Chapter 20 : Piecing the Jigsaw Together.
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Sorry for the delay.
“Well, we have quite a few pieces of the jigsaw,” Rose said thoughtfully. “What we have to do now is put them together.”
Albus stared at her. “How do we do that?”
“Well, we’re looking for somebody currently at the school, with a grudge against you, or more likely our families and also against the Malfoys, or possibly just Scorpius, who has some connection with somebody who was here in 1992. They have pro-Death Eater views, hate Muggleborns and are, possibly, though not definitely, a Ravenclaw.”
She made it sound as if their being in Ravenclaw was the only uncertainty when the truth was they’d no real certainties at all. They didn’t even know the same person wrote the graffiti and broke Scorpius’s broom.
He didn’t point this out, however. He just asked “how does that help us?”
He couldn’t think of anybody who fit those criteria.
“What we need to do,” she said, “is find out as much as we can about the students who were here in 1992, their names, if they took part in the war, how they got on with your dad and Scorpius’s and then match them with the current students, beginning with the Ravenclaws.”
“How do we do that?” he asked. “They mightn’t even have the same names.”
“They mightn’t, but we start with those who do. Then we’ll work from there. And if we do find a Ravenclaw whose father or uncle or something attended Hogwarts in 1992 and later joined the Death Eaters, they become our top suspect, right?”
“OK,” he said doubtfully. It sounded like a lot of work for possibly very little reward, but it wasn’t as if he’d any better ideas.
“So what we need to do now is to write to our parents. I’ll get Mum to send me a list of the students in their year and any other names she can remember and you get your dad to tell you who was on the Gryffindor Quidditch team that year and if he can remember any of the names of those he played against, particularly the Slytherins. Tell him anything else he can tell you about them would be helpful too, particularly if he didn’t get on with any of them or they’d any reason to resent him.”
He bit his lip. “All right.
As soon as the letters came back, Rose set about cross-referencing them with every list of current students she could find.
“There’s a Flint in 3rd year,” she’d say. “But he’s a Slytherin, so I think we can afford to put him aside for a moment. I’ll make a note of him, just in case though. And of course, there’s Glynis Bones. She’s a first year Hufflepuff. I think we can rule her out though, don’t you? I doubt a first year from another house could get into Ravenclaw unnoticed.”
“Although the names Bones is familiar,” she continued. “I think Mum mentioned it at some point or something. I must ask her.”
She turned back to the pile of books and lists in front of her.
Albus tried to help, but he just got confused. How did she know which book to read first or which list to check?
“You just have to go at it systematically,” she said when he asked her. “Your problem is you just skim down a list, then get bored with it and try another one. You have to go through each name on it and see if it matches with anything. This is the list your dad gave of students who played Quidditch that year and this is Mum’s list of everybody she could remember in their year and these are all the current Quidditch teams and these are this year’s first years.”
He felt his eyes begin to glaze over.
Shaking himself, he tried again to compare them, but after going through ten names without finding a match and accidentally comparing the current Quidditch teams with the current first years, his mind began to wander.
“Oh, I forgot!” Rose interrupted his thoughts. “I need you to write to your mum and ask her for a list of the students in her year. I can’t believe we forgot that. And I’ve written to Uncle George and I’ll write to Uncle Percy tonight. I think we should talk to Neville too.”
He shifted awkwardly. “Why will we say we’re asking him?”
It was one thing writing to his parents or Uncle Ron or Uncle George. His dad knew exactly why they wanted to know and Albus got the impression he thought they were doing the right thing. And of course, Uncle Ron and Uncle George were never averse to a bit of mischief. Uncle George in particular didn’t ask too many questions.
But Neville was a teacher and Albus was sure he’d think they should leave things to the staff.
Rose seemed to agree with him, because she didn’t even suggest telling the truth.
“Give me a minute,” she said instead. “I know! We tell him we’re going to surprise your parents by making a collage of photographs from their time on the Quidditch team and we’re short of examples from your dad’s first two years on the team, so can he tell us who was at Hogwarts then so we can write and ask for some?”
He wasn’t at all convinced Neville would believe them. It sounded a bit convoluted.
To his surprise, however, Neville gave no indication of doubting them when they approached him after Herbology.
“Who might have pictures of your Dad’s first two or three years playing Quidditch? Well, the obvious answer would be Colin Creevey, but he died in the Battle of Hogwarts.”
There was an awkward pause. Albus really wished they hadn’t reminded him of the war. He knew how upsetting it was for those who’d lived through it.
“His brother, Dennis, might have them now; I don’t know. You could ask him. Colin hero-worshiped Harry. I’m sure he’d want him to have them.”
“Can you think of anybody else who was at school then though?” Rose asked. “In case he doesn’t have them. I mean, older students, mostly. My parents can contact most of your classmates.”
Neville thought for a moment. “I doubt I can be much help to you. Your parents knew a lot more people than I did, what with your dad being the Boy Who Lived and all. Everybody wanted to befriend him.”
“Thanks anyway, Sir.” Rose smiled at him.
“It doesn’t really matter,” she told Albus later. “Between our parents and aunts and uncles, we’ve a fairly long list anyway. And it would probably be somebody they’d remember, don’t you think?”
“I suppose so.” An idea occurred to him. “Hey, I know you said we could leave Victor Flint aside, but I was just thinking, if Marcus Flint was head of the Slytherin team…”
“Well, he might have had something against Scorpius’s dad, mightn’t he? Because of the way he got on the team? He might have objected to being forced to take him in order to get the new brooms. And my dad played against him, so…”
He trailed off. It was pretty weak. You didn’t go around breaking somebody’s broom, because your dad was basically bribed into accepting his onto a school team or sending someone Swelling Solution because their dad might have beaten yours in a match.
“I guess it’s not very likely,” he said finally.
“It’s a connection though. We’ll keep Mr. Victor Flint in mind. He might have reasons we don’t know about. And you’re right. We shouldn’t forget Scorpius’s broom was broken. If somebody was annoyed at the Malfoys’ history of using their money to buy themselves whatever they want, including a place on the Quidditch team, that could well have aggravated them. I’ll tell you what. You should have a word with James. See if he can tell you anything about him. And find out if they have Potions with the Slytherins. Not that it matters. Slughorn probably made the same potion with all his third year classes that week.”
It sounded like an easy task. Talking to James was certainly less stressful than trying to question Slughorn or even Neville.
But when he actually approached the Gryffindor table after dinner that evening, he realised it wasn’t quite as easy as he’d expected. James was surrounded by a group of third year Gryffindors who probably wouldn’t appreciate being interrupted by a mere first year.
He should have anticipated this. Apart from the odd occasion he came over to the Ravenclaw table, specifically to talk to Albus, James was always surrounded by friends. He attracted people far more easily than Albus did.
“Um, James,” he said quietly.
James turned around.
“What do you want?”
It felt as if all the eyes at the table turned to stare at him.
Suddenly, what he wanted to say sounded ridiculous, like a kid playing detective. He really wished he’d found a better time to approach James, a time when he wasn’t surrounded by friends. James laughing at him would be bad enough. Half of Gryffindor laughing at him would be unbearable.
He knew though, that there was no such time. James wasn’t the sort of person to be found reading quietly in the library or wandering the grounds by himself. Well, not unless he was up to something.
“You know Victor Flint?”
James rolled his eyes and exchanged a look Albus couldn’t quite read with his best friend, Robin, a small, blond-haired, angelic looking boy, who was nowhere near as angelic as he looked.
“Flinthead? Oh yes, I know him. Why? Has he been hassling you? If he has, we’ll sort him, won’t we, Robin?”
“Oh yes.” He sounded as if he was looking forward to it.
“Sorry to disappoint you,” Albus found himself saying, “but I haven’t spoken to him at all. His name just came up and I was wondering…”
He let his voice trail off. It wasn’t a very convincing explanation but the other boys didn’t seem to notice.
“Well, keep out of his way,” James ordered. “He tried to curse me once, remember?” He turned to Robin.
“Yeah, that was because you’d just vanished the caterpillars he was about to add to his potion.”
“Oh yeah, I’d forgotten that. Wasn’t the look on his face hilarious?”
They both laughed.
“So he’s in your potions class?”
“Yeah, Potions with the Slytherins. Great fun, isn’t it, Robin? It’s the same for you, isn’t it, Albus?”
He turned back to his brother, without waiting for Robin’s agreement.
“Yeah,” Albus said. “Some of them are OK, though, even Malfoy really.”
“He’s another one you’d want to watch out for,” James said.
Did James know something he didn’t?
James shrugged. “He’s a Malfoy, isn’t he? And that trick with sneaking his broom in here… Bit of a slippery customer, I’d say.”
“Hey, you know there was a Flint played against Dad when he was on the Quidditch team here?”
Albus knew he was changing the subject, but he couldn’t think how to bring it up subtly.
“Yeah, he was on the Slytherin team. You don’t know if they’re related?”
“I don’t know or particularly care. Why would I be interested in old Flinthead? How do you know anyway?”
“That a Flint played against Dad? Dad told me. I mean, he mentioned it one time.”
James turned back to his dinner and Albus realised he’d been dismissed.
He couldn’t tell Rose what he’d learnt at the dinner table, not in front of Derek, Rasmus and Nathan, but they managed to slip away from them on the way back to Ravenclaw Tower.
“Learn anything?” she asked.
“Maybe. I mean, he and James don’t get on, so I guess that could be a reason to pick on me, right?”
She nodded. “It’s definitely possible.”
“And they do have Potions together, so if Slughorn left at the end of class, it’d be easy for Victor to bottle some Swelling Solution.” He shifted a little awkwardly. “I don’t think we should try questioning him though. James says we should stay out of his way.”
“Why? Just ‘cause he doesn’t like him?”
“I don’t know, really. I kind of got the impression he was a bully.”
She smiled. “All right. We won’t approach him directly. Not yet anyway. Let’s just see what Scorpius has to say.”
“Yeah, we need to run the lists past him anyway. See if any of our possibilities have had any run-ins with him or his dad. And Flint’s in his house. He should know more about him than we do.”
It was definitely a better idea than approaching Flint.
“We’ll wait a few days though. I still need to go through your Mum’s class and Uncle Percy’s. See if we find any possible connections there.”
“Do you think we will?”
“Probably too many.” She sighed. “Most pureblooded families are related and I think we can pretty much assume the person we’re looking for is pureblood, or maybe halfblood. It means the chances of a surname match are pretty high.”
“So is this going to help us at all?”
“Oh, I think so. We just need a little more than a surname match, that’s all. That’s why we need to talk to Scorpius.” She paused for a moment, before adding, “I’m also going to do some research on the Death Eaters. See if there are any surnames that come up in all three places or if any of the older students from 1992 went on to join the Death Eaters. The seventh years could have been as old as twenty-three by the Final Battle, you know.”
“I guess.” He hadn’t really thought of that.
“But one thing at a time. First I’ll go through the lists we have, then we’ll talk to Scorpius. Researching Death Eaters can wait.”
As she’d predicted, they’d quite a long list of possibilities by the time she’d finished going through the lists.
They met Scorpius down by the Black Lake. It seemed to be his usual hang-out for some reason.
He stared at the list of names before him. “Where did you get all these from?”
“Just people at school now with the same surnames as people here in 1992 that we thought were possibilities for various reasons. Most of them probably aren’t really. I mean I’ve included pretty much any Ravenclaws I could find.”
For a moment, neither of them answered.
Finally, she said, “OK, don’t tell anybody this now, but somebody hid something in Albus’s trunk. It’d be kind of hard for somebody from another house to do that.”
He skimmed the list.
“Why’s Flint on it, so?”
“Because his dad played Quidditch with yours and against Albus’s and apparently he and James don’t get on.” She shrugged.
Scorpius actually laughed. “He doesn’t get on with anybody. It would take him forever to get back at them all.”
“But the graffiti did threaten a lot of people,” Rose reminded him. “Anybody who’s Muggleborn and even the rest of us, really, because it also threatened that Voldemort would return.”
“Oh, don’t tell me you’re one of those who doesn’t like to hear the name. He died years ago.”
“Yeah, and my dad nearly died because of him.”
There was an awkward silence.
“I’m sorry,” she said finally. “But this is exactly why we need to figure out who’s doing this. After all, that man did, all the people he hurt, there’s somebody here at Hogwarts who still seems to think it’d be really cool if he returned.”
Scorpius glanced down at the ground and dug his foot into the wet mud.
“OK. What do you want from me?”
“Could you find out how your dad and Flint got on when they played Quidditch together? Or if there was anybody who hated him and Albus’s dad when they were at Hogwarts?”
“I can try,” he said doubtfully. “But like I said, Dad doesn’t really like to talk about his time here. And…he’s not too pleased with me at the moment.”
“Because of your broom getting broken?” Albus asked.
He nodded. “I might be able to bring it up over the Easter holidays.”
“That’s ages away,” Rose complained.
“It’s the best I can do. I can hardly just write to him and say ‘hey, Dad, who hated you at Hogwarts?’ when he doesn’t even talk about his time here, can I?”
“All right. It doesn’t look like we’ll have found out much by then anyway. Not at the rate we’re going. Oh, one other thing.”
He eyed her suspiciously.
“Albus and I are going to keep an eye on some of the Ravenclaw possibilities. Can you do the same with Flint?”
“I am not getting too close to him!”
“You don’t have to,” she assured him. “Just take note of whether he’s in the common room in the evenings and stuff. If you’re there, I mean. We can’t spend all day every day, sitting around watching people. But if you do notice he’s not around, keep it in mind, in case it turns out something’s happened that evening.”
“I can do that. Who are you keeping an eye on?”
“Well, like I said, we were focussing on Ravenclaws, so there’s quite a lot of them. I knocked a few out, because they’d family members who died in the war or were part of the Order or something, but that still left a lot of people I knew nothing about. So we’ll probably focus on people there’s actually something against. Like Eleanor Lockhart.”
Both boys stared at her.
“Why her?” Albus asked.
“It only occurred to me just before we came down here. All along, we were focussing on students, but what about Gilderoy Lockhart? His family could well blame our parents for the way he lost his memory and well…”
She gave Scorpius an awkward look.
“You might as well say it,” he said sourly. “She could blame my granddad for getting the chamber opened in the first place. Granddad didn’t know what the diary did, but nobody believes that.”
“Well, it’s possible,” she muttered. “That’s if she’s even related to him. We don’t know that for sure.”
Scorpius turned away and stared back out over the lake.
“Well, we’ll talk to you again,” she said. “Let us know if your dad tells you anything, OK? Or if Flint does anything suspicious. And we’ll let you know if Eleanor or any of the others do.”
He didn’t turn around.
“Do you think Lucius Malfoy knew what that diary did?” Albus asked Rose once they were out of earshot. He knew it wasn’t really important, but he wanted to know. It was his mum who’d been bewitched after all.
She shrugged. “I dunno. He must have known it did something dodgy. Otherwise, why give it to her? And even if he didn’t know exactly, you’d think he’d have figured it out once people started getting attacked. I wouldn’t imagine he’d have cared about Muggleborns being attacked anyway.”
Albus shivered. “Imagine having a grandfather like that.”
He thought of his own grandparents, who were probably the most loving people he knew. They certainly wouldn’t just sit back and let it happen if they suspected they knew what was causing people to be attacked.
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