Chapter 11 : 10- Office Life
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Harry was awoken next morning by a dazzling beam of sunlight that burst through the open curtains thanks to Kreacher.
“Was all well at the Ministry last night, Master?” Kreacher asked as he placed Harry’s robes on his bed. As Harry got up, he had to think hard about what had happened the night before.
“No, it wasn’t.” He said simply after the memory of what Dagfinn had told him returned.
“Might Kreacher suggest that Master speak to Mistress Potter? Mistress seems worried.” Harry looked at the empty space on the bed where Ginny slept.
“Where is she?” He asked.
“Downstairs, preparing breakfast. She was awake very early. Kreacher offered his assistance but Mistress ordered Kreacher to wake Master instead.”
Harry nodded and said “Tell her I’ll be down in a minute.”
The Elf bowed obediently. “Also, there is a package from the Ministry awaiting you on the table.” He finished and, once again, he Disaparated downstairs.
When Harry finally got downstairs, fully dressed and washed, he was hit by the strong smell of toast from the kitchen and he realized that he had barely eaten yesterday and hunger pains suddenly hit him hard. He went in to the kitchen just in time to see Ginny enchant two plates of salmon and egg on toast to float onto the table.
As she saw him, Harry heard two thuds as the plates fell a few inches on to the table.
“Harry, what happened last night? Is everything all right?” Harry sat down in front of his now cracked plate and told her about the attack on the Scandinavian Ministry by followers of Grindelwald.
In the centre of the table was a thin brown package with his name written in thick black letters. As he explained the previous night’s events, Harry reached over and unravelled the packaging to reveal the file within. The moment he saw the date and case files within, Harry knew that this was Dagfinn keeping his promise that the British Ministry would be kept in the loop where last night’s attack was concerned.
“Do you think they’re working together?” She asked once Harry had finished explaining and began his breakfast as he flicked through the file.
“I don’t know.” He said as he mulled over the pages, his mouth full of egg. “I mean two attacks like these in one day, it’s a possibility. But I still can’t shake the feeling that we’re missing something, that there’s more going on. The killer Naomi chased down the other month, the Malfoy kidnap and now these attacks… It’s like they’re pieces of the same picture that don’t fit together.”
He looked at the clock on the wall and remembered that he said he’d be in early this morning. “I should be off.” Harry said as he got up, tucking the file under his arm.
“You know, Charlie’s back in the country. He’s staying with George and Angelina. I could see if they want to come for dinner tonight?” Harry turned to his wife and could tell that she was trying to make him feel better.
“Sounds great.” He said with a smile. He made his way to the fireplace and, with a kiss goodbye from Ginny, he once again vanished in an emerald flame to the Atrium of the Ministry.
Harry had no sooner joined the rabble of Ministry workers when someone was already calling his name. Harry turned and saw the balding, plump figure of the Head of the Magical Maintenance, Reginald Cattermole, running towards him. “What’s up, Reg?” Harry asked.
“I just wanted to tell you, your new office is ready.” He wheezed. Harry stared at him blankly.
“New office?” Harry repeated.
“Yes. The Head of the Auror’s office. Albert’s old office.” Reg finished uncomfortably. “Just thought I should let you know that someone from the Department of Magical Transportation will link your home’s fire place to your office’s shortly.” He smiled, patted Harry on the shoulder and left.
Harry eventually made it to the Auror Office, walking much slower since Reg had told him about his new office, and with a much louder voice then he had intended, shouted “All right, gather round. We have a development.”
Although the department was emptier due to most of the Aurors being out on stake outs, Harry noticed a big absence. “Hang on. Where’s Ron?” He asked the group now gathered in front of him.
“He took Terry and Anthony on some sort of search.” Susan Bones answered. “They left a few minutes ago but he didn’t say much about it.”
“Okay,” Harry replied, slightly concerned but carrying on nonetheless. “Last night the Scandinavian Minister was killed in an assault on their Ministry.” Harry pulled from his pocket, the small golden sign of the Deathly Hallows that Dagfinn had given him before leaving. “These were found on those who were captured during the fight. It indicates that this was done by some of the old followers of Gellert Grindelwald who, for those of you who paid no attention to your History of Magic classes, was a Dark Wizard who ran rampant from the twenties until the mid-forties and declared war on the Confederation before being captured by Albus Dumbledore.”
“Grindelwald’s followers?” And Harry turned to see Naomi at the doorway, a bandage wrapped tightly around her head.
“So you think they might be working with Death Eaters?” She asked, but Harry was so shocked to see Naomi it took him a while to reply.
“We don’t know for certain, but considering the attack happened on the same day as the Quidditch attack, we need to take it into consideration.” Naomi joined the rest of the Aurors and Harry continued “The victim in question was Minister Elof Soelberg. He was killed during a meeting about the rule that only pure bloods should attend Durmstrang, so this could be one incentive for the attack. He is also the first Minister of the United Scandinavian Ministry since the Ministries of Norway, Finland and Sweden set aside their differences and formed one united Ministry back in two thousand and one, so it’s possible that the group is made up of rebels who are against the unity of the Ministries.”
Harry then re-pocketed the necklace and drew out his wand as he opened up the file that Dagfinn had sent him. “Our top suspects, courtesy of the Scandinavian Ministry, are Akrahn Colby,” With a wave of his wand the page containing Akrahn’s details flew into the air before the Office and enlarged ten-fold for all to see the tall, elderly man with a crooked nose and long straight black hair that sprouted from the back and sides of his bald, liver spotted head; his black eyes surveying the Aurors with distain. “Known to be one of Grindelwald’s most loyal commanders during Gellert’s rebellion, he’s been on the run ever since his master’s fall and is our number one suspect of who’s been rallying Grindelwald supporters. He’s known for surrounding himself with numbers, regardless of skill or trait. If Akrahn is involved in any way, he’ll be in charge and if he is recruiting again, stopping him is a top priority. If engaged, lethal action is permitted.”
Again Harry waved his wand and a second sheet flew and enlarged itself to reveal the mugshot of a square-shouldered, brute of a man with sharp black hair and an unshaved, unkempt look about him. “Kristain Brulow,” Harry introduced. “Nowhere near old enough to have fought in the rebellion but old enough to have been a staunch supporter of Grindelwald and his ideas for the past two decades, halve of which he’s spent on the run after the murder of several Muggles and escaping arrest by murdering his way through three Aurors. If a Grindelwald fuelled resurgence is up and coming there is very little doubt he will be involved. If engaged, lethal action is permitted.”
Every Auror around Harry was eyeing the two men as though they were in the office in real life.
“Alvar Tarkon,” Harry continued as he did so for the next ten minutes going through every suspect Dagfinn had sent him in detail with his Aurors.
Once finished Harry swiped his wand one final time and duplicates of the dozen pages that now surrounded them split off from their originals and plastered themselves to one of the boards that hung on the wall before the original copies deflated and gracefully returned to the file still in Harry’s hand.
Harry looked into the faces of the Aurors who had taken in every word Harry was saying. “The Scandinavian Ministry isn’t going to take this lying down. As we speak, their Aurors are attempting to hunt down these Wizards and Witches and all those others who escaped the attack but if they are working with the Death Eaters, it is a possibility that they are openly working against multiple Ministries with other Dark Wizarding groups.”
The atmosphere changed as soon as Harry had finished and the entire department fell silent. “Our aim is clear. Track down the remaining Death Eaters and find out what is really going on.” Harry then started talking to individual Aurors. “Fay, Timon, I want you two to bring the others up to date, take copies of the reports from the board. Alec, I want you to relieve Lee of Malfoy guard duty and tell him to get some sleep.”
As Harry finished setting the rest of the Aurors their tasks and assignments, Naomi approached him, with an almost insulted look on her face.
“I’m glad you’re now the Head of the Office, but that’s no reason to leave me out of things just because you’re worried about me.”
“Naomi, you had your head gouged at yesterday.” Harry said in a weary tone. “I wasn’t expecting you to return for at least another few days.”
“Well I’m fine!” Naomi retorted begrudgingly.
Harry looked into the anger filled eyes he sighed before saying “Look, I know you’re angry about Emily, but you need to remain patient. I have over a dozen Aurors in Saint Mungo’s and I can’t afford to send you out in your condition and you too.” As Harry said this, the anger on Naomi’s face seemed to fade and it took her a few seconds to reply.
“Fine, I’ll stay here and behave myself. But you let me know the moment you find out anything about that traitor.” Harry nodded and Naomi turned and walked off, wiping her eyes.
Harry turned towards his new office and saw that there was a new sign on the door. ‘Harry J. Potter. Head of the Auror Office.’ He entered and he seemed to have stepped into a bigger version of his old crimson, gold and cream office. All of the personal touches, such as photos and ornaments that Harry had in his old office had been placed into similar places in his new office. Now, however, there was a larger filing cabinet, not unlike Kingsley’s, that Harry knew would be full of the files of convicts and on the opposite wall, a large ornate, black and gold fire place.
Harry also noticed that in the centre of the desk was a small, shallow stone basin with what looked like tiny ancient runes engraved into its side and outer-rim. After a second’s staring, Harry recognised it as Albert’s old Pensieve with a note attached to it.
I know that it was Albert’s wish to leave his Pensieve to the next Head when he retired. He inherited it from his father and, as he himself was childless, I know it would comfort him dearly to know you were making good use of it.
As Harry finished reading, he sat down, staring at the empty Pensieve and threw the note into the bin under the desk.
Never having tried what he was about to do before, Harry gave in to the curiosity, drew out his wand and placed its tip to the temple of his head. The moment he began replaying the memory in his head he felt something grip onto the tip of his wand. Gently pulling his wand away, he watched as the long silver strand that had attached itself to his wand sprouted from his head until it cut off, leaving it to dangle from his wand like a strand of silver silk.
Cautiously, Harry placed the strand into the Pensieve and watched as the entire memory of his time at the Malfoy Manor played out before him at the bottom of the basin. From his entering the manor house to Narcissa Malfoy begging for Harry’s promise of her husband’s return, Harry scanned the scene hoping for a clue he might have missed.
His old Headmaster had always told Harry that he had used his own Pensieve to examine his memories as it became easier to notice things he may have missed at the time. Clearly Albus Dumbledore had a better knack of this as Harry finished watching for the third time his explanation of a Life Debt to Naomi before stopping the memory with a wave of his wand after finding nothing that would help.
As Harry leaned back into his desk chair, he took in the scene of his new office when a sudden impulse took control of him and he looked towards the filing cabinet. Before Harry could even question what he was doing, he pointed his wand at it and said “Lucius Malfoy.” One of the draws opened and a single file flew towards him and opened up on the desk in front of him but before he could start reading, Phillipa entered the room.
“Harry, I’ve just picked up our sympathiser’s wand from the wand identifier in the Atrium and although she’s said what the wand is made of, she can’t tell who made it.” Phillipa handed the wand to Harry who felt suddenly down heartened. “It’s Sycamore and Owl feather, nine inches.” Phillipa said hoping the information about the wand would compensate for the lack of information about the owner. “And even more bad news on this.” And she pulled out the orb like object and placed it on the desk. “No one in the entire Office for Dangerous Magical Artifacts can even guess what it is.” The more she spoke the more frustrated she seemed to get.
“Okay then.” Harry said and he too seemed to feel Phillipa’s frustration and as he pocketed both the wand and the orb, Naomi entered and announced “Professors McGonagall and Longbottom are here to see you.”
“Send them in.” Harry said, hoping they’d lift his spirits.
“I’ll leave you to it.” Phillipa said and as she left Harry’s office, Neville Longbottem, one of Harry’s oldest friends and Minerva McGonagall, Harry’s old Transfiguration teacher, entered.
“Minerva, Neville. What can I do for you?” But McGonagall just stood there, tall, her black and grey hair bunched up and her elderly face beaming at him.
“I’m afraid, Mr Potter, that I am only here to congratulate you on your recent promotion. I have an appointment with Kingsley but when Neville found out that I was coming, he insisted that he accompany me and to see you.”
Harry turned to Neville and said “Why? What’s up Nev?” And Neville looked back at Harry, his round face looking far more serious then Minerva’s aged one and his short brown hair ruffled as though it had been subject to a hurricane.
“The Quidditch attack yesterday, is it true that the Death Eaters were behind it?” Harry nodded, beginning to get an idea of where the conversation was going.
“That seems to be where what little evidence we have is pointing, Neville.” Harry said as he gave a weak smile.
“Then I want to help. I want to re-join.”
Minerva then placed a comforting hand on Neville’s shoulder and said “I’ll leave you two to talk.” She left and Neville sat down opposite Harry.
“The academic year is over, Hogwarts doesn’t need me and if Lestrange is behind this, I deserv-”
“Neville.” Harry interrupted. “I know about the deal you had with Albert.” Neville stared back at him nervously. It was obvious that Neville did not expect Harry to know of Albert’s promise to bring Neville back in if Rabastan Lestrange had been found. “And I would love to have you back with us. To be honest with you mate we could do with the extra wand.” And as Harry spoke, the seriousness on Neville’s face changed to the familiar grinned smile Neville often had when he successfully did something he thought he couldn’t do. “What does Hannah say about this?” Harry asked, knowing that Neville’s wife had always worried about Neville’s vengefulness against the Lestrange family.
“She’s not exactly ecstatic about the news, but she understands.” And he smiled weakly at Harry, who stood up, offering his hand.
Neville took it as Harry said “Welcome back.” When the hand shake ended, Harry called for Phillipa. She entered and Harry ordered “Would you mind bringing Auror Longbottom up to date and see if we can’t find his old I.D card.”
Phillipa nodded and smiled at Neville, who smiled back at his old colleague but before he left, he turned back to Harry and said “Thanks. And I'm sorry about Albert.”
Harry nodded and said simply “We’ll get them.” Neville nodded encouragingly back at him and he left with Phillipa.
Harry sat back down and, again, began to read Lucius’ file when there was a knock at the door that was so quiet, Harry had to think twice about whether he’d really heard it or not. “Hello?” Harry said to the door. It opened and Marietta Edgecombe entered holding a clipboard close to her chest.
“I'm here to link your fireplaces.” She said quietly, not even looking at Harry but looked instead at the fireplace through the hair covering her face. She then placed a piece of parchment on Harry’s desk, still not looking at him and said. “You need to sign this and put your address on it.” Harry skimmed through the contract, signed it and handed it back to Marietta who took it and also started writing on it. Harry watched her, though his attention was primarily on the file he was now feeling between his fingers. After finishing at last, she then placed the parchment in the fireplace, pointed her wand at it and murmured something so quietly Harry got the impression she was trying to do it non-verbally.
When she finished, emerald flames erupted from the fireplace and sucked up the piece of parchment.
“Thanks Marietta.” Harry said but Marietta just simply squeaked something and walked out. Harry was tempted to try and thank her again but Lucius Malfoy’s file was still lay open in front of him and, for the third time, he started to read through it. But as soon as Harry turned from the contents page he slammed it closed again in frustration as he heard a combination of Ron’s and Naomi’s voices from outside.
“Where is he?”
“In his office. Why-?” And the door burst open and Ron stood there, his eyes wild and tear filled, Naomi right behind him.
“Ron, what’s-?” Harry started but Ron cut across him.
“It’s Emily. She’s dead.” And both Harry and Naomi fell silent. Ron sat down and after a few seconds of him trying to regain himself, he resumed talking. “I decided to do a raid on Emily’s house to see if we could find anything.” Again Ron took a few more seconds to regain himself, while Naomi was still standing in the same place, shaking slightly.
“The upstairs of her house looks like a bomb hit it. She definitely put up a fight, whatever happened. Anthony and Terry are still there, I just couldn’t stay there, I couldn’t and I had to let you guys know.” When Ron finished, Harry suddenly felt himself gain more willpower against reading Lucius’ file and a sense of priority seem to replace it. “Harry,” Ron murmured. “It wasn't Emily at the Quidditch match.”
Harry heard Naomi’s deep breathing from behind Ron and as he stood up, he found that even his own voice was shaky when he spoke. “Come on. We need to tell the others.”
Harry stood there, in front of the small group of Aurors that were left in the office, all of them wearing a combination of shocked and angry faces in response to what Harry had just announced.
“I know it’s shocking, but we now know that Emily wasn’t a traitor. Aurors are at her house right now trying to figure out what happened while Healers examine her body. Ron is talking to the Minister about the possibility that Emily’s address could have leaked somehow.” Harry was about to continue when a large silver bull charged in mid-air into the office and spoke with the voice of Lawrence Marsh, a fellow Auror that Harry had sent to talk to an informant.
“Have found possible lead to Thorfinn Rowle. Requesting Aurors to perform raid and capture on Rowle and one other accomplice. Meet me at Number Nine, Water End Road, Beacons Bottom ASAP. Will await there for further instructions.”
And as the bull faded, it was as though the grief for Emily had been forced out and Harry acted immediately. “Tanya, send word to Lawrence that we’re on our way and then tell Gawain to prepare for an interrogation for two for when we get back, he might need help with preparing more Veritaserum. Neville, Phillipa, Susan. You’re with me, we’ll go up to get a Portkey now.” And Neville, Phillipa and Susan all started their way towards the Department of Magical Transportation.
“Naomi,” Harry said, turning his attention to his protégé. “Tell Ron what’s happening when he gets back. He’ll be in charge.” Naomi nodded obediently, but Harry could tell that Emily’s death was on her mind. “Listen, I’ll be back a soon as possible and when I am, I’ll need your help with an assignment.” Naomi looked up sharply and Harry gave her a quick wink before heading off with the other Aurors.
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