Spuggie Rugforth sat on a chintzy sofa in an equally chintzy living room, listening to the wireless. It was eight o’clock on a glorious August evening, but Spuggie hadn’t moved from the sofa all day. He was still wearing the stained underwear that he had slept in the previous night, and his threadbare dressing gown fell open, unable to constrain his ample belly.
The doorbell rang, but he ignored it; Glenda Chittock was interviewing some boring git from the Ministry. He couldn’t care less what they were talking about, though. That Chittock bird had a well sexy voice. Given how miserable he was, Spuggie had to make the most of these small pleasures.
Spuggie knew he had got in over his head this time. He should never have got mixed up with that dodgy artifacts dealer. It was just that there was so much money on offer for supplying dark objects these days, and Spuggie liked to joke that he could resist anything - apart from temptation. The fact that the Aurors chose to pay a visit to his contact just when Spuggie arrived to make the latest exchange was pure bad luck. It was just as well Spuggie took no chances on the job and carried an emergency portkey with him, otherwise he never would have got away. It worked well enough, but he would always envy those flash bastards that could apparate.
Still, he was pleased with his choice of hiding place, a mid-terrace in a dingy part of east London; an anonymous house in an anonymous street. Spuggie was quite sure he was safe, not least because the area was absolutely packed with Muggles. No-one, not even the Aurors, would dare to try and nab him here; the risk of exposure was far too great. Even so, he had put reinforced locking charms on the doors and windows, and he rarely ventured outside. Of course, the Muggles that owned this particular house had not been keen to turn it over. Spuggie, for his part, had insisted. The pair of them were now safely tucked away in the cellar, and would stay that way for as long as he kept topping up the body-bind curse. Yes, Spuggie was nicely set up, for as long as it took for the heat to die down.
The doorbell rang again. This time, it sounded like whoever was out there was leaning on the buzzer. He risked a quick peek out through the yellowing net curtains, just in case the Aurors had managed to track him down. Not that they could possibly find him, of course. Spuggie congratulated himself on his cleverness once again. Oh, yes - Spuggie Rugforth was more than a match for the Ministry’s so-called finest.
Standing on the street outside the front door was a small boy, probably nine or ten years old. He was dressed in grubby Muggle shorts and what appeared to be some sort of sports shirt. Probably one of those weird ‘foot-ball’ teams. He shook his head. Honestly, eleven grown men kicking a ball about. How strange could you get?
The boy must have seen the curtains twitch. “Come on, Mister! Open up!” he shouted. “I’ve kicked me ball inter yer back yard. Can I ‘ave it back?”
Spuggie sighed, and resigned himself to having to deal with the boy. Letting him scream blue murder on the doorstep would attract far too much attention, and after all, there was plenty more room in the cellar. He’d be as quick as possible, then he could get back to his fantasies about Glenda Chittock and her molten chocolate voice. He climbed to his feet, tucked his wand into his y-fronts, scratched absentmindedly at his backside, and wrapped his dressing gown around him. He shuffled into the hallway, muttered the incantation to remove the locking charm, and opened the door. The small boy gave him a winning smile.
Of course, if Spuggie had really been more than a match for the Ministry’s finest, it might have occurred to him that the small boy sounded rather strange, almost like someone doing an impression of a child’s voice. He might also have wondered why, if there really was a ball in the yard, the child hadn’t simply hopped over the fence and retrieved it. Indeed, someone with better developed observational skills than Spuggie may have thought it curious that the child had one hand carefully hidden behind his back.
Unfortunately for Spuggie, he didn’t notice any of these things. He did, however, notice the familiar noise coming from the living room. He looked over his shoulder, wondering if he was going mad. It sounded very much as though someone was using floo powder, but that was impossible. That was a Muggle fireplace, it wasn’t connected to the floo network. Then there were two soft ‘pops’ and when Spuggie looked back towards the open doorway, the small boy was flanked by two adults, a man and a woman. All three were pointing wands at his head. As Spuggie fumbled for his own wand, another two people, one of whom had red hair and freckles, spilled out of the living room behind him. He was completely surrounded.
The small boy smiled sweetly at Spuggie. “Hello, Mr Rugforth!” he said, in a distinctly grown-up voice. “My name is Harry Potter, and these are my colleagues from the Auror Office. If you wouldn’t mind accompanying us to the Ministry, we have a few questions to ask you. Oh, but before we do, perhaps you wouldn’t mind dropping your wand?”
Spuggie dropped his wand.
The following morning, the capture team spent a lively couple of hours discussing Spuggie Rugforth’s apprehension with their colleagues. Officially, proper procedure was to debrief the rest of the Aurors. It ensured that any useful tactics or points of improvement were explained and understood. Unofficially, reliving the excitement and sharing every triumph helped to bond them together. Times like these reinforced the close-knit atmosphere that was one of the things Harry loved the most about his job.
“I’m not sure you make a very convincing little boy, Harry,” said Hestia, as she sipped her coffee. “I swear, if you’d carried on speaking like that much longer, I might not have been able to aim my wand for laughing.”
Harry was leaning back in his chair with his feet on the desk. “I’ll make a note to look up some voice-changing spells,” he told her, grinning.
“Did you see Spuggie’s face when Harry told him to drop his wand, Hestia?” asked Tarquin Webb, one of the two junior Aurors involved, “I thought he might actually wet himself.”
“Yeah, it was brilliant,” chipped in Ron. “When me and Marcus got into the hallway, I swear I could see Spuggie deciding if he could take us all on.” Marcus Corrigan, another junior Auror and the final member of the team, nodded in agreement.
“Sorry to interrupt,” said Gawain, sticking his head out of his office. “Harry and Ron, could I have a word please.”
Harry shot Ron a questioning glance as they stood up, but Ron simply shrugged in return. Hestia beamed at them broadly as they headed through the door to the Head Auror’s office. Ben was already there, looking pleased as punch. Harry was immediately suspicious.
“Ben tells me the Rugforth operation went smoothly last night,” commented Gawain, as he sat down at his desk. “I just wanted to clarify a few details with you. Consider it an additional debrief.”
“Sure,” said Harry, warily.
“How did you locate Spuggie?”
“He disappeared from Connolly’s warehouse far too quickly considering he can’t apparate, and we had jinxes up so we knew no-one took him side-along,” explained Harry. “I reckoned he must have used an illegal portkey, and the Portkey Office confirmed they’d picked one up in Bethnal Green at about the right time. Then I canvassed the area until I found a likely property that I thought he might be holed up in, a house owned by an elderly couple who hadn’t been seen for a few days. It’s a close community. People were worried.”
“Are they okay?”
“The couple? Yeah, we had them checked over at St Mungo’s before the Obliviators saw them. They’ll be fine. Dehydrated and bruised, but otherwise no serious harm done.”
“That’s good news,” Gawain nodded. “So once Harry had found him, you ran the surveillance operation, Ron?”
“Yeah. Textbook stuff, really. It only took a couple of days to confirm it was Spuggie. He had no idea we were there.”
“And who designed this capture plan?” asked Gawain, picking up the familiar piece of parchment and peering at it carefully.
“It was a joint effort, really,” said Ron. “We just had to bring it all together.”
“It isn’t standard protocol to attempt a capture actually in a house. What made you suggest it?”
“We thought about trying to lure him outside, but about the only bright thing Spuggie did was to hole up in a Muggle area. We both felt it was safest from a secrecy point of view to go in instead,” explained Ron.
“Ron’s surveillance showed he had several different locking enchantments set up,” chimed in Harry. “They wouldn’t have been difficult to break but it would have been really noisy. We decided it would be easiest just to try and get him to open the door himself. The bonus of that was we got him away from the fireplace for long enough for Ron and Marcus to get in via the floo.”
“Ah yes. That was ingenious. Not many people would think of connecting a Muggle fireplace to the Floo network.”
Harry had a flashback to half the Weasley family blasting their way out of the the fireplace at Number 4, Privet Drive, a few years earlier, and smiled to himself as he explained. “I checked it out from the roof in my Animagus form and confirmed that Spuggie hadn’t thought of it either. There wasn’t any protection on it at all.”
“Once we had him surrounded, it was game over,” concluded Ron. “Spuggie isn’t the sharpest tool in the box, but he knows a lost cause when he sees one, so he came quietly.”
“So, if I was to summarise what you’ve just told me, the entire operation was as a result of your work?” asked Gawain. “Your research, your surveillance, your capture plan.”
“Erm... yeah, I suppose so,” said Harry, running his hand through his hair.
“It’s very impressive. And it isn’t the only thing that’s caught my eye. Ben and I have been reviewing your recent case files, and the standard of your work is consistently excellent. Certainly above and beyond what I would expect to see in a trainee.” Gawain nodded to Ben, before broadly smiling at the two younger wizards. “Yes, I think I’ve seen enough. Ron Weasley and Harry Potter, I’m delighted to confirm that effective today, your training is complete, and you are both promoted to the role of Junior Auror. There’s a reasonable pay increase to go with the new job title. You’ll get an owl with the details in the next few days. Congratulations. It’s very well deserved.”
Both Harry and Ron were delighted with the news. “I can’t wait to tell Hermione!” Ron said, as they got back to their desks. Harry suppressed a groan as he anticipated another disturbed night. Ron and Hermione’s room was directly above his own. “But I think I’ll wait and surprise Mum when I see her at the weekend. You don’t mind not telling her, do you?”
“No, of course. I just wish I could be there too.” Harry didn’t even try to keep the regret out of his voice. On Saturday, the Weasleys were gathering at The Burrow to celebrate Percy’s engagement to his girlfriend Audrey. Harry had tried to swap his night shift, but had found no takers.
“Yeah, shame that. Ginny take it okay when you told her?”
Harry shrugged. If there was anyone that he didn’t want to talk to about his relationship with Ginny, it was Ron. “She seemed to.”
Fortunately, Ron didn’t have any desire to press Harry on the subject. He had far more important things on his mind. “Fancy a celebratory lunch at the Leaky?” he asked, checking his watch.
Thinking about Tom’s famous fish and chips made Harry realise how hungry he was. He picked up his cloak. “Great idea. You’re buying though.”
“Me? Why?” Ron looked puzzled.
“It’s obvious isn’t it? You’ve just had a pay rise,” pointed out Harry, as they left the office.
As soon as Harry got home from work, he bolted up the stairs to his room and sat down in front of his mirror.
“Ginny!” he shouted. “Ginny? Are you there?”
He heard the creak of the stairs in the tiny cottage, and sure enough, Ginny’s face appeared in the mirror. Her hair was scraped back, and she was still wearing her training gear. Harry realised she had probably only just returned from the Harpies stadium.
“Harry? I heard you shouting. Is something wrong?” Ginny looked worried.
“No, nothing’s wrong. It’s good news.” He grinned at her. “Guess what? I got promoted today!”
Ginny’s face lit up. “Oh, Harry! That’s fantastic news! Well done!”
“Are you doing anything tonight? I thought maybe I could apparate over and we could go to dinner to celebrate.”
Ginny looked pained. “I’m sorry, love, but I can’t. You’re lucky you caught me, actually. I only popped home quickly to pick up some clothes and sort my hair out, then I’ve got to go straight back the stadium. There’s a reporter from Witch Weekly coming to interview us about the role of skincare products in the life of the professional sportswitch.” She pulled a face. “Honestly, who reads that crap?”
“Your mum, I think.”
Ginny laughed. “You’re probably right. I could make tomorrow, though?” she asked hopefully.
Now it was Harry’s turn to look pained. “No, that’s when my night shifts start.”
“Oh, of course.” Ginny went quiet for a moment, and when she met Harry’s eyes, he could see the disappointment there. “It’s such a shame you can’t come to the party. Isn’t there anyone that could swap the shift with you?”
“No. I asked around but Ron beat me to it. Don’t tell your mum, but he totally forgot about the whole thing. He had to beg Justin to swap with him, and there wasn’t anyone else who could do it. I suppose being Percy’s brother trumps being Percy’s sister’s boyfriend.”
Ginny sighed. “This whole ‘making more time for one another’ thing isn’t going particularly well, is it?”
“No. But the ‘not shouting at each other about it’ thing seems to be working.”
“Well, that’s progress at least,” replied Ginny, her face relaxing once more. “I’ll come down to London one night next week when your shifts have changed. We’ll celebrate properly then.”
“I’ll be looking forward to it. Although are you sure you’ll have time?”
“I’ll make time,” said Ginny firmly. “We promised to work at it, so I’m working at it. And I love you.”
Late on the evening of the party, Harry sat at his desk, flicking listlessly though his open cases. There was absolutely nothing else happening. As much as he loved his job, he couldn’t help wondering what the hell he was doing sitting in the office when the rest of his family was toasting Percy and Audrey’s engagement. As the clock ticked towards one o’clock, he began to wonder if he could get away with sneaking down to Magical records on the pretext of retrieving an old file and having a nap.
“Harry? Justin?.” said Ben, snapping Harry out of his torpor. “Looks like Dave’s got something for us.” Ben was looking at the parchment that was pinned next to his desk. As Harry watched, a message appeared, scrawled in splotchy blue ink. DCI Tudor was using the charmed fountain pen that Ben had given to him.
Ben - It’s extremely urgent that we speak. I’m waiting by the mirror. DT
Before the message was even completed, Ben was out of his seat and striding across the room. Harry and Justin followed him into the Nexus, to find the skeletally thin Muggle policeman already peering back at them from the largest mirror. He looked worried.
“Thank goodness. I was afraid you wouldn’t get the message in time,” he said, breathing a sign of relief.
“What’s happened? Another robbery?”
DCI Tudor shook his head. “No - or at least, not yet. It’s connected though. Uniform picked up Constantino Papadakis this evening. You remember, he was one of the two non-wizards who left fingerprints at the scene of your first robbery?”
Ben nodded vigorously. “Yeah, I remember.”
“He was driving a van full of stolen goods. Nothing from your robberies,” clarified DCI Tudor, quickly when Ben looked up sharply. “It looks like he was fencing for someone else, which is no surprise. With his record, he’s probably going down for a decent stretch, so Hounslow CID leaned on him hard to see what they could get out of him, on the understanding of a shorter sentence. When he started spilling his guts about our friend Jugson, they called me in to have a crack at him because I’ve got that name flagged. It turns out that Papadakis reckons there’s a robbery planned for tonight, a pub just outside Windsor this time, called the Rose and Crown.”
Ben’s eyes lit up with excitement, but his voice remained level. “Do you think he’s credible?”
DCI Tudor bobbed his head from side to side, looking non-committal. “Hard to say. It’s definitely the sort of place Jugson likes - owner lives alone on the premises and it’s very busy, especially over the weekend. There will be a lot of money there tonight. On the other hand, the only robbery we can definitely place him at is the first one. We didn’t get any prints from the other crime scenes, so he might not even have been involved in any of the others. Like I said, we leaned on him pretty hard, so it could easily be a bullshit attempt to talk his way out of a cell. But if he’s telling the truth....”
Ben nodded and finished the sentence, grinning broadly. “If he’s telling the truth it would be our biggest collar in eighteen months. We’ll check it out. We’re not achieving anything sat around the office anyway.”
Ben took the address of the pub from DCI Tudor, and as the Muggle policeman’s mirror faded to black, he turned to Harry.
“Come on - grab your cloak. Let’s get out there.”
“What? With no plan and no backup?” asked Harry.
“No time. If this thing is happening, it’s happening now. We’ll just run perimeter surveillance, and if it looks like the intelligence is sound, we’ll call in the cavalry.” As he was half way towards the door, Ben turned and looked at Justin. “Come on, Justin! Get your arse in gear! We haven’t got all day.”
“I’m only a trainee!” yelped Justin. “I haven’t done any field work yet!”
“Then it’s about time you did. You’ve been here nearly a year now. Unless you’d rather spend all night shuffling files?”
Justin paused for half a heartbeat, and then scrambled out of his chair, nearly tripping over his own feet in his haste to grab his cloak.
Ben continued his off-the-cuff briefing on the way to the apparition point. “You know the M.O., Jugson’s a sadistic bastard so he won’t be in a hurry. We should have time to pin him down; that’s if he’s there at all, of course. As soon as we arrive, make sure your wands are drawn. Then we’ll find cover and assess the situation.”
They apparated to within about fifty metres of the pub, and approached from the cover of a line of parked cars opposite. It was a warm summer night, and the cloudless sky was sprinkled with starlight. Harry never even noticed; he was too busy assessing his surroundings, picking out the tactical strengths and weaknesses.
“I’d still feel better if we had some sort of plan,” he muttered under his breath.
“Sometimes you just have to trust your instincts, Harry,” Ben told him, sounding irritated. “Worst case, there are only two of them we have to worry about. We know that from the evidence at the first scene. Stun any Muggles and focus on the ones with wands.”
The pub itself was a large, half-timbered building with a thatched roof. There was an open, grassy area to the front where a number of picnic tables stood, parasols collapsed like soldiers standing to attention. The garden was bounded by a couple of large trees to one side, and an overgrown hedge to the other. At first glance, all seemed quiet. Then, through one of the downstairs windows, Harry realised he could see tiny blue flickers of wand-light.
“They’re already here, Ben,” Harry whispered, worried. He felt unprepared and totally exposed. “Shouldn’t we send for back-up now?”
Ben nodded, never taking his eyes off the wand-light. “Yes. I think now might be a good time.” He summoned his enormous bear Patronus, before dividing it into several parts and sending each bounding off into the night.
“How long will they be?” asked Justin. He sounded terrified. Harry didn’t blame him. Two of the most wanted dark wizards in the country were in that pub.
“Not long. Less than ten minutes,” Ben was reassuringly confident. “We just need to sit tight, and make sure Jugson doesn’t get away. Let’s get Anti-Disapparation jinxes set on the perimeter while we wait. Spread out and keep to the shadows.”
He moved off to the left, while Harry and Justin headed right. Within seconds, Harry could see a faint glow from the trees on the far side of the picnic tables as Ben began to set his jinxes.
“You start here,” whispered Harry to Justin. “I’ll keep moving.” Justin nodded and Harry could see his wand shaking. He hoped that Justin’s jinxes would hold.
Leaving Justin behind, Harry crept on, clinging to the shadow of the hedgerow. He realised it would take him a little closer to the building than was totally ideal, but his only other option was to move behind the hedge and lose his line of sight to the other two Aurors. Crossing his fingers, he decided to stay on the inside of the hedge.
It was a very bad decision. As he stole just a couple of feet nearer to the pub, a terrible wailing sound ripped the night apart; he had triggered a Caterwauling Charm. For just a moment, Harry was back in Hogsmeade on the night before the final battle. Then, he saw two quick flashes of green light inside the pub, and second later, five cloaked figures raced out of the front door. Their wands were drawn, and they were firing curses indiscriminately. Harry just about had time to register that this was considerably more firepower than anyone had expected before he had to start parrying spells.
From the other side of the building, he could hear Ben shouting. “Take cover, quickly!”
Harry started to pull back towards a line of parked cars opposite the pub. To his left, he could see Justin doing the same, both of them blocking curses in such quick succession that there was no time to mount any sort of attack of their own. Harry saw one of the unknown wizards attempt to disapparate.
“They’ve put up jinxes!” he shouted to his friends, as he ducked behind a picnic table. “We’re going to have to blast our way out!”
At his word, the barrage of spells increased. With only a few metres left to go before the relative safety of the cars, Harry saw Justin go down under a hail of red curses. Ben had seen it too. “Harry! Can you get to him?” Harry looked up to where his mentor was duelling two wizards at once, and felt the involuntary lurch to go and help. Then a fresh hail of curses forced him to focus. “Quickly, Harry!”
“Protego Maxima!” Harry called. An umbrella shaped blue shield erupted from his wand, and he angled it in the direction of his opponents, before running towards Justin in its shelter. The force of the curses hitting the shield almost knocked him over. “Justin!” he yelled, “Are you OK?”
Justin was conscious, but his face was deathly pale and contorted in agony. “No! My arm!” he grunted. Harry looked down, and saw Justin’s wand arm, hanging limply and covered with blood below a blackened wound.
“Bloody hell! Let’s get you out of here.”
Taking Justin by his good arm, Harry hauled him back towards the cars, pulling them both to cover. Seconds later, Harry’s shield charm broke and the bombardment resumed with renewed vigour.
“Can you do anything?” asked Harry, desperately.
Justin switched his wand to his left hand. “I think so. It might not be much, but I can at least give you some cover to start hitting back. Protego!” he shouted, producing a decent shield charm. Harry watched him grimace with pain as he did so, and realised the effort that Justin needed to put in to cast even a simple spell.
Under the cover of Justin’s shield charms, Harry was able to produce more offensive spells, and at least prevent their attackers making any further ground. He took a second to look for Ben, and saw him still hurling spells at the two wizards on the other side of the garden. One of them ducked to avoid a violet-coloured curse, and as he did so, the light from a street lamp caught his face. Harry realised it was Mortitius Jugson.
Ben deflected a stunner from Jugson but it knocked him off balance. The other dark wizard saw his chance, and unleashed a stream of green light. Harry realised with a jolt that they were now fighting to kill. Ben narrowly avoided it by twisting violently to the left. He brought his wand around in a complete arc as he did so and fired his own killing curse back at the unknown wizard. It struck him square in the chest. The gang member collapsed to the floor, as though every bone in his body had suddenly crumbled.
Enraged by the loss of his lieutenant, Jugson upped the rate of his onslaught against Ben, but Harry could see Ben’s gold tooth glinting in the lamp light. Ben was smiling. As Harry shot off several more curses towards the wizards grouped by the picnic tables, he realised that this was what Ben lived for - the danger and the thrill as much as the sense of duty.
Now that it was one-on-one, the duel between Ben and Jugson became much more focused. Harry could see that Ben was on the back foot; Jugson’s attack was more vicious, more effective. Ben’s smile only broadened as, for just a split second, he appeared to drop his guard. He began to spin on the spot, as though to disapparate.
Quick as a flash, Jugson’s wand whipped through the air. “Avada Kedavra!” he cried, an unmistakeable sense of victory in his voice. The flash of green light caught Ben on the shoulder, and he too collapsed.
But Harry knew what had just happened. He thought back to that day in Kingsley’s office, when the Minister of Magic had used the Relinquombrus charm to so thoroughly humiliate Ron. Ben was just fine.
“No, no he isn’t,” Harry re-assured him. “It’s okay. I saw Kingsley do this once. It’s just a spell that leaves behind a decoy copy. He apparated away as he cast it. He did it to gain the advantage, he’ll move back in behind Jugson, any second now.” Even as he spoke, Harry felt a little less certain. The seconds ticked past. Ben should have appeared by now. “Come on, Ben! What are you playing at?”
“Harry, I don’t think that’s what happened,” said Justin, cautiously.
A fresh volley of curses screamed overhead. Justin attempted to cast yet another shield charm, but Harry could see that it was considerably weaker than the last. Justin’s strength was fading fast.
“Yes it is! It has to be!” Harry told him trying to convince himself as much as Justin. He fired a hasty combination of hexes and jinxes towards the picnic tables, too concerned to really aim properly. He watched as Jugson stalked towards Ben’s body and kicked it over.
“Harry, I think Ben’s...”
“No! Shut up, Justin! It’s a spell! I told you!” Harry knew he sounded increasingly desperate. He knew that Ben should have apparated back in by now, knew that Ben’s shadow form should have melted away, knew that something had gone horribly wrong, but he couldn’t, wouldn't admit it.
A voice from the far end of the garden rang out with glee. “Come on, boys! We can have the others too!”
The hail of curses aimed at the car seemed to intensify. All the windows were smashed, and there was smoke coming from under the bonnet. Justin tried to cast another shield, but nothing happened. He leaned against the car, breathing heavily. It was four on one, and Harry knew he couldn‘t hold out much longer.
Then, there was a loud crack, followed by another, and another, and another. Gawain was there, Hestia and Jeremy too, Ron and Tarquin and several others, all firing curses and engaging Jugsons’s gang.
“Quick!” shouted one of the gang. “There’s a weak point in the jinxes over here!” He was standing by the hedge where Harry had triggered the Caterwauling Charm before he could set his own wards. The wizard disapparated with a loud and desperate pop. His cronies began to retreat to the far right side of the garden and disapparated in quick succession. Jugson was the last to go, shooting one final curse at Ben’s prone form as he did so.
As soon as the curse fire stopped, Harry was up and running. He sprinted away from the car, away from Justin, and hurtled towards where Ben lay. Hestia was already there, kneeling by his side.
“Come on! Quickly!” he screamed at her. “We have to get him to St Mungos! What are you waiting for?”
Hestia looked up at him, her eyes wet with tears.
“It’s too late, Harry. He’s dead.”
A/N - I really hope you enjoyed this chapter - it's one of my favourites! Please please please do leave me a review to let me know what you think. I appreciate each and every one of them:-) Thanks as ever are due to my wonderful beta reader, CambAngst. He give up a lot of time to help me, alongside writing his own novel, Harry Potter and the Conspiracy of Blood, which is absolutely fantastic. Go read it.
Thanks also to WeasleyTwinMom for her advice on the warnings needed for this chapter. Much appreciated!
And finally, for anyone not familiar with the British Police system, CID stands for Criminal Investigation Department. Every UK police force has a CID, and all British plain-clothes detectives belong to their force’s CID.