Chapter 10: Tipping Icebergs
Bellatrix resided inside the ancient and long abandoned house of Black, remaining the sole survivor of her bloodline. She possessed no kin of any form, save her pureblood brethren and allies. In a sense she was a queen of sorts, hailing over a generation new and old dedicated to their cause. She was a long surviving monarch, though she could never match the drive and ambition of her former master.
Never had she thought that she would have outlive her master, her Lord; when he had died there’s been no one as pained as her, as angry as her. She could not forgive, she would not forget, the bitterness to that day, when damned Potter shothim down, revolted inside her tampered mind though it was already corrupted past the point of no return.
We all have our reasons for what we do.
The burning rage of betrayal and disappointment lent itself to defining the very core of her being, and she remained, as she always would, loyal to the cause. The world, wizards and muggles alike, none of them had any idea what was to happen, how the tendrils of their ambitions would unravel, choking each and every one of them until the very last gasps of breath escaped their cold blue lips. And then they would ask, plead for the times when the Dark Lord had risen and offered them his merciful grace. The world had not deserved him, she told herself now as she often did, that is why he is gone.
The others, those who had called themselves Death Eaters in the past, they remained, very much like her, loyal to the cause, to themselves, to her.
But Bellatrix knew that to be united by such hatred was a fragile alliance at best.
There came wafting into the room a boy, dragging a man and woman, both bound from behind. Bellatrix, for a moment, studied him, the callous treatment of his prisoners, the smooth scar running down his right eye and to the left side of his face given to him once by her. His hair swept over to the right, black as the pitch dark, and his eyes possessed the same passion and cruelty hers did. Once he had been her prisoner, a weak wretched son of a family she had killed. He had cowered for her mercy like a miserable oaf, but she had broken that spirit, and here he stood now, renamed Rigel, for the brightest star in the Orion constellation, a mix of her ambitions and his own twisted hatred. Her acolyte.
He viewed her as his mother and though she admired this strange form of loyalty, never had she considered him anything close to family.
“I brought the idiots that failed.” Rigel spoke, dropping the man and woman down with a thud. Instantly the man staggered away from him and to her, cowering beneath her and kissing her feet, pleading for his life. The woman sat there, looking as though she’d been beaten useless.
“Knock it off, Briggs” She said harshly to her partner, “If we’re to die, at least face it with some dignity.”
“I won’t, Marie!” Briggs continued pleading for his life in a sniveling disgusting way, and so out of pity Bellatrix raised her wand and killed him. A green flash of light; Marie cringed slightly. Rigel smirked as his body fell lifelessly against the ground.
“In his defense, the Weasley brats escaping was mostly my fault.” The woman said quietly, eyes downcast “You should’ve killed me first.”
“I merely rewarded his weakness with death” Bellatrix hissed, “Though you’re not far from having your failure rewarded as well. Make it worth my while and I might suffice with merely punishment.”
“The girl and her brother…they left before we had a chance to-”
Her eyes blazed. “Why on earth were they going there?”
“I…I don’t know… Are you going to kill me?” Marie fell into a stone cold silence. Rigel leant down to her level and slowly caressed her neck from behind, “I want you to think hard, beautiful” He purred in her ear, “Did they mention anything about what they knew?”
“I believe…the girl said something about her parents and magic. She claimed to not know anything, though. And she thought we were working for Malfoy.”
“See…now that wasn’t too bad, was it?” He commended her softly, stroking her hair. “You can go now.” Marie glanced up at his face. “Really?”
Bellatrix cleared her throat. “You will…get an opportunity to redeem yourself soon. For now, get out my sight.”
Marie stood up fearfully, bowed several times with an excessive amount of thank yous and dashed out of the building with her blond hair whipping behind her. Rigel blew her a kiss before turning back towards Bellatrix and dwelling into a deep bow.
“Cut the formalities and tell me why you’re really here.”
“I came to inform you that your darling nephew has gotten himself captured. Apparently, he’d also been Weasely hunting. Just at the wrong place.”
“The idiot!” She roared, “How many times have I told him to stay where he can’t get himself killed! If we lose him then-”
“Concerning that…There’s been a recent change in priorities.”
“Commands from above have changed. A reliable source has confirmed…the rumors. They’re all true.”
Bellatrix was not convinced. “How reliable was this source?”
“Reliable enough to bring us evidence” He held a broken wand. Eleven inch complete, made of holly and possessing a phoenix feather core. Potter’s wand.
Her voice rose. “You mean…”
“Congratulations my lady. As it turns out, we no longer have any need for your nephew.”
“Then you know what to do.”
Smartly dressed officials clamored, walking briskly about the department. Bands of suits and robes crowded around various areas, chatting. A toilet had exploded and erupted into flames on the seventh floor, and for some bizarre reason it was to take a team of four highly trained magical beast herders to get it back under control. A goblin had puked all over the main entrance. Seeing as the day was as hectic as ever, no one bothered to pay any attention to their inconspicuous arrival.
“I bet Urban knew about it all along.” She vented, charging, as they got off the elevator, “I bet he knows everything and yet–”
“Keep your voice down” Hugo chided, with a nervous glace to the side. “Merlin Rose… you want to tell everyone what we’ve been up to?”
“Kind of. It might help with the secret army I’m assembling in my head to overthrow the ministry.”
“That’s not funny.”
With a firm seize, he grabbed her wrist, throwing her off her pace and making her unconditionally stop; then forcing his way forward, he stood directly in front of her. Her eyes fell downcast at his tightly clenched jaw and his anxious features made her ease up.
Prat. She should’ve been grateful to him, it was true, but it annoyed her how he was always so right. No matter how they looked at it, barging into the Head’s office demanding answers and threatening mutiny had more potential of getting her detained, than, per say, answers. No doubt Urban’d play off the whole Harry Potter being alive thing as a joke, at best, and pretend he had honestly no idea what they were talking about, and then, seeing them so desperate, exploit their weak state by assigning her even more duties and paperwork, all the while pointing and cackling meanly. And this was at best.
The worst case scenario involved her ending up on the streets and losing all opportunity they had to learn anything about their parents or the people after them or research on the cure. And if she wasn’t an auror, Hugo would be sent back to Azkaban, which was out of the question. So many things…there were so many things at stake here with her job. And then there was Al, of course, who deserved more answers than she could give at the moment.
She was being an idiot.
Swatted his grip away, she stuffed her hands in her pockets, her face softening to a worn shade. Embarrassment flooded over her, taking the place of anger. “Sorry, I’m just…tired, I guess. Of being a dog. His dog.”
“You know I understand. But games aren’t won by not playing, Rosie…you get that right?” He was looking at her, awaiting confirmation that they were on the same page. Beneath the subtext though, she could sense the string of unspoken words floating around.
This job, this game…Urban’s the golden ticket to our goals. We need him on our side if we’re to get anywhere. You have to play your part, the loyal ministry dog, until we have what we need. It’s their game; so we have to follow their rules.
These unspoken words grated against her ears and nerves until she had no choice but to accept them. So, sure, she’d play along, a loyal ministry dog, but she would counter every lie, every deception, with one of her own. And she would leave the checkered board without a single drop of blood, sweat, tear or weakness.
“Just don’t expect me to play fair, then. You know I can’t win without a healthy dose of cheating.”
“Don’t get me started.” He laughed, “But like you said, there’s really no such thing as a fair fight when your life’s on the line.”
They sat in Urban’s office, on the chaise lounge, feeling as insignificant as ever. He disinterestedly flipped through files whilst making detached small talk, asking useless questions about what they did over their ‘vacation’.
“Your aunt is doing well, I presume?”
“And your cousins?”
“The ones we saw.”
“Good.” Urban gave an impartial nod, eyes intentionally ignoring them. The biggest indicator of his lack of interest was that the pen in his hand wasn’t scribbling down candid notes for the report he’d have to file later on their return, from which Rose could only assume that anything they said wouldn’t actually be going on the record.
Either that or he was just being his lazy bum self.
But beneath his dry tone and unconcerned demeanor, Rose could sense a private curiosity for their abrupt and early return. She couldn’t help but feel a tinge of satisfaction to know that, occasionally, she grated on his nerves just as much as he did her.
“Anything else I should probably know about?”
Oh let’s see… we narrowly escaped merciless attackers, discovered a breach taking place in the ministry’s security, and may have possibly uncovered the truth behind the biggest cover-up of the decade, but aside from that, no, not really.
“I ate so much, we ran out of food” Hugo joked, chatting animatedly about what they ‘did’ over their vacation. He pulled the façade off so smoothly, so fluently, that Rose could almost picture him as the innocently cute little boy he was pretending to be. Not to say that he wasn’t innocent and cute, which he was, but also far cleverer than people often gave him credit for. He made up an excellent web of stories, consisting of them going to a local quidditch match, watching fireworks, apparently, she, Rose, met a nice boy and went on a date (she didn’t know how he could make this part sound genuinely convincing), but then he dumped her and she was upset for, like, a day and they went to the park where they ran into the boy again and she hid behind a bush for the entirety of the afternoon and-
“That’s…err…quite a bit out of you” She said with a nervous laugh, pressing down on his foot to warn him to shut up (Because aside from tarnishing her personal dignity in the most excruciatingly humiliating way possible, he was making the lies out to be far more convoluted than she deemed realistic). “I’m sure the Head didn’t need to know all of that.”
“You see, sir,” He explained, “Rosie here got quite enough time to cool off her hot little head, so that’s why we decided to return so early.”
She clenched her jaw. The brat…
“That’s right.” She agreed, with a smile even, “I’m feeling loads better. I’m sure I’ll be less of a pain now.”
“I trust you found what you were looking for, then?” He asked dryly.
“Exactly what was it that we were supposed to find?”
“I was hoping you’d tell me, Weasley.” His eyes flashed over hers for a fraction of a second, and she could see a sliver of a smile. Prick.
A speck gleamed in his irises as he surveyed her impassive face.
“Oh…I see, so you didn’t find it then. Whatever it is you were looking for? And you came crawling back to me, huh? What’s the matter, did you get too distracted by your boy troubles or was it just too difficult without my aid?”
“You seem to forget that I work here, sir-” Her voice came out like shards of glass, razor sharp and eager to mar, “-and that whether or not by choice or willingness we’d would’ve had to come back eventually, you know, in case you decided to send people after us or something–” Hugo nudged her gently from the side, warning her to tone her anger down. “–sir”
“Good. Good.” A self-satisfied smirk rested on his face. “Rest assured I would never take such a drastic resort. But you should probably know, the loyalty of my subordinates is very important to me. Even the particularly dishonest ones who steal keys and sneak into unauthorized areas to vandalize their boss’s files and snoop through private information. I value them most of all.”
Crap. “I suppose I …err shouldn’t be surprised you found out.” She muttered lamely.
“Did you think I wouldn’t?” He coughed, partially amused, partially serious. “Amoral egotistical dictator with a God-complex? Where the hell do you come up with this stuff?”
“Well, it sounded pretty good at the time–”
“–It was just a bit of silliness” Hugo jumped in to salvage the conversation. “Rose was mad that day at you. She wanted revenge, so we snuck into the administration registration department to mess with your files. We shouldn’t have done that. We’ve sorry. I’m sorry–”
“–Of course. I’m sure that was the only reason you had to steal my keys and break into an unrestricted area, which I hope you know, under any other Head, would be grounds for detainment. I’m sure there’s nothing here that you’re not telling me.” He stared at them dauntingly, waiting for a confession. Or tears, maybe.
They sat with their heads bowed, refusing to indicate anything but shame. Rose refued to indicate even that much. Urban cleared his throat. “Consider the matter dropped then… for now, seeing as we have a more pressing concern to discuss. Close the doors, Weasley. I doubt you’ll want anyone else to hear this.”
“Malfoy’s been captured?” Hugo echoed, in a state of pure shock, “He’s been captured trying to sneak into the ministry?”
“So lemme get this straight–” Rose suppressed a laugh. “–Malfoy actually came here looking for us, without a wand? And he expected to somehow escape?”
Urban pursed his lips and began explaining. Supposedly, it was only a few nights ago. The fact that there had been no alert guards at the entrance was an affront to the Head himself (Apparently Whitaker had been sleeping on the job, bottle of booze hanging loosely from his hand, dripping and contaminating the ground). Some official had spotted a rugged and unseemly looking man, who didn’t look like he belonged there, snooping around. So naturally when the alarm rang, Urban arrived (likely half dressed with his bloomers hanging out, Rose comically imagined). Malfoy was caught in the attempt to sneak into Rose and Hugo’s room, by means of the ventilation system. He stubbornly stated that he hadn’t come looking for a fight, only his wand, claiming that the Weasleys had stolen it.
“He came all this way…for a wand?”
“Understandable, seeing as there’s no way he could just walk into Ollivanders and just purchase a new one…Wait –don’t tell me, you two…did you–”
Rose and Hugo exchanged a look of shock, surprise, and collapsed into laughter. Huffing and gasping for air, Hugo pulled out the stolen wand, from ages ago, and handed it to Urban, whose face depicted both exasperation and amusement.
“Guess your plan to lure Malfoy to us worked, Hugo.” Rose grinned, wiping a tear from her eye. “Merlin, who’d have thought he was this stupid. Trying to invade the ministry without a wand is like taking a stroll into a dragon’s den butt naked–”
“–nice rhetorical image, Rosie–”
“–you know what I mean.”
“The investigation’s still ongoing at the moment.” Urban said. “He refuses to cooperate with us thus far and we’ve have failed to obtain any sort of information from him about his proceedings.”
Rose blinked, “I don’t understand. Can’t we just shove Veritaserum down his throat and force him to talk?”
“Forcing someone to take Veritaserum is illegal,” Urban coughed. Rose raised an eyebrow. When has that ever mattered to someone like you? “Aside from…err that, he threatened to bite off his own tongue should we attempt to sneak it into his morning pumpkin juice anyway.”
Now that makes more sense.
“That certainly ties your hands, doesn’t it?” Rose mused. Urban frowned, resting his chin on his knuckles. “Normally I would never share this information with someone outside the case, much less you two–”
“And here I thought we were family.”
“Cute, Weasely. No. I fear we’re running out time though. I suspect you’ll find out anyway so I’ll just tell you know. Recently, a case has come up against him, actually quite after he was just captured. The evidence was brought forward by an unknown source. I don’t know how it matches up…”
“For what? Assault? Robbery? Treason?”
“Murder” Urban stated seriously, “He’s being charged for having murdered Harry Potter. There will be a trial, and…if things go the way everyone else in the ministry’s wanting it to… he’s going to get the death penalty. The Dementor’s kiss.”
A thousand thoughts flooded into her mind as her eyes widened in astonishment, no, shock. She dared not look at Hugo for it was likely he wore the same dumbfounded expression.
This was quite a turn of events. Their Uncle Harry’s questionable death had become involved with things even without their pushing.
This makes no sense. We saw his grave. We dug up what should’ve been his carcass. Could this supposed evidence against Malfoy somehow be fabricated?
There was a substantial possibility of that, which raised further questions in her mind. Why would someone be wanting to frame Malfoy for a murder that had apparently never happened? Naturally, she figured Malfoy had enemies besides them, considering the kind of person that he was, but she couldn’t imagine there were people who planned his demise in such an elaborate way.
And for what, exactly? What was the purpose behind it? Urban started talking again so she shook those thoughts to the back of her mind.
“I’ll need your assistance and cooperation, Weasleys.” He looked almost in pain as he said this, “I want you to contribute anything you can to this case. Any sort of information you might have to his character or proceedings. He’s been after you, what, two years now?”
“That’s amiable time to get to know someone.”
Rose couldn’t believe the words that were coming out of his mouth.
“So you don’t think he did it then?” Hugo was in awe, “You don’t think he…killed Harry Potter? And you want us to help him?” Rose noticed a terse twitch on the Head’s face. You’re slipping up, I see. Excellent.
“That’s not what I said.”
“That’s what you implied”
“Don’t put words in my mouth, Weasley. I have no concern with the trivialities of this case. There’s a chance he’s got information the ministry can actually use and I don’t plan to lose that by letting our justice system do away with him. You see… I have a far greater purpose in mind.”
The fact that Urban was willing to help Malfoy, not out of faith in his innocence but for his own ulterior, likely selfish motives, was something Rose had no trouble believing. Now this was a man they could count on to be dishonest. A man so morally ambiguous he had absolutely no sense of attachment to anyone, or anything. A man who wasn’t married to the ministry for loyalty’s sake. A man with his own private agenda, much like them. It was a cheap shot, but even Rose couldn’t resist asking:
“I don’t suppose you’ll actually tell us about these plans of yours, will you?”
“I’m glad we’re finally beginning to see eye to eye.” He chuckled, “After all, if you have your secrets, I don’t see why I’m not allowed to have mine.”
The very bottom floor of the ministry, in previous years, had been designed to detain and temporarily withhold criminals that were part of ongoing investigations and/or case court proceedings. Authorization to the level, was, naturally, denied to any person not part of the investigation and limited to only the few. Seeing as Rose and Hugo had been constant victims/targets of Malfoy, they were officially part of the investigation. Or at least spectators observing it by the Head’s reluctant permission.
A bright white room with a one way, glass wall had a single wooden table in the center of it, with two chairs to its right side and one to its left. The latter was occupied by an unshaven, grimy looking pile of filth, hands tied behind his back.
Formerly known as Draco Malfoy.
For a while, they watched the interrogation take place from the outside. A sandy haired auror, whose name Rose never cared to remember, sat wringing his hands, sweating profusely, looking like someone who’d much rather be somewhere digging up mandrakes than there.
Rose and Hugo strained to hear the subject of their conversation, or at least what was meant to be one, but seeing as Malfoy hadn’t spoken a single time, it was difficult to make out what exactly was going on. There were a lot of inaudible gestures, the sandy haired auror tried to be assertive, but with his awkward and soft personality seemed to be failing miserably. Malfoy’s face showed nothing but amusement, even a twinkle of a smirk at times taunting them, as if to say.
Is that the best you can do?
At last the auror stormed out of the room, entirely fed up. Malfoy looked as though he was just passing time being there, waiting patiently. Did he have people coming for him? Or was he just so cocky that he thought he’d be able to escape?
Rose glanced at Urban, who was busy talking to the frustrated man.
“You must keep your patience in there, Richard, he’s only a man–”
“You have no idea what he’s like! He’s– he’s”
“Abusive? Offensive?” Rose suggested mildly, “An outright pain in the ass?”
Urban shot her a severe look, behave yourself if you’re going to be here, and so she immediately shut up, turning around.
As they discreetly snuck away, Hugo asked her:
“So…you still wanna talk to Malfoy then?”
“What are you talking about? I never said I wanted to in the first place.”
“Oh puh-leaze,” A very comical roll of the eyes, followed by a snort, “It’s written all over your face. And aside from that, we sat in there for an hour and a half and the entire time you didn’t make a peep. When you’re usually that quiet, what does that mean, huh?”
“Wrong. Even in your sleep you talk. So quite fooling around and tell me what we’re going to do. What’s the plan? It better be good too, considering you had over an hour to think of it.”
She smirked. “I came up with several. Which one do you want to hear first?”
It wasn’t finding food that was the problem, for one would imagine Hugo being virtually ready to eat anything at any given moment, but deciding on something that that suited both their requirements. In other words, Rose was tired of watching him live off ice-cream, night and day, and Hugo, who hated vegetables with a passion, refused to go anywhere near a carrot. And being in the ministry all day was starting to give them a rash so they decided to try downtown London. The pastry shop was omitted by default, and so was any correlating to sweets or meat.
“Why are you torturing me?” He cried dramatically, clutching his empty stomach. “I have needs, Rose, needs!”
She waited by the corner, tapping her foot impatiently. “Are you done? I’d like to get something before the turn of the century, please. You know, there’s nice deli over there-”
“I’m not eating grass.”
“Salad is not grass.”
“You’re still not thinking of my needs.”
“For the last time, you are not an actual wolf. You are a boy. A growing boy who needs vegetables to get big and strong. Don’t you want to grow big and strong?”
And there came the pout: upturned lip, protruding brow, scrunched up nose followed by a stubborn folding of the arms.
“You know, I’m so glad we’ve matured.”
“You’re one to talk!” He barked. “At least I can take a crack about my age or height without going all red in the face!”
“Don’t get antsy with me!”
It happened just as Hugo was about to offer a rebuttal, a sudden attack, so abrupt, that it threw her off her train of thought and nearly her feet. Rose hardly had the chance to react as she was enveloped in a tight forced hug from behind. Depletion of a vital life source slowly turned her face blue.
He let go all of a sudden, turning a bright pink, apologizing sheepishly as she gasped for oxygen. “I had no idea you were back in town! Why didn’t you tell me?” (Meanwhile Hugo looked pissed at having been totally ignored. “What am I? The bloody background?”).
“It was actually a bit…unexpectedly decided.” She muttered, rubbing her bruised arms.
“Well no matter” He patted her shoulder. “Who would’ve thought I’d be able to find you in all of London? Isn’t it grand?” He spread his arms our wide, eagle-style, taking a deep breath with his eyes closed. “Don’t you just love this city?”
“I tolerate it.” She said stiffly, “So what are you doing here, then?”
“Me? Oh I, uh, was just delivering something for the Head and on my way back, but I’ve got a bit of free time if you’re up for something. Oh! Oh! Did you hear about Malfoy’s capture, just recently? It’s the biggest story going around since Gilderoy Lockhart passed away and the press is going insane over it–”
“–We’ve heard” Hugo said cuttingly, looking around. “And we’re on the scout for some food right now if you don’t mind…”
This was apparently been the wrong thing to say in the presence of the bright-eyed boy, who eagerly began recommending places they could all go. But Hugo stifled his annoyance in favor of finally getting food, and Rose craved hearing more about what he could tell them of Malfoy and the trial. In a matter of five minutes, they sat at a secluded booth at the back of a diner.
Hugo complained she was infringing on his civil rights as she made two orders of steamed vegetables for them, without asking for his consent, and then took the dessert menu and hid it beneath the seats.
“Well… I don’t reckon Malfoy’s going to make it through the trial–” Tabor chattered, looking through his menu, “–with the massive charges they’ve got against him. From what I’ve heard, he’s probably going to get the death penalty…why didn’t you guys order the beef and chicken combo, it’s delicious!”
“Hugo’s on a health binge.”
The fact that they were discussing sensitive information pertaining to the Malfoy case at an inconspicuous muggle diner helped Rose relax a little; there was little to no chance they would be overhead by a wizard. She decided to make use of the golden opportunity.
“The evidence was delivered by an anonymous source, correct?” She asked, leaning in, whilst Hugo courageously attempted a green bean.
“Yeah, supposedly an envelope was found outside Flora Druitt’s office a few days after he was captured. A bit unfortunate really, seeing as she’s undersecretary to Umbridge, who’s been clinging onto the evidence with her life.”
An envelope? They had to see this fabricated evidence…somehow. Though there was no in hell of that happening if Umbridge was even the teeniest bit involved. She started brainstorming possibilities that would depict as little correlation with them as possible.
“Say Tabor,” she knit her brows, “Could we ask for a favor of you?”
Hugo looked up at her inquisitively, mouth full of broccoli.
Tabor’s eyes lit up. “Sure, Rose. What is it?”
“This Flora Druitt…I think I’ve heard of her.” She mused. “She’s pretty isn’t she?”
He made an odd coughing noise. “I...err…suppose certain people might think so. But what’s that got to do with your favor?”
“This is very important, Tabor” She said seriously, “I wouldn’t ask you to do this if I wasn’t desperate. But the truth is neither me or Hugo have the…err…prerequisites for the task.”
“What? What is it?”
“I need you to ask Flora out.” As soon as the words left her mouth, Tabor began paling. “I don’t…understand.”
“She’ll be more inclined to talk about private information with you if you’re on –oh what’s the phrase– on more than friendly terms.” She explained, “We need to know the contents of that envelope, you have to understand. It’s of the upmost important. Be nice to her, take her to the movies, whatever you have to do to get her to open up to you.” Hugo tactfully refrained from entering the conversation by making sure his mouth was full at all times
“I figured you’d be happy Malfoy’s finally getting what he deserves” he said quietly, “I thought you’d be relieved…”
The truth was that she was neither happy nor relieved.
“I am happy! But…I want to see this evidence before my mind settles on it. I was very close to my uncle–”An obvious lie, she hardly knew the man. “–and I want him to get the justice he deserves in death. I need to know how, how Malfoy killed him. I need…closure.” Her pained voice was more than enough to harness his sympathy.
“I think I understand how you feel.” He said softly, reaching over to touch her shoulder, “I’m…sorry that you have to go through so much. I wish I could do more for you, honestly.” With her face tilted slightly downward, she gave a soft glowing smile, depicting a fair bit of melancholy.
“I knew I could count on you.”
You’re laying it on a bit thick there…
“I’ll let you know as soon as I find anything,” He assured her. The smile stayed imprinted on her features for the rest of their conversation, as they chatted about other unnecessary things. It was only after he left that the fake grin withheld on her face slowly contorted to its regular scowling state.
Hugo leant back in his seat, folding his arms. “Way to utilize your resources”
“You ate all you vegetables” she pointed at his empty plate. “I told you you’d like it you tried them.” He shrugged tiredly
“Well, it helps that I had a good show. A little cheesy though.”
“That wasn’t a compliment, Rose.”
She frowned, etch marks on her forehead. “You had a better method you wished to employ?”
“Weren’t you complaining that you hated how Urban was always manipulating us?” His tone was accusatory, but not enough to guilt trip her.
“There are things we need to know. This is different. I thought you’d understand.”
“Tabor might not be my favorite guy in the world, but that wasn’t nice Rose, especially considering how much he…”
“How much he what?” She asked bitingly.
He fluttered his lashes. “I think you already know.”
Her face flushed.
“Drop it.” She grumbled, turning away. “We have more important things to talk about. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it truly concerns me that someone out there wants Malfoy dead.”
“I feel like we should join up with them.” He joked.
“Don’t be an idiot. That means they’re a threat to us as well. Malfoy’s our only lead right now. We need to know what he knows. Don’t you get it? Someone out there does not want us to learn anything more about what’s going on than we already know.”
“Wait, what do we know, exactly?”
“I have no idea. I think that’s the problem.”
“I want to talk to him”
“Tough luck, Weasley” Urban snorted, “You don’t have the authorization to do that.”
“You can give me authorization, can’t you?”
“And why in all things good and sensible in the world would I do something as idiotic as that?”
“Because he’ll talk to me.” She said wryly, “And I don’t think that’s an opportunity you’d want to pass up.
It was a long shot, no doubt, to make such a bold promise, but the prospect of results, even Urban had to admit, was tempting. He was running out of willing contenders after all.
“Very well, but I’m coming to supervise.”
Hugo would continue watching from the outside. She’d given him the important duty to observe, with his highly honed wolfish senses, all the small ticks Malfoy made, as an indicator of whether he was lying or not. A twitch beneath the eye, clenching of the jaw. Urban was there too, but promised quietly to sit back and just watch. He told her she’d better know what she was doing.
There was a flicker in Malfoy’s eye as she entered the room. He looked up, amused and disgusted, with a wretched sneer sitting atop his face.
“Good grief, Weasley. I was beginning to wonder when you were going to show up. Party’s no fun unless you’re invited after all.”
Had he been…expecting me?
“I’d like my wand back, by the way.”
She pulled up a chair, setting her hands out on the table in front of them, refusing to show any indication of fear or anger. At least he was talking to her though.
“I’d like to ask you something.”
“What?” he laughed, cocking his head to the side, “You’re not going to threaten me? Make me empty promises about freedom and pardon if I cooperate? What kind of auror are you?”
A very, very unlucky one.
“I’m not here to lie to you” She snapped, “And I have no interest in deluding to your psychotic nature or your mind tricks.”
“So you think I’m mental then” It was more of a statement than a question. “A nutbag? You think I killed your uncle and that I’m after you now? Is that it? Are you here to exact revenge?”
Rose tried to swallow the influx of petty emotions rising inside her. She willed herself to remain as calm and level headed as possible.
“I don’t know what I think.” She met his gaze, her voice was wavering. She could feel Urban’s eyes drilling a hole through the back of her head, her brother was probably holding his breath. Everyone was watching her now.
“I want to know the truth. Nothing else.”
He scoffed. “Do you, Weasley? And about what, might I ask? There are a lot of truths that need to be told, a lot of secrets that could tip this iceberg we’ve grown a bit too accustomed to sitting on.”
She didn’t get it. Just what was he deluding to exactly?
“I don’t understand.”
“I would expect no less from a Weasley.”
“Why have you been trying to kill me all this time?”
He tsked, drumming his fingers on the table. “Now, now, just how are we supposed to have a heart to heart when you’re so intent on asking the wrong questions?”
They went around in circles for hours, Malfoy did nothing more than taunt for the entirety of their ‘talk’ and by the end Rose was nearly banging her head against the table. At last Urban pulled her out. Gripping her roughly by the arm, he whispered fiercely: “That was a pathetic waste of time.”
There are a lot of truths that need to be told, a lot of secrets that could tip this iceberg we’ve grown a bit too accustomed to sitting on.
Rose couldn’t help but think about what Malfoy had said, and what he’d meant about asking the right questions. She knew he was an ass, but honestly, what did he have to lose now? He was sitting on death row. What was the point in hiding something?
He was sitting on death row for a murder he knew he didn’t commit. But that didn’t mean he didn’t deserve to pay for his other crimes.
Hugo was a slight disturbed by her way of thinking. “So we’re going to stand back and let him go down for ‘killing’ Uncle Harry? Do you really think that’s right?”
She folded her arms. “If he refuses to help us or tell us anything, I don’t see the point in trying to help him. He can sink with his stupid iceberg for all I care.”
It was too sudden of a change in opinion and apathy was not a pretty color on Rose, especially since Hugo knew she was still very much intrigued. However, with the trial date nearing and the Malfoy chapter in their life coming to a close, or so they hoped, anxieties were rising, inside and outside. The Prophet made him out to worse than ever, and the public was eager to latch onto a scapegoat to blame for the death of their unshakable idol Harry Potter. Inside, officials pressed for viewing privileges to the trial, the testimony of the infamous criminal.
The criminal in question was as ambiguous and detached as ever, refusing even to rise to his own defense. Rose couldn’t figure out what he was playing at. Didn’t he have anything that he cared living for? Did he have a plan to escape?
“Pardon me, do you think you could direct me towards the Auror department?”
Her stream of consciousness interrupted, she glanced up at the intruder. It was a boy, decked out in a sharp looking, well fitted suit, standing over her. Grayish serious looking eyes matched with a sharp protruding chin, hair of a white platinum blond and an expression of confusion and despair written all across the face.
He looks…regal, like a prince or something.
“Um, to the left, third door, then right, across the giant statue of the creepy half naked goblin, and then you take the elevator to the second floor.”
Approximately four minutes passed before she felt the same tap on her shoulder.
“I may or may not have accidentally let loose a horde of flobberworms in the Creature Department.” He admitted sheepishly, pink in the face. His blond hair swept in all directions and he looked a great deal less composed. Rose raised an amused eyebrow. “How the hell’d you get all the way there?”
“I honestly have no clue”
Tucking her files into her bag, she stood up, dusting herself off. “So I’m guessing you need help finding your way, then.
She strolled two paces ahead of him, hands tucked casually in her pockets.
“So what do you need from the auror department, exactly?” She couldn’t help asking; her curiosity had to be sated.
“If you must know, I was formally invited by the Head.” She was a bit thrown off by this. Didn’t Urban have more important things to do about right now than invite guests for tea? Especially teenage boys.
Wow, that sounded weird.
“Dunno. Probably has something to do with my dad.”
Rose glanced back at him. “Is he an Auror?”
“Not a very certain answer.”
“He doesn’t talk much about what he does, really” the boy admitted hesitantly.
Rose started going though the faces of all her co-workers trying to figure out who the supposed father might be. Maybe it was someone she knew. Dawlish? Too old. She was sure Dobbs was single. Whitaker was too ugly, naturally. Urban was omitted by default. Finnegan she knew didn’t have kids. There were a couple others, but she couldn’t recall anyone who looked like– like–
“What’s your name?” She inquired, as they stood side by side waiting for the elevator.
“Scorpius” He turned toward her, holding out his hand. Rose stared at it for a moment.
What kind of God awful name is Scorpius? For some reason she could recall having seen it before somewhere. But where?
“Rose.” She shook his hand. “So who exactly is your–”
“Oi Weasely! I need to talk to you about those files you–” And as if right on cue, Dobbs came running from behind them; Rose hurriedly ushered Scorpius and herself into the elevator, trying to get the doors closed before the menace of man could reach her. She let out a sigh of relief as they closed right on his face.
“Who was that?” Scorpius asked, looking slightly frightened.
“Just another auror” She muttered, hitting the second button with her thumb.
“Yeah…so why do you need to see Urban again?”
“I meant the Head, sorry.”
“Oh….like I said, I reckon it has something to do with my father…” He trailed off, peering at her curiously, “So what do you do here exactly? You look a little young to be an intern…”
“I get my head pounded in by idiots.” She looked at him, with all seriousness, “Repeatedly. Day after day.”
“The guy called you Weasley. Hold on a minute…” He stepped towards her, narrowing her against the wall.
“What do you think you’re–”
“Great Goblins, you’re bloody Rose Weasley!” He exclaimed.
“Great job combining my first and last name.” She remarked dryly, “As much as your genius astounds me, I’d really like it if you’d scoot over there?”
The awestruck boy looked a little dazed. “No way…” He said quietly, staring. “Those magazines were so wrong.”
Her eye twitched dangerously at this. Damn Rita Skeeter! Damn her straight to–
“Why you little…brat!” She grabbed him by the collar.
Sounds of violence and screams could be heard to from inside the elevator. The Head waited patiently.
“AHHH! Get away from me you monster!”
“Apologize this instant or else I’ll–”
The elevator doors opened to reveal poor Scorpius, pressed up against the wall by an inflamed Rose, who had her fist up in the process of getting ready to damage his flinching face.
“Weasley!” Urban barked. “Put the young Mr. Malfoy down now.”
The demonic look from her eyes faded, as her face slowly began to fall. She froze midaction, dropping Scorpius like a rock.
“M-Malfoy?” She stuttered, her face turning blue.
Urban’s lip curled; she wasn’t quite sure if it was in joy or out of sheer viciousness. “In the future Weasley, restrain yourself from manhandling my guests. He will be in and out of here the next couple of days until my business with him is done.” He gestured to Scorpius, who promptly stood and staggered away from the horror stricken girl. “Come, Mr. Malfoy, we have much to discuss.”
And the two walked away, leaving a frozen Rose standing there.
What. Just. Happened?