Rose furrowed her brow.
“Why does it even matter? He’s just some pathetic ex-Death Eater with an ego problem –the whole post–Voldemort revenge thing that’s so popular with all the bad guys. Same old same old. Who cares what he wants?”
“There’s got to be something else. Malfoy’s a tool, always has been, as far as we know. He’s got to be working for someone. The question is, of course, who?”
Urban put his head on his folded hands, mulling something over. Rose felt irritated at his tendency to over complicate the matter, especially when she wanted to discuss the other strange man following them as well as what they were going to do now that the Nox Orchard myth had proved to be, well, only a myth.
“I don’t care about Malfoy’s plan or who’s behind his silly games.” Rose said angrily. “The only thing I care about is what they want with us? Why can’t these people stay out of our way?”
There was a brief silence. Urban shifted in his chair. Rose watched him with a skeptical eye. At last he stated simply:
“You’re an auror, Weasley.”
“You’re hiding something.”
“Murder attempts…are an occupational hazard.”
“I didn’t sign up to get butchered,” She said miserably, “Or to put Hugo through more hell than he’s already in–”
“People will come after you. I thought you knew the risks when you took this job. Aren’t you the one that asked me to make you an auror? Aren’t you the one who said– and I remember it perfectly– that you’d do anything if I gave you the chance to stand on your own two feet?”
Rose flinched at the use of her own words against her.
“I want to become an auror” She declared, looking up at Urban from her wheelchair, “I’ll do whatever it takes.”
Arrogant. Feeble. Pathetic. And yet at the same time Urban couldn’t help but feel a strange surge of pity for the crippled girl before him. The shock from her brother incident had temporarily paralyzed her from the waist down and made her a permanent resident of St. Mungo’s. He had to owe it to her. She had guts to come here and talk to him like this.
“Sorry, we don’t take sympathy cases.”
“NO” She stated, “I’m going to be an auror. I’m going to get my brother out of Azkaban. You’re going to help me”
Urban threw his head back and laughed.
“Who do you think you are anyway?” He scoffed, “I’ll tell you what, come back in ten years and we’ll see–”
“That’s not good enough!” She slammed her fists down on the sides of her wheelchair, “Look, you have to give me a chance. I’m starting to perform magic again, I thought I lost it but it’s coming back now. And I’m good. I’ve been able to do the Patronus charm since I was seven”
Urban couldn’t help but sneer and awe at this. She clearly had no idea the kind of painstaking hard work it took to become an auror. But little Rose Weasley had already been through more than most adults ever did in their lifetime, so maybe…
It wasn’t impossible, surely.
And at the same time there was something special, something different in her eyes, much like the very first time he’d seen her. They shone of more than just trauma and sadness, more than just the expected pity and regrets. There was fire in those eyes.
A show of unwavering determination. The fact the entire department would probably call him insane for what he was about to do made him smile.
“And if I take you seriously, what will you do for me?”
“Anything” She assured him, “I’ll do anything if you just put me back on my feet.”
“I said that so you’d help us!" Rose exclaimed, "But Hugo’s still laying in the hospital covered head to toe in bruises and we’re not any bit closer to finding a cure for him than we were two years ago! I’m tired of this fruitless chasing!”
“Oh really? Is that how you feel?” Urban stood up and walked over to a cabinet, pulling out another bag of candy and smiling mischievously. Just as Rose closed her eyes to groan at his silly antics, he threw a gumdrop toward her at high speed, which she anxiously dodged by jumping off the sofa.
“I don’t think you were able to do that two years ago, Weasley? Certainly not when you couldn’t even walk. And now you can dodge bullets.”
“You’re utterly mad… And that was not a bullet!”
“It is when I throw it.” Urban said with a sliver of a smile, “So do you honestly think you haven’t made a single ounce of progress since then? Are you really stupid enough to believe that?”
Rose got up to leave, shoulders hunched as she trudged toward the door. Her shoulder was painfully wound and her legs ached with fatigue from last night. An uneasy wave of nausea passed over her which meant the recovery potions had started to wear off. She figured she’d better get back to the wards before the healers found her missing. Besides, she didn’t want Urban to see her in such a miserable, pathetic state.
She stopped at the door, anger simmering inside her for the man leisurely sitting in the room behind her, sending her in useless circles and playing with their lives like it was all good natured fun.
The cold hearted man who seemed to just have given her the chance of lifetime so he could sit back and watch her mess it up.
Well she wouldn’t. Not for him. She could feel hot blood pulsing through her veins –heat built up inside her to the point that she turned around and burst, eyes blazing:
“The only progress I care about is turning my brother back to normal! Dodging bullets means nothing to me! Don’t you understand that?!”
There was a brief pause where neither said anything. Urban looked shocked and Rose stood there seething. Then Urban regained his composure and smirked again.
“Then what are you doing wasting time in my office, Weasley?” He threw another gumdrop at her, this time lightly, which she caught and put into her mouth.
“Miracles don’t happen on their own, you know.”