Chapter 5 : Chapter 5
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"Uneventful, thank goodness Minister." Kingsley laughed as the tea pored itself into small blue china cups and came to rest in front of them.
"Help yourself to biscuits Minister, and you too Harry," McGonagall said passing over a plate piled high with little round biscuits.
The Headmistresses office looked warm and cozy with the fire lit in the hearth and the plush chairs all sat around it. Harry settled back and sipped his tea. "What a difference a year makes," he thought as he glanced up at the many portraits' hanging on the walls, Dumbledore smiled down at him, his eyes twinkling.
"Thank you Minerva," Kingley said, taking another biscuit. "Well Harry I received your owl earlier this morning and I believe, being in the position that you're in, you could really help with a problem were all facing at the moment.
“More Death Eaters?” Harry asked, sitting up straighter in his chair.
“No, so far were doing extremely well on that front,” he chuckled. “No, things have been extremely quite at the Ministry recently. After those few threats we had about Hogwarts re-opening nothing else has came up, we seem to have reached a point were calm is truly returned, actually I was planning my retirement.”
“No!” Harry gasped.
“Well, I've done my bit, I've helped restore order. I was just thinking it would be nice to go back where I belong simply with the Auror office, but that’s all changed now.” Harry interest was piqued he sat forward as Kingsley pulled out Harry's letter from earlier.
"It says here, you wanted information about a country with magical political upheaval at the moment.” Harry nodded.
“Was there any particular reason why?” Harry stole a look at McGonagall but she didn’t look in the least bit surprised he had done this.
“Well actually Minister I heard a few rumors and I was just interested,” Harry supplied not wanting to say too much about Adelaide. Kingsley smiled at him in understanding.
“Well I think your instincts are as sharp as a knife Harry, that’s another quality that makes a good Auror, trusting your instincts and going with them. Yes actually there is a country that is having a few difficulties at the moment.
Now usually we wouldn’t get involved with that kind of thing, there is a specific office for dealing with that sort of problem, but we happened to have a plea from a very old and influential English wizarding family over there. It seems somebody has being going around attacking and killing members of all the oldest known pure blood wizarding families.”
“What!” Harry gasped, McGonagall looked stricken.
“Yes, they seem to be targeting Purebloods especially. When we first became aware of the situation we offered to help their Minister of Magic, a man called Herrera. He politely declined our aid and unfortunately we could officially do no more.
We did however, offer refuge to a few families that had asked for it, then as the situation worsened we started extracting key people under total secrecy. Unfortunately we think they... whoever they are, got wise to our actions and the remaining pure blood family members were murdered before we had a chance to do anything more.” he finished sadly.
Harry turned wide eyes on Kingsley. “All of them, murdered, and definitely by magic?” He nodded slowly.
“Now if I didn’t know better, I would have said Voldemort was up to his old tricks but since he's dead, ” he nodded his head towards Harry, “and only attacked Muggleborns and the like, we are completely stumped."
"So you've got nothing," Harry murmured.
"Nothing, unless you accept an old man's intuition Harry, I keep getting this feeling I'm missing something. "
“What do you mean?" Harry asked.
Kingsley shook his head, "I'm not even sure I could explain it to you Harry, it's just a feeling." Harry sat back nodding.
"How was it explained, I mean to the Muggles?” McGonagall asked braking through Harrys dark thoughts.
"Their Muggle Prime Minister has made it out to be a fire or a couple of gas explosions I think, or some muggle things like that. Some of the other incidents have been hushed up of course, deaths, people going missing. And to top it all off our informants haven't made contact in weeks,” he said frustration lacing his voice.
“So is there any clue to who could be behind this?” Harry asked sipping at his tea.
“No clue what so ever, but a few strange things have been happening within the Ministry over there, we have had our suspicions about their new Minister of Magic Herrera for awhile now. He seems to be taking all this rather well, he refused our help and from what we've discovered we think he's pulling all the strings. Since there's no evidence we can't do a thing, but more importantly we have no right to interfere with another countries business, So all informal inquires have had to be stopped.
"Won't anyone do anything?" McGonagall broke in, "these are peoples' lives where talking about here!"
"We've discussed it, but out of all the families that have taken refuge here, not one is willing to make a stand. It seems this Minister has a major crises on his hands, not that you'd think it from the way he's been plowing on with things, but still, we can't do anything about it.”
“And the family members that are hiding here?” Harry was nodding to himself, suddenly he understood why she was so keen to make it seem like she had lied to him, it all clicked into place, she'd obviously reveled too much to him.
"Yes Harry, a few of the students, mostly under false names are already attending Hogwarts, if anyone found out it could be quite serious, especially since we don't know what were dealing with here. If that information was leaked out, the culprit behind this slaughter would no doubt try to finish what he started and I won't have it.’
“And the Quidditch Championship?” Harry asked, a sinking feeling in his stomach.
“Well that was planned for next year, but yes, it's been brought forward to disguise some more new students we want to bring over. All these children need the best protection they can get, and at the moment until we can figure out the reason behind these killings, Hogwarts is the safest place.
The three of them looked at each other, Harry knew what was going to be said before the Minister could open his mouth.
“So Harry here's where you come in, regarding your original assignment, that still stands, but I also need you to be my eyes and ears at Hogwarts during the run up to the Quidditch Championship. I think, rather than bringing in outside protection at this time, I would rather keep it as understated as possible, just until I have no choices left to me. Remember anything out of the ordinary, I need to know about it straight away.”
“No problem.” Harry nodded solemnly thinking all the while about Adelaide and who she really was, the last of another pure blood family maybe, the thought chilled him to the bone.
“We have spent the last few years battling against those who would only accept the pure blood status, and now within a year we are looking for some crazed person who's only attacking pure bloods? It just doesn't seem right.” he said speaking more to himself that the two people in front of him.
Kingsley shook his head, “I know it's hard to understand Harry, but you know this must remain only between us. Only a select few people know about this within the Ministry Auror's office, and the only teachers that know are those that are truly trusted. To everybody else we are oblivious to this other countries problems and have no intension of ever getting involved.”
“I understand," Harry nodded again standing. "Well I better be getting back to my classes unless there is anything else I should know?” Kingsley and McGonagall rose too.
“No, that’s it for now Harry,” Kingsley said clapping him on the back again, and don’t forget to study hard I want to see you back in that office this time next year.”
“What with exam revision, Quidditch tournaments, extra homework and everything thing else, I'll be surprised not to end up in St Mungos this time next year Minister.”
“I have complete faith in you Harry Potter. I mean, if you can defeat the darkest wizard of our time, what's an extra bit of Quidditch practice.” Even McGonagall chuckled at that.
Letting himself out of the warmth of the head mistresses office, Harry made his way down the staircase, his head was full of questions and his heart was heavy. He couldn't help thinking of the danger that could surround them once more.
Looking at his watch he realised he had missed his first DADA lesson, snatching out his timetable from his bag he noticed he had a free lesson now which kind of made up for it.
Slowly making his way up to the common room he was in two minds weather to tell Ron and Hermione or not. After everything they had been through he knew in his heart he eventually would, but another part of him wanted to corner Adelaide first and on his own before he had to say anything to anyone.
The rest of the day went by in a happy blur, whispers surrounded him wherever he went. By last period he would of sworn the entire school was aware of the impending Quidditch Championship.
He easily got caught up in the excitement and found himself sat between Ron and Hermione at dinner impatient for McGonagall to make the announcement.
The great hall was looking wonderful, it had obviously been spruced up a bit for the visitors. The magical ceiling was clear and bright and the stars shone down on them as they ate, everything was looking shiny and polished. It seemed even the House Elves had made an extra effort tonight, as the dinner was particularly delicious.
The Minister and some older people he presumed where the School Governors, had joined the teachers table for dinner, Kingsley was sat next to McGonagall, and they where deep in conversation.
Harry looked around the hall, everyone was smiling and whispering, excitement filled the air. Whatever the reason the Quidditch Championship was being held, it was a great idea for school moral. Everyone seemed to be craning their necks to see what was happening at the staff table.
After the final empty dessert plate had vanished and Harry was sat back full and content, the Minister of Magic finally stood, the hall fell silent, Ron nudged Harry in the ribs grinning.
"Students of Hogwarts!" Kingsley boomed holding his arms wide, his rich robes of blue and gold glittered in the candlelight, his deep voice echoed around the now silent hall.
"As I'm sure your all aware by now, the school Governors and the Department of Magical Games and Sports have got together to organize a little treat for you all this year." he chuckled. "This year I am very pleased to announce that Hogwarts will be hosting our very first, Inter-school Quidditch Championship!"
The Great hall erupted with noise from people clapping and cheering, even the more somber looking Slytherins were up on their feet cheering with the rest.
When the noise had subsided Kingsley continued, "Now, I'm sure you all have many questions and to explain what will happen during this most exciting time, I Shall pass you over to your Headmistress," with a graceful bow he returned to his seat.
McGonagall, as brisk as usual stood and began speaking, "The championship itself will start as the normal Quidditch season would. The first game will be played at the end of November. There will be six games played in total and the School with the most points at the end of the championship will be named winner of the Quidditch Cup!" At that moment with a blinding flash of white a huge golden cup materialized over the teachers table shining and spiraling in the candlelight above them, there was many "oooohhs" and "aaahhhs" as everyone gazed up at the cup.
"Now, your house captains will be arranging the tryouts for your houses, so look to them for all details over the next month. We will be looking for a primary team and a reserve team." Everyone on the Gryffindor table turned to stare at Harry who tried to slide down out of sight on his bench.
"I think you're going to get very popular, very quickly!" Hermione whispered next to him, giggling into her sleeve, he gave her a dry look.
"The three other schools taking part in the Championship are the Durmstrang Institute, Beauxbatons Academy of Magic and Silverwings Academy of the Arts." McGonagall carried on regardless to the sudden mutterings that had broken out around them.
"Where on earth is this WingSilver Academy from then," Ron muttered to Harry. "I've never heard of it!"
Hermione leaned forward, "It's probably nearer Greece or those parts because in "Magical Schools' Un-veiled." it mentions that the majority of the castles classrooms look out onto azure seas or olive groves." Ron raised his eyebrows at Harry.
"Full information will be posted soon in your house common rooms, and I do except the best behavior from everyone while the championship is taking part." McGonagall warned, her eyes roaming around the hall a stern look on her face, she seemed to be daring anyone to defy her.
There was another round of applause and the noise levels rose again as everyone started talking at once. McGonagall sat back down and leaned over to talk to the Minister.
Harry turned to Ron, "What do you think?"
"Bloody brilliant" he grinned, "what's your plan for tryouts Harry?" suddenly it seemed the whole table had heard their conversation, as they all turned to stare at Harry once more.
"Erm, well I... I'll post something on the common room notice board tomorrow night, ok?" This seemed to satisfy everyone as they all turned back to their conversations. Hermione was chuckling to herself and Ron was looking at him expectantly.
"Well you know the final team will have to be decided by independent judges after I put together a team from Gryffindor, right?" Harry said starting to dread the repercussions this could bring.
"Yea but..." Ron didn't get to finish what he was going to say because at that moment the Headmistress stood again and held up her hands for silence.
"Now I know each and every one of you will help make this a Quidditch Championship to remember! So I would like to say a big thank you to the Minister and the School Governors for making this possible." She held her arm wide towards the group of older wizards and witches at the table. Everyone clapped politely as the Minister rose and gave a half bow before taking his seat a wide grin on his face. "And finally I would just like to say goodnight and everyone off to bed, enjoy your weekend."
Through the scraping of benches and the racket of a thousand voices talking at once Harry could of sworn he heard a voice calling him, he turned to see the DADA teacher staring strangely at him through the crowds.
“Ok, we’ve got to go Harry,” Ron said rising up off the bench and breaking his line of sight to the teachers table, walking round him he pulled Hermione up with him.”
“Where?” Harry asked, looking surprised and half rising from the bench.
Hermione blushed and looked anywhere but at him Ron just grinned, “for... you know, a walk before bed.”
“ohhhhhhh!” it suddenly dawned on him, they were sneaking off for some privacy.
“Well, tell me which way you're going, so I can be sure to avoid that part of the castle." he laughed, the last thing he wanted to do was walk in on the pair of them snogging or something.
“We are just going for a walk.” Hermione squeaked her face crimson.
“Ok right, sure, I'll see you two later.” still laughing he left them and headed back towards the common room alone, thinking now would be a good time to corner Ginny.
He stopped behind a suit of armor and pulled out the marauders map scanning for her name amongst all the tiny dots swarming up the stairs. He found her strangely going in the direction of Ravenclaw tower and then he noticed another dot labeled Adelaide slowly moving across the school hall, "I'll corner you later" he thought to himself.
Folding his map neatly and slipping it back into his moleskin pouch he started out toward the Ravenclaw tower and Ginny, thinking all the while about Hermione and Ron. He really didn't mind that Hermione and Ron where an item now, in fact it made him content to see his best friends finally happy and together, but it suddenly dawned on him just how lonely Hogwarts could be without them.
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Thank you for sharing this adventure with me xx