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Chapter 4 : Malfoy Manor
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Harry paced anxiously outside the gate of Malfoy Manor. He checked his pocket watch again only to find that it was exactly thirty seconds later than the previous time he had checked it.
Ron was supposed to have arrived with Penglaze and two pairs of Aurors over twenty minutes ago and he was more than prepared to burst in and find his daughter. Harry cringed as the minute hand finally ticked over. Every time it did made it more likely Malfoy would get wind of their search and move her.
Finally he spotted his best friend walking down the street toward him, although he was very much alone. “About time you showed up. Where’s everyone else?”
“They’ll be here soon,” Ron said, his tone cool and dismissive. “But er- Penglaze doesn’t exactly- well that is to say- he’s not fond of the idea that you’re a part of this. He wants you sidelined.”
“Like hell I will be!” Harry replied. He glanced around as he realized how loud his voice had been and continued on in a quieter tone. “We’ve been over this before.”
“I know, I know. I’m just the messenger here,” Ron said. He heard a few faint cracks from down the street and knew he didn’t have much time left. “Look, I’m on your side, but Penglaze is a stickler for protocol and anyone other than you wouldn’t even be privy to our information.”
Harry scowled even harder. “Maybe someone ought to remind Penglaze that I was offered the Head Auror position before him.”
Ron sighed, knowing when to accept defeat. When Harry began using his Potter fame to get things done it wasn’t good. He generally left a trail of angry and disgruntled powerful people in his wake. The fact that it only happened on rare occasions didn’t make him feel much better.
Galen Penglaze finally joined them and with him were five other wizards, Stilman White and two of his team and a pair of Aurors by the names of Grayson McManahan and Carlen Lawson.
Harry remembered Grayson from his days as an Auror. The wizard was only a few years younger than he was and had built quite a reputation at the Ministry for being a hard arse. The other Auror was quite young as he only looked to be about twenty two.
“You put a rookie on my daughter’s investigation?” Harry asked in fury. He didn’t know how they ever expect to find her if they kept placing incompetent people in charge.
“Lawson is a good Auror, Potter. I’ve given you the best we have.” Penglaze was a thin, stern man with thin lips that were often drew in a harsh line. The first time Harry had seen him he’d been strongly reminded of McGonagall. Penglaze had turned out to be a good man for the job, but that didn’t mean he and Harry didn’t have their disputes from time to time.
“A good Auror? He doesn’t look any older than my son. Are you quite sure he’s graduated from Hogwarts?” Harry frowned at the younger man who looked increasingly nervous and unsure of himself.
Penglaze shook his head in dismissal. “Harry, are we going to conduct the raid or not?” Ron asked in an attempt to diffuse the tension. “This isn’t about you.” Harry nodded tersely and followed the wizards up to the large manor on the hill.
They knocked on the door and stood there waiting, wands out in preparation for a fight. Draco Malfoy opened the door with a confused look on his face as it was still quite early in the morning and he wasn’t expecting any visitors. “What’s this about?” He asked.
“Mr. Malfoy, I’m going to have to ask you to wait out here while we conduct a search of your residence,” Penglaze said firmly, leaving no room for debate. “If you or your family attempts to disrupt the integrity of this search you will be forced to surrender your wands and accompany us back to the Ministry. Do you understand?”
Malfoy looked wild eyed from Penglaze to Harry. “No- I’ve got no idea what you’re on about. I haven’t done anything.” One of the hit wizards hustled out of the house with iron grips on Malfoy’s wife Astoria and son Scorpius. Both looked fearful and bedraggled, Scorpius was still in his pajamas. “I demand to know on what grounds do you come storming into my house!”
“Mr. Malfoy, I’m going to have to ask you to step back and allow the Aurors and hit wizards to do their duties.” Malfoy did step back and allowed them to enter his home, but he did not look pleased about it.
Harry stormed into the house behind Ron, but found himself held back and helpless. He was only able to move when he quit attempting to continue forward and took a step back. “Let me in,” he said to Penglaze, glaring at the older man fiercely.
“Potter, how much do you know about protocol?” Penglaze asked without a single twitch of his wand.
Harry shook his head. “I don’t care about your damned protocol, I just want to find my daughter.”
“That’s what this is all about?” Malfoy asked. The anger had dropped away from his face and he looked at Harry with something akin to pity. “You won’t find her here.”
The fury that had been boiling in the pit of Harry’s stomach suddenly surged and he hurled himself at Malfoy. “Where is she, you son of a bitch!” He shouted, his arm across the other man’s throat. “Where are you keeping her?”
Malfoy tried to push him off, but Harry was too strong. Astoria Malfoy cried out in fear and Scorpius shouted, “Dad!” It only lasted for a moment as Penglaze whipped out his wand to separate the men.
“Potter, that’s enough!” He said, glaring at the distraught father. He was panting heavily and strained against the spell to get back at his former school enemy. “I won’t have you disrupting this investigation!”
“You heard him,” Harry said through clenched teeth.”He’s mocking us. He isn’t keeping her here.”
“He’s not keeping her anywhere,” Astoria protested. “We wouldn’t do something like that.” Malfoy rubbed his neck where Harry’s forearm had pushed painfully against it and nodded mutely.
“Once a Death Eater, always a Death Eater. Which one of your old comrades asked you to take her?” Harry asked. He refused to believe Malfoy didn’t know where Lily was. Some clue to her whereabouts had to be found here, it was their only lead. “Have you visited Lucius in Azkaban lately? Did he give you a few suggestions?”
“My father died last month,” Malfoy replied tightly. “And I’m not the boy I used to be. We all grew up after the war, we all changed.”
Harry took a threatening stride toward Malfoy and Penglaze grabbed the back of his robes despite the spell. “I’m warning you, Potter,” he said. “One more word and I’ll have the Minister remove your access to the investigation.”
Harry shook him off and his eyes narrowed. “Maybe I’ll have the Minister remove your access to the investigation.”
“I’m not a fan of threats,” Penglaze responded as his lips thinned. Only Harry Potter would dare to threaten the Head Auror and one of the most powerful men in the Ministry. And only Harry Potter could get away with it.
Ron left the Manor, shaking his head in defeat. “They’re still searching, but it doesn’t look like she’s here, Harry.” Nothing they had seen inside even hinted that Lily had ever been there. As much as he wanted to believe Malfoy was behind it all the evidence just wasn’t holding up.
“The ferret practically admitted he had her someplace else,” Harry spat in disgust. “Can you check with the Ministry to see if he owns any other houses, maybe in different countries?”
“Hold on a minute,” Malfoy said as he got over the spontaneous attack. His blond hair was mussed in a thoroughly unattractive way and he didn’t seem to have any idea about it. “I’ve never seen your daughter. You’re never going to find her if you keep looking into me.”
“Listen up Malfoy,” Ron said as he put an arm around his best friend’s shoulder and stared down the blond man. “I’ll have my men keeping an eye on you. If you put so much as a toe out of line, we’ll haul your arse into Azkaban.”
Malfoy took a step forward and scowled at the two men in front of him. “Potter, Weasley, I understand how much pain you must be feeling now, but know that I am not the man you are looking for. I know nothing about your daughter. Now get out of my home. I won’t be so forgiving a second time.”
He stalked inside and Harry looked to the Head Auror for support. “You’re just letting him go back inside? What about the search?”
“You heard, Weasley. They aren’t finding anything.” Penglaze turned to Astoria and Scorpius were still waiting by the garden. “You may go back in as well.”
“They need more than thirty minutes!”
“We will stay and question the Malfoys, but you are done here.”
Ron’s mouth dropped open. “But it’s his daughter who’s missing!”
“You too, Weasley. If I can’t trust the two of you to be objective then you’re not going to be involved. Take him home and make sure he stays there.” Penglaze went inside the Manor and shut the door behind himself.
The two men left behind were fuming. “I can’t believe this,” Ron muttered. “We were the best Auror pair in the department. You’d think he would want all the help he can get.”
“Let’s go,” Harry said. “We’re not going to get any more information out of them.”
Ron stared at him in surprise. “You’re not going home, are you?”
“Of course not,” Harry said. “But I’ll need the Minister on my side when Penglaze gets back. You’ll help, right?”
Ron smiled at his best friend. “I’ll do whatever it takes to get Lily back. With you and me on the case she’ll be back within the week.”
“Thanks mate,” he said, gratefully. Even when it seemed like the whole world was working against him he could always count on Ron.
A/N: So here's a Harry chapter for those of you wondering what he was doing at the Ministry. He certainly is an...interesting character to write. You'll be seeing more of him later on.
Don't forget to review and let me know what you're thinking! =)
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