Chapter 9 : 9- The Returning Enemy
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Harry staggered through the fireplace of Grimmauld Place, exhausted. He found Ginny fast asleep still dressed in her emerald Quidditch garments with her head being pillowed by her folded arms on the dinning room table. He turned to look at the clock and saw it was half-past midnight.
The combination of press interviews, assisting and ordering Aurors to investigate and secure certain Death Eater related places such as the Shrieking Shack and The Riddle Manor for any sort of clues and trying to get updates from St Mungo’s on Ernie, James and the many other casualties that had taken place at the match had taken much longer then Harry had feared.
The last they'd heard from the Wizarding hospital, the death toll had risen to seventy. Harry was also involved with describing what the man he had perused looked like, along with Percy as he too saw the man’s face after his hood had fallen off. Although the image did not match any of those that were in the Ministry archives, Percy seemed certain that he had recognized him from somewhere.
Harry went over to Ginny and brushed some the long red hair out of her face. She awoke and as soon as she saw Harry, her eyes shot open. “Harry, what happened? What’s going on? What-?” But Harry cut across her.
“It was a Death Eater attack.” And Harry explained, for what must have been the hundredth time, what happened in the Ministers box, the Ministry interrogations and the Wizangamot meeting.
“Oh, Harry.” Ginny said when he had finished. She hugged him, kissed him on the cheek and said “I'm so sorry, Harry.” And for the first time that day, the grief for Albert finally got the better of him, and tears forced their way through as an aching sensation gripped his chest and stomach.
The two of them stood there, embraced for what felt like ages until Ginny finally pulled away and said “Do you need anything?” Harry shook his head, wiping his eyes.
Ginny sat him down, went into the kitchen and came back out with two glasses and a large brown bottle of Firewhiskey. She passed Harry his glass and poured him a generous amount and Harry downed his in one. After Ginny had finished hers, she took his hand and said “Mum and Dad were so worried about you. They’ve taken the kids for the night so it’s just us.” Harry nodded, poured himself another glass and, again, downed it in one.
“Do you mind if we just call it a night?” He asked, his voice cracked and weary. Harry had no desire to talk anymore to anyone. Ginny nodded and smiled at him weakly before taking him by the hand and leading him upstairs to bed.
Harry stood in the middle of a large Quidditch pitch. It was dark and he couldn’t see a thing until Naomi flew up to him on a broom and said “Come on Harry, it's up to you to lead us.” And she flew off back into the surrounding blackness. Harry looked up and saw the strange blueish orb he had taken from the Death Eater that day, floating above him. He tried to grab it but it was too high to reach. Suddenly, a masked and hooded man came out of nowhere on a broom and snatched the orb with a cackle of laughter.
“And the Death Eaters are the winner!” Harry heard the announcer say. “Please land and claim your prize!” Harry was suddenly surrounded by at least a dozen masked and hooded men who landed and pointed their wands at Harry. Then they spoke in the voice of Narcissa Malfoy and once again he heard “Promise me you’ll find my husband. Please!” There was then a flash of bright green light and Harry awoke.
Ginny had her arm around him. He picked up his glasses from the bed-side table and looked at the clock which showed that it was only two in the morning. Harry moved Ginny’s arm, got up and made his way to the bathroom. The rest of the house was pitch-black and as he lit the bathroom lamp with a wave of his wand, his eyes stung with the change of lighting. He ran the tap and splashed himself with water, trying to wash away the sweat that he had woken up with. What was wrong with him? He hadn’t had nightmares like these for years.
There was a creak at the door and Harry heard “Is all okay, Master Potter?” He turned to see Kreacher, peering round the door.
“Yes, thank you Kreacher. I'm fine.” Kreacher walked in and looked more closely at Harry.
“Master isn’t looking too well. Perhaps Master would like Kreacher to prepare a Sleeping Draft or maybe a Wigenweld Potion?” Harry could tell that even Kreacher knew that there was something wrong with him.
“No, no thank you Kreacher. You can go.” And the Elf gave Harry a bow and Disapparated. Harry felt his eye-lids get heavier, decided to return to bed and, with another wave of his wand, he put out the bathroom lamp and made his way back to the bedroom. But when he entered the bedroom, he saw Ginny sitting up straight, the tip of her wand emitting a light that illuminated the whole room.
“Talk to me, Harry.” She said simply and Harry got into bed next to her and sighed.
“Ever since Malfoy was kidnapped, I haven’t really been able to think of a lot else.” Harry admitted and Ginny looked puzzled at him. “During the battle of Hogwarts,” Harry started, still feeling the effects of tiredness upon him. “Narcissa Malfoy saved my life. She told Voldemort that I was dead after he tried to kill me in the Forbidden Forest, which got me out of there alive. I am now indebted to her to find her husband and... and I believe it may be affecting my dreams.” Ginny put her arm round the back of his neck and was about to kiss him but, before Harry could feel the soft lips of his wife on his cheek, a silvery form of bright light burst into their room from the open window. When Harry’s eyes, once again, became adjusted to the brightness of the light, he realized that it was Kingsley’s lynx Patronus.
“The Scandinavian Minister for Magic has just been killed during an assault on their Ministry. You must report to the Ministry immediately. Take the Floo Network directly into my office.” And the lynx vanished.
“The Scandinavian Minister?” Ginny said as Harry forced himself out of bed again and start to get dressed. “Surely they’ve got their own Aurors to sort things out?”
“If Kingsley’s making it his business to get involved after today’s events, it must be important.”
“You don’t think it’s more Death Eaters do you?” She asked as Harry put his robes on.
He didn’t answer but simply said “I’ll keep you up to date.”
As he was about to leave the room, he heard Ginny say “I love you.” And he stopped in the door way and said back “I love you too.” And he continued downstairs.
As he reached the bottom of the stairs, he found that the light was on in the kitchen. “Going out, master?” and Kreacher came out of the kitchen with a vial of dark blue potion on a tray.
“Yes Kreacher, something came up at the Ministry.” Kreacher held up the tray with the vial on it towards Harry, indicating him to take it. Harry smiled and took the potion and said “Thanks Krecher.” Harry uncorked the vial of Wigenweld potion and downed it in one feeling its effect immediately as though every atom of his body was now on high alert. He then grabbed a handful of Floo powder from the pot now placed next to the fireplace and said “Minister for Magic’s office.” And Harry felt the warmth of the flames as he was sent to the Ministry.
He stepped out of the fireplace and found himself in Kingsley’s office. It was a handsome, spacious room with dark-red wallpaper. A chandelier floated a few inches below the cream white ceiling and, along one side of the room, large silver cabinets full of ministerial information. Kingsley was sitting at one side of his dark brown desk and on the other side was a short, tanned, balding man with a long black beard that reached down to his stomach. He also had a black eye, a cut across his cheek and his robes had gashes in them.
But before they could say a word to one another, the sound of fire once again emanated from the fireplace and Natasha Walton appeared through the emerald flames.
“Thank you both for coming.” Kingsley said. Although he sounded professional and calm, Harry knew him well enough to distinguish the tiredness in Kingsley’s voice. “Dagfinn, this is my Head of the Auror Office, Harry Potter and my Head of Magical Law Enforcement, Natasha Walton. Harry, Tasha, this is Dagfinn Boyson, he is the Head of Magical Law Enforcement at the Scandinavian Ministry.” And with a wave of his wand Kingsley conjured up two more chairs for Harry and Natasha and the two of them took a seat.
“So what’s happened?” Natasha asked and Dagfinn took a deep breath and started talking in a thick Norwegian accent.
“The Minister, a few other Heads of Departments and the Durmstrang Governors vere in the middle of a meeting ven ve heard a disturbance from the level below. I took it upon myself to see vat vas going on. As I valked down the stairs I saw vizards and vitches, with their faces covered with balaclavas, duelling and overpowering Ministerial forces. As I tried to return to the Minister and the others, I vas caught up with by a few of them and they overtook me tovards the Minister vile I vas distracted. I assume that vonce they killed the Minister, they made it their mission to retreat and it appears that they broke through by blasting their way through the vall’s of the Ministry vith Dark Magic.” Dagfinn pulled what looked like a golden necklace from his pocket and continued “This is vat they vere wearing. I got this one from one of those who vas killed in the fight.” As Harry took a closer look, his heart seemed to fail as he saw what appeared to be an eye encased within a triangle; the small, golden sign of the Deathly Hallows.
“Grindelvald’s sign. I believe these fools to be old followers of his.” Harry stared at the sign and his heart hammered away, faster than it had done at the Quidditch match.
“How many of them were there?” Kingsley asked.
“At least thirty. Though eight of them were killed and three more captured during the battle. They attacked ven the Ministry was almost deserted.” He added in an attempt to defend his Ministry’s defences.
“What was the meeting about?” Harry asked. “Was it about something that Grindelwald’s followers would be against?”
Dagfinn considered this for a moment and said “Possibly, it vas about the rule that only pure-bloods should be admitted into Durmstrang. The Minister and other members of the Ministry felt that the rule vas out-dated and the school has been receiving fewer students each year.” Harry turned to look at Kingsley.
“You don’t think this attack has anything to do with the Quidditch attack do you?”
“Two catastrophic assaults in one day.” Kingsley replied. “We’d be foolish not to consider it.”
Harry looked back at the Deathly Hallows sign that was lying on the desk. “But Voldemort killed Grindelwald.” Harry remembered. “If anything, they should be fighting against each other, not with.” Natasha flinched slightly at Voldemort’s name and Dagfinn looked curiously at Harry.
“How do you know Grindelvald vas killed by He Who Must Not Be Named?”
“Long story, it doesn’t matter. The point is I would have thought they’d hate each other.” Harry replied, turning red slightly.
“Maybe their desire for power and love of the Dark Arts brought them together.” Natasha suggested.
“Either way, I fear we must begin to assume all of the Ministries are being targeted by dark forces and not just our own. Thank you for coming to us Dagfinn and, again, I'm sorry for your loss. Elof was a great wizard and a good man.” Kingsley said and both he and Dagfinn stood up, Dagfinn barely reaching Kingsley's chest in height, and shook hands.
“Thank you and I’m sorry for your loss. Ve vere all distressed to hear of your recent events.” But before Dagfinn left, Harry suddenly thought of one last question to ask.
“Dagfinn.” Dagfinn looked up at Harry. “When you were searching the prisoners, did you find any orb like objects?” Dagfinn stared at Harry with a questioned look on his face.
“No, no orbs were found. Vhy?”
“Nothing.” Harry said feeling slightly down heartened. “Just something we found on one of the Death Eaters at the match that’s all.”
Dagfinn picked up the small golden sign of the Deathly Hallows and handed it to Harry.
“You seemed very interested in the sign. You can keep this if you vant, ve have many more like it. I hope, maybe, it is of some use to you in your investigations.” And Dagfinn stepped into the fireplace and said finally “I presume I’ll be seeing you again soon, Minister Shacklebolt. Miss Valton, Mr Potter, It vas a pleasure meeting you.” And as Dagfinn dropped the Floo powder into the fireplace, the emerald flames absorbed him and he vanished.
“What are you planning?” Natasha asked Kingsley after a few seconds silence.
“I must speak with the other Ministers. If my fears are correct, then this is much bigger than any of us first thought. Harry, you will bring your Aurors up to speed with what’s happened and continue to hunt down more of these Death Eaters, we must get the full picture of what’s going on.” Harry nodded and got up to leave. “Make sure you get some rest.” Kingsley added as Harry entered the fireplace and with more Floo powder, Harry left Kingsley and Natasha and was sent back to Grimmauld Place.
When Harry entered the living room from the fireplace, he noticed that the lights were still on. Kreacher must have left the light on for him. He looked up at the clock, which now showed a quarter to four, and began to feel the effects of Kreacher’s potion wear off as his eye-lids felt heavy once again. He drew his wand and extinguished the light of the lamps, lit his wand tip and made his way back upstairs.
When he reached his bedroom, he found Ginny, fast asleep in their bed. He quickly changed his robes for his pyjamas, got in beside her and dozed off for the second time that night, the sign of the Deathly Hallows engraved in his mind.
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