Unlike the Ministry of Magic which was nestled in one of London’s nicer areas, Dennis’s Office was located in Peckham, a rather diverse but decidedly rough part of London. After the Second Great Wizarding War, the Ministry – particularly Shacklebolt, felt that it would be more efficient and safer to have multiple boots on the ground rather than housing everyone under one roof at the Ministry. As a result several two man offices of Aurors were opened up, especially in and around London. They were typically staffed by one Senior Auror and a Junior one or in Dennis’s case by him and his intern Lawrence.
Peckham never slept, even at 3am in the morning there were still people, mostly the dodgy kind, moving around. Dennis however, was unconcerned. He had a cloaking spell which shielded him from the eyes of almost all non magical creatures, with the exception perhaps of cats and small babies.
Which on the whole is a good thing for Wizards because
A. Despite their sagacity and wisdom no one ever bothers to listen to cats; and
B. When a baby says “Goo, Goo, Ga, Ga” no one has yet bothered to try and translate into English. If they did, they might have been surprised to learn that their baby’s cooing sounds actually meant “Hey Ma, did you see that guy up there on the flying broom?”
Dennis walked towards a particularly derelict looking building. Normally such a place would have become unofficial housing to several of the area's homeless. However, there was a very powerful Confundus Charm placed on the building which was designed to cause any who approached the doors or the windows to turn around and go for a walk five blocks in the opposite direction. The charm had worked so well that now, most people without realizing it, tended to cross the street rather than risk going near the Auror building.
Dennis ran up the small flight of stairs and opened the door. Inside the view was markedly different. Although no light could be seen from outside the broken windows, the Auror’s office was a blaze of light as though his assistant had sought to keep the night out. He made his way towards the back where he saw Lawrence talking to the Chief Magical Coroner.
The Chief Coroner’s was generally a nine to five man and Lawrence had had the unenviable task of waking him and convincing him that coming down to Cudham to pick up a body was more important than sleep. Dennis had pictured the Chief Coroner telling Lawrence the usual rejoinder that “If they're dead then they bloody well won’t mind waiting ‘till morning now will they.” But he was sure that the Chief Coroner knew he would never have had Lawrence call him unless it was of the utmost importance.”
“Lucian, I appreciate you coming on such short notice.” Dennis said reaching out. Lucian Bole shook Dennis’s outstretched hand. “This had better be bloody important” Lucian said with a scowl, but Dennis wasn’t fooled.” Although they had only known each other vaguely during their days at Hogwarts, after they joined the Ministry time had worked its own particular magic on them and now Lucian was as close as Dennis came to having a best friend.
“I hate to get straight to business Lucian….” Dennis began. “But that is why you called me here at this ungodly hour isn’t it.” Lucian finished. Dennis smiled. “Exactly.” Lucian smiled back “I’ll tell you Parvati was not amused that Lawrence apparated right in our living room like that, woke the baby and the 4 year old.” Lawrence looked sheepish but Dennis said “Forgive me old friend, but truly it was urgent.” Lucian nodded “Yes I certainly know that now. I’ve already done the preliminary autopsy so let’s get to it.” Lucian led the way towards the fireplace – they would have to travel by the Floo Network as the Morgue like most government buildings was magically protected.
The Morgue was an ancient building, almost as old as the ministry itself. The walls were black marble and gave off a sheen in the dim lighting as though they were wet. Dennis always hated the place and never understood how Lucian could stand it. The fact that Lucian said it reminded him of his ancestral home was a constant reminder that Lucian came from a long line of Slytherins.
Together they made their way through the cool dark corridors to the even colder chambers where the bodies were kept. Lucian counted down 11 doors as they passed before stopping. “Ah, yes this one.” He said stretching out his hand he touched the door and whispered. “Aperio”. The huge iron door creaked open allowing Dennis to see the three bodies laid out on slabs of floating marble.
Lucian went over and uncovered them by hand instead of using his wand, his way of showing respect for the dead. “As you know we have three victims here, two males and one female.” He said beginning his analysis. The victims were approximately between the ages of 12 – 14 years of age. All three of them were magical and therefore most likely students at Hogwarts, so that should help in identifying them.”
“Cause of death?” Dennis asked.
“Those two were killed about 18 hours ago.” Lucian said pointing “The red headed boy...... can we call him red? He and the girl were both killed instantly with the Killing curse.” Here Lucian paused at the enormity of what he had just said “The other boy, let’s call him Z for that mark on his forehead. “He died from Hypovolemic Shock brought on largely by the Cruciatus Curse. Someone wanted him to suffer that’s for sure - still that in and of itself might not have been enough to kill him. So I checked and sure enough he had a heart defect. It was small and might never have been life threatening but the poor lad had been tortured for hours. Just before he should have died he was placed under a spell like nothing I’ve ever seen before. It put him in a kind of suspended animation where he would need neither air nor water until revived.
Dennis listened in growing apprehension. “But we didn’t revive him; we thought he was dead like the other two.” Lucian nodded thoughtfully I thought about that, I checked the sack as well, there was a kind of magical residue there. My guess is, it was the triggering spell to wake the boy a few minutes after he was found. After that it would just be a matter of minutes, seconds maybe before he died. Whoever did this had everything timed to a tee.”
Dennis felt his anger growing by the second. “Do you mean to tell me we could have saved the boy.” Lucian shook his head pityingly. “You can’t think that way Dennis. One, that spell the boy was under ensured that even someone with medical experience who found the body would think he was dead. And two, there was no way of getting him to a hospital fast enough to get treatment even if you did know.”
Dennis looked down at his hands, he had sunk his nails so deeply into his palms a small trickle of blood had fallen on the floor. “So far we have the Dark Mark, three dead bodies two of three unforgiveable curses all on the same night.”
Lucian looked over at Dennis “Dennis I know your angry and I don’t blame you but you can’t put this on your shoulders.” Dennis looked up from the floor. “Angry? Angry at what? That two of the three unforgivable curses were used on these poor kids. That one of them, that boy which you call Z in particular was singled out for perhaps the worst of it. No Lucian, I’m not angry at all. I’m furious.”
Lucian sighed, “There’s more.” He said “Actually, I believe all three of the unforgivable curses were used. That Z shaped scar was made by a wand tip. A wand was dragged across that boys forehead. And, while I have no evidence to back it up, I believe the boy himself was made to do it under the influence of the Imperius Curse. Do you want to hear more?” Lucian asked pointing to the body of the other boy. He went on before Dennis could respond “That one is no natural redhead. His hair was changed from brown to red.” Dennis looked closer at the boy’s mop of red hair. “How do you know?” he asked. “Look at his eyebrows and his arms. The hair is still its original color. And the girl, her front teeth were enlarged by a spell. Someone went through a lot of trouble to make these three look the way they do and I don’t think I need to tell you why.” Dennis shook his head. “No you don’t have to, someone’s trying to send us a message and if I told you who I think it might be, believe me when I say you wouldn’t like it.”
Dennis went over to the table with the girl. Her resemblance was uncanny, she looked so much like someone both he and Colin had a crush on a long time ago.
Another wave of anger rushed through him. “These were innocent kids Lucian, kids whose parents will never get to see them grow up. I promise you this, I am going to find whoever did this and I am going to feed them their wand, pointy end first.”
Lucian looked serious “I would expect no less. You know Parvati and I have kids. The last thing we need is a return to 14 years ago.” Dennis nodded “My thinking exactly. Look Lucian I would appreciate it if you could keep a lid on this thing, for now at least.” Lucian looked at him eyebrows raised. Dennis said “I know what you’re thinking, but I have no intention of covering this thing up. But when word of this hits the streets there is going to be a panic and people who might normally have talked are going to be scared to if they think that Vo…......” Here Dennis paused, “If there are Death Eater’s behind this.”
Lucian looked at him shrewdly and Dennis felt maybe he knew or guessed more than he was letting on. “Well I do have a lot of paperwork that needs to get done. I can give you two days before I make my report official. But Dennis, after that my hands are tied.”
Dennis clapped Lucian on the back “I appreciate it. I’d like to say I’ll have this thing wrapped up in a bow before then, but…” He told Lucian. “You don’t really believe that.” Lucian finished. Dennis grinned “No I don’t and I fear it’s just going to get worse. Now I’m going to have to do something that’s bound to cheese my boss off.”
“And what would that be?” Lucian asked
“I’m going to see the big man?” Dennis said.
“You don’t mean Shacklebolt?” Lucian asked. “He may have kept the position as Head of the Department for Auror’s out of sheer nostalgia, but don’t forget he really has nothing to do with day to day operations; the man is still Minister of Magic after all. He’ll never see you in a million years, especially if he knows you went over Potter’s head.”
“Oh he’ll see me alright Lucian, never fear. Besides if what I think is happening is happening, then the Ministry is going to want to know about it before anyone else does.” Dennis said.
“Better be careful that witch Rita Skeeter doesn’t get wind of it first. And of course by “witch” I mean it in the Muggle sense of the word.” Lucian said.
“I think the word “Bitch” would have been more appropriate Lucian. After all some of my best friends are witches.” Dennis said heading for the doors. Mind if I use your fireplace to pay our Minister a visit?”
“Not at all.” Lucian said. “Anything for a dead man.”
“Thanks a lot.” Dennis said sarcastically.
I hope you've all enjoyed the story so far. Please write a review if you did and as always any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated