Chapter 3 : III. Hestia Jones
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Nobody waited for orders. They all scrambled towards the door, eager to get on scene.
“Stop right there!” Harry yelled and they all paused, some in very awkward positions. “I want forensics on the scene, I want three people interviewing witnesses, I want a press release, I want to know immediate family and I want to know all these five minutes ago.” he ordered and everybody left to do what they had been instructed.
Ron and Hermione looked at each other, a look of understanding grazing the latter’s features.
“Harry,” she said softly. “Who escorted the Dursley’s from Privet Drive in 1997?”
“Dedalus and Hestia.” he said, shock spreading over his features. “What in bloody hell is going on here? Why are these people dropping dead?” he said, angered by the turn of events. As much as he wished, he couldn’t wrap his mind around what was going on at the moment.
“Somebody is doing this, and I don’t think Parvati is behind Dedalus’s death. I just feel it in my gut.” Hermione told the men. “I have to check something, but I’ll come back later.” she said and exited the office. Harry got up with a sigh.
“C’mon Ron, it’s time to examine the crime scene.”
Hogsmeade was quiet that day, a large crowd was already gathered next to alley where the body was found. A quick analysis revealed that it was indeed the Killing Curse. Hestia Jones had been found by a young witch, heading to work in a small shop. She had alerted the authorities and was currently being interviewed by Fred but she knew next to nothing. Further questioning of witnesses proved just as fruitless and forensics found no prints.
Harry was surveying the scene and the crowd, wishing that they would just go away and let them do his job. They weren’t there because somebody had died, they were there because Harry was processing the crime scene and the thought made him sick to his stomach.
Hestia’s body was removed, to be investigated by the people in St. Mungo’s. Somebody in the Ministry had tracked down one of Hestia’s nieces and Harry was informed straight away.
“Who are we sending to deliver the news?” Ron asked Harry, as the crowd started to disperse.
“I think we should go. Maybe something happened, maybe she received threats and told somebody. Also, I need Shepard and Berkley to search her house, maybe we can uncover something. Everybody else can wrap up and head back to Headquarters.” he instructed as he prepared to leave the scene himself.
Harry and Ron Apparated just a few blocks away from the address they had been given as belonging to Celeste Munsten. They knocked on the door and a plump witch answered, a bowl in her hand and an apron tied to her front. Mentally, Harry imagined a younger version of his mother-in-law.
“Mrs. Munsten, Harry Potter and Ron Weasley, Auror Department. May we come in and have a word?”
The witch looked puzzled but let them in and proceeded to serve them tea and cake. Harry found it strange that she had not expressed immediate concern as to the reason of their visit, but his mind wouldn’t allow him to dwell on it as he searched for the words to speak to her.
“What can I do for you Mr. Potter?” she asked softly. Her voice was barely a whisper. She was clearly very shy and not used to unexpected company, especially from official Ministry representatives.
“Mrs. Munsten, I’m afraid I have some bad news for you. This morning, your aunt, Mrs. Hestia Jones was found dead. You have my deepest condolences.” Harry said, sounding compassionate. It was one of the more ungrateful aspects of his jobs, not being able to save everybody and having to deliver bad news.
The woman gasped and tears filled her eyes. She pulled a handkerchief from her pocket and sobbed quietly into it. It was a good few minutes before she regained herself enough to speak.
“What? How? What happened?” she finally managed to ask between fresh waves of tears.
“She was found this morning in Hogsmeade village. I’m afraid it wasn’t of natural causes.” Harry said, not sure how to continue pressing the woman for information in her fragile state of mind.
“So you mean she was killed? Who would do that in this day and age?” she said, looking shocked. Her eyes darted from Harry to Ron, as if waiting for them to change their story.
“I know this is a hard time for you, but we need you to answer some questions.” Ron started, his voice uneasy. Compassion was never one of his strong points. “Did you aunt have any known enemies, or do you know of any recent threats to her life?”
“No, she didn’t. She was a good woman, paid her dues to our world during the war. She didn’t deserve this.” she said bitterly, shaking her head. Whisps had fallen from her updo and her face was swollen and red.
“We know madam, we know.” Harry replied softly. “We’re going to leave know. Once again, so sorry for your loss.” he finished, not wanting to impose on this time of mourning any more than necessary.
“She spoke highly of you, Mr. Potter.” she told him, making his insides chilly. “I was young during the war, not even at Hogwarts, but I used to listen to her conversations with my mother, God rest both of their souls. She knew even then you were our best hope, never believed a word of the propaganda. Then she went into hiding with your family. She told me stories of that after it was all over. A nightmare they were, no offence to you, sir. But she kept them safe and she was proud to be of service. She didn’t have to die like this.” she declared and escorted them out.
Harry was quiet as he returned to the office with Ron at his side. The search of Jones’s house revealed nothing. After twenty years of relative peace, they had two murders in less than 24 hours, an unlikely suspect and no leads to follow. Harry hadn’t sensed that kind of dread since his hunt for the Horcruxes.
His team was writing up reports and Hermione was waiting for them with lunch, urging them to eat in order to maintain their forces. It was one of the traits she had picked up from their mother-in-law in all these years, using food as a bandage for worries and sadness. Harry’s insides still squirmed when he remembered the mountains of food that had been shoved in front of them after Fred’s death in 1998.
Teddy entered the office a while later, the same dark look on his face as earlier that day.
“We found another wand on the scene, Harry.” he announced. “And I have reason to believe that somebody is seriously trying to screw with us.”
The news of the wand should’ve given him hope and sent him on a new lead. But Parvati’s wand found earlier that day still hadn’t given them any real clues. She was released a few hours ago and Harry’s instincts told him that a new wand would be found on the second scene. The question was, who would he have to interview this time.
“Who is it?” Harry asked dryly.
“Well, the thing is… It can’t be.” Teddy started, waving his arms around, as if trying to shake off a really bothering idea.
“Who is it?” Harry asked, his tone more impatient than he had intended. It wasn’t the boy’s fault after all, that they were in this mess.
“It’s Alastor Moody.” he said bluntly. He had wanted to continue his sentence but he was caught off as Alastor Moody’s portrait, that hung in the Head Auror Office, to Harry’s left, let out a roar of protest and proceeded to lecture Harry and the Aurors on his lack of “constant vigillence”.
“Teddy, Mad Eye Moody’s been dead for two decades.” Hermione argued, hey eyes wide in shock and her tone hard and disbelieving.
“I know that, it’s why I now know that the wands are there to send us on a wild goose chase.” he said harshly. “Here’s what we found, maybe you can make head or tails of it.” he left his report on the table and went back to his station, eyeing the other reports he had to sort through with a sickened look on his face.
Harry tapped his wand on the report and made two copies as the others settled around the room, getting ready to analyze the information presented to them.
“I may have an idea.” Hermione finally said, putting the papers down. “We need to have a closer analysis of the duplicate wands.”
“Well then, we’ll call in somebody from Ollivander’s and have them take a look.” Ron suggested, folding his arms across his chest and leaning back into his chair.
Harry shook his head. “We can’t bring somebody from outside in this stage of his investigation. Imagine the panic if word got out that there’s a killer on the loose making clone-wands. People would start going crazy, the reports alone would be enough to burry us.”
“Then how do you suggest we go about this?” Ron replied. Harry had a look in his eyes that his old friend didn’t like. He was getting a crazy idea, like breaking into Gringotts. This side of Harry, though he would never admit it, scared Ron, because whatever would follow he would surely not like.
“We call in our own expert. We need somebody we can trust, somebody who understands the implications, somebody with a pair of fresh eyes.” he was sitting behind his desk, his hands folded in front of him, looking at Ron apprehensively.
Ron‘s features darkened as understanding washed over his and he nearly fell out of the chair he was occupying.“No, absolutely no way we’re dragging her into this mess!” Ron exploded, his voice shaking in anger. “People are dying here! She’s best left where she is!”
“Ron,” Hermione said softly, trying to appease him. She too had understood what Harry was hinting at, but unlike her husband, she agreed that this was the best course of action. “He’s right. She would understand what’s at stake.” she informed him.
“I forbid it! It’s out of the question!” he barked a finality in his tone the other two didn’t like. How perfectly Ron, to not realize that people were dying and that they needed all the help they could get.
“We at least need to contact her, let her make the choice!” Hermione insisted, her annoyance growing with every word she spoke. “Stop being such an over-protective git and start being an Auror, Ronald Weasley.”
He seemed taken aback by the fact that his wife didn’t support his point of view. How could she not see the danger and the implications? How could she be fine with dragging her in this mess, when the world was on the brink of something they did not know and could not understand at the moment.
“Fine, we ask her, but if she says no, we’re not pushing her!” he finally agreed, sulking. He hoped that deep down, she would not be bothered coming back and he could sleep a little easier at night.
“I’ll go send an owl right now.” Hermione said and got up but as she opened the door she was stopped by Harry.
“No, it’s classified. Somebody needs to go and explain the situation to her in person and come back with her or an answer.” he explained. “It’s safer. We can’t just send a bird carrying all this information and risk somebody reading it.”
“Okay, I’ll go!” Ron said immediately, getting up as well, his face suddenly alive and gleeful once more.
“No Ron, you’re Deputy of this Office, we can’t spare you at this time. I’m sorry but that’s the way it is.” Harry told him in his best official tone. “I hate to pull rank here, mate, but it’s not an option.”
“Then who do we send? Fred? Teddy?” he asked, still reluctant to admit defeat. They could at least send somebody he knew and trusted, somebody he could prepare for the meeting.
“It needs to be somebody from outside the family. Get me Scorpius Malfoy.” Harry said to a stack of memos on his desk and one of them rose into the air and zoomed out.
“I will not have him anywhere near…” Ron started, his tone rising dangerously.
“Ronald, he is the best you have for this job. You may not like his father but if anybody can keep her safe if needed, it’s him.” Hermione intejected, anger dripping from her voice. “Just let the man do his job and think outside your schoolboy grudge for a second.” she sounded annoyed with him.
Minutes later, Scorpius entered the office and sat down as Harry instructed, feeling uncomfortable at the daggers Ron was shooting his way.
“Scorpius, we have a mission for you.” he started. “if you choose to accept it, you must known that it is highly classified. Nobody will known where you are, not even your family and should it prove unsuccessful, nobody must know about its existence at all. We do not think it to be dangerous at this time but that may change at any time.”
“I understand, sir.” he nodded, his tone betraying his curiosity. “I’ll do it.” he said without hesitance.
“Well then, let me explain. We received the reports of the last attack and I, we, believe that a further analysis of the wands discovered needs to be conducted.” Scorpius nodded, letting Harry know that he was following. “I need you to travel to Romania, by Muggle airplane, and track down Rose Weasley. She is studying wandlore under one of the most respected wand makers in Eastern Europe, Vasile Stanoiu. Once you find him, she will be there. We have no way of letting her know you are coming so you will have to explain everything to her. If she chooses to return with you, then you return by means of Muggle transportation and she can begin the analysis. I have here for you all the information you need and you should leave as soon as possible.” he finished, handing him several report and shaking his hand. “Good luck!”
Scorpius nodded, bid his farewell to Ron and Hermione and left the office. He flipped through the reports and decided he needed to buy a plane ticket. As he left the Ministry and headed towards the nearest travel agency, he thought about the task ahead.
He hadn’t seen Rose since their graduation. She was a Gryffindor in his year at school and the two hadn’t had much contact, even though Scorpius sometimes hung out with her cousins, Albus and Fred. He didn’t know how she would react to seeing him or if she would accept at all, but maybe her Gryffindor honor would kick in and she would accept. Either way, it wasn’t going to be easy to just drop in out of nowhere, informing her of this whole mess. It was a challenge he was strangely eager for, a new possibility for him to affirm his belonging in the Office and maybe, just maybe, he could contribue to the unlocking of the entire mystery.
AN: I wanted to wait until tomorrow to get this up,but then I saw the waiting was only 12 hours long and I couldn't resist. Thank you so much for the reviews and for reading!
Next chapter, we get to meet the mysterious Rose and find out how she deals with her unexpected guest.
Once again, I don't own anything.
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