Chapter 3 : 2- Home, Work and Kidnap
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Harry Potter awoke with a start to the loud crying of a baby. His one year old son, Albus Severus, was hungry or needed changing or whatever else it was that babies cried about. He felt his wife, Ginny, getting up from the bed to tend to the baby. He felt even more tired than he had done when he went to sleep.
His eyes still closed, he tried to think of why that was. The answer then sank unpleasantly into his mind. The night-time raid on a Dark Artefacts dealer that had taken place the previous evening had taken a lot longer then he and the Auror Office had originally intended. Everything from illegally made wands to stolen cursed relics had been found within the man’s basement… after the dealer and his companions had attempted to fight back of course.
Mercifully, The Minister for Magic, Kingsley Shaklebolt, had given Harry permission to have the morning off before meeting with the Department for Magical Games and Sport about the final security details for tomorrow's Quidditch Final.
Harry lay in bed, half asleep, listening to the sound of Ginny singing to baby Albus. He wondered if all mothers naturally came with the gift of a beautiful voice or whether he had just gotten lucky to marry a woman of many talents.
He heard her stop and go downstairs, probably to feed Albus, and began to ponder if he should go down after her. But at that thought he suddenly found himself more comfortable than ever before in the plump, king sized double bed and fell back to sleep.
What felt like mere seconds later he awoke to “Kreacher is sorry, Master Potter, but Kreacher must obey Mistress Potter’s orders.” And sheer cold was splashed across Harry’s face and he fell out of bed with shock. He looked up, brushed the damp jet-black hair out of his face and saw his elderly House Elf, Kreacher; barely a foot tall with sagging brown skin around his thin figure and large leaf-shaped ears and currently standing on Harry’s now soaked bed holding an empty vase. “Master Potter must get up and come for breakfast now or he’ll be late.” The Elf commanded in a cracked, elderly voice.
After fumbling with his horn-rimmed glasses, Harry looked at the clock beside his bed and saw that it was already eleven o’clock. Getting to his feet, he said to Kreacher “Tell Ginny I’ll be down shortly.” The House Elf bowed, clicked his fingers to dry the bed and Disapparated downstairs.
Harry looked at his sopping wet reflection on the wall mirror before drying himself with a wave of his wand. His jet black hair returned to the messy state it had grown accustomed to and the water covering his pale white face vanished too.
After getting washed and dressed, he started making sure he had everything and picked up his fist-sized Mokeskin pouch. The little brown pouch, whose powers forbad anyone but the owner from taking anything out, had been made much bigger on the inside thanks to a well-practiced Undetectable Extension Charm by Hermione Weasley several years previously and Harry was grateful for the space. He checked inside to see a small pile of Galleons; among which was the fake Galleon he and the other members of the organization, Dumbledore’s Army, kept on them. A Sneakoscope; a colourful spinning top which activated and span around whenever someone untrustworthy was around and a small two-way mirror; repaired from a small shard of glass and whose twin now belonged to his best friend and fellow Auror, Ron Weasley. Harry checked his robes and found his father's old Invisibility Cloak stowed away in one inside pocket and his wand in the other.
Satisfied that he had everything, he hung the Mokeskin around his neck and went downstairs, hoping some breakfast might help wake him up.
He saw Ginny preparing the breakfast and his two sons sitting at the table. “Next time, can you just set the alarm?” He said as he kissed Ginny.
“Now where’s the fun it that?” She teased back with a smile, her long ginger hair shinning in the morning Summer sun as it dangled around her shoulders and her bright brown eyes twinkling.
As he sat down, she placed a plate of bacon and eggs in front of him and sliced up pieces of buttered toast in front of his two year old son, James.
“Good Morning, James.” He said to his son who had his mouth full of a piece of toast though replied with a bulging smile all the same. Harry wolfed down his breakfast and ordered Kreacher to bring down the jar of Floo powder.
“What are the odds that Ron’s only just woken up?” Ginny asked, looking at the clock which now said quarter to twelve.
“Impossible. Do you really think Hermione would let him over sleep, night-time raid or no?” Harry said, laughing.
Ginny smiled before continuing “Oh, and remember to try and be home on time tonight. Mum and Dad are coming for dinner and I don’t want to wait up for you... again.”
“It’s a cruel and dangerous world out there, Ginny.” Harry said teasingly as he downed the rest of his coffee. “ Who can really say what kind of dark force may keep me busy today.”
“I have a pretty good idea if you’re late again.” Ginny replied flatly, clearly trying to hold in a grin.
Harry smiled at her, took the Floo powder from his House-Elf, said goodbye to his family, stepped into the fire place and said “Ministry of Magic Atrium!” There was a flash of green flame as Harry threw the ash-like powder into the fire place and before he knew it, he was in the familiar hustle-and-bustle that was the large emerald coloured Atrium of the Ministry of Magic.
As he stepped out of the long, tunnel-like hall, that was surrounded by countless fireplaces such as the one Harry had stepped out of, and into the main hall of the Atrium, he began his way to the Auror Office on the third floor replying to the occasional “Good morning, Mr Potter” or “Morning, Harry.”
Eventually, he made it to the wide cubical-filled office, its cream coloured walls covered in mug shots, wanted posters and maps that had been filled with the previous known locations of certain Dark Wizards and its air-space filled with aeroplane-shaped notes and reports gliding to their destinations from other Departments or outside confidents.
At once Harry spotted his best friend, Ron Weasley, deep in conversation with the Head of the Auror Office, Albert Kaman.
Albert was a tall, well-built Wizard whose hair was losing its once light-brown colour and whose face was also showing signs of his late age. However, his dark-brown eyes still gave off the strength and the 'ready for anything' look that someone a quarter of his age would be jealous of. Ron on the other hand had barely changed at all since Hogwarts, in Harry’s opinion, with the exception of being slightly taller and lankier and more confidence in his once slouchy posture.
“Morning guys.” Harry said to the two of them.
“Ah, Harry.” Said Albert in a bright, loud voice. “I was just talking to Ron about tomorrow’s match and who he’s supporting. His sister or his team?” Albert gave a bark of laughter as he slapped Ron across the shoulder. Ron looked slightly sulky.
“Of all the teams, in all the world, Ginny had to join the Holyhead Harpies.” Harry knew for a fact that ever since Ginny joined the Holyhead Harpies four years ago, Ron’s precious team, the Chudley Cannons, hadn’t won a match against them and now that they had finally made it to the finals, Chudley Cannon fans everywhere were not getting their hopes up.
“Hey, Harry!” Harry turned to see his Auror protégé Naomi Pryce smirking up at him cheekily. “I just passed Terry Hetlim in the corridor and he told me that he’s ready to meet when you are.” Ron groaned and Harry patted him on the shoulder.
“It’s just one bad thing after another this week, isn’t it?”
“Come on, Ron.” Harry said, smiling.
“But he’s so boring. He’s got no sense of humour and he constantly smells of Doxy droppings. Who thought it was a good idea to make that stuffy old snooze Head of Magical Games and Sports anyway? It wouldn’t surprise me if the rumours of Kingsley losing a bet are true.” Harry laughed and he, Ron and Albert started their way to Hetlim’s office.
“Oh, Naomi,” Harry said as he walked out and Naomi caught up and walked beside him. “When you next see Emily, let her know that you two will be helping the Law Enforcers on Muggle patrol tomorrow.” Naomi looked downtrodden and somewhat annoyed.
“Bloody Enforcers, really?” She grumbled. “Do we have to work with them? Especially after-”
“I’ve told you, Naomi,” Harry cut across. “That was no one’s fault. It wasn’t yours, Emily’s or the Law Enforcers. They were just as perplexed by that buyer as you were.”
This still didn’t seem to cheer Naomi up. “Look, I know you were hoping for a stadium position but there are none left, I don’t even know why you’d want a position like that anyway? You’d only be dealing with the drunkards afterwards.”
“And the massive game of Quidditch going on in the middle of the arena?”
Harry smirked. “Very funny but an order’s an order. I’ll see you later.” And Harry, Ron and Albert left the Department for the office on the fourth floor.
The meeting took much longer than Harry expected and after two hours of Ron secretly mocking Hetlim by taking a deep breath and holding his nose when he got near Ron or giving him a rude gesture when he was getting a file from a cabinet, they finally left the office trying to hold in fits of laughter. When they got back to their department, Harry found John Dawlish, the bulking, wiry haired Deputy Head of the Auror Office, leaving Harry’s office looking rather flustered.
“Ah, Harry, there you are. I’m afraid Draco Malfoy is in your office and is refusing to leave until he sees you. He says it’s urgent.”
Harry thanked Dawlish, went into his personal office and, sure enough, was welcomed with the sight of Draco, his blond hair line already receding despite being the same age as Harry and his skin had taken on a slightly more tanned look than the usual pale white. The last time Harry had seen his old school-time nemesis was at a Ministry Charity Fund Raiser over a year ago and remembered that his wife, Astoria Malfoy, had been pregnant around the same time Ginny was with Albus.
“Draco,” Harry said pleasantly. “And what can I do for you?”
“It’s my father.” Draco said curtly. “I was wandering whether the Ministry had taken him in for more questioning?” Harry looked puzzled. If the Ministry had taken Lucius Malfoy for questioning surely someone in the Auror department would know and would have told him by now. “As I’m sure you know," Draco said bitterly, though not enough to sound rude. "We’ve been on holiday for the past week but my father couldn’t come with us. But when we got back early this morning we couldn’t find him.” Malfoy saw the puzzled look on Harry’s face and his own expression changed to one of worry.
“Come with me.” Harry said sternly getting up from his chair and leaving his office with Draco behind him.
He walked quickly, his mind racing just as fast. Surely, if something had happened, they’d know by now.
Finally they reached a door which had ‘Auror Office – Tracker Division’ written in gold slanting letters on a handsome silver plaque. They went through it and entered a small office space that though was barely bigger than Harry’s own office had a ceiling that reached at least a mile high and was full of nothing but shelves that had been crammed with spherical glass orbs. Amongst the half a dozen Wizards and Witches that inhabited the space Harry saw the person he was looking for instantly.
Seamus Finnigan was sitting at a desk, rotund but focussed, taking notes with over two dozen crystal ball like objects on his desk which Harry knew to be Glass Viewers; a recent magical invention that was used to watch over certain places through the Glass Viewer orb at the other end.
“Seamus,” Harry called out formally. “What’s the position of Lucius Malfoy?”
"Hello to you too." Seamus replied though when he caught Harry's eye he soon realised the urgency and said “Malfoy? I hadn’t even thought he’d left his manor. We’ve had no triggered alarms, hang on.” And he pulled, from a dusty shelf close by, a slightly bigger Glass Viewer compared to the others, pointed his wand at it and said “Lucius Malfoy.”
At once the image of Lucius appeared lying on his bed. “There he is. Looks like he’s just finished lunch.” Harry turned to Draco who looked genuinely shocked.
“I swear, we couldn’t find him anywhere. How long has he been there?” Draco spluttered.
Seamus once again pointed his wand at the ball and murmured “Ostendo Statua.” And the figure of Malfoy started to move backwards. They saw him eat his lunch in reverse, they saw the family House Elf bring in the lunch and walk backwards again and it kept going till they saw Draco walk in then quickly walk back out again. “By the looks of this he’s been in there all day, and you saw him.” Seamus added with a small hint of an accusing tone.
“What! No I haven’t... I...” He began to look scared now looking between Harry, Seamus and the glass ball. Harry immediately knew that Draco wasn’t lying. He had seen Malfoy lie many times in the past and it was clear to him that this wasn’t one of them.
“Okay, Draco.” Harry said calmly, though he felt uneasy. If Draco didn’t know where his father was and the Ministry apparently didn’t know where he was, then either Lucius had somehow fooled all of the Ministry resources that were being used on him or... “Take me back to the Manor, I’ll see what’s what when I get there and search it.”
“Are you sure about this, Harry?” Seamus asked with a suspicious glance at Draco.
“I am, thank you Seamus.” Harry replied calmly. “It wouldn’t be the first time the Ministry’s resources had gotten something wrong. Humour me and try to work a few things on that Glass Viewer.”
Seamus gave him a concerned look before turning back to the Malfoy’s orb and started muttering different incantations and watching the rerun again. “Come on, Draco.” Harry ordered, and the two left the Tracker Division.
As they left, Harry saw Ron, Naomi and Emily Bates; a short, blond, freckle-faced Witch whom Ron was mentoring the same way Harry mentored Naomi.
He called to them and Ron turned saying “What’s up?” Harry whispered so Draco couldn’t hear.
“I think Lucius Malfoy has escaped house arrest, I'm going to the manor to see if it’s true because the Trackers say otherwise. I need you to alert the others to this, I’ll report back as soon as possible.” He then turned to Naomi and Emily. “You two with me, come on.”
And the four of them left with Ron running off in a different direction.
“Where exactly are we going?” Naomi asked.
“Malfoy Manor.” Harry answered, his heart giving him an uncomfortable jolt as he did so.
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